Despite the scepticism about vast swathes of the Blogosphere that I expressed in my very first post, I do find a number of blogs particularly useful and try to check on them whenever I can (although pressure of time means that this usually isn't as often as I'd like). There are some superb blogs on my main area of interest, mid- to late-17th century history and especially naval history. Jim Bender's vast labour of love on the Anglo-Dutch wars was a tremendous resource when I was writing Pepys's Navy; it's simply crammed with fascinating detail that it's often impossible to find elsewhere. The impressive Wars of Louis Quatorze does a similar job for the military history of the period. I discovered The Gentleman Administrator's blog quite recently, and like both his quirky approach and insights into some of the less familiar history and literature of the Restoration period. Not really a blog, The Diary of Samuel Pepys developed a brilliantly simple idea - putting the diary online - and expanded it into the best forum about Pepys, his life and times that can be found online. Back to more conventional blogs about naval history, and the Dutch blog Warships Research covers a remarkably diverse range of topics, again often presenting very little known material. Wearing my Naval Dockyards Society hat, I'm also impressed by James Daly's relatively new blog which focuses on Portsmouth but also ranges into many other aspects of history. I also try to check up from time to time on two lively and usually very well informed forums, Sailing Navies 1650-1850 (which covers the literature as well as the history) and The World Naval Ships Forums, which take a similarly broad brush approach to more modern naval matters.
When it comes to my rather more recent career as a writer of fiction, I'm still very much feeling my way into the potential of the Blogosphere. For example, I've yet to make a serious effort to track down the blogs of other authors working in the genre, or those of some of the authors who have particularly influenced me - but now that Blood of Kings has gone to the publisher, with the remaining edits on Mountain of Gold hopefully to be completed shortly, hunting down such resources is high up the 'to do' list for March. However, I recently came across Booksmith's remarkably wide range of online book reviews, and although his tastes are rather more catholic than mine, he's already having an alarming effect on the length of my reading list!