Quick-Tip Tuesday: Emotion and Narrative

So how do we imbue our prose with emotion? Well, we DON’T do it with a sledge hammer. I am not telling you to bludgeon your readers with paragraphs-long explorations of your characters’ emotions. That would be no better than a data dump. Sometimes all we need is a gesture or moment’s expression — the twitch of a lip, a nervous gesture with the hands, the refusal to look someone in the eye. Delving into emotion doesn’t mean eschewing subtlety.

Today’s Quick-Tip Tuesday post is up at Magical Words, and it’s about imbuing our writing with emotion. To my mind, few things are more important for effective story telling. Read more here. Enjoy, and keep writing!

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Wikileaks, Bernie, and the DNC

To all my friends who are Bernie supporters:

Please forgive me if I don’t share your outrage at the DNC emails made available by Wikileaks. Bernie was running an insurgency campaign; he joined the party for that express purpose after having been an Independent throughout his entire career. He criticized the party’s rules, he questioned the integrity of the party’s leaders, he railed against the party itself, claiming that it perpetuated a corrupt political system. Anyone who is surprised to learn that DNC officials favored Hillary Clinton either wasn’t paying attention or is spectacularly naïve. OF COURSE they favored her.

That doesn’t change the fact that Hillary received more votes than Bernie — than any other candidate running in either parties’ primaries. It doesn’t change the fact that she will be our nominee against a man so divisive, so uninformed, so egotistical as to be completely unfit for the office.

But I’ll tell you want this episode does do: It demonstrates the underlying worthlessness of all those polls that purported to show Bernie running stronger against Trump. Why? Because such polls don’t take into account all the GOP attacks that would have been leveled at him the moment he became the nominee. Hillary has been taking fire from the right for a quarter century. She has been called a murderer, a traitor, an agent of genocide (seriously). Over the years, conservatives and rabid Clinton-haters have questioned everything from her sexuality to her fitness as a mother. And she just soldiers on.

These emails that have Bernie’s supporters in such an uproar are something out of a high school class officers election. They’re nothing compared to what the Republican attack machine would gin up in the first week of a general election campaign. If this is enough to get Bernie supporters’ panties in a wad, think of what those real attacks would do. His campaign would wilt in no time. He’d be crushed.

We Americans love to hate politicians. They’re crooks, they’re liars, they’re driven by ego, they’re all in it for themselves. And a lot of that may be true. But it’s not a job I’d want. Politicians put up with grueling, cruel campaigns, putting themselves and their pride on the line every day. And ultimately they do it for a chance to serve the public — sometimes well, sometimes poorly — as our elected leaders. They have learned that sometimes they have to compromise their ideals for the greater good. They have learned that in an imperfect world, sometimes getting some of what they want is better than getting none, or worse, getting the antithesis. One need only look as far as Donald Trump to see the dangers in rejecting politicians for some other electoral solution.

Bernie Sanders, for all his progressive ideals and plain-spoken charm, is a politician. He’s not going to #Disavow because of this matter. He knows that when the alternative is Donald Trump, we can’t afford to let ideological purity or bruised ego obscure the big picture. Bernie, unlike many of his most ardent supporters, gets this.

Were the DNC emails revealed by Wikileaks disturbing? Yeah, sure. Do they reveal bias on the part of some in the party? Absolutely. Should anyone be surprised by this? No. Does it mean that those of us who voted for Hillary should now have our votes discounted? Of course not. She won the nomination; nothing revealed in the last 24 hours changes that. And she must win in November, because the alternative is unthinkable.

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Quick-Tip Tuesday: More on Self-Editing

This is still the work of an inexperienced writer. Comparing The Outlanders to the work I’ve done more recently, I still cringe a little at the habits of that younger me. But I also see growth, a writer beginning to master elements of his profession.

And, to my surprise, I see as well things that I need to be reminded of today as I think about where I ought to go next with my career and my craft.

Today’s Quick-Tip Tuesday post at Magical Words again discusses my revisions of my first series, the LonTobyn Chronicle, and what I have learned from that younger version of myself. It’s not just a matter of correcting youthful mistakes; at times, I’m finding that I need to emulate more some of the things I used to do. Sounds interesting, right? Then read the post! You can find it here.

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The Re-Release of My First Novel

To fans of the original, thank you for the support you’ve shown me over the years. I couldn’t be more grateful. To those coming to the series for the first time, welcome. I hope you enjoy reading these novels as much as I have enjoyed revisiting them.

Children of Amarid, by David B. Coe (jacket art by Romas Kukalis)Nineteen years ago, I realized my lifelong dream of becoming a published author of fantasy with the release from Tor Books of Children of Amarid. I followed that up with the second and third volumes of my LonTobyn Chronicle, The Outlanders and Eagle-Sage, books that would win me the Crawford Fantasy Award and establish me in the business.

I have always loved these books, and yet, as I’ve moved forward with my career, I’ve also been aware of their flaws. They were passionate and decently written, but they were also plagued by many of the problems endemic to first novels. For years, I’ve wanted to go back and edit them.

In 2005, they went out of print. Eventually, the rights to the books reverted to me, and at last I was able to revise them. This month, the long process of preparing the books for re-issue finally comes to fruition.

Children of Amarid, art work by Romas KukalisI’m delighted to announce that the Author’s Edit of Children of Amarid is now available from Lore Seekers Press in ebook format and trade paperback. The book bears the original art work by Romas Kukalis, as will the subsequent volumes, which we hope to publish in September and December respectively. I have not changed the story in any way. The plot twists, characters, world building, and magic system all remain as fans of the original novels will remember them. But the prose has been polished, made leaner and more concise. The result is a novel that reads as I wished it had all those years ago.

To fans of the original, thank you for the support you’ve shown me over the years. I couldn’t be more grateful. To those coming to the series for the first time, welcome. I hope you enjoy reading these novels as much as I have enjoyed revisiting them.

And finally, to those attending ConGregate in High Point, North Carolina next weekend, please come to the Friday night book launch. My book will be one of several feted that evening.

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Quick-Tip Tuesday Guest Star!

Joshua Palmatier is guest-starring at Magical Words today, with a Quick-Tip Tuesday post on self editing. Check it out here.

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A Quick-Tip Tuesday Post on Writing Communities

Writing can be a lonely profession. We often work on our own, toiling alone for hours at a time, sending our work into what can feel like a marketplace vacuum, and waiting for feedback that can be hurtful, even brutal. It’s hard, and our solitude makes it harder. Yes, we have loved ones on whom we can lean for support, but there’s no substitute for talking these things out with people who understand the process and the pain, the toil and the isolation.

Today’s Quick-Tip Tuesday post at Magical Words is about writing communities — conventions, retreats, crit groups — and the benefits they bring to writers of all levels. I’m recently back from ConCarolinas and the Roaring Writers 2016 Retreat, where I led critiques and taught, and I have a new writing group in my town, so this topic has been on my mind lately. I hope you enjoy the post, which you can find here.

Keep writing!

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A Quick-Tip Tuesday Post on Self-Editing!

I’ve noticed an incredible amount of extra verbiage in my early books — filler, if you will: superfluous words that add little to the storytelling, but clutter up my prose. For the wordiness-intolerant, these words are as unwelcome as, well, Wonder Bread at a luncheon for the gluten-adverse. How much is “an incredible amount”? In Children of Amarid, book I, I cut 20,000 words without touching plot, character, or setting.

It’s another Quick-Tip Tuesday over at the Magical Words blog site. Today’s post is about self-editing, and specifically finding ways to tighten up our prose. I’m editing my first series, the LonTobyn Chronicle, for re-release later this year, and I’m doing a LOT of cutting and tightening, so this is definitely on my mind right now. Find out what I’m thinking as I edit my work. You can read the post here.

Enjoy, and keep writing!

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A Quick-Tip Tuesday Post on Travel and Narrative

We never know when we’re going to draw upon experiences in our lives, be it for setting or character, plot or emotional content, dialog or action or romance or any of the myriad other narrative elements that come, at least in part, from our own lives.

We writers are pack rats. We hoard everything. Maybe not in a physical sense (though I’m that kind of pack rat, as well), but certainly in a conceptual sense.

It’s Quick-Tip Tuesday over at Magical Words and I have a post up today about travel, experience, and turning memory into narrative. I’ve been drawing on my own travel experiences for my fiction for nearly twenty years, and as we move into summer travel season, it strikes me as a good time to discuss such things. The post can be found here. I hope you enjoy it.

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Release Day Quick-Tip Tuesday Post!

So I’m going to push myself to achieve my goals. I’ll do everything I can to make my ambitions come to fruition. And I’ll dream a little. Because here’s the thing: Dreams can’t come true if I don’t push myself to be ambitious. And I can’t entertain my ambitions if I don’t put my butt in the chair and meet my goals.

Shadows-Blade-RR-banner-1-1Today is release day for Shadow’s Blade, the third novel in my Case Files of Justis Fearsson series from Baen Books. And it also happens to be Quick-Tip Tuesday over at Magical Words. The result is a special Quick-Tip Release Day post on the ways in which we define success and deal with ambition, dreams, and all the stuff life in the publishing industry throws our way. The post can be found here.

And the book can be purchased here! Or here! Or here!

I hope you enjoy the book and the post. And thanks.

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Alex Bledsoe, the Library Police, and Me

Last weekend, at the Chattanooga Steampunk Expo, I had the distinct pleasure of meeting in person and hanging out with my longtime internet buddy, Alex Bledsoe, author of the Eddie LaCross and Tufa novels, among others. (Visit his site for more info.) During the convention, Alex and I did an hour-long interview with Dietrich Stogner and Josh Mauthe, also known as the Library Police. It was a great discussion, wide-ranging, irreverent, fun, and, I hope, informative.

The interview in now up and available for download as a podcast. You can link to it here. I hope you enjoy it!

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