Explaining the No

Back in June, we opened submissions for the upcoming Weird West anthology, Lawless Lands, from Falstaff Books. We’ve had a lot of stories roll in, some of them great, some of them okay, and some of them pretty terrible. Yeah, I said ‘terrible’. Despite all the advice we here on Magical Words (as well as lots of other writing sites all over the net) have offered over the years, there are some writers who are just NOT. GETTING. IT. And that breaks my heart. As an editor, what I hope to find every time I open a story file is that incredible story, the one that makes me race through to the end and then read it again because it was that good. The one that leaves me in tears because it touched me so deeply. THAT story. But sometimes writers send in pieces that make me stare at the […]

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Write Us A Story!

Howdy, folks! I’m thrilled to announce that Emily Leverett, Margaret McGraw and I will be editing another anthology of stories from the dusty alleys of the weird west, this time for Falstaff Press! It’s called Lawless Lands: Tales From the Weird Frontier, and we have a fabulous lineup of anchor authors, including:

David B Coe Laura Anne Gilman Barb Hendee Faith Hunter Nicole Givens Kurtz Margaret McGraw Seanan McGuire Devon Monk Edmund Schubert and now, Jake Bible!

But nine stories isn’t enough, and that’s where you come in… we’re opening the submissions right now! Lawless Lands will be funded with a Kickstarter, which will run in December of 2016, so we want to have our stories in hand in order to guarantee an amazing campaign. We’re looking for stories that embody the frontier spirit of the American West, but with a weird twist. Gunslingers with laser pistols, cattle drives through […]

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Lessons Learned Editing an Anthology

We’re pleased to welcome a guest and friend of Magical Words, A C Thompson, who’s here today to talk about her recently released anthology of paranormal Sherlock Holmes stories, An Improbable Truth! 14 authors of horror and mystery have come together to create a unique anthology that sets Holmes on some of his most terrifying adventures. A pair of sisters willing to sacrifice young girls to an ancient demon for a taste of success, a sinister device that can manipulate time itself, and a madman that can raise corpses from the dead are just a few among the grisly tales that can be found within these pages. Take it away, AC!

* * * * Do not adjust your monitors, its true— the Southern Belle from Hell herself is guesting today at Magical Words. (Really, I just think your regular poster, Misty Massey, was desperate to not write this week.) […]

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Probably Improbable and Genre

There’s this guy I like. He’s smart, handsome, intense, and logical. Any guesses on who he is?

Sherlock Holmes, of course!


I fell in love with the detective in the early 2000’s when I took a course on Neo-Victorian literature in college and we read The Seven-Per-Cent Solution by Nicholas Meyer, which was a Sherlock Holmes story written by someone other than Arthur Conan Doyle. That’s really the essence of Neo-Victorian literature. It can go in a couple different directions: writing that retells a Victorian story by a modern author, a continuation or prequel for a Victorian story, or an addition to the Victorian canon in the same style.

You guys and gals correct me if I am wrong, but it seems to me that outside of the zombies books (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, anyone?) and such, this is a largely ignored genre. Now, don’t get me wrong. […]

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Getting It Right The First Time

I spent the last few days reading submissions for our upcoming anthology, The Weird Wild West. I’m nowhere near finished, of course – we had a marvelous response to our call, so there are a lot of stories to work through. This is a new experience for me, editing. I’ve edited my own work, of course, but choosing stories for an anthology that will have my name on it – this is an entirely different activity. I’ve asked Emily (who has more experience at this sort of thing) a ton of questions. We don’t want anything but the best in this book, and we expect the submissions to be the absolute best the writers could possibly achieve.

I want to repeat something you regular readers of Magical Words have heard all of us say at least a thousand times. Editors are looking for a reason to say “No, thank you.” […]

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Party Talk: The Evil Overlord List

Hey y’all, The Big Bad II releases tomorrow! Whoo hoo! Twenty-four tales of vampires, demons, ghosts, zombies, and the most terrifying monsters of all – humans. It’s going to be available in hardcover, paperback and Kindle, so if you want to be one of the cool kids, go order your copy right now!

I’ve asked our authors to join me for one more round of Party Talk, and this week’s question is:

What are your favorite rules from the Evil Overlord List?

Matthew Saunders:”One of my advisors will be an average five-year-old child. Any flaws in my plan that he is able to spot will be corrected before implementation.” This is very sound advice for life in general.

Gail Martin: 7 and 56. Related to 7 should be the Syndrome Corollary: No monologuing!

David B Coe: Hard to choose from this list, because they’re all pretty good, and they all […]

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Party Talk: What Makes A Villain?

We’re a week away from the release of The Big Bad II! It’s available for preorder now, if you don’t want to waste even a second of valuable reading time. Some of the best fantasy and horror writers in the business bring you 24 thrilling tales of vampires, demons, ghosts, zombies, and the most terrifying monsters of all – humans. You know you want to read this book!

Once again, I’ve asked some of the writers from The Big Bad II to answer a question for you. This week, Party Talk wants to know: What makes a villain a villain? What would it take to transform the villain in your favorite story into the hero?

Sarah Adams: Being on the wrong side of history? (And isn’t that a loaded phrase.) Broadly, I’d say a villain is the person who’s willing to hurt other people to get what he or […]

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