Official Author Website of Melissa McPhail

Author Q&A and a Plea to Aspiring Writers

To my readers: please know how much I appreciate your emails, mentions and comments! Recently, many of you have written to me asking similar questions. I thought it would be best to answer all of you here on my blog in order to give your questions adequate address. I’ve lumped your questions together into these three: “What inspired you to. . . Read More


How Much Should Authors Interact with Readers?

This new age of social media makes it easier than ever for readers and writers to interact. Whether via reviews posted online, comments on a blog, forum discussions, Facebook or twitter, authors now have the opportunity to engage with their readers via multiple direct lines of communication. This is generally fun for the readers. For authors, it. . . Read More


Immortality and Gods in Fantasy

It’s interesting to me how many novels, plays, poems (and even, dare I say, religions) deal with immortality without really dealing with immortality, i.e. immortality is automatically assumed, more understood than explored. In our concept, gods are immortal. In fact, immortality is usually a qualifying aspect to being considered a god. In my experience, even. . . Read More


Writing Kingdom Blades (PSOL Book 4)

Many of you have been asking when book four in A Pattern of Shadow & Light will be released. All I can tell you right now is that I’ll have Kingdom Blades to you at some point in 2016 (the Muse willing). For comparison, each book in this series runs around 300,000 words, and the first. . . Read More


On Isabel and Pelas in Paths of Alir

****SPOILER ALERT***** When I wrote the scene with Isabel and Pelas in the second half of Paths of Alir, I expected it could become controversial. I knew it would hit some readers in a way that felt morally uncomfortable, but I never imagined that the scene would be interpreted as a rape. I’ll explain more of what I did expect. . . Read More


3 Reasons Every Indie Author Should Be Advertising on Facebook

As an independently published author, I’ve noticed a lot of advice floating around about building my author platform, establishing my brand and the importance of having a social media presence. What I haven’t seen people blogging heavily about is the value of Facebook ads for indie authors. If you’ve been in this business long enough. . . Read More


Ultimate Epic Fantasy Writer’s Playlist

“Two boys arrived yesterday with a pebble they said was the head of a dog until I pointed out that it was really a typewriter.” ~Pablo Picasso Inspiration comes in many forms. There are as many sources of inspiration as there are artists to be inspired. A simple turn of a woman’s face might become the basis of a. . . Read More


3 Things Every Indie Author Needs to Know Before Starting Out

Paths of Alir, the third book in my award-winning epic fantasy series, released in stores on Saturday (Yay!!). Along the runway to this book release, I started my own publishing company and created the imprint Five Strands Publishing. Since starting on the indie publishing path in 2010 with Cephrael’s Hand, I’ve learned from the wisdom and experience of. . . Read More


4 Steps to Writing Organically, Part II – Viewpoints, Mimicry and Imagination

Think of writing like sailing a massive ship. There are an enormous number of mechanical actions that synergistically combine to keep the ship plowing forward through the waves. It behooves you, as the captain of the vessel, to have an understanding of all of those mechanical workings. Yet if a ship’s captain spent all of. . . Read More


Pantser or Plotter: 4 Steps to Writing Organically (and the Science Behind Why You Should) – Part 1

After my last blog post on the four things you must know before starting a novel, in which I suggested not inventing a character, kingdom or creature until the story calls for it, a number of readers wrote in to ask, should nothing be planned? My answer is absolutely plan the four points on the list I gave. . . Read More