Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Juggling Chainsaws—Work-Life Balance for Writers

by Elizabeth Schechter

If you work, or have worked, in the corporate world for any length of time, you've probably heard the term "work-life balance." Modern white-collar employment is all about maximizing work-life balance, which means that you should leave work at work, and when you're at home, you should focus on family and leisure. It's a teeter-totter -- when one side is up, you're at work. When the other side is up, you play. Toggle on, toggle off.  Looks good on paper, right? The problem is that work-life balance doesn't really existat least, not the way that people think. I've learned that the work-life balance isn't so much a teeter-totter as it is a juggling act. And what you're doing is juggling chainsaws.
I have to admit, juggling chainsaws looks fantastically impressive. You get these heavy, dangerous things all up in the air all at once, and everyone thinks you're amazing. Until you drop one. Then the screaming and running start.
Now, I can't speak for all writers, because I'm just me. I know several writers who juggle writing, a full-time job outside the home, family, and countless other things. In my world, I have the following chainsaws:
Domestic Life
Leisure Time/Hobbies
Writing is the obvious one here. Domestic life is housekeeping and cooking. Leisure time and hobbies, that's self-explanatory, as is Health. Homeschooling is one that's a bit outside the norm for most writersI'm currently homeschooling my 10-year-old son, which means that he's with me pretty much all day. So, five chainsaws. And I'm supposed to keep them all in the air, because that's what moms who are writers who also happen to homeschool do, right?
The most I can keep in the air and still stay sane (remember, one of those chainsaws is health) is Four. Writing and Health are usually not optional; there will be writing, and there will be doctor's appointments and gym trips and Weight Watchers meetings. Homeschooling is also in the usually not optional category there will be school, unless I get too close to a deadline, in which case there will be documentary school courtesy of Blu-ray, YouTube and CuriosityStream.  Domestic Life? That's a fuzzy chainsaw. There will always be home-cooked meals and clean laundry, but there might not always be a spotless house (more on that later). The chainsaw I pick up the least is the hobbies one; my to-read pile is almost as tall as I am, and my UFO (UnFinished Object) pile of knitting is getting pretty tall.
Sometimes I have to change out chainsaws . Just recently, I set down the Writing Chainsaw (gasp!) so I could more full focus on the Domestic Life one (translation: I took a few days off of finishing Rebel Mage 3 to clean my house). Sometimes, I have to put the chainsaws down and focus on other things. When Hurricane Matthew headed for Florida, the chainsaws all went away, because the one thing you don't want to be doing in an emergency situation is throwing around dangerous tools.
Am I pushing the limits on the metaphor? Maybe. But it's a fun one, so work with me.
And sometimes, yes, I do drop a chainsaw. People get sick, or important revisions have to be done right now, or we lose power (five days after the hurricane? Seriously, power company?). When that happens, all you can do is regroup, pick them all up again, and get started all over.
Because, you know, those chainsaws aren't going to juggle themselves.

Disclaimer: The views expressed herein are solely those of the author and not the SFR Brigade. 

 Elizabeth Schechter has been called  one of the top erotica and alternative sexuality writers in the world. Her writing credits include the award-winning steampunk erotic romance House of Sable Locks,  the Celtic fantasy Princes of Air, and the dystopian fantasy Rebel Mage trilogy.  Her shorter work has appeared in anthologies edited by D.L King (Carnal Machines), Laura Antoniou (No Safewords), and Cecilia Tan (Jingle Balls; Like a Prince).
Elizabeth Schechter was born in New York at some point in the past. She is officially old enough to know better, but refuses to grow up. She lives in Central Florida with her husband and son, and a most accepting circle of friends who are both very amused and very proud of the pervy, fetish writer in their midst.
Elizabeth can be found online at http://elizabethschechterwrites.com, or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Elizabeth.A.Schechter.

Haven had been their goal since escaping the destruction of the School. Haven had promised safety, rest, an end to running and death. But things had gone badly wrong in the mountains. Tam and Linnea had to leave Matthias and Solomon behind to face the Elders, hoping to return for them once they’d found Haven. The reality does not live up to the promise. Isolated and dying, Haven fears outsiders almost more than it needs new blood. With only the griffon Dancer and the human healer Ilane for allies, Tam and Linnea fear that Haven’s rulers will prevent them from going back for their friends—then fire rains down from the sky, and things became so much worse for everyone

Monday, November 28, 2016

Science Fiction Romance Sale! #scifi #romance

Happy Cyber Monday! The is a science fiction romance sale going on. Forty ebooks by forty authors, many from the Science Fiction Romance Brigade, are either Free or 99cents starting today through November 30th. Check out this great selection of science fiction romance must-haves and journey to another world!



Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Of Love and Science and SFR by Libby Doyle @LibbyDoyle9

I may be revealing myself as an old lady that holds a grudge, but does anyone remember when Lawrence Summers, the president of Harvard University back in 2005, said that the underrepresentation of female scientists at elite universities may stem in part from “innate” differences between men and women? In short, that women were underrepresented because we just don't like that weird stuff. Math is hard y’all!

Of course, the SFR Brigade begs to differ, and attitudes like that make me happy that Science Fiction Romance exists as a genre. There’s something delicious about fulfilling a stereotype (women like love stories!) and then inverting it (women like stories about interstellar war!). The genre celebrates an area of fiction women have long dominated, but moves into the space that until the past few decades, was dominated by men.

I'll go even further. By creating this bridge, SFR writers can make the science-zone more comfortable for women and girls who might encounter outdated attitudes à la Summers, whether at school, in fandom, or in the professional world. We know after things like Gamergate, that when women venture into male bastions it can get a little uncomfortable.

And of course, traditionally female pursuits are so often undervalued. Like romance. I unapologetically love it. I love reading and writing about the heady experience of falling in love (and lust). I suppose it’s my socialization, but that’s okay. Relationships make the world go ‘round, though people sometimes seem to forget this.

I had a beta reader once, a man. He liked my book and gave me great advice. The he said, “I wish there wasn’t so much stuff about their relationship.” So I said, “I don’t get why men don’t like romance. After all, they get married and have children at nearly the same rate as women.” He thought I was quite droll.

Honestly, I do not get the lack of respect with which romance is treated. I think SFR is a great genre because it creates that bridge. Romance as a comfortable, familiar place of emotion that offers an entry into some cool-ass science, even if it’s not overly technical. SFR stories can say, you see, both kinds of stories belong to us. They blend, they enrich each other. They are not mutually exclusive.

The best SFR makes science come alive. It stirs the imagination and gets those neurons firing. A personage no less than Neil deGrasse Tyson thinks so, too. A blog by Alex Hansen of the StarTalk Radio Show this summer related how deGrasse Tyson would like to see scientists more integrated into the stories we experience as a culture.

“‘I want scientists to show up in the everyday storytelling of novelists and poets,’” he was quoted as saying, “‘the people who are responsible for bringing culture and the joys and pains of culture into our daily lives.’”

Shall we contemplate that? When we incorporate quantum physics and astronomy into our novels, we’re making Neil deGrasse Tyson happy! And he’s awesome! Keep on writing.


Libby Doyle Short Bio

Libby Doyle is the pen name of an attorney and former journalist who took a walk around the corporate world and didn’t like it. She escapes the mundane by writing extravagant yarns, filled with sex and violence. She loves absurd humor, travel, punk rock, and her husband.  

Enter Libby’s world at http://libbydoyle.com.


The Passion Season: Book I of the Covalent Series:  A superhuman warrior from another dimension battles his evil father’s minions while struggling to decide if he should reveal his true nature to the woman he loves.

The Pain Season: Book II of the Covalent Series: When a courageous FBI agent discovers the love of her life is an alien warrior, she nearly loses her mind, but there are violent criminals to catch and he’s just the beautiful demi-god to help her.

Disclaimer: The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily that of the SFRB.

SFR Brigade Bases of Operation