Why #HoldOnToTheLight Matters


You’ve heard the story about the boy throwing starfish back into the ocean at low tide. A man chides him that the boy can’t save them all, and what difference does such a futile gesture make? “It makes a difference to this one,” the boy replies, tossing another starfish into the sea.

Light one candle. Scare away the dark. Use your voice every time they try to shut your mouth.

The power of one. Refusing to go gently into the dark night.

Defiance is one of the human race’s better attributes.

#HoldOnToTheLight is about throwing starfish and lighting candles. And giving a one-finger salute to the darkness.

As my friend John Hartness likes to say, there is ‘famous’ and then there’s ‘writer famous’. ‘Writer famous’ is when you walk into a con and people recognize you. ‘Famous’ is when you walk into a Starbucks anywhere in the world […]

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My Favorite Scares—For Magical Words

Halloween is my second-favorite holiday, right behind Christmas. Decorations, costumes, scary stuff, candy—hello! What’s not to love!

As bloody as my books sometimes become, I have to admit I’m not a fan of slasher flicks, but I do love a good scary movie. Maybe that’s why I’m not huge on ‘goreno’—because I’m not in it for the gross out, I’m in it for the edge-of-the-seat suspense.

So I love movies like The Woman in Black and most of Stephen King’s adaptations, and I cut my teeth on classics like Psycho and Rear Window by Alfred Hitchcock. Give me a good episode of Twilight Zone, Outer Limits or Night Gallery and I’m happy as a maggot in a bucket of entrails.

I’ve also really enjoyed Scare-o-winds, the Halloween-decorated and horror-themed version of our local big amusement park. When my girls were in their early teens, I had a blast taking […]

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100+ Sci-Fi & Fantasy Authors Blog About Suicide, Depression, PTSD—a #HoldOnToTheLight Update by Gail Z. Martin

More than 100 authors are now part of the #HoldOnToTheLight conversation! Our authors span the globe, from the US to the UK to Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Even more exciting is that as the campaign picks up traction and visibility, more authors want to join, meaning a growing, vibrant dialog about mental wellness and coping with mental illness.

#HoldOnToTheLight is a blog campaign encompassing blog posts by fantasy and science fiction authors around the world in an effort to raise awareness around treatment for depression, suicide prevention, domestic violence intervention, PTSD initiatives, bullying prevention and other mental health-related issues. We believe fandom should be supportive, welcoming and inclusive, in the long tradition of fandom taking care of its own. We encourage readers and fans to seek the help they or their loved ones need without shame or embarrassment.

We’ve also been talking with conventions to encourage them to […]

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Quick-Tip Tuesday: Learning From Inexperience

Not so long ago, I posted here about revising my early work. I’m preparing for the re-release of my first series, the LonTobyn Chronicle (more on that later) and so have been editing the books: cutting adverbs, strengthening my prose with more forceful verb constructions, and making the writing more concise and direct. You can find the post I wrote about this here. And you can also read Joshua Palmatier’s post from June 28, because he’s been doing much the same thing with his work.

I want to return to the process in this post, because I’m now almost finished editing The Outlanders, the second LonTobyn book. The Outlanders has long been among my favorites of all my books, not because I think it’s the best I’ve written, or even one of the top two or three. It’s not. Rather, I’ve always loved this book because it exceeded my expectations […]

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Yog’s Law—It’s More of a Guideline

You’ve no doubt heard of Yog’s Law. It was coined by James D. McDonald and advises ‘money always flows toward the author.’

That’s generally good advice when you’re dealing with scam agents who want to charge ‘reading fees’ or vanity publishers with contracts that steal your rights and obligate you to buy thousands of dollars worth of your own books for the ‘privilege’ of publishing with them.

It’s also a relic of a time in distant memory when big publishers fully underwrote all the costs of publishing their authors—including promotion, tours, advertising, giveaways, and full-service editing. Nowadays, like the pirate code, it might be best to consider it more of a guideline, really.

(John Scalzi and John Hartness have already done excellent discussions on how when you self-publish, there’s ‘Writer-You’ and ‘Publisher-You’ and you pass the wallet back and forth. You can read those here and here for their […]

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I Survived My Blog Tour–What Now?

Last time, I wrote about why authors do blog tours (and why maybe you should, too). I was just about to kick off my annual Days of the Dead blog tour, which always runs the week leading up to Halloween.

So now I thought it might be useful to explain what the moving parts are that go into something like that and how it all really does work together toward my ultimate nefarious scheme to get more people to look for my books. (Who needs world domination? I want readers!)

I picked the date/theme for the tour because I write about necromancers and ghosts and magic and it seemed appropriate for a week that had Samhain, Dia de los Muertos, All Hallow’s Eve and Halloween all at once. (Branding–I do creepy/spooky stuff.)

In the months leading up to the blog tour, I laid the groundwork–contacting bloggers to see if I […]

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Traditional Publishing, Self-Publishing and the Pro Writer

Once upon a time, not long ago, there was ‘real’ publishing and vanity publishing. ‘Real’ publishing paid the author, and authors paid the vanity publisher. The lines were clear. Few self-published books made it across the threshold into legitimacy. Self-publishing carried a stigma, regardless of how well-written.

My, how things have changed.

Blame or credit ebooks and print-on-demand for creating a seismic shift in how books are created. Ebooks removed the cost barriers for self-publishers, because with a good cover and interior design, a self-published book could look just as good as one from a big publishing house. Print-on-demand meant that do-it-yourselfers no longer had to pay exorbitant prices to get a minimum print run. And with Amazon willing to carry self-published books and the demise of many brick-and-mortar bookstores, the final objection—not being able to get distribution to bookstores—vanished.

It took a while before professional writers, authors who had […]

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