I love maps. In fact, I depend on them so much that I can't write without a map of the places I'm writing about. That's fine when my story takes place in the recent past, but what about when it happened a couple of hundred years ago?
Old maps are hard to obtain, unless one has deep pockets. Many of them are only available in the larger libraries, often far, far from home. If they are reachable without international travel, staff tend to laugh uproariously when one asks to borrow them. They are also available from dealers in art and antiquities, for prices ranging from a mere arm and leg to one's soul.
Even Google is woefully thin when one searches for old maps of England. I was recently disappointed to find only three pages of links, and many of them were duplicates. The rest led to dealers, and we've already noted their cravings for arms and legs and other irreplaceable body parts.
A number of years ago I was doing some research at the University of Oregon's Map Library. Fabulous place for someone like me, and I kept getting distracted from what I was supposed to be doing every time I ran across an interesting map. The very best one was actually a set of very large maps, copies of an old Ordnance Survey map of England, published, I believe around 1840 (It's been a long time and I've misplaced my notes). Each map was about two-thirds of a meter high, a full meter across. The scale was probably around 1:5,280 (one inch to the mile--England hadn't gone metric yet), which is a very large scale indeed. Topography was shown with little drawings of mountain peaks and tiny cliffs. Major rivers were winding ribbons and brooks were squiggly lines. What made them fascinating to me was the labels. Estates, farms, cities and town, and even cemeteries were labeled. Wikipedia has an excellent overview of the various Ordnance surveys (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ordnance_Survey ).
After growing up in Idaho—the locale of several of her books—Judith now lives in Oregon, where flowers bloom in her yard every month of the year and snow usually stays on the mountains where it belongs. It's a great place to write, because the rainy season lasts for eight months—a perfect excuse to stay indoors and tell stories.
Visit Judith's webpage at www.judithbglad.com to learn more about her books. While you're there, take some side trips to view early 20th century picture postcards, read about 5,000 ways to earn a living, and see what a Mentzelia really is.
The Portrait: A Regency Fable
By Judith B. Glad
Kermit Sutherland is a popular portraitist, so of course he is engaged to produce the portrait. What Chastity's parents don't understand is that Sutherland paints more than the surface. He has a knack for seeing into a woman's heart and soul.
Under her obedient façade, Chastity harbors a rebellious heart, and Sutherland sees it and encourages it. When her portrait is finished, it might show more than her parents--or she--have bargained for.
From Uncial Press (www.uncialpress.com)