Game of Thrones night at the Durham Bulls! #sansaball

Wherein I started a bizarre fanfic two years ago that suddenly got attention:

Two baseball seasons ago, I had a silly thought: What would happen if I live-tweeted a Durham Bulls game as if I were the young, innocent Sansa Stark (A Song of Ice and Fire / Game of Thrones) attending a tournament? So I went on about my hair and the Hound and Joffrey and lemon funnel cakes and calling all of the players “ser” and “the Bulls of House Durham.” My daughter became Arya*. I tagged it #sansaball and ended up enjoying the game a great deal.

After a few games, I made some ground rules for myself. In the books and TV series, Sansa’s story (well, everyone’s story) goes a bit (a lot) dark, and #sansaball would only be fun if I presented as the Sansa who was innocent and had a perfect view of noble knights and perfect royalty. The Sansa who was forced to watch [REDACTED] and then marry [REDACTED], etc, was not someone who would delight in a home run. Speaking of REDACTED, I didn’t want to spoil anyone on the later books, either. (Although I admit it would be fun to try to tweet as Sansa’s evolved character by the end of book five. Her tone would be a bit different. OK, I just spoiled that she’s alive through five books. I FEEL TERRIBLE.)

It turns out that the guy who runs the Twitter account for the Bulls is a Game of Thrones fan and he jumped into #sansaball, talking about how the Greyjoys sponsoring the Norfolk Tides. We decided their mascot was the drowned god, by the way. People who didn’t even like baseball were following the tweets, and I was invited to DetCon in Detroit so I could attend a Detroit Tigers game and tweet as #sansaball (I really wanted to, but schedule didn’t work out.)

The marketing branch of the Durham Bulls are big time geeks, apparently, and last year they had a Star Wars day complete with themed jerseys (auctioned for charity), light sabers for the kids, and Darth Vader doing a force choke on the Bulls’ mascot.

Now we’re at 2015 and opening day is 22 days away. The Bulls recently announced another geek themed day, a Game of Thrones theme, with special jerseys again and more fantasy fun. I’m excited to be mentioned as a part of it, as they pointed out #sansaball in their announcement. But today, Entertainment Weekly did a small piece on it, and covered #sansaball extensively. I’m a bit stunned.

But BASEBALL IS COMING. We have our tickets for Game of Thrones night at the Bulls, complete with #sansaball. So follow on Twitter if you like, it’s a lot of fun!

got-baseball-jersey* Wasn’t sure how to refer to Jim. He’s pretty much better than all the men in ASOIAF – perhaps he’s like Ned Stark but he’s not terminally stupid. And Ned is Sansa’s father, anyway. Ew. Otherwise, Sansa doesn’t have good taste/luck with men. I couldn’t call him the name of the sadistic prince or the whoring, drunkard dwarf** or the burned murderer or the master of lies or the totally gorgeous-but-gay knight or the creepy-ass kid who wants to be an Oedipal complex when he grows up…
** I know Tyrion is a fan favorite. I like him too. But still, some of his most notable qualities that are fun to read about are not something you look for in a spouse.


Imaginary Faceless Time Traveling Haters

I’ve been afraid-a lot-in my life and career. It comes and goes, there are peaks and valleys. I’m sitting here now, grumpy and afraid. And I realized that I’m afraid that people will Find Out.

Imposter syndrome is not just you thinking that you’re not good enough to have achieved what you have. It’s not just feeling that your success is a fluke. It’s worrying that those things are true and everyone is going to find out. You’re only able to fool people for so long, and then it will be on the front pages. And by you, I mean me.


And the people who reveal this, the ones who break the story and blow the whistle, they are going to be outraged and furious and come and take away your awards and erase your good reviews and go to the house of everyone who has purchased anything from you and tell them to demand their money back because you’re just not worth it. You’re giving these faceless people power over you, power to cancel your achievements, power to erase the fucking past. 

That’s a whole lot of power. And if someone had that kind of power, I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t go back in time to fuck up your (my) career. Come on, we have Hitlers to kill and stocks to short and famous people to hang out with before they become famous and we can say we Knew Them When.

So I want to remove that power from the imaginary faceless time traveling haters. And I’ll do so by the simple matter of confessing, removing the ammunition from their time travel hater gun.

  • I don’t know what I’m doing. I write silly or weird shit. People sometimes like it.
  • Sometimes when good things happen to me, I’m so confused about it-how did THAT happen?-that I don’t immediately have what most people consider the proper response. And if something good happens, but not what I expect/want, it’s even harder to process.
  • I have an ambitious indie project I want to do this year. It is scaring the shit out of me. It scares me because I’m afraid that I will get shell shocked by attention, depressed by lack of attention, or delayed because of other projects, and quit in the middle. (it’s serial fiction, can’t write it all and then release it because of reasons and baseball.)
  • Sometimes when I actually think about the fact that people are actually listening to my podcast, I get panicky and my mind goes blank and I can think of absolutely nothing to say. This causes podcast delays.
  • I have written fanfic about a video game. This makes me feel delicious that I have gotten away with something, and worried I am unoriginal.
  • I secretly feel like the vehicle that is my career is a stuttering, choking, rusty jalopy while every one of my peers is driving a sports car. Logically, I know this is untrue. We all struggle. Emotionally, I’m a pig in the mud and everyone else is a soaring hawk.

I’m sure there are more, but I have things to do. I have a 2015 writing schedule to make up and a freelance project to finish. I have fears to get over and time machines to break.

Home from the snowy wilds of Boston

The blizzard in Boston kept me (and many other people, as I understand it) stuck in Boston far past Boskone’s last hurrah. Thanks to the kindness of Max Gladstone, I didn’t have to add *too much* extra money onto my credit card for the extended stay, but it still put a kink in my work this week, especially stuff I was already behind on, namely recording. I got home Tuesday night, with much stress wearing me out on Wednesday.

So after I play with the kiddo because she didn’t understand that HER having a snow day didn’t mean the *I* got to have one, I will park myself in front of the mic and bring you an interview and show.

I had a great time at Boskone, despite all the people who ran away from the snow on Saturday. It’s becoming one of my favorite cons.

Upcoming Events: Boskone! Wake County Library!

This coming weekend I will be at Boskone, doing a TON of interviews for ISBW and some panels*. I’m really looking forward to it, and hoping not to be snowed in forever.

Boskone Schedule:
Angels, Demons, and Saints
Friday 19:00 – 19:50, Harbor II (Westin)
Religion has always played a strong role in fantasy, and we’ve seen an influx of fiction that specifically features characters that have been touched by higher powers — especially in today’s urban fantasy. What role do these characters play within the story? How do we see these roles changing or morphing into something new? Why do we keep coming back to these types of characters? And what are some examples of stories that use these characters especially well?

25 More Years of Good Omens*
Saturday 14:00 – 14:50, Harbor I (Westin)
Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman’s novel Good Omens has had 25 years of success. Now there is talk again that a six-part TV series is in development. What will it take to bring the book to the small screen? Are we missing out on a big-screen experience? And how did the BBC do with the recent radio play? How might the adaptation of the novel deviate, or what areas might it more fully develop? Are there good omens for this project happening in other media?

Authorship, RPGs, and the Legacy of D&D
Saturday 17:00 – 17:50, Marina 3 (Westin)
Dungeons & Dragons, the first commercially available role-playing game, was published 40 years ago. D&D ushered in a new era of cooperative storytelling that has inspired Game Masters, players, and authors to dream big and create their own fictional universes. Panelists explore the many facets of RPGs — from developing challenging and believable frameworks for cooperative story construction to taking the story beyond the game.

Fun with Silly Poses
Saturday 21:30 – 22:00, Harbor II+III (Westin)
Expect to emit great giggles at our group reenactments of scenes from SF/fantasy/horror cover art. Warning: high probability of awkward audience participation and pretty pathetic props.

Reading: Mur Lafferty
Sunday 10:30 – 10:55, Independence (Westin)

Kaffeeklatsch: Mur Lafferty
Sunday 11:00 – 11:50, Galleria-Kaffeeklatsch 2 (Westin)

Autographing: Mur Lafferty, Kenneth Schneyer, Alison Sinclair, Charles Stross
Sunday 13:00 – 13:50, Galleria-Autographing (Westin)

And next month I’ll be part of the Wake County Library “Let’s Talk Sci-Fi” series.

Science Fiction & Fantasy authors discuss classic, iconic authors of the genres, including their body of work and influence. Take part in the discussion, share your thoughts and ask questions of the authors. Registration requested.

Ariel Djanikian and Mur Lafferty discuss Anne McCaffrey
West Regional Library
Thursday, March 12, at 7 p.m.

John Kessel and Mur Lafferty discuss Ursula K. Le Guin **
Southeast Regional Library
Saturday, March 28, at 2 p.m.

* Dear 17 year old Mur: You just read this very cool book called Good Omens. It was so amazing you need to read it again. Now sit down; your career will go in a direction where, in 24 years, you will be asked to speak at a science fiction convention about this book you just read, a book that will be incredibly influential to you. DO NOT FREAK.

** Dear 17 year old Mur: Remember what I said about Good Omens? Same thing about Lathe of Heaven. JUST CHILL. And talking about Ursula K. Le Guin with John Kessel? Not intimidating at all.

Con Etiquette: Approaching Authors (Subtitle: I remember no one)

I get asked this a lot, and I’m very glad that this year someone has written a great blog post about interacting with authors, including at cons. So I send you there, to Delilah S Dawson’s post about How To Approach Writers in the Wild.

I wanted to underscore one part she mentioned:

[At a convention] Start off the conversation by telling them your Twitter name and mentioning a conversation you had; our memories are full of lies and plots, but we want to know we know you.

This. God, this. It is horrible to say, but attending lots of cons and being generally forgetful causes me to need a memory jolt when I see someone. If they just say hi or want to shake my hand or hug me, and I can’t see their name tag (or if I know them by their online name or Twitter handle and not their full name) I feel horribly awkward and spend all my time talking to them going through the “oh shit where do I know you from???” panic in my head while I’m smiling and nodding.

And I promise- it’s NOT YOU. In my life I have done the very classy moves of:

  1. …not recognizing my neighbor at the coffee house.
  2. …greeted an old boss at a pool hall because I remembered I knew her, but not from where, and also, oops, forgot we parted on bad terms.
  3. …didn’t recognize a guy I went to Russia (then USSR) with – we were  a small group of 17 year olds traveling for three weeks. Saw him at a party a year later and didn’t recognize him at all.

I am NOT GOOD at this.

If you approach this scatterbrained author at a con, and I look confused, please be kind and introduce yourself and remember- scatterbrained author, not you.

Hugo Eligibility Post

It’s nomination time for the 2015 Hugo Awards, given out this August at Sasquan, the World Science Fiction convention in Spokane, WA, and I thought I would make a list of the things I’m eligible for. Cause if I don’t tell you, you might not know.

Nominations close on March 10, 2015.

If you were a voting member of the 2014, 2015, or 2016 Worldcons you’re eligible to nominate (You have to get your 2015 membership before Jan 31 this year.)

And hey, if you don’t plan on going, you can still support the con, vote in the Hugos, and get lots of awesome ebooks for a supporting membership of $40. All the information regarding getting a membership and nominating for the Hugos can be found here. 

  • Best Fancast
    I Should Be Writing — I’ve been doing this show for 9.5 years. I’m fairly sure it’s the longest running writing show in podcasting. I’ve featured authors such as NK Jemisin, Lev Grossman, Lauren Beukes, Neil Gaiman, Connie Willis, China Mieville, Seanan McGuire, and lots more. It a love letter to SF from the struggling writer’s POV.
  • Best Short Story
    I had three* stories out last year:

    *I very much hope I remembered them all. I’m bad about keeping track…

  • Best Novel
    Ghost Train to New Orleans from Orbit Books — Zoe Norris writes travel guides for the undead. And she’s good at it too — her new-found ability to talk to cities seems to help. After the success of The Shambling Guide to New York City, Zoe and her team are sent to New Orleans to write the sequel. Listen to the book for FREE via podcast.

My productivity obsession: HabitRPG

A while back I grumbled to the Patreon supporters that all the apps and online tricks and lifehacks did nothing for me productivity-wise. You mention it, I’ve probably done it and from the looks of my desk, completely failed at it. But then Nicole, an old friend from Viable Paradise, pinged me to say that she had been playing with HabitRPG and had found it incredibly helpful.

Tried it. LOVED IT.

You are an adventurer, dealing with three things: habits (things you want to work on, like “don’t drink soft drinks” or “stop swearing”), dailies (things you must do daily, like “make the bed” and “write 1000 words”), and ToDos (write a book, get car inspected.) When you do your good things in any of the three categories, you get experience points, gold, and sometimes loot drops. When you do a bad habit, or miss a daily chore, then you take damage.

It gets interesting when you form a party and go on a quest, which gives out better loot at the end, but the real motivator is the fact that when you don’t do your daily items, the monster attacks everyone on your team. Before, you thought you’d be OK taking the damage of not doing the dishes, but now everyone suffers.

Gold buys you equipment. Loot drops include eggs (all pets come from eggs, even tigers and cacti), hatching potions (which you pour over an egg, giving a type to your animal, like zombie dragon, or golden bear), and food (which you feed to pets to make them grow into mounts.) When you drop to zero HP, you die, taking all your gold, one level, and one random item. It sucks.

When you boil it down, it is another todo list, and no matter how many funny images you put on it, and how many cute pets and mighty mounts I get, doing the laundry is still doing the laundry. But knowing that when I’m done, i can get the possibility of pretending that laundry basket was a mighty sword and maybe get a new pet or some food to turn a pet into a mount, makes it a bit more rewarding.

The community is amazing, though. There are people using HabitRPG to deal with a lot more than I struggle with, like obsessive habits and even self-harm. The “Tavern” (the side-wide group chat) is heavily moderated to keep abuse at bey, with the mindset that we all are here to better ourselves and don’t need to, well, shit on others’ attempts. They’re also super-helpful to newbies (the wiki is also quite detailed). I don’t post there often, but I died recently right before the expensive winter items came out, and went to whine that I was a down-on-her-luck penniless healer.* Two strangers sent me gems immediately. (You have to buy gems with real moneys, or with gold if you subscribe to the site with real moneys.)

If there’s a downside, it’s hard finding people you know on the site unless you have their user ID, an incredibly complex set of numbers (for example, my UID is 2a157564-237e-412e-8a49-ec18f330b088). Then again, you can find people through guilds of like-minded folks. I’ve set up an I Should Be Writing guild, it’s small but at least it helps me find people.

HabitRPG has a mobile (Android and iOS as far as I know, maybe more) app where you can log your stuff, but the site changes much more often than the app updates, which is a bit frustrating.

But overall, it’s shown to be very motivating for me, and when I made Beastmaster a few days ago – where I hatched all 90 pets – I admit it was a thrill. If you’re having trouble with motivation, I recommend HabitRPG. It’s free, but you get no ads and gems to spend if you subscribe, and this site is well worth my moneys.


I’m on the left with my zombie panda mount and my seahorse pet, the rest of the party is to the right. Other pets include skeleton lion, base cactus, base tiger, desert fox. And 2 shade dragon mounts.

* At level 10 you can choose your class. It’s hard to see from my huge zombie panda mount, but I’m carrying the rod and shield of a healer. Healers, well, heal people and buff constitution so people won’t take so much damage from missed tasks. Rogues get better loot drops. Mages get more XP and keep their streaks alive even if they miss a day. Warriors hit things really hard.

Brief note re: audio files, this site, etc

I am currently feeling the lack of laptop for the first time. I knew it would come. But the fact is, I’m about to head out on a research/vacation trip. Like in 10 min. And I have audio recorded for you, but not edited and uploaded. 2 episodes of Ghost Train, ISBW, Ditch Diggers, it’s all there. Just on my hard drive. Which now lives on my desktop. And since I can’t take it with me, it will stay on my hard drive till I can edit and upload.

I’ll be home Thursday and hopefully can get some stuff uploaded then, provided I’m not wrecked from the red-eye.

The good news is my trip coincides with a self-pub project I have going this year, involving a travel guide.

Merry Christmas! And Kindle Deal!

Hope you guys have had fun watching our advent calendar. We’ve had a blast doing it, but honestly are looking forward to hot chocolate and no video editing for a bit.

In other news, I have it on good authority that Amazon has The Shambling Guide to New York City as a Kindle Daily Deal today, so if you have a shiny new tablet under your tree and are wondering what to put on it, you can get Book 1 of The Shambling Guides for $2.99!*

But whatever you do, I hope you are having a safe and happy December, and will have a happy new year. Talk to you soon!

(affiliate link)