*tap, tap* is this thing on?

Apparently long-form blogging is simply no longer something I do, which is sad. Well, I guess it’s sad. There’s no audience for it, is the thing. My audience is on Twitter, mostly, these days, and to a lesser degree, Facebook, but FB’s algorithms…well. You know how it is.

I’ve been very, very busy this year. So far I’ve done copy & line edits on DEATH OF AN IRISH MUMMY, revised SKYMASTER & LIBRARIAN BEAR, did copy edits etc on BEAR, written 13k of the book I’m not writing & all of the upcoming novella PRACTICAL BOOTS, written a screenplay for a…not exactly competition, but close enough…& filled out the long application form to go with it. I’ve revised BOOTS a bit, sent it to the editor, did a quick and easy edit someone’s manuscript, and am revising yet another novella of my own for publication…sometime this year, I think. I have a final pass of revisions on SKYMASTER before sending it for copy edits, and then I have to start revisions on the 4th & please-god final Guildmaster book, which is in theory as much as half written but needs probably half of what I’ve written removed.

Plus parenting etc during a pandemic, you know, so I feel that’s reason enough for apparently never blogging anymore. :)

A new short story (technically a novelette, as it weighs in at 16K, which is longer than an official short story but not as long as an official novella :)) has dropped on Amazon Kindle & Kindle Unlimited!

“Wintergate” is set in the same world as my “Beauty and the Beast” retelling, ROSES IN AMBER, and is itself something of a retelling of “The Snow Queen”. It was inspired mostly by the pre-made cover art one of my patrons bought me, and I’m really happy with how it turned out!

No one has traveled to or from faerieland since the end of the Border Wars, save through the Wintergate, whose power can only be activated on the shortest day of the year. When gatekeeper Emilia loses everything to the Border Kingdom, ice touches her heart and grows within her, until the day comes that she must finally choose between her duty and someone else’s loss….

Available now on Amazon Kindle & Kindle Unlimited!

Ted’s reading this book about learning stuff, and the 10,000 hour thing. The author kinda posits that the first 2K hours are foundational, the rest are mastery. I’m generalizing wildly abt the author’s stance here bc, like, I haven’t read it, BUT:

I think that’s a friggin intriguing place to start. Like. Like. I’m sure that over the course of my life I’ve spent somewhere between 5-600 hours studying Spanish. Definitely not more, maybe not even more than 500. But we’ll give me the 600, because what the hell, why not. And I’d say I’ve probably spent maybe 12-1500 hours ACTIVELY drawing, studying drawing, etc. Doing that specific kind of art.

My Spanish is rudimentary. My art skills are such that I’ve said for decades that I’m good enough to see how good I COULD be with practice/how good I’m not.

But looking at both those things from a “2k hours is foundational” viewpoint…I can 100% see how, although they’re very different THINGS, that premise lines up. My art skills are legit 100% better than my Spanish skills. If you want to add writing, which I’ve obviously spent FAR MORE than 10K hours doing, then it maps even farther: my writing skills are FAR BEYOND 1000% better than my drawing skills.

And this, this is the bit that’s blowing me away, I think:

2000 hours is not NEARLY as overwhelming an amount of time to contemplate as 10K hours. 2K hours is one work year.

Obviously there is zero chance I’m going to spend 8 hours a day 50 weeks a year working on Spanish or art, but 2K hours as a foundation feels achievable. And it seems to me that if you put in 2K hours with a certain degree of regularity, you’ve got a certain level of commitment that might make working toward 10K hours more likely.

& I mean, let’s face it: if I spent another 4-600 hours on art, I’d really be quite good. WHETHER I’d do that is another question, perhaps even one not worth contemplating, but it’s certainly less intimidating than considering 8600 hours to reach any sort of level of competency. Another 1500 hours of Spanish would probably land me in “not embarrassed to try speaking it” territory, if not genuine fluency.

So this is a thing I gotta sit with a bit. Or rather…work with, a bit, I think. I’m really intrigued. Hmm!

If you’re just here for the links, here you go: amazon (affiliate link) || barnes & noble || apple || kobo

If you’re here for incoherent squealing on the part of the author, JUST LOOK AT THIS COVER ZOOOMMMMGGGGG!!@!!@!@!E

I wrote this book several years ago, but felt it kind of slid under the radar because it was a commissioned tie-in work (you don’t need to know anything about the world it came from for it to work, though!), and one of the things I’ve wanted to do for ages was re-cover it and re-release it. And now I get to, and I’m SO THRILLED with the cover art!!! it’s SO PULPY! it’s SO COOL! It’s SO AMAZING AND WONDERFUL!!! I put my cover artist through the wringer on this one, but she really came through and I’m SO HAPPY!!!!!

A monster—a mobster—a lover.

Le Monstre aux Yeux Verts, the Green-Eyed Monster, holds Paris under his thumb, but young Amelia Stone vows to free her parents from his influence at any cost. Born to carry the spirit of justice through a new century, she risks everything—even the love of her family’s mysterious Benefactor—to right the wrongs the Green-Eyed Monster has wrought…and in one crumbling moment, she both succeeds, and loses everything…

But when rumor of all-too-familiar danger returns, Amelia fears her long-ago successes were failures after all. A new phantom haunts Josephine Baker, star of the Parisian opera house, and Amelia is determined that Josephine won’t suffer the same losses her own family did many years ago. In order to keep the singer safe, Amelia must face her own regrets, reckon with her oldest enemy…and once more find herself in love’s throes.

Because Hell may have no fury like devotion denied…but by Amelia’s hand, justice will be done.

I came late to pulp fiction, having started to read the John Carter of Mars books shortly before the Disney film came out. There’s a magnificent moment in A PRINCESS OF MARS where John, having learned the Martians are telepathic, has a line to the effect of, “Over the next several days, I, too, developed my telepathic powers,” and, like…then he’s just telepathic after that, I guess! Because why not!

I loved it so much. The total lack of worldbuilding. You just can’t do that in today’s fiction. Just, like, “Welp! Here we are! Let’s go, then!”

So I just really, REALLY wanted to write a pulp novel, and also knew I’d never actually really get around to it, BUT THEN the opportunity TO write one was offered me, and…next thing I knew, I had Amelia Stone, Spirit of Justice, a bisexual badass Black woman in 1930s Paris, falling in love, fighting monsters, and defeating Nazis.

Honestly, in today’s world, who could want more?

I don’t have print editions of the new version of the book yet, but will shortly. In the meantime, here are the links for the ebooks, again! <3 :) linky link links: amazon (affiliate link) || barnes & noble || apple || kobo

Feel free to share and/or use/amend it for your own purposes.


To the Irish Government:

I have watched the ‘return to school’ plans develop over the past week with increasing horror and dismay and am now writing to ask you what the actual fuck the government thinks it’s doing.

The HSE’s guidelines indicate a 2-meter, masked distance between individuals is the minimum safe requirement, and that participants in indoors events are to be limited.

Evidence from the United States (see the Georgia overnight camp breakout) indicates that children are not immune to either acquiring or passing on Covid-19.

Covid-19 cases in Ireland are on the rise with some 10% of those cases coming from untraceable sources.

Pubs, where social distancing is difficult to enforce, are not opening.

What part of any of these facts could possibly indicate to the government that an unmasked, 1-meter-distant, 30+ person classroom/hundreds in a building, return to school is in any way safe?

How on earth can this government possibly take the stance that all children must return to school unless they themselves are extremely high risk, regardless of how high risk the people they live with are? How dare you potentially put a child in a situation where they might bring home a disease that could kill their mother? Their father? Their beloved grandparents? How *dare* you?

Did you, as a child, experience the death of a classmate? A teacher? Because I did. Seven times. Do you want to know their names? Do you want to know their ages? Do you want to know the way they died? Because I can tell you. I can tell you, because these things leave scars that last forever.

None of them were in circumstances I could possibly affect. Right now, though, we *can* affect them. How dare you force children into such dangerous scenarios, or force their parents to withdraw them from school with no guarantee of a school place in a post-Covid, vaccinated world? How dare you put parents in a position of having to choose between their children’s safety or their long-term education?

How *dare* you?

How dare you dismiss the health and well-being of the Irish people in order to create a pretense of things being Back To Normal?

Things are not normal. They *will* not be normal until there is a widely-disseminated vaccine. This government must recognize that fact and adapt to it rather than try to force a veneer of normalcy over a world that is wrestling with an unprecedented disease playing out in an unprecedented social structure.

Forcing children back to school will kill people. Those deaths will be on your hands. Even if you don’t feel it, the children who bring home disease to their families will. How dare you even risk the possibility that a child might have to live with that guilt for the rest of their lives? How dare you?

And even if our children come through it with no deaths–and they won’t–we don’t yet know all the ramifications of this disease in the long term. What we do know is already horrific. How dare you risk our children on your convenience? On the conviction that the economy must carry on as before? It needn’t.

A government’s job is to safeguard its people and to provide services that individuals cannot easily provide to themselves. It is the duty of this government to pay people to stay home so they and their children are not at risk, until science and medical technology have caught up to the leading edge of this horrible disease, surpassed it, and overcome it.

How dare you behave as if anything else could be of any importance?

Do your goddamn jobs. Put the health and well-being of the Irish people first and foremost, beyond any other consideration, and don’t force parents into impossible choices.

Catherine E Murphy