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 Winter of Discontent, the WebMage and Fallen Blade series — Penguin/ACE, School for Sidekicks, Magic, Madness, and Mischief, and Spirits, Spells, and Snark — Feiwel and Friends/Macmillan. His short fiction has appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies. He has Patreon and Ko-fi pages for those who are interested in supporting his work more directly. 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


June 22, 2020 in Uncategorized

Monday Meows

June 15, 2020 in Cat Things, Friday Cat Blogging, Pets and other friends

Dis quarantine stuff is getting old, my battery died.

So, recharge it.

You can DO THAT? I have wasted so much money on new phones…

I’m not listening!

Would you all shut up, dis my favorite show! It’s got the bald guy.

Monday Meows

June 8, 2020 in Cat Things, Friday Cat Blogging, Pets and other friends

I am Boudica, all shall love me and despair!

I thought it was pronounced, Boa-Day-Chia, like the pet.

In her case it’s probably Boo-Dick-Ka, like the giant snake.

I like Boo-Dick-Ka, it’s one of my favorite dishes! …what?

Monday RoMeow And Juliet

June 1, 2020 in Cat Things, Friday Cat Blogging, Pets and other friends

Not soft, what cake through yonder window breaks?

Oh ghods…here we go again

Tis the fruit and duly soaked in rum

What did Shakespeare ever do to you?

Arise, fair yeast, and fluff the envious bread!

I kind of like dis one…is my young mind getting moldy?

Tis fat and ready to butter and grease!

It’ll be over soon, right?

But thou, old maid, art far more loaf than she.

That’s it, you’re done!

Monday Meows

May 25, 2020 in Cat Things, Friday Cat Blogging, Pets and other friends

Hep, hep, I’z trapped! I’z being oppressed!

Did you hear something that sounded like a kitten?


And neither did you. Not if you know what’s good for you.

‘s okay?

‘s all right.

F***ing catnip dreams.

Monday Meows

May 18, 2020 in Cat Things, Friday Cat Blogging, Pets and other friends

Every time I count, I come up with an extra foot…

Oh, honey…

Just let it go.

I think I can get out of here this way…

Why everybody so weird, I sleeps now.



Monday Meows Shakespearean Edition

May 11, 2020 in Cat Things, Friday Cat Blogging

I come not to curry Caesar but to braise him

You what the who now?

The salad that cats dish lives after them.

The hell…

The broth is best infused with the bones

Wake me when it’s over.

So let it steep with Caesar.

He ain’t clever, he’s my brother.

The noble Brutus hath told you Caesar was delicious!
Shut up and say, goodnight, Gracie.
Goodnight Gracie?

Monday Meows May The 4th Be With You

May 4, 2020 in Cat Things, Friday Cat Blogging, Pets and other friends

May the 4th be with you!

Live long and pawsper!

Wrong franchise, dudette.

I Jedi, see my robez!

Taste the force!

What does that even mean?

Halp, I iz trapped in a trash compactor!

Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.

Soon, my apprentice you will belong to me!

Monday Meows

April 27, 2020 in Cat Things, Friday Cat Blogging, Pets and other friends

You may kiss the royal paw…

May I really?

I don’t want to, you can’t make me, and I have knives, so there.

I iz puzzled.

Have you ever really looked at your box?

World Building: In depth or in focus

April 23, 2020 in Publishing, Writing

Some brief thoughts on worldbuilding adapted from a note I wrote to a writer friend this morning.

Nota bene: I describe myself as world driven writer. I would cheerfully write travelogues about worlds that exist only in my head if I could get paid for it. Since I can’t, I’m a novelist. I ADORE world building. It’s also not what writing is about. So…

World building more generally. There are three main ways to crack that problem from where I sit.

1) You can do what I do, which is more or less have a big chunk of world jump into your head in one go, and then sit down and extrapolate how that plays out and how you got to that point with a thousand years of alternate history that literally no one will ever see taking up space in your head. This works really well for me, but that’s more or less a side effect of how my brain is wired, and while I do a pretty good job of focusing down from there to find the actual story, it’s not a great plan for most people.

X) A brief digression. Any writing advice that helps you advance the story you want to tell is good advice. Any advice that causes you to freeze up, feel despondent, or otherwise does not help you move the story forward is bad advice and should be discarded without a second thought.

2) Bullet point the big things in your world building. The ones that really matter. In this case: what happened to cause your apocalypse? Ignore the rest until you need it. When do you need it? When it directly impacts the story as you’re telling it and when it’s something your Point of View characters would know and can express within the needs of the story.

3) Don’t world build outside the confines of the story at all. Tell the story. Focus tight on the bits you think are important, the emotional context, the family struggles, the really cool setting, independence, overcoming the post-apocalyptic landscape. When you need something outside that focus to serve as a lever in the shape of conflict or peril, write the scene with [fill in world detail here] and don’t worry about what needs to go there until you see how the story unfolds and tools you need to make it happen.

World building isn’t really a goal in itself. You need a world in which your story can happen, but it doesn’t have to be a big bold fully fleshed thing. If that stuff makes you happy, go ahead and write it. If it doesn’t, you can think of the action of the story like the action of a stage play. Focus on what has to be painted on the canvas walls or set on the prop table to make the story work in the enclosed space of the play. The fact that it’s all just happening in an enclosed and artificial environment surrounded by what is essentially a big empty block of space painted black doesn’t really matter to the action of the play.