Comparing Hockey & Writing – A Guest Post by Luke Murphy

Today I have a guest post for you from Luke Murphy, retired professional hockey player and author of the thriller DEAD MAN’S HAND
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It can almost be said with certainty that I didn’t follow the path of the average writer. As a child, I never dreamed of writing a best-seller, never aspired to write the next classic novel, I wanted to be an NHL superstar…period.

With the death of my mother in 1992, losing a battle to cancer she had fought so hard against for years, I sensed it was time to get serious about reaching my dreams, and moved away to pursue hockey.

From 1992-1995, while playing for the Pembroke Lumber Kings in the Central Junior Hockey League, I noticed a shift in the game of hockey and realized that the odds of making it to the NHL were unfavorable for a kid who stood 5’9’’ and weighed 160 pounds. So, my goals shifted. I accepted a hockey scholarship to Rochester Institute of Technology. If I couldn’t make a living playing hockey, at least I could achieve an education and open doors for my future.

After four rewarding years at College, receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing, I wasn’t ready to give up on the game I love.

I attended the Florida Panthers Rookie Camp and played well, playing in four games, as well as scoring the game winning goal against the Ottawa Senators.

Unfortunately, I broke my hand in an awkward hit in my fourth exhibition game that ended my camp, but my hard work paid off. The Panthers offered me a Minor League contract, $500 a week to play the game I love. I spent six years in the minors and retired in 2006 with no regrets.

From a family of avid readers, even as a child, I always had a passion for books. Whether it was reading novels on road trips or writing assignments in school, literature was always part of my life.

In the winter of 2000, after sustaining a season ending eye injury while playing in Oklahoma City, I found myself with a lot of time on my hands, and a new hobby emerged.

One day, with an idea in mind, I sat down in front of a computer and began writing. I wrote a little every day, around my intense rehabilitation schedule and before I knew it, I had completed my first manuscript.

I didn’t write with the intention of being published. I wrote for the love of writing, as a hobby. Ever the perfectionist, I didn’t see my novel at the level to compete with best-selling authors across the country. I continued to hobby write through the years, honing my craft, making time between work and family obligations.

Then I made a decision – I enjoyed writing so much, I decided I wanted to take my interest one step further – write a story with the intention of being published. I realized that I wanted to be like my favorite authors – entertain readers and allow them, like when I read, to escape reality and for a moment be in another place and time.

I’ve never been one to take things lightly or jump in half way. I took a full year off from writing to study the craft. I constantly read, from novels in my favorite genres to books written by experts in the writing field. I continually researched on the internet, reading up on the industry and process. I attended writing conferences and made friends (published and unpublished authors), bombarding them with questions and learning what it took to become successful.

Feeling that I was finally prepared, in the winter of 2007, with an idea in mind and an outline on paper, I started to write DEAD MAN`S HAND. It took me two years (working around full time jobs) to complete the first draft of my novel.

I then worked with editors and joined a critique group, doing anything I could to learn, to improve my writing and my novel to point where I could create the best possible novel.

I sent out hundreds of query letters to agents. After six months of rejections, I pulled my manuscript back and worked on it again. Then in my next round of proposals, I was offered representation by Ms. Jennifer Lyons of the Jennifer Lyons Literary Agency.

After months of work with Jennifer, and more rejections from publishers, my dream was finally realized in April, 2012, when I signed a publishing contract with Imajin Books.

The term “practice makes perfect” can basically relate to anything you do. Hockey and writing are no different.

Many people might not see a connection between writing and hockey, but there are many similarities in not only your preparation, but “musts” once you’re there.

In both hockey and writing, you need three things: patience, persistence and thick skin.

My transition from professional hockey player to published author was surprisingly smooth. Hockey and writing have many things in common.

For both, it takes hard work and practice. There are many critics, and you need to be able to take criticism with a grain of salt. Both the hockey and writing worlds are small communities, filled with people who want to help you succeed. In order to find success, in both you need to be persistent and confident.

It’s all about taking a chance, putting yourself out there to be evaluated by your peers. That’s the scariest part.

It takes time to get “good” at something. I started writing when I was young and playing professional hockey. A couple of hours a day on the ice and in the gym and then the day was mine. I also suffered a serious eye injury and couldn`t play, so I had a lot more time on my hands. Now that I`m older, with a family and full time job, makes it a lot harder to find the time to write. Take advantage and chase your dreams while you’re young.

My one piece of advice for all aspiring hockey players and writers…you’ll get a lot of “no’s” along the way and people trying to bring you down. But remember, it only takes one “yes”. Stick with it. Anything is possible. It’s all about “staying the course” and not getting off track. Have no regrets and leave nothing on the table.

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Luke Murphy lives in Shawville, Quebec with his wife, three daughters and pug.

He played six years of professional hockey before retiring in 2006. Since then, he’s held a number of jobs, from sports columnist to radio journalist, before earning his Bachelor of Education degree (Magna Cum Laude).

Murphy`s debut novel, Dead Man`s Hand, was released by Imajin Books on October 20, 2012.

For more information on Luke and his books, visit: www.authorlukemurphy.com, ‘like’ his Facebook page www.facebook.com/#!/AuthorLukeMurphy and follow him on Twitter www.twitter.com/#!/AuthorLMurphy

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DEAD MAN’S HAND

What happens when the deck is stacked against you…

From NFL rising-star prospect to wanted fugitive, Calvin Watters is a sadistic African-American Las Vegas debt-collector framed by a murderer who, like the Vegas Police, finds him to be the perfect fall-guy.

…and the cards don’t fall your way?

 When the brutal slaying of a prominent casino owner is followed by the murder of a well-known bookie, Detective Dale Dayton is thrown into the middle of a highly political case and leads the largest homicide investigation in Vegas in the last twelve years.

 What if you’re dealt a Dead Man’s Hand?

 Against his superiors and better judgment, Dayton is willing to give Calvin one last chance. To redeem himself, Calvin must prove his innocence by finding the real killer, while avoiding the LVMPD, as well as protect the woman he loves from a professional assassin hired to silence them.

  Review Blurbs:

 “You may want to give it the whole night, just to see how it turns out.”

—William Martin, New York Times bestselling author of The Lincoln Letter

“Dead Man’s Hand is a pleasure, a debut novel that doesn’t read like one,

but still presents original characters and a fresh new voice.”

—Thomas Perry, New York Times bestselling author of Poison Flower

“Part police procedural, part crime fiction, Dead Man’s Hand is a fast, gritty ride.”

—Anne Frasier, USA Today bestselling author of Hush

Blogger Book Fair Reader’s Choice Award

Remember the book fair I participated in earlier this year? BROKEN THINGS won the Reader’s Choice Award for Science Fiction.

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BTW, BROKEN THINGS is on sale for the entire month of September, for the bargain price of $.99!!! If you’ve been waiting to read it, this is a great time to grab it. It’s available at that price through AMAZON USUKCABarnes & NobleKoboSonyitunes; and Smashwords.

Interview on Indie Author Land

I recently did an interview over on Indie Author Land. Click on over for a bit of behind the scenes on Death Storm.

The couple that runs this site are readers that provide a great service to discover new authors. Besides mine, they have a wide selection of interviews with other authors. Definitely worth checking out.

Interview with Author Jamie Campbell

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Please take a moment to introduce yourself. 

 

My name is Jamie Campbell, I’m an author based on the Gold Coast, Australia. I write mainly young adult paranormal romance, however I do write some adult murder mysteries on the side. I enjoy both genres so I write whatever story comes to me.

 

Describe your writing process. Do you have a daily routine?

 

I have a set word goal every day. Without fail, I do at least 2,000 words. On a day where I get to write all day, I’ll write about 8,000 words across all my current projects.

 

Introduce us to your latest work. What’s it about?

 

A World Without Angels is the first in The Aron Angels series. It follows guardian angel Jerome as he inadvertently falls to Earth during a battle with some demons. While on Earth, he falls in love with a human, Leila. In order to stop the demons killing all the guardian angels and therefore plunging the world into the influences of evil, he and Leila must solve an ancient prophecy. Only then can peace be restored.

 

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Speaking of your work, you have a number of titles available. Which of your books are you the most fond of?

 

I really enjoyed writing the Aron Angels series, mainly because Jerome is such a sweetheart. I also had a lot of fun with the Fairy Tales Retold series, where I twisted the perspective of well known fairytales. I changed the antagonist into the protagonist and enjoyed making the villain the hero.

 

If you had the choice of which book to introduce a new reader to, would that be it, or would you start them with a different book?

 

I would start with A World Without Angels as the reader can see the kind of worlds I create and fall in love with Jerome.

 

Do you have a character in your writing that you relate with more than most?

 

A have a four part series called A Hairy Tail going at the moment, I’m just in the middle in the forth installment. The main character is named Hannah and she’s a lot like me when I was fifteen. I have found a lot of myself in her when I read it back to myself, even though it wasn’t intentional.

 

Where do you find inspiration?

 

Inspiration is everywhere. Sometimes it’s found when I hear a song and then suddenly see this whole book in front of me. Other times, it’s from something I’ve seen or heard in the street. The best ideas always come to me in the shower and then I’m scrambling to remember them afterwards.

 

What can we look forward to in the future?

 

I have lots and lots more unpublished books. I’m currently working on an alien trilogy which I am so excited about that it might push all the others aside and jump the queue to be released next.
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Every day this week, I am featuring a different author on my blog as part of the Blogger Book Fair.

Writing About Tough Topics in Fiction – a Guest Post by Heather Topham Wood

compressed profileIf you’ve read my paranormal romance Second Sight series, you’re likely to be surprised over what a huge departure The Disappearing Girl is from it. I would consider my series a light read where I often use humor and romance to diffuse a lot of the tension from the more suspenseful parts. The Disappearing Girl is far from funny or light.

Tackling a tough subject is a daunting task. Many people read to escape and may not want to explore subjects that make them uncomfortable. Although my book has a love story, Kayla’s bulimia and anorexia is central to the story. A girl starving herself and binging and purging can’t be romanticized.

My goal with The Disappearing Girl is to make people think about their words. Kayla’s mom is very obsessed with beauty and her harsh comments are one of the reasons Kayla’s eating habits spiral out of control. As Kayla remarks in the book, she was far from innocent though, she had sat around with her friends and judged other girls on their weight fluctuations.

I didn’t want to come off as preachy in my novel and I think that is important with any book dealing with a tough topic. Instead, I thought it was important to explore the emotions of someone who develops an eating disorder because she believes it will fix everything wrong in her life. The reason I wrote the book in first person was because I wanted readers to see inside Kayla’s head. They may get upset with her and wish she would snap out of it but I hope they gain an understanding of why she can’t stop her extreme dieting.

When writing about a tough topic, research is key. Although I’m familiar with the feelings of taking extreme steps to lose weight, I wanted to use other stories and experiences. I read A LOT in order to see what others have gone through and also to learn about the treatments used for eating disorder patients.

Finally, I think the most important thing to remember when writing about a tough subject is to make the characters and plot believable. If you’re including things like rape, suicide and abuse, only for shock value, it is going to leave readers with a bad taste in their mouth. Explore the topic in a meaningful and respectful way to make it work well for your book.

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Heather Topham Wood’s obsession with novels began in childhood while growing up in a shore town in New Jersey. Writing since her teens, she recently returned to penning novels after a successful career as a freelance writer. She’s the author of the paranormal romance Second Sight series and the standalone The Disappearing Girl.

Heather graduated from the College of New Jersey in 2005 and holds a bachelor’s degree in English. Her freelance work has appeared in publications such as USA Today,Livestrong.com, Outlook by the Bay and Step in Style magazine. She resides in Trenton, New Jersey with her husband and two sons. Besides writing, Heather is a pop culture fanatic and has an obsession with supernatural novels and TV shows.

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Twitter: Heather’s Twitter Account

Blog: Heather’s Book Chatter

Facebook: Heather Topham Wood’s Author Page

July BBF button copy

Every day this week, I am featuring a different author on my blog as part of the Blogger Book Fair. Check back tomorrow for another author.

Guest Author – Becca Campbell

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My Romantic Sci Fi Thriller Foreign Identity is FREE this week at most online retailers. Check out this character interview with Jax, then find the links below and be sure to get your free download while you can! (Free promo ends July 26th.)

Who is Jax?

As the author, I have the advantage of being able to materialize in and out of my story at will. This gave me the unique opportunity to speak with two of my characters and find out how they felt about their dire circumstances.

Deep in the heart of a cold building runs a labyrinth of corridors. It was in one of these halls that I stumbled upon two people, known to each other only as “Jax” and “Kel.” They were wandering, seemingly lost, but I managed to snag a few minutes with Jax to find out a little more about what is going on in this strange place.

BC: So you just made it out of a prison of sorts. What was your reaction to waking up trapped like that?

Jax (runs hands through his hair): Waking up in chains was a shock, that’s for sure. But once I came to, I pushed aside my confusion and focused on the problem. It seemed to be a puzzle, sorta like everything else in this place. After that, it was just putting the pieces together.

BC: Your problem-solving skills must be excellent. How does it feel to have escaped that room?

Jax: At first I was relieved we’d found a way out. But now I’m not so sure. Maybe that was all part of the plan… I keep wondering if maybe we were safer in that cell.

BC: That’s quite a statement. What do you make of this place? You’ve found what appear to be other puzzles as well. What do you think the significance might be?

Jax: No idea yet. But I’ll tell you one thing. The more rooms we find, the more sure I am there’s something going on here. And it can’t be good. I’m guessing we were meant for more than to be prisoners—but what? And where’s our captor? There’s definitely something strange behind this place. It creeps me out.

BC: What can you tell me about Kel, the woman you were imprisoned with?

Jax: (Eyes shift over to where she’s standing out of hearing range.) I don’t totally get her yet. She seems nice and all, but I can tell she’s holding something back. I guess we both are. It’s hard to know what to make of our situation and how to act around each other.

BC: It seems a bit odd that you both have amnesia. You can’t remember your past, but have you seen any clues about yourself since you woke up here? Any guesses about what sort of life you might have had before you lost your memory?

Jax (shrugs): I guess I’m pretty logical. Figuring out the puzzle with our chains. So maybe some profession involving math—or construction. I sorta have a photographic memory—I can memorize floorplans in my head.

BC: It must be nice to have a gift like that.

Jax: I guess. It’s just…weird. I mean, it feels totally normal to me, but it seemed to freak Kel out a little when she found out.

BC: Kel is the only one in your entire world right now. What’s it like to have no memories of anyone else?

Jax (Takes a deep breath and lets it out slowly.): Well, it’s kinda trippy. I feel like I should know other people, I even remember what kids are, though I can’t remember a specific person. I guess if I have to be here with anyone, I’m glad it’s Kel. She’s pretty good company. (He glances at her again and then his voice lowers.) You want to know the weirdest part of it? I feel this strange connection to her. I don’t know… Just like there’s a reason we’re here together.

BC: Is there any…physical attraction between you?

Jax: (Reddens slightly.) Maybe. I’m a guy, I notice women—that’s normal, right? Can’t really help but be aware of each other, what with us both being prisoners and all. (Clears his throat.) I mean, she’s not bad to look at, either.

BC: You’ve been searching the corridors. What’s your plan from here on out?

Jax: Getting out of here. Getting home—wherever that is. Hopefully we can both figure out who we are in the process, maybe find a way to get our memories back. If we can’t…well, we’ll deal with that when the time comes. First step is finding a way out. If it’s possible, I’ll find it. I’m not quitting until I have the answer.

BC: Thanks for taking time to chat and good luck!

Jax didn’t seem too happy at my abrupt and somewhat flippant exit, but I’m sure he’ll be able to figure out the mysteries behind the place–I just hope it’s sooner rather than later.

Want to see what Jax and Kel look like in my head? Check out my Pinterest board dedicated to Foreign Identity.

More About Foreign Identity

Cold. Confusion. Fear. This is how it all begins.

Waking up without your memory in a cell and bound by chains is terrifying.

Two nameless strangers, a man and a woman, find themselves imprisoned together. With no memories of their own identities, let alone their captor and tormentor, escape is the only option. The pair faces a bizarre labyrinth of rooms and clues that confuse more than they explain. Every discovery only brings more questions.

Who captured them? Why were they taken? What does their captor want from them? What can the riddles mean?

Who are they?

Lacking allies and options, the duo must learn to trust one another. Mazes, puzzles, and even strange, lurking creatures force them to rely on their wits–and each other–for survival. But survival isn’t enough. They need answers.

Will the answers be enough? Will the truth bring them closer together, or drive them forever apart? Will discovering their identities finally bring them home?

Grab Foreign Identity for FREE:

Amazon US | Amazon UK

IMG_9817 a lowresBecca J. Campbell is the author of the New Adult Romantic Science Fiction novels Foreign Identity and Gateway to Reality, and Sub-Normal, a series of short stories.

An avid lover of stories that tiptoe the line between fantasy and reality (even when they plunge off one side or the other), Becca looks for new angles on bridging the gap between the two. She holds a special place in her heart for any story that involves superpowers or time travel. Her passion is defying the limits of her own creativity. You can find her on her Author Blog, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, and Amazon.

July BBF button copyEvery day this week, I am featuring a different author on my blog as part of the Blogger Book Fair. Check back tomorrow for another author.

July Happenings

July is looking to be a busy month. 🙂

DEATH STORM – Hungry Gods Book 1

DEATH STORM, Book 1 in the Hungry Gods Trilogy is being released just in time to start the month. That means that if you are sick of me talking about BROKEN THINGS, it will be taking a second seat for the new material. Death Storm is a dark fantasy apocalypse featuring a world of sword and sorcery getting to deal with a zombie apocalypse. Watch for a cover reveal soon.

JULY BOOK SIGNINGS

I have not signed on for any book signings this month, but watch for details. I am hoping to feature the new novel at any and all appearances, but it will depend on how quickly I get my books from the printer.

BLOGGER BOOK TOUR

For the end of  July, watch for a Blogger Book Tour. I am planning to feature/host 5 other authors, and visit their blogs in turn.

MISC

Finally, wonder why it’s taken me so long to finish this last book? I’m easily distracted. I’ve started 9 manuscripts over the last couple of months, chasing a lot of fun ideas. some of these manuscripts are already nearly 25% written. I’m making a goal to start finishing all of these projects that I’ve started, one book at a time. As soon as Death Storm hits the virtual shelves, I’ll reveal the next Work-in-Progress.

 

 

 

RosePointPublishing Reviews Broken Things

RosePointPublishing is an indie publishing house ran by Virginia Williams. Virginia is publishing the manuscripts of her grandfather, Stanley McShane. They are novels about Seafaring, inspired by the man’s true life on the sea. Virginia is sharing McShane’s books this week in our Multi-Author Ebook Sale, and I am currently reading Lucky Joe. Learn more about Stanley McShane and RosePointPublishing by visiting their website here.

RosePointPublishing gave BROKEN THINGS a very nice review this week, calling it a “Scary Sci-Fi”. 🙂 Check out the review here.

Multi-Author Indie E-Book Sale


This week (starting May 27 through May 31st) I am participating in an ebook sale along with 11 other authors. There are many different genres too. Besides Sci-Fi and Fantasy, there are children’s books, cook books, ghost stories, etc. The majority of books are on sale for $0.99, including my own novel, BROKEN THINGS.
here’s the landing page for all of the books:  http://indieap.cucinavivace.com/99centdeals/

Book Signing in Boise Friday and Saturday

Are you in or around Boise, Idaho this Friday or Saturday? Come by and see me! I will be selling and signing copies of BROKEN THINGS in two locations. The links will take you to the Facebook event.

On Friday,  I will be at the Idaho Aquarium from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.

On Saturday, I will be at the Eagles Auxiliary Spring Bazaar from  10:00 am to 4:00 pm.

At both events there will also be other authors from the Idaho Authors’ Community.

Other signings are coming up throughout May and June in Southern Idaho. If you are curious as to where, all signings are listed here. Book Signings.