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We’ll Be Back

The blog will return to normal tomorrow. We’re taking a mental health break today. After all, we are “mad” geniuses. Bwahahahahaha. (Not really geniuses, at least not me, but a mental health day is good for all of us.)

Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

Book Review: Conflict

In the too-many weeks since I’ve been well enough to write (if you’re interested, continual nausea shuts off my creative mind, just as constant pain does to other people) I’ve tried to keep a tiny bit of the Muse interested by looking at books on writing technique. OK, most of them get walled before I’m more than 20% in, usually because they are based on blanket prescriptions that I don’t agree with. But in the most recent survey I did come across one book that interested me all the way through and that inspired me to make copious notes. Read more

Of Common Earth

I’ll happily agree with Sarah that I’ve got no real idea about how stratified societies work. I can sort of fake it with enough research, but I don’t have that bone-deep knowledge that goes with growing up in a culture where your parents – or more specifically your father’s – name dictates what opportunities you have and how you should behave.

It’s something that Americans and Australians (there are others, but these are the ones I know about) find utterly alien. The average Aussie would have the same reaction to discovering that someone was of royal descent as they would to learning that someone had a notorious highwayman or any other interesting person in their ancestry, namely, “Oh, wow, that’s interesting!” I rather suspect the average American would respond similarly. After all, interesting ancestors can make for good stories. Read more

From the Author’s Bookshelf

Recently, I’ve been reading the collected short stories of Pat McManus, because I needed something light and funny. For those of the audience who aren’t familiar with this author, Patrick F. McManus was a writer of short, humorous stories that mostly deal with the outdoors- hunting, fishing, camping, and the like. He was born during the Great Depression and died about a year ago, having written ten or so collections of shorts that mostly started out as articles in outdoor magazines, as well as a series of crime novels. He also taught creative writing and journalism, back when that actually meant something.

But as I said, he died last year. So, why the eulogy? Well, it’s partly because I’m rereading his works now. Also, I finally persuaded my husband to pick up my copy of Never Sniff a Gift Fish. I wasn’t sure if it’d be to his taste, but he seems to enjoy the stories, so, having corrupted the only other human I see on a regular basis, I’m now searching for new and innocent minds. You guys fit the bill. Okay, maybe not the ‘innocent’ part, but close enough. Read more

Covering the Historical Mystery

Hi.  I’m Sarah Hoyt, and I’m finally returning to my cover series.  If you don’t remember it, check out here for the start of it.  Then go forth every week to find how to cover sf, cozy mysteries and historical romances.

As with everything relating to any artistic pursuit — and doing covers is art — remember your first efforts are going to be wretched.  There is a learning curve.  I am now, after years of doing this, at the point where I sometimes do a cover that astounds even me, but the majority are just good, serviceable covers.  It’s a similar curve as with short stories. Read more

What’s the Point?

I think we’re back into routine. And I’ve got my head wrapped around it. Which is nice. Feels good. Of course, Mrs. Dave heads off again in a couple weeks, and then there’s LibertyCon, and the littles will be out of school for the summer. Which means and entirely *new* routine to which I’ll get to adjust. Joy. Seriously, I think I’m going to lose my preferred hermitliness method of existence through sheer chaos of life. Which is a little strange, as that’s how I’m going to finish all those books I’m not currently writing.
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Say What? (Updated)

This post originally appeared on MGC in Feb. 2017. I’m repeating it here, along with additional comments, because I heard a trad published author saying much the same thing not long ago.–ASG

In one of my rare breaks from the keyboard yesterday, I went wandering around the internet in search of inspiration for today’s post. I’ll be honest. I thought the search would be fruitless. Why? Because so much digital space was being wasted on conspiracy theories about Envelope-gate from the Oscars or more screaming about politics. Then, there it was. A story that had me looking at my screen, looking away and then looking back, sure I wasn’t reading what I thought I did. Read more

If only… (On Alternate History)

While Dave is moving, here’s another great piece of advice from July 2015!

Maybe Alternate History’s appeal comes down to the fact that every human, ever, says ‘If only I had…’ That, perhaps and the fact that most of us (we’re all victors of a sort, in the battle if not the war, because we’re still alive) are constantly indulging in the victor’s privilege of re-writing our own history. In truth, history is never really pretty. On the individual level, on the state level, on the world level, there’s always something we’d like to have another go at – even the bits we didn’t actually do too badly, and would probably make a horse’s butt next time. Read more

Local Stories – Universal Stories?

David McCullough is one of the popular historians working today in the US. He’s a leading voice for keeping history where people can read, discuss, and enjoy it. He’s released a new book about what used to be called “the Old Northwest,” Ohio, Indiana and Illinois, and the stories of the frontier days there.

It’s gotten a mixed reception from professional historians, in part because McCullough calls the stories “untold.” People who spent their careers writing about that same region chided him for that.

Recounting the Untold History of the Early Midwestern Pioneers

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/recounting-untold-history-early-midwestern-pioneers-180972095/

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Tsunduko Tsundere

“Even when reading is impossible, the presence of books acquired produces such and ecstasy that the buying of more books than one can read is nothing less than the soul reaching toward infinity… we cherish books even if unread, their mere presence exudes comfort, their ready access reassurance.”

–A. Edward Newton

Every time I buy a book, knowing full well I do not have the time to read it now, and I add to my tsunduko both physical and electronic, it’s not that I don’t plan to read it. I really really want to. It’s just that life gets in the way. Read more