Recently, I was contacted by Ken Picard of Seven Days VT who asked my insights into the seedy underbelly of indie publishing. (Ok, there’s really nothing seedy or underbelly-ish about my gig. Unless you take into consideration the dust bunnies under the desk in my office.) Check out the article here.
What do you think of the article? I’d love to hear from you.
If the stars align properly and things go well with the gods of programming, I’m slated to be a panelist at Dragon Con on the SF Literature track. The topic “Significant Short Stories”. The tentative date and locals are as follows: Embassy AB at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta on 265 Peachtree Street NE Atlanta, GA 30303. The time/date for the panel: Saturday, September 2 at 1pm.
Find out if I can not develop sudden stage fright or count how many times I say “uh”. You can make a drinking game out of it. 🙂
But wait! That’s not all.
I apparently have an autograph/photo op session with a few other authors on Sunday, September 3rd during the con starting at 11:30. It’s located in the International Hall South 1-3 at the Marriott Marquis Atlanta on 265 Peachtree Center Ave Atlanta, GA 30303. Cool, right? (Also, I have things to give away.)
So, if you’re bored at Dragon Con or just need to get out of the hot… stop on by.
Also, it’s not too late to cast your vote for the Dragon Awards this year. According to their website, you have until Sunday, August 28th at 11:59 pm, EDT, to register to vote. (If you registered and voted last year, you’ll automatically receive an email link to your ballot.) Voting ends on Tuesday, August 29, 2017, at 11:59 pm, EDT.
Here’s a link to see who’s on the ballot (You might spot a familiar name on there… eh hem.) [Dragon Award Ballot]
[Times, dates and locations are subject to change. Consult the Dragon Con schedule’s Daily Dragon or app for updates.]
Something incredible has happened. Allies and Enemies: Exiles has been named a finalist for “Best Military Science Fiction or Fantasy Novel” for the 2017 Dragon Awards hosted by Dragon Con.
And you’re totally behind this!
You might remember that last year, Allies and Enemies: Fallen, had also made to the short list in the same category in the inaugural year of the awards. I’m flattered and deeply honored to end up a finalist again. I’ll be there to cheer on the winners at this year’s Dragon Awards ceremony on Sunday, September 3rd during Dragon Con in steamy Atlanta, GA. It may also interest you to learn that I’ll be on a panel at this year’s con. (The info is tentative so I won’t mention details just yet.) If you find yourself in Hotlanta this Labor Day holiday, drop by and say “hi”. (That is if you can find me in the ginormous crowd!)
If you’d like a chance to vote and see the other categories and finalists, there’s still time to register for a ballot. Click here to enter your info. The deadline is August 28th.
Why not join my email list if you’re in a form-filing out mood? You can keep up to date on news and other cool announcements about the Allies and Enemies universe.
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.
Here’s a theory—Chihuahuas have the souls of larger dogs (most likely dire wolves) wedged into those tiny little bodies. It would explain why these tiny pups think they’re big enough to take on a cat twice their size or why they always seem to shake. (The shaking is actually their molecules vibrating with the effort to keep all that “big dog soul” energy contained in such a small package.) Like I said, a theory.
Consider short stories. You’re trying to package an entire universe, complete with exposition and world-building into this teeny weeny manuscript that shouldn’t be more than 30,000 words. Forget dire wolves, you need to build a Chihuahua with the soul of a great white shark. For someone that writes 90,000-word novels, keeping it under 30,000 is asking a lot. (Weird, right?)
If you follow me on Twitter (@selatyron), you might have seen my occasional tirade, joke or weakly veiled cry for help as I blunder through this process.
So, why am I trying to torture myself this way? I’ve been tapped to contribute for a sci-fi anthology coming out this summer. Cool, right? (I’d mention its name here, but I’m not sure if that’s ok or not. Suffice it to say, it’s got some really awesome authors in this group. I was very flattered when I was invited to join in.)
I had an idea already kicking around—a backstory of a minor character in the Allies and Enemies series. It’s not as dark as some of the military sci-fi I’ve put out. And, if a newcomer likes the story, they might want to further explore the series. Win-win.
And then I realized I had to actually write a short story, something I’d never really done before outside of the occasional middle school essay (and come to think of it, those were hella-long too).
My inner George McFly started to panic, so I sat down and researched how to write short stories. (Believe me, I realize how strange that sentence sounds.)
So, here are my top four takeaways from this surprisingly daunting process:
Short stories don’t necessarily have to have a beginning, middle, and end. They can be the turning point or “moment of truth” for a character that’s part of a larger world. It’s this moment that is the meat of the story and not necessarily the rest of it.
This is a chance to take risks. Change verb tenses. Write it from the antagonist’s perspective. Try a genre you wouldn’t normally consider. It’s a short story, so even if it flops, you haven’t actually lost too much of a time investment.
This forced me to try to write in a less sprawling style. I learned to try to be succinct with my word choice.
Telling is “ok” in a short story. (I know. I know. You’re supposed to “show not tell.”) But in this condensed universe, it saves time, words and page space. Just avoid too many info dumps because that can be confusing to readers.
To prep for this, I started listening to fiction podcasts that showcase authors who have mastered the art of the short story. (My fave is the one offered by Lightspeed Magazine on iTunes.) Listening as opposed to reading, helped me to develop an ear for pacing and tone. Not all the author’s voices are the same when you compare their styles and genres, but if you listen to them back to back, patterns start to emerge. It was a huge help in constructing my story’s road map.
[And you’ll be pleased to know that the ‘comments’ field has been re-activated. Take that, spam bots!]
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.
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.)
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.
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.