History That Never Was

Home of Dawn Vogel: Writer, Historian, Geek

Winston Churchill on Failure

Posted By on November 6, 2017

Winston Churchill quoteHaving gotten a couple of rejections that stung pretty hard last week, this seems like a good bit of advice to open up this week with.

Winston Churchill said: “Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.”

This is extremely true for authors. Not everything you write is going to be golden, and some things will be outright failures. But you have to maintain your enthusiasm even in the face of those failures, or you’ll never get anywhere!

Fun for Friday: Mystery Words!

Posted By on November 3, 2017

The word mystery and a fingerprintMore fun for us word nerds! This article compiles a list of fifteen common English words for which the etymology cannot be determined.

What’s mind boggling to me is that several of the words on the list go together well, meaning there are whole phrases that are commonly used that people don’t know the etymology behind. For example, “big bad dog.” The etymologies behind all three of those words are unknown! (“good,” on the other hand, has a solid origin story.)

There are likely a lot more words out there with unknown etymologies, but this short list is a fun one to start with! Where might these words have come from? Maybe that’s an idea for a story!

The Relief of Sending a Book to Editors

Posted By on November 2, 2017

Cover for Brass & Glass Book OneI finished off the first draft of Brass and Glass Book 2 at the beginning of September, and turned around a second draft by mid-October. Then it went off to a handful of beta readers, so that I could frantically incorporate some of their changes and send it off to my editors at Razorgirl Press.

And I did it. It’s done!

Or, rather, the first step is done. They’ve got my fairly polished manuscript, and I’ve got myself a little bit of breathing room to work on a book I need to edit, and a revision of another of my books. Then I’ll get back into Svetlana’s world in January.

So while it’s a great relief to have one more book off my plate, I know there’s plenty of work to do. And that includes reminding people that the first book exists, and I would love more readers and more reviews!

Review of Of Rooks & Ravens

Posted By on November 1, 2017

Cover art for Of Rooks & RavensIn September, I posted an interview with Nathan Crowder about his new book, Of Rooks & Ravens. Now, I’ve just written a review of the same book for Mad Scientist Journal.

You can check out my review here, and you can find his book on Amazon!


October 2017 recap

Posted By on October 31, 2017

My black cat meets a plastic bird skeleton

Halloween kitty and his new bird friend

By the numbers:

Stories out at the beginning of the month: 25
Acceptances received: 1
Rejections received: 21
Stories withdrawn: 0
Resubmissions: 23
New Submissions: 2
Stories out at the end of the month: 27

October has been a very productive month. On top of doing a lot of work on Brass and Glass Book 2, I’ve also completed two new short stories–monsters and arcology–and have started them on the rounds of submissions. I pulled one other story out of my not-in-circulation pile, as I found a good potential home for it. And there’s one story that I pulled from circulation because I’ve run out of good markets to send it to, but it’s a reprint that’s also in one of my collections, so I feel like it’s done good work and is probably ready to take a break. I also had one acceptance, but the ink is still wet on that one, so I’ll announce it later!

I worked some on monkey!, but it’s not quite done yet. I’ve got to finish up the first draft today, though, so that I can keep it on schedule. But we completed our rewrite of AustenWorld, just in time for the convention that it’s going to be playtested at (first playtest being on Thursday!) And I wrote a couple of book reviews, too.

In November, we start things off with a convention and then I have a couple of craft shows. So it’s traditionally a difficult month for me to get writing done, which is why I’m skipping NaNoWriMo this year. I’m still planning on getting stuff done, just not a new novel!

So the work to be done is:

  • Copyediting on a book that DefCon One will be publishing in the spring.
  • Working on my next collection of short stories.
  • Finishing monkey!
  • Getting a first draft of a rewritten story (“matryoshka”) done.
  • Another book review.

It’s a little less ambitious than some of my previous months, but I think it’s a good pile of things for November.

Maintaining a Blog Presence

Posted By on October 30, 2017

Blog post screenFor many writers, maintaining a blog presence is a scary prospect. But if you’re a writer, you’ve likely got plenty to say, and a blog can be a great way to attract potential new readers. The tricks are providing interesting content and maintaining a schedule.

You might have noticed that I’ve got a bit of a regularly scheduled line-up on my blog. Mondays, I offer up some words of wisdom about a writing-related topic (like this one!). Fridays, I like to have a bit of fun with “Fun for Friday.” Wednesdays, I promote other writers, books, comics, or whatever strikes my fancy. And that leaves Tuesdays and Thursdays for me to talk about my own projects, advertise my books, talk about places you can find my writing, and the like–self promotion, in other words.

Is it hard to keep this up week after week? Sure! Sometimes, I don’t have great ideas for advice I can offer, or I haven’t finished reading anything new recently, or any other plethora of issues with planning out my content. But having the regular schedule line-up helps a lot. And you can certainly diverge from posting every weekday–post some on the weekends, post every other day, whatever works!

Whether my content is interesting or not, I can’t be entirely sure. But I try to post things that I would want to read about, in the hopes that other people will find that content interesting too. And I suppose that means I’m entertaining at least one person! This can be rough too, as a fairly new blogger, when you feel like you’re just screaming into the wind.

But you can’t find any new readers for your blog or your fiction if your blog has no posts at all. So it’s worth it to set up a schedule and fill your blog with content, so anyone interested in your writing can see more of it there!

Fun for Friday: More Spooky Writing Prompts!

Posted By on October 27, 2017

Pumpkin with googly eyes

Since my last batch of spooky writing prompts had quite a few on the darker side of things, I decided to lighten it up this week with 7 Quick Halloween Writing Prompts that are designed for younger writers. This batch has plenty with a good Halloween theme, and they only need to be dark and spooky if that’s the direction you want to take them! Enjoy!

An Offer for New Patreon Backers

Posted By on October 26, 2017

Link to my PatreonHave you checked out my Patreon recently? No? What’s keeping you?

If it sweetens the pot, here’s a little deal for you! Any new backers who pledge at the $3 a month or higher level before October 31st will get a copy of my latest collection, Volatile Figments. This already went out to my existing backers, which means that normally, the only way that you can get it is to buy it for your Kindle. But if you’d like to get it directly from me, and promise your support in coming months, I’ll send you a copy of it after you pledge!


Spooky Reads: Utter Fabrication

Posted By on October 25, 2017

Utter Fabrication cover artHave you checked out Utter Fabrication yet? I may be biased, as one of the editors, but I think this is a great collection of slightly spooky stories, perfect for a little pre-Halloween reading. There are also light-hearted pieces mixed in with the spooky, so you won’t be completely scared while reading it.

You can buy Utter Fabrication in hard copy or ebook at Amazon and many other fine retailers!

“The Glorious Dead” reprinted in The Misbehaving Dead

Posted By on October 24, 2017

Cover art for The Misbehaving DeadMy story of Civil War soldiers and zombies, “The Glorious Dead,” has been reprinted in The Misbehaving Dead, an anthology of stories about dead things that won’t stay dead and buried.

My story involves a little bit of voodoo gone wrong, along with a fragment from an actual soldier’s diary while he was at Vicksburg. If that sounds like something you’d enjoy, be sure to check it out!