John G. Hartness
My wife and I are addicted to “The Voice.” I’ve been a Blake Shelton fan forever, and I love the blind audition portion of the show, when the judges have to make their initial decisions based on a singer’s voice, not their look, age or size. As an old fay guy, I find this appealing. Of course, every subsequent round they watch the performance so things like appearance and stage presence do count, but they count in real life, too. Every once in a while, along will come a performer that just has “it.” You know what I’m talking about, they’re going to be a star. “It” is almost indefinable, but it’s that little spark, that something that separates that singer from the herd. Maybe they look different but have the chops to back it up. Maybe they’re just so damn charming onstage and off that you can’t help [...]
Continue reading The “It” Factor
Greetings from Calgary, Alberta! I am writing this Sunday afternoon, after a wonderful week of work at WhenWordsCollide and the pre-convention writer’s workshop.
Yes, that’s right: I said “work.” John’s post from the other day, on which I didn’t comment, but which I have read, is spot on. Conventions are work. They are super fun — I love meeting fans, working with other professionals, renewing old friendships and beginning new ones. And after 16 years as a published author I am nowhere close to being tired of having people ask if I’ll sign their copies of my books. To be honest, I’m always shocked when people apologize for approaching me, as if it’s an imposition.
But right now, after leading the workshop for two days and being one of the con’s guests of honor, I’m exhausted. It’s not that talking about writing or doing readings is that tiring. But I’ve [...]
Continue reading Greetings from Calgary: Post-Con Report
John G. Hartness
Here on the fabulous inter webs we spend a lot of time griping. And pointing out when people are wrong. And proving to people that we are right. And looking at boobies.
Ignore that last part. Move along. Nothing to see there.
But we do gripe a lot. And in the past couple of years there’s been a lot of noise on the web made about bad things that have happened at cons and bad things people have done. Well, since I just got back from JordanCon and had a great time down there, I wanted to point out some great things that conventions have done over the past year for writers, for guests, and just in general. Feel free to add in comments something awesome that you’ve seen a convention do that you’d like to see others emulate.
I’m going to try and hit all the [...]
Continue reading Awesome Con Things
I spent this weekend at Mysticon, in Roanoke VA, where I learned a few things, taught a few other things, observed wacky behaviors and brilliant ones, too, and generally had a great time surrounded by my people. I rode up with Gail Martin and John Hartness. We drove through nearly impenetrable fog and snow-covered hills, chatting and laughing all the way. On Saturday morning, I joined John to read our work to an appreciative audience, and premiered Miniature Pirate Theater as accompaniment to the reading. Trust me, you haven’t lived until you’ve watched tiny plastic pirates work a tiny plastic stripper pole while John reads from Bubba the Monster Hunter. Gail’s launch party for her latest, Ice Forged, was a raucous affair, full of happy people eating cake and buying books. I met a couple of writers who’ll probably be making guest appearances here later on this year, and got [...]
Continue reading Ethics in Speculative Fiction
John G. Hartness
How apropos that, as the new guy here on Magical Words (and I’m happy to be here, grateful to be able to hang out every other week among an assortment of my best friends in the writing world) my first regular post won’t be about writing.
Get used to it. A lot of what I write won’t be about the craft, simply because I’ve read work from some of you, and from a lot of my site-mates here, and I’m one of the least qualified people to teach anyone how to write. But I’ll spend a lot of time talking about the life of the writer, and my journey toward survival in today’s writing world.
But first, a brief bio, for those who don’t know me, and while my arrogance frequently knows few bounds, there are certainly plenty of you who don’t know my story. I am a hybrid [...]
Continue reading Hi there! On not writing, and lizard brains, and stuff.
My regular week off from MW coincides with Thanksgiving week, which is convenient, because I will be traveling with my daughter to look at colleges in NY and New England, so I wouldn’t really have time to post anyway. But that means that my Thanksgiving post comes a week early this year.
As always I am thankful for so much — I’m a very lucky man. I love my family, and they seem to love me back, which is always good thing. I enjoy my job, and have had a successful year, revolving around the release of THIEFTAKER, which has done well both commercially and critically. And I have friends and colleagues here at MW and elsewhere whom I respect and care about a great deal. Are there things I would like to improve in my life — in particular in my career? Of course. I’m not claiming that all [...]
Continue reading Books For Which I Am Thankful (An Early Thanksgiving Post)
A J Hartley
I had a birthday last week. I stood in the garden of the house owned by Shakespeare’s daughter while a hoard of academics sung Happy Birthday to me. It was, it has to be said, pretty cool.
But, as those who know me best are all too aware, I’ve been having a midlife crisis since I was twelve (when my parents suggested that there were certain toys I should have grown out of). I’m into my life’s second half now: nowhere near overtime and the dreaded penalty shoot-out, but playing with one eye on the referee’s watch. (Don’t ask me the score: I have no idea). In short, I am more aware than ever of Time’s winged chariot rushing up behind me, and if standing in Shakespeare’s garden while people sing happy birthday to you doesn’t exacerbate that awareness, nothing will.
Shakespeare, as most of you will be aware, was [...]
Continue reading There’s Never Enough Time