Margie Lawson

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Tag: History

Clans of Ireland Beyond the Pale

Ever heard that expression ‘beyond the pale’? Someone behaves dreadfully and someone else says, ‘tsk, tsk, that’s beyond the pale’. The English administration in Ireland coined that phrase about the ‘wild’ Irish. Wild? Why and what was the Pale?  Ireland has clans too, not just Scotland. Clan comes from clann, the Gaelic word for children […]

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Viking Age Britain: Conquerors & Clans

‘From the fury of the northmen, Oh Lord, deliver us.’ The vikings (aka northmen) burst on the scene in Britain in the late 8th century. In 793 the ‘heathen destroyed God's church on Lindisfarne by rapine and slaughter’. In that year ‘immense whirlwinds and flashes of lightning, and fiery dragons were seen flying in the […]

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Fantastic Castles and Horrible Hovels

Castles cover the landscape of Europe. Many have lasted because they are built of stone, but it takes some imagination to see how they looked when they were the homes of the wealthy and powerful. Wherefore this course. A castle was a fortified structure, the home and administrative centre of a magnate (great man) or […]

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Richard the Lionheart & The Crusades

Course description coming soon! Teacher Schedule Reviews Submit a Review Tags Level All Levels Topic History Class Richard the Lionheart Duration month Teacher Sheila Currie

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Fairies: The Old Gods

In England, before the Norman Conquest of 1066, fairies were called elves. Fairy is a word borrowed from French. Walt Disney would have you believe that fairies are sweet little creatures with wings and wands, helpful entities like Tinkerbell and the Tooth Fairy. Walt was wrong. In many lands people believe it's not wise to […]

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How to Write Believable Alternate History Fiction

Have you ever imagined how history could have turned out differently? What would the world have looked like if the Nazis had won the Second World War, the South had won the American Civil War, or the US had lost the Cold War? Alternate histories challenge and inspire us to think about what might have […]

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Clans of Scotland

Want to write a novel set in Scotland? A New York Times bestseller?? How about a series? Scottish stories are wildly popular after the successful novels of Diana Gabaldon: Outlander, Fly in Amber, Voyager, followed by six more huge books which tell the adventures and trials of Jamie Fraser and Claire.   Gabaldon placed her […]

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Celtic Mythology

The ancient Celts believed that all things, animate and inanimate, possessed a spirit. Mountains, hills and trees were manly; rivers and meadows were feminine. The Celts knew that spirits watched their every move. So any action was carefully considered because of the effect it might have on their destiny. Ogham, the first Gaelic alphabet, was […]

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Magic & Witchcraft

Magic is distinguished from religion in that a magical practitioner usually acts for the benefit of one person whereas a priest acts for the benefit of a group or society. The word ‘magic’ comes from Old Persian, and we are familiar with the Latin spelling magus or French mage. In this course you'll find out […]

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Warlords and Holy Men AD 400-1000

Scotland and Ireland loved their heroes in the Early Middle Ages. On many a winter night people sat round a central fire listening to stories from myths and legends--the mini series of the era. They battled their enemies and dodged wicked spells. They wooed and won fair maids. The greatest Gaelic epic celebrates a cattle […]

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The Art and Science of Historical Research

When writing historical fiction, the research aspect can be overwhelming. Do you dread it— find it dry and boring— or do you love it--but get caught up in the unique “finds” and neglect the more obvious points? Most likely it is a combination of both. I see historical research as both science (systemized knowledge) and […]

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Connecting the Dots: Conspiracy Theories in History and Writing

Today it seems like conspiracies and conspiracy theories are everywhere. Do you want to add shadowy organizations and secret plots to your writing? Why not look at real conspiracies from history to feed your own dark designs? Come join historian Hugh Gordon as he shows which conspiracies can be proven, and others that remain in […]

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The Psychology of Black Characters - historical version

At Point Comfort in 1619, more than a dozen enslaved Black men were bought to the shores of Virginia and the history of Blackness in the United States was established. There are three distinct time periods to think about and I will address them, depending upon what you are writing about: 1619-1800, 1800-1865, 1865-1950. 1619-1800—Enslavement […]

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Law and Order Regency Style

As a historical fiction author, I have researched for years on legal issues my characters have encountered in their stories. In talking to readers of historical fiction, particularly regency romance, I’ve learned that many people have questions about some of the issues addressed in novels, as well as misunderstandings about inheritance and marriage laws (yes, […]

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Navigating the Tightrope between Historical Fact and Historical Fiction

There are so many questions when you begin (or get in the middle of!) writing historical fiction. What should I research? When should I research? How much research should I put in the book? Why don’t my characters feel historical? Why does my prose seem to clash with my story? Writing good historical fiction means […]

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