Hadrian's Wall

Hadrian's Wall
Hadrian's Wall at sunset

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Vestal Virgins

I've been inspired by an idea for a new story, so I spent some time in research yesterday. I've always been interested in ancient Rome so the research is fascinating.

The vestals were virgins consecrated to Vesta,the Roman goddess of fire and the hearth, and they remained virgins for the thirty years of their services. They shared the charge of maintaining the sacred fire burning on Vesta's altar. The flame could not be allowed to go out or it wouldn't bode well for Rome.

Chosen from aristocratic families, at age six to ten, they spent ten years studying the rites, ten years serving in the temple, and ten years teaching the novices.

They enjoyed privileges far above the normal Roman wife and matron, and their luxurious way of live was paid for by the state. 

What if they broke their vow of chastity? The welfare of Rome was said to be based on their purity, and the punishment for transgressing their vow was extreme. They were placed in a small subterranean cell, with a bed, a lamp, and some bread and water. The underground vault was sealed, and earth piled above it. Buried alive.

It's been interesting to think about a vestal virgin hearing the Gospel and converting to Christianity. What a story that would be!

Friday, January 26, 2018

A Dog Who Rides a Mechanical Bull?

A dog who can ride a mechanical bull? Yes sir! This is Max. Isn't he adorable? You'll be surprised by his talents in my contemporary romance, On the Trail of Love.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

A Cowboy Named Henry

A mechanical bull, a vintage '59 Apache pickup, and a handsome cowboy.

What else could a girl ask for?

Find out in my contemporary romance On the Trail of Love!

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

A Mechanical Bull Named Bill

Have you ever ridden a mechanical bull? How about inheriting one? That what happened to Sadie O'Toole.

You should see the characters who belly up to Bill to take their chances!

Stay tuned!

Monday, January 22, 2018

Something New!

For the last year, I've been working on something totally different for me.

A contemporary romance.

I've moved 1500 years past my last book, set in Roman Britain, 421 AD.

Sadie O'Toole inherits her grandfather's grit and tenacity, a 1959 Chevrolet Apache pickup and Bill...the mechanical bull.

Stay tuned!

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Cover Reveal for The Fury of Dragons

The new cover for my 2nd ancient historical, The Fury of Dragons, being published soon. Designed by the amazing Diane Turpin.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

I Found My Book Cover Photo! Wayne Brittle Photography

I've decided to go ahead and self-publish my 2nd ancient historical novel, the Fury of Dragons!

It continues the story of Eleri from A Secret Hope, who was abducted by British pirates on the day of her baptism and taken from Ireland to Britannia.

Some of the story takes place in Luguvalium, now modern-day Carlisle in Cumbria, England. Luguvalium was a British fort on Hadrian's' Wall.

The wall was built by Emperor Hadrian (naturally) about 122 AD, across the "waist" of what is now Scotland and England, to mark the northernmost border of the Roman Empire.

Almost 2000 years later, much of the wall still stands. I visited it a few years ago doing research for the book, and for an ancient history buff like me, it was a fascinating trip.

So I searched through hundreds of photos of the wall for my book cover. I was ready to give up until I stumbled across this amazing photo above, named Hadrian's Wall at sunset. I corresponded with the photographer, Wayne Brittle, who has kindly agreed to allow me to use the photo for a small fee.

Wayne roams all over England, Scotland, Italy and other places doing his thing, with almost other-worldly results. His photos have been featured in magazines, calendars, brochures, and books. He has had articles published in the most highly respected photography magazine in the UK. He teaches classes for aspiring photographers and sometimes even takes them out before the crack of dawn to get those great photos! So I'm humbled and thankful to be able to use this image from a world famous photographer like Wayne.

Please check out his Facebook page: Wayne Brittle Photography and his website: Wayne Brittle for some awe inspiring photos.

Wayne, I can't thank you enough for this awesome photo. It perfectly captures the mystery and drama of this ancient place. I love it so much I decided to put it at the top of my blog.

Monday, August 8, 2016

The Incubator Babies of Coney Island

All the World Loves a Baby!

That was one of the signs that hung above the Baby Incubator attraction at Coney Island. In my pandemic flu novel I have several scenes that take place at that fabled amusement park.

Coney Island specialized in the bizarre and unusual, with sideshows and attractions that today would be considered racist, barbaric, humiliating, and unacceptable to many people. But one of the most unusual and well-loved attractions, little known today, was the Incubator Babies.

In the early part of the 20th Century, babies born at home too early, what we now call preemies, almost always died. The medical specialty of Neonatology was nonexistent then. A French obstetrician, observing the "poultry warmers' used for baby chicks, theorized that the same thing could be done for preemies. But in America, there were no hospitals yet willing to undertake this venture.

Dr. Martin Couney

Until Martin Couney came along. Couney, a protege of another French doctor who perfected the use of the glass and steel boxes, asked Couney to accompany him to the Berlin's World Fair in 1896 to oversee a small group of incubator babies. It was overwhelmingly successful and from there, Couney traveled around the world with the babies to Expositions and World Fairs. At the end of the tour, he decided to settle at Coney Island.

The Baby Incubator acted as a small hospital. It was kept scrupulously clean. The nurses, always dressed in starched white uniforms and caps, came from accredited schools all over the country, and received specialized training to care for the infants. The parents of these preemies were never charged a penny. The admission fee to enter covered all the costs of care, equipment, and staff. The spectators were kept behind an iron guardrail, which you can see in the photo above.

For 40 years, his life's work, Dr. Couney ran the baby incubators. It's estimated, that out of approximately 8,000 preemies who were rushed to his facility, about 6,500 were saved. Some of the incubator babies returned to visit Dr. Couney with their own children.

By 1939, American medicine finally caught up, and preemies began to be treated in hospital settings. In 1943, Dr. Couney closed his little hospital at Coney Island. 

Dr. Couney singlehandedly changed the face of preemie care in America. In 1983, 40 years after he closed the show at Coney Island, I gave birth to twin boys at 33 weeks, and they, too, spent time in those "incubators." Thank you, Dr. Couney, for all your hard work!

Dr. Martin Couney

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Win A Copy of The Battlefield Bride!

My character, Kate Wilkes, in my Civil War novella, The Battlefield Bride, isn't quite as sedate as the nurse in the photo above. And she sure didn't sit much, either. She was definitely a fun character to research and write. Most of those Civil War nurses were no-nonsense ladies! I guarantee you will love Kate if you like feisty characters.

To win a copy of The Battlefield Bride, along with stories from eight other talented authors, subscribe to my blog and leave a comment. Share the blog post with another friend who loves to read for additional points.

Winner to be drawn next Thursday. Stay tuned!