Funds for People of the Bayou

Fans of “Bayou Fire,” now is a literal opportunity to put your money where your mouth is. Please consider donating to this GoFundMe to help those most affected by Hurricane Ida.

French Quarter block by block

The city of New Orleans cannot and will not exist without a thriving Louisiana.

Ida and the longtime lack of interest in offering meaningful, resilient infrastructure for these small fishing and farming places did a whopper on our neighbors homes and businesses; the fundraiser below is leading the efforts to get real help to those families and communities right now.

We are raising cash money to put in the hands of people in our bayou communities who have lost their homes. We have already started handing out $400 cash payments. Please help us continue this operation.

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The Limits of Limelight

The Limits of Limelight

A fascinating look at how author Margaret Porter researches her 20th C. historicals. Enjoy!

All about historical fiction

I’ve known Margaret Porterfor several years and have admired her writing as well as her kindness and support to other writers in the historical fiction community.

Not long ago, I had the pleasure of reading her latest novel The Limits of Limelight. Like Margaret’s earlier novel Beautiful Invention, the story of Hedy Lamarr, The Limits of Limelight transports the reader to the Golden Age of Hollywood, a world of glamour and glitter where the stars were beholden to their studio bosses and wannabe stars struggled to be discovered.

I asked Margaret several questions about her novels and her writing.

  • What fascinates you about the golden age of Hollywood?

It’s my father’s fault. He was a massive fan of cinema, and never stopped watching the classic black and white movies of his youth. So I was very familiar with them as well, and all the great stars of…

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Sample Saturday, “Pompeii Fire”

Hi, everyone. Today’s sample is from my work in progress, Pompeii Fire. As always, since this is a draft, there may be changes to the final text. Enjoy!

Pompeii Fire v 2“How different life is now,” Stephanus looked around at the countryside. “To think that, just a few years ago, I was buying my freedom and my business. All of those years being paid to pick up people’s nightsoil in town, and look at me! I’m able to help an old friend set up his new business with both my time and my treasure.”

Drusus nodded. “I can only imagine.”

“No, I don’t think you can, my friend. You were never a slave. You never had to say ‘yes’ to things that made you want to choke. You never had to stand knee-deep in piss to clean clothes. The day my former master gave me the nightsoil route was the day my life changed. Everyone in town had to pay me to pick up their chamber pots to collect the urine, and my master let me keep the money. Now I’m a free man with slaves of my own. I don’t have to obey orders anymore, and no one can deny me my wishes.”

Drusus’ mouth straightened into a grim line. “Life is not so simple, my friend. I think we both know that. There is always someone above us to direct things. For instance, you must obey the aedile, or a senator.”

“Yes, yes,” Stephanus waved his hand. “But in daily life? No one may gainsay me. I only wish my Vorena had lived to see this day.”

Drusus shook his head. “She was a good woman.”

“Hmm. Yes. She was a modest, virtuous person, and she gave me a son. What woman could have wanted more from life?” Stephanus sighed with contentment. “Your Servilia was a good woman as well, although it was a pity she only gave you a daughter.”

Weekend Reads: “The Lost Apothecary”

The Lost ApothecaryThe Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am not even sure where to begin with this exceptional dual-timeline novel. In 1791, apothecary Nella has devoted her life to helping women, whether with their own ailments or ridding them of problems of all sorts — especially abusive or philandering husbands.

In the present day, aspiring historian Caroline has come to London to sort her thoughts about her ailing marriage. On a whim, she decides to go mudlarking … and finds a glass vial with, unbeknownst to Caroline, ties to Nella’s shop. Caroline decides to research the little vial, and learns more than she bargained for.

This is an exquisitely-researched book about women’s roles, herbal medicine (including poisons) and 18th C. social mores, as well as a look at the complexities of human nature and how little of *that* has changed over time.

That I read such a lengthy novel in just two nights is telling; I did not want to put it down. There are some serious twists and turns in the modern-day portion of the book that keep the reader wondering what could possibly happen next. Highly recommended.

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