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Magical Words – Guest Blog!

The gorgeous and wonderful Faith Hunter invited me to do a guest post today over at Magical Words!

“I Don’t Know How She Does It: Princess Alethea’s Top Ten List of Things to Remember When Publishing in Multiple Genres”

My article is even longer than the title. I had a really big problem being brief. But it’s AWESOME, and I hope you stop by!

(PS – Faith says I have MOXIE! I *adore* that word.)

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Genre Chick Interview: David B. Coe

One of the original items on my to-do list that launched May 2011’s Month of Writers here on the site was a series of interviews I planned with the contributors of How To Write Magical Words: A Writer’s Companion.

Are you familiar with the Magical Words site? If you’re a writer, you should be! The contributing bloggers there are some very experienced folks who have exceptional insights about all things wise and wonderful in the world of publishing.

So this week in the Month of Writers is special — It’s Magical Words Week! Every day I’ll be hosting an interview from a contributor from the Magical Words website. Today, my guest star is the charming David B. Coe!

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FB or Twitter?
Twitter, definitely.  I mean, 420 characters for a post on Facebook really is overkill, you know?  If you can’t express yourself in 140 characters, you have no business communicating with anyone in the first place.

In all seriousness, I have yet to figure out the point of Twitter.  At least with Facebook I can catch up with people I didn’t care about enough to keep up with in the first place.  If you know what I mean….

Most recent publication?
That’s a more complicated question than it may seem.  At least I intend to make it as complicated as possible.

The last book I published on my own was ROBIN HOOD, the novelization of the movie directed by Ridley Scott and starring Russell Crowe.  But that wasn’t really my own book, since it was based on someone else’s script.

So really, my most recent book was THE DARK-EYES’ WAR, the final book in my Blood of the Southlands trilogy (published by Tor).  It came out in hardcover last year and will be out in paperback at the end of this year.

But that’s not really right, either, since as part of the Magical Words group, I recently published HOW TO WRITE MAGICAL WORDS:  A WRITER’S COMPANION.

And actually, since that came out, I have published a short story under the name D.B. Jackson in the anthology AFTER HOURS:  TALES FROM THE UR-BAR, edited by Joshua Palmatier and Patricia Bray, and published by DAW.

So yeah, those are my most recent publications.

Associations or affiliations?
SFWA, Speculative Literature Foundation, Rocky Mountain Outdoor Writers and Photographers, Sierra Club, Wilderness Society, MoveOn.org, True Majority.

Short Stories or Novels or both?
I’ve written and published about twice as many novels as I have short stories, which is not to say that I don’t enjoy writing short fiction.  But, well, why say in 8,000 words what you can also say in 100,000, right?

Truthfully, I have tremendous respect for short fiction writers, and I was every bit as proud of my first short story sale as I was of my first novel sale.  Sure, the money wasn’t as good, but I honestly believe that writing a successful short story is the hardest thing I try to do as a writer, and I took that first short fiction sale as an indication that I was beginning to master the craft of writing.  That said, I love writing novels.  I love to weave together multiple plot threads and character viewpoints, and I enjoy the greater dynamic range one can explore when working in the longer format.

Are you a Plotter or a Pantser?
I do a bit of both.  My plot outlines tend to be incredibly sketchy and vague — maybe a single sentence for each chapter.  But I find that without just a bit of a roadmap, my books tend to wander too much.  On the other hand, when I outline in too much detail, I find that the prep work interferes with my writing.  It keeps me from doing the sort of in-the-moment creating that keeps my writing fresh and immediate.  There is a fairly fine balance there that I need to rediscover with each new project, and actually, with my current work in progress, I seem to have outlined in too much detail, and I’m having some trouble right now making the story come alive as I write.

What’s your average words per hour output?
Average words per hour?  I have no idea.  I try to write 2000 to 2500 words each day.  On a particularly slow day I’ll settle for 1500, although I try to avoid this.  But words per hour?  I’ve never even thought about it.  If I did, I think I’d drive myself batty.  “Oh, crap!  Fifteen minutes gone and I’m already 73 words behind.”  Yeah, like I need that kind of stress.

What’s your favorite part of writing?
Do I have to choose just one?  I love worldbuilding.  I love creating new characters.  I love writing those key scenes in a book that I’ve been envisioning and anticipating since I originally conceived the story.  I love those productive days in the middle of a book when I know that making my 2000 word goal won’t be a problem and I can’t wait to get to work each morning.  I love reading through a finished manuscript and seeing all my ideas come together as the narrative progresses.  I love holding a newly published book in my hands for the first time.  I really love my job.

What’s your least favorite part?
Copy editing, proofing the galleys, having to read through the same manuscript for the fifth and sixth and seventh times to make sure that I’ve caught every typo, every niggling error.  And I really, really hate the business end of it — everything having to do with sales and royalties and contracts.  I wish I could simply write and forget about that stuff, but of course part of being a professional is coping with the business end.

What motivates you to mentor other writers?
A couple of things.  That joy I mentioned before is a big part of it.  I enjoy what I do so much, and I see people with that same passion for writing, and I want to help them get the most out of it.  Also, early on I had several established writers give me advice that proved invaluable later on, and that made it easier for me to enjoy the work.  I’d like to pass that on; pay it forward as the saying goes.  And finally, I have a selfish motive as well:  I find that talking about process, breaking down what I do to its component parts so that I can offer helpful advice, also forces me to look at my craft in new, and instructive ways.  In other words, by teaching others, I am also teaching myself and examining the craft from new and helpful perspectives.

Is it difficult to come up with a fun and interesting essay topic every week on top of your current workload?
Very.  Some weeks I stare at the screen for hours trying to think of something — ANYTHING — to write about that I haven’t covered a hundred times before.  But Magical Words is gaining new readers all the time, and quite often reading about something again, in a slightly different context or with an altered approach, can be invaluable.  So in the end I don’t worry too much about repeating advice I’ve given in years past.

Describe how words are magical to you.
Well, they’re like a form of alchemy.  They turn weird ideas about magic and wizards into royalty checks….

My brother is a professional artist.  He paints landscapes and can take a flat surface and give it depth, temperature, motion — he can bring it to life.  That’s magical.  What we writers do isn’t all that different.  Using words printed on paper, we create worlds that people can see and smell and hear and taste, people them with living, breathing, compelling characters, and place those characters in situations that can be so thrilling and frightening, that readers are unable to stop reading until they know the ending.  That truly is alchemy — spinning threads of letters into golden experiences.

Edmund has an essay discussing useful and distracting similes and metaphors. Please put yourself in a simile. Example: “Edmund Schubert is like a dead penguin wedding cake.”
David B. Coe is like a funhouse mirror in a homicide division interrogation room.  [I have no idea what it means, but I like the sound of it.]

A.J. quotes Steven Spielberg i one of his essays, about how the core of a film should be able to be summed up in 26 words or fewer. Please sum yourselfs up in 26 words or fewer.
“An earringed, liberal, Jewish transplant from New York, living in the deep South with his wife and daughters, writing fantasy novels for a living.”

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How To Write Magical Words: A Writer’s Companion is a compilation of essays originally published on MagicalWords.net, a popular writing blog with thousands of regular followers. Distilling three years worth of helpful advice into a single, portable volume, it contains nearly 100 essays covering a wide range of topics. Many of these essays are accompanied by comments and questions from the blog’s readers, along with the author’s response, making this volume unique among how-to books on any subject. The core members of Magical Words—David B. Coe, A.J. Hartley, Faith Hunter, Stuart Jaffe, Misty Massey, C.E. Murphy, and Edmund R. Schubert—have experience writing and editing fantasy, mysteries, thrillers, romance, science fiction, non-fiction, and more. This group is uniquely qualified to cover the full spectrum of writing-related issues. How To Write Magical Words: A Writer’s Companion is a book that belongs in the library of anyone interested in the craft of writing, the business of writing, and the writing life.

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Genre Chick Interview: Edmund Schubert

One of the original items on my to-do list that launched May 2011’s Month of Writers here on the site was a series of interviews I planned with the contributors of How To Write Magical Words: A Writer’s Companion.

Are you familiar with the Magical Words site? If you’re a writer, you should be! The contributing bloggers there are some very experienced folks who have exceptional insights about all things wise and wonderful in the world of publishing.

So this week in the Month of Writers is special — It’s Magical Words Week! Every day I’ll be hosting an interview from a contributor from the Magical Words website. Today, my guest star is the exuberant Edmund Schubert! (You might remember him from the most infamous Genre Chick interview ever, back in 2008…)

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Mac or PC?
PC (though more and more people I know are going Mac).

Coffee or Tea?
Tea, unless there’s a bottle of Kahlua handy.

Travel the World or Travel Outer Space?
Outer space, no question. I haven’t talked to Elvis in years.

Fantasy or Science Fiction?
Yes.

Music or Silence (while you write)?
Absolute silence. I am constantly amazed that anyone can write down one set of words while another set of words is flowing over them in the form of music. I would build and write in a sensory deprivation chamber if I could.

What weird food do you like?
I’ll eat almost anything that doesn’t eat me first. However, at a Chinese buffet the other day I did decline to eat the baby octopi.

What is one of your most irrational fears?
Bab octopi. I also have a deathly fear of the best-seller list. Fortunately I’ve  been able to avoid it thus far.

Did you watch the Royal Wedding? Why or why not?
I got up at 4am when Chuck and Di tied the knot back in ’81, and one royal wedding in this lifetime was enough for me. Funny thing, it looks exactly the same on video at 9am as it does live at 4.

How many novels/short stories/screenplays/poems/etc have you published?
Well, my “stories published” count goes WAY up if you count the stories I’ve published as an editor. Minus those, it’s something like one novel and 35 short stories.

How much do you write every day?
As much as people will pay me for.

How much do you WISH you could write every day?
A LOT more.

What are you working on now?
A YA fantasy novel for my kids. I’m not going to say any more than that because I’ve learned the hard way that the more I talk about something I’m writing, the less actual writing I do.

If you could write like one author, who would it be?
J.K. Rowling for the paycheck, Ray Bradbury for the prose, and Richard Matheson for the fun of it.

If you could be one superhero, or have one superpower, who/what would it be?
Is there a superhero who can slow down or reverse time? If there is, I want to be him or her.

What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever done?
Went hang-gliding on the sand dunes at Kitty Hawk, NC, right near where the Wright Brothers first flew. Crashed into a dune hard enough to damage the glider, too. It was awesome.

What’s the coolest thing you’re about to do?
Answer your question about three things to do before I die.

Name three things on your List of Things to Do Before You Die.
Gasp, wheeze, then make a short but moving farewell speech.

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Edmund R. Schubert began his career as a writer in 2001. Since that time he has published approximately 35 short stories in a variety of genres, in magazines and anthologies in the U.S. and Britain. In 2006 he took over as fiction editor of the online science fiction and fantasy magazine, Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show. In early 2011, a collection of his short stories titled, The Trouble With Eating Clouds, was published by Spotlight Publishing. He is currently writing a YA novel, and two new anthologies are also in progress.

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Genre Chick Interview: Misty Massey

One of the original items on my to-do list that launched May 2011’s Month of Writers here on the site was a series of interviews I planned with the contributors of How To Write Magical Words: A Writer’s Companion.

Are you familiar with the Magical Words site? If you’re a writer, you should be! The contributing bloggers there are some very experienced folks who have exceptional insights about all things wise and wonderful in the world of publishing.

So this week in the Month of Writers is special — It’s Magical Words Week! Every day I’ll be hosting an interview from a contributor from the Magical Words website. Today, my guest star is the beautiful Misty Massey!

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Name: Misty Massey

FB or Twitter?
I’m Misty Massey on FB, and MistyMassey on Twitter. And I’m madkestrel on Livejournal, if anyone wants to drop by.

Most recent publication?
My first novel, “Mad Kestrel”, was published by Tor in 2008. “At Map’s End”, a short story featuring the characters from my novel, appeared in the anthology Rum and Runestones in May 2010.

Associations or affiliations?
None. I keep meaning to join SFWA.

Short Stories or Novels or both?
I started out writing only short stories, and never thought I could manage an entire novel. I still like the short form, but nowadays I tend to come up with ideas that go a lot longer.

Are you a Plotter or a Pantser?
I started out as a complete pantser, letting the story carry me along as it would and not stressing about where I’d end up or how I’d know when I got there. As time has gone by, I’ve discovered the delight of planning ahead. There’s a lovely comfort in having a road map to follow, and being able to see the end coming. Especially when there’s a real deadline attached to that end. I still occasionally write by the seat of my pants, but only when it’s a short work and never when someone is actually waiting on what I’m writing.

What’s your average words per hour output?
It depends on the day. I’m a slow writer, because I can’t help editing as I go (which makes revisions easier, once I eventually get to that point!) I set myself a goal of 500 words a day, and do the best I can to reach that. Some days I spill words as if they were kernels of corn and I left the silo door open. Other days, not so much.

What’s your favorite part of writing?
My favorite part of writing is also my favorite part of reading – getting to know the characters and spend time in their world. When I’m overwhelmed with laundry and cooking dinner and paying bills and dealing with family issues, I can fall into the world of my own making, and all those pressures slip away. Of course, I have to deal with my characters’ issues, but hey, at least they’re different.

What’s your least favorite part?
The stiffness that I only notice after I’ve been in the chair a while, and I suddenly stand up. Or try to stand up. Ow!

What motivates you to mentor other writers?
I began writing seriously in 1995. I’d been playing with stories long before, but I had no one to tell me if what I was doing was any good. Sure, I had family, but family is always going to have a vested interest in my happiness, and I couldn’t be sure their opinions were completely unbiased. So I joined a local critique group. Those writers were supportive, helpful and friendly, but they also never hesitated to tell me if the work was crap. It was Faith Hunter who first strong-armed me into trying to write a novel. I was terrified of trying, but more scared of letting her down, so I gave it a shot. I wouldn’t be published today if it wasn’t for Faith. Helping other not-yet-published writers is my way of paying forward the help she offered me.

Is it difficult to come up with a fun and interesting essay topic every week on top of your current workload?
Sometimes, yes. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve found myself sitting at my computer the night before my posting day, staring at a blank screen and wondering what on earth to write about. But more often than not, those last-minute scrambles turn out to be my most well-received posts.

I do worry that I’ll repeat myself on a subject that we’ve already covered. Or worse, that the readers will realize I’m just making this up as I go, and show up outside my house with torches and pitchforks to punish me. But even when I touch on a subject I’ve covered before, I find that there’s still plenty to talk about. And our readers are very forgiving.

Describe how words are magical to you.
Words create worlds, worlds that can carry me away for moments or days. The writer puts the words together and suddenly, I’m a dark elven ranger, wandering the world. I’m a woman riding a dragon through the skies desperate to save my people. I’m a pirate chasing down my quarry. All it takes is the perfect combination of amazing, transporting, magical words. Anyone who says there’s no such thing as magic clearly hasn’t read the right books yet.

Edmund has an essay discussing useful and distracting similes and metaphors. Please put yourself in a simile. Example: “Edmund Schubert is like a dead penguin wedding cake.
Misty is like a dictionary grenadier in comfortable shoes.

A.J. quotes Steven Spielberg i one of his essays, about how the core of a film should be able to be summed up in 26 words or fewer. Please sum yourself up in 26 words or fewer.
I’m the girl who never stopped believing in faeries. I keep writing in the hope that they’ll come dance with me.

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How To Write Magical Words: A Writer’s Companion is a compilation of essays originally published on MagicalWords.net, a popular writing blog with thousands of regular followers. Distilling three years worth of helpful advice into a single, portable volume, it contains nearly 100 essays covering a wide range of topics. Many of these essays are accompanied by comments and questions from the blog’s readers, along with the author’s response, making this volume unique among how-to books on any subject. The core members of Magical Words—David B. Coe, A.J. Hartley, Faith Hunter, Stuart Jaffe, Misty Massey, C.E. Murphy, and Edmund R. Schubert—have experience writing and editing fantasy, mysteries, thrillers, romance, science fiction, non-fiction, and more. This group is uniquely qualified to cover the full spectrum of writing-related issues. How To Write Magical Words: A Writer’s Companion is a book that belongs in the library of anyone interested in the craft of writing, the business of writing, and the writing life.

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Genre Chick Interview: Stuart Jaffe

One of the original items on my to-do list that launched May 2011’s Month of Writers here on the site was a series of interviews I planned with the contributors of How To Write Magical Words: A Writer’s Companion.

Are you familiar with the Magical Words site? If you’re a writer, you should be! The contributing bloggers there are some very experienced folks who have exceptional insights about all things wise and wonderful in the world of publishing.

So this week in the Month of Writers is special — It’s Magical Words Week! Every day I’ll be hosting an interview from a contributor from the Magical Words website. Today, my guest star is the fantastic Stuart Jaffe!

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Aleathea Kontis: Facebook or Twitter?
Stuart Jaffe: FB Fan Page

AK: Most recent publication?
SJ: I have a short story “Perchance” coming out in the July issue of Bull Spec.

AK: Short Stories, or Novels, or both?
SJ: I’ve published only short stories so far, but I’m actively shopping around a novel, so I’m right there in the trenches with everybody else.  I feel your pain!

AK: Are you a Plotter or a Pantser?
SJ: Once I have a beginning, a few key points in the middle, and an end firmly in mind, I’ll start writing.  The rest I work out as I go, plotting a few chapters ahead and letting the story evolve as it naturally does.  I rarely finish with the ending I had in mind, but I’m somewhat close, and having AN ending in mind, gives me focus, something to shoot for.

AK: What’s your average words per hour output? (Ball park)
SJ: Ha Ha Ha!  I use to try to get 1-2K a day but my life is too unpredictable, so I now shoot for a weekly word count of 5-7K.

AK: What’s your favorite part of writing?
SJ: Believe it or not, I enjoy revisions.  even when it’s a pain.  The story is out of my head and on paper.  Now I can play with it, re-shape it, and try to find ways to make it better.

AK: What’s your least favorite part?
SJ: Staring at a blank page.

AK: What motivates you to mentor other writers?
SJ: Genre writers are so generous, and many have helped me when I was starting out.  Having the opportunity to help others is a wonderful way to thank those who helped me and to keep paying it forward at the same time.

AK: Is it difficult to come up with a fun and interesting essay topic every week on top of your current workload?
SJ: Not really.  I have the advantage ofbeing the co-host of The Eclectic Review podcast which is a weekly,half-hour podcast about science and art.  We’ve been doing shows since 2006, so I’ve gotten in the habit of finding things to talk about.  You really just have to look at what you’re interested in or thinking about that week and write it out.  I also love writing a series of posts which gives you several weeks to explore a subject.

AK: Describe how words are magical to you.
SJ: Go to an old used bookstore and find something very old — a book from the 1800s or older.  Open it up and you are reading words somebody wrote down centuries ago.  And these words still have the power to cause you joy, pain, love, sadness.  These words can still make you think and even change how you think.  And these words still can simply entertain.  Downright magical, if you ask me.

Find Stuart online:
Website — www.stuartjaffe.com
Writing blog — www.magicalwords.net
Co-Host of The Eclectic Review Podcast (http://eclectic.libsyn.com)

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How To Write Magical Words: A Writer’s Companion is a compilation of essays originally published on MagicalWords.net, a popular writing blog with thousands of regular followers. Distilling three years worth of helpful advice into a single, portable volume, it contains nearly 100 essays covering a wide range of topics. Many of these essays are accompanied by comments and questions from the blog’s readers, along with the author’s response, making this volume unique among how-to books on any subject. The core members of Magical Words—David B. Coe, A.J. Hartley, Faith Hunter, Stuart Jaffe, Misty Massey, C.E. Murphy, and Edmund R. Schubert—have experience writing and editing fantasy, mysteries, thrillers, romance, science fiction, non-fiction, and more. This group is uniquely qualified to cover the full spectrum of writing-related issues. How To Write Magical Words: A Writer’s Companion is a book that belongs in the library of anyone interested in the craft of writing, the business of writing, and the writing life.

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Genre Chick Interview: Faith Hunter

One of the original items on my to-do list that launched May 2011’s Month of Writers here on the site was a series of interviews I planned with the contributors of How To Write Magical Words: A Writer’s Companion.

Are you familiar with the Magical Words site? If you’re a writer, you should be! The contributing bloggers there are some very experienced folks who have exceptional insights about all things wise and wonderful in the world of publishing.

So this week in the Month of Writers is special — It’s Magical Words Week! Every day I’ll be hosting an interview from a contributor from the Magical Words website. Today, my guest star is fabulous Faith Hunter!

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Alethea Kontis: FB or Twitter?
Faith Hunter: Yes, though I prefer FaceBook.

Most recent publication?
FH: Mercy Blade, the third in the Jane Yellowrock series.

Short Stories or Novels or both?
FH: Both, though I lean more toward books, and am only now getting into short stories.

Are you a Plotter or a Pantser?
FH: Plotter. Heavy plotter. And then when I have everything all plotted out, I’ll pants my way off the outline.

What’s your average words per hour output?
FH: (ballpark) 375 to 500

What’s your favorite part of writing?
FH: Not having to leave the house to go to work. No, wait. It’s when my characters talk back to me. No, wait. It’s getting paid to tell lies and make up stories. That one. Yeah. That one!

What’s your least favorite part?
FH: Uncertainty. Telling lies and getting paid for it isn’t a secure job description.

What motivates you to mentor other writers?
FH: When I was an upcoming writer, there was no writer near me who would act as a mentor, and the Internet world didn’t exist except in fiction writers’ imaginations. I wanted and needed a mentor. So when I got the chance to help other writers, I jumped at it, starting a writing group in my town and mentoring 6 other writers, 4 of whom went on to produce award winning work, e-publication, and traditional publication. Seeing their success gave me immense satisfaction. MagicalWords.Net allowed me to take that joy to the next step.

Is it difficult to come up with a fun and interesting essay topic every week on top of your current workload?
FH: Oh, heck yes! Which is why I sometimes open my weekly slot up to commenters’ work where I critique short segments. We’ve done opening lines, book cover blurbs, the elevator pitch or nitch pitch, and others. And I take requests for subjects to cover. Got any ideas?

Describe how words are magical to you.
FH: When I was a child – miserable, geeky, book-loving, not socially adept in any way, books became my world. When I dove between the covers of a book, I found acceptance and success and glory and all the wondrous adventures that my own life lacked. Words became my safety net, the place I went when my world was lonely, friendless, and dark. And words are still my friends. Maybe my best friends.

Edmund has an essay discussing useful and distracting similes and metaphors. Please put yourself in a simile. Example: “Edmund Schubert is like a dead penguin wedding cake.”
FH: Dang. Edmund stole mine! Okay, how’s this? Faith Hunter is like a fire devil—a tornado that forms above a massive fire—all light and heat and a pretty fire-show, but much ado about nothing. Or – Faith Hunter is like a Class III river, rushing downhill in delight and fury, bounding off rocks, throwing spray into the air, and giving everyone a great time.

A.J. quotes Steven Spielberg in one of his essays, about how the core of a film should be able to be summed up in 26 words or fewer. Please sum yourselves up in 26 words or fewer.
FH: Faith Hunter writes, grows orchids, collects skulls and bones, RVs with hubby and dogs, runs Class III rivers, and hopes to grow up someday. Or not.

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How To Write Magical Words: A Writer’s Companion is a compilation of essays originally published on MagicalWords.net, a popular writing blog with thousands of regular followers. Distilling three years worth of helpful advice into a single, portable volume, it contains nearly 100 essays covering a wide range of topics. Many of these essays are accompanied by comments and questions from the blog’s readers, along with the author’s response, making this volume unique among how-to books on any subject. The core members of Magical Words—David B. Coe, A.J. Hartley, Faith Hunter, Stuart Jaffe, Misty Massey, C.E. Murphy, and Edmund R. Schubert—have experience writing and editing fantasy, mysteries, thrillers, romance, science fiction, non-fiction, and more. This group is uniquely qualified to cover the full spectrum of writing-related issues. How To Write Magical Words: A Writer’s Companion is a book that belongs in the library of anyone interested in the craft of writing, the business of writing, and the writing life.

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Guest Blog Up At Magical Words

You’ll have to do some work for your blog post today: “Let The Right One In” is up over at the Magical Words writing blog, so you have to click to get there.

If you’re a writer and haven’t bookmarked Magical Words, you should. There is a wealth of fabulous information over there from some fantastic writers, both inside and out — C.E. Murphy, David B. Coe, Faith Hunter, Lynn Flewelling, and the illustrious Edmund Schubert, who graciously lent me his blog entry today to guest star in.

Enjoy!

[Edited to add: you have to register at the Magical Words site and log in to post a comment.]

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