Writer Tech: footnotes for fiction?

Recently two writers got in touch about acknowledging sources for historical fiction. As one asked, Do I need permission from every website owner, author, newspaper, etc. whose information I incorporate into my story? I'm not a lawyer and if you're lucky enough to land a contract with a good publisher, you can count on their legal department to raise issues about permission. However, in my experience, the quick answer is, No. Take the 1851 novel Moby Dick as an example. Yes, Herman Melville drew on his own experience on a whaling ship while writing the novel, but research shows he based ...
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Sorry to nag, but…

EPITAPH is still in the running for Best Historical Novel in the Goodreads competition. Voting for the semi-final ends Monday evening, Nov. 16. If you're a member, please vote! ...
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Vote for Epitaph on Goodreads!

Epitaph is one of the twelve nominees for Best Historical Novel on Goodreads. If you enjoyed it, please consider voting for it! ...
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A new photo of Doc Holliday?

True West Magazine recently published an article I wrote about what could be a previously unknown photograph of John Henry Holliday. Here's the story behind the article. A couple of years ago, Don McKenna sent me a jpeg of the image you see here. It was part of a large collection of 19th century photographs he bought at an estate sale in St. Louis, MO. How might a photo of Doc Holliday end up in St. Louis, Missouri? Well, we do know Auguste Jameson Fuches, of St. Louis, was one of John Henry Holliday's classmates at dental school. Fuches and Holliday ...
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Help me get Sophia Loren’s attention!

A couple of months ago, my brother came up with a wild idea. He decided that Sophia Loren would be great as the 80-year-old action hero of A Thread of Grace, Lidia Leone. So Rich found a public address for Ms. Loren and sent her a copy of the book. Why not, right? Her sons are producers. Who knows what might happen! A month later, the Wall Street Journal's Style and Fashion section published an interview with Ms. Loren in which she said, "Finding new acting roles is not so easy...You have to find a character that suits you as a ...
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Days of Awe

Every year on Rosh Hashana, I honor my brother's wishes and repost this remembrance ...
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SPARROW news, and a request

I had very modest expectations when I began writing The Sparrow back in 1992. I never meant it to be a novel. I thought I was trying a short story. It was an experiment. I wanted to see what it was like to create characters, to write dialog, and set a scene. I honestly expected to crap out after eleven pages, but those characters, and the situation I dropped them into, and their relationships kept pulling me along. An obsessive year later, I had a completed manuscript about Jesuits in space. Even I thought "Jesuits in space" sounded stupid and by ...
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Teeth from Waterloo

A lot of readers have asked me about the reference in Doc to the use of teeth from dead soldiers in dental bridges and plates. Here's a link! ...
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Take me now, Lord!

Had to share this review of Epitaph for the Dallas Morning News by Allen Barra, the respected author of Inventing Wyatt Earp: his life and many legends. I may have the last sentence tattooed on my arm. Just kidding. I hate tattoos. But... Wow ...
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The end of the endless weekend

When young writers ask my advice, I always tell them, "Marry an engineer. They're not only funny, creative, rational people, they get benefits at work and there's been been a good job market for them since the Renaissance." I'm not kidding about that. My husband is a software engineer. Don has not been unemployed for a single day since the Nixon Administration. If you've enjoyed my novels, thank him. For the past 45 years, he has made it possible for me to do financially stupid things like get a Ph.D. in anthropology, and teach anatomy for a lousy $11 grand a year, ...
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