Make that HUGO NOMINATED Ditch Diggers!

The news is out, it’s very exciting, so exciting we may vomit.

Ditch Diggers got nominated for BEST FANCAST Hugo Award!

I have been sitting on this news for two weeks, freaking out quietly. I didn’t really believe it, and since I’m writing this on Monday I am secretly* worrying that in the next 24 hours something will happen to take it away from us. It happens, after all.

Matt and I are very proud of what we’ve turned Ditch Diggers into, and we are so grateful for the nomination. I’ll be representing us in Finland at WorldCon 75, and we’ll be working hard to keep the awesome content coming in the meantime!

*I know, I’m blogging so it’s not so secret…

Ditch Diggers #44: Gavia Baker-Whitelaw and Freelance Ditches

How to dig freelance ditches

And what are freelance ditches anyway?
Digging Freelance Ditches: Sniper with doberman

  • Mur and Matt come to you live from Morgan Freeman’s Pop Culture Popcorn Boutique, and Mur actually lets Matt do the intros.
  • The Ditch Diggers welcome special guest co-host, staff writer for The Daily Dot and pop culture analyst extraordinaire, Gavia Baker-Whitelaw!
  • Everyone immediately agrees that Gavia’s mom would make the best agent ever, and that would also be her pro-wrestling gimmick.
  • Gavia talks about being a full-time writer for The Daily Dot and her areas of expertise.
  • Matt asks Gavia what makes a good cultural criticism writer, and Gavia does her best to answer such a broad question.
  • Gavia talks about how livejournal fanfiction led to her current career, how she selects topics to cover, and the life of a piece at The Daily Dot.
  • Gavia talks about her side project The Rec Center and being steeped in fandom as a writer.
  • The validity of liquids in sandwiches, and the validity of fanfiction as a writing medium.
  • Twitter Q&A, including how a book, movie, etc. gets the attention of a market like The Daily Dot.

Links of interest:

Note: Mur will be appearing at WorldCon in Helsinki in a few weeks and doing a LIVE Ditch Diggers with writer and publisher Alasdair Stuart standing in for Matt (with Matt’s approval, naturally. We’re not staging a coup to replace Matt even though Al does have a better accent.) See my program here!


Affiliate links to our books!

ISBW #379: Those Down Days

The bad thing about being on a regular recording schedule again is I have to podcast even when I don’t feel like it. So sometimes it’s just about the mental health. This is a short, low energy podcast, but I’m really fine, trust me. Just had a bad start to the week with migraine and super low energy. I’m doing much better now, but figured I should post this because I try to be honest with the look inside a writer’s life, and sometimes there are days like this.

Mentioned: The War of Art.


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Ditch Diggers #43: Care and Feeding of your Author

We are together again talking about care and feeding of the author inside you! Sadly, with technical difficulties.

Care and Feeding Show Notes

  • Fuck hemingway. And a pierMatt and Mur come to you live, actually in-person (well, the two of them are, anyway) from Morgan Freeman’s Outside OBGYN Clinic.
  • Matt’s fictional uterus and a brief history of why we’re talking about it on this episode.
  • Actually, Matt and Mur are at their yearly retreat in the backwoods of Ohio with friends and family, several of whom are in the audience during the recording of this episode.
  • Matt and Mur introduce the topic of this episode, “the care and feeding of your author” (a topic suggested by Matt’s fiancée, Nikki).
  • How writers and the writing industry/community emphasize doing the work over taking care of yourself, physically.
  • Mur talks about how we romanticize the Hemingway-esque and Poe-esque stereotypes of the alcohol-soaked, depressed author and why that is obviously wrong and harmful.
  • Self-care, how alcohol and writing don’t mix, and Matt’s unabashed love for Mott’s for Tots apple juice and how it can replace the former habit.
  • Mur and Matt talk about smoking and drug abuse, citing writers like Joe Ezsterhaus and Stephen King as examples of how both invariably go disastrously wrong when you mix them with your career.
  • The episode is cut abruptly short, and Mur explains why (and offers apologies, although we did the best we could).

Affiliate links to our books!

[P1] Bell the Cat

The Page One Project / June 29, 2017


Bell the Cat“Maybe we can use prisoners.”

The eager-faced private was probably a little older than most recruits, but carried herself well as she refilled water glasses in the war room.

Admiral Kang looked around slowly, murder in her eyes. “Did someone ask your opinion?”

“Er, no ma’am, I just thought if you can’t find someone to risk their lives in the barrel, then you could perhaps send a prisoner in there to do it.” The private swallowed nervously and her hand tightened on the water jug.

“The weapon will probably kill them during the test fire. That’s what happens when you’re in a barrel of a giant weapon. If they face death on the outside why would they face death on the inside?”

“Well, you said it would ‘probably’ kill them. If the weapon doesn’t kill them, then you can promise to release them?” the private said, her voice dry.

Admiral Kang briefly considered this. Then she shook her head.

“The problem, I think, is the weapon’s design,” Captain Folda said, leaning back in his chair his feet lifting slightly off the floor. “Test fires are suicide. Who thought it was a good idea to place the diagnostic computer inside the actual barrel of the weapon?”

Kang glared at the short man. She hated the way he spoke, unsure and hesitant, always saying “I think” when it was bloody obvious that when he spoke, he was thinking the words that came out of his mouth.

“Of course it’s in the design. That’s why we can’t fix it. That’s why we need a workaround,” she said. “I wish I could put the actual design team in there to fire the weapon. That would be fitting punishment.”

“All are dead but one,” said Dr. Wu, the physicist who oversaw the project. He looked at a tablet and scrolled through some names. “One of the designers: an Aleksandra Zielinski. A prodigy, it seems.”

The private had begun to slink from the room, obviously hoping to escape now that the focus was elsewhere.

“Private,” Admiral Kang barked. “What did you say your name was?”


What happens next? That’s up to you.

Read more about The Page One Project here.

Creative Commons License
The Page One Project by Mur Lafferty is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Links are affiliate.

 

ISBW #378: Preparations

One day late, nearly back on schedule!

I’ve decided I need some simple lists to help me when I travel and record, and figure those kinds of lists might help with writing, too.

Next week, Ditch Diggers!


Affiliate Links:

ISBW #377: Brain Weasels

I know I know I know I always say these supportive things but sometimes it’s hard to listen to myself. Recently – without realizing it! – I’ve been suffering from “first draft must be perfect” syndrome, and had to step back and actually look at myself and what I was doing.

First drafts don’t have to be perfect. Write it 100x on the board.

bart-simpson-writes-first-drafts

Created at http://www.addletters.com/bart-simpson-generator.htm#.WUgG2tgzpQM


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Ditch Diggers #42: The Freelancer’s Rebuttal Guide

Foxes fight, quote from show, rebuttal guideIt’s time for some role playing and rebuttal action as Matt and Mur bring you some FINE acting shit.

Rebuttal Guide Show Notes

  • Matt and Mur come to you live from Morgan Freeman’s Debate Club practice room, and Mur remembers to say the show’s tagline for once.
  • The Ditch Diggers try to decide whether this episode takes place two weeks or five minutes after the last episode.
  • Matt asks Mur what she’s been up to, and the answer somehow involves John Without Garfield (edit- it’s actually Garfield Minus Garfield.)
  • Mur talks about being in the oft recurring “proposal period” of a writer’s career, sending pitches out for multiple projects including novels and interactive media, hating outlining, and learning new skills.
  • Matt talks about finally finishing his first (anti) epic fantasy novel, working on the final Sin du Jour novella, reaching the end of his current book contract, and what comes next (including a middle grade novel).
  • Mur unintentionally segues into the topic of today’s show, which is The Freelance Writer’s Rebuttal Guide, a Matt Wallace Technology (Mur makes fun of Matt for this last part, and rightfully so).
  • Matt and Mur role-play The Freelance Writer’s Rebuttal Guide, with Mur’s snarky and insightful annotations throughout.
  • Matt encourages freelancers to submit new scenarios to the Guide, which is different from emailing Ditch Diggers questions (Mur explains).
  • Email questions! Topics include freelance writers and social media, publishing rights, and how to best keep track of pending submissions.

Other links of note:

Garfield Minus Garfield, October 2016

Garfield Minus Garfield, a particularly creepy one.

As always, Matt and Mur shill their books, GREEDY PIGS and RENCOR and SIX WAKES respectively, and remind Hugo voting listeners Ditch Diggers is up for best fancast, so vote for us!


Affiliate links to our books!

Site Housekeeping

I was on vacation last week and missed posting the latest ISBW. So there will be a new Ditch Diggers later today, ISBW later this week, and ISBW next Monday to make sure we’re caught up. Then a live DD the following Monday cause I’m seeing Matt in person soon.

And I’m cooking up something cool for the live DD at WorldCon! And I will NOT mess up the recording this time! Cross my heart and all that.

I am working on a redesign to my site (OK, Pablo Defendini is working on the redesign, I’m just watching) and in cleaning some things up, I have broken others (mainly the Ditch Diggers site). This will be fixed when the new site launches.

Simpsons- old man yells at cloudSpeaking of things that I broke: many of you have told me that the Ditch Diggers feed isn’t updating, and I’m sorry about that. I have gone into iTunes and put a new feed for ITunes to grab, and it should be fixed within 24 hours or so.

<— Aside- BACK IN MY DAY fixing your feed within iTunes was nigh-impossible. Once you told iTunes what your feed was, you were stuck. I wasn’t too optimistic about this fix, but then found out iTunes has changed in the past 10 years. Who would have thought?

So the Ditch Diggers feed should be fixed shortly. Crossing fingers.


HEY did you know that you can win a copy of Bookburners from Goodreads? It’s true! Enter the giveaway here to win the glorious doorstop of a book with stories by me, Max Gladstone, Margaret Dunlap, and Brian Francis Slattery.


I hate to toot my own horn, but who’s gonna toot it if I don’t? Last week Six Wakes got awesome coverage in Popular Mechanics! They listed Six Wakes as one of the best SF books of 2017 (so far). Seriously.

[P1] The Mediterranean Song*

The Page One Project / June 16, 2017


alarm clock with quoteThe clock was already going to tell him he’d lost the spot, wasn’t it? He hated the thing, it was small, beeping, and insistent. It had no personality, but Michael hated it as if it had told him his mother was dead.

His mother was dead, actually, but the alarm couldn’t know that. It knew nothing except the time, and the time was Too Late.

He reached over the stained mattress and felt along the floor until he found the cheap digital clock. He’d bought it at the pawn shop while trying not to think of what poor bastard was so down on their luck that they got value from pawning a piece of shit clock. He had punched SNOOZE three times and was now ready to yank the cord from the wall. His hangover assailed him from behind his eyes and somewhere in the back of his throat. Something had to die, and it was going to be that wretched clock.

The sound stopped right before his hand fell on the clock. He blinked slowly, unable to process. Then it started again, and he grabbed the clock and threw it.

It gave no resistance at all, trailing its cord behind it. He’d already yanked it out of the wall.
He searched for the source of the noise, which continued to blare like a siren. His phone. It was underneath his clothes from last night. He squinted at it, and a dim memory appeared from the night before. He’d been drinking with other musicians and had laughed and changed his conductor’s ringtone to be the most obnoxious siren his phone could provide. It had seemed funny.

The ringing stopped abruptly, and then the phone began to ping as texts rolled in. They had different levels of profanity and threats, but they all said essentially the same thing:

Where the hell are you?

We’re practicing The Mediterranean Song today and we can’t do it without you.


What happens next? That’s up to you.

Read more about The Page One Project here.

Creative Commons License
The Page One Project by Mur Lafferty is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Links are affiliate.

* Title supplied by Paul Byford – thanks, Paul!

[P1] The Gentlemen’s Cemetery

The Page One Project / June 9, 2017


Image Desc: Dapper man with story quote They told me that all of society’s walls – class, racism, sexism – they fall after death. When I pressed for details, no one could give me a good answer. Holy men and women don’t like it when you press for details. They fall because reasons. They shatter because our bodies are the only things that indicate our working class, our brown skin, our sexual preference, our genders, and now they are gone?

They were wrong about so much. It was hard enough being dead without having to unwrap all of the lies the churches (and atheists) shoveled into us. There was no bright light. I haven’t found any family members or friends. I have not ascended to heaven, fallen to hell, or had a desire to haunt anyone. I don’t even know if I’d call myself a ghost. I don’t feel like a monster.

Wait, I did find one friend: Harry, my friend from childhood, but since we both died in our forties we didn’t have a lot to talk about. The conversation went something like, “Harry? From Mrs. Draughn’s fifth grade class?”

“Holy shit, it’s you! How, uh, well, did you have a good life?”

“Not too bad. Ended too soon. You know.”

“Yeah.”

“…well, see you.”

You do learn dead etiquette pretty damn fast; no one cares how you died, and it’s considered pretty rude to talk about. I stopped offering the information pretty fast.

I lost a big sense of self after I died. I wandered a lot. I think most of us did. You can go anywhere, but you lose a lot of desire to spy on the living. In fact, I think that old play Our Town was probably the most accurate view of the afterlife.

I had little desires but to wander, until the day I wandered into the Gentlemen’s Graveyard and immediately was cast out.

That gave me something to want.


What happens next? That’s up to you.

Read more about The Page One Project here.

Creative Commons License
The Page One Project by Mur Lafferty is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Links are affiliate.