Authors Rating Their Own Books Five Stars? How Tacky!
August 27, 2016

I read with great interest what was essentially a note to all authors who self-rate their books five stars.

That’s just so … just so … *tacky*.

Further, star-abuse is hands-down attributable to the fact that we authors as a lot must be inappropriate, ego-puffed cheaters with an aim to game the system.

(As if one review can even make a dent, for argument’s sake?)

Hello, my name is Emily Murdoch and I’m a self-rated five-star giver.
And I’m downright incorrigible.

Because, truth is, if we couldn’t rate our own book five stars, you’d be the ones we’d be cheating.

Chances are, those self-rated five-star books exist due to great and tedious artistic commitment and sacrifice; of time, money, fun, weekends, holidays, time with loved ones, friends and family, for salaries mostly impossible to live on, so most authors have more than one job.

Because writing is a job. We may love it; it may be a blessing and a gift, a way to share ideas to touch or entertain or enlighten or better the world, better ourselves, and for the sheer joy of it, yes.

But it’s work. Much work. Even if it’s work we love.

And so I give my own books five stars in celebration, in excitement to share the words, to help bring light or a lean or some kindness, goodness, compassion and understanding back into this tough world.

That there are readers or reviewers with the sole intent of one-starring self-rated five-star authors due to a personal hypothesis, without facts, is actually sad.

Sad to see the world of writing that way.

I woke up this morning slumped over in the faux-suede recliner with my laptop open on my lap, having fallen asleep over my current manuscript.

The writing time I could take was late night, so I took it.

Just as I will again, tonight.

My name is Emily Murdoch, and I am a self-rated five star author.

May everything you love and create be worthy of your own five stars.

#amwriting #amrevising #sleepingcountswinks #YAsaves

Advertisements

What Do You Call Your “Writing Place”?
March 2, 2012

Falling down the rabbit hole: that period of time during which writers are swallowed up into the writing, the revisions, the first draft, the tenth draft, while the world outside the imagination switches places, and it’s *that* world which is fiction, and the fiction, the whole world.

I’m presently in revision mode on a new novel I hope to have on sub by the end of April. I’m hunkered down in the proverbial “revision cave”, although the image hasn’t ever quite fit, for me; I find the act of writing, and the writing itself, too uplifting and full of light and emotion and meaning, for the cave analogy to work.

I need a place conducive to mental fireflies, those little sparks of light flitting through the imagination and connecting the dots.

But, what to call it? After some thinking, and a favorite quote thrown in, (if you know me, you know I’m a quote-fiend), I’ve come up with this:

Walden Pond, near Henry David Thoreau’s cabin.

So, if you’re looking for me, you know where to find me. I’m Walden Pond-ing it, quite happily. : )

Waves from my woods, to yours!

Signing My Book Contract.
February 20, 2012

What else can I say? : )

So, I’ll close with a little note from The Universe.

“It’s not from the known, but the unknown, that creativity and inventiveness are born.Turn away from the predictable, cliché, and reliable. Brave the void where the darkness is greatest. Trust the quiet, find the stillness, feel the calm. Then steadily think, speak, and move as if you were led. Behave as if your vision were clear. Anticipate the emotional rush that will come with your triumph. And as if by magic, as you raise your pen to write, you’ll find the words have already been summoned, flooded in light that was there all along, in a world that has just as anxiously anticipated your arrival.”

~ The Universe

 
Mike Dooley
TUT Notes

My Novel Sold To St. Martin’s Griffin! : ) Part One.
January 25, 2012

What’s been saved in my work inbox for 14 months, 8 weeks, 4 days:
This one, I wrote to myself. (A writer can dream, winks.)
Dear Emily,
 We’ve received FIVE offers from editors at amazing NYC publishing houses!
 
They love your novel and we’re looking at a significant deal, a multi-book contract and Oprah wants the novel for her book club.
 
Good work! More information to follow,
 
Agent Extraordinaire
I came across this quote below, and although I’m spiritual, not religious, I found it beautiful — both reassuring and strengthening. At times it feels like divine intervention alone is how one gets published. Maybe it is. I did do an awful lot of petitioning of my dead friend and dead grandmothers. Sometimes all we want to know is that we’re on the right path.
Hope is a golden cord connecting you to heaven.  This cord helps you hold your head up high, even when multiple trials are buffeting you.  I never leave your side, and I never let go of your hand.  But without the cord of hope, your head may slump and your feet may shuffle as you journey uphill with Me. Hope lifts your perspective from your weary feet to the glorious view you can see from the high road.  You are reminded that the road we’re traveling together is ultimately a highway to heaven.  When you consider this radiant destination, the roughness or smoothess of the road ahead becomes much less significant.  I am training you to hold in your heart a dual focus: My continual Presence and the hope of heaven. 
 
Romans 12:12; Thessalonians 5:8; Hebrews 6:18-19.
The next is just plain-old lovely.
“Be who God meant you to be,
and you will set the world on fire.”
 
St. Catherine of Sienna
I’ve been trying and trying to write this post, to no avail. I’m not one of those writers who (beforehand) imagines writing a post like this. Truth be told, I find myself feeling quite shy about it. How shy? As shy as reading your diary to a crowd. Yeah, that shy. Welcome to my head. Watch your step.
Agent Bob Diforio’s blurb stays in my inbox, also, because after years and years of rejection, I keep reading it as a reality check. To make sure this is real.

Christmas came early for debut literary YA novelist Emily Murdoch. In a spirited submission  creating buzz among dozens of editors, publishers and publicity people who quickly read her extraordinary novel, THE PATRON SAINT OF BEANS, it was Jennifer Weis of St. Martin’s who carried the day for North American Rights;  sold by Bob Diforio and Mandy Hubbard of D4EO Literary Agency.

Emily was inspired to write the novel after reading about a mother who kidnapped her son and fled to Brazil. In “Beans”, violin prodigy Carey Blackburn and her mute little sister, Jenessa, have spent their entire lives in a broken-down camper deep in the forest of a national park, forced to cope with their drug-addicted mother only sporadically on hand, until they are rescued by a father they don’t know and learn the truth about their early childhood. As they adjust to the real world of school, malls and other children – especially boys – Carey is weighed down by a dark secret that threatens the only good luck she’s ever known.

A brilliant YA novel with adult cross-over appeal, editors found the work both moving and magical.

I didn’t realize that even praise can take some getting used to. Which is how I came to realize what was holding me back from writing this post: the entanglement of personal and public feelings.
Once I agreed to publish, my book became itself — a separate entity increasingly out  of my control.
Let’s look back. I was one of those people admonished as a child for being too sensitive — as if sensitivity were a negative thing. (Sensitive child in your midst? You may just have an artist on your hands. Celebrate that fact, that sensitivity. A child could do worse than to possess a deeply feeling heart.)
I’m also one of those people who keeps my feelings close to the vest. And what I feel about selling The Patron Saint Of Beans to St. Martin’s Griffin is a feeling so personal, profound, and public all at the same time, that it remains gestational in its development. For all intensive purposes, it’s a baby novel. I’m a baby author. All the words are new.
But what I can articulate is that however many years I’m lucky to live, this will remain one of the most amazingly awesome moments of my life.
On to the story.

The two weeks preceding December 19th, 2011 (the date of my sale) were an amazing whirlwind of hope, praise, editor reads and offers, telephone conferences with editors and pinch-me-hard moments.

I was subbed to both adult and young adult editors. I had offers from both adult and young adult editors. At one point, when I thought we’d settled on a publisher/editor and my agents informed the other editors, they said no!

They wouldn’t take no for an answer!

And so more offers came in. A pre-empt came and went. Choices, choices, choices, from no, no, no’s. I felt like a character in a novel whose obstacles had been removed. Reality was so surreal, such a rocket ride, such a blessed, lucky, thank-you-Universe kind of moment, I couldn’t believe it was happening to me.

When I was seven-years-old and in the midst of reading every single book in the elementary school library, I used to imagine my books on the school library shelves, not in the bookstores. Books to transport eager, earnest children into parallel worlds of dark and light. Books poking like crocuses through the snow, opening curious hearts and minds to worlds where underdogs prevailed, where obstacles existed for good reason: to grow a person deeper, stronger, taller. Pages. Places where anything was — IS — possible.

What an amazing thing to be a part of.

If you’d like to add my novel on Goodreads, or friend me, please go here: Goodreads

I believe the good things happen to us so we can pay it forward. A portion of the proceeds of “Beans” will benefit Taylor Hendrix’s Christmas Project.

Sixteen-year-old Taylor, battling osteosarcoma, gathers gifts in backpacks each Christmas to brighten the spirits of cancer teens in hospital over the holidays. For more information, see my previous post: Taylor’s Christmas Project.

Part Two to follow …

Taylor’s Christmas Project.
November 19, 2011

Taylor Hendrix, with the wild burros of Red Rock.

I kindly need your help:

There’s a lovely sixteen-year-old, Taylor Hendrix, diagnosed with osteosarcoma five years ago. She’s relapsed three times since, and spent the last two Thanksgiving/Christmas’ either in the hospital for low counts, chemo, or both.

Every year she organizes a holiday project wherein she packs backpacks with fun stuff and useful items for teens in the hospital over Christmas.

So, I got to thinking, after reading a few industry blog posts about what to do with ARCs. Wouldn’t it be cool if ARCs could be donated for Taylor’s Christmas Project? Published authors who could part with a copy of their books or an ARC could even sign the inside with a hopeful message. And ARCs could get a second life that way, signed or not.

It’s pretty much perfect because reading may be all these kids can manage when they’re on chemo and nauseated. As it turns out, there are always gifts for the younger children, but the teens can get lost in the shuffle — these very teens us YA writers write for.

You can read more details about the project, here: (Thanks, Tina!)  

Tina Moss, Writer: Taylor’s Christmas Project

Taylor’s mom, Tammy Hendrix, updates Taylor’s journal, here:

 CaringBridge / Taylor Hendrix

You can read Taylor’s early history, here. At the time, she was in remission:

Taylor: My Story

And, for donation questions:  “All inquiries regarding shirts or help with Taylor’s Christmas Project can be sent to my email at thendrix1964@hotmail.com or by calling my cell phone at 256-335-1593.”

Donations for Taylor’s project can be sent to:

Taylor Hendrix
Christmas Project
1511 Hermitage Drive
Florence, Al 35630
 
Or you can donate through paypal: thendrix1964@hotmail.com to Tammy Hendrix, directly. Tammy helps her daughter with the project each year.

Big thanks to everyone who gets involved. I’ve been following Taylor’s story since just before last Christmas, especially moved by Taylor’s huge heart even in the midst of her own struggles.

Contributions aren’t limited to books or ARCs — you could send a deck of cards, board games, toiletries, nail polish, etc. You could pick up an extra stocking stuffer and donate it to Taylor’s project. Ask yourself: if I had a beloved teen in the hospital over the Christmas holidays, what could I stuff in their backpack to lift their spirits or make life easier?

Even a  tweet on Twitter would help spread the word: 

Taylor’s Christmas Project: http://wp.me/ph3Ax-Uc Help 16 yr old Taylor with gifts/donations 4 teens in-hospital at Xmas. PLS RT!

*Thank you.*

Emily Murdoch