Category Archives: General

Happy New Year!

New Year's postcard

It’s hard to believe it is 2013 already.  But there’s something so promising about a new year.  It’s unblemished, fresh, and full of possibilities.

January 2012 marked the start of this blog/website.  I want to thank all of you for reading and making it a success.  I’ve enjoyed it immensely and look forward to sharing another year of posts with you.

I wish you all a fantastic 2013 full of exciting and wonderful things.  Here’s to keeping those New Year’s resolutions (at least for a month or two)!

Vintage New Year’s postcard from New York Public Library’s digital collection.  Go here to see the full collection of New Year’s postcards.


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I’m baaaack!

Happy Halloween everyone!  I apologize for the rather long hiatus.  But I’m back and ready to dive into writing/blogging again.

Today’s Halloween.  Where the heck did summer go?  And if Halloween came so fast, that means Thanksgiving and Christmas are lurking just around the corner.  The “holidays” are upon us, my friends.

Trick-or-treating in the neighborhood where I grew up was an event.  The streets teemed with children on Halloween night, going from door to door, their high-pitched voices squeaking out “Trick-or-treat!” as adults opened their doors.  I was a shy kid, and the idea of having to interact with that many grown-ups at one time was just a bit intimidating.  Fortunately I always had my cousin with me, which made going up the porch steps and ringing the doorbell a little easier.  Except for the year of the cat pins.

They were my aunt’s idea.  Plastic black cat pins with green eyes that lit up when their noses were pressed.  And then there was the tune, a whining two or three notes that alternated for what seemed like an eternity before it finally shut off.  Our aunt fastened them to our costumes (I think I went as a witch that year, so it coordinated), and then we were given instructions.  We had to press that button at every single house we went to, after the adult came to the door.  And we had to wait until the cat’s “song” played out in its entirety, thus prolonging my agony.  What my aunt thought would be cute was pure torture for me, but being the shy kid, I didn’t express it, so she didn’t know.  We tried to get around the rule at a few houses, to see if we could “forget” to push the little cat noses, but my aunt was never far behind, and would call out “Press the button!  Press the button!”  We had no choice.  The whining tune would crank up, the green eyes would flicker.  And so it went, from house to house, all night.  Relief finally came towards the end of our route when the batteries mercifully died.

That cat pin still exists today.  My mom brings it out every Halloween for my little nephews.  They love to press the nose and listen to the cat screech away, its eyes flashing.  It always makes me cringe.  I’m haunted by a piece of black plastic molded in the form of a cat.


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Judging a book by its cover

Who  hasn’t been enticed to pick up a book due to its attractive cover?  When I peruse the book store for historical fiction I’m certainly more likely to read the jacket flap of a book with intriguing cover art that gives me some idea of the time period in which the story takes place.  Same goes with the library–sometimes I’ll just wander the aisles until I see a title written in “old-fashioned” cursive, and pull it out–9 times out of 10 it’s historical fiction.

But sometimes book cover art isn’t quite so obvious.  Which brings me to a funny blog post I had to share.  Sunny Chanel, a blogger on the Babble website, got her six-year old to give her own interpretation of what she believed some works of classic literature were about, based on their covers.  The results were, in my opinion at least, pretty entertaining.  Here’s her take on The Great Gatsby:

I think it’s a book about a haunted theme park and it stars a magical magic guy and he’s good and evil and he’s trying to get rid of the ghosts. And I think at the end, since it’s haunted by a ghost, he tried to make the park go on fire and it did.

Not a bad guess by just looking at the cover and the title, right?

You can read more 6-year-old takes on classic literature by visiting the blog post here.  Wuthering Heights, Animal Farm, The Lord of the Rings, To Kill a Mockingbird, and more….all judged by their cover by a 6-year-old.  Enjoy.

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“Dear Lucky Agent” Contest

Right now Writer’s Digest is offering a wonderful opportunity for all of us hopeful writers out there!  The 10th “Dear Lucky Agent” contest is going on now.  And it’s free to enter!  Find out more here:

Wish me luck!


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Hello and welcome to my little spot in cyberspace.  Here you will find my musings on history, on writing, and maybe a little bit about life while I’m at it.  I’ll also post about my current writing projects, along with comments about historical fiction I’ve read or watched.

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