All good things… A farewell to Magical Words.


Well, I’m late posting, so this will be shorter than I had planned.

Several years ago I was at Con Carolinas in my home town of Charlotte. I had just released my first fantasy novel, Act of Will, and was dipping my toe into the convention scene for the very first time. It was all a bit strange and intimidating since I knew no one, wasn’t really up on the genre, and knew nothing of the social dynamics of conventions.

But I got lucky.

I met three people there, David Coe, Faith Hunter and Misty Massey. I don’t remember how. Maybe we were on a panel together. Maybe we were hawking books in the same hallway. Anyway, we got chatting and hit it off. A month or two later I did my first guest post for Magical Words. A few months after that, I did another, then I was invited to contribute a couple of times a month, and eventually once a week.

It’s been a long and rewarding journey. I’ve felt extraordinarily connected and supported by everyone who uses this site and I’ve made friends who I know I’ll be in touch with for the rest of my life. We’ve gotten together over food (and the occasional adult beverage), we’ve hashed out the publishing industry a thousand times, shared our triumphs and our disasters, our hopes and our anxieties. It’s been quite the trip.

Which is why saying goodbye is so hard.

This has been a tough year for me for lots of reasons, much of it to do with the sheer amount of work I was trying to get done, and—after a lot of soul searching—I realized there were things I had to pull back from. I’m giving up the academic journal I edit, I’m scaling back convention appearances, and—reluctantly—I’m pulling out of MW.

I have to say, in all honesty, that the work and stress is only one factor in my decision to leave. Another is that lately I’ve found it harder to bring things to the table that I thought readers would enjoy or get something from, and I don’t want to waste anyone’s time. I take the site very seriously and don’t want to do a half-assed job.

So. It’s time for me to step away.

I hope to stay connected to what I recently heard someone refer to as the MW family (posters and commenters) and, if you’ll have me, plan to post occasionally as a guest from time to time. Maybe in a year or so my batteries will be recharged and I could consider coming back on a regular basis, but we’ll see.

For now its goodbye and good luck. Thanks to all involved for making this such a great experience for me. It is unexpectedly hard to leave. Stay in touch and keep writing.

A.J. Hartley


29 comments to All good things… A farewell to Magical Words.

  • You will be missed, but don’t say good bye to ALL the magical words. Gotta keep some for the novels. 😉 Hopefully, you’ll be able to drop in from time to time and I’ll keep a watch for your continued successes on Facebook.

    All the best.

  • Will definitely miss you. I really appreciated all of the topics you brought, even when I didn’t get a chance to comment. You definitely had a different angle of looking at things!

    Take care and good luck, AJ. ♥ *hugs*

  • Totally get it, but so sad to see you go! Hopefully you’ll still appear at Con Carolinas and you’ll still be snarky on Facebook! I’ll miss your posts!

  • God speed, and good luck with your current projects.

  • Gypsyharper

    Definitely sad to see you go! I’ve really enjoyed your posts, even though I don’t always leave comments. Best of luck with everything!

  • You will always be welcome here, A.J. I will miss your terrific posts — your insight and eloquence, your humor and the passion you bring to your art and these discussions of it. I refuse to say “goodbye” since I will look forward to your guest appearances here and to hanging out with you at ConCarolinas, Dragon*Con, and other professional events. And forevermore, no convention I attend will officially begin until I hear you say “bollocks!” on a panel.

  • Thanks all. I appreciate the…er.. appreciation 🙂 See? Words already failing me.

    And David, my friend, yeah, you don’t get rid of me that easily. I hope we’ll cross paths in person very soon. Till then there’s always hijacking other people’s face book updates.

  • You just ruined my Christmas. Thanks, Scrooge. 😉 Honestly, though, I totally understand your decision. I’m so happy Magical Words led me to meeting you and the other awesome people here that have made the past year-and-change really exceptional. There are some things that happen in life that help to shape its direction, and I truly feel like us (Raven, Lauren, and me) meeting you (and David, and Faith, and Misty, and Ed) has done that.

    Your contributions to Magical Words will be missed!

  • “That’s not what you said a Dragon*Con”

  • Thanks, Scribe. We will, of course, stay in touch. I trust I’ll see you long before Dragon.

  • Your contributions were fantastic and will be missed. Best of luck with all your projects.

  • AJ – Sorry to see that you won’t be a regular presence here, but I look forward to your dropping in at least every once in a while… I’ve very much enjoyed your contributions here (and the career guidance you’ve shared off-list!) Wishing you all the best…

  • Wayne McCalla

    A.J., although I do not post much since I am a reader and not a writer, I know that you will b missed by all.

    I will still look for posts on here by you. And definitely will see you on FaceBook as well as ConCarolinas and DragonCon!

  • I’ll especially miss your poetic heart, AJ! Please tell me you’ll at least occasionally drop in to comment on the others’ posts – just to keep ’em honest.

    Best of luck in all your endeavors and a virtual gifting of solar panels to charge your batteries without cost!

    Take care, my friend.

  • AJ, you will be sorely missed. You are welcome back anytime. Anytime!

  • As I recall, you said something out loud. At which point Faith and I said, “That voice!” and decided we were claiming you for our very own. *laughs*

    We’ll miss you, and we’ll be looking forward to you dropping by now and then!

  • Vyton

    A J, thank you for all the great posts with refreshing insight and unique perspective. Fair winds.

  • mudepoz

    Geez. I like to lurk, unless I’m confused or can sling a thong at someone. I’ve enjoyed your posts, as well as your writing. Not the academic stuff, I have enough trouble reading the stuff allegedly in my field. It was fun to have Audible send an email hawking Macbeth. *Hands Dr. Hartley jumper cables and points to a fully charged battery* I have NO clue how to jump start anything, so you’re on your own. You’ll be missed.

  • mudepoz

    Geez, ever complete a thought, Mud? I meant it was fun to have Audible send an email about Macbeth and know who one of the writer’s was. Sheesh.

  • Megan B.

    Thank you and good luck, AJ. We’ll look forward to your guest posts in the future!

  • Ken

    Best of luck AJ. You will be missed and, if I make it out to ConCarolinas this year, I’ll definitely look you up

  • Thanks for all the good wishes, guys. I will genuinely miss this and you.

  • Razziecat

    This is my sad face 🙁

    I always enjoyed your postings, A.J., and I always learned a lot. You have a way of getting to the core of the subject that I truly appreciated. Please come by now and then if you have the time and energy! Best of luck in everything and happy holidays to you!

  • Thanks for the all the posts, A.J. I always enjoyed your insight. Good luck to you, and have a happy, healthy, stressless new year!

  • TwilightHero

    Good luck, A.J. Others have already spoken about learning from your perspective on things, and how your posts had a flavor all their own. Suffice it to say, I enjoyed them 🙂 Happy holidays!

  • Although I mostly lurk, I have enjoyed your insights and posts- hopefully we’ll get to see you back soon! And if ya ever get out west and do a panel at San Diego Comic Con- yell out! I’d love to see you in person :). Keep writing and thanks for sharing your views.

  • More thanks for the comments. Always nice to lure some fo the lurkers out front into the light too 🙂 And yes, Marie, maybe I’ll make it out to Comic Con one day and we can say hi.

    Best to all.

  • Sorry to see you being overworked, but I know the feeling myself so I can understand. Since you and Gerald are always on Facebook, and we just saw you a few days ago, I don’t think we will lose contact. Plus you will be doing ConCarolinas and DragonCon.

  • quillet

    Oh my, the things I miss when I’m away! 🙁 Don’t know if you’re still listening, AJ, but I’m sad — for my own sake, that is. Your posts were always another reason to be glad it was Friday, including those times I didn’t comment. For you, though, I wish good health, fully recharged batteries, and a very happy and productive 2013. I hope you’ll still drop by sometimes! We’ll miss you lots.