David B. Coe: Ideas and the Creative Act of Faith

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This will be my last post on Magical Words for a while. My two months here for the promotion of Dead Man’s Reach and His Father’s Eyes is over, and my larger promotional campaign, my Summer-of-Two-Releases Virtual Tour, is winding down. I think all this work has paid off; I hope it has. I’d like to see some nice sales numbers for these two books I love so much.

My focus now is on my next project, which is only just beginning to take shape. I have a magic system — one I really, really like — and I have a couple of characters in mind. But I don’t yet have a plot, or a central conflict. And that’s starting to bother me.

Where do ideas come from? Can they be forced? These questions have been rattling around in my head for some time now, as I struggle to […]

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David B. Coe: Creating a Nemesis For Our Protagonist

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My friend Mary Robinette Kowal has hosted me on her website several times for a feature she calls “My Favorite Bit.” This is a chance for authors to win over potential readers by writing about their absolute favorite part of their new work — a character they love, a plot twist that makes them all warm and fuzzy inside . . . You get the idea. I’ve written several of these for Mary in the past; I didn’t want to trouble her for yet another spot on her blog this summer, but I thought I would borrow her idea (with attribution, obviously) for today’s post.

His Father’s Eyes, the second book in The Case Files of Justis Fearsson, has been out now for a bit over two weeks. If you have purchased a copy, thank you. If you have not, please do. It’s a really good book. Seriously, I love […]

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David B. Coe: Openings Again — Breaking Down HIS FATHER’S EYES

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It’s been a bit over a week since the release of His Father’s Eyes, the second book in The Case Files of Justis Fearsson. I suppose I should know how the book is doing, but I really don’t. I’ve been camping for the past few days, cut off from the rest of the world, enjoying some solitude and this unbelievably gorgeous Montana wilderness. But now I’m in Calgary, Canada for a convention and writing workshop. I have internet access again, so I’m sure I’ll be checking my Amazon numbers soon enough . . .

A few weeks ago, around the time of the release of Dead Man’s Reach, I broke down the opening paragraphs of that fourth Thieftaker novel, to give you some sense of what I was trying to accomplish on the first page of the book. It was a fairly standard start — effective and, I think, nicely […]

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David B. Coe: HIS FATHER’S EYES, a Cathartic Novel

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If it seems like I just had a release day, like, two weeks ago, that’s because I did. Today is release say for His Father’s Eyes, book II in The Case Files of Justis Fearsson, the contemporary urban fantasy I’m writing as David B. Coe for Baen Books. And I’m pretty excited.

You’ll notice right away that the art for this series is quite different from the art for the Thieftaker books. In part that’s a function of the publisher. Baen likes stuff that looks a little pulpy — and I don’t mean that as a bad thing at all. The roots of our genre lie in the great pulp novels of the mid-20th century, and Baen draws on that tradition with all of its titles. More, I think that the Fearsson books have a noir-pulp element to them, along with a Gothic element and a fantasy element . . […]

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David B. Coe: The Ups and Downs of the Writing Life

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It has already been a busy summer, and I have a long way to go before I rest. Dead Man’s Reach, the fourth Thieftaker novel, came out a little over a week ago, and five days from today, His Father’s Eyes, the second volume in the Case Files of Justis Fearsson, will be released by Baen Books. Since June first, I have also had (or will have) three short stories published: “Black and White,” my contribution to the Temporally Out of Order anthology, edited by Joshua Palmatier and Patricia Bray, should be out by the end of next month; “New Moon Wolf,” a Fearsson short story, was published at the Baen website on July 15; and in June, Faith and I put out “Water Witch,” our Thieftaker-Jane Yellowrock crossover novelette.

Busy is good in the writing world, so I guess things are going well. I have a full travel schedule […]

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David B. Coe: Release Day for DEAD MAN’S REACH!

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Today is release day for Dead Man’s Reach, the fourth and final (for now) novel of the Thieftaker Chronicles. I’m incredibly excited about this book for several reasons, not the least of which being that it represents, I believe, some of the finest work I’ve ever done. I hope you enjoy reading it every bit as much as I enjoyed writing it.

All of the Thieftaker novels demanded that I interweave fictional story elements with actual historical events. That has been one of the great challenges of writing these books, and one of the great pleasures as well. And I think that most fans of the series would agree that the interplay of fiction with history is part of what has drawn them to the Ethan Kaille stories.

In no book has that blending of history and make believe been more demanding, more complex, and more intricate, than in Dead […]

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David B. Coe: Another Post About Openings

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We write about openings a lot here at Magical Words, and with good reason. A good opening for a story or novel establishes voice, tone, and conflict, and will ground your reader in your setting, your narrative, and your various character arcs. Early in our careers, when we submit work to editors and agents for consideration, we rarely get more than a page or so to convince them that our stories are worth publishing or representing. A lot rides on those first few paragraphs. Later, when we’re established, we still rely on those openings to carry a disproportionate share of the burden in winning over readers. Potential buyers will often read the opening page to determine whether they’re interested in purchasing a novel. I’ve had readers do this right in front of me at signings and conventions. Sometimes they read a few graphs, put the book back on the shelf […]

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