About Mur

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Review: Marry Me For Christmas

Another review, another spoiler or two:

marrymeMarci is a high powered ad exec whose cousin begs her to come home for Christmas before she (cousin) goes off on a 5 year mission. It is… unclear why Marci won’t come home aside from being Very Busy. Apparently she loves her family. She relents and asks her employee, hunky Adam (what is it with this name?) to come with her to continue their Very Busy work, paying his airfare and doubling his Xmas bonus.

When they get home, the family (at least the female side, known as the “Chandler Women” – a title I seriously lost count of how many times they used it) barrages them with so many questions, demanding so much information about their relationship, that Adam blurts out that they are getting married. Everyone is delighted and Adam and Marci agree to pretend to be married in order to keep the holidays pleasant. After a casual suggestion from an aunt (ONE OF THE CHANDLER WOMEN) Adam realizes that if he marries Marci, he could become a partner in her growing business. So we see him call an unidentified person and talk about how he’s going to set this up to become her partner.

Enter Blair, also hunky, next door neighbor, childhood nemesis, and good friend of the family (not Marci tho). He is very clearly still in the hair-pulling stage of being in love with Marci, and is dating another woman who has one side: queen bitch. Seriously, writers. We know they’re the rivals, but at least show us a reason why romance target dude is with her in the first place! I mean, this woman arrives as Blair’s date to a big dinner at Marci’s family’s house, looks at Marci, and calls her “Mousy.” Who does that? With the target’s whole family watching? And what family would allow her woman to break bread at their table after that? Remember, writers. Successful evil characters are subtle. They don’t call names.

Regardless, the CHANDLER WOMEN and the men have their teasing and their adventures and they’re clearly one big happy family, except for Mom, who’s showing signs of a blood draw and limping a little. But don’t worry about her, she’s just glad her baby is home.

Marci discovers that the big client she’s trying to land is actually scum, and Blair is representing the whistleblowers in court. Adam presses to keep the client, Marci has to Make The Right Decision. Adam leaves in a huff.

As for tension, there’s not much. Even when Adam leaves (stealing a peach cobbler in the process, again, what is the logic here? Do you think you can eat that whole thing on the way to the airport? Do you think you can take that with you on the plane? Your spite is stupid, Adam.) it doesn’t feel that tense. When Blair and Marci declare their love, it’s not that tense. But it’s a tolerable movie. I could watch it, and there are some that can’t pass that test.

Flaws: HOLY SHIT WALMART PAID A BUCKETFUL OF MONEY TO SPONSOR THIS MOVIE. They had Wal-Mart shopping bags, they talked about Christmas shopping there, when the family went to get a tree, Adam asked why they just didn’t go get one at Wal-Mart. Stop hitting us over the head with it. Character-wise, while Blair’s girlfriend (I can’t even remember her name, and her character isn’t worth the effort to look it up) was another cardboard bitch, antagonist Adam was interesting with different facets ultimately showing a rotten mercenary underside.

This movie did do two things I didn’t expect: While the career-woman lost her big client because she had to do the right thing, and she got together with the boy next door, she didn’t necessarily give up her job as an ad exec. It was very clear that she had found what she was good at and loved doing it. Also, and I’ll leave this one thing unspoiled, the sub-sub plot about the Mom’s health was an honest surprise.

Stars: No one I recognized, although one woman did look like Jackee, but was too young.
Storytelling: 3/5
Characters: 3/5
Closeness to Christmas Carol: 0
Feminism: 4/5
Romance: 3/5
Is Christmas Saved?: I guess. Was it ever threatened?
Wal-Mart References: 5
“The Chandler Women” References: Let’s just say in drinking game terms, you’d be dead.

Review: A Christmas Kiss

Here is the first review, there may be swear words, there may be spoilers:

Made for TV, featuring a girl who is super focused on career, this seems like it might be a nightmare. However it’s become one of my favorite Christmas romcoms.

This poster is kind of a big fat spoiler. I mean, yeah, it’s a romcom, but Wendy never wears a wedding dress in the movie. Note: if you’re viewing on Netflix this isn’t the same poster you’ll see.

Wendy is a young woman who has landed the dream job for a hot Boston designer. Her boss is the best designer in town, but is a hardass who asks her to do everything from clean her apartment to turn on the heat at her apartment on a Saturday night before she (boss) gets home.

Wendy’s friends work in the theater where she used to build sets, and one night they dress her up in glitter and fancy dress to go to a party. She stops by her boss’s apartment to turn the heat on, and on the way down from the apartment, a chiseled man gets on the elevator with her. There’s a hiccup with the mechanism and the elevator begins to fall. They stumble into each others’ arms and, in a heat of the moment, a we-might-die-in-a-second passion, they kiss. The elevator slows and gets to the first floor (obv. or else it would be a real short movie) and when the doors open, a big group of carolers are outside. Instead of politely letting them off, the carolers (while singing) barge onto the elevator (breaching all kinds of etiquette: rude!), and Wendy rushes off.

The next day, her boss introduces her to her boyfriend, and Wendy, who is unglittered and in sensible clothing, is shocked to realize it’s her stranger from last night, and further shocked into dismay that he doesn’t recognize her at all. (It’s the glasses. Always the fucking glasses.)

Evil boss Priscilla says they must decorate Adam (chiseled boyfriend)’s house for a Christmas party (that — pst — will become engagement party if Priscilla has her way) After one conversation with him, Wendy comes up with a perfect design to fit his house and personality, and Priscilla says it’s crap. Adam hates Priscilla’s design and then she shows Wendy’s taking credit for it. He loves it.

Adam has a scene with someone in the theater, saying he was questioning the relationship with Priscilla, and feeling very guilty for the kiss with the mysterious stranger, but when he saw the designs he realizes she knows him well and is the woman for him.

Then Wendy’s friend breaks Priscilla’s nose and she flees to New York where apparently they have magic plastic surgeons to make bruising go away. Wendy now has to decorate Adam’s house all by herself, spending time with him and bonding in the process. They even eat figgy pudding together (apparently it’s believably foul) and go Christmas tree shopping.

Then Priscilla comes back, there is drama, there is a Christmas Eve showing of the Nutcracker, and true love conquers.

Flaws: Priscilla is a flat, cardboard bitch. She has no depth, nothing redeeming: she treats Wendy like shit and her one goal is to trick Adam into marriage because they are both high society and attractive. We see nothing else to her, nothing sympathetic or redeeming.  Adam is strange: a poor little rich boy whose grandmother was apparently poor (she spent all her money to buy him an early edition of A Christmas Carol) even though his family was crazy rich, and he apparently loves Christmas but has never seen a Christmas movie. And he says the words “true meaning of Christmas” unironically, which only Linus Van Pelt is allowed to do.

But what I love about this movie is Wendy. While it’s called Christmas Kiss, and the movie does focus on her falling in love with Adam, the movie is really about her getting the strength to stand up to her boss and learn that she doesn’t need a powerful designer to aid her career because she’s already damn talented. The romance payoff (Come on, it’s a romcom, you know you’re going to get a HEA) comes after the climax, after she has made her decision to wash her hands of the whole world of high society designers and the stupid men who can’t tell the difference between a woman covered in glitter without glasses and one dressed for work. Also how could he not figure out Priscilla stole the designs for his party?

This features a woman who starts out focused on her career and the Christmas lesson she learns is that she doesn’t need anyone else to succeed. The love is a nice side bit, but it has nothing to do with her leaving her career to focus on family. Rawk.

Stars: That cop from Angel and a model who was in Roswell and CSI Miami.
Storytelling: 4/5
Characters: 2/5
Closeness to Christmas Carol: 0
Feminism: 5/5
Romance: 4/5
Is Christmas Saved? Yes
Broken Noses Magically Fixed: 1


Christmas Reviews

It is not a secret that I’m a big Christmas softie. I’m not fond of romances* but I devour Christmas romances. Christmas romcoms? Even better. I’ll tear up at any movie above 2.5 stars. It’s just who I am.

One of the few things I regret about losing cable is missing out on ABC Family’s 25 Days of Christmas programming. All the other stuff I can get eventually via Netflix, Hulu, DVD, or Amazon Prime. But it’s hard to keep up with 25 days of programming on a channel you don’t get.

So anyway, a few years ago I reviewed Christmas songs, and this year I’ve watched several movies and read several books and I will be bringing them here so you don’t have to wonder which you shouldn’t waste your time with.

I will rate on several levels:
Closeness to Christmas Carol
Feminism **
Is Christmas Saved?
Any other misc categories I come up with

Hope you enjoy them. This should be fun.

Some future reviews (And I will take requests):


Christmas Kiss
Marry Me For Christmas
12 Dates of Christmas


Trading Christmas
Miracle (And Other Christmas Stories)
Call Me Mrs. Miracle
The Christmas List
Bah! Humbug
Dashing Through the Snow

* I’m not putting down romances, not at all. I love a good romance subplot in a book, but I rarely pick up a straight romance that doesn’t have other genres woven in.
** If a Christmas movie stars a woman, it almost inevitably has to do with her career, an old love left behind, or giving up on her childhood home. Movies that encourage women to quit the high profile job to come home to high school crush and her small town family really piss me off. And there are some that are surprising in their pro-woman storytelling.

Ditch Diggers #19 – Humor

  • Mur and Matt come to you live from Morgan Freeman’s scooter garage and compare Morgan’s European scooter collection to his American Segways.
  • Why Germans are so polite.
  • Obligatory NaNoWriMo coverage.
  • Writing and selling on proposal vs. writing and selling spec novels (Mur admits Matt’s better at metaphors than her).
  • Obligatory NaNoWriMo coverage throwback (Matt used to be a chronic parade urinator)
  • Further proposal vs. spec discussion.
  • Comedy writing. Nothing is harder or more terrifying.
  • Why the key to writing comedy is characters who never give up.
  • Dude, Where’s My Car? as an unappreciated classic.
  • Matt and Mur reveal the winners of the Ditch Diggers ENVY OF ANGELS book giveaway.
  • Theme music by Devo Spice

“Spring Break Anthem” by The Lonely Island: https://youtu.be/jUw4Qh9uFK8

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Mothership Zeta launches!

This past weekend, the project I’ve been working on for a year finally got off the ground! The Escape Artist’s ezine, Mothership Zeta, launched on Halloween. It features fiction, nonfiction, and an original cover by Hugo-award-winning artist Frank Wu. My team (Karen Bovenmyer, Sunil Patel, Mat Weller, and a hoard of slushers) has worked very hard on this for a while, and we’re so happy to have it launch.

ISBW #354: NaNoWriMo Primer 2

PrintIt’s NaNoWriMo day! Here’s a special episode for you: if the haters make you hesitate on whether you should do this or not, then listen to this episode. Also, there’s some feedback at the end!

I recorded it a little over a week ago, before my vacation, hence the time lag.

In case you don’t know, I am doing a daily show for my Patreon supporters. All you have to do is support at $1 a month and you can get a daily audio or video note from me! If you’re not up for a dollar, then you can look into the past episodes about NaNoWriMo where I discuss advice, tools, and more. Note – one of my favorite tracking tools has been updated! Check out Susanna’s Pacemaker! Here’s a link to my daily goals, with consideration to write less on the weekends.

Today’s podcast brought to you by ISBW Hall of Famer Ben Seims! This month’s theme song is by John Anealio!

My progress compared with my friend Andrea Phillips:

And then my favorite tracker, from Writertopia

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Updated ISBW Interview Guidelines

On the podcasts page I’ve updated the interview info, but I thought I’d put it here.

Want to be interviewed on ISBW? Here’s what I’m looking for:

  • Science fiction/fantasy/horror authors.
  • Traditionally published.
  • You have a new book out.
  • You are comfortable talking via skype.
  • You have things to say about both your book AND writing in general.

These are not absolutes, but it’s generally what I’m looking for. I’ve had nonfic/lit fic authors on. I’ve even had song writers. I’ve had self published people on. BUT overall I focus on speculative fiction and traditional publishing.

Email mightymur AT gmail.com.

As for Ditch Diggers, currently we’re interviewing on an invite-only basis.

Ditch Diggers #18 – Kelly Sue DeConnick Joins Us

HEY GUYS MATT’S BOOK IS OUT TODAY! GET IT NOW: Envy of Angels: A Sin du Jour Affair

Ahem. Sorry.

Amazing comic book writer Kelly Sue DeConnick joins us to talk project juggling, the satire of difficult topics, and more.

  • Mur hints at why Matt is no longer allowed in Morgan Freeman’s musical theater.
  • Matt and Mur welcome guest host, acclaimed comics writer and entrepreneur Kelly Sue DeConnick!
  • Kelly Sue’s creator-owned comic BITCH PLANET and why Mur and Matt both love it.
  • Kelly Sue talks about balancing multiple projects and takes us through a typical day in her working life.
  • When, why, and how Kelly Sue and her husband, writer Matt Fraction, founded their own company, Milkfed Criminal Masterminds, Inc..
  • Branding very different projects under the same banner, audience engagement, and just plain being yourself.
  • The importance of owning your own content and learning from the history of comic book creators who didn’t own their IP.
  • Matt, Mur, and Kelly Sue take questions from Twitter on pseudonyms and soliciting recommendations for MFA programs.

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