Dragon Con 2019 has come and gone. This is the third year I’ve been fortunate enough to be invited as an “Attending Professional” to this intimate little gathering of over 80K humans. It’s likely the largest fandom gathering I’ll ever participate in. (I’ve been to a few world cons– but I can’t be sure what the average attendance is at one of those shindigs.)
This year, I was on four panels and a guest on the podcast, Technorama, Comedy4cast & Friends – LIVE!
Panels can be intimidating things, especially if you know the crowds is very likely there to see everyone else on the panel but you. (Especially, if one of your co-panelists is a big name when it comes to military sci-fi.) This was the case for me on the first “official” day of DragonCon for the “Media Military Sci-Fi Panel”. I did my best and hopefully added the valuable insights of an author that’s done not too shabbily in the genre regardless of my lack of actual military experience. No one threw things, at least. 🙂
The remaining panels went by in a blur. We talked about “Handwavium” and its impact on the story, saluted the recent 20th anniversary of Farscape and reflected on the Dragon Awards. The awards are a different creature than in the first 2 years that I was a finalist. For instance, there’s now a reception for the finalists and winners. (I’m bummed that I missed out on this. In 2016 and 2017, when I was a finalist, there was no reception. Or, at least, not one I was invited to.) The competition is steeper and now a larger proportion of my indie cohorts seem to know about it.
Where I once attended DragonCon as a “private citizen”, a large portion of my time was dedicated to hitting panels in the “Writing” track in an effort to absorb helpful insights from industry pros. Every chance encounter with another writer may be an important connection. You never know what may come from it. Plus, I just enjoy helping out other writers and hearing about their journey.
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)
Here’s your chance to help the Allies and Enemies series make a little bit of history by making it a three-time nominee for a Dragon Award.
Please consider nominating my book, Allies and Enemies: Legacy for “Best Military Science Fiction or Fantasy Novel” in the 2019 Dragon Awards. [It’s the 4th category down on the list. Click the image or link below to visit the nomination page.]
There’s no cost to you and you need not attend Dragon Con to participate in the nomination or voting process. The link to nominate is located here:
Once you register and nominate only one or as many choices as you are comfortable with for the many categories that include comics, movies, games and tv shows. Be aware that you get only one nomination per category. The deadline for nominations is July 19th.
Allies and Enemies: Empire (Book 5) is due out soon. Thanks to some diligent beta-readers, it looks like I’ll be able to publish well ahead of my original target deadline. Look for pre-order info by the end of this week (June 28th). I hate to leave things on a “cliff hanger” but book 5 should be well worth the wait.
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 interviewed for the Rocking Self-Publishing podcast by the charming Simon Whistler. (The podcast should air on 3/30. I say should because I’d like to give Simon an easy out in case he realizes what a spaz I am.) This was a fantastic experience for me. Not only was it lots of fun chatting with Simon, but he asked some excellent questions. During the interview, I had the chance to discuss my personal philosophies on being an indie-author and ran through my Top 5 Elements of Middling Success or How to Fail Upwards. (I’m still working on the title.)
One of the elements on my list (#5) is “Don’t give up.” I think it goes hand-in-hand with the concept that you can’t judge your success by the what you see around you. Success is an internal measure. I think that’s where a lot of folks fall down. It’s easy to find reasons to give up when your self-pubbed book is not an overnight sensation like The Martian or Wool. Let’s get real. Before these two books became best sellers, they started out as ideas. They’re the result of a lot of hard work. They were not magically generated overnight. That’s crazy-think, right there. It’s pretty bricky to think right out of the gate you’re going to have a best seller on your hands without having to get those hands dirty.
You have set realistic goals. Ambition is great. It gets your motor running. But know where you’re motoring. If you continue to establish unrealistic goals, you’re heading for a cliff. So, there’s a method for figuring out your goals called the SMART technique. (What can I say? I’m a sucker for clever acronyms.)
Specific – Be specific about your goal. If you’re never written and/or published a book, instead of saying “I’m going to become an author”, a more specific goal would be “I’m going to independently publish a science fiction novel by the end of the year.”
Measurable – Decide on a way you can measure your success. For instance, “I’m going to write for 30 minutes a day.”
Attainable – Here’s where you ask yourself what’s actually physically possible. Don’t tell yourself you’re going to write 5,000 words a day when you know you struggle for the time to even write 500. Aim for what you know is possible for your steps along the way. Don’t say “I’m going to sell 100 books this week.” when you have no control over what other people will or won’t buy.
Realistic – Be honest with yourself here. It’s easy to say something fantastical like, “I’ll write a book a month.” (OK, I know there are people that really do that, but I’m pretty sure they’re cyborgs or genetically enhanced.) Try saying, “I’m going to self-publish on Amazon at the end of October.”
Timely – Making a deadline keeps it real. You’re making an appointment with yourself, be it 30 days or 300 days. Make yourself keep that appointment.
So, Murphy, you say, what’re your goals if you’re such an expert on this?
First of all, I’m many things, but not an expert. I only know what’s worked for me.
My goal is easy. Aim low. Well… not low, but I’m realistic. My motto: “Mid-list, at best.”
It was easy to get caught up in the excitement when my first book, Allies and Enemies: Fallen, caught some good traction. I never thought I’d be the next Weber or Scalzi. But my books have (temporarily) shown up on lists with their books which is/was pretty awesome. It’s also quite humbling. It made me realize how much harder you have to work to stay there.
And I’ll likely never receive a Nebula or a Hugo. But I am now a member of SFWA which was a goal I’ve had for quite some time.
Be real with yourself. Know what you can do to get to what you want to do. It’s not going to happen overnight. But, hang in there, kitten. It’ll happen.