It really started with Faustina, my heroine in Pompeii’ Plague — not yet published because Faustina has a lot to correct about her story. It is set in Pompeii right before… during…and after Vesuvius buries the town. Since her gambling brother is ruining their father’s estate, the original Faustina set out to save it. And you know the world of Rome was very chauvinistic, patriarchal, and male oriented at that time. Women were barely above slaves in rank and patrician women were citizens but little else. So, the male leaders of Pompeii do not like Faustina successfully running her father’s estates.

That sounds all well and good, maybe even interesting, but seriously, I got sick of her. Things and people just seemed to come out of nowhere to help her move  things along. She was just… so lucky. No true heroine is  just that lucky. She should be strong, make up her own mind, and see things through, stand on her own talents………

That is where Faustina opened my eyes about … me. Guess how I was about my life. Yep, you guessed it. Very lucky to have a wonderful, supportive husband, much like the hero Cornelius in Faustina’s story. Aside from choosing where to eat, my life was all about the same.  Faustina was me.

So, that is why Pompeii’s Plague not published. Faustina needs to be more like Netflix’s ‘Queen of the South’. One tough cookie but a good cookie. Sly, cunning. Confident, clever… all that stuff. So, guess who also had to change? Me.

I shall never be cunning and sly, clever and cute in real life. But I am getting better at it. But in my stories, well, watch out. Over these last few years, I decided to  try some of these attitudes on. So, I became more opinionated, decisive, and expressive…to my hubby’s shock. Yes, it did take a bit of getting used to that from both of us. For me, it did feel good. I felt myself growing stronger, more confident. And that led to believing in myself a bit more. ‘I can to this.’

There were other heroines who have helped me along the way. Boudica in Red Fury Revolt led 200,000 warriors against Rome.  Morrigan in Red Fury Chrysalis who goes from victim to victor. Aelia in Vows of Revenge was raised to be submissive but became stalwart for what she wanted. Carrie,  a widow in18 Wheeler, learns to trust and love again. Allyson, Love Backwards, risks it all for love and finds a new story for herself. And last but not least, Sierra, Mirrored Reflections, who struggles through her trauma to find her true self.  Oh it’s been fun living lives through my ladies.

Creating these ladies has taught me a lot. Becoming stronger got real after losing my hubby to cancer. I knew nothing about things like insurance, taxes, and finances because he took care of all that and me. Like Carrie and Sierra, I have learned to trust God more. I had to make decisions like Boudica, Allyson, and Aelia for what I wanted for my life. I had to face the trauma of losing my son to the same cancer as his dad, and like Sierra, I had to climb through that maze and continue to live, believe in myself, and, with God’s help, keep on going one day at a time. And write.

It wasn’t easy for me nor my heroines. It is never easy in real life nor in books. But shall I say, we have grown a lot together. It’s been hard, challenging, and very real.  Soon, I am going back to Pompeii, and Faustina and I are going to have some real fun dealing with those chauvinistic Romans. Look out. Here we come. Get ready for the Queen of Pompeii.



Character development

Fiction and nonfiction

JF Ridgley

Red Fury Revolt

Boudica Iceni Queen

Growing past trauma and difficulty

Becoming emotionally strong

Heroes & heroines


Historical fiction Ancient Rome

Contemporary Romance

Marriage and Family


War & Warfare

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