Literary Links

March/April 2004


Good News and Announcements

Chicago-North Fire & Ice Contest--Chicago-North RWA is sponsoring their 6th annual Fire & Ice Contest.  Enter your first chapter in one of three categories--Single Title Contemporary, Series Contemporary, or Historical.  Top prize in each category is $50.  Acquiring editors will read finalist entries.  For more information, visit the Chicago-North web site.

The Golden Network Golden Pen Contest--The Golden Network Chapter of RWA is sponsoring its 6th annual Contest--The Golden Pen.  Enter the first 30 pages of your manuscript.  Winners in each category will receive a gold pen engraved with their manuscript title, and a $25 cash prize.  Acquiring editors and agents will judge the finalists. For more information, see the Golden Network web site.

Victorian Research Guide--This 252-page guide, Researching the British Historical--The Victorian Era, is now available either in print format or CD-Rom.  For more information, click here


New On Literary Liaisons

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





Masterpieces of Women's Costume in the 18th & 19th Centuries by Aline Bernstein

Mighty Fine Words and Smashing Expressions by Orin Hargraves

Organize Yourself! by Ronni Eisenberg and Kate Kelly

Organizing Your Work Space by Odette Pollar

Queen Victoria's Little Wars by Byron Farwell


Featured Title

Organize Yourself! by Ronni Eisenberg and Kate Kelly


The Video Library


The Onedin Line--Set 1



Researching the Romance


Masterpieces of Women's Costume in the 18th & 19th Centuries by Aline Bernstein

Mighty Fine Words and Smashing Expressions by Orin Hargraves

Organize Yourself! by Ronni Eisenberg and Kate Kelly

Organizing Your Work Space by Odette Pollar

Queen Victoria's Little Wars by Byron Farwell


Writers' Resources Online


Find a Grave

Great Britain and the United Kingdom


Inventors and Inventions

Outlaws and Highwaymen

Paul's Traditional Christmas Pudding


Feature Article 

Find More Time by Organizing Your Writing Space

by Michelle Jean Hoppe

Have you ever:

  • wished for more time in the day?
  • walked into your writing area and right back out because of all the clutter on your desk?
  • lost important papers or files?
  • had difficulty finding a reference book amidst the stacks on your office floor?

Unfortunately, we can't add hours to our days, but we can add time.  How?  By setting up an organized work space.  By efficiently filing and storing your papers, you will gain more time and be more productive.  You will spend less time searching, which will in turn give you more time to do what you love--write.

How can you have a more productive work space?  The first thing you must do is set aside a space in your home specifically for writing.  Whether it's in a corner of the bedroom, a desk in the family room, or your very own den, the space must be yours alone. Designate the space for writing-related tasks only. If you try to mix too many unrelated tasks in with your writing, you will create chaos.  Remember, writing is your business.  It's not household bills, or postcard reminders to call the vet, or your mother's lasagna recipe.  Set your space up as a professional writing area. 

How do you organize the existing clutter?  Set aside a day or two to do nothing except sorting and filing.  If you can't spend a day doing this, then break the task into smaller parts.  Start, for example, with your desktop one day.  Move on to your filing cabinet the next.  Then work on the stacks of books and papers on the floor.

When sorting through your papers, start with piles such as "To Do", "To File", "Toss", "Store", "Move to Another Room", etc.  Look at each paper for no more than ten seconds.  As you are doing this, try to remember if you already have this item stored on your computer and a back-up disk.  If so, toss the item. Once the piles are established, you can do more specific sorting. 

This is when you'll need file folders.  Use color-coded folders for easy spotting.  For example, use a different color for each project, or a different color for each area of writing, such as Research, Writing, Submissions, Contests, Promotion,  or Organizations.  If you don't think you'll remember what each color stands for, type out a list to paste to the outside of your file cabinets. 

Within each category, file papers alphabetically or numerically.  For example, use a "To Do" folder for current, pressing projects such as bills to pay or submissions to follow up on.  Place papers in folder according to due date, with the earliest in front for easiest visibility.  Do the same for Contests, filing the forms by entry deadline, then by finalist announcement date once they're submitted.  Or sort by name of contest.  Whatever system you use, choose one that will work logically for you when looking for a paper later.

After you've sorted through your papers and placed them in folders, label the folder tabs with a label maker or permanent marker.  You now have an idea of how much filing space you'll need.  Buy a filing cabinet small enough to suit your needs, but large enough to allow for expansion. You may want to buy two smaller units, one to keep current materials near your desk, and one to place off to the side.

Once the paper work is sorted, start on supplies.  What do you really need close at hand?  What do you use every day that needs to be within easy reach?  Most likely, this will be your pens, pencils, letter opener, stapler, paper clips, back-up disks, etc.  Place those items within easy reach on your desk, preferably in an organizer.  The only files that should be on your desk are ones that require immediate attention.  Otherwise, place in a file folder off to the side. 

For supplies you use on a regular basis, but not daily, such as mailing envelopes, stamps, extra sticky-notes, etc., place them within easy reach, such as on a rolling cart near your desk. Spare ink cartridges or printer paper, which is accessed only occasionally, should be stored farther from your desk, but remain handy.  Files and binders of research material no longer active should be stored off site, either in a closet, the basement, or another room.  Clearly label all boxes so you can easily find what you may need later.  Be sure to toss old or broken items, and give away anything you no longer use, but is still in good condition.

Again, you should now have an idea of what your storage needs are.  Buy file drawers or bookcases for office supplies and equipment.  Perhaps you even have an old dresser in the basement that's not being used.  The drawers are handy for holding anything from extra paper clips to reams of paper.  Buy a unit large enough to store your needs, with room for expansion.  Always have extra supplies on hand, such as ink cartridges, so you don't run out in the middle of an important project. 

To maintain a productive area, sift through your files and supplies on a regular basis.  Toss outdated entry forms, old newsletters (after tearing out the articles you wish to keep--and file!), and first drafts.  Create new folders for new ideas or items, and toss folders you no longer need.  Keep an eye on your supplies.  Rather than run out to the store every time you use something up, keep a sheet of paper on your supply cabinet  on which you can write what is used up or running low.  Then call your office supply store for a delivery (many deliver free after a certain dollar amount), or take a trip to the store yourself. But don't go overboard!  Buy only what you need, and only what you have room for.

Remember, a neat office is a productive office. And a productive office gives you more time to write.


Organize Yourself! by Ronni Eisenberg and Kate Kelly, Macmillan, 1997

Organizing from the Inside Out by Julie Morgenstern, Henry Holt & Co., 1998

Organizing Plain and Simple by Donna Smallin, Storey Books, 2002


For more resources on Organizing, see the "Writer's Resources" section on our Researching the Romance page.

Editor's Note

Spring is just around the corner, and personally, I can't wait.  I'm not a winter or cold-weather person.  I ask myself every Chicago winter why I live here.  Perhaps it is the promise of spring, and the change of seasons.  Spring is a sign of new life, and hope after months of frozen ground and brown landscape.  But for many of us, spring also means cleaning out the cobwebs and junk that has accumulated over the winter months--those long lazy months in front of the fireplace reading your favorite romance novels.  With the rebirth of spring comes the rebirth of the nest, so to speak.  And to help you prepare your nest for the warm weather ahead, I've included an article in this issue about clearing the clutter from your office space, and organizing your files into more manageable piles.  I've also listed a few books about clearing the clutter not only from your office, but from the rest of your life and living space.  By following even a few simple organizing tips, you will not only feel better walking into your home, you will have more time because you will know exactly where to find what you want. So as soon as you finish reading this newsletter, get thee to thy office and start organizing!  Good luck!

--Michelle Hoppe

President, Literary Liaisons, Ltd.

Q&A Column

Q:  (From the Guestbook)You could add what their transport was...


A:   In the early part of the 19th century, most travelers relied on carriages--either by post, or private.  By the time Queen Victoria came to throne, railways were springing up across the country, giving citizens a quicker, and more affordable way to travel. By the end of the century, motorized vehicles were beginning to appear, both on the road, and underground.  For more information on the types of carriages used, visit these web sites: Getting Around: Carriages in Regency and Victorian Times, Victorian Conveyances, 19th Century Buggies & Wagons, Transportation in the 19th Century. For more information on rail travel, see these sites: National Railway Museum, Railways in the 19th Century. For more information on the London buses and underground transportation, see these sites: London Transport Museum, Underground History.

Michelle Hoppe
President, Literary Liaisons

Historical Calendar of Events


John Masefield--English poet

A.J. Munnings--English painter

Rutland Boughton--English composer

Carl Sandburg--American poet

Upton Sinclair--American author and reformer



Charles Daubigny--French painter

Victor Emmanuel II--King of Italy

Pope Pius IX



Turkish-Russian armistice signed.

Greece declared war on Turkey.

Humbert I succeeds Victor Emmanuel II as King of Italy.

Assassination attempt on Emperor William I of Germany.   

February 28--The Bland-Allison Act passed by Congress made the silver dollar legal tender.

March 5--The Treaty of San Stefano ends hostilities with Russia but angers Britain, Germany, Austria, and Italy.

May 31--Congress voted to reduce the circulation of greenbacks, and by December 17 they have regained their face value for the first time since 1862.

Britain occupied Cyprus under terms of a secret June 4 agreement with the sultan to defend Turkey against further attack.

The Berlin Congress in June and July dismembered the Ottoman Empire but denied Russia most of her gains.

France occupied Tunis.


The Arts

"Mme. Charpentier and Her Children" by Pierre Auguste Renoir

"Rehearsal on the Stage" by Edgar Degas

"Sierra Nevada" by Albert Bierstadt


The Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy

The Europeans by Henry James


History of England in the Eighteenth Century by W.E.H. Lecky

How to Make Our Ideas Clear by Charles Pierce


"Poems and Ballads" by Swinburne


"Symphony No. 4 in F Minor" by Peter Tchaikovsky premiered at Moscow on February 10.

"Sonata in A Major for Violin and Piano" by Gabriel Urbain Faure premiered at the Trocadero Hall


"The Pillars of Society" by Henrik Ibsen premiered November 6 at Oslo's Mollergarten Theatre

"The Girl with No Dowry" by Aleksandr Ostrovsky premiered November 10 at Moscow's Maly  Theater


"HMS Pinafore" by Gilbert and Sullivan premiered May 25 at London's Opera Comique

"The Secret" with music by Smetana premiered at Prague September 18.

Popular Songs: 

 "Carry Me Back to Old Virginny" by James Bland



Daily Life

Ellen Terry joined Irving's Company at the Lyceum Theatre in London.

Cleopatra's Needle was moved from Alexandria to London.

The Bicycle Touring Club founded in England.

The C.I.D., the New Scotland Yard, was established in London.

Frank Hadow returned to England on leave from his Ceylon tea plantation to win in Wimbledon singles play.

Will’s Three Castles cigarettes were introduced at London.

The Paris World Exhibition was held.

The Salvation Army, begun in 1865, became known under its new name.

February 21--The New Haven Telephone Co. issued the first telephone directory. It listed 50 subscribers.

Berlitz Schools of Languages had their beginnings at Providence, Rhode Island.

The Chattanooga Times began publication under the direction of Cincinnati-born publisher Adolph Simon Ochs.

The Cleveland Press had its beginnings in the Penny Press started by Edward Wyllis Scripps.

The St. Louis Dispatch began publication December 12.

J. Walter Thompson took over the advertising firm Carlton and Smith, and began representing general magazines.

Bat Masterson captured outlaw Dave Rudabaugh in Dakota Territory.  Masterson was subsequently appointed U.S. marshal.  

Texas outlaw Sam Bass gathered a new gang at Denton but was betrayed to the Texas Rangers and trapped while trying to rob a bank at Round Rock,.  He was mortally wounded at age 26.

Nearly 10,500 U.S. business firms failed as the economic depression that began in 1873 continued.

A yellow fever epidemic swept the U.S. Gulf Coast states and Tennessee, killing an estimated 14,000.

A new Monte Carlo gambling casino opened to replace the original 1862 structure.

A smallpox epidemic struck Deadwood in the Dakota Territory. Frontierwoman Martha Jane Canary worked in men’s clothing to nurse the ill and rendered service that would make her legendary as “Calamity Jane.”

The Central City Opera House opened in Colorado.

The Cincinnati Music Hall opened on Elm Street with 3,600 seats.

Jehovah’s Witnesses had its beginnings as Pittsburgh Congregationalist minister Charles T. Russell became pastor of an independent church.

The last mass nesting of passenger pigeons was seen at Petoskey, Michigan.  

President Hayes invited the children of Washington to an Easter egg roll on the White House lawn and began an annual event.

The worst famine in history killed at least 10 million Chinese, possibly twice that number as drought continued in much of Asia.

April 4--The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe cut engineers’ pay 10 percent. Most engineers and firemen strike and the railroad is closed down for 5 days.




Electric street lighting was introduced in London.

David Hughes invented the microphone.

Iodoform used the first time as antiseptic.

Mannlicher produced the first repeater rifle.

A.A. Pope manufactured the first bicycles in America.

Karl Benz built a motorized tricycle which reached a top speed of seven miles per hour.

Fur farming began in Canada.

The first commercial milking machines were produced at Auburn, New York.

Tiffany glass had its beginnings in a factory established by New York painter-craftsman Louis Comfort Tiffany. 

The first commercial telephone exchange opened January 28 at New Haven, Connecticut. The exchange had 21 subscribers. Remington Arms Co. improved the Remington typewriter of 1876 by adding a shift key system that employs upper- and lower-case letters on the same type bar.

The Tiffany Diamond found in South Africa’s Kimberly Mine was the largest and finest yellow diamond ever discovered.

October 15--The Edison Electric Light Co. was founded .

December 18--The first carbon filament incandescent light bulb of any value was demonstrated at a meeting of the Newcastle-on-Tyne Chemical Society.

Ivory Soap had its origin in The White Soap introduced by Cincinnati’s Procter and Gamble Company.

The Santa Fe laid tracks through Raton Pass 15 miles south of Trinidad, Colorado into New Mexico Territory.

June 6--New York’s Ninth Avenue Elevated began running from Trinity Church to 58th Street.  

The steamboat J. M. White launched on the Mississippi was the grandest ever seen on the river, with smokestacks 80 feet high, and a roof bell that weighs 2,880 pounds. It set a new speed record by steaming from New Orleans upriver to St. Louis in 3 days, 23 hours, and 9 minutes. 

Beet-sugar extraction mills were demonstrated at the Paris World Exhibition.

Charles G. Hutchinson invented the Hutchinson Bottle Stopper. It is made of wire with a rubber washer, and seals in the carbonation of effervescent drinks when pulled up tight, but the rubber imparts a taste to the beverage.

The Silvertown Refinery owned by London sugar magnate Henry Tate introduced the first sugar cubes. 

Charles A. Pillsbury at Minneapolis installed steel rollers to replace millstones. 

Western Cold Storage Co. opened an ice-cooled cold store at Chicago. 

Salt wells went into production in New York’s Wyoming County as a high tariff encouraged production.  

The first roasted coffee to be packed in sealed cans was packed by Boston’s Chase and Sanborn.

Alaska got its first salmon cannery.

New York physician William Henry Welch opened the first U.S. pathology laboratory at Bellevue Hospital.

German psychologist Wilhelm Max Wundt established the first laboratory for experimental psychology.

Herreshoff Manufacturing Co. was formed by U.S. yacht designer John Brown Herreshoff, blind since age 14, and his brother Nathanael Greene.


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