Literary Links

March/April 2005


Good News and Announcements

New Additions--We've added several more titles to our Used Book Store, some still in shrink wrap from the store, but at bargain prices.  And don't forget, you can buy on-line through PayPal. Take a look, we'll be keep adding to it over the months. 

Now Available--Marrying Mozart by Stephanie Cowell is now available in paperback format.  Praised by reviewers, Marrying Mozart has recently been nominated as Best Historical Fiction by Romantic Times magazine.  Winners will be announced just prior to the Romantic Times St. Louis convention on April 28, 2005.  Visit our bookstore for ordering information.

Coming Soon--Abbie's Outlaw by Victoria Bylin will be released on April 1, 2005. For more information, visit her web site at Click here to preorder your copy today.

Services Available--Need to get your home office or house organized? How about research for your new book?  Michelle Prima, President of Literary Liaisons, is now offering organizing, research and errand services through her company, Prima By Design, Inc., a Professional Organizing business for residential customers. She currently works in the Chicago area only, but will provide research services on-line for others.  Contact Michelle for more information.

Chicago-North Fire & Ice Contest--Chicago-North RWA is sponsoring their 7th annual Fire & Ice Contest with new rules and new categories!  Enter your first 25 pages in one of four categories--Single Title Contemporary, Series Contemporary, Chick Lit or Historical.  Top prize in each category is $50.  Acquiring editors or agents will read finalist entries.  For more information, visit the Chicago-North web site.

Victorian Research Guide--This 252-page guide, Researching the British Historical--The Victorian Era, is available either in print format or CD-Rom.  You can now order it on-line through PayPal.  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.




Abbie's Outlaw by Victoria Bylin

Marrying Mozart by Stephanie Cowell



The Organizing Sourcebook: Nine Strategies for Simplifying Your Life by Kathy Waddill

The Professor and the Madman by Simon Winchester

A Thread Across the Ocean: The Heroic Story of the Transatlantic Cable by John Steele Gordon

The Titled Americans: Three American Sisters and the Aristocratic World into which They Married by Elisabeth Kehoe

Writing Romance by Vanessa Grant


Feature Title:

Victorian Things by Asa Briggs


The Video Library


The House of Mirth


Researching the Romance


The Organizing Sourcebook: Nine Strategies for Simplifying Your Life by Kathy Waddill

The Professor and the Madman by Simon Winchester

A Thread Across the Ocean: The Heroic Story of the Transatlantic Cable by John Steele Gordon

The Titled Americans: Three American Sisters and the Aristocratic World into which They Married by Elisabeth Kehoe

Writing Romance by Vanessa Grant


Writers' Resources Online


All You Can

Book Page

Gravely Gorgeous

MegaConverter 2

Postcard and Greeting Card Museum

Reforming Fashion

Who's Who of Victorian Cinema


Feature Article 

Organizing Your Writing--Part Two--Submitting and Networking

by Michelle J. Prima

In a previous article, I showed you how to organize your writing with both paper and electronic filing systems.  This article will help you keep track of your submissions, and supply you with networking hints to make the connections you need to become tomorrow's best-selling author.

Now that you have a completed project, you can start submitting your work to contests as well as editors and agents.  Why wait until the work is complete before submitting to contests?  Well, you really don't have to.  In fact, contests are a very good way to get objective feedback.  Because people who don't know you would be judging you, they are apt to be more honest in their opinion.  But there is a drawback. 

Suppose you've written your first chapter, taken it to your critique group, rewritten your first chapter, submitted it to a contest, received feedback, rewritten it again, submitted it again, until it is so polished and perfect you know it will final, if not win, in the next several contests.  That is all well and fine, but sometimes we spend so much time refining our first chapter, we don't move ahead on the project.  What if, in one of those contests, the final round judge asks for a full manuscript? Then what?  You call and tell her you haven't written another word on the book, and she'll have to wait for six to eight months to see the manuscript?  Sure, she'll probably remember the book when she sees it, but she'd remember it more clearly if it arrived on her desk two weeks after the request, not six months. 

Contests certainly have their place, but don't stop writing to refine your work for contests, and don't write to suit a contest.  Find a contest which suits your manuscript.  Above all, keep writing while you are waiting to hear back.

Which brings us to keeping track of submissions.  Once you start submitting to editors, agents and contests, you need to keep track of what went where.  Many writers have several projects going on at the same time, and even several versions of the same project.  So how DO you keep track of it all?  You can track your files on paper, electronically, or both.  If you choose to do it electronically, you should keep a hard copy back-up also. 


For contest entries, fill out the necessary forms, print out your submission, pre-print an SASE postcard to indicate your entry has been received, and send off your entry.  After mailing, file the rules with the notification date highlighted, along with the receipt from your postage in your “Pending” file.  On regular maintenance of your “Pending” file, check the date finalists are to be notified.  If that date has passed, contact the contest’s category coordinator.  Once all materials from a contest have been returned, keep what is useful and toss the rest.  Use whatever comments judges make to edit your manuscript, or possibly use in a cover letter to an editor or agent. Keep receipts for expenses incurred in your tax folder.  Write thank-you notes to the judges, then toss the remainder of the papers.  File papers you decide to keep in the file box you created for that project.


You can also track submissions through your tickler file. Write deadline dates on index cards and file them behind the appropriate month.  Check your tickler file on a regular basis to check progress on your entries. 


To keep track of contest entries electronically, the best way is in a spreadsheet program.  Set up columns for Contest Name, Sponsoring Chapter, Contact Person, Title of Manuscript, Material Submitted, Date Entered, Date Postcard Returned, Date of Finalist Notification, Date of Winner Announcement, and Results.  Fill out the information as it occurs.  Every so often, print out the spreadsheet, and you’ll have an overall view of all the contests you’ve entered and when you should be hearing back.  This system takes more time, but may be more effective for you than the Tickler File.  Again, use what works best for you.


Keeping track of submissions to editors and agents works much like contest entries.  You can keep a hard copy, an electronic file, or both.  After sending out a query, check the editor’s or agent’s guidelines for response time.  Write that timeline (or date) on a copy of the query, and file it in your “Pending” folder.  If you get a request for more material, staple a copy of the second cover letter to the query, write the new response time on the letter and return to ‘Pending” folder.  Once you receive a final reply, all correspondence for that manuscript can be filed into your portable file holder or accordion file. 


You can also track entries in your Tickler File or in a spreadsheet.  Enter the name of the manuscript along with the date a reply is expected.  Give the editor or agent a week or two after the expected date, and if no word is heard, contact them.  They may give you a new date, which you would then record on the index card or in your spreadsheet program, and re-file.  Always include the agent or editor's name, address and phone number in your files.  Then you won't have to look it up every time you need to contact them.  Again, use the system which works for you.


As I said before, you sometimes send out different versions of your project to different places. To keep track of what went where, keep a copy of the submitted material (cover letter, synopsis, chapters, etc.) in a separate folder for that project.  Name the folder according to the destination/date.  For example, a contest entry to Chicago-North would be named "Fire & Ice Contest 2005." A submission to an editor at Avon would be named "J. Doe--Avon 031505."  And so on.  Then, when you receive a revision letter or request for more material, you will know immediately which version you sent.  Regarding dates, your computer automatically stores the date the folder was created.  But I suggest using the date in the folder name also.  That way, you will know at a glance whether the newest version went to an agent, or an older one went to a contest, and so on.


Once you are active in the writing and submitting process, you will be networking more and more.  You need to get your name out to the public before you publish, so when you do publish, your name will already be recognized.  But how do you remember who you met where, and what they write, or what they said about your writing? 


First, you need to create a folder or rolodex for business cards.  Each time you receive a card from someone, make a notation on the back of the card identifying where you met the person, and what they write, or any other interesting fact about them.  For example, you met another historical writer who has been to London recently and talked about the wonderful book stores there.  Months later, when you're planning your own trip, look through your cards for that "London book stores" note on the back.  Drop the person an e-mail and ask them


Or, perhaps you met Agent 'A' at a reception.  She handed you her card, and mentioned she likes Victorian romances.  You make the  notation "Victorian" on the card.  Then, when you are ready to submit, you'll try her first, since you know she likes the time period about which you write.


To store this information electronically, transfer any names, addresses, phone numbers, etc. of contacts to a database as you collect them.  This will also build your mailing list, both before and after you are published.  Include a field for where you met the person, (this will not be added to the mailing label).  This sort of information is useful when you meet this person later, or when you write to them.  Including a note about a past encounter will make the correspondence more personal.


As a writer, or any other business professional, you are networking any time you are out in public, be it the grocery store or a conference.  You should always have a business card on you, and you should always ask anyone you meet for their card.  Keeping these cards in a file or database will make your promo and marketing a much easier task. 


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


Editor's Note

Well, spring is here, almost.  How do I know?  It's not the robins at the bird feeders or the green tips of vegetation sprouting through the snow.  No, it's the once frozen mud, no longer frozen, finding its way into my house on the dogs' paws.  I could not let them out as often, but they have such a blast playing in what's left of the snow. And the lab, well he likes eating the bird seed that falls to the ground.  Actually, he likes eating anything.  So I grin and bear it, because like spring, these goofy dogs bring me such pleasure.  Our issue this month brings you more tips for organizing your writing, and also has a couple of references to a classic writing reference, the Oxford English Dictionary.  Did you know it took 70 years for the first edition to be completed?  Ten volumes, 2700 writers, over 400,000 words and 4500 quotations later, the OED project, originally envisioned as taking ten years, was finally done in 1928.  The first volume was published in 1884 (see dateline below) as A New English Dictionary on Historical Principles.  You can read more about the making of the OED in a book from our "Researching the Romance" list, The Professor and the Madman.  I hope you enjoy this issue as you wait for your own heralds of spring.

--Michelle Prima

President, Literary Liaisons, Ltd.

Q&A Column

Q: I would have liked to find some invitation cards, like invitation to a Victorian tea party.   



A: Here at Literary Liaisons, our specialty is helping the writer recreate an authentic historical setting.  Therefore, most of our resources are literary, not retail.  However, we are here to help anyone with a question, so here are a few web resources to get you started in your search.  Try the following web sites:

The Lavender Lady--includes blank note cards suitable for invitations
Victorian Flair--How to host a Tea Party with ideas on creating your own invites and sample text
Impressiona in Print--custom invitations for theme parties, including teas
A Victorian Tea Party Invitation
from the main site, Averyl's Attic
Or just do a search at
Enter the words "tea party invitations" in the serach box and you'll get hundreds of sites that sell tea party invitations.  It just takes some time to find the right one!

Michelle Prima

President, Literary Liaisons, Ltd.


Historical Calendar of Events



J. E. Flecker--English poet and dramatist

Sean O'Casey--Irish author

Damon Runyon--American author

Georges Duhamel--French novelist

Harry S. Truman--U.S. President



Cyrus McCormick--American businessman

Emanual Geibel--German author

Heinrich Laube--German dramatist

Hans Makart--Austrian painter



George Bernard Shaw became a member of the Fabian Society.

London's Toynbee Hall, the world's first settlement house, was founded to attract well-to-do young people to settle in the city's slums and serve the poor.

London Convention on Transvaal held.

Chancellor Bismarck cabled Cape Town April 24 that Southwest Africa (Namibia) was a German colony.
Berlin Conference of 14 nations on African affairs opened November 14.

Grover Cleveland elected President of the United States.

Congress established a Bureau of Labor in the Department of the Interior as severe coal strikes occurred in Pennsylvania and Ohio.
California outlawed the hydraulic mining that has been ruining the environment since 1852.

French law excluded members of former dynasties from the presidency.

Russia ended her poll tax.

The Arts

"Bathers at Asnieres" by Georges Seurat

"King Cophetua and the Beggar Maid" by Edward Burne-Jones


The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

"The Lady or the Tiger" by Frank Stockton

Sappho by Alphonse Daudet

With Fire and Sword by Henryk Sienkiewicz


Oxford English Dictionary (began publication as A New English Dictionary on Historical Principles --last volume published in 1928)


"Les Syrtes" by Jean Moreas

"Jadis et Naguere" by Paul Verlaine


"Symphony No. 3 in F Major" by Joseph Brahms

Popular Songs:

"The Fountain in the Park" by Ed Haley

"Love's Old Sweet Song" by James Molloy and C. Clifton Bingham

"Rock-a-bye Baby" by I. Canning

Operas and Operettas:

"Manon" by Jules Massenet premiered in Paris

"Princess Ida" by Gilbert and Sullivan opened at London's Savoy Theatre

"Mazeppa" by Tchaikovsky premiered at Moscow's Bolshoi Theatre


"Adonis" with music by Edward Rice premiered at the Bijoux Theater on September 24.


"The Wild Duck" by Henrik Ibsen


Daily Life

Scurvy reappeared in the Royal Navy; so the Admiralty ordered a daily lemon ration aboard all British warships where the old 1795 order has lapsed.
Divorce was reestablished in France.

Le Matin began publication in Paris.

The Playbill had its beginnings as a one-page flyer, started by local printer Frank V. Strauss.

Charles Russell founded the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society to publish his books, pamphlets, and periodicals.

Temple University was founded at Philadelphia.

Gold was discovered in the Transvaal.

Ceylon's coffee output fell to 150,000 bags, down from 700,000 in 1870 when the rust disease caused by Hamileia vastatrix began.
Chinese farm workers accounted for half of California's agricultural labor force, up from 10 percent in 1870.
New York's Dakota apartment house, a $2 million nine-story building, opened October 27 at 72nd Street and Central Park West.
Chicago's Studebaker Building was completed by architect S. S. Berman.
The first skyscraper went up in Chicago.
National Cash Register Co. was founded at Dayton, Ohio.
The Central Pacific Railroad was merged into the Southern Pacific.

A new Harrods store opened in London in September with displays of silver and brass, trunks and saddlery, and cheap patent medicines.

Montgomery Ward issued a 240-page catalog offering nearly 10,000 items.
The first roller coaster opened at Coney Island, New York.
Gold Dust soap was introduced by Chicago's N. K. Fairbank & Company.
Quaker Oats became one of the first food commodities to be sold in packages.

William Renshaw won in men's singles at Wimbledon.

Maud Watson won in women's singles at Wimbledon.
Overhand pitching gained acceptance for the first time in major league baseball.
The "Louisville Slugger" bat was introduced by the Kentucky firm Hillerich and Bradsby.
The first baseball playoff series was won by the National League's Providence, R.I., team, which defeated the New York Metropolitans of the American Association 3 games to 0.
The National Horse Show opened in October at New York's Madison Square Garden with 352 animals in 105 classes including hunters, jumpers, harness horses, ponies, Arabians, police and fire horses, mules, and donkeys in an event that will be held annually the first week of November.


The first deep tube (underground railroad) opened in London.

German physician Arthur Nicolaier discovered the tetanus bacillus.

F. A. J. Löffler of Berlin isolated and cultured the diphtheria bacillus.
Leipzig gynecologist Karl Sigismund Franz Crede discovered that a few drops of silver nitrate solution in the eyes of newborn infants would prevent blindness from gonorrheal infection.
New York physician Edward Livingston Trudeau  pioneered open-air treatment of tuberculosis in America.
New York surgeon William Stewart Halsted injected a patient with cocaine, pioneering the practice of local anesthesia.
New York ophthalmologist Carl Killer introduced cocaine as a local anesthetic for eye surgery.
English surgeon Rickman John Godlee performed the first operation for the removal of a brain tumor November 25.

French botanist Pierre M. Alexis Millardet invented Bordeaux mixture, a solution of copper sulfate, lime, and water to effectively combat the fungus diseases attacking French vineyards.  It would also prove effective against potato blight.

The soft-shell clam Mya arenaria, also called the long-neck clam, was introduced to the U.S. Pacific Coast.
German-American mechanic Ottmar Mergenthaler patented the Linotype typesetting machine for newspaper composing rooms.
New York insurance man Lewis Edson Waterman invented the Waterman pen, the first practical fountain pen with a capillary feed.
Sir Charles Parsons invented the first practical steam turbine engine.

English physicist Sir Oliver Lodge discovered electrical precipitation.
British photography pioneer W. H. Walker invented paper coated with emulsion for a photographic film roll system.
George Eastman invented a machine to coat photographic paper continuously in long rolls.
Seattle got its first rail link to the East.
Electric streetcars employing overhead wires appeared in Germany

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