New year, new books!
My observations after reading novellas *as a whole class* during COVID-19 remote learning has convinced me that audiobooks make for the best experience in that format. Narration has its value, sure, but for whole-class reading, the books with sound effects, character voices, and music, really do up the game. I’ve got three novellas coming up this spring, all with accompanying audiobooks. There will be more details upon publication of each, but here are some brief descriptions…
Yep, it’s a backstory. There have been details dropped in various novellas, but we’ve known Piso’s family is from Hispānia all along. This book picks up on that with Agrippina, our strong mother, back in her childhood stomping grounds. I was looking to write a book with more action that could follow Rūfus et arma ātra, and this book does just that. Michael Sintros (Duinneall), who worked with me on the Quīntus et nox horrifica audiobook, once again has delivered engaging, ambient music with a new fantastic ancient instrument library. I had fun putting together the chariot-racing sound effects. This book will be the lowest in beginner Level A.
Young Agrippina wants to race chariots, but a small girl from Lusitania couldn’t possibly do that…could she?! After a victorious race in the stadium of Emerita, the local crowd favorite charioteer, Gaius Appuleius Dicloes, runs into trouble, and it’s up to Agrippina to step into much bigger shoes. Can she take on the reins in this equine escapade?
24 cognates + 33 other words
1800 total length
In 2017, I heard Jason Fritze say that “TPRS is basically the art of communicating using no words.” I’ve been drawing from that quote for years, writing stories using as “no words” as possible, and this book truly pushes all the limits. If you or your students have found any success with the ultra-low Rūfus lutulentus, this new Mārcus magulus will not disappoint. I still plan to highlight the former as one more independent reading option (e.g. Free Voluntary Reading). However, effective immediately, Mārcus will replace Rūfus as the very first whole-class novella. The goal was to write a new, even more approachable first novella in early beginner Level AA, and Mārcus does it. This new book is shorter, more engaging and intriguing (i.e. moves along quickly!), will have the audiobook I mentioned, and comes out even a bit easier—if you could believe that!
Marcus likes being a young Roman mage, but such a conspicuous combo presents problems in provincial Egypt after he and his parents relocate from Rome. Despite generously offering magical medicine to the locals, this young mage feels like an obvious outsider, sometimes wishing he were invisible. Have you ever felt that way? Marcus searches Egypt for a place to be openly accepted, and even has a run-in with the famously fiendish Sphinx! Can Marcus escape unscathed?
11 cognates + 8 other words!
800 total length
mȳthos malus: convīvium Terregis
Terrex appears in several books, mostly being smug, and has a chance to shine in this one, showcasing his foolishness tenfold. I started this back in the summer of 2019, but other smaller projects kept pushing it back. It will be a nice option for advanced beginners in the Level B range. The book contains eight lines of poetry, and many references to the poems of Catullus, making it a good intro to anything poetry being read in class, and even before my other metrical books at their low intermediate Level C.
Although an obvious nod to Petronius’ Cena Trimalchionis, this is not an adaptation, by any means. In this tale, Terrex can’t get anything right during his latest dinner party. He’s confused about Catullus’ carmina, and says silly things left and right as his guests do all they can to be polite, though patience is running low. With guests fact-checking amongst themselves, can Terrex say something remotely close to being true? Will the guests mind their manners and escape without offending their host?
41 cognates + 56 other words
2600 total length