Kelly McCullough writes fantasy, science fiction, and books for kids of varying ages. He lives in Wisconsin with his physics professor wife and a small herd of cats. His novels include the WebMage and Fallen Blade series — Penguin/ACE, and the forthcoming School for Sidekicks — Feiwel and Friends/Macmillan. His short fiction has appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies. He also dabbles in science fiction as science education with The Chronicles of the Wandering Star — part of an NSF-funded science curriculum — and the science comic Hanny & the Mystery of the Voorwerp, which he co-authored and co-edited — funding provided by NASA and the Hubble Space Telescope. Kelly on Twitter, Facebook, G+, ello

George Scithers RIP (2010)

April 19, 2015 in Professionalism, Publishing, Reblogging Project, Writing

On this date in 2010 I posted a farewell to George Scithers. As part of my ongoing efforts to get copies of all my various bits of creative centralized or mirrored on my own website I am posting it again here:

George Scithers has left the building and it makes me very sad. He was one of the editors who bought my first story along with Darrell Schweitzer at Weird Tales. He’s also the editor who is a part of one my all time favorite writing anecdotes which I call: Same story same editor different day.

You see, I was an idiot once (well more than once, but I’m just talking about in relation to George here). At World Fantasy a number of years ago George asked me why he hadn’t seen anything of mine recently so I hallway pitched him a story called FimbulDinner and he asked to see it.

The problem was that he had already rejected this particular story a couple of years previously, but I’d forgotten that, and apparently so had he.

Anyway, I sent it, then realized a week or two later that he’d rejected it, and sent a note apologizing for the mistake. My note crossed the acceptance in the mail, and the story was published by Weird Tales.

There are two lessons in that anecdote. First, don’t do this if you can possibly avoid it. Second, all that any rejection means is that that editor didn’t buy it on that day.

George was a splendid old fellow and I’m going to very much miss knowing he was somewhere in the world.

(Originally published on the Wyrdsmiths blog April 19 2010, and original comments may be found there. Reposted and reedited as part of the reblogging project)

Friday Cat Blogging

April 17, 2015 in Cat Things, Friday Cat Blogging, Pets and other friends

Spring sun meanzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz


Dude, trying to spring sun here.


Monkeys and cameras violating the sacred bond between cat and sun.



I zzzzz therefor I izzzzzzzzzz



Upcoming Appearances Through July

April 14, 2015 in About Kelly, Events/Appearaces, Readings and Signings

Two week warning: I will be reading from Darkened Blade at 7pm on April 28 at Barnes & Noble in Roseville MN…/Kelly-McC…/4932688

I will be at Uncle Hugo’s in Minneapolis on May 8th at 1:00 PM.

On May 28 I will be giving a keynote speech followed by a signing at the Computer & Writing Conference at the University of Wisconsin Stout at 11:45 am.

I will be at the 4th Street Fantasy Con June 26-28 in Minneapolis MN.

Finally, I will be at CONvergence in Bloomington MN July 2-5.

Friday Cat Blogging

April 10, 2015 in Cat Things, Friday Cat Blogging, Pets and other friends

I hereby claim this head in the name of the ME!


Thaaash a great idea! Pour me another to celebrate!


What on Earth would anyone want that head for? It’s lacking in fur…


But, world conquest…isn’t that what every kitty dreams of?


Mostly, I dream of a better smelling pillow…


Speaking of smells, you should come smell this!


Broken Blade Ebook $1.99—A Few Days Only

April 3, 2015 in Books, Fallen Blade

The Broken Blade ebook is $1.99 in most formats for a very limited time. BookBub has THE LINKS.

Next Up: Darkened Blade + School for Sidekicks

April 3, 2015 in About Kelly, Books, Fallen Blade, Publishing, Sidekicks

So, it’s one month out from the launch of Darkened Blade, the sixth and final book in the Fallen Blade sequence, which is kind of hard to believe. After that, my next novel will be School for Sidekicks, a snappy snarky full length novel aimed at kids and all those adults who happily read fun books without worrying about target audiences which just received a starred review from Kirkus.

DARKENED BLADE  metal porthole; Shutterstock ID 82146736

Friday Cat Blogging

April 3, 2015 in Cat Things, Friday Cat Blogging, Pets and other friends

Evil egg, I escape thee!


It’s hatching…OMG, it’s hatching!



Sorry, can’t hear you over the om-nom-noms.


Now, that’s disturbing.


Nope, that’s catfood Nirvana.




Okay, maybe cats do come up with good ideas once in a while…


Retro Friday Cat Blogging

March 31, 2015 in Cat Things, Friday Cat Blogging, Pets and other friends, Reblogging Project

I hate you. That is all.

Halp I’z bein carried off!

What do you mean, vampire cat?

I wuvez you zis much!


Worship me or I will destroy you

Lola: Dog of the North!

(Originally published on the Wyrdsmiths blog February 25 2011, and original comments may be found there. Reposted and reedited as part of the reblogging project)

Two Books A Year…eep!

March 30, 2015 in About Kelly, Books, Fallen Blade, Publishing, Reblogging Project, Writing

2015 Update: This post about adapting to having two contracted books a year was originally published as I was working on Bared Blade. The pressures remain pretty much the same, and though I’ve since managed to write a Blade book in just 88 days now, I’m not sure I’m really capable of much more than two books a year.

So, this year I made the jump from having one book under contract per 12 month window, to having two books under contract per 12 month window. Now, at first glance you might say: That’s a doubling of your work load, what were you thinking?

What I was thinking was that in each of the previous four years I’d written two books, one on contract, one on spec. And, since I haven’t yet sold any of the spec books, though I do expect to, I would be doubling my income with no concomitant increase in work load. Turns out I was wrong.

Over the last decade or so I’ve tended to work in spurts with gaps of weeks or months between. Since ’06 that’s produced around 150-160k words per 12 month period, or one adult fantasy and one YA written on spec. And that’s been a mostly stress free level of production.

Under the new deal I’m only contracted for 180k per 12 months, which shouldn’t have been that much more work. But I also made the jump from contemporary fantasy to secondary world high fantasy and that seems to add about 20 percent more effort to the process. I’d heard something like that from George R.R. Martin at some point, but he was moving from science fiction to fantasy, and I was just changing types of fantasy. Surely it wouldn’t be that bad…

Add in that the first book went 7k long and that I expect this one to do so as well, and suddenly it’s the equivalent of 220-230k of what I was doing before. That’s 70-90k extra, or nearly another adult novel’s worth of effort. I’m getting it done and not dying, but it’s a major change.

The biggest adjustment from one book a year to two is how fast it catches up to me if I take a break. I’ve often dropped out for a month and a half of downtime at the end of a book, or when I needed to think about the story, or just to spend more time with my professor wife when she’s off from the University. Now, if I haven’t worked ahead, a month and a half is a 22k word deficit that I have to make up some time in my remaining four-and-a-half months.

When that was on a spec book, it didn’t really matter. I could always punt my personal deadline a little further out. I almost never did, but knowing that I could made a huge psychological difference. So, an extra novel’s worth of work plus more than doubled pressure. I think I’ve found a balance that makes it work for me, but it’s going to be very interesting seeing how things go when we hit my wife’s summer break this year.

(Originally published on the Wyrdsmiths blog February 23 2011, and original comments may be found there. Reposted and reedited as part of the reblogging project)

Friday Cat Blogging

March 28, 2015 in Cat Things, Friday Cat Blogging, Pets and other friends

I hate sitting for formal portraits, but duties of state…


I iz more noble and more snide.


I prefer to go for lugubrious.


Aloof, cats are supposed to be aloof.


Here, watch me loof!