What are fairies?

Dadd Fairy Feller detail

This is adapted from a presentation I gave at the 2017 Pagan Unity Festival. If you’re here reading this, you probably already know that my Tufa novels are about a race of exiled fairy folk in the mountains of east Tennessee. The title of the sixth and final book in the series, The Fairies of Sadieville, explicitly references this connection. And although they’re … Read More

On Themes and the Tufa, Part 1

Museum of Appalachia tools

When I wrote the first Tufa novel, The Hum and the Shiver, I had no plans for a series. I wrote it on spec, without a contract, just prior to the release of my first novel, The Sword-Edged Blonde. In that first Tufa book, I had a very particular, self-contained story in mind: circumstances force Bronwyn Hyatt to decide how … Read More

An announcement about The Fairies of Sadieville

Sadieville final cover

As I’ve said before, every book in a series is a balancing act between giving readers something new, and giving them what they already love. We’ve all read series that over time seemed unable to do the former and settled for repeating the latter. It’s common to say, “That series should’ve ended back at <insert series book title of your … Read More

Reader Question: Writing from a Woman’s POV

Catamount Cup and Wisp Book

Reader Jane Payne (a name I just may borrow for a character) asked on my Facebook author page: “Writing POV for female characters. You do well! Is it challenging?” First, thank you for the compliment. I appreciate that a lot. Is it challenging? I can’t deny that it was at first, mainly because I expected it to be. We’re taught … Read More

Edit Disasters Addendum: When It All Goes Right

computer keyboard

This is a quick addendum to yesterday’s blog post about editing disasters, to show you an example of when things go right. Recently I sold the short story “White Hart, Black Knight,” to Uncanny Magazine. It’s a story about my character Eddie LaCrosse, inspired by an Arthurian tale of Sir Gawain. When I turned it in,  the editor very astutely pointed out … Read More

Edit Disasters and the Writers Who Cause Them (i.e., me)

Keyboard and coffee

Over on my Facebook author page, reader Susan Wachowski asked, “Any edit disasters after you turn in your manuscript?” In my usual process—and mine is really the only one I know—there are several steps before a book reaches a reader’s hands. First I typically do at least three drafts, possibly more, before anyone else reads it. That can clock in … Read More

The Everyman of Richard Ford

Keyboard and coffee

Recently I read the following article that recounts, in part, the time in 2003 when writer Richard Ford spat on African-American author Colson Whitehead, two years after the latter gave him a bad review. Nearly fifteen years later, Ford still feels it was justified, and the article speculates about his perceived racism, both in person and in his work. Essayist Rebecca Solnit … Read More

Guest blog: Sarah Gailey on Hippos

Hippo skull

The premise of Sarah Gailey’s insanely fun new novella, River of Teeth, is that there are killer feral hippos in the Mississippi, and someone has to deal with them. Since I just released a novel that featured killer feral hogs, I loved her idea, and once I read it, I loved it even more. So much so that I asked Sarah to do … Read More

What If It Were Me? Finding the Right Ending

hamlet everyone dead

Recently a fan posted this statement on my Facebook page: My wife and I have now both finished Gather Her ‘Round and find ourselves wondering if the Tufa ever get a HAPPY ending? I replied, I can’t speak to that (we all have our definitions of “happy”) but I hope they all have the right endings for those particular stories. I wanted … Read More

Guest post: Robyn Bennis on the Uselessness of Writing Advice

Guns Above cover

I firmly believe that all good writing advice is generalized to the point of uselessness by its third retelling. You know the sort of advice I’m talking about. It takes the form of the tired maxims your critique group can’t stop themselves from repeating, the literary platitudes from a once-great author whose work began to flag about the time they … Read More