This is an old blog that I started in 2006. I keep it because it has a lot of historical data and people still come here. As of September 2016, no new updates will be made here. All new blog posts and writing/publishing related news will be posted over on my new site at

Path of Freedom, Quilts of Love series

1858 North Carolina - When Quakers Flora Saferight and Bruce Millikan embark on the Underground Railroad, they agree to put their differences aside to save the lives of a pregnant slave couple..

Highland Sanctuary, (Highland series - Book 2)

1477 Scotland - A chieftain heir is hired to restore Briagh Castle and discovers a hidden village of outcasts who have created their own private sanctuary from the world.

Highland Blessings, (Book 1 - Highland series)

1473 Scotland - The story of a highland warrior who kidnaps the daughter of his greatest enemy and clan chief to honor a promise to his dying father.

Friday, May 29, 2009

WWII Military Uniform

By Jennifer Hudson Taylor

As time marches on, WWII is becoming an historical era that novelists want to write about more often. Personally, I enjoy the time period because it reminds me of all the stories my grandmother told me when she lived through that era. I miss her and reading a book set during WWII reminds me of her. The photo to the left was taken around 1938 of my grandparents, Christine Watkins Hudson and Lee Thomas Hudson.

This military uniform belonged to Robert Taylor of Charlotte, NC. He was drafted into the Army in September 1943. He served as a medical technician for two years. It is now located at the Charlotte Museum of History.

Does anything remind you of your parents or grandparents from another time and place?

Monday, May 25, 2009

Glossary for the Medieval Novelist

By Jennifer Hudson Taylor

A flavor of medieval terminology will give your manuscript the tone it needs to establish the setting and time period of your book. Below are a few words you can layer into your narrative and dialogue.

1) Anon - At once.

2) Aye - Yes.

3) Benefice - A grant of land made by a lord.

4) Castle Guard - A guard in a lord's castle.

5) Craft - A skilled laboror.

6) Hither - hered.

7) Knave - A man who exhibits inappropriate behavior.

8) Manor - Land held by a Lord and worked by a tenant.

9) Nay - No.

10) Peddler - A traveling salesperson.

11) Randy - Promiscuous.

12) Relief - Tax paid by the inheritor of an estate.

13) Score - Twenty years.

14) Shandy - Stupid.

15) Thee - You. Used for familiar people.

16) Thine - Yours.

17) Thither - There.

18)Thou - You. Used formerly.

19) Thy - Your.

20) 'Tis - It is.

21) 'Twas - It was.

22) 'Twill - It will.

23) 'Twould - It would.

24) Tourney - A tournament.

25) Vassal - A servant who has sworn allegiance to an overlord.

26) Wench - A disrespectful term for a woman.

27) Yon - That.

28) Mead - Fermented drink.

29) Beaker - A tall, wide-mouthed goblet.

30) Flagon - A bottle with a lid.

31) Globlet - A bowl-shaped cup with a stem base and no handles.

32) Tankard - A tub-like vessel used to carry water.

33) Vial - A small vessel that held liquids.

34) Joust - A fight between two knights using lances.

35) Banner - A cloth displaying a mark representing knights and noblemen.

36) Bailey - A courtyard inside the castle walls.

37) Ashlar - Smooth stone blocks used for building.

38) Battlement - The wall around the catwalk to protect soldiers.

39) Drum Tower - A round tower built into the wall.

40) Drawbridge - The movable bridge lowered over a moat leading into a castle.

41) Gallery - A passageway or balcony overlooking the great hall.

42) Keep - The main tower.

43) Solar - The private chambers.

44) Bailiff - Oversaw the manor.

45) Minstrel - Sang songs and recited poetry.

46) Clerk - Kept records and accounts.

47) Dairy Maid - Milked cows and made milk.

48) Foot-Soldier - A low-born soldier.

49) Knight - A horse shoulder.

50) Groom - Took care of horses and stables.

51) Nursery Maid - Worked in the nursery.

52) Provost - Royal magistrate.

53) Squire - Oversaw his master's horse and arms.

54) Steward - Oversaw the castle.

55) Wet Nurse - Fed and took care of the babies.

56) Dagger - Double-edged knife.

57) Destrier - A warhorse.

58) Lance - A 14-foot charging spear.

59) Javelin - A throwing spear.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Historical Carriages

By Jennifer Hudson Taylor

This funeral carriage is a double brougham and was used by McAlister Funeral Home in Charleston, SC around 1884. Pulled by one or two horses, it carried the grieving family directly behind the hearse during the funeral procession. It is now located in the Charleston Historical Museum.

The red carriage is located in the stables at Shirley Plantation. It looks like a phaeton carriage with a cushioned two-seat. With so many carriage varieties, I'd be hard-pressed to even attempted to date this carriage. However, carriages such as this one, were very common throughout the 1800's.

For a list of the types of carriages used in the 19th Century, visit the following sites:

Monday, May 18, 2009

Glossary for Regency Novelists

The Regency era is between 1811 - 1820, although some extend the period from as early as 1800 to as late as 1825. It was most definitely a distinct period in which many societal rules were established, fashion was extremely important, and manner of speech very unique and wordy by today's standards. Many of our cliche's of today came from the Regency period.

If you intend to write a Regency, you'd better get it right, because compared to any other subgenre, Regency fans know their history. While it would take a separate glossary for each area of women's fashion, gentlemen's fashion and medical terms, this glossary is geared more toward Regency dialogue. Hope you enjoy!

1) Addled - Crazy or foolish.

2) Adore - To like very much.

3) Against the grain - Unwillingly or wrong.

4) Take the air - To go for a walk.

5) As neat as ninepence - All right or good as can be.

6) At sixes and sevens - A state of confusion.

7) An awkward situation - An embarrassing or dangerous situation.

8) Bad form - One who conforms to Society or exhibits inappropriate behavior.

9) Ball - A formal gathering where people danced.

10) Bamboozle - A hoax or to deceive.

11) Bandied About - Excessive gossip.

12) Banter - Ridicule others and sometimes it's in jest, or rambling on about a specific topic.

13) Be beyond - Beyond comprehension.

14) Bean-pole - A tall, skinny individual.

15) Beastly - Ghastly or awful.

16) Beat about the bush - Saying a bunch of nonsense before getting to the point.

17) Beau - Male admirer.

18) Bedlam - Hospital for mentally ill.

19) Big-wig - A person of high rank or authority.

20) Blasted - Confounded.

21) Blue stocking - A lady who enjoys learning. Early literary ladies wore blue wool stockings, but not always.

22) Blunt - Cash.

23) Bounder - Cad.

24) Bow Street Runner - A detective. The only enforced authority before England's police developed.

25) Breeding - Pregnant.

26) In the Briers - In trouble.

27) Bundle off - To send away in a hurry.

28) By Jove! - An exclamation.

29) By the By - Incidentally.

30) By-blow - Bastard.

31) By George! - A mild oath.

32) Cabbage head - A fool.

33) Cad - A vulgar man.

34) Cantankerous - Quarrelsome.

35) Cast-off - A discarded mistress.

36) Cast up one's counts - To vomit.

37) Castaway - One who is rejected.

38) A catch - A man considered to be a desirable husband.

39) Chat - Easy conversation.

40) Chum - Friend.

41) Cock up one's toes - To die.

42) Come-Out - A young lady's debut into society.

43) Convenience - Chamber pot.

44) Coquette - An excessive flirt.

45) Cry off - To back out of an engagement.

46) Curl one's hair - To chastise or scold.

47) Dampen - To discourage.

48) Daresay - Intend to say something.

49) Dashing - A daring or brilliant action.

50) Debut - A lady appearing in public or a society event for the first time.

51) Deep one - A cunning rascal.

52) Deep pockets - Stingy or short of funds.

53) Delicate condition - Pregnant.

54) Done for - Ruined.

55) Doxy - Mistress or prostitute

56) Dragon - A fierce person.

57) Drat! - A mild expletive.

58) Dressed in the nines - Dressed up in perfect fashion.

59) Dressing down - A verbal scolding.

60) In the Dumps - Depressed.

61) Fancy - Take a liking to something.

62) Fancy that! - A delightful surprise.

63) Featherbrain - Not smart.

64) Fetching - Attractive.

65) Fit as a fiddle - Excellent health.

66) Fop or Dandy - Fashionably dressed gentleman.

67) Good Form - Good behavior.

68) Fortnight - Two weeks.

69) Foxed - Drunk.

70) Gentry - Nobility and upper middle class.

71) Go into decline - Depressed or ill as in unhealthy.

72) Green - Inexperienced.

73) Gretna Green - A town in Scotland where many English couples elope.

74) Hackney - A coach for hire.85) Half-baked - An idea that wasn't well thought out.

75) Have a bee in one's bonnet - To have unique ideas.

76) Have a go at - To attempt something.

77) Hoax - To trick or jest or fool someone.

78) Hobnob - Associate with.

79) Hoyden - Carefree woman or girl who is boisterous.

80) Humbug - Rubbish, nonsence.

81) I say! - Exclamation to when surprised by something.

82) Imp - Mischievous brat.

83) In a pickle - In a difficult bind.

84) In a trice - Quickly.

85) In his cups - Drunk.

86) Jointure - Provision for a widow.

87) Kick the bucket - To die.

88) Knave - A deceiful man.

89) Lackey - A liveried footman.

90) Lady's magazine - A fashion magazine.

91) Lamb - Quiet and humble. Also a term of endearment.

92) Laudanum - Used as a medicine for pain. Contains alcoholic and a small dose of opium. Can be addictive if misused.

93) Leg-shackled - Married.

94) Light skirt - Prostitute.

95) Living on expectations - Living off the promise of a future inheritance.

96) Longsighted - Far sighted.

97) Looking Glass - Mirror.

98) Lot - Everything.

99) Love match - Perfect couple suited for love and/or marriage.

100) Loose screw - Crazy.

101) Madcap - Reckless.

102) Magpie - Talkative, to chatter.

103) Make one's self scarce - To disappear from a room.

104) Man of parts - Talented and intellectual man.

105) Mean codger - Unpleasant or rude person, usually an elderly individual.

106) Meet with an untimely end - To die.

107) Merry as a cricket - Cheerful.

108) Miff - A petty quarrel. To offend.

109) Modicum - A limited portion.

110) Modiste - A fashionable dress maker.

111) Muffin-faced - An expressionless face.

112) Neat as a pin - As neat as possible.

113) Nimcompoop - An idiot or dolt.

114) Noggin - The head.

115) Not worth a bean - Penniless.

116) On the shelf - Beyond marriagable age.

117) Pay a call - To visit.

118) Pert - Impudent.

119) Pick a bone with - Have an unpleasant matter to settle with someone.

120) Platter-faced - Flat-faced.

121) Pockets to let - Penniless.

122) Portmanteau - Suitcase.

123) Poste haste - Quickly.

124) Prattle bag - Gossiper.

125) Pray - A substitute word for "I beg you".

126) Prig - A fop or a person considering himself/herself as superior to others.

127) Put out one's lights - To kill.

128) Putting on airs - Haughty.1

129) Putting up - Staying some place.

130) Quandry - A state of perplexity.

131) The rage - In fashion.

132) Ramshackle - Rickety and/or addled. Run-down.

133) Rascal - A Mischievous person.

134) Recollect - Recall or remember.

135) Reticule - A coin purse for ladies.

136) Ribbons - The reins.

137) Right and proper - Correct and appropriate.

138) Right as rain - Perfect and dependable.

139)Roast - To ridicule and/or quiz others.

140) Romp - An adventurous event.

141) Rotten Row - A fashionable bridle path in Hyde Park.

142) Rotter - A person of no self-worth.

143) Rubbish - Worthless.

144) Sap - A fool.

145) Save one's bacon - to narrowly escape.

146) Scoundrel - A rake.

147) Scullery - A small room off the kitchen.

148) Season - Fashionable time for socializing and to introduce debutants to society.

149) Set one's cap for - To try and gain a man's heart or hand.

150) Sham - A trick.

151) Sharp - A swindler.

152) She-dragon - an elderly woman who is mean-spirited.

153) Slip-shod - Carless and poorly done.

154) Spill the soup - To tell everything.

155) Spitfire - A hot tempered person.

156) Stays - Referring to a woman's corset.

157) Stuff and Nonsence - Rubbish or ridiculous.

158) Sweetmeat - Dessert.

159) Take a fancy to - To become fond of.

160) Take down a peg - Disciplined or humbled.

161) Tendre - Affection for.

162) Three sheets in the wind - Drunk.

163) To a tee - Done perfectly.

164) Ton - Fashionable society.

165) Twit - Foolish person.

166) Under the hatches - Broken.

167) Unfortunate woman - Prostitute.

168) Up in arms - Upset and having taken offense.

169) Up to snuff - Aware of the latest fashions, details and society happenings.

170) Upstart - One who has risen to a position of power and/or wealth in a short period of time.

171) Vast - Great amount.

172) Week of Sundays - An indefinite period of time.

173) Well-equipped - Full of money or well-dressed.

174) When pigs fly - Never.

175) White's - A popular gentleman's club.

Friday, May 15, 2009

History of Traffic Lights

By Jennifer Hudson Taylor

This is one of the first traffic lights used in Charleston, SC. It is a Novalux Traffic Signal made by General Motors in the 1920's. The light is now housed in the Charleston Historical Museum. Judging by the looks of it, the light appears to be quite heavy.

In the early 20th century, the roads in all the major cities were chaotic with no traffic laws for the many pedestrians, bicycles, animal-drawn carriages and wagons. As you can imagine, accidents happened often, which prompted a few inventors to find a way to restore a little order.

Technically, the first traffic light was a revolving gas lantern with red and green lights installed at a London intersection in 1868, long before automobiles were invented.

In 1912, Lester Wire, a Salt Lake police officer invented an electric traffic light that was the first hand-made model in a wooden box on a pole. It had a slanted roof so rain and snow would slide off. The lights illuminated through red and green dyed circular openings.

In 1920, an improved version was developed based on railroad signals and installed in Detroit, Michigan.

In 1914, Garrett Augustus Morgan invented the first traffic light similar to our modern version with a stop traffic mechanism. It was a T-shaped pole unit that had three positions: Stop, Go, and All-Direction Stop for pedestrians. He eventually sold his rights to his traffic light invention to General Motors and it was used through the United States. At least 60 traffic lights were patented before Morgan's was patented in 1923, but Morgan is often incorrectly credited with the traffic light invention.

Morgan was born in 1877 in Kentucky, the son of former slaves. He moved to Ohio, where he owned and operated a sewing-machine repair business. Morgan also developed several other inventions.

In 1920, William Potts, a Detroit policeman, developed a red-yellow-green light signal systems that was manned by policement. It is remarkably similar to the modern traffic light.

For more detailed information and research, check out the sites below:

Monday, May 11, 2009

Scottish Glossary for Novelists

By Jennifer Hudson Taylor

In writing a Scottish novel, whether it be medieval or a later time period, the author must portray a Scottish dialect and a Scottish tone must be present in the narrative. While accomplishing this, the author must achieve it in a way that isn't overbearing, annoying, and hard to read. The best way to do this is to use a few Scottish words, blended in the text. You'll find other Scottish glossaries online that are much more in-depth than this one, but they tempt you to overdo it, with all the extra, unnecessary information. 

Below is a list of words that will give a Scottish novel the tone it needs without being overbearing.

1) Clan - Consists of families claiming a common ancestor and following the same hereditary chieftain, specifically in Scotland, but some clan systems exist in other Celtic countries such as Ireland and Wales. The word clan means children.

2) Clan Chief or Chieftain - Ruler of a specific clan, traditionally the heir would have to be elected. In the present-day system, the chief must be approved by The Court of the Lord Lyon (Lyon Court). Chieftains can be rulers of a branch of a clan, while a Clan Chief can be ruler of all the clan branches and ruling Chieftains. These rulers led their clans in battle, made decisions regarding disputes among clan members, etc.

3) Laird - A member of the gentry and a heritable title in Scotland, very similar to the titled, landholding lords in England. The title is granted to the owner of an estate and may hold certain local or feudal rightss, as well as voting rights in Scotland's Parliament.

4) Lass or Lassie - A young girl

5) Lad - A young man

6) Aye - Yes

7) Nay - No

8) Ken - To know. Many American southerners use a similar expression such as, I reckon it's time to retire for the night.

9) Mayhap - Perhaps

10) Yer - Your

11) Ye're - You are or you're

12) Mither - Mother

13) Da - Father

14) Tartan - A plaid design of Scottish or Irish origin consisting of stripes of varying width and color usually patterned to designate a distinctive clan.

15) Plaid - A twilled woolen or cloth fabric with a tartan pattern worn by various Scottish clans.

16) Kilt - A knee-length skirt (although many Scots hate this term) with deep pleats, usually of a tartan wool, worn as part of the dress for men in the Scottish Highlands. Only available after the mid-1700's. 

17) Great Kilt - Clothing made from wool, often grown on one's own sheep. The yarn would be taken to a local weaver for cloth, 27" wide and up to 30" wide. The first known reference to the Great Kilt was in 1594. One description is quoted as, "their exterior dress was mottled cloaks of many colours with a fringe to their shins and calves, their belts were over their loins outside their cloaks."

18) Aft - Often

19) Bairne - Baby

20) Loch - Lake

21) Claymore - Large sword

22) Daft - Mad or crazy

23) Glen - Valley

24) Kirk - Church

25) Wee - Small

26) Auld - Old

27) Tarry - Take one's time

Friday, May 08, 2009

Remember When...for Writing Research

By Jennifer Hudson Taylor

Have you ever been to Cracker Barrel Restaurant and noticed the Remember When booklets for each year? The idea is to give these to people on their birthday or a particular anniversary so they can remember how it was during that year.

These little booklets are the historical writer's dream. They list pertinent world and national news headlines, sample newspaper ads, cost of living index, famous people who were born that year, sports events and trivia, top music and movies, and presidents, all for that particular year. While it may not be an all-inclusive resource for the year you're writing about, it can certainly be a great resource to get you going in the right direction.

I'll soon be starting a new manuscript set in 1929. My local Cracker Barrel didn't have that year, so I got the phone number, called and ordered it to be delivered directly to my house. While I was on the phone, I asked a few questions. The booklets range from 1920 - present. However, they did have fact sheets available as early as 1900. These booklets are produced by Seek Publishers at or They also have a set of booklets called, Pages in Time.

If you are writing a book set after 1900, I would highly recommend checking out these booklets as a resource. You can also call Seek Publishing at 1-800-826-4929.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Book Review - "My Sister Dilly" by Maureen Lang

Book Description
Hannah Williams couldn't get out of her small town fast enough, preferring the faster pace, trendy lifestyle and beauty of California's Pacific Ocean coast. Only when her younger sister Dilly, makes a desperate choice and commits the unthinkable, does Hannah realize she never should have left her behind in rural Illinois. Hannah returns home to make up for letting Dilly down, leaving the one man she's ever loved in California. But Dilly is a changed woman, and when Hannah's plans don't go as expected, the bonds of sisterhood are tested like never before.

Book Review
This book was touching and moving. I love the fact that it was told from both Hannah's and Dilly's point of views. It's also in first person. The impact of this story really hits home as to how we view and treat prisoners and former prisoners. Do we really believe in a system of reform with rehabilitation and forgiveness?

When Dilly is released, she is a changed person, a Christian with a new education. But because of her past, she can't find work. Hannah wants to take care of her younger sister, a woman who wants to try and stand on her own two feet and prove to the world how much God has changed her.

The conflict is great and realistic. This book deals with some serious issues that many people want to sweep under the rug and pretend they don't exist. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The pacing was fast, the writing easy to read and well-written, and it is a unique story--one that we don't see too often. I definitely recommend this book.

About the Author

Maureen Lang is the winner of several writing awards, including the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart Award and American Christian Fiction Writers’ Noble Theme award. She resides in the State of Illinois along with her husband, Neil, and their three children.
Find out more about the author and her other books, visit her website at:

Monday, May 04, 2009

Romantic Growth in Christian Romances

By Jennifer Hudson Taylor

When Christian romances were first released, sometimes the romantic growth didn't progress or develop organically. There were so many restrictions on what characters could and couldn't do that it was hard to spot their attraction and love for each other. All of a sudden at the end, the hero is asking her to marry him and they are in love. It leaves the reader going, "Uh? When did that happen?"

Even if the hero and heroine spend a great deal of time together, they can't just--bam--be in love. There is a process. It doesn't happen overnight.

A romantic plot has to be developed just like any other plot. The good news is that the CBA market has really come a long way in relaxing some of the "rules" it started out with. In a Christian romance, the faith growth will need to develop right along with the romance growth, but appear seamless and natural.

Here are the main stages you will want to show in your story and the synopsis.

  • The First Meeting -- This is the first time the hero and heroine meet face to face.

  • Establish Faith -- Show the faith level of each character. This can include a flaw in their faith or a goal regarding their faith.

  • Attraction -- Show the attraction between both characters. If you are using both POVs, be sure to include a scene that shows the attraction from both POVs. Do this through sensuality, not sexuality.

  • Faith Change -- Show the growth that each character is starting to experience in their faith and how it relates to their building romance.

  • Establish Likable Traits -- True love isn't based on attraction alone. If it is, then it's lust, not love. However, true love can be birthed from attraction. It's the catalyst that can get things going in the romance direction. Then establish three significant traits that the hero and heroine admire and like about each other in addition to the attraction.

  • The Admission of Love
  • -- The characters realize they love each other. This may be internal knowledge that they've kept to themselves or it may have been expressed to each other in some way.

  • The Darkest Moment
  • -- This is where it looks like everything is falling apart and impossible. Their faith is challenged and it looks like they won't be together.

  • Resolution
  • -- This is where all the problems are solved, the faith growth climaxes to what the characters have learned, and it is clear that they both love each other and will be together. It's the happily ever after ending.