Who Am I?

Late last week, I received the edits for a short story I wrote for an upcoming anthology. The editor began by apologizing for it taking so long, and said, “I tried to concentrate on the stories that looked like they need the most editing first. So I guess the delay is a good sign.” Sounds like a compliment, yes? That’s because it is. So you’d probably laugh at me when I say that my first thought was He’s just saying that because I’m friends with the editor who invited me to write for the project.

Which is stupid. But that’s what imposter syndrome makes you do – think stupidly.

Diana Pharoah Francis talked last week about Imposter Syndrome, and how crippling it can be. When I sold Mad Kestrel, every time I got an email from my editor about this rewrite or that suggestion, there was a tiny voice in […]

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Making Money Mondays – Short Fiction & A Cover Reveal

“There’s no money in short stories.”

“Nobody buys novellas.”

“All the short story markets are dead or dying.”

I hear these things a lot. And if you built a career in the 70s and 80s selling stories to major magazines for $.05/word, and could count on selling 2-3 stories a month, then selling stories to anthologies that again paid $.04-.06/word, and sold one of those each month, then yeah, that business model is dead. There a far fewer print magazines today than there were even ten years ago, and the ones out there there that still pay real money are harder to find than a place to pee in North Carolina. I promise, that will be my only reference to bathroom legislation in this post and I will keep this space apolitical after that.

But if you’ve been paying attention to trends, and watching some of the things that people […]

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Quick Tip Tuesday: Coming up With Story Ideas

It happened again the other day. I was at a holiday party and someone I know — someone who knows I’m a writer — told me that he had an idea for a story, and that I should write it. This actually happens quite often, and I told him what I tell everyone else who makes such an offer: that I have plenty of ideas of my own, thank you very much.

And that’s the truth. Once upon a time, I worried about running out of ideas and not knowing what to write next. Now I worry about having enough time to write all the stories I’ve imagined.

But I know that early on in my career, I did have trouble at times figuring out what to write next, and I know as well that I still get lots of questions from aspiring writers about where I my inspiration comes […]

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Do Launch Parties Work?

Launch parties seem to be everywhere nowadays: at bookstores and libraries, at conventions and on Facebook. Costs range from minimal to pricy, and the effort of planning, promoting and hosting a party is one more thing that takes a writer away from writing. So, are they worth it?

I’ve held and attended a lot of launch parties. On the whole, I’d say that they help to sell books, especially to people who might not have otherwise purchased that particular book. The party atmosphere lends itself to making an impulse purchase amid the food, decorations and festive atmosphere. There’s also a touch of guilt involved; after all, the author is your host, and it would be nice to buy a book to thank him/her. But I think that the real incentive to purchase comes from the ability for readers to feel like they’ve gotten to know the author through the personal […]

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Inviting A Crowd to the Party

As I’ve mentioned, I’m editing an anthology called The Weird Wild West (coming from eSpec Books in the fall of this year!) and in the course of reading the stories, I’ve learned and relearned many lessons about what makes a great story great. One of the problems I’ve noticed in some stories is with the characters themselves. Not their personalities, but just how very many of them decide to make an appearance.

Have you ever seen those viral news stories about teenagers who post the details of their upcoming birthday parties on Twitter or Facebook? They only mean the information for their friends, but strangers for miles around decide to show up to the party too, leaving the house in a shambles and the local jail full of weeping kids waiting for their parents to come get them. A short story with too many characters can feel just as out […]

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Literate Liquors Episode 15 – Short Stories

With Big Bad 2 releasing next week, and with a fairly well-read SFWA article about why you should write short fiction even if there’s no money in it, I thought it would be worth it to provide a nuts and bolts, dollars and cents podcast about short fiction, how I do it, why I do it, and what I make from it. I include my earnings from January and February so far on my short fiction sales. I think it might surprise you.

Literate Liquors Episode 15 – Short Stories

Joshua Palmatier — Clockwork Universe: Steampunk vs. Aliens

This is the fourth and final post here on Magical Words related to the upcoming CLOCKWORK UNIVERSE: STEAMPUNK vs. ALIENS anthology, being released by the new small press called Zombies Need Brains and edited by Patricia Bray & Joshua Palmatier. This time we’re focusing exclusively on the anthology itself. That’s right, this is the promo post! All steampunk, all alien, all the time! *grin*


I’m happy to announce the back cover copy of the anthology, along with the table of contents. The anthology should be hitting the shelves in the next month or so, so add it to your wish list or preorder it at your favorite online bookstore! First off, the cover art and book description. We used the art “Steampunk Octopus” by Alex Broeckel for the cover (signed, limited edition prints available at the Zombies Need Brains online store), since it captured the concept of the […]

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