Mercedes Lackey

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Name: Mercedes Lackey
Also Known As: Misty Lackey
Occupation: writer
Medium: books,filk
Works: Valdemar series, Elemental Masters series, more
Official Website(s): Worlds of Mercedes Lackey
Fan Website(s):
On Fanlore: Related pages


Mercedes Lackey is the author of numerous fantasy novels in several series, most notably the Valdemar series and a group of interlocking series featuring elves and other magical beings in (mostly) modern urban settings. She has also written many short stories and edited several anthologies.

Prior to becoming a professional author, Lackey was a writer of fanfiction[1]. Her early short fiction includes work set in Marion Zimmer Bradley's Darkover universe[2], and stories inspired by a role-playing game titled Bureau 13: Stalking the Night Fantastic.[3] Diana Tregarde, later one of Lackey's series protagonists, makes her first appearance in one of the latter stories. Both Bradley and C. J. Cherryh served as mentors to Lackey as she transitioned from fanfiction to professional publication.

In 2006, Lackey revealed that "I....shuffle mumble shuffle....still write fanfic. Of all darn things, fanfic set in a superhero MMORPG, City of Heroes".[4] She is also one of several writers who has created a story arc or arcs at the request of the game's sponsors.[5]

Attitudes Toward Fanfiction

Mercedes Lackey's position regarding fanfic set in her original literary universes has varied considerably over time.

M Lackey Fan Fiction Release Form
  • 1988(?) - Establishes guidelines allowing members of Queen's Own[6] (an authorized fan organization devoted to her Valdemar series) to create personae and write fanfic set in Valdemar -- specifically, in an AU branching from an alternate ending to Arrow's Fall).[7]
  • 198? - Develops and circulates a legal release form[8] which prospective fan writers are asked to sign and return prior to circulating fanfic based on her published works.
  • 198?-199? - Hosts and moderates an online community, Modems of the Queen, on GEnie[9]. Participants who have submitted release forms create fanfic set both in Valdemar and in Lackey's "urban elves" universe.
  • 199?-200? - Citing advice from her agent, Russell Galen, withdraws support for most fanfiction based on her published works. Stories circulate indicating that she and/or Galen and/or her legal counsel aggressively discourage fanfiction brought to her attention during this period.
  • 2002 - Releases a commentary via her Web site discussing the evolution of fanfiction from printzines to the online era.[10]
  • 2006 - Reveals on Making Light that she still writes fanfic[4], and that she approves of not-for-profit fanfic[11].
  • 2009 - Releases a statement via her Web site formally granting fanfic writers permission to create derivative works based on her stories, under a specified Creative Commons license.[12]
  • 2010 - Mercedes Lackey's pep talk for NaNoWriMo advises: "try writing fanfiction. [...] It's fun, it's going to give you a giant kick-start, and you would be surprised at how many professionals started out that way (and still do it!)."[13]
  • 2011 - Lifts the ban of fan fiction, points to her agent as the source of the ban, and reminds fans that if they're writing anything other than PG-13, they need to take 'proper precautions.' She points to fan fiction as derivative work and states it will be licensed under the Creative Commons license. Selling hard copies of fan fiction is still forbidden. [14]


Lackey is the author of a sizeable number of filk song lyrics. Her earliest work includes filk inspired by the novels of C. J. Cherryh, but following the publication of Arrows of the Queen, most of her subsequent work has been inspired by her own Valdemar novels.

Since she has very rarely created music to accompany her lyrics, most of the tunes for Lackey's songs have been written by other hands. Her best-known musical collaborator is probably Leslie Fish, but other composers have included Heather Alexander, Cecilia Eng, Michael Longcor, and members of the folk groups Tempest and Golden Bough. Many of Lackey's songs have been recorded and released on albums published by Off Centaur Publications and/or Firebird Arts & Music. A few of the earliest live convention albums feature performances by Lackey herself, and she performed the part of Selenay on the album Heralds, Harpers and Havoc.[15].


  1. Ebon Tower: Mercedes Lackey Interview Accessed March 15, 2010.
  2. Wikipedia: Free Amazons of Darkover Accessed March 15, 2010.
  3. Wikipedia: Mercedes Lackey (Diane Tregarde) Accessed March 15, 2010.
  4. 4.0 4.1 April 26, 2006 comment by Mercedes Lackey on Making Light. Accessed October 1, 2008.
  5. City of Heroes: News Archive Accessed March 15, 2010.
  6. Queen's Own FAQ Accessed March 15, 2010.
  7. "Queen's Own Fan Fiction Guidelines (accessed 14 Mar 2010)
  8. Release Form for Mercedes Lackey Accessed March 15, 2010.
  9. Queen's Own Newsletter--April 1992 Accessed March 15, 2010. This appears to be the first reference to MotQ as a chapter of Queen's Own, but the GEnie community had been active for some time prior to the newsletter's cover date.
  10. Worlds of Mercedes Lackey: Ask Misty Accessed March 15, 2010.
  11. April 26, 2006 comment by Mercedes Lackey on Making Light. Accessed October 1, 2008.
  12. Worlds of Mercedes Lackey - News (bottom of page) Accessed March 14, 2010.
  13. Mercedes Lackey's pep talk accessed November 4, 2010.
  14. "As you folks already know, my agent, Russel Galen, has in the past been opposed to fanfiction. However, he is also Cory Doctorow's agent now, and Cory is a persuasive little gnome. As a result of this, I am happy to announce that we are officially permitting fanfiction to be licensed as derivative fiction under the Creative Commons umbrella. What this means is: NO, you cannot make money on it. NO, you cannot self-publish a fanfiction novel of Valdemar (or any of my other stuff) and try and sell it on Amazon. And NO, I still am not going to read it, because I am already so far behind on my research reading I barely have time to read that. But YES, you may write and post away, folks, so long as you license it as derivative and under Creative Commons. If it is anything other than PG-13, please take all the proper precautions to stick it somewhere that innocent souls won't be corrupted. Do not scare the children or the horses. Have fun!"Mercedes Lackey: The Official Website], accessed May 1, 2011.
  15. Worlds of Mercedes Lackey (Ask Misty: Music) Accessed March 15, 2010.
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