Today’s post, “A Writer’s Troubleshotting Guide,” can be found at Magical Words, the writing blog site I maintain with fellow fantasy writers, Faith Hunter, Misty Massey, and C.E. Murphy.  Please visit the site and enjoy!

My daughters swam in a meet this morning.  They did great.  Their relay teams all took first place, and between them in their individual races they took three firsts, a second, a third and a sixth.  They also had a great time.

My wife couldn’t be at the meet, because she was running (swimming?  Biking?  Doing?) what’s known as a sprint triathlon.  She had a great time, too.

And me?  I cheered.  I encouraged.  I praised.  And then I took a nap.

Today’s post, “Hard Times Come Again No More…” can be found at, the group blog I share with a group of approximately 100 other published fantasy and science fiction writers.  The post is about how I’m approaching these difficult times for the publishing industry and writers, and I hope you’ll enjoy it.

Today’s post, “What We Bring to the Books We Read:  The Writer and the Reader, part III,” can be found at, the writing blog I maintain with fellow fantasy writers Faith Hunter, Misty Massey, and C.E. Murphy.  This is the final installment in my three part “Writer and the Reader” series of posts.  I hope you enjoy it.

Butterfly Census

June 20, 2009

Today was the annual butterfly census here in Sewanee.  Every year the North American Butterfly Association sponsors hundreds of butterfly counts across the United States, Mexico and Canada as a way of gauging changes in the butterfly population.  Butterflies are considered indicator creatures — if global climate change or pollution or habitat destruction are going to have an impact on our ecology, it’s going to show up first in things like butterflies.

Anyway, this is an event that I run every year along with a colleague of Nancy’s in the University biology department.  It was very hot today and there weren’t as many butterflies around as we had hoped, although we did wind up seeing thirty different species of butterfly and over 160 individual butterflies.  I’m totally wiped — we start the count at about 8:30 am and finish at about 5:00 pm.  We log a good twenty miles in the car and another seven or eight on foot.  And it was 94 degrees here today.

But we saw some very cool butterflies, including a few dozen Great Spangled Fritillaries and several different species of hairstreak, including this little gem, the Coral Hairstreak.  

Anyway, fun, tiring day.  Time for a beer, me thinks.

Just Checking In…

June 19, 2009

Busy week — hence no posts.  Sorry for that.  I’ve been working on two books, a short story, an article for a ‘zine, and now I’m about to begin going through the copyedited manuscript of a third book.  This is what it means to be a full-time writer.  No complaints.  One of the books I hope to sell quite soon, the other I still have to work on before it’s ready to sell, the third will be released in February 2010.  The short story is for an anthology I was invited into, and the article was also invitation-based.  So most or all of this will eventually be published.  Makes the frantic pace much easier to take.  These are tough times for all writers and just having work is a good thing.  As I say, no complaints.

All right, back to work.

Today I continue my discussion of the relationship between the writer and the reader at Magical Words with my post, “A Creative Covenant:  The Writer and the Reader, Part II.”  The site, which I maintain with fellow fantasy writers Faith Hunter, Misty Massey and C.E. Murphy, can be found here.  So please visit, and enjoy the post.

Bestselling author A.J. Hartley is guest blogging today at Magical Words.  Come by and join the discussion!

 One of my favorite quotes comes from Robert Frost:  “An idea is a feat of association.”

I have had an idea today.  My mind was wandering in all sorts of directions, juggling a hundred different thoughts, and suddenly they came together.  An epiphany.  A moment of clarity.  A feat of association.  Call it what you will.  It is, in the end,  An Idea.  An idea that might allow me to rewrite a book I love but haven’t quite gotten right; an idea that could change the trajectory of my career; an idea that could truly change my life.  

I need more time with it.  I need to explore it further.  I need to walk around it and examine it from all sides.  But my hands are very nearly trembling with excitement.  I don’t have any idea how I’m going to sleep tonight.

 For those of you who believe that we don’t have enough holidays on our calendars, authors Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, who together have created the wonderful Liaden Universe (and the excellent books set therein), have declared June 23rd to be Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Day!

Here’s the link to Sharon’s blog explaining a bit about how this declaration of holiday came to pass:

Personally, I think it’s a great idea and I look forward to celebrating Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Day by writing some fantasy, which, I have to admit, is just what I would be doing on a Tuesday in June anyway.  But hey!  Maybe I’ll get some presents….