About James R. Tuck

I'm the author of the Deacon Chalk series from Kensington. If you like your urban fantasy dark and dangerous then you should check it out.
I also work in crime fiction, horror, weird westerns, sword and sorcery, and straight fantasy.
A full list of releases are available on my website as well as all the conventions I'm attending. Come meet me and say HI cause I'm nice even if I look like a thug.

Find more about me on:

Here are my most recent posts

THE WORST CHRISTMAS POST EVER (or: seriously don’t read this if you are prone to the holiday blues. Contains sorrow, loss, and others)

James R. Tuck

I’m a writer.

As writers go I’m not very emotional. I do not have gigantic mirths nor gigantic melancholies. I do not battle depression. I am very even-keeled and stable almost to the point of being a bit emotionless.

But the holidays occasionally make me a bit maudlin.

It happens.

In this, my final Magical Words post for 2013 I’m going to share some of that. This is an intensely personal post that really has nothing to do with the season. It’s been written for a while and I have pecked at it whenever I feel the need. But it relates to my current WIP which is not genre at all, but a literaryly-minded mainstream book. (It’s all very new so no news on it other than I’m near 10k in and it feels really special)

This is your last warning though: from here on out it might be [...]

Continue reading THE WORST CHRISTMAS POST EVER (or: seriously don’t read this if you are prone to the holiday blues. Contains sorrow, loss, and others)

PLOTTING WITH BUNNIES (or whatever other animal you like. Want a hippopotamus? By all means, plot with hippos.)

James R. Tuck

Character and Plot. The two things you need to make a book. (Please don’t cite me examples of books that have one but not the other. Those are outliers and not the main thrust of books.) Generally speaking those are the requirements.

Now for most folks, myself included, character is actually pretty easy. They come swaggering up in our heads all badass and near fully fleshed out. The plots? They’re a different story. Plots are tricky little devils and hard to get hold of sometimes.

But that’s because we overthink them.

We do. As writers our brains are moving 90 to nothing and cruising top speed down multiple tracks. We mix our plot up with the following things: Character, Backstory, World-building, Themes, and Motives.

But we don’t need that for the actual plot.

The plot is the skeleton you hang all that meat [...]

Continue reading PLOTTING WITH BUNNIES (or whatever other animal you like. Want a hippopotamus? By all means, plot with hippos.)


James R. Tuck

I don’t know what kind of writer you are. You might be the kind who works each sentence until it’s perfect before moving on to the next one, lining up the words in exacting order for the most impact and literary explosiveness.

If so then this blog might not do you much good. lol

This advice is for the writers like me. The indulgent ones who spew words on their first drafts, who write with an abandon of language, allowing all the sentences to run amok on the page. I sling phrases and concepts around during my first draft, just acting like they are free and I can have as many as my greedy little, or not-so-little fingers can conjure.

The result, for me anyways, is a first draft bloated like Elvis on a toilet and full of sentences that I love, words I adore.

That’s all fine and [...]

Continue reading DRINK YOUR HATER-ADE (or editing)

OMG WRITING Y’ALL (or not another con report)

James R. Tuck

Whew to the Dragoncon.

I miss it. I miss my peeps. It is always awesome seeing my fellow magical words family although Dragoncon is SO busy we only get to spend minutes together. (Lucienne, I still owe you that drink and AJ I didn’t even SEE you) But after Faith and John ‘s excellent con reports I have decided that this will NOT be about Dragoncon.

Instead I am going to talk to you about writing. (Inspired by a panel at Dragoncon)

I know, crazy right?

Let’s talk about character. Character is story. Some of you are looking at me going: “No James, PLOT is story. Characters are the subject of story.”

You’re kinda right, but not really. You see your plot is determined by your characters decisions. Every character, from the main protagonist to the most minor walk on character can radically change your story if they make their [...]

Continue reading OMG WRITING Y’ALL (or not another con report)

IT’S NOT EASY BEING MEH (or sometimes this gig sucks but it’s alright)

James R. Tuck

You know what?

I’ve got nothing to complain about. I don’t. I have a good life and a good wife and a good career. Things are shaking and moving. My schedule at Dragoncon is jam packed with some stellar panels. I have good writerly friends at all levels of the biz who are succeeding and doing well, which makes me happy. I have a support network. I have no shortage of inspiration to write. I have stories coming out and novels sold til the end of 2014.

My second book BLOOD AND SILVER won a Bookie Award at Authors After Dark this week for Best Shifter Novel (non wolf).

Things are good.

But today, well today not one damn bit of it matters.

The thing you know if you are a writer is that this business, for all its ego stroking numminess is also a black-hearted soul grinder. It’s a [...]

Continue reading IT’S NOT EASY BEING MEH (or sometimes this gig sucks but it’s alright)


James R. Tuck

Today is the day after Independence Day. We all shot our fireworks, ate our hotdogs, and enjoyed ourselves like we had no shame.

Or maybe that was just me. lol.

In light of all the wonderful freedom we celebrated yesterday I wanted to chat with you about freedom in your writing.

It seems as writers we are constantly putting chains on ourselves, trapping ourselves in corners, or in general restricting ourselves. Sometimes this happens because of deadlines and commitments, if you are prepublished then you can do it to yourself by chasing a market or beating your head against the brick wall of a book that isn’t ready to write.

I know that I tried to chase a book that wasn’t ready yet.

It was a disaster. I tried to force out a story I wasn’t ready to write yet. Not in a hippy-dippy way, not in a the-muse-wasn’t-cooperating way, [...]

Continue reading LET FREEDOM RING Y’ALL

I’LL SHOW YOU NOT TELLING (something I read somewheres)

James R. Tuck

So I picked up a book called THE FIRST 50 PAGES by Jeff Gerke the other day because, well, I have a book buying problem. (TBR pile is 68 at last count and I KNOW I’ve gotten a ton more books since then)

Anyways, I wanted to share some advice he gives that to me seemed pretty golden.

Here’s the sum up:

Think of your book as a movie. Telling is anything you write that THE CAMERA DOES NOT SEE.

Stop and think about it.

Let it sink in.

I know how we writers are. We feel like the reader needs to know all the back story to really understand what we are trying to write….the ins and outs of the plot, the history and texture of the worlds and characters we have created so lovingly.

It’s bullshit.

They don’t. They don’t need to know anything that doesn’t directly [...]

Continue reading I’LL SHOW YOU NOT TELLING (something I read somewheres)