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.

Ditch Diggers #41: HOT BUTTON TOPICS

What Are People Mad About Today?
Ditch Diggers 41: Hot Button Topics

  • Matt and Mur come to you live from Morgan Freeman’s 24-hour news network control room where we are discussing the latest hot button topics on the news! (Mur has a new applause machine, but it’s not working right now, so you’ll have to infer the applause.)
  • Sound f/x as the new vernacular, and addiction to sound f/x machines.
  • Mur and Matt are tackling ISSUES on this HOT BUTTON EPISODE of Ditch Diggers. AKA heatedly discussed topics recently on writer social media.
  • Matt explains (poorly and too meta, according to Mur) what hot button issues are and how they come into being.
  • Mur explains (far more eloquently) the nature of click-bait and how it drives/poisons discourse on the internet.
  • Hot Button #1: The infamous “if you don’t write every day you’re not a real writer” article and the larger “real writer” myth.
  • Hot Button #2: The “don’t you dare smack talk your copy editor on social media” debate, and the larger issue of how important discourse gets derailed by pretense and false premises. We also discuss the difference between discussing issues and discussing individuals, and authors criticizing other authors.
  • Hot Button #3: “Literary” magazines publishing genre fiction, and also not paying authors.
  • Matt and Mur go on a tangent about the detriment of labeling fiction and how the market has shrunk.
  • Returning to the hot button, Matt and Mur talk about the difference between the business of “literary” and SFF magazines.
  • Twitter Q&A! Questions include outlining book series, “bonehead” things aspiring writers do again and again, and knives.

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!

[P1] The Daughters’ Pact

The Page One Project / June 1, 2017


“Dead at school or alive in the woods,” Darla had said. But she had wanted to meet at night, and Serena’s closest experience with nature had been her mother’s window flower box.

Right before she was ready to panic, give up, and pull out the forbidden phone, Serena spied a light flickering through the trees. She breathed a sigh as she finally found her bearings. She hurried toward it, trying not to make a lot of noise to attract the wrong kind of attention, but trying to make enough noise to avoid sneaking up on the others.

Jasmine stood by the fire, holding her hands over it and staring at it. A stuffed backpack sat at her feet, leaning slightly against her calf. Her tight braids hung around her face, and only her eyes were visible.

Darla gathered more tinder for the fire, looking up at Serena when she arrived, acknowledging her with a nod, and then getting back to work. Her limp was less pronounced in the woods. Why had Serena never noticed that before?

HD sat leaning against a log, her hair short and dirty, face twisted as if pained. Her hand clenched on the sack on her lap: a fraying vinyl bag that said Carolina Mudcats. Its thin straps, no wider than thick yarn, drooped over her legs, and Serena wondered how much it hurt to carry it.

HD’s eyes flicked to her as she joined them. “You’re late,” she said. “Did you bring them?”

Serena nodded. “All I could find, anyway.” She dropped her leather backpack on the ground and opened it. Trying to hide her distaste, she reached in and grabbed the bundle of bloody rags, drawing them slowly out.

Darla watched her, transfixed. “Do we really have to do this? If my mother ever finds out-”

“Sure, your mother is what we have to worry about here,” HD interrupted. She rubbed her face, leaving a smear of dirt. “Your mother is the least of our worries.”


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.

[P1] Announcing The Page One Project

The Page One Project Logo
A few years ago I was blogging a creativity exercise I called The News from Poughkeepsie. I would post a daily writing prompt, character sketch, MacGuffin, setting, etc that people could use in their own writing. I did it to push my own creativity, as well as prove that ideas are cheap, and anyone who held onto their precious jewels of ideas for fear of them being stolen was only hurting themselves.

Today I’ve decided to go one better. I’m launching The Page One Project, a weekly gift to you. 250 – 500 words of the beginning of a story, and you can do with it what you will*. Continue the story. Edit the heck out of it and make it a poem. Use it as inspiration for your webcomic. Make it the beginning of a bestselling trilogy. Quote it in interpretive dance. I don’t care.

ALL you have to do is mention the work began as part of The Page One project and include my name. That’s it.

Today, launch day, it’s free to everyone. After this, Patreon supporters will get the pages before everyone else, but they will eventually all be posted here.

This is the most free use of a Creative Commons License I’ve ever done, and it’s exciting. The official license is the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License (don’t worry, it’s a human readable link below, not fifteen pages of EULA.) If you have any questions, please check that page before you ping me, it really is plainly spelled out.

Page One for June 1, 2017, The Daughters’ Pact, is coming later today!

* Incidentally, so can I!

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

ISBW #376: Must you be writing daily? And Robyn Bennis interview!

Is Writing Daily a Necessity?

Writing daily, with Robyn Bennis interview

Robyn Bennis

A new article has writer Twitter in a froth. It turns out that someone wrote a clickbait article about how if you aren’t writing daily, then you might as well quit. This is so, so, so wrong.

Did I write daily for a while? Yes. Do I recommend the Magic Spreadsheet for others who want to write daily? Yes. Did it help me and others? Yes. But telling you that you MUST write daily because I did is like saying that since I ran a marathon, everyone must run a marathon else they have no chance of being an athlete. So I get into that more in this episode.

Then I talk to Robyn Bennis, author of the debut novel The Guns Above! (Note, the interview has some NSFW words but I reversed them, so there’s no swearing but there are a few strange backward-sounding words. But I do have a new tool coming to make bleeping words easier!)

Also, don’t miss the latest Ditch Diggers regarding parenting and a writing career!


Affiliate Links:

Ditch Diggers #40: Ditches for Writers and Parents

Show Notes for the Parents

(Note, we are having some problems with the official Ditch Diggers site, so please be patient with us.)

  • Mur and Matt welcome parents: author Adam Rakunas and author, games, transmedia, and screenwriter Andrea Phillips as guest co-hosts!
    Andrea Phillips: Writers and Parents

    Andrea Phillips [Ditches for Writers and Parents]

  • Adam and Andrea are both full-time freelance writers and full-time primary caregivers to their (what seems to Matt to be, anyway) many children.
  • Recording this episode was delayed because Adam’s daughter vomited on literally everything in the world, which sets a perfect tone for the topic of the show.
  • Andrea and Adam share their backgrounds as writers, how and when they started, and where they are now.
  • Full-time caregiving while full-time writing, and how each affects the other.
  • Matt asks if having kids changes your professional goals as a writer (e.g. lights a larger fire under your ass to succeed).
  • Andrea talks how being a mother unduly influences others’ perception of her and her writing, the struggles of that, and about crowdfunding her Lucy Smokeheart series of fiction.
  • Mur asks about scheduling conflicts and other insightful things as the sole Ditch Digging parent among the regular hosts.
  • Our guest co-hosts tackle Q&A from Twitter!

Links

Adam Rakunas: Writers and Parents

Adam Rakunas [Ditches for Writers and Parents]

I’m Back at Escape Pod – and More

Escape Pod

Escape Pod

Escape Pod

I’ve been bad about announcing this, but it went public two weeks ago that I have rejoined the editorial staff of Escape Pod! We put Mothership Zeta on hiatus and then the new editor Divya Breed invited me join her as she took the helm of EP.

I love podcast fiction and I’ve always loved EP, so I happily stayed with the Escape Artists family in another role. I’ve been working on the backend (stories, decision making, etc) for a few months now, but we just announced it to the public. Today will feature my first host spot.

It’s great to be back at the longest running short fiction podcast. We have some big plans for the future, including planning for the big episode 600.

Nebula Weekend

So many of my friends are off at the Nebulas this weekend, and I hope they have a great time. I’ll be watching the awards ceremony on Saturday night – I know too many nominees not to. It’s a tough year, which is a good thing for science fiction.

The Nebulas are our industry awards, voted on only by members of SFWA. They often mirror the Hugo Award ballot, but not always (especially in the past few years.) This year they’re fairly close, actually. Sadly, the Nebulas don’t award comics or podcasts, but there is an award for movies: The Bradbury.

And, as Ursula Vernon let me hold hers once, I can attest that one can use the statue as a very effective blunt weapon. So if the revolution comes on Nebula night, I’d hide behind a winner if I were you.

Official Cover for I Should Be Writing

My editor sent me more details about the I Should Be Writing book, which is slated for release August 8. The final cover just came out, and it’s a beauty. You can totally preorder it, you know.

I Should Be Writing cover

I Should Be Writing cover

ISBW #375: Feedback with Pacing, the Magical Negro Trope, and more

It’s a feedback show where I go back through the spring and clean up the outstanding questions and topics!

Feedback Show Notes

ISBW Cover (Feedback Ep)

ISBW Cover


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