Darynda Jones — The Day-to-Days

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So, as I head into my third year as a published author, I am still struggling to find a balance in how I write. And believe you me, I have tried it all.

For example, I’ve tried sleeping late, attending to business when I get up, then staying up all night to write.

ADVANTAGE: No distractions. (Bwahahaha, it’s called the Internet. Let’s change that to LESS distractions.

DISADVANTAGE: I’m on Mountain Time, so by the time I got up to start my day, NY was almost done with theirs, which meant my editor, agent, publicist, marketing team, audiobook producer, everyone was calling it a day. I felt like I was missing out and I would often get to emails late in the day that should have been answered sooner.

I have tried getting up early and writing BEFORE the world needs my attention.

ADVANTAGE: I got [...]

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Joshua Palmatier — Zombies Need Brains

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Welcome to the first post here at Magical Words related to the upcoming anthology CLOCKWORK UNIVERSE: STEAMPUNK vs ALIENS, the first release from the new small press I’ve founded called Zombies Need Brains. The intent behind this press is to produce quality SF&F-themed anthologies, hopefully a couple a year, with an escalating schedule after that. Since I’m writing these posts as the EDITOR of the first anthology, I figured I’d direct the topics more toward what the editor is looking for in terms of Character, Plot, etc. This first post is about Character, so let’s focus in on that.

What is the editor looking for when perusing submitted stories? Obviously, different editors look for different things, but I, personally, am mostly focused on character. If the story I’m reading doesn’t have an engaging character, then it’s extremely unlikely that I’m going to be interested in buying the story [...]

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Brandy Schillace: Balancing Academic Work and Writing Life

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Rogue Scholar. ​I like the image this phrase conjures: the highway white with moonlight, the carriage rattling and banging as the driver nods in his seat…and scholarly rogues riding from shadowed enclaves, brandishing the sharpened steel of academic rigor. It doesn’t quite work that way—but there’s a shade of truth here all the same. Academia can be both competition and battlefield. It requires enormous sacrifice of time and energy, and it steals away hours as deftly as any highwayman. In a dwindling job market, universities demand more and give less, and the PhD lucky enough to land a job finds herself frequently beleaguered. The tenure track leaves little enough time for research—and far less for creative endeavors. How is it possible to balance a writing life in the midst of these other obligations? It’s no wonder some turn to the rogue lifestyle, with more academics seeking “alt-ac” or alternative careers. [...]

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Gail Z. Martin: My So-Called Writing Life

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So the prompt says “how you live and write and stay sane.” Hmm. I’m not sure that I do. (Stay sane, that is.)

This year, 2014, is turning out to be a happy and challenging year. Happy because I’m fortunate enough to have two new novels out—Reign of Ash from Orbit Books (April) in epic fantasy, and Deadly Curiosities from Solaris Books (June) in urban fantasy. A new steampunk novel is under contract with Solaris, due out in 2015. I’m in at least seven anthologies (!) and more seem to keep cropping up. I bring out a new short story on ebook each month and I’m working on a novella. These are all good challenges to have and I’m grateful for the opportunities, but you know what they say—be careful what you wish for!

If there is a secret to staying relatively sane, [...]

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Duuuudes!

Faith HunterFaith Hunter

I know it’s Saturday, but I Had. To. Share!

Jane Yellowrock is a vampire killer for hire—but other creatures of the night still need to watch their backs….

When the Master of the city of New Orleans asks Jane to improve security for a future visit from a delegation of European vampires, she names an exorbitant price—and Leo is willing to pay. That’s because the European vamps want Leo’s territory, and he knows that he needs Jane to prevent a total bloodbath. Leo, however, doesn’t mention how this new job will change Jane’s life or the danger it will bring her and her team.

Jane has more to worry about than some greedy vampires. There’s a vicious creature stalking the streets of New Orleans, and its agenda seems to be ripping Leo and her to pieces. Now Jane just has to figure out how to kill something she can’t [...]

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Cartwheels on the Tightrope: Finding Balance in the Writing Life

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Chloe Neill ( Photo credit: Dana Damewood)

Let’s get the disclaimer out there and up front: I have absolutely no clue how to find balance in a writing life. But I’m trying to learn.

I have a full time (plus) dayjob, and a very full writing life. I’ve written a YA series (Dark Elite), a PNR/UF series (Chicagoland Vampires), and I’m hoping to announce my next project within the next couple of weeks. That one will intersect with CV, so I’ll be writing two projects at a time. Not unusual for a genre author, but not the easiest course for someone with a dayjob.

So, yeah. Professionally, I lead a pretty full life.

I try to compartmentalize the professions as much as possible. Daylight hours during the week are for the dayjob. Evenings and weekends are for writing. Obviously, the divisions aren’t always that clean: my editor may [...]

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Living the Dream

Diana Pharaoh FrancisDiana Pharaoh Francis

The truth is that living as a writer is a dream come true. This is the thing I would choose to do above all others. It has its challenges, however. I went full time about six months ago, though it looks like I’ll take on part-time teaching work in a dream teaching job next year (I’ll be teaching in an MFA program specializing in genre literature, but that’s another story). Before that, I was teaching full time at a undergraduate university and writing part time (as part time as you can be while producing two books a year). I had two young kids as well. I had to be incredibly organized and focused to be able to get things done. Often I was keeping ahold of sanity by just fingernails.

We moved to Oregon from Montana in July of last year and I started in September to write full time. [...]

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