The Carryck Family Tree

Robert, 5th Lord Scott,  killed in the service of Charles II, had only one child by
Beatrix Scott of Pykeston:  Robert, 6th Lord, who was created Earl of Carryck and Viscount Moffat by his grateful sovereign in 1660.… Read more.

West Indies

Queen of Swords takes place first in the French Antilles, specifically in

Priest’s Town, on the fictional L’île de Lamantins (Isle of the Manatees);

Kingston, Jamaica

Port au Prince,  Haiti

Spanish Florida

New Orleans and environs.


Travel in the 19th century

On the Rails

See also the article on .

If you want to travel by rail from Manhattan to St. Louis, from Chicago to Austen in the years before the Civil War, you will find not one or two but eleven possibilities.… Read more.

Westward Ho: The Missouri River

Weblog Excerpt: Adapted from a weblog entry.

Little Birds is set in New Mexico territory in 1857 so I have to get these people from New York to New Mexico. That means researching

(1) early train travel — not as well documented as you would guess, unfortunately;

(2) St.… Read more.

New Orleans

Much of Queen of Swords takes place in New Orleans just as the was ending.  This short excerpt takes place as enters the city for the first time, and alone:

Finally she turned from the levee and walked into the city itself, glad now of the shade in the narrow lanes so closely built that the sun was kept permanently at bay.
Read more.

French Quarter, Manhattan

This article concerns the French community in Manhattan. There were similar communities in other places, particularly in Louisiana, relevant to Queen of Swords.

“In 1851 over 20,000 French immigrants arrived in the United States and the French newspaper, Le Republican, began to be published in New York.

Read more.


In New York City

The government of the city knew about the connection between poor health and poverty, and they knew too that the biggest part of the problem was the unsanitary conditions in tenement districts where almost all newly arrived immigrants found themselves. … Read more.