You’re Just Being Nice

Misty MasseyMisty Massey

I danced in a show on Saturday night. All by myself, to a song that I love (Come With Me Now, by Kongos) and I had an absolutely wonderful time. Afterward, people were telling me that I did a great job, and that they enjoyed my performance. A man I’d never seen before in my life made a point of telling me how much fun my performance had been. I smiled and thanked all of them – who doesn’t love hearing that their art was successful? The complication is that inside I was telling myself they were just being nice. Because like so many of us, I can’t believe that anything I do is really any good.

There’s an actual syndrome – impostor syndrome, a psychological phenomenon in which people are unable to internalize their accomplishments. I don’t know that I suffer from an actual syndrome, but I know […]

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New Release & Literate Liquors Episode 18 – Writing Tips for Beginners

John G. Hartness

So I’m a little (a lot) like Simon Cowell on old episodes of American Idol. I’m snarky, sometimes biting, and I don’t suffer fools lightly. I might or might not unleash a little of that in this week’s episode of Literate Liquors, when I give some tips to beginning writers on how to write better. Or as I tend to put it – suck less. I have a lot of people that ask me to read things, and a lot of the time my response is simply – this isn’t written well. So this week I go over a few things that writers need to avoid doing in order to craft tighter stories, create better tension, and generally suck less. Because the less you suck, the more you sell!

Literate Liquors Episode 18 is available here.

By the by, the second in my Quincy Harker, Demon Hunter novella series is […]

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Living in Interesting Times

Gail Z. Martin

by Gail Z. Martin

“May you live in interesting times,” is a Chinese curse. Boring times may be well, boring, but they also tend to be stable, safe, and predictable. All the things that make those times boring also make them less dangerous.

By contrast, “interesting” times are unstable, dangerous, unpredictable and in a constant state of flux. Those times make for great fiction, but aren’t such fun to live through while everything is being decided.

In my Chronicles of the Necromancer series, Tris Drayke has the misfortune of living in interesting times. The king’s murder touches off a chain of events that lead to Tris running for his life with a few close friends, trying to outwit bounty hunters and figure out how to unseat the despot who has usurped the throne. In the Ascendant Kingdoms books, the “interesting times” include the loss of control over magic and the […]

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The Hugo Problem

Misty MasseyMisty Massey

I want to share some great news – Magical Words friends Edmund Schubert (Best Editor, Short Form) and Gray Rinehart (Best Novelette) have both received nominations for the Hugo Awards, and we’re so pleased for them! Congratulations, guys!

I thought a lot about discussing the Hugo situation today, and at first I decided not to. Mostly because I’m not a “name”, which means that my opinion won’t travel far, and also because I really don’t want to be pounced on should certain people find out that I have an opinion that doesn’t coincide with their own. But I gave it a lot of thought, and seeing that I have friends on the ballot, I’m wading in.

For those of you who aren’t up to speed on what’s going on, a couple of years ago, a small group of writers declared that another small group of writers were members of a […]

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Reminders

Misty MasseyMisty Massey

Saturday last, I took part in a group book signing to launch The Big Bad II, an anthology edited by John Hartness and Emily Lavin Leverett. See?

Anyway, most of the folks there had been published before, either in other anthologies, by traditional publishers or by the self-pub route. Except Riley Flynn (the dark-haired woman sitting next to me.) This was Riley’s first professional publication, and she was as delighted as a child at Christmas. Her mom made the trip to be there for Riley’s first signing, and lots of her friends and family also showed up. It was adorable watching her sign books. Every single one was a thrill for her.

Sometimes when you’ve been at this for a while, signings become a less-than-wonderful experience. Too often you only remember the people who rush past the table as if they fear you’ll force them to stop, or […]

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It’s Been A Rough Week

Misty MasseyMisty Massey

On Thursday, we lost Sir Terry Pratchett. He’d been diagnosed with a rare, early-onset Alzheimer’s a while back, so it wasn’t a complete surprise. But he was only 66 years old (every year that passes makes that number sound younger and younger to me) and I don’t think anyone was ready for him to go. I’m grateful he never had to deal with losing his identity. I also admired his determination to die on his own terms, instead of letting the disease transform him into an empty shell of what he once was. I don’t know if he died by his own hand or not – they’re keeping the specific reason for his death very quiet – but I do know that the world of fantasy is a little less bright now that he’s moved on.

Within hours after hearing about Sir Terry, I got word that a wonderful man […]

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David B. Coe: The Writing Life and What it Means to Me

DavidBCoeDavidBCoe

This is my last entry for this round of guest posts. I have enjoyed being back here at MW for December and January, and I look forward to returning later this year, when I have two more releases (Dead Man’s Reach, the fourth Thieftaker, in July, and His Father’s Eyes, the second book in the Case Files of Justis Fearsson, in August).

I have wondered what to write for this last post. Usually we ask our guest writers to give us a post about “the writing life.” But it occurs to me that this is not an easy topic. Describing the writing life is kind of like describing marriage or parenting. It’s a different experience for each of us. Sure there are certain elements of the writing process that all of us share — the frustrations of a stalled narrative, the magic of those days when the words just flow, […]

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