Taking a Moment to Look Back and Say Thanks

Nearly six years ago, on January 24, 2008, Misty posted the very first essay to the Magical Words blogsite. It was called “Where’d Everybody Go?” and it was a response to a show she had seen the night before on the History Channel about what Earth might be like if all human life vanished from the planet. The following day, I put up my first post — “Doing as I Say” — which was about writing short fiction to help flesh out elements of worldbuilding or character development for larger projects.

Faith’s first post followed mine, and Catie’s first came after Faith’s. By the end of that first week of Magical Words, we had all posted something; the site was up and running, and to be honest, we were all pretty excited about it. We didn’t know where the site would take us, but we knew it was something we […]

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Greetings from Calgary: Post-Con Report

Greetings from Calgary, Alberta! I am writing this Sunday afternoon, after a wonderful week of work at WhenWordsCollide and the pre-convention writer’s workshop.

Yes, that’s right: I said “work.” John’s post from the other day, on which I didn’t comment, but which I have read, is spot on. Conventions are work. They are super fun — I love meeting fans, working with other professionals, renewing old friendships and beginning new ones. And after 16 years as a published author I am nowhere close to being tired of having people ask if I’ll sign their copies of my books. To be honest, I’m always shocked when people apologize for approaching me, as if it’s an imposition.

But right now, after leading the workshop for two days and being one of the con’s guests of honor, I’m exhausted. It’s not that talking about writing or doing readings is that tiring. But I’ve […]

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ConCarolinas 2013.

Was amazing. Fun. Harder than any ConCaro before. Less relaxing than any before. More emotional than any before (and that part for reasons I can’t quite articulate). Too many panels. Wow. They really worked us! The three MW seminars were *great,* but were held in rooms that were waaaay too small — standing room/sitting room-on-the-floor only. But David and Misty and I shared what we knew and the Q&As were terrific. (Someone got a pic of me snarling at David. I think he probably deserved it. LOL)

We had a fantastic MW lunch on Saturday at Boardwalk Billy’s. 52 people attended! There were several parties. And for me, Mom and her bestie and my bestie were there, which means responsibility that always goes beyond the usual Con responsibilities . David B Coe had his daughter there. Schlomo came to visit for a good one liner. (Inside joke.) Misty had her […]

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Holiday Post: My List of the Best Writing Tips

I have never done NaNoWriMo. I know that there is an ongoing debate about its efficacy for aspiring writers, but I haven’t felt that I could stake out a position one way or another.

Now, though, I am now in the midst of my own NaNo experiment. I started City of Shades (Thieftaker Chronicles, book III, by D.B. Jackson) later than I had intended, which means that I was behind almost from the start. So, I decided that I needed to crank out the pages in February. If I could write 45,000 words this month, I would be back on track. If I could get 50,000 words, I would be ahead of schedule heading into March, which would be good I’ll be taking a week off to travel with my family and celebrate my big milestone birthday. That’s right: I’m about to turn 21 . . .

Anyway, I […]

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Creative Intersections: Plot and Character Development

As of December 27, Thieftaker, the first book in my Thieftaker Chronicles, is available as an audio book from Audible.com. The reading was done by Jonathan Davis, who happens to be a friend of A.J.’s who also did the voicings for A.J.’s Will books. If you are one of those people who enjoys listening to audio books as much as you do reading regular books, I hope you’ll check it out.

I don’t listen to a lot of audio books, but I have enjoyed those I’ve heard. I also find, though, that listening to someone read a book tends to highlight for me all the flaws in the writing. This is one of the reasons why I read my own work aloud when I am revising. But it’s a little different when it’s my own book, and it’s too late for me to edit. Yesterday, after a couple of weeks […]

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Release Day for Darwen II!

First, thanks to Faith and Misty for switching their schedules with me so I can post on release day!

Today, the second in my middle grades series, Darwen Arkwright and the Insidious Bleck, hits shelves, and I thought I’d tell you something about the high wire act which is writing the second book of a series.

The original cover Darwen II art as it appeared on the ARC

To be clear, this is a second stand alone story in the Darwen universe. There are larger plot lines being developed from book to book, but each volume is its own story with a beginning, middle and end. They are probably richest read in order, but they don’t have to be.

Book 1, Darwen Arkwright and the Peregrine Pact, introduced the core characters (Darwen, Rich and Alex) and established their world (Hillside Academy in Atlanta) and the key issue: there are […]

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Books For Which I Am Thankful (An Early Thanksgiving Post)

My regular week off from MW coincides with Thanksgiving week, which is convenient, because I will be traveling with my daughter to look at colleges in NY and New England, so I wouldn’t really have time to post anyway. But that means that my Thanksgiving post comes a week early this year.

As always I am thankful for so much — I’m a very lucky man. I love my family, and they seem to love me back, which is always good thing. I enjoy my job, and have had a successful year, revolving around the release of THIEFTAKER, which has done well both commercially and critically. And I have friends and colleagues here at MW and elsewhere whom I respect and care about a great deal. Are there things I would like to improve in my life — in particular in my career? Of course. I’m not claiming that all […]

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