Party Talk!

We’re all at different points on our life journeys, but every single one of us is an adult and has lived through some serious stuff. Today the writers are kicked back with a good bottle of bourbon and talking about what they would tell their younger selves, if they had the chance.

Misty Massey
You’re 21 and just out of college. Start writing now. Don’t wait until life has a chance to beat you into believing you can’t. (And while you’re at it, you might want to reconsider the friends you’re hanging with right now. Trust me.)

Edmund Schubert
Don’t do it! Run! Or else do it 100%. But don’t ever waste your time half-assing it.

Gail Z Martin
Start sooner and hang in there—it finally does happen.

Melissa McArthur
It’d be okay to move to New York. Go for the internships. Make your career in publishing, not education.

Tamsin Silver
There’s three things that hit me right away:
1) Stop sitting on that book you wrote and do something with it!
2) Join a writers group!
3) Stop thinking your imagination isn’t good enough to entertain people.

I still fight with number 3…

John Hartness
“No matter how much she breaks your heart, don’t stop.” if I hadn’t taken a ten-year hiatus from writing, I wonder where I would be today, career-wise.

Diana Pharaoh Francis
I’d tell myself to write more. That I’m capable of thousands of words at a time and to just have a good time and write while I don’t have the demands of kids and the rest of life.

Faith Hunter
“Girl. Save every penny you make from your writing. Scrimp and pinch and save! Life gets harder. And — you are doing what you love, so stop bitching.”

Magical Words Link Roundup 3-23-2017

Ever wanted to go on a writing retreat? Here are ten options (sorry, guys, these are for women only.)

Most con experiences are great fun for everyone involved. But when they go bad, don’t doubt that we’ll talk about them.

John Scalzi said, “I am a cockroach. I aspire to be a cockroach. But in all honesty, what that means is that as a writer, you have to recognize that nothing lasts and things change, that there’s no one time in the history of publishing where everything was one way, and then all of a sudden there was change. It’s always changing.”

Marvel and Netflix’s Iron Fist has a lot of issues in its mixed first season—but among the muddled mess, there already lies a diamond in the rough, a hero the show was desperately looking for. It’s not Danny Rand, the Living Weapon. It’s Colleen Wing, the superstar Iron Fist deserves.

If you need a good literary cry, has you covered.

We earthlings have long been fascinated by the thought of alien abduction, and that fascination is reflected in the staggering number of movies dedicated to the mysterious topic.

In Siberia, Russian scientists have mapped out 7,000 dirt-covered mounds, which have mysteriously taken shape in the otherwise flat tundra landscape. Some of them are slowly filling up with pressurized carbon dioxide and methane, and some of them are on the verge of exploding.

No matter how creative a writer is, the characters they create will never be as interesting as some of the real people who have lived throughout history. Sometimes, this includes their fellow authors.

Magical Words Link Roundup 3-22-2017

Don’t forget – if you’re in the Charlotte NC area, come out tonight to Park Road Books to see some of the writers of Cinched! And wear your corset if you’re so inclined!

Most worldbuilding mistakes we see over and over again come from lazy storytellers who create worlds as an afterthought. But a few mistakes persist even in worlds built with considerable time and effort. These are mistakes of oversight: the worldbuilder just didn’t remember to think about everything critically.

It’s all too common to turn on the news or look at Twitter and then spend the rest of the day staring into the abyss, suffering from a kind of horrified paralysis…There are fantastic reads out there that will remind you that life is about more than suffering.

In today’s current climate of untruths, intolerance, and ignorance, it’s becoming clear that libraries are essential, now more than ever.

I started watching The Walking Dead just because Lennie James was playing Morgan, and he hasn’t disappointed me yet (well, except that he isn’t on every single episode, but they didn’t ask me.)

You do not see the woman in white head-on. Not at first. She is not looking at you. She is looking at something else, someone more important. She has a purpose. She has a vision. You are not worthy.

Yesterday was National Poetry Day (sorry I missed it.) So in honor, my favorite poem:

Pied Beauty
Gerard Manley Hopkins

Glory be to God for dappled things –
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced – fold, fallow, and plough;
And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
Praise him.

Magical Words Link Roundup 3-21-2017

Tomorrow night (Wed, March 22) at 7 pm, come and join us at Park Road Books for a group signing of Cinched! John Hartness, Gail Martin, Misty Massey and more! We hope we see you there!

This blog is for you if:
You are an unpublished writer of fantasy fiction
You take your writing work seriously
You are aiming for traditional publishing, not self-publishing.

There’s something both unsettling and compelling about a story set in a slightly different version of the present day. It’s that sense of things being inherently altered, which makes even the most familiar elements ever-so-slightly — or more than slightly — alien.

Hans Hirschi said, “When I wrote about my frustrations last week, nothing was further from my mind than reviews, yet it’s all people talk about.”

So, you’ve attended a critique group and need to know what to do with the feedback. First, and foremost, keep writing.

Compelling Science Fiction editor Joe Stech says they’re once again open for submissions. He’s looking for stories to include in issue 7 (and beyond). The submissions window will remain open until 11:59pm MDT on June 1st, 2017.

io9 celebrates the release of Mass Effect: Andromeda by looking back at their most-loved instances from the long-running series.

Sometimes it’s fun to imagine what some science fiction or fantasy settings would look like in the real world.

A Premium Humble Bundle

Hello all. I somehow managed to get included in this amazing Humble Bundle. I wanted to tell you about it because for a low price, you can get books by Octavia Butler, Robin McKinley, Elizabeth Hand, Katherine Kurtz, Jane Yolen, Kate Elliot, among others, including yours truly. It’s too good a deal not to tell you about, so I am. Click on the picture below and go explore the deal for yourselves.

Screen Shot 2017-03-20 at 8.18.46 PM

Magical Words Link Roundup 3-20-2017

Climate Fiction, or Cli-Fi, is a growing branch of science-fiction literature that deals with the effects of climate change on human society. Looking to dive in? Here are few suggestions to get you started.

Fantasy Literature is wondering what place in a fantasy/sci-fi setting you’d pick to go to for some blissful, rejuvenating solitude. Not necessarily the place you’d most like to go, not necessarily the most beautiful or most exciting, but the place where “peace comes dropping slow,” the place you’d choose to get away from the hurly-burly of the world.

Mary Doria Russell says, “Technically, novelists can make up anything they please, but getting things right is important to me, particularly when writing historical novels.”

Kim Harrison talks about being in the zone.

If you find yourself the protagonist of a science fiction or fantasy series, besieged by dark magics or insane AIs, you’d better hope you’re lucky. Sometimes a good dose of luck is the only thing standing between you and certain death.

Justina Ireland says, “I do want to talk about two things that have been on my mind since reading reviews: racism in fantasy and redemptive arcs for actively racist characters. Because I think it’s important for authors going forward to understand why and how an author ends up with books that attempt to deconstruct ideas of power but then fail miserably.”

47 Tucanae X9 is a star system located almost 15,000 light years away. Scientists have been studying it for years—since 1989—but this week they found something shocking: the system’s star is incredibly close to a black hole and orbits it at an extraordinary speed.

Two of the world’s greatest comic book writers are wizards. No, seriously. Their work has not only changed comics forever, it has spilled over into literature and especially film. But here’s the kicker – they despise each other.

Party Talk!

Shhhh! Don’t tell anyone! Okay, actually I did ask our writers to gather around and tell us “Have you ever hidden any secrets in your books that only a few people will find? Can you share one with us?”

Tamsin Silver
I have! In fact, there are a lot of things I drop in stories that are hidden things for certain people or just for fans of the Urban Fantasy culture. To keep this short, I’ll only give examples from my newest published work, a short in the Rogue Mage Anthology (TRIALS), called Mettilwynd.
1) 90% of the dates and character names were all chosen for specific reasons, they are not random and the names have meanings important to the story.
2) There are line tributes in the story taken from something in pop-culture that are intentionally placed for multiple reasons.
3) The Fort Cornwallis in George Town, Penanag (where the second half of the story takes place) is a real place and was built for the reason stated in the story. PLUS…well, see my answer to #3 if you have not. 🙂
4) I got the idea for Katara’s primary fighting blades (two dirks), how she wears them, and a bit of how she fights from a character on TV Show called Into the Badlands. See if you can guess which one!

Gail Z Martin
Sakwi, the land mage in my Chronicles series, was an homage to my favorite cousin Adam, who shared a strong resemblance with Sakwi (which was his hiking trail name), his love of nature and also his chronic, bloody cough and herbal remedies to ease the coughing. (Adam passed away in 1991 from cystic fibrosis at age 36)

Diana Pharaoh Francis
Yes. Telling about them? Hmmm. Sort of. I will sometimes make references to people I don’t like. For instance, I referenced “a limp dick in a whorehouse,” and that referred to a specific person that only a couple of people might recognize. There was no physical description of a person. The metaphor itself was the reference. I can’t tell you to whom it referred, though.

John Hartness
Oh Bubba, Where Art Thou is my niece Stephanie’s life told in a fictional Christmas Carol framework. A lot of the events that Bubba watched unfold with the ghosts of music past and present were real events, and I wrote my deceased mother and brother-in-law into the book. It was my most personal book to date, and I think it comes through in the overall tone.

Edmund Schubert
Whenever possible, I slip lines from the movie “The Princess Bride” into my stories. In the chapter of the novel I’m working on right now, one character threatens another, then says, “And don’t think you can ever escape from me. I can track a falcon on a cloudy day; I will find you.” That kind of thing makes me insanely happy.

Faith Hunter
Oh yes! There are a number of character names from my fan club. Most amusing is a child character named Mud, for Mindy Mymudes, a gardner fan/friend. Only the members of the fan club put it all together!

Misty Massey
I constantly include names and descriptions of characters from past D&D campaigns. Not just mine, either, but characters other people played. ‘Course sometimes if you irritated me back then, I kill off your characters now. Because I’m a Scorpio and revenge is never out of my head. *laughs*

Melissa McArthur
Actually, no.