About Brenda

I am a writer, lover of sideshows and tattoos. I have kids, a partner, two dogs, a naughty parrot and a life that is full. My life is a circus and I wouldn't have it any other way. I review books, blog about life as a writer with ADHD and publish my photographs on my blog Writing While Distracted . I celebrate my passion for food and cooking on my food blog Quinby Kitchen Sideshow .You can find me on Facebook by clicking here . If Pinterest is your thing, I am there too, and you can find me by clicking here .

A Year of Problem Solving

 I recently had the opportunity to talk with Suzi Carr on her Curves Welcome podcast about problem-solving, and you can listen to the podcast  here

I loved having the opportunity to speak with her and discuss my problem-solving approach, which the past twelve months tested to the limit. 

Last March, my kids came home from school on a Friday and never went back. The problems presented ranged from technological issues raised by remote schooling to logistical issues like sharing the dining room table and mental health issues as we adjusted to their new routine, death with grief, fear, and uncertainty as the pandemic progressed.   No one in my house is neurotypical and that added layers to our difficulties. It is super hard as a parent to handle/manage/cope with your own ADHD and PTSD and assist your neurodivergent kids with their own challenges. 

I had spent much time in January and February 2020 planning my year, pitching a podcast, and outlining new writing projects. By April it became clear that I needed to revamp my plans and figure out a way forward. 

In the podcast, I discuss using the following approach to solving problems. It’s a method that I’ve used for years. 

  1. Get clear about what the problem is, write it down. Is it a question of money, time, space, personal issue, or a combination? Is it in your locus of control? If it isn’t within your ability to address the difficulty, your focus shifts from solving the problem to coping with the situation.  Is it a problem or just an inconvenience? Is it time-limited or ongoing? 
  2. Make three lists concerning your problem: What do you have? What do you need? Options for acquiring what you need.
  3. Brainstorm solutions to the problem; think of as many possible solutions as you can. Don’t limit yourself in thinking of solutions, be bold. Organize your list; some solutions will take more to put into place than others. For each answer, list the steps you will need to take to solve the problems using that solution.
  4. Do it. Put in place one of your solutions, test it out. If it doesn’t work, try another; keep trying until you are satisfied with the result. 

This system may seem like a lot of work, and not every problem requires this amount of time to sort out. But for issues that derail your progress/work/happiness, it is worth the time put into the thinking/planning to arrive at a solution that works.

Until next time, be safe and well.

 

Brenda Murphy writes short fiction and novels. Her novel Double Six won the 2020 GCLS Goldie for Erotica. The first novel in her University Square Series is a 2021 Goldie Finalist.  She loves tattoos and sideshows and yes, those are her monkeys.  When she is not loitering on her front porch and writing, she wrangles two kids, one dog, and an unrepentant parrot.  She blogs about life as a writer with ADHD and publishes photographs on her blog Writing While Distracted.  Sign Up for her email list and receive a free short stories at   www.brendalmurphy.com

Books available at

Amazon 

NineStar Press



 

 

Changing the Blade

I had to change my lawnmower blade recently after an unfortunate run-in with the curb. If you’ve never broken a lawnmower blade, I do not recommend it. The unbalanced blade creates havoc, and the best thing you can do is just shut the whole thing down and let the engine cool off before you attempt a repair.
If I had to choose an image of my brain when I am between writing projects, this would be it.
My ADHD brain is a wild, out-of-control machine tearing up the ground without really doing anything.
Like most writers, I feel out of sorts when I’m not writing. My mind is full of what-ifs and storylines most days, but it’s overwhelming when I don’t have a project in progress. The amazingly wonderful editor Alissa McGowan offered some of her precious time to talk about writing.
We talked for well over an hour about all the different projects I had banging around in my brain. Near the end of our time, after Alissa had patiently listened to me rattle on about no less than five fiction and a non-fiction project I have been thinking about, she said the magic words. “Do the thing you are most passionate about right now.”
That was like a new blade for my mower. The plot idea that had been a fuzzy image came into sharp focus. After much preparation, including character sketches, scene card sorting and playlist creation, I started the fourth book in the University Square series. 
Thank you, Alissa, for being generous with your time and for your encouragement. And if anyone else is struggling with choosing their next project.  Follow  Alissa’s advice:  Do the thing you are most passionate about.

Chasing Fireflies

 

For the first time in 5 years, I am not participating in National Novel Writing Month. I’m a bit sad about not participating in the silly/chaotic/exhilarating rush to write 50,000 words in a month. Since 2017 I have, on average, written two books a year, with one of those books being my NaNoWriMo project.
In the past two years, I have added a novella to that count, and that doesn’t take into account blog posts, short stories, and all the other words I usually manage to come up with over the year. Staying productive while the world burned was an excellent way to deal with my rising anger and anxiety. As a creative, I strive to provide respite in my books. My goal is to offer readers a safe place to enjoy a world where you know no matter what happens in the story; my characters will get to have their happy endings.
But this year, I have struggled to write. I am currently two-thirds of the way through completing the third book in my new series, and I’ve lost the thread of my story. It’s not the first time this has happened.
I’m not a strict outliner, preferring to create a scaffold of scenes for my characters and then start writing, trusting my process, and chasing story ideas and words like a child running after fireflies.

If you’ve never caught fireflies or lightning bugs as some call them, it’s tricky. They only start their display at dusk, and it only lasts for a short time. You need to wait until they flash their soft yellow-green glow, run to that spot, and then gently, ever so gently cup them in your hands.

If you’re patient, they will light up again while you hold them, a delightful bit of magic. That is the closest thing I can relate to how I create stories. And this year, I’ve had a tough time following the fireflies of ideas that generally fill my head.

This year, there was no in-person time with my extended family, no time with sister friends, and no time to fill the well at my favorite conferences and writer events. Because no matter how wonderful it is to see folks over Zoom, it is not the same as warm hugs and laughter and staying up way past bedtime to tell silly stories and laugh until our stomachs hurt.

I have no doubts I will finish this book. I always do. And it’s not the first time I have had to stop and reassess a story direction. I have the tools to figure out where the story needs to go. But this year, I’m going to give myself a little bit of extra time to chase the fireflies and enjoy the magic along the way.

 

Brenda Murphy writes short fiction and novels. Her novel Double Six won the 2020 GCLS Goldie for Erotica. She loves tattoos and sideshows and yes, those are her monkeys.  When she is not loitering on her front porch and writing, she wrangles two kids, one dog, and an unrepentant parrot.  She blogs about life as a writer with ADHD and publishes photographs on her blog Writing While Distracted.  Sign Up for her email list and receive a free erotic short story at   www.brendalmurphy.com

Books available at

Amazon 

NineStar Press

Owning it and help from a friend

It’s been a wild few months since I won the 2020 Goldie for my erotic novel,  Double Six. The award still doesn’t have a permanent home in my house. It is in its lovely box on my shelf because I moved my office at the start of the pandemic. I have a desk now in the corner of my living room and am back to writing where ever I can find space to sit with my laptop.

This photo makes me nostalgic for the time when I could drop the kids off at school and head to my favorite tea shop, have an oaty biscuit and a pot of tea and lose myself in my imaginary world. Both the tea shop and my ability to physically remove myself from my home to write are gone. But the ability to lose myself in my imaginary world remains.

But it feels a little different now. The Goldie award lurks in the of my periphery of thoughts. I worry if my next book will be as well received. If I think about it too much, I can find myself paralyzed. I’m super fortunate to have a very good friend who, when I mentioned this imposter feeling and struggle I was having offered this advice. First, she reminded me of things I tend to forget, for instance, this is not my first book, that folks wanted to read my stories. And she said the words I needed to hear:

“Get on with it. Write your damn book.”

It is the perfect reminder of what makes the difference between committing yourself to write a book.  I’ve written them on a card and stuck them where I can see them whenever I find myself distracted or worried or being precious about my writing. If you are creative and stuck or if your struggling with imposter syndrome, I’m offering you the same tough love.

“Get on with it. Write your damn book.”

Thank you,  VT, and I think we need to make this a t-shirt and maybe a mug 🙂 

 

Brenda Murphy writes short fiction and novels. Her novel Double Six won the 2020 GCLS Goldie for Erotica. She loves tattoos and sideshows and yes, those are her monkeys.  When she is not loitering on her front porch and writing, she wrangles two kids, one dog, and an unrepentant parrot.  She blogs about life as a writer with ADHD and publishes photographs on her blog Writing While Distracted.  Sign Up for her email list and receive a free erotic short story at   www.brendalmurphy.com

Books available at

Amazon 

NineStar Press

On The Square

Double Six

Complex Dimensions

Knotted Legacy

Both Ends of the Whip

ONE  

Sum of the Whole 

Dominique and Other Stories 

 

The Point

 

On the Square, the first book in the University Square series will release August 17th. And because I deal with anxiety over new releases by working, I started writing a new novel this week, the third in my University Square series. We also started homeschooling this week. And did I mention I started working on stripping the wallpaper in my daughter’s room so I can paint it? Because that’s how I roll.
The blessing and curse of ADHD is  I’m not able to sit still for long. Unless its something I hyperfocused on, then you could blow the house up around me, and I wouldn’t notice.
What is my point? Finding a balance is impossible for me. I am either working at top speed or sleeping. It makes me productive but also frustrated with myself at times. My busy-bee brain refuses to be still.

I’ve learned to work with it instead of fighting it, but sometimes I wonder what it would be like to be able to sit and watch the flowers grow. The last few months have been some of the most difficult in my life. I’ve spent much of my time distracting myself with books and movies. I’ve also filled several pages of my planning notebook with ideas for stories I want to write someday.
With the state of the world right now, it sometimes feels pointless plan anything, much less to spend time in make-believe worlds with my imaginary friends. But then a reader will message me asking when my next book will be published, and I remember the point after all.
I write to provide a bit of respite from the world and distract readers from real life, and that is reason enough to keep writing.

Brenda Murphy writes short fiction and novels. Her novel Double Six won the 2020 GCLS Goldie for Erotica. She loves tattoos and sideshows and yes, those are her monkeys.  When she is not loitering on her front porch and writing, she wrangles two kids, one dog, and an unrepentant parrot.  She blogs about life as a writer with ADHD and publishes photographs on her blog Writing While Distracted.  Sign Up for her email list and receive a free erotic short story at   www.brendalmurphy.com

Books available at

Amazon 

NineStar Press

Double Six

Complex Dimensions

Knotted Legacy

Both Ends of the Whip

ONE  

Sum of the Whole 

Dominique and Other Stories 

Full Circle

It has been a wild four months since I last posted. So much as happened in the world and in my life. As the pandemic spun out around the world, I helped my kids get through the last few months of school at home, planted five new raspberry bushes, and ten fruit trees. In April, I lost my dearest Aunt to a fall, and then I was informed I was a finalist for a GCLS Goldie, and then the most amazing thing, I won.

And through it all, I completed a novella for a project with friends. It took me as long to write thirty thousand words as it usually takes me to write sixty thousand. A big part of struggling to write was dealing with grief.

Grief over my aunt, grief for my kids not being able to be with their grandparents, and friends, grief for friends who died, friends who lost parents, siblings and partners, and grief over losing the ability to work undisturbed.

I started writing when my twins were little. I was home with them and wrote in snippets and margins of time I snatched for myself. And then they went to preschool, and hallelujah, I had two hours and forty-five minutes to myself.

I used that time to write my first two books, and then they went to kindergarten and my day stretched to 5 hours, and then the miracle of miracles they went to elementary school. I had full days to work. It was marvelous. I could stretch out, relax, and work as I wanted to, I even had a dedicated office. And then COVID-19. And now, my kids are home 24/7 and my wife is using my office for innumerable meetings.  I am back to working in the living room, or on our porch, or where ever and whenever I can snatch moments.

I fought against the change in my circumstances at first, raged, fretted, and whined quietly to myself. But in the end, I just needed to remind myself that I wrote and submitted two manuscripts a year for three years writing two hours and forty-five minutes a day.   I can do it again. Hell, my Goldie winning novel, Double Six was written during NANOWRIMO, and if I can draft a 60k novel in thirty days I can do anything.

What is the point of all of this?

Don’t let circumstances steal your art. Find a way to keep creating. I’ll be over here, sneaking in a writing sprint in the early morning before my kids get up, or doing edits after everyone has gone to bed, or knocking out a blog post when I can.

I won’t quit, I won’t whine, and I won’t dwell on what was. I will embrace new challenges and keep working, and keep writing because I’ve come too far along my writing journey to quit now. I won’t be precious about how and where I create,  I will just get on with it.

For you creatives out there, keep creating, the world needs your words and art, now more than ever.

Until next time, stay safe and well.

Available August 17th from Ninestar Press

Brenda Murphy writes short fiction and novels. Her novel, Double Six, won the 2020 GCLS Goldie for Erotica. She loves tattoos and sideshows and yes, those are her monkeys.  When she is not loitering at her local tea shop and writing, she wrangles two kids, one dog, and an unrepentant parrot.  She blogs about life as a writer with ADHD and publishes random thoughts and photographs on her blog Writing While Distracted. 

You can find her on Facebook by clicking here.  Sign Up for her email list and receive a free erotic short story HERE Check out more information about her upcoming releases and appearances at   www.brendalmurphy.com

Books available at

Amazon 

NineStar Press

Double Six

Complex Dimensions

Knotted Legacy

Both Ends of the Whip

ONE  

Sum of the Whole 

Dominique and Other Stories 

 

Creating in Chaos

Hi folks,

Its been a while since I’ve posted here. I have been like many I suspect, overwhelmed. And unsure I had anything to add to the discussion of how to adjust to our lives with the specter of Covid-19 looming over us. My family has been sheltering in place for about three weeks now. It’s been an adjustment. After suffering the loss of my brother in law last year, I finally felt we had all adjusted to the new normal. And then we found ourselves in the middle of a global pandemic. 

In the past week we, (my wife, my kids and I) have snuggled on our couch, struggled with classroom technology and homeschooling, played outside, started garden, planted seeds, raged, cried, lay in our beds and stared at the ceiling, laughed at ridiculous movies, called family and friends, played games, helped each other with chores and housework, and eaten our share of our favorite snacks and desserts. We are surviving. 

I sent a new manuscript off to my editor right before all of the chaos started and I’m grateful I had competed it because I have been unable to get myself to sit down to write until today.

I have a new novella project that I need to start working on.  I know I’m not going to hit my usual word counts. I not even going to try. I’m permitting myself to go slowly, to adjust my writing pace to meet my deadline on time but not early. I’m also permitting myself to take days off when I need them for emotional and mental health. My imaginary friends have always been my go-to in any crisis, and I believe that once I get back to writing, I will feel better. How are you all doing? Are you able to create right now? Do you have any tips to share?  

Until next time, stay safe, stay well. 

Brenda Murphy writes short fiction and novels. She loves tattoos and sideshows, and yes, those are her monkeys. When she is not loitering at her local tea shop and writing, she wrangles two kids, one dog, and an unrepentant parrot. She reviews books, blogs about life as a writer with ADHD and publishes photographs on her blog Writing While Distracted. 

You can find her on Facebook by clicking here. Sign Up for her email list and receive a free erotic short story HERE Check out more information about her upcoming releases and appearances at   www.brendalmurphy.com

Books available at

Amazon 

NineStar Press

Double Six

Complex Dimensions 

Knotted Legacy

Both Ends of the Whip

ONE 

Sum of the Whole 

Dominique and Other Stories 

Rainbow snippet January 11-12 2020

 

It’s a new year and I’m back with a #rainbowsnippet. I’ve been reconfiguring how I use my time in making content versus writing so I’m adjusting my blogging schedule accordingly.  I  am happy to announce that I pitched a podcast to the TLT also know as The Lesbian Talk Show and I will have more details about that in the next few weeks.

Soul Burn a  new release with Megan Hart that will be dropping January 27th and today’s snip is from my story in the duology. Have a great weekend Snipetters!

From Shifting Flames:

The things Eve had chosen to take with her intrigued Celeste. Her running shoes. An athlete’s choice. She’s built like a long-distance runner. Eve’s long legs rested against Celeste’s thighs, and Celeste imagined what it would be like to kneel between them and see Eve’s cruel beauty above her, one of her elegant hands wrapped in Celeste’s hair as she ordered her to do all kinds of deliciously dirty things. She stifled her groan and promised herself another hunt as soon as she had Eve settled.

Megan Hart, Brenda Murphy. Soul Burn out January 27th from Ninestar Press

Rainbow Snippets( https://www.facebook.com/groups/RainbowSnippets/)is a group for LGBTQ+ authors, readers, and bloggers to gather once a week to share six sentences from a work of fiction–a WIP or a finished work or even a 6-sentence book recommendation (no spoilers please!).

In this group, you’ll find anything from romance and historical fiction to mystery and YA. The common thread is that every story’s main character identifies as LGBTQ+. The snippets could range from zero flames to full-on sexytimes, anything goes content-wise. The only rule is snippets will be 6 sentences long–one for each color in the Pride flag.

Brenda Murphy writes erotic romance. Her novel, Knotted Legacy, made the 2018 The Lesbian Review’s Top 100 Vacation Reads list. She loves sideshows and tattoos and yes, those are her monkeys. When she is not loitering at her local library she wrangles two kids, one dog, and an unrepentant parrot. She reviews books, blogs about life as a writer with ADHD and publishes photographs on her blog Writing While Distracted. You can find her on Facebook by clicking here.  Sign Up for her email list here  www.brendalmurphy.com

Books available at

Amazon 

NineStar Press

Knotted Legacy

Both Ends of the Whip

ONE  

Sum of the Whole 

Dominique and Other Stories 

Complex Dimensions

Double Six

Managing Your Time: Art versus Content

I’m back after a nice long winter break. I took the time to think about my life. That is Life with a capital L. I had time to do the kind of thinking that leads me to consider deeply how I want to spend my time. I spent a thoughtful morning reviewing my calendar and goals.

While I met most of my writing goals, my photography and art goals were not met. My health goals were mostly not met and my intentions to spend more time with my kids and wife were glaringly missing from my calendar. And I was frustrated by the amount of time I spent attending to social media.

After talking with other writers, and creatives the biggest reason we all feel compelled to push ourselves to burn out is the rate that writers and other creatives are encouraged to produce art and content. Authors are encouraged to release books every quarter, to post every day to multiple social media sites and don’t forget to get your newsletter out every week and add free stories and novels to your website. 

The pace is not tenable. Art takes time, time to think, to be with yourself, time to create. To be clear, I’m not talking about lazing about waiting for the muse to show up. I’m talking about taking the time to develop your art versus making content. After conversations with other authors and artists, I don’t think I’m alone in my frustration to find a balance between creating art and content. 

What is the difference between art and content? A blog post is content, a tweet, a post on Facebook, or Instagram, or Twitter is content. The idea of giving your fans a peek at the creative process is part of creating content, and it does serve a purpose because without fans, who would buy our work?

I’m an artist and maker. I love to create, to write stories and tell them, I love to make mixed media pieces, I love to take photographs and share them, and I love blogging. I am most happy when I am working on a new story or attempting to capture the perfect light in a photo, or slathering paint on a project.  The catch in all of this is there is a difference between creating art and creating content and only twenty-four hours in a day.

And, we need to give ourselves time to produce our work and permit ourselves to take time off of the social media merry-go-round. We need to make our art without censoring ourselves, to free ourselves of the idea that we need to be present 24/7/365. We need to be free to be sloppy, messy, and experiment without worrying about how to take the best photo of our half-finished work.

Instead of pushing ourselves to meet someone else’s schedule of production and content marketing, we need to find a healthy pace for ourselves. Releasing a book or turning in a manuscript every three months is may be possible for some, but for me, it is not.

Understanding and accepting your pace is key to survival long-term as an artist. It is madness to try to keep up with a pace that is not our own and the sure way to burn out. Currently, I take at least two 24 hours of phone/social media/screen breaks a month and one full weekend. Last summer, I took a full two weeks off-grid. It was amazing and magical and freeing. And it reminded me that nothing that can be handled by email or text is genuinely urgent, important maybe, but not urgent. I remembered how to be present for the people around me and not worry about whatever was going on elsewhere.  

I was so refreshed and had so many ideas for new projects it was miraculous. I plan on doing more off-grid time this summer. After my experience with off-grid time, and inspired by artist Johanna Basford’s six-month social sabbatical, I am contemplating the same.

I know some of you think, ‘ugh I can’t do that, my fans will go away, they won’t come back,’ but you know what? They will. They will wait and be excited when you return with new art for them, especially if you explain why you are taking a break and let them know when to expect you back. 

Consider this an invitation to disconnect, take back your time, and get back to the messy, exuberant, joyful world of creating your art without an audience.

 

Brenda Murphy writes short fiction and novels. She loves tattoos and sideshows and yes, those are her monkeys.  When she is not loitering at her local tea shop and writing, she wrangles two kids, one dog, and an unrepentant parrot.  She reviews books, blogs about life as a writer with ADHD and publishes photographs on her blog Writing While Distracted. 

You can find her on Facebook by clicking here.  Sign Up for her email list and receive a free erotic short story HERE Check out more information about her upcoming releases and appearances at   www.brendalmurphy.com

Books available at

Amazon 

NineStar Press

Double Six

Complex Dimensions

Knotted Legacy

Both Ends of the Whip

ONE  

Sum of the Whole 

Dominique and Other Stories 

 

Looking Forward

It’s been a while since I posted. I’ve been super busy with two releases this fall and NaNoWriMO. When things get crazy busy, my blog is one of the things that I let slide. I also tend not to engage as much when I’m not in a good space because I want this to a positive place to come. This year has been a tough one, I’ve had some wonderful things happen amid the devastating loss of my brother-in-law. I’ve learned a lot about grief. And I’ve learned how much writing is my go-to place when I’m working through things.

In 2020 I plan to release a new series, start a new creative project, and keep up with this blog. I will be adding a podcast feature so that if you don’t have time to read my posts, you can download them and listen to them. Screen fatigue is real, and podcasts offer a break for your eyes.

I’m taking some time off to spend with my family over the holidays and will be back in January with a brand new release. My foray into paranormal romance, a duology with Megan Hart will arrive January 27th and I’ll share some snips in before then. Until then, I wish you peace and happiness and love.

 

Brenda Murphy writes short fiction and novels. She loves tattoos and sideshows and yes, those are her monkeys.  When she is not loitering at her local tea shop and writing, she wrangles two kids, one dog, and an unrepentant parrot.  She reviews books, blogs about life as a writer with ADHD and publishes photographs on her blog Writing While Distracted. 

You can find her on Facebook by clicking here.  Sign Up for her email list and receive a free erotic short story HERE Check out more information about her upcoming releases and appearances at   www.brendalmurphy.com

Books available at

 

Amazon 

NineStar Press

Double Six

Complex Dimensions

Knotted Legacy

Both Ends of the Whip

ONE  

Sum of the Whole 

Dominique and Other Stories