History That Never Was

Home of Dawn Vogel: Writer, Historian, Geek

Fun for Friday: February 2019 Writing Prompts

Posted By on February 1, 2019

As January winds to a close, it’s time to start looking at writing prompts for February!

For this year, I’ve still got some love-themed prompts, but I’m also taking some in very different directions. As always, use your own interpretation of the prompts!

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. Shimmer
  2. Gray
  3. Puddle
  4. Relaxation
  5. Chartreuse
  6. Bundled
  7. Ember
  8. Organ
  9. Clean
  10. Fruit
  11. Rival
  12. Arms
  13. Lips
  14. Letter
  15. Cinder
  16. Cat
  17. Faceted
  18. Sweet
  19. Earth
  20. Bird
  21. Devotion
  22. Sugar
  23. Wish
  24. Hatred
  25. Outing
  26. Pink
  27. Weeds
  28. Irate

Next MSJ Kickstarter Launches Tomorrow

Posted By on January 31, 2019

Cover art for I Didn't Break the LampTomorrow, we launch the Kickstarter for our next Mad Scientist Journal anthology. This one is titled I Didn’t Break the Lamp: Historical Accounts of Imaginary Acquaintances, and it will features stories about imaginary friends, things that go bump in the night, monsters under the bed, and more.

If you’re interested in this sort of anthology, be sure to follow Mad Scientist Journal on Facebook or Twitter. You can also follow me on Facebook or Twitter, since I’ll be posting about it a lot as well!

(And if you’re a writer, we’ll be opening to story submissions in March, assuming that we successfully fund!)

Music Recommendations: Mika’s “Good Guys”

Posted By on January 30, 2019

Jeremy has recently become a big fan of Mika. He played me this video recently, and I fell in love with both the video and the song. It also reminded me of another favorite artist of mine from some years back, Rufus Wainwright (who I think gets a name drop in the song).


Alternate History in Unfixed Timelines

Posted By on January 29, 2019

Cover art for Unfixed TimelinesI’ve been racking up another bunch of finished historical fantasy stories, which means that sooner or later, I’ll be putting together another Unfixed Timelines collection (probably titled Unfixed Timelines 2). The exact contents will depend on sales of stories and reversions of rights, so I don’t know yet what sort of essays I’ll be writing for those stories, but I am looking forward to digging deeper into the real history to share with my readers!

In the meantime, if you’re looking for a historical fantasy fix, along with essays on the real history, check out Unfixed Timelines. It’s available in ebook and by subscription on Channillo!

If At First You Don’t Succeed …

Posted By on January 28, 2019

Samuel Beckett quoteIn recent weeks, I’ve had a couple different stories that I’ve started writing, and then realized that I was approaching it the wrong way. Either the plot was going off the rails, or it was too close to something else, or it just wouldn’t really get to the meat of the plot in any sensible way. And in both cases, I’ve stopped working on one version, started working on a different version, and wound up with stories that worked!

Even though it’s hard for writers to abandon something they’ve put a lot of work into, sometimes that is the best solution for something that isn’t working. You may still find pieces of the first version that you can work into the new version, or you may find that the first version is just a pre-writing exercise that will make the new version even better!

Fun For Friday: Lots of Etymology!

Posted By on January 25, 2019

Head Full of Ideas by Matt RobinsonIf you’re as fascinated by word origins as I am, you might like this list: Etymologically Speaking. It’s one of the more extensive lists I’ve found for word origins, plus it also does some cool things with looking at the same word in several languages, showing how those words wound up similar or very different!

Of particular note:

  • the differences in words for apples
  • connections between coffee and croissants
  • connections between work, warm, and wurst

There are a whole lot of neat things to look at in this list, whether you read through it bit by bit or just poke around to see if a favorite word is covered!

Sparx and Arrows and More in Cobalt City

Posted By on January 24, 2019

Cover art for Sparx and Arrows

The majority of my Cobalt City writing has revolved around Kara Sparx, inventor extraordinaire, and various incarnations of the Huntsman. And most of those stories can be found in Sparx and Arrows, which I published in 2016.

In 2019, I’ve got more in the works, first dealing with Gray Dawn, a sonic-based hero with a career as a pop star. One of her stories led to a crossover with some Cerulean City heroes, and I’m working on a couple of stories set in that city to round out a second collection.

In addition, I’m planning to start work on my first Cobalt City novel this year, which will bring back one of the incarnations of the Huntsman, Sarah Castile, as she embarks on her career as a spy in Hollywood. This one is going to necessitate a whole lot of research, but I’m looking forward to that, of course!

Review of Magic or Die by J. P. Jackson

Posted By on January 23, 2019

Cover art for Magic or Die

My newest book review is up at Mad Scientist Journal for Magic or Die by J. P. Jackson. It’s a fast-paced urban fantasy book with evil corporations, power magic users, and queer romance.

It’s the first in a series, and after reading this one, I’m chomping at the bit for the next one, in part because of the agonizing cliffhanger at the end of this book. But the second book should be out this year, so check out my review or head straight to get your hands on Magic or Die!

Upcoming Stories

Posted By on January 22, 2019

Milky Way

I’ve already had a couple of short story sales in 2019, which is fantastic news!

My flash fiction piece, “Brick-Red Love,” will be published in The Arcanist in April. This was one of my Drawlloween pieces that I’ve finished, and I’m happy to find it a home.

The other story I’ve sold is “Earworm,” which will appear in the Space Opera Libretti anthology that should be out around August 2019. When I saw the anthology call, I was really excited by it, but I didn’t have any good ideas at first. Then Jeremy started showing my K-pop videos for a new band he’d discovered, and suddenly, I had a story. Though the final version of the story may not entirely belie its roots, I know in my heart that I have two VERY different Korean pop girl groups to thank for the end result.

Fiction and the Changing Landscape

Posted By on January 21, 2019

Cover art for Scenes from a Quiet Apocalypse

One of the iconic aspects of Seattle transportation–the Highway 99 Viaduct–is currently being deconstructed. And that got me thinking about the way that fiction, and the landscape it’s set in, is a product of its time.

Scenes from a Quiet Apocalypse is set in Seattle, even though that’s never explicitly stated. And there’s one scene in the book where the main character would pass under the Viaduct, though it’s not called out as such. There’s another scene that would be in the shadows of the Viaduct, and that one does have the shadows a bit more prominently.

To a future reader who knows Seattle without the Viaduct, this little detail may strike them as odd. I know when I was editing a novel set in Seattle that was written a decade ago, I stumbled across a piece of geography that no longer exists. At the time the book was written, it was totally valid. Now there’s a building where the street used to run. I’ve also bounced off a novel talking about aspects of St. Louis that were not a part of my experience of the city landscape. These aspects may have been accurate once, but they certainly weren’t when I was reading it!