I’ll admit when writing Shores of Chaos: Shipwrecked, I was driven by nostalgia for my love of all things related to the seashore. Two of those things are the boardwalk and seaside amusement parks. I personally have always loved walking up and down the boardwalks, looking for cool things to buy or fun games to… Continue reading A Good Ole Time: Seaside Amusements and Boardwalks
Above image: Poster from the Sandow Trocadero Vaudevilles , 1894 A fun thing I included in one of the chapters of my novel Shores of Chaos: Shipwrecked is a turn of the century vaudeville show. American Vaudeville was an entertainment form in the United States from the 1880s to the 1930s. Vaudeville shows consisted of… Continue reading Come One, Come All to the Story of American Vaudeville!
Above image: Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital in Morris Plains, NJ, demolished 2015 Something I decided to add to the final draft of Shores of Chaos: Shipwrecked was the 19th century insane asylum. For most of us when we think of the typical Victorian or Gilded Age insane asylum, we think of grim, filthy places where… Continue reading The Evolution of the American Insane Asylum
One of my goals with my writing is to help those suffering from mental illness. In Shores of Chaos: Shipwrecked I tackled postpartum depression (PPD). In my first draft of this story, I unfortunately fell into the trap of making a villain out of my character, Frances Ashman, who is suffering from this illness. For… Continue reading Postpartum Depression in the 19th Century
Shores of Chaos: Shipwrecked came about from my love of lighthouses and all things related to the seashore. I went to my first lighthouse when I was about eleven and have been enchanted by their architectural design and their purpose for existence ever since. I chose to set my story in the 1890s as this… Continue reading A Brief History of Lighthouses
Here’s some more history behind our favorite Christmas symbols to put you in the holiday mood! Santa Claus The story of Santa beings in the 3rd century AD when a monk helped the poor and sick and became St. Nicholas, the patron saint of children. His veneration spread throughout Europe over the centuries where his… Continue reading The History of Christmas Traditions and Symbols- Part 2
Here's a fun little post to give you some background on popular Halloween symbols. Jack O’Lanterns Jack o’lanterns started as a tradition in the British Isles. They are associated with will-o’-the-wisps, strange lights that, although caused by natural phenomena, were thought to lead travelers astray and into dangerous places. There is also a folktale of… Continue reading History of Halloween Symbols
This year's costume takes on a more imaginative turn as I don a raven masquerade outfit. The costume was inspired by ravens, of course, but also by some costumes from film and TV: The collar is actually inspired by the collars that queens of each krewe (social organization) wear on Mardi Gras. The 2017 Queen… Continue reading Halloween Costume: Quoth the Raven Nevermore
My most recent adventure into historical costuming is a 14th century gown fit for a queen. I've been wanting to make this costume for awhile and I finally found the right material for it (or more like my dad found it at the store)! You may remember this sketch from my previous post, "Historical Costuming:… Continue reading The Queen has Arrived.
So in this post, we're saying goodbye to winter and hello to spring. Here's the second costume I promised you. Once again, the dress in this post can be worn two different ways. Below is the first version of the dress that I made when I was a teenager. I also separated the bodice and… Continue reading …To Spring: 18th Century 2 for 1 Costume Special
This week and next week, I will be treating you all to some more of my 18th century costumes. Each post will feature a dress that can be worn two different ways, so they are literally 2 for 1 costumes. This week's costume is a winter gown/jacket and skirt. I originally made this dress back… Continue reading From Winter…: 18th Century 2 for 1 Costume Special
So now that my book has been released on Amazon (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08VCL542T), I’ll share some more of the historical details with you on the subject matter. I’ll try not to give away too many spoilers in this post, but do not read further if you don’t want any. In this post I will attempt to give… Continue reading The Parkers, Why Were They Accused?
Mental illness is a theme that plays heavily in my novel Wanderer Among Shadows, a theme that was not present in the original version of the story. However, after suffering from depression, I figured that if there was ever a story where a character would suffer from mental illness, it would be this one. One… Continue reading How Mental Illness Influenced My Novel
Hey everyone, I know it’s been awhile since I posted. I’ve been busy with work and getting my book finished. Yes, my book is all edited and currently awaiting registration at the copyright office! But while you wait for the book to be available, today I’m putting you in the holiday mood. So, ever wonder… Continue reading The History of Christmas Traditions and Symbols
Happy Halloween and Happy Samhain everyone! Today I’m giving you a special post just for the occasion. As you may recall from my last post, “Historic Costuming: That Other Cool Thing I Do,” one thing I like to do is sew historic costumes. For this Halloween, I decided to wear a revamped 18th century dress… Continue reading Halloween Special: The Ghost of Marie Antoinette
In my previous post, I talked about “Five Non-Fiction Books to Read for this Halloween.” In this one, I’m giving you five fiction books to give you goosebumps (pun intended). https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0375803017/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=genblackwood-20&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=0375803017&linkId=db4029872573470f7fe1e965893316fe The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury This is the story of eight boys who go out trick or treating on Halloween night only to… Continue reading Five Fiction Books to Read for this Halloween
For those of you who like to live it up every Halloween, there’s probably no better place to visit in October than Salem, Massachusetts. For those of you who have been following my blog, or just know your history, Salem was the site of the 1692 witch trials. In 1692, Salem was actually split between… Continue reading Best Places to Visit in Salem, MA
Now that we’re in spooky season, here are a few books to read to get you in the mood. Each one is filled with history or interesting stories from places around the world. So pick up one of these and improve your knowledge of all things creepy! https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1782491430/ref=as_li_qf_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=genblackwood-20&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=1782491430&linkId=49fd7904afb80cbdc5d12bf860deeef0 Creating your Vintage Hallowe’en: The Folklore, Traditions,… Continue reading Five Non-Fiction Books to Read for this Halloween
This post is different from what I normally write, but I really needed to pay tribute to one of my all time favorite TV shows Supernatural. For those of you who don’t know, Supernatural is about brothers Sam and Dean Winchester, aka the boys, who take up the family business of hunting monsters with the… Continue reading Supernatural- A Farewell Tribute
Spooky season is upon us everyone so here’s a post discussing Halloween’s history. Modern Halloween as we know it has its origins in ancient times. It began with the Celtic festival of Samhain, pronounced sow-en or sah-when. Samhain was first celebrated thousands of years ago by the Celts. It was the last harvest festival of… Continue reading The Spooktacular History of Halloween
*Cover image: Detail from T. H. Matteson's "The Trial of George Jacobs, Austust 5th, 1692'' In my previous blog post, Interesting Things I Learned about the Salem Witch Trials and the Puritans, I briefly discussed how 17th century Puritans were more supportive and tolerant of the mentally ill than later generations. In this post, I… Continue reading The Puritans and Mental Illness
If there is one thing that has remained consistent in the past 13 years of my life, it's my love of historical costuming. I probably have over 100 costumes and costume accessories that I have made stored in my room. So how did I get started in this craft? It all started with a little… Continue reading Historical Costuming- That Other Cool Thing I Do
Here’s a quick little list of what I like best about writing and some things I find hard about it. I’ll be taking Labor Day off, so see you in two weeks! Hardest- Writer’s block Any writer will agree that getting stuck during the writing process sucks. You’re on a roll, the ideas are… Continue reading The Best and Hardest Things about Writing
(Cover image: Statue of Rebecca Nurse and her sisters at the Salem Wax Museum) During the course of my research of the Salem Witch Trials I found out some interesting things that I think would be fun to share with you all. Likewise, there are some random but fascinating facts about the Puritans that I… Continue reading Interesting Things I Learned about the Salem Witch Trials and the Puritans
New Jersey is famous for many things, but its history should get more recognition. There are several places in New Jersey that are the site of where an important event took place or are home to buildings of historical significance. In what I plan on being a series of posts, I will talk about many… Continue reading Visiting New Jersey’s Historic Sites- Part I
I want to take you all on a journey through my writing process. I’ll get a bit long winded in this, but hopefully you’ll find some of it interesting. It may even give some of you greater insight when reading my novels. Proceed if you dare. Any story starts with inspiration. Being a historical fiction… Continue reading My Chaotic Writing Process
If you’re a nerd like me (I used to say “I’m a nerd and proud of it” back in high school, that’s how much of a nerd I am), then researching a historical topic you’ve been interested in since you were a little kid can be a fun journey. But if you’re also like me,… Continue reading Fun and Frustration: Researching the Salem Witch Trials
For your next trip to the beach, take along one of these fascinating reads. I have read all of these books and find each one to be either a detailed glimpse into history unknown or a venture into a fictional world that leaves you thinking deeply about your own. All of these books can absorb… Continue reading Beach Reading List
Ever since I was little, I have been writing stories. It started with short stories, often with accompanying illustrations. These first forays into writing were the result of a child with an overactive imagination, and probably some boredom with reality as well. Then, at the age of twelve I wrote my first full length story.… Continue reading Why I Choose to (and Needed to) Become a Writer
I'm happy to have you visit! When you read my “About Me” page, you will notice that it says “aspiring author.” That means I have no books published yet, but that will hopefully change within the coming year. So for now you will find no completed books available for sale on this site. However, you… Continue reading Welcome to My Website!