Literary Links

November/December 2001


Good News and Announcements

New Contest for Historical Writers--The Hearts Through History chapter of RWA proudly announces its first contest--Romance Through The Ages.  Exclusively for historical writers, this contest has categories divided by eras.  The top prize in each category will receive a critique.  The Legend is a special award that will be given for the most memorable hero.  For more information, see the Hearts Through History web site.

Online Workshop--The Hearts Through History Chapter of RWA is sponsoring an online workshop.  It is entitled A VISUAL TOUR OF ENGLISH COUNTRY HOUSES and will be taught by Victoria Hinshaw.  The workshop starts November 15th, and will run for 4-5 weeks.  Cost is $10 for HHRW members and $15 for non-members.  For more information, see the HHRW web site.  Or contact Ciara McEnery at

2002 Golden Heart/RITA Contests--Deadline for entering the Golden Heart and RITA contests is November15, 2001.  See the RWA National web site or your Romance Writer's Report for more information.

Favorite Book of the Year--Don't forget to vote for your favorite romance book of 2001. See the RWA National web site for details.

New On Literary Liaisons

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




45 Master Characters: Mythic Models for Creating Original Characters by Victoria Schmidt

American Dress Pattern Catalog 1873-1909 by Nancy Villa Bryk

Bloomingdale's Illustrated 1886 Catalog: Fashions, Dry Goods and Housewares by Bloomingdale Brothers

Essential Handbook of Victorian Etiquette by Thomas E. Hill and William R. Yenne

Victorian America : Transformations in Everyday Life, 1876-1915 (The Everyday Life in America Series, Vol. 4) by Thomas J. Schlereth

Women at Home in Victorian America: A Social History by Ellen M. Plante


Featured Title

From the Ballroom to Hell: Grace and Folly in Nineteenth-Century Dance by Elizabeth Aldrich


The Video Library

The Pallisers--Part Three

Victoria and Albert



Researching the Romance

45 Master Characters: Mythic Models for Creating Original Characters by Victoria Schmidt

American Dress Pattern Catalog 1873-1909 by Nancy Villa Bryk

Bloomingdale's Illustrated 1886 Catalog: Fashions, Dry Goods and Housewares by Bloomingdale Brothers

Essential Handbook of Victorian Etiquette by Thomas E. Hill and William R. Yenne

Victorian America : Transformations in Everyday Life, 1876-1915 (The Everyday Life in America Series, Vol. 4) by Thomas J. Schlereth

Women at Home in Victorian America : A Social History by Ellen M. Plante



Writers' Resources Online


Echelon Press

Heartline Books 

Historic Traveler

Historicom--The Illustrated History Journal 

History Wired (Smithsonian Institution)

SandS Publishing, LLC

Special Events in History 



Feature Article 

Revolutionizing the Publishing Industry: Print On Demand Books

by  Regina Pounds

In the late 1990s, new technology made it possible and cost-effective for publishers and their contracted printers to produce one book at a time (POD). Using the internet, new publishers took advantage of this method and quickly built their businesses. Unlike several e-book publishers, the first POD book ones did not make editorial decisions. Now, in the early 2000s, there are numerous such up-start publishers, and some of these will accept manuscripts only upon editorial approval.

For readers, this means a selection of books as never before. Stories, which would never have been acquired by conventional publishers, for sundry reasons not reflecting quality or taste, now can reach the reading public.

If you are a writer, nothing stands in your way of getting your book published -- at first glance. Unfortunately, a first glance is never enough when it comes to business. Let's take a close look.

There are basic requirements: You must be able to prepare your manuscript for digital printing with a word processing program and -- during the publication process -- to proofread it in the pdf format. You ought to have access to a computer and the internet for easy on-line submission of the manuscript and for promoting your book. (If you don't, you might seek help from someone who can and does.)

On the plus side of the POD business for the writer:

  • Total editorial freedom, and the responsibility that goes with it.

  • No more depending on just a few persons to decide over the book's fate.

  • No more rejections from editors or agents.

  • No more wasting years while waiting for those rejections.

  • No more requested revisions that lead to no sale in the end.

  • No more genre requirements/restrictions.

  • The book stays up for sale indefinitely, because even if your POD publisher were to go out of business, you could publish your book with another.

  • No potentially awful alteration of your book's title.

  • No cover art you dislike -- in most cases, you supply the cover art or at least have a say in its creation.

On the minus side:

  • No advance against royalties -- depending on the POD publisher you choose, you may pay a small, or even a substantial, fee.

  • No big Marketing/Promoting machine behind the writer.

  • Not even automatic distribution to bookstores -- in fact, most bookstore owners won't place your book onto their shelves.

  • NO visibility to casual book-store visitors... and this is a big one! If you don't tell a soul your book exists, no one will know about it.

  • Not much respect from people involved in the writing business...the stigma attached to self-publishing of any sort is real and will affect you. Nonetheless, POD authors make a splash by now. Quality books draw attention.

Then there's the matter of competition and pricing. Since POD books are printed in any quantity, even as single item, the cost of the process drives up the price of the product.

To compete in the huge book market is tough for a POD author. Your success is directly related to your sales efforts. That suggests the following: a writer with a specialty topic which will appeal to a special group of readers will see better sales than a writer whose book lacks specific appeal. A writer who has the necessary capital to fund a big promotion drive will have more sales than the one who has very limited means. The writer who has an active social life, access to many groups of potential customers, will sell more books locally than the recluse. 

Even under the best of circumstances, the POD writer must be prepared to be patient, persistent, keep the faith in his or her book, take very low or zero royalty payments in stride, and keep in mind that it may take years to build a readership. 

It may be an uphill battle, but I chose it and am happy I did.

After two decades of writing, of working hard, learning a lot, winning awards, getting name recognition in business circles, receiving complimentary rejections for stories that were never 'quite right for us,' after seeing my books accepted by an up-start publisher only to waste four years of waiting in vain for the actual publication, after playing by the rules and not getting 'there,' I looked for alternative ways to see my work in print. 

Self-publishing pure and simple would have appealed to me, but I couldn't afford the minimum cost of $5000 to $7000.

In 1998, I had my eye on the first big print-on-demand on-line publisher, Xlibris, but at the time the $1000 it would have cost to have my book published (with some choice of cover art) was still too much for me.

In fall of 1999, I came across toExcel, also a POD on-line publisher: $99 to have a book produced, with a royalty paying publisher who'd get all rights, except for movie and TV ones...not bad, not really great either.

I found out I'd have to convert my old-fashioned word-programmed manuscript into a new format for digital printing requirements. So I began to work on that. By the time I was done, toExcel had been absorbed by OK. I dealt with that, and finally, a manuscript prepared, I submitted one midnight on-line. Exactly four months later, I had the thrill of seeing THEO'S GHOST available for ordering and listed on-line at the bookstore. By that time, LORD EAGLEBEAK was in production, and when I held copies of both books in my hand, I was happy with the quality of cover art (which I chose) and perfect bound trade-sized paperback book.

Since then, I have weathered many growing pains with my publisher. I have also faced my personal shortcomings and difficulties. The sheer amount of time any promotion efforts take is enormous.

Non-fiction aimed at a specific group of interested people seems to fare best. Romances? Well, bookstore shelves are overflowing with them, readers like to swap books, and also go to used bookstores. So I had to face reality. It will take a lot of hard work to induce a reader to spend almost twenty dollars or even more to order a romance...unless it looks as if it will become a keeper or make a fine gift for someone!

I made great use of the internet by building websites and I founded a community for writers and readers at You may sample "Theo's Ghost" and "Lord Eaglebeak" at their spot in the iuniverse marketplace. So your decision to purchase will be based on a fairly good idea of quality. 

Is POD for everyone? No. 
Is it here to stay? Yes.
Can you make it work for you? You might. Please weigh your options carefully and do your own research. If you take the plunge, I'd wager you, too, will be thrilled to hold your book in hand within months.

For more information on Regina and her books, visit her web site at:


Editor's Note

Life brings change, some good, some bad.  Both to our personal lives and to our careers.  This issue of the newsletter addresses some of the changes taking place in the publishing industry.  Our feature article is about Print On Demand Publishing.  Although not new in terms of years, it is gaining popularity because the traditional publishing venues are tightening their belts, along with the market.  We have also included a few new links to e-publishers, another technological advance in this age of computers.  Yes, life brings change.  And we can balk at it, or accept it and adapt to it. While adapting can be the difficult road, balking can be more emotionally painful.  You decide.  The world is waiting.

---Michelle Hoppe

Q&A Column

Q:  I have a question for you: the heroine of my book is the daughter of a French emigre (a Comte) that fled to England during the Revolution. She was a child when they came to England, and when my story takes place, she is about 20 years old. Would she, too, have to be introduced to the Queen in order to come out into society? 

---Melissa P.

A:  Officially, yes, a young woman would have to be presented to the queen at court in order to make her entry into society. In order to be presented, she would have to find a distinguished relation or connection who would agree to sponsor her. The person sponsoring her must herself at some time have been presented to the king/queen.  That isn't to say that some member of the royal household or very high up in the ranks of the aristocracy (and in favor of the royal household) couldn't take a fancy to her and bring her to balls or parties before any 'official' presentation at court. For instance, if the Prince of Wales decided to bring your heroine to a party (I don't know what year you are writing in) before any official presentation at court, she would certainly not be shunned. 

Michelle Hoppe
President, Literary Liaisons

Historical Calendar of Events


Erik A. Karlfeldt--Swedish author

Henri Toulouse-Lautrec--French painter

Eugen D'Albert--German composer and pianist

Richard Strauss--German composer

Wilhelm Wien--German physicist



King Maximilian II of Bavaria

Nathaniel Hawthorne--American novelist

Leo von Klenze--German architect

John Leech--English cartoonist

Stephen Foster--American songwriter

Ferdinand Lasalle--German socialist leader



Archduke Maximilian of Austria and his wife Carlotta are made Emperor and Empress of Mexico.

General Ulysses S. Grant succeeds General Halleck as Commander-In-Chief of Union armies.

February 1--President Lincoln calls for 500,000 men to serve for 3 years or the duration of the war.

General Sherman succeeds General Grant as commander of the Army of the Tennessee.

Gen. Sherman leads his army of 60,000 on a “march to the sea” beginning November 16 and proceeds to cut a mile-wide swath through Georgia. 

Sherman occupies Savannah December 22 and sends a dispatch to President Lincoln: “I beg to present you as a Christmas gift the city of Savannah.” 

Abraham Lincoln is re-elected as President of the United States.

The Territory of Montana is organized in the United States.

Nevada becomes the 36th State of the Union.

Massacre of the Cheyenne and Arapahoe Indians happens at Sand Creek, Colorado.

Italy renounces its claim to Rome.  Florence is made its capital in place of Turin.

King Maximilian II is succeeded by Louis II.

The Geneva Convention established the neutrality of battlefield medical facilities. 

The Red Cross is established by the Geneva convention.

The "Neue Freie Presse" is founded in Vienna.

Russian forces suppress a 17-month Polish insurrection that has spread to Lithuania and White Russia. Polish autonomy is abolished.

The Russian language is made obligatory in Polish schools and proceedings are instituted against Polish Roman Catholic clergymen.

Russia reforms its judiciary, abolishing class courts and setting up new courts modeled on the French system. 

Russia’s Zemstvo Law establishes a system of local government boards that can levy taxes for local roads, bridges, schools, hospitals, and the like.

Napoleon III acknowledges the right to strike and ends a French ban on workers’ associations.

The First International Workingmen's Association is founded by Karl Marx in London and New York.

U.S. workingmen organize the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, the Iron Moulders’ International, and the Cigar Makers’ National Union.

Navajos terrorized by Kit Carson and his men are marched 300 miles to Fort Sumner in New Mexico Territory on the “Long Walk” to the Bosque Redondo concentration camp.

Cheyennes go on the warpath and are supported by Arapahoe, Apache, Comanche, and Kiowa braves. U.S. troops massacre many of them in November at Sand Creek in Colorado Territory.

The British Army helps Manchu forces sack Nanjing. Hung Hsiu-chuan takes poison, more than 100,000 are killed between July 19 and 21, and the Taiping Rebellion that began in 1850 ends.



The Arts

The Dead Toreador by Edouard Manet

Souvenir de Mortefontaine by Jean Corot

Hommage a Delacroix by Henri Fantin-Latour


Man and Nature by pioneer ecologist George Perkins Marsh


Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

The Small House at Allington by Anthony Trollope

Can You Forgive Her? by Anthony Trollope

Letters From the Underground by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne

Renee Mauperin by Jules de Goncourt

Dramatis Personae by Robert Browning

In War Time by John Greenleaf Whittier


La Belle Helene by Offenbach debuts in Paris

Popular songs:

"Beautiful Dreamer" by Stephen Foster

"All Quiet Along the Potomac Tonight" by John Hill Hewitt

"Der Deitcher's Dog (Where, Oh Where Has My Little Dog Gone?)" by Septimus Winner



Daily Life

"In God We Trust" first appears on U.S. coins.

Sir Samuel White Baker discovers Lake Albert .

Octavia Hill begins London tenement-dwelling reforms.

The Knights of Pythias is founded in Washington, D.C.

Italian archeaologist Giovanni B. de Rossi publishes the results of his exploration of Roman catacombs.

The Travers Stakes is established at the first racetrack in Saratoga, NY.

The University of Kansas is founded at Lawrence.

The University of Denver is founded in Colorado Territory.

Swarthmore College is founded at Swarthmore, Pennsylvania.

A grasshopper plague in the Great Plains shortens the U.S. wheat crop.

Illustrated weeklies such as Harper’s and Frank Leslie’s publish hundreds of sketches and drawings of Civil War battles, sieges, and bombardments.

The Confederacy suffers wild inflation as $l billion in paper currency is circulated.

October 14--Mosby’s Rangers seize $168,000 in Union funds in a “greenback raid”.  Mosby’s men divide the money to buy new equipment and uniforms .

The Bank of California is founded at San Francisco by merchants and bankers.

Kamehamea IV of the Sandwich Islands sells the Hawaiian island of Niihau to Mrs. Elizabeth Sinclair, an émigrée Scotswoman whose late husband acquired large holdings in New Zealand before being lost at sea.

A cyclone destroys most of Calcutta October 1, killing an estimated 70,000.

Congress protects California’s Yosemite Valley, passing a bill to preserve the valley as the first U.S. national scenic reserve. 

Chicago’s Lincoln Park is designated as such. The 120-acre cemetery will have most of its graves removed and be expanded to embrace more than 1,000 acres of woodlands, bridle paths, playgrounds, golf courses, yacht basins, gardens, and museums.

European immigrants pour into the United States to take up free land under the 1862 Homestead Act and fill farm and factory jobs left vacant by Union Army draftees and Americans gone West.

English cricket player William Gilbert Grace plays his first county match, beginning a career that will make him famous as the greatest all-round cricketer ever.

The Chicago North Western Railway is created by a consolidation of the 16-year-old Galena & Chicago Union with the 9-year-old Chicago, St. Paul and Fond du Lac.

The Kansas state legislature helps the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe by accepting a federal land grant February 9 and voting to allow railroads to select additional lands within 20 miles of their lines in lieu of lands already held by settlers through preemption.  

Erie Railroad president Daniel Drew and New York State legislators sell New York and Hudson River Railroad stock short on the New York Stock  Exchange.  

London’s Charing Cross station opens.




Louis Pasteur invents pasteurization (for wine).

The first salmon cannery of the United States opens at Washington, California.

France’s lentil industry moves to Lorraine where colder weather kills off the insect pests that have ruined lentil crops for years. A “finder” using a witch-hazel twig divining rod discovers oil along Pennsylvania’s Pithole Creek.

Armour Packing Co. has its beginnings in a Milwaukee pork-packing firm started in partnership with John Plankinton by local commission merchant Philip Danforth Armour.

Heineken Beer gets its name as Dutch brewer Gerard Adrian Heineken acquires the 272-year-old De Hooiberg brewery and develops a special yeast that will give his beer a distinctive taste.

Britain’s first fish-and-chips shops open in the next few years as steam trawlers are developed that can carry fish packed in ice.

German biologist August Weismann refutes the notion that acquired characteristics can be transmitted to offspring.  

German chemist Adolf von Baeyer synthesizes barbituric acid, the first barbiturate drug.

Union forces use the hand-cranked Gatling gun invented in 1861 to help defeat General Hood at the Battle of Nashville in mid-December.

Britons B. J. Sayce and William Blanchard Bolton describe the preparation of a photographic emulsion of silver bromide in collodion.

New York photographer Mathew B. Brady, now 41, travels through the war-torn South with a wagonful of equipment to record scenes of the conflict.

The French Line paddle-wheeler Washington arrives at New York in June to begin 110 years of service between New York and the Channel ports by the Compagnie Génerale Transatlantique.

English inventor James Slater patents a precision-made drive chain that was foreseen by Leonardo da Vinci. It will be used in industrial machinery and in bicycles.

George M. Pullman and Ben Field of Chicago patent a railway sleeping car with folding upper berths.

To The Top | Newsletter Home Page | Request Newsletter via e-mail  

About Literary Liaisons | Author Links | Bookstore Index | Fiction | Non-Fiction | Feature Title | Video Library | Research Articles | Reference Books | On-line Resources | RWAChapters | Contact | Home  

Copyright 2001, Literary Liaisons. Ltd.