Welcome to my newsletter where I share updates about my writing projects and discuss the importance of historic places.
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Volume 3, Issue 4, October 31, 2018
Happy Halloween...
It's that time of year again when spooks seem to rule, and every creak in the floor is linked to ghostly visitors. In keeping with that theme, the featured historic site in this issue is the former luxury liner, the Queen Mary, now a museum and hotel with a history of ghosts.

In other news, I finished the Thomas Jefferson and music essay for an upcoming history journal. It was originally scheduled for publication in November but that has now changed to early spring, 2019. Whenever it is available, I will let you know.

The favorite classic fiction selection is Halloween-themed as well. I hope you enjoy it.

Cynthia Collins
Cynthia Collins 

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The Queen Mary

The Queen Mary and her Haunting History
RMS Queen Mary, Long Beach, CA (Photo credit: Altair78, CC by 2.0)

The RMS Queen Mary is a retired, luxury ocean liner with a haunting history. This permanently docked ship in Long Beach, California, is so famous for her ghost crew and passengers that ghost tours are not just for Halloween, but for all year long. Her maritime history is stellar, ranging from the luxurious transatlantic crossings of rich and famous notables to her work during World War II of transporting troops overseas. Her ghostly history is a part of her maritime story.

Queen Mary was built by the Scottish shipbuilding company of John Brown & Co. Ltd. in Clydebank, Glasgow. The elegant interior had indoor swimming pools, ballroom, a dining room that was three stories tall, chandeliers, murals, and many other things influenced by the Art Deco style of the 1920s and ‘30s. The ship was the first ocean liner to have a Jewish prayer room. Continue reading

Favorite Classic Fiction in Historical Settings...

Dracula by Bram Stoker

Bram Stoker's 1897 novel is a fascinating tale on many levels. On the surface, it is the story of a young lawyer, Jonathan Harker, who goes to Transylvania to visit Count Dracula at his castle in the Carpathian Mountains. The purpose of his visit is to conclude a real estate purchase so the count can move to England. He notices the villagers are superstitious and set in their ways. Even the horses run faster as night begins to fall. When he arrives, he finds his host to be well-educated, well-spoken, and incredibly wealthy. It doesn't take long though for him to see the truly evil side of the count.

While Harker is away, his fianc
ée, Mina, has been staying with her best friend, Lucy. When Dracula arrives in England, selects Lucy for one of his victims. She slowly grows weaker until she also becomes a vampire. The physician, Dr. Seward, enlists the help of his teacher, Van Helsing, to put a stop to Dracula's evil.   

The historical part of this work is from the count's description of the history of the castle and the area, going back several hundred years. Even though Stoker never says that Count Dracula is a fictional version of Vlad III, also known as Vlad Dracula and Vlad the Impaler, he does say that the count fought the Turks. That puts him in the same time period as Vlad III.

This gothic horror novel is told in letters and journal entries. Much of it was not scary in the outright sense of horror but rather based on fear of what the characters might find. The one part that is definitely gory is where Dracula is killed. There is plenty leading up to that moment so that readers know what is coming. At times, one feels sorry for the count and for his situation, other times, he is filled with evil. All the characters in Stoker's novel are put in situations where they must make choices that their lives depend on.
The Unicorn Tree

The Unicorn Tree by Cynthia Collins © 2018A teenage girl whose brother is lost at sea –
The diary of a nineteenth-century woman –

And the special place that binds them…

Lisa Duncan, a seventeen-year-old high school senior, has an assignment to tour historic Mirabelle Manor, a large estate built in 1850 by a sea captain for his wife. During the tour, she begins to suspect that Mirabelle's ghost is watching her. One of the items on display is a diary, open to a passage about going to a place called the unicorn tree to watch for ships. This appeals to Lisa whose brother is currently sailing across the Atlantic on a commemorative voyage. When news arrives that his ship is lost at sea, her interest in the diary deepens as the past and present lead her to discover what happened.

For reviews and more information, click on the book cover to go to my website.

Ghost story and maritime adventure in a historic setting...
Available at

A Lazy Day Anthology - 1

A Lazy Day AnthologyThis collection of 21 short stories by various authors is the latest book published by the non-profit writers’ group, Bugs2writes, which raises money for children’s medical research in the United Kingdom. The stories range from humorous to serious, fiction and non-fiction, and are suitable for older children, teens, and adults.

Featured Bugs2writes authors are: Elizabeth Allen, Rosemary Baxter, David G. Hulson, Graham Mcglone, Audrey Nye, Sally Saunders, Suzanne Stack, and Julie Hatton (Editor). Featured non-member authors are: Lynne Thelwall and Cynthia Collins.

My story, "The Grass Patters," is a humorous tale of a curious, but not nosy, woman who sees her neighbors poking around in their yard. What starts out as a little eccentric ends up of interest to the whole community with the curious neighbor having a front row seat.

Available in Kindle format at  All proceeds go to children's medical research.
Photo credits: The Queen Mary: courtesy of Altair78, CC by 2.0. A Lazy Day Anthology: courtesy of Julie Hatton, editor. The header banner, author photo, and cover of The Unicorn Tree: courtesy of Cynthia Collins.

All articles in this newsletter are by Cynthia Collins. The articles may not be reprinted without written permission. Subscriber lists are not sold or given to any third parties and historic sites are not charged for being featured. To suggest historic sites for future issues, request article reprint permission, or any comments/questions regarding this newsletter, please contact Cynthia Collins.
Copyright © 2018 Cynthia Collins, All rights reserved.

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