20 February 2019

Writing Historical Fiction: Chronological Errors and How to Avoid Them



Let's start with this question: What is a chronological error? Well, a chronological error or anachronism is defined as an error in time placement. For example, a sword is an anachronism in modern warfare, referencing the EU in a story set in Victorian times, or mentioning breeds of domesticated animals such as Rhodesian Ridgebacks during the reign of Alexander the Great as this dog breed was not established until the 19th century are all chronological errors. It is therefore advisable to do proper research to avoid such faux pas, some which could be considered unforgivable unless, of course, your novel includes time travel, alternate timelines, or violations of the prime directive. 

There are some excellent reasons to avoid these incongruities. The first is to maintain credibility, as they can break the verisimilitude of a story. While some readers may not notice the mistake, enough of them will, and at least one or two will point it out to the rest of the world that you got it wrong. Secondly, as an author, you should strive to be historically accurate. In the past, sometimes anachronisms were used in stories to make a point; today, however, historical realism is generally preferred. 

After covering several instances of historical errors, there's one you probably won’t be able to avoid, and that is the language anachronism. English speakers of the past used different vocabulary, unusual expressions (at least to our ears today), and slightly different grammar than English speakers of today. Most readers are willing to forgive this type of anachronism. However, do try to keep your writing true to the period. That means no modern slang,  references to current technology or acronyms commonly used in text messages, and on social networking sites, such as OMG, LOL, or KMN.

Which anachronisms do you find most annoying when reading historical fiction? I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Please feel free to add them in the comment section below!


Piper is the author of several non-fiction books, and recently added three historical fiction novels to her ever-expanding collection of published writings, In the Shadow of Her Majesty , The Country Girl Empress., and A Life in the Shadow of the Crown. When she isn't busy typing away on her computer, she can be found chasing after her furry children or holding on tightly to a good cup of coffee. Follow her on LinkedInFacebook, and Goodreads.

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13 February 2019

Month in Review - January 2019




Oops...I almost forgot to post my January recap, and I nearly wrote 2018 instead of the current year! Has that happened to you, too? But before I get sidetracked by my sentiments, let's recap last month. So now, without further ado, here's the list of the most popular blog posts for January 2019, chosen by you, the readers:

...They just have to be written  -Anonymous

I try hard to follow that motto. I cannot even begin to tell you how good it felt to be able to write the words 'The End' on the last page of my upcoming novel THE PERPETUAL TRAVELER - A Country Girl Empress Novel. The first thing I did was to perform my happy dance in the kitchen. Not counting research time, the manuscript took me a month to write. After I typed out the last few words, I sighed a deep breath of relief, and then I couldn't help but think...

2. How Readers Can Help Their Favourite Authors(s)





We're all familiar with the quote "No Man is an Island" by English poet John Donne. This concept also applies to your favourite author(s). So, it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that even extremely successful writers depend on YOUR help to promote their books. It's true - they really do! And so many readers do such a fantastic job promoting the authors and books they love...






















With arctic outdoor temperatures creeping up on us, do you bundle your pup up for below freezing temperatures, sleet, and snow? If you do, then good move! You’re already taking steps to ensure your furry companion stays comfortable and healthy during the cold winter months. However, there are plenty other problems that cold weather brings. Here's a short list of ways you can do even more to make your furry friend comfortable during cold weather...

4. One Writer's New Year's Resolutions

The end of 2018 is fast approaching, and many people will be making New Year’s resolutions. Although I'm not one to make lofty New Year's resolutions, I promised myself to make more of an effort in the upcoming year to implement some new writing strategies. Here are a couple of my ideas...

5. Self-Editing Basics: 9 Simple Ways to Edit Your Manuscript





As most of my readers already know, I'm in the midst of editing my next historical fiction piece THE PERPETUAL TRAVELER. With that in mind, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to share some tips and tricks that help me along the way to polish my manuscript...

Thank you for reading my blog! Please feel free to come by often to catch up on my latest endeavours and Happy Writing!



Piper is the author of several non-fiction books, and recently added three historical fiction novels to her ever-expanding collection of published writings, In the Shadow of Her Majesty , The Country Girl Empress., and A Life in the Shadow of the Crown. When she isn't busy typing away on her computer, she can be found chasing after her furry children or holding on tightly to a good cup of coffee. Follow her on LinkedInFacebook, and Goodreads.
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06 February 2019

International Epilepsy Day 2019



Changing things up this week for a cause near and dear to my heart: Next Monday is International Epilepsy Day. This initiative is jointly sponsored by the International Bureau for Epilepsy and the International League Against Epilepsy. It is a global event which takes place on the second Monday of February each year with the aim to improve epilepsy awareness and highlights the urgent need for further research of this debilitating condition. Epilepsy not only affects just the patients but their families, too. And incidentally, on the 12th of February my Epi-warrior Lana would have celebrated her 14th birthday. How appropriate!

But not only humans can be affected by this neurological disorder; dogs can suffer from it as well. As many of my readers know, my furry friends, Lana and Darren were diagnosed with idiopathic epilepsy at the age of four and two respectively, yet they both lived life to the fullest! While I managed to keep them relatively healthy for little over four years, Lana and Darren did battle with plenty of side effects from their meds but won many of them just as any Epi-warrior would. Supplements, along with lots of love and conventional epilepsy treatments, helped my furry friends every step of the way. They enjoyed traveling, run around and play, or just relax in front of the fireplace. I loved them with all my heart, and they loved life!

Although this is not my first epilepsy awareness blog post that I've written without my beloved Epi-warriors Lana and Darren by my side, it's still not easy. It's downright hard, even though I have new furry friends in my life. Thankfully they are seizure-free...knock on wood! I love to look at old photos and videos of my former furry companions before they left to cross the Rainbow Bridge. They were happy and mostly healthy, with a great zest for life. It makes me smile (and sometimes cry) to look at those memories of Lana and Darren, but I hope their message will continue to offer hope to other Epi-warriors and their families. 

Please know that you are not alone with this monster called Epilepsy and that such a diagnosis is not the end! There is support out there, with many Epi-warrior parents, veterinarians and other resources available to share their insights, experiences, and information. I have shared many resources and websites in the back of my book, LIVING WITH CANINE EPILEPSY, for that very reason. And if you can't find what you are looking for then ask around...I'm sure there is someone out there who can help.


Piper is the author of several non-fiction books, and recently added three historical fiction novels to her ever-expanding collection of published writings, In the Shadow of Her Majesty , The Country Girl Empress., and A Life in the Shadow of the Crown. When she isn't busy typing away on her computer, she can be found chasing after her furry children or holding on tightly to a good cup of coffee. Follow her on LinkedInFacebook, and Goodreads.
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30 January 2019

Self-Editing Basics: 9 Simple Ways to Edit Your Manuscript




As most of my readers already know, I'm in the midst of editing my next historical fiction piece THE PERPETUAL TRAVELER. With that in mind, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to share some tips and tricks that help me along the way to polish my manuscript.

Take a Break

After finishing your initial draft put it aside for a day, a week, a month or however long you need to return to it with fresh eyes.

Structure the Task

Tackle the largest tasks first, such as plot structure. Once you are satisfied with it, move on to the smaller details, like grammar, style, and punctuation.

Use Online Tools

Don't be afraid to utilize online tools, such as Grammarly or Hemingwayapp to discover which sentences might be difficult to read, improve your vocabulary and check for contextual spelling. While these online tools do not replace a flesh and blood editor, they can certainly help along the way. 

Read Aloud

It might sound strange, but read your work aloud; you can even record your own voice. Hearing the rhythm of the words can help you edit the flow. Sometimes it's easier to hear the mistakes than to see them. 

Have the Computer do the Reading

Whether you're just tired of reading yourself, or have a sore throat - just have your computer do the reading. Regardless of the OS on your computer, there's a solution. Microsoft Word has this ability already built in, even though it's not prominently displayed. If you prefer or do not use MS Office products, perhaps one of the third-party software is for you such as eSpeak or NaturalReaders. 

Check the Tense

Errors in tense can sneak up on anyone when in the midst of writing. Double-check to make sure you didn't inadvertently switch back and forth. 

Change it up

After reading the same text over and over again, you begin to see what you want to see. Try reading from back to front to uncover previously undiscovered errors. 

Be Ruthless

Do not be afraid to cut passages from your manuscript that just don't work! So it doesn't feel like a complete loss, paste the cut passages to a blank document for future reference. 

Change the Look

Modify the font, colour and/or font size to give you a new perspective. The altered appearance could help you see the text in a different light.

Since my list of self-editing tips is not all inclusive, I would love to hear what works for you. Please feel free to add to this list in the comment section!


Piper is the author of several non-fiction books, and recently added three historical fiction novels to her ever-expanding collection of published writings, In the Shadow of Her Majesty , The Country Girl Empress., and A Life in the Shadow of the Crown. When she isn't busy typing away on her computer, she can be found chasing after her furry children or holding on tightly to a good cup of coffee. Follow her on LinkedInFacebookGoodreads and Google+.
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23 January 2019

How Readers Can Help Their Favourite Author(s)



We're all familiar with the quote "No Man is an Island" by English poet John Donne. This concept also applies to your favourite author(s). So, it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that even extremely successful writers depend on YOUR help to promote their books. It's true - they really do! And so many readers do such a fantastic job promoting the authors and books they love. Some readers formally promote by signing up with a book review program, establish their own book review blog, or become an influencer (a fancy term for a person who gets a free book in exchange for helping to spread the word) for specific authors. 

Most readers prefer to help authors more casually. I’ve met some wonderful people over the past few years who have book blogs or other social media outlets, who support authors simply for the love of books and the authors who write them. These readers are passionate about what they read and want to share their discoveries with others. But no matter how you help a writer, we all appreciate each of our readers and everything they do!  

On the other hand, many readers don’t realize just how much writers need their help. Or perhaps they do know but aren’t sure what will be most useful. So, how can readers help their favourite authors and their books? There are so many different ways! Here are some of the easiest but effective ways readers can help to spread the word:

- Write a review even if it's just two sentences, and post it to an online bookstore, such as Barnes & Noble or Amazon.com. If you’re feeling generous, you can also copy and paste said review onto several of your favourite online shopping outlets.

- Add the book to your Goodreads shelf and when you write your online review, just copy and paste it onto Goodreads, too.

- Got a blog? Post your book review onto your blog and invite your followers from all your social media outlets to stop by and read all about it.

- Offer to host your favourite author on your blog, and ask him/her unique and interesting questions that you think your blog readers might enjoy. Be sure to invite your family members, friends and followers over to your blog to “meet” the author.

- While reading the book, post comments on your favourite social media outlets about it and what you like most about it. On Twitter, you can even use hashtags like #FridayReads, #MustReads, etc.

- When you finished reading a book, let your social media followers know your final thoughts said book. You could even include a link to the author’s website. 

- After reading the book, post a giveaway on your blog with the book as a prize. Everyone likes the chance to win a free prize.

- If appropriate, suggest your newest book discovery to your book club (online or in person group). Many books have discussion questions available, and plenty of writers are even willing to video chat with book clubs.

- Donate your copy of the book to a school or church library, or ask them if they would be willing to add a copy to their system by making a purchase.

- Start a discussion about your newest favourite book on Goodreads in one of your groups. You can also ask the author to join you for a short Q & A session.

- If the author is local, invite him or her to speak to your book club about the book and writing journey, and in exchange, offer the writer the opportunity to sign/sell books after the presentation.

- Pass the book along to a family member or friend and ask that person to pass it along when they’re done.

- Purchase the book as a gift for a birthday, holiday, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day, etc. Books make great gifts that keep on giving! You can even ask the author for an autographed copy or personally addressed and signed label (also known as bookplate) that you can affix in the book.

- Take the book with you to public places such as appointments, meetings, coffee dates with friends, etc. and distribute bookmarks, postcards, or other promotional items the author might have available if someone asks about the book.

- Pin the cover of the book to Pinterest onto a board you’ve created for your favourite books, and don't forget to link back to the author’s website.

- Take a selfie with the book and post that picture onto your social media outlets.

- And my last suggestion, but certainly the most important one: Talk about your favourite new read! When you’re genuinely excited about what you read they’ll want to check out the book for themselves.

I'd like to take this opportunity to send out a heartfelt 'Thank You' to all those readers who have supported me in one way or another over the years! It means the world to me, and I appreciate every single effort you've made on my behalf!

What other ways can readers promote their favourite books and/or authors? What have you done or seen others do?  I’d love to hear your ideas! 


Piper is the author of several non-fiction books, and recently added three historical fiction novels to her ever-expanding collection of published writings, In the Shadow of Her Majesty , The Country Girl Empress., and A Life in the Shadow of the Crown. When she isn't busy typing away on her computer, she can be found chasing after her furry children or holding on tightly to a good cup of coffee. Follow her on LinkedInFacebookGoodreads and Google+.
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