I write things! But not a lot of blog posts, so you might not see activity here for months on end while I’m working on the story-writing instead. You might start seeing more blog posts this summer though, during Camp NaNoWriMo.

I’ve recently self-published a Rome-based erotic romance serial called The Knife of Narcissus. Two other stories in the same setting, but with different characters and at different places on the timeline, are in the works.

A few short stories have been published under other names, and I’m working on a choose-your-own-darned-path adventure set in ancient Rome, because I just can’t get enough of those Romans.

Mustering the troops for tonight's cookery. No honey? Easy solution: use the honey wine.

Mustering the troops for tonight’s cookery. No honey? Easy solution: use the honey wine.

The ingredients:

I used 2 15-ounce (425g) cans of  apricots in light syrup, drained and rinsed off, because I couldn’t find fresh apricots, because, to be honest, I didn’t look very hard. But to find the canned apricots, I had to excavate through to the back of a bottom shelf behind a cart and many cans of peaches, so I feel like I worked hard to harvest these.

Apricot Stew herbs

1 tsp white pepper
3 tsp cumin
4 tsp mint
2 tsp aniseed

Combine and crush the seasonings in mortar and pestle

honey wine (should have been honey and wine, but I was out of honey)—an indeterminate amount, as I spilled it while measuring out 1/3 cup
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
olive oil: 1 dollop
garum: less than a dollop—add more to taste, if that’s your sort of taste
3 medium-size shallots, diced


cubed ham
I added 1/4 pound cubed ham. I’m not sure how I feel about it.

Thicken with a small amount of spelt flour. Stew until the apricots are tender, and/or until all the flavours have had a chance to blend. Serve hot. Serves 2 to 3 people.

Diced almonds with golden raisins; mixed olives—kalamata, stuffed with garlic, stuffed with feta—plus peppers and cheese,

Sides: diced almonds with golden raisins; mixed olives—kalamata, stuffed with garlic, stuffed with feta—plus peppers and cheese.

Cabbage and mixed-greens salad with Oxyporium dressing; and of course some bread and cheese.

Cabbage and mixed-greens salad with Oxyporium dressing; and of course some bread and cheese.

The main course, awaiting my test subjects...I mean, dinner guests.

The main course, awaiting my test subjects…I mean, dinner guests.

I think the ham made the stew too salty, without contributing much to the taste. Maybe this stew is better as a side to a meat dish!

On the menu: an early evening Roman-style nosh of apricot stew with a salad with raisin-and-date dressing. Easy on the stomach and recommended for what ails you. I’ll pick up some festive Greek pastries for that Saturnalia sparkle, but later in the week I’ll make ancient-style desserts from scratch.

When I tweeted the recipes, I condensed them to:

Oxyporium: cleansing digestive aid. Take a spoonful of the following concoction after a meal or mix w/vinegar & garum for salad dressing…

2TB cumin; 1TB each of ginger, rosemary, white pepper; finely minced date; pound in mortar; mix w/5oz honey, then w/5tsp white wine vinegar.

Minutal ex praecoquis (Apricot stew): original calls for cubed ham. I make it as vegetarian side dish. It’s sweet & goes well w/savoury meat

Apricot Stew: oil, garum, shallot, pepper, cumin, mint, aniseed, honey, wine, vinegar, apricots; stew til tender. Thicken w/flour. Serve hot

My Greek white-wine vinegar has acquired a strange waxy sediment, so I’ll switch that bottle over to the “household cleaning supplies” cabinet and trundle off to the market for more vinegar, apricots, and—because the original recipe does call for it—some manner of meat to cube.

Saturnalia food

I’ve had something flu-like for the past week, so I haven’t had much appetite for either eating or cooking. I’m going to take a look at the ancient cookbook and see what it advises for knocking out a cold and revving up the appetite when Saturnalia season is starting and constant feasting is required. I’ll post some recipes tonight :)

If you’re on Goodreads and a member of the M/M Romance group, you can sign up to read and review the complete edition of The Knife of Narcissus (if it says “parts 1 & 2,” don’t worry, that’s just a temporary typo). Up to fifteen readers can get a copy. If you aren’t a member of M/M Romance, come over and join us—there are lots of interesting discussions and giveaways.

And I’ll be starting Saturnalia fun and recipes here on the blog on Tuesday!


It’s the release day for the Knife of Narcissus omnibus!

Come for a visit every day next week for some free stories, more chapters from upcoming books, more ancient recipes, and general Saturnalia hijinks. There may very well be gladiators—it could happen! I won’t rule out gladiators.

After such a long time living every moment with the serial, I have all sorts of feels about putting it out there now as an all-in-one version. A fellow author asked me a few questions about the process (and I’ll be talking about her books next week too—great ones for Romanophiles, and contemporary stories also). Now that I’ve had time to reflect soberly, drunkenly, and under the influence of very sweet and highly caffeinated beverages, I have a few thoughts to share about it all here, too.

But mostly, December is a great excuse to experiment with a lot more Roman recipes and to share the results!

One week to the omnibus

It’s been a while since I’ve updated–November was a crazy month! Now December has rolled in and we’re at the one week—well, 6-day—countdown to the release of the all-in-one version of The Knife of Narcissus. I hope the collected edition will entice a few new readers to try the story!


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