Espionage Gone Wrong: American Revolution

1I’m researching about the American Revolution (1775–1783) for my WIP#2. It’s about a young aristocrat suffering from amnesia, lost in the backwoods filled with armed rebels and loyalists. He doesn’t remember his name, he doesn’t even know where his loyalty lies: is it to the king or to the Thirteen Colonies? He’s rescued by the cross-dressing loyalist, Marie, who knows how to a hold a rifle steady and is determined to save her father from facing a spy’s death — death by hanging.

Of course, I might end up writing about different characters. But for now that’s my focus. I’ll share more about the WIP when I finish outlining. Right now, I’m just really fascinated by the American Revolution.

And as I was reading through Fryer’s KING’S MEN (a book about Loyalist regiments) I found a funny tidbit about an espionage gone wrong-ish:

Dr. George Symth (an agent by the code name ‘Hudibras’ of the Loyalist spy network) once used slang to encode a message and informed the governor’s secretary, Robert Mathews, that ‘Blackbirds Pearch on my branches to the South,’ meaning the rebels were watching him. An irked Mathews retorted:

“I am totally at a loss to understand the last Paragraph of your letter. Oriental Intelligence is of no weight and Black Birds Spray upon my Branches to the South – In all matters of Business excuses my Requesting that you would be explicit – I am more particular in this as I lay my Letters before His Excellency and feel awkward if not able to explain every Circumstance they relate to.”

Reading that gave me a good chuckle. If you’re interested, you should check out AMC’s TURN. It’s all about spies and it’s awesome.



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You Know You’re Querying When…


So you think your manuscript is ready for an agent. You send out a batch of query letters…Usually this happens:

  • You always wait for Monday. Monday is the Magical Rejection Day. That’s when it’s possible to receive three or more rejections in one day.
  • The spam folder you once had ZERO interest in – you now click on just to make sure…just in case…
  • You press the refresh button again and again.
  • You check your email as soon as you wake up.
  • Each time the email notification rings on your cellphone, you scramble to check if an agent replied to your query. When you realize the email is a newsletter from some random store – you immediately unsubscribe.
  • You experience rejection letter withdrawal.
  • You re-re-re-reread your query letter, synopsis, opening paragraphs – and notice a million things you want to fix.
  • You realize you’ve missed a comma. Your reaction: OH NOOOO!!!!!!! Kinda feels like the end of the world.
  • Everyday you’re filled with both agitation and total anticipation. Whatever the result (or lack thereof) in your querying journey, it really hits you – Oh em gee, I’m actually trying to get published… Yes, there is the pain of rejection. But the pain tells you that you’re trying, that you’re pursuing your dream.
  •  You have the song “Take a chance on me” playing in your head. The entire song translates to: Agent, I’m still free, take a chance on me.

What else should be added to this list?



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Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2015)

So here’s a first image from the set of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2015).


The film is based on the book. And the book by Seth Grahame-Smith – well, it’s basically Jane Austen’s P&P with modern zombie fiction inserted into the original text.

PrideandPrejudiceandZombiesCoverHas anyone read it? I HAVE. It was actually a required reading for one of my courses at the University of Toronto – a Jane Austen seminar, to be specific.

(Intermission: This seminar comprised entirely of female students. On the first day, one male student did walk in, but the moment he saw the mass of female students, he chose to sit in the far corner of the lecture room. After that class, I did not see him again).

The concept of this book was intriguing, but it got a bit boring after a while, because I didn’t find the zombie fiction part of the book to be that entertaining. BUT! Hopefully what I found boring on paper will prove to be more entertaining on screen.

There were a few scenes in P&P&Z that made me roll my eyes (and secretly snicker). Here’s one of them:

[Elizabeth] remembered the lead ammunition in her pocket and offered it to him. “Your balls, Mr. Darcy?” He reached out and closed her hand around them, and offered, “They belong to you, Miss Bennet.” Upon this, their colour changed, and they were forced to look away from one another, lest they laugh.

 You get it? Balls? Ha – ha – ha.

I have a feeling the film adaption of P&P&Z will spice things up a bit between Lizzie and Darcy…



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Period Drama 2014 (II)

THE GREAT FIRE (TV series 2014)

The drama unfolds over four consecutive days as the fire indiscriminately takes hold of the city and the people desperately attempt to overcome the flames, as no matter what your path in life or status all human life is vulnerable. The fire consumes homes and lives as loyalties and friendships are tested and passions come to the fore.  As the greatest city of the 17th century is destroyed, the fire is a catalyst to acts of forbidden love, deceit and despair (synopsis).


THE KNICK (TV series 2014)

….Also called the “gilded age gore.”
I’m currently watching this show. So far so good!

Medical drama set in the 1900s charts the exploits of the staff and patients at a New York hospital, where they try to maintain their reputation for quality care while struggling to keep the doors open (Rottentomatoes).


P.S. I finished watching AMC’s TURN a few days ago. The series was preeetttyyyy darn good, though a little slow at first. I might write a quick review for it. And it’s been renewed for a second season, so hurrah!



Other Period Dramas




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One Lovely Blog Award: 7 Curious Facts About Me

one-lovely-blog-awardFellow writer and critique partner Christa Wojo has tagged me for the One Lovely Blog Award (to participate in a blog tour where we share 7 curious facts about our life). Be sure to check out her lovely answers!



Here are the rules.


  1. Share 7 Lovely Facts about myself
  2. Link to 15 blogs (or as many as possible) that I enjoy reading….I just shared the 10 blogs I often visit or wish would be updated more often! haha.
  3. Nominate the authors of those 15 blogs to participate and do the same, linking back to the original Lovely blog. (That would be this page)

Without further ado, here are some interesting facts about me!


1. I thought my dad was the prime minister.


My dad is a theology prof, but before he pursued his PhD, he was a pastor. Once, in kindergarten, I was conversing with my friend’s mom, and somehow we talked about jobs, then this happened:

Her: So what does your father do, sweetie?
Me: He’s the prime minister.
Her: You mean minister?
Me: Nope. The prime minister.

For many years, I continued to believe I was right, and that she was a silly woman.


2. I enjoy watching Korean Dramas.


A few years ago, I watched Boys Before Flowers (25 episodes, each episode being one hour long) in two days. I slept no more than two to three hours each day so that I could wake-up and immediately watch some more. Towards the 20th episode, I was so dazed with exhaustion I had no idea what I was watching, but I kept watching anyway. Talk about addicting!


3. I LOVE watching action shows.


After watching an episode of 24, I once stared at my apartment door, then solemnly asked my sister, “Do you think our door can be shot down?” She looked genuinely troubled by my question.


4. When I was a kid, I wanted to be Peter Pan so, so badly.

I was, of course, old enough to know that flying was impossible and that Neverland didn’t exist.


But still, I longed to be Peter Pan with such intensity. During family strolls through the forest, I’d find myself a stick (my sword) and jump off tree stumps and rocks (in my mind, I was flying and fighting off pirates). My mom swears that she once found me sobbing uncontrollably at home, and when she’d asked why I was crying, I had supposedly answered, “Because I’ll never be Peter Pan!!!!!!”


5. The first time I learned how to swim (the doggy paddle) was when I nearly drowned.


We were at a water park and I somehow wandered away from my parents to try out a waterslide. The slide plunged me into the deep end and I remember being in a state of panic – because I was a little kid who had never been taught to swim before. I started flapping my arms and legs, and managed to reach the surface. Fortunately a life-guard was nearby and immediately hauled me out.


6. The books I reach out for most often these days are are non-fiction.


After graduating university, I’ve come to enjoy reading non-fiction more than fiction. Yet I love writing fiction more than ever.


7. One film changed my life.

I was the kid in school who hated English and thought chapter-books a great bore. Becoming an author was the last thing on my mind. Then I watched this film – and my life was changed forever (though now this film cracks me up!).

After watching Pride and Prejudice (1940), I hunted down the 1995 adaptation. This version left me SOOOOO obsessed with P&P. I read the book, then wanted to read more, so I tracked down every sequel I could find. When I ran out of sequels to read, I wrote my own continuation (where Darcy & Elizabeth were spies for Napoleon….yah, I know. I was 13). And that’s how I began pursuing writing at the age of 13.


I tried to share some non-writing facts about me – but I couldn’t help add a few in! Now I will pass the award to the awesome writers and friends of blogs that I follow ( If I’ve missed any blogs, please let me know! And if you’ve already done this blog hop or don’t have the time, please feel free to decline.)


Congratulations to:


I write young adult fiction and am represented by Jessica Sinsheimer of the Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency. When not typing or attacking pages with a purple pen, I enjoy sewing, baking pies, and trespassing.

Julie Dao

MG/YA writer, runner, dessert enthusiast, and hairy-footed hobbit at heart.

Jude Knight

I am a writer of historical romance novels, the first few of which are set in late Georgian England.

Rika Ashton

Book reviewer & blogger. Aspiring author of Fantasy fiction. An English Lit. & Education graduate via UBC. Addicted to coffee & words!

Ms. Reiter

I am a thirty-something, mother-of-two aspiring author. My current work in progress, The Long Shadow, is a historical novel dealing with the troubled relationship between British prime minister William Pitt the Younger and his elder brother John, 2nd Earl of Chatham. This blog mixes historical musings, novel brainstorming and thoughts on the difficulties of writing a novel with small children tugging at one’s trouser-legs. It is also turning into a one-woman attempt to rehabilitate the reputation of the man known as the “Late” Lord Chatham. He doesn’t always help out.

Sybil Lam

I recently left my day job (August 2014) to pursue fiction writing and other projects. My current project is ASHA, a fantasy story that explores the topic of skin, including eczema and psoriasis. It combines the adventure of L. Frank Baum’s WIZARD OF OZ with the imagery of Guillermo Del Toro’s film PAN’S LABYRINTH. I hope to query Book 1 (of 2) early 2015.


Tom used to write books for business, covering everything from the gambling industry to new developments in printing technology. Now he writes about love and adventure in the 19th century, which is not nearly as well paid, but much more fun. It also allows him to pretend that travelling in the Far East and South America is research. Tom lives in London. His main interest is avoiding doing any honest work and this leaves him with time to ski, skate and dance tango, all of which he does quite well.

Philippa Jane Keyworth

Author of Regency Romances. I love writing, reading, horses, dogs and movies! My debut novel, The Widow’s Redeemer, is out now!

Linotte Melodieuse

Writer, nail polish addict, tea-a-holic, rabid history lover, voracious reader. Don’t worry, I won’t quit my day job.

Judith Arnopp

I am a novelist. My books concentrate on history from a female perspective. what was it like to be constrained within a corset, refused a proper education, passed from the jurisdiction of father to that of husband, denied legal and moral rights that we now take for granted?



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