In which I confess to a terrible weakness.

I have a real weakness for fonts. Sometimes I’ll look at a font face demo and go all squishy. Why? Why? Telling myself I don’t need the font is silly. I know I don’t need it. It would be wasteful and self indulgent to buy this font: Sigmund Freud’s handwriting. 

Oh, but look at it.

Sigmund Freud, oh my Sigmund Freud, oh my

Money is tight and will get tighter, so $55 for the Sigmund Freud font set: Nope. Really not.  

The question is, other women lust after shoes. Not me. I own four pairs of shoes and two purses, and I’m fine with those numbers. But these fonts? 

Sigmund is relatively inexpensive, compared to Dear Sarah who would put me back $119. But look at her. Just look at the trembling extended arms, like a gently aging prima ballerina. 

Dear Sarah font.

Thus my confession, but please know: I have not bought any of these fonts. Self discipline and financial stability are my watchwords.  I will also confess that I stopped at admitting to two font-crushes. There are more. And there are some that cost many, many more times what even Sarah demands for her presence in your digital life. 


Sunday 24. July 2016|cranky pants, design|4 Comments

Ms Middleton poses a few questions

Not every book is for every reader. There are many novels out there that don’t work for me, even well-written novels that are broadly praised. And yet, here I am responding to an email from someone who is very dissatisfied with The Gilded Hour

I have questions about The Gilded Hour.  I just finished reading it and, of course, I’m confused by the ending.  Why was the murder plot story not finished?

Also, I was confused as the story is supposed to take place in 1883 but, there is mention of cabs, hotels, and traffic.  Really?  In 1883?  The Waldorf-Astoria Hotel didn’t even open in NYC until 1893.  I felt like the setting kept jumping back and forth in-time and I had a hard time believing it was really 1883 since there was constant mention of “taking a cab”, “staying at the hotel” and “dealing with traffic.”  I’m curious as to why these were part of the setting if it was supposed to be 1883.  Any answers?

Also, I’ve never written to an author before, but, The Gilded Hour was very confusing for me since it jumped around in-time.  I’m looking forward to your explanations since you are the author.  


Rather than talk about the fact that the murders will be resolved in the sequel (as I did here if my regular readers want to be reminded), let me address historical accuracy.

Pictures may speak louder than words, but heck, I’ll supply both of them.

Gilsey House Hotel

Manhattan was a very crowded place in the 19th century.

The actress Jenny Lind  arrived to perform at Castle Garden (then a performance space) on September 11, 1850.   30,000 people met her […]

Friday 22. July 2016|reader mail, research / resources, series in progress|6 Comments

Medical Mystery: I need some input

This post concerns a very detailed and vivid obstetric case with a bad outcome. If you are pregnant, trying to get pregnant (ever), or have a very young baby, probably better not to read this.

When I’m trying to sort out the fine points of the way medicine was practiced in the 1880s, I sometimes come across medical journal articles that strike me as improbable. Because I’m not a medical professional, I have to rely on my study of 19th century medical texts and friends who are to interpret for me. For example this article with the title A PERFECTLY DEVELOPED MALE CHILD WITHOUT A PLACENTA.  Both the mother and child died. 

Maybe my M.D. friends will clarify for me if such a thing is possible. Some of the symptoms I recognize from studying other journal articles, but I wouldn’t venture a guess on what was actually wrong here. 

Any thoughts?



To the Editor of the Medical Record.

 Thinking that a short history of this case may be of interest to many of your readers, and desiring to learn from them if any similar case has occurred in their practice (having searched the text-books in vain), I take the liberty of requesting space in your valuable journal for its insertion. November 14, 1882, I was summoned to Mrs. C_____ a well-formed and healthy woman, aged thirty-eight, a primapara [first pregnancy].

Found the patient suffering from labor pain ; pulse, 120; some vomiting ; respiration rapid, and considerable œdema of the lower extremities. Vaginal examination revealed slight dilatation of the os, the vertex presenting. A specimen of urine was obtained and examined for albumen with negative results. Previous […]

Thursday 21. July 2016|historical fiction, research / resources, series in progress|0 Comments