Tag Archives: writer’s digest

Book Review – Everyday Life in the 1800’s

28 Jan

It had become a bit of an obsession, and one that I readily admitted.

Going to Powell’s Bookstore? It was typically my first stop in the store, the ‘writing’ section to see if they had this book:


After only, well, too many times to count, they FINALLY had it. And I couldn’t quite believe it. I made my mom tell me if it was too expensive, because I just couldn’t bear to look. But, lo and behold, it was well within my price range – especially for a book that I’ve been wanting almost two years.

I first found it in the library in my hometown, and kept it checked out as long as absolutely possible. And about cried when I had to return it. I consoled myself with the fact that I could just check it out again in a few weeks. Well, it was constantly ‘out’ and then we moved.

Now I can tell you more about WHY I love this book, now that you know how stinking excited I am to own my own copy.

Put out by Writer’s Digest, this is the only book I’ve found that covers life in the 1800’s :

  • Everday Speech (slang too!!!)
  • Jobs
  • Transportation
  • On the Range
  • the Civil War
  • Fashion
  • Money
  • Health and Medicine

etc etc – seriously, the only thing I wish it had was a detail of tea etiquette and service. Because that would be brilliant. Now, while I’m not writing a novel that is going to be exactly time-proper on things, I do want to have enough so that the reader gets an actual sense of being in the late 1800’s. Have you ever read a story that was set in another era but was written so that you actually forgot that fact? I have. A bit disconcerting and, to the past-era lover that I am, disappointing. I am intending to use this book for this novel (and a few others that are percolating) to help push aside the realities of modern life (goodbye laptop and smart phones) and make the world of my novel(s) more realistic.

So, I’m going to crank up Piano Guys (if you haven’t checked them out, do it, you’ll be sooo glad you did) and get to writing and poring over this new treasure of mine.

Happy Writing,




Book Review- June 2015 (part 2)

25 Jun

As promised, here is part two of this month’s book review.


Wrangler in Petticoats by Mary Connealy (Sophie’s Daughters bk 2) – Sally Mclellan is a total tomboy, and proud of it. But when artist Logan Mckenzie rescues her, she realizes that wearing a dress and being a woman isn’t so bad. But can she survive the outlaws that are intent on killing her, the only witness to their murdering, in order to really decide about loving a man who loves to paint the land instead of work it? And can she let her guard down and flourish as a woman? ~ I don’t think I’ve ever read a novel set in these times about an artist out in farming/ranching country. Loved the story line. Loved the characters. Definite re-read!

Sharpshooter in Petticoats by Mary Connealy (Sophie’s Daughters bk 3) – After a disastrous marriage that has left her the focus of a feud, Mandy Mclellan Grey has sequestered herself and her children in order to stay alive. It will take everything Tom Linscott has to convince her to come to his ranch and marry him. The way he figures it, she should have as soon as she finished burying her worthless husband, five years ago. When Tom goes up the mountain to get Mandy, he gets a whole lot more trouble that he expected – a great deal of that from the deadly-accurate sharpshooter he loves. ~ The final book in this series, Connealy keeps the fun and suspense in this novel. While this one has a slight more ‘adult theme’ it is still very tastefully done. And of course, you get to catch up on Beth and Sally’s lives. Another great read.

The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien – A precursor to the Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit  tells the story of Bilbo Baggins’ adventures with the dwarves that are going back to the Lonely Mountain in order to reclaim their homeland and treasure that was stolen from them by the dragon, Smaug. Through trolls’ snares, goblin tunnels, Mirkwood Forest and an angry Elvenking must they survive, before they even reach the deadliest of foes – the wily dragon who slumbers amid his horde of gold. ~ I just finished this a few hours ago and what a writer Tolkien is! I cannot wait to get the LOTR series now. The only part I didn’t thoroughly enjoy was the spider part –which makes perfect sense if you know me… An honest to goodness classic that I don’t know how I hadn’t already read.

The Bride Bargain by Kelly Eileen Hake ( Prairie Promises bk 1) –  Clara Fields is determined to get herself and her aunt to Oregon in order to start a new life there. But when they are booted from the wagon train, they must seek help in the small town along the Platte River. Striking a bargain with a shopkeeper, Clara agrees to help find his visiting son a bride in exchange for the shopkeeper’s house. The only problem is that  Dr. Saul Reed is not interested in getting married and settling in Buttonwood – he’s got a practice ready to start in Boston. ~ This is one of those I like to call ‘fluff’ books. Easy to read in a doctor’s office or a park but still well written to be worth reading and keep you interested. The circumstances throughout the book are laugh-out-loud ridiculous but definetly keep you turning the page. A very fun, quick read.

Book in a Month by Victoria Lynn Schmidt –  Guiding you through each day with advice, encouragement and worksheets, this book helps you stay focused on writing a book in 30 days. It is put out by Writer’s Digest. ~Gasp. I am SO excited about this book. I am not committing to writing a book in a month, but i am using it more as a guideline and to help me get the momentum back on the novel I’m currently working on. Which can make it a little difficult, what with having almost 40 pages written, and the intent is to start on day 1 with a blank page…errr, blinking cursor/blank document. I am excited to keep working through it and working out the kinks in my novel along the way.

~Sorry there’s no pictures or links for these books this month, but I’m getting these written out and scheduled for I’m heading for vacation tonight! So, while it’s not necessarily a ‘pretty’ post, the reviews are genuine and the books are awesome! Enjoy!


Little Blossoms for Jesus

• Enjoying the old-fashioned & beautiful • • Thankful for grace • Growing in faith • • Learning life • Loving people •

Elaine Howlin

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