Posts by: David

History and Genealogy, Part 2

During a recent visit to my mother’s house, we went through two very old, battered suitcases, one oak chest, and three steamer trunks, each filled with family items. Out came handmade quilts, antique linen tablecloths and napkins, plates, vases and cutlery. There were also reams of aging photographs, tin types, and crinkly yellow documents: marriage […]

Our Middle Earth Species Moment

If you discard all that claptrap about the gods of Middle Earth creating elves, dwarves, humans, and hobbits, then you must acknowledge it is a simple matter of evolution—that all these Middle Earth species were descended from a common, if distant, ancestry. In fact, the same thing happened here on the ever-so-mundane planet earth. There have […]

On the Nature of Change

Visit the things you used to know and chances are they’re not the same. They may be gone forever. Because I grew up in Lower Manhattan, they’re not just gone, but gone with a vengeance. Such is the nature of change. Walking through the neighborhood where I grew up, I am struck by this wondering, awestruck displacement […]

History and Genealogy

Just as history is filled with colorful stories and tidbits, so too is every genealogy. I have yet to find the person whose family doesn’t have some engrossing story. Some tale that is curious, funny, sad, shocking, and/or thought provoking. I met a woman whose father had been an engineer on the Panama Canal (in the […]

Writing Style, History and Forgotten Emperors

How’s this for a name? Al-Sultan al-‘Azam wal Khaqan al-Mukarram, Jam-i-Sultanat-i-haqiqi wa Majazi, Sayyid al-Salatin, Abu’l Muzaffar Nasir ud-din Muhammad Humayun II Padshah Ghazi, Zillu’llah [Jannat-Ashyani], Emperor of India. We’ll just call him Abu’l Muzaffar Nasir ud-din Muhammad Humayun II Padshah Ghazi, Zillu’llah [Jannat-Ashyani] for short. He was a 16th century emperor of the Indian Timurid […]

An Historical Mother from the Mughal Empire

A writer of historical fiction has a Smörgåsbord of story options that extends even beyond the pale of imagination. Truly has it been said that fact is stranger than fiction. So far, my own writing focuses on fictional characters in historical times, not on historical characters, per se, although I believe that may change in […]

Author Earnings, Book Marketing, and the Evasiveness of True North

I was pittering through Amazon looking at various book rankings and I came across a list of top 100 fantasy titles right around the time that Diana Gabaldon’s novel series, Outlander, began to air on the Starz network. I almost fell out of my chair when I saw that books she wrote occupied more than […]

Eating Chickpeas During the Inquisition

During the hundreds of years of Jewish persecution under the Inquisition, the forcibly coerced, or anusim, either truly converted or pretended to while secretly continuing to observe their religion. The same, of course, was true for Muslims. At a recent meeting of the Historical Novel Society in Phoenix I was astounded to learn that eating […]

Dragons Around the World

Doing some recent research on dragons in heraldry for the second book in the Conjurers series, I came across Y Ddraig Goch, the red dragon from the flag of Wales. As other historical researchers will tell you, one siren-like link on the internet leads to the next until you are sucked down into endless wormholes (so to speak). […]

Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell Go BBC

There is historical fiction and there is fantasy fiction and I love them each separately. Rarely do the two meet in the sub-genre known as historical fantasy, but when they do it has the potential to create a synergy of awesomeness that surpasses even Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Of course, I am partial to historical fantasy because […]