History That Never Was

Home of Dawn Vogel: Writer, Historian, Geek

A Story from a Spooky Camp

Posted By on July 16, 2019

Cover art for Camp HauntIf you’ve got some extra time for reading this summer, and you like your summer reads to be spooky, check out Camp Haunt!

Camp Haunt grew out of my love for going to camp in the summers of my childhood, combined with a love for all of the creepy things that COULD happen at a girls’ camp on haunted ground. It’s equal parts nostalgic and spooky! Check out the blurb:

Camp Fairmarsh, founded in 1883, has a long tradition of giving teenage girls a residential camp experience. Girls spend eight weeks swimming, canoeing, horseback riding, making arts and crafts, hiking, and more. They leave camp with experiences and friendships that last a lifetime.

But for the girls who came to Camp Fairmarsh in 2003, the camp had more in store. Read their letters home, their diary entries, newspaper articles, and other camp documentation that chronicle the bizarre occurrences that summer. Find out why Camp Fairmarsh is Camp Haunt.

Camp Haunt is only available at Channillo, by subscription. But a subscription at Channillo will let you find plenty of other summer reads that you can read on your computer, tablet, or phone!


Surviving Rejection

Posted By on July 15, 2019

Samuel Beckett quoteAs someone who writes a lot of stories and poems, and submits them regularly, rejection notices are a very common part of my life. And while a series of rejections with no acceptances starts to wear on me, I’ve found that as I’ve been writing and submitting longer, it’s easier to deal with the rejections (and yet the acceptances are still exciting).

This article talks about rejections from a slightly more academic perspective, but the sentiment is still the same. The conclusion is particularly useful: “Get back to writing. Keep pressing the submit button. Keep getting rejected until you don’t.”


Fun for Friday: Three Strange Things

Posted By on July 12, 2019

Starscape showing a constellation and planet locationWhite woman with long blond hair playing electric guitarDrawing in blues and pinks on black background of an alchemical or magical symbol
This week’s three things are a little on the strange side, especially when grouped together. What on Earth (or maybe not on Earth?) could a starscape, a guitarist, and a strange symbol have to do with one another?

(Images are a starscape showing a constellation and marking a planet, a white woman with long blonde hair playing electric guitar, and an alchemical or magical symbol drawn in blues and pinks on a black background.)


What’s New on My Patreon?

Posted By on July 11, 2019

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!

If you back it, you get the opportunity to see some of the things I’m working on in various stages in the process. Sometimes it’s snippets from a short story or novel, and sometimes it’s a little bit of poetry, as I’m writing a lot more poems lately.

If I get enough patrons, I’ll also start doing audio versions of some of my stories, poems, or excerpts from longer pieces. So 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’ll also have a new self-published collection of fantasy stories out in August, which means a $3 a month pledge gets you an ebook copy as soon as it’s ready!

Review of The Imaginary Corpse by Tyler Hayes

Posted By on July 10, 2019

Cover art for The Imaginary CorpseMy latest review for Mad Scientist Journal is up, today for a wonderful noir detective story with imaginary friends, called The Imaginary Corpse by Tyler Hayes. If this sounds like a weird mashup of genres, I can assure you that it both is, and that it is also SO perfect. The book is filled with imaginative characters and settings, which both provide a fun twist on the noir detective story and also shine in making this not your typical noir novel.

You can check out my review here, and/or pre-order the book, which doesn’t come out until September 10!

Locus Weekend Recap!

Posted By on July 9, 2019

Woman in a sixteenth or seventeenth century dress on a cloudy background standing in water ripplesI spent the weekend at the end of June at the Locus weekend events, which was a fun time! I got to hear some great readings by Amal el-Mohtar (from This is How You Lose the Time War, which she co-wrote with Max Gladstone, and which I am super excited to read) and Connie Willis (from a novel-in-progress, The Road to Roswell). Then I hung out with some folks I knew and others I didn’t know at the Clarion West party that night.

Saturday was filled with panels and the Locus Awards banquet. The first panel was on historical fantasy, which hit upon many things I’ve learned in writing in that genre. One of the biggest ones was that sometimes you find something that is SO weird that you can’t include it, because no one would believe it. (Or, if you’re me, you take that weirdness and turn it into an entire story!) The other topic of interest to me was about using period language versus just using a few bits for flavor. The panelists made a compelling case for the latter, since when you’re writing something, you want the audience to be able to understand it easily, or they’ll bounce off of it. So while the thous and forsooths might be the right language for a speaker in that time period, they’re better as flavor bits, rather than the whole dish.

The second panel was on magic systems and making them work. One of the biggest take-aways here was that if you’re writing a series with magic, think out the repercussions early and often so you don’t write yourself into a hole. As a corollary to this idea, though, was making sure your characters never know everything about magic in your world, because then you can fudge things by just having them believe something that turns out to not be accurate.

The awards banquet was a lot of fun, and I got to sit with some old friends and make some new ones. We also each had a STACK of books at our place setting, and we were able to trade them around so that we all went home with the books we wanted. I went home with five novels and a magazine, which I now have to find time to read!

Balancing Productivity and Burn-Out

Posted By on July 8, 2019

Writer at work on a typewriterI turned the Fourth of July holiday into a long weekend by taking Friday off, and I gave myself a lengthy to-do list for the four-day weekend. I’m pleased to say that I made it through the list, but there were a few times when looking at it made me feel a bit overwhelmed, like maybe I should have given myself less to do.

In the end, I wound up working most of Thursday and a little longer on Friday, followed by a shorter day on Saturday and a much shorter day on Sunday, since we had some plans with friends. And while it was good to have those two big productive days, I also had to make sure that I didn’t wind up working so hard that I got burned out and unable to finish the rest of my list.

I mostly accomplished this by alternating working with breaks. Often, these breaks were still in front of my computer (looking at social media or doing other non-writing computer tasks), so I made myself get up every now and then and do something that didn’t involve looking at a screen. In a perfect world, some of those breaks would have been short walks outside, but that didn’t wind up happening.

I can’t say that it was the most relaxing of four-day weekends, but I managed to knock out a lot of work, which keeps me on top of my goals. And since those goals are often biting off a little bit more than I can comfortably chew, it’s nice to have a chance now and then to focus primarily on writing for a few days rather than juggling it into everything else I need to get done!

Fun for Friday: Ridiculous Generators for Story Ideas

Posted By on July 5, 2019

It seems like there’s a new ridiculous generator popping up on Facebook every other week these days. They might tell you how to make a B-movie title based on your initials or birthdate or something similar. Sometimes they just give you a new name. Other times, they can suggest to you an entire plot.

The latest one I’ve seen is the Tony-Winning Musical Generator from Electric Literature (which has produced a few of these great memes). You’ll get a weird genre, plot, and setting all in one! Some of these really could be the next big hit, whether they’re musicals or novels!

Coming Soon: Denizens of Distant Realms

Posted By on July 4, 2019

Graffiti of a mermaid with hair like tentaclesI’m getting ready to launch my next short story collection, which will be called Denizens of Distant Realms, and feature six of my secondary world (meaning set in worlds that are definitely not our own) fantasy short stories. Within its pages, you’ll find dragons, cats, witches, magical items, demons, and, of course, mermaids.

I’ll have a cover reveal and blurb for the book coming soon, and I’ll let you know when it’s available to pre-order!

What I’m Reading, Watching, and Listening To, July 2019

Posted By on July 3, 2019

Clip art of headphones, TV screen, and cat reading a sheet of paperReading: Slush for Mad Scientist Journal, books for review, and re-reading stories for I Didn’t Break the Lamp as we proofread them. The slush will go into the final issues of Mad Scientist Journal, and the book reviews will be posted there too. I Didn’t Break the Lamp will be out in October!

Watching: Season 3 of Jessica Jones and Season 1 of The Magicians. We haven’t gotten very far with either of these.

Listening To: Mostly Pentagon and (G)I-dle, after watching them appear on a Korean variety show together. We’re seeing Pentagon in September, so I’ve been listening to their songs a lot!