James D. Macdonald

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James D. Macdonald
Jim Macdonald and Debra Doyle at Readercon
Born 1954 (age 60–61)
White Plains, New York
Pen name Robyn Tallis, Nicholas Adams, Victor Appleton, Douglas Morgan, Martin Delrio
Occupation Writer
Nationality American
Period 1990s to present
Genre fantasy, science fiction, mystery
Jim Macdonald reads at Boskone 43, 2006

James D. Macdonald (born 1954) is an American author and critic who lives in New Hampshire with his wife and frequent collaborator, Dr. Debra Doyle. He works in several genres, concentrating on fantasy, but also writing science fiction, and mystery and media tie-ins.[1]


Macdonald was born in 1954, and raised in White Plains, New York. He attended the University of Rochester[citation needed], and went on to serve in the US Navy for fifteen years.[2] He has been writing professionally since the early 1990s and has published 35 novels.

Educational work[edit]

Macdonald is well known for his work in educating aspiring authors, particularly for his advice on avoiding literary scams. Early in his career he was asked by such an author how much he had paid to have his books published, and in response began a campaign of educating other writers about the problems of vanity publishers. As part of this campaign, he coined Yog's Law,[3] which states "Money should flow toward the author." This rule is named after "Yog Sysop", a nickname of Macdonald that refers to Yog-Sothoth. It is often quoted by professional authors such as John Scalzi[4] and Teresa Nielsen Hayden[5] when giving advice on finding an agent and getting published.

Atlanta Nights and PublishAmerica[edit]

Main article: Atlanta Nights

One target of his campaign is PublishAmerica, a company that claims not to be a vanity publisher but a "traditional publisher" that accepts or rejects books based on their quality. Macdonald organized a group of professional authors to test whether that company was actually reading any submissions for clarity and realism before accepting them. One day after Macdonald issued a press release announcing that PublishAmerica had accepted a manuscript that was created to be as bad as possible, the company withdrew the offer to publish it.[6][7]

Awards and honors[edit]

Knight's Wyrd was awarded the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Children's literature,[8] 1992, and named to the New York Public Library Books for the Teen Age list in 1993.[9] In 1997, he was awarded Best Young-Adult Science Fiction by the Science Fiction Chronicle for Groogleman.[citation needed]

Select bibliography[edit]


  • The Apocalypse Door, Tor (New York, NY), 2002.

Novels with Debra Doyle [1][edit]

  • (Under pseudonym Robyn Tallis) Night of Ghosts and Lightning ("Planet Builders" series), Ivy, 1989.
  • (Under pseudonym Robyn Tallis) Zero-Sum Games ("Planet Builders" series), Ivy, 1989.
  • (Under pseudonym Victor Appleton) Monster Machine ("Tom Swift" series), Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1991.
  • (Under pseudonym Victor Appleton) Aquatech Warriors ("Tom Swift" series), Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1991.
  • Timecrime, Inc. ("Robert Silverberg's 'Time Tours'" series), Harper (New York, NY), 1991.
  • Night of the Living Rat ("Daniel Pinkwater's 'Melvinge of the Megaverse'" series), Ace Books (New York, NY), 1992.
  • Knight's Wyrd, Harcourt, Brace (New York, NY), 1992.
  • Groogleman, Harcourt, Brace (New York, NY), 1996.
  • Requiem for Boone (based on the television series Gene Roddenberry's Earth—Final Conflict), Tor (New York, NY), 2000.
  • (As Douglas Morgan) Tiger Cruise, Forge (New York, NY), 2001.
  • (As Douglas Morgan) What Do You Do with a Drunken Sailor? (nonfiction), Swordsmith, 2002.
  • Land of Mist and Snow, Eos, 2006
  • Lincoln's Sword, Harper Collins, 2010[10] ISBN 9780060819279

"Circle of Magic/The Wizard Apprentice" series, with Debra Doyle [1][edit]

  • School of Wizardry, Troll (Metuchen, NJ), 1990. ISBN 978-0816769360
  • Tournament and Tower/The Secret of the Tower, Troll (Metuchen, NJ), 1990. ISBN 978-0816718290
  • City by the Sea/The Wizard's Statue, Troll (Metuchen, NJ), 1990. ISBN 978-0816718313
  • The Prince's Players/Danger in the Palace, Troll (Metuchen, NJ), 1990. ISBN 978-0816718337
  • The Prisoners of Bell Castle/The Wizard's Castle, Troll (Metuchen, NJ), 1990. ISBN 978-0816718351
  • The High King's Daughter, Troll (Metuchen, NJ), 1990. ISBN 978-0816769971
  • Mystery at the Wizardry School, Troll (Metuchen NJ), 2003. [This book was not written by the authors James D. Macdonald and Debra Doyle, they only wrote the first 6][citation needed]
  • Voice of the Ice, Cloverdale Press, 2003. [This book was not written by Doyle and Macdonald, despite having their names on the cover.]

Horror High series [1][edit]

All written with Debra Doyle under the joint pseudonym "Nicholas Adams."

  1. Horror High: Mister Popularity, Harper Collins, 1990
  2. Horror High: Resolved: You're Dead, Harper Collins, 1990
  3. Horror High: Heartbreaker, Harper Collins, 1991
  4. Horror High: New Kid on the Block, Harper Collins, 1991
  5. Horror High: Hard Rock, Harper Collins, 1991
  6. Horror High: Sudden Death, Harper Collins, 1991
  7. Horror High: Pep Rally, Harper Collins, 1991
  8. Horror High: Final Curtain, Harper Collins, 1991
  • Horror High: Blood Game, Harper Collins, 1993
  • Horror High: Deadly Secret, Harper Collins, 1993
  • Horror High: Voice of Evil, Harper Collins, 1993
  • Horror High: You're Dead, Harper Collins, 1993 [11]

Mageworld series [1][edit]

Written with Debra Doyle, Mageworld is a space opera novel series originally published in the 1990s and re-issued as e-books in 2012.

  1. The Price of the Stars, Tor Books (New York), 1992.
  2. Starpilot's Grave, Tor, 1993.
  3. By Honor Betray'd, Tor, 1994.
  4. The Gathering Flame, Tor, 1995.
  5. The Long Hunt, Tor, 1996.
  6. The Stars Asunder, Tor, 1999.
  7. A Working of Stars, Tor, 2002.

"Bad Blood" series, with Debra Doyle [1][edit]

  • Bad Blood, Berkley (New York, NY), 1993.
  • Hunters' Moon, Berkley (New York, NY), 1994.
  • Judgment Night, Berkley (New York, NY), 1995.

Under joint pseudonym "Martin Delrio," with Debra Doyle [1][edit]

  • Mortal Kombat (movie novelization), Tor (New York, NY), 1995.
  • Midnight Justice ("Spider-Man Super-Thriller" series), Byron Preiss (New York, NY), 1996.
  • Global War ("Spider-Man Super-Thriller" series), Byron Preiss (New York, NY), 1996.
  • Harold R. Foster's Prince Valiant (movie novelization), Avon (New York, NY), 1998.
  • The Loch Ness Monster (nonfiction), Rosen Publishing (New York, NY), 2002.
  • Truth and Shadows (novel; "MechWarrior: Dark Age" series), Roc (New York, NY), 2003.


External links[edit]