Literary Links

May/June 2002


Good News and Announcements


Workshop Announcement--The Hearts Through History Romance Writers online chapter of RWA announces the upcoming class of the HHRW Campus.  Beginning May 13, 2002, Laurie Alice Eakes will present Ships Throughout the Ages.  It will run approximately one week.  The cost is $10 for HHRW members and $15 for nonmembers.  For more information and an application, go to:

May/June 2002--This issue marks the five-year Anniversary of Literary Links, our on-line newsletter. This past year saw the addition of our Video Library.  And the coming year sees even more expansion to help you as a writer.  

RWA National Conference--July 17-20, 2002--Denver--Romance Writers of America will hold its annual conference at the Adam's Mark Denver.  See the RWA website 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.





The Illustrator and the Book in England from 1790-1914 by Gordon N. Ray 

The Victorian Underworld by Donald Thomas 

Featured Title

Career Opportunities for Writers by Rosemary Ellen Guiley

The Video Library

The Duchess of Duke Street, Vol. 1

The Duchess of Duke Street, Vol. 2



Researching the Romance


Money in the English Tradition 1640-1936 by M. Butchart

A London Girl of the 1880s by Mary V. Hughes 

Parlor Games: Traditional Indoor Games to Amuse and Delight edited by Madame Joanna Lorenz 

The Illustrator and the Book in England from 1790-1914 by Gordon N. Ray 

Flushed with Pride: The Story of Thomas Crapper by Wallace Reyburn 

The Victorian Underworld by Donald Thomas 



Writers' Resources Online


Bath Postal Museum 

City of Shadows: A Gothic Tour of Victorian London

The Domesday Book

The Romantic Novelists' Association

The Writer's Nook

Feature Article 


By Julie Beard

Two years ago I had the great privilege of writing one of the Idiot’s Guides for Macmillan’s Alpha Books imprint.  I wrote “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Getting Your Romance Published.”  It is full of tips on everything from how to come up with ideas to how to plot and how to find an agent and editor.  In honor of the release of my newest romance—my only Victorian—I’ve put together some bon mots from the Idiot’s Guide.  I used many of the techniques from my “how to” book when writing my Victorian romance, The Duchess’ Lover.  It’s about a duchess who falls in love with her gardener.  Imagine the scandal!  So whether you want to write a Victorian tale of love or a contemporary Silhouette, I hope you’ll find these tips helpful:

Talk About Pacing...

Dialogue is easy to read and moves a story along quickly.  That’s why writers today increasingly use dialogue to communicate plot points or exposition.  Some writers even start the first scene of their books in the middle of dialogue.  For the reader, it’s like jumping on a carousel that’s in motion.  It’s a little jarring, but it also leaves no doubt that the plot is moving along at a fast pace.


Big emotion has to be justified or it will seem melodramatic or just plain silly.  If you want your characters to react strongly, you have to create conflicts that warrant strong reaction.  And you have to make sure your characterization is strong as well.  If you put cardboard characters in a dramatic situation, the reader will simply yawn.  A good romance is a triangle of strong plot, emotion and characterization.

Circumstantial Evidence...

Many beginning writers mistakenly use overblown misunderstandings to keep their lovers from declaring their love too early in the book.  This technique never works!  Here’s an example:

Your heroine overhears a conversation and mistakenly assumes your hero cheated on her.  Her injured pride and anger prevent her from asking him about the alleged infidelity.  The misunderstanding (which is their only conflict) drags on and on, when the problem could be resolved with a direct confrontation.

Readers don’t like circumstantial evidence anymore than juries do.  Misunderstandings can add fuel to the fire of other bigger conflicts, but circumstantial problems should be resolved in a reasonable amount of time and through direct dialogue.  Your hero and heroine must, after all, be reasonable people or your readers won’t like them.

Brainstorm Coming...

Best-selling historical romance author Jill Marie Lands believes in brainstorming so much that she belongs to a plotting group.  Five published writers meet regularly to discuss their storylines.  All the writers work in different subgenera and each offers a different perspective.  Jill says: “You get five different points of view on how your book could go, and you can take them or leave them.  It fills in a lot of holes.  Somebody will ask a key question like “What’s his motivation?” or “What’s the key conflict?”  Somebody else might notice you don’t have any.  It helps you validate whether your story is working or not.  Somebody will say ‘That’s a great idea’ or ‘Gee, I just read a book like that.’  You always think your own baby is pretty.  But you get it out there and it might not be.”

Got Talent...?

Personally, I think talent is highly overrated.  After all, where does talent end and skill begin?  Clearly, some writers are more talented than others.  But raw talent is just one aspect of writing.  Some authors have a natural ability to tell a good yarn, some have a talent for tapping into trendy ideas, some have a quirky, interesting writing style, some have an ability to create a cozy world, or vibrant characters.  There is room in the marketplace for a variety of skills.  Does that mean you have to be the most talented writer who ever lived in order to achieve your dreams of being published?  Nah!  But you DO have to be determined.  So hang in there!

Julie Beard is the USA Today Best-selling author 10 novels and novellas.  Check out Julie’s website at

For more of Julie's titles, check out our Fiction Bookstore.

Similar writer's reference books are available for purchase in our on-line bookstore in the non-fiction section.

Also see the Researching the Romance page of Literary Liaisons for more suggestions.


Editor's Note

Wow!  Can you believe this issue marks our five-year anniversary!  It seems like just yesterday that I bought my first computer, much less learned HTML to do my own web site.  This past year saw a new addition to the site--the Video Library.  I hope you find these suggestions useful.  And as always, I'm forever on the lookout for new material for the web site.  If you have any articles, reference books, or videos you would like to recommend, please e-mail us at  

Oh, the changes we've seen.  Oh, as Dr. Seuss says, the places we'll go.  I'm on a journey myself these days.  My oldest daughter is looking at colleges, my younger daughter will be entering High School, and I'm entering a new life after marriage.  Oh, the journeys we've had!  Oh, the places we'll go!  Come join us for the ride.  It promises to be an exciting one in the next few months! 

---Michelle Hoppe

Q&A Column

Q:  Regarding the publication listed on your web site - I located the book on your web site at $18.95, I clicked on it to purchase it and was taken to to a listing for the same book at $96.25.
Can you please help me purchase the $18.95 book?

Thanks and regards,

A:  The difficult thing about the internet is keeping everything current. As books go out of print, they are no longer available at the publisher's price. Unfortunately, this is one of those books. However, you can still find a good used copy at a site called:
Do a search for "Davies" and "Victorian Kitchen". I came up with 35 results at stores in the UK and USA. Quality of copy varies, as does price according to quality of the book. I've used this site several times, and have always had good results. Your request will go directly to the bookseller, who will mail it out to you after receiving payment on line. Or some give you the option of phoning them.
Finally, if things go as planned, we will be opening a Used Book Store at Literary Liaisons within the next year.  Selections will be limited.  Some books will be new, others will be rarities I find at sales.  But just another way to help you on your quest to becoming published.

Michelle Hoppe
President, Literary Liaisons

Historical Calendar of Events


Princess Mary of Teck--Queen Consort of George V of Great Britain

Stanley Baldwin--British statesman

G.W. Russell--Irish poet

Arnold Bennett--English author

John Galsworthy--English author

Arturo Toscanini--Italian conductor

Marie Curie--Polish-French scientist and Nobel Prize winner



Peter von Cornelius--German painter

Jean Dominique Ingres--French painter

Theodore Rousseau--French painter

Michael Faraday--English chemist and physicist



The British North America Act establishes the Dominion of Canada.

The British Parliamentary Reform Act, which extends suffrage, is passed August 15.

Nebraska becomes the 37th state of the U.S.

Russia sells Alaska to the United States for $7,200,000.

Napoleon III withdraws his support from Maximilian in Mexico.  Maximilian is eventually executed.

Francis Joseph I is crowned King of Hungary in the new Austro-Hungary dual monarchy agreement.

The North German Confederation is founded.

Prussia buys the mail service from the Thurn und Taxis family, who have held a monopoly since 1505.

The New York State Legislature votes to establish a free public school system.

The Knights of the White Camelia, organized in Louisiana, is similar to the 2-year-old Ku Klux Klan.

Congress appoints a commission to conclude peace treaties with the Indians.

Irish Fenians try to seize Chester with an attack on police barracks. They kill 12 while trying to blow up Clerkenwell jail.

Paraguay’s President López conscripts slaves aged 12 to 60 after smallpox and cholera kill more on both sides than do bullets in the year’s single battle.

Midway Islands in the Pacific are taken in the name of the United States by Capt. William Reynolds of the U.S.S. Lackawanna.

Japan’s figurehead emperor Komei dies February 3, resulting in a battle that will eventually end the feudal military government that has ruled since 1185.


The Arts


"Rape" by Paul Cezanne

"Boyhood of Raleigh" by John Everett Millais

"The Execution of Maximilian" by Edouard Manet


The English Constitution by Walter Bagehot

History of the Norman Conquest by E.A. Freeman

Das Kapital by Karl Marx

The Queesnbury Rules (for boxing) by John Graham Chambers


The Last Chronicle of Barset by Anthony Trollope

Therese Raquin by Emile Zola

Peer Gynt by Ibsen

The Jumping Frog by Mark Twain

Ragged Dick by Horatio Alger

Under Two Flags by Ouida

"The Guardian Angel" by Oliver Wendell Holmes

"Dover Beach" by Matthew Arnold

"The Life and Death of Jason" by William Morris

The Stage:

The Death of Ivan the Terrible by Count Leo Tolstoy

Caste by Thomas William Robertson

Dora by Charles Reade


"La Jolie Fille de Perth" by Bizet debuts in paris

"Romeo and Juliet" by Gounod debuts in Paris

"La Grande-duchesse de Gerolstein" by Offenbach debuts in Paris

"Cox and Box" by A.S. Sullivan (comic opera)

"Don Carlos" by Verdi debuts in Paris


'The Blue Danube Waltz" by Johann Strauss II

Popular songs:

"The Little Brown Jug" by R.E. Eastburn


Daily Life


Reclams Universal Bibliothek, first paperback series, is founded at Leipzig.

The Paris World's Fair introduces  Japanese ukiyoe art to the West.

Livingstone explores the Congo.

More than half of all U.S. working people are employed on farms.

The Grange, or the Patrons of Husbandry, is founded in the upper Mississippi Valley by former U.S. Department of Agriculture field investigator Oliver H. Kelley.

Chicago’s Carson, Pirie Scott opens at 136 West Lake Street.

Chicago’s Field, Palmer & Leiter becomes Field, Leiter & Co. as Potter Palmer sells his share in the store to Marshall Field and his brothers.

New York’s R. H. Macy Company stays open Christmas Eve until midnight and has record 1-day receipts of $6,000.

The University of Illinois is founded at Urbana.

West Virginia University is founded at Morgantown.

Howard University for Negroes is founded by white Congregationalists outside Washington, D.C. 

Atlanta University is founded in Georgia.

Scots-American naturalist John Muir, 29, starts out late in the year on a walk that will take him 1,000 miles through Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, and Florida.

The Austrian Red Cross is founded at Vienna.

The New England Conservatory of Music is founded at Boston.

The Cincinnati Conservatory of Music is founded.

Baseball’s curve ball pitch is invented by Brooklyn, N.Y., pitcher William Arthur Cummings.

Washington’s National baseball team tours the country, defeating the Cincinnati Red Stockings 53 to 10, the Cincinnati Buckeyes 90 to 10, the Louisville Kentuckians 82 to 21, the Indianapolis Western Club 106 to 21, and the St. Louis Union Club 113 to 26.

The Belmont Stakes has its first running and the 1.5-mile is won by a horse named Ruthless.

Cornelius Vanderbilt gains control of the New York Central Railroad.

The Pacific Mail Steamship Company begins regular service between San Francisco and Hong Kong.





Pierre Michaux begins to manufacture bicycles.

Joseph F. Monier patents a reinforced concrete process.

A railroad is completed through the Brenner Pass between Austria and Italy..

A diamond is discovered in South Africa, but the field will not be made public for several years.

Gold is discovered in Wyoming.

British scientist William Thomson invents the syphon recorder.

U.S. inventor Lucien Smith files a patent application for barbed wire.

The John Swirling Company clears prehistoric canals in Arizona Territory to bring water from the Salt River to the valley.

Iowa farmer William Louden modernizes dairy farming with a rope sling and wooden monorail hay carrier. 

Milwaukee printer Christopher Latham Sholes invents the first practical “writing machine” while seeking a way to inscribe braille-like characters for use by the blind. Sholes will call his machine a “typewriter”.

French engineer Georges Leclanche invents the first practical dry cell battery.

French chemist Hippolyte Mège-Mouries begins development of a synthetic butter at the urging of emperor Napoleon III.

Justus von Liebig introduces the first patent baby food.

Sugar beets are introduced into Utah Territory by Brigham Young.

Arm & Hammer Baking Soda has its beginnings in Brooklyn, N.Y., by spice dealer James A. Church.

The first successful gallstone operation is performed June 15 by Indianapolis physician John Stough Bobbs on patient Mary E. Wiggins.

Scottish physician Thomas Lauder Brunton finds amyl nitrate useful in treating angina pectoris.

Formaldehyde is discovered by Wilhelm von Hoffmann.

George M. Pullman founds the Pullman Palace Car Co. with Andrew Carnegie.

The Wagner Drawing Room Car designed by New York wagon maker Webster Wagner, goes into service on Commodore Vanderbilt’s New York Central.

Milan’s Galleria Vittoria Emanuele is completed by architect Giuseppe Mengoni to connect the Piazza del Duomo with the neighboring Piazza della Scala.

Construction begins at St. Louis on the Eads Bridge that will span the Mississippi.

A suspension bridge opens to span the Ohio River between Cincinnati and Covington, Kentucky.

The first U.S. elevated railway begins operation at New York on a single track from Battery Place to 30th Street above Greenwich Street.

Steel rail production begins in the United States, which has been using rails of iron or imported steel.

Babcock & Wilcox is founded at Providence, R.I., by local engineers George Herman Babcock and Stephen Wilcox.

Philadelphia scale manufacturer Henry Phipps founds the United Iron Mills in partnership with Andrew Carnegie.

U.S. inventor Benjamin Chew Tilghman devises the sulfite process for producing wood pulp for paper making.



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