The Reveal

Information Point: There will be, I think, 3 posts about Wiscon in terms of specific topics, and some general anecdotal information.

Point the Second: It is important to remember that Writer Tamago is a sort of baby album for this writer, so when I get excited about something that may be old hat for some of my more experienced in the industry readers, for me, I intend to keep track of the firsts. Remember, this is meant to be a fairly documented description of how you walk a writer’s road, so these little things should be talk about. We often don’t get to see the background of the writer discovered overnight.

For those of you who don’t want the long version of the story, which I promise you will be entertaining, here’s what happened.

I had my first conversation ever with an editor of a major publisher, and I’ve been invited to submit 75 pages and an outline of Substance of Shadows

And now, the lengthier account, with track star imagery.

Continue reading “The Reveal”


Times, they are interesting at Writer Tamago right now. I can’t tell you the most interesting thing yet. See? I can be just as cryptic as my writer friends who aren’t allowed to disclose things too. I think I’ve joined a club.

Um. I’m very tired, and very wound up, but it’s been a fine day at Wiscon. If only I could sleep tonight, it would be a better day.

There will be an update. Right now, though, I mostly wanted to let you know that something unexpected (and good!) has happened. Why yes, it *is* a cool thing like 2006, but the stakes are higher, and therefore, it is less likely to work.

However, if you could burn a stick of incense or light a church candle, it would not be remiss.


Ilona Andrews and Magic Strikes: The Big Payoff

This is the book review I just posted about Magic Strikes at Goodreads, and while I could have just cut and pasted, there is a piece of author commentary I want to make as well.

Make no mistake–I am now enthusiastic. While I enjoyed the series before, for many of the reasons listed in the review below, I have now understood these characters on a complicated level and seen many facets of these characters. They’ve grown, shifted, changed, and become real.

Wait a second! Aren’t we reading a pulp genre–urban fantasy? Isn’t the focus on grit and combat? Sure, that’s there too, but the point, the salient point here, is that Gordon and Ilona haven’t forgotten their characters in the gimmick, which can happen. Rather, they’ve chosen to explore, to let them grow, to look at the psychological. I’ve waited 3 books for this payoff, and honestly, didn’t expect it to happen in a genre book.

Which leads me to two observations.

1. Regardless of the genre, there is no substitute for character-centered story telling. This Magic Strikes has in spades.

2. Patience and time are required to develop characters in a series. Sometimes we feel pushed to create fast, or focus on the things that sell a genre. Again, the action bells and whistles are in Magic Strikes, but there has been a patient development toward more, and that slow build has paid off for this reader. As an author, I appreciate the technique as well.

Well done. You have made your characters live for me beyond the boundaries of your novel. As I’ve said in the review, not just your main characters. You have made a world, and I have stopped believing it’s a book.

Now the review.

While Ilona Andrews has always been a technically brilliant writer, in this book she touches the soul and essence of her characters. Kate is beautifully realized in this book, her emotions and physical aspect combined with her heart and self-sacrifice. Her secret may be out in the world, and future books will deliciously deliver what looks to be an amazing and final conflict between Kate and her heritage.

Meanwhile, Curran is realized as well, less as a creature of arrogance, and more as a complicated man. When the chips are down, Kate, Curran, and their cast are revealed to be a group of heroes worthy of their mythology and series. I find myself not only wanting more of this series, but also spin offs writing about the characters I enjoy. I would particularly like to see Andrea and Jim featured in books.

Andrews is not only technically precise, but her fight scenes are ones you can fall into. The action is well-paced and absorbing. Her knowledge of the myth and folklore of many, many cultures is put to good use in this story in a natural setting and world that makes using the variety of fantasy creatures much more than a mismatch.

I am impressed. While the first two books were good books, now I really care, and I want the next book soon. Now. Yesterday if possible. Andrews has crossed my analytical read-fiction-as-a-writer-and-learn line, and turned me into someone who has experienced her characters.

Enthuse much? All of us writers should be so lucky to get to this point in our series, and I think maybe we do have to write 2 or 3 books in a series to get here.

Writing the Morning Away

2009 and going to Wiscon. My two-year anniversary of getting myself out there. Let’s celebrate by hanging out with many cool people.

In order to facilitate my weekend, I spent these two hours waiting at Panera writing the Troll story. Looks like with my work from previous days, I have 249 words to come up with for MayNo. Can I do it before May 31st? It looks like a certainty, but you never can tell.

As soon as I get those words, I’ll start cutting and reorganizing. I’ve actually got the entire scheme of part 1 laid out. Gotta finish writing it and make it a polished, worth reading thing. Feeling pretty good about that.

Here’s the word count:

49751 / 50000 words. 100% done!


Announcement the first:

Don’t forget, that I will be at Wiscon this weekend. I hope to see many of you. I wish I knew what more of you looked like.

Anywhoo, I’ve told you about the panels. Look for me as a member of the chorus in the Broad Universe skit as well.

Announcement the second:

I am at Goodreads, and I like it! I’ll try to not sink too much time there, Michael! It’s sort of like Facebook with a purpose.

My page is here.

Announcement the third:

Watch Drollerie Press this weekend! Any minute now, any minute, Needles and Bones.

Final Announcement:

I’ll be on line tonight in the Drollerie Chat Room at 10 EST. For those of you who aren’t frantically packing for the con of your choice this weekend.


Our Book Group: The Princess Bride

It turns out that I am more gullible than you might suspect.

If you’ve read The Princess Bride by William Golden, you will see that he tells you he adapted it from a book by S. Morgenstern, a Florinese author that his father shared with him during an illness.

He also elaborates on a family and research frame, and gives us many, many notes about the text, and uncomfortable details about his personal life.

AND it is all a lie.

Who knew?


The story of Westley and Buttercup is a story within a story, and the entire text is a rich nesting doll of detail, layers of fiction like a gateau. I found the fictional life and research intriguing. Some of our group found it annoying. When I found out it was fiction, I found the story to be a different kind of intriguing.

Morgenstern’s alleged book is fairly good. But who are we kidding? The story you should be devouring with glee is Inigo Montoya’s. Well, we swashbuckling fans would advocate for that. Second favorite character is Fezzig.

If you’ve seen the movie, you’ll find it mirrors the book well. It should. Golden wrote the screenplay. My chief complaint about the book is how stupid Buttercup is noted to be. She doesn’t seem that dumb in the movie. Actually, Golden’s portrayal of women, including those in his fictional life is on the misogynistic side.

The plus in the book is that Humperdink is conceived of very differently. In the movie, he’s just this guy with white teeth. In the book, he is this bulky monster who has to ride 4 horses back and forth because he would exhaust one.

Overall, I’m recommending the book. Don’t get sucked in by the Morgenstern lie, like I did. I still like the book, but my gullibility makes me feel ill-used, slightly foolish, and cheated.


Mostly Nick Today

Writing today is helping me develop Nick and really develop Quartz. Stan, mortal flunky and witchcraft practitioner, also got in some licks.

And here is some prose to get this below my picture on live journal.

And here…

And here…

And now…


44212 / 90000 words. 49% done!


30751 / 50000 words. 62% done!

Just a little ahead, so right on schedule.


Good Reads?

I’m not sure where my day went today. I think that had something to do with three meetings. Anyway I’m glad to be going home finally.

My friend Mark mentioned Good Reads last night. Tell me all about it. Should an avid reader/pimp to writer friends/author myself be on it? Why?

Sure, it’s a poser entry, but honestly, it’s all I got. Maybe tomorrow I’ll write about our book group’s discussion of The Princess Bride, and I can tell the story of how gullible I was.


ps At number 666 on Writer Tamago, welcome to Satan’s post!