Alethea Kontis — The Year Without A Book


On January 11th, I had a birthday. (It was wonderful and surreal, thank you!)

Less than a week earlier, my editor at Harcourt made it known to me that Book Three in the Woodcutter Sisters Series–now called Dearest–would be releasing on February 3, 2015. It seems that Houghton Mifflin Harcourt has only two publishing “seasons.” They call these seasons “Spring” and “Fall.” So when I was told that Dearest would be releasing in “Fall of 2014,” what HMH actually meant was Winter of 2015.

My deepest apologies to all the fans I’ve misled for over a year.

Sneaky stuff, this is. Very, very sneaky and mind-bending stuff. For me, the toughest thing to wrap my brain around has been the realization that between the discovery of Dearest’s release date and the books actual release, Enchanted will have been distributed to roughly 50,000 people on World Book Night, and [...]

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Dream On

Faith HunterFaith Hunter

Yesterday was the last day of looking back to see where we came from, what we survived. Back then – back in last year – some of us cheated death, or lost family or friends to that evil. Maybe some lost jobs or pets or were forced to relocate or saw health deteriorate. Last year might have been hard on all of us.

That said, some of us had great successes, had health improve, found a place to live, saw families growing, found new jobs, got a loving pet, found a new love or a new friend. Even in the worst of times, there are the small joys.

But today is 1 – 1 – 2014. It’s the first day of a new year, and it’s time to look forward and to dream. Many of us have made resolutions and set goals and started the new year already at the [...]

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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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PLOTTING WITH BUNNIES (or whatever other animal you like. Want a hippopotamus? By all means, plot with hippos.)

James R. Tuck

Character and Plot. The two things you need to make a book. (Please don’t cite me examples of books that have one but not the other. Those are outliers and not the main thrust of books.) Generally speaking those are the requirements.

Now for most folks, myself included, character is actually pretty easy. They come swaggering up in our heads all badass and near fully fleshed out. The plots? They’re a different story. Plots are tricky little devils and hard to get hold of sometimes.

But that’s because we overthink them.

We do. As writers our brains are moving 90 to nothing and cruising top speed down multiple tracks. We mix our plot up with the following things: Character, Backstory, World-building, Themes, and Motives.

But we don’t need that for the actual plot.

The plot is the skeleton you hang all that meat [...]

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Getting Creative for PR

Faith HunterFaith Hunter

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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PR for Writers, Past and Present

Faith HunterFaith Hunter

Finally! How to get ready to push a book. Yep. I’m gonna dish.

Used to be when a writer had a book, they (yes the writer herself, or her significant other, posing as her PR company) contacted book stores all over and set up signings. The Hubs used to spend one solid month before a book came out setting up signings. And then, together, we spent three months on the road after a book came out. Back then, books spent three months on bookstore shelves before having the covers stripped and the naked books sent back. We’d do scheduled signings all over, and drop in signings in every city we drove past.

Our horrid schedule was thus: I would get off work at the lab at 7 am, Monday, grab some shut eye (3 hours or so), then pack. Or repack, depending on where we were in the post-book-release schedule. [...]

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OMG WRITING Y’ALL (or not another con report)

James R. Tuck

Whew to the Dragoncon.

I miss it. I miss my peeps. It is always awesome seeing my fellow magical words family although Dragoncon is SO busy we only get to spend minutes together. (Lucienne, I still owe you that drink and AJ I didn’t even SEE you) But after Faith and John ‘s excellent con reports I have decided that this will NOT be about Dragoncon.

Instead I am going to talk to you about writing. (Inspired by a panel at Dragoncon)

I know, crazy right?

Let’s talk about character. Character is story. Some of you are looking at me going: “No James, PLOT is story. Characters are the subject of story.”

You’re kinda right, but not really. You see your plot is determined by your characters decisions. Every character, from the main protagonist to the most minor walk on character can radically change your story if they make their [...]

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