Congrats to all the 2019 Dragon Award finalists! May the odds be ever in your favor.
If you’re going to Dragon Con in steamy Atlanta this year, please be sure to check out my panels. Be sure to say “hi”. Here’s the skinny on my schedule of appearances:
Military Sci-Fi Writers & Creators – Media Edition
Description: A roundtable of Military Science Fiction writers & artists–whether in tie-ins or independent worlds–discuss the genre, trends, real-world accuracy, & working within the complex worlds of Military Sci-Fi.
Time: Fri 05:30 pm Location: Chastain DE – Westin
(Tentative Panelists: David Weber, Van Allen Plexico, Marc Alan Edelheit, Amy J. Murphy, Chris Kennedy)
Handwavium: How Much Is Too Much?
Description: Handwavium or technobabble sounds great but doesn’t always mean anything in real-world terms. Our panelists discuss what goes into good & not-so-good handwavium.
Time: Fri 07:00 pm Location: Embassy AB – Hyatt
(Tentative Panelists: Robert E. Hampson, Dr. Charles E. Gannon, Quincy J Allen, Amy J. Murphy)
Farscape Anniversary Fan Panel
Description: Farscape was a monumental show for its weaving together of intricate stories, compelling characters, practical effects in puppetry, and strong visual storytelling. Come aboard Moya as we look back on 20 years of this fan favorite.
Time: Sat 05:30 pm Location: Chastain DE – Westin
(Tentative Panelists: Amy J. Murphy, Michael Falkner)
Description: This is a great way to see not one, but two podcasts do their shows live. We also adapt the shows to involve the audience in many of our favorite segments. They become an integral part of the fun.
Time: Sun 02:30 pm Location: Galleria 6 – Hilton
(Tentative Panelists: Chuck Tomasi, Amy J. Murphy, Dr. Pamela L. Gay)
Meet the Dragon Awards
Description: We are going to have a mix of Award Winners & Finalists from this year & years past. So many good books, so many great authors!
Time: Sun 04:00 pm Location: Embassy EF – Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
(Tentative Panelists: Amy J. Murphy, Russell Newquist, Christopher Woods, L. Jagi Lamplighter)
The long-awaited fourth book to the series is now available from your favorite online bookseller. Download it today and join the action! [Amazon, Apple, GooglePlay, B&N, Kobo and Smashwords]
Six years have passed since the war between the three Guilds left its mark on the Reaches. Sela Tyron and partner, Jon Veradin, have forged new lives on a revitalized Hadelia, a planet once enslaved by the cybernetics-obsessed Poisoncry Guild. Haunted by her experience as a Poisoncry prisoner, Sela crusades to erase the dangerous legacy left behind by Poisoncry. When a deadly conspiracy reveals a heart-wrenching betrayal, the Fates offer Sela the revenge she craves. But there’s a cost…
Released from her forced service as Defensor to the Ironvale Guild, Erelah Veradin Corsair only wants to raise her daughter on Narasmina in peace and safety. Too bad, the rest of the universe didn’t seem to get her memo. When an alien force threatens her world, Erelah must team up with a barely tolerated figure from her past to defend her family.
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.]
Hey! This one goes out to indie authors. You’ve heard that advice to read a lot if you’re looking to up your game as an author. It’s a great way to learn your craft as you entertain your brain. (Not to mention support your brethren.) And, I don’t know about you, but I gain inspiration when I enjoy a well-written story. It’s some great advice. I read about 2-3 books a week. Not all of them are fiction. There’s some non-fiction writing craft stuff in there too.
Here’s a shout out to some books that I’ve recently “discovered” and don’t have enough good things to say about.
All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries) by Martha Wells – Refreshing POV narrator. Good world-building.
Disappearance At Devil’s Rock by Paul Tremblay – Fantastic style. Same author of A Head Full of Ghosts.
The Frozen Sky (the Europa Series Book 1) by Jeff Carlson – If Alien and The Expanse had a baby…
Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success (Helping Writers Become Authors Book 1) by K.M. Weiland – This writer’s energy and dedication to detail make we want to go take a nap.
How To Write A Novel The Easy Way Using The Pulp Fiction Method To Write Better Novels: Writing Skills by Jim Driver – Some good advice here.
Not all of them are science fiction. Reading outside of your customary genre is a great palate cleanser for the imagination. I hope you pick them up and enjoy them as much as I did.
And, just another mention in case you’ve not noticed or seen my earlier posts: Allies and Enemies is now available as a box set. This one includes exclusive content too!
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!]