Crankypants Writer Attacks

It is one of my true beliefs that the majority of the problems in the world are caused by people thinking, “My experience is the same experience everyone has had. And if they don’t have my experience then they’re doing it wrong.”

A more poetic way to say this is to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes before you make assumptions.

I try to step out of my own experience to see others’. I also, as you know, Bob, like to encourage the new writer who is discouraged. I quit writing for 10 years because I was discouraged, and if I can stop someone else from losing ten years of their writing life then I will damn well try as hard as I can.

[Criminy, i just got depressed. A decade of my writing life is gone because i was discouraged and I quit! Anyway. Buck up little camper! Onward.]

Thusly, I was quite annoyed when I read this article about Philip Roth pooping on a young writer’s (Julian Tepper) dream by suggesting he quit after the sale of his first book. And it wasn’t because the guy was crap, or that he had no potential. Tepper’s first novel is about to come out! No, Roth just said, “It’s an awful field. Just torture. Awful.”

I often compare this job to ditch digging because dangit, you have to get your work done (plug for Magic Spreadsheet goes here) no matter whether the inspiration strikes you or not. But here’s the deal- writing is unlike ditch digging (besides the very obvious way) in that manual labor is hard, and thankless, and rarely what kids dream they will be. Kids dream of being writers. And they write, and yes, throw away, a lot of words in their efforts to be writers. It’s mentally and emotionally hard work. It’s agonizing sometimes. But sheesh, what career isn’t? I can’t think of any job that’s super easy, fun, rewarding, and not tough on you ever.

A writing career is a dream come true for a lot of people. And you’re going to have more people thanking you for how your book affected their lives than you will have people thanking you for making sure the roads don’t flood when it storms. Even if you write wacky superhero satire, you can make a difference in someone’s life.

Roth clearly is not a happy writer (obviously, since he just recently retired from it.) Or he wasn’t the day that Tepper gave him a copy of his book. But Roth never considered that perhaps Tepper’s career isn’t going to mirror his experience exactly. And I’m not even talking about the external fame and money, I’m talking about his internal view of his life and career. Tepper might view writing as something other than “torture.” (I hope Roth is never tortured. Cause my worst day writing isn’t quite torture… Amnesty International has never investigated my office.) Some people love writing. Some see it as work that needs to be done. Some people are self-loathing and trudge to the computer to open a vein and drink scotch and complain about writing later. But there must be some reason they do it…

Anyway, Elizabeth Gilbert wrote a response to Roth here, which is how I heard about this, and wanted to give my two cents.

Chase that dream to be a writer. It’s awesome.

The Next Big Thing Blog Tour

So I’m playing the Next Big Thing blog tour, kind of like a chain letter for author interviews. I was tagged by Matt Forbeck, author of Carpathia, Dangerous Games, and a bunch of other books.

I am sad I don’t have a book cover finalized yet, but here’s my interview!

What is your working title of your book?
The Shambling Guide to New York City

Where did the idea come from for the book?
I was contributing to a charity gaming anthology to benefit the Red Cross after Hurricane Katrina victims and decided to write about a zombie tour guide who ran tours for other zombies. In the years that followed, I decided it would be fun to write about a tour guide company that makes travel guides by monsters, for monsters.

Only after I was done did I realize how much I’d been influenced by The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, one of my favorite books as a teen.

What genre does your book fall under?
Urban Fantasy

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
I’m so bad at this game, mainly because I don’t see a lot of films and don’t know who the stars are beyond the BIG STARS. Although I do have to say that with some aging makeup, Michelle Yeoh would make an awesome Granny Good Mae. Miley Cyrus is impish enough to pull off Morgen the water sprite. Cillian Murphy is enough of a chameleon to be John the incubus. John Hodgman would be perfect as Phil the vampire publisher. As for the main characters, Zoe and Arthur? I have no idea…

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
A human gets a job with a travel book publisher – only the books are by monsters, for monsters, in a Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy meets Neverwhere urban fantasy adventure.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
The book is under contract and coming out from Orbit in May.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Oh gosh. I have no idea. 2-3 years maybe, in a case of “write a little, do another project, write a little more.”

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I think (hope!) it has the fish-out-of-water feeling of Dresden Files and the Kitty books.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
I’ll quote two blurbs:

“…I wouldn’t want to visit Lafferty’s NYC hotspots — especially the restaurants.” — Scott Sigler

And…

“…I want to live in Mur’s New York.” –Cory Doctorow

Make of that what you will. 😉

I tagged other authors so here’s who you can follow next week!

Jared Axelrod, author of The Battle of Blood and Ink: A Fable of Flying City.

Post holiday catchup

What’s that word when you have been away for a while and you drive 12 hours – broken up by a 1.5 hour funeral along the way home – and you get home and have a migraine and take a pill and wake up completely brain dead and unable to get to work because brain not work good?

Right. The word is AUGH.

I’m home from Thanksgiving in Buffalo and pretty useless. Still in my robe and need to go get the dogs from the kennel soon. So I’m going to keep this short. The biggest thing is people are letting me know that the service I’m using for direct purchase of Merry Christmas from the Heartbreakers (Look! Sidebar! Buy it! Yay! Cyber Monday! Booyah!) is not delivering immediately in some cases. If this happens to you, PLEASE email me (mightymur at gmail). I’ll already have proof of your receipt in my inbox, so if you mail me directly I’ll shoot the files over to you.

[EDIT- As of 12/2/12 I have removed all links to the offending site that didn’t deliver. Remember if you bought from me and didn’t get your files, EMAIL ME.]

Secondly, I got an awesome thing in the mail when I got home from the trip.

The ARC for The Shambling Guide to New York City is here!

Merry Christmas from the Heartbreakers and Other Stories

My collection!

I have finally gathered my dozen Christmas short stories into a collection, and have published them via ebook! Fans of Escape Pod’s holiday stories, of which i’ve been part for years, will hopefully appreciate this collect, as it comes with seven I’ve published through them, and five that have only been read by people who donated to the EP fundraiser last holiday season. You can find

  • Merry Christmas from the Heartbreakers (obviously!)
  • Santa in My Pocket
  • Zuzu’s Bell
  • 750,000 of Your Friends Like This
  • Citytalkers
  • As Solitary as an Oyster
  • MESSAGE REDACTED (which is based on Jonathan Coulton’s song “Chiron Beta Prime“)

and several others. If you want to ask “Is XXX in there?” It probably is, as I’ve left nothing out.

You can buy directly from me, epub and mobi for the cost of a caloric bomb of a Gingerbread Latte from Starbucks ($3.99).





(Note, I am no longer using the site I was using before. This is paypal –> download page. No waiting!)

You can also buy from the Kindle store.

I’m a big fan of Christmas and loved writing these, and hope you love reading them!

(Thanks to my buddy Matt Wallace for the intro to UploadNSell, which will take the money, distribute the files, and not charge a dime. Matt has used it for his awesome book launch, The Failed Cities (definitive edition), which everyone should buy right after they shop here.)