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Using Tech for Book Marketing

Kate Gingold from Sprocket WebsitesKate has been building websites with her husband Don since 1996 for all sorts of clients, including authors.

Kate regularly writes about online marketing for Sprocket Websites and provides tips and techniques for entrepreneurs and small-business owners. Since being an author today is not really different from being an entrepreneur with a small business, most of those tips are just as useful to authors.

Kate is an author herself. She writes books on local history, including the award-winning "Ruth by Lake and Prairie," a fictionalized account of the true story of Great Lake pioneering to the shores of Chicago and beyond to found Naperville, Illinois. 

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Ruth By Lake and Prairie

Author Tips and Tales

This Blog Is Moving after 14 Years!

Kate Gingold Host 0 127 Article rating: No rating

I started writing this blog in October of 2009, after the publication of my first book, Ruth by Lake and Prairie. Ruth's story tells about the 1831 journey to what would one day become Naperville, Illinois. This Kate's Brief History blog let me share tidbits of history about Naperville, DuPage County, and Illinois. All the bits that I loved researching, but which didn't get into the book. 

Later local history also showed up in these posts because I was offering a monthly history lesson to fellow business folk at the Naperville Chamber of Commerce. It only made sense to know more about the city in which we were doing business!

As I progressed with my Agatha Christie research, I started writing more about England in the early 1900s. I am thrilled to report that the glossary, Agatha Christie Annotated: Investigating the Books of the 1920s has now been published and with it, a brand new website at

I have also been blogging at my author website,, for many years, but I decided that it's time to bring the blogs together. From now on, both blogs can be found at

Thank you so much for following me here at Kate's Brief History and I do hope you will follow me over to AgathaAnnotated as we start something new!

June Is a Lovely Month in England to Look at Gardens - and History

Kate Gingold Host 0 129 Article rating: No rating
Agatha Christie's brother, Monty
While thinking about a topic for this month’s post, I wondered if there was an Agatha Christie-related or 1920s event that happened in June to write about. I did a little online research – and then created my own event!

If you’re into gardens, you can find videos online of gorgeous English gardens and learn what’s blooming in June. And speaking of blooms, search results bring up the famous poem “O my Luve is like a red, red rose/That’s newly sprung in June,” although Robert Burns is actually the national poet of Scotland, not England. Looking a bit further, I read that Burns also wrote the words to “Auld Lang Syne,” which I already knew, and that he died at the age of thirty-seven, which I did not know.

June seems to be a good month for crowning English monarchs. The coronations of Henry VIII and his first wife, Catherine of Aragon were held in June of 1509. Henry’s second wife, Anne Boleyn, was crowned in June of 1533. Anne’s reign only lasted until 1536, but 420 years later, England celebrated the coronation of Elizabeth II, and she is considered the second-longest-reigning monarch of all time. Louis XIV beat her record, having ascended the throne at the age of four.

Since Agatha Christie’s earliest novels often refer to World War I, I looked for June events there, too. The war raged on from July of 1914 until November of 1918, and in June of 1917, the British royal family changed their name. When Queen Victoria married her Albert, he was a German prince of the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Technically, that made them Mr. and Mrs. Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Germany was England’s enemy during WWI, so George V, the grandson of Albert, made the decision to drop the Saxe-Coburg and Gotha name. Instead, he took the name “Windsor” for his family.

The only Christie-related event in June I could find was the birthday of Agatha’s brother, Monty, on June 23. The second child and only son of Fred and Clara Miller, he was born in 1880, just eighteen months after his sister, Madge. Fred and Clara’s third and final child, Agatha, wouldn’t follow for another ten years, in 1890.

Fred was an American whose mother died when he was quite young. His father remarried an English woman and while there were no offspring from this union, they did raise a niece of Fred’s stepmother. In 1878, Fred and the niece, Clara, were married. They settled in Torquay, which is where both Madge and Agatha were born, but Monty was born in New Jersey during a long visit to the United States.

Monty apparently did a little of this and little of that as an adult. He was stationed in South Africa and in India during the Boer War. After seven years of service, he became a professional hunter in East Africa until he ran afoul of illegal ivory trading. During World War I, he served with the East Africa Transport Corps, rising to the rank of captain. Tow

100 Years Ago, King Charles' Grandparents Got Hitched and Other Random Facts

Kate Gingold Host 0 128 Article rating: No rating
Working on this Agatha Christie book prompts me to wonder about life one hundred years ago, so I googled “what happened in 1923 in England.” One event was the wedding of the Queen Mum, King Charles’ grandmother, and that started me down a fun rabbit hole.

Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon was the ninth of ten children of Claude and Nina, Lord and Lady Glamis. For all you Shakespeare lovers: Yes, that Glamis, as in Macbeth. The family can trace their roots back to Robert the Bruce, but it was Sir John Lyon who became Thane of Glamis in the 1300s, a few centuries after Macbeth. Lady Elizabeth and all of her siblings spent much of their childhoods in Glamis Castle.

Like many other great houses, Glamis Castle opened its doors to convalescing soldiers during World War I. Britain joined the War on Lady Elizabeth’s fourteenth birthday, so she was rather young when the wounded started arriving, but she was old enough to help out, and she did.

Four of Lady Elizabeth’s brothers served in the army. Brother Michael was wounded, captured, and imprisoned until the end of the War, and Brother Fergus was killed in 1915 at the Battle of Loos, France.

Once the War was over, Lady Elizabeth turned to socializing and flirting like any other young woman. In 1921, she attended a dance in London given by Lord and Lady Farquhar. Prince Albert, the Duke of York, was also in attendance. While Elizabeth was not royal, she and her siblings had visited with the children of King George V and Queen Mary: Edward, Albert, Mary, Henry, George, and John. The Farquhar event, however, was the first time Prince Albert had seen Elizabeth all grown up, and he was smitten.

He soon asked her to marry him, and she refused, knowing full well how difficult it would be to live as a royal, even though Albert was a younger son and not destined to be king. The following year, Elizabeth stood up as a bridesmaid for Albert’s sister, Mary, and the prince proposed to her yet again. And once more, she refused him.

While it was considered a modern, equalitarian notion for Albert to pursue a woman who was not of royal blood, his mother, the Queen, had already approved of the match and he was very much in love. Finally, in January of 1923, Lady Elizabeth said “yes,” and they were married in April, 100 years ago. You can see some film footage from the event online.

The wedding was held at Westminster Abbey, which is the same place where the coronation of King Charles was recently held. If you watched any of the coronation procession, you may have noticed a slab of black marble on the floor which is Britain’s Tomb of the Unknown Warrior from World War I.

As Lady Elizabeth entered the Abbey for her wedding ceremony, she impulsively laid her bridal bouquet on the tomb in memory of her brother, Fergus, and walked up the aisle without flowers. Although they now wait until after the ceremony and photos, many royal brides, including Diana, Kate, and Meghan have continued this tradition.

Camilla was not ma

Old Coin Cache Prompts New English History Lessons

Kate Gingold Host 0 117 Article rating: No rating

Recently, my husband cleared out some drawers. Don found the usual bits that he should have been thrown out long ago but didn’t, as well as a few forgotten things that he was happy to see again. He also found a handful of English coins.

We took our children to England and Wales in 2000 and we went alone in 1987, but these were not coins left over from those trips. These coins were probably from the pockets of Don’s father. Don traveled to England with his parents when he was five or six years old and that may have been when the coins were acquired. Or maybe they had been in his father’s own junk drawer for years, remnants of his life before he emigrated to the United States in the 1930s.

Some of the coins are quite old and I was intrigued since I’ve been researching England in the 1920s. All bronze pennies and half pennies, they aren’t worth much since they were well-used, but it still gave me a bit of a thrill to hold them in my hand.

There are pennies from several years, including 1916, 1918, 1927, and 1929. They all look the same, with George V’s head on one side and the seated figure of Britannia on the other. George’s father was the eldest son of Queen Victoria and, much like the current king, spent most of his life as the Prince of Wales before his brief reign as Edward VII. George never expected to be king himself since he had an elder brother, but Albert Victor unfortunately died of pneumonia at the age of 28. 

George had been occupied pursuing a career in the navy and falling in love with a cousin (those Victorians did that a lot!), but once he became the heir apparent, his life changed drastically. He wound up marrying his brother’s fiancé and they were crowned king and queen in 1911, following his father’s death.

George became the father of Edward VIII, the man who abdicated when he wasn’t allowed to marry divorcee Wallis Simpson. The crown then passed to George’s younger son, also named George, who was Elizabeth’s father and Charles’ grandfather.

There were other children, too, including Prince John who died young in 1919. John was the last-born child and had developmental delays and epilepsy. His parents and siblings seem to have been fond of him, but a separate household was eventually set up for his care. Especially during the war years when the other royals were much occupied, John was looked after by the family nanny.

The backs of the George pennies feature Britannia with a trident and shield. Britannia is described as the “personification of Britain,” which was the name used for the country when it was under Roman rule during the first few centuries A.D.. Britannia started appearing on England’s coins in mid-1600s. 

Edgar Bertram MacKennal was the engraver of George’s portrait. He was the king’s favorite artist and sculpted several likenesses of him as well as many other works. MacKennal was an Australian and became the first of his countrymen to be knighted.  

This penny’s particular Britannia was the work of Leonard Charles Wyon. The son of William Wyon, an accomplish

Ruth Grows Up - The Rest of the Story

Kate Gingold Host 0 4 Article rating: No rating

March is Women’s History Month. I used to do more marketing around that theme when my first book, Ruth by Lake and Prairie, was still newish, even though Ruth is only twelve in the story. I rarely talk about Ruth as an adult, but it seems fitting for the occasion.I couldn’t believe it until I did the math, but it’s been seventeen years since Ruth by Lake and Prairie was published! Drawing on all


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Marketing Author Interview

Following a presentation for In Print Professional Writers Group, Kate's husband (and publisher!) Don was interviewed by author Louise Brass for WBOM Radio. During the conversation, Don shared many of the marketing tips from his presentation. You can listen to it online here.

The Sprocket Report

The Sprocket Report is published every other week with Internet marketing tips, tools and techniques. The archive features articles from 2011 up to the present. You are welcome to read how business owners are using technology to market themselves and apply those tips to your author business.



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Kate will be happy to send you her brief Book Signing Checklist. Treat your book promotion like a business - because it is!

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