Friday link salad

Just a short one this week.  Many thanks to Lee Benoit for sending in a link to this

possibly the first ever onscreen m/m kiss.

And to Syd McGinley for this link to a blog featuring some historical hunks:

Bangable Dudes in History

From Syd McGinley

This is a map of the wheel-ruts of modern English. Etymologies are not definitions; they’re explanations of what our words meant and how they sounded 600 or 2,000 years ago.
The dates beside a word indicate the earliest year for which there is a surviving written record of that word (in English, unless otherwise indicated). This should be taken as approximate, especially before about 1700, since a word may have been used in conversation for hundreds of years before it turns up in a manuscript that has had the good fortune to survive the centuries.


Two links from Erastes:

from lgbtukmonth

hidden life of gay victorians


glbt objects in the Victoria and Albert – (disappointingly only 21!)


and some vintage cross dressers:

from the Bilerico project, a young male impersonator

and from the blog A Gender Variance Who’s Who, Ross Hamilton as Marjorie

I see I forgot to do a Friday post last week.  My apologies!  However, that does mean that I’ve got an especially good selection of links this week.  So, without further ado:

Ever had your historical character sigh and stare at the wall, only to wonder exactly what he was seeing?  Have a look at these historical wallpapers discovered in a renovated house:

I haven’t yet looked at the rest of the site, but that looks pretty interesting too.


This is an absolute must bookmark site for anyone doing stuff set in the Victorian era:

several thousand pages of Victoriana, available free to the general public.”


Some evocative photos of London during WW2

I liked these photos in particular, but I follow the Retronaut on Twitter because it’s consistently interesting and inspiring with regular little glimpses into different eras and historical subjects.


And now for something completely different – some writing resources!

Ever stuck for a new story idea?  This may help:


Oh no! My historical gay romance character has put on a deerstalker and is insisting he’s a detective, what can I do?  I know nothing about plotting mystery novels!

Fret not, but check out


And for a bit of fun, and in case you were absolutely yearning for a banyan of your own

downloadable patterns for a man’s banyan, a sleeved waistcoat, an unsleeved waistcoat and a late 18th Century man’s coat.  (Well, I can’t be the only one in the world who saw this and went “I want one!” can I?)

Quite a different take on the Aubrey/Maturin novels of Patrick O’Brian here

a weekly read-along and discussion with a group of SF/F authors and fans.  I include it here because PoB is the very model of a modern major general historical fiction writer, and we can all learn something by pouring over the good stuff.


Not sure if I’ve linked to this before, but a great way of finding out those little details that make your historical writing so authentic and fully immersive is by joining a historical reenactment society.  You can get quite new perspectives on stuff by handling the artifacts and wearing the clothes yourself.  Here is a list of reenactment societies in the UK

and one here which has some US societies and some international ones


I thought this was funny and very instructive at the same time:

The impotence of proof reading (proving that the penis mightier than the sword.)


On a more serious note, if you ever feel moved to demand satisfaction in an 19th Century style, the full code covering duelling is available from








by John Lyde Wilson

Published in 1838, but containing material from 1777


And some very not safe for work vintage photos and illustrations of gay sex


Anyone with any interesting links concerning writing, history or gay history please do share them with us.  Thanks!


Links, pure and simple.

The Journal of Universal Rejection   – Get rejected, no waiting!

WriteJobs – Gay/Lesbian press seeks articles, $100 per article – including historical.

The Industrial Revolution and the Standard of Living, published in the Journal of Economics and Liberty

Authentic Ancient Egyptian Names – “No Hollywood Egyptian spoken here”.

Hieroglyph Games – and other hieroglyph activities

It is remarkable just how much actual intelligence there is out there on the Internet.. and, of course, I mean information, though smarts might not be as widespread.  The next remarkable thing is how much of this can be useful for a novelist, particularly a historical novelist.  Check out this selection for excellent examples.

The History of Foods

Researching for my stories of life in everyday Anglo Saxon Winchester — to be published as “Alehouse Tales” — I ran across this site and the fascinating article “Anglo Saxon Foods”  It pretty much answered every question I could have, and my main character runs an inn!    Gleaned from record as well as archaeological finds, this material covers everything from the foods available in a region in a period of time, how the chroniclers regarded food, particularly as a way to demonstrate social standing, and what influences other cultures had on a cuisine.  In the case of my research I found that while malnutrition was apparent in the bones of Anglo Saxons, especially children, certain diseases like rickets and scurvy were not, signifying that while the diet as a whole were insufficient, they did have fruit and dairy products.

eCard showing Dorothy meeting the mice.
Classy eCards from Dover Publications

Tired of cheesy ecards that just bombard the recipient with ads or even malware?  Dover Publications, which publishes lots and lots of illustration and clipart books, has free, no commitment ecards in a lot of categories, from the usual landscapes and flowers to Marilyn Monroe, motorcycles, Civil War generals, old advertising posters, New York City history, and many more.  And none that will embarrass you or make your friends mad at you!

Canadian English

If you plan to set your gay romance novel in Labrador or Manitoba, you might want to follow this link so you don’t just finish every sentence with “eh?”, eh?


I fondly remember an ad where a computer tells a woman that it has done the research she asked for and is ready to filter and deliver the results.  I have longed for such a tool, and though they have had them as long ago as Compuserve, I hadn’t found one I could use recently.  I posted on a blind computer users listserv and learned about several… when you are blind, efficiency is uppermost in your priorities… and was told by this product by Blue Squirrel Software.  This one, Webseeker, goes out onto the search engines and in a matter of seconds finds all sorts of stuff.  I downloaded the free trial version and can see that I will need to learn how to filter the results, but so far I am impressed.  I plan to use it to do research for novels, since websites are mostly  accessible to my screen reading software.  If it is useful for me, it will be doubly useful for you.

What sorts of sites and information are you looking for?  Let me know.

Nan Hawthorne  — hawthorne at nanhawthorne dot com

Alex Beecroft accepted my offer to take over this weekly feature.  Please bear with me as this Blogger veteran navigates the — for her — uncharted seas of WordPress.  Thanks to those who offered links for my first effort.   Please do contact me with corrections, suggestions, affectionate slaps on the wrist, etc.

From Alex:

I will have to tell Elisabeth, my cross dressing Crusader, about this one  –  Christian Tattoos

Check out this beta with some bugs – Scrivener for PC

From Erastes:

Historical lube

 royalty-free music

And from me: – over 1300 books and movies so far.

Burning Issues in Historical Fiction – Women’s Roles

Another eclectic round-up of links which may or may not be useful to your research.

Erastes says that she wishes this had been available when she was writing Transgressions, as Jonathan from that book was partially inspired by 17th century Puritan writer Nehemiah Wallington:

Journal of the Witchfinder General

A whole bunch of links to articles on io9.  I follow this blog because I’m a big Science-fiction and Fantasy fan, but they also occasionally come up with some fascinating historical trivia, and today was obviously a good day for it, as they have articles on:

18th/19th Century coffin technologies that protect you from being buried alive

Eerie listening – the theremin (invented in 1920)

55,000 years ahead of their time – a group of early humans in South Africa

And I’ve been noodling around looking for sites with information about society’s attitude to homosexuality during World War Two, for my next book, and came up with these:

Wikipedia, while not a good place to rely on, is often a good place to start, and I thought this was at least a nice succinct summary:

Timeline of LGBT history

And then I got distracted reading about The Well of Loneliness by Radclyffe Hall, which was interesting in itself and convinced me that moving to Paris might be a better post war strategy for my lads than staying at home.

This seemed like a good book for anyone researching for a WW2 story set in Canada:

Paul Jackson. One of the Boys: Homosexuality in the Military during World War II.

And this looked like an absolute godsend for me, with my story set in my back yard around Mepal and Witcham in the UK:

BBC – WW2 People’s War, an archive of WW2 memories, written by the public, gathered by the BBC

particularly when it contained this:

A Gay Soldier’s Story “They used us when it suited them, and then victimised us when the country was no longer in danger. I am glad I served but I am angry that military homophobia was allowed to wreck so many lives for over 50 years after we gave our all for a freedom that gay people were denied”, said Cave.

Well, it’s still Friday in my part of the world at least!

Here’s a lovely 18th Century medical text digitised by Google books:

Medical essays and observations by the Philosophical Society of Edinburgh

Lots of amusing snippets from late 19th Century to early 20th Century newspapers, which you can follow on Twitter.  What a sad world we live in nowadays that has no teams of trained sturgeons to pull our boats!

Tweets of Old

I’ve read many books set in Anglo-Saxon England that would have benefited from the author having access to this list.  There’s almost nothing more jarring to me than a 10th/11th century character with a name from the wrong era or race.

List of Saxon (Englisc), Viking (Norse), Norman and Welsh names.

Will nobody write me an Etruscan m/m romance?  They were the more liberal, happy go lucky, artistic predecessors to the Romans, and seem like a nice people to have belonged to.  Here’s a good site to start you off on them:

The Mysterious Etruscans.

And as I’ve had a number of reviews complaining that the reader can’t make head or tail of some of my nautical dialogue in False Colors, here’s a nice list of nautical terms that should make everything clear.

Useful Nautical Terms

If anyone has any other interesting historical links they would like to share, do comment with them!  We want to try and keep this up indefinitely, so we’re probably going to need your help 🙂

During the week, the members of the Macaronis yahoo group are forever coming across interesting things in the course of their researches.  We decided that it would be a good idea to share these interesting articles with the readers of the blog.  There is no particular rhyme or reason to these links, it’s just a tossed salad of fascinating things.  Dive in at will, and hopefully there will be something here to inspire or amuse you.

Threads of Feeling – an article about identifying tokens left with abandoned children at London Foundling hospital:

No sniggering now chaps, but this must surely fit into someone’s plot:

Jeremy Brett in frogging.  Authentic military uniform or just an excuse to brighten up your day?  You decide:

Wonderful clip of a 1920’s polo match:

50 greatest works of GLBT literature?

The medical perils of a life at sea in the 19th Century

Transgender Memoir of 1921 Found includes a main entry on the manuscript discovery at:

Earl Lind (Ralph Werther-Jennie June): The Riddle of the Underworld,

Additional entries about Lind are on at:

Earl Lind: The Cercle Hermaphroditos, c. 1895,_c._1895

Ronald Sell: Encountering Earl Lind, Ralph Werther, Jennie June,_Ralph_Werther,_Jennie_June