Thursday, January 6, 2011

Guest Post & Giveaway ~ J.J. Murphy - Murder Your Darlings

It’s Murder, My Darling

Thanks, Lori, for allowing me to guest post on your Reading Corner.

You’ve probably heard that well-worn saying among writers and editors: “Murder your darlings.” It means that if you’ve written something that you think is really good, something you really love…then it probably stinks like limburger cheese. It may ring like silver bells in your ears, but it probably sounds like a rusty jackhammer to everyone else.

So you need to get rid of it. Kill it off. Hit that delete key. (Some writers phrase it differently: “Kill your babies.” But that’s taking it a bit far, don’t you think?)

The century-old phrase is attributed to a British journalist and critic Arthur Quiller-Couch. He stated, “Whenever you feel an impulse to perpetrate a piece of exceptionally fine writing, obey it—wholeheartedly—and delete it before sending your manuscript to press. Murder your darlings.”

Good advice. It’s so good and clever that, before I ever found out who said it, I assumed it was coined by that Goddess of Witty Quotes: Dorothy Parker.

You probably know who Dorothy Parker was. She was a writer and critic who said famous witty things, such as “Men seldom make passes at girls who wear glasses” and “Brevity is the soul of lingerie.” Another favorite: “This is not a book to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force.”

She’s famous not only for her witticisms but also for her poetry and short stories. And she was one of the founders of that circle of witty banter, the Algonquin Round Table.

So when I set out to write a murder mystery, and when I thought of Dorothy Parker as the sleuth, it seemed only natural to steal the phrase for the title of my story.

MURDER YOUR DARLINGS is a humorous historical mystery that takes place in New York during the Roaring 20s. It includes witty dialogue, drinking, danger, romance, and murder—all wrapped up in that “anything goes” spirit of the Jazz Age. In the story, Dorothy Parker and Robert Benchley—with quips on their lips and drinks in their hands—attempt to solve the murder of a rival critic, exonerate the name of young William Faulkner, and save their favorite speakeasy. (You may know the equally clever Robert Benchley, who said, “Why don’t you get out of those wet clothes and into a dry martini?”)

I’d like to tell you many more wonderful things about MURDER YOUR DARLINGS…but doing that would stink like limburger cheese, and I’d just have to delete it anyway.

About the author ~

J.J. Murphy is an award-winning health care writer in Pennsylvania, and has been a long-time fan of Dorothy Parker and the Algonquin Round Table. J.J. started writing after the birth of twin daughters as an escape from toddler television.

Make sure to visit J.J's site ~ Round Table Mysteries
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Email J.J. @ jjmurphy AT roundtablemysteries DOT com

Who would you cast to play Dorothy Parker in the movie? (If one were to be made). Click HERE to vote for your choice.

The book ~

Murder Your Darlings: Algonquin Round Table Mystery

One morning legendary wit Dorothy Parker discovers someone under Manhattan's famed Algonquin Round Table. A little early for a passed out drunk, isn't it? But he's not dead drunk, just dead. When a charming writer from Mississippi named Billy Faulkner becomes a suspect in the murder, Dorothy decides to dabble in a little detective work, enlisting her literary cohorts.

It's up to the Algonquins to outwit the true culprit-preferably before cocktail hour-and before the clever killer turns the tables on them.

Thanks to Penguin, I have two (2) copies of this book to give away.

GIVEAWAY Rules for entering:

* This contest is open to residents of USA & Canada only!
* Please complete the form below - do not leave information in the comments - it will not count.
* The contest will end on January 19th at 11:59PM EST; 2 winners will be selected and contacted thereafter.
* Once the winners are contacted, they will have 48 hours to respond to my email or another winner will be chosen (make sure to check your spam filters!).
* Book will be shipped directly from Penguin.