The First Million Words
Ever wanted to track down your favorite author and beg for writing advice? That's what we do...for you. Listen every week as we cover writing tips from the pros to help reach the first million words, and beyond.


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May 2012
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It's our final episode with Michael (bittersweet). We talk about that horrible, four-letter word: exposition, and how a writer can get the information across to the reader without making it into an info-dump (of which  Michael is a master). Michael is on the Internets here: and on the Twitter here: @Author_Sullivan. After that, Ben and Guillermo talk about how distracted they've been the past week, and what they've been doing instead of writing. See you next week for the May Wrap-Up Show. Write!

Direct download: 01-09.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 3:55pm EST

Michael J Sullivan was kind enough to talk to us again. This time about dialogue. He answers all questions on the importance of not being annoying and not trying to mirror how people actually speak in real life. Visit Michael's site, if you'd like to hear more of his thoughts on writing, and follow him on Twitter @author_sullivan. Then Ben and Guillermo reflect on dialogue, talk about stoner goblins and redneck trolls, review Space Battles, and remember some uncomfortable things from their past. Follow us on Twitter @FMWPodcast and join us next week when we finish up our interviews with Michael and talk about exposition. Write!

Direct download: 01-08.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 4:27pm EST

Space Battles: Full-Throttle Space Tales #6

Posted by Ben


This is not a drill...

Space Battles is the latest collection of Sci-Fi short stories from the Full Throttle Space Tales series (the 6th, to be specific).

Overall, this collection was extremely fun. Most of the stories are short enough to read on a daily commute (don't read while driving, please!), but long enough to be full stories with fully developed characters and plots. 

The stories (as the title suggests) all revolve around battles in space. Whether they deal with ship vs. ship, ship vs. fleet, fleet vs. fleet, drones vs. fleet, or ship sabotage in the midst of a battle, all the stories remain tightly focused on the battle while still focusing enough on character (a must for shorts) keeping you at the edge of your seat. 

The standout stories: 

"The Thirteens" by Gene Mederos was an interesting one. The story felt just a tad rushed, but the science involved was awesome, and the characters well-rounded.

"Jump Point Blockade" by David Lee Summers had GREAT characters (space pirates!), and a fast-moving, interesting story (with  the backstory hinted at very well).

"The Book of Enoch" by Matthew Cook focused on a single character dealing with his inner conflict while portraying a rich world around the character. Had a great resolution at the end that complemented the world-building very well.

"The Joystick War" by Jean Johnson was just plain, old fun. I could have done without some of the Alien diction (adding the extra "r" or "n" here and there), but the aliens themselves (cat-like, more or less) were really cool, and the story was just as cool (not to mention the Star Wars references in there made me LOL).

"The Hand of God" by Bryan Thomas Schmidt (the editor of the book and friend of the show) was edge-of-your-seat from sentence one. I loved the space-pirate/smuggler character the story focused on. It was cool to see a couple characters from the Davi Rhii Saga make appearences, and it makes me really excited to read the next in the series (The Returning).

My only complaints:

"Between the Rocks" by Anna Paradox was just a little lackluster for an opening story. It was well written and had a decent pace, but not enough world-building/character-development around the action.

"Guard Dog" by Mike Resnick and Brad R. Torgersen fell a little flat for me. I was surprised, given the clout that comes along with being a Mike Resnick story (he's pretty darn epic). The tech and science was really cool, but the story itself kind of rushed along and didn't really have the resonance it needed to be really really good.

Overall: 5/5. It's a great collection of stories even if you're fairly new to Sci-Fi (like I am: this is only, maybe, the third Sci-Fi book I've read recently). The stories, for the most part, are interesting, fun, and full of action and great characters. 

(Check out our series of interviews with Bryan on our podcast, The First Million Words, buy his book, The Worker Prince, and pick up Space Battles from Amazon)

Category:Book Reviews -- posted at: 3:43am EST

The guys discuss making a good character with Michael J Sullivan. We talk about names, development, and what it takes to write a good lady character (if you're a dude). We may even get a little off topic and talk about some MMORPG's that we've played. Find Michael's website here ( and on Twitter here (@author_sulivan). Enjoy!

Direct download: 01-07.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 4:53pm EST

Michael J Sullivan stops by to discuss his Riyria Revelations series and what it took to get them out to the world (and it's a good thing he did, these books are awesome). This episode runs a little long because Ben and Guillermo just kept asking so many questions, and Michael was gracious enough to answer them all (subjects like outlining, editing, finishing, having an awesome wife...) Find Michael's website here at and follow him on Twitter @author_sulivan. Join us next week for our in-depth discussion on Characters. Write!

Direct download: 01-06.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 12:31am EST