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The Hot Mic - Happy Valentine's Day (ish) - Issue #12

The Hot Mic - Mur Lafferty's Weekly Newsletter
The Hot Mic - Mur Lafferty's Weekly Newsletter
Feb 24, 2022: I often ask myself if it’s time to stop doing these writing podcasts. I’ve been doing them for close to two decades. Surely I’ve said all that needs to be said?
But the thing is, my worries, my neuroses are still there. I have built a foundation of confidence from experience now, sure. “What if my writing sucks?” can calmly be answered with, “Calm down, people liked the last thing you released.” But that doesn’t mean the fears and doubt are gone. It just means the bully is getting more creative with its crap.
I have a big problem with, “What if I make it and no one cares?” I am not fishing for comfort and compliments, I’m just explaining why this newsletter started on Feb 14 and I had to keep editing it as time went on instead of, you know, sending it. Sometimes I don’t have a block, per se, but I have a little bully on my shoulder screaming that it’s crap, and if it’s not crap, no one cares anyway.
So as long as I still have my own hangups to work through, I’m going to keep trying to help others get through theirs. Besides, I still like recording/streaming.
Anyway. I’m keeping the previous intro (see below). I figure the more stuff I have to edit, the longer it will take me to get this out.
Flashback!

Animated gif of Wayne's World flashback intro
Animated gif of Wayne's World flashback intro
Feb 14, 2022: Ok so this is written on Valentine’s Day, but it really doesn’t have much to do with love or any of that gushy stuff. I had to see the dentist this morning so my day didn’t start very romantically. But hey, No Cavity Club (although they don’t let you be part of that as an adult. All fun incentives die when you’re an adult, kids. They see “not paying for expensive dental work” as incentive enough.)
Hey, I would love it if you retweeted or otherwise passed along my newsletter to interested folks.
Oh yeah and those January habits kind of all crashed and burned, but I’m still cycling and writing, so that’s a win.
  • Words on “A SWARM OF CUCKOOS” (new working title): 30224
TOC
  • Consume (and a Little Writing Talk)
  • News: Boskone and Cover Reveal
  • Changes
  • ICYMI
  • Roll Credits
Hot Mic logo, orange and black
Hot Mic logo, orange and black
Consume (and a Little Writing Talk)
In books, I’m reading Fuzz, Mary Roach’s new book about animals that break the law.
Frankly, I’m rather naive. Just looking at history, you can see that people do stupid, or inhumane, or ethically repugnant things, often justifying the actions with weak arguments that helps them sleep at night. I mean, surely humans aren’t stupid enough to pass laws against animals’ actions, right? Animals that can’t read, animals that don’t adhere to any other law we pass involving trespassing, zoning, assault, public nudity, theft, etc, but apparently if they want to try an animal for a crime, humanity will find a way to do so.
In a world where we have elected dead people and animals to public office, it makes sense that we should attempt to put them on trial as well. I would get upset about this if it weren’t so ridiculous.
Book cover for Fuzz, yellow book with brown and green patch in the middle
Book cover for Fuzz, yellow book with brown and green patch in the middle
In fiction I’m reading Ghost of a Marriage by Richard Dansky, and re-reading Misery by Stephen King.
I just started Ghost of a Marriage, but its beginning is one of the most realistic and painful depictions of divorce I’ve read in a while. Most fictional divorces have depict rage, fear, fighting over stuff, or even absurd demands that leak into humorous (Like Connie Willis’s story “Miracle,” where an ex-wife demands $20k from her ex-husband because interest rates went up and she couldn’t refinance in time because she was too upset about the divorce.) But Dansky’s book captures the stunned and lost feeling from realizing that there was no stab wound to end the marriage, but just a wasting away of sorts. The marriage itself is dead, but something is still stirring after his wife moves out.
As for why I’m rereading Misery, it’s very strange. I find myself re-reading King’s early work, knowing the problematic parts like Magical Negroes (The Stand, The Shining, among others) and people willing to have sex with strangers while they are momentarily safe from monsters (“The Mist” and “The Raft”) AND descriptions of every woman’s breasts (Um, it’s harder to think of a King story that doesn’t feature this.) But the fact is, he is a master of characterization. His stories aren’t scary because they’re scary, they’re scary because we go so deep inside each character that we understand the darkness within them. The Body, Apt Pupil, and Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption aren’t supernatural in any way, and not terribly horrific either (Apt Pupil, about a Holocaust-obsessed teen who discovers a Nazi war criminal lives in his town and blackmails him for his stories, comes closest to horror when Todd’s visits with Dussander fuel the teen’s psychopathic tendencies and he starts murdering homeless men) but absolutely engrossing because we learn so much about each character. Most writers would get bogged down in boring backstory, but King makes it work, and has made it work since the beginning. I recently reread The Long Walk and am still seeing nuances in the text (this time around I saw the bisexuality themes in the protagonist’s journey. Of course, being the 70s, it’s presented with crude jokes and homophobia, but it’s still there.) He wrote that in college.
It’s making me care that much more about my characters and their stories. I’m struggling with a new character in the Midsolar Murders right now, and I guess I’m hoping to learn more from King as we seen Annie and Paul reveal their personalities as their situation crumbles into violence and madness.
(Update, I just finished Maid by Nita Prose. I’ll write about that next week.)
#
Lastly, I just got done with Horizon Zero Dawn for the fourth time in preparation for The Forbidden West, which came out last Friday. I’m really glad one of the plot points is how Aloy won’t let anyone help her. I’m fully ready for that to bite her in the ass.
(To be fair, it’s not like she’s been able to count on much in her life. Father figure was not very affectionate, and the person who saved her ass in the first game was doing so for his own gain, so what is a friend, anyway?)
Screenshot of Varl from Horizon Forbidden West. How could you not want his help?
Screenshot of Varl from Horizon Forbidden West. How could you not want his help?
News: Books and Travel
Last weekend I attended Boskone, with a reading and signing and panels and everything! The highlight was reading from Station Eternity for the first time since I finished it.
Speaking of,
The cover and exclusive first look came out on io9.com last week! So I can release it to you!
Station Eternity cover, art by Will Staehle
Station Eternity cover, art by Will Staehle
Changes for Patreon
I’ve been assessing the Patreon, and I have some changes* upcoming:
This year I’m donating 10% of my Patreon income to writing-specific charities/good causes.
  • Jan: The Speculative Literature Foundation: dedicated to promoting diverse voices and literary quality in speculative fiction.
  • Feb: Fiyah Grant Series: intended to assist Black writers of speculative fiction in defraying costs associated with honing their craft. 
  • March: I’ll be donating to the Trevor Project, an organization that helps teen LGBT+ kids. (I’ll explain why I think they’re writing-specific in the next newsletter.)
The lowest pledge level will be $3 and I’ll only be opening up a $1 level on special occasions.
I’m moving the Kick in the Pants workshop to every other Friday at 3pm Eastern time.
I am removing the original fiction level. I had a lot of trouble with the lengthy edits on other projects last year, and didn’t fulfill any of the original requirements. Please check your Patreon messages; you should have heard from me about other options, free existing books, future books, etc.
I’m adding a special “sale day” for my merch store. I will alert Patreon only on sale days.
I have two merch stores at the moment (I know… I was trying out two options) I think I will be sticking with Streamlabs, but for now, they are both live:
I’ll be adding a few things, like a monthly calendar, birthday cards, and more. I’ll post here when I implement the changes.
*Please note existing supporters don’t need to change anything. This affects new supporters.
ICYMI
I Should Be Writing - LIES
Hugo Awards - Chicon 8
Roll Credits
You can support me on PatreonJemi, or just buy me a Ko-fi. That helps support my many creative projects.
If you can’t support via financial ways, you can help by telling a friend about my work, or leaving a review of my podcasts or books, or forwarding this newsletter!
Just want to catch the podcasts? For I Should Be Writing, you can subscribe on iTune or take this RSS feed and plug it into your preferred player. Ditch Diggers is on hiatus but you can find back episodes here: iTunesRSS, and Spreaker.
Or just search I Should Be Writing, Ditch Diggers, or Mur Lafferty on any podcast site.
Podcast credits: ISBW production by Summer Brooks, ISBW theme song by John Anealio, DD theme song by Devo Spice, art by Numbers Ninja, site design by Clockpunk Studio and hosted by Libsyn.
This newsletter is BY-NC-ND 3.5 Creative Commons licensed.
See you next week time!
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The Hot Mic - Mur Lafferty's Weekly Newsletter
The Hot Mic - Mur Lafferty's Weekly Newsletter @mightymur

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Mur Lafferty 8311 Brier Creek Parkway Ste 105274 Raleigh, NC 27617