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.








Author Friends: Lindsay Detwiler

This week, I have author Lindsay Detwiler, another lovely Hot Tree Publishing author, in the hot seat.  Hope you enjoy.  And be sure to follow her on social media.

Are you a panster or a plotter?

A little of both. I usually outline my chapters very vaguely first, and then just see where the story takes me. When I get halfway through the book, I usually write the ending.

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

I sometimes get writer’s block, and, when it happens, I usually know I just need a creative break. If I’m on a deadline, I’ll push through and just make myself keep writing. Sometimes I get it between projects. When that happens, I’ll take some time off and catch up on reading, which tends to help me creatively. I like to write when I’m feeling passionate because I think that translates into better writing.

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

I actually hate rereading books just because I always have so many different books I want to read. I love reading anything in the romance genre, though, and anything by Liane Moriarty, Jojo Moyes, or Nicholas Sparks. They’re my favorites.

 Describe your perfect writing space: 

My writing space isn’t so perfect… which is what I like. I write on my couch with my favorite blanket, some coffee, chocolate, and usually at least one cat.

 Do you write your title first or story first?

My title first! I always get it before I start writing page one.

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

Snow swirled, blurring and whirring about, as the dog stood on the weathered deck. His huge paws plodded across, his black nose dotted with the fluffy white symbol of winter. Cold oozed through the cracks of the deck, past his panting mouth, into every crevice untouched. The first signs of winter were emerging, and the brindle mastiff couldn’t be happier. Tongue attempting to scrape up every last snowflake in what he obviously deemed a possible task, he leapt gleefully off the frozen deck into the blanketed snow, turning back to see if his trustworthy human was following him.

I beckoned from inside the door, the bitter wind whipping my hair back and reminding me that the true, utter coldness was here, underscored by the darkness of the December night. Still, in the midst of what I deemed a frozen hell, Henry dashed through the yard, seeing no darkness or coldness—but only the potential for sheer elation.

Lindsay Detwiler is a contemporary romance author with Hot Tree Publishing, a high school English teacher, and a contributing blogger for The Huffington Post. She has eight sweet romances released. Her ninth work, All of You, releases January 27, 2018, and is currently available for preorder.

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Author Friends: Maria Vickers

Are you a panster or a plotter?
I’m both. Most of my stories are pantser, but there are a few that I completely plotted. If I do plot though, I leave enough room and an open mind so that I can change things if needed.
Do you believe in Writer’s Block? If so, how do you kick its arse?
I do and I hate it. LOL. I get it often enough and it usually happens when I overthink things. To get over it, sometimes I will work on something else to get my mind off of it, or I will sprint with a friend. When I sprint, I write without thinking and can a lot of times push through that block.
What book is your comfort read on a bad day? The one you go back to reread over and over. 
I have a few. FastTrack By Julie Garwood, The Virgin Romance Novelist by Meghan Quinn, and Found You by Dahlia Donovan. I love reading a good love story with a. happy ending when I’m having a bad day.
Describe your perfect writing space: 
I love a lot of light where I can see the sky. I’m currently designing my writing office, so right now I wander from my bedroom to the living room to the outside deck at my house. Eventually, I will have a writing space with a chaise lounge, lots of natural light, and bookshelves with all of the books I’ve collected over the years and another to hold my writer stuff including books and swag.
Do you write your title first or story first?
Half and half. LOL. Sometimes I have a story first and sometimes I know what the title will be before I ever write the story.
And lastly, write a one or two paragraph flash fiction inspired by the last photo or text you got on your phone:
The last text I got was from my best friend talking about my nieces (her daughters) and how they are doing…
Family had always been important to him, something that grounded him and people who supported him without question. It didn’t matter if it was when he came out or when he wanted to try new things. Even when he’d decided to leave everything behind and start over, they’d only asked if he was certain. He’d never been surer, and when Caleb told them that, they stood beside him 100% and never tried to talk him out of it. Caleb left his job, moved from New York to Indiana, and started a new career that had nothing to do with his previous life. It was a big change. Of course it wasn’t only the move. Moving from being a stock broker to a baker. Talk about 180 degrees.
And now they stood behind him and supported him as he took the next step into his future. Walking down the aisle, his best friend and siblings stood at the end to his left, and on the other side of the aisle, stood people he considered friends and family. But it was the man in front of him that meant the most to Caleb. He never expected to find love, but Issac landed in his life in a cloud of flour – quite literally. Today, Caleb’s family would grow and Issac would forever be part of that.
Maria Vickers currently lives in St. Louis, MO with her pug, Spencer Tracy. She has always had a passion for writing and after she became disabled, she decided to use writing as her escape. 

Life is about what you make of it. You have to live it to the fullest no matter the circumstances.

She has always loved Not only creating the stories, but reading them as well. Books transport her, and when she was younger, she would run into walls because she refused to put her books down even for a second. Take note, walking with books is not advised. LOL. 

With the books she writes, she wants to share my stories with the world. She dreams of transporting others and would love for them to feel the emotions her characters feel. That’s her goal with her writing. If she can do that for even one person, she feels like she succeeded. 

Getting sick changed her and her life, but it also opened doors that she never thought about. Today, even though she cannot do as much as she once could, she can still write.