History in fiction | Jennifer Macaire

A blogger friend not long ago published a post about writing notes for historical novels. It’s a good idea, and got me thinking about making some for my books, the time travel saga set in ancient Greece and Persia. On the other hand, I don’t want to pretend that my books are scholarly or academic – they are fiction, and even if I did research for years before and during writing, I can’t say they are strictly historical. I took too many liberties. So, if I did include historical notes, they would be more to explain where and why I changed things around and not to tell what really happened.

I always thought that a historical fiction writer has to walk a fine line between facts and fiction. I used several sources for my tales, including Arrian’s Anabasis of Alexander, which one can now find online in its entirety.  Arrian lived approximately 500 years after Alexander’s death and he mostly used writings from Aristobulus, a historian who accompanied Alexander on his journey; Nearchus, Alexander’s admiral, and Ptolemy Lagos. Unfortunately, those writings have largely disappeared and there is hardly anything left that is contemporary of Alexander.  While I was writing, I contacted a professor in Italy, who very kindly advised me on some questions I had, including names and where to look for recipes for toothpaste. A surgeon was very helpful in explaining some of the operations and medical skills of the times, and told me that there weren’t any sutures in ancient times – these appeared late in the 18th century.  And finally, Michael Wood’s book, In the Footsteps of Alexander was my constant companion to trace Alexander’s voyage. [more]

From History in fictionhttp://wp.me/p6bgv3-1XZ



A Perfect Date

~ Daybook #10 ~

The wife and I had a rare night out sans children last night and what we had to show for it was a nice Mexican dinner (with dessert — fried ice cream) at a place we’d never been to before, and the other thing we had to show for our evening was an armful of books because as bookworms our evening consisted of trips to two different bookstores, Half-Price Books and Barnes and Noble. A total of seven books — 3 books for her and 4 for me. Though we definitely should, it might be a good thing that we don’t procure books more often from the bargain bin/clearance and half-price stock, otherwise we’d have fare more than we have space to accommodate. Amid the bargain finds I also finally nabbed Normal, the new novella by my main man Warren Ellis that was originally serialized in 4 parts digitally last summer/autumn.

At any rate, according to my better half, this was the perfect kind of date, dinner and books. I owe her a margarita next weekend, though.

“Frequently asked questions” | Nick Denton (via Medium)

Wow. I’ve been obsessed with and concerned about the Fourth and Fifth Estates for a while. Some serious intrigue in this FAQ by Nick Denton, posted to Medium on March 22nd. An excerpt and link follows.

The sale of Gizmodo and other properties is concluded, the litigation around Gawker.com settled, and my next project underway. Here’s a short recap of the past and a preview of what’s next.

What was Gawker Media Group?

Gawker Media Group was the first and largest independent news organization to emerge in digital media. Run by journalists, it was credited with bringing a bracing honesty — sometimes called snark — to news, lifestyle and product coverage. Founded in 2003, and based in New York and Budapest, the group built brands such as Gizmodo, Lifehacker, Kotaku, Jezebel and Deadspin. All seven properties together drew more than 100m readers worldwide each month, and more than $50m in annual advertising and e-commerce revenue. GMG is one of the only digital media companies to achieve profitability without external capital.

What comes next?

There is a new challenge: to encourage the free exchange of ideas and the development of internet communities, while avoiding unnecessary provocation and shaming of people from other groups. (And yes, Gawker was proud of its provocative journalism.) Private messaging and niche forums may contribute to a solution. This is the project on which I am embarking. I’m working from Europe, where the technology platforms for my two previous companies were also developed. If you have an interest in conversational media, let’s be in touch — especially if you also have experience in online and offline debate formats, graph databases, encrypted messaging, threaded forums or machine learning.

Read more at @nicknotned on Medium. 

London Grammar Finally Announces New Album

It’s only been like forever since London Grammar released their debut album If You Wait back in 2013. I didn’t become aware of it myself until the late winter of 2015 (along with Daughter’s If You Leave). Well, the wait is only a few months longer as their sophomore album, Truth Is a Beautiful Thing drops this June. Below is a lyric video of the title track. Hannah Reed’s voice is as hypnotic and powerful as ever.


In Response to Justin Trudeau’s Pipeline Dreams

Recently, a friend who has quite the “celebrity crush” on Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as both a world leader AND a heartthrob, shared a video by The Other 98% to her Facebook timeline that looked to balance the view of Mr. Trudeau with details about his desire to build three pipelines in his native land. Given the other details in the video, it was actually a bit unbalanced because it began with a list of positive things about Mr. Trudeau. Of course in recent months his profile has risen quite a bit if only because he’s said a lot of good things in the face of very nasty things being slung about in the political sphere these days. Naturally I dig the dude for his various qualities too. So the video prompted this response from yours truly:

We can’t expect world leaders to be perfect. So I would caution against throwing the baby out with the murky bathwater before weighing the negatives against the positives, as I would do most every other human being. I’m a glass half-full, bigger picture kind of guy. If your virtues outweigh your non-virtuous aspects, then we can work together. I can’t sacrifice all the good you’ve done because there are a few bad things you’ve done. That’s operating without a full scope in perspective, y’know?

There’s always something less savory to learn about people, but so long as they have the right balance in light versus dark and most of their intentions or motivations are coming from a place of decency, we’ll take that all day over those blatantly unsavory characters in this crazy series we call life.


So in Justin Trudeau’s case, does his controversial stance on dirty energy negate his commendable stance on feminism, on inclusion, on diversity, on science or on reason? For a convenient and rather stark contrast, we could easily compare Mr. Trudeau with Mr. Trump, the United States’ backward thinking and rather corrupt president.

What’s that, you say? No contest.

My point exactly.