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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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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Pouring Cold Water on the Kindle-ing – by guest James Maxey

After James’s last visit to Magical Words and his post about publishing ebooks, a few folks asked some follow-up questions that lead to this follow-up piece. Take it away, James:


The image above is a screen shot from Amazon’s author central showing the March 6th sales rankings for the Kindle edition of Nobody Gets the Girl. My superhero novel has done very well since coming out on Kindle. Amazon advertises 810,000 titles available in the Kindle store. Sales ranks change hourly, but it just happens that if I average out my sales numbers for a full month, Nobody’s average would be very darn close to the number 8,100. This means that Nobody is selling in the top 1% of Kindle books right now. That still doesn’t make it a “best-seller.” I’m not getting rich off this, but I’m selling enough copies that I’ll almost certainly make more money […]

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Back from ConCarolinas…

…And settling back in to work and home and the normal day-to-day rhythms of another summer. The kids are out of school, and I’m trying to figure out my writing time for the next few months. But the con….

ConCarolinas was terrific. Faith, Misty, and I had a wonderful time sitting on panels, which more often than not, spiraled off into silliness and fun, while still — we hope — providing interesting discussions on writing, marketing, the state of the publishing world, and such social issues as race, gender, religion, and sexual orientation. We attended one another’s readings and sat together in the authors’ alley hallway trying to sell our books. We saw several good writer friends — Gail Z. Martin, Ed Schubert, James Maxey, Robert Aldrich, J. F. Lewis, Stuart Jaffe, to name a few — and found a couple of new ones as well, including the wonderful Katherine […]

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