Literary Links

May/June 2006


Good News and Announcements

Good News--It's a three-book deal for Pat White!  Her series for Harlequin Intrigue will feature British heroes from Scotland Yard. Look for them in early 2007. Congratulations to Allie Pleiter who just sold another book to Harlequin for the Live Inspired chick lit line.  The working title is "A Perfect Blend."  Meanwhile, pick up Allie's latest book, Queen Esther and the Second Graders of Doom at book stores now.

Coming Soon!--Allie Pleiter, author of the current Queen Esther and the Second Graders of Doom, has a new book coming out in August 2006 entitled My So-Called Love Life.  Look for it this summer.  And coming from Pat White  is Silent Memories in September 2006, a Harlequin Intrigue, and Love on the Ropes in October 2006.

Available Now!--Michelle Prima has gathered years of experience in research and writing, and written a 14-page booklet for authors, 101 Organizing Tips for WritersClick here for more information on how you can become more organized and more productive.

RWA National Conference--The 2006 annual RWA conference will be at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis in Atlanta, Georgia from July 26-29.  Blythe Gifford will be speaking with Debbie Pfeiffer on Saturday, July 29 at 8:30a.m.  The topic is "60 Minutes to Your Marketing Strategy." 

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.






101 Organizing Tips for Writers




Bum Bags and Fanny Packs by Jeremy Smith

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Grammar and Style by Laurie Rozakis, PhD

How to be a Complete Dandy by Stephen Robins

Novelist's Boot Camp by Todd A. Stone


Feature Title:


Steal This Plot by June and William Noble


Used Books


We've added nine new titles to our used book collection.  Among the choices are Chicken Soup for the Writer's Soul, The Princes in the Tower and a great resource about turn-of-the-century New York. Click here to see the complete selection.


The Video Library


The Piano



Researching the Romance


Bum Bags and Fanny Packs by Jeremy Smith

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Grammar and Style by Laurie Rozakis, PhD

How to be a Complete Dandy by Stephen Robins

Novelist's Boot Camp by Todd A. Stone

Princesses: The Six Daughters of George III by Flora Fraser

Steal This Plot by June and William Noble


Writers' Resources Online


The British Library--Select List of Victorian Illustrated Newspapers and Journals in British Library Newspapers

John Snow--A page about the life and times of Dr. John Snow, a prominent figure in public health, epidemiology and anesthesiology

Publishing Central--Learn about the world of publishing, from books to magazines to publishing houses

Romance Writing Tips--An online writer's group for romance writers

The Victorian Census Project--This Staffordshire University project aims to computerize source documents relating to Great Britain and Ireland in the nineteenth century.

Feature Article 

Writing Basics: Part Five--Structuring the Scene

by Michelle Prima

The purpose of any fiction is to tell a story.  So how do you make yours stand out from the rest?  How do you make yours the one everyone wants to read?  You can start by creating memorable scenes--those that readers will talk about long after reading the story. 

So, where do you start?  First, plot your story.  Who are the characters?  What do they want?  Why can't they get it? Once you have determined their goals and motivations, you can begin creating scenes that will get them from Step A (I want...) to Step B (...but I can't because my obstacle are...) to Step C (...I have overcome the obstacles to achieve my goal.)  The important thing to remember is that something significant must change in the character's life by the end of the story. 

At first, you will think of a variety of scenes, in all settings, time frames, atmospheres, etc.  Plot them in order that they will make the most sense for the story.  Then sit back and look at each scene.  Does it belong in your story?  How do you decide which scenes to keep, and which to delete?

All your scenes should do one of the following--advance the plot, deepen the character, or contribute to the character's change.  For example, if you imagine a scene where the hero/heroine are having a picnic in Hyde Park on a sunny afternoon, you may write wonderful descriptions, have sparkling dialogue, and create a romantic atmosphere.  But unless the scene is something more than the characters eating (an everyday occurrence,) it doesn't belong in the story. 

However, if your characters use this setting to agree to a marriage of convenience, or to reveal a deep dark family secret that may prevent a marriage, or to profess their love for each other for the first time, you are accomplishing something with the scene.  You are creating a life-changing situation for the characters. 

These scenes, however, should not be random.  Don't drop in a scene where you reveal something about the character just because it needs to be said.  For every scene, there should be a cause and effect.  What happened in the previous scene that would cause the character to act in a certain way in the subsequent scene?  Did the hero learn the heroine was not a virgin?  Then the next scene probably won't be a profession of love.  For every stimulus in a scene, there must be a response.  A response that is true to your character.  And if it out of character for your hero/heroine, then explain why. 

Just as important to a scene's purpose, is the hook that will segue into the sequel.  Each scene should end with a declaration, dialogue or action that will make the reader want to turn the page.  It will make the reader want to know how the other character will react.

The subsequent scene must have some cohesiveness to the preceding to make the story flow smoothly.  You can begin the next scene with a thought.  You can review the previous scene in the opposing character's point of view.  What is their reaction?  And what does that reaction reveal about the character?  Or you can analyze the previous scene.  This too, can reveal characterization.  Does the hero automatically loathe the heroine?  Or does he recall his own mother's dark past?  His thoughts will reveal the type of person he is.  Or, you can have the character make a decision.  Will the hero decide to break the engagement and suffer the consequences?  Or will he dig deeper into the heroine's past?  Finally, the subsequent scene can be an action.  The hero may take his frustrations out on the nearest tree.  Or he may be the perfect gentleman, control his anger, and pack them up to return home immediately. 

Every scene has a purpose.  Every scene has a sequel.  And every action has a reaction.  Remember this when planning out your story scenes.



Scene & Sturcture by Jack Bickham, Writer's Digest Books, 1993.

"Under Construction" by Nancy Kress, Writer's Digest January 2004.

For more information on these books, visit our Features Page.

For more sources like these, visit our Reference Books Page.




Characters and Viewpoint by Orson Scott Card, Writer's Digest Books, 1988.

"Who and How To Tell It" by Nancy Kress, Writer's Digest September 2000.

For more information on these books, visit our Features Page.

For more sources like these, visit our Reference Books Page



Editor's Note

It's May!  I love this month.  By now, the greenery has exploded in my back yard, the rain is starting to ease up a bit, the temperatures are rising (hooray!).  It's a time when I can take my writing outside and nourish my soul with the best nurturer of all--Mother Nature.  There is something to be said about sitting at the picnic table with a glass of iced tea and my laptop.  Especially since my last two offices have been on the lower levels of my home--can you say dreary?  The winters are cold enough without having to lock myself up in a dark room to write.  I love the sun, and feel much happier when I can sit and write or brainstorm in its warmth. What is your favorite place to write?  Your back yard?  The park?  Or your office overlooking a colorful garden?  Wherever it is, find that place and use it often and use it well.  Take time out of your hectic life to nurture yourself.  Your writing will be the better for it.

--Michelle Prima

President, Literary Liaisons, Ltd.

Q&A Column

Q: I'm so excited! I just finished writing my first fantasy romance, and will be sending it out soon!  Fingers crossed! I was thinking I should have a web page.  Any advice for a newbie like me?

   Jessica H.

A: Jessica--First of all, congratulations on completing a novel!  That's quite an accomplishment. Good luck with submissions.  As for a web page, it's never too soon to start one.  Even if you don't have books to sell, you have something to share--information and tips for other authors just starting the process. Now is a good time to start a basic page.  It can be a short bio, writing accomplishments (any previous published articles or novels in another genre, along with contest achievements), articles on writing, etc.  Anything that is related to writing, or can help strengthen your position as an expert in the field, should be in your pages.  In addition to a web page, join on-line writing communities where you can give and receive advice.  Getting your name out there before you sell will help in sales when that book finally hits the shelves.  Do a search at Yahoo Groups for online writing communities that best fit your needs.  Good luck!

Michelle Prima

President, Literary Liaisons, Ltd.


Historical Calendar of Events



Sir Arthur Bliss--English composer

Frederick Banting--Canadian physician



James Russell Lowell--American author

Herman Melville--American novelist

King David Kalakaua of Hawaii

Arthur Rimbaud--French poet

Georges Seurat--French painter

Leo Delibes--French composer



A Public Health Act passed by Parliament provided for the public exposure of wrongdoing, thereby requiring British butchers convicted of selling meat unfit for human consumption on a second offense to put up signs on their shops stating their record.

U.S. workers strike throughout the year for higher wages and shorter hours.
A New Orleans lynch mob broke into a city jail March 14 and killed eleven Italian immigrants who had been acquitted of murder-the worst lynching in U.S. history.
Oklahoma Territory lands ceded to the United States by the Sac, Fox, and Potawatomie opened to white settlement September 18 by a presidential proclamation that opened 900,000 acres.

Chicago's Provident Hospital was the first U.S. interracial hospital.

Queen Lydia Liliuokalani began her reign in Hawaii.
Leander Starr Jameson, M.D., was made administrator of the South Africa Company's territories.

The Ocean Mail Subsidy Act passed by Congress authorized subsidization of the U.S. merchant marine.

The Triple Alliance of Germany, Austria and Italy was renewed for twelve years.

The Arts


"Toilers of the Sea" by Albert Pinkham Ryder

"The Bath" by Mary Cassat

"The Good Judges" and "Maskers Quarreling Over a Dead Man" by James Ensor

"The Star of Bethlehem" by Edward Coley Burne-Jones

"Hail Mary" by Paul Gauguin


The Little Minister by James Barrie

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Conan Doyle was published in Strand magazine

New Grub Street by George Gissing

Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy

The Light that Failed by Rudyard Kipling

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde


The Canadian Question by Goldwin Smith

History of the Oxford Movement by R.W. Church, published posthumously


"The English Flag" by Rudyard Kipling


Symphony No. 1 by Gustav Mahler

Rachmaninoff finished the first version of his Piano Concerto No. 1


"Der Vogelhandler", a Viennese operetta by Karl Zeller

"Griseldis" premiered May 15 at the Comédie-Française, Paris, with music by Jules Massenet


Cinder-Ellen up-too-late premiered December 24 at London's Gaiety Theatre with Lottie Collins in the last successful presentation of burlesque.

The Duchess of Padua by Oscar Wilde premiered at New York's Broadway Theater on January 26.

Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen premiered at Oslo's Christiana Theater on February 26.

The American by Henry James premiered at London's Opera-Comique on July 26.


Daily Life

J.T. Grein founded the Independent Theatre Society in London.

The University of Chicago was founded.

Drexel University was founded in Philadelphia.

The California Institute of Technology was founded in Pasadena.
Tight money conditions bankrupted Kansas farmers; some 18,000 prairie schooners head back east.

Denver's Brown Palace Hotel opened as prospectors crowded into Cripple Creek to make their fortunes in the goldfields. Prospector Robert Wommack  found paydirt at Poverty Gulch on the slopes of Pike's Peak.
Florida's Tampa Bay Hotel went up as railroad magnate Henry Bradley Plant of Atlanta's Southern Express Co. tried to make Tampa a popular winter resort.

Carnegie Hall opened May 5 in West 57th Street, New York.
The Chicago Symphony was founded under the direction of German-American conductor Theodore Thomas.

The Forest Reserves Act passed by Congress March 3 authorized withdrawal of public lands for a national forest reserve. Some 13 million acres will be set aside in President Harrison's administration.
The New York Botanical Gardens opened in the Bronx.

Wilfred Baddely, won in men's singles at Wimbledon, and Lottie Dod in women's singles.

Oliver Campbell won in U.S. men's singles and Mabel E. Cahill in women's singles.
A new Polo Grounds was erected for the New York Giants baseball club to replace a small 6,000-seat polo stadium first used by the Giants in 1883.
John Joseph McGraw, 18, joined the Baltimore Orioles to begin a 41-year career in major league baseball.
Walter Camp wrote the first football rule book; he has invented the scrimmage line, the 11-man team, signals, and the quarterback position.
Basketball was invented at Springfield, Massachusetts by Canadian-American physical education director James Naismith, who while taking a course at the YMCA Training School in Springfield was assigned with his classmates the project of inventing a game which would occupy students between the football and baseball seasons.
American Sugar Refining was incorporated in New Jersey by H. O. Havemeyer.
The "Del Monte" label that will become the leading label for U.S. canned fruits and vegetables was used for the first time.
The first electric oven for commercial sale was introduced at St. Paul, Minnesota by Carpenter Electric Heating Manufacturing Co.

Atlanta pharmacist Asa G. Candler acquired ownership of Coca-Cola for $2,300.
New York City had more soda fountains than saloons.
The American Express Travelers Cheque was copyrighted July 7 by the American Express Company.
Automatic Electric Company was founded to exploit a dial telephone patented by Kansas City undertaker Almon B. Strowger, who has convinced himself that "central" is diverting his incoming calls to a rival embalmer.
The first full-service advertising agency opened March 15 at New York. George Batten offered "service contracts" under which his agency will handle copy, art, production, and placement. He is compensated by the media, which pays him commissions on space rates.

A widespread famine hit Russia.

An earthquake in Japan killed approximately 10,000 people.
Paul Gauguin settled in Tahiti.

Vincent VanGogh exhibited at the Salon des Independents

Henri Toulouse-Lautrec produced his first music hall posters.
The world's first old age pension plan went into effect in Germany.


W.L. Judson invented the clothing zipper.

Construction began on the Trans-Siberian Railway.

The New York Central's Empire State Express traveled 436 miles from New York to East Buffalo in a record-breaking 7 hours, 6 minutes.
Chicopee, Mass., bicycle designer Charles Edward Duryea and his brother Franklin designed a gasoline engine that will power a road vehicle.
The S.S. Empress of India, S.S. Empress of Japan, and S.S. Empress of China began service out of Vancouver as the Canadian Pacific Railway moved into shipping.
Boston's Ames building went up at the corner of Tremont and Washington Streets. The city's first skyscraper rose 13 stories above the street.
Harper's Weekly reported that marble chips from the construction of St. Patrick's Cathedral on Fifth Avenue were being used to make sulfuric acid for the production of 25 million gallons of soda water.

German-American chemist Herman Frasch patented a process for extracting sulfur economically to permit production of cheap sulfuric acid for making superphosphate fertilizer and countless other purposes.

Berlin's Koch Institute for Infectious Diseases opened.
The first commercial bromine to be produced electrolytically was introduced by Herbert H. Dow's Midland Chemical Company.



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