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Posts Tagged ‘Lucy D. Ford’

Many of us writers have a personal mantra, something we repeat to ourselves as a means of inspiration or a way to keep focused on work. You know, “butt in chair,” stuff like that. So today I’m sharing my mantra with you. Ready?

“Nobody Cares.”

This might seem pretty needy, a play for attention and reassurance. To me, it’s more like a declaration of independence.

Who are some of the people who might care about my writing? Editors, agents, random people on the Internet… You know them. The folks who are so ready to tell you you’re doing it all wrong. They swear that if you change your story and do it their way, you’ll find success on whatever terms they define.

The implication is that I should care about their opinions more than, say, my own goals and desires. I should ignore my writer’s instinct and the expertise that’s already helped me to finish a bunch of books and short stories.

But when nobody cares, I am free to write what I want. I don’t have to listen to people telling me it’s too long or too short, or that I have to to sex it up, or the bad guys have to die, or that I should follow a specific formula. I don’t have to include some annoying trope when actually I’m more about questioning those tropes.

So that’s my mantra: Nobody Cares. Except maybe some of you guys. 🙂


Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my web site, Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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With most of the text revisions complete on The Ice Witch of Fang Marsh, I now turn to the book’s cover. First, I had to look through dozens of Shutterstock illustrations by my favorite artist, Tithi Luadthong. I want to have all the cover images for this series by the same hand. They just look like they belong together, that way.

After flagging 19 possible covers, I have it winnowed down to 6 finalists. While giving my brain a break from that, I’m also writing the cover copy. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far:

Meven is a renegade, hated and hunted by the cruel regime of master mage Dar-Gothull. Her desperate desire is to lose herself in the treacherous Fang Marsh. Only there can she live the life she wants, in freedom and safety. To reach her goal, Meven must sneak through the town of Eshur, where her old enemy, the wicked Countess Ar-Torix, commands dozens of spies and guards. It should be no problem!

What Meven doesn’t know is that she’s already being tracked. Ozlin was thrown out because of his emerging magic. Now he’s starving on the streets of Eshur. Caught stealing, he’s about to be imprisoned in a brutal temple school.

Until Meven recognizes his power and intervenes. Suddenly she has a new, desperate desire — to save this mageling boy, and maybe save herself, as well.

What do you think? Is it too short, too long, too detailed, too vague? I’d love to hear your suggestions!


Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my web site, Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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Coming up in June, this humble blog will host Queen Titania’s Court, a celebration of fantasy books. The setup is that Titania, Queen of all Faeries, summons magical people and beasts from every corner of the fantastic world to join her for a grand ball on Midsummer Night.

I won’t compare myself to the Queen of all Faeries, but I do extend this invitation to any and all fantasy writers, especially to independent authors. Pick ONE character from ONE of your books. Each day in the month of June, I’ll feature one author’s book. We’ll all have fun sharing our stories.

Credit where credit is due — this event is inspired by the great indy horror writer, Teri Polen, whose Bad Moon Rising book event runs through the month of October. I sincerely thank Teri for her generosity and support when I asked if I could emulate her event.


This is where I try to anticipate your questions.

First, who can participate? If you write fantasy, YOU can join in! Children’s fantasy, urban fantasy, high, low, traditional, contemporary, dark, light, grand or grim — if you can make a case that your book is fantasy, you are welcome to take part. (You do have to have a book in print, however, or else what will I be helping you to publicize?)

Next, how does this actually work? You just e-mail me (CAT09tales -at- hotmail.com) and tell me you want to take part. Don’t contact me by replying to this post. You have to e-mail me! I have the routing all set up and everything.

I’ll send you questions, some for your character and some for you. You pick a couple of them to answer, and we’ll work together to script your character’s grand entrance to the ball. I’ll also need your book’s cover image, description, biography, author photo, purchase links, and so on. (If you don’t provide these things, then, again, how am I helping you publicize your book?)

Once I get a look at what’s being submitted, I’ll put together a schedule that keeps things interesting. I’ll let you know when your big day is scheduled, so you can tell all your friends.

Speaking of friends — My hope is to feature a different book every day in June, so please feel free to share this invitation with the other fantasy authors you know. There are 30 opportunities in all. I’ll post a new announcement here when the 30 spaces have been claimed.

If you want to sign up, or you have other questions, please do e-mail me, CAT09tales -at- hotmail.com. Again, you have to e-mail me. Don’t contact me by replying to this post. Her Majesty is eagerly awaiting your response.

So that’s it! Queen Titania’s Court is coming, and it will be even more fabulous if YOU attend the Midsummer Night Ball.


Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my web site, Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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Well, are you ready for something more fun than worrying about a virus? Or trying to figure out how to connect to remote meetings and webinars? I sure am!

Luckily, I have a big event to share. Starting next Wednesday, April 1st, I’m opening the eldritch gates for Queen Titania’s Court! Titania, as you may know, is one of the traditional names for the Queen of all Faeries. Her Majesty desires that magical people and beasts from every corner of the fantastic world should join her for a grand ball on Midsummer Night.

For all you fantasy authors, that means you’re invited, too. Choose ONE character from ONE of your books. This character will appear before Queen Titania sometime during the month of June, 2020. This gives you a chance to talk about your book in a fun way, and maybe learn about some other stories you’d like to read. If you know of any fantasy writers who are looking for a bit of publicity — which will be all of us — please pass the word around. More participation = more fun!

I’ll be sharing all the details next Wednesday, April 1st. See you then!


Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my web site, Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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A few blogs back, I mentioned how many writers will be observing the human interaction as the coronavirus situation unfolds. So here are a couple of my observations.

1. Wow, the hoarding! That started much faster than I expected. I guess some people deal with the unexpected by grabbing a bunch of something (eggs?) and hugging it to their chest like Daffy Duck. “It’s mine! All mine!”

2. So much venting! I literally see messages from people that are, “if you don’t hear from me in two days, come look for my body!” That person has severe anxiety and depression, and I was really worried about them until the next note said, “Sorry about that, I’m better now.” Others keep up a constant stream of “this will be bad, so bad,” followed by “look, this is bad!”

What can you say? Most often, I let it go by. They’re reacting according to their nature. Sometimes I tell them to calm down. One person on Twitter keeps telling me I’m not an “expert.”

So what? How much of an expert do you need to be, to reach out to people who seem like they’re in distress?

3. People get really judgmental, really fast. It’s been disheartening to see the venom unleashed upon random strangers when some image gets shown around of people going to the beach, or a bar, or buying more bread than someone else thinks they deserve.

Friends, we don’t know those people. We don’t know if they intended to be greedy, or defiant, or anything else. (Except for the guy who bought up all the hand sanitizer in his city. What a creep!) Maybe the kids in the bar were supporting a friend who works there. Maybe the person with the bread has that many people to feed at home.

We don’t know why they’re making the choices they do. In fact, it’s none of our business. Yet the human drive to meddle rages on.

What about you? Are there any surprising reactions that you’ve observed?


Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my web site, Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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You’ve all seen them — posts and tweets from authors declaring, “buy my book because you’re stuck at home!” I’ve also seen authors offering online workshops and boot camps, some free and some for a fee, as a special pandemic opportunity.

I must admit I have mixed feelings about this strategy. I know we’re supposed to always be pushing our books. As independent authors, we don’t have publishers to help with that. At the same time, it seems… I don’t know, a bit scammy?

“You’re out of work. You don’t know how you’ll pay the bills and you can’t find toilet paper anywhere. BUT BUY MY BOOK BECAUSE IT’S ALL ABOUT ME!”

What do you think? Should authors go after the pandemic market?


Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my web site, Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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I have a couple of short stories that I’ve been sending around, the chill SF “It’s a Dirty Job” and the fantasy, “Call Me King.” As the rejections start to come back — and yes, that’s a reality — it’s also why I published my first book, Aunt Ursula’s Atlas, because I had so many stories without markets left to submit to — and I think that’s enough parentheticals for now…

As the rejections start to come back, I’ve realized that my list of potential markets is wildly out of date. One of the things on my Super Fancy Goal Tracker is an order-of-submission list. When rejections come back, I can just send to the next market without allowing myself to fret and mope. However, glancing up there, I see a date of 2015 is on it.

So in addition to pushing on with Prisoners of the Wailing Tower, I need to do a new market study. What, you may ask, are the factors I consider in ranking my submission order? There are a few main things:

  1. Word counts accepted, genre, pay rate, and other basic information. Higher pay rates, obviously, are more attractive. I also pay attention to what rights they ask for and their payment terms. A low per-word rate that grabs all rights is far less attractive. Paying on acceptance is far more attractive vs. paying on publication.
  2. Some markets do not pay at all. They might offer copies as payment, or “exposure.” There is a thick, weedy discussion among authors about these kind of terms. I, personally, will not submit to those markets. I am a professional. I do expert work and I deserve to be paid for it.
  3. Is the market well known and reputable? A lot of my other factors are linked with the most reputable markets anyway, but if most elements are similar, I always try the well-known markets first. Who knows, they might even accept me!
  4. How recently has this market published anything, and what precisely did it publish? For short work, the choices are magazines or anthologies. I’m okay with both, but I want to know because the production process is longer for anthologies. More important is the publication history. If they haven’t published anything in over a year, the publication might already be dead and they just haven’t admitted it.
  5. I read carefully for any “poison pills” in the fine print. If they state that they won’t reply unless they want to buy the story, that’s a poison pill for me. This is another thick, weedy discussion among writers, but I personally will not submit to those markets. My time is important, and I won’t be left guessing. There’s also been a bit of stink lately about a particular market’s plan to publish a list online of the stories and authors they reject. This seems like a deliberate shaming of the authors, and I have no plans to submit to that market, either.

So that’s that I’m going to be doing this weekend.


Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my web site, Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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I have a new word to ask you about. The word is envision. I’ve noticed in the past few months that people frequently are using envisage instead of envision. It’s been irritating.

Looking it up in online dictionaries, I do find that both words have similar meanings. Basically, they mean having a dream or “vision” and planning to bring this dream into reality. Envision seems to be the American version, while envisage is the British form.

The irritant for me is the root word of each. Envision contains “vision,” which is like a dream or goal you have in mind. This makes sense with the meaning of the word. For instance, businesses often issue “vision statements” that express their goals and dreams.

On the other hand, envisage contains “visage,” which means a face. You know, a face with two eyes, two ears, etc. When I hear envisage, I think “put a face on.” No credible business ever issues a “visage statement.”

Okay, maybe I’m being too picky. We’re talking about the English language here. Why would I expect it to make sense? But I am interested in what you think.

Which of these two words do you usually use?


Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my web site, Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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One thing you might not know about me, if you are new to my blog, is that I’m a crossover author. I write all fantasy, but some is for children and some is for adults. My stories often occupy a no-man’s-land between the two. Especially with shorter work, it can be really hard to place stories for publication. (I mean, it’s always hard, but still.)

Word count is one important distinguishing factor. Juvenile magazines typically want stories that are 700 or 800 words. Only a few will take work as long as 1,200 or 1,500 words. A typical short story of mine is between 2,000 and 3,000 words. So you can see that cuts me out of those markets, unless I make a case to serialize a story. (This has yet to happen.)

Even more important, though, is the story’s point of view. For a children’s story, the POV really must be a child, or someone with a childlike perspective. This is why lots of children’s stories have animals as the viewpoint characters. Conversely, a story that is intended for adults might include children, but the point of view will clearly reflect an adult’s perspective.

This distinction is in my mind because I’ve recently finished a story that — miracle of miracles! — came in at 600 words. That makes it ideal for juvenile markets, and there is an important child character, too. But, it is not a children’s story. The POV is an adult, and her thoughts reflect an adult’s concerns like taking care of a disabled child and growing enough food to feed them both. There’s also a dark twist at the end that no child POV would envision.

I often get caught in this bind with editors. Adult publications reject my stories because the tone is deceptively gentle and a child is present. They thus assume it is a juvenile story. But juvenile editors reject my stories because they are too long and the POV is an adult. What’s an author to do?

What I did was to self-publish my misfit stories into the collection, Aunt Ursula’s Atlas. It was my first self-published book, in 2016. You should take a look. And, what the heck! If anyone out there is curious about about children’s publishing, go ahead and toss your questions my way.


Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my web site, Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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Writer’s block! One of the most dreaded experiences we writers face. Maybe you abruptly lose momentum, or you get the gloomy feeling that everything you put on the page is dumb. Maybe you don’t have a plan for what should happen next. Or you have a plan, but that plan no longer works.

All authors go through this. Of necessity, we develop techniques to break through writer’s block. I’m going to share a few, and maybe you have your own methods to share, too.

First of all, I consider what else is going on in my life. There might be a chore I have to do, or a spat that needs to be sorted out with my family. I give myself permission to step away from writing and take care of whatever that is. Then it won’t be standing in my way any more.

Second, I discipline myself to at least LOOK at the story. There’s always some little tweak that can get me involved with the telling. I read through the final page I did before the block and ask myself, “then what?” Any new words I add might be terrible, but I at least have something to work with later.

Another thing I try is to bring the story into my mind while doing something else. Driving to and from work. Washing dishes. Showering. These are all blank times that I can sometimes persuade my mind to fill up with story.

Lastly, when I lie down to sleep at night, I let my mind wander through the world of the story. Very often, it will spark an idea. I keep a journal near my bed, so I can hop up and write things down.

What about all of you? I’d love to hear your ways to break a writer’s block.


Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my web site, Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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