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Old Faithful Plot Appears In Publishers Weekly:

Old Faithful Plot, a novel in the Edward Ware Thrillers at War Series, appears in this week’s Publishers Weekly magazine at the very beginning just behind the cover page along with a group of other books published by members of the IBPA, the Independent Book Publishers Association. Cheops Books LLC is a member of the IBPA. The alternative history thriller is to be published on June 16.

While they are hiding out from Dora’s husband at the Old Faithful Lodge in 1933, Dora and Edward are also hiding Lawrence maps that Churchill has given them and which Hitler would do anything to get his hands on. Enter Helga and Herr von Wessel, Hitler’s top spies. They warn Colonel Sir Edward Ware and Dora that either they hand over the top secret maps, key to world domination, or they will blow up Yellowstone National Park. They will turn the famous geyser basin into volcanic rubble – and the rest of America, too, which would be buried in volcanic ash just like Pompeii. And if that doesn’t work they have an even darker plot up their sleeves, one that would change history itself.

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Nightmare Over Bats, Bees, And Stairs:

We are not turning life into a nightmare over bats and bees. You are by not taking simple precautions. It is ordinary and typical here to put up screens. It is NOT normal NOT to have screens. Europe is behind the times putting up with pests that have been banished here. Obviously you don’t want bats, bees, hornets, or flies in your house if you can easily prevent it. Besides, you are starting to get mosquitoes back in Britain again. Did you know that? You drained the fens in Elizabethan times, but they are starting to come back. This is especially true in the south of England. You don’t want to get bitten by mosquitoes, do you? Screens also by the way help to keep thieves out, human thieves.

And some of those European stairs, by the way, are dangerous. Rick Steves, the travel guide and travel writers, takes tours to Europe every year. He warns the American tourists to watch out for the stairs which are not at all typical of stairs in the US. Last year a lady on one of his tours was injured by falling down the stairs in Europe.

I should send you photos of stairs in the US. You would immediately perceive the difference. Of course Tucson is such that most houses are ranches on a single level and so are most shopping centers. You rarely use stairs at all here. Besides, a second story would be bad for air-conditioning because warm air rises and cold air falls.

But traveling to Europe was a study in stairs starting with the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal. We walked up three flights of 12 stairs each or 36 stairs to access the ship’s boarding ramp. Most people were waiting in line for the escalator so we took the short cut and had the stairs to ourselves. We boarded the ship on deck 3. Our cabin was on deck 4. We had to go to deck 7 almost right away for lunch. Then later in the afternoon we had to return to deck 7 for lifeboat drill. Dinner was back on deck 3, and so it went for the rest of the voyage to Europe.

But as soon as we got to Germany the “stair trial” began at once. The first hotel we looked at we rejected solely on the basis of the stairs. They looked horrendous. We instead checked into the Best Western in Oldenburg which had stairs that were OK. In fact, we were to return to this hotel again on the return trip to the cruise terminal in Hamburg. The best turned out to be the Hotel du Lac in Genval which had rooms believe it or not on the ground level. That was certainly much safer.

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Gaius Antonius’s Ship Heads to New Carthage:

After all the good-byes and farewells at the dock, Gaius stood on the deck next to the crew as the ship headed out into the Mediterranean. He waved good-bye and wondered if he would return successfully after locating those maps. Or would he be killed in the line of duty and never return again.

About three days later his ship came ashore in a well-protected harbor with waves crashing on shore from the aquamarine sea. The city wall rose in front of him put there by the Carthaginians to protect their settlement. Behind it in the distance rose black hills made mostly of rock with very few green plants growing on them. They looked imposing and rather threatening.

He entered the city through an arched gateway. He took an apartment just as Cato had suggested and watched people come and go all day in the square outside the window.

He spent several days doing this, trying to detect any unusual movement. He also wanted to pick up the visages of any peculiar people coming and going from the city. if someone looked suspicious or in a hurry he might decide to follow them. Otherwise he did not know how to begin his search for those maps which by now must be somewhere inside those looming walls.

He could hardly get caught asking people about them. They might grow suspicious. Word might get to the Carthaginians. They might have somebody in the city looking for a sign of a Roman spy.

He watched the men who manned the walls arrive to go to work and leave every day. A stairway led up into the thick walls made of brick that had defended the city fifty years ago during an assault in the Second Punic War. The watchman closed the door behind him. Gaius could imagine the thing slamming behind him and echoing with a boom.

He ate watching the walls. Sometimes he slept doing the same thing. Certainly they were not going to open their mouths and speak. Besides he did not know the language of walls.

Suddenly one afternoon only a few days after he arrived, he caught sight of a figure about one hundred feet away down in the square approaching the walls from inside the city. It was not at the time when the watchmen arrived or the watchmen departed for the day. Besides, the figure did not look like the right height. The person seemed rather slight for the task. And even more suspiciously, whoever it was wore a dark robe that covered him from head to foot and left absolutely nothing exposed to the daylight. The unknown person was clutching the dark robe right beneath the chin to exaggerate the same effect and probably to ensure that the robe did not slip off his head and reveal his identity to the world.

He stood up and went to the window. He peered out without revealing himself in case anyone was watching.

The figure he was watching darted toward the walls and stopped. The figure looked both ways and darted every closing, stopping every few steps. At one point the figure stopped, turned around, and glanced behind him to see if anybody was following or as if he heard footsteps. Once he satisfied himself that nobody was in pursuit, he continued on his way once more.

A wind was blowing inland from the harbor. The figure was so absorbed worrying if somebody was following him that he forgot temporarily to clutch his hood. The wind caught him by surprise and blew it back ever so quickly revealing his head to the elements before he quickly clutched it and drew it quickly over his head once again.

Why, he knew that face anywhere! The silver dark hair blew in the breeze if for ever so brief an instant. Those pearl like eyes had shown with fright. Those molded cheeks had been revealed along with the narrow, sylph-like lips. Why, that had been Tanit! She could be here for only one reason. He had to follow her.

Quickly he threw on his own robe to conceal his visage and hurled himself down the stairs from his apartment and out onto the street. He fixed his eyes on the figure who had been out of his sight for only a few seconds and headed towards her inch by slow inch very carefully. It would ruin everything if she recognized him.

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Tanit Haunts Gaius All The Way Back To Rome:

Tanit haunted Gaius on the return trip to Rome. She was never more than a few feet away. She was always at his elbow. She was frequently playing an instrument that resembled a lyre, holding it to her cheek and singing in the Carthaginian language which seemed mysterious to him and which he could not understand. But her lilting melodies haunted him throughout the day and even the night.
Cato was deaf and dumb to such things and went about his business on the deck commanding the ship’s officers and the captain all the way back to Italy.

In the meantime Gaius was afraid that they had taken aboard some pagan goddess, the one named Tanit herself, the Moon Goddess. He was wondering what the Carthaginians had sent to Rome. Could it be more powerful than Hannibal and all his elephants?

When Tanit put away her lyre she was even more remarkable and enchanting. She conversed in both Greek and Latin fluently at the captain’s dinner table aboard the ship. Though a girl, apparently great care had been lavished on her education. She was well-grounded in all the classics and could carry on a Platonic dialogue with great skill.

“In Rome,” Cato growled, “we would never educate a young lady like that.” He stuffed his face with a stew made from octapus and squid. “Who are you anyway?”

Gaius Antonius had been dying to find that out. But he had not had the courage to ask himself.
She smiled radiantly. “I am the only daughter of Hamilcar II, the ruler of Carthage. In fact, I am his only child. He lavished on me all the attention he would have loved to lavish on his heir.” She spoke with astonishing frankness.

“Why were you of all people sent as a hostage to Rome?” Cato shot another question at her. “You would think that someone else would have gone in your place.”

She laughed. Her laugh was like pearls bubbling out of her mouth and popping. “I volunteered,” she explained.

Cato traded looks with Gaius. “And why would you volunteer for such a mission?”

Tanit shrugged in a casual fashion. “Simply because I always wanted to travel to Rome. I didn’t see it happening in any other way. Soon I would be married off. Then I certainly would not get to go.”
“Why would you want to visit Rome so much?” Gaius finally got over being flustered and managed to get the words out of his mouth. He was playing with his food and had a hard time concentrating on eating it.

“Better art, better books,” she said. “For instance, I have heard that you are writing a book on Roman agriculture,” she addressed Cato. “No one has ever done that before. Certainly not in Carthage.”

“The Greek poet Hesoid wrote Works and Days,” Cato informed her.

“Yes, but he was a poet, not a prose writer,” she objected. “You are supposed to be developing Latin prose as you go along.” She acted very well informed about what was happening beyond the borders of her homeland.

But Gaius assumed that Cato’s fame was spread far and wide in the region.
Gaius had never heard a woman discourse like her before, certainly not Lavinia who was quiet and minded her own business.

He was beginning to think that the ship returning to Rome was like a floating enchanted isle controlled by a Circe-like creature. But he wished it would never end.

“Do you think the Carthaginians sent her because she is a kind of ambassador for their city?” Gaius asked Cato on the day before they were to land in Ostia.

“Let’s hope so,” he said cynically. “Let’s hope it is not some trick we cannot yet guess at.”

Gaius was later to remember those all too fateful words. But for now the only alarm he felt was when they started to disembark. Tanit had taken his arm. Lavinia was standing there on the shore waiting for him, smiling at him, and not suspecting anything.

Reconstruction of Carthage by L. Aucler.

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Murder On Hollywood Beach On Five Day Promotion:

Starting today and extending through next Wednesday, you will be able to download a free copy of Murder On Hollywood Beach by Dora Benley on Amazon Kindle. This is another one of Dora’s spinetingling teenage romantic thrillers that you won’t want to put down until you find out the ending. But hurry! An offer this good won’t be repeated any time soon again.

A prowler is after Gina in her California seaside mansion where she has lived by herself since her mother’s death in a questionable airplane accident a few years before. She gets constant notes from the stalker: “Come to me, my bride, my love. We will be united in death”. She is afraid to emerge from her glitzy mansion, wondering if this creep was her mother’s killer, too.

She is surrounded by a houseful of servants, some of whom seem suspicious such as the gardener. He is always watching her. Certainly there is no one she can trust. Enter Bruno, her ex-boyfriend, the sex maniac who is still trying to persuade the recluse Gina to leave her mansion on the rocks by the crashing sea and go swimming or have a party or drive along the coast, or something else equally dangerous.

But what is Gina to do? Whom else can she trust besides Bruno? She had better get it figured out quickly, or else Gina, the daughter of the dead and beautiful Hollywood starlet, will soon become very dead herself.

If you enjoy Murder at Hollywood Beach you will enjoy other young adult thrillers by Dora Benley that have a romantic edge such as Silver Wolf Moon, Mary’s Gone, Latin Lessons, Rose Red, Murder on Spirit Island, Murder in Jasper, and Ophelia Plot.

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Horus The Abyssinian In Julia: A Romance:

Of all the things to look forward to reading about in Julia: A Romance not the least is the episode about the Abyssinian cat named Horus. Marcus Sisenna’s daughters own a pet cat named Horus. Naturally he came from Egypt as did all the domestic cats of the day in ancient Rome. The cats were raised in Egyptian temples, and this was an offspring of one of those cats. Imports from Egypt in those days were considered “cool”.

I won’t say what happens but the girls have to find the cat after someone steals it. It is all part of the plot of the story. It is interesting that even nowadays we can find paintings of Roman cats of the day in Pompeiian wall paintings. We have attached one of these paintings to this blog post for your perusal.

Julia has every reason to wish that she had not been born the daughter of a Roman senator during the Roman Civil Wars of Marius and Sulla. Her father, Rufus, is trying to escape the proscriptions lists and save his life by betrothing his only daughter in marriage to Marcus Sisenna. Marcus Sisenna is the right hand man of Marcus Sulla, one of the leading men of Rome of the day. Rufus needs his armies and the protection both Sulla and Sisenna can provide. But Julia does not want to marry a man who has already had five wives and who is just marrying her for her father’s money and estates. She does not want to be added to his collection of trophies. Julia wants personal happiness despite the time period into which she has been born. Her father thinks only of keeping his wealth and estates together. Her divorced mother is interested only in her own lovers. To whom shall Julia turn for assistance? The answer may surprise you. For it is obviously just the opposite of what the desperate Julia might expect.

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Helen of Troy On Big Christmas Promotion:

Starting tomorrow Helen of Troy will be on special promotion.

First-novelist Dora Benley recounts the fall of Troy from Helen’s point of view—in this spirited page-turner that placed in the National Writers Book Contest.

Though brought up to inherit the role of her mother, Queen Leda, as keeper of the ancient mother-goddess cult increasingly suppressed by the reigning kings, beautiful Helen of Sparta initially fails to hear the Goddess of Heaven’s voice within her. And no wonder—the hormone-bedeviled teenager lusts after handsome Meneleus, whose family has offended the Goddess by looting her temples for bronze. Upon Leda’s death, the Goddess offers Helen the choice of marrying Meneleus at the cost of a life of misery and the destruction of Sparta, or sacrificing him in favor of older, craggy-faced Odysseus—the “wisest among the Achaeans”—with whom Helen would enjoy a long, happy reign as Sparta’s queen. Naturally, Helen chooses Meneleus, and thus follows betrayals, misunderstandings, and intrigues that lead to the destruction of Sparta and Troy. Kidnapped by Paris, forced to marry him and bear sons by his cleverer brother, Deiphobus, Helen concentrates on protecting the hordes who worship her—whether as the Goddess on Earth in Sparta or as Inanna in Troy.

Her efforts to play out the Goddess’s maternal role are at cross purposes with the male rulers’ ambitions, however—and constant misunderstandings result. Herding her subjects out of besieged Sparta, she is accused of abandoning her post. Refusing to abandon her Trojan sons when Meneleus arrives to rescue her, she commits treason. Then, attempting to free the Trojan people from their despotic rulers by allowing the Trojan horse within the city walls, she betrays her Trojan husband.

Kirkus Reviews says of the Helen of Troy novel: “Dora Benley’s portrayal of Helen as supporter of the people and clever, if misunderstood, female in a world of men—as opposed to the more familiar fickle housewife—keeps this classic, action-packed tale bubbling to the last huzzah. An auspicious beginning —and a delightful read.”

If you liked Helen of Troy you will enjoy other novels by Dora Benley including Julius Caesar: A Novel, Medea the Witch, Cleopatra’s Stone, Caesar and Cleopatra: A Novel, and Minotaur.

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Catalonia, The Roman Empire, and a Novel:

I am glad to hear that the effort is doomed to fail. I am glad that the US, EU, UK, France, and Germany all agree that they will not recognize a separate Catalonia. As you know, I have no sympathy for break away provinces, regions of countries, etc.

History shows that is not the way to go. Big and united means prosperous. Think of the Roman Empire. Small and divided means poor. Think of the Dark Ages and the Middle Ages. One of the primary reasons Germany is the head of Europe is that there are no separtist movements afoot. Germany even held together during two world wars which it lost.

Spain’s constitution does say that you are not allowed to secede from Spain. So the Prime Minister of Spain is only upholding the constitutional law when he dissolves the government of Catalonia and calls for new elections. He is not acting like a dictator. He is acting in the tradition of Abraham Lincoln.

The hero of my historical thriller, Caesar’s Lost Legions, Caelius Antonius, has embarked on a mission to map the rest of Greater Germania on an expedition to the Elbe River near modern day Hamburg, Germany. The Romans under the Emperor Augustus want to make this region part of the province of Germania and add it to the greater Roman Empire.

But traitors such as Arminius have other ideas. Arminius has learned Roman ways while being tutored in Rome. He turns them against the Romans and massacres three legions in the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest. It turns out to be one of the most decisive battles in all of history.

The Romans get their revenge five years later under Germanicus. But the Roman Empire is forever stopped from adding the territory around the River Elbe to Germania, centered around the Rhine River and Trier. Just think of how different history could have been if Arminius had not existed! The Roman Empire could have been bigger and better. And the “German question” might have been forever solved.

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