Amy J. Murphy

Author of the Allies and Enemies series.

Category: Dragon Award

2017 Dragon Award Nominations

Last year, fans of Allies and Enemies like you paid me a great honor by making my first book a finalist for a 2016 Dragon Award hosted by Dragon Con. Not only was the experience humbling, it inspired me to go on to complete the series.

What do you say? Can I count on your help one more time?

As with last year’s competition, the two-step nomination/voting process is free and does not require the person doing the nominating to attend the actual convention or be a member of Dragon Con.

Plus, it’s a chance to give a shout out for your favorite movie, TV series, comic and other fandom categories for consideration.

Here’s all you need to do:

1.  Visit the link below to sign up. Don’t forget to click the box that says you’ve read the rules.

2.  You’ll receive a confirmation link via email. Use that to complete your nomination forms. (It’s a two step process if you’ve never voted before.)

3.  In the Best Military Science Fiction or Fantasy Novel category – please enter Allies and Enemies: Exiles and Amy J. Murphy in the respective title and author fields. (Because of the date of the release, only Exiles is eligible for the competition. The deadline for nominations is July 24, 2017.

When the nominations are tallied later this summer, you’ll receive a reminder email from the Dragon Award organizers with the “short list” candidates and final voting instructions.

[click here to nominate]

Again, this is all free to you. I hope to count on your support for the 2017 Dragon Awards.

Going to Dragon Con 2017 in Atlanta, GA? Great! I’ll be planning a meetup at the con. Watch for announcements on my website or on twitter (@selatyron).

Thanks in advance for your help.

Livin’ the Con Life

I’ve been going to science fiction conventions for over a decade now. My first one “barely” qualifies as a real con in the eyes of the true, hard-core convention goer. It was poorly attended, run by a company that charged crazy money for the pleasure of sitting in a room to watch some of my fave actors talk about their experience with Star Trek and its various spawned franchises. The dealer room was basically a closet and the food was ridiculously expensive. It sounds like a dreadful experience.

But, you know what? I was hooked.

It was like the mother ship calling me home. For the first time, I’d found a group of people with whom I shared a kinship. You could talk about something you loved (in this case ST: Voyager) without fear of ridicule. And, better yet, you were encouraged to wear a costume (I donned my smart looking Voyager-era Federation uniform) while doing it. It was a safe place for folks like me to share their passion for science fiction with other like-minded souls.

Since I was a kid, I liked to make up stories. (I was a fantastic liar.) It translated to writing stories as a young adult and became a hobby for me because I’d always feared what I wrote wouldn’t be considered good enough for public consumption. (There’s a reason I say George McFly is my spirit animal.) This fear told me that I needed to hide that passion. Being fodder for bullies at school only helped to reinforce that fear.

This past weekend, I attended Arisia which is one of New England’s largest fan-run conventions. It’s a yearly event that I look forward too with the same fervor others reserve for Christmas or Spring Break. I was thrilled to be on a panel (Marketing Your Book in the Digital Age). Hopefully, I was able to convey my insights and experiences in a way that enlightened others. (At least, no one ran away screaming.) It was the first time I was a panelist in this particular capacity. And, moving on, my model of exposure is to try to participate in a similar capacity for other cons. Granted, it does kind of sap some of the free time out of a con for me, requiring me to do more adulting than I normally would at such an event. But the experience was really gratifying.

Looking at it on this side of things, I have to wonder how differently my writing career would have been had I been exposed to a science fiction convention earlier. Would I have found my “peeps” and the source of my support then? Would my fears have been abated?

Everything happens for a reason. I’m a big believer in that. A lot of things (good, bad and horrible) had to happen to me in order to be in the place that I am now (which, for the record is good). But, I do think about that alternate reality me that got the support for her passion at an earlier age.


Writing with ADD: the Pomodoro Technique


Writing with ADD: the Pomodoro Technique

Like many folks, it wasn’t until adulthood that I was diagnosed as an adult with ADD. With this discovery, a great many mysteries about my childhood (especially high school) were suddenly resolved. It explained my ability to “hyperfocus” on certain projects, becoming completely absorbed to the point of obsession while my attention would drift about erratically when it came to day-to-day events.

To this end, I believe it’s why it took me nearly 10 years to finish my first book. It’s why I can recall verbatim all the dialogue from movies or TV shows (that I like) after one viewing, or recite an article I read while in sixth grade about a tribe on Borneo. (They eat a soup made from soaking bird’s nests.) Those things landed in my “hyperfocus” window. (Not always exceptionally useful information, I admit.)

By the time I’d learned about my ADD, I’d already had a lot of “work arounds” for life in general. I used lists and “rituals” for daily living to make constant distraction easier to combat.

This past month while recovering from a workplace-related injury, I had a lot of time on my hands to write. However, I wasn’t getting it done. I’d write a few paragraphs and then disappear down some rabbit hole, only to re-emerge hours later wondering where the day went.

I discovered a method to help me train my focus on writing called the Pomodoro Technique. I first saw it referenced in one of the many, many ebooks I’ve purchased about increasing writing speed. I can write quickly—that’s not the problem. My problem was actual “butt in the chair” time. It’s SO easy for me to leave my desk to get a coffee only to end up wandering around my home as I ping from distraction to distraction.

Honestly, I was not avoiding the act of writing. I’d was dying to sit down and tell a story, but my brain (or rather my attention span) had a vastly different agenda.

The Pomodoro Technique is pretty easy. The name just sounds fancy (and possibly expensive). As it turns out—it’s Italian for “tomato”. This is because the person that thought it up had a kitchen timer shaped like a tomato and was Italian. Go figure.

It works like this: (*disclaimer: this is my version of how it works)

  1. Set your timer for 20 minutes (For me, it’s 23 minutes. That’s about as far as I can park my attention.)
  2. For those 20(ish) minutes, you sit in your chair and write.
  3. The timer goes off and you get a 5 to 7-minute That’s when you go grab a coffee, do sit ups or chase the dogs around the kitchen table.
  4. When the break is up, you do another 20-minute interval of writing.
  5. Rinse. Repeat.
  6. At the end of four of these 20-minute sessions, you can schedule a larger break (like 10 to 20 minutes).

The goal of this method is to train yourself to be productive in a shorter span of time and is meant to promote “mental agility” through frequent breaks.

How did it work for me? Pretty well, for the most part. I had some two and three thousand word days there. The result was the final draft in the third book in my Allies and Enemies series. I felt that I had better focus because I could tell myself that whatever distracting thought that bubbled up in the middle of my writing stent (How many seasons of Supernatural have there been anyway? Is house paint flammable? Did I order more contact lenses?) could wait until break time. It was exhausting because I did it for four days straight, which I might not repeat unless I’m under a tight deadline.

Even if you don’t have an actual diagnosis of ADD, the technique might be helpful if you’re trying to make the most of the writing time that you have. I used a customizable app called “30/30” that I found in the Apple store [here]. It’s pretty nifty. If you’re interested, you can learn more about the Pomodoro Technique [here].

(And, in case you’re wondering, I used the technique to finish this blog entry.)


Dragon Awards Follow up

To the many tens of people following my posts out there (*waves*), you may be aware that Allies and Enemies: Fallen was recently a finalist for Best Military SciFi Novel at the 2016 Dragon Awards hosted by Dragon Con. I have to admit it, I’m still on a bit of a high over that. There were some pretty impressive names on that list of finalists. The honor went to David Weber in my category. No big surprise there. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it’s cool to be on any list like that.

I had a very fun time being interviewed at my friend’s podcast show, Comedy4Cast. And the hilarious group of fellows from Technorama. (I’ll add a link to the show once it’s posted.)IMG_2543

The Dragon Awards, being the inaurgal year, was not exactly standing room only, but conducted in a heartfelt manner with some lovely opening remarks by Bill Fawcett, Pat Henry and Dave Cody. The actual awards themselves were pretty stellar looking. I went in with not great hope of winning, being star-struck by the other names on the list.

The next round of awards for 2017 starts the nomination process in October. Who knows? Maybe I’ll get a chance to go back next year.


Last Day to Vote

Today’s the last day to vote for Allies and Enemies:Fallen in the 2016 Dragon Awards. The polls close at midnight. Hurry! Click here to go to my voting info page.

Allies and Enemies: Rogues gets a facelift

On the urging of my “unofficial handler”, I’ve had the cover changed to the second book in the series, Allies and Enemies: Rogues. Free ebook copy of it, to the first person who can spot the difference. 

More Dragon Awards Coverage


I admit. I’m not terribly versed in the whole “sad puppies” controversy. But being a part of fandom, I’m not surprised that it happened. I’ve seen the seedy underbelly and political wrangling that can happen at cons.

I’m just happy to BE here.

Can’t we all just get along?


Allies and Enemies: Fallen – Locus Online – Dragon Con Shortlist


What do sad puppies have to do with Dragons?

A friend of mine pointed this article out to me from Gizmodo.

DragonCon Releases (Mostly) Puppy-Free Nominations For First Dragon Awards 

My book is listed incorrectly as “Fallen” and I’m fairly sure they’re talking about me when they mention the “obscure”. Like a said, a pleasure to be nominated.

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