History That Never Was

Home of Dawn Vogel: Writer, Historian, Geek

Fun for Friday: Writing without a Letter

Posted By on August 17, 2018

WordsNot too long ago, I mentioned pangrams, which are sentences that use every letter in the English language. But what about NOT using a specific letter in a story, or even a novel?

It’s called a lipogram, it’s most commonly done with the letter “E,” which seems really difficult! My last sentence had 8 instances of that letter. But it can be done!

For examples, check out “Th Fifth Lttr” by S. Qiouyi Lu at Daily Science FictionGadsby by Ernest Vincent Wright, and La Disparition by Georges Perec (translated into English as The Void, still as a lipogrammatic novel, and similarly translated into other languages within the same constraints).

While I won’t be trying for a lipogrammatic story anytime soon, it could be fun to try some sentences in this style. And while it might be easy to exclude things like “Q” or “Z,” trying with more common letters can make it much more challenging!

Get Brass & Glass 2 in Person!

Posted By on August 16, 2018

Handmade and Haute show informationWhat does a man-sized squirrel with an hors d’oeuvre have to do with Brass and Glass 2? Not much, except that it’s advertising the next opportunity for you to get your hands on a SIGNED copy of my latest book!

I’ll be at the Handmade and Haute Craft Show in Tacoma on Saturday, August 18th, with a full selection of DefCon One Publishing’s books, and I’ll also have copies of Brass and Glass books 1 and 2. The Brass and Glass 2 books are still the special limited edition, so get there before I run out! If you’re extra nice, I might even tell you things about book 3!

In addition to our books, there will be a bunch of local artists and crafters, and having done some shows with these fine folks before (in my craft-person guise rather than my author-person guise), the things they bring are phenomenal!


Mini-Comic Book Reviews on my Instagram!

Posted By on August 15, 2018

Thor volumes 1 and 2I’m taking a few weeks off from reviewing new books and digging deep into my TOWER of graphic novels that Jeremy has so patiently been curating for me. It’s threatening to overtake the hallway, so it’s high time for me to start working through it. (It was actually high time for me to start working through it months ago, but I finally am making myself do it.)

I may post some of my reviews here or at Mad Scientist Journal, but if you want to see my quick reviews, check out my Instagram feed. Here, I’ll be posting my mini-comic book reviews as I go through my stacks! I’ve got a lot of Marvel and indie comics to go through, as well as an enormous number of Harley Quinn graphic novels, so if any of that is of interest to you, be sure to check it out!

“Parcel Post” in Frostfire Worlds

Posted By on August 14, 2018

Uniformed postal employee with a child in a mail sackThe August 2018 issue of Frostfire Worlds includes my story, “Parcel Post.” Frostfire Worlds is a magazine of stories for kids, and in my case, my story is also about kids.

The idea for “Parcel Post” started with the fun fact that in the early twentieth century (roughly around 1913), you could mail small children. Sort of. Snopes says that it’s a mixture of true and false. There were children who were labeled as “mail” when they traveled short distances on railways without having to have tickets purchased for them. Otherwise, it was mostly a publicity stunt, which is also the likely source of this photo. But for my story, I decided to run with it as being a fact of this world.

To get a little bit more of a spec fic element involved, I found a fantasy novel that had been published at around the same time, and made the world of that public domain novel the destination of the mailed child. It shouldn’t have worked, in the real world. In this spec fic world, it did, and the plucky young protagonist has to figure out how to get herself transported to this fantasy world as well.

All in all, it was a delight to write, and I hope it will be a delight to read as well!

Back from SpoCon!

Posted By on August 13, 2018

Spocon logoI’m back from SpoCon, and I’ll talk more about my experiences there in the coming weeks. But for now, I’m settling back into the day to day grind, enjoying the relatively clear air here, and definitely relishing the cooler temperatures of Western Washington. Spokane is a cute little place, but it’s much too high desert for me to live there!

Fun for Friday: Sci-Fi Photo Prompt

Posted By on August 10, 2018

Sci-fi city scapeThis image is just so chock full of promise, I don’t even know where to begin! There’s the gorgeous sci-fi city in the background, of course, but the girl in the foreground is what draws my attention. Is she a robot? Is she a cybernetically enhanced human? I think it could go either way, which makes this image have all sorts of interesting possibilities as a writing prompt!

Unfixed Timelines on Channillo

Posted By on August 9, 2018

Cover art for Unfixed TimelinesIf you don’t particularly care for reading ebooks, but have been wanting to read my Unfixed Timelines collection, I’ve got great news for you!

Unfixed Timelines is being published on Channillo!

Each week on Thursdays, you can read either a short story or the essay about the history that inspired this story. They’ll alternate, so that the story will come first, and the essay will be on the following Thursday. You also don’t have to read them on the days they get posted, because if you subscribe to Channillo, you’ll have access to the whole book when it’s all been posted!

And if you’d rather just get the ebook and read the whole thing at once, you can do that here!

Review of Once Upon a Fact

Posted By on August 8, 2018

Cover art for Once Upon a FactI’ve got another book review up this week at Mad Scientist Journal, for an anthology of futuristic fairy tales called Once Upon a Fact. If this sounds like the sort of thing you might enjoy, you can check out my review here!

Did You Know I Have a Patreon?

Posted By on August 7, 2018

Link to my PatreonDid you know that I have a Patreon? I do! It’s a way for my fans to throw a small amount of money my way to support my writing!

I’m getting close to my first goal, which involves a monthly video of me reading one of my stories or an excerpt from a longer piece! So if I get enough patrons, you’ll get to see my face reading my words.

And while I can make no promises about the helpfulness of small cats who are nearly adults, but still very much my kittens, Stormy and Foggy MIGHT decide that they need to help me read, because clearly I’m just awful at being a cat, and they like to help. At the very least, they may be convinced to put in a small appearance on a video. (But being cats, they may also decide that cameras are scary and why does Mama want us on the internet, even if the internet is for cats?)

Questions for Beta Readers

Posted By on August 6, 2018

Open books and pencilsIf you’ve finished a novel or other longer work and want to get outside opinions, you might turn to a beta reader. But what are you asking them to look at?

This article presents fifteen questions for beta readers that will help you get the most of their comments! It also has some other tidbits of advice on beta readers, and it’s definitely worth the read!