Tagged: Advice for writers

Crime and Punishment in the 19th Century

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Warning: The following is for mature audiences only Murder, burglary, theft. You think they’re all a product of recent history. Think again. Violent altercations occurred often in the hurly, burly world of early American life. Soon laws were enacted, courts established, and a justice system (of sorts) grew up to right the wrongs and mete […]

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The Accuracy of Historical Novels: Fact or Fiction?

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If you want to research this subject further I have to recommend Kathy Lynn Emerson book How to Write Killer Historical Mysteries: The Art and Adventure of Sleuthing Through the Past The core of the book is Emerson’s personal take on writing and selling historical mysteries, but it also includes contributions from over forty other historical […]

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The Writing Life

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If you had been with me at the Kansas City library in April, 1994, you would have heard award-winning author, Nancy Pickard, say, “The writing life has little to do with being published.” What? I thought that was the purpose of writing. First, she said, you must decide that you want the writing life and, if […]

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Tracing My Family History–One Ancestor at a Time

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A few days ago I was interviewed for David’s Booktalk. After hearing about my family history and its relationship to my stories, David asked if I’d put my family history on my website. I agreed. Thinking about various traits in my distant relations I’ve uncovered in historical records, I marvel at how many of my ancestor’s traits I’ve seen revealed […]

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Novel Reading in America: 1800 to 1850

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Plentiful today (some mightsay “too plentiful” as the proliferation of indie publications and ebooks attests), novels are an integral part of life. Kindles, Nooks, and books on tablets and phones, as well as print, offer myriad opportunities for entertainment, relaxation, and enlightenment. But it was not always thus. In this post and a future one, I’ll trace the […]

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Hiding in the Branches

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This week I invited inveterate ancestry devotee Mary Dolan to share her experience digging out her ancestor’s secrets. Genealogy is mainstream. The British series Who Do You Think You Are and its American counterpart and Henry Louis  Gates’ African American Lives and Faces of America entertain us with celebrities discovering their often humble and always surprising roots. I’ve […]

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101 Ways to Poison Your Enemies

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Ever wish you could kill someone? I think we all have but few of us act on the desire. Now, put yourself in the 19th century. If you wanted to kill someone then, you could of course use a knife, hachet, shotgun, or rope, among other violent ways. But all of these methods would tell […]

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How to Write an Historical Mystery

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Writing an historical mystery is easy. Just start with a time and place, add a few interesting characters and culprits, inject a murder, toss in a few clues, and add a twist at the end. Voila, you have an historical mystery! How hard could it be? Answer: Very. Not only must you create a compelling, […]

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