Today’s post can be found at http://magicalwords.net, the group blog on the business and craft of writing fantasy that I maintain with fellow authors Faith Hunter, Misty Massey, A.J. Hartley, Stuart Jaffe, and Edmund Schubert, among others. The post is called “Bonus! Descriptive Passages, part IV: Dialogue” and it is, I believe, the last in my series of posts on descriptive passages. I hope you enjoy it.

The D.B. Jackson blog (“Wit’s Plough”) is up and open for business.  Today’s post is called “Mythology and History” and it focuses on the similarities and differences between American history and the ancient mythologies of older cultures (the Celts, the Greeks, etc.).  It offers more questions than answers, but after spending the week reading mythology, I find the questions themselves pretty interesting.  I hope you will, too.  Please visit the blog at http://www.dbjackson-author.com/blog

And feel free to bookmark the site and return anytime.

Fire In the Mind

February 24, 2011

You know that feeling where it seems like your mind is firing a thousand times a second, where the ideas are coming so quickly that you can’t jot them down fast enough?   That’s where I am now.

I have a new project.  Yes, already.  I know, I finished a book on Monday, and already I’m knee-deep in another.  That’s how I promised myself it would be this year.  I have no original releases this year, except for the first D.B. Jackson short story, “The Tavern Fire,” which comes out on March 1 in the After Hours: Tales from the Ur-Bar anthology, edited by Joshua Palmatier and Patricia Bray.  Thieftaker doesn’t come out until next year.

So this year is all about writing new stuff and getting it contracted.  I don’t know how long it will take me to feel burnt out, but right now I just want to write.  All the time.  And I’m going to ride this wave as far as it will take me.

I’d write more, but I have ideas to explore.  More as it develops….

A New Book

February 22, 2011

So, I finished a manuscript today.  I put the finishing touches on my first book for kids.  It’s geared to middle readers (8 to 12 year-olds) and came in at a shade over 40,000 words.  I started the book a couple of years ago, then put it away for a while because I wasn’t sure I had the voice quite right.  But my daughters loved it and urged me to finish it.  Last summer I took it out again, and worked on it for a while — got to about the halfway point.  But I wasn’t sure where it was going, so I put it away again.  And my daughters continued to bug me about it.

Finally, this month, I took it out, figured out the ending, and wrote the final hundred pages in about three weeks.

I’m going to put it away again, but just for a couple of weeks, just to put some distance between myself the most recent work.  Then I’ll read it through, make a few revisions, and start looking for Beta readers.  Know any kids on the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee, 3rd-6th graders, who might like to read a fantasy novel?

Two Posts Today

February 21, 2011

I have two posts going up today. The first, my usual Monday Magical Words post, can be found at http://magicalwords.net, the group blog on the business and craft of writing fantasy that I maintain with fellow authors Faith Hunter, Misty Massey, Stuart Jaffe, and A.J. Hartley. The post is called “A List For President’s Day” and it’s meant as a bit of historical fun for the holiday. The second can be found at http://www.sfnovelists.com, the group blog on speculative fiction that I maintain along with a group of over one hundred published authors of fantasy and science fiction. It is called “A Conversation About Outlining and Worldbuilding.” I hope you enjoy both posts.

The website, Facebook account, and other web-based manifestations of my new pseudonym, D.B. Jackson, are finally up and running.  You can find “D.B.”‘s website and blog at http://www.dbjackson-author.com and can find D.B. on Facebook as both a regular person-page (dbjackson) and as a fan page (D.B. Jackson).  D.B. is also on Twitter and Good Reads, though those accounts are not yet fully active.

Why all the activity?  Well, it’s true that the first D.B. Jackson novel, Thieftaker, volume I in the Chronicles of the Thieftaker, won’t be out from Tor Books until May 2012.  But D.B.’s first short story, “The Tavern Fire,” appears in the upcoming anthology, After Hours:  Tales from the Ur-Bar, edited by Joshua Palmatier and Patricia Bray.  After Hours will be out March 1, from DAW.  And over the course of this year, D.B. will be posting sample chapters and original short fiction to his website.  In fact, the first three chapters of Thieftaker are available there already.  So check out the site, come by and “like” D.B.’s Facebook page, and stay tuned for more news!

Thanks.

Today’s post can be found at http://magicalwords.net, the group blog on the business and craft of writing fantasy that I maintain with fellow authors Faith Hunter, Misty Massey, A.J. Hartley, Stuart Jaffe, and Edmund Schubert, among others. The post is called “Descriptive Passages, Part III: Action” and it deals with how to reconcile descriptive passages with fast-moving action scenes. I hope you enjoy it.

Snowfall

February 9, 2011

There’s a beautiful snow falling right now.  The past few storms we’ve had have been violent affairs — stiff winds, frigid temperatures.  Nothing gentle about them.  But there is no wind tonight, and the air is cold but not biting.  Sounds are muffled, peaceful.  Already we’ve got close to an inch, and though the forecast is for two inches or so, I think we’ll wind up with more. It’s clinging to branches and tree trunks, so that the lights on the house make it seem that the trees are glowing.  It’s been a long winter, and many of us are ready for an early spring.  But this is lovely.

Today’s post can be found at http://magicalwords.net, the group blog on the business and craft of writing fantasy that I maintain with fellow authors Faith Hunter, Misty Massey, A.J. Hartley, Stuart Jaffe, and Edmund Schubert, among others. The post is called “Descriptive Passages, Part II: Character” and it deals with writing descriptions of people and allowing them to do more for our stories than just tell our readers what a person looks like. I hope you enjoy it.

I’m an agnostic.  Let me say that right up front.  I don’t believe in God, and even if I did, I would hope that he or she had more important things to do than watch a football game.

But if the Pittsburgh Steelers win this Super Bowl, that will be the final piece of evidence I need to conclude that there is no just and loving God in the heavens.

I know, there are lots of Steelers fans out there.  Forgive me.  I know as well that football teams are big — 53 men on a roster.  This game isn’t about just one person.  Except that it is.  Super Bowls almost always wind up being about the quarterbacks and once again the Steelers are led by Ben Roethlisberger.  Roethlisberger, for those of you who don’t know, missed the first four games of the season due to a league suspension for personal misconduct.  It seems Big Ben, as he is sometimes known (I assume much to the chagrin of British citizens everywhere), doesn’t really understand that when a woman says “no,” this isn’t some code meaning she actually wants to be sexually assaulted.

Twice Roethlisberger has been implicated in sexual assaults, once in 2008 and once in 2010.  In neither case were charges actually fined, but the 2010 accusations were compelling enough to make the NFL bench one of its star players even without legal action — a telling indictment.  Already there is talk in the media of how this game gives Big Ben a chance to redeem himself, and that’s enough to make me want to throw up.  In what way does a Steeler win offer redemption to the women Roethlisberger has brutalized?  If a season that began with Roethlisberger sitting out games because of his repulsive behavior and ends with him holding the Lombardi Trophy, it will simply reinforce the notion that, in America, if you’re rich enough and famous enough and good enough at those things our culture values, like throwing a football, it doesn’t matter what other crap you do in your spare time.

Playing Luke Skywalker to Roethlisberger’s Darth Vader is Green Bay Packers star QB, Aaron Rogers.  Rogers, I’m sure, is no saint.  But he is, from all appearances, a decent guy, one who doesn’t hurt people in his spare time.  It would be nice to see him win the game, if for no other reason than because it would mean that Roethlisberger had lost.

I doubt that will happen, though.  The Steelers are a very good team, particularly on defense.  And though I happen to think that as a player Roethlisberger is vastly overrated, the Steelers probably have enough offensive firepower to ride their defense to a win.  Which will really be too bad, because while I am an agnostic, it’s nice to wonder now and then if there might be a divine being, merciful and just, watching over us.

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