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The local motto: “A little science. A little magic. A little chicken soup.”
Updated: 1 hour 51 min ago

At Ebooks Direct: MIDNIGHT SNACK relaunches with its new art, 30% off for today!

Wed, 04/18/2018 - 16:47

As of mid-April 2018 we’re beginning what will be a year-long project of reformatting and re-releasing all the works in our inventory at Ebooks Direct, both old and new.

With this update in mind, we’ve made the jump to the cutting-edged Vellum book-and-ebook production software. Vellum produces beautifully formatted ebooks featuring greatly enhanced compatibility with today’s e-readers and ebook reading apps – something we’re sure all our readers will appreciate.

The first book to be updated is Midnight Snack and Other Fairy Tales, available in its new edition starting today in the Ebooks Direct store. If you’ve already purchased this book, don’t think you have to buy it again for the sake of the new formatting (or the new cover)! The store is presently in the process of notifying all Midnight Snack’s purchasers that the updated edition is available for them to download, free of charge. If you don’t have a copy: pick one up and check out our new look! The book’s on sale at 30% off for today only.

If you purchased Midnight Snack as a multi-format bundle: please note that we have been phasing out the old Microsoft Reader .lit files, as there’s almost no uptake for them any more. Your bundle will still contain the generic .epub and .mobi versions.

To be kept abreast of the details about old books (and new ones) as they’re re-issued or newly released, please follow the Ebooks Direct Twitter account or our Facebook page: or check the store’s news blog from time to time.

Thanks for your continued support!

I apologize if your release schedule is posted somewhere online ( I couldn't find it :( ), but will IE3 and/or YW11 be released within 2018? Any potential news you can share with your adoring fans?

Wed, 04/18/2018 - 10:34

Re IE3: it’s still in process. We’ll see what happens with it re: 2018.

Meanwhile I can promise you that YW11 will definitely NOT be out in 2018, as it too is still in process. Sorry about that.

Is the third feline wizards book ever going to get an audiobook release like the first two? Also thank you so much for writing as you do. Your books, especially tbonwm were a huge part of my childhood.

Wed, 04/18/2018 - 10:33

You’re very welcome!

Re audio on THE BIG MEOW: I’m looking at it, but (as a rule) doing it well runs into money. That said: there are some new services opening up to authors who want this kind of thing to happen to their work. I have my eye on them and I’m looking to see how that might be made to happen. Bear with me…

Any news on the status of IE 3?

Wed, 04/18/2018 - 10:32

Nothing as yet… so sorry. (It’s still being written – that much I can tell you. WIP…)

LOTR’s concept artists designed the films as a “journey back in time”

Wed, 04/18/2018 - 10:31



So (according to the concept art book) as the Fellowship travels deeper into Middle Earth, the places they pass through become inspired by progressively older periods of history. The farther along you are in the story, the more ancient the design influences

We begin in The Shire: which feels so familiar because, with its tea-kettles and cozy fireplaces, it’s inspired by the relatively recent era of rural England in the 1800s

But when we leave Hobbiton, we also leave that familiar 1800s-England aesthetic behind and start going farther back in time. 

Bree is based on late 1600s English architecture

Rohan is even farther back, based on old  anglo-saxon era architecture (400s-700s? ce)

Gondor is way back, and no longer the familiar English or Anglo-Saxon: its design comes from classical Greek and Roman architecture

And far far FAR back is Mordor. It’s a land of tents and huts: prehistoric, primitive, primeval. Cavemen times

And the heart of Mordor is a barren lifeless hellscape of volcanic rock…like a relic from the ages when the world was still being formed,  and life didn’t yet exist

And then they finally reach Mount Doom, which one artist described as 

“where the ring was made, which represents, in a sense, the moment of creation itself”

I’ve watched the movies a few times and love them so much so I can’t believe I actually missed this!

maggie-stiefvater:Novelist error messages. Heh. :)

Wed, 04/18/2018 - 10:28


Novelist error messages.

Heh. :)

gusilux: slightly-bovverd: If you ever feel bad about taking a longer time than someone else to...

Wed, 04/18/2018 - 10:28



If you ever feel bad about taking a longer time than someone else to accomplish the same things, just remember that during the 1912 Stockholm Olympics Japanese marathon runner Shizo Kanakuri passed out in a garden party along the marathon route and, instead of notifying race officials of his inability to finish the race, he went back to Japan without telling anyone and was considered a missing person by the Swedish authorities for 50 years.

He didn’t finish the race until 1967 when a Swedish television station offered to help him complete the run, and he finished with a final time of 54 years, 8 months, 6 days, 5 hours, 32 minutes and 20.379 seconds.

This post needs the picture of the man finally crossing the finish line.

I love how happy he is.

The comparison between your series and Harry Potter is especially strange when you consider that even the one thing they have in common they really don't because your wizards and Rowling's wizards are TOTALLY different. Like, not even a little bit...

Wed, 04/18/2018 - 10:23

I know. Yet I get it all the time. And also the thing about “She must only be writing about wizards BECAUSE ROWLING”. Which is… borderline annoying.

(shrug) I’ve become resigned to it over time. If people can’t read and understand copyright dates, I’m not sure my stuff is suitable for them anyway. :)

Maybe you've answered this before, but if a Young Wizards movie were ever made, who could you see being cast in the roles?

Wed, 04/18/2018 - 10:20

Oh gosh, don’t get me started. Fantasy casting is such a trap for screenwriters. :)

I've talked myself out of writing ideas I love because I'm too afraid of what my audience will think and that I'll be vilified for writing just about anything that isn't low-rated fluff. The fear exists for both fanfic and original fiction. Do you have...

Tue, 04/17/2018 - 21:47

I don’t know that it needs to be overcome so much as ignored. 

Here’s the deal. (And you must all imagine me being as serious about the following as you’ve ever heard me get, even though there will be cussing in this. (In fact, as as the continuity announcers say over here, “Adult language, violence and flashing lights from the outset…”)

First of all: The hell with your audience. (…This sentiment may sound rude or potentially self-destructive, but if you run this past most professional writers who routinely do work of higher-than-phoning-it-in level, I bet you’ll get a lot of agreement.) If you’re serious about writing well, your first duty is to please yourself. You are the only audience you have any business being concerned about.

Confused people, especially people with no interest in writing anything, may attempt to shove this insight aside as somehow egotistical or selfish or silly. Ignore them. They are missing the vital data that comes of being saddled with the desire to write (and to write well; I don’t think anyone sets out on purpose to write badly, though God knows it happens).

(ETA: Wow, I got kind of intense about this, and it goes on for a bit. So here’s a cut.)

This naughty world being the hotbed of uncertainty that it is, when you write your work may be successful (in either the public spheres of professional publication or of fanfic, doesn’t matter which) or it may not be successful at all, or it may be just a little bit successful, or occasionally successful, just enough to make you crazy. This being the case, the one reasonable, logical thing to do is make sure that at least somebody, at least one person, is happy with it / about your work: the only one whose responses you have a better than 50/50 chance of having be positive. And that person is you… assuming you do your work the best you can. 

Your business is to write what makes you happy.

That quality of writing what gives you joy will illumine whatever you do. And it doesn’t matter a good god damn if anybody else sees that light—though the less you worry about others’ responses, I believe, the better a chance you have in others seeing it. Please yourself first, because you have zero control over whether anyone else will care about what you’re doing or how you’re doing it. Follow your heart. It may sound like a cliché, but all clichés got that way because they have some element of truth buried in them; and in this case the truth isn’t so deeply buried at all. Seeking to bring your desires out of the nonmanifest and into the here and now, out of the unreal and into the real, and pulling it off, is one of the best ways to make yourself happy.

No, it may not necessarily be orgasmic, mind-blinding joy. Yes, you’ll almost certainly start seeing ways to improve whatever you just wrote. (One of the better signs that you’re meant to be a writer.) You may also immediately get the urge to write something else, something completely different; this is a commonplace. So then you go do that. But you will have made yourself happy at the very least by starting a thing, by finishing it (you have no idea how difficult some people find completing a work), by having it be worth having started and finished. Even if it’s not perfect– and it won’t be: every writer chases the glowing and perfect Platonic-solid of a work that they see in their heads, and none of us ever catch it, for entropy’s running – even lacking perfection, you’ll have done the thing you wanted to do: made something out of nothing, and created something that (ideally) made you glad.

People aren’t clear, I think, about how much power is wound up in that simple concept. But only after you’ve done that for a while do you need to be wondering about how to satisfy an audience beyond yourself.

…And before I go on to the next thing: let me correct a misconception you’ve acquired. I note the concept “low-rated fluff”. Ratings systems are of varying use in This Naughty World: even good ones get busted or abused, and as for bad ones, well, someone who writes for a living doesn’t have to look much further than certain gigantic bookselling empires and The Reviews, as in “Don’t read the reviews!!” (I sure don’t.) But here in particular, I want to pull you up hard on the idea that fluff (in the fanfic sense) is necessarily worthless, or of low worth generally.

I am an enthusiastic consumer of fluff of a level of huggy-wuggy smoochywoochieness that would rot every single tooth in your head and turn your cerebrospinal fluid to maple syrup. And some of it is not all that well written, but never mind that, because you don’t necessarily need a writer to be fucking Faulkner or Joyce when you go looking for fluff: you want SENTIMENT and you want it slathered on by the shovelful. You want a dose of sweet pathos, ideally with only the necessary balancing amount of the bittersweet: you want positive catharsis: you want eucatastrophe. If the writer delivers that, then who the hell cares if they over-adverb the pudding a little? And if the writer has committed to the work, is skilled as well, then wow and holy shit, you are blessed.

And the reason you’re blessed is because that writer—I’m betting—did exactly what they fucking well pleased and wrote fluff, the very best goddamn fluff they could that day, and screw anybody who would come along and judge it negatively later. They wrote what they wanted to say and feel, and did the work, and you’ve benefited from it. So there are two people now who’re happy, yeah. (Or theoretically more.) Which is a good thing.

So if the spirit moves you, write fluff. Write terrific fluff. Commit to it (because life’s too short not to commit completely to what you decide to write). You absolutely cannot tell who will read a piece of your fluff one day and say DEAR GOD THANK YOU THAT WAS EXACTLY WHAT I NEEDED, and go away refreshed in spirit. Or with their life somehow changed for the better in ways you can’t possibly imagine or understand.

Never, ever assume that something you’ve written is of no use or little importance… for this is perhaps the only kind of alchemy that actually works. People you’ve never seen or met will take stuff that you made up out of your head, stuff you might have been telling yourself was no better than dross or base metal, and turn it into gold.

So write the fluff. And anything else that you bloody well feel like. This bit of pleasing yourself by making something out of nothing is as close to true and perfect freedom as you’re ever likely to get as a human being.

…Now where else were we?

Oh yeah, the fear.

Ignoring it as irrational and not worth paying attention to is the quickest way (in my experience) to get on with things. But I have a lot of practice at it, and not everybody can do that. You may have to come at it in a slightly more strenuous way—by taking it to the mat and conquering it repeatedly by simply writing something every week, ever few days, every day. Writing something—doesn’t matter what. Writing some words, doesn’t matter how many. A few sentences, a few paragraphs, a page a day.

Fear can be blunted, worn down or away, with surprising ease sometimes if you keep at it. Fear of a given thing is a habit you can unlearn by writing another one over the top of it. (Think of it as a kind of cognitive therapy.) Fear of writing can be overcome simply by writing little bits every day, until you start noticing it’s not so hard any more. Get jostled out of the habit by events? Remake the agreement with yourself and start writing again. You’re allowed to say “Whoops, I screwed that up, let’s try that again” and got back to your routine, whatever it was.

And all this time, remember that audience? Screw them. This is for you. Once the confidence has piled up high enough that you no longer have to nerve yourself to keep at your writing, that’s time enough to be thinking about letting other people see what you’re doing, and what you want them to see. Nail down the art of writing for your own satisfaction before worrying about what people will think about it. (And even then, reminding yourself that your main business still isn’t giving a damn what they think will be healthy. It’s your voice and your certainty about what you’re doing, acquired by doing it for yourself, that will draw readers in if they’re at all susceptible to being drawn.)

…If I sound really sure about this, it’s because this is how I got started. Under my belt, the day I sold my first novel, already rested a solid two decades of writing only for myself, without the slightest thought about other people ever seeing any of it. I’d say now that there’s no need for it to take other people anything like that long. That long period of incubation (as it were) was just a function of my particular developmental speed, coupled with the realities of a world before social media, and the lack of any encouragement on the home front toward thinking of writing as something to do where others could see it.

That said – knowing that writing is a way to make yourself happy, and just going ahead and doing that, can be powerful stuff. (I wrote reams of Star Trek fanfic, by the way, years before knowing that there was even a name for what I was doing all by myself, or that others were doing it too. And if you’d told me that someday people would pay me money to write about Spock and Kirk and the Enterprise, I’d have told you—as a fledgling psychiatric nurse—that you needed your head felt. Yet look what happened.) 

So anyway. Just go write. In the writing itself (and dammitall, isn’t it always the way…) are the solutions to your difficulties.

Right now: screw the audience. And write. Just write.

Getting there… Semifinal lighting / positioning study for...

Mon, 04/16/2018 - 21:05

Getting there… Semifinal lighting / positioning study for the new cover for MIDNIGHT SNACK AND OTHER FAIRY TALES.

I love watching the styles change in this.

Mon, 04/16/2018 - 19:01

I love watching the styles change in this.

katiemcgrath: Morgana ‘always iconic’ Pendragon + series 1-3...

Sun, 04/15/2018 - 18:28


Morgana ‘always iconic’ Pendragon + series 1-3 outfits

41 Strange on Twitter

Sat, 04/14/2018 - 22:55

advertisingpics:“Kids flip for Star Trek pajamas. You’ll flip...

Fri, 04/13/2018 - 10:49


“Kids flip for Star Trek pajamas. You’ll flip for the price: $4.50” - Promotional ad for Milky Way, Snickers, and Three Musketeer candy, 1980

dailycatdrawings: 353: Tribute to Spock I grew up with and love...

Fri, 04/13/2018 - 09:27


353: Tribute to Spock

I grew up with and love Star Trek, so today’s drawing honors the late Leonard Nimoy. Today also coincides with the passing of my grandpa, so I’d like to say rest in peace good sirs. Thank you for being such an inspiration in my life. 

You can see Spock and his kitty in Assignment Earth, Season 2 Episode 26.

letshavoc:M´Ress by fluff-kevlar

Thu, 04/12/2018 - 20:34


M´Ress by fluff-kevlar

oldschoolsciencefiction:Again with Spock’s Brain?! Oy.

Thu, 04/12/2018 - 18:09


Again with Spock’s Brain?!