The Dream

Today is Martin Luther King Day, our annual observance of the birthday of the amazing civil rights leader who led a wave of social change for our country. Then, the change was for the better. Today we’re facing a new wave of change, one that terrifies many of us. There has been talk of interning people over their religious beliefs, and of taking away access to healthcare. It’s frightening, and it’s the kind of talk that might convince many to put their heads, down, keep quiet and hope to not be noticed. But the thing about us here at MW…we’re writers. We’re the people who don’t keep quiet, who share the words and tell the truth. We’re the trees by the river who refuse to move. It’s up to us to stand with our neighbors, no matter the color of their skin, the accent of their voice or the clothing […]

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Slide On The Ice

When Magical Words asked me to write up a post for January, to go with the release of THE COLD EYE (Book 2 of The Devil’s West, ready for you to buy TODAY!), I suggested “writing the second book in an open-ended series and how to keep your sanity while doing it” as a topic.

There’s just one problem with that topic. I have no idea how to do it. I’m not even sure if it’s possible, honestly.

Seriously, I’ve done this “open-ended, multi-book series” thing three times now (four, if you count the novellas). And each time, I hit the same second-book Oh Fuck moment, that coal-squishing pressure of not only keeping everything straight and connected and clear from book one to book two, but also setting up threads to be used in books three, four, and five (and maybe six and seven too, if you’re keeping options open). […]

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Quick-Tip Tuesday: Shaking Up Our Creative Routines

As those of you who follow me on Facebook [giving the hairy eyeball to those who don’t follow me on Facebook] might have noticed, I finished the first draft of my work-in-progress this past week. It’s the first book in a new project — a time-travel, epic fantasy series about which I’m incredibly excited. The series will be called The Islevale Cycle, and the book’s title (for now at least) is Time’s Children. It came in at 140,000 words or so — 570 pages.

I’ve written here about this book a couple of times this year. I have struggled with it for a while. I couldn’t outline it and so wrote it kind of on the fly. I wrote myself into a narrative dead end at one point, and had to put it away for literally three-quarters of a year before I figured out what I’d done to foul things […]

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Quick-Tip Tuesday: Deadlines!

As the year winds down, and I start considering all the work I need to get done in the next few weeks, my mind naturally turns to the topic of deadlines. Deadlines are one of the harsh realities of life as a professional writer. We are always working under one deadline or another; often we face several at once, some of them external, some of them self-imposed. I am looking at four looming deadlines right now, one that I established myself, one that is contractual, one for a short story that I promised to a friend [waves at Misty], and another for an anthology to which I’d like to submit another story.

Writing to deadline is something pros do. Ask any writer what he or she feels is a defining characteristic of a professional writer and s/he is bound to mention hitting deadlines. If we can’t hand in work on […]

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Quick-Tip Tuesday: Taking Stock and Soldiering On

It’s been a hard fall, at the end of a tough year. At times like these, when we mourn lost friends, or deal with fears and unexpected disappointments of any sort, it seems that even sitting down to write a page or two is more than we can manage.

On occasion, we here at MW urge you to take a day or two away from writing to enjoy life, to immerse yourself in the pleasures of family and friends, of beloved hobbies, of the simple joys of taking a walk, or reading a book. But at other times, writing can actually be our escape. The world isn’t always a friendly place; real life just sucks now and then. So write. Dive into your worlds, your characters, your storylines. Draw upon the emotions evoked by the real world, but live in those places you’ve created. It helps. Or rather, it helps […]

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Why #HoldOnToTheLight Matters

 

You’ve heard the story about the boy throwing starfish back into the ocean at low tide. A man chides him that the boy can’t save them all, and what difference does such a futile gesture make? “It makes a difference to this one,” the boy replies, tossing another starfish into the sea.

Light one candle. Scare away the dark. Use your voice every time they try to shut your mouth.

The power of one. Refusing to go gently into the dark night.

Defiance is one of the human race’s better attributes.

#HoldOnToTheLight is about throwing starfish and lighting candles. And giving a one-finger salute to the darkness.

As my friend John Hartness likes to say, there is ‘famous’ and then there’s ‘writer famous’. ‘Writer famous’ is when you walk into a con and people recognize you. ‘Famous’ is when you walk into a Starbucks anywhere in the world […]

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A Quick-Tip Post For Melanie

Last week, the Magical Words community lost one of its own. Melanie Otto, known to many of you, died after a sudden and severe brain bleed that left her in a coma.

I knew Melanie for several years and was privileged to join her and and the other Roaring Writers of The Million Words blog for a week-long writing retreat. I was the instructor for the week, and Melanie and her life partner, Judy, were my contacts for the event. In the planning stages, and then during the retreat itself, they treated me like family, made me feel welcome and at home, made sure that I was comfortable in every sense.

Melanie was a talented writer and a skilled professional photographer. But more, she was a wise and kind soul, a gentle spirit with a wicked sense of humor, a generous and caring friend. I cannot begin to imagine the […]

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