WriterDojo S2 Ep26: Historical Fantasy

We haven’t done a Genre focused episode in a bit, so this week hosts/authors Steve Diamond and Larry Correia will discuss Historical Fantasy with our friend Author/Editor D.J. (Dave) Butler.

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This week’s episode is brought to you by Dave (D.J.) Butler’s Witchy Eye

Sarah Calhoun is the fifteen-year-old daughter of the Elector Andrew Calhoun, one of Appalachee’s military heroes and one of the electors who gets to decide who will next ascend as the Emperor of the New World. None of that matters to Sarah. She has a natural talent for hexing and one bad eye, and all she wants is to be left alone—especially by outsiders.

But Sarah’s world gets turned on its head at the Nashville Tobacco Fair when a Yankee wizard-priest tries to kidnap her. Sarah fights back with the aid of a mysterious monk named Thalanes, who is one of the not-quite-human Firstborn, the Moundbuilders of the Ohio. It is Thalanes who reveals to Sarah a secret heritage she never dreamed could be hers.

Now on a desperate quest with Thalanes to claim this heritage, she is hunted by the Emperor’s bodyguard of elite dragoons, as well as by darker things—shapeshifting Mockers and undead Lazars, and behind them a power more sinister still. If Sarah cannot claim her heritage, it may mean the end to her, her family—and to the world where she is just beginning to find her place.

At the publisher’s request, this title is sold without DRM (Digital Rights Management).


“Word Mercenaries” (the WriterDojo theme) is by Craig Nybo https://craignybo.com/

The music in the ad for Dave’s book is courtesy of https://www.purple-planet.com

WriterDojo S2 Ep0: the State of the Dojo Address 2022
My top 10 YouTube channels for learning to shoot/carry better.

13 thoughts on “WriterDojo S2 Ep26: Historical Fantasy”

  1. Kudos to Dave! I first encountered Tim Powers’ The Drawing Of The Dark as a young GI in Nuremberg West Germany in 1979. I was hooked! As to the Roman angle I’ve always been enchanted by David Drakes Ranks of Bronze, Vettius, Etc. I’m really hoping to see Larry do more with Sextus Bassus and of course his Roman Rats!

      1. For a sweeping, panoramic series of historical fantasy, don’t forget H. Warner Munn’s “The King at the World’s Edge/The Ship From Atlantis” (later expanded & retitled: “Merlin’s Ring/Merlin’s Godson”) going from prehistory to the 1490’s. Munn is a truly great author who’s works are frequently overlooked. He got his start in Wired Tales & was one of Lovecraft’s pals. Did a kickass Werewolf series too!

      2. Just finishing Turtledove’s The Misplaced Legion. Great read. Props to the Chequamegon Book Co, the best used bookstore in Northern Wisconsin! Thanks for the referral.

  2. My spouse and I absolutely love your blog and find most of your post’s very interesting and informative. Thanks for sharing such useful info, and again awesome site!

  3. Thank you for this. It also applies to writing alternate history without any fantasy elements, so I will find it very useful.

    Oh, and MHI: Ancient Rome? Take my money, please!

    1. The mention reminded me of Sextus Basso (Centurion with ring) from Siege. Don’t remember the exact era he’s from though.

  4. The anachronism question is actually interesting, because there are things people will experience as anachronism that aren’t. The two most famous instances are Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid line, “I got vision and the rest of the world wears bifocals,” and Pratchett’s use of the name Tiffany. People were startled by the concept of “bifocals” in the “old west,” but 1. It was set in 1908; there were cars and electricity and airplanes back east at that point, and 2. Franklin invented bifocals in the 1700s. But people don’t know that. And Pratchett found references to the name “Tiffany” goes back to the 1400-1500s (or earlier), but because it was popular in the 1980s, it put some people out of the story.

    1. I enjoy short Historical notes at the end of books. Like, “you’ll recognize that the hero has (this disease). The year of this story it was called (this) and general treatments were (this). (This doctor) came up with (this experimental treatment) four years later but I’ve just fudged that and imagined that the doctor was working on the treatment earlier.” Etc. Or that so-and-so “had laid the first rails for a locomotive between these cities in (this year) and (this famous accident and riot opposing trains resulted in (this many) deaths.”

      Not long. Long would be bad. But just notes that the author actually did bother with the History and sometimes even “this really cool thing I found just didn’t fit in the story and I was sad.”

  5. This reminded me of a short story of Historical Fantasy. I was inspired by C.S Forester’s Hornblower series, but set it in a world where wizards existed, and every ship of at least Frigate sized has a wizard. I ought to dust that one off and see if it can be cleaned up, or set another story in the same universe.

  6. I heard a funny story about ‘Guns Of The South’. Harry Turtledove was in a writers discussion when somebody said another writer’s idea was “as ridiculous as a picture of Robert E. Lee holding an AK-47!”

    Harry’s Writer Brain glomped onto that line like a pit-bull and wouldn’t let go. How could there be a picture of Robert E. Lee holding an AK-47? Time travel, obviously, and somebody wanting to help out the Confederacy.

    He published ‘Guns Of The South’ in 1992. On the cover is a picture of Robert E. Lee holding an AK-47.
    ———————————
    You can have a civilized society, or you can have mob rule. You can’t have both.

  7. Larry, help!!!!

    Twitter just banned me for “hateful conduct” and they refuse to tell me which of my comments was “hateful”

    Pls if you could let your followers know that it’s yet another example of Twitter stifling a conservative, and that my account should be restored.

    My username is TANSTAAFL6823

    Thanks you.

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