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Author of the Allies and Enemies series.

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The Future is Female

From Captain Marvel to Captain Janeway, strong female protagonists make good science fiction great. Check out the  “The Future is Female: Heroines of Sci-Fi” giveaway on Story Origin. Download for free 17 full-length novels, short stories and novellas all featuring women who kick butt and take no prisoners.

Troubadour

I took a break from killing myself over prep for the next book(s) in the Allies and Enemies series (as well as a billion other projects to have a thought-provoking interview with Kirk at Troubadour Magazine. Click the link here to experience the very strange faces that I apparently make when I’m racking my poor brain. The subject? “Science Fiction as Analogy”.

[Click here.]

Recap: DragonCon 2018

DragonCon 2018 – Military SF

DragonCon is over. We must return to our normal lives. For some of us that means re-joining the muggle world and putting aside our alter-egos. I count myself among that number. (Though if the Fates are kind, it might not always be the way for me.)

I was fortunate to be tapped for four panels this year. The last of which I was honored/challenged with being in the only female in a group of military sci-fi luminaries (Jack Campbell, Marc Alan Edelheit, Doug Dandridge, John D. Ringo, David Weber — moderated by Baen’s David Afsharirad). (See photographic evidence above.) Intimidating wouldn’t even begin to cover it. I did my best. 

Additionally, I managed to make some great new friends that I hope will lead to mutually enriching experiences going forward. I’m still new to this whole “writer thing” and I get the sense that I’ll always feel that way. But it’s good to know that there are others out there willing to share their insights and advice. My hope is to someday be the same helping hand to other writers. 

Until then, it’s back to the “real life” stuff that pays the bills. 

#DragonCon2018, #SFWA

Countdown to DragonCon

See this tshirt? You can get a free ebook if you ask the person wearing it for one.

This week I’ll be joining about 90,000 of similarly minded folk for one of the East coast’s largest fan-run convention– DragonCon, baby!  It runs from 8/30 to 9/3. If you’ve never heard of it, you can check out the details here

Look for me in the crowd. (I’m the one cosplaying as “Mid-List Author”.) Be sure to say hello. I’ll be giving away limited edition FREE ebook promo cards.

I’ll be on four panels this year. Very exciting! Here’s the lineup:

Title: Military Sci-Fi Writers & Creators – Media Edition
Time: Fri 04:00 pm Location: Chastain DE – Westin (Length: 1 Hour)
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.

Title: Medical Technology in MSF: Life, Longevity, & the Pursuit of Healthiness
Time: Sun 10:00 am Location: Chastain DE – Westin (Length: 1 Hour)
Description: How would you choose to extend your health, life, and/or consciousness? A Sarcophagus, or Ascending? Re-gen pods? Resurrection ships? Choose your favorite sick bay! We’ll discuss medical technology in our MSFM shows, as well as real-world crossover.

Title: 200 Years of Women in SF
Time: Sun 11:30 am Location: Embassy AB – Hyatt (Length: 90 Min)
Description: In 1818, Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein. Taking that as a starting point, our panelists will discuss women in SF, how they have fared, who they are, and how things have changed over the years. Presented in conjunction with the Diversity in SF track. 

Title: The Military Mind in SF
Time: Sun 02:30 pm Location: Embassy AB – Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
Description: Many military and ex-military authors write (gasp!) Military SF. Can someone with a non-military background do well at it? What does it take?

Do You DragonCon? Join me on these panels.

Guess what?

I’m guessing that as a visitor to my website that you might already be aware that I had the great honor to be a Dragon Award Finalist in 2016 and 2017 at DragonCon.

While regrettably that did not happen this year, I did manage to snag a spot on some very intriguing panels this year. (Let’s hope I stop fan-girling long enough to add some thoughtful commentary.)

So, if you’re at DragonCon this year, you should check them out. (Please note that these are tentative.):

  • Title: Military SciFi Writers and Creators – Media Edition
    Description: A roundtable with military science fiction writers and artists–whether in tie-ins or independent worlds–to discuss the genre, trends, real-world accuracy, and working within the complex worlds of Military Sci-Fi.
    Time: Fri 04:00 pm Location: Chastain DE – Westin (Length: 1 Hour)
    (Tentative Panelists: Van Allen Plexico, Keith R.A. DeCandido, Georges Jeanty, Kacey Ezell, Amy J. Murphy)
  • Title: Medical Technology in MSF: Life, Longevity, and the Pursuit of Healthiness
    Description: How would you choose to extend your health, life, and/or consciousness? A Sarcophagus, or Ascending? Re-gen pods? Resurrection ships? Choose your favorite sickbay! We’ll discuss medical technology in our MSFM shows, as well as real-world crossover.
    Time: Sun 10:00 am Location: Chastain DE – Westin (Length: 1 Hour)
    (Tentative Panelists: Robert E. Hampson, Arthur M Doweyko, Amy J. Murphy)
  • Title: 200 Years of Women in SF Description: In 1818, Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein. Taking that as a starting point, our panelists will discuss women in SF, how they have fared, who they are, and how things have changed over the years. Presented in conjunction with the Diversity in SF track. 90 minutes. Time: Sun 11:30 am Location: Embassy AB – Hyatt (Length: 2.5 Hours)(Tentative Panelists: Bethany Kesler, Lee Martindale, L. M. Davis, Anya Martin, Trisha J. Wooldridge, Amy J. Murphy)
  • Title: The Military Mind in SF Description: Many military and ex-military authors write (gasp!) Military SF. Can someone with a non-military background do well at it? What does it take? Time: Sun 02:30 pm Location: Embassy AB – Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour) (Tentative Panelists: David Afsharirad, Jack Campbell, Marc Alan Edelheit, Doug Dandridge, Amy J. Murphy, John D. Ringo, David Weber)

See you at DragonCon 2018!

I’m happy to announce that I’ll be returning to Dragon Con 2018 as an attending professional. Hope to see you there!

My Interview on the Rocking Self-Publishing Podcast

awkwardEver wondered just how much of a spaz I am in real life? Wonder no more!

Listen to me tragically mix metaphors and mispronounce words on the Rocking Self- Publishing Podcast, hosted by the very charming Simon Whistler. (Seriously, this guy has the voice of Bond villain and I mean it as a compliment.) [Click here.]

(My apologies to anyone’s name I left out or said incorrectly. Sorry!)

Shout out to the following peeps!

Love you. Mean it. 🙂

Keeping it real

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.)

  1. 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.”
  2. Measurable – Decide on a way you can measure your success. For instance, “I’m going to write for 30 minutes a day.”
  3. 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.
  4. 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.”
  5. 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.

 

 

Finding the Best Word for the Job – Guest Post by Rayne Hall

Anyone that’s visited this site knows of my rapid support for the Rayne Hall’s Writer’s Craft series. While I work diligently to put the finishing touches on Allies and Enemies: Exiles (due out by the end of March), check out the brilliant guest post Rayne’s this week. Learn more about Rayne Hall by visiting her site (raynehall.com) or checking her out on the ‘Zon.

 

FINDING THE BEST WORD FOR THE JOB

 

by Rayne Hall

Specific words make a story vivid because they paint a clear picture for the reader.

“A woman with a dog” creates only a vague picture. By replacing “woman” and “dog” with specific  words you can bring your story alive:

“A lady with a poodle”

“A tart with a mongrel”

“A gothgirl with a puppy”

“A redhead with a Rottweiler”

“The man looked like a sports champion” is bland.  Show us what kind of man and what kind of sports, and the sentence becomes interesting:

“The gentleman looked like a fencing champion.”

“The thug looked like a boxing champion.”

“The salesman looked like a sumo champion.”

 

Instead of the dull description with generic words “This garden is full of flowers of all kinds”  show the kind of flowers to paint a picture:

“This garden is full of roses, honeysuckles, and hollyhocks” – The reader sees a cottage garden.

“This garden is full of crocuses, daffodils and tulips.” – The reader sees a garden in spring.

Rayne Hall

“The garden is full of daisies, dandelions and thistles.” – The reader sees a garden overgrown with weeds.

 

Before tackling your own manuscript, you may want to practice on these sentences. Use your imagination to replace the underlined generic words with specific ones.

I went further down the road until I came to a building half hidden by trees.

She put on her new dress and shoes and applied make-up.

For dinner, he ate meat with vegetables.

 

 

Allies and Enemies: Fallen featured on Book Pebble

My book, Allies and Enemies: Fallen, is being featured on Monday February 13th 2017 at www.BookPebble.com. Check it out for free and bargain ebook deals!

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