About Mur

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Ditch Diggers #31: The Godparents Episode with Gail Carriger and Howard Tayler

For the first time we have Matt and Mur, and the godparents of Ditch Diggers Gail Carriger and Howard Tayler, in the same room together!

  • Mur and Matt come to you live from Morgan Freeman’s hotel room, into which they’ve totally been invited and did NOT in any way break and enter, and welcome special guest co-hosts, best-selling author Gail Carriger and creator of the Schlock Mercenary comic series, Howard Tayler!
  • Also, it’s the Wednesday of WorldCon 74 in Kansas City, MO.
  • Mur is the words, Gail is the style. Howard has won awards for talking out of his meat hole.
  • Mur explains how Gail and Howard are the godmother and godfather of the Ditch Diggers podcast.
  • There will be many references, without context, to fisting throughout the episode.
    The foursome discuss novellas in today’s market, and the different approaches to using shorter/serialized content to build and maintain an audience and maximize your revenue stream.
  • Authors and Patreon, pros, cons, misunderstandings, misuses, and maximizing value.
  • Gail and Howard share war stories, victories and losses, of working the publishers booth at conventions, and the value (or lack thereof) of having a table.
  • Ditch Diggers achieve a four F-bomb minute while Matt, Mur, Gail, and Howard discuss keeping it clean for marketing purposes.
  • There is no Q&A because Matt forgot his phone.
  • Gail and Howard shill shamelessly for each other.
  • One last reference, again without context, to fisting meatholes, plus a ten F-bomb minute to close.

Gail on Twitter: https://twitter.com/gailcarriger
Howard on Twitter: https://twitter.com/howardtayler
Gail’s website: http://gailcarriger.com/
Howard’s Schlock Mercenary: http://www.schlockmercenary.com/

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ISBW #366: Control, and Interview with Laurence MacNaughton

It’s a good idea to realize what you’re in control of, and what you’re not in control of. The Serenity Prayer is common sense.

Then I talk to Laurence MacNaughton, author of It Happened One Doomsday.

And yeah, I totally butcher trying to recite the prayer from memory. Here is the actual prayer:


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Update on Wake Cty. Author Tea

I previously stated I would be at the Wake County Author Tea this weekend but I posted the WRONG LIBRARY. So here’s the update:

This Sunday, October 2, at 2:00pm, I will be at the Wake County Library Author Tea at Northeast Regional Library, Raleigh, NC.

I had a lot of fun at last weekend’s tea, talked to a lot of different people and drank a lot of tea. I hope to repeat the performance this weekend. Hope to see you there!

Ditch Diggers #30: Networking, With Natalie Metzger

  • Matt and Mur come to you live from Morgan Freeman’s slightly better lawn furniture, which they’re actually sharing live and in-person in front of a small audience, slightly inebriated (Matt, Mur, the audience, or all three? Who knows!)
  • Even during Ditch Diggers, a podcast about rolling up your sleeves and doing the job of writing, people are catching Pokemon while we record.
  • Matt and Mur are joined by their special guest co-host, illustrator Natalie Metzger.
  • The Ditch Diggers discuss the moistness of the environment.
  • Networking! Matt and Mur talk to Natalie about how networking led to her landing a gig illustrating SFF titan John Scalzi’s short story collection, Miniatures.
  • Subterranean Press, specialty books, and goats.
  • Natalie talks about the networking “long game,” participating in fandom, and just plain getting to know people over a long period of time.
  • Networking while dealing with shyness, introversion, anxiety, and other socially limiting conditions, and how to work with them rather than “overcome” them.
  • Natalie sums up her philosophy on networking: “Give, don’t take.”
  • Matt explains the Glengarry Leads.
  • The Ditch Diggers take questions from the audience, including dealing with anxiety and shyness at cons, and how George RR Martin does NOT in any way frequent prostitutes.

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Don’t reject yourself

People, marginalized groups most of all, tend to do their own rejecting. They don’t see a lot of people like themselves in anthologies or magazines. They don’t see themselves so they don’t think people like themselves should even try.

Been there.

There are several times we tell ourselves no when it’s not really our job. Before we write the story. Before we submit the story. Before we accept the acceptance of the story. Before we tell people that we have work eligible for awards. Before we accept the nomination for the award.

We are convinced that if we do get acceptance, or we do get a nomination, or we do win an award, then something has gone wrong. We forget that it’s not our job to accept, nominate, and award.

Last week, Lifehacker published “It’s Not Your Job To Tell Yourself “No.”

Of course, if you really want to, then you can dream up reasons for why now isn’t the right time, this isn’t the right place, and you’re not quite ready… but I don’t think that’s your job.

It’s not your job to tell yourself no. It’s not your job to deny yourself opportunities. It’s not your job to prevent your own progress. There are enough people in the world who will do those things for you.

Your job is to embrace rather than ignore. Your job is to pursue rather than prevent. Your job is to tell yourself “yes” instead of “no.”

That’s your job.

Exactly this. It IS your job to write, to submit, to keep writing.

It is NOT your job to decide who goes into the magazine, who gets their book published, and who gets nominated or wins awards.

It sounds like you’re helpless. You’re not. You are only helpless if you try to control the stuff you don’t control at all, and it feels like the way to control that is to say NO to yourself before anyone else does.

But you don’t have that control. If you focus on what you do control – writing and sending that thing off, then you will be happy.

Happier, anyway.

ISBW #365: Editing is hard, JD Horn Interview

I return to complain about editing and continuity, and then announce that I am writing an ISBW book to be released in August. YAY.

Interview with JD Horn, author of the Witching Savannah series.

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New book news!

I’m absolutely thrilled to announce that I signed a contract to produce an I Should Be Writing nonfiction book. I’ll be taking the things that I’ve learned in the eleven years of doing the show and putting it into an attractive book that will hit the stores next August!

Well, its attractiveness isn’t my job, but the writing is, and I’ll be doing my best.

Thanks to all the listeners who made it worth it to get this far into the show and not stop. I love y’all.

More info when I have it! Published by the fine folks at Quarto Publishing Group!

(pst- if you subscribed to my mailing list over there on the right, you’d have gotten this information already.) —->

The Hot Doctor subgenre of movie love triangles

(Spoilers for Bridget Jones’s Baby below.)

I wrote about the Hot Doctor a few years ago before my blog shat itself and died, so I’m going to update this theory.

Take a single woman. Usually over 35, mature, having made some mistakes, but now she’s independent. A career woman. Then she encounters two men. One man is any combination of this list: older, unpleasant, ugly, bad with money, downright verbally abusive, withdrawn, unemployed, no sense of humor, initially uninterested in her. The other man (the Hot Doctor) is any combination of this list: gorgeous, younger, wealthy, funny, devoted, with an amazing job, friendly, charming.

Now before someone gets mad at me, I don’t judge someone based on looks or wealth status, I’m just saying that when writers build these guys, they sometimes slap an unattractive face or low economic status on a very unpleasant person. And I’m not talking about the awesome plain looking guy that women ignore until they see “what was in right front of me the whole time.”

The Hot Doctor shows himself to be utterly wonderful and dotes entirely on the heroine. And she ALWAYS chooses the first guy at the end.

Something’s Gotta Give: Diane Keaton falls for Jack Nicholson for reasons I wasn’t really clear on. She chose him over Keanu Reeves. KEANU.


Hot Doctor.

In Sex and the City, Miranda dates cute bartender Steve on and off but he can’t handle her economic status being so different from (read: higher) his. So she finds a Hot Doctor. Enough like her that neither are intimidated, but different enough to make their relationship interesting.

Hot Doctor.

Hot Doctor.

Aside #1- in looking for images for this post, I ran across an article on Cosmo that agreed wholeheartedly with me regarding the Hot Doctor and Miranda. VALIDATION.

Aside #2- Jack Nicholson comes back again in As Good As It Gets which doesn’t have a hot doctor, but does have a woman falling for unpleasant, misogynistic Jack for no fucking apparent reason. If it had a Hot Doctor, he would have been dumped.

Recently I saw Bridget Jones’s Baby, which was a solid, fine romcom. I enjoyed it. But it pulled a Hot Doctor: Patrick Dempsey is a wealthy, charismatic American who is a relationship expert and, according to his successful pairing website, a 96% ideal partner for Bridget. (Mr. Darcy is 8% compatible.) Bridget sleeps with them one week apart and becomes pregnant, unable to figure out who the father is. The movie is about her trying to deal with both of them as the pregnancy progresses.

Hot Doctor-type. He is comfortable and having fun in birthing class, while Firth looks like he is nauseated.

Hot Doctor-type. He is comfortable and having fun in birthing class, while Darcy looks like he is nauseated.

This could have been solved early on with an amniocentesis but she freaks out at the size of the needle and refuses. Now I’ve never had one, and I don’t have a needle phobia, so it’s easy for me to say this, but if there was a social disaster happening with two men waiting to hear about how their impending fatherhood, I’d do the needle thing.

Throughout all this Darcy is uncomfortable and standoffish, and Bridget does list all the things that had been wrong in their relationship when they tried to be together. Patrick Dempsey is funny, charming, and supportive, and hot as hell.* But at the end, she chooses Darcy, and they marry. (He also ends up being the father to the kid, but Bridget does choose him before they know for sure.)

The movie tries to make Dempsey unfitting for her only twice: he lies to Darcy that he has a better chance of being the father (he says they didn’t use a condom, while Bridget’s super-old vegan condom broke with Darcy), and then he gets all American New Agey when she’s in labor, telling her to “breathe through the pain.” She punches him in the nose, and Darcy dryly tells him to breathe through the pain. (Admittedly, that was an awesome line.)

This kind of storytelling is common as hell, and I wonder if it’s Hollywood sending women frequent messages that we should settle. These stories don’t do enough to make the hot doctor-types look bad, and they don’t do enough to make the Other Guy look good (Steve in Sex and the City is the possible exception to this but the Hot Doctor was still better suited to be with Miranda.) I just get confused because these kinds of stories are supposed to be our wish fulfillments, but they dangle the Hot Doctor in front of us and then whip him away and replace him with Jack Nicholson because of Movie Reasons. It’s ridiculous.


Reminder- Wake Library Teas

As I mentioned earlier this month, I’m working with the Wake County Library to participate in two of their Author Tea events this fall! All info is in this post, but the tl;dr (and visually accessible) info is: 2pm on September 25 and October 2 I will be at Southeast Regional and West libraries, respectively. Hope you can make it!

New Patreon Tiers, Newsletter, and more!


First the SUPER EXCITING OMG NEWS – ARCs of SIX WAKES have arrived, and they are sooooooooo shiny.

Loooook at it. ———————>>>

Anyway. Other things, I’ve revamped my Patreon tiers to include some fiction, early access to podcasts, and some other treats, including a level where I will send you a drunken annotated copy of my books.

And the last in the marketing scheme, I am building a newsletter, so if you wanna sign up, check it over there in the sidebar. Note that I abhor popup newsletter solicitations, and will never do that to you. That said, I hope you sign up anyway.

What will you get? News. Man, it’s a newsletter, what do you want? Secrets as to what was deleted in a book? Giveaways? GOLD? Well, I can do some of those, actually, but not the gold. Sorry. Maybe if I manage to sell another book soon.

That’s it, really. Check out the Patreon for new tiers. Sign up for the newsletter. LOOKIT THE NEW ARC OF MY BOOK.