Luke Murphy Presents: Kiss and Tell

This novel took me 15 years to write. Well, not exactly, but…1425368_517024845062353_568710561_o

Even though Dead Man’s Hand was my first published novel, it’s not the first book I wrote. Kiss & Tell is my “baby”. It’s the first book I ever even attempted to write. I started writing the novel in the winter of 2000, while playing hockey down in Oklahoma.

A lot of circumstances surround this novel, and it’s the reason I started writing in the first place. This novel, and all of my writing, happened by “chance”. I was playing professional hockey in Oklahoma, and was struck in the eye with a stick in a preseason game. That injury ended my season before it began.

My wife, who was my girlfriend at the time, was attending a French college in Montreal, and her English professor assigned the class the task of writing a short story.

My girlfriend knew that I was an avid reader, so she asked me if I would help her develop the story, which I did. I had so much fun with the project, that when we had finished, I took one of the characters we had created and started writing my own story.

I wrote Kiss & Tell in six months, but it was nowhere even close to being publishable. Actually, it stunk. It was a practice story for me, so I left it sitting in my computer, and started writing a second book.

After I published Dead Man’s Hand in 2012, I decided to reopen Kiss & Tell and take another look. My first reaction…it was bad, written by a first-time, newbie, amateur author. But I loved the plot, cast of characters, and the potential. I didn’t want to give up on this story.

So I took everything I’d learned about the craft of writing and the industry and put it into editing Kiss & Tell. The revisions completely changed the entire book.

After I’d completed it in 2001, Kiss & Tell was written from the point of view of Jessica Philips, the primary murder suspect in the Ken Anderson investigation, and the story was told from Jessica’s first person POV.

The Kiss & Tell that came out in 2015 is told from Detective Charlene Taylor’s point of view, written in third person. Although the plot never changed, some of the characters and scenes did.

A major scene/twist change that occurred?

In the original Kiss & Tell, the identity of the Celebrity Slayer was never revealed. I was planning on turning this CS plot into a series, extending the investigation through a number of books. But, taking into consideration a suggestion from one of my editors, I decided to change that. But don’t think I don’t have more plans for the Celebrity Slayer, in upcoming Charlene Taylor books.

But that’s for another time, and another place.

Buy the book here: http://myBook.to/Kiss Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000040_00072]

Bookrix: A great place to start

When I was giving my first baby steps toward becoming a publish author, I knew I needed a lot of help and useful feedback. I had a lot of friends who could read my manuscripts, but I was afraid they would be partial due to our relationship.

I also liked the concept of writing contests. As a writer, I know how important is to be organized, meet deadlines and make sure that you present the best of your work to your readers. Bookrix is always hosting some contests for their writers to participate. The winners are selected by votes from others in the community. Winning is always more fun, but the times I competed was more for the training experience and that is worth it, especially for those aspiring to a writing career.

At the time I ran into Bookrix, I was already blogging, but I had not shown my fiction writing to other peers. This is a large community that gives you that opportunity. The Bookrix community is very diverse and you can obtain feedback from readers, writers with minimal or extended experience.

I found a very supportive community and great information to better my craft and my writing style.

One of the questions that beginning writers ask frequently is where to start their careers. Bookrix is a great place to write, to start building a platform and improving their The Road Home Cover (1)writing.

Read the first Chapter of my new novel “The Road Home” for free at Bookrix or if you have decided that you want to read the whole book, you can obtain your copy at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

The Silence of My Imaginary Friends

It’s been said that writer’s block is nothing but a time when our imaginary friends won’t talk to us. As writers we get frustrated because once we finally settle down, are able to shut down social media, and we are in the middle of a promising good scene; then poof, words just go away.

We tend to forget that our imaginary friends can get tired, hungry, and bored just like us. I  understand and have experienced that their timing tends to be very inopportune, but since we need them, just like with babies, you have to adjust to their schedule.

When I’m on a roll with my writing and my muse just stops, I have to check to find out what my imaginary friends need so that I can get them talking again. Sometimes when I lay down for a nap, the funniest thing happens.  They go from being absolutely mute to arguing amongst themselves about how the plot should go. At that point I tell them to shut up. If they weren’t willing to talk to me when I was in front of the computer, this is not the time to talk. So they finally calm down. Sometimes they seep into my dreams showing me whatever conclusion they came up with during their argument.

Other times we both need food. The “glamorous” life of a writer comes with long work hours and ironically we sometimes forget to eat. I had not discovered this particular need of my imaginary friends, until recently. I used to keep a plate with junk food right next to me  during my writing times.  However, now that I’m trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle and making sure I eat what my body needs and not just what it wants. I don’t keep anything at my desk, other than water.  I’ve discovered that sometimes when my imaginary friends stop it’s to get me off of the computer and get me to eat.

The other thing that I’ve discovered that helps me sometimes, is to take a walk. My dog particularly appreciates when my imaginary friends coincide with the fact that she has been laying at my feet for hours without relief. Yes, your muse (our imaginary friends) gets bored too and sometimes a walk can help. I’ve read that for some people working out does the trick. I guess that depends on your physical condition. While I try not to pass out at my Zumba class, it’s very hard for me to think of anything other than not dying. However taking a walk through the neighborhood, looking at the trees, and watching other people interact can help entertain them and when we get back they feel more incline to start talking again.

So when your muse aka your polka dot people (don’t judge, not all little talking people are green or pink) try to see what they need and they may start cooperating again.

If you want to read a different type of novel that will keep you at the edge of The Road Home Cover (1)your seat. See the story that God placed in my heart to share, a story that will definitely touch your heart: The Road Home

We got awards!

My new blogger friend and great writer Holly Michael from Writing Straight has awarded The Rising Muse with the One Lovely Blog Award. How cool is that! I’m so humbled and appreciative for the consideration.

But that was not all, she also awarded me with the Reader’s Appreciation Award.

As a writer you have no idea how honored I feel. We live for our readers, to connect with them and provide for them the information, inspiration and entertainment they seek, that’s why we exist. Thank you!

Now I believe the rules require that we share the joy with our favorite bloggers and I shall do just that.

The One Lovely Blog Award goes to… Nancy Jill Thames and her blog Queen of Afternoon Tea. I met Nancy through twitter and she’s a very supportive blogger and friend. She interviews different authors on her blog and is a lover of tea. I’ve learned about different writing styles through her blog. Very well deserved, Nancy!

Last but not least, the Reader’s Appreciation Award goes to…Rebecca LuElla Miller and her blog Rewrite, Reword, Rework. This is a blog that provides a lot of great information for writers and I could never express enough how grateful I am for how much Rebecca has expanded my writing tool belt.

Congratulations to the winners!

2011 In Review

Just like I do at the end of every year, this is the time to look back and review the blessings and lessons that this ending year had brought into my life as a writer and as a person.

This year was very different than the years before. If you look at my previous reviews there was an active participation in writing contests, but this year I decided to go a different route. I decided to take a step back and not just write, but learn about writing. I found two blogs that have been very instrumental in my recent growth: Bob Mayer’s Blog and Kristen Lamb’s Blog. These two authors blog very interesting postings teaching new writers how to path their ways.

The next thing I did was to get a writing accountability partner. A what you say? Yes, I found someone with the same interest to learn and write as I had to keep me accountable to deadlines and to share the nuggets of knowledge we were finding on separate sides of the country. This is my sweet friend Marilag Lubag whom has encourage me and supported me for the last few months.

Since the summer I started working on my platform and getting that first book publish. I started working with graphic designer Antoine Burch to start working on my book cover. As I’m working to get my first book I met wonderful author Melissa Foster, who has a group of author that help each other with knowledge, information and cross promotion called Women’s Literary Café. Between Kristen and Melissa I was able to meet many writers and learn a lot from their experiences. Melissa found out I was a Christian writer and gave me the best gift of all. She introduced me to a new group that was forming of Christian authors named Grace & Faith 4 U under the wonderful leadership of Author Staci Stallings. This group started with like five authors and now has over 80 members.

Finally in October 17th of this year, Growth Lessons came out and I’m proud of the things that God has already done through this book in this short time. I still did NaNoWriMo…What was I thinking? Not only I wrote for Nano, I hosted write-ins three times a week…Again, what was I thinking? But I made it through, only by the Grace of God.

In terms of this blog, I joined the post a week challenge. I am grateful to say that I succeeded. I was able to sustain for the most part a schedule of blogging three times a week, but in the few occasions that it was not possible at least I wrote that once a week post. It was also a learning experience of great accountability, organization skills and it allowed me to interact with other writers and readers that I would not have met otherwise.

In Summary, it’s been a year of learning, of success and a greater encounter with God to get me through it all. I’m very grateful for this year and looking forward to what 2012 will bring.

So what’s coming up in 2012?

  • The year will start with an interview on January 1rst at the Fashion Passion Faith Blog
  • January 14th will be the first official Book Signing at Five Spot Yogurt in Snellville
  • Spring 2012, Launch of my next book, “The Road Home”
  • Many more surprises.

GrowthLessonsNatyMatosI’m very grateful and humbled for all your support during these two years and look forward to much more experiences shared together. Remember there are only a few days left to obtain a copy of Growth Lessons for 99 cents in both Kindle, Nook and Smashwords. If you have already obtained an electronic copy and would like an autograph, go to Kindlegraph and submit your request.

Many Blessings and Happy New Year!!!

So far on writing goals

Writing samples: Parker 75
Image by churl via Flickr

Starting the third month into the year I was prompted to evaluate how my writing goals have worked so far. Kind of assessing if I actually kept my new year’s resolutions or if they were already been postponed.  I feel closer to my writing than I have ever felt. Writing has slowly snuck up on me and it’s a need like eating and I love to eat! Every day I feel the need to write, but not every day I think I have something relevant to say.

I’m pushing myself to be a better writer and what are some of those things that I have put in place to accomplish that in 2011…?

  • I’ve returned to my reading roots. Last year I dedicated a lot of time to writing, but not enough to reading. I believe that a healthy balance is important for any writer.
  • I’m actually following my calendar. In December I created a calendar of contests I wanted to participate (if you’re interested in peaking at that calendar it’s on the publication and achievements page). Last year I created the calendar but actually did only a few of those. So far I have submitted to each and every one of those competitions that I committed to participate in. It doesn’t matter the outcome, it’s about the exercise of meeting deadlines and writing more.
  • Joined wordpress post-a-week challenge where I’m committing to at least post on my blog once a week.  I’ve been trying to post more than that. At my current rate I could have joined post-a-day, but at least once a week still gives me the necessary breather for days when things get complicated.
  • Accountability- I hired a proofreader who is aware of my deadlines, so the expectation of the workload I have to provide for her it’s a constant reminder that I have to come through with my committed contests. Also, I have some readers who have decided to contact me when I go without posting for more than two days to ask when the next post will come. I’m flattered that they enjoy this blog, but also the feedback gives me the sense of responsibility to keep it up.
  • Class- I have committed to be part of at least one writing workshop before the end of the year to improve my skills. I have invited a teenager aspiring writer to take the workshop with me. Have you been able to promise something to a teenager that they will forget? Trust me we will go to the workshop!
  • Social Media- I’ve subscribe to the Kristen Lamb’s Blog. She not only gives great advice for writers but also advises about how to utilize social media more efficiently. I just found this blog last week and I’ve learned a lot.

So these are some of the things that I’m doing to take my writing to another level and so far so good… Have some tips of your own? Share them!!!

Stay tuned.

Having a bad writing day, week, season… you get the idea!

Some women experience bad hair days, I think I’m having a bad writing day (or season) not all days are inspired in a writer’s mind. Some days words flow and some days it’s really hard work. Even I’ve had great revelations when I’ve been tired or sick, but lately it’s like my brain has ran out of steam and finding the ways to express myself has been nothing less than challenging.

I guess it’s because I’m trying to force myself to write in a certain way, my head is not going in the direction that I’m trying to steer it. So it basically has come to a halt. I’ve been having somewhat of what I have called writer’s ADD. Multiple ideas, stories and sentences are all popping into my head not enough to do anything with them or that would make any sense and by the time I sit down to write, they are gone. Having lost the routine of walking around with my netbook, which has been in ICU for a while, giving me only glimpses of available usage every now and again; I have missed plenty of opportunities of random usable muses that have crossed this brain of mine. (My netbook has been crashing and freezing and now that finally I can get a new one, I’m emotionally attached to the dysfunctional one and can’t part from it. You don’t have to say it, I know!!)

I went to the website of writer Lisa Scottoline. I recently read one of her latest non-fiction books; she’s funny and real and I wanted to gain some perspective from a professional writer. On her website,  She was talking about the everyday of a writer. She has a word count goal everyday. I started thinking that I write most days, but not everyday. Not because I don’t want to, I just don’t do it. Ironically, the day I don’t write I spend the day agonizing about the fact that I have not written a thing.

 Then I started feeling insecure about my writing. I think most writers would agree that there are days when you write exceptional things and some days you just write junk. I think that’s part of why there are some days where I don’t do the commanded “butt and chair” exercise of writing is because I already know in my head that whatever is coming out is junk and I don’t like to write junk. So I get discourage before even sitting to write trying to achieve perfectionism, where do you even find such thing?

I had read about writing everyday before, I want to come up with a reasonable word count goal, as I’m not yet (calling it in faith) a full time writer and I hold a normal 8-5 job and a life, (well something like a life…hahaha!) I don’t consider writing a hobby. Writing is a part of me; it’s my way of expression, so even when today I think that my writing sucks, I don’t think I could stop doing it. The times that I did, I felt dead and I’m not going backwards. Writing like anything in life takes practice, so the more I write, the better it would get.

I decide today to start writing everyday, (not necessarily a blog post). I’ll think of my reasonable word count after a few more hours of sleep, right now I couldn’t decide between chocolate or vanilla ice cream. I promise to start browsing for a new laptop, and pray that I fall in love again with one that will follow me for a few more years in this journey.  I chose to just abandon myself in the words and allow them to flow instead of trying to control them…that’s why they don’t want to come out…LOL! …and look, who knew? I had tons to say from someone who didn’t know what to write about! (All 650 words and all 🙂 )