Paradise Sun. 19 July 1830




Special Edition

Monday,  July 19, 1830




Doctor Hannah Savard reminds the residents of Paradise that all  drinking water and water used in preparing food must be boiled.Read more.

Paradise Sun. 3 March 1828


The newspaper founded by Elizabeth Middleton Bonner after she retired from teaching.

Example column:

The Week of Monday, March 3, 1828



Friend has opened a law office in the new building next to the schoolhouse.  Please stop by to consult with him any weekday morning between eight and twelve of the clock.… Read more.


Hartshorn is not a term you hear often these days.

The best source for information on 19th century terms, especially when it comes to housekeeping and medicine (in my experience) is, where out of print works are made available to read online.… Read more.

New Orleans sources

Research Topics

This is an email from a historian regarding Queen of Swords and research on New Orleans:

I just finished reading your latest installment of the Wilderness series, and as always, enjoyed it quite a bit. I was curious as to what sources you consulted for your discussion of Indians in New Orleans.

Read more.

Research Notes

This category will evolve into a hodgepodge of research materials that don’t fit elsewhere.  My approach to researching historical fiction is a place to start.

The perfect job for sufferers of OCD.

For the historical novelist – for anyone interested in history – the internet has brought about a revolution.… 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.

Surgery, Medical Theory and Chapped Hands


Surgery, Medical Theory and Chapped Hands

In the 19th century the most important advance in medical science was called (at the time) Listerism.  Simply put, Joseph Lister, working with  Louis Pasteur’s advances in microbiology and the discovery that bacteria cause putrefaction and infection, came to a conclusion:  In a medical setting the first line of defense is to keep the patient isolated from all such bacterial agents.… Read more.

Little Birds

This novel, set in 1858 in New Mexico Territory, serves as a bridge between the Wilderness series of novels and the first two novels of the Waverly Place series.

Backstory: 1845

Callie Ballentyne is a young girl when her life is upended and she must leave the only home she knows.… Read more.

Restaurants and Cafes

Food could be had in many places, including bakeries, ice cream parlors, taverns and saloons, and in every neighborhood.

This sampling of the cost of eating out is from Restaurant-ing Through History:

1876 Shorey’s, Haymarket Square, Boston: “Famous Boiled Dinner” (25¢), Soups (10¢), Chowders (10¢), Stews with Dumplings (15¢), Roast Beef (25¢), Sirloin Steak (35¢), Chicken Pie (25¢).… Read more.