Bonus Track: “Be My Baby”

Hi, everyone. I’m still on my business trip in Colorado … and, unlike what usually happens, my altitude sickness has not yet fully resolved four days in. I’m usually fine after 24 hours. I return home tomorrow, by which time I’m sure I’ll be fully acclimated, LOL.

The session for which I was on faculty was incredibly well-received, which felt good. I’ve taken a couple of meetings. I’ve attended some sessions that were informative and useful. I even knocked out a couple of paragraphs on “Rose in Bloom.”


If you’ve known me for any length of time, you know that my musical taste is best described as eclectic. When it comes to female vocalists, I’ve always loved women with big voices and bigger personalities. As such, I’ve loved Ronnie Spector for a long time. She lost her battle with an aggressive cancer earlier this week. Rest in power, dear lady.

Music Monday: “I Guess He’d Rather Be in Colorado”

Hi, everyone. This week’s song relates to the day job business trip I’m leaving on tomorrow. I promise to be careful; I’m fully vaxxed and boosted, and I have N95 masks. I’m on faculty for a conference (which is why I haven’t canceled), and both the event holders and the venue have vaccine and mask requirements in place. I promise I’ll be exercising all other precautions possible and testing when I get home, just in case.

Sample Saturday: “Pompeii Fire”

Hi, everyone. This week’s sample is from one of my two works in progress. As always, this is an early draft and there may be changes. Enjoy!

Pompeii Fire v 2One man in particular noticed the intimacy between Suetonius and Drusilla. Stephanus, the fuller, glowered at the pair, refusing to admit to himself that he was envious. He could only watch them from a distance; his couch was in an unfavorable position far from the tables and he had to wait for slaves to bring the trays around after the other guests were sated with each course.

Drusus’ daughter had, as he’d observed many times, grown into a beauty, and Stephanus found his lusts stirring as he watched her share a plate with the magister ludi. Despite the fashion for small-busted women, Drusilla’s corded dress showed off her curves and tiny waist. Stephanus wished he’d worn a circlet of some kind; he pushed at his lank brown hair in an effort to cover the bare spot on the back of his head. Even his freedman’s cap would have helped, but he didn’t like to call attention to the fact that he’d been a slave.

Well, if he was no longer young, he was at least wealthy. And he didn’t make any pretenses with his attire, either. His tunic was of the finest wool money could buy, dark blue with green ribbon binding at the neck and hem: understated and costly. He had never been a handsome man, but a smart father would overlook that when making a match. And not for his son, Vorenus, either; the nerve that boy had, taking the robes of Isis. No, she would be his. Stephanus would not hesitate to draw on his friendship with Drusus Gaius in order to press his suit, and perhaps would lean on forgiving him the loan made so many years ago before Drusus went to Herculaneum in exchange for the girl.

Weekend Reads: “The Mystery of Mrs. Christie”

The Mystery of Mrs. ChristieThe Mystery of Mrs. Christie by Marie Benedict
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The premise of this novel is rooted in historical fact: in 1926, the newly-famous Agatha Christie disappeared for 11 days. Her car was found near a pond with some belongings in it, and neither her husband nor her daughter has any idea where she might be. Eleven days after going missing, Christie reappears, claiming amnesia, and never gives an explanation.

Author Marie Benedict creates a “whydunnit” tale around these mysterious eleven days, creating a plausible tale of marital discord, a husband jealous of his wife’s newfound success after publishing The Mysterious Affair at Styles and The Murder of Roger Ackroyd while struggling to manage what we would now call PTSD alongside his own middling business efforts, and struggles with social mores of the period and place.

Of course, we as readers know that Christie is going to turn up; she writes a good many more books, after all. But the other thing we see in the book is Benedict’s clever construction of a psychological thriller and period police procedural. I didn’t want to put it down.

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