Goodreads giveaway, interviews, and more!

So much going on!

  • Goodreads is doing a giveaway of Ghost Train to New Orleans!
  • I was on the Serving Worlds podcast to discuss Stonecoast (along with author KT Bryski, who just joined the program).
  • I’m an advisor to the new storytelling game, Storium, and we’re rolling out a new version soon. Sign up and join the testing!
  • I’ve got a LOT of new Captain Spaulding recipes! I can’t wait to start testing! I’ll remind people two things:
    1. Please email the recipes to me, it makes it easier for me to keep track of things.
    2. I’d prefer your own recipes. You can modify an existing recipe, of course, but I don’t want to slap a new name on an unmodified old drink. I wanted to make this a new thing. And sometimes a new drink is as easy as taking an old drink and giving it a new garnish.
  • And you will have THREE new ISBW’s this week. An older episode + interview I did at the turn of the year but never got uploaded before January exploded, a rapid fire from this week, and another interview.
  • Don’t forget I will be at Boskone this coming weekend! I’ll be on panels and workshops and testing Captain Spaulding recipes at the bar!

Ghost Train to New Orleans – Out March 4

Help me destroy science fiction!

A while ago I read a blog post complaining bitterly about changing Starbuck into a woman, and how all these wimmins were destroying science fiction. I was tired; instead of arguing that no, we aren’t, I decided screw it. Let it happen. Let’s destroy science fiction with our fallopian tubes, bitches! SF writer (and now a Hugo winner) Pat Cadigan caught up the call, delighted to yell WITH MY FALLOPIAN TUBES, BITCHES!!!

A few years later, someone else was talking about women destroying SF, and Lightspeed magazine decided, what the hell, let’s do it too. So they planned an issue of the magazine with a guest editor, with only female authors, with a female podcast producer, and a female podcast host. That host person is me!

Submissions are still open for another week! Check it out and submit, submit!

They’re doing a Kickstarter to support it, and it’s got about a week left. It’s gone so well that they’ve decided to destroy horror as well (stretch goal reached!) and destroy fantasy too! (less than $8000 to go)

So check it out and support if you can, it’s going to be an excellent issue of Lightspeed and I’m so proud to be part of this destructive campaign.

The Ghost Train to New Orleans Contest!

It's here! It's here!

It’s here! It’s here!

In Ghost Train to New Orleans (Out March 4!) I have our hero, Zoe, going to a coterie-run bar and getting a “Captain Spaulding.” It has gin and (possibly) demon blood. That’s all I said about it.

Then I thought, what if people could try to make their own Captain Spauldings? So I’m doing a drink contest- send me a recipe at mightymur at Ideally it can include gin and something red, but you can get more creative if you like.

I’ll be doing videos this month*, doing taste tests of these drinks. I’ll have a couple of prize packs** available for the best ones. So send in your recipes and I’ll get mixing!

* I hope next weekend at Boskone to do some taste tests with other authors, fans, etc. Find me at the bar if you’re feeling adventurous!
** I have copies of Shambling Guide, Ghost Train, and more necklaces from Surly Amy to give away!

Events! Come visit! Make me not-lonely!

Not unlike Phil the groundhog, I am coming out of my hole in February and am ready to see people. Only I’m not looking for my shadow.

What the hell did that mean anyway? If it’s a sunny day, there are six more weeks of winter? And how can we tell what the groundhog sees, anyway? Is it like an elephant where it will be all startled if it sees it?

Anyway! Events!

  • This Saturday (Feb 8), I will have a Meet the Author event at the southeast branch of the Durham County Library.
  • Feb 14-16 – Next weekend I will attend Boskone and have a very full schedule on Friday and Saturday. I’m on the kid’s programming, and the readings, and the adult programming. So come see me at a panel, or I will likely be at whatever con bar is available during the evenings. I will also have giveaways and stuff. Find me!
  • March 4 - Ghost Train to New Orleans comes out! Preorder! Ask for it at your local book stores! Download the ebook! Listen to the audiobook! So many options!
  • March 6 - I will have a launch event at the utterly awesome indie bookstore Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill.
  • Future events- May has me attending RT in New Orleans, July has me teaching at Shared Worlds (Register now!), and in August I’m heading to London for WorldCon.

Tomorrow: The Return of ISBW!

Ghost Train to New Orleans – Out March 4

Audiobook Recording

When I got back from Stonecoast, as I said, I jumped right into recording the audiobook. Despite my podcasting experience, I went to a professional studio locally and recorded. Because of my schedule (childcare after school, etc) I can only record for five hours, and I discovered that my voice pretty much gives out after five hours anyway. It’s grueling to be “on” for that long, hard on the voice and strangely exhausting. Because of the schedule, I had less than a week to get it done, and had to go in on the weekend.

I don’t do voices or accents, frankly I’m afraid of either a) forgetting a specific vocal trait of a character, or b) butchering an accent. I haven’t heard anyone complain about this yet, but now that I’m doing this on a “professional” basis, at least for my own books, I’m feeling a bit behind the curve of narration skill. If I work on another one book, I’ll likely see if I can work on some vocal tics to distinguish characters, if not outright accents.

But for an untrained person, a “slight Irish lilt” as this damnable author wrote, is something that could easily go down in flames.

There of course is the downside of a pro-grade audio setup catching every stomach gurgle, spit bubble pop, and the brush of clothing as I reach up to turn a page. Redoing a take because of those things is just maddening.

So yesterday I did all the requested edits, and hopefully am done now. I will be doing a podcast of this one, too, but unlike the first one, the print book will be coming out first, and the podcast a few months later. But you can purchase the print, the ebook, or just get the whole audiobook at once.

Tomorrow: events of the next 30 days!

Ghost Train to New Orleans – Out March 4

I’m back! January Report

Hi there! I’m finally back. January was more intense than I expected it to be, and that’s saying something.

I had my final Stonecoast residency this month, and this was both more and less intense than the others. It was more intense because this time I was an instructor, responsible for an hour-long lecture, also a live reading. It was less intense because I had no workshops to participate in, and although I could attend the lectures, I wasn’t required to write anything about them.

My reading went well, the room was packed for myself and two of my fellow students. People laughed in the right places, and even in places I didn’t expect. Jim Kelly gave a wonderful introduction to my work that made me want to cry, damn him.

My presentation was about if it’s possible to teach humor, learn how to write humorously, and if a joke can live once you take it apart to talk about why it works. (My answers are yes, yes, and yes. The lie of “you either have it or you don’t” lies in the problem of talking about humor isn’t funny, and therefore isn’t fun. Or, in short, it’s WORK.) It was well-attended and very well received. I was pleased.

I graduated with my MFA that Saturday and had my tearful good byes on Sunday. Now I’m Master Mur, and very happy with my experience.

When I came home, I jumped almost immediately into the recording of Ghost Train to New Orleans and that took a week. Recording for hours for the book didn’t make me really eager to come home and record a podcast. Sorry.

Now we are a month from book launch and I’m back, blogging and podcasting more regularly. Promise.

Tomorrow- what happens during the recording of an audiobook.

Ghost Train to New Orleans – Out March 4

On Disappointment

(I am aware I have been quiet for some time. I went to Stonecoast, graduated with my MFA, then had to record the audiobook for Ghost Train to New Orleans for six days straight, so I’m pretty beat. I’ll have a podcast update soon.)

I’m going to be careful with the details here, but I try to be honest about my career, even when there are downturns. So I’m not going to name names. People who know me can probably figure things out, but don’t guess in the comments. You can ask me privately if you like. But bad/annoying/disappointing stuff happens and we need to talk about it.

It’s said time and again, that you don’t Arrive when you get that agent, or when you get that book deal, or when the book comes out, or even when you win an award. You’re always fighting upstream, and whenever something great happens, like winning an award or gearing up for your second book launch, life will tend to try to knock you out of your groove with something shitty.

Anyway, I – through the proper channels, namely Orbit’s awesome publicist – tried to get a book event at a non-local indie book store that I like very much. They agreed, sent me possible dates, I chose one, and made my plan to drive to [REDACTED.] Today I found out that, hm, no, wait, they don’t want to do it anymore. They’ve pulled out. Canceled. GO AWAY MUR.

They are worried I won’t draw enough local interest.

The punchline is that this book store is probably the best indie bookstore that is closest to my hometown.* Local interest, indeed.

I don’t know if they know I’m from a town nearby. I am not sure if the publicist knows this. I probably should have told her; I didn’t even think to. But she told me they’re firm. No book event.

(This store recently hosted an old college buddy of mine who turned out to be an author too. But he writes literary fiction. Out of respect for my Stonecoast friends, I will refrain from any rude comments here. I didn’t even italicize literary. I feel like I’m growing as a person here.)

It’s not the end of the world, of course. I do have a reading at Boskone in 3 weeks, and I’m having a book launch in March at the awesome Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, and am planning at least one other local event. I’m going to be around, in public. It’s cool. Also I’ve had other authors commiserate with me that this has happened to them too, and it does indeed suck. So I’m not alone in the “HAHA JUST KIDDING NO BOOK EVENT FOR YOUUUUUU” situation.

But damn. This is my second (pro) book. It got a good review from Publishers Weekly. I won the Campbell last year. I’m not about to drunkenly stumble up to them and scream “Don’t you know WHO I AM?” but it’s times like this that make me realize that there will be times in my life, over and over again, where I feel like that newbie writer who can’t get a break.** It’s depressing. And humbling. But what can I do except do the usual rejection treatment***, and get back to writing?

* Granted, it’s still a bit of a drive from my town to said store. I’m from a VERY small town in the mountains. Everything is a bit of a drive.
** People told me I had to stop saying that I was a “wannabe writer” in my podcast. Times like this put me right back into that feeling.
*** Red wine. Blanket. Feeling sorry for self. Tomorrow morning, we’re done, and we’re acting like a pro again, what with the writing and the podcasting and stuff. But for tonight, well, poop.

The answer inside a turkey sandwich

There are things we know we are supposed to do. Floss. Get enough sleep. Eat regular meals. Eat healthy meals. Exercise.

And yet, inertia and incorrect priorities always make us sacrifice the important things. We eat crap and wonder why we feel sluggish. We sleep 6 hours a night and wonder why we are slow and snappish. We don’t floss and wonder why we bleed and get lectures at the dentist office.

And when we feel rather bad or low or like we’re the worst writers in the world, it’s often good to look away from the writing and see if you have covered all of the important things. If it’s been 8 or more hours since your last meal, or you got 4 hours of sleep, or you’ve got a cold coming on, those are all things other than your manuscript that can bring you down. We don’t like to admit it. We don’t like to think that the key to our novel lies inside a turkey sandwich. But our emotions are volatile little toddlers that can explode unexpectedly for reasons we don’t quite understand. And we take it out on unsuspecting things, like our work, or loved ones, or other drivers on the road.

So: you wake up. You’re convinced you’re shit. The world will chew up and spit out your prose. If you ever finish what you’re working on. But you won’t. Because you’re shit.

Hold up: how did you sleep last night? Have you had breakfast yet? Take the dog for a walk. (I do realize that suggesting this on the eve of a huge cold front about to freeze the eastern US solid is bad, but this post is technically evergreen.) Get a shower, get your head on straight. Hug your kids, tell your significant other that you’re grateful for them. THEN look at your work.

It’s possible it’s still shit, sure. I’m not saying all writing is magically better once you eat some eggs. But your attitude about approaching it will be better, and your endurance with writing and editing will be greater. We have to take care of ourselves if we want to accomplish anything.

(That said, you want to explain to me that medical doctors who prove time and again that the brain needs 7-9 hours of sleep a night, often pull 24 hour shifts?)