Category Archives: Writer’s Hollow

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)

Writer’s Hollow: NaNoWriMo and Pitch Slam!

by Chynna-Blue, a.k.a. The Vamp


April’s NaNoWriMo has begun! If you didn’t get the memo, you’re only 7 days behind, so if you feel like taking part you can sign up here.

If you don’t want to officially take part, you could always use the premise to build up the word count of your current WIP. Give yourself a 1,000 word a day goal for every day until the end of April and voila, you’ll have a finished draft by the end of the month.


To make April even MORE exciting, Pitch Slam starts this month! This year the pitching process has a rockstar theme, as if we needed another reason to be excited!


Leatrice McKinney gives an excellent rundown of the rounds participants will have to make it through, starting with auditions on the 20th April beginning at 12AM EST. I sincerely recommend you check out her post if you’re thinking of taking part.


If you have any interesting news you’d like to share with fellow writers, drop it in the comments. Peace!


Not on my watch…

Hey All!

I don’t really know where this is going, but I’ve been thinking, and thinking leads to me wanting to write stuff down. So I thought I’d just roll with the topic of rejection and see where we end up. (If we end up in therapy, well, at least we’ll all be there together, right?)

There’s been a heap of stuff on my Twitter feed about rejection lately. There always is, but…I don’t know, maybe it’s the season or the weather…it just seems that some of you guys aren’t handling it as well as normal.  I’m not for a second suggesting that you should or even could handle rejection well. Rejection is like a sucker punch to the spleen, it can shake the firmest of foundations. What I am saying is that recently the tweets I see about being rejected are accompanied by statements about giving up writing altogether, followed closely by declarations of zero self worth, and this just makes me want to hug the life out of you.

I wanted this post to be charged with positive messages like, don’t give up, there is still light at the end of the tunnel, subjectivity, personal taste ect… But then I started to worry (I do that a lot, about everything) that you guys would think that was disingenuous, that these are such easy things for me to say when I’m not in the query trenches. I’m guilty of doing that, and feeling that way. This time last year I was reading tweets by agents/editors that amounted to rejection is hard for us too. And honestly, my first thought would be, it can’t possibly be as hard for you as it is for me because the dream job you’re doing just shot my dream job in cold blood.  I’m sure some of you are thinking wow, this chick was bitter. You’d be right,  I was, right up until I got a glimpse of rejection from the other side.

I was trying to figure out how I could convince you that the positive reinforcement I’m about to spew , agent or not, is completely sincere. There’s only one way I can think of and that’s by telling you how it feels to send a rejection. So, for the last 10 months I’ve been interning at a small publishers. My official title is submissions coordinator. What that means is that I put all the info for every query we receive into a spreadsheet, sort manuscripts into folders and make requests! I also have to send rejections. (Don’t worry. Everything I send out is based on what our highly experienced editors tell me.)

Hitting the send button on an email I know is going to upset someone, makes me feel like shit. My insides curl, I get hot and anxious. I have to check my spelling twenty times because I don’t want you to think I’m being disrespectful by spelling the name of your story wrong. I send during the week because I’m conscious of ruining someone’s weekend. I don’t copy and paste names from queries, I type out every one because it feels more personal. Granted, it’s no secret that I’m a little soft and squishy around the edges. I remember when we were first discussing creating this blog and The Vampire was all no rainbows or unicorns, and my fluffy, pink, cried-when-my-goldfish-died soul crumbled a little. Regardless, it’s so hard to tell someone that, for whatever reason, their manuscript isn’t a good match  — and I’m just the messenger. I don’t even have to make the decision to reject, I just press the damn send button on the email. I’m not trying to tell you guys that I take it harder or even as hard as you do when you get a rejection from me. I don’t think I do, I don’t think that’s possible. But what I have discovered is that when an agent/editor tells you that it was a hard decision or that they can sympathize with how hurt you’re feeling, or that they wish you luck in placing your books elsewhere, as empty as you might feel the sentiment is, I can vouch that it’s not.

I really  hope that in telling you guys this it reinforces my sincerity when I say please don’t give up writing based on a rejection — based on fifty rejections — no one thinks you are incapable. You are not bad at what you do, it’s just that for some reason that you will eventually figure out, your book didn’t quite fit. That doesn’t mean it’s never going to fit anywhere. It doesn’t mean that at all. You are not suddenly the crappest writer on the planet when your story isn’t right for an agent/editor. You write because you love telling stories don’t let a minor bump in the road kill your passion. That would be tragic. You can do this, and you will do it. In fact, the only reason you won’t be able to do this is if you stop trying.  That’s it. That’s what I wanted to tell you!

Anyway, I’m always around for a chat about queries and pages! Give me a shout, if I can help, I absolutely will!

You’ve got this…




Writer’s Hollow…or why some things are pissing us off this week…


Alreet,  my lovelies <<< read this in your best Richard Sharpe accent.

Here’s the thing, we were coming up dry when it came to new competitions and opportunities to tell you about this week. So, after a brief brainstorming session in the inbox, we’ve decided to talk to you about a couple of things that have recently gone down in the writing world instead.

Piece of news number one: After a lengthy battle, The Authors Guild lost their lawsuit against Google Books. U.S. Circuit Judge, Denny Chin, ruled that Google’s controversial book scanning saga was in line with the law. You see, because Google are only showing us a snippet from the books they scanned, they’re not in breach of any copyright laws. Judge Chin believes that Google Books are doing a great service in helping the arts and sciences to progress… Okay, you guys! How do we feel about this? I’ve read very mixed opinions online. There’s a lot of talk about gluttonous corporations and overreacting authors. Let us know what you think.

Piece of news number two: At the weekend,the absolutely brilliant Chuck Wendig was tweeting about how hard it was for him to arrange a book signing at his local Indie store. You can find a little of that discussion here. I’ve been hearing a lot about this lately. A couple of weeks ago, a friend approached a bookstore and was told that if she wanted to be taken seriously as an author she must pursue a career in traditional publishing. This friend has over half a dozen books published by small presses and when she’s not writing for small presses she’s working for one as an editor.  We want to know if you’ve ever come up against a wave of opposition over wanting to sign your own work? Or why you think it is that Indie stores aren’t desperately seeking authors for signings?

One last thing before we part: The Midnight Type are loving the irony of these two issues.  Loving it in that look-down-your-nose,  snort-derision-at kind of way.  One second we’re telling you about a  judge and this massive company that has a finger in every pie, but who, according to judge Chin, are ‘helping the arts to progress’ and then in the next we’re telling you that the writers of actual books, the front runners of said artistic progression are working their arses off just to be acknowledged by local book stores, and meet the patrons that actually buy and love their books. I mean, seriously???? Now, if you’ll excuse us,  we gotta go and ask a judge what more we can do to contribute to this artistic progression movement…

Writer’s Hollow

By Kristen, a.k.a. The Jezebel

So it’s my first time coming to you from The Writer’s Hollow. I like it here, it’s cozy. I’ll probably hang more stuff on the walls as time goes by, but for now, I’ll get down to business and tell you all the news worth knowing in the writing world this week.
(I want anchorwoman hair.)

RWA, the Romance Writers of America, is taking submissions for its annual RITA award, celebrating excellence in romantic fiction. You enter in your genre, and you can also enter your debut novel to be considered for best first book. Two thousands entries will be considered, and you have until November 27 to get yourself involved. BUT. You will be placed on a waiting list if you are not a judge in the contest.


My agency, Foreword Literary, is growing! This week they welcomed New York based agent Emily Keyes has joined the agency as an agent. Julie and I listened to her talk on one of the panels at the Backspace Conference last year. She’s friendly, open minded, and looking for MG, YA, NA, fantasy and sci fi. Foreword is closed to submissions until the end of the year, but you can get your manuscript ready for January if it fits her guidelines.


We had an exciting launch week at The Midnight Type! We finished out our first full week with a huge announcement from our founder and vampire, Chynna-Blue Scott. Her debut novel, Bloodborn, will be published by Entranced Publishing!!

From Chynna-Blue’s website:
BLOOD BORN is a YA Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy. It tells the story of Meg Wild, an 18 year old inhuman struggling to deal with the fact that she’s not as mortal as she thought she was – and that fact she just happens to be falling for someone even more inhuman than she.

Yes! She will be publishing mates with another fantastic member of this team, Louise Gornall. Entranced also will be releasing the follow up to In Stone soon. Obviously, Entranced knows what’s up.

Writer’s Hollow…


Bonjour, mes amis!


Every Monday, here at the Midnight Type, we’re going to tell you a little bit about what’s going on in the writing world. If you know something we don’t, please please please feel free to drench our comments section in your wisdom…


Let’s get down to buisnez. Right now in the writing world, there’s this little competition taking place called NaNoWriMo. NaNoWriMo? What’s that? I hear you all cry — okay, so maybe you’re not all crying that, but there are some writer types out there that don’t know what NaNoWriMo is. So, for those types, NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month. That means that during the month of November you are challenged to write a novel of at least 50k words. At the time of writing this post there were no fewer than 261,259 novelists signed up and taking part. To find out more about NaNo click the linky below:


50k in one month might have some of you shaking in your shoes. That’s okay. Our very own Jinx gets shaky and sweaty at the mere mention of deadlines and word counts.  If shaky and sweaty is you after reading about NaNoWriMo, you might be interested in learning about ProjectREUTSway.  ProjectREUTSway is brought to us by REUTS Publications and their grand prize includes being published in an anthology. Ladies and gents, if you can retell a dark fairytale, this is definitely worth a look. To find out more about ProjectREUTSway click the linky below:


Literary agent extraordinaire, Mandy Hubbard, of D4EO Literary, has an open submissions call out right now.  She’s looking for both writers of NA and YA. Mandy is seeking the right voice to help work on a few projects in development.  The great thing about this opportunity is that your project doesn’t have to be complete. She just wants to see 5-10 sample pages of perfectly polished writing. It’s not the story she wants…it’s your voice!! Interested? Click the linky below to find out more:


*Drum roll*

And now boys and girls, it’s time for some in-house news….

We have a book birthday in our midst. You guys, our very own Jezebel is having a book birthday on November 5th. Yep. Kristen Strassel’s, BECAUSE THE NIGHT, will goes live tomorrow!!!!! If you’re not excited about sexy vampire rockstars, it’s time to get excited. Click the cover below to add BECAUSE THE NIGHT to your Goodreads TBR!! Do it now!!


and last, but by no means least…

The winner of our caption contest is….



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