About Mur

Herself who runneth this site.

Playing For Keeps is part of the Indie Superhero Bundle!

My 2007 novel about superheroes with crappy powers, Playing For Keeps, is now part of the Indie Superhero Bundle! You can get several indie books (all listed below!) through this bundle, and help a charity like Girls Write Now! Pay what you want, but if your purchase price beats $12, you get Shero by Jack Wallen, The Strike Trilogy by Charlie Wood, Supervillainous by Mike Leon and Playing For Keeps by me!



6x9Hullo 42.

Hullo, Mur.

I’ve been looking forward to you. Big dork, big fan of Douglas Adams, etc.

You should. I’m awesome.

Cool. So before we get into the introspection, I’m going to tell you what’s been on my mind right now. See, I bought this awesome tshirt with a unicorn on it, to represent nerdy girls. It’s a white shirt, and not very bulky. In fact, it’s so see-through that you can see my skin tone and my tattoos through it. I put a tank top under it, and that helped, but now it’s obvious I’m wearing a tank top and then the white shirt, and I feel self-conscious.

… are you fucking kidding me? 

Uh, no.

Because you have got to be kidding me with this bullshit. You just wasted a minute of your year of being 42 writing that paragraph up there. And gawd knows how long you spent fretting about it before you wrote it down.

One question: Do. You. Like. The. Shirt?

Well, yeah.

Then fucking wear the fucking shirt. You are forty two fucking years old. You don’t need to explain anymore. You don’t need to apologize anymore. If anyone looks at you and thinks, “gee, that shirt is see-through, she ought to-” AND IT DOESN’T MATTER WHAT THEY THINK AFTER THAT BECAUSE THEY DO NOT FUCKING COUNT IN YOUR WORLD. Any time anyone says “she ought to” then stop them right there. You’re done with that. You’ve paid your dues. No more explaining. No more apologizing. Wear that shirt. Write that book. Play that music. Wear goddamn technology on both wrists because you fucking love gadgets. 

Listen, when they are thinking “That Mur ought to…” that is mental energy they are wasting when they could be making themselves more awesome. You should feel sorry for them, projecting so much energy in a direction that is going to just keep on going being awesome no matter what. Haters gonna hate, lady. Poor bastards. You don’t worry about them and their “oughts.” You worry about yourself and your awesomeness.

You let Douglas Adams himself wander away when you had a chance to meet him. You were too shy, you were too worried about “oughts”. Then he died. You promised yourself not to let opportunities go by. Where is that moxie?

You’re 42, dammit. Act it.

You’re right. Dammit, you’re right. Unicorn shirt on. I’m going to the comic book store. Thanks, 42.

I’ll be here all year.

Short Story-arama #3 – Humble Bundle features HELP FUND MY ROBOT ARMY!

I contributed a story, “SAVE THE PHOTOPHOBIC HEMOGLOBIVORES WITH THE SANGUINE RESERVE!” to John Joseph Adams’ Kickstarter anthology, HELP FUND MY ROBOT ARMY! a while back, and now that ebook is available via Humble Bundle, along with a lot of other awesome books. You can get this bundle until July 29.

From the press release:

Kickstart your book collection! The biggest books on Kickstarter are now available in a bundle! Name your price for To Be Or Not To Be, God Hates Astronauts, Imagined Realms Book 1, Hollow World, and Help Fund My Robot Army. If you pay more than the average price, you’ll also get The Big Feminist BUT, A Hero at the End of the World, The Great Way Trilogy, The Sleep of Reason: An Anthology of Horror, Steampunk World, and Nightmare Magazine #33. If you pay $15 or more, you’ll receive all of the above plus Code Monkey Save World, Ava’s Demon, The Warden and the Wolf King, and MOTHER RUSSIA.

Pledge what you want. The contents of this bundle would cost you up to $165 if purchased separately, but here at Humble Bundle, you pay what you want.

Read Anywhere. These comics and books are available in multiple formats including CBZ, PDF, MOBI, and ePub, so they work on your computer, e-readers, iPads, cell phones, and a wide array of mobile devices! Instructions and a list of recommended reading programs can be found here for comics and here for books.

Support charity. Choose where the money goes — between the publisher and two charitable causes (EFF and First Book) via the PayPal Giving Fund. For details on how this works, click here. If you like this bundle, feel free to drop something in the Humble tip jar.

Short Story-arama #2 Electric Boogaloo* – Onward, Drake!

Last year I was pleased to be invited to an anthology to honor the writer David Drake. While we both do the same job (one of us is much, much more successful than the other), I know Dave more on a social level, as we met through a mutual friend at a comic book store. We met years and years ago, and he’s been inviting me to his huge annual parties ever since. Dude throws a HUGE 4th of July party. I like him a great deal and admire him as a writer, as one of the most honest people I know, and as a generous and welcoming man.

So Mark Van Name, who once was a cookie mule for me**, asked me to contribute a story to his anthology for Dave called Onward, Drake!. I fretted for MONTHS until I remembered Mark invited me to write a story inspired by Dave, not a story just like Dave. He could have gotten Dave to do that. (And he did, actually. Dave contributed two stories to the anthology himself, including a brand new Hammer’s Slammers story. But I digress.) So I thought about the conversations Dave and I have had over the years, and one stuck in my mind about history.

So I wrote a story about a fairy historian who has an unexpected welcome when he visits the human plane of existence. The title is, “The Crate Warrior, the Doppelgänger, and the Idea Woman.” I had a lot of fun writing it, and am so happy to be in this book (I’m on the cover, even! I’m in a book with GENE FREAKING WOLFE.) to honor my friend.

Onward, Drake! is available in October. Read what editor Mark Van Name has to say about it.

Here is a tidbit from my story:

And fairies, like us, make movies.

When we discovered this, cultural anthropologists shit themselves, wanting to know how such media technology evolved alongside our own. Film students began studying every piece of fairy film they could get their hands on. And Hollywood, of course, wanted to know how to monetize it.

* Yes, I am a child of the ’80s and yes, when I have an opening I will throw “electric boogaloo” into any sequel I can. Except for perhaps my own books. I’m pretty sure I’m not allowed to do that… I should check.
** The real story is less interesting than calling Mark a cookie mule. Someone asked him to carry some gift cookies for me across the country. He was kind enough to do so.

EDIT- NOPE. The Shambling Guide to New York City is a NOOK Daily Find!

Apparently no one told me that the date had been moved. I’m not sure when it will be a Daily Find. A thousand apologies. Today only, my first book in The Shambling Guides series, The Shambling Guide to New York City, is $1.99 on Barnes and Noble dot com! If you haven’t had a chance to check out my work that is The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy meets Neverwhere, now is a great time to do so!

Short Story-arama #1 – MOTHERSHIP ZETA

Mothership-ColorTexture-1x300dpiI mentioned it a while back, but now it’s for real: I’m editor in chief of Escape Artists’ new project, the Mothership Zeta ezine. We are on the second half of a two week open submission period, and I wanted to blog about it here in case people didn’t hear about it somewhere else.

What we want: fun stories. They can be SF, fantasy, horror, whatever as long as it’s spec fic. Fun doesn’t mean silly (but it can), it doesn’t mean humorous (but it can), and it doesn’t even mean happy ending (although usually it does. Cabin in the Woods is my example of fun story that’s also horror and has an unhappy ending.) Who can you read to get an idea of what makes a fun story? John Scalzi and Connie Willis leap to mind immediately.

Anyway, the basic site of Mothership Zeta is live, with submission guidelines, FAQ, and all that.

I’m excited!

WorldCon Schedule

I fell down the stairs this morning. I’m fine, but I’m shaken up. So no writing this morning while I get myself back together. (Then, I realized this afternoon, I forgot to post it.)

Today’s Music: Unsupervised, I Hit My Head, Mono Puff

But hey! I can blog about WorldCon. I hope some folks are getting there early, because according to Mur, THURSDAY IS THE HAPPNIN’ DAY AT SASQUAN, BABY.

10:00 – 10:45, Exhibit Hall B (CC)
Mur Lafferty, Elizabeth Leggett

Autographing, Thursday morning? OK… I’m going to have to give out prizes to anyone who manages to make that one. I hear there’s a cupcake bakery nearby.

Ditch Diggers Podcast Recording
12:00 – 12:45, Conference Theater 110 (CC)
Mur Lafferty, Matt Wallace

HELL YEAH. Although…. noon? I guess I can bring a flask. And we don’t have a panel description, which could hurt us.

Space Casey (2007) – PG-13
17:55 – 20:50, 203 (CC)
Casey just wants to con her way out of a backwater port, but finds herself in more trouble than she could ever have imagined when she learns just whose spaceship she’s stolen. Luckily, a con artist might be exactly what the galaxy needs! The only work ever to win both the Parsec and Gold Mark Time Awards.
Mur Lafferty will be introducing this audio presentation.

I LOVE SPACE CASEY. Christiana Ellis deserves a great deal more attention for this work. It’s so fun. And apparently we’re starting at 5:55pm. Be there on time.

Match Game
20:00 – 22:00, 300B (CC)
Get ready to match the fannish stars! In this SF/F-themed game show based on the popular 1970s game show, audience members will be randomly selected as contestants to match wits with our panel. The object of the game is to guess how the panel answers fill-in-the-blank questions like “Captain Kirk has the biggest ___ in Starfleet.” Winners receive prizes such as gift certificates from Worldcon dealers, book packages, or convention memberships. All contestants receive Lovely Parting Gifts™.
Kevin Standlee (M), Scott Edelman, Tom Galloway, Leigh Ann Hildebrand, Mur Lafferty, Kevin Roche, Amy Thomson, Mary Crowell

I am sad Paul Cornell isn’t involved with this. I guess I associate him with WorldCon game shows. But this should be fun.

Then, BARCON, baby. That’s a full fucking day.

Certainly Not For the Money: Why We Write Short Fiction
11:00 – 11:45, Bays 111C (CC)
Why do we put ourselves through the angst of writing short fiction? It certainly isn’t the money. Why else would we do it?Mur Lafferty, Sarah Pinsker, Stefan Rudnicki, Rick Wilber, Mark J. Ferrari

Hm. No one is listed as moderator. I’m first, and it’s not alphabetical. I better prepare just in case.

Writing For Video Games
15:00 – 15:45, Bays 111C (CC)
How does experience in writing SF novels translate to writing scripts and backstory for video games? What are the new skills that authors hoping to work on video game stories need to learn?
William Dietz (M), Brian Campbell, Jason Hough, Mur Lafferty, John Scalzi

This will be an interesting panel.

Podcasts for Young Adults
10:00 – 10:45, 303A (CC)
Adults love podcasts and podcasting, but what about teens? Is there a market for YA podcasts and where can kids find cool new content? What topics, guests and issues should podcasts for younger listeners address? What about kids who want to create their own podcasts? Your in luck! Our panelists will also share tips for teens who want to create their own podcasts.
Mur Lafferty (M), John Joseph Adams, Kate Baker, Jason Snell, Dan Wells

Hell yeah. I’m all over this one.

Kaffee Klatche – Mur Lafferty
13:00 – 13:45, 202A-KK2 (CC)
Join a panelist and up to 9 other fans for a small discussion. Coffee and snacks available for sale on the 2nd floor.

I know that, unlike February in Boston, most of the people won’t be driven home by a blizzard, but I have flashbacks to my completely empty kaffeklatch at Boskone. I’ll be prepared. Might bring giveaways to this one, too.

Reading – Mur Lafferty
12:00 – 12:30, 303B (CC)

I’ll probably be reading from Six Wakes, since that’s the book I just sold, and stuff. Or I’ll read from a SEEKRIT project. Or maybe both…

Hope to see you there!

Joey Tribbiani: more respectful than you think

I like Friends. I acknowledge that it’s problematic (OH SO WHITE, and at least one joke per episode mocking one of the men for being feminine) but it is also

  1. Funny
  2. Groundbreaking regarding gay marriage in pop culture
  3. Really funny

I don’t get how so many different people can be so close. Ross is constantly mocked for his love of science, for example. You’d think once he’d like to hang with people who don’t pretend to fall asleep when he says anything about his work. There are glaring inconsistencies: Chandler moving from Knicks fan to a feminine dude who never watches ESPN and knows nothing about sports. Monica and Chandler arguing about buying an arcade game and then Monica freaking with joy when Phoebe buys them a Ms. Pac-Man machine. Monica being hyper competitive until she’s in charge of a kitchen of people who don’t like her, then she is someone who fears conflict. Where the hell did Ben go? Why doesn’t Ross react to Rachel taking Emma to France with her?

Yeah, I’ve had some fun with the TV Tropes Friends page.

EntertainingI was thinking about Joey the other day, the guy who sleeps with women and never calls them back. Reprehensible behavior and it makes me wonder why the women in the group like him. But I realized something startling recently: Joey respects women’s agency. If a woman says no, he is done with the pursuit. No “why” or wheedling or following or creeping.

It happens several times:

  • He hits on the woman at the medical research lab, asking if he can do a study on his effect on attractive receptionists, she says they already have the results and they’re not good, and he says OK and walks away.
  • He is set up on a double blind date with Phoebe’s friend but focuses only on convincing Phoebe that he and her blind date are old friends. When his date gets up to leave, he says, “you’re leaving too?” and she says, “I will stay if you can tell me my name.” and he says, “have a good night.”
  • We don’t see the full conversation, but after Charlie dumps him in Barbados, he is sad, but says he has to go get another hotel room for the night. He doesn’t argue or try to make it work at least till they get home.

He may be superficial and only want hot women. He may have a revolving door to his bedroom. But Joey respects “no.”

If you don’t understand how revolutionary this is, read some stories about women dealing with men on online dating sites.

Then I got the NoStringsAtttached [sic] messages, with multiple guys sending me messages asking me to watch them cam, or meeting up with them within the hour, or talk with them on the phone or cyber. I would say no and they usually didn’t take it too well.

Also, a horrible feeling that there are some terrifying, awful men out there that will in one breath call you the most beautiful creature in the world, and then—when you fail to meet whatever demand or expectation they’ve laid out for you—will say things to you that you’re pretty sure only get said during prison riots.

I’ve read so many stories about women who get, “hello beautiful.” and when the women say, “not interested” the guys turn into “well I was just messaging you to make you feel good about yourself, you fat bitch.” 

Aside: Needless to say, I’m unbelievably grateful that I met my husband before online dating took off.

Ross and Chandler both do some questionable things. When Phoebe is sending massage clients to Ross’ apartment, and a client shows up when she isn’t there, Ross says he’s a masseuse too because the woman at the door is very attractive. The joke is that she has brought her father there to be massaged, and Ross has to rub an old man for an hour. Hahahaa! But I keep thinking about the lengths he would go to in order to touch a woman. Erk. In another episode, Chandler poses as another man when a woman makes a wrong number phone call, sets up a date with her, and then when her date mysteriously doesn’t show up, he arrives as himself to console her. Which isn’t quite tricking her into bed, but he tricks her in order to eventually have sex with her, nonetheless. So on the surface, Joey is the worst to women, but his flaws are all out in the open.

Say what you will about Friends. You’re probably right. But it definitely had some nuanced characters and the most womanizing character on the show was also the one who accepted women’s decisions without question.

Ditch Diggers #13 – Travel

Matt and I got to see each other for the first time in years a couple weekends back, where we drank, played games, and then recorded in a rather hungover way. Since we had traveled to get there, we figured we would talk travel.

BONUS pics by Bruce Press


The evil picnic table.


Told you there was a labyrinth.


The ditch diggers.

Buy our books so we can eat! (affiliate)

Ghost Train to New Orleans won the 2015 Manly Wade Wellman Award!

I’m thrilled to announce that this past weekend at ConGregate, my book Ghost Train to New Orleans won the 2015 Manly Wade Wellman award! I was super surprised, especially since The Shambling Guide to New York City won the 2014 prize and I didn’t expect Ghost Train to win 2015. The award recognizes outstanding achievement in science fiction and fantasy novels written by North Carolina authors. It’s voted on by the member of four NC conventions: illogiCon, ConCarolinas, ConTemporal, and ConGregate.

I was up against some amazing authors, including my friends James Maxey (NC Piedmont Laureate), Gail Z. Martin, and David Drake, so there was some fierce competition.

My friends Rebecca and Dennis picked up the award for me, so I haven’t gotten it yet, but I’ll post a picture when I do!

I have recused myself from the 2016 award consideration.

Get those award winning books! (affiliate)