Literary Links

May/June 2005


Good News and Announcements

Good News--It's good news all around for our authors.  Although Literary Liaisons will not be attending the RWA conference this year, our authors will be there.  Pat White (aka Patricia Mae White) and Blythe Gifford will be presenting workshops.  Pat is speaking on "Promotion: The Good, The Bad and The Spendy."  Blythe will be presenting "Marketing is Not a Four-Letter Word."  Victoria Bylin and Pat White will be signing at the annual Readers for Life Literacy autographing.  For more information on any of these events, see the RWA web site. Also in the good news department, Pat White has sold her third Single Title wrestling romance to Dorchester.  Look for it later this year.  And Beverly Long has sold a second paranormal romance to Berkley Sensation. Her release date is November 2006.  And still more good news in the contest department...Blythe Gifford's The Knave and the Maiden is a double finalist in the First Coast Romance Writer's Beacon Contest, in the Best First Book and Historical categories.  Victoria Bylin's West of Heaven is a finalist in the National Reader's Choice Award in the Historical category.  And finally, Pat White recently received the Romantic Times award for Best Contemporary Romance 2004 for her book, Ring Around My Heart.

New Additions--Please help us welcome our new author, Ann Macela.  Ann writes paranormal romances for Medallion Press.  Her debut novel, The Oldest Kind of Magic, is due out October 1, 2005.  Click here to visit her web site.

Now Available--Abbie's Outlaw by Victoria Bylin was released on April 1, 2005. For more information, visit her web site at

Coming Soon--Look for debut author Ann Macela's paranormal romance this October, The Oldest Kind of Magic

Services Available--Need to get your home office or house 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.

Victorian Research Guide--This 252-page guide, Researching the British Historical--The Victorian Era, is available either in print format or CD-Rom.  You can now order it on-line through PayPal.  For more information, click here


New On Literary Liaisons

There are many new additions to Literary Liaisons. After reading about them below, check them out on the web site.



Ann Macela





Marriage and Morals Among the Victorians by Gertrude Himmelfarb

The Most Beautiful Villages of England by James Bentley

An Uncommon Woman by Hannah Pakula

Vintage Hats & Bonnets 1770-1970: Identification & Values by Susan Langley
Writing a Romance Novel for Dummies by Leslie Wainger

You Can Market Your Book by Carmen Leal


Feature Title:


You Can Market Your Book by Carmen Leal


The Video Library


The Barchester Chronicles


Researching the Romance


Marriage and Morals Among the Victorians by Gertrude Himmelfarb

The Most Beautiful Villages of England by James Bentley

An Uncommon Woman by Hannah Pakula

Vintage Hats & Bonnets 1770-1970: Identification & Values by Susan Langley
Writing a Romance Novel for Dummies by Leslie Wainger

You Can Market Your Book by Carmen Leal



Writers' Resources Online


Chambers's Book of Days

Charles Dickens-Gad's Hill Place

The Ladies Treasury of Costume and Fashion

The Most Dangerous Woman in America

The Passionate Pen



Feature Article 

The Country House Visit

by Michelle J. Prima

The country home visit was an important social ritual in Victorian England.  More than just passing the time with friends or family, it was a venue to talk business, aspire to politics and sometimes have a discreet affair.  

Visits could last for several weeks, or even months.  This was due in large part to the poor modes of transportation at the beginning of the 19th century.  Because roads were bad, sometimes even dangerous, travel was kept to a minimum.  Once one arrived at his destination, he stayed as long as he was welcome, to avoid the treacherous ride home.  When travel improved and trains began to run, visits became shorter, but more frequent.  Weekend visits became popular, except during hunting season, when they lasted a week or fortnight.  

One never visited a country house unless he was invited.  The dates and times of the visit were predetermined by the hostess.  Visitors could bring a lady's maid or valet along (if the hostess approved), but children and horses were deemed in poor taste to accompany a guest.  It was proper to arrive by late afternoon, so as not to interfere with the dinner hour.  Guests were served tea upon arrival, while their luggage was brought up to their room.  The hostess showed her guests to their rooms after tea, then informed them of the dinner hour. 

Every day was much like the next as far as routine.  Breakfast was an informal affair.  Guests helped themselves from a sideboard, and sat where they wished at the table.  No time was set--people came and went as they pleased.  If the gentlemen were going to hunt, they rose and ate earlier.  Ladies rarely arrived downstairs before half past ten. 

Gentlemen spent the days out of doors, either hunting or shooting.  They packed a picnic lunch, and didn't return to the house until dinner.  Ladies had little to do all day.  If the weather was nice, they would take a walk, or stroll through the gardens.  If the weather was inclement, they would write letters, gossip or do their stitching.  For a change of pace, the hostess sometimes arranged visits to nearby attractions. They would then go upstairs to change for five o'clock tea, a custom begun in the early 1870s. 

Everyone would return and dress formally for dinner.  Because of the frequent wardrobe changes, a lady could expect to pack as many as fifteen outfits for a three-day weekend.  The dinner bell sounded thirty minutes before dinner, at which time guests would gather in the drawing room.  From there, they would file into the dining room and be seated according to rank.  Once dinner was over, the ladies retreated to the drawing room while the gentlemen talked politics or business over glasses of wine.

The gentlemen then joined the ladies for billiards, card games or parlor games such as charades.  Once this was over, entertainment of a different type began.  It was not unusual for 'ladies' to carry on trysts such as they could not otherwise conduct in more public places. 

While the above is a typical day when guests were present, the meals were much simpler, and the dress less formal when a family was not entertaining.  Also, rooms which were rarely used had to be cleaned and prepared for guests.  Extra staff had to be hired to cook and clean, sometimes as many as 150 servants.  Entertainment, such as musicians or actors, had to be brought in.   Therefore, a family often expended the money and entertained a succession of guests for a month, then closed up their house and paid their own visits. 

Although relaxation was the main reason for a country house visit, the deals that went on behind closed doors could either further one's career or destroy it.  And many a marriage was concocted or ruined.  One could say it was an early form of networking as we know it today.



What Jane Austen Ate & Chalres Dickens Knew by Daniel Pool. Simon & Schuster, ISBN#0671793373

The Writer's Guide to Everyday Life in Regency and Victorian England by Kristine Hughes.  Writer's Digest Books, ISBN#0898798124

For more information on country-house visits,  see our Researching the Romance page.


Editor's Note

Whew, it's been a busy two months since our last newsletter.  Not only did we add a new author, Ann Macela, to our group, our other authors have been busy selling books and finaling in contests. Congratulations to Beverly Long and Pat White for their recent sales.  And we're looking forward to future releases by Allie Pleiter, Laura Moore and Victoria Bylin.  Congratulations also to Laura Moore and Blythe Gifford for finaling in RWA contests.  You can read more about each of their accomplishments on their web sites.  Click here for the Author Links page.  You can also catch up with most of our authors at the RWA conference in Reno this July.  Unfortunately, Literary Liaisons will not be at the conference due to other commitments.  However, we send our best wishes and hellos to each and every one of our readers.  Do visit us on the internet, as there are a lot of great additions to our site. Keep reading and keep writing, even though the lazy summer months will soon be upon us.

--Michelle Prima

President, Literary Liaisons, Ltd.

Q&A Column

Q: Do you have any information on the use of wedding announcements in the 1890s in America?  Was this a common practice?  Do you have any suggestions as to where I could find more information on this?



A: Paula:

Most of my references are for Victorian England.  But I did find this tidbit in "Romantic Victorian Weddings: Then & Now" by Satenig St. Marie and Carolyn Flaherty. 


"Announcement cards for a wedding were sent immediately after the wedding to those not invited to the marriage ceremony.  Sometimes these cards were highly ornamented, or at the minimum had borders of silver. A Marriage announcement did not demand an acknowledgment." p. 11

"Sometimes the announcement card had enclosed with it an "At Home" card mentioning the time and the house the newly married couple would be 'at home' to recieve guests.  An earlier custom of including the groom's and bride's card was dropped in the late 1890s.  For those who attended the wedding, cards were sent out two weeks before the first "At Home" day."  p. 12

The book also shows an example of the wording for an announcement card.


Also, while scanning other books and web sites, it seems the general practice was to send announcements to those who were not invited to the ceremony.  Their first "At Home" date would be upon their return from their wedding trip.  Couples did not always put an exact date on their announcement cards, as they sometimes extended their wedding tour, thus not being home in time for their first visitors.


For more information on Victorian weddings, see these web sites, and check out these books.


Hope this information helps.


Web Sites:

Victorian Wedding Etiquette

Lively Arts History Association--Victorian Weddings



Everyday Life in the 1800s by Marc McCutcheon

Romantic Victorian Weddings: Then & Now by Satenig St. Marie and Carolyn Flaherty

Victorian America: Transformations in Everyday Life, 1876-1915 by Thomas Schlereth


Michelle Prima

President, Literary Liaisons, Ltd.


Historical Calendar of Events



D.H. Lawrence--English novelist

Ezra Pound--American poet

Sinclair Lewis--American novelist

Anna Pavlova--Russian ballet dancer



Victor Hugo--author

Ulysses S. Grant--U.S. President and soldier

King Alfonso XII of Spain



Britain's second Gladstone ministry ended June 9.  He was replaced by Robert Arthur Talbot Gascoyne-Cecil, marquis of Salisbury.

British troops evacuated Sudan.

Khartoum fell to the British on January 26.

Great Britain established a protectorate over North Bechuanaland, Niger River region and South New Guinea

Grover Cleveland inaugurated as 22nd U.S. President.

U.S. Congress prohibited barbed-wire fencing of public lands.

Anti-Chinese rioting broke out in Washington Territory.

The Orange Growers Protective Union of Southern California was organized.

Queen Maria Christina became regent of Spain upon Alfonso XII's death.

The Congo became a personal possession of King Leopold II of Belgium.

Germany annexed Tanganyika and Zanzibar

The Arts

"The Potato Eaters" by Vincent Van Gogh

"Mont Sainte-Victoire" by Paul Cezanne


"The Puritan" by Augustus Saint-Gaudens


Arabian Nights by Richard Burton

Bel Ami by Guy de Maupassant

Contes et Nouvelles by Guy de Maupassant

Diana of the Crossways by George Meredith

A Mummer's Wife by George Moore

The Power of Darkness by Leo Tolstoy

Germinal by Emil Zola

King Solomon's Mines by H. Rider Haggard

Marius the Epicurean by Walter Pater


Popular Government by Henry Maine

Das Kapital Vol. 2, by Karl Marx

My Religion by Leo Tolstoy


"The Betrothed" by Rudyard Kipling

"A Child's Garden of Verses" by Robert Louis Stevenson

Operas and Operettas:

"The Gypsy Baron" by Strauss premiered in Vienna on October 24.

"The Mikado" by Gilbert and Sullivan at London's Savoy Theatre on March 4.


"The Wild Duck" by Henrik Ibsen premiered January 11 in Oslo.



Daily Life

The Canadian National Parks had its beginning when Queen Victoria reserved ten square miles of land in the Canadian Rockies.  The lake was named Lake Louise in honor of her daughter, whose husband was Canada's general governor from 1878 to 1883.  The area would become what is now known as Banff National Park.

The National Audubon Society had its beginnings in the United States.

The first-class U.S. postal rate doubled to 2 after a century.

Good Housekeeping magazine began publication in May at Springfield, Massachusetts.

Stanford University was founded in San Francisco.

The Bryn Mawr College for Women was opened outside Philadelphia.

The Georgia Institute of Technology was founded at Atlanta.

The University of Arizona was founded at Tucson.

The Boston Pops was founded by the Boston Symphony.

Sunlight Soap was introduced by Lancashire salesman William Hasketh Lever.  It would soon dominate the British market.

Fresh milk in bottles was added to the line of products for the New York Condensed Milk Co., headed by John Gail Borden.

September 4--New York's Exchange Buffet, the world's first self-service restaurant, opened at 7 New Street across from the New York Stock Exchange.

The Mormons split into polygamous and monogamous sections.
John M. Fox introduced golf to America in Foxburg, Pennsylvania.

William Renshaw won in men's singles at Wimbledon, and Maud Winston at women's singles.  Richard Sears won at Newport.

U.S. defender Puritan beat England's Genesta 2-0 in the America's Cup.

Parker Brothers was founded in Salem, Massachusetts by inventor George Swinerton Parker, who has invented a game called "Banking," in which the player who amasses the most money by the end wins.. 

The U.S. corn crop topped two million bushels for the first time in history.

The North American lobster catch reached 130 million pounds, an all-time high.

The North American oyster catch reached almost 15 million bushels.

Johnson & Johnson was founded at New Brunswick, New Jersey, producing a full line of pharmaceutical plasters.

Broken Hill Proprietary Co, Ltd., was founded in Australia, and would soon monopolize the nation's iron and steel production.

Westinghouse Electrical and Manufacturing Co. was founded by George Westinghouse.

Sagamore Hill on Long Island was completed for Theodore Roosevelt.  The 22-room mansion was completed at a cost of $16,975.

The Fifth Avenue Transportation Co. Ltd., which used horsecars, was founded in New York to forestall the introduction of trolley cars.

The Congressional Limited Express went into service on the Pennsylvania Railroad between New York and Washington D.C.


Evaporated milk was produced for the first time at Highland, Illinois.

The first English electrical tram car ran in Blackpool.

The world's first electrical trolley line was installed in Baltimore.

Karl Auer von Welsbach invented the incandescent gas mantle.

Louis Pasteur devised a rabies vaccine to cure hydrophobia.

January 4--Iowa physician William West Grant performed the first successful U.S. appendectomy in Davenport.

Russian zoologist Ilya Ilich Mechnikov discovered phagocytosis while experimenting with starfish larvae.

Sir Francis Galton proved the individuality of fingerprints.

The Bicyclette Moderne, with two chain-driven wheels of equal size, was designed by French engineer G. Juzan.

Karl-Benz built a single-cylinder engine for a motor car.  It can reach a speed of nine miles per hour.

The Browning single-shot rifle was introduced by the Winchester Repeating Arms Co. It would become popular with hunters.

George Eastman manufactured coated photographic paper.

Italian physicist-electrical engineer Galileo Ferraris discovered the principle of the rotary magnetic field.

The Cape railroad reached Kimberley.

The Missouri, Kansas and Texas railroad reached the heart of Texas cow country, eliminating the need to drive cattle long distances.

At ten stories, the Chicago Home Insurance building at LaSalle and Monroe Streets was the world's first skyscraper.

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