The joy of learning new things

I’m very close to getting The Wrath of God out for beta read. My books need maps. The Atlantis Papyrus has a few—I had to develop them with PowerPoint and some image manipulation drudgery and they still suck.

The Wrath of God needs, no, demands, some good maps. And I just happened to find a map making software called Wonderdraft.

I love it!

I’ve spent a few hours in the last two days just figuring out how to create simple, yet attractive and effective maps, and I already have my first map ready. It’s fun learning new things and picking up new skills. The Wrath of God will, no doubt, have prettier maps.

History Behind the Book: The Atlantis Papyrus - is now available

If you enjoyed (or plan to enjoy) The Atlantis Papyrus then you should join my mailing list to get the History Behind the Book which is a short, 30 page companion that covers some of the key events in the book and tells some interesting things about that and lets you know what was real.

Many of us read novels and sometimes wonder, “hmm… which of that was true?”

Well, the History Behind the Book is an attempt to address that, for my novel.


Writing Challenges: Literature on Alexander the Great

Did you know that so much is known about Alexander The Great, and yet almost no contemporary literature of his time exists? And that what we have learned about him is almost all from works written hundreds of years after his death?

The best-known sources for Alexander, in order of how close they were to Alexander’s lifetimes, are

  1. Diodorus Siculus — who wrote in 1st century BC, about two hundred years after Alexander, using now extinct works from Cleitarchus and Hieronymus of Cardia

  2. Curtius — 1st century AD, borrowed from Cleitarchus

  3. Justin — 2nd century AD

  4. Arrian — who wrote The Anabasis of Alexander in 2nd century AD, nearly five hundred years after Alexander’s death, is one of the most extensive sources for Alexander history

  5. Plutarch — 2nd century AD, about five hundred years after Alexander’s death

The works of original sources, Cleitarchus, Ptolemy, and Hieronymus, have been lost, so we are left with interpretations and retelling, hundreds of years after the events. In some cases the sources themselves do not agree, which leaves us to our own interpretation of events and characters.

I’ve always found such facts fascinating because when we read about ancient history we often forget that the documentation of those times is rife with inaccuracies, assumptions, gaps, confusion and that what we read is often one person's view of what really happened by cobbling together a whole bunch of fragmentary works.

Of course, this also makes it possible for someone (like me) to write a novel that can take advantage of certain gaps and build certain stories around them.