The Prince of Fraud

From History Imagined

History Imagined

by Samuel William Reynolds, after Simon Jacques Rochard, mezzotint, circa 1820-1835

In an era of British imperial expansion, with limited social mobility at home, men with ambition, energy, and imagination looked to the wide world for opportunities to make their fortune. It didn’t seem odd then, when General Gregor MacGregor, a soldier of fortune and former officer in His Majesty’s service, turned up in London in 1821 claiming he had come to attend the coronation of George IV on behalf of the recently revived British Protectorate of the Mosquito Coast and its king, George Frederic Augustus I.

On the contrary, people were impressed when he announced himself to be the Cazique (Chieftain, or as MacGregor implied, Prince) of Poyais, an autonomous colony within the protectorate.  Invitations flooded in and the upper classes embraced him. Given the chaotic situation in South American and the gold rush of people attempting to make their mark…

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A Brief History of Nursery Rhymes


Mother Goose bookcoverBy Susan Gee Heino

“To Amuse Children and Excite them to Sleep.” Apparently that’s what Nursery Rhymes were supposed to do, back in the day. I mean, waaaaay back in the mid 1700’s.  At least, that’s what is printed in the title page for Mother Goose’s Melody by John Newbery. (If that name sounds familiar, it’s no wonder. There’s a rather prestigious literary medal named after him!)

The history of Mother Goose (and English-language nursery rhymes as we know them today) is fascinating. Continue reading “A Brief History of Nursery Rhymes”

Take a Leap

Joanne Guidoccio

Welcome to my Second Acts Series!

Today, we have Soul Mate author Carol Roddy sharing insights and advice from her multi-act life.

Here’s Carol!

By my count, I am now in my third—or perhaps fourth act. Let me talk about the move from one to two.

Like many folks, college involved some changes. I was happily majoring in East Asian Studies and dreaming of possible graduate work at the Georgetown School of Foreign Service when I met Beloved. My priorities shifted quickly and I launched into my first act as a stay at home Mom. Initially it was all consuming. Children—bright, interesting, creative little people—came quickly and took all my attention. Parenthood may be a lifetime commitment, but little ones are temporary; they insist on growing up.

Several factors pushed me into the next act.

• As much as I liked having children, I craved intellectual stimulation. I also craved…

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Orkney and the Hudson’s Bay Company

History Imagined

Folks from the Orkney Islands in Scotland impacted the exploration and settlement of Canada by Europeans heavily, particularly through their close connections to the Hudson’s Bay Company.

Hudson’s Bay’s Country, map by Peter Pond 1765

It isn’t difficult to understand why generations of Orkneymen lived and worked in Hudson Bay when you look at the globe.  Orkney and the bay both lie near 60°north latitude. The journey from Stromness or Kirkwall to the straights of Hudson Bay would follow roughly the route their Norse ancestors took to the tip of Greenland and the North American coast. The distance is a third shorter than the distance from London to Jamestown, Virginia. Ships from England to Hudson’s Bay regularly put in at Stromness, Orkney.

In 1670 Charles II gave a charter to a group of gentlemen including his cousin, Prince Rupert of the Rhine, to form a company in order to seek…

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First Kiss Friday with Caroline Warfield

From Sherry Ewing’s Blog. Everyone loves a kiss!

Sherry Ewing

Welcome to another First Kiss Friday! It’s always a pleasure when I have author Caroline Warfield on my blog. Today, Caroline is sharing the first kiss scene from The Reluctant Wife. Happy reading and enjoy!

In The Reluctant Wife, Clare and Fred come together slowly, but with an inevitability that pulls readers along with them. This is their first gentle kiss. It occurs while they are searching for his runaway children and he is truant from a disciplinary hearing. As Clare would later note, she would endure the remembrance of his tender embrace, his thumb rubbing the back of her neck, and the kiss to the side of her head for many months.


They searched down the middle of the park as one, but they had as little luck as before, and the first signs of night crept up with the sunset. Fred’s steps slowed until…

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Malacca and the World in 1511

Caroline Warfield’s latest on History Imagined.

History Imagined

Malacca 1630

The wide reach of history weighs on me since my visit to Malacca last month when one date in particular sparked my curiosity: 1511. The ruins of a Portuguese fort in that UNESCO World Heritage site display a tablet indicating work on the fort began that year. Having endured a 20 hour-plus flight and a four-hour bus ride up from Singapore in 2018, the sheer audacity of travel to the other side of the world that early astounded me.

Henry VIII circa 1509-1513

I began to wonder what else went on that year, and, since English language romance authors, such as my humble self, tend to have an Anglo-centric view of the world, I thought about what happened in England that early. Henry VIII had become king at age 17 two years before. His first son, also named Henry, was born on January 1, 1511, but unfortunately died seven…

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A Traditional Skill

I used to be a quick study in my youth. But no longer. I’m learning to knit and all I can say is it’s a good thing I’m not facing a time crunch.


This is me proudly displaying the Christmas stocking that my mother knitted for me many years ago. Fast-forward about twenty years and I asked Mom to knit one for my husband-to-be. I really wanted him, as the newest member of the family, to have one that better matched my own (and there was no way I wasn’t using my beloved stocking each holiday season). As our children came along, they both received a knitted stocking from grandma. Thankfully she was happy to make each one. Sadly, we lost my mother in 2017, but carrying on the tradition of her handcrafted stockings is one way I can keep her memory alive.

Thus, I need to learn how to knit. Continue reading “A Traditional Skill”

The Natchez Trace

History Imagined

Natchez Trace Flatboat on the Mississippi

Once young men routinely floated their goods—products of the farms and settlements of newly formed states and territories—down the Ohio, Wabash, and Illinois rivers to the Mississippi and on to New Orleans. They were called Kaintucks, even though they weren’t all Kentuckians. Sometimes their boats were called Kaintucks, too. These vessels were not the storied riverboat steamers, with their luxurious accommodation, gambling, and shows. Kaintucks traveled by flatboats, simple crafts designed to use the rivers’ current for propulsion, and made flat to facilitate passage over the shallows as well as the deep.

When the Kaintucks got to New Orleans they sold their cargo. Then they dismantled their flatboat and sold the lumber too, because it would be useless traveling upstream. How did they get back home? The lucky ones took horses; most of them walked. They took the Natchez Trace from Natchez, above New Orleans on…

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Spring Storm Tips–Reader Edition

Reader Storm Tips

by Susan Gee Heino

Spring is upon us, dear readers, and you know what that means: Thunderstorms and all the trouble they bring. We could have high winds, torrential rain, dangerous lightning, flash flooding, and power outages. It’s awfully hard to finish that amazing novel you’ve been reading when all the lights have gone out, isn’t it?

But wait! Don’t fold down that corner or pop in that bookmark. Here are eight important tips just for readers to get us prepared for whatever might blow our way.  In fact, it couldn’t hurt to start practicing now!

  1.  Make a plan–once you’ve assessed the needs of your family, etc., it’s time to prepare for what’s really important. Ask yourself these questions:
  • what am I going to read?
  • where am I going to read it?

Continue reading “Spring Storm Tips–Reader Edition”

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