Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Excerpt from Lucifera's Pet sequel novel

The following is a brief excerpt from the untitled second book of my vampire and werewolf series. If you want to see what the fuss is about, check out my author page on Smashwords for free short stories and a sample of my novel, Lucifera's Pet.

© 2010 M.T. Murphy. All rights reserved.

The werewolf awoke to the sound of grinding gears and an eerie rendition of “The Entertainer” seemingly performed by an out of tune jack-in-the-box.

Mouth full of sand? Check. Nausea? Check. Searing pain in the head with each heartbeat? Check.

If he didn’t know better, he’d have sworn he had a hangover, but that would have taken a barrel of whiskey. Did they still sell whiskey in barrels?

He considered standing up, but decided to lie where he was for another minute or two. The vehicle he was in hit a bump, bashing his head against the hard metal floor. He grumbled a curse and rolled over onto his stomach to get a better look at his surroundings.

What was left of the ceiling upholstery was held together by safety pins. The tattered material did little to hide the rusty roof. The metal wall of the truck was to his right. To his left, he noticed an old tarp that looked very familiar. He touched the moldy canvas and felt the cold body underneath.


He sat up and found Lily wrestling with the old vehicle’s shift stick as they loped down the freeway well below the speed limit under a hot Arizona sun.

“Lily, is this a fucking ice cream truck?”

His cousin glared at him through the rearview mirror.

“Oh, thank you fer saving me life, Lily. You were so right about that vampire, Lily. Why didn’t I listen to you before, Lily? I was too busy in me own little world combing me fecking ridiculous sideburns to notice anything!” The female werewolf let out a growl. “Arse.”

He laughed and sat down in the empty spot by the front door.

“As impressions of me go, that one was pretty good. You’re laying the accent on a little thick, though, aren’t ya?”

“Maybe a little.”

“So … ice cream truck?”


“What happened to that war wagon you were driving?”

“The MaxxPro? I traded it for this fine machine.”


“Too conspicuous—” The warbled ice cream truck jingle interrupted her. “It’s stuck on auto,” she muttered almost apologetically.

He looked down to find he was wearing his spare jeans, t-shirt and shoes from his formerly lost bag. The luggage itself sat under the truck’s front console.

“Hey, you kept our bags. Wait … I thought I was—”

“Yes, I dressed you and yes it was a traumatic experience, but far less disturbing than leaving you naked would have been.”

They rode in silence for a while after that. Relative silence at least. The ice cream truck broke out in its familiar tune just to remind them what they were riding in.

After the last note of the out of tune jingle ended, his stomach offered its two cents, grumbling louder than the squeaking shocks and roar of bald tires on asphalt.

“I’m hungry. Let’s stop and hunt.”

“No way, Mickey. You’re not killing anybody while I’m around. I got you a big chicken burrito. It’s on the freezer.”

“Chicken burrito? Why a chicken burrito?”

“Because chicken burritos are like the gods’ golden apples. They have everything a healthy werewolf needs: protein, carbohydrates, fat, veggies, and, best of all, nobody died to make it.”

“Nobody but the chickens.”

“Just eat the damn burrito. If you eat it all you can have a popsicle from the freezer when you’re done.”

He unwrapped the three-pound monstrosity of tortilla, cheese, guacamole, and chicken. Three bites later, it was gone.

Opening the freezer, he dug through the piles of frozen desserts. After tossing aside the yogurt cups and shifting a mountain of fruit juice pops, he found what he was looking for.

“Aha. Mint chocolate chip on a stick. Things are looking up.” He retrieved the snack from near the bottom of the truck’s freezer and paused. There in the space left vacant by the package, a pair of eyes stared at him.

“Hey, Lily. Who’s the dead guy in the freezer?”

“Very funny,” she said, not bothering to look back. “The vampire is rolled up in the tarp on the floor.”

He kicked the tarp and confirmed that Christopher was still inside. He then looked back into the freezer. Moving a few more ice cream sandwiches confirmed the stiff hidden under the desserts. He was a man in his mid-forties, wearing a brightly colored polo shirt. The bluish tint to his frozen skin made him look like a very surprised smurf.

“I am fucking hilarious, but this time, I ain’t joking. You are the owner of a frozen dude.” Closing the lid, he took his place on the floor by Lily and bit into the ice cream.

She looked over at him without batting an eye.

“So I trade a multi-million dollar assault vehicle for an ice cream truck with a dead man buried under a mountain of frozen treats in its freezer?”

He swallowed the ice cream and tossed the wooden stick out the window. “Yep.”

Lily nodded. “Figures.”

They rode in silence for another five full minutes. Finally, he spoke.

“Let’s call him George.”

“Shut up,” Lily replied. “And get me a push pop.”

Monday, August 30, 2010

Zoe Winters - Blood Lust launch contest - Win a Kindle reader!!

One of two things brought you to this post. Either you are already a Zoe Winters fan or you want to see how you can win a free Kindle. No matter. You are in for a treat.

Click here for contest details.

To celebrate the launch of her novella trilogy, Blood Lust, Zoe is giving away an Amazon Kindle e-reader. Unless you've been living under a rock or one of my sideburns for the past few years, you know that this device is still the best selling e-reader out there.

More importantly, the Blood Lust trilogy collection is a fun and exciting read. They are paranormal romance stories, but these aren't your grandmother's Harlequin paperbacks. I would compare these tales to the juicier Spike/Buffy storyline from the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series, only easier on the angst and heavier on the blood, sex, and fun.

Do yourself a favor and check out Blood Lust. Grab a Kindle copy and then buy a print copy and beg Zoe to autograph it for you.You know you want to.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Random - Weekend weirdness

One of five things will happen this weekend:

1. I finish the Werewolf Gunslinger cover art and post it on smashwords.

2. I finish that beta read for a friend and get her some feedback.

3. I finally stop avoiding Universal Studios' calls and sell them the rights for the Lucifera's Pet movie.

4. I post a Kindle review I promised someone a week back.

5. I post an excerpt from the follow-up to Lucifera's Pet online for all to see.

Hell, I might take an ambitious turn and do four out of five of these things.

So, what mountains will you move this weekend?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Traditional rock breaking vs. indie rock breaking in prehistoric times

The year is 20,000 BCE.

Ug breaks rocks into pebbles. The other cave men and women like to look at Ug’s pebbles, so they trade him scraps of meat and berries for those pebbles. Ug has grown nice and plump from the spoils of his rock breaking business. He is so successful that he hires ten people to break the rocks for him.

Other people bring rocks they have found to Ug for his team to break. He breaks their rocks and sells them, then shares a few of his berries with the rock bringers, but not too many.

Some pebbles sell far more than others. Soon, Ug finds he can move a lot more pebbles if he only takes the roundest and smoothest rocks, and only those that are different shades of brown. He hires more people whose sole job is to screen for rocks that he can break into pebbles that will trade for the most meat and berries.

Ug has hired more people who haul the pebbles from village to village by dragging them on a big bear hide. Everyone knows Ug’s distributors and is used to the pebbles. They sometimes wish for a little more variety, but Ug’s pebbles are all they can get.

The rock bringers work hard, polishing their rocks and rubbing the right kind of dirt on them to make them the shade Ug’s screeners look for. There are now so many rock bringers that Ug’s screeners can be even more selective in the rocks they take. Many good rocks are screened out that even the screeners agree are good but for one reason or another they just wouldn’t bring in as much meat and berries as another rock.

Ug is now getting so much meat and berries in trade that some of it begins to rot because he can’t eat it fast enough. Life is good.

One day a rock bringer takes one of his rejected rocks and hits it with his club. Much to his surprise, the rock shatters into a thousand tiny pebbles very similar to those sold by Ug.

Ug sees this and laughs. “Moron. Those pebbles are crap because my people didn’t approve them. Nobody will want those. Just stop.”

The rock bringer pays Ug no mind. He gathers his pebbles and sells them to a few people in the village.

Ug sees this and laughs harder. “Moron. Nobody will want those gray pebbles when they are used to our brown pebbles. Besides, my people drag pebbles to every village and they know me. Just stop.”

Another rock bringer sees the first rock bringer’s small success. She smashes a rock of her own, but hits it many more times than the norm. The resulting pebbles are much smaller but similarly round and shiny. They are also much easier to carry. She sells a handful in the village, then carries them to the next village in a bag and sells them at a lower cost than Ug’s larger pebbles.

Ug sees this and laughs even harder. “Morons. Maybe you will sell a few of those tiny pebbles, but people will never prefer them to my larger pebbles. Just stop.”

Several others see the small successes of the new tiny pebbles and begin breaking their own rocks into tiny pebbles.

The rock bringers who still supply rocks to Ug see this and get angry. “Morons. Those pebbles weren’t approved by Ug’s screeners. You should keep taking them to Ug, like we do. You aren’t real rock bringers.”

Someone in another village trains a dog to carry a piece of wood with a pebble order carved into it and a sack full of berries tied to his neck to the town. Another entrepreneur builds a large slingshot and starts filling the orders by shooting bags full of the tiny pebbles to the other villages.

One of Ug’s managers sees this and begins to worry. “Hey, boss, should we do that, too?”

Ug groans. He complains about the new technology diluting the quality of pebbles, but eventually relents.

“Do it, but charge a lot more for the tiny pebbles so they keep buying the regular pebbles we haul in. People like bigger pebbles. That won’t change. Those morons are starting to annoy me.”

More people begin breaking and selling their own pebbles. Here and there a few of the better tiny pebble makers start to build their own piles of meat and berries. A few more of Ug’s rock bringers start breaking their own rejected rocks and have decent success selling them as tiny pebbles.

Suddenly, Ug’s sales aren’t quite as high as they used to be. His pile of meat and berries is getting smaller and smaller.

Both Ug and his rock bringers cry out, “All those tiny self-crushed pebbles are crap! They aren’t as polished or brown as our pebbles! This is bad for pebble buyers!”

A passing pebble buyer hears them and stops. He looks at the huge pile of tiny self-crushed pebbles next to Ug’s pebbles. “You know, a lot of these tiny pebbles are pretty bad. They are jagged and moldy.”

“Yes!” Ug exclaims. “You need me and my screeners to give you only the pebbles we think are quality so you don’t have to waste your time on all that crap!”

The pebble buyer digs a little deeper into the pile. “Wait a minute. Here’s a good one. It’s tiny, but I like it.”

Ug scratches his head as confusion sets in. "What are you talking about?"

“Here’s another. And another.” The buyer keeps digging and removes several more tiny self-crushed pebbles from the pile.

“You know, Ug, I really don’t mind digging through the pile. It’s actually kind of fun to look for the good ones. They are totally different from yours,” says the pebble buyer.

“What do you know?” grumbles Ug. “I’ve been selling pebbles longer than you have been alive.”

Suddenly, a very hungry dire wolf appears behind Ug.

Chomp. Chomp. Chomp. Chomp. Chomp. Chomp. Chomp.


Ug is no longer the pebble making king but he did make a tasty snack.

What is the moral of the story?

Don’t get too comfortable on your pile of rocks because you never know when a big friggin wolf might come along and eat you.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Final cover for Silver Shells: A Werewolf Gunslinger Tale

***UPDATE!!  Scroll down to the bottom to see the final cover.

I started the Werewolf Gunslinger short stories as a fun side project and a way for people to get a taste of my writing before delving into my novel, Lucifera's Pet. Thus far, Werewolf Gunslinger - Volume 1 has been downloaded 826 times and Volume 2 has been downloaded 528 times from Smashwords.

I put the original cover art for those together from a mishmash of photos and images with some digital effects thrown in. Every time I look at them, I cringe. New covers are long overdue.

I decided to take a shot and produce a couple of pen and ink drawings for the covers. I did three rough sketches last night. The first two were not fit to be seen by human beings ... you know ... with their eyes. They are bad. They are so bad that it would be a shame if they were described to a person who could not see because they would then also be subjected to the horror of the shoddy images as well.

The image below is the least awful of the three. It isn't exactly what I want, but it's getting there.

The moon and Lily's eyes will be red and she will most likely be holding both guns in a bit more dynamic pose. The guns themselves will be larger to fit the actual scale of a Walker Colt. I may go with a more stylized look as well.


Several sketches later, I did a very quick one that has become my favorite so far:

I liked this one so much that I decided to reproduce it in ink:

Update 9-6-2010
Twelfth try if you're counting. Finished with ink and shaded with charcoal. I'll at least give this one a preliminary look as a completed cover. Stay tuned and let me know what you think.

Update - 9-14-2010
Okay. This is the final, final, final update for Silver Shells. Let me know what you think:

Big thanks to everyone who stuck with me on this one through my many revisions. Now, do me an even bigger favor and go read the story!



Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Why independent/self-publishing?

(This post is part of an indie publishing blog carnival hosted by Chris Kelly at Dun Scaith. Click here to view the other blogs in the carnival!)

I foolishly indicated that I would post a limerick to sum up why I choose to self publish. Here goes:

I was asked by a lad, “Why self-publish?”
“Is it because your work is all rubbish?”
“Perhaps,” I said.
While patting his head.
“Now give me some sauce for my fried fish.”

Thank you. I wrote that in forty-five seconds and I would like to submit it as my entry for worst limerick of all time.

I’m joking.

It actually took me four days. And I don’t eat fried fish. And I will cry like a baby if you don’t tell me you love it. I’m talking dripping snot and heaving here, people. I need validation!!! If you don’t like it, I’ll rewrite it again and again and again until you love it!!!

Wait a minute. On second thought, I won’t rewrite my crappy limerick. I also don’t need the validation, but I’ll get to that.

I have enjoyed many of Stephen King’s works. He is one of the biggest success stories of genre fiction based on fame and money. At this point in his life, he could write a 25 word manuscript on a napkin and get paid handsomely for it.

King is one of the old-school, hardcore writers who will tell you that an aspiring writer needs to receive enough rejection slips to wallpaper an entire room before he or she is ready to have something appear in print.

Is he right?

It’s possible. Reason dictates that the more you practice something, the better you become.

If you’re writing solely to land a publishing contract and get some modest advance money, then Spooky Steve’s words are probably true. Keep on cranking out stories until you find out what the masses will pay for on a regular basis. Then lather, rinse, repeat.

This soul-sucking, alarmingly masochistic method is not for everyone.

Take me, for example. I have a full-time career outside of writing and a family I enjoy spending time with. Two kiddos tackle me when I walk in the door and want to play until bedtime. After the munchkins are in bed, my wife and I spend as much time together as we can. On the weekends, we do family stuff. If you ask me to describe myself, the words “husband” and “father” will pop up way before the word “writer.”

Still, I have stories I want to tell.

Scratch that.

I have stories I NEED to tell.

If I go by Steve’s write till you bleed method with my limited writing time, I might be “ready” for publication by the time I’m 80.

For me, self-publishing is an alternative. I don’t expect to be able to retire to Maui from my self-publishing profits, but I am finding readers who enjoy what I have written. I am building an audience as I build worlds in my fiction. With every Kindle, Smashwords, B&N, or print Amazon sale, there is one more person who will also pick up my next book and tell their friends about it.

There are plenty of people who consider self-publishing to be a blight on the literary world. These days, it seems everyone believes that a writer must undergo a painful metamorphosis that sees them becoming a hideous amalgamation of Dan Brown and Stephanie Meyer in an attempt to appeal to an agent who will shower them with contracts and cash.

How exciting.

I think I’ll pass.

Going indie is not a sure-fire path to riches and fame. If that’s all you’re after, you might want to audition for a job as a rock star. I think the odds are better.

If you’re smart, willing to work your ass completely off (I’m talking nothing left but bones), and have a ton of talent, you can do well with self-publishing.

Former house-published author J.A. Konrath made waves in independent publishing before partnering with Amazon. Zoe Winters and Kait Nolan have both sold far in excess (thousands, in fact) of that magical 150 book number that naysayers consider the drop dead point for self-published works (see the hilarious Zoe Who? videos for details). If Zoe and Kait wallpapered their respective utility rooms with rejections from publishing companies, would they eventually find a traditional publisher? Of course, but I doubt I would have had the opportunity to read their self-published stories that I have enjoyed. And that would be a shame.

Are there some crappy/sub-par self-published works out there? Absolutely. Some readers might lump my writing into that category, and that’s okay. I could probably tweak story elements and water down the language and violence to grab a wider audience or crank up the sex and go full-on erotica and garner still more readers from that genre. Maybe if I did those things and rewrote the story a few hundred times for submission to publishers, I might find one who is willing to give me a shot after I collect my own stack of wallpaper.


This is the sound of me not giving a shit:


I don’t write my stories with the intention of putting dollar signs in the eyes of an editorial assistant. I write for the guy who is tired of seeing monsters treated with kid gloves. I write for the woman who gets pissed off that the heroine needs a big strapping hero to save the day for her. More than anything, I write for myself.

I write what I want. I publish when I want. I answer to no one but myself. I market myself and my books to the extent that I choose. That’s what self-publishing truly means to me: the freedom to succeed or fail with no one else to blame or congratulate but myself.

My book, Lucifera’s Pet, is a violent and sexy dark fiction tale of werewolves and vampires. If shiny, abstenant vampires make you vaguely uneasy, connect with me below:

Website: http://www.luciferaspet.com
Blog: http://werewolfkibble.blogspot.com/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/WerewolfMike
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/luciferaspet
Smashwords (Free eBooks): http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/mtmurphy

Monday, August 2, 2010

The trinkets my characters own are pricey. Who knew?

Just for fun, I decided to look up pricing for the hand guns carried by the title character in my Werewolf Gunslinger short stories.

The Werewolf Gunslinger, Lily Farrell, carries two 1847 Walker Colt revolvers. The Walker has a reputation for being the largest and most powerful hand gun of its time. It was so large that most of them were relegated to a saddle holster. It was difficult for someone to shoot one of them. Holding and firing two of them at the same time was nigh impossible for a human being. Having a female werewolf carry two of these weapons is a visual I couldn't resist. 

I'd love to purchase two of these bad boys and put them in a display case along with the Werewolf Gunslinger anthology book when it is released next year. There is only one problem: Walker Colts run $100,000 to $200,000 a piece if you can find one.

My birthday is later this month, so if anybody wants to surprise me, here is a link to a Walker up for sale.

My vampire, Lucifera, from Lucifera's Pet, has a wakizashi crafted by Sengo Muramasa. She rarely uses the weapon, preferring to keep it as a conversation piece. Again, if you're looking for gift ideas, here is one that isn't exactly right, but it is pretty darn close. It's a steal at $3,995.

Yeah. $4 G's. I didn't forget to add a decimal. If it were an actual Muramasa, you'd have to multiply that price by 250, at least. 

I think I'll just stick to writing about characters who own this stuff.

What trinkets do fictional characters have that you would like to add to your real-life collection?