Naming Your Baby

Shortly after graduating from college, I moved into my first apartment. I purchased curtains and kitchen utensils, and started learning how to budget for utility bills and such. And I adopted a puppy. She was a beautiful black English Setter/Golden Retriever mix, very loving and sweet and not even much of a chewer-on-shoes. I was determined to come up with the perfect name, something that would communicate her beauty and calm nature. In the meantime, I called her Baby, because I had to call her something, right?

Eleven years later, when she died, I was still calling her Baby.

Titles are easy for some people, but not for me. Even when I think I have a great title, I worry that it’s not hitting just the right note. The title works similarly to the first line in hooking a reader. It’s even more crucial in some ways, especially once your […]

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Delilah S Dawson: Sorry, I Blew Up Savannah!

Bad news, y’all: This November, a freak hurricane will tear through Savannah, Georgia, destroying the amusement park and flooding the cemeteries and generally beating down an historical gem that even General Sherman admired too much to damage.

Even worse news: Hurricane Josephine isn’t just a meteorological phenomenon. She’s a demon. A mean one. Who sometimes takes the form of a monster albino alligator and makes people do horrible things.

At least, that’s the premise of Servants of the Storm, my YA Southern Gothic Horror now available online and in bookstores. What started as an obsession with pictures of Six Flags New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina became a paean to friendship, a love song to my husband’s home town, and a great reason to take a horse-drawn carriage tour with my favorite Savannah pirate, should you want to see Dovey’s neighborhood before Josephine makes a big ol’ mess.

I’m from […]

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Merry Christmas, All!

Farther back than I honestly want to do the math to figure out, my dear friend Beatriz, my family and I were coming home from spending a day at the North Carolina Renaissance Faire. It was a long drive, and to entertain ourselves, we composed a few Christmas carols fit for the fine and adventuresome pirates we were. Today being Christmas Day, I hope all of you who celebrate it (whether in a religious or secular fashion, or both) are having a delightful time. If you happen to feel like singing a carol or two, feel free to use our compositions to add a bit of rollick to the festivities.

Silver Bells (to the tune of “Silver Bells”)

Silver bells, golden plates, we’re in your hold and we’re looting! Crowns and rings, we’re stealing things! This feels just like Christmas Day!


A Pirate’s Christmas (sung to the tune […]

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For Your Reading Enjoyment…

There’s nothing like a captivating short story to fill the reading hunger when a novel just isn’t convenient. And to your great good fortune, two anthologies featuring short stories by some of your Magical Words bloggers are hitting the market! We’ll have copies available at Balticon and ConCarolinas/DeepSouthCon, but if you just can’t wait, order your copy today!

Rum and Runestones

Rum and Runestones

Tall ships and dark rum intermingle with spells and romance in this collection of short stories of nautical derring-do guaranteed to send chills and thrills down your spine. Join the crew, and push off to worlds unknown. Just be warned… thar be pirates in them thar waters. With tales by: Gail Z. Martin * BA Collins * Danny Birt * James R. Stratton * Laurel Anne Hill * MJ Blehart * Tera Fulbright * Davey Beauchamp * Michael A. Ventrella * Danielle Ackley-McPhail * Stuart […]

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Since All The Cool Kids Are Doing It…

When I was a kid, slam books were all the rage. They were spiral-bound notebooks or three-ring binders. The first page was always a registration page, on which you signed your name next to the number you would use as your identifier throughout the book. On the subsequent pages, you’d find highly personal questions you were required to answer (What is your favorite ice cream? Would you rather marry David Cassidy or Bobby Sherman? What boy at this school do you want to kiss?) This is like that, except not on paper, and I won’t get in trouble in class for writing in the book instead of listening to the teacher.

I write best when the earbuds are in my ears. I can spill words like a broken dam spills water when I listen to Andres Segovia playing Bach. Beethoven is my other go-to guy. Not to say that I […]

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“Honey, Could You Help Me With Something?”

I was the guest of a book club earlier this week. They were very excited to meet “a real author”, so for the first little while, the conversation was all about how amazing it was that I’d written a whole book, and what a good story it was. Which is lovely, of course – everyone likes a little positive attention now and then. Eventually the topic turned to the book itself. Except for one, the ladies of the club weren’t fantasy readers, so Mad Kestrel was unknown territory for them. To my relief, they all said they’d enjoyed the story, and started asking the usual questions – how long did it take, how much did it cost to publish (ha ha!), and so on.

We eventually got to the subject of research. When I was working on the story, I read a great deal, and visited historic sites, even went […]

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Who’s that cute guy in the back?

With the impending release of the Speed Racer feature film, I’ve been remembering the original Speed Racer. (Yes, I’m that old. *grin*) While other people were cheering for Speed to defeat the evil genius and win the race at the same time, I was watching for Racer X. Don’t remember him? Racer X was Speed’s racing nemesis, the only driver who ever stood a chance at beating Speed behind the wheel. He wore dark glasses and a hood, and the mystery of who he really was intrigued me far more than anything Speed and his cronies accomplished. It didn’t matter that he wasn’t the hero – not to me.

Before I started writing about pirates, I was working on another novel, one with elves and maps and motorcycle gangs and Renaissance faires. And no matter what I did, I had this sneaky little feeling that something wasn’t quite right. Eventually, […]

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