On Twitter, Etiquette, and Team-Followback

I consider Twitter to be a wonderful place to promote my books, but that isn't the only reason I'm there. I tweet about things that interest me and my followers. I'm there to engage socially. So if I don't immediately follow you back, it doesn't mean that I don't think you're worthy of my follow. It just means I want to take a little time to think about how, or even whether, we might enrich one another's lives.

Read More

Introducing In Midnight's Silence and a new series (#SFWApro)

Introducing In Midnight's Silence and a new series (#SFWApro)

For clarification: Writers seem to swing between two extremes: GENIUS and ISUCK. Most authors hit the GENIUS setting at the worst possible time, which is immediately after completing the first draft of a story. This euphoric feeling lasts for all of twenty-four hours, then is immediately replaced by months of ISUCK.

Read More

[Guest Post] Why Fantasy Just Might be like Coriander by Terry Newman

[Guest Post] Why Fantasy Just Might be like Coriander by Terry Newman

A lot of people don’t like fantasy. The first mention of elves or dwarfs and their eyes glaze over. They wouldn’t know Earthsea from Chelsea or Mythago Wood from MDF. All magic is their kryptonite, except of course they have no idea what kryptonite is. And usually their opinion of fantasy writing is delivered with a snigger of contempt and a muttered “kid’s stuff”.

Read More

199 #womenwritefantasy

Yesterday, I asked people to list female fantasy authors in the comments, and you did! Oh, boy did you list them.

Jeff Plotnikoff very graciously took all of those comments and entered the names into a spreadsheet for us. I'm sure we're still missing some great women who write fantasy, but just in case anyone ever needs a quick list to pull from, here are 199 names they can use as a starting point.

Read More

on being a professional writer and being okay

This shall be one of my rare writing posts. I don't often write about writing, because the whole writing experience is extremely subjective and personal.

However, I have been seeing the phrase "professional writer" bounced around a lot lately by a lot of folks who have different interpretations as to what being a professional writer entails. My personal interpretation of what it means to write professionally can be summed very succinctly:

Read More

a writing contest for Mark Lawrence's Liar's Key and a brief interview with me

I am joining Mark Lawrence, Myke Cole, T.O. Munro, David Jackson, and Marc Aplin (of the Fantasy Faction blog) in judging the Liar's Key Writing Contest. For those of you who follow me on a regular basis, you know I did this last year, which is like last century in Internet time. However, I remember it was a lot of fun so when Mark asked me to participate this year, I didn't hesitate to say yes. Several of the contestants put their best writing chops forward, and after a winner was chosen, we went back and provided a few critiques of the finalists and told them what worked for us and what didn't.

Read More

[Guest Post] Punishments for the Upper Classes in Tudor England by April Taylor

[Guest Post] Punishments for the Upper Classes in Tudor England by April Taylor

Contrary to most people’s perception, torture was against the law unless the perceived crime was considered so heinous - such as treason or heresy - that the monarch ordered the victim to undergo “persuasion” to tell all.  Upper class Tudors like royalty and courtiers were educated and rich and prone to gain power by intrigue. Being accused of a serious crime could result in torture. They would be tried in the Star Chamber and had no recourse to legal representation or right of reply. The rack is the instrument of torture most people have heard of, but, in England, there was only one and it was in the Tower of London. Anne Askew, accused of heresy, was the only woman to be racked before she was burned by Mary I (known as Bloody Mary and eldest daughter of Henry VIII).

Read More

[Guest Post] God Is All Loving (Some Exemptions Apply): Religious Magic in Horror and Fantasy by Harry Connolly

[Guest Post] God Is All Loving (Some Exemptions Apply): Religious Magic in Horror and Fantasy by Harry Connolly

Every time I see a vampire recoil from a crucifix, I feel a little sour.

Here's why: Imagine you're walking home from your job on the late shift. You're tired. Your feet hurt. You just want some of the leftover lamb korma in your fridge and some shut eye. 

Then, some jerk leaps out of the shadows, overpowers you, bites your neck, and kills you. After of being dead, you wake up in a grave, dig your way free, and search for blood to drink. No more lamb korma for you.

Read More

a [very brief] history of Slavic vampire lore

I promised to write a blog post on vampires and while this might not be the post everyone was expecting, it's the post that was written. The reason for this is two fold: 1) I simply didn't find a lot of evidence for the erotic nature of vampirism in folklore; and 2) I didn't want to talk about the vampire in popular literature or movies because, quite frankly, the material on these subjects is voluminous. Most of the imagery regarding the erotic vampire originated in nineteenth century Gothic literature.

Read More

on hell, demonology, and language

In college, I found there were scholars who took demons and demonology seriously. This was all much more to my liking even though these scholars left out all of the flash and glamour and the spitting of pea soup utilized by Hollywood. Scholars tend to focus on texts, and that was essentially what I was after--textual expositions on demonology.

Read More

Disabilities and Strength in the Heart of a Warrior (#SFWApro)

I'm always excited when Sarah (Bookworm Blues) asks me for a post for her amazing SF Signal series, Special Needs in Strange Worlds. This week, my guest post is called Disabilities and Strength in the Heart of a Warrior, and you can read it at SF Signal's Special Needs in Strange Worlds.

Read More

Alex Bledsoe and I talk about our novelette, Hisses and Wings, at SF Signal (#SFWApro)

This is just going to be a real short redirect post to let you know that Alex Bledsoe and I have an online conversation about our novelette, Hisses and Wings, over at SF Signal today. So if you're curious about how we came up with the story and characters, here's your chance to find out a little bit more. In other news ...

Read More

Hybrid publishing and why I'll be doing more of it in 2015

Wow. Look at me. I'm just a blogging fool this week. Weeks of nothing, and all of a sudden, three posts in one week while I'm working on a fourth for someone else. Seriously, time is a lovely thing to have on one's hands. Unless you're the people reading all of this crap and going: SHUT UP, SHUT UP, SHUT UP, AND GO BACK TO WORK ALREADY.

Next week, darklings, next week. Meanwhile, I'm-a-blogging away.

Read More

Keeping the closet shut is a choice too

I will tell you the story of a story and how a certain character came to life since we're all blathering about choices in characterization right now. Lord knows, we need something to keep our tiny minds occupied between bouts of writing and marketing, so here comes my entry into this foray and you might not like what I have to say, but, frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn.

Read More

Marco Polo: a [mildly] spoilerific review (#SFWAPro)

During my annual post-holiday crash and burn, I plugged into Netflix's new series Marco Polo. I know the series has received some criticism for stereotypical Asian characters (Lenika Cruz gives a balanced review on this subject at The Atlantic). However, overlooking the usual credibility issues in these kinds of "historical" dramas, Marco Polo fares well in terms of story and characterization, which is what draws me to a series more than anything else.

Read More

Looking back at 2014: I know I have been quiet ... (#SFWApro)

But I'm still here, recharging my batteries and making nefarious plans for more stories. 2014 was full of new experiences and busier than I originally thought. It was a year of writing, and, discounting blog posts, there were a lot of words. A few of the highlights include:

Read More

Earning out, awards, and it's the end of the year and I feel fine (#SFWApro)

Advances and royalties for Miserere were split between Skyhorse and Start when the two publishers acquired Night Shade Books' backlist in 2013. Miserere earned out its advance with Skyhorse in 2013, and this past August, I got the news that Miserere had earned out with Start as well.

Read More