About Mur

Herself who runneth this site.

Books to read! And Six Wakes press!

Today is the launch day for The Stars Are Legion by Kameron Hurley and Idle Ingredients by Matt Wallace. You should run and get both now.

I’m not endorsing them because they’re talented, which they are, or because they’re my friends, which they also are. But I’m bringing them up because I thought you might want some books to read after Six Wakes and Bookburners.

Kameron and I both wrote very female-heavy space opera books, and they’re coming out close to each other. So if you like Six Wakes you will probably like The Stars Are Legion.

And Matt’s Sin Du Jour novella series (of which Idle Ingredients is #4)  is like The Shambling Guides with catering, so if you like my stuff, you will like Matt’s. Start with Envy of Angels if you’re new to the series.

So really, reader, I’m doing this for you.

You’re welcome!


New press about Six Wakes I just had to share! This is from the Barnes and Noble blog:

Lafferty fearlessly follows the moral, ethical, and practical implications of this questionably idyllic future. How does quasi-immortality change what it means to be human? If our bodies are disposable, are we then our minds? And what if that mind is just a copy? It’s all very much grounded in the juicy mystery elements, but there are larger ideas behind it all.

And a part I particularly appreciate about the character of Dr. Joanna Glass:

[Joanna] raises questions about notions of perfection, and makes a powerfully rare, if understated, anti-ableist statement.

This was important to me, because even though the hacking that would “fix” Joanna’s genetically abnormal legs is illegal, it would be pretty easy for someone with her wealth and privilege to have it done. She chooses not to.

Venom out of costume: actress Teal Sherer

I was inspired, in part, by the character of Venom in Felicia Day’s gaming series “The Guild.” A horrible nihilist in the rival guild, she has a rare moment of frank, non-antagonistic vulnerability when she wonders aloud why she can’t have a wheelchair in the game like she has in real life, because she wants her avatar to fully represent her. (Pedantic Vork tries to explain how the ADA hasn’t really reached dungeons so it would be hard for her to move around, and then her character kills his.)

Also the the main character in John Scalzi’s Lock In, Chris, makes the same statement as people take sides in a debate about whether their “locked in” status should be cured. The locked in community has created a unique and rich alternate online lifestyle, and they would have to give that up if they were cured.

Those two stories had me thinking about pop culture’s usual view of disability, especially concerning science fiction and its desire to “fix” everything with futuristic technology. So I tried to address it in this book.



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Adulting Hardcore [Artist’s Way, Overwatch]

I’ve started the Artist’s Way again- specifically the Finding Water, the Art of Perseverance book.

I have a weird relationship with The Artist’s Way. I’ve found it very useful. But it’s hard to read as an atheist; Cameron does her best to accommodate everyone, sometimes calling it God, sometimes the Universe. Essentially when you open yourself up to being creative, then God (or the Universe) sends you opportunities and gifts and stuff.

To reconcile this with my own beliefs (or lack thereof) I see it as opening yourself up to creativity just makes you open your damn eyes and look around you. Opportunities are there all the time, but usually we don’t think they’re for us, like the delivery person standing on your stoop with a bouquet of flowers. “Sorry, you must be at the wrong house.” Or you don’t even see something as an opportunity. But doing the Artist’s Way helps you look around and maybe just try something you wouldn’t have otherwise.

Julia Cameron either is brilliant or she is knows a good thing to milk: all of her programs have the same basic principle: write 3 pages of longhand every morning. Go on an “artist’s date” alone during the week. She’s also included walking in the program by now, but I don’t think it was part of the first one. But they all focus on a different part of the artist’s life, usually in memoir form.

Finding Water came to me right when I needed it. It’s a meditation for artists who have a career but may be feeling a slump, or imposter syndrome, and how to get your focus back. I picked the book up last year when I was feeling some particular professional jealousy, and read the first chapter. It was just what I needed. (note I said least year; I didn’t start doing the program hardcore until recently. Honestly I hate morning pages. So I do them, drop them, pick them back up.)

I’m starting week 3 now, and I’ll report back in later to say how i’m doing.

I started playing Overwatch (PS4). It was hard for me to warm to because I a) am not good at shooters and b) hate playing online games with strangers. But I should have trusted Blizzard. The only game design they’ve ever done that I’ve disliked is Hearthstone. (I just don’t get it. It’s a card game when I’ve played better card games on other apps. What am I missing? Anyway. I digress.) Overwatch is designed with four kinds of characters: offense (high damage), tanks (high defense), defense (neutralize the other team), and support (healing, buffing.) The vastly different characters offer a style of play that works for different people.

Junkrat, totally not the Evil Midnight Bomber or the Joker.

“You’ll never prove a thing, copper, I’m just a part time electrician…bad is good, baby! Down with government!”

I find myself liking the support characters (Mercy the valkyrie and Zenyatta the robot monk) and the occasional defense characters (Junkrat the Evil Midnight Bomber What Bombs at Midnight and Mei the climatologist). When I play offense I just turn into a smear on the ground, and I have never enjoyed tanks.

What Blizzard has done so brilliantly is take an idea from Splatoon and take it a step farther. To keep people (teen boys) from frothing all over the game with homophobic and sexist slurs, they don’t have a chat function on the console. There isn’t an obvious way to choose a team, although my daughter says it’s possible.* You can do vocal team chat, but since you can’t choose a team you could be playing with people all over the world. The options to communicate with people are signaling in game things like Hello and I need healing. There isn’t a gay slur among them.

You can unlock other things to say. (I unlocked Zenyatta’s saying “I dreamt I was a butterfly,” which I love) You can unlock things to spray on the wall. I am of course unlocking all sorts of awesome skins and sprays and sayings for people I don’t play at all, but I figure the more I play, the more shit I will unlock.

When we got Overwatch, my daughter started playing on my account (long story, misunderstanding, let’s move on) and pushed my level up. I feel like I should apologize to people because it says I’m level 16, but I promise i’m not playing like a level 16 player. So if you see mightymur out there flailing about, blame my kid.

Yeah. All her fault that I’m not good at this game. Totally…

Anyway. I love it. Despite my moans of despair when we are against a team of fucking sniper campers who destroy me the moment I respawn, I actually am having fun. It’s what I needed after last week’s stress of book launches** and turn in.

And so he says to me, you want to be a bad guy? and I say Yeah Baby! I want to be bad! I says Churchill space ponies I’m making gravy without the lumps! Ah ha ha ha ha haaaaa!!!!!


* This is not an official review. I’m just saying this from what I’ve experienced playing the PS4 version. You may indeed be able to do these things, but I choose not to.
** The books are still getting great reviews. I got a very flattering email from someone Friday night – I won’t say who, cause I don’t have their permission, but goddamn, did it make my weekend.

Six Wakes and Bookburners Launch Day! Plus Appearances Updates

Six Wakes Cover

W00t

Two days ago saw the launch of Six Wakes and Bookburners, the projects I spent most of last year on. It was weird coincidence that they launched the same day. But the reviews for both are both really good, and I’m thrilled at the response. And thanks to everyone who posted a review online, anywhere! Spreading the word is HUGE help.

I got to do the John Scalzi Big Idea on Tuesday! And here are some quotes from reviews for Six Wakes!

“A taut, nerve-tingling murder mystery with a deeply human heart.”
NPR Books
 
“An interstellar page-turner with an innovative twist on cloning tropes.”
B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog
 
“A great book with so much going for it: clever structure, wonderful characters, 
and a fiendishly clever puzzle that you’ll roll over in your mind 
for months after you close the covers.”
Boing Boing
 
“[The] coolest murder mystery you’ll read.”
— bestselling author Chuck Wendig

~

Unfortunately I won’t be doing my bookstore event in Greenville, SC tonight. We had to reschedule. We’re still hammering out when we will be doing it but it looks tentatively like February 21 will be the new date. And I’m working on a local event in March at Flyleaf books, will post when that gets confirmed.

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I’m completely knackered, as the Brits say, from book launches and turning in the first draft of I Should Be Writing, the book. (Yeah, that was yesterday, whoo hoo book done! Now body must zzzzz…) But now that the books are out and the other book is turned in, I can focus more on my podcasts and my dear Patreon supporters.

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OH, and thanks to everyone who participated in the giveaway! All slots are filled!

January 31: two books! Huge giveaway!

Six Wakes Cover

Six Wakes

TL;DR: Send me receipts in email and get signed books. Details at bottom.

This January 31, I am in the wonderfully strange situation of having TWO books coming out at once.

First, from Orbit books, I have Six Wakes, my clone murder mystery in space, the book that made James Patrick Kelly say, “Lafferty does for clones what Asimov did for robots.”

Six Wakes also got starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Library Journal and has appeared on several “January books to look for” lists.

Then from Saga and Serial Box comes my collaboration (with Max Gladstone, Brian Francis Slattery, and Margaret Dunlap) Bookburners. It’s a horror/urban fantasy story about a Vatican team who chase down magical books and contain them before terrible things happen. (Usually right when terrible things are happening, otherwise the story wouldn’t be interesting.) Naomi Novik says “Bookburners is sheer enormous fun!” It’s also appeared on several “January books to look for” lists!

While this is SUPER exciting, I was wondering how I could promote two books at once. I don’t want my readers/listeners to get Lafferty fatigue at me saying, “Buy my book! Now buy my other book! Did you buy the first one yet? Well, go do that!” And so on.

So I figured out a plan: the first five people to send me their receipts for Six Wakes will receive signed (by me) copies of the Bookburners ARC, and the first five to send me copies of their Bookburners receipts will receive signed copies of Six Wakes. 

UPDATE: All books spoken for! Thanks!

Now, my die hard fans who’ve already bought both should get some kind of reward too. If you show such dedication, then I will reward you with a secret letter and a present. (You may want to indicate which of my books you do not own, that will help me decide presents.)

To sum up! Starting today:

  • Send me your Six Wakes preorder receipt and your address: get a copy of Bookburners (ARC). (Limit 5 people)
  • Send me your Bookburners preorder receipt and your address: get a copy of Six Wakes. (Limit 5 people)
  • Send me the receipt for both and your address, and you’ll get a secret letter and a present. (Limit 5 people)
  • And yes, I will ship worldwide. Gawd help me.
  • My email address is mightymur at gmail dot com.

PLEASE put “GIVEAWAY” in your subject line so I will spot the entries. I will edit this blog post and mention on twitter when all of the books are spoken for.

ISBW #370: Gamification // Jason Chabot and Kylie Chan Interviews

I discuss how I try to get work done using Habitica and 4thewords.com. Then talk to Jason Chabot and Kylie Chan!

New books! Coming out January 31! Preorder now!

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ISBW #369: Feedback // Interviews with David D. Levine and Stephen Aryan

I am getting through the last of my interviews that have been here, and I’m sorry to everyone who has had to wait. Today we go through feedback and talk to David D. Levine and Stephen Aryan.

New books! Coming out January 31! Preorder now!

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The Dread Award Eligibility Post!

hugo_award_logoI made stuff in 2016! I’m going to tell you about it!

My Season 2 Bookburners novelette was Debtor’s Prison, published in July.

I wrote the short story “Voice of the Empire” for Star Wars Insider magazine that came out December 27, just under the wire.

Regarding the Hugos, my podcasts I Should Be Writing and Ditch Diggers (with co-host Matt Wallace) are both eligible for fancast this year, and we would love your consideration.

The magazine I edit, Mothership Zeta, is eligible for best semiprozine, which makes me eligible for best editor (Short).

I think that’s all I’m eligible for; last year was a lot of work on stuff that hasn’t seen the light of day (yet). For example, my novel SIX WAKES didn’t make it out in time to be a 2016 book, but you can get it this month (make it safe and preorder now!) and then consider it for next year.

2016: Reading

screen-shot-2016-12-31-at-1-41-35-pm

For the record, I took this screen shot before the year was up. So I still have time to win…

Yesterday I was looking for pictures of myself I’d posted in this blog. Aside from the fact that it was very hard to find any, it meant that I read several old blog posts. I got to the end of year 2015 post on reading and was astonished. I’d forgotten that I’d made a pledge to read as many of the books that I already owned (aka from my existing To Be Read pile). I’d reduced my Audible subscriptions to 1 credit a month. I had a Plan.

After a few months of buying more Audible credits so I could get more audiobooks, I finally turned my subscription back where it was.I didn’t just fail at this. I completely forgot I’d created the goal in the first place. That’s impressive.

Of course, the year was a shit fire, and I find comfort in buying books. And I like to support my friends. And publishers often send me ARCs from people I interview. So the books kept coming in.

I don’t know if I can try to make the same attempt this year. Too many good books are coming out, such as The Stars Are Legion by Kameron Hurley, Seven Surrenders by Ada Palmer, The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin. I think I will, however, start keeping track on Goodreads of books I already own as opposed to books I purchased. Or I could totally cheat and just preorder all of the above today. That could work…

If you don’t know, I track my reading on Goodreads, but I neither engage with any of the flame wars there, nor do I often review books. I know several authors review books professionally, but I don’t find it something I want to do. I don’t want to harm a friend’s sales, but I don’t want to just throw around 5 star reviews either. So I just mark that I read it. (I may be more honest with books outside my field, such as nonfiction or graphic novels.)

This year I nearly made my goal of 80 books read. I re-read some of them, which didn’t make Goodreads’ official tally of books read, since you can’t list that you read a book on different dates (you can make a separate shelf for rereads, but the official Goodreads number comes from the date you read the book. If you mark a book as read but don’t give it a date, then it doesn’t go into the tally.)

Favorite books? Nah. I know how shitty I feel when I’m left off a blog post of “Best Books/Podcasts of the year!” so I try not to make my own. If you want to see what I read, check out my Goodreads shelves.

Ditch Diggers #34: End of Year Special with Kameron Hurley

We are joined by ugly Christmas sweaters, booze, and Kameron Hurley. Happy New Year! Fuck you, 2016!

Until Matt gets the show notes done, I think the only thing we have to say about the end of the year was said best by Lalo Alcaraz:

Cartoon by Lalo Alcaraz

 


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Ditch Diggers #33 – Etiquette and Protocol

  • Mur and Matt come to you live from Morgan Freeman’s holiday decorations vault, after Mur cracked said vault (we didn’t know Mur was a safecracker).
  • Mur talks about her brief absence from podcasting during the holidays, during which she recorded the audiobook for her new novel, SIX WAKES (Orbit, Jan. 31st), which also received a starred review from Publishers Weekly in that time.
  • All the books Matt and Mur have coming out in the beginning of 2017, including SIX WAKES, IDLE INGREDIENTS, and Bookburners.
  • Matt still sucks at segues.
  • Matt and Mur discuss professional ethics for freelancers, more specifically the choices you’ll make for your career and your brand as a creator. Matt names names.
  • A brief interlude to catch up with Mur’s dog and also her Orson Welles-voiced husband, Jim.
  • Matt talks about his experiences with advertisers paying for space on his platform, both refusing money and regretting having taken it, and what he’s learned from both.
  • Mur talks about being paid to personally endorse ad content vs. selling advertising time on her podcasts, and the difference between doing both, as well as click-bait ads on personal blogs.
  • Matt offers a positive example of using your platform for advertising and monetary gain.
  • Mur talks about ethical blurbing for authors.
  • Matt and Mur switch gears and talk about professional ethics from the side of those who hire freelance writers and creators, focusing on the internet.
  • Matt offers an example of markets with no morals or ethics via his recent, very public brawl with movie news and low-grade paparazzi stalker porn website JoBlo.com
  • Mur talks about her experiences with unscrupulous games publishers.
  • Twitter Q&A! Matt and Mur answer questions about Brexit’s effect on the publishing industry, foreign editions of author’s books, and more.
  • Finally, it’s awards season and Ditch Diggers is again eligible for the Best Fancast Hugo! Hugo voters, take note.

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