Literary Links

September/October 2007


Good News and Announcements

Announcements--If you read the last newsletter, 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 1899, just  two years before her death in 1901.  With that 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.


Now Available!--Look for The Harlot's Daughter from Blythe Gifford in October 2007--just two weeks away!


Coming Soon!--Coming in November, look for Saving Destiny by Pat White.  This book is from Silhouette's new Nocturne line. 


Good News--Congratulations to Blythe Gifford on her 4-Star review from Romantic Times magazine for The Harlot's Daughter.  Also, Blythe is our featured author this month.  See her article below on "So Many Details, So Few Pages: What to Put In, What to Leave Out" in this newsletter.  From Pat White, her intrigue, Silent Memories, is a winner for best Intrigue (second half of 2006).  Also from Pat, her latest comedy, Love on the Ropes, took First Place in the WisRWA Write Touch Reader's Award contest in the Contemporary Single Title category. Allie Pleiter's book, My So-Called Love Life was nominated for Best Short Contemporary in the American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year contest. 


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 Harlot's Daughter by Blythe Gifford

The Perfect Blend by Allie Pleiter

My So-Called Love Life by Allie Pleiter



Are You My Type, Am I Yours? by Renee Baron and Elizabeth Wagele

The Boer War: 1899-1902 by Gregory Fremont-Barnes

Cakes and Ale by Judy Spours

The Complete Writer's Guide to Heroes and Heroines by Tami Cowden, Caro LaFever and Sue Viders

Silhouettes: Rediscovering the Lost Art by Kathryn Flocken

The World in a Phrase by James Geary


Feature Title:

Are You My Type, Am I Yours? by Renee Baron and Elizabeth Wagele



The Video Library


Adam Bede



Researching the Romance


Are You My Type, Am I Yours? by Renee Baron and Elizabeth Wagele

The Boer War: 1899-1902 by Gregory Fremont-Barnes

Cakes and Ale by Judy Spours

The Complete Writer's Guide to Heroes and Heroines by Tami Cowden, Caro LaFever and Sue Viders

Silhouettes: Rediscovering the Lost Art by Kathryn Flocken

The World in a Phrase by James Geary



Writers' Resources Online


Edible Flowers

Museum of London

Shades and Shadow Pictures

Top 100 Undiscovered Web Sites

Wellcome Images


Feature Article 

So Many Details! So Few Pages!

What to Put In, What to Leave Out

by Blythe Gifford


Those of us who write historicals often find our heads stuffed with wonderful minutiae on place and period, hardly knowing how we’ll cram it all into the story.  But no matter how good the research, every descriptive detail in a story must either evoke an emotion in your character or reflect one.  Otherwise, no matter how interesting, it is irrelevant filler.

Here’s an example:

Detail unattached to emotion:  “A homeless person sat on the sidewalk, covered in a striped blanket, collecting money in an old peanut butter jar.  She walked past him, pushed the revolving door, and went into the restaurant.”

Detail layered with emotion:  “A man crouched next to the doorway, huddled under a threadbare blanket.  A lonely coin clanked in his glass jar as she pushed open the restaurant door.  The smell of roast chicken seemed suddenly unappetizing.”

See the difference?  I used sight, sound, and smell/taste and chose “loaded” words:  crouched, huddled, lonely.  (If I had said he “lurked” instead of “crouched,” he would have seemed threatening.)  By showing her loss of appetite, I showed her guilt instead of telling it.

Significant detail is specific.  The sky is not gray, it is “ashen,” or “the gray of cat fur,” or “steel.”  The connotation of each word lends a different layer of emotional meaning.  An “ashen” sky suggests loss; the “gray of cat fur” sends one scurrying for a cozy fire; “steel” implies a hard, cruel world. 

This is one of the treasures of the English language, which constantly absorbed different words for the same thing, allowing for infinite shades of meaning.

The importance of being specific extends to the naming of the tools of everyday life.  The challenge is to use precise names without losing your reader.  S/he should be able to figure out what the “thing” is in context, but the character should not have to explain it.  We break the illusion of the character’s viewpoint by describing things s/he would not notice.

Think of your daily drive to work or the grocery store.  If asked to describe your commute, you might mention the accident that kept you sitting for fifteen minutes or the pretty tulips blooming beside the road.  You notice the unusual or what resonates with your mood.  The rest has become background.

In a similar way, your characters must take their daily surroundings for granted.  We cannot stop the story to explain the layout of the castle or the duties of various servants in the country estate.

The challenge is to set the scene at the beginning of a book so the reader can enter the world.  This is why we begin a story at the moment of change.  It was just an ordinary day and then BAM!  This creates an opportunity to “compare and contrast” the change with the ordinary life.

Here’s an example from the first chapter of THE HARLOT’S DAUGHTER.  The title character has just returned to court after ten years so she views everything with fresh eyes. 


Eyes lowered, she looked toward the edge of the wide-planked floor.  The men’s long-toed shoes curled like a finger crooked in invitation.  She stifled a smile.  Men and their vanities.  Apparently, they thought the longer the toes, the longer the tool.


Using one detail about the men’s shoes, I conveyed the foppish nature of the court as well as the heroine’s cynical view of men.

So choose significant details that evoke your character’s emotions, convey them with strong, specific words, and you will transport your reader directly into your historical world.

Happy writing!




Blythe Gifford’s second novel, THE HARLOT’S DAUGHTER, is an October 2007 release from Harlequin Historical.  Reviewers have said her work has a “truly realistic feel” and that “she captures the history without bogging the reader down in trivial details.” 

Visit her website,, for details.


Editor's Note

This month's newsletter features a wonderful author, Blythe Gifford.  Her writing epitomizes the emotional and historical detail we strive for as writers.  She truly has a gift for selecting just the right words to evoke images and feelings in her readers.  This is due in part to the extensive research she does before each of her projects, and then weaving those details into her story at just the right places.  Enjoy her article on evoking emotion (above).  Also, visit her web site at for more information on her books and her writing career.  Her newest release, The Harlot's Daughter, is yet another example of her skills.  Look for it in bookstores October 1.  Meanwhile, keep researching and keep writing!

--Michelle Prima

President, Literary Liaisons, Ltd.

Q&A Column

Q:  "A friend of mine, who also writes, recently looked at my manuscript.  She said I head-hop too much.  What does that mean?  Is it bad?" 

Lorraine F.

A:   Lorraine-

By head-hopping, your friend means you jump from one character's point of view to another's with frequency.  You show what each character is thinking and seeing as well as saying, rather than staying in one character's head as the observer.  For example, study the following:


Switching POV:

     Lynn studied Jack's attire, thinking how ridiculous the paisley tie looked with the pin-stripe suit. "You're not going to wear that horrible tie, are you?" she asked.

     Jack felt the breath leave his lungs?  How could she say that about his new $200 Armani tie?  He'd bought it specifically for this interview. "What's wrong with this tie?" 

     "Nothing if you wear it with a solid black suit."  Didn't he know anything about fashion?

     Jack didn't know which hurt him more, the attack on his fashion sense (after all, he was the buyer for the men's department in a large chain store.  Or the fact the Lynn did nothing but criticize him lately.

Lynn's POV:

     Lynn studied Jack's attire, thinking how ridiculous the paisley tie looked with the pin-stripe suit. "You're not going to wear that horrible tie, are you?" she asked.

     Jack inhaled sharply.  "What's wrong with this tie?" 

     "Nothing if you wear it with a solid black suit."  Didn't he know anything about fashion?  He thought he did, but in reality...

     Jack turned and walked away, obviously dismissing her opinion.  Why did he ask if he didn't want to hear the answer, Lynn wondered?

Jack's POV:

     Lynn stared intently at him with that critical eye of hers. "You're not going to wear that horrible paisley tie, are you?" she asked.

     Jack felt the breath leave his lungs?  How could she say that about his new $200 Armani tie?  He'd bought it specifically for this interview. "What's wrong with this tie?" 

     "Nothing if you wear it with a solid black suit."  Jack heard the sarcasm in her tone.

     He didn't know which hurt him more, the attack on his fashion sense (after all, he was the buyer for the men's department in a large chain store.  Or the fact the Lynn did nothing but criticize him lately.  He turned and walked away, thinking maybe it was time to walk away for good.


In the first example, you know what both Jack and Lynn are thinking as well as saying.  This is head-hopping.  You hop from one character's thoughts and words to another's.  In the second example, we know only what Lynn is thinking.  It is her perception of the situation that we know, and nothing of Jack's.  In the last example, we only know Jack's thoughts.  You can see how he has a totally different perspective on the conversation.

So which do you choose?
First, it's best NOT to head-hop.  Why?  Because the reader will get confused, and not know who is thinking what after a while. Second, you can't ground your reader in any one character too deeply if they don't know what that character is thinking or feeling.  So choose the character you want your reader to most identify with in each scene, and use that character's point of view. 

In the above example, would you rather they learn about Jack's true feelings toward Lynn?  That he doesn't seem to like her as much any more?  Do you want to go with the sympathy factor for Jack because Lynn seems overbearing and critical?
Or do you want to reader to see Lynn in a more positive light?  Possibly show how this small-town girl doesn't understand the need for expensive suits and over-done wardrobes to show one's true personality? 

It's what you want to convey that will drive your decision on POV selection.  Good luck with your writing.

Michelle Prima

President, Literary Liaisons, Ltd.


Historical Calendar of Events



Noel Coward--English author, dramatist, composer and actor

Charles Laughton--English actor

Frederico Garcia Lorca--Spanish author



Giovanni Segantini--Italian painter

Alfred Sisley--French painter

Johann Strauss--composer



The London borough councils were established.

The Anglo-Egyptian Convention was held.

Johannesburg Uitlanders complained to Queen Victoria against the Boers.

Paul Kruger's ultimatum at the Bloemfontein Conference provoked the Boer War between Britain and the Boers.

West Africa's Ashanti staged their last uprising against the British.

Emperor William II visited England.

The Philippines demanded independence from the United States. Two U.S. privates opened fire on Filipino soldiers outside Manila on the night of February 4, beginning a 3.5-year war between U.S. troops and Filipino national forces.
U.S. Congress passed a Refuse Act empowering the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to prosecute polluters. The law provided for fines of up to $2,500 for oil spills and similar acts of pollution but would not be enforced.
The United Mine Workers of America, organized under the leadership of Illinois coal miner John Mitchell, joined anthracite coal workers with bituminous coal workers.
An "Open Door" policy in China, proposed by U.S. Secretary of State John Milton Hay, received support from the great powers. They agreed that all the imperialist countries should have equal commercial opportunity in spheres of special interest.
France's President Faure died suddenly February 16 at age 57, having opposed a second trial for Captain Dreyfus. Emile Loubet was elected to succeed him.

Captain Dreyfus won a pardon September 19 after a French Army retrial forced by public opinion

The Arts


The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

Resurrection by Leo Tolstoy

When We Dead Awaken by Ibsen

Trelawny of the Wells by Pinero

McTeague by Frank Norris

The Awakening by Kate Chopin

The Gentleman from Indiana by Booth Tarkington

Stalky and Co.  by Rudyard Kipling

The Promised Land by Wladyslaw Reymont


The Foundations of the Nineteenth Century by H.S. Chamberlain

The School and Society by John Dewey

The Realization of the Possible by Alexander Bain

The Theory of the Leisure Class by Thorstein Bunde Veblen


"The Man with the Hoe" by Edwin Markham


"Two Tahitian Women" by Paul Gauguin

"Paysages et interieurs" by Eduard Vuillard (Lithographs)


"The Puritan" by Augustus Saint-Gaudens


"Ein Heldenleben" a symphonc poem by Richard Strauss

Popular Songs:

"My Wild Irish Rose" by Chauncey Olcott

"O Sole Mio!" by Edoardo di Capna and Giovanni Capurro

"Hello, Ma Baby" by Joseph E. Howard and Ida Emerson

"Lift Every Voice and Sing" by John Rosamund Johnson and his brother James


"Cinderella" premiered on May 24 at the Opera-Comique in Paris, with music by Jules Massenet


"Barbara Frietchie" by Clyde Fitch premiered October 23 at New York's Critertion Theater

"Uncle Vanya" by Anton Chekov premiered October 26 at the Moscow Art Theater

"The Tenor" by Frank Wedekind premiered December 10 at Berlin's Neues Theater

"Floradora" (a musical) premiered at London's Lyric Theatre, with music by Leslie Stuart, lyrics by Ernest Boyd-Jones and Paul Rubens



Daily Life

Saturday Evening Post publisher G. H. K. Curtis appointed his literary editor George Horace Lorimer editor-in-chief.
Wisconsin's last wild passenger pigeon was shot.
Mount Rainier National Park was created by act of Congress.  It would embrace 242,000 acres of dense forests and meadows radiating from the slopes of a  volcano in Washington State, and contain the greatest single-peak glacial system in the United States.
The first Colorado beet sugar refinery was built at Grand Junction; American Beet Sugar Co. was organized.
Coca-Cola was bottled for the first time by Chattanooga, Tennessee lawyers Benjamin F. Thomas and Joseph B. Whitehead who traveled to Atlanta and persuaded Asa Candler to let them try bottling his beverage under contract.
Jell-O was acquired for $450 from Pearl Wait by his neighbor Orator Francis Woodward, who had just started a company to produce a cereal he called Grain-O.
New York Condensed Milk Co. became Borden's Condensed Milk Co.
Carnation evaporated milk was supplied in 16-ounce cans to Klondike-bound gold seekers.
Wesson Oil was developed by Southern Oil Co. chemist David Wesson, who introduced a new method for deodorizing cottonseed oil.
Chopped beefsteak was called Hamburg steak in America, said a new French-German-English dictionary of foods.

The boll weevil Anthonomus grandis crossed the Rio Grande from Mexico and began to spread north and east through U.S. cotton fields. The weevil would destroy vast acreages of cotton, devastating Southern agriculture.
The Russian grain harvest was 65 million tons, double the harvest of 30 years ago.
U.S. cerealist Mark Carleton introduced Kubanka durum wheat from southeastern Russia into North Dakota, which would be the leading U.S. producer of the wheat most suitable for macaroni and spaghetti.
Washington's Post Office building was completed at Pennsylvania Avenue and 12th Street with a great glass-roofed court. The Romanesque revival granite building was topped by a clock tower.
London's Carlton House Hotel opened in Waterloo Place near the Carlton Club and Carlton House Terrace.
Carnegie Steel was created by a consolidation of various steel properties controlled by Andrew Carnegie.
Armco Steel had its beginnings in the American Rolling Mill Co. founded at Middleton, Ohio, by Cincinnati entrepreneur George M. Verity.
Bechtel Group had its beginnings as U.S. mule driver Warren A. Bechtel quit his job hauling train rails in Indian Territory at $2.75 per day, and started what would become a worldwide engineering concern.
U.S. copper producers merged to create the American Smelting and Refining Co. trust as growing use of electricity increased demand for copper wire.
The Guggenheims refused to join the ASARCO copper trust, choosing instead to compete with it.
E. I. du Pont de Nemours was incorporated in Delaware. Du Pont had been making dynamite since 1880 and controlled 90 percent of U.S. blasting powder production and 95 percent of U.S. gunpowder production.
International Paper Co. was created by a merger of nearly 30 U.S. and Canadian paper companies. It would purchase large timber tracts in Maine and California and build up a national marketing organization.
Union Bag & Paper was reorganized to create a $27 million trust that tried to squeeze out competitors such as International Paper.
Consolidated Edison Co. was created by a merger of New York's Edison Illuminating Co. and Consolidated Gas, controlled by the Rockefeller family and William Whitney.
Nippon Electric Co. (NEC) was founded with 92 employees. With 54 percent owned initially by Western Electric, it would grow to be Japan's largest producer of electrical equipment.

Renault Frères was founded in March by French automakers Louis and Marcel Renault who produced their first voiture late last year.
FIAT (Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino) was founded July 1 at Turin by cavalry lieutenant Giovanni Agnelli and eight partners with a capitalization of 800,000 lire ($152,400). FIAT completed 10 three-horsepower motorcars by November and would grow to become Europe's largest auto maker .
French racing driver Camille Jenatzy drove a La Jamais Contente at a speed of 67.79 miles per hour.
U.S. auto production reached 2,500, up from 1,000 last year.
Henry Ford joined the new Detroit Automobile Co. as chief engineer.
American Car and Foundry (ACF) was founded at Berwick, Pa., to compete with the Pullman Palace Car Co. Founders included Charles Lang Freer, who had been building railroad cars since age 17.
Boston's South Station opened to complement the North Station built in 1894.
Boston's last horsecar ran December 24. A trolley line replaced the horsecar as Boston extended its 2-year-old subway.

United Fruit Company was incorporated by banana exporter Minor C. Keith and the Boston Fruit Co., which has been distributing Keith's fruit since the failure of his New Orleans distributor.
The Columbia River Packers Association was created by seven chinook salmon canneries, one of which packs its fish under the name Bumble Bee.
A cholera pandemic began that would continue until 1923, affecting much of the world.
Scott Joplin's "Original Rag" and "Maple Leaf Rag" were the first ragtime piano pieces to appear in sheet music form.
Russian emigration increased to over 223,000 from 108,000 four years ago, as the new Trans-Siberian Railway encouraged settlement along its right-of-way.
Reginald Doherty won in men's singles at Wimbledon, Mrs. Hillyard in women's singles; Malcolm Whitman won in U.S. men's singles, Marion Jones in women's singles.
U.S. prizefighter James J. Jeffries won the world heavyweight title from Bob Fitzsimmons June 9 with an 11th round knockout in a match held at Coney Island, N.Y. Jeffries would retire undefeated in March 1905 and be succeeded by Marvin Hart.

English tea magnate Thomas Lipton had the racing yacht Shamrock I built for the first of five efforts he would make to regain the America's Cup, but the U.S. defender Columbia defeated Lipton's boat 3 to 0.


Aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid), perfected by German researchers Felix Hoffman and Hermann Dreser, would be marketed by prescription under the trade name Bayer Aspirin beginning in 1905 and go on to become the world's largest selling over-the-counter drug.
Johnson & Johnson introduced zinc oxide adhesive plasters developed with help from some leading U.S. surgeons. The new plasters avoided irritation to delicate skin, yet had greater strength and better sticking qualities.

Rutherford discovered alpha and beta rays in radioactive atoms.

Pringsheim and Lummer undertook important radiation studies.

The first magnetic recording of sound was made.

A liquid-center gutta percha golf ball invented by Cleveland golfer Coburn Haskell with help from a B. F. Goodrich scientist replaced the solid gutta percha ball used since 1848. The "bouncing billy" was soon replaced by a ball with tightly wound rubber threads wrapped around a solid rubber core, and A. G. Spalding would acquire rights to the new ball.
Philadelphia engineers Frederick Winslow Taylor and Maunsel White developed the Taylor-White process for heat-treating highspeed tool steels, increasing cutting capacities of blade edges by 200 to 300 percent.
A group of financiers acquired the Selden road locomotive patent. They would bring a lawsuit for infringement of the patent next year and win.
A Stanley Steamer driven by F. E. Stanley climbed to the top of Mount Washington.
B.F. Goodrich at Akron, Ohio, produced the first U.S. clincher tires, producing 19-ply rubber tires in sizes ranging from 28 by 2.5 inches to 36 by 3 inches.
Kelly-Springfield pneumatic tires were introduced at Springfield, Ohio, by the Rubber Tire Wheel Co.



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