Thursday, July 31, 2014


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Teresa Edgerton on the Magical World View.

Teresa Edgerton began telling stories as soon as she learned to talk; she began scribbling them down as soon as a teacher put a pencil in her hand;  and luckily for us fantasy readers, sixty years later she is still inventing them.  Teresa has published many short stories and novels full of wit and charm and intriguing creatures and characters. Her latest releases are Goblin Moon (being rereleased by Tickety Boo Press), and The Queen’s Necklace (being released by Harper Voyager on Kindle for the first time and currently available for preorder on Amazon). Also look for her work under the pseudonym of Madeline Howard. 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Schrödinger’s Manuscript: The Uncertain State of a Novel

As we write our first novel, we can’t help thinking about its future.  I day dream about DAW, Roc, and Tor.  I hear stories about indie published works like J.L. Doty’s Gods Within series that I learned at a con sold over 30,000—and who hasn’t heard about the success of Shades of Grey?  As I get closer to finishing my manuscript, I have to do more than daydream: I have to really think about what I want.  If it’s traditional publishing, how do I optimize my manuscript’s chances with the most likely fit for it?  Daydreaming is fun.  This is work…and scary work at that, because every choice I make, every avenue I go down, every street I bypass, could be the difference between finding a publisher…
Or not.
As I near finishing my novel, I have started researching cover letters, query letters, synopses, publishers, and statistics on rejections.  The numbers are downright scary.  Don’t get me wrong, I believe in my manuscript with all my heart…but when I read that Rowlings’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone got rejected 12 times, that Herbert’s Dune got rejected 23 times, that L’engle’s A Wrinkle in Time got rejected 26 times, and that King’s Carrie nearly didn’t see publication because after 30 rejections, Steven King threw it out (his wife rescued the manuscript…thank you Mrs. King.  I like that one!)…well, when I read those numbers, I think, what chance have I?   This is why, in my head, my novel is both publishable and unpublishable all at the same time; it is my Schrödinger’s manuscript.
But I have one task to do before I try to take my novel from Schrödinger’s sealed manuscript box…and that is finish it.  But how?  I’ve been stuck on the Chapter 49 for a very long time.
Enter Clarion West.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Meet the Member—Laura Of Lurking: Reviewer, Writer, and My Inspiration

By Jennifer L. Carson

I’m the only one in the group on the sane side of the pond—Go UK! I’ve had a penchant for telling stories as far back as I can remember. I always wanted to lead the “Let’s Pretend” games when I was a kid, which my mother documented on some horrifying cassette tapes of me around age three. I apparently gathered all my teddies around and told them stories and jokes and sang songs to them. If spontaneous combustion ever happens in my home, please let it be in those tapes!
In the last three years, Leasspell has become an important part of my life. I had all but abandoned  real efforts to finish my novel. Yesterday, I wrote the final chapter. Without this group, I wouldn’t have had the deadlines I needed. Without this group, I wouldn’t have made some fundamental changes that I knew the moment I wrote them were so much better. Without this group, I wouldn’t have found the support my mind and heart needed to be sitting here today, telling you that I finished the last chapter of my novel.
I’m not the only one whose life Leasspell has touched. Our newest member, Carolyn, is a longtime friend, but she stopped writing for a while. Since joining the group a couple of months ago, she’s gotten together with me twice for writers retreat weekends. I hope Leasspell does for her what it is doing for me: keeping me at the keyboard. Denise and Jax finished in first and second place in a publishing contest for Assent Publishing’s fantasy imprint, Phantasm Books. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that out of eighty-four submissions, first and second place went to members of our writers group. It is an outstanding group. And I know Jason is using the deadlines to spur his writing. I think everyone of us is learning more about the whirlwind changes in the formerly staid old publishing industry because of our pooling together and sharing our experiences, our research and knowledge, and our contacts.
This is all to say: Leasspell has changed my life.
So what does this have to do with Laura? Everything. Without her, Leasspell wouldn’t exist. I had been in writers groups at various times with Carolyn, Denise, and Jax. Jax had been prodding me to get our last group back together, but this time online since she had moved. I dragged my feet. Technology issues, time, lack of motivation on my own writing—all things in my head that kept me waving her off with a “yeah, yeah, good idea…sometime.”
Then I met Laura online. She was young when I met her, seventeen, I think. We met through a social media game. Must have been preordained ’cause I hate playing social media games. But my husband had an interview with this company and needed accounts to play with. So I started one and got a bit hooked for three months. But in that time, Laura helped me out with the game, which lead to us talking and some very long emails.
I found out she is a smart funny young lady who has a talent for writing. She was raw, but had splashes of crisp clear writing that really surprised me, and she had the passion to go with it. I saw some of myself in her. Then I found out Laura is disabled. Very, very disabled and sick much of the time, too. The world comes to her through books and her computer. She lives much of her life in the fantasy worlds in her head and she wanted to put them into books. I wanted to help her do that, and I wanted to help her do it well, as I knew she could with a little guidance and practice.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Metaphors — Add Color to Your Writing

What the Heck's a Metaphor?

Metaphors are figures of speech that bring drama, color, texture, vision, history, action, or thrill to your work. For example:

But soft, what light through yonder window breaks? It is the east, and Juliet is the sun.
~William Shakespeare

Everyone is a moon, and has a dark side which he never shows to anybody.
~Mark Twain

Twinkle, twinkle, little star, how I wonder what you are. Up above the world to so high, like a diamond in the sky.
~Jane Taylor

Hmmmm...anyone see a theme?

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Appropriating Inspiration at BayCon 2014

Confession:  I've let writing lapse lately and that feels BAD.  Maybe that's happened to you, too.  Life gets in the way, and it's hard enough to put one foot in front of the other, let alone put your fingers on the keyboard.

Seeking inspiration and writerly motivation, I spent this past Saturday and Sunday at Baycon 2014, one of the larger science fiction and fantasy conventions held annually in the San Francisco Bay Area. Along with Denise Tanaka and Jennifer Carson, I happily threw myself into the open arms of my fellow fen and found inspiration and motivation aplenty.  Now here I am, writing, my fingers feeling fine as they tap the keys.

I woke at 5:00 in the morning, and the first song of the day on shuffle was Laura Line's "Dreams."  Good omen!  Dreams inspire (several of my short stories have come from dreams that I've remembered upon waking), and the con would be filled with fellow dreamers.  

Monday, May 19, 2014

Characters in Search of a Plot

I got invited to join my first SF/F writer's group after attending a workshop at a Baycon many years ago. I was so excited! I had taken creative writing classes in college, and I had been part of a mixed-genre writer's critique group for a couple of years. This was the first group dedicated to speculative fiction. They would understand me, at last! It had a couple of professionally published authors, along with novices like me. I had high hopes, back then, that with a little spit and polish my manuscript would be rescued from the slush pile, and I'd be the next Marion Zimmer Bradley. 

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Meet the Members: Jason A.D. MacDonald

Welcome to the blog!  You are now here: some aspiring fantasy guy's bio!  If you were looking for the bathroom, take a right at the shambling mound bobble-head dispenser and proceed past the basilisk den (avoid direct eye contact—you have been warned).

Nothing grandiose where I'm concerned, folks.  I'm your average undiscovered Shakespeare who needs a decade plus to finish his debut novel.  My first loves in fantastic reading were DC Comics and Asterix, which my parents dug out from bargain bins (I'm still half convinced some dying alien will bequeath me a power ring SOMEDAY and am just amusing myself until then). 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Leasspell Writers Group—Finding our People

Writing is lonely.   It’s in a room with a closed door. It’s in your head.  It’s in another world.  That world is wonderful, because in it, everything you ever dreamed of happens, but it’s yours and yours alone. When I play games or sports, I have my team or my opponent.  When I make stained glass, I can share the process with others in the studio.  But writing…I close  my door, I put on headphones, and I disappear.