Monthly Archives: March 2011

History vs. Historical Fantasy: It’s Much More Interesting When There’s Dragons

After another prolonged silence – here I am, again!  I tend to fall off the face of the earth when I’m embroiled in reading a new series of books, and that’s what happened this time.  I get too caught up in the story world to have much patience for the real world! Who needs it?  (Well, I do, actually.  My real world is pretty damned awesome these days.)

The series I read was Naomi Novik’s Temeraire series, which is basically about the Napoleonic wars, a la a combination of Hornblower and Sharpe – plus dragons.

Yes.  Dragons.

And Napoleon.

Who could ask for more??  Not me, for sure.

I love historical fantasy, I really do.  But it’s funny, because I never had much of an interest in history itself.  I dropped it as a subject in school as soon as I met the required number of credits, and that was that.  It never caught my interest.  Partly due to the way most subjects are inevitably taught, dry and fact-based with little to no interactive stimulation.  But also due to the nature of the subject itself.

Simply, it never lived up to my expectations.

What I wanted from history was for it to be like Lord of the Rings or an Icelandic saga.  But all we studied were endless wars, bureaucracy and legislation, memorising dates and the names of dead people.  Blah di blah.  Where were the daring adventures??  The intrigue and cunning??  It wasn’t there, and thus my interest was at a minimum.

So that’s why I like historical fantasy – it’s history as it should have been!

Because, quite frankly, I would have enjoyed learning about the Napoleonic wars a lot more if dragons were involved.

Obsession: Its Pitfalls and Uses

Aaaaacck, I’ve been so terribly crap at updating here for the past WEEK!  It’s horrible!  Sheesh!  I kept thinking about posting, as the days of silence stretched on.  But then I realised I have nothing to talk about which is at all relevant to anything at all apart from falconry – which I now live, breath and dream about (literally).  It’s an actual obsession now.


So time kept passing, and here we are.  Then tonight I just glimpsed at my WordPress dashboard and started hyperventilating out of combined guilt/frustration/ridiculousness for not posting.  And I told myself: THIS JUST WON’T DO!  So here I am, posting just to stop myself from having a meltdown.

But I still don’t know what to say…

Ok, fine.  I admit it.  I’ve not written a WORD of fiction in weeks, and it’s mainly due to how busy I am now.  Even though I’m only volunteering three days a week, it’s enough that on my days off I need to squeeze in errands (and sleeping!) and we always visit the in-laws over the weekend.  Even my sock-knitting has suffered!  I’m lucky to do a couple rows a day, these days.

Excuses, excuses!  I wrote my very first draft of Cobault while working a full-time job!  Of course that full-time job gave me access to a computer and hour-long lunch breaks, but that’s beside the point.

Truthfully, I’d just rather be trawling the internet for falconry junk rather than anything else right now.  This is what happens when I get fixated on something.  I was babbling about something or another hawkish to The Husband earlier today and he was like, “Yeah, you do this every time you get obsessed with something.  You go online and make mental lists of everything you need to buy/find/make, just on the off chance it might happen.”


I periodically do this with horse-ownership, I did it with knitting just a couple months ago, and I’m doing it with falconry now.  Not to say that any of these things become mere passing fads in time, or that I’m not really serious about them, but they become less of an overwhelming force throughout my days and nights!

I wasn’t kidding about that, I really have been having falconry dreams – in my dream last night I bought a hawk in some dodgy hotel only to get berated (by my mother in law, of all people – I wonder what Freud would think of that!) for not buying its food beforehand!  [NB: This anxiety is all due to reading this falconry forum where every new bird of prey owner gets completely lambasted if it sounds like they’re not prepared enough, or knowledgeable enough about it!  Which is fair enough, honestly, but I guess my subconscious mind is really worried about this!]

But this obsessiveness isn’t all bad for my writing, honestly.  I feel like, if nothing else, I’ll have yet another subject I can write extensively and knowledgeably about in my novels.  And since I enjoy the quasi-historical fantasy genre, falconry and horse-riding (and knitting, you never know!) could easily all feature someday.

Anyways, so now I’ve written this and I can go to sleep with a clean conscience. And probably dream of not buying the correct perch for the kind of bird, and then getting yelled at for it by my gynaecologist or something.