Who Doesn’t Like Time Travel?

All you savvy internet readers have no doubt heard of Goodreads, right?

If you have, you can go straight to checking out my review there of Time and Again, a novel by Jack Finney written in 1970. It’s about time travel. And love, science, and moral dilemmas. So good!

You might also want to friend or follow me there, since I’ll be doing a giveaway before Christmas of my forthcoming novel, Dulci’s Legacy.

goodreads banner

If you haven’t heard of Goodreads, let me explain.

It’s a social site, kind of like Facebook, but for readers. On this site, I can:

  • keep a record of all the books I’ve read, and want to read
  • show others on the site what I’m currently reading
  • see others’ reviews of books, and write my own reviews

PLUS a lot of authors use the site to interact directly with fans and readers, so it’s easy to learn more about an author, find their latest blog posts about a particular story, and enter to win free books.

That’s right, I just said FREE BOOKS.

I did my homework earlier this year getting ready for this giveaway, so as soon as Dulci’s Legacy is ready for publication, BOOM! I’ve got 5 copies marked for some special guest stars on Goodreads. Will it be you?


Meanwhile, who’s read Time and Again? Whadja think? And there’s another type of time travel entirely in Susanna Kearsley’s books, which I also love. Anyone have thoughts to share on those?


The What We Wore

What do you think of when you hear the word ‘FALLS’ ?


A comedy sketch?

Or a man’s fly?

Apparently, it used to be plural, as in a man’s flies, or as they were also known, “falls.”

French Fly Knee Breeches

I found this in the fascinating descriptions for clothing available for costumes or reenactments at the Quartermaster Shop and La Pelleterie. How fun!

Now you know where to go to get your Renaissance Fair outfit, right??? 😉

This is a rare post on men’s attire, but if you’re more interested in women’s, I’ve looked into some of that too! Check out some of my tweets earlier this month… (research done for 18th century clothing featured in my second book)


Image via La Pelleterie

Female Authors I Wish I’d Met

I’ve been surprised a couple times in the past few years by a powerful feeling of regret when I learn that an author whom I just discovered, has just recently died.

Alice Steinbach

alice steinbach

This happened first with Alice Steinbach. I was Googling her to find out more about her life after reading both Without Reservations and Educating Alice, and being intensely curious how she achieved such a liberated life, how she accomplished it. However, what I found was her obituary in the Baltimore Sun, where she worked as a journalist for many years. I was living in Washington, DC at the time (2012), and so it felt particularly bitter that she’d been less than an hour away all that time I’d been in the city, loving her books, but not knowing she was there!

Her books have a special place in my heart because they embrace the feeling of courage and a little recklessness and self-confidence on which a solo female traveler often relies. A frequent solo female traveler at that point, I devoured her witty observations, her right-on-the-money understanding of how it feels to be ‘That Woman’ and finally not bother to answer for it. Delicious!

Plus, Educating Alice includes an internship (if that’s what it’s called when you just want to learn about the profession, not take it up) at a sheep farmer’s in Scotland that specialized in training sheepdogs.

I mean, come on, who doesn’t think that is Bad-Ass?

Elizabeth Ogilvie

elizabeth ogilvie

The next time it happened was a couple months ago, after I read the first of a young adult series: Jennie About to Be, by Elizabeth Ogilvie. I had found the series when I went looking through the local library’s catalog for young-adult novels set in eastern Canada or upper New England, and here was one who was well-known for writing about her native Maine!

I found the second in the series first, Jennie Glenroy, but couldn’t bear to start in the middle. (Sue me.) So, I checked out the first one, and hey! It’s set in Scotland! Shucks. I hate reading about Scotland

One Goodreads reviewer did a great job describing what she liked about Ogilvie’s Jennie, so I’ll paste a piece of that here:

“Ogilvie had the rare talent of writing strong heroines who were believable and yet not stereotypic in the way that today’s writer likes to show us “strong women.” She can write a good romantic tale and yet root it in realism.”

When I finished the book, captivated by that very realism and gutsiness, I looked her up, and found she was also gone: 2006. Bah! My bootless cries go unheard. But at least one person still laments that the author who wrote those stories of personal fortitude and moral courage is no longer around.

And finally… a happy ending:

Rosamunde Pilcher

rosamunde pilcher

I came across this author in between the above two, but when I cast about in my head for great modern female authors I wish I could’ve talked to, the name Rosamunde Pilcher popped up. I’d read her September, and while it was long and involved, it was also a fascinating marker of the times: the late 1970s/early 80s seemed to be living in her characters’ judgement, attitudes, and in particular language. Their social class, their upbringing, their times, were all reflected in how they spoke and how they treated each other: it was like cracking open the British upper crust’s psyche!

Or at least that’s how it felt to this American from the 2000s.

But I went to Google her, and she is still alive! Retired from writing at 89, but maybe she will feel the appreciative karma floating her way: a sparkle of interest in what she wrote about, because of how well she portrayed the difficulty of life, at any time, in any place, for any station in life.


What about you?

Not counting authors you knew were dead before you read them, who would you most liked to have conversed with?


Images via Random HouseTeagan Oliver, and QOTD

The Chambers Book of Days

Like the chance reference to mufti dress found in Ian Rankin, I’ve had another chance reference lead me down a little rabbit hole of historical discovery.

November illustration book of days

I was reading The Hogmanay Companion– borrowed from the library, since the book is not currently in print. I would dearly like to be part of a Scottish New Year celebration, and was reading up on what to expect if I decided to travel to Scotland at that time of year.

Besides cold.

The author, Hugh Douglas, referred to Robert Chambers’ Book of Days several times, until I was convinced that this must be a valuable sort of cultural artifact in itself, and should be consulted. Look what I found!

For lovers of the 19th century and earlier, it is a goldmine.

In 1864, Chambers pulled together a mountain of information through research into disappearing ‘common knowledge’ that related to dates in history. This includes holidays, births and deaths of important figures, superstitions, customs and traditions, and this fabulous category: “Oddities.”

I mean, look at this one, the day (just passed, Sept. 30th) on which the French and Spanish ambassadors engaged in battle with over a hundred soldiers in order to claim the right for one’s carriage to be before the other’s in the King’s entourage. Seriously.

I bet perusing such a searchable index could yield some highly entertaining titbits


Image via Of All Arts