Contractions are historical, y’all

One of my pet peeves in historical novels is when authors try to make dialogue sound authentic by removing all the contractions. A natural-sounding phrase like, “I’m sure you’ll do well,” becomes the awkward and kind of comical, “I am sure you will do well.” Please don’t do this to your readers or your manuscript….

Remembering the Lost Generation

I’m disappointed to see how little attention the media and local civic organizations are giving to the centennial of the US entering The Great War. The WWI generation has been called the Lost Generation, and with good reason. After enduring WWI and the Great Depression, this generation and “their” war were overshadowed by their children…

World War I Centennial Commemoration

The United States doesn’t make as much fuss about World War I as most European countries, but the “Great War” still had a lasting impact on the United States. April 6th will mark one hundred years since the US entered the war. Some museums and historical societies will be holding events to commemorate the centennial,…

Makeshift music in World War I

The Great War epitomized the dark side of the modern, mechanical age, turning warfare into a grinding machine spitting out broken men and women in unprecedented numbers. A theme that emerges over and over from World War I is the attempt of individual soldiers, nurses, doctors, refugees, and others to keep their humanity intact in…

Japanese in World War I Utah

One of the reasons I’ll never run out of writing ideas is that every time I work on a project, I come across new awesome stories that don’t quite fit with the current project. The Japanese who fought in World War I are an example of that. As I was scanning lists of Utah veterans…

Suffering from “the spleen”

My blogosphere silence lately has been due to the extreme busy-ness of conferences, Pitch Wars, and my own editing, but I found this interesting tidbit while researching Renaissance life and health, and I had to post about it. I’m reading the letters of a seventeenth century woman who complains of suffering from “the spleen.” Her…

The Battle of the Somme, Summer 1916

We’re not thinking much about World War I this weekend in America as we watch fireworks and enjoy our barbecues, but July 1st marks the 100 year anniversary of the beginning of the Battle of the Somme in Europe. The U.S. didn’t know it in 1916, but they were less than a year away from…

No Peace with the Dawn Cover Reveal!

We have a cover for No Peace with the Dawn (November 2016)! I really appreciate the work Michelle May Ledezma at Cedar Fort did on getting Reed’s U.S. Marine Corps uniform right. Marines don’t fight in their stylish blue dress uniforms, and in the Great War, they ended up having to wear Army uniforms in…

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

I’m back from a long hiatus from blogging with some fun history facts for the day. Did you know St. Patrick was actually Welsh? He was kidnapped by pirates and taken to Ireland (“kidnapped by pirates is good!” 😉 ). According to legend, he was taken from Cor Tewdws, or the College of Theodosius, in…

The things that unite

I have been a delinquent blogger again this month, but in researching my latest project about WWI, I came across this speech made by President Woodrow Wilson in May of 1915 to a group of newly naturalized citizens shortly after the sinking of the Lusitania. One of the things I love about history is how,…

Sink or swim: Elizabethan style

I have a scene in my Elizabethan work-in-progress that requires several of the characters to jump into the water, and one of my critique partners asked, “Would they know how to swim?” That’s an important question. It would be awkward to have the book end with all the main characters drowning (or worse, miraculously developing…

How to make historians crazy in three easy steps

Pop quiz! What’s the oldest university in Europe? The official answer is the University of Bologna in Italy (dating to the 11th century), though the University of Paris and Oxford have reasonable claims to be as old or older. They pale in comparison to the Guiness Book of World Records’ pick for the oldest operating…