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As promised yesterday, here’s the list of what I hope to accomplish writing-wise in 2014.

1. Since writing magazine stories is my major source of income right now, I plan to write and submit one story per month for a total of twelve.

2. I want to get back to the contemporary romance series I stalled out on last year, so I plan to revisit and complete my character sketches for the first book, work out a detailed outline and write the first draft.

3. While that draft is cooling off, I want to work on the characters for the next book in the series and work out a detailed outline for that.

4. I’ll then reread, revise, edit and research publishers I want to submit to. I’d like to have the manuscript completed and begin submitting before the end of the year.

5. While waiting to hear back from publishers, I want to begin writing the first draft of the second book.

I’m hoping I can at least accomplish these goals for 2014. I do plan to eventually get back to historicals, starting with a new time travel, but want to get the contemps completed first to hopefully draw a new audience for my work.

Wishing all of my readers a very happy New Year!

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Since we’re almost at the end of the year, I thought I should take a look back at my 2013 writing goals and see how I did.

Here are my listed goals.

1. Write and submit two short stories per month to magazines.

2. Revise and edit historical novella and submit to publisher.

3. Outline new novella and write first draft.

Okay, I did fall a bit on number one, but I did manage to write and sell an average of one to two stories every month. I also submitted two I haven’t yet heard back on.

Number two was completed and the novella, The Physician’s Irish Lady, is scheduled for release from The Wild Rose Press and other ebook outlets on January 22, 2014. It’s also been released early on Amazon, if you’d like to take a look.

Number three is a bit sticky. I did start character sketches for the new novella, but it sort of fell by the wayside. Need some motivation to pick it up again and get the outline started.

Be back tomorrow with the list of what I hope to accomplish writing-wise in 2014.

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Today is the next installment on my Victorian women writers series. The subject is Sarah Margaret Fuller.

Margaret Fuller was born in 1810. Her father, wanting a son, was disappointed. Timothy Fuller was a member of Congress and Speaker of the Massachusetts House. Although he didn’t get a son, he educated his daughter the same as any young man of his class might receive.

By age fifteen, Margaret, the name she went by, studied reading, literature, philosophy, four languages, including German; she walked, sang and played the piano.

In 1830, her family moved to Cambridge where she met people in the Transcendentalist Movement. Emerson, Thoreau, Bronson Alcott and W. H. Channing were among those she socialized with. She instantly impressed those around her.

Her father died in 1835, which forced Margaret to become a school teacher to support both herself and her family. She worked at Alcott’s progressive TempleSchool in Boston, then accepted a post in Providence, Rhode Island in 1837.

Margaret missed the intellectual circles she’d become a part of in Boston and saw teaching as a means to an end. She returned to Boston in 1838.

She published her translation of Eckerman’s Conversations With Goethe in the Last Years of His Life in May of 1839. She supported herself by holding “Converstations” for women on poetry, ethics, Greek mythology, as well as other subjects. She believed women were educated purely for display, but not to enable them to think for themselves.

Between May and September of 1843, Margaret, along with friends, toured the Midwest. When she returned to Boston, she wrote an account of her trip. In June 1844, it was published as Summer on the Lakes.

She sympathized with the Indians’ plight and betrayal by whites. And she worried about attempts to force eastern standards on them at the expense of losing their culture.

Summer on the Lakes helped Margaret gain recognition as a writer. And she caught the attention of Horace Greely. He hired her as a literary critic and general essayist for the New York Tribune. When she moved to New   York she was working on her next book, “The Great Lawsuit”.

In answer to the woman question, she wrote: “…is not as a woman to act or rule, but as a nature to grow, as an intellect to discern, as a soul to live freely, and unimpeded to unfold such powers as were given her when she left our common home.”

She wrote 250 reviews and essays for the Tribune during the year and a half she worked there. She wrote on such topics as women’s prisons, immigrant slums, city hospitals and social issues of capital punishment, the abolitionist movement, the war on Mexico and the treatment of madness.

She sailed for England in 1846 as one of the first American “foreign correspondents”. By 1847, she’d moved to Rome. She established a relationship with Giovanni Ossoli and they had a son, Angelo, in September of 1848. When Rome fell to French troops in 1849, they escaped and moved to Rieti, the Florence.

The following May, she and Ossoli set sail for America, but were caught in a storm. The ship was wrecked fifty yards off of Fire Island, within sight of New York City. Her son’s body and her manuscripts were never found.

For more information on Sarah Margaret Fuller, visit these sites:

http://college.cengage.com/english/lauter/heath/4e/students/author_pages/early_nineteenth/fuller_sa.html

http://transcendentalism.tamu.edu/authors/fuller/

http://www.trincoll.edu/depts/phil/philo/phils/fuller.html

http://www.ohio.edu/chastain/dh/fuller.htm

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Since I have no news or new reviews to post this week, I thought I should go back and revisit my 2012 writing goals to see how well I did, then post my goals for this year.

Writing goals for 2012:

1. Finish and submit two short spring/summer stories to romance magazine.

2. Proofread ‘Thoroughly Modern Amanda’ my time travel novella.

3. Submit novella to editor.

4. Change title and type new copy of my out-of-print paranormal novella in preparation for self publishing.

5. Plot out new novel.

6. Self publish paranormal novella.

7. Write first draft of new novel.

8. Write and submit more short stories.

9. Plot out new novella.

Let’s see how I did.

1. I sold both stories to the April 2012 issue of True Story magazine.

2. Thoroughly Modern Amanda is my newest ebook release out on December 19th.

3. See number 2.

4. Dreaming Josie is my only self-published book available at Amazon, Smashwords and other ebook stores.

5. Done.

6. See number 4.

7. Done.

8. Wrote and sold five new stories and sold two already written stories to True Romance and True Confessions magazines.

9. This one I wasn’t able to accomplish, because I had to spend a lot of time on promo for the release of two year end books, plus other non-writing obligations.

But all in all, I’d say I did pretty good.

Here are my writing goals for 2013.

1. Write and submit two short stories per month to magazines.

2. Revise and edit historical novella and submit to publisher.

3. Outline new novella and write first draft.

I’ll let you know how I did this time next year. Hope 2013 is productive for all of you.

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I’ve gotten back into my work-in-progress, just have a few more scenes left to write, but in the final scenes, the heroine is kidnapped by the villain. He subdues and transports her using chloroform.

This story is set in 1867, just a few years after the American Civil War ended. By the time that war had initially began, in 1861, ether and chloroform had been used for several years as a surgical anesthesia.

Both were widely used by military doctors in performing amputations and other surgical procedures on both the Union and Confederate sides.

Chloroform is also known as trichloromethane. It is produced through the chlorination of methane gas. In 1831 it was developed by a chemist named Dr. Samual Guthrie. He combined it with whiskey to produce a cheap pesticide. But it was Scottish physician, Sir James Young Simpson, who used the sweet, colorless, and non-flammable liquid as an anesthetic. It was administered by dripping the liquid onto a sponge or cloth and held over the nose and mouth of the patient. Chloroform had a narcotic effect on the central nervous system and worked more quickly than ether.

However, higher risks were associated with chloroform if not administered carefully. Reports of fatalities due to the paralysis of the lungs, led to more patients refusing any type of anesthesia during surgery.

But use of chloroform spread, and in 1853, Queen Victoria used it to ease the pain of the birth of her eigth child with Prince Leopold.

Military doctors used chloroform as early as the Mexican-American war (1846-1848). By 1849 it came into official use by the United States army. Chloroform eased out ether as the more popular anestetic due to the drug’s fast acting quality as well as large numbers of postitive results. Chloroform was widely used during the American Civil War to reduce pain and trauma of amputations and other surgical procedures.

Both ether and chloroform declined in usage after the development of safer and more effective drugs were developed. In the 20th century, chloroform was shown to be carcinogenic when ingested by lab mice and rats. But it is still used in aerosol propellents, dental products and topical liniments.

For more information about the history of chloroform, visit these sites:

http://www.history.com/topics/ether-and-chloroform

http://www.general-anaesthesia.com/chloroform.html

http://www.bbc.co.uk/ahistoryoftheworld/objects/oUeLRHN6SCW7S9OpK_-RRQ http://www.chloroform.co.uk/

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In trying to come up with a history post for my ‘Monday Inspiration’ blog, I realized I’ve already covered a lot of subjects included in my new work- in-progress.

But the real problem is, I’ve really slowed down in writing my first draft. It’s not that I’ve lost interest in the story, I just can’t bring myself to sit down at the computer and write. There’s always something else I could be doing first. And by the time I get that done, I look at the clock and decide it’s too late to start on a serious writing session.

I usually experince procratination when finishing up a project, so don’t know why I’m going through this now. And it’s not that I’m stuck, because I’ve outlined the entire story, scene by scene, so know what I’ll be writing about and whose point of view I’ll be writing that scene in.

It’s frustrating because I’d hoped to have completed the first draft by the end of the summer and leave it aside to cool for a few months while I worked on short stories.

I’m torn between forcing myself to finish that draft, and putting is aside to work on a few short stories. Then maybe I can reread and come back to it with new enthusiam.

For you other writers out there, what do you do when you just can’t get in the mood to work on your current story?

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“Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, and a lucky sixpence in your shoe.”

This wedding tradition originated from an old English rhyme, likely in the 16th century, but came into vogue in the Victorian period, when Queen Victoria sat on the throne of England.

In my new work-in-progress, set just after the Civil War in America, the hero marries the heroine top protect her from an Irishman who falsely claims to be her husband. The man means to force her to accompany him back to New York City to work in a brothel.

So, the hero marries her in a short, intimate home setting hoping to drive the villain away. Although this quick wedding in my story won’t be lavish, by any means, I’ll share my research into Victorian era weddings here.

In the 19th century, the wedding day was the most important day in a girl’s life. In this time period, a mother would have prepared her daughter for this moment from the time she was born. A young girl had no other ambition in life than to marry and marry well.

The bride chose the day of her wedding and even this was influenced by superstition. June was a popular month, having been named for the Roman goddess, Juno. She was the goddess of marriage and would bring prosperity and happiness to all who wed in that month. Also if a woman married in June, she’d likely give birth to her first child in the Spring, which would allow her to recover in time for the fall harvest.

June also signaled the arrival of warm weather and the end of Lent. Winter clothing could finally be shed and one could partake in the annual bath. But other months, April, October and December were also favored for weddings in the Victorian period. These three months were chosen because they wouldn’t conflict with peak farm work months. October signified a bountiful harvest.

May was considered an unlucky month. Thus the proverb: “Marry in May and rue the day.”  But if you “Marry in September’s shine, your living will be rich and fine.”

In the Southern United States, April was popular because it wasn’t as hot and the favorite flowers of bride’s, jasmine and camellia, were in bloom.

Days of the week, also had their own superstitions:

“Marry on Monday for health,
Tuesday for wealth,
Wednesday the best day of all,
Thursday for crosses,
Friday for losses, and
Saturday for no luck at all.”

No weddings were performed on the Sabbath day.

Over the centuries, brides did not always wear white on their wedding day and the color of the gown was thought to influence the couples’ future.

“White – chosen right
Blue – love will be true
Yellow – ashamed of her fellow
Red – wish herself dead
Black – wish herself back
Grey – travel far away
Pink – of you he’ll always think
Green – ashamed to be seen.”

Queen Victoria changed the tradition of choosing colors for gowns when she wore white for her wedding in 1840. Since that time, white has remained the color of bridal gowns.

An early Victorian wedding gown had a fitted bodice, small waist, and a full skirt over hoops and petticoats. The material could be organdy, tulle, lace, gauze, silk, linen or cashmere. Fine gauze, sheer cotton or lace fashioned the veil.

During this period, a formal wedding was all white, which included the gowns of all the attendants. A coronet of flowers crowned the head with the veil attached to the back. Orange blossoms were a staple for the bride to carry and roses or other in-seasons flowers for the attendants.

American frontier brides usually wore cambric, wool or linen dresses in a variety of colors. Their dresses had to be reused later for special events and for church. They would cover their wedding dresses with colorful shawls in paisley, or plaid. In winter, a warm shawl was more cherished than a wedding dress.

In the late Victorian period, around 1870, middle class wealth brought with it a display of wedding gowns fashioned in Paris.

If a widow remarried, she wouldn’t wear white, but a pearl or lavender satin gown trimmed with ostrich feathers, but would wear no veil or carry orange blossoms.

The marriage ceremony could take place at home or in church. The wedding ring was usually a plain gold band with the couple’s initials and wedding date inside. It was considered good luck for the ring to drop during the ceremony to shake all evil spirits out.

The custom of throwing rice originated in Roman times when nuts were thrown. In this period,  rice, grain or birdseed was thrown as a symbol of fertility.

Weddings were held early in the day, so the reception was usually a breakfast. In early Victorian times, three cakes were made. An elaborate wedding cake, plus two separate cakes for the bride and groom. The main wedding cake was usually a dark, rich fruitcake, while the bride had a white cake, the groom a dark cake. These would be cut into pieces for the attendants.

The Victorians followed traditions steeped in superstitions and age-old customs, many of which we still follow today, although we have no clue they were meant to drive away evil spirits.

For more on weddings in the Victorian era, visit these sites:

http://www.literary-liaisons.com/article003.html

http://www.literary-liaisons.com/article004.html

http://www.angelpig.net/victorian/ceremony.html

http://www.simplyblueweddings.com/uncategorized/victorian-era-wedding-traditions/

http://marriage.ygoy.com/2010/11/30/all-about-the-victorian-era-marriage/

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