Loki Laufeyson, a Piece of Work (in Progress)

The Wolves Pursuing Sol and Mani (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Wolves Pursuing Sol and Mani (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today’s #WIPjoy, Day 9, is a fun one: “Share a line that shows off your antagonist.”

In the spirit of sharing, I’m going to give you not a line, but a whole paragraph.

Here’s the thing: any time you find yourself in Norse mythology, even if you’re just visiting, you’re going to have Loki as an antagonist. That’s the nature of Loki. Even if he’s not the primary antagonist, he’s going to be an antagonist, because Loki.  In modern interpretations Loki is often something of an anti-hero, but that’s not consistent with the source material, in which Loki is pretty much just a turd to everyone. (A useful turd, sometimes, but still a turd. And if he does get threatened or beaten fairly often, well, he usually had it coming.) Continue reading

And then I sank Atlantis.

View of the Strait of Gibraltar opening into t...

View of the Strait of Gibraltar opening into the Mediterranean Sea, looking southeast from Gibraltar. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve solved the mystery of Atlantis. (Well, okay, I have some plausible ideas.)

That’s the awesome thing about story research — you never know where it’s going to lead you.

I was writing a short story about Atlantis, and speculating a semi-plausible way for it to go as quickly as Plato related, and I started playing around with fissure rifts and earthquakes. Some Googling brought me to an account of how a rift in the African desert opened far more rapidly than previous theory had allowed and will eventually become a new ocean: Continue reading

The New London Texas School Explosion

The top of the London School cenotaph by sculp...

The top of the London School cenotaph by sculptor Matchett Herring Coe (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It was a nearly-inconceivable tragedy.

The New London School explosion has gotten relatively little coverage over the decades, in part because the traumatized community did not want to be put on display — and this was before exploitative news camps hounding victims to supply 24-7 coverage, so they were better able to refuse. Rather, it’s reported that rescue organizers told journalists helpers were needed more than news reports and recruited their aid. But it’s one of the most significant disasters you’ve never heard of. Continue reading

Irvington Eats – a Robin Archer Gastronomic Tour

So Orphan Heirs & Shades of Night comes out Friday, and it’s set in Irvington. I’ll let Robin tell you about Irvington:

Back in the nineteenth century, a town was plotted outside of Indianapolis, which of course has since swallowed it, and it was called Irvington, after Washington Irving. Yes, that Washington Irving, and because his most famous tale is perhaps “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” the community seized on Halloween as its patron holiday.

Irvington’s Halloween Festival is now over a week long, the oldest and largest in the country, and it features not only the ghost tours and costume parades and seasonal film screenings you’d expect but also roller derby and scholarship competitions and anything else which sounds fun.

This was a really fun setting to use, because not only is Irvington generally bonkers about Halloween and the supernatural (in a good way!), which is great for an urban fantasy, but Irvington has some fabulous local eats where I could send Robin and Jimmy. I mention only two by name, because you can only name so many restaurants in a novella before it looks like paid placement (it was not), but you really ought to know about these two. Continue reading

How Research Happens More Often Than We May Admit

The Dance of Death (1493) by Michael Wolgemut,...

The Dance of Death (1493) by Michael Wolgemut, from the Liber chronicarum by Hartmann Schedel. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

History lecture CD (greatly paraphrased): “And then the conspirators acted, converging in three waves, but the revolution faltered and a woman killed a conspirator in the street by throwing a pot and then a lot of people died, and an oppressive government agency was instituted which made a lot of people miserable and also dead. All this happened about the same time as this other horrible mass murder was going on.”

Me, listening in car: “YES!”

Me, looking around empty car guiltily: “I mean, yes, that’s good for my plot. Not, yes, huzzah that a lot of people died horribly. Just, um, a good convergence for that new plot I’ve been kicking around and hoped would work out with appropriate historical timing. And it does. Which is cool. I mean, cool for the story, not cool for the dead people. You know. Who wants donuts?”

Authors are weird.

Tyspwn or Ctesiphon

An 1864 photograph of the Taq-i Kisra. Note the figures standing atop the arch; we've always had stupid yahoos as tourists, I guess.

An 1864 photograph of the Taq-i Kisra. Note the figures standing atop the arch; we’ve always had stupid yahoos as tourists, I guess.

A drive problem is preventing more Route 66 updates — don’t worry, the photos aren’t lost, just presently inaccessible — so it’s background day here at the blog! Today we’re going to learn a tiny bit about the city where Saman, one of the Megistanes in So To Honor Him, resides — when he’s not traveling, that is.

The Megistanes, as you may recall from a previous post, were a hereditary priesthood serving four empires in succession. By Saman’s time, they were under the Parthians. Tyspwn, known better today by its latinized name Ctesiphon, was the capital city of the Parthian empire. Continue reading