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Posts by Blake Smith

A Writer’s Guide to Horses Part II

The first installment talked a little about basic terminology that you, the writer, might use to describe a horse. This time around, let’s chat about some more specific means of identifying them. You may find a search engine helpful, because I’ll try to describe the parameters of colors, markings, and breeds, but you’ll find it easier to look at more pictures than I have space for in the post.

All images are from Wikipedia. The horse in the featured image is brindle with a dark bay base coat. I have no idea what breed he is, probably some kind of Thoroughbred cross (he’s a little larger and heavier boned than a registered Thoroughbred).
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Launch Day!

This isn’t my usual week to post, but today is a slightly unusual day- I’ve published another book! In Pursuit of Justice is the second part of The Garia Cycle, a YA fantasy series. Read more

A Writer’s Guide to Horses Part I

I’ve held off for the last couple months, but the time has come for: A Writer’s Guide to Horses. It’s obligatory, you see; I’ll lose my reputation as a horse person in good standing if I don’t periodically pontificate about them.

And since many writers mention horses in their work, usually in passing, I foresee an audience for horse-related information, and common pitfalls of writing about them.

(This will be a multi-part post, because I kept going off on tangents about genetics, weird caveats, and personal experiences. It also contains pictures/diagrams, so let me know in the comments if you’re having trouble viewing it on your phone.) Read more

History vs. Reality

Lately, I’ve been reading C. Warren Hollister’s Medieval Europe: A Short History, since it’s a subject that I know pretty well (at a certain level, anyway) so I can read a few pages before bed, fall asleep, and easily pick it back up the next day. As far as the scholarship goes, it’s a bit… bizarre. The author seems to think the Battle of Tours-Poitiers took place in 733, which made me go, “huh?” because I’ve never before heard it associated with that date, and there’s a little whitewashing of some very nasty people, but that can be chalked up to having to cram a lot of information into a ‘short’ history.

And, anyway, I’ve moved to the point where I’m reading the book not for the facts, but in search of a spark. No, I don’t need any more projects; I’m rereading the information to help integrate things I already know, to draw conclusions that I never considered before.

Last night, I started wondering what future people will think of our era. I’ll try to stay away from politics, and so should you in the comments, but I can’t help wondering what will be put in the history books. Will people assume that we all thought the same way, or will the books skim over the last few decades with summary sentences like, “It was a chaotic time, with many factions fighting for control. Eventually, the ______ faction triumphed, and the conflict died away”?
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Momentum, or, A Thinly Disguised Promo Post

So, I finished a short story last week and put it up on Amazon yesterday. Should be a cause for celebration, right? Well, yes, but not the way you might think. You see, this short is one of four completed-but-not-edited manuscripts that I’ve been sitting on for an unconscionably long time.
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The Evening Ramble

I’ve recently undergone a tiny bit of upheaval in my life, a.k.a. The Great Move, and I’m still adjusting. In the process, I’ve discovered/rediscovered/mulled over something interesting: I like tangible results. I like being able to see the results of my work at the end of the day, and when I can’t, I lose productivity in all areas of life. And, weirdly, writing doesn’t count. Or at the very least, it doesn’t count as much as other tasks like mucking stalls. Even washing dishes by hand gives a more tangible result, something that I can look at and say, “That looked like X and now, because of my effort, it looks like Y.”
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Fiction Marches On

I read a lot of historical fiction. I’m sure that’s no surprise to most of the people on this blog. I also read older fiction, because a lot of the stuff published in the last few decades doesn’t grab me, especially stories in modern settings.

A trip through my library leads to a lot of weird trains of thought that jump back and forth in time. You see, the meaning of ‘contemporary novel’ changes over time, and what was a modern setting fifty years ago looks incredibly dated to us. How many mysteries have you read where the mystery could have been immediately solved by a quick Bing search or cell phone call?
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