Taking a Moment to Look Back and Say Thanks

Nearly six years ago, on January 24, 2008, Misty posted the very first essay to the Magical Words blogsite. It was called “Where’d Everybody Go?” and it was a response to a show she had seen the night before on the History Channel about what Earth might be like if all human life vanished from the planet. The following day, I put up my first post — “Doing as I Say” — which was about writing short fiction to help flesh out elements of worldbuilding or character development for larger projects.

Faith’s first post followed mine, and Catie’s first came after Faith’s. By the end of that first week of Magical Words, we had all posted something; the site was up and running, and to be honest, we were all pretty excited about it. We didn’t know where the site would take us, but we knew it was something we […]

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Getting Creative for PR

PR in today’s market is both easy and difficult, and yes, I am fully aware of the contradiction in terms. It’s easy, because we have access to all sorts of social media. It’s hard because there is so much social media out there that it’s difficult to stand out amidst the crowd of authors who are releasing books.

I have four (count em. Oy) four releases between Dec. 3 2013 and Jan 7. 2014. KICKING IT

(antho, co-edited with Kalayna Price) will be out first, on Dec 3. On Dec 10, the Audible release of CAT O’NINE TALES, with exclusive content will be out, and on that same day, ROC’s THE JANE YELLOWROCK COMPANION will be out, also with new content. That’s a lot of releases. You gotta see the covers, ‘cause I’m just so excited about them all!

Then, to […]

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ConCarolinas 2013.

Was amazing. Fun. Harder than any ConCaro before. Less relaxing than any before. More emotional than any before (and that part for reasons I can’t quite articulate). Too many panels. Wow. They really worked us! The three MW seminars were *great,* but were held in rooms that were waaaay too small — standing room/sitting room-on-the-floor only. But David and Misty and I shared what we knew and the Q&As were terrific. (Someone got a pic of me snarling at David. I think he probably deserved it. LOL)

We had a fantastic MW lunch on Saturday at Boardwalk Billy’s. 52 people attended! There were several parties. And for me, Mom and her bestie and my bestie were there, which means responsibility that always goes beyond the usual Con responsibilities . David B Coe had his daughter there. Schlomo came to visit for a good one liner. (Inside joke.) Misty had her […]

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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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Book from the ground up: Part 1 – Getting started and Plotting

I’m starting a new project and I thought it might interest you to know the steps I go through in writing a novel. Of course, I’m only one writer and there are as many ways to go about writing a book as there are authors, but seeing my process might give you some different ideas to try.

For this blog series the project I’ll be working on is a book in one of my existing series. If I were working on a brand new series, my first step would be world building and character development, but for this project, the rules of the world have already been established in previous books and I know the main characters rather well. I will be adding more depth to the world as the characters go new places and experience new things and new characters will make appearances in this book, but at this […]

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On Wordsmithing: Backloading for Power

There are many elements to a successful story. When we think about how one tells a good story, we tend to jump to topics like believable characters or plot arcs. These are, of course, essential. But there are smaller, less noticeable elements that can be employed to keep a reader engaged. One of these is word order.

Books are written word by word and readers digest them in the same fashion. We’ve all heard the advice to pick strong verbs and choose descriptive words. This is very important, but equally important is where in a sentence and/or paragraph we place those power words. The term “Backloading” refers to placing power words at the end of a sentence to increase impact.

Why would placing your power words at the end of sentences make them stronger? Because when our eyes hit a period, we pause. When we hit the end of a […]

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On Body Language

Body language, also known as nonverbal communication, is an enormous part of how we interpret the people we interact with. Often it contributes to 60 or 65% of everyday interpersonal communication.* It includes facial expressions, posture, gestures, and physical movement. Some we can consciously control and try to use to our advantage (we’ve all heard not to cross our arms at an interview as it makes us seem stand-offish and unsure/uncomfortable) others are controlled by our limbic system and our reactions are subconscious. We are constantly using our body to communicate–even when we attempt not to, the lack of gesticulation as we attempt to control our bodies is, in fact, a tell of its own.

So if body language is such a huge part of communication, why is it in our writing we often fall back on the same, very simple expressions and gestures such as a smile or a […]

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