History That Never Was

Home of Dawn Vogel: Writer, Historian, Geek

Two New Poems Out!

Posted By on January 21, 2020

I have two new poems out this past week!

“Play with Us,” a poem that tells the story of interspecies interaction in connection with a sport, is at Eye to the Telescope. This was one of the poems I write during August of this past year, as part of Write Like You’re Alive 2019.

“Motes and Morsels,” a poem about an awkward scientist finding love, is in the latest issue of Apparition Lit. I wrote this one based on a list of word prompts in which we were challenged to use the words in a poem without defining them. The challenge was to use at least one. The joking “bonus round” was to use all of them. I managed a handful.

Writing Your Back of the Book Blurb

Posted By on January 20, 2020

I was recently talking with another author about book synopses and back of the book blurbs, and while I don’t have a lot of experience with the former (yet!), I have written a few blurbs for my books and helped others write theirs.

This article give a good list of tips for writing a book blurb. While some of the ideas are a bit more geared toward writing a book blurb for a non-fiction book, there’s stuff for fiction writers to learn here as well. I particularly like the idea of writing more than one blurb for the same book and seeing which one your friends and family are more attracted to.

If you’re not quite at the point where you’re ready to write back of the book blurbs for your own books, you can try out your hand with writing a “book” blurb for a movie you’ve seen, as though it was a book. This can give you some good practice with the basic elements of writing a book blurb and summarizing things concisely.

Fun for Friday: A Weird Historical Tidbit

Posted By on January 17, 2020

For today’s Fun for Friday, I’m posting something a little different. Despite having studied the Civil War fairly extensively, I never knew that the Confederacy considered attacking the Union using helicopters. Had their plan succeeded, the Civil War could have turned out quite differently, as neither side had a strong air presence. Had one side or the other developed an aircraft suitable for bombing runs, the war might have ended sooner.

As the article notes, the plans for the helicopter would not have actually worked, given the technological constraints of the time. But that doesn’t mean that they wouldn’t work in a fictional setting. Having a mid-nineteenth century functional helicopter could have had an impact on all sorts of history. It’s a great “what if” jumping off point for historical fiction!

The Brass and Glass Series

Posted By on January 16, 2020

I’m very proud of the Brass and Glass series because it’s a series. Most of what I write outside of the Cobalt City universe is stand-alone, so it doesn’t require a lot of double-checking and cross-referencing of what I’ve written before. For this series, I kept track of places and people and things so that the whole series works well together. (I had assorted post-it notes with information about ship parts and how the controls worked on The Silent Monsoon, among other things.)

If you like steampunk, action and adventure, or the Firefly TV show, there’s likely something for you to love in the Brass and Glass series. All of the books are available as ebooks or in print, so check them out!

Brass and Glass: The Cask of Cranlimmering

Brass and Glass 2: The Long-Cursed Map

Brass and Glass 3: The Boiling Sea


Music Recommendation: Ambient Worlds

Posted By on January 15, 2020

Since I do a lot of writing and editing, I’m always on the lookout for good background music–the sort that keeps my brain happy with some sound, but that’s not too distracting.

Ambient Worlds on YouTube is perfect for this. I love listening to the Harry Potter-themed tracks, which are generally tranquil and comforting. But I’ve also branched out to a few of the tracks for things that I haven’t watched (like Game of Thrones) because they keep my brain working but in a different way!


“Earworm” out in Space Opera Libretti!

Posted By on January 14, 2020

Coming out in the last minute of 2019 means that it took me a little while to have the space to post about it, but my story, “Earworm” is now out in Space Opera Libretti, an anthology that involves both space and opera!

Back when I announced the sale of this story, I mentioned that it was inspired by some K-pop videos. So if you want to set the right stage for reading my story, the two videos you will want to check out are “Brave New World” by the Brown Eyed Girls, and “BDZ” by Twice. (Yes, the version of BDZ I’m linking to is in Japanese, because that’s how I first heard the song.)

Poetry Forms: Glosa

Posted By on January 13, 2020

The glosa or glose is known as a Spanish form, though I haven’t been able to find any information about its origins other than it being a medieval Spanish form. The basic rules are simple: take a quatrain (four lines) from another poem, and use each of those lines as the final line in a ten-line stanza. Meter often matches that of the original poem, but it doesn’t have to. Some sites suggest that there’s a rhyme scheme (that the 6th and 9th lines should rhyme with the 10th line), but others do not. (This is made more confusing by the example on the latter site, which does follow the rhyme scheme but doesn’t mention it as a rule.)

Because this poem form borrows from another poem, it’s a bit like a golden shovel poem. Much like that form, however, you can get interesting results by taking your poem in a very different direction from the original. It’s all in the lines you choose and how you make the rest of the lines work with or subvert them!

I’ve got my own glosa published in the WLYA 2019 anthology  called “The Final Winter,” which is a glosa of Robert Frost’s “Nothing Gold Can Stay.”

Fun for Friday: Three Winter Images

Posted By on January 10, 2020

Time for another three images for inspiration! This week, they’re winter related or adjacent.

The first photo shows a squirrel with something in its mouth. The squirrel is lightly dusted with snow, standing on slightly disturbed snow.

The second photo shows a rock with a number of long cracks/splits in its surface, from a thaw/freeze cycle. The rock is on a green and gray background of mosses and lichens, with some other rocks nearby.

The third photo shows a melted red, white, and blue “rocket pop” style popsicle, which is lying on cracked gray pavement.

New Year, Still the Same Patreon!

Posted By on January 9, 2020

Link to my PatreonHave you checked out my Patreon lately?  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. I’d love to have the chance to do more readings, and while I could do them anyway, I’d like them to be a special treat!

I’ve also got plans to self-publish two collections in 2020, which I’ll talk about more later. There may also be some additional self-published books this year. A $3 a month pledge gets you ebook copies of my new self-published works as soon as they come out!

What I’m Reading, Watching, and Listening To, Early January 2020

Posted By on January 8, 2020

Clip art of headphones, TV screen, and cat reading a sheet of paperReading: Working my way through Chilling Effect by Valerie Valdez, which I started reading from the library and then had to return. Now I have it on my Kindle.

Watching: Aside from seeing Star Wars IX: The Rise of Skywalker on Christmas Day and finally watching Jupiter Ascending right at the end of 2019 (and rewatching Hackers, which Jeremy had not previously seen), we’ve mostly just been watching She-Ra when we have a few spare minutes. The shorter episodes work well right now.

Listening To: My usual K-pop, but there’s not much new lately. But two of my faves covered “Into the Unknown” from Frozen 2, and I’m slightly obsessed with that song right now. Pentagon does an acapella version, and N-Flying does an almost metal-ish version.