Read Chapter 1 of In Midnight's Silence

The second hand crawled around Señora Ferrer’s art deco clock with excruciating slowness. Blue, brown, and orange geometric shapes decorated the base and did little to help Diago’s headache. From where he stood beside the grand piano, he counted the seconds as they ticked across the clock’s face: fifteen, fourteen, thirteen …

All the while, Enrique Ferrer—a vindictive boy who hated his stepmother and piano lessons—executed a murderous attack on the sonata Diago had assigned. The child didn’t play the piano; he tried to kill it. 

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the characters seal the deal

When people ask me what I read, I tell them everything. I read non-fiction, literary fiction, genre fiction, graphic novels--all of these things are expressions of who and what we are. The characters within our stories are reflections of us. Sometimes we don't want to see our prejudices mirrored back to us, but if we pause and examine what the authors are saying to us, we might just learn a little bit about being a better person.

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[Guest Post] Why I love the darkness by A.F.E. Smith

[Guest Post] Why I love the darkness by A.F.E. Smith

The thing is, we all have a little bit of darkness inside us – and sometimes more than a little. Human nature is at once a wonderful and a terrifying thing, capable of both the most depraved atrocities and the most selfless acts of courage. That’s what it means to be human: we are demon and angel in one. And if everyone around you is behaving demonically, yet you can still listen to your angelic side … well, maybe that’s the true meaning of heroism. It is in the darkest night that the light shines most brightly.

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the most untalked about June release is almost here ... (#SFWApro)

A few quick notes on the upcoming release of In Midnight's Silence; the first round of author blurbs for the novella; a brief mention of Mad Max: Fury Road; what I'm up to; and the ongoing adventures of Bruce the Boxer and Macavity the Maine Coon ... all for your viewing pleasure ...

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Wars ... civil or otherwise

I want a factual representation of  the time period--I won't shy away from that, or the brutalities committed by both sides--but my Los Nefilim are meant to be entertainment. The lens is focused on them and their personal stakes as they maneuver through these major conflicts. I want to examine how people (or in our case, Los Nefilim) preserve their humanity in the face of inhumanity, because they are half-mortal, and they value that aspect of their character as much as the supernatural.

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[Guest Post] On Magic and World War I Medicine: Recommended Research Books by Beth Cato

[Guest Post] On Magic and World War I Medicine: Recommended Research Books by Beth Cato

As an author, magic grants me some leeway, but I still need to get my basic medical and anatomical details right. This was especially important in my new short story released through Harper Voyager Impulse. "The Deepest Poison" depicts a pivotal event in the war as thousands of soldiers collapse during a poison attack. Octavia and her mentor, Miss Percival, rush to find the source and save the men.

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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.

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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.

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[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”.

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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.

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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:

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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.

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[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).

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[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.

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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.

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