Research for the Working Writer


Mad Genius Club

“Help, I need sources!” Ah, the plea of the desperate student/grad-student/fiction writer in search of material or confirmation of some nugget, or a replacement for something that suddenly won’t work any more.

Every so often the question arises about how to do research. Fair warning, I do/did this for a living for a while, and I am assuming that the person asking has access to a public library that does inter-library loan, and/or access to a college/university library that tolerates outside researchers (not to check out books, perhaps, but to look at the catalogue and even read and take notes in the facility). I’m also assuming that the searching individual has a decent internet connection and good search engine.

The general rule of thumb is to use the funnel approach. Start wide, looking at summaries and overviews. Then start to narrow down what you are interested in, and use the…

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Pre-Thanksgiving Thoughts

A Song of Joy by Caroline Furlong

A worthy and sobering reminder, readers:

orange and white pumpkins

My pre-Thanksgiving posting

I posted this originally on Nov 19, 2019 on Facebook where it promptly got censored and my account restricted (right after a book release, resulting in who-knows-how-many lost sales). I vowed then to re-share it whenever it came up again, so I’m re-sharing it going into the upcoming Thanksgiving week and hope that you will as well.

Read more….

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Laying Crime Victims to Rest, for Free

This is very cool.

Aliens in This World

The Archdiocese of Detroit has a program to lay cremated remains honorably to rest in their local Catholic cemetery, regardless of religion, and without cost to families that don’t have the means.

This is a response to the sad situation that leaves many cremated bodies in some odd place in a relative’s house, or at a funeral home without anyone to claim the body.

Well, apparently the FBI had a major case in the Detroit office, which took years and years. And somehow, they were left with the custody of over 800 labeled cremains. (So maybe it was from a funeral home crime.) Even after families were contacted, only about 200 remains were claimed by families that were able to take care of the funeral themselves. And then they found out about the Archdiocesan program.

And so, on All Souls’ Day, the remains of these 600 people were laid to…

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Debunking Old List of Supposedly Misogynist Church Fathers

A quote from a debunking link that struck me as poetic:
5. With reference to St Thomas Aquinas, Father Fagan may not be aware that Dr Michael Nolan has conclusively shown that the words which describe woman as an “incomplete being”, a “misbegotten male”, are a travesty of Aquinas’s thought. “Misbegotten” is a misleading translation; “unintended” is closer to his meaning. The elementary biology of Aristotle, on which Aquinas was relying, held that the male seed “intended” to reproduce itself in a male child. But, St Thomas insists, nature and nature’s God intended differently, and woman is willed by God for her own sake. She is not intended only for reproduction, but is designed, as the male is designed, for understanding and intelligence, and her role in marriage is not just the begetting of offspring but the companioning of her husband.

Aliens in This World

Just what I wanted to do with my life — expend a lot of time debunking academic urban legendry that has been circulating since the 1950’s. Anti-Catholic urban legends, at that.

Once upon a time, there were two Dominicans who got paranoid and weird and misogynist, and wrote the Malleus Malificarum – the “Hammer for Witches.”

And once upon a time, there was an extremely weird ex-Anglican ex-seminarian who claimed to be an ordained Catholic priest but was hardly celibate or chaste — the famous and infamous Montague Summers, who translated the Malleus Malificarum into modern English.

That’s where this misogynistic meme list came from.

One chapter of Malleus Malificarum includes a list of quotes, ostensibly from the Fathers, about how bad women are. Montague Summers translated this without explanation or criticism, AFAIK, and he did not discuss the fact that it was cherrypicked from other medieval books with quotes…

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Fake Fathers Quotes: St. Ignatius Edition


The fake quote treats Judaism like Islam, whereas St. Ignatius is pointing out that it was Jews who believed Christ and became Christians.

Aliens in This World

Somebody decided to make St. Ignatius of Antioch say something anti-Semitic, and those who are easily deceived are passing it around the Internet. The pro-Jewish people who are condemning Ignatius are being just as gullible as the anti-Jewish people who like the quote. Faugh.

St. Ignatius spends some time, in his letters written on his way to martyrdom, warning Christians against “Judaizing”. By this, he means exactly the same thing as St. Paul did. He’s telling Gentile Christians not to get circumcised or follow Jewish holidays and disciplines, and he’s telling Jewish Christians not to get concerned about the old Law and old interpretations.

(Why? Because they have been freed from these things by Christ dying and rising, and through His rabbinical teachings with the power of binding and loosing, which power He has also given to His Apostles and their successors, the bishops. As a bishop, St. Ignatius is…

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Frazetta Friday – Details

I’d say *suggesting* where detail isn’t needed, but it’s verbage difference, not meaning, unless I mistake Rider. :D

Riders of Skaith

Noticed that the three hooves seen in detail also include horseshoes, while one is just….left vague. That’s the beauty of Frazetta, attention to detail where it matters and then just winging it where it doesn’t.

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A New Affiliate

A Song of Joy by Caroline Furlong

Voyage ComicsYes, I have become an affiliate for someone besides Amazon, readers. This would be Voyage Comics and Publishing, whose blog has provided articles I have previously linked to my own site. Now not only may I support them by sharing their articles, I can do so by linking to their products as well!

As with Amazon, I receive a commission when you purchase an item from Voyage’s store after clicking on the links marked with an asterisk*. That particular link takes you to their Phantom Phoenix comic series, which follows a black World War I veteran while he fights crime in Chicago as a superhero. I also recommend The Book of Saints and Heroes*, which contains a series of stories about saints fighting dragons, centaurs, and other beasts. They also heal them, so you needn’t worry that all the action is directed solely toward destruction – if…

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The Stories that Guide Us

Mad Genius Club

We humans are a talking breed. Language and story are inextricably mixed, and it seems clear that the stories we tell eachother around the campfire—the narratives of our lives and imagination—are what define us as moral and ethical beings.

Life provides us with various types of existing narratives. There are the stories of our childhood, the teachings of religion, the tales of heroes. We learn from these what it is to be good, true, courageous, loyal, stalwart, cunning, indomitable, kind. We hear how to rise from defeat, how to withstand trial, how to protect others, and how to sacrifice ourselves when all else fails.

And most of all, we learn how to judge behavior—our own and everyone else’s. We explore what it is to be a coward, to be the object of shame. We internalize these judgments, and that helps keep us from shaming ourselves and makes us reliable and…

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Bowl Of Red

Nu book, who dis?

(…alright no the joke doesn’t really carry, but I’m half asleep with the baby finally asleep on my lap, gimme a break!)

According To Hoyt

In some ways, this book has been in the planning stages for ten years.When Noah’s Boy ended, Tom’s dad requested Tomato Soup, i.e. Bowl of Red.

Then, as they say things happened. Mostly my health went South. Baen went in a direction that didn’t allow for this series to continue, not as I had planned it, at least and at the time — being sick — I didn’t have the mental flexibility to change course. (Changing course on a series is hard even if you are healthy.)

All my properties with Baen reverted at the end of 2020. I meant to re-publish everything and continue this and Darkships, but health was really bad and we were moving.

So… as I started improving — I won’t claim to be WELL mind you — and the writing thing came back on line, I fumbled at this series. For a while I thought…

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Riders of Skaith

“Well, I got suspended from TV TROPES,”
“Oh, wow, how did that happen?”
“They didn’t like it when I said it was hilarious that Galadriel tried to swim from Valinor to Middle-Earth.”
“She what?”
“She dives off the boat that is taking her to Valinor and tries to swim back. I put it in the funny page and they didn’t like it.”
“….and they suspended you for that?”
“Well, what got me suspended is when I put it back again when they took it down. They didn’t like it. And they took it down right away, too. They were monitoring it very closely.”
“They didn’t think it was funny?”
“They said it was supposed to be dramatic, and therefore I couldn’t put it in the funny category. The funny category is supposed to be subjective, by the way, so they had no business changing it. They did it purely to…

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