Please welcome, Deirdre Murphy (aka wyld_dandelyon), joint winner of this year's Meager Puddle of Limelight Award for Best Short Story Title.
Tell us a little about your winning story, MONSTER TEETH AND ART GLASS ie: Is it finished/published?
It is. It was written for Torn World, and is published on the website. It’s also in our first anthology, Family Ties and Torn Skies, which is in the preorder stage for print copies, though PDF copies are available today.
When I started the story, I had intended to pick up the story of a restaurant owner who I featured in an earlier Torn World story, but Neteilyu pulled the story into her own point of view. She’s the widow of a warsailor who gets some satisfaction—and profit—from making sea monsters look ridiculous: using their skins, fins, teeth, and other parts to make impractical lamps and bizarre chairs to sell to tourists. The illustration for the story that I did for the anthology was
I need more hours in the day!
Are you a pantser or an outliner?
A pantser, mostly, though sometimes an outline is very helpful in getting past that “stuck in the middle” feeling.
Tell us about your very first sale.
I think it’s a cool coincidence that my first sale, like my co-winner Renee Carter Hall (aka , poetigress) was to MZB’s Fantasy Magazine. It’s a story called SANDY’S BOGEYMAN, and was in an issue went out of print about two months after it came out. It was the first story that I sent out that had not been read by the writer’s group, and if I remember right, it was accepted by the first market I sent it to. In comparison, stories they had commented on now linger only in electronic limbo on old hard drives. That still kind-of perplexes me, but it did give me confidence that I could write well without the safety-net of a writer’s group.
What are your long term goals as a writer?
Long term—I want to get faster, better and more consistent, because there’s so many stories I want to tell, and I want to tell them well. I want people to read them, and to get excited enough about the next stories I write to seek them out. I’d love for that to translate into financial gain, or at least paying bills, but that’s because money is time, and I value the time I have available for storytelling.
One of the benefits of being unemployed recently, and spending so much time writing during that year, is I learned how much it matters to me that my stories (or at least the best of them) can make somebody’s day a little better. Once I get settled into my very new job, I need to figure out a way to schedule time to finish my novels as well as continuing to write shorter fiction.
What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever heard?
The best advice is whatever opens your eyes to the next steps you need to take, skill-wise. If you hear advice that makes you itch to start writing, or lets you say “I can fix this story now”, then it’s the best advice in the world—today. Tomorrow, it’ll be old hat!
What’s the worst?
Anyone who tells you that they know the one and only proper way to write, and you have to do it their way, is giving terrible advice.
What was the last story/novel you pitched/submitted?
Peeking at the excel sheet where I’m tracking my submissions, my most recent submission was THE OLD FASHIONED WAY, a science fiction story about a lady doctor faced with a mysterious plague on an alien planet.
What was the last story/novel you read?
Regenesis by CJ Cherryh is the last novel. It’s the sequel to Cyteen, which has long been on my favorites list.
The last short story is harder to place—I read everything submitted to Torn World, both to keep up with what’s going on and in my capacity as member of the canon board. Perhaps it was KIN AND INK, a story by Ellen Million about a runaway who first appeared in my story, THE BUTTERFLY GIRL. The collaborative process isn’t for everyone, but I really enjoy seeing a character I created through another author’s eyes.
Where can readers find your work?
While I was unemployed, I crowdfunded some stories here on LJ; I’ve moved the directory posts since they’re now up on my new, under-construction website www.wyld-dandelyon.com , but they can also still be found under the Landing tag, if someone prefers to stay in LJ. I have most of a novel, Fireborn, indexed there, as well as flash fiction in various worlds and poetry/songs.
I also have work in Issues 12 and 22 of Crossed Genres and Issue 0 of With Painted Words.
Some of my best work is at www.tornworld.net, and, of course, there’s the new Torn World print anthology Family Ties & Torn Skies: http://www.tornworld.net/familyties.php
Where on the web can you be found? Twitter: @Wyld_Dandelyon; Facebook: Deirdre Moira Murphy www.tornworld.net; www.wyld-dandelyon.com and wyld_dandelyon.livejournal.com (of course)
I’m also Wyld_Dandelyon on the Torn World forums.
There’s some other spots I have a minimal presence, but I’d rather be writing than running a web-empire.
What do you know now, that you wish you'd known when you first started writing?
That one’s hard. Maybe how much exhaustion resembles writer’s block.
Who do you think would win in a fight, astronauts or cavemen?
One thing that writing has taught me is that there’s dozens of answers to that question—and, more importantly, the answer isn’t really the point of the story. No matter how much people say they read to find out what happens in the end, if people don’t care about the characters and enjoy the story, they won’t care about the end either.
Deirdre M. Murphy is a writer, musician and artist. She’s spent most of her life squeezing creative pursuits into whatever nooks and crannies of “spare time” she could create. She lives in a big old Victorian house surrounded by different varieties of rose, mint, herbs, and a bit of grass sprinkled liberally with dandelions.
When she was a kid, she wanted to learn everything, and read all the science fiction and fantasy ever written. As an adult, she realizes that’s not a realistic goal, but she believes in dreaming big.