Posts Tagged ‘Mur Lafferty


Looking for Writers’ Podcasts

I don’t listen to the radio very often. When I’m in the car, I’ve got a vast array of podcasts to keep me busy — shows about movies, TV, comics, old-fashioned radio comedies, audiobooks, and whatever the hell Monty and the Mongoose are doing these days.

One thing I’ve really been digging into lately, though, are shows featuring writers talking about writing. There’s something both entertaining and therapeutic about listening to other people who know the agony of staring at the blank page talk about how they conquered it to become successful. The Nerdist Writer’s Panel and The Q&A with Jeff Goldsmith are the two I listen to most often, but I’ve run out of new episodes of these shows and they aren’t being produced quickly enough. (Especially since, if the Q&A features the writers of a movie I want to see in that episode, I always hold off on listening to it until I can see the movie, even if I have to wait months for it to hit DVD or Netflix.)

So I’m putting out the call — help me find other shows along these lines. I want to listen to writers talk about their stories, their craft, the business of writing, the things they love and the things that drive them crazy. Besides the two shows I just mentioned, I also frequently listen to the Flying Island Flagship podcast, Word Balloon, and of course, Mur Lafferty’s I Should Be Writing.

What else should I have on my iPod?


What I’m Reading in 2012

Annually, I keep a running tally of all the books, graphic novels, and short stories I read. This list includes re-reads, as well as audiobooks I listen to over the course of the year, but I don’t include individual short stories if I read all of them as part of a collection. In related news, I really overthink the hell out of this stuff. And should the book be something I review online, I’ll provide a link so you can see my thoughts.

If you’re interested in this sort of thing, here’s what I’ve read thus far in 2012:

1. A Tale of Sand (2011), Jim Henson & Jerry Juhl, B+*
2. Who’s Who: The Resurrection of the Doctor, Martin Beland and the Staff of The Guardian (2011), B-
3. Age of Bronze Vol. 3: Betrayal (2008), Part One, Eric Shanower, A-*
4. Locke and Key Vol. 4: Keys to the Kingdom (2011), Joe Hill, A
5. Hogfather (1996), Terry Pratchett, B+
6. Scream Deconstructed (2011), Scott Kessinger, A-
7. In the Peanut Gallery With Mystery Science Theater 3000 (2011), Rob Weiner (Ed.), B
8. Eats, Shoots and Leaves (2003), Lynne Truss, A
9. My Seinfeld Year (2012), Fred Stoller, B
10. Employee of the Month and Other Big Deals (2011), Mary Jo Pehl, B-
11. A Princess of Mars (1917) Edgar Rice Burroughs, A
12. Countdown: A Newsflesh Novella (2011), Mira Grant, A-
13. Sloppy Seconds (2012), Tucker Max, B
14. Killing Mr. Griffin (1978), Lois Duncan, B
15. The Crucible (1952), Arthur Miller, A•
16. Hilarity Ensues (2012), Tucker Max, B+
17. All-Star Superman (2008), Grant Morrison & Frank Quitely, A+*
18. Ruby of Ragnoor (2012), Brad Guitar, B+*
19. What If? Classic Vol. 3 (2005), Gary Friedrich, Don Glut, Marv Wolfman, Steven Grant, Peter Gillis & Tom DeFalco, B*
20. Atomic Robo Vol. 1: Atomic Robo and the Fightin’ Scientists of Tesladyne (2008), Brian Clevinger, A-*
21. Atomic Robo Vol. 2: Atomic Robo and the Dogs of War (2009), Brian Clevinger, A-*
22. Atomic Robo Vol. 3: Atomic Robo and the Shadow From Beyond Time (2009′ Brian Clevinger, A*
23. The Gods of Mars (1918), Edgar Rice Burroughs, B+
24. Sum: 40 Tales From the Afterlives (2009), David Eagleman, A-
25. The Nightly News (2007), Jonathan Hickman, A*
26. John Carter: A Princess of Mars (2011), Roger Langridge & Felipe Andrade, B-*
27. Warlord of Mars (1919), Edgar Rice Burroughs, A-
28. The Princess Bride: 30th Anniversary Edition (2003), William Goldman, A
29. Raise Your Glass,: Stuck in the Twilight Saga (2012), Keith Helinski, B
30. Clue: The Musical (1993), Peter DePietro, B•
31. How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 Months (2011), John Locke, C
32. Forrest Gump (1986), Winston Groom, B
33. The Reporter (2012), Scott Sigler & Mur Lafferty, B+
34. Tales From Development Hell (2012), David Hughes, B+
35. Lamb (2002), Christopher Moore, A
36. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (1997), J.K. Rowling, A-
37. Buy the RV, We Start Tomorrow: The AV Club’s Guide to Breaking Bad (2010), Donna Murray & Neal Goldman, B
38. Coffee: It’s What’s For Dinner (2011), Dave Kellet, A*
39. Sacre Bleu (2012), Christopher Moore, B
40. Pax Romana (2007), Jonathan Hickman, B-*
41. Paradox (2012), Christos Gage, B- *
42. Avengers Forever (1999), Kurt Busiek, A*
43. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (1998), J.K. Rowling, B+
44. Transhuman (2008), Jonathan Hickman, A-*
45. The Wind Through the Keyhole (2012), Stephen King, B+
46. Atomic Robo Vol. 4: Atomic Robo and Other Strangeness (2010), Scott Wegener, A*
47. Atomic Robo Vol. 5: Atomic Robo and the Flying Fists of Science (2011), Scott Wegener, A-*
48. Misery Loves Sherman (2012), Chris Eliopoulos, B*
49. The Atlantis Chronicles (1990), Peter David, A*
50. Aquaman: Time and Tide (1996), Peter David, B+*
51. Pantheon (1999), Bill Willingham, A-*
52. Atomic Robo Vol. 6: Atomic Robo and the Ghost of Station X (2012), Scott Wegener, A+*
53. Marvels: Eye of the Camera (2010), Kurt Busiek & Roger Stern, A-*
54. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (1999), J.K. Rowling, A-
55. “They’re Made Out of Meat” (1991), Terry Bisson, B
56. Why Does Batman Carry Shark Repellent? (2012), Brian Cronin, B+
57. The Comic Book History of Comics (2012), Fred Van Lente & Ryan Dunlavey, A-*
58. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2010), Seth Graham-Smith, B+
59. Fables Vol. 1: Legends in Exile (2002), Bill Willingham, A-*
60. JLA Vol. 1: New World Order (1997), Grant Morrision, A-*
61. Star Trek: The Next Generation-Ghosts (2010), Zander Cannon, B*
62. Spider-Man: Maximum Carnage (1993), David Michelinie, J.M. DeMatties, Tom DeFalco, B+*
63. The Hollywood Walk of Shame (1993), Bruce Nash & Allan Zullo, C+
64. The All-Pro (2011), Scott Sigler, B+^
65. Our Valued Customers (2012), Tim Chamberlain, B*
66. Batman: Earth One (2012), Geoff Johns, A*
67. The Infinity Gauntlet (1993), Jim Starlin, A+*
68. F in Exams (2011), Richard Benson, A-
69. F For Effort (2012), Richard Benson, B
70. Blackout (2012), Mira Grant, B+
71. The Monolith (2012), Jimmy Palmiotti & Justin Gray, A*
72. Locke and Key Vol. 5: Clockworks (2012), Joe Hill, A*
73. Classic G.I. Joe Vol. 1 (2009), Larry Hama, B-*
74. What If? Classic Vol. 4 (2007), Bill Mantlo, Don Glut, Peter Gillis, Steve Skeates, Tony Isabella, Mike W. Barr, Steven Grant, Mark Gruenwald & Ralph Macchio, B*
75. Firestarter (1981), Stephen King, B+
76. “Don’t Tell Jack” (2001), Neil Gaiman, A-
77. Rising Stars Compendium (2004), J. Michael Straczynski, A*
78. Fahrenheit 451 (1951), Ray Bradbury, A+
79. Morning Glories Vol. 1: For a Better Future (2011), Nick Spencer, A
80. Fool Moon (2001), Jim Butcher, B
81. The Maze Runner (2009), James Dashner, B+
82. The Scorch Trials (2010), James Dashner, B
83. The Death Cure (2011), James Dashner, B
84. Action Philosophers (2009), Fred Van Lente, B+*
85. Fraggle Rock Vol. 1 (2010), B*
86. License to Pawn: Deals, Steals, and My Life at the Gold and Silver (2011), Rick Harrison, B-
87. The MVP (2012), Scott Sigler, A-
88. Showgirls, Teen Wolves and Astronomy Zombies (2009), Michael Adams, B+
89. Upside Down: A Vampire Tale (2012) Jess Smart Smiley, B*
90. Trick ‘r Treat (2009), Marc Andreyko, B*
91. Madman 20th Anniversary Monster (2012), Mike Allred, B*
92. Texts From Dog (2012), October Jones, B
93. The Complete Omaha the Cat Dancer Vol. 1 (2005), Kate Worley & Reed Waller, B*
94. Superman: Earth One Vol. 2 (2012), J. Michael Straczynski & Shane Davis, A*
95. Tremors of the Buried Moon (2011), J.C. Rogers, B*
96. The Legend of Oz: The Wicked West Vol. 1 (2012), Tom Hutchinson, B+*
97. Charlie Brown’s Christmas Stocking (2012), Charles M. Schulz, A-*
98. Archie Classics Series Vol. 1: Christmas Classics (2011), B
99. Marvel Zombies (2006), Robert Kirkman, B+*
100. Marvel Zombies 2 (2008), Robert Kirkman, A*
101. Marvel Zombies 3 (2009), Fred Van Lente, B-*
102. Marvel Zombies 4 (2009), Fred Van Lente, C*
103. Marvel Zombies Return (2009), B+*
*-Denotes graphic novel or comic strip collection
•-Denotes stage play
^-Denotes audiobook
“”-Denotes short story

–Updated August 5, 2012


A wealth of ideas

The hard part of writing is writing. It’s the part where you actually sit down, stare at the blank page, and make something come out. For me, at least, the fun part is the initial part, where you churn out ideas. I set myself a task this week for my Everything But Imaginary column, something that snowballed into something much bigger than I intended it to be and turned out as an interesting assignment that made me generate a lot of ideas. Not stuff I can use, as it turns out, but it was a fun exercise nonetheless. And as Mur Lafferty would tell you, ideas are cheap.

But they are fun.


What I’m Reading: 2010 Edition

Like I did last year, I’m going to keep a running tally of my reading list this year. This includes both prose books, graphic novels, short stories (if I read them independently of an entire book, that is), and audiobooks that I listen to. If you’re interested in that sort of thing, I’ll place a link to this post on the righthand “Blakestuff” column, and periodically update this page with new material. Also, if I happen to review the book either here, for the Amazon Vine program, at, or otherwise, I’ll make the title a link. Because I know you would want it that way.

  1. Desperate Times by Chris Eliopoulos (2009), B-*
  2. Under the Dome by Stephen King (2009), A-
  3. Little Adventures in Oz Vol. 1 by Eric Shanower (2010), A-*
  4. Replay by Ken Grimwood (1987), B+
  5. I Am Legend by Richard Matheson (1954), A+
  6. The Rocketeer: The Complete Adventures by Dave Stevens (2009), A*
  7. 7th Son: Descent by J.C. Hutchins (2009), A- @
  8. The Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King (1987), A
  9. Star Comics All-Star Collection Vol. 1 (2009), B-*
  10. “The Call of Cthulhu” by H.P. Lovecraft (1928), B
  11. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold (2002), A-
  12. The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan (2009), B+
  13. Little Brother by Cory Doctorow (2008), B+
  14. The Magic Book of Oz by Scott Dickerson (2009), B+
  15. More Blood, More Sweat, and Another Cup of Tea by Tom Reynolds (2009), A-
  16. PVP Vol. 6: Silent But Deadly by Scott Kurtz (2009), B-*
  17. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (1865), A-
  18. Foundation by Isaac Asimov (1951), A
  19. The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum (1900), A
  20. The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan (2001), B
  21. Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom by Cory Doctorow (2003), B
  22. “The Devil and Tom Walker” by Washington Irving (1824), A
  23. Showgirls, Teen Wolves, and Astro Zombies by Michael Adams (2010), A
  24. Street Gang: The Complete History of Sesame Street by Michael Davis (2008), A
  25. Doom Patrol: Crawling From the Wreckage by Grant Morrison (1990), B*
  26. Doom Patrol: The Painting that Ate Paris by Grant Morrison (1990), B+*
  27. The Lost Books of the Odyssey by Zachary Mason (2008), A-
  28. “The Minister’s Black Veil” by Nathaniel Hawthorne (1836), B+
  29. “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin (1894), B-
  30. Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life by Bryan Lee O’Malley (2004), B-*
  31. “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” by Ambrose Bierce (1890), A
  32. The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare (1595-ish), B
  33. “The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” by Mark Twain (1865), A
  34. Lost Ate My Life by Jon Lachonis & Amy J. Johnston (2008), B-
  35. All the Great Books (Abridged) by Reed Martin & Austin Tichenor (2005-Stage Play), A-
  36. I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell by Tucker Max (2006), B
  37. Reduced Shakespeare by Reed Martin & Austin Tichenor (2006), B+
  38. The Zombie Wilson Diaries by Timothy W. Long (2009), B
  39. Lurline and the White Ravens of Oz by Marcus Mebes (2008), B-
  40. 90 Minutes in Heaven by Don Piper (2004), B
  41. “Winter Dreams” by F. Scott Fitzgerald (1922), B
  42. Blockade Billy by Stephen King (2010), B+
  43. Honor Brigade by Tom Stillwell & Bradley Bowers (2009), A-
  44. Age of Bronze: A Thousand Ships by Eric Shanower (2001), A*
  45. Marvel Zombies 4 by Fred Van Lente (2010), B*
  46. The Toxic Avenger and Other Tromatic Tales edited by Tim Seeley (2007), B-*
  47. Iron Man and Philosophy: Facing the Stark Reality edited by Mark D. White (2010), B
  48. Sheldon: Living Dangerously With Saturated Fats by Dave Kellett (2009), A-
  49. “The Far and the Near” by Thomas Wolfe (1935), B-
  50. “In Another Country” by Ernest Hemingway (1927), B-
  51. “The Corn Planting” by Sherwood Anderson (1921), B
  52. “A Rose For Emily” by William Faulkner (1930), A
  53. The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde (1895-Stage Play), B
  54. Heaven Book V: War by Mur Lafferty (2008), B@
  55. “The Life You Save May Be Your Own” by Flannery O’Conner (1955), B+
  56. Kissyman and the Gentleman by Scott Sigler (2010), B-@
  57. Carrie by Stephen King (1974), B
  58. Unbeatable: Hotter Than Hell (2010) by Matthias Wolf, A-
  59. DC’s Greatest Imaginary Stories Vol. 2: Batman and Robin (2010), edited by Bob Joy, B-*
  60. I’ll Mature When I’m Dead (2010) by Dave Barry, B
  61. Wertham Was Right (2003) by Mark Evanier, A-
  62. Little Adventures in Oz Vol. 2 (2010) by Eric Shanower, B+*
  63. Age of Bronze Vol. 2: Sacrifice (2004) by Eric Shanower, B*
  64. Fantastic Four Visionaries: John Byrne (2004) by John Byrne, A*
  65. The Crypt Book One: The Crew (2010) by Scott Sigler & Various, B+@
  66. Vampire Brat (2001) by Batton Lash, B+*
  67. Haunt Vol. 1 (2010) by Robert Kirkman & Todd McFarlane, B+*
  68. Ancestor (2010) by Scott Sigler, A
  69. The Customer is Not Always Right (2009) by A.J. Adams, B
  70. Atomic Robo Vol. 1: Atomic Robo and the Fightin’ Scientists of Tesladyne (2007) by Brian Clevinger and Scott Wegener, A*
  71. Starman Omnibus Vol. 4 (2010), by James Robinson, A*
  72. Hater (2006) by David Moody, B+
  73. “Everything and Nothing” (2010) by David Moody, B
  74. Penny Arcade Vol. 6 (2010) by Jerry Holkins & Mike Krahulik, B+
  75. And Another Thing… (2009) by Eoin Colfer, B-
  76. Dog Blood (2010) by David Moody, B
  77. The Marvelous Land of Oz (1904) by L. Frank Baum , B+*
  78. Sheldon: Still Got It (2009) by Dave Kellett, A*
  79. Literature: Unsuccessfully Competing Against Television Since 1953 (2010) by Dave Kellett, A*
  80. Drive: A Hero Rises (2010) by Dave Kellett, B*
  81. Beneath (2010) by Jeremy Robinson, B-
  82. Dr. Horrible and Other Horrible Stories (2010) by Zack Whedon, A*
  83. Night of the Living Trekkies (2010) by Kevin David Anderson & Sam Stall B+
  84. The Nearly Complete Essential Hembeck Archives Omnibus (2010) by Fred Hembeck, B+*
  85. “The Fall of the House of Usher” (1839) by Edgar Allan Poe, A
  86. Curse of the Were-Woman (2009) by Jason M. Burns, B*
  87. A Teacher’s Night Before Halloween (2008) by Steven Layne, B
  88. Ghostopolis (2010) by Doug TenNapel, A*
  89. Superman: Earth One (2010) by J. Michael Straczynski, A*
  90. Sum: Forty Tales From the Afterlives (2009) by David Eagleman, A
  91. Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (2010 Graphic Novel), B*
  92. The Lost Hero (2010) by Rick Riordan, B
  93. Stupid Christmas (2010) by Leland Gregory, B-
  94. Stories Behind the Best-Loved Songs of Christmas (2001) by Ace Collins, B+
  95. Full Dark, No Stars (2010) by Stephen King, A-
  96. The Case For Christmas: A Journalist Investigates the Identity of the Child in the Manger (1998) by Lee Strobel, B
  97. Amelia Rules: A Very Ninja Christmas (2009) by Jimmy Gownley, A*
  98. The Curious World of Christmas (2007) by Niall Edworthy, C+
  99. The Great Treasury of Christmas Comic Book Stories (2010), edited by Craig Yoe, B*
  100. Top Cow Holiday Special 2010 by Phil Smith & Paul Dini, B*
  101. Graphic Classics Vol. 19: Christmas Classics (2010), B+*
  102. The Truth About Santa (2009) by Gregory Mone, B
  103. The Starter by Scott Sigler (2010), B+

*-Denotes Graphic Novel or Comic Strip collection
@-Denotes audiobook
“”-Denotes Short Story

Last Updated on January 1, 2010


What I’m Listening To…

I’ve mentioned my podcast listening habit here before, but I don’t think I’ve talked about how much I fall behind on that habit during the summer months. I do most of my listening while driving, and without the 80 or so minutes I’m on the road during school, I wind up behind on most everything. What’s more, the regular podcasts have fallen even further down on my rotation as I find myself listening to more and more podcast novels.

Recap: a podcast novel is like a traditional audio book in several ways, but released in installments (a chapter or two at a time) in a podcast fashion. The vast majority of them are free, and the vast majority of them — so far — are unpublished in traditional books. More and more up-and-coming writers are using the Podiobook model to try to build an audience before making their print push. I’m currently listening to four different novels (three in-progress, one older one that I’m just listening to now) and all four of the authors have made it into print, which makes the model seem more viable and attractive to the likes of me.

One book I’m listening to is by Scott Sigler, author of Infected and Contagious, which I reviewed here a while back. Sigler is probably the most successful writer to break out of this model, with both of those novels doing very well and a third, Pandemic, planned to come out sooner or later. But since he’s not currently releasing a podcast novel, I’ve decided to go back and listen to his earlier works, beginning with his first book, Earthcore. This sci-fi tale focuses on a mining company hoping to dig out the biggest platinum find in human history, but to do so they’ll have to dig into a mountain shrouded in bloody, horrific legends. Sigler’s great at blending sci-fi and horror, and develops characters you love and hate (sometimes at the same time) along the way. Even in this first work, I’m having fun waiting for the scares.

Last year I interviewed writer Mur Lafferty about her print debut with the novel Playing For Keeps. Currently, she’s presenting the fifth and final volume in her Heaven series, War. I can’t tell you what War is about without spoiling the rest of the series, so let me tell you briefly about Heaven. The first volume begins with the deaths of Kate and her best friend Daniel, who go on to the afterlife and their reward. Kate soon realizes, however, that the perfect existence of Heaven is kind of boring, and she begins a journey that takes her through all the realms of the afterlife. It’s a really great fantasy novel, and holds a special place for me in that it’s the first Podiobook I ever listened to.

J.C. Hutchins is not only an awesome writer, but from all my limited interaction with him, he’s also come across as a genuinely nice guy, the sort of writer you want to support, which is why I told you guys over and over again to check out his print debut, Personal Effects: Dark Art. He’s also currently podcasting the prequel to that book, Personal Effects: Sword of Blood. The prequel has actually been on hiatus while he’s been promoting the print book, but he promises to return to it soon. Sword of Blood, like Dark Art, focuses on art therapist Zach Taylor and his attempt to peel back the layers of a patient with a dark secret.

Finally, here’s the one author I haven’t mentioned here before, because I’m new to his work. Virtually all of the other podcast authors I listen to told me frequently what a great writer Phil Rossi is and how much his new book Crescent, now available from Amazon, was. So naturally, I checked it out. Crescent is more of a hard sci-fi novel, the tale of a salvager who finds something pretty terrible waiting on one of the roughest stations in space. It has a sort of Alien vibe, and I mean that as a compliment.

Cool thing is, every one of these podiobooks is free. So click on the links, download a few eps and give ’em a listen. Oh, and when Christmas rolls around don’t forget my own podiobook, A Long November. I’ll have another one, too, but until I have the timeframe nailed down, I don’t want to get more specific than that. Enjoy!


Everything But Imaginary #314: A Universal Truth

One of the things that makes comics a unique artform is the concept of a superhero “universe.” It’s hard to imagine a world with just one superhero now. Why don’t we see this sort of crossover in other media? And why do we love it in our comics?

Everything But Imaginary #314: A Universal Truth
Inside this Column:

All Star Comics #3


Halloween Party: The Takeover

As people who visit here often may have figured out by now, I dig podcasts. I listen to plenty of ’em — podcasts about comic books, about movies, about my favorite TV shows, novels via podcast, comedy series via podcast… and yes, even zombies via podcast.

The Takeover is an audiodrama spearheaded by Mur Lafferty. You may have heard me mention Mur before, she’s the incredible writer behind the Heaven series and the superhero novel Playing For Keeps, so I was pretty excited to hear she’d started a new comedy series via podcast. The Takeover is a full-cast audiodrama about the employees of a small web start-up company that has been taken over by the zombie-controlled company Zombinc. Lafferty herself plays Maureen, the web designer who has been tapped for a promotion in the new company. The only catch is, per company policy, promotion involves being turned into a brain-eating zombie.

The story here is histerical. Anyone who has worked in an office setting can tell you that replacing upper management with zombies really wouldn’t make that big of a difference anyway, but having that implemented as a requirement for a promotion is particularly funny. Like The Office, much of the comedy in this series comes from just how true-to-life the situations and dialogue really are. The fact that zombies are included in the office setting is absurd, but the fact that it doesn’t change that much is revealing.

There’s a lot of character drama here too — Jeremy, the marketing director who has fallen in love with a zombie co-worker; Matt, who has a crush on Maureen and fears her potential promotion may kill his chances; Dr. Jason, the Frankenstein-like mad scientist who has a bizarre attraction to his own creation; and Phil the boss, whose zombie transformation hasn’t really impacted his job performance one way or another. It’s silly office politics combined with creatures who have to be lured specifically to the coffee pot full of brains before they chomp on a co-worker.

Lafferty is joined by a cast of podcast all-stars, including Christiana Ellis of Space Casey, and two of my absolute favorite podcast entertainers, Grant Baciocco of The Radio Adventures of Doctor Floyd and J.C. Hutchins of the brilliant 7th Son trilogy. Their performances are just as good as you’d expect if you’re familiar with their respective shows, and the rest of the cast is just as strong. If you’re looking for something funny to listen to that still maintains the necessary monster ties to keep up your Halloween spirit, you’ve got to check this podcast out.


Playing For Keeps: Talking With Mur Lafferty

If you’ve never heard of Mur Lafferty, this is for you. Mur is the author who turned me on to podcast novels with her excellent Heaven series. She’s also the creator of the I Should Be Writing podcast, an ongoing chronicle of her efforts to become a published fiction writer. The focus of that podcast is going to have to change, though — next week, Mur’s most recent podiobook, Playing For Keeps, will be released in print through the good people at Swarm Press.

I was lucky enough, earlier this week, to do a quick interview with Mur for Comixtreme about the book release. It was a lot of fun talking to her about the book, about her writing, and just in general. It sounds a little fanboyish, I suppose, but I enjoyed the chance to tell her how much I like her work. Playing For Keepsis really a fantastic book. It’s a superhero story about a group of low-powered superhumans… folks with seemingly useless powers like the ability to summon elevators or the power to cook the perfect meal or, in the case of our heroine, someone who cannot be stolen from. With powers like these, the “third wavers” are rejected by the heroes of the city. Things start to change, though, when a villain drops something in Keepsie’s possession — something the heroes want very badly.

The book is, at turns, exciting, funny, insightful, and touching. It’s a really unique angle to take in superhero storytelling, and it’s well worth reading.

It’s also, potentially, an important book. PFK is one of a few podcast novels — books that (like my own A Long November) were distributed for free as audio downloads on the internet — that has begun to make the transition to print. Mainstream book publishers are still skeptical of this practice. They think that no one will pay for something that they can get for free. The same goes for stuff like Summer Love, the story I’ve been serializing here on this very website. So when a podiobook becomes a traditional novel, it’s a big deal, and it’s a chance to send a message to the old media that the new media model can work. That’s why, even though I’ve already heard the novel, I can’t wait to go to on Monday, August 25, and order my print copy of Playing For Keeps. The idea is, for the folks who were planning to buy the book anyway to all do it on the same day, launch day, to help boost the book’s profile and bring it to the attention of people who otherwise may not have heard of it.

So here’s what I want you to do. If you’re at all interested in this — either in the idea behind the book or in the whole grand New Media experiment — do two things.

First: go check out my interview with Mur at

Second: Wait until August 25, then go to and order Playing For Keeps. Take my word for it, gang. If you liked Other People’s Heroes, you will love this book.

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