Thursday, April 23, 2015

Not-So-Guilty Pleasures: The L.S. Murphy Edition

Hello, my friends! You know what we haven't done in FAR too long? Wrestled some not-so-guilty pleasures out of a wonderful author! Thankfully, we shall be rectifying that horrible fact today.

I'm thrilled to welcome back to the blog Writers For Hope donor L.S. Murphy! Here's what she had to say about what floats her boat...

Not So Guilty Pleasures

Thanks, Kelly, for having me on your blog. And thanks for the awesome auction you’ve organized for RAINN. *standing ovation*

SO what makes a guilty pleasure a not-so-guilty pleasure? Guess it depends on your level of guilt? 

1. Musicals – I LOVE Broadway. Love. Love. Love. Did I mention that I love it? It goes back to my days in high school when the band director introduced me to Phantom, Miss Saigon, Les Miz, Starlight Express, etc. I cannot get enough of live theater. My daughter (who is 6 going on 30) watches the Tony Awards every year. She’s a bit of a theater buff herself. Although I won’t let her see Book of Mormon anytime soon.

2. St. Louis Cardinals – Baseball is the only sport. Sorry. If it was on 24/7 I would never leave the TV. I’m fiercely devoted to the Cardinals. I grew up watching Ozzie Smith and Willie McGee and John Tudor. Some of my favorite memories are from going to the games when I was a kid. I grew up on a farm in the middle of nowhere so going to St. Louis for a game was an event.

3. Pens РI know this sounds clich̩ since every other writer mentions pens and notebooks, but I am obsessed with Precise V7 pens. The V5s will do in a pinch, but the V7s are my faves. They write so smooth.

4. Books – What? That’s obvious? Okay, fine.

4. Coffee… duh – Okay, Coffee may be obvious as well, but I LOVE pouring my coffee over a scoop of vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt. It’s desert in a mug. It’s a cup of heaven. It’s… perfection.

5. Veronica Mars – Yes, I know the show is over. Yes, I’ve seen the movie. Yes, I know about the books. But can this never end? Seriously? I honestly only watched this show because Rats Saw God is one of my all time favorite books. But I fell in love. I’m a total Marshmallow.

PIXELATED will be released from
Bloomsbury Spark on June 30th!

Thank you so much for visiting again, L.S.! As for the rest of you, you know you want to learn more about L.S. and her amazing work, so check out her website and follow her on Twitter!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

True Love Never Dies...Or Something About The Force Being With Me

When I was a kid, my ideal day would have been pitching a blanket fort in front of the TV, watching a nonstop movie marathon and dumping my giant bin of Legos on the floor and building to my heart's content.

To be honest, that would still be a pretty ideal day for Adult-Kelly. The only difference is, I'd probably do all of this in jeans and t-shirt. Back in the day, I was a little bit fancier - or at least had more time to do movie-binge-preparations. So, rather than going with a run of the mill outfit, I would dress up in the manner of the characters I was watching.

It didn't matter what genre of movie. I dressed up like Zorro. I dressed up like a Mighty Duck. I dressed up like Eliza Doolittle.

There's a reason I work at a theater and spend my free time creating fictional words and people.

But while all of my beloved childhood films still hold a special place in my heart, there has never been any that has rivaled my affection for the original Star Wars trilogy. My parents took me to see the re-release in 1997. I was eleven years old and within minutes of the credits I had given my heart over completely.

I went home, searched through dozens of VHS tapes until I found ones on which my family had recorded the movies when they'd been on TV. I couldn't wait for Empire and Jedi on the big screen - though I would of course see them there - I had to watch them immediately. Even if it meant spending hours fast forwarding tapes until I could find them.

I read every Extended Universe novel I could get my hands on. My parents started assuming that any time I said their name it was going to end in a request to be taken to the closest book store or Blockbuster. I skipped school when Episode I came out a couple years later.

Over time there were things in books and/or films that took the story in directions that I wasn't a huge fan of, but not even that could shake my love for these stories.

Today the trailer for the newest installment has been released and I can already feel myself getting lost in the wonderful quicksand of repeat viewings.

Now, I can't say from this teaser what this movie will bring. If it will be everything that I want it to be. But I do know that when I watch it, I feel like that little girl who watched Empire on loop for a full sunny August day, despite her father's requests that she at least take a fifteen minute break for some fresh air. Whose mother came home after work to find her standing in the living dressed in her best Leia on Hoth costume, because that was the natural choice when watching Empire. Who thought it was necessary to memorize the serial number on the Millennium Falcon's main engine know, because. Who felt like everything was magic when she heard the first few chords of the well-known score. Who decided a notebook like this was necessary.

The little girl who dreamt of being a princess who kicked ass.

And that just gives me one more reason to be excited about next Christmas.

My mother was surprised to come home
to this, but not so surprised she didn't
grab a camera. 

And maybe to practice my hair braiding....just in case.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Auction Wrap Up & Gushing

Hello all!

To start off with THANK YOU again, so much to everyone who participated in the 2nd Annual Writers For Hope Auction. It will definitely be back again next April.

As I mentioned in last week's results post, all outstanding bids are due in by TODAY. Tomorrow, any items whose bids still haven't been donated will be offered to the second highest bidder. If you still have a bid to donate, you can go HERE to do so. You can also go there even if you didn't participate in the auction, but are interested in donating to RAINN in honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Anything I write about this event would be remiss if I didn't mention how consistently people overwhelm me - in the best way. Reading or watching the news - or the comment section on any such news items - it's easy to see the bad in the world. And it's easy to feel like the heaviness of that bad is crushing all the good.

Now, I can certainly admit that the bad is out there. If it wasn't, organizations like RAINN wouldn't need to exist. So, I don't begrudge new outlets for informing us of it - I do, however, wish they would broaden their focus, stop showing the world solely through the lens of everything wrong with it. The bad is real and serious, yes - but it is not eclipsing the good.

Whenever I do these sorts of events, whether it's the live or virtual auctions, there is nothing quite as anxiety provoking as the time I spend asking for donations. Asking people to give of their time or money or goods is awkward. Explaining to them why I would like them to give these things is intimidating. People get asked to do things a lot. Donor fatigue and burn out is something I expect. Even though someone may have donated last year, who knows what could have gone on in the last 12 months of their lives. Maybe something really big, maybe a whole lot of little things, maybe just enough to wish that people would stop emailing them and asking for more.

Every time I hit send on a request, there is that tiny second of doubt.

Well, the next time I feel that, I'm just going to reread all the responses I received for this year's donation requests. Here I was, asking a bunch of people to make their already busy lives busier, and the response - across the board - was excitement over the event and gratitude to be included. Those who couldn't make it fit in their schedule this year immediately found someone they knew who could. People who heard about the event elsewhere contacted me asking if they could give something to help.

The support on social media the day of the auction was amazing. People boosting the signal both about the event and the important reason it was occurring. I received message after message from people who just wanted me to know how excited they were to let other folks know about what was happening here. And then in almost every email from the winning bidders, people expressed not only excitement over their awesome prizes, but how happy they were to feel like they had been a part of something that was doing good.

All that bad stuff is big and it's flashy and it's what's going to make headlines. And it's important that we are aware of that darker side of the world, that we don't pretend it doesn't exist. But it's equally important that we don't let ourselves get so mired in that darkness that we forget the tremendous amount of light. Because if we lose sight of that, we also lose the strength we need to combat all the bad. We lose the reason we're fighting back in the first place.

So, again, thank you all from the very bottom of my heart. Thank you for being an army of every day, ordinary, beautiful goodness. Thank you for reminding me why I love this world and why it will forever be worth fighting for.

You make me feel like this..., all the time

Thursday, April 2, 2015

The 2nd Annual Writers For Hope Auction Winners!

It is now my complete honor to announce all the Writers For Hope Auction winners!

I can't tell you how crazy it was during the last five minutes of the auction. Floodgates came down, bids were pouring in and I was just yelling incoherent burst of excitement/singing item numbers operatically in the general direction of the computer.

Here are the winner's and the times of their final bids:

    • Donor: Lauren Baratz-Logsted
    • Winner: Jennifer (3:15pm)
    • Donor: Elizabeth Briggs
    • Winner: Dahlia Adler (12:49pm)
    • Donor: Marissa Burt
    • Winner: Jessie Oliveros (7:07pm)
    • Donor: Lauren Grimley
    • Winner: Anya (8:22pm)
    • Donor: Marie Meyer
    • Winner: Nicole Ludwig (5:24pm)
    • Donor: Maria Murnane
    • Winner: mes (3:02pm)
    • Donor: L.S. Murphy
    • Winner: gailecn (10:18am)
  • ITEM #8: BREAKING THE ICE (& Bag of Book Swag!)
    • Donor: Gail Nall
    • Winner: Mel Riggins (7:04pm)
  • ITEM #9: ARC of NAKED
    • Donor: Stacey Trombley
    • Winner: gailecn (10:17am)
  • ITEM #10: Get a Character Named After You!
    • Donor: Laura Salters
    • Winner: mk (11:55pm)
  • ITEM #11: Query Critique
    • Donor: Dahlia Adler
    • Winner: Christina Seine (8:50pm)
  • ITEM #12: Query Critique
    • Donor: Danielle Barthel
    • Winner: Breeanna Pierce (11:42pm)
  • ITEM #13: Query Critique
    • Donor: Jenny Bent
    • Winner #1: Meagan Evans (11:58pm)
    • Winner #2: Jason Metten (10:42pm)
    • Winner #3: Chuck Toporek (3:32pm)
  • ITEM #14: Query Critique
    • Donor: Laura Bradford
    • Winner: Meagan Evans (10:00pm)
  • ITEM #15: Query Critique
    • Donor: Mackenzie Brady
    • Winner: Sharon (11:44pm)
  • ITEM #16: Query Critique
    • Donor: Victoria Marini
    • Winner: TJG (11:56pm)
  • ITEM #17: Query Critique (2 passes!)
    • Donor: Dannie Morin
    • Winner: Elesha (10:01pm)
  • ITEM #18: Query Critique
    • Donor: Marieke Nijkamp
    • Winner: Jessie Oliveros (7:03pm)
  • ITEM #19: Query Critique
    • Donor: Jami Nord
    • Winner: Lauren Grimley (10:13pm)
  • ITEM #20: Query Critique
    • Donor: Jami Nord
    • Winner: Mytwicebakedpotato (11:16pm)
  • ITEM #21: Query Critique
    • Donor: Laura Salters
    • Winner: Devyn Makin (3:13pm)
  • ITEM #22: Query Critique
    • Donor: Lauren Spieller
    • Winner: Melanie (8:13pm)
  • ITEM #23: Query Critique
    • Donor: Lauren Spieller
    • Winner: Tammy (10:22pm)
  • ITEM #24: Query Critique
    • Donor: Laura Zats
    • Winner: mes (11:59pm)
  • ITEM #25: Synopsis Critique
    • Donor: Fiona McLaren
    • Winner: J. R. Yates (4:16pm)
  • ITEM #26: First Chapter Critique
    • Donor: Molly Lee
    • Winner: Kimberly VanderHorst (9:49pm)
  • ITEM #27: First Three Chapters Critique
    • Donor: Ronni Arno
    • Winner: Meredith Ireland (7:38pm)
  • ITEM #28: First Three Chapters Critique
    • Donor: Mandy Schoen
    • Winner: MEJ (11:52pm)
  • ITEM #29: First Thirty Pages Critique
    • Donor: Emmanuelle Morgen
    • Winner: MM Hoff (11:56pm)
  • ITEM #30: First Thirty Pages Critique
    • Donor: Shannon Parker
    • Winner: Kimberly VanderHorst (9:50pm)
  • ITEM #31: Query and First Chapter Critique OR Query and Picture Book Critique
    • Donor: Veronica Bartles
    • Winner: Beverley Baird (10:33pm)
  • ITEM #32: Query OR First Chapter Critique
    • Donor: Skylar Dorset
    • Winner: Beverley Baird (8:53pm)
  • ITEM #33: Query and First 1250 Words Critique
    • Donor: K.T. Hanna
    • Winner: Mytwicebakedpotato (11:21pm)
  • ITEM #34: Query and First 1250 Words Critique
    • Donor: K.T. Hanna
    • Winner: Mytwicebakedpotato (11:02pm)
  • ITEM #35: Query and First Five Pages Critique
    • Donor: Ava Jae
    • Winner: Manula Heinrich (11:52pm)
  • ITEM #36: Query and First Five Pages Critique
    • Donor: Caitlin Sinead
    • Winner: Ashley Hearn (5:03pm)
  • ITEM #37: Query and First Five Pages Critique
    • Donor: N.K. Traver
    • Winner: Devyn Makin (2:02pm)
  • ITEM #38: Query and First Chapter Critique
    • Donor: Brooks Benjamin
    • Winner: Beverley Baird (6:51pm)
  • ITEM #39: Query and First Chapter Critique
    • Donor: Juliana Brandt
    • Winner: Beverley Baird (6:52pm)
  • ITEM #40: Query and First Chapter Critique
    • Donor: Elizabeth Briggs
    • Winner: Mytwicebakedpotato (7:10pm)
  • ITEM #41: Query and First Chapter Critique
    • Donor: Karen Dionne
    • Winner: Beverley Baird (10:35pm)
  • ITEM #42: Query and First Chapter Critique
    • Donor: Jodi Meadows
    • Winner: Tiffanie Lynn (11:59pm)
  • ITEM #43: Query and First Chapter Critique
    • Donor: Marie Meyer
    • Winner: Lauren Grimley (9:28pm)
  • ITEM #44: Query and First Three Chapters Critique
    • Donor: Fiona McLaren
    • Winner: m.e. Warford (11:50pm)
  • ITEM #45: Query and First Fifty Pages Critique
    • Donor: L.S. Murphy
    • Winner: Faydra (7:54pm)
  • ITEM #46: Query, Contest Pitch, Synopsis and First Fifty Pages
    • Donor: Dannie Morin
    • Winner: kimcjohnson (10:49pm)
  • ITEM #47: Full Manuscript Critique
    • Donor: Anya Kagan
    • Winner: Jenna-Lynne Duncan (11:59pm)
  • ITEM #48: Full Manuscript Critique
    • Donor: Anna Katz
    • Winner: Mytwicebakedpotato (11:57pm)
  • ITEM #49: Full Manuscript Critique
    • Donor: Tamara Mataya
    • Winner: Chassy Cheri (11:59pm)
  • ITEM #50: Full Manuscript Critique
    • Donor: Joy McCullough-Carranza
    • Winner: Daniel Aleman (11:59pm)
  • ITEM #51: Full Manuscript Critique
    • Donor: Rachel Lynn Solomon
    • Winner: kimcjohnson (11:10pm)
  • ITEM #52: Full Manuscript Critique
    • Donor: Stacey Trombley
    • Winner: Catherine (9:47pm)
  • ITEM #53: Query, Synopsis and Full Manuscript Critique
    • Donor: Sonia Hartl
    • Winner: M.M. Nicodemos (3:44pm)
  • ITEM #54: 30 Minute Call or Skype Discussing the Road to Publishing
    • Donor: Scarlett Cole
    • Winner: Brynne S (9:06pm)
  • ITEM #55: 30 Minute Call or Skype Discussing the Road to Publishing
    • Donor: Scarlett Cole
    • Winner: KFS (11:32pm)
  • ITEM #56: 30 Minute Call Discussing Independent and Self-Publishing
    • Donor: Lauren Grimley
    • Winner: Brynne S (9:23pm)
  • ITEM #57: 30 Minute Call Discussing the Road to Publishing
    • Donor: Maria Murnane
    • Winner: mes (2:15pm)
  • ITEM #58: The Art of Storytelling: From Parents to Professionals
    • Donor: The Great Courses
    • Winner: pat (1:58pm)
  • ITEM #59: Writing Great Fiction: Storytelling Tips and Techniques
    • Donor: The Great Courses
    • Winner: Mel Riggins (10:33pm)
  • ITEM #60: Analysis and Critique: How to Engage and Write About Anything
    • Donor: The Great Courses
    • Winner: mk (10:11am)
  • ITEM #61: Writing Creative Nonfiction
    • Donor: The Great Courses
    • Winner: Beverley Baird (10:31pm)
  • ITEM #62: Custom Digital Book Cover
    • Donor: S.P. McConnell
    • Winner: K.T. Hanna (11:59pm)

Congratulations to everyone!!

 Here's what you need to do to claim your awesome prizes:
  • Go to my RAINNmaker page and donate your bid amount by FRIDAY, APRIL 10. Highest bid amount for those who chose to outbid themselves. =) 
  • When you make your bid, please use the name that you won the prize under.
  • Once your donation has shown up on the page, please email me at, with the Item # in the subject line and I'll give you the information you need to get in touch with your donor. If you won a book, please include the address where you would like the book sent in your email. 
  • Read, write and be merry.

Finally, I have tallied the highest bids on each auction item and can tell you that once all donations have been made to the RAINNmaker page, we will have raised $5224.02 for RAINN!! To say the very least, you have completely blown my goal of $2000 the hell out of the water. 

This money will help over 520 survivors get the support they need. It's completely amazing.

To all the donors, bidders and folks who spread the word about this auction, THANK YOU, from the very bottom of my heart. 


Bidding for the 2nd Annual Writers For Hope Online Auction is officially complete! No more bids will be considered at this point.

Thank you so much to absolutely everyone for the support and generosity that you have shown here today. You are all amazing.

Please check back in tomorrow for a list of our winning bidders and some auction wrap up!

For now, go enjoy your post-auction relaxation activities. Like sleeping, or maybe eating some sort of pie, or sleep-eating some sort of pie, or something.

You've earned it.