Things That Help Me Write

Misty MasseyMisty Massey

Everyone has something that helps them get cranking on whatever writing projects they have going on. Some folks need music, others need to be in their local coffee shop. So I decided to make a list of the things that help me put words on the paper.

My Andrés Segovia Bach CD on repeat.

Soft rain outside my open window (especially on weekends when I can stay in my chair all day.)

A hot cup of coffee (or a cold glass of berry tea.)

Sudden ideas that pop into my head when I’m driving or showering. (Why haven’t I bought bath crayons to write these down on the shower wall?)

The peaceful silence of my house early on a weekend morning when I’m the only one awake.

The peaceful silence of my house late at night when everyone else is on their own computers.

A long car trip with […]

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David B. Coe: Ideas and the Creative Act of Faith


This will be my last post on Magical Words for a while. My two months here for the promotion of Dead Man’s Reach and His Father’s Eyes is over, and my larger promotional campaign, my Summer-of-Two-Releases Virtual Tour, is winding down. I think all this work has paid off; I hope it has. I’d like to see some nice sales numbers for these two books I love so much.

My focus now is on my next project, which is only just beginning to take shape. I have a magic system — one I really, really like — and I have a couple of characters in mind. But I don’t yet have a plot, or a central conflict. And that’s starting to bother me.

Where do ideas come from? Can they be forced? These questions have been rattling around in my head for some time now, as I struggle to figure […]

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The Book of Your Heart

John G. Hartness
Hell on Heels Cover

Before I get to my topic, here’s a most shameless of plugs. It’s my birthday, and I want you to buy yourself a present. Buy a book! Preferably one from one of the folks here at MW, and God knows that gives you plenty to choose from. I’ve provided an image and link to my latest, but go pick up something from one of us – me, David, Faith, Gail, Misty, Emily, Tamsin. Melissa – we’ve all got work out there, and as a gift to me, I want you to buy yourself something pretty. And enjoy! Here’s a link to my latest release – Queen of Kats, Part I.


It’s THE book.

You know the one I’m talking about. It’s your novel. It’s your Water for Chocolate, your American Gods, your Beloved. It’s the book that will change the way people look at books, at writing, […]

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David B. Coe: Openings Again — Breaking Down HIS FATHER’S EYES


It’s been a bit over a week since the release of His Father’s Eyes, the second book in The Case Files of Justis Fearsson. I suppose I should know how the book is doing, but I really don’t. I’ve been camping for the past few days, cut off from the rest of the world, enjoying some solitude and this unbelievably gorgeous Montana wilderness. But now I’m in Calgary, Canada for a convention and writing workshop. I have internet access again, so I’m sure I’ll be checking my Amazon numbers soon enough . . .

A few weeks ago, around the time of the release of Dead Man’s Reach, I broke down the opening paragraphs of that fourth Thieftaker novel, to give you some sense of what I was trying to accomplish on the first page of the book. It was a fairly standard start — effective and, I think, nicely […]

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Remember Me

Misty MasseyMisty Massey

My husband’s mother died last Monday night.

It wasn’t a shock. She’d suffered from dementia for several years, and was living in a nursing home, because she needed full-time care. On Monday, July 27, the nursing home called to let us know she’d been sent to the hospital with pneumonia, and that it wouldn’t be long. She lingered for a week. In that time, I went to a funeral home and made her arrangements. One of the duties I had to handle was writing her obituary. She was a good woman, but she hadn’t accomplished anything that was going to make her well-remembered to the world after she was gone. I even went online today and searched her name, but all I found was her obituary. Yes, the one I wrote. I went two pages in before I stopped hunting. The only result I was finding on this woman was […]

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Word Count, Time, Intent, and Metrics

John G. Hartness
Queen of Kats 1 cover

That’s a lot of stuff, right? A lot of oddball, different stuff that normal people don’t even think about, especially word count. But as writers, especially new and new-ish writers, we pay a lot of attention to our daily word count, the number of new words we get down on the page every day. And as someone starting out, learning the craft and just trying to figure out where stories go, looking at the word counts of some people can be downright terrifying. So if you want to be successful in this business, what’s the magic number? How many words should you write every day to be considered a professional writer?

It doesn’t matter.

You knew it was a trick question, right? You knew I was either going to say zero or ten thousand, so why bother answering? Sorry, it’s the way I roll. Hyperbolic-Socratic, that’s my personal teaching style.


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David B. Coe: HIS FATHER’S EYES, a Cathartic Novel


If it seems like I just had a release day, like, two weeks ago, that’s because I did. Today is release say for His Father’s Eyes, book II in The Case Files of Justis Fearsson, the contemporary urban fantasy I’m writing as David B. Coe for Baen Books. And I’m pretty excited.

You’ll notice right away that the art for this series is quite different from the art for the Thieftaker books. In part that’s a function of the publisher. Baen likes stuff that looks a little pulpy — and I don’t mean that as a bad thing at all. The roots of our genre lie in the great pulp novels of the mid-20th century, and Baen draws on that tradition with all of its titles. More, I think that the Fearsson books have a noir-pulp element to them, along with a Gothic element and a fantasy element . . […]

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