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Saturday, February 8, 2020

Happy Pre-Spring

The Origin of Valentine’s Day


For those of you who indulge, I wish a Happy Valentine’s Day.


Valentine’s Day, also called St. Valentine’s Day, holiday (February 14) when lovers express their affection with greetings and gifts. The holiday has origins in the Roman festival of Lupercalia, held in mid-February. The festival, which celebrated the coming of spring, included fertility rites and the pairing off of  replaced Lupercalia with St. Valentine’s Day. It came to be celebrated as a day of romance from about the 14th century.

Although there were several Christian martyrs named Valentine, the day may have taken its name from a priest who was martyred about 270 CE by the emperor Claudius II Gothicus. According to legend, the priest signed a letter “from your Valentine” to his jailer’s daughter, whom he had befriended and, by some accounts, healed from blindness. Other accounts hold that it was St. Valentine of Terni, a bishop, for whom the holiday was named, though it is possible the two saints were actually one person. Another common legend states that St. Valentine defied the emperor’s orders and secretly married couples to spare the husbands from war. It is for this reason that his feast day is associated with love.


Book Signings Update Barnes & Noble Spokane Valley Aunties Bookstore Spokane WA

                                                 Barnes & Noble Spokane Valley                      Auntie's Bookstore


So far, I have lined up eight events this Spring and should be adding more as time goes on. I decided to forego any signings in January and February as events during these months don’t generate the sales as do those during Spring. Seven signings will be held at Barnes & Noble Booksellers and an eighth one at Auntie’s Bookstore, Spokane, Washington. Auntie’s is the largest independent book store, along the northern tier of the USA between Seattle, Washington and Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota. They have a new events coordinator, which unlike the previous person, will allow me to stay longer than the traditional two hours, which I need to sell books.


The Emperor’s Hand (a work in progress) Roman London Overview

                                                                                            Roman London


I am slowly plodding along, in writing the sixth novel in the Britannia Romanus series, a story set in Roman Britain, 71 A.D. The main character is Macha, a British woman and daughter of the legendary King, Caratacus, now married to a Roman officer in the Praetorian Guard. She was the protagonist for my first historical, The Sign of the Eagle. I am conducting extensive research into all aspects of this novel, especially, the geography, flora and fauna of the period. Helping me in the research are several excellent publications, including three books from the Automobile Club of England. They are: Illustrated Guide to Britain; Illustrated Guide to Britain’s Coast; and Discovering Britain – Where to See the Best of Our Country. Other publications include: An Atlas of Roman Britain by Jones and Mattingly, and Ordinance Survey Historical Map and Guide to Roman Britain. The last has been especially invaluable in establishing distance and time for my story and all the know Latin names of towns and villages of the period. I still have a long way to go, but I will complete the writing of this novel.


Book RecommendationMaster and God by Lindsey Davis Master and God by Lindsey Davis


I have read this outstanding novel, set in ancient Rome, and cannot do a better job than described below, in the review of this novel, by Lindsey Davis. If you want to learn about Rome, in the later First Century A.D., especially, during the reign of Domitian, I highly recommend this book.

“Set in the reign of the Emperor Domitian in first-century Rome, Master and God is Lindsey Davis's meticulously researched epic novel of the life and times surrounding the last of the Flavian dynasty of emperors. Gaius Vinius is a reluctant Praetorian Guard—the Emperor's personal guard—and a man with a disastrous marriage history. Flavia Lucilla is also in the imperial court and she is responsible not only for having created the ridiculous hairstyle worn by the imperial ladies but for also making toupees for the balding and increasingly paranoid emperor. The two of them are brought together in an unlikely manner—a devastating fire in Rome—which then leads to a lifelong friendship. Together they watch Domitian's once talented rule unravel into madness and cruelty, until the people closest to him conspire to delete him from history. As an imperial bodyguard, Vinius then faces a tough decision. Master and God is a compelling novel of the Roman Empire—from the height of power to the depths of madness—told from the perspective of two courtiers and unlikely friends who together are the witnesses to history.”


Passing of a Great Movie Actor Kirk Dougl as I am Spartacus

                                                            Kirk Douglas as Spartacus


The iconic movie actor, Kirk Douglas, died February 5, 2020, at the age of 103. Starring in more than 75 movies, the one that will always be my favorite is the movie, Spartacus. This memorable movie, starring many great actors, is one of my all-time favorites, about the slave, Spartacus, and the great slave rebellion of 71-70 B.C. Although not entirely accurate, but as movies go, it was an intelligent, well-made motion picture. Even by today’s standards, it is a great movie and classic, worth seeing again. Below is a link to the famous scene, when after being defeated, Crassus tells the survivors they will be spared if they identify Spartacus. Instead they rise up and exclaim, I am Spartacus!


YouTube-Movie Clip: I am Spartacus!

Until next time, Salve Atque Vale! Hail and Farewell!






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