Historians, Archaeologists, and Other Good People

Sending love this morning to the academics in my life and everywhere else. I was reminded this week how vital their work and their willingness to reveal their research is to writers. In this case, Steve answered another writer’s request for help in his field. He did it immediately without thinking of his own convenience and without selfishly hogging information he is using for his own book (due next month to the publisher).

I’ve been on the receiving end of this sort of generosity more times than I can count. Mostly from people I know through Steve but from others as well. I remember spending hours pouring through books on ancient ships trying to figure out whether a corbita carried a ship’s boat.

In desperation I wrote to the author of several works I’d used, an expert in the field of underwater archaeology focusing on ancient ships of the Mediterranean. He was an emeritus professor, so I expected to wait a while or never hear back. Within an hour I had my answer as well as a page reference to where I’d missed the information on a graphic in one of my sources.

Steve did the same for the person who contacted him: instant access and instant help. My friends have done the same for me on topics from ancient Egypt to pirates of the Mediterranean to 19th century Ohio. I’m grateful for the existence of my educated friends and for the academic ethos that places a premium on revealing rather than concealing information. Thanks!

I know it has been a few days, so here is the update on what I’m working on:

Chapter 1 of my novel went through both the speculative fiction and the romance critique groups. It elicited very different reactions from each. I’m struck by how much character matters to genre expectations. For the future, chapters from this book will only go to the romance group since particular tropes that delighted them, offended the other group.

I am moving forward on writing Eddas to go with the Thule short stories and editing those stories before sending them to my editor. That’s due August 15 so it has a good chunk of my attention.

I am also working on a short story for an anthology that Bill Webb brought to my attention. It’s a fun story about a woman who marries a swamp on a lark and becomes a reluctant hero.

I’ve been dilatory about sending out new stories to magazines and anthologies this month. I have less than a week until this month is over. The challenge conditions still need to be met, so I’ll be sending out stories this week.

I hope your week has gone well and that everyone you asked for help provided it with the same kindness as the academics I’ve had the pleasure of working with.

Be well, friends!

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