“I’ve always wanted to write a book!”

“I’ve always wanted to write a book!”

At the cafe this morning, people were talking w/site manager about market space. I was listening in & they noticed. Manager says “She’s writing a book!”

One immediately says “I have a great first line for a book: ‘I’ve a terrible secret.’ Isn’t that great? You could get a whole book deal off that!”

I thought, “Uh, no you couldn’t,” and I *said* “So what’s the secret?”

She said “You don’t find out at the end! Keep them for the second book!”

…right then.

Then they asked for my name in case I made it with this book. I said they could find me at Chapters Bookstore under CE Murphy.

Oh, they said, you’re affiliated with Chapters?

I’m not affiliated with them, I said, they just carry my books, and I refrained from adding “you assholes” to the end of that or any other remark.

I’m not really offended; people assume writers aren’t published or are vanity press & local shops are selling them on consignment. But @.@

Kickstarter comes to Ireland

Kickstarter comes to Ireland

First, before I start nattering about my own nebulous projects, lemme point you at three (3!) excellent Kickstarters that are currently running:

1. Lawrence Watt-Evans offers up delicious steampunky pulp! with illustrations! in TOM DERRINGER AND THE ALUMINUM AIRSHIP!

2. Ellen Million is running a second fantasy coloring books for so-called grown-ups, with a wide variety of artists pitching in books this time!

3. Patricia Bray & Joshua Palmatier have launched TEMPORALLY OUT OF ORDER, an anthology I really wish I could participate in but was obliged to face reality regarding. Especially bitter given how many terrific people are writing for it. Woe! Go forth! Make it happen! Make my woe EVEN GREATER! :)

And, on that note…

Today Kickstarter announced that as of October 21, denizens of Ireland would be able to run Kickstarters, in euros, to land in Irish bank accounts.

I am, of course, now trying hard to convince myself that I don’t have to be the FIRST person to run an Irish Kickstarter. That’s going about as well as you’d expect it to. :)

I actually went and started a project page, but I didn’t get very far before it became clear that the project–the Old Races story KISS OF ANGELS, about Grace O’Malley–was poorly suited for a Kickstarter. For one, while I imagine it as a novella, I suspect it could easily balloon into a book. A full-length book, even. Which means doing short stories as levels and incentives is…impractical.

I kind of think the way to do it would be as another Old Races Short Story Project. The goal with that was to produce half a dozen Old Races stories/roughly 30K worth of words. I suspect that’s probably more on point here: that would be the actual project, with things like an anchoring novel(la) for a collection and additional stories being stretch goals. So it’d be something like “if KISS OF ANGELS contains itself at a sensible 30K, there’ll be up to another 40K worth of short stories; if KoA ends up 60K, there might be only one more short story to fill out the collection.”

Something like that. The Old Races novels are about 125K, so that would kind of be my top end goal: I’d be willing to write somewhere between 100-125K on the project.

Of course, the other problem is that the ORSSP was a year-long project with a story delivered every other month, and that’s actually right about what I’d probably want to do with another one. Which means this could very easily be a two or even three year delivery schedule, which is…mental.

(Sorry, talking out loud to myself here, thinking things through.)

Maybe I should just do another ORSSP straight-up. Launch in October, end in November, first story delivered in January, etc. Because that was a really fun project, and didn’t require an anchor piece at all (because I’d written one for as a Help I Have An Emergency crowdfund project, mind you, but still). Hm.

‘course, I actually *owe* somebody an Old Races story before I launch any other sorts of projects, anyway, and I have a ton of other stuff to do as well, so I say to me: shut yo’ mouth. :)

& that’s a wrap

& that’s a wrap

I’ve just finished up the copy edits on STONE’S THROE, my Spirit of the Century pulp fiction novel for Evil Hat Productions. I believe it’ll be out to the backers in quite short order, and available for general purchase not *too* long after that.

I kinda love this book, guys. I think you will too. It’s full of ridiculous good swoopy pulpy fun, and I’m really glad I got a chance to write it.

And now I am going to go do the Ice Cream Dance of Celebration! :)

so this week.

so this week.

So preschool started last week and inevitably Young Indiana got a cold by day 3 and I had a cold by day 5 and very excitingly Ted did not get a cold, he got a twisted appendix (he’s on antibiotics for it and they’ll decide in another week if they should take it out or not), so this past week has been…somewhat exhausting. By which I mean we are all dragging ass and staring thousand-mile stares.

I’ve been re-reading the Continuing Time books while sitting around being on media blackout/sick/waiting on sick people. I still like them. I still desperately want Ola Blue’s story.

I have come to the conclusion that I need to accept that if I cannot walk at least a mile and ideally six or seven miles in a pair of shoes, they do not suit my lifestyle. This means I have a number of pairs of shoes and boots to bring to charity shops. I need to do that sooner rather than later, and with the least amount of “BUT THEY’RE SO CUTE” angst as possible. :)

I should do something similar with clothes, actually, but I’ll deal with the shoes first…

a week of work

a week of work

With the arrival of September and the start of (pre)school, I have gotten more work done in the past week than in the past three months combined. There’s a cafe in the same building as my son’s preschool, so I’ve been dropping him off, walking thirty meters to order a cup of berry tea, and sitting down to write for close to 3 hours. It’s a godsend.

On the second morning, the barista said, dubiously, “Do you *like* the berry tea?” and I cheerfully admitted it was about the only kind of tea I *do* like, as I’m not much of a caffeine drinker. People are always so very amazed when I say I don’t use much in the way of caffeine, as if I must be some kind of genuinely alien being. (It gets worse when I mention I don’t drink much alcohol, either. I’m not a teetotaler but I’m close enough for government work. All of this is not because of some degree of moral superiority but the fact that I don’t like the *taste* of coffee, tea or most alcohol. “You have to develop a taste for it!” people tell me, but I feel that if I have to develop a taste for it I probably shouldn’t be ingesting it in the first place. :))

Anyway. :) The same morning a man in the cafe asked what I was working on. “A book,” I said. “I’m a writer.”

“Oh,” says he, “have you published anything?”

Me: “My 25th novel just came out.”

Him: O.O

I admit, I’d really like to be able to answer that kind of question with “Yes, you’ve heard of me,” someday.

(Neil Gaiman got to do that once on an airplane. Little old lady in the seat next to him asked what he did for a living and he said “I write books.” She said, “Oh, how lovely. When will you make the NYT bestseller list?” He said, “Last August.”)

Over on Twitter when I announced my media blackout, fellow writer Adrian Faulkner threw down a September Word War gauntlet and we’re now working to…well. See who can write the most words in September, but it’s not really about winning, just solidarity, so if you need a kick in the pants, join us at #SeptemberWordWar.

Mid-week I caught up on MAGIC & MANNERS to a sufficient degree that although it kind of killed me to do so, I put it aside to start working on my nephew’s book. I’m hopefully halfway through M&M now, although…maybe not. :) And I really, really wish I could just charge ahead with it, but any way I cut it, my nephew’s book has a shorter wordcount to reach finished, and is also almost a year late. So. His book it is.

Except, as it turns out, I have gotten nowhere with his book, except deleting 7500 words and then staring at 10K I threw out a while ago and wondering if maybe that was better after all and finally, slowly and grudgingly, concluding that I may not actually have a plot for this book, which is…pretty depressing…and…yeah. So I have to go find a plot and unless I do it really soon this book’s not going to be done by the end of the month either and just argh.

Picoreview: The Grand Seduction

Picoreview: The Grand Seduction

Picoreview: The Grand Seduction: Charming!

The Grand Seduction is sort of Doc Hollywood meets The Full Monty (in terms of small town whose main source of employment has dried up, not in terms of stripping :)), with a bit of Waking Ned Devine thrown in. It stars Brendan Gleeson, who is always wonderful, and Taylor Kitsch, who appears to be trying to rebuild a career after his meteoric rise culminated in two gigantic box office flops. (I *like* Kitsch, and in fact liked both John Carter and Battleship, so I’m glad he’s getting work. :))

The gist of the film is that the small town is trying to get a factory in for work, but it needs a doctor, which it hasn’t had for years. Kitsch is the doctor who ends up there for a month through Doc Hollywood-like machinations (he’s even a plastic surgeon!), and the seduction is the townsfolk trying to make their town the perfect place for him (and the factory). It’s funny and sweet and charming, and the romantic storyline is, for a rarity, spot-on. Well worth seeing!

Recent Reads: A Crack in Everything

Recent Reads: A Crack in Everything


This angel was a beautiful piece of graffiti on South William Street in Dublin. It was there a long time: I saw it often.

I never thought to write a story about it.

I would resent that now that Ruth Frances Long has written one and thus proven to me what I failed to imagine, except I’m just really, really *happy* that Ruth wrote this book, and let me tell you, it’s always a relief when a friend writes a book you genuinely like.

A CRACK IN EVERYTHING is urban fantasy set in Dublin, which–you would think–would be ubiquitous: there’s so much Irish mythology and history and legend mined for books that you’d think loads of contemporary fantasy would be set in the Fair City itself. But no: there’s very little, or at least very little that I know of. My husband and I have often wished there was lots of it out there, so I’m simply delighted that Ruth has gotten this book out there for the world to read.

As Ruth herself said, she’s tried to draw on local legend and fairy tales as much as the greater, more widely known Irish mythos (and then throwing it all up against the war between Heaven and Hell, as you obviously do), and I think she’s succeeded admirably. A CRACK IN EVERYTHING has both got broad scope–the depths of Dubh Linn, the Sidhe’s side of Dublin–are enough to drown in–and intimate appeal: the protagonists, both human and not, are in fact in over their heads and well on the way to drowning.

Our heroine, Izzy, is one of my favourite kinds of protagonists: the one who doesn’t know what she’s gotten herself into, and has to figure her way out…while everybody is trying to keep her in. I thought her struggles were well portrayed and that her end game turned out to be damned clever, and I saw almost none of it coming, which is always a pleasant surprise.

Also the main love interest Jinx is very, very sexy. O.O

It’s not perfect: the early part of the book suffers a little from Establishing Place, which is both kind of necessary (one does not see Dublin depicted in film as often as, say, New York City, or even Seattle) and kind of hard to do elegantly. And some of it *is* done elegantly, very elegantly, but other parts felt a bit belaboured to me–but it may very well work better, in fact, for people who aren’t familiar with Dublin and its surrounds, because we already know this stuff.

That said, the rough spots early on smooth out and the story becomes thoroughly engrossing, to the point where I, um, may or may not have allowed my four year old to watch rather more television than he should have, so I could finish reading the last five or six chapters, because I *really* didn’t want to put the book down at that stage.

I also really wanted the sequel the very minute I finished reading, and Ruth has cruelly told me that I don’t get to read it until next year. #sobs

Elfquest: Final Quest, issue 4

Elfquest: Skywise & Cutter


I’ll be giving the Final Quest one more issue, because it’s ElfQuest and I’ve loved it since childhood, and because there’s an *extremely* faint chance that the character they apparently killed at the end of this issue is actually dead. If they have actually killed the character off, the story becomes *much* more interesting to me…but I’m so very, very dubious that they’re really dead.

This issue featured 20 pages of story, which is enough for one solid story thread, but not the two and a half they’re jamming into these issues. Somehow they managed to find 2 pages for letters and 6 pages for ‘preview material’ of the forthcoming Original Quest collection, so from my perspective: 20 pages of not very good story in exchange for a handful of letters and some pages I memorized as a teen instead of, say, 24 or 26 pages of more elegantly told story and a letters page. I would really, truly rather have two separate stories happening in two separate comics and only get 3 of each a year than have this half-assed crushed storytelling trying to fit 40 characters and several story arcs into 20 pages.

Also, irrelevant to the actual storyline, I find the bits of gauzy Preserver-silks that Palace denizens are wearing to be…really cold-looking. It seems to me that at some point in the history of ElfQuest somebody commented that the Palace wasn’t especially warm (not that it was exactly *cold*, either, but that it wasn’t *warm*) and so watching Timmain walk around naked and Moonshade and Sun, uh, stream, in see-through bits just makes me think, every time I see them, “Aren’t they cold all the time?” (I mean, okay, Timmain probably not, because Timmain, but still.)

Sigh. Anyway. One more issue, in which, if they have any sense, they will not resolve the issue of whether the character is dead or not, which may cause me to hang on for another issue or two, because it also appears they might be getting the whole gang back together next issue which may help with the fractured storytelling. Maybe. Still too many characters for not enough pages and too much story I don’t care very much about. :p

“Let Them Eat Cake” Recipe Roundup

“Let Them Eat Cake” Recipe Roundup

Okay. I had loads of questions about the “Let Them Eat Cake” recipes, especially the gluten free stuff, so I’m doing a round-up on them.

Gluten free, vegan carrot cake recipe with ‘cream cheese’ frosting. Contains flax ‘eggs’, which I’d never previously encountered and am now quite enamoured with as a substitution. Also, even fresh, that frosting tastes *remarkably* like cream cheese frosting, and if you stick it in the fridge overnight and serve it cold (it’s soft enough to spread onto a cake even when cold) it tastes exactly like cream cheese frosting. It’s amazing.

Gluten free, vegan peanut butter brownies. I didn’t think these were sweet enough, but their texture was really nice and not everybody likes things as sweet as I do. They were, however, corn-free (using black beans as their main bulk instead of gluten-free flour), and it turned out someone at the party couldn’t eat corn either, so there was something for everybody. :)

Sugar-free chocolate cake. I used xylitol instead of Splenda (they’re both 1:1 substitutes for sugar) and powdered some of the xylitol for a topping instead of making the sauce. Lawrence Watt-Evans thought it was the best of the cakes I made. :)

I had, in fact, been searching for an all-purpose vegan/gluten free/diabetic chocolate cake recipe, and didn’t, but having now learned about flax eggs I might try the diabetic cake recipe as also vegan/gluten-free sometime. I bet it’d work. :)

The lemon polenta cake and chocolate cake made by fellow baker & writer Susan Connolly were based on the above recipes with the following modifications:

For both, I used half the amount of ground almonds in the recipe, and made up the other half with hazelnuts that I food-processed until they were like crumbs – that gave it more texture.

For the lemon-cake, I used an extra lemon’s worth of zest in the mixture and an extra lemons worth of juice in the syrup.

Chocolate ganache was just 250ml of double cream, heated, then poured over 200g of dark chocolate that was broken into pieces, then stir stir stir till it’s combined.

(Much love to Susan for providing those two cakes, which were wonderful!)