Research and Writing

Secrets of a Roman Sewer

by CarolineLawrence May 15, 2013
Secrets of a Roman Sewer

by Caroline Lawrence Recently I attended a fascinating lecture by Professor Mark Robinson of Oxford University on the subject of Roman organic waste. Excavating the Ancient Sewers of Herculaneum was part of the British Museum’s fabulous ongoing exhibition Life and Death in Pompeii and Herculaneum. For a fuller account, please read my History Girls blog post. […]

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To Brand or Not to Brand

by tracybarrett April 20, 2013
To Brand or Not to Brand

by Tracy Barrett (W&M contributor) My writing career has been somewhat anomalous, not because I came to it lateish (in my thirties—younger than a lot of authors), and not because I continued to work full-time and raise a family for the first twenty years of it—most women and many men who write have combined writing […]

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Ivory Bangle Lady

by CarolineLawrence April 15, 2013
Ivory Bangle Lady

Sometimes I miss Rome so much I think I might die. They found her body in York. Her bones show she died young, aged around 19. She was probably beautiful, for her skull is symmetrical and her teeth were good. Isotopes (trace elements) in her molars prove she came from a hot country, almost certainly […]

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Book News

by tracybarrett March 20, 2013
Book News

by Tracy Barrett (W&M Contributor) I’m thrilled to announce that I’ve joined HarlequinTeen with a deal for two books, the first slated for release in July, 2014, and the second a year or so later. Random facts I’ve learned about HarlequinTeen: they don’t publish only romance they’re a very new imprint of Harlequin Harlequin is […]

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Latin Horse Names

by CarolineLawrence March 15, 2013
Latin Horse Names

by Caroline Lawrence In book XI of Virgil’s Aeneid a horse named Aethon weeps over his fallen master, the young Trojan warrior Pallas. (Aeneid XI 89-90) The Romans loved their horses and we find their names on inscriptions, epigrams, souvenir beakers and even lead curse tablets. When I was researching my 12th Roman Mystery, The Charioteer […]

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A historical novelist’s search for the secrets behind Shakespeare’s Sonnets

by stephaniecowell March 11, 2013
A historical novelist’s search for the secrets behind Shakespeare’s Sonnets

by Stephanie Cowell It is fortunate we have these miraculous sonnets at all, as only thirteen copies remain of their original publication in 1609. The writing of them, the subject of them and the unexpected bisexuality of them (incomprehensible to some) remain much disputed more than four hundred years after that date.  Here is something […]

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Pompeii Myth-Buster

by CarolineLawrence February 15, 2013
Pompeii Myth-Buster

by Caroline Lawrence  Pompeii buffs beware! If you go on a tour with Professor Andrew Wallace-Hadrill your world will be rocked as surely as the Pompeians were rocked on several occasions leading up to that fateful day in 79 CE when Vesuvius erupted. Wallace-Hadrill is director of the Herculaneum Conservation Project and author of Herculaneum: Past […]

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Research Hell, um, I mean Research Query

by Holly Tucker February 7, 2013
Research Hell, um, I mean Research Query

By Holly Tucker (W&M Editor) Hi everyone…we interrupt our regular programming for an urgent call for help. I’m in the thick of writing and research for my next book, which is under contract with W.W. Norton.  I’m not allowed to say much about it right now…other than that I may genuinely be more excited about […]

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Greek Myths You Never Heard Of

by tracybarrett January 20, 2013
Greek Myths You Never Heard Of

by Tracy Barrett (W&M Contributor) Nonfiction was my first love in writing for younger readers. I had published seven nonfiction books—mostly American history and biography—before my first novel came out, and since then I’ve published three more. A vase in the Getty Villa in Malibu was the inspiration for my current project. It shows a […]

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Did Twain use the F-word?

by CarolineLawrence January 15, 2013
Did Twain use the F-word?

by Caroline Lawrence “In certain trying circumstances, urgent circumstances, desperate circumstances, profanity furnishes a relief denied even to prayer.” Mark Twain, A Biography “You do not want to be a dirt-worshipping heathen from this f—–g point forward. Pardon my French.” Al Swearengen, HBO’s Deadwood  For the past five years I’ve been immersed in the letters and newspaper […]

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12 Days: Christmas… a Roman Holiday?

by CarolineLawrence December 12, 2012
12 Days: Christmas... a Roman Holiday?

by Caroline Lawrence (Wonders & Marvels contributor) When I was researching my sixth Roman Mystery, set during the mid-winter festival called the Saturnalia, I was amazed by how many ancient Roman customs have survived, embedded in our Christmas celebrations. Here are twelve! 1. Five day vacation. In the first century AD the Romans set aside […]

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Dinner at Oxford with the World’s Greatest Elizabethan Scholar

by stephaniecowell October 30, 2012
Dinner at Oxford with the World's Greatest Elizabethan Scholar

by Stephanie Cowell He came up the stairs of the community room in Jesus College Oxford one July afternoon asking for me by name for we had been corresponding for a time. He was Dr. A.L. Rowse, then in his mid-eighties and generally acknowledged to be the greatest Elizabethan scholar in the world. He was […]

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17th-century medicine and me: a novelist’s unlikely tale

by stephaniecowell September 29, 2012
17th-century medicine and me: a novelist’s unlikely tale

by Stephanie Cowell Novelists sometimes find themselves writing about areas of which they know little and believe me, I was the last person in the world to write about medicine or science. I had walked out of biology in eighth-grade when my teacher had encouraged us to stick our fingers in a cow’s heart. My […]

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Dialog in Historical Fiction

by tracybarrett September 20, 2012
Dialog in Historical Fiction

Last month, I presented a session on “The Ten Commandments of Writing Historical Fiction” at the Summer Conference of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. (Many thanks to the readers of this blog who gave me suggestions for a tenth commandment—“nine commandments” doesn’t have the right ring to it!) The session was very […]

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Love Potion Number IX

by CarolineLawrence September 15, 2012
Love Potion Number IX

by Caroline Lawrence In the steamy hot room of the Roman baths, a muscular gladiator sighs as a slave scrapes the sweat, oil and dirt from his skin. The slave uses a strigil, a curved metal tool that performs the same task as the modern loofah. The strigil – or stlengis (στλεγγίς) as it’s called […]

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