A Fantasy Tip From History: The Infamous Gu Poison

Fans of the film, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and the television show Sleepy Hollow may remember a powerful poison, used as a method to manipulate lovers and cause death. Atlas Obscura has the fascinating history of this legendary toxin — and I use the word...

The Brautigan Library Of Unpublished Manuscripts

Most of my blog is dedicated to helping you publish and promote your books. But what about those poor souls who never do manage to get published? Fret Fret not, for now there’s a place where your work will be fully appreciated: the Brautigan Library, a...

So… Cock-up? The Phrase Finder

One of my favorite pastimes is to find out the origins of common sayings or phrases. So, I was thrilled when my author friend Sebastian White (of Quirky Claus fame)  alerted me to The Phrase Finder, a wonderful resource for anyone with a passion for English. In true...

Gifted: the Mysterious Edinburgh Book Sculptures

In 2011, ten exquisite sculptures made from books mysteriously appeared at libraries and cultural institutions across Edinburgh. The first and last were found here at the Scottish Poetry Library, and also a final gift at the end of 2012. The sculptures came with a...

A Fantasy Tip From History: Doo-Dooing The King

In Game Of Thrones, it is the King’s Hand who exerts some real power of the Seven Kingdoms. His symbol, appropriately enough, was a pin depicting a hand. But in yet another example of reality being stranger than fiction, it was the Groom of the Stool—named for...

The May Day’s Revolutionary Past

May Day is an official holiday in 66 countries and unofficially celebrated in many more. In Greece, it is celebrated as a workers’ strike. So, naturally, everyone goes to the countryside and… erm… makes themselves a May wreath to hang on their doors....

The Scandalous Flap Book History

Mary Natalie loves her flap books so much that we now have an assortment of them. My personal favorite is probably Spot, although that was before I realized what a scandalous history flap books have, courtesy of Sarah Laskow of Atlas Obscura. To my great surprise,...

Hawaiian Pidgin: Hawaii’s Creole Language

What language do modern Hawaiians speak? The answer, as Dan Nosowitz of Atlas Obscura points out, is not nearly as simple as you might think. There are several languages co-existing on the Hawaiian islands: Hawaiian, the Polynesian language of the original Hawaiians...