History That Never Was

Home of Dawn Vogel: Writer, Historian, Geek

Winter Reads: Kensei

Posted By on December 19, 2018

Cover art for Kensei

Teenage life plus being a superhero? That’s a tough break! But in Jeremy Zimmerman’s Kensei, the titular character deals with both (and more). She’s got to protect her city, navigate her first relationship, and figure out what’s going on with this weird gossip blog that’s disrupting her school.

If you’re a fan of young adult books a little outside the ordinary tropes, definitely check out Kensei by Jeremy Zimmerman. There’s also a sequel and four serial stories that follow, plus there’s more on the horizon for this awesome superhero!

Winter Reads: Unfixed Timelines

Posted By on December 18, 2018

Cover art for Unfixed Timelines

If you’re a fan of history and alternate histories, check out Unfixed Timelines! Within, you’ll find a mix of short alternate history stories and essays about the real history that the stories are based on. There are zombies and aliens and witchcraft and more, but there are also notes on a regiment during the Civil War, early archaeology, and towns in the disputed Oklahoma Panhandle.

I love writing alternate history just as much as I like doing the research to get the details just right. If you’re the same, you’ll love Unfixed Timelines!

Ignoring Bad Writing Advice

Posted By on December 17, 2018

Who wrote these rules?

If you search for writing advice on the internet, you’ll find all sorts of suggestions. But many of them aren’t applicable across the board, though they’re treated like they are.

“You must write every day.” “You must not use ‘said’ too many times.” “You must only write what you know.”

When writing advice is treated like rules, it can really impact your ability to write. And while maybe there’s a kernel of truth in some of these pieces of advice for some authors, they are definitely not one size fits all.

For example, you see the “don’t use ‘said’ too many times” advice a lot. But maybe for you that doesn’t mean “replace ‘said’ with other words.” Maybe it means “see if there are places where you can indicate action instead of using ‘he/she/they said’ to attribute dialogue.”

This article gives some pieces of bad writing advice and why they aren’t a good idea. Most apply to fiction, though there are a couple for memoirs tossed in as well.

The simplest advice regarding bad advice is that you can certainly read writing advice that you come across, but you shouldn’t trust in it wholeheartedly. You should evaluate it critically, both in terms of why someone might give that advice, and how it might apply to your individual writing. And then, it might actually help you learn something new!

Fun for Friday: Short Story Ideas

Posted By on December 14, 2018

A blank pageIf you’re looking for some creative short story prompts, I’ve found a list of 72 at Bookfox! There are some for nearly any genre you can think of, and some that could be used in a multitude of different genres with just a few tweaks. The ideas are each a sentence or more, giving all sorts of great details without writing out the stories for you. So if you’re out of ideas, check these out!

Winter Reads: Young Explorer’s Adventure Guide Volume 5

Posted By on December 13, 2018

Cover art for Young Explorer's Adventure GuideIf you’re looking for a great read for a younger reader, or if you prefer to read things in the middle grade/young adult genres yourself, Young Explorer’s Adventure Guide Volume 5 is now available in print and ebook!

I’ve got a new short story in this volume, “The Magnificent Matter of the Mischievous Monkey,” which is a story featuring the Marsh sisters, who were in my story “The Recondite Riddle of the Rose Rogue” and my novella The Trouble with the Tick-Tock Tabby. I’ve read a few volumes of this anthology, and they’re always filled with fun stories for anyone who enjoys middle grate and young adult speculative fiction!


Review of Terra! Tara! Terror!

Posted By on December 12, 2018

Cover art for Terra! Tara! Terror!

My latest book review is up at Mad Scientist Journal, this one for Terra! Tara! Terror!, a wide-ranging anthology of sci-fi, fantasy, and horror stories!

In addition to new stories from authors, the book includes a couple of reprinted pieces. To my delight, one of them was “Annabel Lee” by Edgar Allan Poe, and the book also features and a story that goes with the Poe poem.

You can see what I thought of the anthology here, or you can get your hands on the book directly to see what you think!

Winter Reads: Volatile Figments

Posted By on December 11, 2018

Cover art for Volatile FigmentsIf you like your holiday reading on the darker side of things, check out my short story collection, Volatile Figments. Within, you’ll find six short stories in the dark contemporary fantasy camp. The description for this book reads:

Dani finds the new director in her college theater department more than a little unnerving, but she has barely scratched the surface on just how weird things are about to get. Lucy just wanted a date for homecoming, not the heaps of trouble her wish cookie has stirred up in her high school. Unable to find the inspiration for a performance for her dance troupe, Mia calls upon a muse and gets far more than she bargained for. Mikayla feels bad about having drifted away from her BFF Ashley, but Ashley’s new lifestyle may be more than Mikayla can handle. Julia doesn’t know how she came to be bound to a painting in a hotel, but she’s about to find out how to break the curse. And Seattle homicide detective Moira O’Connelly has more than a suspicion that a recent arson is tied to an orphanage fire years ago. But how the young psychic who calls herself Cassie is connected is not what she was expecting to find.

The supernatural abounds in this collection of six dark contemporary fantasy short stories by author Dawn Vogel. Stories staring teenage witches and ageless childlike ghosts sit side by side with those featuring normal women confronting eldritch gods, muses, ghouls, and mad scientists. Everyone’s got problems, and these characters are dealing with more than their fair share!

You can find Volatile Figments in ebook format on Amazon!

The Writer’s Book of Doubt

Posted By on December 10, 2018

Reasonable doubt street sign

There’s a book of writing advice currently funding on Kickstarter called The Writer’s Book of Doubt. It includes essays by a number of up-and-coming and well-known speculative fiction authors, and it looks like it’s going to be a delightful read. It won’t be out in time for holiday gift giving this year, but it might be something to back now so you can give it to yourself or a writer friend when it releases!

The Kickstarter runs through December 13th, so be sure to back soon!

Fun for Friday: Red Pandas Eating!

Posted By on December 7, 2018

Hey, we can’t always have writing-related content, right? Today’s Fun for Friday is this 2 1/2 minute long video of red pandas at our local zoo having some food. This is a momma and her two daughters, who were born at the zoo this summer. The red pandas are some of my favorite critters to watch at the zoo, and these little girls are far more active than their parents. So it’s exciting to see them in action!


Winter Reads: Scenes from a Quiet Apocalypse

Posted By on December 6, 2018

Cover art for Scenes from a Quiet ApocalypseProbably my most unusual book to date, Scenes from a Quiet Apocalypse uses an abnormal structure compared to my other books. What emerges is a story told in snippets, painting a picture of how the “survivors” react in a world that has suddenly gone silent.

If you enjoy post-apocalyptic tales with a diverse cast of characters and containing a ray of hope, you might enjoy Scenes from a Quiet Apocalypse. This book is only available in ebook format.