Good morning, y’all! I’ve been up to my ears in a story that’s due this week, so I’m presenting a special guest to you today. Shannon Wendtland is one of the writers of the wonderful anthology An Improbable Truth: The Paranormal Adventures of Sherlock Holmes from Mocha Memoirs Press. Today she’s here to talk about her novel Heliodor. Welcome, Shannon!

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I used to be a ‘pantser’, and by that I mean: someone who writes by the seat of their pants. I’d get an idea – one that I thought had legs – and I would write like crazy until my energy petered out. I’d write ten thousand-plus words in a weekend. And then I’d go to work and get back to my daily life and not write again for weeks, maybe even months.

It’s hard to finish a project when you do it in big, […]

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The Right Way

I know a man who once decided to submit his manuscript to a famous movie producer. He didn’t know the producer, nor did he have any actual contacts in Hollywood. But he wasn’t going to let that stop him…he packaged up his manuscript in a nice, clean envelope, addressed it to the producer’s office, wrote *Confidential and Personal* on the outside and sent it on its way. Since it said *Confidential and Personal*, the producer’s secretary passed it directly to the man. The producer read it, and while he did not choose to make his next blockbuster movie based on my friend’s manuscript, he was kind enough to offer valuable comments on ways to make the manuscript more saleable.

I was at a publisher’s party some years back, having a conversation with my editor. A self-published writer (at the time, self-pub was almost never done and certainly not with any […]

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The Beginning of The End, Part 2

Last month, I talked a bit about the changes present and coming to the publishing industry: the way that mass market paperbacks (the small paperbacks) are slipping away; the way that publishing houses are moving to Trade (the large paperbacks), Hard cover, and E-books; the way that bookstores are going to buy and stock fewer books altogether. A LOT less books; the way that the decreasing amount of shelf space for new books in stores will change the publishing marketplace. Worse – the way that, with fewer large pubs, there will be fewer numbers of writers published. Worst — the way that those fewer numbers of books in houses and on bookshelves means fewer editorial staff kept on hand, fewer PR staff, and all this means more adjustments for unpublished and midlist writers.

These changes have already resulted in a huge transformation in the way readers shop for books, and […]

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At Least She’s Pretty

I started reading a new book the other night. It was a science fiction tale of soldiers fighting with advanced weaponry that the real-world army can only dream of, against an enemy determined to take them out at any cost. For a page or two, we were doing fine… until the author started introducing more characters. There was the beautiful soldier headed into combat who made sure to perfectly coif her hair. A technician who didn’t seem to know that she was beautiful. There was the lovely-even-without-any-makeup woman of color, proud and unflappable in the face of a life-shattering injury. And of course the adorable pixie dream girl who somehow has the physical strength to take down a man four times her size.

There were men, of course. A compactly built, stern-faced sergeant, a hulking asshole and the skinny genius kid. And the main character, of course, who, as of […]

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Where Do Superheroes Spend Their Twilight Years?

Today we welcome friend of Magical Words Lauren Harris, who’d like to tell you all about an exciting project she’s heading. So heeeeeeere’s Lauren!


Hi! I’m Lauren Harris, IGMS Assistant Editor and author of the Millroad Academy Exorcists series. (You might remember me from a past post on MW, Eight Ways to HOKWOP.) I come to you today with an anthology and a Magical Words EXCLUSIVE giveaway! It’s my pleasure today to introduce a new anthology I brainstormed, ELYSIAN SPRINGS: ADVENTURES FROM THE NURSING HOME FOR AGING SUPERHEROES, which explores the twilight years of heroes, villains, and sidekicks in ten tales and one comic. The stories are both hilarious and heartbreaking as authors make the complex subject of aging accessible through the modern-day mythology of superheroes. It includes stories from MW’s very own Misty Massey, as well as authors like Gail Z. Martin, Tee Morris, Ken Scholes, and Jared […]

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It’s All In What You Consume

I have a terrible habit of guessing who the bad guy in within the first fifteen minutes of a mystery show. Or I suppose it’s not bad that I guess, but that I announce it out loud to the person watching with me. And because television is based on formulas, I’m most often right. (I have learned to keep my mouth shut in movie theaters, for which my husband is grateful. *laughs*)

The other night I started reading a new author, and within three chapters, I’d already guessed the bad guy and his motivation. Sometimes an author intends for his reader to know who the villain is right away, but this book is trying to keep it a secret until the big reveal at the end… and there I was, already nailing it. Which means that the author didn’t do what he wanted. The writing was solid, but the author […]

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When Magic Is The Problem

Growing up, I watched Samantha Stevens on ‘Bewitched” or Jeannie on “I Dream of Jeannie” wiggle a nose or nod a head and have everything put right. Mary Poppins could clean up an entire house at superspeed. Harry Potter (or at least Hermione) could twitch a wand and do rather amazing things (although apparently, not homework). In the “mundane” world, we often think magic would be a pretty slick solution.

But in the worlds I write about, magic is more likely to be the problem.

In Ice Forged, the first book in my Ascendant Kingdoms series battle mages make a doomsday strike intending to knock out the opposing side’s nobility. Instead, they destroy the bonds that have permitted them to harness magic. Magic returns to its wild, elemental state, and a Cataclysm of fire storms and hardship ensues. It still isn’t all sorted out by book 3, War of Shadows.


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