Fic: Walker Papers/Supernatural 'thank you' story

I've written a little Walker Papers/Supernatural crossover fic story for you, my readers, basically because you're wonderful. 

There are EPUB and MOBI versions of "Ghost Rider" available for download at my Patreon, or you can read it on :)

It's one thing for freshly-minted shaman Joanne Walker's past to come back to haunt her...but when it comes back with a vendetta aimed at her beloved 1969 Mustang, Petite, all bets are off. But with the help of a couple of really tall, really cute FBI agents who definitely aren't who they say they are, Joanne might solve this mystery before it hurts somebody else's Baby....



Sex, politics, murder and betrayal arrive with this re-release of THE QUEEN'S BASTARD!

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Belinda Primrose deals in secrets.

Since childhood, Belinda has known she was the unacknowledged daughter of Lorraine, the unwed queen of Aulun, an island nation on the edge of the vast Echonian continent. Belinda is a spy, an assassin...and a danger to her mother, should she ever be discovered. She can be anyone, and will do anything, to cement Lorraine's position of power within the treacherous Echonian courts.

But as she infiltrates the glamorous royal palaces where her mother's rivals scheme, a new power awakens in Belinda. The witchlight she commands is a dangerous aphrodisiac—one that could bring down everything she's worked for when she finds a teacher in the sensual prince of Gallin. Javier harbors secret witchbreed magic of his own...and a claim to the Aulunian throne that ranks him highly among Lorraine's enemies.

Belinda has never wavered in her mission, but love and loyalty will collide as her secrets are revealed...

This is a re-release with new cover art (and a few spelling errors fixed) of a book I published through Del Rey in 2008 and which I got the rights back to last year. It's the first of a duology that tell the story of Belinda Primrose, the Queen's bastard. Between the two books, a complete story is told, although it's clear to any reader that there's more in the world to tell.

It is not like my other books. It is full of sex, murder, politics and betrayal, in more or less that order. Its voice is completely different. There is at least one scene of Extremely Questionable Consent.

I do not tell you this to scare you away. I tell you this because this book sold like hotcakes upon its original release, and sales on its sequel, THE PRETENDER'S CROWN (re-release out next month!), collapsed so hard they almost took my career with them. My wonderful, loyal urban fantasy readers all went out and bought THE QUEEN'S BASTARD, and two-thirds of them apparently went "oh my GOD what have I gotten myself INTO" and did not buy the second.

I have felt somewhat guilty about this for ten years. :) In retrospect (and frustratingly, we discussed it at the time and decided against it), it would have been wisest to publish THE QUEEN'S BASTARD under a related pseudonym, because it's so different from the urban fantasy stuff. But, well, hindsight is 20/20.

The good thing is that the people who bought TQB for what it was really loved it. There is a small, passionate group of people who have been hoping for ten years that I might someday finish the story I was building for this world.

Now that I have the rights back, that's a possibility. It's not going to be for a long time. I have a lot of things I need to get written first. But I also have notes and titles for the rest of the books set in the Inheritors' Cycle world, and I've always wanted the chance to tell the whole story.

(I feel like I must again emphasize that I absolutely do consider TQB & TPC to be a complete story unto themselves. They end where they were always intended to, and the next book was always intended to be someone else's story.)

I tell you what, though. Putting this e-book together was almost a revelation. I knew TQB was well-written. It was—it is—a book I somewhat self-deprecatingly called a real book: it's not set in the modern world; its has a cast of, if not thousands, at least several; it does not rely on quick patter and one-liners and blinding fast pacing in the way the Walker Papers, especially, do. It was meant to be something new, something that showed what else I could do. And it succeeded. I knew it did all of those things.

But it had been years since I'd looked at the book, and when I opened up the file to make the e-book, I read the first sentences and I thought, "Holy crap, this is really good!"

That was, I confess, a pretty great feeling. :)

So...well. There you go. THE QUEEN'S BASTARD, backstory and all!

THE QUEEN'S BASTARD is available now!
Amazon || Apple || Barnes & Noble (Nook) || Kobo

CE Murphy & the Great Newsletter Tragedy

Ten days ago I accidentally deleted my entire newsletter mailing list, backups, old newsletters, and all, and it cannot be retrieved.

For the TL;DR crowd, you can (please please please) sign up (again) at

For those who enjoy stories of epic EBCAK, let me share the sad, mortifying tale.

It was so so so so stupid. I was trying to set up a NEW mailing list for blog posts, and tried using the same email address figuring it would say "that email is already in use" if that couldn't be done, right?

Except it didn't.

But THEN it wouldn't let me log in with the new username & I went "oh jeez, did I kill my ability to log in with the old username?" & tried & could. So I thought "well okay I'll just delete the new one," & switched to that window.

...only then I was logged in to my original account, and I didn't think it through, so when it said "do you REALLY want to delete this" I was like "sure brah" and...deleted it. All. Forever and ever, amen. And five seconds later I was like "OH, OH MY GOD, OH MY GOD NO OH GOD NO I DIDN'T I DIDN'T OH GOD I *DID*" and really this was just not my finest moment. I spent half an hour or so trying not to throw up, that's how sick I felt, and a lot more time in a futile rage.

Obviously I did not confess this error to the world until after I had thoroughly investigated the possibility of retrieval with the provider and verified there's not a single solitary good god damn thing I can do about it except rebuild. I've spent about a week howling about it on other social media and am finally bringing it to the blog page, where the mark of my foolishness will be available for everyone to read forever and ever and ever. :}

So, once more, the sign-up page is at and I am so grateful to anyone who signs up again (or for the first time).

The Hugo Post

People have asked me, as they do every year, to put together a list of what I had published last year that could qualify for a Hugo nomination. I don't normally get my act together enough to do this, but a combination of elements, including

1. Worldcon is in Dublin this year!
2. I'm very proud of last year's novel! and
3. Somebody else did the hard lifting and I'm able to use that for the basis of my post

means I'm doing a proper one this year. I'll put the cold hard facts up front, and then go into greater detail below.

The following books & stories are suitable for Hugo nominations in the listed categories.

Best Novel:
REDEEMER by C.E. Murphy
Kobo || iTunes || Amazon || Barnes & Noble

Best Novella:
Kiss of Angels by C.E. Murphy
Kobo || iTunes || Amazon || Barnes & Noble

Best Short Story:
Family Ties (collection: KISS OF ANGELS)
21st Century Ghost (collection: KISS OF ANGELS)

Best Novelette
Threnody (collection: KISS OF ANGELS)

Best Series:
The Old Races by C.E. Murphy (KISS OF ANGELS qualifying collection)

Best Cover Artist:
Tara O'Shea (for KISS OF ANGELS art, & for REDEEMER design)
Lindsey Look (REDEEMER art)

Okay, that's the cut & dry version, up above. What follows are more details and my own thoughts about the works, I guess.

Suggestion for Best Cover Artist nominee: Lindsey Look

The war is over…but for Rosie the Redeemer, the homefront battle is just about to begin!

It’s July 1945, and more than just the boys are coming home from war–monsters are coming with them, and Rosie Ransom learns she can redeem a damned soul–but she may lose her own in the process. And yet, without her Redeeming ability, the scare started by a few demons may turn into a full-fledged nightmare…

This was a very difficult book to write, partly because I challenged myself to several things that I'd never done before in terms of writing (not just ONE, oh no, but SEVERAL, because let's NEVER DO ANYTHING THE EASY WAY, CATIE), and also (not to lean in to a personal sob story in awards season or anything @.@) because my mom, after whom the main character was partially named, died while I was working on it.

I honestly didn't think, while I was working on it, that I had done well, or that I would ever want to return to the Redeemer world. Then my copy editor emailed, 3 chapters in, and said, "If the rest of this is as good as the opening, WOW," which is not...normal. :)

Then my book designer, who is normally very, very fast, took *weeks* to lay the book out, because she was actually reading it as she laid it out, which, she says, she never ever does.

Despite all that, honestly, I still wasn't at all sure of the book until I did the final round of copy edits on it, and I gradually realized I'd done what I wanted to with it. The writing challenges I'd set myself--no semi-colons! (the horror!!!!) limited use of 'was' in non-dialogue prose! (oh god that's hard) improving my descriptions!--had succeeded, and the kind of story I wanted to tell, one about female friendships, one that reflected not just the social expectations and restrictions of the era but also shone light on the same problems today...had made it onto the page.

And then it turned out that because the book was so very late, with the #MeToo and #TimesUp movement, with the huge surge of women elected to Congress, with the upheaval of the past few years...REDEEMER had become timely in a way it wouldn't have if I'd turned it in when it was due. Heh. Go figure. :) So in the end I'm actually really proud of this book, and I'd honestly love to see it nominated for a Hugo.

REDEEMER is available here:
Kobo || iTunes || Amazon || Barnes & Noble


Suggestion for Best Cover Artist nominee: Tara O'Shea

The laws that governed the Old Races for time immemorial have been broken. Ancient rivals are scattered. Friendships are ended. What was hidden begins to step out of shadow and into the light.

And after millennia of imagining this moment, even the Old Races discover they are unprepared for what it brings….

KISS OF ANGELS is covering a loooooooot of territory for this year's Hugo nominations, carrying, as it does, the possibility for nomination of the titular "Kiss of Angels" as best novella; for best short story with "Family Ties" and "21st Century Ghost"; best novelette with "Threnody", and, finally, best series for the entire collection as part of the ongoing saga of the Old Races, which, with the publication of KISS OF ANGELS is now some 650K words long.

The KISS OF ANGELS collection is set after the Old Races trilogy, and the titular novella, Kiss of Angels, is the teased-at and long-promised story of Grace O'Malley (yes, that Grace O'Malley). I think it stands alone reasonably well, but it also brings the entire Old Races saga to a point where I could, and someday will, write more full-length books in the world. (!)

"Threnody", at an 8800 word 'novelette' length, is possibly my favourite of the collection. I think it stands alone pretty well, and I'd be thrilled to bits to see it nominated. ♥

"21st Century Ghost" is a first date story about the difficulties of dating the supernatural, and amuses me. :) "Family Ties" is a short Janx story and honestly belonged in the BABA YAGA'S DAUGHTER collection, but I didn't write it for like two years after that book was published, so... :)

Seeing the whole book nominated as part of the Old Races series would be REALLY COOL, I'm not gonna lie. That would be...REALLY COOL. :) :) :)

And I would really, really like to see Lindsey Look and Tara O'Shea nominated for their cover art work, which is reliably fabulous! ♥

STONEMASTER Stretch Goals!

The STONEMASTER Kickstarter has reached goal! Now it's time to start laying out the stretch goals!

Now, here's the thing. Obviously the, er, obvious, stretch goal is book 3, SKYMASTER, which is already written, too. HOWEVAH:

Another book is exponentially more costly on my end, mostly due to postage matters: it's not possible to get SKYMASTER ready at the same time as STONEMASTER, which means I'd be shipping it separately, later, and as most people know, shipping costs are pretty appalling. So I'm willing to put that up there as a pie-in-the-sky goal, but I want to put some more *possible* ones down between here and there. In descending order of interest (absent book 3), people have said they'd like to see these stretch goals:

1. short stories about secondary characters

2. a world map

3. cover art posters

Discussion of these ideas, in reverse order:

3. For me, the problem with posters is proving to be that I can't find anybody who will print posters on folded paper (or fold the posters after they've been printed, you know what I mean :p ), which means rolled posters, which means a separate shipping cost from mailing books or other things that can be flat-packed, which means...posters would cost a lot more than their probable value. So it's just as well that's #3, probably. :)

2. I'm talking to someone about a world map. I'd like a world map. I keep inventing places, and it'd be nice to have a map to put them on. :) Now, realistically, because I'm aiming for a short turn-around on this project, a world map might not be READY to go in book 2. It could go in book 3, and I could send PFDs and postcard-sized print maps to people who order print editions. But I admit I think a map would be really cool, and I'm gonna put it up there as a stretch goal!

1. The ONLY PROBLEM with writing short stories (aside from time) is that SO MANY of these characters will want to run away with the short part and make them...books... :) I'm going to put 3 short story goals in:

€3250, Story #1: Isidri, Guildmaster and venerable Ilyaran elder who is *suspected*, half seriously, by the youth of the Seamasters' Guild to be THREE HUNDRED YEARS OLD.

She's not.


€4000, Story #2: Asindo, Seamaster, captain of the Ilyaran flagship Waifia. The sort of man who does not start a fight, but definitely finishes one. He is absolutely not 300 years old.

€4750, Story #3: Kisia and Desimi, our hero Rasim's age-mates, will get an adventure that...I don't know yet if it'll be pre, during, or post-series. Well. It won't be post, because SPOILERS, SWEETIE! :)

€5500: a WORLD MAP is unlocked!

€6750: at this point backers will have all read SEAMASTER, book 1, which I will be sending out shortly to backers. Backers will have opinions on who should get a short-story-bordering-on-novella. I will seek those opinions, and attempt to fulfil them. :)

€8000: BOOK THREE, SKYMASTER is unlocked!

Let's see how far we can go!

(...okay, somebody cue Moana, now...)


Kickstarter success! What's next?

My latest Kickstarter, for STONEMASTER, Book 2 of the Guildmaster Saga, has funded!

Poll #2084960 What's next for STONEMASTER stretch goals?

What would you like most to see for STONEMASTER stretch goals? (choose 2, please)

a world map
a brief history of the world/historical figures (worldbuilding stuff, iow)
short stories about secondary characters
cover art/editing/delivery of book 3 (this would be a Very Big Goal)
something else to be illuminated in comments

so long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, adieu

I don't *want* to leave Livejournal. I've been here seventeen years and have a paid-forever account and all of that. But it's thinly populated anyway, and they're rolling out these new terms and conditions that require users to comply with Russian anti-LGBTQ laws, which, y'know, no.

So effective immediately, I'm no longer cross-posting from to here. You can follow me at itself, or, which is where all the cool kids are headed (or have already set up shop). I may even go so far as to port the entries over to dreamwidth, although, well, IDK.

Anyway, if you head over there yourself but change usernames on the way, let me know so I, uh, know who you are. :)

Let me tell you about growing up in Alaska.

I grew up in a small town in Alaska. It was on the road system, which meant we could and did drive to Anchorage once a year, maybe twice, but my town didn’t have, say, a McDonald’s, when I was a kid. I remember when the Dairy Queen opened, and the Arby’s, which was less of a big deal because it opened after DQ, but the first time I went to McDonald’s I was around 11 and I froze. I had no idea what to order. I hardly had any idea *how* to order, even though I’d gone to DQ and Arby’s. But that had always been with my parents, never leaving me on my own to order.

I remember standing there in the McD’s, staring at the menu in a panic. There was so much STUFF and I didn’t know what was *good* or…*what*. I ended up ordering a Big Mac, because two all beef patties special sauce lettuce cheese pickles onions on a sesame seed bun was basically all I could think, so it’s what I got. (I thought it was awful.)

And that was the first McDonald’s experience for a kid on the road system.

I have a friend who teaches in a Yup’ik village on the west cost of Alaska. You fly in, to get to Kotlik, or if it’s winter–and the ice is safe, which it often isn’t anymore–you can take snow machine (mobile) up the river to visit other villages. There aren’t many cars. My friend brought the first *cats* the kids had ever seen to Kotlik. The nearest movie theatre is 200 miles away, in a town you have to fly to, to reach.

Three of her students have qualified for a Yup’ik language spelling bee in Anchorage this year. They’ve never competed in the bee before, and didn’t expect to do so well. Their school has no money to send kids to Anchorage, so my friend is running a GoFundMe to get them there.

They’ve paid for the basics. They’re hoping to cover all expenses, at this point. They’re hoping to be able to go to a movie, which they’ve never done in a theatre. They’re hoping to eat at a sit-down restaurant, which isn’t something that exists in Kotlik. They’re hoping to go swimming in a pool.

It’s almost impossible to convey how much it means for me to see these kids get to experience what is almost certainly a once in a lifetime opportunity. Kotlik is threatened by climate change, but most people don’t leave the village, and most of them will only move with the village when it has to move, rather than going somewhere else.

It’s not just that they’ve got the chance. It’s that they’ve got the chance through academic achievement. It’s no insult to the kids to say most rural Alaskan schools aren’t well known for their academic prowess. They’re small, underfunded schools in tremendously remote locations. So I am *so proud* of these kids, and I want so badly for them to get to do all of the things they have a chance to do here. I think about me, eleven years old or so, overwhelmed by McDonald’s, and I think about how amazing and overwhelming and exciting this is going to be for them, and I want it for them so much.

If you have a few dollars to spare, it would be amazing if you could help these kids do the things that an awful lot of us take for granted, and that they’ve never had the chance to do.

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)


Picoreview: Ghost in the Shell

Picoreview: Ghost in the Shell: I think it’s probably the kind if thing you’re going to like if you’re going to like it and the kind of thing you’re not going to like if you’re not going to like it.

I apparently decided the hill to die on was “female-led films need to do well at the box office” rather than “whitewashing is evil” and went to see it last night. Having only seen the anime once, and not having particularly cared for it and remembering almost nothing about it except a handful of iconic images, I thought it…wasn’t bad. It didn’t seem good, either, but then, I didn’t like the original, so.

The visuals were good. Excellent, even. Scarlett Johansson’s bodysuit/shell, in contrast to my recollection of the anime, is the least sexy thing I’ve ever seen. I suppose really enthusiastic teenage boys might be titilated by it, but seriously, it utterly lacks in titilation. I loved Johansson’s body language: she moved like a tank, stiff and unconnected to her shell, which was exactly right for the process that created her. I thought she went through a reasonable emotional story arc, although I kind of felt that Pilou Asbæk really did a fair amount of heavy lifting for the film’s emotional arc, without having all that much time on screen. He was good.

I don’t really know how to feel about the casting. From my perspective, as a white American lady, it was a problem. My vague understanding is that while many people in Japanese fandom (which is to say people who are fans in Japan, not of Japan) would have *liked* an Asian actress in the role, they didn’t expect one and figure Johansson’s at least got star power. On the third hand, the Major isn’t drawn as particularly Japanese in the anime, and there’s story stuff related to that. So I just don’t know. I personally would have liked an Asian actress in the role, but at the same time I didn’t feel that Johansson was badly cast.

A couple of very minor spoilers, more or less regarding the casting, behind the cut.

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(x-posted from The Essential Kit)


gorilla dreams

I wondered aloud the other day if I were to consistently get enough sleep, whether I would still be tired all the time. I recall an experiment in this field a couple of years ago, where for about two weeks I made a real effort to go to bed early and get enough sleep. After a couple weeks I felt so great I…stopped…

Anyway, after a very busy day yesterday I slept 11.5 hours* and this morning had a lot of weird dreams, the highlight of which was about a troop of gorillas living along the creek behind us. There were three of them, an adult couple and a younger male, and they were well-known all the way up and down the neighborhood.

But then they had twin babies, and I became a little concerned about my 6 year old and the babies (or, more accurately, their parents), so I called Dublin Zoo and told them they should perhaps get these gorillas and bring them to the zoo for everybody’s safety.

The zoo, quite reasonably, insisted that there couldn’t possibly be a troop of gorillas living wild in Ireland without them knowing about it. The whole thing turned into a rather intense discussion, and came to no satisfactory conclusion.

*I probably only SLEPT for about 9.5 hours, as this morning I kept waking up and thinking I should probably get up but I was bound in such comfortable sleep paralysis (I’ve loved that sensation ever since I found out what it was) that I didn’t want to break it by moving, so after a while I’d fall back asleep and that went on for quite a while…

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)