Archives For 1800s

Spindle Playlist

December 5, 2016

I’m frequently asked about my playlist.

Many authors curate a list of songs to play while writing their novels. These songs can help set the tone for an exciting scene, for instance, such as a dramatic piece from a movie soundtrack. Or a love song can help the author create a romantic mood while writing the scene where the love interests finally declare their affections.

For Spindle, I tried to find old-timey music for my muse, but the further you go back in history, the harder it is to find music with a beat to keep you writing. However, I do mention three songs in Spindle: a hymn, an Irish reel, and a popular song from the era. If you are familiar with the songs, they’ll add a richness to your reading experience.

1. “It is Well” by Horatio Spafford from 1876.

This song becomes even more meaningful when you learn about the tragedy that led to it being penned. The short video below tells the story:

2. The Irish Farewell Reel.

During the Great Famine in Ireland in the early 1800s many Irish emigrated to other countries. When they left for North America, friends and family would play a farewell reel, calling it an American wake. They knew they’d never see their loved ones again. I couldn’t find a youtube video for it, but here is the story of it told in song: “American Wake” by The Elders.


3. “Daisy Bell,” otherwise known as “A Bicycle Built for Two” is such a cute, fun song from the era.

Here is a barbershop quartet version of the song:

And the original 1894 song from a phonograph:

(Note: This blog was adapted from a stop on my Spindle Blog Tour. You can read the original along with an excerpt here: Kindle & Me.)

C is for Corsets

April 3, 2016


This year for the Blogging from A to Z Challenge, I’m writing about the 1800s. In particular, I’ll be focusing on the events surrounding  Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland’s race around the world in 1889 in celebration of my new novel based on this adventure, Liz and Nellie, out today on Kindle ebook. The print book is almost ready and will be available soon wherever Ingram distributes (Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, etc.)

While in their writings neither Nellie Bly nor Elizabeth Bisland mention a corset in her list of items brought ‘round the world, at the time the corset was a standard in underclothing, and both women were likely wearing them during their travels. When in Japan, Nellie mentions the fact that the Japanese women never wore corsets and that’s why their waists were enormous. (Sounds like an exaggeration to me.)

Western clothing in the 1800s was styled in such a way as to need the corset to nip and tuck the right way. Here is an ad from my Ladies Home Journal from 1895.

ladies home journal 1895

ladies home journal 1895 corset ad

“She is Graceful, Easy, Stylish.

Possible with the right corset, Impossible without it.”


If you are intersted in learning more about corsets, Victorian Secrets: What a Corset Taught Me about the Past, the Present, and Myself is a fascinating look at a modern woman who dresses as a Victorian every day. She has some strong opinions about the corset.