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Wednesday, March 13, 2019

‘Beware the ides of March’ - and a treacherous excerpt from THE COMANCHERO’S BRIDE by Kaye Spencer #blogabookscene #westernromance #PrairieRosePubs

Two days from now... Beware the ides of March.

This phrase conjures images of danger, destruction, and death. It is a dire warning that bad things are coming your way.

Where did this dark association with the 15th of March originate?

As with many phrases we use today, we can trace their origins to William Shakespeare. While historically, we know Julius Caesar was assassinated on March 15, 44 BCE, it was Shakespeare who immortalized that phrase in his play Julius Caesar in Act 1, Scene 2.

But, poor, poor maligned March 15th. There isn’t anything inherently worrisome, sinister, or foreboding about this date. In fact, every “month has an “ides". It’s simply the 15th of the month.

Referencing a 2017 USA Today article [HERE]—

…the word ‘ides’ is a derivative of the Latin verb iduare/idus, which means “to divide”. The ides denoted the Roman method of signifying the day in the middle of the month. More specifically, the ides related directed to the way lunar phases were calculated at the time. The full moon in any given month typically fell between the 13th and the 15th. Before Caesar was in charge of... [well, just about everything...] and he changed the calendar, the ides of March was the date of the new year and a time for celebration.

La clémence de César, Abel de Pujol, 1808
Abel de Pujol creator QS:P170,Q704494, La clémence de César,
marked as public domain, more details on
Wikimedia Commons

Since the #blogabookscene theme for March is treachery here is an ‘ambition gone wrong’ excerpt from my western historical novel THE COMANCHERO’S BRIDE.


Grayson walked idly around the room as he talked, picking up framed family tintypes and daguerreotypes from the top of a sideboard then replacing them carelessly and moving on to other items with the same disregard. “The irresponsibility you’ve shown in not returning home when you were summoned is disturbing. Considering you gave Edward no choice but to send you here, and then you defied him when he ordered you home...” He paused, glancing at her with a scowl of displeasure.

His disapproving glower had no more impact of putting her in her proper place now than it had any other time he’d threatened her with it. She remained silent in her experience that to comment was wasted effort.

“Needless to say, your behavior is unconscionable, and you should be ashamed at the trouble you’ve put us through.” Grayson ended his stroll directly in front of her.

When he reached to embrace her, she recoiled as if his touch would burn her skin. “How did this become my fault? I wrote and explained quite clearly that I wasn’t returning. It was your choice to come here, not mine. I gave ample warning.”

“Elizabeth, I’ve just checked into what I will loosely refer to as a hotel. There are no carriages or horses available for hire, so I had to walk here. I’m tired, and I have no intention of bandying any more words with you. Pour me a drink. We need to discuss how soon we can leave.”

“No, I won’t pour you a drink, and you’re not welcomed here. I want you to go.” Nothing had changed. He was every bit as boorish and domineering as she remembered.

“Damn it!” he bellowed. “This is nonsense. We’re spending the winter in Denver with your parents. I’ve already arranged several important dinner parties, and we’re on guest lists at the Tabor, Byers, and Evans’ homes during the Christmas season.” His face reddened, and a purple vein throbbed on his temple.

“How awfully nice for you,” she goaded, hoping to fuel his ire. “I’m sure my parents will be delighted to spend the holidays with you.”

In one long, powerful stride, he towered over her, shaking a thick finger in her face. “I have to be accepted into Denver political circles in order to gain some critical support in Ohio. I also have a hunting expedition with Baron Van Doren coming up, and I expect you to do your part with entertaining the right people during our stay. You already have an appointment to attend some silly women’s group holiday tea at the Cooper mansion. You know these activities are vital for my political future. I won’t have it any other way.”

She batted his hand down. “Your political career is only important to you and my parents.” She clenched her fists at her sides, aggravated that she’d allowed herself to be drawn into conversation instead of walking away. It was fully dark and well past time to meet Mingo. “I have a prior commitment.”

Waving her off, he said, “What you have is a duty to your family and to me as my wife, you missed—”

“I am not, nor will I ever be, your wife.”

He pushed right over her interruption. “You missed a gubernatorial inaugural dinner party in Columbus last winter and several other important events since then. I’m tired of making excuses for your absence. I won’t do it any longer.” He leaned forward. “So, congratulations. You’ve made your point. Now, it’s time to come with me and get on with the business of being my wife.”

Fuming, she held her ground. “I’m not going to marry you, and I’m certainly not your political or social plaything. Don’t forget that it was you who convinced my father to banish me here. You sent me away from everything I knew—from all the things I thought I needed to be happy. Then I found out that not only do I not need them, I no longer want them. Listen to what I’m saying, Grayson. You’ve made the trip here for nothing. I’m staying in Laredo.”

“This is ludicrous!” His booming voice bounced off the walls. “Our wedding date is set and invitations have been sent.”

He loomed over her like large tree branches bending toward the ground in the raging onslaught of a violent wind. He was a formidable man when he wasn’t angry, and she’d often seen him use his physical size to intimidate people. Although she’d never once backed down from him, she now fought the urge to turn from his wrath.

She drew herself up with every ounce of her courage. “Then un-announce it. I’m not marrying you. Not now. Not ever…”


also available in the boxed set

Until next time,

Kaye Spencer

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  1. Fantastic excerpt, and a zinger of a last line. I really didn't know the Ides of March was a specific date. How silly of me. Thanks for this really interesting and informative post.

    1. For a good share of my life, I thought the ides were a March 'thing' and only related to Caesar. lol

  2. I really loved this book! Great excerpt.

  3. Excellent, and of course the excerpt was amazing. Happy ides of March to you. (Smile) Doris

    1. Since I'm finally able to post comments, I'll say Happy Ides to you, as well. *wink*

  4. Loved your excerpt. I like this heroine, Elizabeth, and the line, "Then un-announce it," in regard to Grayson's pushy efforts to make her go along with the wedding plans set into motion. LOL

    1. Grayson is an amalgamation of three rather 'difficult' (ahem... understatement) male supervisors I endured over a few year span. He (they) is truly a despicable person.

  5. When I was growing up, (yes in the Dark Ages!) I remember asking what the Ides of March meant and both my parents said, "The middle of March." Dad went on to explain about Julius Caesar, but I think both of them thought that "ides" meant more than one day. This shed new light on that for me.

    Great post as always, Kaye! And have I said lately how much I loved The Comanchero's Bride? Elizabeth and Mingo...sigh...

    1. My maternal grandpa used the phrase, so that was my first exposure. Then in high school, I read Julius Caesar and discovered where the phrase originated. It was some time in my young adulthood that I learned about every month having an ides.