State of the Author: An Update

Hi, everyone. I wanted to let you know that, in general, I am doing a little better. I am also exercising a lot of self-compassion. Here is what that looks like:

  1. I am opting out of the Blogging from A to Z challenge this year. I have done it every year since I started this blog, but I just can’t this time.
  2. I turned down a speaking engagement for June, because that month already has a ton of things going on for me.
  3. I have accepted that my current WIP is going to be written in tiny bits, rather than giant swathes. Each word I get on the page is one I didn’t have before.
  4. I have been notified by my MD that pretty soon it will be my turn to make a vaccination appointment. This has helped my morale more than I anticipated.
  5. I am getting back into cooking and baking, trying new recipes. Not all of them have turned out well, but I am not taking that as an indictment of my skills. Not all recipes are that good (so now you know …).
  6. I am making an effort to read more this year. I have always been an avid reader, but last year I struggled to concentrate on books. TV was a lot easier. I’m already doing better with this; I’m six books ahead of schedule based on my target of 100 books/year.

I am truly grateful for all of the kind words I’ve received during my mental health struggle. I had six sessions with a wonderful doctor who helped me get past the “bump” that I was experiencing. I have a day job supervisor who is caring and compassionate, and continues to make sure I have the support I need. I know I’m fortunate in all of these things.

Blogging A to Z: 2020 Reflection

funny-pictures-exhausted-cat-alphabetized-cdsHi, everyone.

Wow. I’m almost not sure where to start. First and foremost, I wish to thank all who visited my blog and commented. Likewise, a special welcome to those who became new followers. You are greatly appreciated!

This year, my theme was Facts About Pompeii. I wanted to share some of my travel photos and information gleaned in the research for my current work-in-progress, Pompeii Fire.  I posted here, on the A to Z website, my author page on Facebook, and the FB group page for my chapter of the Historical Novel Society.

This was my fourth year doing the challenge. This year, I had fewer visitors than any other year. I initially thought it was because of no longer being on Twitter, but when the challenge was over I was at 97% of my previous low year, when the theme was David Bowie’s music. So, it clearly wasn’t Twitter … but perhaps my theme.

MissionAccomplishedI did go and comment on several blogs, but I must confess that it was with no particular degree of regularity. I just didn’t have it in me, to be honest; working at home, writing a book, and taking classes wore me out more than I anticipated. I had initially believed that the coronavirus quarantine would render me able to get more things crammed in around the edges than proved to be the case. On the plus side, I found and started following a few new ones as well (as happens every year).

Doing this challenge is a lot of work, as those who participate will confirm. Each year when I’m done, I find myself uncertain whether I’ll do it again. I guess we’ll find out in 2021!

Blogging from A to Z: Z is for Zeus Meilichios, Temple of

Altar and cella, Temple of Zeus Meilichios. Istvánka / CC BY-SA (

Hi, everyone. Can you believe it? It’s the last day of the 2020 A to Z Challenge. I’ll do a summary post in a couple of days.

This is another building that was closed when I visited. The temple is the smallest at Pompeii, and may be found adjacent to the Temple of Isis and the theatre complex (which includes the Quadriportico). There is some argument over whether it was dedicated to Zeus/Jupiter or Aesculapius/Asclepius, based on some statuary found there and now housed in the Naples Archaeological Museum.

Zeus Meilichios is what’s referred to as an epithet: a second name based on a particular aspect of the deity. That aspect might be regional, such as Venus Pompeiia, or about some part of their personality. In this case, the epithet literally translates to “sweet as honey,” so it refers to a god who is easy to approach with needs and who is likely to listen to one’s prayers.

Blogging from A to Z: Y is for Young Bull, House of the

Atrium, House of the Young Bull. Carole Raddato from FRANKFURT, Germany / CC BY-SA (

Hi, everyone. Today, we’re going to look at the House of the Young Bull. This house was not open when I visited Pompeii, so I’m going to have to “wing it” a bit from other sources.

Unknown. Statuette of a Bull, 25 B.C. – A.D. 79, Silver with gilding.
14 × 4.5 × 14.2 cm (5 1/2 × 1 3/4 × 5 9/16 in.), 2001.7
The J. Paul Getty Museum, Villa Collection, Malibu, California

The house gets its name from a statue that was on the plinth you see next to the atrium. That statue now lives in the Getty Collection, which graciously permits bloggers to use its images under their Open Content Program.

Unlike many of the houses in Pompeii, we know that this one belonged to L. Pontius Saxesus; a seal with his name on it was found near the main entrance.

The house was originally excavated in 1836, but that project was abandoned. Unfortunately, the many frescoes were lost as a result; no efforts had been taken to preserve them.

This was what we now call a Hellenized home, with a peristyle garden and other Greek architectural influences. What wall art does remain seems to have been in the so-called First Style, in which stucco was painted to represented various types of marble.


Blogging from A to Z: X is for Decem

Clock with Roman numerals, Bad Salzdefurth, Germany. JuergenG / CC BY-SA (

I know, I know. You’re sitting there thinking “How does that even work? Decem starts with a d, not an x.” Well, I’ll tell you.

Today we’re going to have a little Latin lesson, with the numbers 1-10. Chart, below, via Transparent Language.

As you reach number seven, you may notice that the Latin looks kind of familiar. That’s because September, October, November, and December were months seven through 10 in the ancient Roman year. The Roman numeral for 10, X, is decem.

As an aside, I learned to tell time on a clock face with Roman numerals, which hung in our living room. That’s why I included a clock on this post.

1 I ūnus
2 II duo
3 III trēs
4 IV quattuor
5 V quīnque
6 VI sex
7 VII septem
8 VIII octō
9 IX novem
10 X decem