13 March 2019

How Readers' Suggestions Can Influence Authors



Like most writers, I get my fair share of emails and social media messages from readers. Most of these messages are encouraging. I love to hear how my stories touch readers' lives. These words are such a blessing, and I am confident my fellow authors would agree. Once in a while, I get emails about mistakes in my writing. Thankfully I work with a good editor, so I don't get too many of those messages. I’ve even added a few of those really sharp-minded people to my list of beta readers. After my manuscript has gone through several of rounds of editing, I pass it along to my beta readers who use their gift to spot any typos or glaring plot holes.

Then, there are times when I receive emails from readers regarding suggestions for future stories. It's great to hear from my readers and their ideas and to know that they loved my book's characters so much that they’re not ready to bid them farewell. Such reader emails were extremely helpful when I was trying to figure out what to write next. I had recently completed the manuscript for my second historical fiction novel THE COUNTRY GIRL EMPRESS and was contemplating several new writing projects. During this time of uncertainty, I received a few of emails from readers who’d just finished my debut novel IN THE SHADOW OF HER MAJESTY and wanted to know if I was working on another historical fiction piece.

One of my readers wrote this: "I just discovered the sneak peek for THE COUNTRY GIRL EMPRESS and I am fascinated by the main character Princess Elisabeth. I can't wait to learn more about her! I hope that you will continue her story and not end it with the wedding. There has to be more to Empress Sisi's life story, and I'd love to know what happens to her and Emperor Franz Joseph after they got married." 

Like many authors, I enjoy hearing from my readers and thrive on feedback, and this gentle nudge gave me all the motivation I needed to make a decision. And so, I got to work right away on A LIFE IN THE SHADOW OF THE CROWN and THE PERPETUAL TRAVELER continuing the life story of Empress Elisabeth of Austria. I’m happy to report that THE PERPETUAL TRAVELER will be available in print and ebook later this year.

So, thank you, my dear readers, for your feedback!  While authors can’t take every suggestion you make to heart, for obvious reasons, it does make a difference...and you just never know if your ideas and feedback might not provide an author with the inspiration for his/her next book!

So, what about you? Have you ever considered how your suggestions might influence an author?



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 March 2019

Month in Review - February 2019


Wow...hard to believe that February has already come and gone! Daylight Saving Time and Easter are just around the corner. But before any of that happens, let's recap last month. So now, without further ado, here's the list of the most popular blog posts for February 2019, chosen by you, the readers:



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...



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...



Recently, I have received several requests from my readers to share what I've learned along the way and my view on the subject of researching historical facts, how much of it is really necessary, and how close to stick to reality...



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...



...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...


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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27 February 2019

Writing Historical Fiction: Balancing History and Fiction



Recently, I have received several requests from my readers to share what I've learned along the way and my view on the subject of researching historical facts, how much of it is really necessary, and how close to stick to reality. Since this list is not all-inclusive, please feel free to add your experiences in the comment section! 

It certainly helps to be a bit of a history buff. You use your imagination to build a world that is unfamiliar to modern readers based on historical facts. Since you are going to live in that world the entire time you’re working on your book, it is of advantage if you enjoy the subject matter, and are familiar with the basics of the time in history. 

It is also useful to read historical fiction because it is hard to find out what's popular and what's not unless you actually read some of the books. It would be like opening a Mexican restaurant without knowing how to cook at all, or finding out if there are any other Mexican restaurants nearby, and whether or not they offer the same style of food as you do.

Research is indeed necessary. I do not consider myself as part of the historical accuracy police and I’m not about to launch into a sermon on the historical inaccuracies found in books and TV shows. Like so many others, I love to watch "The Crown", I saw every episode of "Victoria", no matter how historically inaccurate and loved it. I also have been known to enjoy the occasional episode of "Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries", and "Outlander", despite its far-fetched dramas. What readers and viewers, such as myself, love is to be bewitched by the charms of a bygone era; to do that they need to be able to trust the author not to break the spell prematurely.  That means you need to take some time to figure out what peoples’ lives were like during the era you are writing about and don’t just call every deviation creative license. 

But it is also important to know when to stop your research. It is so easy to get caught up in the minutiae and fall down the rabbit hole. You are, after all, not a historian. You can spend years crafting the perfect historical tale, but I can’t imagine that all this effort and time will be rewarded. At some point, it’s probably better to publish an imperfect book than nothing at all. 

Don’t let the historical facts torment you! If they do not align with your storyline, feel free to change some of them. Yes, I know, I said that thorough research of your subject matter is essential, even if it’s only to confirm the facts and then change them later. It's hard to modify the facts if you don’t know what they are! Just realize that changing history might be frowned upon by certain readers unless, of course, you set out to write about an alternative timeline from the start. There's nothing wrong asking "What if...?"


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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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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