August 18, 2011

If There’s a Robber in Your House Where Will You Hide?




If there’s a robber in your house, where would you hide?

     The game show, Family Feud, was on the television while I cleaned my room. I listened to the answers to the above question:

In a closet…

In the basement…

In the bathrrom…

In another room…

Behind my wife…

     The last two answers struck me, reminding me of an anecdote I intend to use in my novel. The setting is British Guiana, the time between 1804-1811. The characters are Madame Rosalie de Leval, Franco Van Berckel, and a group of their slaves.


     Franco Van Berckel was (more…)

June 23, 2011

Mayflies & Blisterflies: Summer Pests



     In mid-June my husband Monte and I spent a week in Lakeside, Ohio, at what is known as The Chautauqua on Lake Erie. My son was a delegate at an Ohio  United Methodist Church conference, and was staying in accommodations that would allow us to visit him while he was there.

      Just about the time we were leaving Lakeside, the mayflies were arriving.

     While traveling and during our visit, I was reviewing the chapters I have written in my historic romance novel, Intertwined Love, which included information on a summer pest in Philadelphia, the blisterfly.

     I cannot help but write about the similarities and the differences between the summer infestations of insects in 2010 Lakeside and 1791 Philadelphia.


Mayflies usually live for 24-72 hours. Don’t forget that they’ve already spent 1-2 years on the bottom of the lake as a (more…)

May 11, 2010

Immigration is Positive for the USA



I observe with regret that the law for the admission of foreigners was not passed during this session, as it is an important moment to press the sale and settlement of our lands. From a letter written by William Bingham to Gen Henry Jackson, April 9, 1793*


     From the birth of the United States into the present time, immigration has had advocates. In the 1790s, immigration was supported by land speculators, who hoped to make it rich by settling their lands with immigrants.


     My interest in immigration issues was piqued during my research for a historic journal paper and a historic romance novel, both set in the 1790s. Many of the characters in my novel—including Gen. Henry Knox, Col. William Duer, Gen. Henry Jackson, Madame Rosalie de Leval, even Pres. George Washington—were land speculators. Except for Washington, they favored immigration to supply the settlers to fulfill their land purchase contracts.

     In Roy L. Garis’s book on immigration** I discovered the “great immigration” controversy that existed in the decades immediately following the American Revolution.

     My intention is not to indicate any personal preference or bias in the immigration issue. It is to present both sides of the issue as found in early United States documents. This post offers immigration pros. To read the negative views of immigration click on Immigration is Negative for the USA.


In William Penn’s time (starting 1682), all immigrants, regardless of their religious or ethnic background were welcomed. (In Philadelphia) Quaker immigrants arriving in need of financial assistance were given or lent money interest free, but the others (who were not Quakers) became the responsibility of the city. The Friends established the first alms house in the city in 1713…Poor of all faiths lived there in cottages and were encouraged to work. In 1717 the Assembly ordered that a “workhouse” for the colony be built in Philadelphia within three years. With the Friends’ alms house meeting much of the need, public officials continuously delayed construction. The first public alms house finally opened in 1732…it had separate facilities for the indigent and the insane, and also an infirmary…#


     As early the 1730s, Samuel Waldo encouraged immigration: (due to) certain difficulties having arisen in regard to the Muscongus Patent (Maine)…thirty miles square—about a million acres…between the Penobscot and Muscongus Rivers…one-half the patent…set off in 1762…was bestowed on (Samuel Waldo)…he subsequently became proprietor of five-sixths of the entire patent…thereafter known as the Waldo Patent…he planned and executed measures for peopling (this land)…(he) invited immigration

(to continue reading, click on )


Intertwined Love: Novel Synopsis—

Immigration is Negative for the USA

Doing Historical Research in Philadelphia

Eyes in shades of purple

Dog Fighting & Cock Fighting: Cultural Phenomenon?

From the Bastille to Cinderella

March 25, 2010

Amish Grace, Thomas Cornell, & Intertwined Love: Risks of Writing Historical Fiction



The Risks of Writing Historical Fiction

     “…the most disturbing aspect of the upcoming television move “Amish Grace” is the fictional liberties it takes in depicting the aftermath of the 2006 killings of five Amish girls in a Nickel Mines schoolhouse,” according to Herman Bontrager, an Akron man who acted as a spokesman for the Nickel Mines Amish community after the shootings. “Amish tell the truth and are accustomed to telling the truth. When you take an account like this, and make it appear like it happened, and fictionalize it, that’s troubling.”*

     Authors of the book on which the movie is based, “Amish Grace: How Forgiveness Transcended Tragedy,” agree on this point.**

     Fiction based on an actual historical framework is always up for criticism. It’s an issue I’ve been aware of since I began delving in writing my novel, “Intertwined Love.” The historical framework includes 1790s people, both the well known— Henry Knox, William Duer, William Bingham, Alexander Baring, Thomas Jefferson among them—and the less well known: Franco van Berckle, Madame Rosalie de Leval, Louis des Isles, Mary Googins, and Joseph Swett.

     I encountered the criticism issue in two situations. First, my in-depth research disproved some oral traditions about East Lamoine, Maine. I shared the documentation with a community native. The late Gladys Vigent (a Samuel Des Isles descendent) was (to continue reading this post click on: )


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Two Photographers Named Cornell




November 4, 2009

Climb Mt. Everest? Not Me!



     High at the top of my list of the things I won’t accomplish in this lifetime is joining the minority part of humanity, an estimated 2,000 persons, who successfully scaled Mount Everest. Climbers, including a 71-year-old Japanese man, a climber with an artificial leg, and a teenaged boy, have reached the summit since 1953.

     In 2007 more than “239 people had already climbed the 8,850 metre (29,035 feet) summit from the Nepali side and the rest from Tibet,” according to Sherpa. The previous record was 470 people who made their journey in the 2006 spring climbing season.
     Historians say that many people have conquered the summit more than once, meaning that the number of ascents is likely much higher than 2,000. At least 202 people have died trying to reach the top. (To read this article click on

     Living in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains I do climb Laurel Mountain on a regular basis (click on That is, I drive or ride up the twisty paved road to the top of the mountain, which is close to (more…)

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