Tag: novel

What’s in a Name?

Hi! How are you doing?

Michael here, coming at you live from Winnerpeg! Okay, maybe not live, this is a BLOG post, after all. I’m still riding the high from my hometown Winnipeg Blue Bombers winning the Grey Cup on Sunday.

If you are tuning in from the States, or elsewhere, the Grey Cup is like the Canadian version of the Superbowl. It had been 29 long years since the Bombers won. That makes it a pretty big deal.

I could probably write an entire blog post talking about the Bombers. I’ve witnessed a lot more heartbreak than triumph over the years, watching them choke at the wrong moments, or even how nervous I felt with the nail-biting victory over our arch-rivals, the Saskatchewan Rough Riders, last Sunday.

But believe me, you wouldn’t want that. I’m going to stick to what I know best so that I can give you a semi-funny, mostly coherent rant about something related to the world of being a published author. It’s what the people want! That, and more post making fun of my sister.

You see, I learned the other day that there is another Michael Murray out there in Authorland.

No, I don’t mean hunky former teen heartthrob Chad Michael Murray, though the resemblance between the two of us is uncanny.

 

Image result for chad michael murray
It’s like I’m looking into a mirror

 

There is another Michael Murray out there. This is important because, as you undoubtedly know, authors subscribe to the Highlander school of thought around these kinds of things.

There can be only one!

This other Michael Murray – we’ll call him Imposter Murray – has been writing for a long time, from the looks of it. His first writing credit came all the way back in 1989, the year after I was born. There are two likely situations here.

The first is that I’ve been doing a Fight Club Tyler Durden/The Narrator kind of thing, writing as Imposter Murray in my sleep, since I was 12 months old. This seems like the most likely scenario since I was an incredibly fast learner. Erm, so I was told.

The second is that Imposter Murray took a trip to Winnipeg and somehow happened to see my name. Understandably awed and taken aback by the perfect alliteration, he stole it and has been using it ever since to write made-for-TV Christmas movies

 

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So many Christmas movies

 

I’m sure if we tune to the Hallmark channel for long enough this Holiday season, we’ll find one of his cinematic masterpieces.

One of the questions that I get the most is about my pen name. Why do I write under the name M. James Murray? When I chose it, I had no idea that Michael J. Murray AKA Imposter Murray existed. I did know about the existence of Chad Michael Murray, but that wasn’t the reason, either.

It was all about the findability factor. Findability. That’s a word now, by the way. Verb. Ability to be found, notably concerning online presence.

 

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Shakespeare invented over 1700 words. Surely I can invent at least one!

*Editors Note* apparently findability IS a word. Which brings my invented word count back down to zero.

When I google my birth name, I’m not on the first page of results. Or the second. Or the third. Or the fourth. I think you get the idea. Also, no judging for googling my name! You’ve done it too, I’d bet!

There are Michael Murrays (is the plural Murrai?) who are doctors. One of us is an accomplished organist. I assume this means that he is proficient at playing, not harvesting organs.

There is a Michael Murray who produces video games, and we already talked about the two other MM’s in the Hollywood world.

So I needed a somewhat unique, distinguishable name. It was important to me that I stayed true to myself, so a pen name was out of the question. Somewhere along the line, I got the idea to use my middle name. And it stuck.

It’s catchy, it flows off the tongue. And when you google it, BAM!

 

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I’ve got a Google panel, guys!

The first thing that pops up is my twitter account. The second is a link to Far from Ordinary. Then a link to my website. Findability, BAY BAY!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a Christmas movie to write.

So, what did we learn this week?

  1. To thine own self, stay true. Thanks, Polonius.
  2. I missed the anniversary of this blog! It happened back in October, actually. I guess I should eat some cake or something.
  3. My god, I’m sore! My knee hurts so badly that it’s tough to put weight on it. There’s no injury, I’m just over thirty. Pretty sure my knees get sore when I just LOOK at a treadmill nowadays.
  4. I got twenty-two downloads from my free book giveaway! If even one of those downloads leads to a review, I’m golden. Reviews are the lifeblood that keeps my book relevant to Amazon and, therefore, to any potential readers.
  5. This weekend I’ll be speaking at the #Change1 conference. Check it out. I’ll be talking about following your passion. Get tickets here.

Later days,

M

The Vaunted Follow-up Post

It’s a typical pattern after an especially popular blog post for me. I write, and then I turtle. A popular blog post is followed by a month or more of radio silence. Can you really call it a pattern, though, if it’s only a couple of posts?

I’ve tried over the past year to figure out which kind of post does the best. Is it the ones which are tongue-in-cheek? Or is it the serious ones? Ones where I talk about the craft of writing or ones where I talk about that damn khajit?

Two posts stand out above any others in terms of popularity. The first was the book launch.  People seemed to dig it! Probably because I just made fun of my sister in it the entire time.

Somehow, though, I don’t think that making fun of Lisa is the secret sauce to a more popular blog. (I could totally be wrong – feel free to sound off in the comments if you want to read more about that. I’d be more than happy to oblige).

The 2nd was my last blog post. New York: The Writer’s Conference. This is significant because – even though I don’t make fun of my sister – people still seemed to dig it.

Both of these signify pretty huge steps in my writing journey. The first was about the launch of Far from Ordinary. The second was about trying to break through into the writing industry.

After all, it’s one thing to write a book. It’s entirely another to get it published in an extremely competitive industry.

So that’s the secret sauce, then. Just keep doing epic shit – stuff that is far from ordinary, pardon the pun (available on Amazon, check it out!!)

Also easier said than done.

The posts where I have a massive update are the ones that are the most popular. That makes all the sense, doesn’t it? Therein lies my problem, as well. How the hell do you follow that up?

I mean, I could always write about a khajit. The internet seems to love cats, even if they’re complete and utter assholes. Which khajit should I write about? The one that I miss, or the one that tortures me every day? Decisions, decisions.

There’s no excuse for not writing blog posts. Not for me, anyway. Writers are supposed to write every day. No excuses. But, of course, there are. There are always excuses. I’m tired. My mantlepiece needs cleaning. Mercury is in goddamn retrograde.

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Very insightful, no?

The only thing I want to do after a post which does better than average is to follow it up with another one that can do just as well. That’s almost impossible, though, unless I’m starting to be less than honest with my posts.

NEXT WEEK, I TALK ABOUT HOW I SINGLE HANDEDLY SOLVED THE CLIMATE CRISIS, WHILE SOMEHOW HAVING A FANTASTIC HAIRLINE AND GETTING THE DOCTOR-RECOMMENDED 8.5 HOURS OF SLEEP EVERY NIGHT!

No, I don’t think I’ll do that. Hashtag fake news. I don’t like clickbait, and I assume that you don’t, either.

Here I am, then, taking that integral first step. Do me a favor and like the post, mmkay? It will help my desperately fragile writer’s ego.

SO

What did we learn this week (month)?

  1. It’s no fun being a non-practicing writer. Let’s fix that, yes?
  2. I’ve been sitting on a couple of story ideas for my next novel. The first? Far from Ordinary 2: Electric Boogaloo. The 2nd? UNTITLED HORROR STORY PROJECT.
  3. I’m still working on the title for the second one. I’ve wanted to do a horror story for a long time now. There’s something about a good spooky story. A freezer book. A journey into the macabre, so to speak.[insert friends freezer book
  4. You’ve got to start again sometime. Here’s to the blank page
  5. Next week I’m going to talk about results! Specifically what I’ve gotten from the writer’s conference so far

Later days,

M