Friday, October 23, 2009

History Geek Speaks~Erica Vetsch

Greetings, Seekerville! I’m thrilled to be back amongst such excellent and admirable writers.
I wanted to give you a peek at my bookshelf and talk about how I research settings for writing historical fiction.

First, there are a couple of things you should know about me:

• I am a history GEEK! I love all things historical and am fascinated by American history.

• I have a serious addiction to books. The picture below is about 1/10th of the books in my office library. I have many more books on bookshelves all over my house. Fiction dominates, but my library of research books is growing steadily.

• I take my historical research seriously. It is one of the things my editors have mentioned that they appreciate about my work. It is thoroughly researched, and I pay attention to detail. (Does this mean no mistakes ever creep in? No, but it does mean I’m trying my utmost to make sure that doesn’t happen.)
So, here’s a peek at part of a bookshelf in my office.
The top shelf in the picture is full of writing books. Everything from my Webster’s Dictionary—a gift from my parents when I was fifteen—to the new Christian Fiction How-To book A Novel Idea. On this shelf are a couple of “Go-to” books that I dip into every time I’m starting a novel. One is GMC: Goal, Motivation & Conflict by Debra Dixon. The other is the Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook by Donald Maass.
Below that are research books grouped by topic. Cowboys, Indians, Orphans, Prisoners of War, Minnesota history, Lighthouses, MN Transportation.
On the bottom shelf are books on the US Cavalry and Frontier forts, women doctors in the west, mail order brides, dress and costume, a Sears Roebuck catalog from 1897, and books about the Gilded Age. And more. 

Here are the US Cavalry/Frontier Fort books laid out. As you can see, it’s a subject I’m passionate about learning.
So how do I utilize research books?
• First, it is no chore for me to read these. As my family will attest, I have to pull myself away from reading history books to take care of life responsibilities. Many people buy research books and never open them. I’m deep into the research for a new series, and I want to learn all I can about what could and did happen at frontier forts in America. I read with post-it notes to flag interesting bits that I might like to incorporate. I cannot and will not write in a book. Not even a highlighter. It goes against my librarian soul. Post-its are my friend.
• Distill the information through the eyes of the characters. It’s all too easy to want to throw in everything I’m finding out, and the book winds up sounding more like a history book than a story. When I’m reading the research books, I’m more looking for historical events and happenings that I can incorporate into the lives of the characters. For instance, with my debut novel, I took a massive November storm on Lake Superior in 1905 and made it part of the story-line. The book isn’t about a November gale, it’s about an arranged marriage, but the storm ramped up the tension and carried part of the plot.
• Some of these books show how my characters would dress, some show daily life, some give me a feel for the political climate of the day. I would venture to say that 85% of what I read in these books won’t make it into the novel at all. Does that mean it’s not valuable? NO! Just as learning your character’s back-story that will never make it into the book but helps you to know how and why they would react to certain situations, learning the setting inside out helps you know what is and isn’t realistic for the characters to consider as an option. Historical characters must behave in historically accurate ways, which means knowing the setting and social parameters of the era.
If at all possible, I try to visit the place I’m writing about. Recently I was able to visit several frontier forts, and walking the parade grounds, climbing the steps to the commandant’s house, photographing the inside of the blockhouse, standing inside a cell and contemplating who had been locked in there before me...invaluable.
So, how do you research? Do you buy books? Visit sites? Talk to experts?

Erica’s debut novel, The Bartered Bride, is now available. You can order a copy by clicking HERE. Or by phoning (740) 922-7280.

Jonathan Kennebrae is furious when his grandfather informs him that his future has been decided. He will marry Melissa Brooke or be disinherited. Jonathan has invested years of his life in Kennabrae Shipping, but heaven help him if Grandfather decides to take it all away for this.
Melissa, too, is devastated when her parents make their announcement. As little more than a bargaining chip in her father’s business maneuvers, she feels her secure world slipping away. Engaged to marry a man she has never met—someone “considerably older” than herself? What have her parents done?
Can Jonathan and Melissa find a way out of this loveless marriage, or must they find a way forward together?
Erica is giving away a free copy of The Bartered Bride. Leave a comment to get your name in the drawing.

ERICA VETSCH is married to Peter and keeps the company books for the family lumber business. A home-school mom to Heather and James, Erica loves history, romance, and storytelling. Her ideal vacation is taking her family to out-of-the-way history museums and chatting to curators about local history. She has a Bachelor’s degree from Calvary Bible College in Secondary Education: Social Studies. You can find her on the web at On The Write Path


  1. Great post, Erica! Thank you so much. Researching subjects for my books is something I need to work on, so your post gave me a few ideas :)

    As I live overseas on the mission field, I don't have access to libraries or bookstores (no books that I can actually understand, at least! Still not fluent in Romanian). So I mostly look up stuff through websites, or the books my family and I already own.

    Congrats on your debut novel! :)


  2. Wow, you have a ton of books! That's awesome.
    Thanks for the sneak peak into your life and research habits. :-)
    Congrats on the sale too! I hope you get many more!

  3. Erica.

    Tell me you cleaned that book shelf specifically for that pic, that the photo op pushed you to such levels of neatness.

    I haven't seen a bookshelf that clean in so many years, I forgot they COULD be clean. Oh mylanta, girl, I love someone that takes their work, their research that seriously. Totally, indisputably awesome. I'm impressed.

    Thanks so much for being here and congrats on the books! YAY!

    I brought goodies for Friday breakfast because, well, it IS Friday and our TEEEEEENA loves Fridays. Oh, yeah, she's full appreciative of a potential weekend!

    Trays of German Apfel Kuchen and Rhubarb custard Kuchen are at the back, accompanied by fresh apples (honey crisp, crispin and galas today), a selection of Danish, and Reeses Peanut Butter Cups.

    Just because.

    A good day STARTS with a Reeses. Just sayin'.


    Dig in, guys. After yesterday's wonderful discussion of Christian fiction, I'm looking forward to delving into historical stuff and tickled pink that Steeple Hill has doubled their historicals to 4/month.

    Yes. Opportunity looms.


  4. Your book is AWESOME! I'm at the part where Noah comes back (love him and can't wait to read his story) and they just had Melissa over for dinner. I'm annoyed when I have to put it down.

    You are insane with all those books! Insane in a very good way, though. :)

  5. Welcome to Seekerville, Erica! I write historicals and identify with your love of research. I own a replica of the 1897 Sears & Roebuck catalog. It's a terrific resource. I also research online.

    I set my first two books in a real town and thankfully no one complained about accuracy, but creating fictional towns takes less research time. Also setting books in about the same time period simplifies research--important when meeting deadlines.

    Thanks for the yummy goodies, Ruthy!


  6. Oooh! I'd like to spend the day at your house going through your book case!

  7. Hi Erica,

    If I run across something historical that intrigues me or sparks a story idea, I usually start online, then try to find books and lastly if there is a museum close, I try to visit it to get a first hand look at the subject.

    Since my husband and I both enjoy visiting museums when we're vacationing, many times that's where I'll see something that sparks an idea. Then I take any brocheres they might have and start the online research to see if it was "regional", etc.

    I must admit, I've yet to seek an authority on the topic to visit with or interview.


  8. Welcome, Erica! Great post! And congrats on the sale!

    Even though I'm writing contemporaries right now, I'm a history geek, too--both American & British. (In fact, some of the volumes that are on your shelves have identical cousins on mine!) I have no doubt that at some point I'll write some historicals--researching history is NEVER a burden, but I'll have to watch closely or I'll never get around to the writing!

  9. Welcome Erica and thanks for posting on Seekerville,
    Wow, I'm with Ruthy, My first thought when I saw that bookcase is "How do you keep it so neat?" Hmmm that might be a post in itself. LOL

    Anyway congrats on your debut novel. Sounds fascinating. I love historical stuff and visit every history site I come across when I travel. I think that is the writer in me because I just imagine all the life there. How fun to write it. And thanks for all the helpful hints.

    And when your family gets on you about spending your time researching just tell them you're working.

    Ruthy, I was all excited about the apples until you mentioned the Reese's peanut butter cups. Bad girl Bad girl.

  10. Hi, Erica! Wow, I am always in awe of dedicated researchers/historical writers. I admit, the process seems daunting to me, but I'm fascinated with learning how you do it.

    I've only attempted one historical novel, set in 1929 leading up to the big stock market crash. The ms. still languishing somewhere on my computer hard drive, but it was really interesting digging into that era and trying to wrap my brain around stocks, margin buying, and the whole investment thing.

  11. Nice to see you here, Erica. As a geeker, too, Whenever I travel I try to pick up local histories. Sometimes those are the very best ways to get to know a community, almost as good as talking to a person. You can always pick out traditions and rearrange them enough to make them your own for a different story.

  12. Good morning, Seekers!

    Arianna, I'm glad the post gave you some ideas. That would be a challenge attempting research that far away. What a blessing the internet is.

    Jessica, thank! And good morning!

  13. Good morning, Ruthie!

    You're so right, a day does start better with a Reese's. :)

    The bookcase...well, it usually looks like that. I'm pretty casual about housekeeping most of the time, but the books must be tidy so I can find them when I want them. Working in a library in college seems to have had quite the effect on me. :)

  14. Katie! I'm so glad you're enjoying the book. :)

    Janet, my first series is set in a real place, but one I was able to visit for research. In my next series, I created a fictional town because I wasn't able to visit the place I wanted to write about.

    And I love that S&R Catalogue. Esp. the clothing sections.

  15. Erica said:

    "The bookcase usually looks like that."

    Ruthy said:

    Nothing. They had to carry her limp, lifeless body out the door, brought down by feelings of household inadequacy.

    Please send flowers.

  16. CJ, come over!

    Rose, I'm a museum hound, too! Our family vacations always incorporate visits to museums. I'm blessed that my family allows me, even encourages me, to visit sites I want to write about.

    Glynna Kaye, I have that problem too. Sometimes my first attempt at a new novel reads more like a non-fiction story. That's when I have to back up, start over, and make the story about the characters and not about the setting/time period.

  17. You are all funny. Love your book collection. I should team with my husband to write something historical. I can barely remember what I had for lunch yesterday (hmmm.... actually I think I didn't eat which means it is probably OK to have a donut for breakfast) He's all about the history. I'm all about the drama. Thansk for the Geek Speak!

  18. Sandra, thank you, and I think you're right. The writer in us takes over in historical places and makes us wonder "what if" about the people who lived in that time and had those struggles.

    Myra, dust that puppy off! I'd love to read it! That's an era of history I don't know much about (yet) and I'd love to know more.

  19. Hey, Lisa, good morning! I agree, local histories are chock full of interesting tidbits. And I love talking to the volunteer curators and guides at local museums. They're passionate about their local history and have a way of putting a human face on and pulling in the more emotional, connectable parts of that history. So much more interesting than just the bare facts and numbers, don't you think?

  20. Ruthy, Ruthy! Come back to us! I'll mess up the bookcase, I promise!

    Jenny, :) That's the beauty of all those books and post-its. So I can find things again once I read them!

  21. Erica, a history are a woman after my own heart! My family and I visit love to visit museums and historical sites. I've enjoyed being introduced to you this week both here and at the Edit Cafe. I am really looking forward to reading your book. My copy should be arriving soon!

    Ruth...feelings of household inadequacy! You crack me up! And I can SO relate to those feelings.

    My current WIP is the first historical I've ever attempted. I've visited the site that is the inspiration many times in my life, but now I wish I lived closer to it and could get a season pass!

  22. Ooo Erica
    American History buff too? We really ARE 'kindred spirits' ;-)

    I'm currently researching WWI,especially the sinking of the Lusitania - what's difficult for me is getting lost in the time period instead of jerking myself back into the reality of writing about it.

    There are SO many amazing things to learn and zillions of possibilities to fit those facts into your story. That's where I have to watch myself - not to become so overzealous with 'the facts' in my writing and just try to 'weave' those facts into the fabric of the story. Story first.

    Thanks for sharing...and I'm with Ruthy. If I took a picture of my bookshelf right now, MAYBE someone would find the books under all 'other' things ;-)

  23. All those research books, Erica. And so tidy.

    I'm sitting here working my way through feelings of incompetence and inferiority.

    It's the kind of feeling Hostess Twinkies were made to cure.

    Thank heaven's for them. :)

  24. MaryB - Yay. We do have a lot in common. What historical site are you writing about. Curious minds wanna know! :)

    Pepper, I'm finding lots of history kindred spirits. Yay!

    And again, curious minds wanna know...what goes on bookshelves besides books??

  25. I do so much of my research online. I'm trying to be better about getting OUT OF THE HOUSE, going to museums, touching things, really seeing them in three dimensions.

    There's a history museum in Omaha I really need to go look at.

    You've inspired me. :)

  26. Montana Rose was originally set near Fort Laramie, WY. I kept getting conflicting information about it. I just really couldn't get a clear picture of the place, during my time frame.

    Then, it finalled in the Noble Theme contest held by ACFW. Tracie Peterson was a finalist judge and she talked with me at the conference and told me that I had some things wrong about Fort Laramie. For example, did I know that they'd moved it and that neither of the historical locations was at the same place as present day Fort Laramie WY.

    That just made so much SENSE. All of a sudden these conflicting bits of info made utter sense to me.

    It made me far more determined to either research very deeply or, like Janet said, fictionalize a place. In the end I fictionalized Montana Rose's town. Besides, as I realized quite a while after the book was done, it COULDN'T have been near a fort because a huge part of the reason she was forced to marry was because there was really no place of safety for her and she HAD to pick a husband to take care of her.

    Well, if the fort had been right there, it would have been simple to take her to a safe place. It completely pulled the rug out from under the motivator for the marriage.

  27. Hi Erica:

    I’m a history geek, too. I started reading history right after I learned to read. I think I read every WWII book published in paperback when I was growing up. My wife and I also visit old Forts when we travel. I have a teaching minor in history but history is the hardest teaching job to land. It seems everyone wants to teach history. (And they are teaching majors.)

    I’ve found the best resources for fiction are letters and diaries written by ordinary people at the time. Also actual local newspapers. These tell what was actually on people’s minds at the time. You can also learn what names were common at the time. This adds a degree of realism that you cannot get any other way. Louis L’Amour was the master at doing this. I also like to walk through old cemeteries in the location the story is set and realize I will be writing about these very people. It’s more than fiction.

    I prefer Greek and Roman history and wish romance writers would develop this area more fully. Have you thought of writing a time travel book and using all of history? I’d love to see a real historian do this.

    My pet peeve with historical fiction writers is when they ignore major events. There could be a world wide flu pandemic with millions dead and it’s not mentioned in the story. The region could be devastated by an economic panic, but it’s business as usual for the shopkeeper. There could be a lesser known war going on and there is no mention of it in the conversations of the novel’s characters. I know the story is the thing but please make the historical novel also pleasing to someone who knows the history.

    It is very good news that Steeple Hills is going to four historicals a month. Now I would like them to expand the years covered.

    Thanks for your post. I love to hear from another history buff.


  28. Erica (I'd LOVE to get Ruthy's answer to the question, 'what goes on bookshelves besides books? ;-)

    Okay - for me...
    I have pictures of characters, 'stuff' that reminds me of the period or place (like a model ship or a picture of the place in England I'm writing about).
    I love baskets and have colorful 'storage' ones on my bookshelves along with books. They can hold articles I find related to the book subjects, items, and extra highlighters. I'm forever running out of highlighters and colored stickynotes ;-)

    I have a 'catch me' note basket, so that when an idea, dialogue, phrase, description pops into my mind while I'm running to change a diaper or in the middle of grading graduate student papers, I'll pick up an index card, jot it down, and toss it in the basket.

    And - occassionally, kids' toys that find their way onto the shelf too ;-)

    Unfortunately, my mind looks about like my bookshelf. Scary, huh? ;-)

  29. Erica, it sounds like we're on the same track. I could visit the town where I set my first series, but couldn't for my third book. Still, the need to get the facts exactly right is daunting.

    I forgot to congratulate you on your debut. The Bartered Bride sounds like a fun read!


  30. I am a history nut too! I have a BA in it! I'm happy to see there are so many of us who can't get enough of our nation's past!

    I will definitely be looking for The Bartered Bride!

    xoxo~ Renee

  31. Wow! What a treasure trove you have there, Erica!

    I'm reading The Bartered Bride right now and I'm loving it. You did a super job on it! =]

  32. Thanks for the post! You've got some gorgeous books. What a fun collection! I'd love to get a library card to your house!

    I appreciated your advice to distill the information through your characters' experience. Too often I'm tempted to throw in every detail I can.

    The Bartered Bride sounds fabulous and I am looking forward to reading it!

  33. How come so many of you already have The Bartered Bride? I must be in the wrong week of releases for Heartsongs. I can't WAIT to read it and I haven't gotten mine yet.

  34. LoL Mary. Erica is on my blog this week in the author spotlight (she's doing a giveaway over there!! *g*) and she sent me a copy! Needless to say, I'm happy dancin' and loving it!

    If you want another chance at Erica's book, stop by Patterings. You can enter TWICE, once on each post at my place! =] It's a reeeeeally good read!! =]

    (I think that counts as a shameless plug, sorry, but it's for Erica's book and I'm just sharing the love! LoL)

  35. Speaking of researching with newspapers, when I was working on my 1929 ms., I signed up for a subscription to I was able to find newspapers from that era in various parts of the country and even enter search terms for specific subjects I was interested in.

  36. Erica!!! My apologies for getting here late, and welcome back to Seekerville (as a guest blogger, that is! We all know you're a mainstay as a Seeker friend).

    A "librarian's soul"?? Oh, dear Lord, can I hire you to do my research??? I DESPISE research and do it as minimally as possible, although that's quite difficult when you are writing historicals. I so admire someone like you who actually loves it, and wish I were more like that.

    And I SO agree with your statement "Distill the information through the eyes of the characters." I have lent my aunt a number of the top-selling historicals, and her #1 complaint was there were "too many historical details." I guess she's used to my books which squeak by with the bare minimum. :) But I tend to agree and even find myself skimming those details if they go on too long.

    Excellent post, and your book sounds WONDERFUL. I would love to win it, but I don't know if I am allowed ... :)


  37. Mary, pass the Twinkies! I haven't had those in ages.

    Online research is usually my starting place.

    Great story about Ft. Laramie. No wonder you were getting conflicting reports. I had a great time exploring that for, esp since one of the maintenence men went through with us and talked and talked and talked about the cool stuff at the fort.

  38. Vince, you make excellent points. I just blogged about this over at The Edit Cafe. I love reading journals, diaries, letters, and espsecially newspapers of the era I'm writing about.

    19th Century journalists were such wordsmiths.

  39. Pepper, that sounds like an excellent use of your bookshelf space. I'm particularly intrigued by your basket for ideas that float through at in inopportune moment.

    Renee, do you have a favorite era in US history? I'm all about 1850 to 1910. Westward expansion, empire building, Manifest Destiny...ah, love it!

  40. Patty, I'm so glad you're enjoying the story, and yay for plugging your blog. If folks don't win a copy here, they might win one somewhere else.

    Mary, I'm so anxious for you to read it, and a little nervous too. I'm dying for you to LOVE that wrong????

  41. Susanne, my first draft of my first chapter usually reads like a history book. It's like I have to get it all on the page so I can get rid of it and start over. I have to realize the character hasn't read my research and doesn't care that surgeons in the US Cavalry had rim-stamped buttons on their great-coats. :)

  42. Myra, I'm SO checking out that newspaper link. That would beat sitting at a microfilm projector!

    Julie, you need to hire a researcher? Pick me! Pick me! LOL

    And I don't object to you being in the drawing if nobody else has any objections. :D

  43. Thank you Mary.

    The Twinkies have revived me. They restoreth my breathing apparatus. We'll leave the soul part to God.

    Erica, Erica, Erica...

    Are ya' kiddin' me?

    What goes on bookshelves besides books??????

    Honey, what doesn't?

    Mandy made me a set of bookshelves for my office, short ones that would fit under the window.

    Right now they're holding toddler shoes and boots in the entryway.

    Floor to ceiling bookshelves in the dining room/play room. Don't ask.

    Toys. Tea services (real ones--quite dusty) Dolls. Stuffed animals. DVDs. VHS tapes. Dust.
    Cookbook collection...

    Tween books for my elementary school visitors. So two shelves out of twenty have books. I'm a sorry excuse for a housekeeper.

    And we're not even going to peek at my office.

    Leave it to the imagination. We're all safer that way.

    Is this a good spot to mention that I found a box of stale tart shells from Beth's wedding last year when I cleaned in May?

    May of this year.

    Where were they?

    Come on, you already know the answer to that! But they were in a Macy's box, so who stores tart shells in a Macy's box?

    Umm... Me.

    Bookshelves are amazing things.


  44. Oh, I KNEW Ruthy would understand. I already feel tons better :-) LOL

    Thanks for the link. I've already saved it to favorite. It looks great!

    I love history, but I'm with you - putting too much of it into a story certainly can slow the pace. I had to pull the reigns in when delving into all the fine details of a sinking 1915 liner. Good stuff, but just like Erica said, my character had NO interest in how the funnels of the ship were formed and painted a certain color to keep Uboats from attacking. :-)

    I have some Marvelous Peanut Butter Bars in the making. Not as peanut buttery as Ruthy's Reece Cups, but they add a graham cracker crust to cream cheese, peanut butter, and chocolate. (Don't let your heart think too long about that...or your cholesterol) ;-)


  45. Erica, you've reminded me of the joy of using diaries and journals. I went to Google books, a great source, and found something amazing. Clicked on the 'find the book' part and voila, I can go to my library and hold an 1840 printing of it in hand. (okay when I say my library in this case I mean a big old university library. Who knows what they've got in their vaults?!)

    For my WIP, I ordered a scanned copy of an 1830 map of the setting city from its ancient university. It's large and framed on my office wall. I love maps! Mmm Mmm good. Doesn't that just make your researcher's mouth water?

  46. LOL Ruthy! You crack me up, girl!!! But you are very true. I have all sorts of things in my multiple bookshelves in my ummm room : ) I have 5 floor to ceiling bookshelves in my one room and them piles of books everywhere!

    Hi Erica!
    Nice post : ) In eighth grade(4 years ago now), we had a History Fair. Everyone had an era to study. My friend and I had the 1860's. It was so fun! We both LOVE history, so it was not like an assignment for us. Another teacher that my mom works with does reenactments with her husband in a company. So, she let us borrow two of her dresses(from the period) to wear. So, we had traditional dress, plus a lot of other really cool things! We have a picture around here somewhere....hmmmm....

  47. If this be heresy?

    Too many historical facts…or insufficient compelling copy to support them? Can anyone spell “Georgette Heyer”?

    Bookcases not full of books” Now there’s a home with too few books.


  48. My husband just recently through a fit.

    Well, that's not fair. He casually mentioned for the ZILLIONTH TIME. that the living room couch is NOT a bookshelf and could I PLEASE put the two dozen books stacked on it elsewhere.

    So FINE, WHATEVER!!!!!!!!!

    I took three grocery store sacks of books to my nearby used book store...I now have credits in the store stretching into 2012.

    And now, my bookshelves, are only stuffed full, the couch looks pretty good.

    Here's a question, I own a....1980 encyclopedia. Yeah, real books, not online. I almost never touch them but I've kept them because for broad strokes, factual fundamentals, it's really a terrific source.

    I realized during my cleaning frenzy (okay, cleaning saunter) that I hadn't opened one of those books in a year.

    What do you think? It would free up a whole shelf?

    No, I've got to keep them. But maybe I don't have to. Yes, I do have to. Don't it? Should I?

    Any advice?

    The sugar buzz from the Twinkies may be waning. My brain can't quite pull out of my 1880 cowboy story and deal with talking on blogger about a 1980 set of encyclopedias.

    A brief pause to thank Jiminey Cricket for my ability to spell encyclopedia.


  49. Erica,

    You may have as many books as I do, but not quite :) I don't really know because mine aren't so organized (an understatement). Mary, mine aren't on the couch but they're stacked underneath the coffee table.

    A small package came in the mail the other day and my teenaged son said "A book, right?" (I won it here on Seekerville!)

    Thanks for sharing your research secrets. I don't have the book and would love a copy.


  50. Vince said: I prefer Greek and Roman history and wish romance writers would develop this area more fully.

    Vince -- I love Greek & Roman history, too. So keep an eye open for a Steeple Hill Love Inspired November 2009 historical release called "The Gladiator" by Carla Capshaw. Carla has the educational and world traveler background to make this an authentically researched story set in Roman times!

  51. Erica, my apologies for not stopping by sooner. BIZZZY day.

    Terrific post and congratulations on your first release!!!

    Glynna, I was going to say the same thing about Carla Capshaw's book. I have read the first chapter of it and it is AWESOME.

  52. I've met Mary's husband.

    Good guy.

    If he knew how to use a computer, they'd be divorced in a week. This is how I keep Mary in line, I threaten to TEACH IVAN how to access Seekerville.


    Offices that get used for work. Bookshelves for books.

    This country's gone to hell in a handbasket and y'all think it's funny. What next? Dirty clothes in the washing machine? TABLECLOTHS????

    It's enough to make a grown woman cry.

    Or eat M&M's.


    Anybody want some? I've got the BIG bag from Sam's. Plain and peanut.


  53. Hi Erica,
    Love your post and your collection of reference books. I'm in awe of historical writers who transport me back to another time through they're writing. The amount of info you need to know about that earlier time period boggles my mind!!!

    I was visiting Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, last week and loved seeing the circa 1830-1850 homes. The place was dripping in history, and I tried to soak up every detail. Since then, I've been daydreaming about writing an historical set in that locale. Then I realize how much work would be involved to properly research such a book, and I turn back to my contemporary suspense. :)

  54. Hi Glynna:

    Thanks for the heads-up on "The Gladiator" by Carla Capshaw. I will definitely read it as soon as I finish the two books I’m now reading. I am very curious how the author is going to handle the Christian theme.

    I loved “The Gladiator's Honor” and "The Roman's Virgin Mistress” by Harlequin Historical author, Michelle Styles. She lives a few miles from Hadrian's Wall in England and loves Roman history. She is very open and willing to communicate about history and writing. She would like to write more Roman historicals but Harlequin wants her writing Viking books, (I’ve read those too and they are very good but my favorites will always be Roman books.)

    BTW, Romances were very popular in the Roman Empire. These were usually written in Greek and translated into Latin. (See “Collected Ancient Greek Novels” by B.P. Reardon, 827 pages.) It would be quite interesting to write a romance about a Roman or Greek romance writer.

    Is anyone up for a real challenge?



  55. Interesting post and your book sounds like it will be a good one. Much success with your writing.

    Blessings, Janice

  56. sign me up for the book, sounds like a good one! rmjagears AT gmail DOT com