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The Hot Mic - Mur Lafferty's Weekly Newsletter - Issue #5

The Hot Mic - Mur Lafferty's Weekly Newsletter
The Hot Mic - Mur Lafferty's Weekly Newsletter
Stage Fright!
I’ve been a content creator (man, what a boring title… but what else do I use to say writer, podcaster, streamer, editor?) since about 2005. And still I get this fear of “who the hell cares what I have to say?” Then I get frozen, then ADHD tells me to go do something else that’s not as stressful, and then weeks pass and my new goal of “let’s do this weekly” goes away.
I’m not trying to bum you out. I frankly dislike it when newsletters are all doom and gloom. I want to be honest about the state i’m in, but that’s not all I am dealing with right now. We’re having a very busy end of the summer with taking the kid back to school (sniff) and a relative’s wedding. (outside, masked, vaxxed, and distanced). That with the crap going on in the world is hard to handle when you’re looking for the bright side.
But! I had a new project come out last (last) week (see below) and I am surprisingly happy with it. I finished what I do believe is my last edit for the Audible novella, tentatively titled The Ophelia Network, and the podcasts and streams are going pretty well. And fall is almost here, and I love fall.
So I’m trying to get a handle on what I can control. I can’t control the weather or government. I can control giving money to relief organizations, writing my representatives, and supporting candidates that I think will stand up for me. I can eat well, exercise, and get sleep, which does wonders for moods. So I’m doing what I can.
I hope your end of season goes well. Please stay safe from storms and viruses. And contact someone who you haven’t talked to in a while and just say you’re thinking about them.
Mur
–BAHAHAHAA - another week and I still hadn’t sent this out. Travel and family stress is eating me. So I’m sending this even thought it might not be exactly as good as I want it to. Done is better than perfect, right?
-m

What I'm Playing
Every once in a while a premise so weird will come along that you wonder “who thought that would be a good idea?” and “I must play this” at the same time. Take Hatoful Boyfriend, the game where you, a human girl, go to school with and date birds….but then the game gets weird after that, when your head gets cut off and then your bird boyfriends have to solve the mystery of who killed you and why are there so few humans around?
A while back I heard about Boyfriend Dungeon, a dating/dungeon clearing rogue-like (I keep mixing rogue-lite and rogue-like. Does it matter?) where the romantic partners also serve as your weapons. You pick your weapon and go to the “dunj” together, which happens to be a mall that’s full of your fears and insecurities that manifest as flip phones and flying VHS tapes. And my thought was “who thought this was a good idea?” and “I must play this.”
With zero announcement, Boyfriend Dungeon came out this past Wednesday, which had every streamer and most gamers I know scrambling to get their copy. It’s out on Switch and Steam right now.
This game has a lot going for it even before you get started. It shows a content warning about stalking, and a note that “Mom” will send you texts, but if that’s not okay you can turn that off. I know a lot of queer people who have stressful parental relationships, and a lot of the streamers I watch have expressed gratitude that the “no-mom” option is there. When you build your character, you are a humanoid with editable hair and skin tone, and instead of choosing a gender you choose pronouns. All of this is changeable from your home.
The writing is a little hard to follow. I suppose it’s like real life, because when I first met Valeria the dagger, she was not approving anything I was saying. Some of the “choices” don’t change the game, but instead change someone’s opinion of you. When I went on my first date with Seven the LAZORSWORD(!!!), someone approached him and asked if he was with the popular k-pop band. If you say he is, the woman gets wayyyyy excited and Seven gets disgusted, says there’s another place he can’t visit anymore, and isn’t very happy with you. If you tell the woman she’s mistaken, then she calls your bluff, has the exact same reaction, and he reacts the same way except he says “Thanks for having my back.”
One thing that I’ve always felt awkward about in dating games is the option to flirt early. It’s a DATING game, so you figure you should flirt early, but then a lot of characters are written to be turned off if you do it too early. But in Boyf Dunj, you arrive in town with the sole purpose of fixing your one “problem” which is you’ve never been on date. So the dating stuff starts right up, and it’s the NPCs who are super flirty when you get started, which is off-putting.
This shouldn’t be surprising; I was terrible at dating when I was single, too.
But the action parts are fun, and the different weapons are awesome. There are four male romantic possibilities, two nonbinary, and one female. Also a cat (included in the male part) but I don’t know if that’s really romance because weird. (but it’s a weird game, and the Bee Movie got made so who the hell knows?)
I’ll be playing Boyfriend Dungeon on my non-podcast streams for a bit.
(But I have to do some stardew valley too since I have my last month with my kid at home.)
This is Sawyer the student. I haven’t met them yet, I’m doubting we can date them because, like the cat, that’s just wrong.
(Note- I wrote this at the beginning of August, when I still had a week home with the kid. Sniffle.)
(Note 2- I have since learned you CAN date Sawyer, and I figure it’s like Stardew Valley. There are many adults you can connect with, but there are a few that talk like they’re just out of high school, and those folks appeal to a younger crowd. Dating Sawyer as they run around and text you from class is …. not appealing to me.
Of course, I once married Harvey in Stardew Valley, so I guess that says a lot about me.
Sawyer, nonbinary Glaive, redhed, light skin, likes poetry and social justice, dislikes snobs.
Sawyer, nonbinary Glaive, redhed, light skin, likes poetry and social justice, dislikes snobs.
Latest Project: GODMAKER!
As the novel (STATION ETERNITY) and novella (THE OPHELIA NETWORK) are in the hands of the editors and they’re doing their thing, I am delighted to announce that another project I worked on last year went live last week.
I’m a fan of Zombies, Run!, the fitness app from Six to Start that has you listening to a narrative where you are Runner Five, a runner for a walled township that sprung up after the zombie apocalypse. The writing is amazing and the production values are top notch. In the past few years, they’ve been doing specific adventures that were like movies to the episodic version of the app’s seasons: a big story that takes place over 5 or 10K. After the success of that, they started doing other kinds of adventures. Alasdair Stuart and I were lucky enough to work on one together, and Wreck Runner was born.
Alasdair did most of the worldbuilding and I did most of the details, and Six to Start published our two training missions and our larger 5k mission. It was a lot of fun to collaborate and write about running in space.
Banquo Orbit cover art, three runners in full body suits and helmets. "Welcome to Solfleet"
Banquo Orbit cover art, three runners in full body suits and helmets. "Welcome to Solfleet"
After Wreck Runner released, they put out a call for more writers, and I sent in one real world, mistaken identity love story races, oh and this fantasy idea I’ve been playing with for years but could never sell. So I suggested Running the Necropolis, and they loved it. They asked for a five chapter race, and worked closely with me to keep the plot exciting while still giving room for the player to run and enjoy their music.
They renamed it Godmaker, and started releasing it last week. So it works like this: you download Zombies, Run! for free, and then you can download the first two Godmaker episodes for free. Give it a try. If you like it, you can buy a membership and get access to all of the Zombies, Run! content (they’re on season nine? now? I think? SO MUCH CONTENT.) and all of their running adventures and past races.
You will find the app very forgiving; you don’t have to be a runner, you can walk, wheelchair, bike, or whatever to get the plot points to release. Actually, if it’s not officially a 5k race (Godmaker is not) then I think you can just let it play and listen and no go anywhere at all.
I listened to the first mission on my run this week and was very happy with the production. Real authors sound so much better than they do in my head. Check it out!
Bywyd the apprentice holds a lantern in the Necropolis ossuary. Godmaker, Mission 1
Bywyd the apprentice holds a lantern in the Necropolis ossuary. Godmaker, Mission 1
Reading and Watching
Television: Ted Lasso (I have some Thoughts about first thing that happened in Season 2, but I still feel like that is a spoiler.)
Lower Decks: Brilliant and funny writing, and they’re going even more spoofy on the Star Trek camp.
Schmiggadoon: Done watching it, but it was a seriously brilliant parody of classic musicals as a contemporary couple find themselves lost and coming across an idyllic town with fake buildings and simple views of the world that seem solidly locked in the 1950s. Recommended.
Central Park: I started watching because Daveed Diggs from Clipping plays a bitter old white woman who dreams of her cruel employer (Stanley Tucci) dying and leaving her all her riches. But the music is awesome, and so is the cast (Kristen Bell, Leslie Odom Jr, Josh Gad, Titus Burgess, Kathryn Hahn, Stephanie Beatriz, and Eugene Cordero to name a few). It covers the park manager of Central Park, his family, and the bitter old rich lady who wants to sell the park for shits and giggles (and her worn down servant, Helen). I have to admit that Season 2 definitely has more episodes that are miss than hits, but overall the show remains strong. I mean, we get to see Helen try to have a day off and Bitsy struggle with how to handle being sober. It’s doing some impressive character building: Helen, who dreams of killing her employer’s dog, has a few sweet moments with park manager’s son, Cole, who loves the dog. And evil rich lady Bitsy ends up having a surprisingly amusing conversation with the manager’s daughter, Molly.
As usual with me, the media I have not 100% positive feelings about get more words than the stuff I love, but really:
Ted Lasso. Go watch it. It’s close to perfect. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like it (except maybe people who hate the f-word)
Central Park. So good. With flaws. But worth it. HERE ARE THE MILLIONS OF REASONS WHY. (Daveed Diggs is at least 300 of those reasons. Stephanie Beatriz playing a young boy who has a weirdly passive aggressive friendship with Cole, and Eugene Cordero (Pillboi from The Good Place, the bit character I wished had had a bigger role) as Molly’s love interest are 300 more reasons.
(Aside- Cordero is a hot commodity in voice acting these days, he also plays Rutherford on Lower Decks AND has a bit part in the Loki miniseries.)
Anyway here’s Where There’s A Will from Central Park.
If There’s a Will - Central Park Apple TV+
If There’s a Will - Central Park Apple TV+
Things on my mind:
I talk about this on a recent ISBW, but really, you need to give your brain a rest after a big project. Why you should rest after big projects
I Should Be Writing | Post Project Meh
People really hate the antagonist of Boyfriend Dungeon, to the point of blaming the game creators. One article (spoilers!) talks about how the game is all about rejection, even with all the dating, and it needs that character to explore the topic of rejection and stalking and to perhaps make some folk understand that just saying, “no” or ignoring your stalker does not work. Boyfriend Dungeon’s Great Story Wouldn’t Work Without Its Most Controversial Character
Ditch Diggers | Streaming on my own from the basement
Every once in a while I will think of a new THING to do. A new stream, a new Blaseball thing, a new online
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, I totally understand, it’s been a painful few years. You can still 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. For Ditch Diggers, use these links: 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!
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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