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General Writers' Resources

Historical Resources

  1. Recognized by Writer's Digest as one of the best sites for writers, Agent Query "offers the largest, most current searchable database of literary agents on the web." But it's so much more than that.  Here you can learn about the publishing world; read agent Q&A's; get an agent's full profile and client/book list; get formatting tips and genre descriptions and more.
  2. The Association of Authors' Representatives, Inc. (AAR), a not-for-profit organization of independent literary and dramatic agents. You can search for agents by genre, read their FAQs about agents, or visit their links page for bestseller lists, book fairs, publishing publications and professional organizations.
  3. Writer Beware is the "public face of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America's Committee on Writing Scams."  They cover scams and unprofessional practices found in literary agencies, POD and vanity book publishers, contests, etc.

Book News and General References
  1. If you need to know what kind of weather a particular location had on a particular day, go to The Old Farmer's Almanac, put in the date and location in their Weather History tool and find out!
  2. The weekly list New York Times e-book fiction bestsellers can be found here.
  3. Bookwire is "the internet resource dedicated to new titles, new authors, and the general scoop on the book industry!" At this site you can "search book reviews, read about the latest releases, watch author video clips, and learn about upcoming book events."
  4. Writerspace is "the home for over 150 authors, primarily romance and mystery, of the best fiction on the market today. Writerspace communities are familiar places for readers to gather, talk to each other, learn about releases and communicate with authors."
Book Review Sites
  1. All About Romance
  2. Regency Reader
  3. Romance Junkies
  4. Romance Reviews Today
  5. The Indie View page provides links to where Indie books are reviewed.
  6. The Romance Reviews
Contests & Exercises
  1. Wikipedia has a good overview of the different sub-genres of romance for contest entering.
  2. FirstWriter.com has a fully searchable contest database which is "updated daily, with old competitions being removed and on average two or more new ones added every day, making it widely regarded as the best writing contest listing on the internet."

Craft of Writing
  1. Creative Writing Now offers tips on fiction and poetry writing, a wide range of writing prompts, and free online writing courses.
  2. Alicia Rasley's web site is listed below under romance, but I'm listing her again for the craft of writing because she deserves to be in both places! The RITA-award winning writer has online workshops, books on the craft of writing, plus articles that are not to be missed.
  3. How To Do Things is a really interesting site because it gives a good overview on just about every type of writing (not to mention everything else you could possibly want to do in your spare time!). Ex: How to Write a Business Plan, How to Write a Romance Novel, How to Write a Complaint Letter, How to Write a Wedding Speech, How to Self Publish, How to Write a Press Release.  You get the drift so check it out.
  4. Need to write a synopsis?  Check out Charlotte Dillon's website for links to articles and how-to tips plus sample synopses.
  5. Books (gee...where to start...)
eBook / Self Publishing
  1. Author M. Louisa Locke has an excellent blog entry about Amazon categories, key words and tags.
  2. Joel Friedlander, AKA The Book Designer, has an article on book cover resolution at this link and plenty of other great articles too.
  3. David Gaughran explains the differences between Amazon's Bestseller and Popularity Lists.
  4. Aaron Shepard's Publishing Blog shares info on self publishing with Amazon, CreateSpace, Lightning Source and MS Word.
  5. Bookwire is "the internet resource dedicated to new titles, new authors, and the general scoop on the book industry!" At this site you can "search book reviews, read about the latest releases, watch author video clips, and learn about upcoming book events."
  6. Alas, pirating of ebooks has become rampant. If you want Google to take down a link that leads to your pirated book, click here. Then click the button for Web Search, then click the "I have a legal issue that is not mentioned above," and then click I have found content that may violate my copyright. Proceed from there!

Genres (Other than Romance)
  1. Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers, Inc.  has articles on manuscript formatting, common mistakes writers make, characterization, making monsters, and building new worlds, among other subjects.
  2. Critters Workshop is "an on-line workshop/critique group for serious writers of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror. You get your work critiqued in exchange for critiquing the work of others, both of which are invaluable ways to improve your writing."
  3. The National Society of Newspaper Columnists can be found here.
  4. Faith Writers is an "encouraging community of Christian writers" (over 20,000!) which offers free membership, writing courses, forums, critiques, articles, and more.
Grammar & Punctuation
  1. The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation gives rules (with examples) of grammar and punctuation, including rules for writing numbers, and offers quizzes so you can check to see just how much you don't know!
  2. At Dictionary.com you can type in a word and search by dictionary, thesaurus or encyclopedia for loads of info. 
  3. At Merriam-Webster.com you can sign up for the "Word of the Day" to be emailed to you, thus making it easy to quickly expand your vocabulary.  That's a bunch of palaver, you're thinking.  Okay, so you're probably not thinking that--unless you got your emailed word of the day: palaver.
  4. This excellent Guide to Grammar & Writing was created by the late Dr. Charles Darling as a guide for his students. Includes subjects like paragraph development and sentence variety, writer's block and quizzes.
  5. The info on Jack Lynch's Guide to Grammar and Style is arranged alphabetically. Click on "C" and learn about Cannot, Can't Help But, Capitalization, Cases, -Century, Citation, Clarity, Cliches, Colon, Commas, Comma Splices, Comparatives, Conjunctions and more. Or go straight to the full list of contents.
  6. Purdue University's(OWL) is another excellent resource for grammar and has interactive exercises.
Money, Taxes and Freelance Jobs!
  1. The Burry Man's Writing Center is a network of writers and offers tips on craft, freelance writing jobs and more.
  2. FreelanceWriting.com, "the website for today's working writers," posts freelance ads, contests, forums, articles, events and more.
  3. Writer's Market from Writer's Digest is an online searchable service for writers. For a few dollars a month you have access to information on most publications, books, publishers, agents and editors.  Instead of subscribing that way, I buy the "online"version of their annual Writer's Market book, With the "online" version of the book comes a serial number for activating an online account.  It's cheaper than paying the monthly fee.  And you get a hard copy too.

Pitching Your Book
  1. Read How to Pitch Your Book at a Writing Conference by Cynthia P. Gallagher at Writing-World.com.  Great tips here.
  2. The Perfect Pitch:  Pitching to Agents at a Writing Conference by Sue Fagalde Lick combines advice from different agents. 
  3. Read How to Write a Query at AgentQuery.com.  You'll learn the parts of the query and get to see some examples of hooks.
  4. Check out Laurie Campbell's Ten Minutes To Glory: Your Editor/Agent Pitch for help in writing those four important sentences: the "hook"; the heroine's and hero's who, what, why and why not; and how the conflict is resolved.
  5. Agents who blog and give great advice in their columns from how to pitch, how to write a blurb, what an agent looks for in a possible client, how to write a query letter (and how NOT to:-) and much, much more. The great thing about blogspot is that everyone is using labels now, so you can click on a label such as "pitches" and read all of that agent's blogs on the subject.
    • Pub Rants by Kristin Nelson of the Nelson Literary Agency. Be sure to scroll down the main page and look at the advice columns.  There are a series of pitching workshop/critiques and she even shares the query letters from some of the clients she took on, giving comments throughout their letters to let us know what she liked about them.
    • Janet Reid of Jet Reid Literary Agency.  No BS here and you'll definitely learn what NOT to do when submitting to an agent.  She tells it like it is!
    • Miss Snark, the anonymous literary agent who blogs on writers, her life as an agent, writers, the publishing market, writers ... well, you get my drift.  And after you read her first snarky reply to some hapless writer, you'll be hooked. (Honestly, though, this agent's "voice" sounds just like Janet Reid's, only, uhm...snarky).  In her blog News Flash! Agents ARE Human Beings!, she says that you can pitch your book any day in a query letter, but for agent/editor appointments, you need to make a "person-to-person connection."  And she gives you questions to ask that will help you do just that.
  6. Books
Publishing Your Book
  1. You can publish an ebook and print book through Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing, Kobo Writing Life, Apple iTunes, Smashwords, Sony, and more.
Romance Reading / Writing
  1. At Authors On The Web, you'll find author bios, roundtables, message groups and more--authors of all genres.
  2. The Regency Redingote gives "historical snippets of Regency England" through its interesting blog posts.
  3. Geometry.Net Writing Romance Resources has 104 web sites listed (with extracts) on anything you can think of that pertains to writing romance. If you go to their W page and look under all writing subdivisions, you'll find around 1,000 links to all types of writing, historical research for writing, web sites for writers, writing contests, etc. It boggles the mind!
  4. If you're serious about publishing romance, then Romance Writers of America is a must-join organization.
  5. Books

Video Trailers (How-to)
  1. This article on Brenda Coulter's blog explains how to make your trailer using Windows Movie Maker.
  2. An article about Windows Movie Maker. Jill Elizabeth Nelson also uses it to upload trailers to You Tube.
  3. At Circle of Seven Productions, you can view their client-publishers list, watch the videos they’ve made, read testimonials, and look at costs, which range from $300 to $4,000. See what they did for Lisa Kleypas, Kayla Perrin, Christine Freehan, Heather Graham and more...
  4. In return for the use of their free royalty free music loops, Partners In Rhyme ask that you please link to their website using one of their copy 'n paste html codes.
Writing Scripts
  1. InkTip.com is all about "getting the right script into the right hands."  With a free membership, you receive at least one free lead (a call for scripts put out by industry pros) per week via the regular newsletter and for a fee you can place your script for viewing by industry professionals. View success stories, writer and industry endorsements, successful loglines and synopses, or browse their selection of excellent (free) tips and articles by industry professionals. Highly recommended site.
  2. Done Deal Professional covers the business and craft of screen writing. You can get info on contests, examples (of releases, queries, etc.), browse forums, read interviews and newsletters for free, and for just $23.95 a year you have access to information on agents, lawyers, managers, news, production companies, sales, sales archives and studios.
  3. Books

Historical References Below American History
  1. You'll find anything and everything pertaining to American history at About.com.
  2. The Avalon Project at Yale Law School has all types of documents of treaties, alliances and other items of historical interest such as The Louisiana Purchase.
  3. Books
    • Boston: A Social History by Brett Howard. Good information about the women and society of Boston.
    • Everyday Life in the Massachusetts Bay Colony by George Francis Down. (As an aside, I'll mention that my ancestor was Edward Rawson, Secretary of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Many of the original documents bear his signature!!).
Architecture & Landscaping
  1. Castles and Palaces of the World is the "most comprehensive resource about castles, palaces and fortifications." And they have stunning pictures, too!
  2. Castles on the Web offers an extensive database of all things Castle related.
  3. The Great Buildings Collection is a gateway to architecture from around the world and across history. The Great Buildings Online documents hundreds of buildings and leading architects with 3D models, photographic images and architectural drawings, plus commentaries, bibliographies, and web links, for famous designers and structures of all kinds.
  4. BritainExpress.com covers English architecture from prehistoric monuments through the Victorian Age. Features architects, landscape architects and great buildings including castles, abbeys, cathedrals and country houses.
  5. Books
    • English Architecture--A Concise History by David Watkin. Chapter 13 covers the Classical Revival (Adams, et al).
Art & Literature
  1. Books
    • Romantic England: Writing and Painting 1717-1851 by Peter Quennell. Lots of good info on the artists and art of the time.
  1. A listing of Hammer and Milled coins. Discussion for English Coins denomination minted in England during the American colonial period from James I through George III.
  2. Wikipedia tells all about the pound sterling's history, complete with pictures of the various editions.

Crime & Punishment in England
  1. Stand and Deliver has great info about highwaymen and highway robbery, including articles, biographies of famous highwaymen, and links to other resources such as The King's Highway, a forum on the subject of highwaymen and other rogues.
  2. EyeWitness to History has an excellent page on crime and punishment in Elizabethan England.
  3. The British Library's Crime and Punishment page describes 18th century law enforcement, the morning routine before an execution at Tyburn, and shows pictures of actual newspaper articles from the 18th century on punishments.
Fashion & Costumes
  1. The Costumer's Manifesto has links to everything you could ever possibly think of regarding fashion, costume history, undergarments, military uniforms, and more...for just about every period in history!
  2. There's much to see at Nicole Kipar's late 17th century Clothing History website.
  3. The Victoria and Albert Museum has a really good page on 18th century fasion. You can click to read the articles which show pictures of dresses, hats, etc., and can zoom in to note the details described.
  4. Books
    • The Eighteenth Century-Costume in Context by Jennifer Ruby. Excellent book for details on dress. Ends with 1799.
    • Costume in Context: The Regency by Jennifer Ruby. Starts with 1805.
    • Everyday Dress 1650-1900 by Elizabeth Ewing. Excellent book--not only shows the clothing worn but also describes how spinning, weaving, dying and cleaning was done.
Industrial Revolution
  1. The Internet Modern History Sourcebook contains The Industrial Revolution with links to The Agricultural Revolution of the 17th-18th Centuries, The Revolution in the Manufacture of Textiles, The Revolution in Power, Railroads, Steam Ships, The Great Engineers, The Process of Industrialization. Also, the Social and Political Effects deals with The Lives of Workers, Urban Life: New Social Classes, Social Reformism. The Internet Modern History Sourcebook index page is at Main Page.
  2. Hanover College's History of Texts and Archives of The Industrial Revolution With links to Leeds Woollen Workers Petition, 1786 | Letter from Leeds Cloth Merchants, 1791 | Reports on Working Conditions, 1832 | Richard Guest: The Steam Loom, 1823 | Lectures of Arnold Toynbee | Andrew Ure: The Philosophy of the Manufacturers, 1835.
  3. Books
    • The Industrial Revolution by James A. Corrick. This excellent book is part of the World History Series. Covers changes in daily life due to the industrial revolution. Has good timeline of inventions.

Medieval to 18th Century England
  1. Wikipedia has a map of the counties of England. Near the bottom of the page is this link to a list of the historic counties.
  2. If you want to know medieval history, you can find it at Britain Express:  timelines of Kings and conquerors, info on church, society, castles, architecture, art and more.
  3. All About Medieval Castles & Medieval Siege Weapons is filled with information on Medieval Siege Weapons (including catapult and trebuchet), Medieval Castles, and Medieval Siege Warfare. A very comprehensive resource.
  4. Learn about food and drink in medieval England, when most people had to make their own food.
  5. It was 18th century England, where kidnapping a 15-year-old girl was a misdemeanor but pickpocketing a capital offense. And it is all documented on The Proceedings of the Old Bailey London 1674 to 1834. "A fully searchable online edition of the largest body of texts detailing the lives of non-elite people ever published, containing accounts of over 100,000 criminal trials held at London's central criminal court. This web site is the brainchild of two British historians, Tim Hitchcock and Robert Shoemaker."
  6. Eighteenth-Century Resources -- History, edited by Jack Lynch containing General Resources, British History, American History etc., is part of the larger collection of Eighteenth-Century Resources Index on the Net.
  7. Books
    • The English Town--A History of Urban Life by Mark Girouard--all aspects of town life, including assembly hall entertainment.
    • The Eighteenth Century by G.M. Trevelyan.
    • The English Village by Richard Muir
    • English Social History: A Survey of Six Centuries--Chaucer to Queen Victoria by G.M. Trevelyan. Excellent source.
Pirates, Privateers, Smuggling & Trade
  1. Cindy Vallor's Pirates & Privateers includes book reviews and pirate adventures, a newsletter with the latest pirate-related news and information, articles on maritime piracy from ancient times to today, links to the best sites specializing in piracy and life at sea in the Age of Sail.  Her Bookaneer pages have reviews on the latest fiction and non-fiction books for children and adults. Other highlights: specialized bibliographies, piratical places to visit, pirate dates in history, piracy quotes.
  2. Beej's Pirate Image Archive. Images of pirates at this site include Bartholomew Roberts, Henry Morgan, John Rackam, Mary Read, Roche Brasiliano, Edward Teach aka Blackbeard, Charles Vane, Anne Bonny and others.
  3. Rob Ossian's Pirate's Cove has the "most comprehensive collection of Pirate and Nautical information on the web!" with bios of pirates, privateers, and explorers; complete list of sailing vessels; nautical and historical terminology, nautical navigation, pirate music, and more.
  4. Check out the details of the lives of a number of famous Cornish people through the ages.
  5. The coast of Kent, being so close to France, has for centuries been known for the smuggling of goods both into and out of the country. The wool-smugglers themselves were known as 'owlers', a name that lives on in the OILLER families of the Marsh today. Tea was another commodity which was profitable for the smugglers. Some 350 or more years ago, the Wishing Well stood between two flint cottages. The well was used by smugglers to hide contraband. Smuggling had become so rife in this part of Kent due to high import duties on tea, tobacco and spirits.
  6. Books
    • The East India Company--Trade and Conquest from 1600 by Anthony Wild.
    • The East Indiamen by Russell Miller.
    • Undiscovered: The Fascinating World of Undiscovered Places, Graves, Wrecks and Treasure by Ian Wilson
    • Treasure: Lost, Found and Undiscovered by Mike Groushko.
    • Treasure Wreck: The Fortunes and Fate of the Pirate Ship WHYDAH by Arthur T. Vanderbilt II. Whydah went down off coast of Massachusetts in 1717.

Regency Era
  1. Regency England 1790-1830 is the subject of this site.  You'll find historical info about a variety of things including Regency shopping, Regency weddings, Regency fashion, and Regency Romances.
  2. History on Almack's Assembly Rooms can be found here.
  3. George III, The Prince Regent and Regency England -- While there is just a general overview of this period, this site is full of information about England.
  4. Georgette Heyer (1902 - 1975) was an amazingly prolific writer who created the Regency England genre of romance novels. Although Jane Austen published during this period (1811 - 1820), she was writing contemporaneously while Heyer was making very well-researched historical fiction, full of all you could ever want: romance, fashion, upper classes, cross-dressing, arranged marriages, murder, intrigue, cant language, sarcasm and humour!
  5. Books (checked out from library)
  1. Electric Scotland has the most comprehensive collection of historical information about Scotland that I've found--places, people, clothing, language, historical periods and events, clans, castles, music and more.  (You can also sign up for their freeweekly newsletter which is full of interesting articles and facts.)
  2. DarkIsle.com has a fabulous collection of pictures of Castles, Manors, and Abbeys in Scotland.
  3. You can find history, myths & legends of Scotland at Mull of Galloway.  The concise history begins with the Romans in 82AD and continues to present time, giving details of the differences in every day life for people of the 18th and 19th centuries.
  4. Ngaio Press has a selected glossary of Scots language.
  5. Wikipedia gives about 10,000 years of Scotland's history.
  6. ScottishHistory.com has a nice page of Scottish links, as well as essays and articles, books, music, history, and more.
  7. Scotweb's Scottish History has a great article on the Highland Clearances, as well as pages on various battles, the history of the kilt and more.
Ships & Naval History
  1. John's Nautical & Boatbuilding Page contains the The Mother of All Maritime Links. Very comprehensive site with links to Pirates, History and Maritime Archaeology.
  2. HistoryCentral.com brings you the history of all US Naval ships. You can look up a ship by name or by ship type.
  3. Books
    • Shipwreck by John Fowles - Covers ships from the mid to late 1800's and the 1900's
    • The Golden Age of Sail by Amy Handy
    • The History of Ships by Peter Kemp
    • American Sail - A Pictorial History by Alexander Laing. A good chapter on schooners.
    • Seafaring America by Alexander Laing
    • The Frigates (part of the Seafarers series) by Henry E. Gruppe.  I love (and own) this book!  It's a gem! Tells about the fighting frigates and their captains. Gives accounts of sea battles including Trafalgar (a map shows positions of all ships) and battles during the War of 1812.
    • Fighting Sail (part of the Seafarers series) by A.B.C. Whipple.  Each of the Seafarers series is wonderful.
    • Ships by Richard Humble. A quick overview of the progress of shipbuilding. I found this in the juvenile section of the library, but hey--whatever works.

Titles, Biographies & Historical Genealogy
  1. Laura's British Titles of the Nobility at Chinet.com is the place to go if you want to know anything about how members of the nobility were addressed in speech or writing, formally and informally, by other members of the peerage and everyone else. If you scroll down to the Table of Contents, there are links for pages explaining about courtesy titles, dowers and entailments, the rights and privileges of the peerage, and more.
  2. British Biographies of famous artists, architects, writers, landscapers, scientists of the Regency Age, plus links to bios of the Royal Family, and people from Prehistoric Britain, Roman Britain, Anglo-Saxon Era, The Middle Ages, The Tudor Era, Stuart Britain, Georgian Britain, and The Victorian Age.
  3. GENUKI is the genealogical information service for the UK and Ireland, containing a large structured tree of information. The information that is provided in GENUKI relates to primarily historical material, rather than material resulting from genealogists' ongoing research, such as GEDCOM files.
Victorian Age
  1. The Victorian Web has a plethora of pages that detail the Victorian era's public health; conditions of life and labor; race, class, and gender issues; education and children's lives; leisure and amusements; economic history; and cities, towns, and countryside. And that's just in the Social History section. Then there's the Political History, Religion, Science, and Economical sections too!
  2. History in Focus has info on the Victorian Era which includes diaries, articles, research, selected web site links and an overview of that time.
  3. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, has a very comprehensive site on the Victorian Era. Subjects include politics, technology, prostitution, society, architecture, morality, fashion and more.
  4. Virtual Victorians is one of the best sites I've found on this era of history. Pages include "Day in the Life" from the point of view of a married couple for each day of the week, plus a Themes Gallery filled with pictures and info on agriculture, education, leisure time, health, childhood, clothing and more.
  5. Britain Express has info on Victorian life including famous people of that time, Victorian London, art and more.
  6. This freepages/geneology/rootweb has a great list of names given to children born during the Victorian Era.
World History
  1. The Historypage of BritainExpress.com contains information on England from Pre-Historic times through The Victorian Age. Covers people and events, architecture, royalty.
  2. At History.com you will find historical information ranging from Great Speeches(in audio) to facts about This Day in History."
  3. The History of the United Kingdom, Primary Documents, economic history contains links to British - American Diplomacy Documents concerning the Paris Peace Treaty, the Jay Treaty, the War of 1812,and the Convention of 1815 Between the United States and Great Britian, Child Labour 1750-1900 With accounts of eyewitnesses and participants, plus commentary and Vindication of the Rights of Woman by Mary Wollstonecraft 1792.
  4. Over 1,300 links to organizations, archives, libraries, museums, research institutions and resources around the world in the field of labour and business history are found at World Wide Web Virtual Library: Labour and Business History.

© 1998-2019 Stephie Smith