What Day Is It Again?


It’s con time again! ConCarolinas is looming large in my sight, and I’ve been caught up in the throes of finishing the schedule for the last week. Let me tell you, scheduling 50 writers into 56 panels so that everyone has a reasonable number and at least one or two of their “I’ll just die if I can’t be on this one” panels is not the easy task it might appear to be. I finished the schedule for the first time on Sunday. Since then, I’ve rearranged it at least four times, dropped panelists either because I screwed up or because they asked me to, and inserted new panelists into the suddenly open spots. Fortunately Sched.org is a brilliantly easy site to work within, so I didn’t have to buy another white board. (The first one was full of names and numbers already.) Want to see what we’ve put […]

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It’s Supposed To Be A Living

“Why should we have to pay for the stories in your head?”

Last week, Facebook was buzzing over an incident with a romance author who received a horrible message from a “fan”. The woman had purchased ebooks by the author, read them, returned them for a refund, then complained that while she enjoyed the stories just fine, the author should make all her books free because paying for them was too difficult for the “fan”. The author blocked her (because duh) so the “fan” created a new account and messaged the author again, calling her names and telling her that she could have been a bestseller if only she’d make her books free for everyone, then ended her message with the line above.

First off, I’m at a loss as to how one becomes a bestseller by giving away all the books. I didn’t get any further than Algebra II/Trigonometry […]

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To Agent or Not to Agent? Part One

Today we’re welcoming a longtime friend of Magical Words, Barb Hendee! Barb is the nationally best-selling co-author of the Noble Dead Saga, along with her husband J.C. She is also the author of the Vampire Memories series and the recently launched Mist-Torn Witches series. Visit her website at: http://www.nobledead.org


If You Want to Get Your Manuscript on the Desk of a New York Editor, You Need an Agent.

Okay, that title probably lays out the point of this blog post pretty clearly, but this is a complex topic.

Of late, I’ve heard some rather “loud” voices in the industry telling new/hopeful writers that not only do they not need an agent to be successful, but that an agent will actually be damaging to their careers.

In one online discussion, I recently (stupidly) jumped in to say, “Well, of course if someone is self-publishing, he or she doesn’t need an […]

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Good morning, y’all! I’ve been up to my ears in a story that’s due this week, so I’m presenting a special guest to you today. Shannon Wendtland is one of the writers of the wonderful anthology An Improbable Truth: The Paranormal Adventures of Sherlock Holmes from Mocha Memoirs Press. Today she’s here to talk about her novel Heliodor. Welcome, Shannon!

* * * * *

I used to be a ‘pantser’, and by that I mean: someone who writes by the seat of their pants. I’d get an idea – one that I thought had legs – and I would write like crazy until my energy petered out. I’d write ten thousand-plus words in a weekend. And then I’d go to work and get back to my daily life and not write again for weeks, maybe even months.

It’s hard to finish a project when you do it in big, […]

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I Don’t Know What To Say

I’m having one of those days, in which I know I’m supposed to come up with something brilliant (or wise, or maybe at the very least amusing) for everyone to read here today. I’ve got nothing. I’m writing a short story that’s due in about 15 days, and I spent the weekend prepping panel choices for the writer guests for ConCarolinas (are you coming? We’d love to see you there!) I had two editorial Skype meetings for an as-yet-unnamed super-secret project. I’ve brainstormed a choreography for an upcoming belly dance show in the fall and gathered bags and boxes full of unnecessary possessions that I’m going to sell at my parents’ yard sale this weekend.

Is it any wonder I’m blanking on what to write today?

******** I was a guest at Anachrocon back in February. It’s a charming Steampunk con in the wilds of Atlanta GA. The panels I […]

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What’s It Cost?

So my well died sometime in the night.

At least, I assume that’s what happened. We woke up this morning to discover that there was no water pressure. (Nope, the pipes aren’t frozen – it wasn’t that cold last night.) The guy is coming over later today to take a look. He had recommended that we fix something else a while back, and warned that if we didn’t fix the other thing, we’d likely see our well pump die sooner than expected. (It is 25 years old, so it was probably time for it to go anyway, but I digress…) Trouble was that in addition to fixing the thing, there are so many, many other things that demand my money. I need to replace the roof, and my front windows are in dreadful shape. My kitchen floor could use replacing, and the carpet in the great room is way beyond […]

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If You Meet A Writer On The Road

It’s that time of year… SF and fantasy cons all over are gearing up. Writers are gassing up their cars, making hotel arrangements and packing their bags with books, bookmarks and all manner of swag to give out to admiring fans from hither to yon. Cons are great fun, for the most part. If you’re headed to ConNooga this weekend, Mysticon or Anachrocon next weekend, or another con down the line, you’re sure to have a good time. But I beg of you, keep your good manners handy. There are a few things you just shouldn’t do when you go to a con.

First, let’s talk about the facility itself. Most cons are held in hotels. The hotel and the con have a contract together, with the hotel agreeing to host the panels and activities and offer attendees a discounted room rate in exchange for an upfront payment from the […]

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