Blog Articles

Daydream Believer

By Mary Holland / August 29, 2013

When I had to work full-time, and especially during those last frantic and futile years as the company I worked for went down the tubes, I would visualize my ideal life. I wanted to do: Nothing. I wanted to spend my days staring off into space, daydreaming. As a goal, this is difficult to explain to anyone. People said, “Oh, you’ll get bored. You should plan to do something, get a part-time job, volunteer.” I … Read more

Farewell, Amelia

By Mary Holland / August 9, 2013

Barbara Mertz, who wrote as Elizabeth Peters, has died at the age of 85. She wrote under several pseudonyms, including Barbara Michaels, but for me and a host of other readers the crown of her career was the Amelia Peabody series. Normally, I’d go on to explain who and what Amelia was, but I find it hard to believe there’s anyone who reads who HASN’T read Crocodile on the Sandbank, The Deeds of the Disturber, … Read more

Kindle Book Review Awards!

By Mary Holland / July 11, 2013

I am so happy to announce The Bone Road has been named a Semi-Finalist in the Kindle Book Review Awards for 2013, in the SF/Fantasy category. There are 50 semi-finalists in the category, all of whom received 2 out of 3 “Yes” votes from the 3 screeners. All submissions were judged on the first several pages of the book. The most important elements at this stage were: Did the book grab their attention right away, … Read more

Fire Sale at the Magical Junkshop

By Mary Holland / June 25, 2013

It’s difficult to plot a fantasy novel without resorting to magical props to aid the hero. I’m not sure if this is a failure of imagination on my part, or just a reaction to the hundreds of fantasies I’ve read which require the hero/villain to find, lose, destroy, or give up the magical sword, ring, amulet, crown, locket, mirror, cup, diadem, or other miraculous tchotchke the author has built the story around. Sometimes I feel … Read more

Process, Structure, And Magic

By Mary Holland / April 13, 2013

Despite all those How-To-Write-A-Novel books, web pages, webinars, and workshops, everyone has their own process. This process can be improved but not altered in fundamentals. In other words, if you are a writer who sits down without a plan or a plot or an outline and merrily starts writing to see where it goes, forcing yourself to outline in detail, do character histories, or decide whether the section is a scene or a summary is … Read more

Amazon and me, redux yet again

By Mary Holland / March 22, 2013

I want to like Amazon; I really do. I sincerely loved them when they sold just books, back in the day before they decided to sell all things to all people and/or take over the publishing world. I have an Amazon Prime account, I buy a lot of things from them, and I’ve trained my husband to check out their stuff before he drives all over two counties looking for an $.83 light bulb. I’ve … Read more

Harry Potter at the Urologist

By Mary Holland / March 9, 2013

My husband and I have been spending a regrettable amount of time in doctors’ waiting rooms. Particularly at his urologist’s, a dreary beige holding pen full of old men with worried expressions. Women are rare and children even rarer, so I noticed the little boy immediately. He was around ten years old and he wasn’t paying any atttention to any of us boring adults. He had a thick hardcover book on his lap. He was … Read more

Bone Road ebook cover redesign

By Mary Holland / March 8, 2013

I loved the cover of The Bone Road; I still love it. But someone (who shall remain nameless until she’s ready to take her show on the road) pointed out it was difficult to see in thumbnail. So I asked Rhea Ewing to revisit it. This is what she came up with: Great, isn’t it? I’ve loaded it on all the ebook sites, both Smashwords and Amazon. I also, while I was about it, made … Read more

Animals: A Rant Against Cliches

By Mary Holland / January 24, 2013

There’s that old cliche “if the audience sees a gun in Act 1, it has to go off in Act 3.” Apparently, if you have an animal as a character in a book or a movie, they have to die an ugly death. Every damn time I see a dog in a movie I tense up, waiting for the awful way they are absolutely going to die. Well, I’m sick of it. I think it … Read more

Constructing Evil, random thoughts on

By Mary Holland / December 28, 2012

You must have a villain, but he/she/them must be a believable villain. You can’t toss all their motivations into a bin labeled “Desire for World Domination” and expect the reader to take them seriously, unless you are writing a James Bond flick. On the other hand, if you make your villain human and believable, readers may start rooting for them instead. In the early drafts of Matcher Rules, several of my test readers fell in … Read more