Official Site | Melissa McPhail

Critique/Criticism and New Writers

I’ve hit my saturation point. It’s time to cast a plea broadly to all new writers who are trying to write a novel or churning their way through short stories and writing to me or others asking for feedback. Listen, I’m not just trying to be curmudgeonly (or controversial, although I generally do prefer the path. . . Read More


Dagger of Adendigaeth on Audible (and Maybe Something About Kingdom Blades)

Today the audiobook edition of The Dagger of Adendigaeth releases on Audible. Yay! Grateful thanks to Podium Publishing and the talented Nick Podehl for bringing my award-winning fantasy series to audio life. (I have to say that for SEO purposes – not just trying to toot my own horn, here). Dagger is set up with Whispersync, for those of you. . . Read More


Cephrael’s Hand is now on Audible!

I’m thrilled to report to all of you audiobook lovers that today Cephrael’s Hand releases on Audible! I know this is a long-awaited moment for many of you, and you have my sincerest gratitude for being so patient. The book is narrated by the talented Nick Podehl, who also narrated Pat Rothfuss’s The Name of the Wind. Here’s a sample. . . Read More


Where is Book Four????

Since I’m being asked this question many times a day in tones varying from polite interest to downright exasperation, I’m getting the idea that people might appreciate knowing where Kingdom Blades stands in the lengthy process that begins with my transcribing the activities these characters are carrying on in my head and ends with you reading about them. . . Read More


In Gratitude – Two Chapters from Kingdom Blades

I’m not sure what inspired me this year (maybe your calls through the ether have reached me subliminally), but it occurred to me that one way I could express my gratitude to you, my readers, is by posting a couple of chapters from Kingdom Blades, the upcoming fourth book in A Pattern of Shadow & Light. I’ve never released. . . Read More


The Treatment of Sexuality in A Pattern of Shadow & Light

Some of you have written in asking me about the presentation and treatment of homosexuality in my novels. You pointed out that the majority of incidents involving homosexual characters portray those characters as being evil. You indicated to me that in presenting those characters as evil, it sends a negative message about homosexuality, and you. . . Read More


How to Stay Inspired (and an Update on Kingdom Blades)

Inspiration is one of those elusive words, like “muse” and “success.” It evades us, confounds and confuses us, bewitches when it visits and devastates upon its departure. It’s that girl glimpsed across the subway terminal, or that place in a dream that you just can’t get to. I receive a lot of questions from readers. . . Read More


Artistic Integrity and The Pressure to Be Other Than We Are

Most people think of the word integrity as ‘adherence to moral and ethical principles,’ but there is another definition equally important to understanding the word: ‘the state of being whole, entire or undiminished.’ The two meanings of integrity are integral to each other. When one exhibits moral character, he is whole; when he displays unethical. . . Read More


Destiny and Fate in Fantasy (and Life)

Destiny versus choice, fate versus free will—these are core concepts in fantasy. Whether addressed indirectly (“You were born to save the world”) or as a subject of the character’s growth (“Accept this role and take up your sword”), the concepts often form the woof and warp of a story’s tapestry, even when the author isn’t. . . Read More


Grounding Fantasy in Reality and Tackling Controversial Topics

A reader wrote in to me recently and mentioned that while she didn’t have the same visceral reaction to a particular scene (no spoilers) as many other readers had, she didn’t like that one of the characters had to use sex as part of the resolution of the conflict in that scene. This is very. . . Read More