David B. Coe: My New Old Book

Hello again, Magical Words! Great to be back here as I begin the publicity ramp-up to another book release.

The new book is called Spell Blind, and it’s the first book in a new contemporary urban fantasy series, the Case Files of Justis Fearsson, that I’m writing for Baen Books. The hardcover of Spell Blind drops on January 6, 2015. The second book in the series, His Father’s Eyes, will be out this summer.

This is actually a series that I’ve discussed here on MW in the past. The first book, in a substantially different form, sold initially to Meisha Merlin back in 2005. Not long after, Meisha Merlin went out of business, and I was fortunate enough to get back the rights to the books before they became entangled in the company’s Chapter Eleven negotiations. But when Lucienne and I put the books back on the market we couldn’t […]

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Aaron Rosenberg: Ending Without Closing

Endings are hard. We say that a lot, and hear it a lot, because it’s true. Most of us, when we write, choose a story to work on because we’ve had some brilliant vision of the lead character doing something, or have suddenly been overwhelmed by that character’s voice, or just have this great idea of “hey, what if . . . ?” But that initial impulse, that creative spark, doesn’t usually extend to how the story ends. We all know the famous story of J. Michael Straczynski with Babylon 5, right? He sat down with the producers to talk about the idea of doing that TV series and mentioned that he had already envisioned a five-year arc. One of the producers jokingly asked, “Okay, how does it end?” And JMS told them. Because he already had most of the major beats mapped out in his head, including the very […]

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Brandy Schillace: Balancing Academic Work and Writing Life

Rogue Scholar. ​I like the image this phrase conjures: the highway white with moonlight, the carriage rattling and banging as the driver nods in his seat…and scholarly rogues riding from shadowed enclaves, brandishing the sharpened steel of academic rigor. It doesn’t quite work that way—but there’s a shade of truth here all the same. Academia can be both competition and battlefield. It requires enormous sacrifice of time and energy, and it steals away hours as deftly as any highwayman. In a dwindling job market, universities demand more and give less, and the PhD lucky enough to land a job finds herself frequently beleaguered. The tenure track leaves little enough time for research—and far less for creative endeavors. How is it possible to balance a writing life in the midst of these other obligations? It’s no wonder some turn to the rogue lifestyle, with more academics seeking “alt-ac” or alternative careers. […]

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Multiple Projects, E-Readers, and Struggles: The Emphera of a Winter’s Day

I have a bunch of ideas for things to write about today, and not one of them is substantive enough to sustain an entire post. And so it’s time for me to do one of my miscellanea posts. A paragraph or two about several things. Feel free to comment or ask about any one of them.

Are you working on a book right now? People here in my little town ask me this all the time. They know that I write for a living. They know that I write full-time. But they don’t really understand what this means. My standard answer now is “Yes, I’m pretty much ALWAYS working on a book.” But even that isn’t accurate, because the truth is I’m always working on several books. For the past couple of months I’ve been writing the fourth Thieftaker book, Dead Man’s Reach. I hope to finish my first draft […]

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On Writing: Knowledge Versus Wisdom

I love doing the puzzles in my local newspaper. (Kids, newspapers are collections of paper that are delivered to your home each morning. They include all the interesting stuff that you saw on Twitter and YouTube yesterday . . .) I do the Sudoku, the crossword, and, my favorite, the Cryptoquote. The Cryptoquote is that puzzle that gives you an encoded quote; you have to figure out what each letter represents to discover the quote and its author. I bring this up, because this week I solved a puzzle and discovered one of the best quotes I’d ever heard. It’s from Miles Kington, the late British journalist:

“Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.”

Yes, this does have something to do with writing. In fact, it has everything to do with writing. This site offers a lot of knowledge, and, […]

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Say What You Mean

Several weeks ago, I was listening to the radio on my way home from work. Two talk DJs were discussing whether or not spelling was important any more. Since almost everyone has access in one fashion or another to spellcheck, the DJ argued, there’s no point in teaching people to spell any longer. She went on to explain that grammar wasn’t necessary either. As long as we can make ourselves understood, she said, who cared if the rules were being followed?

I couldn’t disagree more, especially when it comes to the written word. In conversation, we have the option of repeating ourselves until the other party eventually gets what we’re trying to say, but on the page, there’s only one shot at delivering the message. When people use unspecific, imprecise or just plain incorrect words, their meaning becomes unclear. When they then construct sentences improperly using misspellings and poor word […]

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Potpourri: ConCarolinas Recap, Launching the Blog Tour With a Giveaway, and a Bit About Sequels

Lots on today’s agenda, and I’m already running late, because I got home too late last night to post this ahead of time:

First, ConCarolinas was great fun. Magical Words has definitely left its mark on the convention: among the professionals appearing were ten current or former Magical Words contributors — Faith, Misty, John, James, Carrie, Kalayna, Edmund, A.J., Stuart, and me. And among those attending were many of our regular readers. I want to give a special thanks to Mud and Laura, who threw a terrific party on Saturday night. And I also want to thank everyone who not only made me feel welcome, but who also took under their collective wing my younger daughter, who came with me to the con. We had a great weekend.

Second, today marks the kickoff of my Summer 2013 THIEVES’ QUARRY Blog Tour. Yeah, I know: I’m here at MW most Mondays, […]

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