Welcome to the #RRBC ROCKIN’ 2020 AWAY Book, Blog & Trailer Block Party! #Giveaways #DoorPrizes @RobertaEaton17

Hi and “WELCOME” to Rave Reviews Book Club’s BOOK, BLOG & TRAILER BLOCK PARTY at Watch Nonnie Write!


Here’s what I’m giving away today:

One (1) $25 Amazon gift card

One (1) ebook copy of Through the Nethergate

Number of winners for this stop: 2

About Roberta Writes

I started this blog, Roberta Writes, in 2018 when I changed from writing mainly for children and poetry to writing horror, historical and supernatural short stories and novels. Since launching this blog I have published my first supernatural fantasy novel, Through the Nethergate, with a second supernatural historical novel, A Ghost and His Gold, due for publication in Jan/Feb 2021.

This blog is where I promote my adult and young adult writing and also where I share posts written from prompts, book reviews of adult and classic books, darker poetry and other thoughts about historical events that interest me, writing and life in general.

In keeping with the spirit of this blog, today I am sharing some information about Pandemics, then and now.

Epidemics in the form of malaria, tuberculosis, leprosy, influenza, smallpox and other first started appearing 10 000 years ago when humanity shifted from a hunter-gatherer to an agrarian lifestyle.

The creation of cities and forging of trade routes as well as wars have facilitated the spread of these epidemics to become pandemics.

The earliest recorded pandemic happened during the Peloponnesian War after a disease passed through Libya, Ethiopian and Egypt and spread to Athens. This was in 430 B.C. In 165 A.D. the Antonine Plague spread from the Huns throughout the Roman Empire and lasted for fifteen years.

Plagues and pandemics remained with humankind and some of the most well-known examples are the Black Death of 1350 A.D., The Great Plague of London of 1665 A.D., The Spanish Flu of 1918 and the HIV/AIDS pandemic of 1981. On 11 March 2020, the World Health Organisation announced that COVID-19 was officially a pandemic after infecting people in 114 countries in three months.

Mankind is resilient and adaptable and survival strategies were developed to help contain pandemics and allow people to continue with an adapted from of life during disease outbreaks.

The five most important of these strategies are as follows:

  1. Quarantine – The first legal quarantine occurred in the port city of Ragusa (today’s Dubrovnik) on the 27th of July 1377 during an outbreak of the Black Death. Doctors at this time observed that the spread of the Black Death could be slowed by isolating infected individuals. During the outbreak of the Spanish Flu in 1918, American cities such as San Francisco quarantined naval arrivals before they could enter the city. In both San Francisco and St. Louis, social gatherings were banned, and theatres and schools were closed.
  2. Socially distant food and drink pickup – During the Italian Plague of 1629 to 1631 A.D. wealthy citizens of Tuscany introduced wine windows whereby narrow windows were cut into homes, to enable wine sellers to sell their wine to waiting customers without the customers entering the homes or the sellers going out into the streets. New York implemented “to-go” cocktail windows during COVID-19 which is based on the same principle.
  3. Wearing masks – Doctors treating plague patients wore long, bird-like beaks. These beaks created social distance between the patient and the doctor and partially covered their mouth and nose. At that time, doctors believed in miasma theory that diseases spread through bad smells in the air. In 1918, masks played an important role in stopping the spread of infection to the public. San Francisco made wearing masks mandatory in September 1918 and those who didn’t comply faced fines, imprisonment and social shaming. Newspaper printed instructions on how to make masks at home. Does any of this ring a bell with you?
  4. Washing hands and surfaces – In the early 20th century, hand washing, which was unusual at the time, started to be encouraged. Powder rooms or ground-floor bathrooms were installed for use by guests and delivery people to stop the spread of germs throughout homes.
  5. Fresh air and adaptive schooling – Universities and schools have been closed in the past to help contain pandemics. In 1665, Isaac Newton was sent home from Cambridge University to him family’s home following an outbreak of bubonic plague. In 1918, American cities adopted the concept of open-air schools to help contain the Spanish Flu pandemic. The movement towards fresh air at this time also encouraged the creation of green spaces in cities.

We can see that pandemics have been a feature of human existence for thousands of years and the current COVID-19 prevention techniques are based on previous experiences in containing the spread of diseases. I thought this was interesting and it also amazes me how little infection prevention has changed over hundreds of years.

About Through the Nethergate


Margaret, a girl born with second sight, has the unique ability to bring ghosts trapped between Heaven and Hell back to life. When her parents die suddenly, she goes to live with her beloved grandfather, but the cellar of her grandfather’s ancient inn is haunted by an evil spirit of its own.
In the town of Bungay, a black dog wanders the streets, enslaving the ghosts of those who have died unnatural deaths. When Margaret arrives, these phantoms congregate at the inn, hoping she can free them from the clutches of Hugh Bigod, the 12th century ghost who has drawn them away from Heaven’s White Light in his canine guise.

With the help of her grandfather and the spirits she has befriended, Margaret sets out to defeat Hugh Bigod, only to discover he wants to use her for his own ends – to take over Hell itself.

Roberta Eaton Cheadle











TSL Publications:



Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Robbie-Cheadle/e/B01N9J62GQ

69 thoughts on “Welcome to the #RRBC ROCKIN’ 2020 AWAY Book, Blog & Trailer Block Party! #Giveaways #DoorPrizes @RobertaEaton17

    1. I read a book about the black plague and also Journal of a Plague Year by Daniel Defoe so I did know. I didn’t know how similar historical practices to prevent the spread of epidemics were to our current strategies. It was quite an eye opener.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Oh, we definitely have. People think that modern medicine means that people no longer die of diseases and that is just not true. Lots of people don’t vaccinate their children against horrible illnesses like diphtheria, polio, hooping cough and tetanus because this illnesses have never touched their lives so they’ve forgotten how terrible they are. I live in Africa and have seen what can happen with cholera outbreaks and other terrible illnesses. We are very complacent. Another thing is that a lot of people are a bit ignorant about medications and don’t realise that you can’t treat a virus with an antibiotic.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I can’t understand why anyone wouldn’t vaccinate children against diseases that can cripple or kill them. We don’t have to go back too many generations to see high infant and child mortality due to these diseases.

            Liked by 1 person

          2. Few people even know about the past, Liz, the majority live day-to-day. It is the same with the abuse of antibiotics through ignorance and maybe laziness. People don’t finish the course and this has caused superbugs. In Africa, we now have drug resistance TB because people stop treatment before it is complete.

            Liked by 1 person

  1. Really enjoyed how you took us back in time to show the connection of history’s past pandemics to today. We can get past this if we work together and take the precautions needed to protect ourselves and others. Also, I enjoy a good noir story and you have offered us a unique view of good versus evil. Four dragon thumbs up!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is so informative Roberta.
    And very educative too. It fills me with hope for this pandemic ending.

    How and who wins that free ebook copy of through the nethergate.?
    I would have bought but it’s still very tough times on my end. Just for now.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This was a great post, Robbie! I knew of some of those moments in history, but I enjoyed learning about the new ones. The phrase “time repeats itself” comes to mind when I think of not only pandemics taking place throughout time but also how people react to them. I have Through the Nethergate on my Kindle and look forward to reading it very soon. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Good information on how we’ve dealt with past plagues. How sad little has changed. Funny you mentioned the bird-like mask. My daughter got me one to wear this Halloween. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Did she really, that is interesting. I knew that the doctors during the plague wore those strange masks and it makes sense they were for protection. They also wore cloaks. I doubt they washed them though, which would have been a negative in controlling the spread of disease.


  5. Hey Robbie, great insights on the history of pandemics. Looking froward to reading Nethergate. Best wishes in building the library of intriguing works in the new genre.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Your website and book trailer are first class. And your books are certainly themed for the month of October and Halloween. Very informative post, Robbie. I have known that plagues emerge periodically for centuries, but I did not know that the very practices we are supposed to be adapting this year have been around a long time: quarantine, social distancing, masks and open-air schooling were a “thing” then too.

    Great post, great writer . . . brava, Robbie!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Marian, thank you for visiting me and commenting. I am rather drawn to spooky and supernatural writing for adults and YA which is quite different to my writing for children. I thought the open air school was a good idea and I know it is being implemented in certain schools and universities.


  7. AWESOME blog post, Robbie! I love that you gave so much information about previous pandemics. We can learn a lot from history. OUTSTANDING trailer! Spooky and intriguing at the same time. It’s a mini horror movie. Your book is moving up my TBR pile! Can’t wait to read it. Maybe sleep with the lights on.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. This is all information that has been circulating in bits and pieces, but the way you put it together makes it clear and understandable. I think most people in the United States have family members in their grandparents’ generation that died in the 1918 flu pandemic. But somehow the horror was minimized over time. I even saw a photo of a baseball game being played back then where all the players were wearing masks! (K)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Bette, this book is dark and supernatural, so it isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. I do enjoy these kind of books myself. I was interested to learn that the most popular book genre is romance, followed by sci fi and then horror. Interesting.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Hi Robbie. You have a timely piece on pandemics. We could use a history lesson because in the US we have thousands of selfish people who move around without masks and gather in close proximity at rallies led by our current leader. I hope this will end very soon and that something is put into place that will be mandatory for everybody. I pray that it will.

    Thank you for giving us a history lesson.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Shirley, I know that mask wearing has become politicalized in the USA which is a shame. Here in South Africa, people are generally happy to comply with the government regulations and it does seem to have worked for us. I was very interested in the fact that the methods being advised and employed now are so similar to those used in the past.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Robbie even though your country is doing the right thing, it won’t matter much even globally unless your country locks down. That is what I would advise.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. We had over 5 months of lockdown through our autumn and winter [26 March to 31 August]. It is summer here now and very hot. The virus seems to be much less prevalent here now. We are still in a lower level of lock down and there are no tourists allowed so, hopefully, that will help.


  10. Hi Robbie,
    you are indeed highly talented. I didn’t know you write in other genres, so I was pleasantly surprised.
    As I read your article about pandemics, I thought to myself, how quickly people forget that the pandemic today issei’s nothing new. Great Article.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat Garcia

    Liked by 1 person

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