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?

ISBW #352: Book Burnout // Peter Orullian Interview

I’m still working on my book. I’m kind of focused, podcasting is hard. BUT we have a Peter Orullian interview!

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Bookburners launches!

I’m deep under deadlines right now, but am resurfacing to mention that the project I’ve been working the last year on is live!

Bookburners is a serial project, the first project from the new company Serial Box, which is developing fiction “like HBO for books” – several writers are working on one full season of stories with a full arc. Bookburners is their launch project, and I’ve written four stories for it.

You can subscribe, get the app, get the audio, there are many ways to receive it! Episode two is out today, so you can get one, written by Max Gladstone, and two, written by Brian Francis Slattery. (I’ve got episode 4.)

Screen Shot 2015-09-16 at 11.13.59 AM

Magic is real, and hungry—trapped in ancient texts and artifacts, only a few who discover it survive to fight back. Detective Sal Brooks is a survivor. Freshly awake to just what dangers are lurking, she joins a Vatican-backed black-ops anti-magic squad: Team Three of the Societas Librorum Occultorum. Together they stand between humanity and magical apocalypse. Some call them the Bookburners. They don’t like the label.

Ditch Diggers #16 – Live from Worldcon

Matt and I did a live worldcon Ditch Diggers event with amazing guest stars Fonda Lee, Linda Nagata, Kate Elliott, and Aliette de Bodard, and then we interviewed (somewhat belligerently) editor Lee Harris.

For the record, Lee was right about what we were arguing about. I can dragon up and admit this.

Thanks to Sasquan for hosting us!

NEW- Rapper Devo Spice turned in our theme song right before our event, but we had no microphones to play it, but you get to hear it now!

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ISBW #351 – Believing in Yourself – Fran Wilde Interview

What happens when no one believes in you but you? You go to freaking work, that’s what you do.

Then I talked to Fran Wilde back in February about her new book Updraft, which is out right now!

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ISBW #350 – Feedback

You know, I had great plans. GREAT PLANS. I was hitting #350 right around the time that ISBW turned 10 years old. This should have been a milestone episode.

But I have to get ready for WorldCon and I had feedback to get to. So it’s a usual episode.

I hope to record something special at WorldCon for you. Stay tuned!

Don’t forget to support the show via Patreon or by buying my books!

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Ditch Diggers #15 – Freelancing with Mikki Kendall

We welcome Mikki Kendall, writer of fiction, nonfiction, comics, and unintentionally viral social media tags (#solidarityisforwhitewomen) to the show to talk the freelance life, when to go pro, and what kind of baked goods gets you jobs.

HEY- don’t forget Matt and I will be at WorldCon, with a LIVE DITCH DIGGERS coming Thursday at noon! Those of you playing at home, there may be video.

Show Notes:

– Recording in Morgan Freeman’s apiary and why you never upset Morgan’s bees.
– An overview of Mikki as a freelance writer.
– How Mikki landed her first comic book writing gig using social media, cupcakes, and very apparent writing ability, and how the comics writing process works.
– Creating the hashtag that propelled Mikki’s social media presence.
– The nuts and bolts of using social media to build a platform (which, in addition to complex sociopolitical issues, can and does include live-tweeting VH1’s “Love & Hip Hop” every Monday night).
– Dealing with the inevitable trolls across your social media presence.
– Moving forward once you blow up on social media.
– Dealing with editor’s notes (Mur tells her infamous “choad” story).
– Mikki agrees with Matt about the philosophical cross-applicability of the 1980’s Patrick Swayze classic ROAD HOUSE.
– Mikki’s decision to go freelance full-time, the logistics of how she and her husband arrived at that decision, and how she built up her freelance writing portfolio and presence beforehand.
– How to build a platform from scratch now in a post-social network age.

Where to find Mikki on-line…

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Parsec Nominations!

Both Ghost Train to New Orleans and Princess Scientist’s Advent Calendar are nominated for Parsec Awards this year! Tough competition, especially as in video we’re going up against our friend Grant and his original Advent Calendar video series, and the Mario Warfare video series that is done locally. (Toad is our kung fu instructor.) But we are honored by the nominations! Here’s the full list. 


Ditch Diggers #14 – Comics and Shawn Pryor Interview!

Matt and I talk to our friend Shawn Pryor about comics, minorities, and ways to move forward in the industry.

Show notes! For real! Compiled by Matt!

  • Awful direct-to-DVD Morgan Freeman movies
  • How Bang! turns you into the worst town sheriff in the old west
  • How Shawn got into creating indie comics at cons and how those are helpful for networking and getting started
  • Running successful Kickstarters for indie comics
  • Starting an indie comics publisher from the ground up
  • The politics of comic book stores and comic book distribution
  • Race and the lack of writers who are people of color in mainstream comics, particularly Marvel


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Playing For Keeps is part of the Indie Superhero Bundle!

My 2007 novel about superheroes with crappy powers, Playing For Keeps, is now part of the Indie Superhero Bundle! You can get several indie books (all listed below!) through this bundle, and help a charity like Girls Write Now! Pay what you want, but if your purchase price beats $12, you get Shero by Jack Wallen, The Strike Trilogy by Charlie Wood, Supervillainous by Mike Leon and Playing For Keeps by me!