Author Friends: Brenda Murphy

Are you a panster or a plotter?

I’m a reformed pantser, I struggled with structure and flow, and then I took two screenwriting classes and it helped. Now I write one line scene descriptions on 3×5 index cards, sort them into my story and write from that, and it has made me a much faster writer, and I end up with a stronger first draft to work with.

Do you believe in Writer’s Block? If so, how do you kick its arse?

No. I don’t have time for writers block. If I come to a tricky part that I’m struggling with I go back to my notes and outline, read over them and then do something completely unrelated to writing, like gardening or photography, or art journaling and then come back to the work and start again.

 What book is your comfort read on a bad day? The one you go back to reread over and over.

My comfort reads right now for fiction are Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey, and for non-fiction Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert when I need to reset.

Describe your perfect writing space: 

A flat surface to work on with a never-ending pot of tea, and a salty oat biscuit or two.

Do you write your title first or story first?

Story first always, and then title.

 And lastly, write a one or two paragraph flash fiction inspired by the last photo or text you got on your phone:

 What money? I read the text again my hands sweaty as I pressed send. I tapped out a rhythm on my steering wheel as I waited for her reply.

The money I had in the emergency stash.

Why are you looking for it? I stalled.  I had planned on paying it back after my last gig. But that hadn’t turned out so well. Now the emergency fund was short $600.00 and I was screwed. Even if she said yes to marrying me she would be pissed I spent the money on a ring. I pulled in to the driveway and killed the headlights. I could see her through the window, pacing with her phone in her hand. I tucked the small velvety box into the pocket of my leather jacket, and blew out a breath before I opened the car door.

She opened the door to the house before I got there a frown on her face. “Were you texting and driving?”

“No baby I was around the corner. I pulled over.”

She stepped back and we entered the house. She grabbed me by my jacket and pushed me up against the wall. Her lips were soft on mine, she slid her hands up under my jacket, brushing over my breasts before she pulled me closer to rub my back.

I relaxed into her touch as she kissed her way along my neck. “Hey baby I got something to ask you.”

She pulled back and looked into my eyes “About what?” Her eyes were wary. “The money?”

“In a way.” I kneeled on one knee and pulled the small box from my pocket and opened it. “Would you marry me?” My throat went dry as I said it.

She eyed the ring. “Is that our emergency fund?”

I flushed, heat rising in my face. I looked down and away from her eyes. “Yeah. I’m sorry I as going to put it back but the gig fell thorough.” Shame filled me, how could I ever expect her to marry a loser like me?

She gripped my chin and forced my head back. She kissed me hard, her teeth kicking my lip before she pulled back and met my gaze. “Asking me to marry you was an emergency? Are you pregnant?” The playful look in her eyes broke the tension of the moment. She smoothed her hand over my hair.

“Only if there is a star in the east.” We both laughed and she tugged me to me feet.

“Yes. But don’t think you’re off the hook for repaying the emergency fund.”

Links and Bio

Brenda Murphy writes short stories and novels. She is a member of Romance Writers of America. Her nonfiction and short fiction have been published in various collections. Her most recent novel, One, published by NineStar Press in November 6, 2017. When she is not swilling gallons of hot tea and writing, she wrangles two dogs, twins, and an unrepentant parrot. She writes about life, books, and writing on her blog, Writing While Distracted.

Facebook:  Writing While Distracted

Teaser from One:

MAC STRETCHED HER legs out and shifted in her seat. Her hips were tight from the flight even with the extra leg room in first class. Fearful of dreaming again, she had managed to stay awake. She glanced over at Lana. She was asleep with her long legs tucked up in her seat. The dark blue thin airline blanket draped her full curves. Mac listened to her soft and easy breathing. Her hair spilled across her face. The sandy brown strands mixed with occasional streaks of gray hid her eyes from Mac’s gaze. She wanted to reach out and tuck Lana’s hair behind her ear so she could study the delicate curve of her face.

Mac looked away. If she wakes up and I’m staring at her she’ll think I’m a creeper. She tucked her hands under her thighs. Unable to resist, she glanced at Lana again. For fuck’s sake, she’s a woman like any other woman. Except she isn’t. Forget it. So not like any woman I’ve ever wanted to date. So together. And she won’t fall for any of my bullshit. She’s a grown-ass woman, not those easily impressed twentysomethings I been banging. She’s probably not into women. And if she was, why would it be me?

Mac turned to the window. She leaned closer to look down and watched as they flew over the Alps. Midnight blue lakes in dark green valleys peeked out between snow- tipped mountains. Dad would have loved this. Except he would have hit that asshole and we wouldn’t have been on the plane. She pushed away the melancholy nipping at her. Get a grip Mac. Why am I all up in my feelings? Tired. Fucking tired.

“Magnificent, isn’t it?” Lana’s husky morning voice at her shoulder made Mac jump and she banged her head on the window frame.

“Ow. Fuck.” And she laughed punchy from the lack of sleep and bone-deep weariness of travel.

Lana laughed with her. The clear heartfelt notes of her laughter filled an empty place in Mac she didn’t even know existed.

“Sorry to laugh.” Lana covered her mouth with her hand and fake frowned in a pitiful attempt to look serious before laughing so hard she snorted.

“Nah it’s okay. It was funny.” Mac rubbed her head and laughed with her. Both of them ignored the hard, ugly look from the rude woman Lana had traded seats with. Serve her right if I kissed Lana right now to fuck with her. No. That’s not why I want to kiss her. She’s beautiful and smart and funny. So much. And so not into me like that.

They passed the rest of the trip in easy talk and laughter, sharing the kind of intimate details that are so easy to share when you don’t ever expect to see a person again. The flight attendant made the landing announcements as they approached Malpensa and Mac wished the flight was longer.