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Cool Story Bro

This opening often sounds like normal life, but…  You get a feeling you are in a tall tale almost right away.

So today we’re going to examine the technique of opening a story called “cool story bro.”  It’s not necessarily that different than Wait, What? and one sort of bleeds into the other.  In fact, after your Wait, What? opening, you need a good “Cool story, bro,” to keep it going. Read more

Release Day!

Its finally here. Today is release day. Light Magic, the second book in the Eerie Side of the Tracks series, is available for download.

 When Meg Sheridan arrived in Mossy Creek, Texas, she had one goal in mind: to fulfill her mother’s dying wish. Now, less than a month after burying her mother, all Meg knows about the town is that it has always been a haven for the Others, even before they made their existence known to the world. As an Other herself, that should reassure Meg. Instead, it raises more questions than it answers. More than that, she has one very large problem. She doesn’t know why her mother wanted her to come to Mossy Creek. Worse, she soon learns not everyone is willing to welcome her with open arms.

Faced with the daunting task of discovering not only why her mother sent her to Mossy Creek but also with uncovering why her mother fled there years before, Meg is determined to find the truth. Along the way, she discovers something else. Even in death, her mother is looking out for her – if Meg will let her. Read more

Are you really sure?

One of the most frequent comments you’ll hear when you ask someone why they want to sign a traditional publishing contract has to do with the “services” they get from a publisher. Next to distribution to bookstores, probably the most often quoted reason authors want a publisher is so they have an editor. They trust the publisher to make sure their book goes through not only content editing but also copy editing and proofreading. Because of that, they don’t worry as much about turning in a publication ready manuscript as they would if they were going the indie route.

It doesn’t matter if they are talking about a small press, mid-sized press or one of the Big 5. Too many authors believe the hype publishers try to sell – that they will get the kind of attention you see the Castles or other fictional authors receiving. Unfortunately, just as they won’t get the sort of promotion and push they see in fictional settings, they also aren’t guaranteed the level of editing they believe they’re going to get. Read more

The little cabbages..

Hear about the e-book of a fight between vampires for dominance in the story world? It’s about who gets to be the bit or the byte players. Ow. Stop hitting me. Cease with the carp. I repent (at least for now).

Most of us remember – and work on writing well – the main character/s in stories. It’s the lesser characters that tend to be neglected – both by writers and the memory of readers. This is not necessarily a bad thing as the bit-players have an awful habit of being so cool they morph into having a larger part than you planned, maybe even nudging the main character off-stage, and ruining your well-planned book.

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Why should we look at the entire industry?

This question came up recently in comments – why should we, on MGC, report on what The Big 5 (4?) are doing, or on B&N?

1. There’s scope and scale. What business are we in? We’re in the entertainment business. We’re competing with every other entertainer out there for Joe Sixpack’s beer money – and for Jane Doe’s attention span when she wants something to take her mind off the fact that she’s in a waiting room. Read more

Part-Time Writer

I’m sitting here having a small crisis. See, I’m feeling like maybe I don’t really belong here, writing for writers. Why? Because I’m a part-time writer. And recently, that’s been very, very part-time.

It’s been my choice, overall. Choices, rather. I have chosen to pursue a career that is not-writing. It’s not that I don’t love writing, or that I don’t think I could support myself doing that (although I have suspicions about being able to support my family, but that’s a whole different thing, and quite possibly connected back to this feeling of being an imposter in some way). It’s simply that I love science, and being a scientist, and I have been reaching life-goals this past year. However, in doing that, I’ve not been focusing on writing. You know that phenomenon where you see what you’re focusing on? The Baader-Meinhof phenomenon? Yeah, that one. The one where I’ve been focusing on being a mother, and a scientist, and recently a home-buyer and even though all those things provide fodder for the writing, today I have no brain for writing.  Read more

Cover Ready!

And getting the pre-order set up. Hopefully to go live on Tuesday.


Fleeing the aftermath of heroism, Eldon Denison skids into a new Parallel Earth, into a cute chick’s car, and right into new trouble. In Hollywood. A multidimensional fugitive certainly can land in some interesting places!


He said, she said, and who said?

Too often, when we think about dialogue, we think of two people taking turns in strict alternation. Today I’d like to look at expanding the dialogue, with some examples from Connie Willis, who has a genius for mixing it up, with three, four or even more people talking across each other and sharing information or, more likely, misinformation.

Sometimes it’s mainly for comic effect, as in this passage from Blackout: two people trying to talk to each other about times and places while a third person is on the phone, reading out a printout of, guess what, times and places.

“August seventh?” Phipps asked Badri. 

“That’s right,” Linna said, “1536,” and Michael looked over at her, confused, but she was back at the phone, reading off a printout. “London, the trial of Anne Boleyn—” 

“Yes, the seventh,” Badri said to Phipps. “The drop will open every half hour. Move a bit to the right.” He motioned with his hand. “A bit more.” Phipps shambled obediently to the right. “A bit to the left. Good. Now hold that.” He walked back over to the console and hit several keys, and the folds of the net began to lower around Phipps. 

“I need you to note the amount of temporal slippage on the drop.”

“October tenth 1940,” Linna said into the phone, “to December eighteenth-”

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Blind Men, Elephants, and the Industry

You’ve all seen the posts drifting through here about the current state of the publishing industry, particularly the way the big 5 (4? or whatever the heck it is once all the mergers are done) are grabbing for everything that looks like a straw to claim that ebooks are dying and they (trad publishing) are The Future.

Well, maybe they are a future, but it’s one of those phenomenally unlikely ones that Tom Holt describes a Betamax worlds (for the younger folk here, Betamax was a video cassette format that, in the early days of videotape, competed with and ultimately lost to VHS. Rather like all the other video disk formats wound up losing to DVD (although Blu-Ray may wind up claiming DVD eventually). In short, a Betamax world is a timeline that you might wind up with once in multiple millions. Maybe. It’s also not terribly stable and likely to collapse under its own inconsistencies… Um. Maybe that concept shouldn’t be taken too far, because our world starts looking rather less than stable when you do…

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The Great Abyss of Writer’s Block

I forgot that I was supposed to post this afternoon, and I’m feeling like crap, so you get something funny today: Read more