Literary Links

March/April 2006


Good News and Announcements

Good News--Beverly Long has an article in April 2006 edition of Writer magazine.  Drawing on years of experience in the Human Resources industry, Beverly gives tips on how to be the best applicant for the Writing job.  Beverly will be presenting a workshop on this topic a the 2006 Chicago-North RWA Spring Fling Conference.  Congratulations to Allie Pleiter who just sold another book to Harlequin for the Live Inspired chick lit line.  The working title is "A Perfect Blend."  Meanwhile, pick up Allie's latest book, Queen Esther and the Second Graders of Doom at book stores now.

Coming Soon!--Allie Pleiter, author of the current Queen Esther and the Second Graders of Doom, has a new book coming out in August 2006 entitled My So-Called Love Life.  Look for it this summer.

Available Now!--Michelle Prima has gathered years of experience in research and writing, and written a 14-page booklet for authors, 101 Organizing Tips for WritersClick here for more information on how you can become more organized and more productive.

Chicago-North Spring Fling Conference--Many of our authors will be at the Chicago-North RWA Spring Fling Conference on April 28-29, 2006 at the Hyatt Deerfield in Deerfield, IL.  Beverly Long will be speaking on "Be the Best Applicant for the (Writing) Job."  Lindsay Longford will be speaking on "Charms for the Writing Life/Gris-Gris for Writers" with Margaret Watson.  Also in attendance will be Ann Macela, Allie Pleiter, Blythe Gifford and Michelle Prima.  If you can't make it to the conference, the public is invited to the book signing on Saturday April 29 from 5:00 to 6:00p.m. 

Chicago-North Fire & Ice Contest--Chicago-North RWA is sponsoring their 8th annual Fire & Ice Contest.  Enter your first 25 pages in one of five categories--Single Title Contemporary, Series Romance, or Historical Romance, Chick Lit and Paranormal Romance.  Top prize in each category is $30.  Acquiring editors will read finalist entries.  Entry deadline in April 1, 2006. For more information, visit the Chicago-North web site.

RWA National Conference--The 2006 annual RWA conference will be at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis in Atlanta, Georgia from July 26-29.  Blythe Gifford will be speaking with Debbie Pfeiffer on Saturday, July 29 at 8:30a.m.  The topic is "60 Minutes to Your Marketing Strategy." 

Services Available--Need to get your writing 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.


New On Literary Liaisons

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






101 Organizing Tips for Writers




Queen Esther and the Second Graders of Doom by Allie Pleiter




The Art of Romance Writing by Valerie Parv

English Society in the 18th Century by Roy Porter

The Great Tea Houses of Britain by Bruce Richardson and John Gentry

Moseman's Illustrated Catalog of Horse Furnishing Goods by C.M. Moseman and Brother

The Rise and Fall of the British Empire by Lawrence James

Wedding Fashions 1862-1912 by JoAnne Olian


Feature Title:


Moseman's Illustrated Catalog of Horse Furnishing Goods by C.M. Moseman and Brother



The Video Library


Our Mutual Friend



Researching the Romance


The Art of Romance Writing by Valerie Parv

English Society in the 18th Century by Roy Porter

The Great Tea Houses of Britain by Bruce Richardson and John Gentry

Moseman's Illustrated Catalog of Horse Furnishing Goods by C.M. Moseman and Brother

The Rise and Fall of the British Empire by Lawrence James

Wedding Fashions 1862-1912 by JoAnne Olian



Writers' Resources Online


James River Plantations

Letters, Letter-writing and Other Intimate Discourse

The London Bridge Museum

Thames Pilot


Feature Article 

Writing Basics: Part Four--Point of View

by Michelle Prima


Are you a head-hopper or a purist?

If you are a writer, you know these terms are related to character viewpoint.  A head-hopper is a writer who writes a story from several characters' viewpoints.  Everyone who is on stage gets a chance to tell readers what he or she is thinking.  A purist is the opposite.  This is a writer who stays in one character's viewpoint for the entire scene--possibly the entire chapter or even the book.  So how do you know which to use? It depends on how and who you want to tell your story. 

First, let's talk tense because it's simple.  Stories are almost always told in past tense (he sat, she slipped, they barked), even though the action is happening at the present time.  Non-fiction may be written in present tense because it is instructional, and your synopsis should be in present tense (he is shocked at the news, she is overcome with grief).  But the story itself should be written in past tense. 

The next decision you need to make regarding your story should be whether it is told in first person (I, we) or third person (he, she, they).  With first person, the story is told by one of your characters as the events unfold.  With third person, an invisible narrator is telling the story as he observes it.  The narrator is not a character in the story, although he tells you what the characters are doing and sometimes thinking.  

To further delineate, a story can be told from omniscient or limited points of view.  In limited point of view, the reader knows only the thoughts of one person or character at a time.  In omniscient point of view, the narrator is all-knowing and all-seeing.  It's like a camera looking down onto a group of people in a scene and being able to get inside each of their heads.

Let's see how these two elements combine to determine point of view.  If the story is told in first person, the reader sees and knows only what the narrator sees and knows.  Nothing else behind the scenes is revealed.  Thus, a first-person story can never be omniscient point of view.  The narrator, while he/she can observe others, would not be able to know what they are thinking.

In third person stories, you can have either omniscient or limited point of view.  There are varying degrees of penetration.  A purist will stay in one character's head and tell the entire story through his/her eyes.  A head-hopper will get into everyone's head and tell the story as everyone sees it unfolding before them.  In between are the writers who select two or three main characters (hero/heroine/villain) and use only their viewpoints. 

So the question arises once again--which do you use?  The answer--what's best for your story. 

Look at the story you are trying to tell and ask yourself what message you want to convey.  Is it deep emotional suffering a particular character has to overcome, like the loss of a child?  Then use first or third person, with only that character's point of view.  Staying in one viewpoint will ground the reader in that character.  By showing the reader what that character is feeling, the reader will begin to feel it also, and begin to care.

Is it a more general message of persistence and hard work paying off in the end?  This is a story where several points of views may be valuable.  Why is the hero resistant to change?  Why is the heroine so determined to bring about that change?  Why is the villain trying his best to sabotage the heroine's efforts?  If you want your readers to identify with, or care about each of these main characters, you will want to get into each of their heads and let the reader know what they are feeling. 

Or is it a story of man vs. nature and how families overcame the fury of a storm?  Do you want your reader to care about everyone in the story because they have all undergone tragedy?  Then go ahead and 'head-hop' between characters.  Delve into everyone's head from Grandma's to the five-year-old who sees his new school reduced to a pile of rubbish.  Get into their heads and tell your reader what they are feeling.

So is a purist better than a head-hopper?  Neither one is better or worse.  It's all in how you use them.  A purist has to make the main character interesting enough to keep the reader vested in their goal.  A head-hopper has to be able to clearly delineate whose head the reader is in.  They also have to be careful not to go overboard and give everyone's opinion down to the coachman who only appears once in the story.  Not only may the ready get confused, they may not get vested enough in any one character to care and stop reading.

Whichever you choose, make it the best for your story.



Characters and Viewpoint by Orson Scott Card, Writer's Digest Books, 1988.

"Who and How To Tell It" by Nancy Kress, Writer's Digest September 2000.

For more information on these books, visit our Features Page.

For more sources like these, visit our Reference Books Page



Editor's Note

Here it is, another spring season on the horizon.  Is it me, or does time seem to be going faster these days?  Maybe that's because I am busy getting everything together to send my younger daughter off to college.  I remember the day she was born, and here she is, an adult who can vote and legally move out on her own.  Not that she will.  It seems we give our children and dogs too good a life for them to want to leave.  My daughters, though old enough, will hang out here for years to come.  The oldest already moved back from NIU to go to the community college up the road.  The stepchildren want to live here.  And the dogs, well let's just say the oldest, our mastiff, is stubbornly hanging in there at nearly ten years old, when his life expectancy is seven years.  Oh, and then there's the guinea pig who is going on five.  It's comforting in a way to know that everyone wants to be here.  After some difficult years, I can truly say that I am living what I write--happy endings.  Although I am a better writer because of my past experiences, I do like my own true-life hero and happily-ever-after.  So the next time something painful happens to you, learn from the experience, then move on.  Draw on those emotions as you write, and you too, can create well-rounded characters.

--Michelle Prima

President, Literary Liaisons, Ltd.

Q&A Column

Q: For a change of pace, we decided to post some comments from our Guestbook.  We hope you find the site as useful as these visitors. 

A: This site was very useful for my assignment and has good information. thank you!--Lauren


Just love your site, you have done a great job & thank you for sharing with us. So glad you love Victorian too. Do hope you will join our online Victorian Ladies Society. Blessings with the kindest regards.--Lady Victoria


While wasting time on the internet today, I ran across a reference to "English Ancestral Names" in your research database. That book was written by my grandfather and I find it very handy to have around! I am a history nut, just like he was, but I go about my research a little differently. (BTW, he lived to be about 103). Since I write historical fiction and historical romance, I would like to put a link to this site from my new website, and I plan to explore it much further in the days to come.--Kate


I really enjoyed reading the articles on this site, they improved my knowledge of the certain wearables for ladies and other close topics. Now that I know these things I can back up a lot of work, Thank you :)--Luger


A most impressive website for a history buff! The research pages are full of excellent stuff. Hope to soon add an article myself.--Juliet

Michelle Prima

President, Literary Liaisons, Ltd.


Historical Calendar of Events



A.P. Herbert--English writer

Karel Capek--Czech author

Dwight D. Eisenhower--American general and president

Charles de Gaulle--French soldier and statesman

Anthony Fokker--Dutch aircraft designer



Gottfried Keller--Swiss novelist

Vincent Van Gogh--artist

Willem III of the Netherlands

Cardinal Newman

Charles Forepaugh--American circus proprietor



Britain exchanged Heligoland with Germany for Zanzibar and Pemba.

Cecil Rhodes became Premier of Cape Colony.

September 12--The British South Africa Company founded Salisbury in the Mashonaland territory that will become Rhodesia in 1895.

Wall Street had a panic in November when the London banking house Baring Brothers failed and English investors dumped U.S. securities.

The United Mine Workers of America was organized as an affiliate of the American Federation of Labor.
August 8--The Knights of Labor held a strike at the New York Central Railroad.
Mississippi instituted a poll tax, literacy tests, and other measures designed to restrict voting by blacks.
July 2--Congress passes The Sherman Anti-Trust Act which will curtail the powers of U.S. business monopolies.

February 10--11 million acres of Sioux lands in South Dakota were opened to settlement under terms of a presidential proclamation.

December 15--Sioux chief Sitting Bull was arrested in a skirmish with U.S. troops and shot dead by Indian police at Grand River during a rescue attempt.
December 29--The Battle of Wounded Knee ended the last major Indian resistance to white settlement in America.
The U.S. population reached 62.9 million with two-thirds of it rural, down from 90 percent rural in 1840.
Idaho and Wyoming became states of the United States of America.
Washington's Rock Creek Park was set aside after years of congressional opposition.

Yosemite National Park was created by an act of Congress which also created Sequoia National Park.

New York financier W. R. Grace assumed the debt of two bond issues, rescuing the Peruvian government from bankruptcy.  In return, Peru conceded virtual control of nearly all the country's developed and undeveloped resources.
March 18--Kaiser Wilhelm forced Otto Bismarck to resign as prime minister.
October 28--The German East Africa Co. ceded all its territorial rights to the German government.
The Duchy of Luxembourg split from the Netherlands upon Willem's death. Queen Wilhelmina, aged 10, acceded to the throne with her mother acting as regent until 1898.

The Swiss government introduced social insurance.

The Arts

'The Cardplayers" by Paul Cezanne

"The Bath of Psyche" by Frederick Leighton

"Poplars" by Claude Monet

"A Field Under a Starry Sky" by Vincent Van Gogh


The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

The Sign of the Four by A. Conan Doyle


In Darkest England and Way Out by William Booth

The Golden Bough by James George Frazer

How the Other Half Lives by Jacob August Riis


Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen


"Poems by Emily Dickinson" posthumously


"Queen of Spades" by Peter Tchaikovsky

"Cavalleria Rusticana" by Pietro Mascagni


"Beau Brummel" by Clyde Fitch premiered at New York's Madison Square Garden on May 17. 


"The Sleeping Beauty" with music by Petr Tchaikovsky and choreography by Marius Petipa, premiered at the Maryinsky Theater in St. Petersburg on January 15



Daily Life

The Literary Digest began publication with reprints of comment and opinion from other U.S. periodicals.
Only 3 percent of Americans age 18 to 21 attended college.
Colgate University in Hamilton, New York, took that name after 71 years as Madison University. The late soap maker William Colgate and his sons have been large benefactors to the university.
The University of Oklahoma was founded at Norman in Oklahoma Territory.
Oklahoma State University was founded at Stillwater.

Willoby Hamilton of Ireland won in men's singles at Wimbledon.

Helen Bertha Grace Rice of Ireland won in women's singles at Wimbledon.

Oliver Samuel Campbell won in U.S. men's singles.

Ellen C. Roosevelt won in U.S. women's singles.
Cy Young signed with the Cleveland team of the National League to begin a pitching career that will continue for nearly 23 years. He will be the first pitcher to win 500 games.
The first Army-Navy football game began a long rivalry between West Point and Annapolis. Navy won 24 to 0.

Sun Oil Co. of Ohio was founded by entrepreneur Joseph Newton Pew, who had married a Titusville, Pennsylvania woman whose family helped develop the Pennsylvania oil fields.

Rothman's was founded by a London tobacconist.
American Tobacco Co. was founded by James Buchanan Duke, who created a colossal trust by merging his father Washington Duke's Durham, N.C., company with four other major plug tobacco firms.

American Biscuit & Manufacturing Co. was created by a merger of western bakeries under the leadership of Chicago lawyer Adolphus Williamson Green.

New York Biscuit was created by a merger of some 23 bakeries in 10 states.

Global influenza epidemics spread.

Daughters of the American Revolution was founded in Washington.
Kern County Land Co.was founded by speculators Lloyd Tevis and James Ben Ali Haggin.
The "Gibson Girl" created by New York illustrator Charles Dana Gibson, made her first appearance in the humor weekly Life.
Starlings were introduced into New York by local drug manufacturer Eugene Schieffelin. He released 50 pairs of starlings, and will release another 20 pairs next year, to prey upon the English sparrows that have overrun Central Park since their introduction in 1850.

Alaska numbered 38 salmon canneries, up from one or two in 1878.
Thomas Lipton entered the tea business to assure supplies of tea at low cost for his 300 grocery shops. He offered "The Finest the World Can Produce" at 1d 7p lb. when the going price was roughly a shilling higher.


The first English electrical power station was built in Deptford.

The Forth Bridge opened in Scotland.

January 7--Nellie Bly boarded the S.S. Oceanic at Yokohama and sailed for San Francisco after having crossed the Atlantic, Europe, and Asia in her attempt to travel the earth in less than 80 days.

Railroad-related accidents killed 10,000 Americans and seriously injured 80,000.
The United States numbered 125,000 miles of railroad in operation, Britain 20,073 miles, and Russia 19,000.
London's first electric underground railway went into service. A tube ride to any point on the new underground line cost twopence.
Gottfried Daimler founded Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft at Bad Cannstatt in Germany.

William LeBaron Jenney completed Chicago's 16-story Manhattan building at 431 South Dearborn Street. It is the world's first tall building with metal skeleton construction throughout.

The Wainwright building completed at St. Louis by Chicago architect Louis Henry Sullivan, was the first true skyscraper.

Louis Sullivan completed Chicago's 17-story Auditorium building at a cost of $35 million.
Milk was pasteurized by law in many U.S. communities despite opposition by some dairy interests and people who call pasteurization "unnatural".

Unsweetened condensed milk was introduced commercially by the Helvetia Milk Condensing Co. at Highland, Illinois.

Peanut butter was invented by a St. Louis physician, who developed the butter as a health food.

Canada Dry ginger ale had its beginnings in a small Toronto plant opened by local pharmacist John J. McLaughlin to manufacture carbonated water for sale to drugstores as a mixer for fruit juices and flavored extracts.

The first aluminum saucepan was produced at Cleveland by Henry W. Avery whose wife will use the pan until 1933.

The discovery of rich iron ore deposits in Minnesota's Mesabi region helped U.S. steelmakers.
U.S. engineer Herman Hollerith pioneered punch-card processing to devise a system for punching holes in sheets of paper to record U.S. census statistics. Tabulating Machine Co. will acquire patents to the Hollerith system.
New York introduced the electric chair for capital punishment.
Ever Ready batteries, the first commercial dry cell batteries, were introduced by National Carbon Co.
T.G. Curtius produced azoimide from organic sources.

Rubber gloves were used for the first time in surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland.

English soap maker William H. Lever built a Sunlight soap factory and established the model industrial town of Port Sunlight.
Berlin bacteriologists Emil von Behring and Shibasaburo Kitasato produced the first tetanus antitoxin.

The first diphtheria antitoxin was produced by Emil von Behring.
New York State began requiring physicians to apply prophylactic drops to the eyes of newborn infants to combat blindness caused by gonorrheal infection.
Dutch paleontologist Eugene Dubois discoverd Java man fossils of a prehistoric human ancestor at Kedung Brebus, Java, while serving as a military surgeon in the East Indies.



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