Emily Lavin Leverett: It’s All In How You Say It!

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So—I’m Emily Lavin Leverett. If you’ve been reading here a while, you might have seen me comment as Peafaerie. I’m a writer of short stories and novels, an editor of The Big Bad I and II with John Hartness, and an English professor. Thanks very much to Magical Words for letting me be here today to talk about a subject near and dear to my heart!

I’m here to talk about grammar.

(The sound of people clicking to something else is overwhelming, so I’ll just wait for a moment, until it passes.)

Grammar is important. I’ll put that out there first. Anyone who tells you it is not, or that if your voice or characters or story are really good, bad grammar won’t hurt, is a lying liar who is lying. Great voice, character, and story will get people past typos, but not persistent problems. Good grammar is the […]

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D.B. Jackson: The Writing Life, part II — Living With Success and Failure

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As I’ve mentioned before — and as Faith and others have mentioned as well — the release of a new book can be incredibly stressful. Of course there is satisfaction in seeing the finished product in print (or ebook format). Writing a book is a big deal. That completed volume represents a tremendous amount of work; it required a huge investment of time, and of emotional and intellectual energy. It represents as well, an admirable accomplishment, and there is nothing wrong with taking pride in that. The problem is, releases are fraught with additional significance. Right or wrong, the success of a new book is judged on a collection of external factors that have little or nothing to do with the work itself, and everything to do with how others receive that work.

Every writer, aspiring or established, knows what I’m talking about. How many of you have finished a […]

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D.B. Jackson: The Writing Life, part I — Say What?

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This week, in my continuing gig as “guest” on this site, I’m supposed to write about “The Writing Life.” First of all, it’s just weird being a guest here — I mean, this place has been my literary home for six years. I feel a little like I went off to college and then returned home, only to find that my room was being used as a bed and breakfast. I guess now I know how my older daughter feels . . . (That’s a little joke. I promise.) But I also wonder if, after all these years, there is anything I could tell you about my writing life that you don’t already know.

And so I’m going to take this in a slightly different direction . . .

Being a writer can be a little weird. By which I mean, that people sometimes treat writers in odd ways. This […]

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D. B. Jackson: On Plotting — Keeping Things Fresh

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Last week I began the discussion of keeping books and story lines fresh as we move through a series, by talking about character, and in particular shaking up familiar dynamics between (among) two (or more) characters. I focused my post on the core relationship found in the Thieftaker books: the rivalry between my hero, thieftaker and conjurer Ethan Kaille, and his nemesis, the brilliant, deadly, and beautiful Sephira Pryce. The basic dynamics of their relationship had long since been established in the first two books of the Thieftaker Chronicles, Thieftaker and Thieves’ Quarry. Now, in the third book of the series, A Plunder of Souls, which was released a week ago today, I fundamentally altered those dynamics by introducing a new adversary for Ethan, Captain Nate Ramsey, who antagonized Sephira and forced her into an unlikely alliance with Ethan.

But there are other ways to keep a storyline fresh, even […]

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D.B. Jackson: On Character — The Enemy of My Enemy . . .

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Happy release day to me,Happy release day to me,Happy release day, dear D.B.!Happy release day, to meeeeee!!!!!

Tenors, you were a little weak on that last part. We’ll need to work on that in rehearsal before we take the performance to Carnegie . . .

So, yeah, today is release day for A Plunder of Souls, book 3 in the Thieftaker Chronicles, and I’m very excited. Also nervous to the point of debilitation. But that’s another story. Suffice it to say that if you have any inclination to buy this book, and/or any of the others in the Thieftaker series, now would be a great time to do so. You won’t miss anything; we’ll wait.

Ah, good, you’re back. Moving on . . .

Any successful series is going to have a number of crucial ingredients. The Thieftaker books are set apart by their blend of Revolutionary Era historical background […]

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D.B. Jackson: Drawing Inspiration From Short Fiction

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Hello, MW! It is great to be back — I’ve missed being here. [Glances around] The place looks great — you’ve taken good care of it while I’ve been gone. And now that I’m here, I’m sticking around for a while — I’ll be posting for the next five weeks, kicking off the promotion for A Plunder of Souls, the third book in the Thieftaker Chronicles (which began with Thieftaker and Thieves’ Quarry). The book will be released on July 8, exactly one week from today.

So, let’s get to it . . .

You’ve heard me say it before: “Write short fiction about your characters. It will help you get a sense of their background and their voice, and it might even result in a sale.” Or, as in this case, it might lead to an entirely new novel.

A Plunder of Souls has its origins in a single […]

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Magical Words Writing Workshop

Misty MasseyMisty Massey

Hi folks!

We hope you’ve been enjoying all the marvelous guests we’ve brought you so far in 2014. Trust me, we have even more writers and their books to introduce to you as the months move along, so you’re not allowed to be mad at us when your to-be-read stack climbs higher than your bedside table. *laughs*

Today everyone’s taking a break, so I thought I’d drop over to mention that Faith Hunter, David B Coe and I (Misty Massey) are very excited about the upcoming Magical Words Writing Workshop, which is taking place during Congregate in July. It’s an intensive two-day seminar offering detailed, specific feedback on the first 2500 words of your manuscript from all three of us. Not only that, but members of the class will be able to offer feedback to each other as well. And since we’re teamed with Congregate 2014, you have the […]

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