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

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 figure […]

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David B. Coe: Creating a Nemesis For Our Protagonist

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

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

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

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: Another Post About Openings

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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David B. Coe: On Writing For Two Publishers

I’ve been writing as D.B. Jackson for several years now. I published “The Tavern fire,” my first historical fantasy story, in 2011, and Thieftaker, the first volume in the Thieftaker Chronicles, came out the following year. I found it strange at first writing under a pseudonym, and having “someone else” known for my work. I wasn’t entirely certain that I liked it, and so was pleased when Tor allowed the ‘nym to be what the industry refers to, oxymoronically, as “an open secret,” meaning that the names would be kept separate, but I would be free to cross-promote between the two.

Until recently, though, my two writing names had not published simultaneously. I’d written books and stories as David B. Coe, and now I was writing them as D.B. Jackson, and, I thought, never would the twain meet.

Late in 2013, though, I signed a contract with Baen Books for […]

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