Ditch Diggers #29: Birthday Extravaganza

Travel and excitement has us posting this late – both Matt and Mur have their birthdays on July 25, and, both of us being attention whores, we celebrate as much as possible.

  • Mur and Matt (mostly Matt) explain how and why Morgan Freeman has balls for us all (okay, it’s all Matt).
  • Mur and Matt share a birthday! They are both Children of the 25th, and this is Ditch Diggers’ 2016 Birthday Spectacular!
  • Mur talks about Netflix optioning her novel, the announcement coming two years after the deal, and excitement fatigue.
  • Why the Honda Fit is sexier than the Ford Fiesta, but NOT as sexy as the Mini Cooper.
  • The optioning process, and how much control authors have over their optioned properties.
  • Expecting the worst as a publishing author.
  • Mur talks about her big career developments over the past year, including Bookburners and writing Star Wars.
  • Mur closes her yearly recap by talking about survivor’s guilt in 2016, and she admits Matt is wise.
  • Matt begins his recap by talking about not getting optioned for film/TV, and the lessons he learned from getting caught up in the process of trying to turn his books into TV series.
  • Matt and Mur discuss varying levels of involvement in the film/TV side of your books and the perils and pitfalls involved.
  • Matt talks about refocusing on writing and selling books, and the leverage it ultimately gives you.
  • Matt talks about how his reasons for wanting to do well in his career have changed for the better.
  • Ditch Diggers Birthday Spectacular Q&A via email and Twitter!

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Star Wars, Storium, Travel, and More!

Here is where being an infrequent blogger is a bad thing. I have many, many things to talk about “all of a sudden” – all of a sudden wouldn’t come around if I blogged more often. Oops.

Star-Wars-Rogue-OneSTAR WARS, BABY!
I can finally talk about it, as it was announced over July 15th weekend at Star Wars Celebration: I’m writing a short story in the Star Wars universe for the magazine Star Wars Insider! It’s only a short story, but it’ll be canon. It will come out this December, and tie into the Rogue One movie. And that’s all I can say.

But damn. Star Wars. Mind. Blown.

I adapted my Afterlife world to Storium, and now you can playt hrough Heaven with the Storium platform! I was honored to be part of the Storium Kickstarter, and I’m so excited that my world is live at last!

August is a super-busy month. In a week I leave for GenCon, my first time to the huge gaming convention where I will participate in the Writer’s Symposium (and be part of two live podcasts and a live Storium event). Then comes WorldCon in Kansas City, where Matt and I will be doing a live Ditch Diggers Event on Thursday night. I’ll get the schedules up closer to each event, but if you’re in town for either event, let me know!

The release of Six Wakes has moved to January 31, 2017. I’m sorry to have to report it, but I know this will allow production and marketing to work even more magic than they were doing before, and I hope the launch will be awesome. I’ll keep you updated regarding any launch events.

And yesterday I turned 43.

Hullo, 43.

Hullo, Mur.

You know, your sibling, 42, wasn’t everything it was cracked up to be. I don’t know if Douglas Adams lied, or 42 lied, or what, but damn. The world is on fire!

Things aren’t all good in the world, no. But you have to admit, things went your way more than most peoples’ this year. You’re fitter. You’ve got a fucking Star Wars story coming out. Things may not be coming up roses and daffodils, but at least maybe pansies and dandelions?

Dandelions are a weed, 43. Ask anyone who does lawn work.

You’re pedantic when you’re cranky.

I’m not cranky. Babies are cranky. I’m just looking at the state of the world and publishing and my own career and my daughter’s future and it’s scary.

You clean your own house, Lafferty, that’s all you’re responsible for. You write your stories and raise your kid and vote and tell your representatives you won’t stand for their shit. You do what you can.

Yeah. You’re right.

Fuck, does every year have to tell you to grow a goddamn spine and start finally adulting?

Yep. Pretty much.

Fine. Then I’ll clean my own mess, too.

You do that.

You’re part of that mess, you know. Your shitty ego and lack of confidence. I’mma clean it right the fuck up.

I know that, 43.




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.


Hullo 41.

Shhh. Can’t talk. Busy.

Um, 41? I’m here. I mean, a few days late, but I was busy traveling, there were teens, and ants, it was a whole thing. I know I should have greeted you last Friday, but I’m here now!

Look, I’m busy. I know you’re chronically late, but if you can’t bother to show up for your own birthday, then I have to shoulder the burden. Do you know what I have been dealing with the past two days?

YOUR problems? My new car is infested with ants. ANTS. Little evil things that crawl ON YOU while you’re DRIVING. That really should give me a bye in any situation.

Psh. I’m juggling your trip prep, your FOUR projects you have in infancy, and trying to keep your monstrous self-esteem issues at bey. I’m standing here, clad in leather and blood, my dripping sword held at the ready, having just done battle with your insecurities, and you complain about ants?

Yes I complain about ants! They’re tiny and gross and there are a billion of them in my car. My new car. My brand new – not “new to me;” this car is so damn new it shouldn’t exist yet, it’s a 2015 – car.

…Are you done?

All right. Enough with the ants. I’m late and i’m sorry. Yes there are many projects in infancy and I love them all. I have to decide which ones to move forward on with my agent, which ones to self publish, and, horror of horrors, which ones to trunk because they just won’t work. And I have to decide this week because I’m traveling soon. Big decisions.

You have to grow the fuck up.

I have to grow the fuck up. Yes. I bought a Honda* (affordable! reliable! fun to drive!) instead of a MINI Cooper (AWESOMELY FUN TO DRIVE, and, um, unreliable. Expensive). I received disappointing news about a project (code name Epic Fantasy Baseball) and it didn’t destroy my world the way news like this usually does. I even have been exercising more often than not in the past month. I’m working on this growing up thing. I’m really trying.

Really? Bad project news for EFB? And you took it in stride?


Well. I’m proud of you.

Does that mean you’ll talk to me? Give me advice this year? Have my back?

Of course. I’m prime, aren’t I?

You are. So let’s try again. Hullo, 41.

Hullo, Mur.

*Which is now infested with ants. Did I mention the ants?


Hullo Mur.

Hullo, 40.

You’re looking awfully reserved, Mur. What’s up?

I just feel like it’s a Big Day. And I don’t have a lot planned. Should this be big? I mean, I’m not freaking out over 40, and I’m only comparing it to my pediatrician’s 40th birthday party a little bit.

…you lost me.

Oh, my mom was a nurse, and her boss was my doctor. So I got to be in the exam room with the doc, and then in the break room with the staff. And his 40th birthday party was boob-themed. Boob cake, boob mug, boob buzzer that his 4 year old son kept pushing the nipple to make it go bzzz. It was the 80’s, so it was OK. I felt slightly uncomfortable, but am pretty sure no one is getting me boobs for my birthday.

Boob buzzer?

Totally. Bright red nipple, white boob. BUZZZZZ!

We will move on from this.

Probably for the best.

So what’s going on with you? Most people, when they come to me, have pretty big issues. What’s going on, besides the, ah, boob buzzer?

Well, I’ve achieved things, my “pre-40” bucket list, so to speak. I got a book on the shelves, I became a mom, the marriage is still awesome, and I’ve been nominated for two awards.

Hang on. 39 just passed me a note. “Yes, and please vote for Mur for the Campbell Award, voting closes July 31.

Seriously, Mur? You need to validate yourself with pleas for award votes? You don’t think your skill is enough to garner said awards? 

I’m learning the balance of publishing and the value of making people aware that a) you’re there, and b) you are nominated. Beyond that, they can vote however they want. I just want them to give me a thought. Or two.

Fuck that. You want the award.

More than I want air, yes. But since I lost it last year, I know I can survive losing it. They apparently don’t take the losers and kill them and pack them in salt to preserve them. This is a relief. And as a good friend recently told me, “we don’t write for that.”

Awards. Not avoiding salt packing. Although I feel like we do that every day. If I saw some asshole coming up the street with a knife in one hand and a box of Morton’s in the other, I’d run like hell.

Also, I’m pretty sure after 40 seconds or so of depriving me of air, if you gave me the choice between Campbell award and air, I’d choose air.

Exaggeration for effect. I get it. So you’re not freaked by me, but you did have a list of things you wanted before you met me. To me, that says I do have some semblance of meaning for you.

Well sure. Humans definitely like the round numbers. Someone doing something for 37 years is impressive, but OMG 40. You get presents at 40 years of doing anything. People expect you to grow up. Be responsible. Stuff. So I’m trying to think of what the next 40 years will hold.

That will bring you up to 80. Dude, she is a SHE WOLF. You do NOT want to meet 80 until you’re ready.

I won’t be ready for another 40 years. But I can handle her when I get there.

So, what now? 39 tells me you’re slightly obsessive and take negative comments to heart too much. You want SO HARD and your defeats are devastating.

Yeah, but I bounce back. I keep going. Can I get props for that?

Mur, 40 year old people don’t say “props.”


You’re embarrassing me.

I am tired of embarrassing people. If you can’t figure out what I’m about at this point, then don’t even try. I figure by the time you reach 40, you’re set. You’re done with the maturing, and if changes are going to be made of your personality, it will fucking take the ghost of your dead BFF plus three of his homies to change you. Otherwise, take me as I am.

Ghosts, man.

This is me. I write. I have ambitions. I sometimes stumble and let envy or discouragement stand in my way, but not for long. I say silly things as a joke, and if it doesn’t land, I move on. I’m me, and that’s OK. Mess me up, and we have a problem, apologize and we’re cool. Do you really not want to be my buddy, 40? Cause if you don’t, well. I don’t even know.

I do. I like people who know who they are at this point. Some don’t. Some dude in Canada did a “hey y’all, watch this” move, and got international attention, but he begged for reporters to mention the fact that he ACHIEVED HIS GOAL. Doesn’t matter what the world thinks, as long as his buddies think he’s cool, he’s happy. This dude is 47. 

47 came to me the other day in tears. Yo was saying that said dude’s mother had the luxury of hanging up on him and telling him he was an idiot (not in that order, I guess) but that yo would have to keep nurturing the dude for months. Yo can’t wait till he turns 48 and it’s not yo’s problem anymore.

I promise I will not drink 8 beers and swim to another country. I don’t drink that much beer, and besides, I don’t swim well. Also, fucking stupid thing to do. Also also, “yo?”

Gender neutral pronoun. We’re genderless years, so it’s appropriate. It’s catching on in Baltimore.

Oh. Cool. Didn’t you say 80 is a she-wolf, though?

Shut up. She-wolf is much cooler than “scary anthropomorphic year representing mortality and old people diapers.”

Fair enough.

So the moral of this story is?

You can’t trust the system?


Um. Be confident in who I am?


PS- It’s also Matt Fn Wallace’s birthday. Go tell him something nice and birthdaylike. He’s a whippersnapper. You can tell him I said that.

Stonecoast, Manic Mondays, and more

OK, there’s no more. I just like things in threes.

  • I’m heading to Stonecoast today, which means I’ll be away from social media, blogging, and podcasting for over ten days. Shambling Guide eps will go up, and I’ll try to get some completed ISBWs up.
  • Also, I recently guest hosted one of my favorite podcasts, Manic Mondays, a short funny music podcast. (It’s NSFW.) My DJ dreams continue, and Clear Channel’s THE MAN can’t stop me!
  • In two weeks I turn 40. Yikes.