The Writer’s Hollow Reads: The Masked Songbird by Emmie Mears

Hello everyone! It’s been a while again (and even this post is a day late). I thought I’d do something different this week and share my space with Lovely Human Being and All Around Good Egg, Emmie Mears! If you don’t know her, you should. *stares with beady little dragon eyes until you do* So without further ado, here she is. –Dragon



Find Your Time

Sometime in high school, I realized that whatever gene was in charge of wiring my daily schedule must have been out to lunch on the critical presentation day. It’s no secret or mystery that most teens seem to revile the Morning Beast, but for me it was something else. I could barely function before 10 AM, and while I thought I’d grow out of it, I never did.

Fast forward to 2009 when I was teaching special education in DC, with the dream of writing novels for a living still fluttering inside my chest. My job was 45 minutes away, which meant I had to leave the house at about seven in the morning if I wanted to arrive on time. I frequently was at school until late afternoon, and I also had grad school classes until late some nights. Two months into the school year, I was exhausted and anxious. Christmas break went by so quickly that I was already yearning for summer – and none of it was really the job itself.

In spite of getting up so early every day, I was constantly awake until two or three in the morning. Couple that with my longstanding sleep anxiety (I get panicky when I know I am not going to get enough sleep, which makes me unable to relax and get any), and by the time April rolled around, I was lucky to get three hours a night.

A week later, I was in a bad car accident and was knocked flat on my back.

For five weeks.

Five weeks I couldn’t work and could barely move. Toward the end, I started noticing improvements. I was still up until two or three in the morning, but I was able to sleep until ten or so. I was getting a full night of sleep for the first time in what felt like decades.

That car accident, awful though it was, may have been the best thing to ever happen to me. It forced me to leave teaching, because there was no way I could go back to that kind of schedule. I needed a job where I wouldn’t be working 70-90 hours a week. I took the summer to recover, and in September I started waiting tables.

It wasn’t the most romantic notion, to be slinging beers and burgers as a college graduate, but my life improved dramatically. I was writing again. I finished another novel. I had a job I could leave at work, and I was able to get the sleep I needed.

So much of the world functions around the 9-5 schedule that I’d thought there was something wrong with me for a very long time. I’d thought that I could teach and write at the same time, but because the schedule never allowed me to take care of myself, the many little vacations and breaks we got were spent sleeping off the pent up exhaustion.

There’s no one way to be productive in your writing. Most of us who want to write have to have day jobs; the only way around that is judiciously applied lottery winnings or being independently wealthy or being the fraction of the fraction of a percent of writers who score a massive book deal right out of the gates. This means that we have to find a time that works for us to get our writing done. Some work best in the wee hours of the morning just after waking up. Others work best in the wee hours of the morning once everyone’s gone to bed. Some are afternoon writers, others write at lunch. Some scribble words in every spare minute; others need to carve out giant blocks of time.

Writing – especially as a career – is a persistence game. And it’s really hard to be persistent when your daily routine has burnt you to crispy critter status and the sound of your alarm clock triggers only negative feels and a string of expletives inside your skull.

Plenty of people will tell you to do it their way; I’m here to tell you to find your own. If my way works for you, use it. But if it doesn’t, you’re your own you…and the only you who can figure out which time of day makes your words flow.

The Masked Songbird_FC (2)


Mildly hapless Edinburgh accountant Gwenllian Maule is surviving. She’s got a boyfriend, a rescued pet bird and a flatmate to share rent. Gwen’s biggest challenges: stretching her last twenty quid until payday and not antagonizing her terrifying boss.

Then Gwen mistakenly drinks a mysterious beverage that gives her heightened senses, accelerated healing powers and astonishing strength. All of which come in handy the night she rescues her activist neighbour from a beat-down by political thugs.

Now Gwen must figure out what else the serum has done to her body, who else is interested and how her boss is involved. Finally—and most mysteriously—she must uncover how this whole debacle is connected to the looming referendum on Scottish independence.

Gwen’s hunt for answers will test her superpowers and endanger her family, her friends—even her country.

Emmie Mears was born in Austin, Texas, where the Lone Star state promptly spat her out at the tender age of three months. After a childhood spent mostly in Alaska, Oregon, and Montana, she became a proper vagabond and spent most of her time at university devising ways to leave the country.

Except for an ill-fated space opera she attempted at age nine, most of Emmie’s childhood was spent reading books instead of writing them. Growing up she yearned to see girls in books doing awesome things, and struggled to find stories in her beloved fantasy genre that showed female heroes saving people and hunting things. Mid-way through high school, she decided the best way to see those stories was to write them herself. She now scribbles her way through the fantasy genre, most loving to pen stories about flawed characters and gritty situations lightened with the occasional quirky humor.

You can preorder THE MASKED SONGBIRD here (! Released in a box set, you get four great paranormal and urban fantasy books for less than $4!

Follow Emmie on Twitter @EmmieMears and join her on Facebook!

Emmie now lives in her eighth US state, still yearning for a return to Scotland. She inhabits a cozy domicile outside DC with two felines who think they’re lions and tigers.


Emmie Mears

Author of THE MASKED SONGBIRD (Harlequin 2014)

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