Eating Your Young

Eating Your Young

  Yesterday, I read a somewhat mean-spirited post by one of my favorite authors. Throughout his tirade, he maintains that he was speaking to a particular subset of independently published writers that release poorly written stories with zero editing and bad covers. He’s known for these spittle-flecked tirades laced with gruesome metaphor and massive doses of 6th-grade humor. I’m told that he’s actually a very nice guy in person. But posts like this are his shtick. It’s what he does. I get it. This post struck a nerve with me, not just because he called out indie authors, but because...

Short Stories: Chihuahuas vs. Dire Wolves

Here’s a theory—Chihuahuas have the souls of larger dogs (most likely dire wolves) wedged into those tiny little bodies. It would explain why these tiny pups think they’re big enough to take on a cat twice their size or why they always seem to shake. (The shaking is actually their molecules vibrating with the effort to keep all that “big dog soul” energy contained in such a small package.) Like I said, a theory. Consider short stories. You’re trying to package an entire universe, complete with exposition and world-building into this teeny weeny manuscript that shouldn’t be more than 30,000...
Let’s Celebrate with a FREE Download

Let’s Celebrate with a FREE Download

As you might have heard, the third book in the Allies and Enemies series, Allies and Enemies: Exiles is due out at the end of this month. It’s available in pre-order on Amazon right now. (Big thank you to everyone that’s pre-ordered already.) To celebrate, I’m offering the first book in the series, Allies and Enemies: Fallen, for FREE on Amazon until 3/19/2017. Chances are high that if you’re reading this, you’ve already read Fallen, but why not send my link for a free download to a friend or three? FacebookTwitterGoogle+E-mail
Keeping it real

Keeping it real

Recently, I was interviewed for the Rocking Self-Publishing podcast by the charming Simon Whistler. (The podcast should air on 3/30. I say should because I’d like to give Simon an easy out in case he realizes what a spaz I am.) This was a fantastic experience for me. Not only was it lots of fun chatting with Simon, but he asked some excellent questions. During the interview, I had the chance to discuss my personal philosophies on being an indie-author and ran through my Top 5 Elements of Middling Success or How to Fail Upwards. (I’m still working on the...
Finding the Best Word for the Job – Guest Post by Rayne Hall

Finding the Best Word for the Job – Guest Post by Rayne Hall

Anyone that’s visited this site knows of my rapid support for the Rayne Hall’s Writer’s Craft series. While I work diligently to put the finishing touches on Allies and Enemies: Exiles (due out by the end of March), check out the brilliant guest post Rayne’s this week. Learn more about Rayne Hall by visiting her site (raynehall.com) or checking her out on the ‘Zon.   FINDING THE BEST WORD FOR THE JOB   by Rayne Hall Specific words make a story vivid because they paint a clear picture for the reader. “A woman with a dog” creates only a vague...

Spin City, Baby

I don’t remember doing this. (That’s one of the charming side effects of life with ADD.) But I guess I submitted a copy of  Allies and Enemies: Fallen to the Midwest Book Review.

How do I know this? Yesterday, I got an email from their editor telling me my book is included in their February issue of MBR Bookwatch.

Yay! Right? Err…. maybe?

While I am grateful for the coverage (MBR has a pretty solid reputation), it’s not the most glowing missive. It does produce some pretty nice “sound bites”. In our present world of spin doctoring and fake news, it’s a boon of sorts. However, I do have to recognize that it’s the opinion of one person. Like a Jackson Pollock or one of those weird 3D prints from the 90s, not everyone is going to see the same thing. Consider

Consider The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. This book is beautifully written and seamless. This is my favorite book. I look to it for inspiration in writing style. But the subject matter is easy to consider depressing. I mean, it is the story of an oppressed woman, Ofglen. A lot of terrible things have happened to her and continue to happen to her. That’s the 20,000-foot view. Look lower, under that cloud layer, and you see the so much more than that. You see a spirit that refuses to be shaped by her new reality, a warning, a cautionary tale, a disconnected love story. Don’t get me wrong: I’m not comparing myself to Atwood. She’s got the 120 pack of crayons with the built-in sharpener on the box. I have the cheapo pack of 3 that they give you with the kid’s menu at Denny’s. My point is everyone has different viewpoints.

“…a solid SF tale. It has a nice layered storyline with a relatively fast paced plot… Fallen has everything you would want in a SF suspense space opera.” [Midwest Review]

So do I imagine hearing the above “sound bite” in some gritty movie trailer voice? You bet. 🙂 Will I take the full review’s comments to heart? Not sure. But it did give me pause to reflect on the nature of professional reviews and the roles they play in the world of self-publishing. They’re meant to help potential readers make a decision about what book they want to read next.

In the same vein, does the phrase “New York Times Bestseller” compel someone on Amazon to pick that book over another? Or does it simply place that book in a higher spot of prominence so that the consumer is less likely to dig deeper beyond the first few results? Personally, before I got wrapped up in this indy publishing journey, I never really noticed the “NY Times” bannered books. But then… that’s just me.

 

Plotting like a “Real” Writer: The Grand Experiment

Plotting like a “Real” Writer: The Grand Experiment

I have a confession to make. I, Amy J. Murphy, was born a pantser. You know… an author that writes from the “seat of their pants.” It goes a long way in explaining why it took me about 10 years to finish my first book, what ended up (after much hair-pulling and gnashing of teeth) to become Allies and Enemies: Fallen. Basically, I’d read what I wrote previously, tweak it, re-read it, tweak it some more and then set off on some tangent that made very little sense in the scheme of an overall story. If you plotted my course,...

Big Things. Small Beginnings.

How do you get your ideas for stories? I have a long-winded answer to this common question. To answer, we have to hop into our DeLorean and travel back to the late 90s. Like much of cable programming at the time a “science fiction news” show was in heavy repeat on one of the channels. Unlike my favorite protagonist, I lack an eidetic memory. I cannot recall the name of the show. That memory file is corrupt in my brainbox. But what I do remember is this: Harlan Ellison seated in a bookstore window typing out (on a typewriter—how retro!)...