Featured Book

Haworth Then and Now by Karen Perkins

Posted by on Mar 27, 2017 in 19th England, Featured Book, Historical Research, Historical Tidbits | 1 comment

Haworth has a great deal to offer today’s visitors, including a working steam railway, the iconic cobbled high street (thankfully lined by a myriad of interesting shops and teashops that provide very pleasant rest stops along the climb), and of course wonderful walks through the stunning moorland that makes up so much of Brontë Country. As a booklover, I can think of no more inspiring place than the home of my literary heroines, Charlotte, Emily and Anne Brontë, and I visit as often as I can. The Brontë Society and Parsonage Museum has lovingly re-created their home, demonstrating how they...

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Ah, the spa! A short history of the long soak, by Anna Castle

Posted by on Mar 13, 2017 in 19th England, Featured Book, Historical Tidbits | 1 comment

I’ve always loved a long soak in a hot tub, especially with some fragrant salts or oils added to the mix. I’m not alone! Tolkien wrote a poem about the pleasures of the bath, “Sing hey for the bath at the end of the day.” He seems to be channeling fellow Oxonian A. E. Houseman with these lines: “But better beer when drink we lack, and water hot poured down the back.” Personally, I prefer hibiscus-mint tea with a swirl of agave nectar to beer. Bathe away your blues Alienists and other health practitioners in the Victorian period prescribed many forms of...

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The (Not Quite) True Story of the Real Cinderella By Libbie Hawker

Posted by on Feb 27, 2017 in Ancient Egypt, Featured Book, Historical Research, Historical Tidbits | 2 comments

I’m a big fan of podcasts. I listen to them whenever I get the chance—while I’m going for walks, working in my garden, cleaning the house, or traveling to the mainland to take care of all the errands and chores I can’t do here on the island. Not too long ago, I came across a podcast called Disney Story Origins, a well-produced and fascinating show that explores the real history behind all the best-loved Disney films. Sadly, the podcast hasn’t had any recent updates, but it led me to research the source material behind of many of the films that hadn’t yet been covered by Disney Story Origins....

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The Proud Sinner or How I Tried to Channel Agatha Christie by Priscilla Royal

Posted by on Feb 13, 2017 in Featured Book, Historical Fiction Influences, Medieval Great Britain | 2 comments

One of the criticisms often leveled at historical mystery fiction writers is that we emphasize the history rather than the mystery in our books. Not so, in my less than humble opinion. Several historical mystery writers do very well with both, a conclusion that is probably shared by most of us. That said, I freely admit that my series tends to be very character driven with a background of, I hope, historical surprises. So when I came to write The Proud Sinner, my thirteenth book coming out this month, I challenged myself to be more devious in plotting. Learning to develop my inner...

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Research and The Return of the Raven Mocker by Donis Casey

Posted by on Feb 8, 2017 in 20th Century US, Featured Book, Historical Fiction Influences, Historical Research | Comments Off on Research and The Return of the Raven Mocker by Donis Casey

Primary Research When the Raven Mocker returns to Boynton, Oklahoma, in the fall of 1918, he brings with him the great worldwide influenza pandemic that claimed fifty million lives. World War I is still raging in Europe, but Alafair Tucker is fighting her own war as the epidemic sweeps through like wildfire. What a perfect time for someone to commit murder. Who’s going to notice? In 2004, when I was writing my first Alafair Tucker mystery, The Old Buzzard Had It Coming, I was particularly concerned with the kind of life Alafair would have led in 1912, so much of my research consisted of...

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The Wild Man, The Goat Woman & the Mississippi Miser by Michael Llewellyn

Posted by on Jan 2, 2017 in 20th Century US, Featured Book, Historical Research, Historical Tidbits | 1 comment

Southerners didn’t write the book on eccentricity, but we’ve certainly supplied literature with more than our share of audacious characters and plots. From the Lesters of Tobacco Road and Boo Radley, to Ignatius J. Reilly and the denizens of Yoknapatawpha County, Dixie has produced a bumper crop of picaresque folk. Fiction, however, rarely eclipses fact. The real-life 1932 Goat Castle Murder in Natchez, Mississippi, was the perfect paradigm, screwy and sensational enough to demand, for the first time in American history, two special tourist trains to a crime scene. It seemed few could resist...

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