Thursday Reading Links (on a Saturday) #15

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Top of the morning! Here is a hodgepodge of fun or interesting articles I read this week (#procrastination). xoxo, Jane

Pairing books with tea (Debrett’s Handbook)

I like reading etiquette books for fun. (Plus I like my characters to behave properly, at least the non-villain ones). This made me wonder which tea might match my favorite manners book, Debrett’s Handbook.

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I think Fortnum’s Royal Blend would match Debrett’s perfectly. Royal Blend is one of Fortnum’s best-selling teas and was created for King Edward VII in 1902. (Ironically King Edward VII broke too many etiquette rules, but I suppose if you are a monarch you can break any rule you want.) So, be sure to brew yourself a good cup of Royal Blend next time you crack open your dusty old copy of Debrett’s. Happy Reading!

Thursday Reading Links #9

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Hello. How are you? Summer season starts this weekend in the USA and I’m looking forward to lots of reading, a less hectic schedule and enjoying my patio. Here are some links that helped me procrastinate. Ha! 🙂

Do you crack your neck? You should probably stop. I crack my neck, but I promised my husband I would stop. It’s hard to stop because I think I’m addicted to it.

I recently learned about the first men to walk the Great Wall of China. I recommend you listen to the short podcast. Fascinating!

Jane Thynne has a new book coming out. It looks really good. I love the way she weaves real history into her fiction. Bummer I have to wait until January 2020 to read it.


You can’t make this stuff up. Someone (maybe me too?) please, please, please write a comedic spy novel inspired by this lady.

Speaking of writing, here are some writing prompts.

Feminist Fairytales For Children That Teach Modern Values.

I’m reading this book about Queen Alexandra. What are you reading?

The Ugly History of Beautiful Things: Perfume. Have a great weekend! xoxo, Jane

This post contains Amazon affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. It doesn’t cost you anything extra to use the links, but it’s also ok if you don’t use the links. I’m just grateful you are here and reading my blog. xoxo, Jane

Free ebook – Cold War: A History From Beginning to End

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I’m preparing a blog post on the books I use for my Cold War research and I’ll be teaching a course on this topic for my RWA chapter later this year. In the meantime, if you are interested in Cold War history, start with this free ebook, Cold War: A History From Beginning to End (US Kindle only). It’s a very short history and analysis of the Cold War and a quick read.

Enjoy and have a great new week.

xoxo, Jane

This post contains an Amazon affiliate link. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. It doesn’t cost you anything extra to use the link. Thank you for reading my blog. xoxo, Jane

Writing Prompts

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I was searching for writing prompts for myself when I came across an author’s website where she was charging for them. That didn’t sit right with me, so I came up with my own prompts which I’m sharing with you. Enjoy!

  1. Write the first sentence of a cozy murder mystery but use the words “green” and “rendezvous.”
  2. It is modern day. You are standing in line at the post office. Your favorite 19th century writer just walked in. What do you do or say?
  3. Your cell phone rings. You answer and it’s the FBI. What happens next?
  4. You discover an unpublished Jane Austen manuscript. What is the title?
  5. You find your late great-grandmother’s diary from 1917. Assume you can read the language in the diary. What’s the most interesting entry you read? Write it diary-style.

Feel free to leave your own writing prompts in the comments.

xoxo, Jane

Reading Links for {Romance} Writers #1

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Happy Thursday!

I’ve been reading a number of interesting and educational articles. Here are some links for my fellow romance writers (or anyone who wants to read them, really).

The first three links are from a really cool writing website that teaches you how to DIY your MFA. Ten Rules for Writing Killer Romance: Part I

Ten Rules for Writing Killer Romance: Part II

Ten Rules for Writing Killer Romance: Part III

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How to self-publish your novel.

This Bustle article is very well-written and researched. Has #MeToo Changed Romance Novel Publishing?

Happy Reading!

xoxo, Jane

Fashion For Your Characters!

I love reading and learning about fashion and fashion history. Luckily for me, my characters seem to enjoy fashion too. My main characters are female heroines who like to look chic while fighting off their adversaries. Since they live in the 1950s and 1960s, I consult the following books for a good grasp of the fashion.


The Kyoto Costume Institute – Fashion: This two-volume set is incredible. It focuses on clothing, shoes and accessories between the 18th Century and 20th Century. The well-researched writing is accompanied by hundreds of glossy photographs.

Fashion The Definite History of Costume and Style: This book is a treasure trove. It’s jam-packed with fashion and style history from prehistory to present day. It contains timelines, graphics, photography and fashion designer biographies.

Forties Fashion – From Siren Suits to the New Look: This book is about the fashion history of the 40s. The book’s focus is on Europe and North America. It’s organized in a coherent manner and the historical tidbits are invaluable to my fashion research.

How to Read a Dress by Lydia Edwards: This is a fun book to read, whether for research or just for personal pleasure. It focuses on fashion from the 16th Century to the 20th Century. The author included personal family photographs to showcase some of the fashions of her foremothers, which I found touching.

For further fun and/or research, I listen to the podcast Dressed. The hosts are well-versed in fashion history and dive into all aspects of fashion history and fashion culture.

Let me know if you have any favorite books on fashion history. xoxo, Jane