on being a professional writer and being okay

This shall be one of my rare writing posts. I don't often write about writing, because the whole writing experience is extremely subjective and personal.

However, I have been seeing the phrase "professional writer" bounced around a lot lately by a lot of folks who have different interpretations as to what being a professional writer entails. My personal interpretation of what it means to write professionally can be summed very succinctly:

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a writing contest for Mark Lawrence's Liar's Key and a brief interview with me

I am joining Mark Lawrence, Myke Cole, T.O. Munro, David Jackson, and Marc Aplin (of the Fantasy Faction blog) in judging the Liar's Key Writing Contest. For those of you who follow me on a regular basis, you know I did this last year, which is like last century in Internet time. However, I remember it was a lot of fun so when Mark asked me to participate this year, I didn't hesitate to say yes. Several of the contestants put their best writing chops forward, and after a winner was chosen, we went back and provided a few critiques of the finalists and told them what worked for us and what didn't.

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[Guest Post] Punishments for the Upper Classes in Tudor England by April Taylor

Contrary to most people’s perception, torture was against the law unless the perceived crime was considered so heinous - such as treason or heresy - that the monarch ordered the victim to undergo “persuasion” to tell all.  Upper class Tudors like royalty and courtiers were educated and rich and prone to gain power by intrigue. Being accused of a serious crime could result in torture. They would be tried in the Star Chamber and had no recourse to legal representation or right of reply. The rack is the instrument of torture most people have heard of, but, in England, there was only one and it was in the Tower of London. Anne Askew, accused of heresy, was the only woman to be racked before she was burned by Mary I (known as Bloody Mary and eldest daughter of Henry VIII).

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[Guest Post] God Is All Loving (Some Exemptions Apply): Religious Magic in Horror and Fantasy by Harry Connolly

Every time I see a vampire recoil from a crucifix, I feel a little sour.

Here's why: Imagine you're walking home from your job on the late shift. You're tired. Your feet hurt. You just want some of the leftover lamb korma in your fridge and some shut eye. 

Then, some jerk leaps out of the shadows, overpowers you, bites your neck, and kills you. After of being dead, you wake up in a grave, dig your way free, and search for blood to drink. No more lamb korma for you.

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a [very brief] history of Slavic vampire lore

I promised to write a blog post on vampires and while this might not be the post everyone was expecting, it's the post that was written. The reason for this is two fold: 1) I simply didn't find a lot of evidence for the erotic nature of vampirism in folklore; and 2) I didn't want to talk about the vampire in popular literature or movies because, quite frankly, the material on these subjects is voluminous. Most of the imagery regarding the erotic vampire originated in nineteenth century Gothic literature.

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on hell, demonology, and language

In college, I found there were scholars who took demons and demonology seriously. This was all much more to my liking even though these scholars left out all of the flash and glamour and the spitting of pea soup utilized by Hollywood. Scholars tend to focus on texts, and that was essentially what I was after--textual expositions on demonology.

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Disabilities and Strength in the Heart of a Warrior (#SFWApro)

I'm always excited when Sarah (Bookworm Blues) asks me for a post for her amazing SF Signal series, Special Needs in Strange Worlds. This week, my guest post is called Disabilities and Strength in the Heart of a Warrior, and you can read it at SF Signal's Special Needs in Strange Worlds.

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Alex Bledsoe and I talk about our novelette, Hisses and Wings, at SF Signal (#SFWApro)

This is just going to be a real short redirect post to let you know that Alex Bledsoe and I have an online conversation about our novelette, Hisses and Wings, over at SF Signal today. So if you're curious about how we came up with the story and characters, here's your chance to find out a little bit more. In other news ...

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Hybrid publishing and why I'll be doing more of it in 2015

Wow. Look at me. I'm just a blogging fool this week. Weeks of nothing, and all of a sudden, three posts in one week while I'm working on a fourth for someone else. Seriously, time is a lovely thing to have on one's hands. Unless you're the people reading all of this crap and going: SHUT UP, SHUT UP, SHUT UP, AND GO BACK TO WORK ALREADY.

Next week, darklings, next week. Meanwhile, I'm-a-blogging away.

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Keeping the closet shut is a choice too

I will tell you the story of a story and how a certain character came to life since we're all blathering about choices in characterization right now. Lord knows, we need something to keep our tiny minds occupied between bouts of writing and marketing, so here comes my entry into this foray and you might not like what I have to say, but, frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn.

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Marco Polo: a [mildly] spoilerific review (#SFWAPro)

During my annual post-holiday crash and burn, I plugged into Netflix's new series Marco Polo. I know the series has received some criticism for stereotypical Asian characters (Lenika Cruz gives a balanced review on this subject at The Atlantic). However, overlooking the usual credibility issues in these kinds of "historical" dramas, Marco Polo fares well in terms of story and characterization, which is what draws me to a series more than anything else.

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Looking back at 2014: I know I have been quiet ... (#SFWApro)

But I'm still here, recharging my batteries and making nefarious plans for more stories. 2014 was full of new experiences and busier than I originally thought. It was a year of writing, and, discounting blog posts, there were a lot of words. A few of the highlights include:

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Earning out, awards, and it's the end of the year and I feel fine (#SFWApro)

Advances and royalties for Miserere were split between Skyhorse and Start when the two publishers acquired Night Shade Books' backlist in 2013. Miserere earned out its advance with Skyhorse in 2013, and this past August, I got the news that Miserere had earned out with Start as well.

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The Indalo Man in Hisses and Wings (#SFWApro)

Last week, Alex and I were posting teasers about our new novelette, Hisses and Wings, on Facebook. We were looking for pictures that tied into the actual story itself, and one of the pictures that we used was that of the Indalo Man. He intrigued enough people that I promised I would blog about him and tell you a little more about what he represents and why he is in the story.

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Cover reveal for Hisses and Wings: a story of the Tufa and Los Nefilim (#SFWApro)

I've long been a fan of Alex Bledsoe's novels, so when I was offered an opportunity to work with Alex on a short story, I jumped at the chance. We bounced around some story ideas, and the one thing that seemed to click with both of us was that Alex's Tufa used music in their magic, and I have a series, Los Nefilim, whose magic is also based in music. 

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Shadow of the Vampire--another spoilerific movie review (#SFWApro)

When I wrote my review of Snowpiecer, Kate Elliott made an interesting comment. She said, "Most of my trouble with this film as I watched it came about because I went in with expectations that it was going to be a science fiction film about what it would be like to live on Earth after the world froze, and it is actually (as you so carefully discuss here) an entirely different film."

I experienced the same feeling with Shadow of the Vampire. I initially went into the film with the mindset that the movie was horror (thank you, Netflix, for that erroneous marketing) ...

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News about Manifesto: UF (#SFWApro)

Yesterday I received an email from Stacey Turner, Owner and Managing Editor of Angelic Knight Press. Angelic Knight Press is being acquired by a larger publisher and some titles from will not be carried over into the new imprint--Manifesto: UF is one of those titles. On December 1, 2014, Stacey will be removing Manifesto: UF from online distributors. All of this is normal and good and as it should be.

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