Category Archives: fiction

Sowing the Seeds of the Perfect End

I recently submitted a story to an online journal, and received some feedback from the editor, a couple of changes she wanted to see: first, the character’s motivation was unclear, second, the ending didn’t work. Well, motivation’s not too hard, … Continue reading

Posted in books, character development, editing, fiction, revision, writing, writing process | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Respecting Dan Brown

If you read Elisha Barber all the way to the end, you’ll find an Acknowledgements page. One of the first names on that page is Dan Brown. Yep, the same author everyone’s talking about this week, with the release of … Continue reading

Posted in books, fiction, medieval, writing, writing series | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Skinning your Own Apes: Researching from Primary Sources

An article in the Stanford magazine this month talks about a new method of teaching history to high schoolers using primary source material, having the teens read several documents about an incident and draw their own conclusions based on the … Continue reading

Posted in books, fiction, historical medicine, history, medieval, research, worldbuilding, writing advice | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Review: Songs for a Machine Age

Songs for a Machine Age by Heather McDougal My rating: 4 of 5 stars This book is a delightful journey through an unusual fantasy world where machines and magic co-exist. While I didn’t find the heroine initially engaging, her talent … Continue reading

Posted in book reviews, books, fantasy, fiction, medieval technology, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What’s in a Name? The Naming of Elisha

It has come to my attention from two different and equally interesting directions that some people are wondering about the name of my protagonist, Elisha Barber, specifically, his first name. Some folks have even wondered if it’s my name (it’s … Continue reading

Posted in books, character development, Elisha Barber, etymology, fantasy, fiction, history, medieval, writing process | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Focus Groups Taking over the World!

This morning’s Wall Street Journal features an article entitled “Test-marketing a Modern Princess,” about how Disney Junior is developing their new Sofia the First television series. Yes, folks, these executives are sitting down with pre-schoolers, reading them storylines and filming … Continue reading

Posted in books, essays, fiction, marketing, publishing, social media, Uncategorized, writing process | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Review: The Termite Queen: Volume One: The Speaking of the Dead

The Termite Queen: Volume One: The Speaking of the Dead by Lorinda J. Taylor My rating: 3 of 5 stars This book is full of marvelous science fiction elements, building not only a vision of a future academia on Earth, … Continue reading

Posted in book reviews, fiction, science fiction, Uncategorized, worldbuilding, writing | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Why We Love Violence

Time Magazine’s March 11 issue features a cover story about Oscar Pistorius, Olympic athlete and accused murderer. A little later on, it includes an article called “Serial Killing” about the addiction of television drama to blood. The link is the … Continue reading

Posted in essays, fantasy, fiction | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Werewolves in Medieval History

Whether you’re more Team Jacob or “Werewolves of London” you know that werewolves are hot right now (both in sales, and apparently, in sex appeal). But their prevalence in the Urban Fantasy genre might obscure their long history. My eyes … Continue reading

Posted in fantasy, fiction, history, magic, medieval, Uncategorized, witchcraft | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Edgar Allen Poe Meets King Charles VI: the True Tale of Hop-frog

I came across the most remarkable image and tale in Barbara W. Tuchman’s A Distant Mirror, one of the foremost works on the 14th century (the “calamitous” 14th century, as Tuchman calls it.) The illustration, from a French chronicle dated … Continue reading

Posted in fantasy, fiction, history, medieval, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment