History That Never Was

Home of Dawn Vogel: Writer, Historian, Geek

Fun for Friday: Biopunk Ideas

Posted By on January 22, 2021

If you’re not familiar with biopunk, start with this article on biopunk and utopias.

But if you’re ready to launch into some biopunk writing, check out this prompt and see what ideas it sparks in you!

(darkliquid has additional prompts here on different themes. I haven’t read through all of them yet, so I’m not sure what you might find there!)

“Have You Seen Him?” in Unfixed Timelines 2

Posted By on January 21, 2021

Cover of Robert W. Chambers' The King In YellowI’ve had an interest in the King in Yellow of the Lovecraftian Mythos for years, and versions of the King in Yellow have shown up in three of my stories, including “Have You Seen Him?” in Unfixed Timelines 2. In this case, it’s the Yellow Spirit, a demonic entity with whom the protagonist’s father made an incomplete crossroads deal.

For this story, I got to explore the legends of crossroads deals and Black musicians in the South, and combine them with an aspect of the King in Yellow Mythos. “Have You Seen Him?” is probably the King in Yellow story furthest from the canon Mythos, which was somewhat intentional, as I’d already written other King in Yellow stories (including “Tarnish”, which appears in the first volume of Unfixed Timelines).

“Have You Seen Him?” is not a pleasant story. It doesn’t end well for several characters. But if you’re curious to see a slightly altered fantastical history version of the King in Yellow, check it out in Unfixed Timelines 2!

What I’m Reading, Watching, and Listening To, January 2021 edition

Posted By on January 20, 2021

Clip art of headphones, TV screen, and cat reading a sheet of paperReading: Still working through books for reviews.

Watching: We cruised through the final season of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, and we’re nearly through the final season of Runaways. Then it’s on to the backlog of things we abandoned, or something new that catches our attention.

Listening To: Jeremy added me to his YouTube subscription as a Christmas gift (yay, ad free listening), and then he mentioned that there’s a separate YouTube just for music. So I’ve curated a playlist of K-pop that includes songs I haven’t been able to buy for my phone (Japanese releases from K-pop bands are weirdly not on the iTunes store), and that’s been my main source of music recently (aside from my iPod). Looking forward to seeing which of my faves will have new releases this year!

Promise Me Nothing is Available for Pre-Order!

Posted By on January 19, 2021

Promise Me Nothing comes out on Tuesday, February 16, but if you plan on buying it in ebook, you can pre-order it now, which means it will be automatically delivered to your electronic book reading device on release day!

Here’s the blurb for this young adult contemporary fantasy novel!

Supernatural Reform School or Horrifying Death Trap?

Dedwydd Academy is meant to be a third chance for Briar Williams, exiled from the fae realm of Idyll for her part in a rebellion against the aristocracy and removed from human society for a night of mayhem in the small town of Artis. Upon arrival, she begins to make friends, but she also finds a dangerous enemy in the volatile Jaylin. Now she must navigate a new level of high school politics, one with deadly consequences. And what will her new friends think when they learn about what she’s done?

Promise Me Nothing will also be available in paperback, but you won’t be able to order that version until the release date.

Poetry Form: Rimas Dissolutas

Posted By on January 18, 2021

There’s something of a perception that French forms of poetry are among some of the more difficult forms. However, if you’d like to dip your to into the world of French poetry, the rimas dissolutas form is one that I’ve found a little easier than others. (Weirdly, the name “rimas dissolutas” appears to be Portuguese, rather than French, though I can’t find an explanation for that.)

Rimas dissolutas has no requirements for meter, line length, stanza length, or the number of stanzas, though all the lines should be the same number of syllables. And there should not be rhyming within a stanza. However, the end of each line should rhyme with the corresponding line in subsequent stanzas.  So a rimas dissolutas with three-line stanzas would have an a, b, and c rhyme that crosses the stanzas. (This site illustrates this effectively.) These poems also typically end with an envoi that has half as many lines as the previous stanzas and uses the rhyme of the lines in the latter half (explained as such in the event of an uneven number of lines per stanza).

I like the rhyming across stanzas, as it sounds less “sing-songy” to me than a lot of rhyming poetry. And I’m much better at syllable count than meter, so putting together a rimas dissoultas was a fun bit of rhyming practice without having to worry about too many other things at the same time!

Fun for Friday: Three Images of Renewal

Posted By on January 15, 2021

For this Friday, we’ve got three images on a renewal theme, but as you use them as inspiration for your writing, feel free to take them in different directions.

The first image is thin, brightly colored curved lines that look like they could be a close-up image of a Slinky or curled tinsel. They vaguely resemble fireworks in some places.

The second image is two hands bound together by a green long leaf, with water being poured over the joined hands from a shell-like container. The background is a tropical beach in blues, greens, and tan.

The third image is a dirt trail leading through a wooded area in which the trees have only sparse leaves or foliage. It’s slightly foggy, particularly in the background, and the sides of the trail show that it is carved through a gray and white rock formation.

Family, Teamwork, and Responsibility in a Kid-Friendly Book!

Posted By on January 14, 2021

Spiders of the Shifting Swamp is my children’s book about family, teamwork, and responsibility. Even though the characters are mostly spiders (and some lizards), they have a lot to teach about working together and taking care of each other. It’s a great book for young kids to have read to them, and for early readers to work on their reading skills!

The spiders live in a shop in the swamp with Grandfather Spider. But when Grandfather Spider disappears, they must rescue him! Find Spiders of the Shifting Swamp in print on Amazon!

Review of The Dragon Stone Conspiracy: A Strowlers Novel by Amanda Cherry

Posted By on January 13, 2021

The Dragon Stone Conspiracy: A Strowlers Novel by Amanda Cherry (Zombie Orpheus Entertainment, 2021) is a tie-in novel to the Strowlers urban fantasy series from the creators of The Gamers. Set during World War II, this novel features action, adventure, and fighting against Nazis and the Third Reich, coupled with magic, fae, and a mysterious artifact.

Pepper Jones, in possession of a magical artifact, has been forced to flee the United States and hide in Ireland. But even in the idyllic small Irish town where she has come to reside, danger finds her, sending her on a quest to stop the Third Reich from harnessing the power of a mysterious artifact. Along the way, she learns more about her own artifact and the magical world, while evading pursuers and others who think she should be stopped.

Though I’m not familiar with Strowlers beyond the basic concept, this tie-in novel is accessible to fans and non-fans alike. There are terms and concepts from the Strowlers world that a casual reader might not immediately identify, but the story does a wonderful job of incorporating those aspects without making the casual reader feel as though they’re in over their head. The writing is fun and fast-paced, making this a very quick read! The World War II setting is meticulously researched, and the attention to detail will delight fans of history, but it also remains accessible to the non-historian!

The Dragon Stone Conspiracy will be available February 9, 2021.

The author provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for review consideration.

2021 Patreon Plans

Posted By on January 12, 2021

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 and learn about what I’m working on! I regularly post recaps and snippets of my works in progress.

I haven’t reached my first goal, which involves a monthly video of me reading one of my stories or an excerpt from a longer piece! If I get enough support, you’ll get to see my face reading my words. And I have written a great many words!

I’ve currently got plans for at least five publications in 2021: a novel, a novella, and three collections, all through DefCon One Publishing. If you back me at $3 a month or more, you’ll be getting at least FIVE ebooks this year alone!


Idea Tracking for Authors

Posted By on January 11, 2021

If you’re like me, you may often have more ideas than you know what to do with, and not enough time to implement them. But equally important to time for implementation is a method of tracking those ideas that works for you.

I keep my ideas in a lot of places: I’ve got a tag in my email, a section of the notes on my phone, and space in my writing spreadsheet (which serves a great many purposes). Some of them are just snippets of dialogue or an interesting premise. When I’m looking for something new to write, I sift through these lists of ideas to see if anything strikes my fancy.

There are certainly more efficient ways to track ideas. Getting all of my ideas in one central location would be ideal, but I haven’t found a system that works perfectly. In a perfect world, the central location would be something I could access from my phone and a web browser, so that I could add to it whether I’m at the computer or not. But my phone also isn’t always usable when I’m away from the computer (like when I’m driving), so I might need something that could take voice input. And, ultimately, I’d probably need a way to shuffle the ideas around so that perhaps a new arrangement might present a connection that I hadn’t previously thought of.

I think what I’m envisioning, as I consider this variety of needs, might be old school notecards. I might initially still record my ideas in whatever method/format I can, and then remember to transfer them to notecards regularly. Then I could shuffle up the deck of notecards and look at them in a new way.

While your needs for collecting and tracking your ideas may not match mine, hopefully I’ve given you some things to consider as possibilities for your own idea tracking!