Guest Post: A Born Murphy by CJ Murphy and giveaway

Desert Palm Press’s author CJ Murphy is here.

She’s giving away 3 e-copies and 2 paperbacks of frame by frame. That’s right, there will be 5 winners. More details are below.

Please welcome CJ Murphy

A Born Murphy

When you are ‘a born Murphy’, life is not only interesting, it’s also maddening, inspiring, and full of unexpected journeys. I’ve always been adventurous and a bit daring. As a child, I spent my time in jeans with the knee or the backside ripped out. I also usually sported more than one cartoon Band-Aid, protecting some unfortunate “accident”. I’m an only child and that, coupled with being ‘a born Murphy’, led me down many paths that would lead to discovery and occasional bloodshed.

For those of you familiar with Murphy’s Law, it’s an ever- expanding law about unfortunate occurrences, limitations and balancing expectations. I came out of the womb to have the nurses tie a copy of said ‘law’ to my tiny little armband. They clucked their tongue and wished my mother good luck. I think I personally add at least three or four new lines a day to my namesake law and have single handedly given my mother every one of her gray hairs. Now I tell you all of this so that you will understand my philosophy on life. It takes in two well known sayings, Carpe Diem (Seize the Day) and Hold Fast.

Writing has always been part of my life but more so in the form of the thousands of reports I’ve spent writing in my careers on an ambulance, at a 911 center, and eventually in my dream job as a professional firefighter. Twenty five years later, those dreams are sunsetting and my right sided brain has been returning to an old love…writing for fun. Several years ago, my wife said… “Write me a story”. This gave me the idea to create unique gifts for her as anniversary, holiday and birthday gifts. She started prodding me to see about publishing them. I eventually got up my Scotch-Irish courage to let someone other than her read it. Along the way I found some awesome beta readers. The response was positive and yet I knew I had a long way to go before I felt confident enough to offer it to a publisher. That was when I was introduced to a mentor who helped me take my manuscript to the next level. Making the decision to push send, was one of the biggest leaps of faith I’d ever taken. Shockingly, against all of Murphy’s predictions, I heard back from Lee at Desert Palm Press and was soon off to the incredible world of getting a manuscript ready for publishing.

The idea for my debut novel ‘frame by frame’ started as a routine visit to our local general store and diner and the hundreds of motorcycles that pass by our farm as a part of the annual Memorial Day, Run for the Wall. ‘frame by frame’ revolves around an unrequited love growing for some time between Val Magnusson, a former Marine photographer, and Laurel Stemple, owner operator of Cool Springs Store. Both have internal battles they’re fighting, and it takes a near death experience for them to face their true feelings for one another for the first time. The pair must battle past their own perceived inadequacies with the help of a quirky cast of store patrons, good friends and family. They discover a path over and around the things keeping them apart. Travel the twisting roads of West Virginia’s mountain communities while Val and Laurel find love ‘frame by frame’.

This book has many of the messages that my two personal mottos personify. Each week I try to share what I’ve been calling PCT’s or Positive CJ Thoughts, on my Facebook page and my blog. I am a glass half full person living on a daily basis with Murphy’s law. Yes, I am an optimist. In a world of constant negativity, I try to find even the smallest pinpoint of light and walk toward it.



Valkyrie Magnusson, a former Marine photographer injured while covering a goodwill interaction with Iraqi children in 2010, is haunted by flashbacks. She travels the U.S. as a photographer for Rider magazine. A self-proclaimed nomad, Val has little inclination to settle down. But something keeps calling her back to a little tourist trap called Cool Springs in rural West Virginia. The sign at the quirky little store boasts, “Good food, groceries, ice cream, hardware, feed store, taxidermy, gifts, and gas.”

Cool Springs is owned by Laurel Stemple and her grandmother Ree. Laurel is charged with the daily operations of the catch-all little store/diner and the care of her octogenarian grandmother. A frequent visitor, Val has become like family at Cool Springs. Interesting characters like Mule, aptly nicknamed for his braying laughter and Wunder, whose child-like questions keep everyone in stitches, create a unique tapestry of community in the little store.

Over the years, Val and Laurel have gradually fallen in love without acknowledging it. Personal secrets and scars have left the pair unable to move toward a relationship. While covering an annual Memorial Day Ride to the Wall, a near tragic accident forces Val and Laurel to confront their feelings and fears.

Amazon US / Amazon UK / Amazon CA / Amazon AUS



I grew up a voracious reader, feeding my imagination with books. I spent hours exploring the woods around my farm, pretending I was “Hawk-eye”, surviving in the wilderness. I climbed into the hayloft of our barn, looking for “Charlotte” among the spider webs. Later, I looked in every wardrobe I could trying to find “Narnia and Aslan”. As an adult, I can still remember reading my first novel with a lesbian character and how it made me feel to finally identify in an entirely new way.

My adventure into writing came at the suggestion of my wife. Several years ago, she asked me to write her a story. I began crafting her personalized gifts for holidays and special occasions, by writing stories for her. I’d weave in pieces and parts of our life. My brain started asking “what if” after she mentioned forgetting I’d written the story until something sounded familiar.

My wife and I are part owners of an active produce farm and a U Pick strawberry operation on my wife’s family land all while I continue into my twenty fifth year as a full-time firefighter. On top of all that, we built our dream home in 2016, on property we’ve been clearing and preparing for fourteen years. Now we reside on 221 acres of woodland in the mountains of West Virginia, with three cats as I pine away for another promised Border Collie. We love to go watch our Mountaineers, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Steelers. We love leading our great niece and nephews on adventures to fuel their imagination and creativity as we watch them grow.






Enter here for a chance to win a copy of


All you need to do is fill in your email, check the box confirming you aren’t a robot, and hit enter. 3 will win an e-book and 2 will receive a paperback.

  • 5 winners
  • Value:
    E-book is $6.50; Paperback is $16.50
  • Prize:
    e-copy or paperback of frame by frame

Enter to #win #lesfic novel frame by frame by CJ Murphy



To enter to win please provide your email.


Thanks so much for stopping by today.

Best of luck to everyone who enters the giveaway.


About TBM

TB Markinson is an American who's recently returned to the US after a seven-year stint in the UK and Ireland. When she isn't writing, she's traveling the world, watching sports on the telly, visiting pubs in New England, or reading. Not necessarily in that order. Her novels have hit Amazon bestseller lists for lesbian fiction and lesbian romance. She cohosts the Lesbians Who Write Podcast ( with Clare Lydon. TB also runs I Heart Lesfic (, a place for authors and fans of lesfic to come together to celebrate lesbian fiction.
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