Mail Bag: Readers’ Qs4mE
January 1, 2013

A (lovely) reader of If You Find Me’s ARC, who happens to be a writer herself, asked me, “How did you have the courage to go after your dream of writing and publishing?”

I immediately thought of a Ralph Waldo Emerson quote, “Hitch your wagon to a star”, and how much wisdom is packed into those six artful words.

So, I say to her and to all of you, hitch your wagon to a star! To TWO stars, even.

What could it hurt? Even the journey itself is golden, and that holds true regardless of the exactitudes of the eventual destination.

Why?

Because you learn amazing things about yourself. You grow in sacred ways. There is no book in the world that feels as good as those moments in life where you feel the fear, but do it anyway, and EXPERIENCE your own evolution.

As the main character in my second book says, “Be the star of your own life”.

The destination is one time, one place.

But the journey is every sun, every moon, every breath, every dream, every second of every day.

So dream. Dream HUGE. Dreams need belief like a child needs love to grow.

Believe in yourself. Believe in your writing. Believe in your dreams.

Risk it.

Hitch it!

Happy 2013, everyone. May this be the year your dearest dreams come true.

If You Find Me ARC GIVEAWAY LINKS and Insider Surprise!
June 28, 2012

I’m not sure I’m allowed to be posting some of this stuff, but if you don’t tell, I won’t either, winks.

We’ll get to that in a moment.

First off, THANK YOU to everyone who made my new title and cover reveal such a success! Watching the tweets and retweets roll in, on such short notice, was amazing. Happy tears! So much gratitude for your wonderful efforts, for caring, for helping me out last minute, and for your kindnesses — not only my writing friends, but writers I didn’t know before today, and even complete strangers, jumped in to help!

Magic was in the air! I felt buoyed up by kindred spirits, all of us united over our love of books!

As some of you know, my cover reveal wasn’t supposed to happen until July 24th. But, someone at the publisher uploaded my cover by mistake. It seems once a cover is uploaded onto amazon.com, it spreads like wildfire.

Even I, myself, hadn’t seen the final mock up. Due to a few last minute changes, the cover on Amazon, Shelfari, and other assorted sites wasn’t even the final copy.

These things happen, sometimes. Here’s what it looked like:

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I’m lucky my agents and my editor are so wonderful, and when I told them I’d like my name after my title, and the blurb below or on top of the book, they obliged. And the pink letters … hmmm … were returned back to the original yellow, for the final cover revealed today:

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Now, so many of you loved the original title, The Patron Saint of Beans. A few writers even planned to start a letter writing campaign to St. Martin’s asking to keep it. : ) This next cover, for posterity, is for YOU (and you know who you are)!

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Lastly, I was lucky to get a glimpse of my title page, one of the first pages you’ll see when you open the actual book. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked at the cool little griffin icon, or other publishers’ logos/icons, and dreamed of it being on a page of my own book, some day.

And even better yet, I have the image to share!

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Thank you to everyone who made this day so special! All my friends, writing friends, our 2013 debut novels group The Lucky 13s, Mandy Hubbard, Bob Diforio, my agency siblings, everyone!

And you do know there are signed ARCs of If You Find Me for you to win, right?

You can enter here:

ARC Giveaway and Cover Interview written by my agent, Mandy Hubbard! Read about what she thought when she first read IYFM, her offer of representation, how the editor offers went down, etc!

Pub(lishing) Crawl | Reading you under the table since 2012

ARC Giveaway and Author Interview at Tasha’s blog: patron saint of beans « Gypsyscarlett’s Weblog

ARC Giveaway and Cover Reveal at Kristi’s blog: The Story Siren

ARC Giveaway at Kari’s blog: A Good Addiction: Exclusive Cover + Title Reveal + Contest: Emily Murdoch’s Upcoming YA

Cover Reveal at Becky’s blog: Becky’s Book Reviews: Cover Reveal: If You Find Me

ARC Giveaway at Kerry’s blog: Free Arc Giveaway for “If You Find Me” | KerrySchafer.com

ARC Giveaway at Cate’s blog: Going from Nobody to Somebody: COVER REVEAL + Giveaway!

ARC Giveaway and Interview at Lisa’s blog: The Young Adult Connection: COVER REVEAL: If You Find me by Emily Murdoch

Cover Reveal at fellow Lucky 13’er, Elsie Chapman’s, blog: emily murdoch « Elsie Chapman

(And while you’re at Elsie’s blog, check out the recently revealed cover to her amazing 2013 debut, DUALED!)

Cover Reveal at Katie’s blog: Breath of Books: Cover: If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch

Cover Reveal at Julie Butcher’s blog: Julie Butcher

“No man is poor, who has friends.” ~It’s A Wonderful Life

I’m surely the richest person in the world, today.

Copy Edits.
May 22, 2012

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(Firstly, I’m still trying to figure out if “copyedits” is one word or two!)

When I received my copyedits a few weeks ago, I was not unlike other starry-eyed writers navigating the many stages of publishing, (stages we may have dreamt about), for the very first time.

Was it magical? Sure! Exciting? You bet! There’ll never be another first copy edits, I reminded myself, so soak up this moment! Suck out the marrow! Embrace how far you’ve come! (And the fact that you’re still somewhat sane!)

But I can’t deny it was equal parts terrifying.

Just as another writer friend expressed, I circled that chubby package of hard-copy copyedits “as if it were a wild animal”. I had a deadline of May 23rd, and could ask for more time, if needed.

Good thing, I thought sheepishly, as I lost the entire first week to nerves. Only, I’d never missed a deadline before, and wasn’t planning to this time, either. We’re professionals, after all.

Some say during copyedits, a writer’s secret weapon is STET: don’t change. Keep as written. But it’s also a lot of power … the power to be nearsighted as a writer, in a bid to keep things “your way” … the power for your book to hum instead of sing because you failed to avail yourself of the sharp, professional minds surrounding your work. Sure, it can be difficult to let go of your pet words and phrases. But what the best publishing teams want is for their writers to shine, not twinkle in mediocrity.

Agent Betsy Lerner says it best in her book, The Forest for the Trees, An Editor’s Advice to Writers.

While all the meetings are going on, the manuscript is also being physically prepared for publication. It will be copyedited, a process that the best writers appreciate. I have authors who insist on using the copyeditor they worked with previously, so profound is their respect for that person’s careful eye and command of grammar, punctuation, syntax, and other nuances of language, and so deep their gratitude for having been spared embarrassing errors. For the writer who truly loves language, a trip to the copyeditor is like a week at Canyon Ranch spa. You come out looking younger, trimmer, and better groomed, and standing straighter … In general, copyeditors are unsung heroes, the men and women who stand as the last line of defense against the fall of civilization, so fierce and exacting is their protection of the English language.

That’s exactly how I feel about my copyeditor, so grateful am I for her deft touch.

Not only have I lived to tell, but I emerge from this experience more confident, standing straighter, and so does the writing (as it makes its way to NYC on time).

Thank you, Carol Edwards, copyeditor extraordinaire!

An excerpt from D22go.
March 14, 2012

One sixteen-year-old girl in remission (for the third time)? Check.

One road trip to confront your bio-mom once and for all? Check.

One unfriendly, arrogant guy to share the ride? Check.

One Mille Bornes list, with ten must-do items? Check.

Falling in love? Check again.

    

     Mama Rhonda throws up her hands, her ample frame, made up half-of-boobs, surely swift enough when it comes to exiting hospital rooms. “I give up on this impossible child!”

     My mom stirs in the chair, where she’s slumped over her Better Homes and Gardens magazine, snoring softly. “What’s going on,” she says, half-asleep.

     Through the curtain between the beds, I hear Flipa sobbing. I ache, to hold her. But I’m scared of Mama Rhonda. Scared that, one day, she’ll turn the loathing on me, and forever separate me and Flip, out of spite.

     “Shhhh. If Mama Rhonda doesn’t come back in ten minutes, I’ll go to Flip.”

     “What happened?”

     I rattle off what she missed.

     “Flip is on a breakfast kick. It’s the only food that doesn’t taste like metal. She’ll only eat Moons Over My Hammy. Denny’s is twenty minutes away. Mama Rhonda wants to go home. She has a movie coming on at seven.”

     “That woman.” My mom’s face is fierce. Like, Nurse Loretta fierce. She stands up. “Flipa is eight-years-old on chemo, for chrissakes. She’s lucky she’s even eating.”

     “Mom – wait! Where are you going? I don’t want Mama Rhonda to think –”

     “Like that woman ever thinks. Calm down. I’m driving to DENNY’S.” My mom says the last so loudly, I’m sure they can hear her all the way to the nurse’s station. “And we’re ALL having MOONS OVER MY HAMMYS. As a matter of fact, Payson and FLIPA,” she shouts, “are getting TWO MOONS OVER MY HAMMYS. One for NOW, and one for LATER. They can have ANOTHER ONE, if they want, TOMORROW and the NEXT DAY and the NEXT DAY.”

     The sobs behind the curtain subside into tinkling laughter, like wind chimes turning the storm around.

     Mom bends down and holds me tight. It hurts the incision in my chest, but I don’t care.

     “You’ll be okay while I’m gone?”

     I nod, swallowing the tears, my eyes like smiling up from the bottom of a pool. I catch her hand, as big as a raven, to me.

     “I love you, Mom.”

     She stops to regard me in the bed, and she smiles. A before smile.

    “If that woman upsets Flipa one more time, you call Nurse Loretta. I don’t care.”

     “I will.”

     My mom picks up the remote control, and the tv bolted to the ceiling flips from The Price is Right, to the Disney channel. She disappears around the curtain. A moment later –

     “Here you go, darling. Watch what you want.”

     “Thank you, Mrs. Iron Horse.”

     That’s what Flipa calls my mom, and we’ve never corrected her.

     Because for all intensive purposes, that’s how strong my mom is, too.

 

From D22go (dah-go) by Emily Murdoch

Knots of Love.
March 10, 2012

This is Paige, in her Knots of Love hat.

I came across Knots of Love while doing research on Payson, a sixteen-year-old girl in remission, who also happens to be the main character of my novel, D22go.

I found the concept of this charity so wonderful, I ended up smiling through tears.

I have to learn (re-learn) how to knit and crochet. It’s harder finding someone who can teach it backwards, or opposite, with me being a southpaw and all. But, as I did learn both when I was younger, I’m sure I could (re)learn it, especially for such an amazing cause!

All images courtesy of Knots of Love