President of Hearts Through History Melinda Porter invited me over to share a few resources that might be helpful to those authors wanting to put what I consider an authentic slant to their historical wips without going over the top and creating a new world that has nothing to do with what readers consider historical. I'm known on my blog, SKHYE'S RAMBLINGS, for posting my personal collection of reference books. My library spans many topics. "Many" may not be the best word. For example, I'm formally educated in geology (paleontology) and anthropology (bioarchaeology). A person acquires a lot of books studying those two subjects. I've also taken quite a bit of ceramics and art history on the side. Then, I write about time travelers who are alchemists from the future who use magic and a force only the fairies control to travel along the timeline. Take alchemy as an outgrowth of scientific study, add Druid and Freemason beliefs, and shake... You can see how I had to do some research to devise logical cultural evolution for my time travelers in the future.
My personal library tripled in size as the geo-archaeologist pushed up her sleeves and went in to descry what in the heck Druids were in prehistory, history, and today. We literally know nothing other than what Romans reported in documents or what has been historically recorded in the past few centuries as the revival of a belief system. The same holds true for witchcraft. But what we do have to play with when researching fairies are a few wonderful collections of information that were written by people we hold in high esteem--academia. I'm going to share some of the books with you just in case you're writing a historical with a speck of magic. Okay, maybe you just need to know which deity a person might have known about or secretly revered...
SPIRITS, FAIRIES, LEPRECHAUNS, AND GOBLINS: An Encyclopedia by Carol Rose. If you want to find a vague legend to weave into your historical wip, buy this book.
GIANTS, MONSTERS, AND DRAGONS: An Encyclopedia of Folklore, Legend, and Myth by Carol Rose. Rose's other collection of factual tidbits is certain to become a springboard for your creativity.
Turner, Coulter, and Coulter's DICTIONARY OF ANCIENT DIETIES has it all. Flip to any page and find tons of information from cultures through time spanning the globe.
Lindahl, McNamara, and Lindow's MEDIEVAL FOLKLORE is a book I refer to often. It's extensive entries can often be overwhelming when you go in to search for an answer. But I'd rather be inundated with information than operate on a line or two.
Search for a copy of Christian mythology if you want to find really good new twists for the same old story. I'd give you the title of mine but it's buried in the garage. We're still renovating (carpet/tile/countertops/shelves). I have no idea which box contains the coffeetable-sized tome.
A book's introduction I found incredibly useful for creating a knight was in the SONG OF ROLAND. The version I used is at
http://blog.skhyemoncrief.com/2008/09/04/the-song-of-roland.aspx filed away at my blog among my Reference Books blog posts.
If you're interested in even more paranormal, fantasy, or historical references, visit http://blog.skhyemoncrief.com. My ever-growing reference-book blog-post list currently has approximately 150 titles.