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11 February 2016 @ 04:49 pm

Thanks to the efforts of the magnificent Thirzah Brown, I have a beautiful new website! Equally excitingly, I have, through the good graces of a reader, acquired a comments moderator, which means the comments have been turned back on for the site! COME ONE! COME ALL! SPEAK TO ME! :)

This has all been in the works for quite a long time now, and I’m really delighted to see it go live. My needs for a website have changed over the years, with me gradually wanting a greater focus on the CE Murphy side of things on the main page of the site, without losing the more personal aspect that mizkit.com, specifically, means to me as an individual. There is, as there was previously, a CE Murphy-specific landing page, but the broad delivery of the main page is more business-oriented too. Basically: plenty of book information for the blog to snuggle up in. :)

A brief tour of the new page:
To your upper left, behind the “CE Murphy” (and frankly, I’m still debating whether that’s going to remain CE Murphy or return to The Essential Kit, with a tag line of “The Official CE Murphy Website” or something to that effect), we have the Miz Kit Productions logo that will be gracing the spine of my self-published books (thank you, Eleri Hamilton!). I’ve wanted to bring my Sassy Lady, as I call her, element back onto my webpage for a long long time, and I’m ridicuously chuffed that Thirzah found such a lovely way to bring her in organically.

Beyond her we have (clickable!) book covers that will be primarily featuring The Backlist, because sweeping down to the right hand nav bar we have a gorgeous new Featured area, where (mostly) the newest books will be featured. I *love* the emphasis there, I’m just really, really happy with it. I think Thirzah did a beautiful job (and you can click the title bar for more Features!). It makes me feel like it’s delivering the book content in a big important way while also not totally dominating the page, which is just perfect.

Swooping back toward the left we obviously have the (COMMENTS ENABLED, WOOT!) blog, which we’re changing the landing-page structure of after I had a look at the site on a mobile device and had to scroll for fifteen years to find the secondary nav bar. There will be extended excerpts (around 250 words, rather than the oft-seen 100ish) on the main blog page, then a read-more link, so that the page continues to deliver content but doesn’t overwhelm. I’m also going to limit the number of posts on the main page to five, which will reduce the wordcount to about 1250 words instead of thousands, making it a much more friendly experience for mobile users. This makes me feel good about the site. :)

Then to bring it around full circle we’ve got my twitter feed (only one post from there at a time, is that enough? do i need 2 or 3? it may, i know, turn out i don’t need it at all, but right now it’s the Done Thing, so i’m Doing It :)) and then above it the much-neglected, all-important mailing list link. Honestly, with Facebook’s crappy reach and Twitter’s ephemeralism, the website and the mailing list are the best way to know what I’m doing professionally and I live in the eternal hope that I can make a community out of it all. Yay!

(x-posted from CE Murphy)

07 February 2016 @ 12:37 pm

I made scones this morning and opened the maple apple butter to try it on them.

oh my GOD that stuff is good

Holy crap. Completely different delivery of flavour than the caramel, which is all tart apple and then slow roll of caramel. This is rich sweet maple with a low apple base, much, MUCH more maple-y than I expected from the taste I had when it was still warm. Oh my *god*.

Ted’s all like: you need to start a fudge and apple butter cottage industry and sell it for millions in five years’ time.


The other day, at the hot chocolate cafe in Dublin:
Them: Where’ve you been?
Me: We moved to Drogheda.
Them: Oh! We should open a shop there!
Me: Don’t. I’ve lost 10lbs since moving.
Them: Oh dear.


I got my ART OF ELFQUEST from the Kickstarter a couple of days ago and will wax rhapsodic about that on a recent reads post, but one of the perks was an ElfQuest coloring book.

*incoherent noises of squee*

Seriously, I can’t believe it never occurred to me to photocopy pages from the original B&W comics and color them (ESPECIALLY since my sister (age 9 or so) once colored in one of my originals! this got brought up for some reason in the last year or two and Deirdre for the first time looked actually pained and said, with genuine remorse, “Yeah, I’m sorry about that,” whereas at age 9 she really couldn’t understand why I was SO FURIOUS that she’d done that *laughs*), but now that the idea’s been put in my head…

…now that the idea’s been put in my head I’m regretting, pretty much for the first time, getting rid of all the non-original-quest B&W originals I owned when we moved to Ireland. Anyway, I assiduously scanned the entire coloring book before starting on it, because then I can color pages AGAIN in NOT BOOK ACCURATE COLOR SCHEMES (maybe) (theoretically) (possibly) (why does the idea make me twitch?) and then I couldn’t decide what picture I wanted most to color so I just started at the beginning. I may end up coloring the whole thing in order, in fact, which would be unheard of. So would coloring an entire coloring book, for that matter, but I see it happening. :)

Anyway, I had a perfectly splendid time coloring the first picture. Leetah sure has a lot of hair, though. I mean, I knew that, but it’s particularly noticeable when you have to color it all twice to get the right color. And I also already want a different coloring book with more of the minor characters, as this one is heavy on The Big Three.

Ted, immediately after I got the book: do you have enough colored pencils for an ElfQuest coloring book?
Me, thinking about it: probably
Me, opening pencil box & book: definitely not

At the least I need more pencils because I have an insufficient variety of browns for the Sun Folk, nevermind various shades of pale for the Wolfriders and Gliders (the Go-Backs, sadly, are almost entirely absent from this book, although really there aren’t very damn many Gliders either).



So Deirdre and I were walking along, and Deirdre was singing something that I half knew the words to, and I sort of came in a bit on a word, then said, apparently with great solemnity and consideration, “I know a lot of vowel sounds in songs.”

Deirdre laughed for literally five minutes. She had to stop walking twice to laugh. It rang true, she said, she’d just never heard it expressed that way. “Usually,” she said, “we call that ‘not knowing the words,’ but I guess your way is a more positive spin on it.”

“Well,” I said, “I’m a very positive person.” :)

Relatedly, having just before that sung our way through Jesus Christ Superstar (hooray for lyrics websites, altho we sure knew a lot of them in the core of our souls) and having listened to her scat, I would totally pay money to watch her do a one-man show of JCS.


I can’t think of a fifth thing for five things make a post. Close enough.

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

04 February 2016 @ 05:50 pm

Meet Baloo, the newest member of our family:


Baloo is a year-old rescue dog who came to live with us a couple of weeks ago. He is, according to the rescue people, part collie (likely: he shows a tendency to herd, anyway), perhaps part lab or retriever, or, in the opinion of the woman running the place, part flat-haired terrier.

He’s *definitely* very large. He’s definitely very furry. He’s also very patient, which is good, because Young Indiana cannot. stop. flinging. himself. at. the. dog. Or barking. Or running around on all fours. Or many, many other things that cause ‘having a pet helps people to relax!’ to be totally, totally untrue.


He chewed through the €100 soft-sided crate we got him to sleep in in less than half an hour. I’m still pretty annoyed about that, and keep reminding myself how very, very patient he is with a five year old bouncing on him.


He flopped down with a pig’s ear and ate it all up, upon arriving home. Good dog. Of course, half an hour later he also opportunistically helped himself to half of Young Indiana’s PB&J. Some obedience training is in our future.


He wasted no time trying to move in on the couch, a hope that I am discouraging as strongly as possible. He’s mostly got the idea that he’s not allowed on the beds, although he’s in denial about the fact he doesn’t get to sleep in a bedroom.

He had a bath almost immediately upon arriving home, but unfortunately he has since discovered a break in the fence that allows him to get to the brook, and consequently the house smells strongly of River Dog. We’ll be attending to that problem this weekend. :p In the meantime, holy crap the fur.


The photograph doesn’t really do the amount of fur on the floor there justice, but that’s 10 days’ worth. I had, when I thought to take the picture, taken a damp washcloth to the left half of the carpet, before even bothering to vacuum. Frankly, every floor in the house needs the same treatment, though I ran a vacuum around the downstairs until the vacuum said “nope, that’s enough fur, filter clogged,” and simply stopped working. Tomorrow I (and other people :p) will get to do more, and the electric broom is now out and will be applied daily, because OMFG.

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

28 January 2016 @ 03:02 pm

o no i’m watching more #shannarachronicles
i might have to livetweet it again
i don’t know if i can resist

lol “what happened to eyes up here” <3 wil ok i might like you. oh good wet hair elf ears, mmm-bop boy.

it really is *very* pretty. mostly good costuming. look it’s him with the face again! i like faces.

mmm-bop look how well my hair dries naturally mmm-bop oh oh oh

i had a terrible thought about #shannarachronicles
if it keeps going the thing will happen with allanon and that will be awful
manu bennett nooooo

mmm-bop last king of shannara
mmm-bop listen to me
mmm-bop she’s the hero
mmm-bop don’t look at me

funny, i don’t remember the elcryss having AN ACTUAL DOOR IN IT


i love the colors. i know it’s just super saturated, but, well, i like that.


amberle looks like rose byrne’s little sister


“you have to believe me”
“because i have really big brown eyes”
#bedroomeyes #blinkblinkblink


i really did always think her name was pronounced ‘amberelle’, though

mmm-bop here comes my girlfriend
mmm-bop she doesn’t look good
mmm-bop she’s got a seed
mmm-bop let’s save the world

john rhys davies is the only one who knows what’s going on here
well him & allanon but allanon’s not gonna get all emotional about it, is he, because allanon

pricky elf prince: is a prick
patrick dempsey elf prince: is a sweetie

ok if that’s not john cho who is it


question from the reading audience: perhaps a silly question.. I grew up on the books.. is this worth the watch?

i too grew up on the books. the show’s a train wreck. i’m 4 episodes in & not gonna quit. take that as you will :)


ooo more moments between doe-eyed elf boy & hanson, prince of shannara mmm-bop if you know what i mean

oh it’s gary young, who apparently looks a great deal like an age-makeuped-john-cho.

i actually genuinely like eritrea. she’s splendid. OOH SMOOCHIES DOE EYED ELF BOY WILL BE SO DISAPPOINTED & SO AM I

…i don’t remember that happening either. #LOL! “i’ll never call you short tips again” *shrieks laughing*

woo, go doe-eyed elf boy! srsly, tho, i don’t remember you existing at all…

oh look amberle has been given sting. i mean, uh, Totally Not Sting. (actually shea had sting, didn’t he, it’s been so long)

god, manu bennett. the skater boi haircut is Just Wrong for allanon, but god, manu bennett.


come growl at me any time, manu bennett. dear lord. (allanon is tall & narrow, isn’t he? don’t care. manu bennett is perfect.)

yes, doe eyed elf boy, throw yourself at hanson, prince of #shannara mmm-bop

#lol eretria you go girl

elf prince dempsey does not approve of your schemes

oh no we’re all caught up! what will happen with hanson, prince of #shannara, & the doe-eyed elf boy!? will allanon growl again? & what about the tantalizing elf lady clinch?! tune in next time for catie’s livetweeting of the #shannarachronicles!

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

27 January 2016 @ 11:52 am

It always strikes me, when I use that phrase, “I finished a book,” that I usually mean something different than 99% of other people do when they say it. Possibly 99.7%. I, of course, generally mean I finished writing a book, as opposed to reading one. (Although let me tell you, there are times anymore when finishing reading one seems like as much of a triumph…)

Anyway, so on Monday I finished the (oh my god so very) rough draft of REDEEMER, which has been hanging over me for what feels like forever. It came in at 104K, which is about where–in the past couple weeks, anyway–I thought it would land (previous to that, 120K still didn’t seem out of the bounds of possibility). It needs more work than my manuscripts usually do when I finish the draft, which is sad, but that’ll teach me to try to do like three different difficult things in one manuscript. @.@

On one hand it’s a huge relief to have the book done. On the other, finishing it triggers the rest of the production to-do list, and that looks like this:

Redeemer Wars (Redeemer) To Do:
get cover art done
finish manuscript
– revise manuscript to fix notes, descriptions, language, etc
-submit to editor
– revise to editorial specs
– resubmit to editor
– do line edits
– submit to copyeditor
– submit for cover design
– submit for page layouts
– get ISBNs
– submit for econversion
– deliver to kickstarter backers
– submit for possible audio book
– submit for reviews
– submit for self-publication

Obviously this does not all happen at once, but it’s a REALLY LONG LIST and I’m almost certainly forgetting things. So I’m glad to have the book done but AUGH SO MUCH TO DO NEXT. This is why writers like traditional publishing. @>@

Anyway, none of that is happening this week. It’d be nice if none of it was happening even in February, but I’m already horribly late with the book and need to move on it more quickly than not. Still, I need a few days away from it, at least.

In the meantime I’ve reached 41.4K words written for the month of January and it seems like sort of a pity to not push it up to 50K. Sadly, the thing I really kinda wanna to work on isn’t likely to give me that kind of wordcount, not unless I do a great deal more of it than I could reasonably expect in the next five days (so what am I doing instead of working hard on it right now? Writing this blog post!), whereas writing a new Old Races short story would give me close to the wordcount AND get a new story ready for the Patreon crew and is therefore what I obviously *should* be doing.

I’m prolly gonna do the other thing anyway. :) I have a–well, let’s face it, an unrealistic–goal of getting a book out every other month this year, and getting going on this thing might make that possible. Yeah. YEAH. So THERE. SEE?!?!

…or something. :)

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

26 January 2016 @ 04:20 pm

(whoa i thought i’d posted this months ago but it’s been sitting half finished in my queue! i discovered this because i finally opened the caramel apple butter last night and OH MY GOD it’s good! and somebody asked for the recipe so i went off to find it and woe! it hadn’t been posted!)

My sister made a bunch of apple butter the other day (with apples I gave her) and although I don’t really *like* apple butter (or don’t remember liking it; I haven’t had it since I was about eight) I’m now apparently bent on making some myself. I mentioned this last night to a friend, who said she’d had toffee apple butter and it had been wonderful, so then I got the idea to make several kinds of apple butter, and have found recipes for caramel, honey, maple and spiced apple butters.

I’ve started the spiced recipe in the slow cooker, as it’s, y’know, a slow cooker recipe O.O and we’ll see how that goes. It’s an experiment. And I might do the caramel one today too, because it claims it doesn’t actually take very long, although…I’m not even convinced it’s apple butter if it doesn’t take long. :) Still, I mean, what can it hurt, it’s not like I don’t have bushels and bushels of apples to do something with… :)

Anyway, this post will no doubt not actually get posted until I have results, so…read on for results! o.O :)

(the next day)
Ooh, I’ve experimented my way into a really nice batch of maple syrup apple butter. The recipe is as follows:

Kit’s Maple Apple Butter
4lbs prepared (peeled, cored, sliced) tart apples
1.5 c apple juice/sweet cider
1 cinnamon stick (optional)
8 oz maple syrup
1.5 tbsp maple extract
3 c white sugar
1 tsp salt

Put apples, cider and cinnamon into a large pot, cover, and boil until the apples are soft (about 30 minutes), stirring occasionally. Remove cinnamon stick and puree the mix in a blender/food processor/whatever until smooth. Turn into a deep, flat enamal-lined pan & put into a pre-heated oven at 325°F (150°C, 130°C fan assisted) and roast, stirring very occasionally, for 1-2 hours, until the puree has reduced by half.

Remove from oven. Stir in syrup, maple extract, sugar and salt. Return to oven for 1.5 to 2 hours, stirring slightly more frequently. Jar as you normally would, or refrigerate and be prepared to eat a great deal of apple butter over the coming weeks. Makes around 48oz/6 8oz jars.

Apple butters: honey, maple, spice & caramel. I love how they’re such different colors!

for Honey Apple Butter: the above process, sans maple extract & substituting about 2 cups of honey for the maple syrup

for Caramel Apple Butter: the above process, sans maple flavourings, along with this caramel recipe

for Warm Spice Apple Butter:
4lbs prepared (peeled, cored, sliced) tart apples
8 c apple juice/sweet cider
3 cinnamon sticks/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp anise seeds (if you like that sort of thing)
1/2 tsp grated/ground/powdered cloves
1/2 tsp nutmeg
4 c white sugar
1 tsp salt

Process as above. I might feel this one needs some work but I haven’t, uh, worked on it yet. I’ll repost next year if necessary. :)

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

21 January 2016 @ 03:57 pm

I accidentally livetweeted watching the first episode of The Shannara Chronicles while Somewhat Tired. It went like this:

…I can see that #TheShannaraChronicles is going to be an extreme addiction sort of thing.

o god manu bennett i luv u

(trying to explain the show setup to a friend):
oh wow they’re really making the whole “this is our world only After The Fall real clear here aren’t they
the credits have the toppled thing in seattle
sky tower
jesus christ

oooh john chu!

manu bennet
i love you manu bennet

CHO john cho look i just called the space needle a sky tower give me a break okay

manu bennett needs his druid hair done differently he’s very skater boi but manu bennett

also i really always thought it was said “amberell” not “amberley”, hnuh

wil looks like a hanson. i’m expecting him to “mmm-bop” any moment now.

also there’s a wolfhound. how can you go wrong with a wolfhound

this is awful
i can’t stop watching

one Elf Brother looks like a young Patrick Dempsey but cuter than Dempsey was at that age
the other looks like a prick

the elcryss is really cool, actually

wait, is that paranor? isn’t paranor in the middle of a jungle wasteland? not a desert wasteland? also john rhys davies i love you too

mmm-bop with my pointy elf ears, mmm-bop

“NOT LIKE YOU NEED A HUMAN SACRIFICE OR SOMETHING” hi that’s a little on the nose there isn’t it kids

whoops with the betrayals and the stabbings

aw patrick dempsey elf is sad

hey, it’s that guy with the face, playing eritrea’s father. i like him and his face.

FORBIDDEN ELFIN DRUIDIC LUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUV oh plus some magic allanon you bastard

oh come on i really wanted a kiss there. and oh look now naked elves.

mmm-bop elf princess gonna cut my ears off mmm-bop oh oh oh

wasn’t amberle a redhead? i mean i don’t mind her not being but wasn’t she?

so much for the smoochies i was hoping for. >.< WHAT THAT’S THE END no i can’t watch more tonight i have to go to sleep NO TED YOU CAN’T WATCH MORE TONIGHT I HAVE TO GO TO SLEEP

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

20 January 2016 @ 01:50 pm

Want to know what I’m doing this year? Or at least, what I’m trying to do? Here. Let me tell you!

Publishing MAGIC & MANNERS
I’m in the very last stages of getting MAGIC & MANNERS out into the world–the last bits (the ISBN bar code, mostly) are being generated for the cover, it’ll be handed off to a professional to convert it into e-books, and it’s the first book I’ll be publishing through the Ingram self publishing system, which will theoretically make it order-able in bookstores all around the country/world. Official pub date is February 16, 2016, and the audio book will be out right around then too! And I can’t STAND not showing off the cover, so this post is also a Cover Reveal!
Magic & Manners cover reveal!

(SQUEE!!!! Cover art by the magnificent Tara O’Shea at Fringe Element!)

Finishing REDEEMER
That means finishing the draft, revising it to get fix all the NOTE:s left in it (which include things like description, slang, word repetition, just all sorts of things), then sending it to my editor, who will tell me everything that’s wrong with it. Then I’ll fix it, send it back to her, give it to my parents to beta-read, get line edits/polishing details, do THOSE, send the manuscript to the copy editor, do THOSE, get the book laid out and e-files made for it, get the cover art finished, get ISBNs, get it out to the Kickstarter backers, perhaps see about submitting it for proper reviews, and finally get it out into the reading public’s hands.

which involves everything listed above from “fix it, send it back to her” and goes on pretty well through the end of that paragraph. Perhaps not review copies for that. Maybe not even print copies right away, IDK.

closer to REDEEMER than BENEDICT, except it needs to go through two pre-editorial revision passes, for Reasons. With luck, the revision process on both of these books will be something I can do while REDEEMER is with Matrice.

which is the last of the YA quadrology I’m writing for my nephew, and which may turn out to be a Kickstarter project, which entails everything under the ‘Redeemer’ header except for for FOUR BOOKS AT ONCE.

the Grace O’Malley novella, & another 8 or so Old Races short stories (get them HERE first!), and overseeing production on one, possibly two (depending on how the short story project goes) Old Races short story collections.

the 2nd Walker Papers/Skinwalker crossover novella with Faith Hunter

the epic fantasy proposal

the climate change series proposal.

if I have _time_ after all that a sequel to either REDEEMER or MAGIC & MANNERS or BEWITCHING BENEDICT ahahahahahaha

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

18 January 2016 @ 03:02 pm

I need somebody who can write An App For That, because man, there is a thing I want an app for and I can’t find anything like it on the interwebs. The closest thing I can find are to-do lists and self-discipline apps and life coach apps, none of which really do what I want.

It’s something that you could run on your mobile or whatever although what I REALLY need for it is a Smart Wall or something in my house (I guess the tv would do) and it wouldn’t be just a to-do list. It would be more interactive than that. It would be, like, “who needs discipline when you’ve got disAPPlin!”

Ideal working structure:

*Loud, pleasant BING BONG DING* Time to do 10 minutes of yoga! Come on, I’ve got your attention now, you might as well do it.
Here’s your Kinect yoga workout (or, y’know, whatever)

10 minutes later: Great job! Kick back for a while and I’ll let you know when it’s time to do your next task!

Ding dong ring, put away twitter for half an hour and do some sewing! Seriously, you know you’ll feel better for it, so go ahead. The tweets will still be there.

30 minutes later: What’s this you say? You want to keep sewing for another half hour? No problem, I’ll drop back by then to see how you’re doing!

(an hour later) see, don’t you feel GREAT for having gotten some of that sewing done? Good job! Now go for a quick walk, work some of those kinks out. Oh, it’s raining? Okay, we’ll run another quick yoga workout just to stretch you out a little. What’s ten minutes, anyway?

I mean, it doesn’t have to be that chatty, obviously, but conceptually that’s what I want, not just a to-do list but something that actively says “start now, finish now, press this button to continue this session” or whatever. It could be programmed for daily tasks (daily yoga, or every other day, or whatever) or it could just randomly pull up three or five things for the day (say you want to study spanish, practice drawing, do some sewing, get out and take photographs, whatever) and those are your things for it to set out time for you to do it today, or whatever. The idea would be that it’s, like, more attention-getting than a to-do list, more HEY SHAKE UP YOUR COMPLACENCY sort of thing, like, MOVE FROM ONE TASK TO THE NEXT etc or whatever, just something like enthusiastically obviously, because, I mean, let’s be realistic. I can basically ignore anything smaller than a wall.

I need this in my life. Tragically I totally lack the skills to write An App For That. I must know SOMEBODY who can write An App For That! :)

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

17 January 2016 @ 10:24 pm

I had a little stress-induced breakdown this week (mentioned earlier under the cunning title “rage bot murder machine” or something like that) and consequently Ted sent me away for a weekend writing retreat this weekend.

My primary goal going in was to get the REDEEMER manuscipt to 90,000 words (about 4/5ths done), and my secondary goal was to write 15,000 words if I could (these two goals were separated by a wordcount of about 1500 words).

I wrote about 16,000 words, which comes out (roughly) to about 53 pages of a published novel, so that was a pretty good two days’ work. Not my absolute top speed (my best one-day-spree ever was 12K, and my all-time personal best was a 30K novella written in 3 days), but a very good weekend. I’m especially pleased because, due to how my brain is wired (I guess) I’d hit my primary goal but was looking at being Pretty Disappointed That I’d Missed The Secondary Goal, except I had an exceptionally good writing bout on the train ride home and raced well past the Secondary Goal for Bonus Delight.

Anyway, aside from writing, let me tell you, I really lived it up. I bought a new pair of jeans (€12!). Had to, the thighs were going in the pair I was in. I went crazy and splurged on the Nice Shampoo from the hairdressers’ shop. I took a bath at the hotel and shaved my legs. I am a *party*. *animal*.

A party animal who is going to bed now, having used up all her brain this weekend. #snxxt

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)