Ditch Diggers #29: Birthday Extravaganza

Travel and excitement has us posting this late – both Matt and Mur have their birthdays on July 25, and, both of us being attention whores, we celebrate as much as possible.

  • Mur and Matt (mostly Matt) explain how and why Morgan Freeman has balls for us all (okay, it’s all Matt).
  • Mur and Matt share a birthday! They are both Children of the 25th, and this is Ditch Diggers’ 2016 Birthday Spectacular!
  • Mur talks about Netflix optioning her novel, the announcement coming two years after the deal, and excitement fatigue.
  • Why the Honda Fit is sexier than the Ford Fiesta, but NOT as sexy as the Mini Cooper.
  • The optioning process, and how much control authors have over their optioned properties.
  • Expecting the worst as a publishing author.
  • Mur talks about her big career developments over the past year, including Bookburners and writing Star Wars.
  • Mur closes her yearly recap by talking about survivor’s guilt in 2016, and she admits Matt is wise.
  • Matt begins his recap by talking about not getting optioned for film/TV, and the lessons he learned from getting caught up in the process of trying to turn his books into TV series.
  • Matt and Mur discuss varying levels of involvement in the film/TV side of your books and the perils and pitfalls involved.
  • Matt talks about refocusing on writing and selling books, and the leverage it ultimately gives you.
  • Matt talks about how his reasons for wanting to do well in his career have changed for the better.
  • Ditch Diggers Birthday Spectacular Q&A via email and Twitter!

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Ditch Diggers #28: Fran Wilde rolls with it

  • Coming to you live from Morgan Freeman’s server farm with special guest co-host Fran Wilde, who wants to know if servers can be milked.
  • Fran talks about her experience winning the Compton Crook and Andre Norton Awards (and not winning a Nebula) and Matt theorizes on what happens if and when all Andre Norton Awards are brought together.
  • Matt and Mur discuss the children’s and YA genres with Fran, and how adult authors staying in-touch with younger readers is essential both creatively and professionally.
  • Personal space is discussed. It’s a digression from the main topic, but always one worth taking.
  • Matt, Mur, and Fran take email and Twitter questions. Topics include awards voting, coding, and Matt ranting against writing that relies too heavily on pop reference.

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Ditch Diggers #27: Madeline Ashby talks futurism

  • Mur and Matt come to you live from Morgan Freeman’s nature walk with special guest co-host, Madeline Ashby!
  • Matt on how, technically, anywhere you walk outside is Morgan Freeman’s nature walk.
  • Madeline talks about her new futuristic novel COMPANY TOWN, its themes and inspiration.
  • Cannibalism, and the appropriate amount thereof in all things, is discussed.
  • Matt and Mur talk with Madeline about her work as a foresight consultant, and how she utilizes her skills as an SFF author in that field, and vice versa.
  • What it takes to become a professional foresight consultant.
  • Madeline talks about working on transmedia projects and comics.
  • The illiteracy of the film industry.
  • Ditch Diggers Q&A, which covers, among many things, the joys of marrying a union plumber (NOT to be confused with a freelance plumber).

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Ditch Diggers #26: Agent/Author Relations, with Kameron Hurley and Hannah Bowman

Matt and Mur come to you live, connected via Skype, between Morgan Freeman’s haberdashery and Morgan Freeman’s Tomb of the Youngsters, with special guest go-hosts, multi-Hugo Award-winning author Kameron Hurley and her agent, Hannah Bowman!

  • Matt and Mur argue the nature of ad-libs.
  • Matt pronounces Hannah’s name incorrectly (it’s Han-ah, like Han Solo).
  • This fearsome foursome discuss authors, agents, and booze.
  • Hurley discusses how she came to sign with her agent, and Hannah discusses why she chose to sign her client, Hurley.
  • Tips for authors vetting potential agents.
  • Hurley and Hannah talk about their author/agent process when it comes to planning, executing, and editing books (which basically consists of having no set process).
  • Hurley talks about how her new essay collection, THE GEEK FEMINIST REVOLUTION came about, and Hannah’s role in it.
  • Hurley and Hannah field questions from the Ditch Diggers audience, including agenting debut novels, agents editing vs. editors editing, and absolutely nothing about woodchucks chucking wood (you’ll see/hear).

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Ditch Diggers #25: The Absolute Guide to Failure 2, Electric Boogaloo

  • Mur and Matt come to you live from Morgan Freeman’s doll hospital, and spend way too much time talking about doll hospitals in general and Morgan’s doll hospital in particular.
  • The Ditch Diggers bring you up-to-date on their professional lives. Mur starts over. Matt needs to write faster.
  • Mur experiments with delayed segues.
  • Neither Matt nor Mur have touched best-selling authors in inappropriate ways, they swear.
  • The Ditch Diggers’ Guide to Absolute Failure returns!
  • Matt and Mur read Guide contributions from listeners, including a former literary agent intern.
  • Matt doesn’t know how to use “shutes” properly, and a certain percentage of the food you eat is bugs and plastic.
  • Mur on “negging” in author interactions, and her new best friend.
  • Writing is easy, and the internet doesn’t really exist.
  • The second installment of The DD Guide to Absolute Failure concludes.
  • Email/Twitter questions and answers!
  • Guide to Literary Agents 2016: http://amzn.com/1599639408

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(Aside- dammit, Six Wakes has a cover, and it’s awesome, and Amazon hasn’t put it on the site yet…)

Ditch Diggers #24: TV Writing with Margaret Dunlap

We welcome Emmy-winning writer Margaret Dunlap, writer for The Middleman, The Lizzie Bennett Diaries, and the serial Bookburners.

Show notes!

  • Coming to you live from Morgan Freeman’s tornado shelter with special guest co-host Margaret Dunlap!
  • Margaret is the bomb at calculus, yet cannot derivate a function to save her life (or anyone else’s).
  • On the tradition of passing the Campbell Award winner’s tiara which is actually a diadem.
  • Margaret talks about breaking into television writing, and how useless it is to ask the question, “How do you break into TV writing?”
  • On being a TV writers assistant, “freelance” scripts, and the power of getting coffee.
  • Hollywood as a cronyism town vs. a nepotism town (and why that’s a good thing for new writers).
  • Celebrating small victories, and how sushi, beer, and ice cream are scaleable.
  • TV writing vs. webseries writing
  • Margaret is adapting Seanan McGuire’s October Daye books for television with John Rogers’ Kung Fu Monkey Productions! (And the glacial pace of writing projects.)
  • Mur and Margaret talk about Bookburners, and the structure of TV writing meeting fiction books.
  • Q&A with Twitter.
  • Obligatory shilling of Matt’s books and the fact Ditch Diggers is STILL eligible for Best Fancast in the Hugo Awards.
  • Margaret’s website: http://www.margaretdunlap.com/
  • Margaret’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/spyscribe
  • Bookburners: https://www.serialbox.com/serials/555d1163ada6e26d95b9e785
  • Producteev Task Management Software: https://www.producteev.com/

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Ditch Diggers #23: Organizamouional Prbklems

We talk organizing and distractions. It’s unorganized and distracted, just so you know.

  • Mur and Matt discuss Morgan Freeman’s obsession with Franklin Mint Collector’s Plates featuring older, fatter Elvis.
  • Mur restates the premise of the podcast, old school, as if it were an early episode.\
  • Matt and Mur talk about their current editing schedules.
  • Mur attempts to use the above to smoothly segue into the show’s topic, but Matt derails the conversation after an off-hand comment about his hair.
  • Matt and Mur finally reach the topic of the episode, organization for professional writers.
  • Mur talks about prioritizing.
  • Matt talks about being your own assistant.
  • Social media as a distraction and a tool, and the appropriate amount of time to spend on it to prevent the former and enable the latter.
  • Apps that help you focus on writing, including real ones like Forest and ones that don’t exist like Matt’s hostage bunny app.
  • Simple alternatives to app solutions, like shutting off your WiFi, and Post-it notes.
  • Matt and Mur debut a new segment, the Writer’s Torment Corner, and talk about World Fantasy Con’s woeful lack of harassment/accessibility policies.
  • Email and Twitter questions.
  • Matt and Mur remind everyone Ditch Diggers is an awards eligible podcast and it is podcast season.
  • Apps mentioned in this episode…
    Forest: http://www.forestapp.cc/
    Write or Die: http://writeordie.com/

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Ditch Diggers #22: The Guide to Absolute Failure

  • Matt and Mur discuss whether or not Morgan Freeman’s five-story igloo is technically an igloo.
  • It’s Matt’s fault there will be no live Ditch Diggers at ConFusion.
  • Matt and Mur remember David Hartwell.
  • The Ditch Diggers Guide to Absolute Failure.
  • Chapter One: Cons, in which the bathroom becomes a central focus.
  • Chapter Two: Submissions, or how your query letter should be a statement of personal revenge and entitlement.
  • Chapter Three: Manuscripts, a.k.a. the poorly utilized glory of Comic Sans.
  • Chapter Four: Money, and how exposure is the currency of the future.
  • No time for questions this week because Mur has physical therapy for her ankle.
  • Matt shills his book LUSTLOCKED dropping Tuesday, January 26th. [PST THAT’S TOMORROW]
  • He also reminds everyone Ditch Diggers is awards eligible and it’s nominating season.

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Ditch Diggers #21: End of Year Review

Matt and I look at our careers, what happened this year, and what will happen next year.

  • Morgan Freeman’s private plane was crippled after landing on an armadillo and Mur and Matt discuss the potential of armadillos both as next-gen super soldiers and the basis for a SyFy movie about next-gen super soldier armadillos.
  • Podcasters recording and releasing episodes out of order (Matt is *very* insistent Mur think fourth-dimensionally like in Back to the Future III).
  • On the end of the year (but NOT the end of the world).
  • Mur and Matt review the year they’ve had as pro writers.
  • Matt on a “building/set-up” year for his career (Mur disagrees with this assessment), making book deals, signing with a new agent and manager, and returning to fiction publishing as a way to reignite his film and television writing.
  • Mur on her own “building” year for her career (Matt also disagrees with this assessment), submitting/pitching proposals, losing some confidence, her new deal with Orbit, and Bookburners, and building her backbone up.
  • Matt makes a case for Mur’s year as a “RE-building” year, dragon-ing up, and rebounding.
  • Mur recaps the exciting Bookburners project for which she’s writing.
  • Mur on working with the right agent.
  • Matt and Mur talk about their concrete business plans for their pro writing careers over the next year, including their plans for Ditch Diggers.
  • Awards Eligibility: Ditch Diggers is eligible for potentially two Hugos! Figure out which one and vote for it if you’re able! [EDIT- Twitter talk is leaning toward Fancast] Also, Nebulas and any other award you think Ditch Diggers should win!
  • The final Q&A of the year!

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Ditch Diggers #20: Starring Guest Host Ursula Vernon

We had a number of tech problems, but hopefully you can’t tell… much. And parents, Ursula is, among other things, a kids’ book author, but this podcast still has an explicit tag.
lolwut

  • Mur and Matt welcome special 20th episode guest co-host, Hugo and Nebula Award winner Ursula Vernon!
  • We establish Ursula does everything except sing and dance.
  • There are many technical difficulties, which we overcome with editorial aplomb.
  • When authors have to get electrodes taped to their ass (Ursula demonstrates her blogging candor as a writer).
  • We talk to Ursula about writers and mental health, including her recent bouts with anxiety and depression and balancing that with deadlines, how it’s okay and absolutely necessary to seek treatment, and how depression in writers is perceived by non-writers.
  • How it’s really hard to find a good pill case.
  • We take questions from the email bag and Twitter.
  • Ursula talks about the benefits of creating a popular internet meme.
  • We discuss the value or lack thereof of author tours. Ursula talks about touring as a children’s author vs. an author of non-kid lit.

Ursula on Twitter: @UrsulaV
Ursula’s main blog: http://ursulav.livejournal.com/
Ursula’s fiction for adults: http://tkingfisher.com/
Red Wombat Studio: http://www.redwombatstudio.com/

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