Literary Links

January/February 2007


Good News and Announcements


Available Now!--On shelves now from Pat White, is her first book in the Blackwell series The American Temp and the British Inspector, a Harlequin Intrigue. 


Coming Soon!--Look for these upcoming titles from Pat White. In February 2007, she continues the Blackwell series with The English Detective and the Rookie.  Then in March, the third book of the series, Miss Fairmont and the Gentleman Investigator, will be released. 


News--Michelle Prima had her premiere article, "Network Like a Pro" appear in the November 2006 issue of the NAPO-Chicago newsletter.  Her second article, "Why Don't I Call Back?, or Dealing with Difficult Clients" appeared in the January issue.

Services Available--Need to get your writing organized? How about research for your new book?  Michelle Prima, President of Literary Liaisons, is now offering organizing, research and errand services through her company, Prima By Design, Inc., a Professional Organizing business for residential customers. She currently works in the Chicago area only, but will provide research services on-line for others.  Contact Michelle for more information.


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 American Temp and the British Inspector by Pat White

The English Detective and the Rookie Agent by Pat White




Beau Brummel by Ian Kelly

The Jane Austen Cookbook by Maggie Black

The Strange Case of the Broad Street Pump by Sandra Hempel

The Victorian Age by Peter Chrisp

Writing Tools by Roy Peter Clark


Feature Title:


The Writer's Guide to Character Traits by Linda Edelstein


The Video Library




Researching the Romance


Beau Brummel by Ian Kelly

The Jane Austen Cookbook by Maggie Black

The Strange Case of the Broad Street Pump by Sandra Hempel

The Victorian Age by Peter Chrisp

Writing Tools by Roy Peter Clark



Writers' Resources Online


Absolute Write

Cathy's Wee Victorian Fashion Page

The Center for the Book

Schools in Victorian London

Victorian England


Feature Article 

A History of Walking Sticks

by Michelle Prima

When one thinks of walking sticks in today's society, our first thoughts turn to canes and the infirm.  But the walking stick is much more than an aide.  Over the centuries it has been used for many purposes, from weaponry to clothing accessory.  It has been a symbol of authority, as well as a decorative appendage. 

The walking stick has three main parts--the 'handle' by which the stick is held, the 'shaft' or straight part of the stick, a 'band' or 'collar' which joins the handle to the shaft if they are of different materials, a 'ferrule' or tip, and the 'wrist cord' for carrying.  A ferrule was usually metal to protect the end of the stick.  Sometimes, however, it was of a material that matched the handle, such as ivory horn, silver or gold.  Before roads were paved, the ferrule was three to four inches long.


Although the first sticks were probably used to help one stand, they became both weapons and symbols of authority.  The larger and stronger the man, the larger the stick.  As centuries passed, man added stones, points and hatchets to the sticks, which then became weapons as well as walking aides.  The most elaborate of sticks would belong to the chiefs of tribes.  These were often elaborately carved with emblems pertaining to the tribe.

In ancient Egypt, a stick was an object of prime importance. But while everyone had one, they varied by the person's occupation.  A shepherd's staff was different from a merchant's, whose was different from a priest's or Pharaoh's.  The stick remained with a person even in death, when it was placed in the coffin beside the mummy to protect the deceased on his travels.

The middle ages were dominated by the church, and this showed in the design of the walking sticks.  The decorations were crosses and bishop's crosiers.  Some even contained hiding places for money, precious stones and secret weapons. 

European kings used canes or sticks as a symbol of authority.  Many monarchs, such as Henry VIII and Charles I have their hands resting on sticks in their portraits.  Louis XIV 'wore' his canes, and the court followed suit. (Although they could not be worn to court in the presence of the king.)  The knobs and handles of many royal sticks were embellished with precious jewels.

Once the industrial revolution came about in the 19th century, canes were manufactured in mass by the hundreds of thousands.  Stores carried specialty canes as well, some even designed by the leading silversmiths of the day.


Decorative Sticks

The decorative sticks we see today in collections are mostly from the 19th century and up to about 1920.  These were mainly fashion accessories and came in a variety of materials.  Handles could be silver, ivory, porcelain, wooden, or glass.  Silver was popular, and ranged from simple round knobs to elaborate animal figures.  Ivory was also popular, and like silver, came in a variety of subjects.  There were animals, flowers, vegetables and even human figures for handles.  Porcelain handles were made mainly from molds.  Wood handles were carved by hand, sometimes by shepherds and prisoners of war. 

Gadget Sticks

While the term 'gadget' stick is new, the concept is old.  The term applies to those walking sticks which had a dual purpose.  Approximately two thousand patents were issued for sticks such as these.

Gadget sticks can be subdivided into categories--those which contain a place to hide something, those with some other purely functional alternate use, and those which represent the rank, function or profession of the owner. Gadget sticks can also be divided into uses--serious walking, city use, emblem or tool for profession, or as a weapon.

Country walking sticks remain popular still today.  Some have a compass in the handle, and others may be devoted to a country pasttime such as fishing, golfing or riding.

City walking sticks were more for show than use.  Elegant ladies and gentleman carried them as a reflection of manners.  They often hid snuff, pipe tobacco or chewing tobacco inside the handles.  The shaft could hide cigars, cigarettes or matches.  Some were even used to carry drugs, illegal or otherwise.  Some walking sticks had watches or other scientific gadgets in their handles.  They also held opera glasses, binoculars and telescopes.  Some walking sticks even converted into musical instruments--portable music before the invention of the radio!

Professional walking sticks reflected the trade of the owner. These often represented a trade or legal service, such as a magistrate or police officer.

The last category of use is weaponry.  Not only could they be used as the weapon, but they could conceal weapons.  If a shaft were sturdy enough, and the handle heavy enough (such as brass), used properly, the stick could do some serious damage.  Concealed weapons included blades, spikes, pistols and swords.  Fortunately, it is illegal in most countries to carry concealed weapons such as these. 


Walking Sticks by Catherine Dike, Shire Publications, Ltd., 1996.

Similar books are available for purchase in our on-line bookstore in the non-fiction section.

Also see the Researching the Romance page of Literary Liaisons for more suggestions.


Editor's Note

It's another new year.  As you reflect on 2006, can you say with all honesty that you accomplished everything you set out to do?  Did you finish that book, or submit that article or attend that conference like you planned?  If so, kudos to you. If not, why not?  Did you get sidetracked?  Did you forget to register on time?  Did life interfere?  Whatever the reason, take a good look at what you did accomplish, then take a good look at what you didn't.  Then sit down and write new goals for this year.  If time was an issue last year, try to make more by stepping down from some volunteer positions, or hiring a cleaning service for your home, or hiring a sitter to watch your children so you can write.  Also, learn to say no, so you have more time for yourself.  If health was an issue, there isn't much to do.  You can't predict illness or death in the family.  But you can be more prepared by having an alternate plan in place, or by padding the time needed to accomplish your other goals.  By giving yourself that hidden extra few minutes, you'll have time 'banked' for emergencies.  If money was an issue, decide if there are any places you can cut back on spending.  Is that $3 cup of coffee every day really necessary?  Could you be eating in more than eating out?  When you set new goals for the year, keep them realistic.  Keep them within your time and money constraints.  Break down larger goals in smaller projects, and congratulate yourself for getting those done.  And yes, you are allowed to celebrate!  Finally, share your goals with a close friend or family member.  Having someone to be 'accountable' to, will help you stay on track.  So go out there and conquer the writing world!

--Michelle Prima

President, Literary Liaisons, Ltd.

Q&A Column

Q: "I just finished the first chapter of my first book.  I want to start looking for an agent.  Where do I start?"

Lisa H.

A: Lisa, congratulations on this major accomplishment.  You took the first step in being a serious writer.  That said, let me slow you down a bit.  Yes, it is great that you finished a chapter.  But if this is you first, you should have others look at it, along with your synopsis, before going much further. Join a local critique group--one that writes similar material so they know the market.  Bring your chapter and synopsis to the group, and get their feedback.  They will be able to tell you if you are headed in the right direction, if your plot is strong enough to carry the book, if your characters are sympathetic, if the tone is correct for the line you are targeting.  All this feedback is invaluable and better done before you finish the book, and definitely before you submit it to an agent or editor.  As a first-time writer, you should have a finished project before submitting.  And once you are ready, look up agents in the Writer's Digest directory, available at your library or bookstore.  You can see which agents represent your type of book, and what their track record is.  Beware of any agents seeking you out.  The good agents are busy enough, they don't have to mass mail authors for submissions.  Also beware of any who ask for payment before representation.  Reputable agents charge only a commission fee which they collect upon the sale of your book.  Underhanded literary agents love to prey on innocent authors just starting out, so beware.  Check out the Preditors and Editors web site before submitting any of your work.  Good luck!

Michelle Prima

President, Literary Liaisons, Ltd.


Historical Calendar of Events



King George VI of Britain

Oscar Hammerstein--American librettist

Lewis Mumford--American author

Babe Ruth--Baseball player

Jack Dempsey--Boxing champion



T.H. Huxley--English scientist

Frederick Douglass--American abolitionist, reformer and orator

Louis Pasteur--scientist

Friedrich Engels--German socialist


The British South Africa Company territory south of Zambezi became Rhodesia.

Starr Jameson raided Transvaal.

Britain annexed Tongaland June 11 to block any possible access of the Transvaal to the sea via Swaziland.
Britain's Tories regained power in the general elections and a third Salisbury ministry began June 25.
U.S. Treasury gold reserves fell to $41,393,000 as economic depression continued.

May 20--The Supreme Court ruled that the income tax provision in last year's Wilson-Gorman Tariff Act was unconstitutional.
Britain's National Trust was created with government funding to preserve country houses, parks, and gardens.  It will protect 150 "stately homes," 100 grand gardens and landscaped parks, 17 villages, more than 2,000 farms, and some nature reserves.
The Anti-Saloon League of America was organized at Washington, D.C.
Booker T. Washington gave a speech agreeing to withdrawal of blacks from politics in return for a guarantee of education and technical training.
France's President Casimir-Perier resigned January 17 and was succeeded by Félix Faure.
Cuban insurgents staged an abortive revolution against Spanish rule, but poet-patriot José Marti, who led an invasion of the island, was killed May 19. The revolt was suppressed.

The Arts


"Revolt of the Weavers" three prints by Kathe Kollwitz

"Northeaster" by Winslow Homer


"The Burghers of Calais" by Auguste Rodin


Almayer's Folly by Joseph Conrad

Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy

Quo Vadis by Henry Sienkiewicz

The Celibates by George Moore

The Time Machine by H.G. Wells

The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane

The Sorrows of Satan by Marie Corelli


"Verses and Sonnets" by Hilaire Belloc

The Middle Years, an autobiography by Henry James

Das Kapital (vol. 3) by Karl Marx (posthumously)

Studies in Hysteria by Sigmund Freud


"Poems" by W.B. Yeats

"The Tentacular Cities" by Emile Verhaeren

"Majors and Minors" by Laurence Dunbar

Popular Songs:

"The Band Played On" composed by John F. Palmer, lyrics by Charles B. Ward

"America the Beautiful" by  Katharine Lee Bates (lyrics)


"Der Evangelimann" by Wilhelm Kienzl


An Ideal Husband by Oscar Wilde premiered January 13 at London's Haymarket Theatre

The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde premiered February 14 at London's St. James Theatre

The Heart of Maryland by David Belasco premiered October 22 at New York's Herald Square Theater


First complete performance of Tchaikovsky's "Swan Lake" at St. Petersburg



Daily Life

The London School of Economics and Political Science was founded by Fabian socialists.

The University of Texas at Arlington was founded.

The New York Public Library was created by a merger of the 41-year-old Astor Library, the Lenox Library, and the Tilden Library.
A new Boston Public Library opened on Copley Square.
.The first public film show was held in Paris at the Hotel Scribe.

The first commercial presentation of a film on a screen took place May 20 at New York. An audience in a converted store at 153 Broadway viewed a 4-minute film of a boxing match.
Robert Newman arranged the first Promenade Concert at Queen's Hall, London.  Henry J. Wood was the conductor.

Peter Latham became the world lawn tennis champion.

The American Bowling Congress was formed to govern the game of bowling.

The first professional football game was played in the United States at Latrobe, Pennsylvania.

The first U.S. Open Golf Championship was held.

Wilfred Baddely won in men's singles at Wimbledon, Charlotte Cooper in women's singles.

Fred H. Hovey won in U.S. men's singles, and Juliette P. Atkinson in women's singles.
The U.S. yacht Defender defeated Valkyrie II 3 to 0, thwarting the seventh English effort to regain the America's Cup.
An 1891 Panhard Levassor won a Paris-Bordeaux road race.
The first U.S. automobile race took place Thanksgiving Day on a 53.5-mile course between Chicago and Milwaukee. Herman Kohlsaat's Chicago Times-Herald offered a $2,000 first prize. The winner was James Franklin Duryea, driving the only American-made gasoline-powered entry.
Florida shipped 30 million pieces of fruit, down from a billion last year when all the state's lemon trees were killed by a freeze.
The California Fruit Growers Exchange cooperative was organized to market the produce of California growers.
Cardinal Vaughn laid the foundation stone for Westminster Cathedral.

Chicago's Marquette building was completed by Holabird & Roche with wide windows that flood the building's interior with light.
Louis Sullivan completed the Prudential (Guaranty) building at Buffalo, New York.

New York's Washington Arch was completed at the foot of Fifth Avenue at a cost of $128,000. The 86-foot-high arch designed by architect Stanford White commemorated the first inauguration of President Washington.
Biltmore House at Asheville, N.C., was completed for railroad heir George Washington Vanderbilt II.  It was the world's largest private house, located on a 119,000 acre estate, and built in 5 years at a cost of $4.1 million.  It had 250 rooms and was surrounded by vast forests.

Forester Gifford Pinchot was employed to superintend the forests at Biltmore House.
The Breakers was completed by Richard Morris Hunt at Newport, R.I., for railroad heir Cornelius Vanderbilt II. The 70-room fireproof summer "cottage" on Ochre Point Road was completed in less than 3 years.
The Breakers completed at Palm Beach, Florida, was a vast rambling winter hotel financed by Florida East Coast Railway promoter H. M. Flagler.
Richmond's Jefferson Hotel opened with electric lights and two toilets on every floor. The electric system would cause a fire, destroying the hotel in 1901, but the Jefferson would reopen in 1910 with 300 rooms, each with private bath.
The Venice Biennale opens. This first international show of contemporary art began a tradition that would be continued for more than a century.
Underwood Typewriter Co. was founded by New York ribbon and carbon merchant John Thomas Underwood.
William Randolph Hearst acquired the New York Morning Journal from John R. McLean for $180,000. Hearst would call the paper's morning edition the New York American beginning in 1902.
The Denver Post began publication under the direction of Frederick Gilmer Bonfils and Harry Heye Tammen, who have renamed the Denver Evening Post.
Collier's Weekly magazine (formerly Once a Week) began publication by New York publisher Peter F. Collier  to challenge the Saturday Evening Post.
Sears, Roebuck had sales of $750,000, up from $338,000 in 1893. A. C. Roebuck sold his interest in the firm for $2,000 to Chicago merchant Julius Rosenwald.
Del Monte canned goods were introduced by California's Oakland Preserving Co., which also markets an ordinary line but identified its premium grade with the name Del Monte and a label picture of Charles Crocker's hotel on Monterey Bay.
"Coca-Cola is now sold in every state of the Union," boasted Asa Candler of Atlanta, but the beverage had yet to be bottled.
Postum was introduced as a coffee substitute at Battle Creek, Michigan by C. W. Post.
Granose, introduced in February, was the world's first flaked breakfast cereal.
The first U.S. pizzeria opened in New York at 53½ Spring Street.
Columbia River salmon canning reached its peak of 634,000 cases.
Freud has worked with Josef Breuer in treating hysteria with hypnosis but began to develop a new treatment that would be the basis of scientific psychoanalysis.
Oscar Wilde began an unsuccessful libel action against Marquis of Queensberry.


William Rontgen discovered x-rays.

Guglielmo Marconi invented radio telegraphy.
Belgian bacteriologist Emilie Pierre Marie Van Ermengem isolated the botulism bacterium Clostridium botulinum.
Dutch botanist Marinius Willem Beljerinck discovered filterable viruses.
Auguste and Louis Lumiere invented a motion-picture camera.

Konstantin Isiolkovski formulated the principle of rocket reaction propulsion.

C. von Linde constructed a machine for the  liquefaction of air.

King C. Gillette invented the safety razor.

The Kiel Canal in Germany opened.

Canned foods were shown to keep from spoiling not because bacteria have been killed or inhibited in their growth.

The word "calorie" was applied to food for the first time by Wesleyan University professor Wilbur Olin Atwater.
August 26--The Niagara Falls Power Co. incorporated in 1889, transmitted the first commercial electric power from the Falls, employing three 5,000-horsepower Westinghouse Electric generators that delivered two-phase currents at 2,200 volts, 25 cycles.
German engineer Rudolf Diesel invented the "diesel" engine, which operates on a petroleum fuel less highly refined and less costly than gasoline; it has no electrical ignition system and is simpler than a gasoline engine and more trouble-free.
Ohio glass maker Michael Joseph Owens patented an automatic bottle-blowing machine.
Eastman Kodak introduced A Pocket Kodak, which gained immediate success.
U.S. inventor Charles Francis Jenkins patented a cine projector, which has an intermittent motion.
May 27--British inventor Birt Acres patented a combination cine camera and projector. It has an appliance for loop-forming. He has filmed the Oxford-Cambridge boat race March 30, and the Derby using film purchased from the American Celluloid Co. of Newark, N.J.  His associate Robert Paul would challenge his claim to sole proprietorship.
July 8--The Delagoa Bay Railway opened, giving Johannesburg and Pretoria an economic outlet to the sea independent of British control.
Germany's 53.2-mile Kiel (Nord-Ostsee) Ship Canal opened to connect the North Sea with the Rhine.
George B. Selden received a patent for a "road locomotive" powered by a "liquid hydrocarbon engine" of the compression type.
Wilshire Boulevard opened between Los Angeles and Santa Monica on the Pacific. Local gold-mine promoter, (Henry) Gaylord Wilshire, built the thoroughfare.
André Michelin and his brother Edouard produced their first pneumatic tires for motorcars.
The first U.S. pneumatic tires were produced by the Hartford Rubber Works at Hartford, Connecticut.
The Lanchester motorcar introduced by English engineer Frederick W. Lanchester of the Lanchester Engine Co. was the first British four-wheel gasoline-powered motorcar. It had epicyclic gearing, worm drive, and pneumatic tires.
The Wolseley motorcar introduced by the Wolseley Sheep-Shearing Machine Co. had a two-cylinder opposed air-cooled engine.
December--Peugot Frères in Paris completed the first gasoline-powered delivery van. Its four-horsepower Daimler motor enabled it to carry a half-ton load at 9.5 miles per hour and a 650-pound load at 12 miles per hour.
The first Benz "Omnibus" went into service in Germany with a one-cylinder rear engine that developed between 4 and 6 horsepower and held eight passengers.



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