Casablanca: Unconditional Surrender and a Strategic Error

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Like so many people, the movie Casablanca is at the top of my favorites list. It is set in 1941 when Morocco was still under the control of the Nazi collaborating Vichy government in… Continue reading

Tide, Wind, and Timeline

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The need for an accurate, believable timeline challenges any storyteller’s craft. Writing historical fiction makes this problem especially complex. A number of complicating factors can wreak havoc with the timeline, and my newest… Continue reading

From Pegleg Pete to Cutting Edge Prosthetics

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Historical details come in all shapes and sizes. For my latest book, A Widow’s Salvation, a Civil War story set in an Army hospital, I had to find out about prosthetic devices. My… Continue reading

Ciamar a tha, Y’all? or Celts in America

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In January of this year, I began an exploration of family history through American Civil War short fiction based on family stories and research into things Scottish. As the final piece in the… Continue reading

The Seraglio, World of Women

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Sometimes research for a novel takes a fiction writer in unexpected directions. When a complicated plot point led me to place a character in the Ottoman Seraglio as a teacher I had to… Continue reading

The Yellow Slave Trade

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This season of Hell On Wheels showcases the plight of the Chinese workers who helped build the railroad. One of the workers is a woman who disguises herself as a man and subjects herself… Continue reading

Clearing the Highlands

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MY HEART’S IN THE HIGHLANDS Robert “Rabbie” Burns Farewell to the Highlands, farewell to the North, The birth-place of Valour, the country of Worth; Wherever I wander, wherever I rove, The hills of… Continue reading

Fueling the Imagination

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If you look up “fantasy world” in Wikipedia you will find a long list of entirely invented universes ranging from Atlantis to ZanZarah and sorted into categories by format: book, movie, video game.… Continue reading

National First Ladies’ Library, Canton, OH

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One of the great things about moving back to the state of your birth after many years of absence is discovering new and interesting tidbits that you never knew about when you were… Continue reading

Becoming Scots-Irish

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For Americans whose roots are deep in Appalachian soil, having “Scotch-Irish” (more correctly, Scots-Irish) heritage is a given. Many of us were raised on stories of ancestors migrating into the mountains of Virginia,… Continue reading