History That Never Was

Home of Dawn Vogel: Writer, Historian, Geek

Fun for Friday: December Writing Prompts

Posted By on November 30, 2018

December writing promptsDecember begins tomorrow, which seems far too near. But it also means that this year is almost over, which is something of a relief.

The prompts this month are taken from December holidays and words associated with winter.

As always, feel free to interpret the words in the way you like. I’ve tossed in some fun ones for that this month!

Check back on the last Friday of each month (or occasionally the first day of a new month, when that falls on a Friday) for my History That Never Was writing prompts!

Text version of the prompts:

  1. Bauble
  2. Dreidel
  3. Holly
  4. Bleak
  5. List
  6. Shoes
  7. Toboggan
  8. Scarf
  9. Ribbon
  10. Mittens
  11. Workshop
  12. Evergreen
  13. Icicle
  14. Festive
  15. Cold
  16. Nutcracker
  17. Firewood
  18. Decorations
  19. Eggnog
  20. Insulation
  21. Sleigh
  22. Wind
  23. Gingerbread
  24. Reindeer
  25. Celebrate
  26. Kinara
  27. Myrrh
  28. Gift
  29. Elves
  30. Cider
  31. Ringing

Winter Reads: Heroes of Necessity

Posted By on November 29, 2018

Cover art for Heroes of NecessityIf you like superheroes who are more inclined to use their minds and their hearts than their fists, Heroes of Necessity might be right up your alley!

Heroes of Necessity presents four of my short stories about women with minimal superpowers helping out the world on a small scale. There’s a mom dealing with family drama, one college student dealing with a supernatural hacker, another college student coping with her newfound ability to save lives, and a young woman finding her place in a world with zombies.

Heroes of Necessity is a fun read for when you’re looking for something short and sweet to consume!

Winter Reads: Cobalt City: Ties That Bind

Posted By on November 28, 2018

Cover art for Ties that BindIf your interests in books range toward women protagonists tackling issues that are relevant in today’s world, but with a bit of superheroics thrown into the mix, you should definitely check out Cobalt City: Ties That Bind by Nathan Crowder.

This book features long-time Cobalt City superhero Velvet, in a team-up with a newer arrival to the cape and cowl scene, Bantam. Together, they crack down on a human trafficking ring in Cobalt City. This book confronts some difficult topics, but it does so gracefully. Some may find it a hard read due to subject matter.

If you’ve already read Cobalt City: Ties That Bind, I’d also recommend checking out some of Nathan’s other books, like Ride Like the Devil (a motorcycle race on the West Coast with a mystery or two on the periphery) or Of Rooks and Ravens (gothic fantasy with necromancers)!

Winter Reads: Sparx & Arrows

Posted By on November 27, 2018

Cover art for Sparx & ArrowsIf you’re looking for some exciting short stories to read as the days and night get colder and longer in the Northern Hemisphere, why not check out Sparx & Arrows? It’s got three stories featuring three different incarnations of the Huntsman and three stories featuring Kara Sparx (the trick is that one story features both!). It’s also got a handful of other Cobalt City heroes who pop up, including Snowflake and Kensei!

This book makes a great gift for people who like superheroes, historical fiction, and clockwork ex-presidents. (As Nate has said, “The presidential fandom is weird.”)

Sparx & Arrows is available at Amazon in ebook and print formats!

Running with What Life Throws at You

Posted By on November 26, 2018

Calendar page for FebruaryIf you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you might have noticed that I’m very organized and have pretty set routines.

Last week was Thanksgiving, which meant houseguests (my sister and her boyfriend arrived on Tuesday and left Friday morning), a day off work, and otherwise abnormal plans. And then I had an enormous craft show on Saturday and Sunday that took up most of my days and left me exhausted at night. This is all stuff that throws me out of my routines, and thus off my groove.

As much as I thrive on organization and routines, I’ve learned to adapt to those periods of time when things are not normal. So maybe I didn’t get much writing done last week, but I got to visit a place in Seattle I’d never been, play a few games we rarely play, cook some of my favorite foods, and sell my crafts to like-minded people. Sure, none of those things are words on a page, but they help refill the well where the words come from.

So all those times when your plans have to change, just remember that you can sometimes get more word out of the future by taking what life throws at you in stride.

Fun for Friday: Letterlocking

Posted By on November 23, 2018

Example of a locked letterInstead of the usual prompts or etymology this week, I’m sharing a neat article that I found on Atlas Obscura about letterlocking. In a time before there were envelopes, this was the technique used to keep letters secure from prying eyes, or at least to alert the recipient if the letter they were receiving had been tampered with. It reminds me of the elaborate ways we used to fold our notes in grade school and high school, but even better, because letterlocking actually was a security feature, not just a clever way to sneak your notes around the classroom.

Different authors used different techniques of letterlocking, and some may have even had unique styles that were not replicated. The Atlas Obscura article talks more about the people studying letterlocking and all of the neat things they’ve found in the process of their study.

Winter Reads: Cross & Circle

Posted By on November 22, 2018

Cover art for Cross and CircleCross & Circle isn’t just a great winter read, it’s also set during the winter months! It’s an exciting paranormal mystery novella with elements of anthropology and comparative cultural studies. In a lot of ways, it’s my love letter to academia bundled up in a slightly weird package.

If this sounds up your alley, you can find Cross & Circle in ebook format on Amazon!

Winter Reads: Rites & Desires

Posted By on November 21, 2018

Cover art for Rites & DesiresDo you prefer your leading ladies both wicked and lovable (even if they wouldn’t call themselves lovable)? You might just adore Rites & Desires by Amanda Cherry. Set in the Cobalt City Universe, this book is the first in that universe to feature a villain as the protagonist, and Ruby Killingsworth is the best kind of villain. You’ll find yourself delighting in her wickedness and rooting for her, and then suddenly realize you’re cheering for the ruthless record executive.

Rites & Desires also includes some of the other Cobalt City heroes, particularly Stardust, who becomes Ruby’s love interest over the course of the book. It’s a whole different side of Cobalt City’s most iconic hero and all-around Boy Scout! You can pick up Rites & Desires on Amazon in ebook or print formats! It’s a great gift for yourself or someone who’d like to read a different side of super heroes!

My 2018 Publications

Posted By on November 20, 2018

Woodland structureWith the proliferation of awards posts popping up across the internet, I went back and looked over what I’ve had published this year and what I’ve written this year, because I started feeling like I hadn’t done much. Turns out (go figure), my brain is a filthy liar.

Sales and Publications:
I’ve sold 11 pieces (short stories, flash fiction, and poetry) this year, 9 of which have been published this year (or will be before the end of the year). I also had 3 stories that I sold in 2017 that were published in 2018, for a total of 12 stories published. Four of these were reprints, and the other eight are listed below!

To Make Haste,” podcast at The Overcast (February 2018).

There are Still Dragons in London, Saint George,” Liquid Imagination (February 2018). (poem)

“Happily Never After,” published in The Colored Lens (July 2018). (online here)

“Parcel Post,” published in Frostfire Worlds (August 2018).

“The Cobbler’s Daughter,” published in MYTHIC Mag (Summer 2018).

“At Least No One Else Will Suffer,” published in Factor Four Magazine (October 2018). (flash fiction)

“Nochnaya Serenada,” published in Wild Musette (October 2018).

“The Marvelous Matter of the Mischievous Monkey,” to be published in Young Explorer’s Adventure Guide, vol. 5 (forthcoming, December 2018).

I also had two books out this year: Scenes from a Quiet Apocalypse (novella, DefCon One) and Brass and Glass 2: The Long-Cursed Map (novel, Razorgirl Press).

I’ve written 37 new pieces. 10 of them were short stories, 5 were poems, and the other 22 were flash fiction. All told, it’s over 50,000 words combined. I’ve got 7 more stories that I’m hoping to have done by the end of the year, which will amount to probably 5 shorts and 2 more flash. (A couple of the stories are sitting near the borderline right now, and I don’t know which way they’ll fall.)

Of the stories I wrote this year, two of the shorts and two of the flash pieces are among my sales. One of those shorts and one of the flash pieces will not be out in 2018, but “At Least No One Else Will Suffer” and “Nochnaya Serenada” were the other two, written and sold in 2018.

And I’ve written the bulk of two novels, already done first pass edits on one, and I’ll have first pass edits done on the second before the end of the year. My editors at Razorgirl Press have the first, which will be the final book in the Brass and Glass series. The second is probably going to go out to beta readers at the beginning of 2019 and then maybe hunting for an agent. *gulp*

Learning from Other Authors

Posted By on November 19, 2018

CyborgI recently came across a great article by Forrest Brazeal, a relatively new author working in the speculative fiction genre, talking about his experiences writing and publishing short fiction. There’s a lot of fantastic knowledge imparted in this brief article, and it’s interesting to see this topic from the perspective of someone who is new to the publishing world.

One of the bits I found most interesting was him talking about the writing process in relation to what a music teacher had once told him:

I had a music teacher who used to ask: “Did you practice ten hours, or just the same hour ten times?” When I took time to evaluate my work and deliberately build on it, I improved faster than just by vomiting words indiscriminately onto the page.

And while I am the sort of author who writes a lot, I also like to think that I’m building on what I’ve written before, even as I am producing a lot of words!

You can check out the rest of the article on his blog!