Knowing Me by Michael Murphy – Guest Blog

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Michael Murphy whose newest book, Coin of the Realm, releases August 15.

Knowing Me
This guest post has been a struggle for me, not because of the topic but because of the timing because this has been one of the most difficult weeks of my life. A little over 14 years old, my husband and I bought a new house. Six weeks later we adopted a shelter dog who had been to hell and back. He’d been abused, misused, starved. When we got him he was skin and bones and scared of his own shadow. He was the first dog we’d ever owned.

Because I wanted to ease him into his new home, I told my boss I needed to work from home for two weeks – she called it my puppy paternity leave, but she gave it to me. I worked from home for his first two weeks in the household so I was with him while he got settled in. In those two weeks we bonded big time. We were together 24 hours a day and it gave him plenty of time to get me wrapped around his little paw.

His vet said she’d be surprised if he lived past the age of twelve because of a serious heart condition. But he was a trooper and was determined to prove her wrong. We lost him this week at nearly sixteen years of age. Making that decision was something I have struggled with for weeks. Watching him pass away was just about more than I could bear. He was my baby. Coming into the house yesterday for the first time without him waiting for me at the top of the stairs and with his bed missing just about floored me.

Doing anything organized and productive since I lost him 48 hours ago has been just about impossible. For this post you wanted something that wasn’t promotion but would instead give readers a chance to get to know me. I decided that nothing really defined me quite so much as the role he played in my life and how totally his loss has devastated me. Every time I think that all my tears have been shed I seem to find a fresh batch. The pain might ease with time, but his place in my heart will never change. He was my baby and I miss him terribly.

8_10 michael murphy CoinoftheRealmFSTimothy Mitchell worked his way from humble beginnings to graduate school in Washington, DC. The end is in sight — but so are his funds. Determined not to let his dream slip through his fingers, Timothy goes from part-time jobs, to modeling for art classes, to stripping, and finally to working as an escort to pay his tuition.

The nation’s capital is full of powerful men and secrets, which Timothy learns firsthand when he takes on a client who demands absolute anonymity. Even though Timothy realizes he’s sleeping with one of the most influential men in the world, he must keep up the façade. Despite that, their association moves from sex to love.

But power and secrets also mean danger. When Timothy is violently abducted off the street, all because of what — and who — he knows, his lover must make a decision: risk his power and position or lose the man he loves.

About the Author:Who am I? I really wish I knew the answer to this question. One of these days I need to decide what I want to be when I grow up.

I am a middle-aged man, born in the far reaches of upstate New York – parts that give the word “rural” meaning. I used to walk the fields, ride in trucks full of hay, ride horses, and drive on dirt roads. Now I live in Washington, DC where there are no hay trucks and no dirt roads, but I do see the occasional horse.

Recently, when I came upon one of those frightening milestone birthdays (and no, I’m not telling you which one), I realized something that scared the crap out of me: there were more years behind me than there were in front of me. My mortality hit me that day like someone dropping a load of bricks on me.

With my realization, I constructed a bucket list of things I absolutely had to do in the years (hopefully many) that I have left. Writing a book was one of them and was near the top.

My biggest influences when growing up were my two grandmothers. Both were ferociously strong women who were widowed way too young and had to pick up the shattered pieces of their lives and try to put them back together again. And they did! They were incredible women and I adored them both.

These women loved to read and to tell stories, so it just always seemed a natural thing for me to want to do the same. One Christmas when I had a break from work for a few days I had an idea – just a simple single flash of an idea. I sat down at my computer and thought for a minute. And then I started writing – and like magic this story started to pour out of me. I hadn’t planned to write a story. I was amazed, in awe, floored.

It was like the characters were coming to life and telling their story and I was just tagging along for the ride. I typed as fast as my fingers would fly across the keys (I used to earn money by typing so I’m a pretty fast typist). I couldn’t wait to see what happened next. It was the most amazing experience I think I’ve ever had. Okay, maybe not THE most amazing, but it ranks right up there near the top.

My husband finally came to me a couple of days into this, sat down, looked so serious, and asked, “Are you mad at me?” I assured him that no, I was not mad; I had just been kidnapped by my two characters who refused to let me go. He sort of believed me. When I handed him a printout of the entire book he really believed me, although he wasn’t all that thrilled about the book. What can I say? He is a biomedical scientist who primarily reads non-fiction. The fact that I got him to read any fiction was a huge step.

I sent it in to Dreamspinner. Much to my shock and surprise they accepted it. Out of the hundreds of unsolicited manuscripts that they receive every year they only accept a tiny fraction from new, unknown authors – and I was part of that tiny fraction.

When I got the news I was riding on the subway to work one morning. I screamed and hugged the man sitting next to me – I don’t have a clue who he was and I’m sure I scared the crap out of him, even though I tried to explain why I was so happy. When I got to work, a co-worker joined me in doing a happy dance (yes, we really danced in a wild and crazy fashion).

Once I started writing, the spirit of my departed grandmothers started taking over and story after story started to come out. Dreamspinner and Harmony Ink Press have published a total of five books so far, with the next one due out next week. Two additional books are under contract and I am working with a fellow writer (a big time famous writer) on a young adult story.

When I’m not writing, I’m editing and proofing, proofing and editing. When not doing that I work for a small organization in downtown DC located a few hundred yards from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. My work is primarily IT project management which can be thrilling and at other times drive me to distraction.

All in all, I’d rather be writing full time. I could spend my days writing about hot guys rather than listening to people tell me that their quarter million dollar software project absolutely had to be rejected because the third button on the fourth screen wasn’t blue! It’s always been blue! It’s got to be blue! Yes, this happens, all too often.

When I can I love to travel. I know others have done far more than me, but I’m proud of the fact that I’ve visited 46 of the 50 states in the US and 29 countries outside the US.

Buy the book at Dreamspinner

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