One for the Murphys

Giveaway: Author Skype Visit and Be Someone’s Hero T-shirt

SO excited to be doing my first Skype interview next week with the amazing Joan Young. YEAH!!!

So, in the interest of just jumping into the WHOLE Skype world, I’m offering a raffle for a free 30-45 minute Skype visit with me for any classroom or library!  (Please see terms and conditions at the bottom).

Winner will also receive a “Be someone’s hero. No cape required” T-shirt.

Front (top pic) and back (bottom pic) of shirt

Raffle will end at 11:59 pm on Monday, July 9th (the real Michael Eric’s birthday 🙂

I was going to use Rafflecopter but it won’t run on the free version of WordPress–so, here goes.

Earn entries by:

  • Making a general comment on this blog (Please include e-mail or Twitter name as contact)
  • Making a comment about an everyday hero that you know on Twitter using #oneforthemurphys (The hashtag allows me to find/keep track of entries)
  • Citing a favorite line from One for the Murphys~no spoilers, please. 🙂
  • Tweet about this giveaways using #oneforthemurphys  (The hashtag allows me to find/keep track of entries)
  • Share on Facebook (Please tell me this in comment section below)
  • Tell me that you are a teacher (5th grade and up) or librarian–cha-ching! extra entry!

Terms and conditions:

~Thank you for your interest in my raffle. 🙂 Congratulations to the winner!

~Winner must respond to my message of winning within 72 hours or another winner will be chosen.

~This skype visit is for a 30-45 minute Q&A session with the author of One for the Murphys.

~This is for grades 5 and up only.

~If the students have read/heard One for the Murphys prior to the visit, it will be a far richer experience for them. However, I won’t require it.

~Skype may be scheduled for any time that fits both of our schedules during the 2012-13 school year.

~This offer is for the 2012-13 school year only.

Categories: Marketing, One for the Murphys, Online marketing | 15 Comments

Back to My Writing Roots–The OFFICIAL Launch Party of MURPHYS

So…Can I just say HOW EXCITED I am about my *official CT launch* of One for the MURPHYS at the Glastonbury, CT Barnes and Noble this Thursday, May 24th at 6:00?!

My career literally started in this store when I joined a writers’ group about ten years back and was welcomed with open arms. I made good friends, learned a lot, and also took a liking to Mocha Lattes.

This is also a special store to me, as I wrote about 20% of MURPHYS at the table near the window. Coincidentally, OFTM takes place in Glastonbury, CT, with scenes set in Smith Middle School and Welles-Turner Library. Also, a whole chapter takes place in the Hallmark Store next door to the B&N.

I am happily collecting Red Sox and semi-happily collecting NY Yankees items for raffles.  You’ll also find some “Be someone’s hero” t-shirts, a real live prop from the book, and other eclectic items. I promise to entertain with adventurous tales of my travels across the wilds of…erm…Glastonbury. I’ll tell you why I set OFTM there, the very unlikely thing that sparked the book in my head, and talk about some things other writers (of any age) can do to improve their writing. I may even wear a gorilla suit. (I said *may*)

Friends, teacher colleagues, former students, and fellow writers (and, hopefully, kids!) will join me in my celebration. Can’t WAIT!!! Hope you can join us!


Categories: adventure, author, Be Someone's Hero, Marketing, middle-grade, One for the Murphys | Tags: , , | 9 Comments

The Velveteen Rabbit Wears Converse?

I have such a daunting “to-do list” that I really shouldn’t be blogging today, but life has tapped me on the shoulder. So, here I am. On the one week birthday of One for the Murphys.

Shortly after ONE FOR THE MURPHYS (and Converse-wearing Carley Connors) went under contract, my big brother, Rick, asked me what I hoped for in terms of being a children’s author. I suppose he expected the typical answer—big sales or major awards. I thought for a second and said, “I hope my books will make a difference to kids. I want them to carry them in their backpacks and make a mess of them with marked passages, bent covers, and dog-eared pages.” (Velveteen Rabbit kinds of books, I now call them.) Ricky got that wry smile that we share and said, “You know, you sound just like Mum?” We laughed. Because I really did.

A series of things has occurred lately that have given me an idea of the stunning power behind this author thing. Not power as in control—power as in the human connection. The ability to make a difference. I have been so moved by some of it that I have not shared anything online until today.

First of all, while attending a recent big children’s literature event, I met an author that I have admired for years. She has earned a handful of major awards and that’s cool—SO cool! But it is her writing, her gift for story-telling and her voice—a voice that reverberates and characters that long linger that really floors me. She stood in front of my table, holding my ARC of Murphys and you know what? It was a mess. Bent cover, dog-eared pages. It was fantastic!

Turns out that her daughter has read it three times and has carried it in her backpack. I was so touched by this—and touched that she would bring it to show me. In terms of who she is, I admit that I gushed a bit more than was socially acceptable (okay–it wasn’t *that* bad!) over this author; she is such a gifted writer and a super, down-to-earth person. Loved meeting her! I Promise to keep my feet on the floor and speak in complete sentences the next time we meet.

Recently, I also had a school visit that dreams are made of for someone who wants to help children with her writing. It was supposed to be 45-minutes but ran two hours. When I finally left, a group of about seven kids followed me into the hallway, asking me light-hearted questions. However, when they were called back,  one child lingered and the conversation that followed gives me chills as I type this now. I’ll never forget that child’s words—or the tone of them. A braid of resilience and weariness and pleading. How we talked about how letting people help you is part of being strong. About seeing yourself as a conqueror rather than a victim.

This visit was followed by the arrival of the most thoughtful, detailed, pensive, creative, funny batch of letters ever. True. It’s the first batch I have received, but I can’t imagine ever receiving a better stack of letters. I responded by telling those kids I’d keep them forever and ever—and I will.

And so today I woke up to a blog post of a fellow writer and friend. I won’t paraphrase because she told the story better than I could. But, I hope you’ll read it.

Upon reading this, the awesome Brian Lies wrote, “I think you’ve just been touched by the magic of WRITING books, Lynda (as compared to being a reader of them). When you send one out into the world, it travels to places you’d never find, and meets people you might never encounter—including people who embrace your work the way you’ve embraced YOUR very favorite books.”

I guess I knew in my head what this would be like—but I never imagined how it would feel in my heart.

Categories: Be Someone's Hero, Book Review, courage, inspiring, One for the Murphys, teaching, writing | 9 Comments

One for the Murphys Blog Tour Schedule

I am delighted that my BLOG TOUR for ONE FOR THE MURPHYS has begun this week!

I have gotten to know so many fantastic readers and bloggers out there in setting this up. I am SO grateful to all of these wonderful and generous people who

have agreed to be a stop on the tour.  Man, there is nothing better than the kid lit community, is there?

I think not.


Wednesday, May 2:


Monday, May 7:   


Tuesday, May 8: 


Wednesday, May 9:  



Thursday, May 10:


KISSING THE EARTH (Trees as Metaphors)



Friday, May 11:

GREAT KIDS BOOKS (Post re: Encouraging Kids to Read)


Monday, May 14:

EMUSDEBUTS (5 day launch party)   (interviews with Nancy Paulsen and Erin Murphy)



Tuesday, May 15: 


EMUSDEBUTS (5 day launch party)  (Broadway’s WICKED connection!)

Wednesday, May 16: 



EMUSDEBUTS (Social worker’s take on The Murphys)

Thursday, May 17:


EMUSDEBUTS (Real life kid-heroes & “Famous Murphys” VLOG)

OUT TO PLAY (The Universe  Speaks)

Friday, May 18:



EMUSDEBUTS (Library/teacher connections)

Monday, May 21:


Tuesday, May 22:


Wednesday, May 23:


Thursday, May 24:



Friday, May 25:


Tuesday, May 29: 



Wednesday, May 30:



Thursday, May 31 


Sunday, June 3


Thursday, June 7


Monday, June 18


Tuesday, July 17


Date TBD:




Categories: Blog Tour, Book Review, interview, Marketing, Nancy Paulsen Books (Penguin), One for the Murphys | 5 Comments

YAmazing Race with MGnificent Prizes!



Welcome to my stop on the YAmazing Race with MGnificent Prizes, a crazy whirlwind blog-hop-extravaganza featuring 58 debut authors and prize packs featuring ARCs, signed books, gift certificates, swag, and more!

If you haven’t visited our Apocalypsies website, please click here to start from the beginning of the race and read the complete rules. (The race will begin on May 2, 2012 at NOON)

Ready, Set, GO!!!

ONE FOR THE MURPHYS By Lynda Mullaly Hunt



In the wake of heart-breaking betrayal, Carley Connors is thrust into foster care and left on the steps of the Murphys, a happy, bustling family.

Carley has thick walls and isn’t rattled easily, but this is a world she just doesn’t understand. A world that frightens her. So, she resists this side of life she’d believed did not exist with dinners around a table and a “zip your jacket, here’s your lunch” kind of mom.

However, with the help of her Broadway-obsessed and unpredictable friend, Toni, the Murphys do the impossible in showing Carley what it feels like to belong somewhere. But, when her mother wants her back, will she lose the only family that she has ever known?


All set? 🙂

That’s all you need to know for your quiz later.

BUT WAIT! There’s more!!

Please leave a comment below at a chance to win a “Be someone’s hero ~ No cape required” t-shirt in your choice of colors (red, black, or jade) and sizes.


You may find ONE FOR THE MURPHYS here on the web:    Lynda’s Website      Book Trailer      

Indiebound      Barnes and Noble       Facebook


**Thanks for stopping by!**    NEXT STOP:  QUIZ QUESTIONS FOR THIS LEG OF THE RACE!


Categories: adventure, apocalypsies, Be Someone's Hero, Marketing, One for the Murphys, Online marketing | 103 Comments

One for the Murphys Book Trailer (Middle Grade Novel)

Hello, Folks!

So here is my foray into the world of Book Trailers. Hope you enjoy it!

Categories: Book Trailers, Marketing, middle-grade, music, One for the Murphys, Online marketing, video | Tags: | 22 Comments

The Major Role of Minor Characters


If used well, minor characters aren’t minor at all.

We know that minor characters should never be “cardboard.” That every character needs to be fully fleshed out. For example, avoiding stereotypes is good. Not every football player struggles in school. Not every cheerleader is blond and mean. Generally, good characters (like real people) are a myriad of different elements.

Yes, minor characters need to stand on their own—be interesting, compelling. But why include them in the ways that we do? Because they can be an excellent tool in teaching the reader something about our main character. And that is the ultimate objective, isn’t it?

One of my minor characters in ONE FOR THE MURPHYS would have some choice words for me at labeling her “minor.” She’d put me in my place, frighten me, and then make me laugh with her choice of words, lobbing some comment about how I’m drowning in my own gene pool.

Her name is Toni. She’s gruff. She says what’s on her mind even when it will offend people. In fact, if it will offend, all the better. Yes, her self-protection strategies are extreme and they’ve kept her alone. Her walls are high and formidable.

These are some of the things that can happen within a person when they feel like no one loves them for who they really are. Some pretend, trying to be someone they’re not to fit in. Not Toni. And she apologizes for nothing. To a casual observer, she is not vulnerable. Ever. And at the beginning of the book, she considers this to be her greatest strength. A badge of honor.

Toni had found a kindred spirit, though. A fictional girl who had been literally shunned since the day she was born. She is bright and strong and determined. She speaks up for what is right and in the name of those not able to protect themselves—regardless of the consequences. Although gruff (and green) on the outside, she is filled with compassion and love. She is the Wicked Witch of the West named Elphaba from the Broadway musical (and the book by Gregory McGuire), WICKED.

The day Carley meets her, Toni is wearing a WICKED t-shirt, which Carley assumes merely label’s Toni’s personality. When asked to do a social studies project on a person that has changed the world for good, she insists on doing Stephen Schwartz, the man who wrote the lyrics to Wicked’s genius musical score. She dreams of starring on Broadway like Idina Menzel. But at this point, Carley still didn’t understand. All the layers of Toni. But, as Carley changes her perspective—develops an understanding of Toni—a light shines back on Carley, teaching the reader more about her.

As these two girls, who start out as bitter enemies, get to know each other’s hearts and stories they learn how much they have in common where it counts. They develop a shared love for Elphaba’s signature song, Defying Gravity, and its messages within for two girls who are wounded in different ways but both wounded just the same. Who both ache with a void in their guts but how those feelings manifest themselves very differently—yet the same— in each one of them.

Using minor characters in this way is a prime example of writing that “shows rather than tells.” They are there to heighten tension. Move the action. Push our protagonists where they don’t want to go. Sometimes an unexpected reaction from a minor character teaches us something as well. For example, consider the kid always in trouble with a teacher who tries to defend him. Can we possibly draw a conclusion about the child by the teacher’s protectiveness? So, minor characters need to be fully formed, free-standing people. But, in the end, their main purpose is to shine a spot light on our main character.

Consider The Breakfast Club, one of my favorite 80’s movies. Completely dependent on character—a human pinball machine of vulnerability and emotion. Think of how much we learn about each one of those six students because each of them is pushed by another into revealing something they normally wouldn’t. And how much we learn about them by their individual reactions to the principal. If you’d like a reminder of how characters shine lights upon each other, think about pulling this movie out.

If you have not seen Broadway’s Wicked, I suggest that you do. For all kinds of reasons I could do an entire post on. But in relation to this post—the writing in Wicked is masterful. Characters are constantly shining spotlights on each other in the ways that I’ve described. And it is all so organic.

I was so moved by Wicked. I think it drove the writing of the Murphys. I often write with music but never with lyrics. Except in the case of Murphys and Wicked. I never made a decision to choose this music; it chose me. And out of it, Toni was born.

I do love Carley Connors, but I must confess that my favorite character may be Toni. I can see writing a novel some day with her as the protag. And I will then have to create minor characters that shine lights upon her.


Here is a video of WICKED’S Idina Menzel singing Defying Gravity:

Categories: friends, journey, music, One for the Murphys, writing | 53 Comments

First Author Interview! YEAH!


Check out my first author interview (and the crowds cheered! Well, I did anyway…) done by the wildly talented, Jame Richards:

Categories: confession, interview, journey, Nancy Paulsen Books (Penguin), One for the Murphys, SCBWI, writing | 3 Comments

Tassy Walden Awards–Shoreline Arts Alliance

I find myself saying the same thing a lot lately. “I am ONE lucky woman!”I’m lucky in many respects, actually—in the wonderful family that I have been blessed with for none of my other successes could ever mean as much as they do without my husband and kids.I am also lucky in that I have a large, rich network of writing friends. We toast each other in good times and bolster each other in not-so-good times. I love them dearly. Really.Last Wednesday, I was honored to accept the Tassy Walden Award for New Voices in Children’s Literature for a Young Adult Novel entitle ONE FOR THE MURPHYS. The contest is run by the Shoreline Arts Alliance, which is a fabulous organization here in Connecticut for writers (and all creative types!) Being nestled in between the children’s writing hubs of Boston and New York like we are, I’m so grateful for Shoreline Arts—they are the best Connecticut has to offer for bolstering the creative arts in Connecticut!
The Tassy Walden Award celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. In that time, it has become a rather well respected writing contest for Connecticut Children’s Writers. It is designed to mimic the submission process to publishing houses and has a panel of nationally recognized agents and children’s book editors as the judges. This year, there were 260 entries (PB, MG, YA) with about 10% being named finalists or winners. Pretty high percentage, I think—speaks to the quality that the Tassy Awards attract!
Since I’ve been asked about the judging process a couple of times, I’ll address it here. I think the most interesting facet of the judging process is that there is no set number of winners/finalists. The first round of judging is done by agents in New York. Then the whittled down group goes to editors for final judging. However, sometimes, a category has no winner and/or finalists. A finalist means that the judges deem it “publishable” so sometimes there are two or three or four or none—depending on the submissions.

I had a terrific night! I was nervous to read aloud in front of a group, but once I got started, was fine. I was able to connect with people from other writing conferences, most of my writers’ group (The Writer’s Bloc), writers from classes, and family. Also, a dear friend from Cape Cod did the round trip drive in one night to hear me read for ten minutes—that was extra special, as the foster mother in my novel is semi- based on her. It felt right to have her there.

My thanks, especially, to Donita Aruny and Doe Boyle (along with many others!) who do a TON of work on the Tassy Walden Awards. The contest wouldn’t be what it is without the both of them! 😉

Categories: Nancy Paulsen Books (Penguin), One for the Murphys | Leave a comment

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