ADVENTure Calendar: Day 1

Fiona returns to open her Advent Calendar, this time as Carolina Smith, intrepid adventurer, looking for clues to a lost civilization.

Music by John Anealio: Batman’s Rebuttal – buy the song or album and tell him how awesome he is!

As always, inspiration coming from Grant’s Advent Calendar. Go see how it all began.

The latest bushel of news

Apple Harvest photo by Mike McKay via Creative Commons

Do you measure news by the bushel? I do, now. Here is the news from the harvest. Or something.

I took a good chunk of September off to finish my book, tentatively titled Six Wakes. I left social media, blogging, and did minimal podcasting. And I kinda forgot to announce this. Sorry about that.

But the book, at least draft 1, is done. I’m happy with it. It went some places I didn’t expect, which is always exciting. I know there are some things I need to fix on rewrite, and only hope that my editor and I agree on which areas need fixing. It was a hard slog. I was behind, and had really built up a lot of angst about how to write this book. But when the deadline began to loom, I got to work.

I may do NaNoWriMo this year, but on the other hand, September was my NaNoWriMo. I won’t tell you how many words I wrote, but it was a lot.

I’ve taken some days to recover. There was the mental strain, but also on the last day of writing I did so much that my right shoulder and neck muscles locked up big time. After five days of menthol patches, painkillers, massages, heat, and a massage pillow, I am finally feeling no pain when I sit at a desk. Now that I’m back, I have major work to do for the launch of Mothership Zeta this month, and some other work on some outstanding Bookburners work, and I have to think about the next thing I’m writing.

Well I’ve already thought about that last thing. I want to do a Christmas story, as I haven’t done one in a while. It will be set in the Shambling Guides universe, and have Zoe taking an unexpected trip to London during the holidays. I started it last night.

Other things upcoming for me: this month at Ditch Diggers, Matt and I are interviewing the amazing comic book writer Kelly Sue DeConnick. For ISBW I will be doing the debriefing on my novel. And for the Patreon supporters, I will be doing yet another NaNoWriMo note for every day of November. May be audio. May be video. Who knows? And to get these little nuggets of support, all you have to do is pledge a dollar. Yup. EVERYONE who supports via Patreon will get this special series of audio and video. *

For the rest of the year, I will also be showing the Softer Side of Mur when the holidays come around, as I’ll be reviewing Christmas movies and books. Many of them will be romcoms.** Unsubscribe as you like, haters. I like what I like. There is a place for SF and romantic comedy in my little heart. But I won’t be holding back. I will warn you off the bad ones. And lordy, there are some bad ones.

SPEAKING of Bookburners, episode 5 comes out this week, which starts the second chunk of stories. If you’re not aware of how we divvied it up, four of us split the season into four episodes each, and we’re more or less evenly spaced, having one story in each set of four. (meaning I could have written episodes 4, 8, 10, and 13 instead of, say, 5 6, 7, and 8. I think I wrote those four. Numbers are hard, I just remember plots.) Regardless, my first story, Episode 4: A Sorcerer’s Apprentice, is out now! Here is a peek:

Browsing Asanti’s library by herself was Sal’s new favorite hobby. She had never seen a place like this, though it reminded her most of a moldy old library relatives had shown her in Savannah, Georgia, with humidity-damaged first editions of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Gone With the Wind and A Christmas Carol.

Her team kept suggesting she should relax between missions. She really didn’t need to be at headquarters sitting around, they said, why didn’t she enjoy Rome when she had the chance? But in a city where she didn’t speak the language and had few—all right, the number was closer to zero—friends, Sal had nothing to do. There was only so long she could read, listen to music, and lie over Skype to friends in America about her life in Rome. At least here in the library she could learn something, or maybe run into a team member and have a real conversation.

That’s it for me. How are you? ***


* No I’m not calling it a podcast. I am an old school angry podcast veteran who knows that podcasts are something (ANY file – video, audio, even PDF) you subscribe to via RSS. There is no RSS feed for this content. It is emailed directly to you, and you will LIKE IT. *shakes cane at clouds*
** I’ve already started reading. Because to review a lot of content, you have to start early. This is brilliant. I have finally found a way to enjoy Xmas stuff early and no one can fault me for it.
*** Yeah, I know I don’t allow comments here. Tell me on Twitter. Or email. Just know I’m thinking fond thoughts about you, OK?

Last WorldCon Post – Wrun With Writers

I haven’t said enough about Wrun with Writers. Adam Rakunas and I were chatting about going for a run at WorldCon and we thought it might be fun to get others involved. Suddenly it was a 5k run (run, not a race) with ribbons as the reward. I’ve been training.

Sign up here (just so’s we know who’s coming!)

Other WorldCon news, I’m liveblogging the Hugos again (yeah, that should be interesting), my Kaffeklatch is full (cue astonishment), and I’m arriving tomorrow midday. Ack. Too much to do. In case you missed it, my schedule is here.

42

6x9Hullo 42.

Hullo, Mur.

I’ve been looking forward to you. Big dork, big fan of Douglas Adams, etc.

You should. I’m awesome.

Cool. So before we get into the introspection, I’m going to tell you what’s been on my mind right now. See, I bought this awesome tshirt with a unicorn on it, to represent nerdy girls. It’s a white shirt, and not very bulky. In fact, it’s so see-through that you can see my skin tone and my tattoos through it. I put a tank top under it, and that helped, but now it’s obvious I’m wearing a tank top and then the white shirt, and I feel self-conscious.

… are you fucking kidding me? 

Uh, no.

Because you have got to be kidding me with this bullshit. You just wasted a minute of your year of being 42 writing that paragraph up there. And gawd knows how long you spent fretting about it before you wrote it down.

One question: Do. You. Like. The. Shirt?

Well, yeah.

Then fucking wear the fucking shirt. You are forty two fucking years old. You don’t need to explain anymore. You don’t need to apologize anymore. If anyone looks at you and thinks, “gee, that shirt is see-through, she ought to-” AND IT DOESN’T MATTER WHAT THEY THINK AFTER THAT BECAUSE THEY DO NOT FUCKING COUNT IN YOUR WORLD. Any time anyone says “she ought to” then stop them right there. You’re done with that. You’ve paid your dues. No more explaining. No more apologizing. Wear that shirt. Write that book. Play that music. Wear goddamn technology on both wrists because you fucking love gadgets. 

Listen, when they are thinking “That Mur ought to…” that is mental energy they are wasting when they could be making themselves more awesome. You should feel sorry for them, projecting so much energy in a direction that is going to just keep on going being awesome no matter what. Haters gonna hate, lady. Poor bastards. You don’t worry about them and their “oughts.” You worry about yourself and your awesomeness.

You let Douglas Adams himself wander away when you had a chance to meet him. You were too shy, you were too worried about “oughts”. Then he died. You promised yourself not to let opportunities go by. Where is that moxie?

You’re 42, dammit. Act it.

You’re right. Dammit, you’re right. Unicorn shirt on. I’m going to the comic book store. Thanks, 42.

I’ll be here all year.

WorldCon Schedule

I fell down the stairs this morning. I’m fine, but I’m shaken up. So no writing this morning while I get myself back together. (Then, I realized this afternoon, I forgot to post it.)

Today’s Music: Unsupervised, I Hit My Head, Mono Puff

But hey! I can blog about WorldCon. I hope some folks are getting there early, because according to Mur, THURSDAY IS THE HAPPNIN’ DAY AT SASQUAN, BABY.

Thursday
Autographing
10:00 – 10:45, Exhibit Hall B (CC)
Mur Lafferty, Elizabeth Leggett

Autographing, Thursday morning? OK… I’m going to have to give out prizes to anyone who manages to make that one. I hear there’s a cupcake bakery nearby.

Ditch Diggers Podcast Recording
12:00 – 12:45, Conference Theater 110 (CC)
Mur Lafferty, Matt Wallace

HELL YEAH. Although…. noon? I guess I can bring a flask. And we don’t have a panel description, which could hurt us.

Space Casey (2007) – PG-13
17:55 – 20:50, 203 (CC)
Casey just wants to con her way out of a backwater port, but finds herself in more trouble than she could ever have imagined when she learns just whose spaceship she’s stolen. Luckily, a con artist might be exactly what the galaxy needs! The only work ever to win both the Parsec and Gold Mark Time Awards.
Mur Lafferty will be introducing this audio presentation.

I LOVE SPACE CASEY. Christiana Ellis deserves a great deal more attention for this work. It’s so fun. And apparently we’re starting at 5:55pm. Be there on time.

Match Game
20:00 – 22:00, 300B (CC)
Get ready to match the fannish stars! In this SF/F-themed game show based on the popular 1970s game show, audience members will be randomly selected as contestants to match wits with our panel. The object of the game is to guess how the panel answers fill-in-the-blank questions like “Captain Kirk has the biggest ___ in Starfleet.” Winners receive prizes such as gift certificates from Worldcon dealers, book packages, or convention memberships. All contestants receive Lovely Parting Gifts™.
Kevin Standlee (M), Scott Edelman, Tom Galloway, Leigh Ann Hildebrand, Mur Lafferty, Kevin Roche, Amy Thomson, Mary Crowell

I am sad Paul Cornell isn’t involved with this. I guess I associate him with WorldCon game shows. But this should be fun.

Then, BARCON, baby. That’s a full fucking day.

Friday
Certainly Not For the Money: Why We Write Short Fiction
11:00 – 11:45, Bays 111C (CC)
Why do we put ourselves through the angst of writing short fiction? It certainly isn’t the money. Why else would we do it?Mur Lafferty, Sarah Pinsker, Stefan Rudnicki, Rick Wilber, Mark J. Ferrari

Hm. No one is listed as moderator. I’m first, and it’s not alphabetical. I better prepare just in case.

Writing For Video Games
15:00 – 15:45, Bays 111C (CC)
How does experience in writing SF novels translate to writing scripts and backstory for video games? What are the new skills that authors hoping to work on video game stories need to learn?
William Dietz (M), Brian Campbell, Jason Hough, Mur Lafferty, John Scalzi

This will be an interesting panel.

Saturday
Podcasts for Young Adults
10:00 – 10:45, 303A (CC)
Adults love podcasts and podcasting, but what about teens? Is there a market for YA podcasts and where can kids find cool new content? What topics, guests and issues should podcasts for younger listeners address? What about kids who want to create their own podcasts? Your in luck! Our panelists will also share tips for teens who want to create their own podcasts.
Mur Lafferty (M), John Joseph Adams, Kate Baker, Jason Snell, Dan Wells

Hell yeah. I’m all over this one.

Kaffee Klatche – Mur Lafferty
13:00 – 13:45, 202A-KK2 (CC)
Join a panelist and up to 9 other fans for a small discussion. Coffee and snacks available for sale on the 2nd floor.

I know that, unlike February in Boston, most of the people won’t be driven home by a blizzard, but I have flashbacks to my completely empty kaffeklatch at Boskone. I’ll be prepared. Might bring giveaways to this one, too.

Sunday
Reading – Mur Lafferty
12:00 – 12:30, 303B (CC)

I’ll probably be reading from Six Wakes, since that’s the book I just sold, and stuff. Or I’ll read from a SEEKRIT project. Or maybe both…

Hope to see you there!

Ghost Train to New Orleans won the 2015 Manly Wade Wellman Award!

I’m thrilled to announce that this past weekend at ConGregate, my book Ghost Train to New Orleans won the 2015 Manly Wade Wellman award! I was super surprised, especially since The Shambling Guide to New York City won the 2014 prize and I didn’t expect Ghost Train to win 2015. The award recognizes outstanding achievement in science fiction and fantasy novels written by North Carolina authors. It’s voted on by the member of four NC conventions: illogiCon, ConCarolinas, ConTemporal, and ConGregate.

I was up against some amazing authors, including my friends James Maxey (NC Piedmont Laureate), Gail Z. Martin, and David Drake, so there was some fierce competition.

My friends Rebecca and Dennis picked up the award for me, so I haven’t gotten it yet, but I’ll post a picture when I do!

I have recused myself from the 2016 award consideration.

Get those award winning books! (affiliate)

Water Wings

Maybe it’s the age thing. Maybe it’s the approaching birthday. But I’m feeling a definite midlife crisis here, the feeling that my body is changing and slowing down and I feel like I have little to no control over it. Not to mention very little willpower.

I’m running more but it doesn’t feel like ENOUGH. You know?

So I told myself I would train for a triathlon*. Yeah. Me.

Why this is so amazingly funny ridiculous fucked up ambitious is

  1. I haven’t ridden a bike since the early 1990’s. Most of us didn’t have email when I last rode a bike.
    a. I don’t currently own a bike.
    b. Or a bike helmet.
  2. I hate swimming with my head in the water. It’s not a vanity, getting hair/makeup wet** thing. I think it’s because I had chronic ear infections as a kid when I would swim in my grandmother’s pool, so I equate swimming underwater with pain. (And yeah, I know I can wear earplugs. This is not a conscious fear; it’s an illogical aversion that I have to whip the lizard brain into realizing there’s nothing to fear here. Lizard brain doesn’t care about fucking ear plugs. Lizard brain says SHORTEST ROUTE TO NO PAINLAND IS NO HEAD IN WATER.)
  3. Running- well, I like running. So I’ve got that going for me…

I’ve got some friends giving me advice, and I have some books with some surprisingly good swim drills. I’m not even afraid of failing. I know I’m not going to leap in and suddenly start winning triathlons in the 40+ age range. I think I am afraid of just getting despondent and quitting. Some of what I’ve read said this is a mental game, it’s not just being in shape, it’s the training and the focus and the knowing you have a weak link in your chain and working on that harder instead of avoiding it like the lizard brain tells you to.

So me and my lizard brain. Gonna train for a triathlon. Step 1 is swimming lessons. Wish me luck.

I need a name for my lizard brain. Any suggestions? She’s stubborn and bigger than me. Tell me on twitter (@mightymur) cause I don’t do comments here.

* Sprint. Not an Iron Man. Are you crazy?
** “Sorry if I look like a beat-up hooker.” – Things you hear at your community pool. Well, mine, anyway. Hey, she was more charming than the guy with the white supremacy tattoos. HOWDY NEIGHBOR.