Literary Links

January/February 2008


Good News and Announcements

Announcements--If you read the last newsletters, you already know this. But just in case you missed it...As you have been following the progress of our newsletter, you may have noticed that the calendar of events began in 1837, the year Queen Victoria ascended the throne.  We are now in year 1901, the year of her death in 1901.  With this date, Literary Links will also be ceasing publication.  It is with much regret that we do so, but time constraints and outside demands require it.  However, we will continue the Literary Liaisons, Ltd. web site.  And we will continue to update the research links, authors, and articles as time provides, and periodically send out announcements about book releases and special additions to the site.  So while we will not be doing regular bi-monthly updates, we will be adding interesting tidbits and links as we run across them.  Please feel free to continue sending in questions, comments and suggestions.  We hope you have enjoyed the past ten years, and will continue to use Literary Liaisons, Ltd., for your research needs.


Book Signings--Join local authors Beverly Long and Blythe Gifford on Feb. 23, 2008 from 12:00p.m. to 3:00p.m. at the Barnes & Noble bookstore in Arlington Heights.  See Blythe or Beverly's web site for more details.  Also, there will be many authors signing at the Chicago Spring Fling Conference on Saturday, April 26 from 4:30p.m. to 6:00p.m.  Check out the Spring Fling web site for more details.


Now Available!--Look for Do You Believe in Magic? by Ann Macela and Soldier Surrender from Pat White.


Coming Soon!--Coming in February, 2008, look for Windswept, a contemporary romance by Ann Macela from Medallion Press. 


Good News--Although we are not publishing a bi-monthly newsletter anymore, we will still be online.  We'll keep adding content to the site to make it fresh, and we'll keep taking suggestions for new links.  We are also still accepting articles from outside authors. And we will still be sending out announcements periodically about book releases, book signings, and interesting reference materials. So this isn't really good-bye.  It's just a transition.


New On Literary Liaisons

There are many new additions to Literary Liaisons. After reading about them below, check them out on the web site.





Soldier Surrender by Pat White

Saving Destiny by Pat White

Windswept by Ann Macela



The Corset & The Crinoline: An Illustrated History by W.B. Lord

Every Writer's Guide to Copyright and Publishing Law by Ellen M. Kozak

How to Write a Book Proposal by Michael Larsen

Royal Palaces of Britain by Jane Struthers

Turner by James Hamilton

Victorian Miniature by Owen Chadwick


Feature Title:

Every Writer's Guide to Copyright and Publishing Law by Ellen M. Kozak


The Video Library


Great Expectations



Researching the Romance


The Corset & The Crinoline: An Illustrated History by W.B. Lord

Every Writer's Guide to Copyright and Publishing Law by Ellen M. Kozak

How to Write a Book Proposal by Michael Larsen

Royal Palaces of Britain by Jane Struthers

Turner by James Hamilton

Victorian Miniature by Owen Chadwick



Writers' Resources Online


Jane Austen's World


Timeline 1901

UK Heritage Railways

Women's Suffrage



Feature Article 

Make Your Words Work

by Michelle Prima



In this competitive market of book publishing, it is getting more and more difficult for new authors to break into the scene.  Editors are more critical of every manuscript that crosses their desk.  Agents are inundated with piles of submissions from hopeful authors.  So how can you make sure your manuscript will be one that's read?

We've all heard--write the best story you can.  And we've all done it.  But even the best stories, unless written well, will not be picked up.  So how can you help increase the odds that your manuscript will be one of those read by the editor? 

Make every word count. 

Long gone are the days when people had time to read long, narrative, descriptive historical novels.  Rather, readers are looking for a quick read, but also a quality read.  Anthony Trollope and Jane Austen are gone by the wayside in favor of faster-paced novels.  They want to read a good story, and quickly. 

So how can you make your words work for you to create a quick and easy read?  Here are some pointers.

  • Avoid redundancy--Don't use descriptive phrases when the word itself does the describing.  For example, a "enormous giant" of a man, or a sky blue "in color."  Can a giant be anything but enormous?  Can a sky be anything in blue but color?  Is a bicycle anything but two-wheeled? 

  • Avoid wasted words--Don't use extra words that serve no purpose or slow down your writing. Can you say the same four or five-word phrase in just one carefully chosen word?  For example, doesn't "if" mean the same thing as "in the event of"?  And how about "for a month" instead of "for a period of a month"?  Also be careful of using modifiers.  If you use the word "unique", can it be "very unique?"  Isn't uniqueness implied by the very definition of the word?

  • Avoid weak words--Rather than using a longer phrase of modifiers with a verb or noun, choose a stronger word instead.  "Looked curiously" means the same as "peered."  "Hit angrily" means the same as "slapped."  "Pulled quickly" means the same as "jerked."  Where can you replace weak modifiers with a stronger verb or noun?

  • Use active voice--Write about the person, not the thing acting upon the person.  For example, instead of "A good laugh was had by all," use "Everyone laughed afterward."  Your characters should not be passive recipients.  The accident did not result in John's injuries.  Rather, John broke his arm and fractured his jaw in the car accident.  Subtle, but effective.

  • Use strong verbs--Anyone can say that the dog ate, or the little boy fell, or the young girl walked.  But how different would your scene be if the dog gobbled down his food?  (Indicating perhaps, that he had been starving or abused?)  If the little boy stumbled?  (Was he clumsy, or was the sidewalk uneven?) If the young girl skipped along the street?  (What a cheerful disposition she must have.)  Do you see how the choice of verb can create a whole new set of questions and possibilities for the reader?

  • Say things in a positive way--Why write about what is not true, when you want the reader to know what IS true?  Saying there were no lights on, or that there were no errors in the typing, is stating what isn't there.  Rather, show the reader what IS there, because that's what they want to know.  "The house was dark when Mary arrived home."  Or "The manuscript was flawless."  These are the things that are real. 

  • Avoid cliches--It is so easy to fall back on the familiar.  As sly as a fox, or black as night are so overused, they are almost meaningless and glossed over by the reader.  They are a sign of laziness--that you couldn't think of your own descriptive phrase.  Be creative.  Look at your story idea or theme, and work around that.  If your hero is a physician, use medical references.  "He was as startled as a child being stabbed with a needle." Or "The draperies were a bluish-purple like a new bruise forming." 

  • Write things in a logical order--To be clear, write things in the order they happen.  Don't talk about a skinned knee before the bully pushes over the child.  Don't have your characters start jumping out of windows before you mention the fire.  And don't have anyone shoot another character if they haven't even picked up a gun.  Your reader will be confused, and even angry after a while if you do too much of this.

  • Put emphasis at the end--What is the most important idea in your sentence, your paragraph or your chapter?  You should always end with a bang.  For example, there is a county fair, and Mrs. Marple just won for her peach pie entry.  Is the fact that Mrs. Marple won the most important element in the story?  Perhaps this is her first win in eleven years.  Then it's important.  Or is it the fact that her peach pie won?  Maybe she baked ten apple pies before being satisfied with her entries, but only one peach pie that somehow won.  Or maybe the county fair is the most important aspect of this situation.  Perhaps Mrs. Marple is really a city girl, and didn't even know what a county fair was until she married her husband and moved into Smallville.  Whatever the fact is that you want to stress, end the sentence with that idea.

Whatever your story, all of these practices can be incorporated into your writing to make it strong and effective.  Make your manuscript the one the editors and agents will continue to read after the first page. 




Michelle Prima is owner and President of Literary Liaisons, Ltd.  For more about her, visit her personal web page



Editor's Note

As I write my last letter as editor of this newsletter, it is with much emotion.  I feel proud that we have lasted this long.  Who knew there would be enough material to cover on Victorian England that would last over ten years?  I also feel gratified that I have helped so many writers start their writing careers.  I also feel honored to be among such talent as our published author family has provided. Pat White, Martha Powers, Blythe Gifford, Beverly Long, Allie Pleiter, Ann Macela, and Victoria Bylin have all been a part of this process over the years and helped us grow.  Who knew when we started that we would get through 65 issues?  It may not seem like much, but that's a span of almost eleven years.  That also includes 70 great articles on the ins and outs of writing, as well as historical research.  We grew from a few pages of reference materials to tens of pages of recommended web sites, research books and associated links. We added a "Featured Title" page, which gave in-depth information on research books.  We added the video feature a few years into the project, and made the daily calendar a permanently accessible feature.  We published a Research Guide, as well as a guide on organizing your writing.  This definitely became one of the most thorough research sites for Victorian England, as testified by our guests and visitors.  So, although it is a sad occasion, we are celebrating this last issue with comments from readers and visitors.  We hope you enjoyed the site as much as they did.  And don't forget, we aren't leaving cyberspace.  We're just not publishing the newsletter.  So keep coming back, because we'll still be adding sites and references for you.  Finally, a warm thank you to all of you who have subscribed over the years and supported this effort.  You are truly appreciated.

--Michelle Prima

President, Literary Liaisons, Ltd.

Q&A Column

In honor of our last issue, I'd like to share readers' comments with you...


--I would like to congratulate you on a great website, that I as a Historical Fiction (Vic) writer, will find very useful. I appreciate the amount of time it must have taken to compile so much information.
I have listed your site in my favourites column, and will return very often.  (Anne)


--You have a wonderful web site.  (Donna)


--I am getting married in May, well after reading this I may need to change it to June..LOL We are having a Victorian style wedding and this was so perfect!  (Carolyn)

Jayne O.

--What a find! Your web site is comprehensive and a must see for authors and readers alike. Congratulations!  (Martha)


--I love your website..Lots of helpful information. (Julene)

And thank YOU everyone for your support over the years.     

Michelle Prima

President, Literary Liaisons, Ltd.


Historical Calendar of Events



Andre Malraux--French author

Walt Disney--Film producer

Enrico Fermi--Italian physicist



Queen Victoria--British ruler

William McKinley--U.S. President

Henri Toulouse-Lautrec--French painter

Arnold Bocklin--Swiss painter



Edward VII succeeded Queen Victoria as King of England upon her death.

Edmund Barton was inaugurated as first Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Australia.

The Boers began organized guerrilla warfare.

Negotiations began in London for a  Anglo-Japanese alliance.

George Curzon, the British viceroy in India, created the North-West Frontier province between the Punjab and Afghanistan as he worked to pacify the region.
September 2--"Speak softly and carry a big stick," said Vice President Roosevelt in a speech at the Minnesota State Fair, laying down a rule for U.S. foreign policy.

September 6--Anarchists assassinated U.S. President William McKinley.  He was succeeded by Theodore Roosevelt.

The Cuba Convention made the country a U.S. protectorate.

W.H. Taft became Governor-General of the Philippines.
The Fifth Zionist Congress began the Jewish National Fund.

A new tenement house law was passed in New York, whose 83,000 "old law" masonry and wood tenements housed 70 percent of the city's population.
Alabama adopted a new constitution with literacy tests and a grandfather clause designed to disenfranchise blacks.

October 16--Booker T. Washington of Tuskegee Institute attended a White House dinner given by President Roosevelt. Outraged whites took reprisals against southern blacks.

The Russian minister of propaganda was assassinated at age 41 February 27 in reprisal for his repression of student agitators.

The Arts


Erewhon Revisited by Samuel Butler

Kim by Rudyard Kipling

Buddenbrooks by Thomas Mann

The Octopus by Frank Norris

Babel by Louis Couperus

Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch by Alice Hegan (juvenile)


Poverty: A Study of Town Life by B.S. Rowntree

Studies in History and Jurisprudence by James Bryce

The Life of the Bee by Maurice Maeterlinck

Up from Slavery  by Booker T. Washington


"The Gold in Their Bodies" by Paul Gauguin

"Girls on the Bridge" by Edvard Munch

"Self Portrait" by Max Liebermann

"Medicine" by Gustav Klimt

"Femme Retroussant Sa Chemise" by Henri Toulouse-Lautrec

Popular Songs:

"I Love You Truly" by U.S. songwriter Carrie Jacobs-Bond

"Mighty Lak' a Rose" by Ethelbert Nevin

"Boola Boola" by Yale undergraduate Allan M. Hirsch


"Much Ado About Nothing" by Stanford premiered in London.

"Fire Famine" by Feuersnot premiered at Dresden on November 21, with music by Richard Strauss


"Quality Street"--A play by J.M. Barrie

"The Little Doctor"--An English film

"Captain Jinks of the Horse Marines" premiered February 4 at the Garrick Theatre.

"The Governor's Son" premiered February 25 at the Savoy Theatre, with music, book and lyrics by George Michael Cohan.



Daily Life

J. Walter Thompson Co. received a letter from Curtis Publishing in Philadelphia which applied the ANPA rules of 1893 to its Ladies' Home Journal, Saturday Evening Post, and Country Gentleman magazines. The 10 percent agency commission for placing advertisements in Curtis magazines would be followed by other magazines and would rise to 15 percent.

The Settlement Cookbook by Milwaukee settlement house worker Lizzie Black was published with funds raised by volunteer women through advertisements after the settlement house directors  refused a request for $18 to print a book that would save students in a class for immigrants from having to copy recipes off the blackboard. Using the slogan "The way to a man's heart," the book would earn enough money in eight years to pay for a new settlement house building.
Andrew Carnegie gave the New York Public Library $5.2 million to open its first branches.
The U.S. College Entrance Examination Board conducted its first examinations.

The U.S Army War College was founded at Washington, D.C.

Picasso's Blue Period of painting began.

Ragtime Jazz developed in the United States.

Wigmore Hall opened in London.

J.P. Morgan organized the U.S. Steel Corporation.

Boxing was recognized as a legal sport in England.

The first American Bowling Club tournament was held in Chicago.

Arthur Wentworth Gore won in men's singles at Wimbledon, Charlotte Cooper Sterry in women's singles; William A. Larned won in U.S. men's singles, Elizabeth Moore in women's singles.
Baseball's American League was organized by teams whose annual pennant winner would compete beginning in 1903 with the top team of the 25-year-old National League in World Series championships.

The U.S. America's Cup defender Columbia with rigging by Nat Herreshoff defeated Sir Thomas Lipton's Shamrock II 3 to 0.
The Arlberg Ski Club was founded at St. Christoph.

The Elms of Newport, Rhode Island was completed for Philadelphia coal magnate Edward Julius Berwind.

New York's Carnegie mansion, a six-story 64-room neo-Georgian house for steel magnate Andrew Carnegie, was completed on Fifth Avenue at 92nd Street by Babb, Cook and Willard.
New York's Benjamin N. Duke mansion on Fifth Avenue at 78th Street was completed for a founder of the American Tobacco Company trust.
New York's Harlem began its rise following the start of construction of a Lenox Avenue subway line that triggered a real estate boom.
The first Statler Hotel opened for Buffalo's Pan-American Exposition. Local restaurateur Ellsworth Milton Statler erected a temporary 2,100-room structure that would be replaced by a more solid Statler Hotel in 1904.
The American Multigraph Co. was founded at Cleveland to produce the newly patented Multigraph, the first machine designed to print from a typed or handwritten image.

One fourth of U.S agriculture was exported, according to reports.

Britain established statutory standards for milk to protect consumers, but pasteurization was not required. British milk remained a source of diseases that include undulant fever and bone tuberculosis.
Wall Street panicked May 9 as brokerage houses sold off stock so they can raise funds to cover their short positions in Northern Pacific Railroad stock.
United States Steel Co. was created by J. P. Morgan, who underwrote a successful public offering of stock in the world's first $1 billion corporation.
John D. Rockefeller's Lake Superior Consolidated Iron Mines Co., whose Mesabi range properties had been leased by Andrew Carnegie, was absorbed into United States Steel to prevent Rockefeller from starting a rival company.
American Can Co. was created by a merger of 175 U.S. can makers engineered by W. H. Moore and Indiana banker Daniel Gray Reid. The Can Trust turned out 90 percent of U.S. tin-plated steel cans.
New York's R. H. Macy moved into a new building on Herald Square between 34th and 35th Streets that replaces the old 14th Street Macy's and would grow to become the world's largest department store building.
Boston's William Filene, Sons & Co. became William Filene's Sons following the death of founder William Filene at age 71. Filene was succeeded by his son Edward, who moved the store to 453-463 Washington Street, trebled its floor space, and soon released the former store at 445-447 Washington Street as an annex for babies' and children's wear.
The Nordstrom retail chain had its beginnings in a Seattle shoe shop opened by Swedish immigrant John W. Nordstrom and a partner. Nordstrom, who arrived at New York in 1887 with $5, made $13,000 mining gold in Alaska and the Klondike.
King C. Gillette raised $5,000 to start a safety razor company and set up a factory above a Boston fish store.
Imperial Tobacco Company of Great Britain and Ireland was created by Sir William Henry Wills, first Baron Winterstroke, whose grandfather and father-in-law started a tobacco and snuff business at Bristol in the 18th century.

British chocolate heir William Cadbury visited Trinidad and was told that cocoa workers in Portugal's African islands of São Tomé and Principe were, for all practical purposes, treated as slaves.
Life expectancy at birth for U.S. white males was 48.23 years, for white females, 51.08 years.
Obesity and heart disease were observed for the first time to have a strong correlation.
The hydrogenation process invented by William Normann turned polyunsaturated fats into saturated fats that would be linked to heart disease when it is found that the human liver can synthesize serum cholesterol from saturated fats.
Beriberi killed thousands in the Philippines following introduction of polished white rice by U.S. occupation authorities.
London's population reached 6.6 million, while New York had 3.44, Paris 2.7, Berlin 1.9, Chicago 1.7, Vienna 1.7, Wuhan 1.5, Tokyo 1.45, St. Petersburg 1.3, Philadelphia 1.3, Constantinople 1.2, Moscow 1.1, Xian (Sian) 1, Calcutta 950,000, Guangzhou (Canton) 900,000, Los Angeles 103,000, Houston 45,000, Dallas 43,000.
Some 9 million immigrants would enter the United States in this decade.


Following a "century of steam", the "century of electricity" began.

Max Planck wrote the "Laws of Radiation."

The hormone adrenaline was first isolated.

Marconi received transmitted telegraphic radio messages from Cornwall to Newfoundland.

The first motor-driven bicycles were made.

Wilhelm Maybach constructed the first Mercedes car at the Daimler works.

Detroit auto maker Ransom E. Olds moved his assembly plant to his hometown of Lansing, Mich. Copper and lumber baron Samuel L. Smith financed the Olds Motor Works, and Olds marketed 600 curved-dash "Oldsmobile" runabouts, a number he would increase to 5,000 by 1904.

Detroit Automobile Co. goes bankrupt after selling only four or five cars in 2 years. Chief engineer Henry Ford was hired as experimental engineer by the men who bought Detroit Automobile's assets.
The Apperson motorcar was introduced.
The Pierce "motorette" was introduced by Buffalo, New York auto maker George N. Pierce.
New York City streetcars and elevators were converted to electric power, but horsecars continued to move up and down Fifth Avenue.

The Mombasa-Lake Victoria railway was completed.

The Trans-Siberian railroad reached Port Arthur.

The first British submarine was launched.

Willam Roentgen won the Nobel Prize for physics.  E. von Behring won the Nobel prize for medicine.

The Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research was founded by John D. Rockefeller.

W.H. Nernst psotulated the 'third law of thermodynamics.'

Oil drilling began in Persia.

The Industrial Commission heard a government witness testify that a steam sheller can shell a bushel of corn in 1.5 minutes versus 100 minutes for the same job done by hand and that a wheat combine can do in 4 minutes what it would take a man 160 minutes to reap, bind, and thresh by hand.

The Spindletop gusher that came in January 10 at Beaumont, Tex., gave John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil Trust its first major competition. One-armed lumberman Patillo Higgins located the Gulf Coast oil field in 1892 and had leased 600 acres to Trieste-born engineer Anthony F. Lucas, who has been drilling since July 1899 into a salt dome on the field abandoned as unproductive by Standard Oil prospectors.  The Gulf Oil Company has its beginnings as a result of the find.

U.S Electrical engineer Peter Cooper Hewitt invented the mercury-vapor electric lamp.
The first practical electric vacuum cleaner was invented by British bridge builder Hubert Booth. His Vacuum Cleaner Co. Ltd. sent vans round to houses and used the Booth machine to suck dust out of houses via a tube.
MIT graduate William E. Nickerson refined Gillette's idea for a safety razor and develops processes for hardening and sharpening sheet steel.
The hydrogenation process invented by William Normann extended the shelf life of foods containing fats.
The first soluble "instant" coffee was invented by Japanese-American chemist Satori Kato of Chicago, who sold the product at the Pan American Exposition at Buffalo.
Mosquito controls virtually rid Havana of yellow fever.


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