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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Making Money Mondays – Short Fiction & A Cover Reveal

“There’s no money in short stories.”

“Nobody buys novellas.”

“All the short story markets are dead or dying.”

I hear these things a lot. And if you built a career in the 70s and 80s selling stories to major magazines for $.05/word, and could count on selling 2-3 stories a month, then selling stories to anthologies that again paid $.04-.06/word, and sold one of those each month, then yeah, that business model is dead. There a far fewer print magazines today than there were even ten years ago, and the ones out there there that still pay real money are harder to find than a place to pee in North Carolina. I promise, that will be my only reference to bathroom legislation in this post and I will keep this space apolitical after that.

But if you’ve been paying attention to trends, and watching some of the things that people […]

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Party Talk: Bad Guys!

Hey y’all, I have some exciting news…there’s a new book coming out soon, and you’re going to love it! It’s called The Big Bad II, and it’ll be released February 24. Edited by John Hartness and Emily Lavin Leverett, it’s chockful of great stories by some of the best in the business, and every single story is from the point-of-view of the villain. As soon as we have a preorder link, I’ll share it here on MW for you! In the meantime, I’ve invited the writers from The Big Bad II to come to Magical Words for a session of Party Talk. Today’s question is:

Who’s the best bad guy you’ve ever read? What made that character so enthralling?

Gail Martin: It’s a tie for me between Voldemort from Harry Potter and Denethor from Lord of the Rings. I really loved the parallels between Tom Riddle and Harry, with choice […]

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On Publishing and Writing: A Sale, and a Study in Perseverence

Some of you may have seen this news on Facebook, but I wanted to share it here, as well: I have recently signed a three-book contract with Baen Books for a contemporary urban fantasy. The series is called the Weremyste Cycle, and the first book, Spell Blind, will be coming out in about a year. Obviously this is big news, and I’m very excited. But the sale of this series is important to me in a number of ways and lends itself to what I hope will be an interesting post.

I first mentioned Spell Blind (or at least the book that eventually became Spell Blind) on Magical Words back in June 2008, in a post titled “The Book I Love and Can’t Sell.” At that time, the manuscript had a different title, a different magic system, a different plot, and a different conceptual core. Which I suppose begs the […]

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On Creativity and Writing: Making the Most of Ideas, part I

As I mentioned in a post a few weeks ago, the original idea for Thieftaker and its sequels came originally from a footnote in a history book that described the life of one particular thieftaker, London’s notorious Jonathan Wild. A footnote. In a book I was reading for reasons that had nothing whatsoever to do with writing.

Ideas are funny things. They come from everywhere. They come unbidden, and will absolutely refuse to come if I TRY to force them. They can come in any form: characters, plot points, magic systems, worlds that present themselves to me, etc. They all begin with “What if?”, but from there they take on lives of their own, becoming as individual as children. Often they come at the worst possible times; they are particularly likely to show up when I’m in the middle of working on something else, most likely the last book of […]

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Improvising a Post: Writing Advice Haiku!

Hi, all. David here.

Our good friend Edmund Schubert was supposed to return to Magical Words today for a guest appearance. Unfortunately family health issues got in the way of his plans and he is not able to join us. A.J., who usually posts on Fridays, is taking a well-deserved day off, and that leaves us without a post for the day.

So, here I am riffing, trying to think of what to do with the day that will be amusing and engaging without taking up time that I don’t have.

And what I’ve come up with is writing advice Haiku. Yes, you heard me — writing advice Haiku. I got the idea from my friend Tim Rohr, who recently interviewed me for the MiFi Writers of Michigan Speculative Fiction. At his request, I ended the interview with this little gem:

Put your butt in chairMake your own inspirationBecause writers […]

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On Writing: Writing on Demand, and a Story Assignment!

Recent discussions here at the site have focused on the need to write fast, to put butt in chair and get the work done. Catie mentioned it the other day in the context of NaNoWriMo. Edmund and James Maxey took the idea to the extreme on Friday. And, of course, A.J. has been telling us to write fast for some time now. All of them are right. I think that putting our internal editor at arm’s length and delving into a project in a way that forces us to write at a swift, steady pace so that we get the thing done, is all to the good. Our goal, of course, has to be completing that first draft so that we can then move to revising and polishing, and that’s the important thing to remember: James Maxey might have written his book in a week, but I guarantee you he […]

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