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


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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The “It” Factor

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 but […]

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Greetings from Calgary: Post-Con Report


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 […]

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Awesome Con Things

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 […]

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Ethics in Speculative Fiction

Misty MasseyMisty Massey

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 […]

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Hi there! On not writing, and lizard brains, and stuff.

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 […]

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Books For Which I Am Thankful (An Early Thanksgiving Post)


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 […]

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