History That Never Was

Home of Dawn Vogel: Writer, Historian, Geek

Fun for Friday: Photo Prompt

Posted By on June 22, 2018

Electronic Superhighway by Paik Nam JuneWhile the photo in today’s photo prompt is a still photograph of a video exhibit, it’s still a really cool image, with many individual screens within a neon outline of the United States.  The piece is called “Electronic Superhighway: Continental U.S., Alaska, Hawaii,” by Paik Nam June, and it is on exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution. You can learn more about it here.

Even just looking at the still image, though, there are all sorts of ideas to be gleaned from it!

Quick Summer Reads: Heroes of Necessity

Posted By on June 21, 2018

Cover art for Heroes of NecessityIf you’re looking for short stories to enjoy this summer, check out Heroes of Necessity! This collection contains four short stories, all of which are quick reads (each story is less than 5,000 words), starring a variety of low-powered woman heroes. What’s better, you don’t need any background information to get into these stories–they each stand alone with their heroines!

The stories also include a mother dealing with her teenage daughter, college-aged women dealing with recent break-ups and hackers (not at the same time, thankfully), and a young woman dealing with the zombie apocalypse in a city of runners. And in each case, they power through, even though their powers aren’t always the traditional sort!


Music Recommendation: The Smithsfits

Posted By on June 20, 2018

Smithsfits logoOne of my good friends posted a link on Facebook to a song the other day, and it basically made my head explode in the best possible way. Somehow, I hadn’t heard of the Smithsfits until then, despite them being a mashup of two of my favorite bands.

Just imagine the jangly guitars of the Smiths paired with the horror lyrics of the Misfits. (Or, occasionally, the more rock guitars of the Misfits with the mopey lyrics of the Smiths. But trust me, the former is better.)

Or you could just listen to it.

New Story Sales!

Posted By on June 19, 2018

Mariya DolinaI’ve recently signed a couple of contracts for two of my short stories to be published!

“Happily Never After,” which is a Cobalt City-adjacent story of Gray Dawn back when she was Cassidy Sweet, the pop star, will be published at The Colored Lens later this year. This one is a fun little story about late-bloomer pop stars and being on the outside looking in when there’s a super villain attack.

“Nochnaya Serenada,” which is a story of Night Witches, opera, and fighting World War II-era Nazis, will appear at Wild Musette in October 2018! The title is in Russian, and it roughly translates to “nocturnal music.” In other words, it’s sort of the Russian version of “A Little Night Music” (“Ein kleine Nachtmusik“).

The Importance of Proofreading

Posted By on June 18, 2018

Red pen and edited manuscriptAs I mentioned last week, we discovered that there were some errors in the version of Brass and Glass 2 that had been published. It’s easy enough to fix the ebook, but there were a number of print copies that we had ordered for a couple of events that included the errors.

We were in a hurry to get these books out and ordered, and because of that, we didn’t get to proofread them as extensively as we should have. And we’ve definitely learned from this experience.

In the case of the books already printed, I decided to mark them as “special limited edition” books, and added a couple of labels that tell readers what portions they should skip over. For some of the books, I added illustrations (open source images printed out and random scraps of paper) over the erroneous text, as well. (If you’re interested in one of these special limited edition books, I’m happy to ship them. Just drop me a line to make arrangements.) But for book 3, we’re going to do a lot more double and triple checks to avoid this happening!

Fun for Friday: Interesting Facts about English

Posted By on June 15, 2018

Dictionary page for dictionaryGrammarly has a neat little article including ten interesting facts about the English language, which you can read here. In it, you can learn all about pangrams, ambigrams, and ghost words!

The most fascinating fact to me is the last one, which states that the word “girl” did not originally mean a female child, but rather a young person. I was skeptical about this, so I did some digging, and it turns out that it is correct! You can read all about the etymology of “girl” here! Also, you can now use this fun fact to impress people, which, in my mind, is half the fun of etymology!


Tonight at Brick and Mortar!

Posted By on June 14, 2018

Cover art for Brass & Glass 2Tonight’s the night! I’ll be at the Indie Author Event at Brick & Mortar Books in Redmond, 6-8 p.m., with 19 other authors! We’ll be talking about our books and signing copies of them! So please stop by if you’re in the Seattle area to find out about a whole lot of awesome books from local indie authors!

I’ll have copies of both Brass and Glass 1: The Cask of Cranglimmering and Brass and Glass 2: The Long-Cursed Map with me, so you can buy a copy and have it signed!

As a note (which I’ll talk about more later), we discovered last week that there were a few errors in the first run of Brass and Glass 2. We’re getting those fixed, but it means that the books that were at Miscon and the books that I’ll have at the event tonight are LIMITED EDITION! The ones that will be at Brick & Mortar Books are ones that I have fixed through the clever use of paper and adhesives, but they will also be numbered as special “I got this directly from the author” books. So just a little more incentive to come out tonight!

Review of As Told by Things

Posted By on June 13, 2018

Cover art for As Told by ThingsMy latest MSJ review is up today, this time for an anthology called As Told by Things! Much like it sounds, it’s a collection of stories from the perspective of inanimate objects, and it’s just as delightful as that sounds!

You can read my review here!

Unfixed Timelines

Posted By on June 12, 2018

Cover art for Unfixed TimelinesI’ve been doing more historical research at work recently, which typically means that I’ll likely come up with an idea for another alternate history story in the near future. I’ve written a total of 10 alternate history stories, roughly 18% of the stories I’ve written (and that doesn’t include my three Cobalt City stories that are set in the 1890s and 1940s-1950s).

I’ll likely collect another batch of these alternate history stories into a second collection like Unfixed Timelines, where I’ll write essays about the actual history behind my stories. But in the meantime, watch this space to see when my alternate history stories are published in magazines and anthologies!

Story Types

Posted By on June 11, 2018

Woodland structureBecause of weird gaps and other oddities in my schedule, I’ve been writing a lot more flash fiction. Flash is always an interesting exercise for me, because I have a tendency toward stories that are too big, rather than very small stories. So it’s a bit of a challenge for me sometimes.

One of the things that has helped me as I’m writing flash is to look at the MICE Quotient, originally developed by Orson Scott Card, but widely consulted by other authors as well. This breaks down stories into four different types, and elaborates on what each type of story does.

If you read through the entire page on the Mice Quotient, you’ll note a bit at the bottom that talks about the fact that any story can be retold as any type of story. The important thing to note, though, is that if you start your story promising a certain type, you have to follow through on that promise, or the story won’t work for readers.

There’s also an idea that you can nest the different types of stories, but doing so leads to longer stories. For my flash pieces, I try to pick out just one of the types and work within its strictures, rather than trying to layer them. More often than not, I go for the character or idea stories, as both of those (in my mind) lend themselves well to flash stories. But I feel like I should branch out, too, and many try some milleu or event stories that are flash!