Three New Books

I have three new books out since I last got around to posting here (I really should post more often, I’m sure, but you know, the pandemic seems to take up a lot of my headspace). Oh, and WordPress, wonderful as they are, have changed their system for writing posts – something very clever called “blocks” which I find exhausting and challenging to wrestle into shape. Ah well.

Anyway, on to the books:

The first book is the YA sci fi novel Pirates, which is the second novel in the Matti-Jay and Dub Adventures series (following Good Ship Hartford, from earlier this year). There will be a third book The Great Wall of Endemo, out later this year. And that will be followed by a fourth, Blast Crater on Endemo. That one will be out sometime next year because I still have to write it.

The second new release is One Degree Below Freezing, which is a kind of companion volume to Landslide Country, which came out a couple of months ago. Both are collections of my contemporary or even literary stories. One Degree Below Freezing is due out on September 20th.

The  third is Hunting Shellot, another science fiction adventure novel. “Cody Wexland polices the galaxy…” That releases on October 20th. Available for preorder now. I’ll do another post closer to that date (assuming I can wrestle WordPress into shape).

All three books are priced at $5.99 for ebook and between $8.99 and $18.99 for print (One Degree Below Freezing is slim and Hunting Shellot is bigger). 

I may have mentioned earlier about a loss of momentum with writing. This started when I was traveling last year, which is kind of to be expected, with limited time to get words down, but it continued after. And then, as you’ve likely heard, there was a pandemic, which I struggled to wrap my head around, and so the writing still didn’t pick up. I was lucky to hit a thousand words a day (when you’ve been averaging over 1500, that’s a noticeable drop). And that was with the writing of posts for ProWritersWriting.com included in the count.

I’m happy to say that things have ramped themselves up once more. Better than before. I’m back to hitting more like 1600 – 1700 words a day, just on the fiction.

What happened? Well, that’s a longer tale for another post, but the precis is that I’m having another go at writing thrillers with one of those take-no-prisoners action hero drifters. It might be derivative, it might be corny, but the key for me is that I’m having fun. I write to entertain myself, and I wonder if through the trip I lost track of that and ended up writing for some other reason (who knows what?). Now, I’m back to having fun. I’m thinking next year might be the year of the thriller, as I start releasing these books. I’m lousy at marketing, but maybe some readers will find them and be as entertained in the reading as I have been in the writing of them.

Thanks for reading.

Two New Ambient Albums from Shadows on the Snow

 

It has been a while since I’ve posted about new music here. Some of you may know that while I’m primarily a writer, I also tinker with ambient music. I release solo works as Venus Vulture,  but I am also one half of the band Shadows on the Snow, with Kendall Keeler of December Nightskies. We trade files back and forth, building up tracks that way (Kendall’s based in the U.S, I live in New Zealand. Our plans to meet up earlier this year were put on hold thanks to the pandemic).

We have two new releases, available now from Bandcamp.

SHADOWS ON THE SNOW SHADOWS IN THE ARCHITECTUREThe first is Shadows in the Architecture. One long, evolving track, complemented by three shorter tracks. 

I really like this one. Unusual. Experimental. Quirky, even.

I’m especially happy with the cover. That’s taken from a building near where I live. Photographed around sunset, with the strange light and shadows highlighted. It feels appropriate for the release.

 

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Vapor Release possible cover imageThe second is Vapor Release. Again, a long evolving track that goes through several phases.

Kendall and I are fans of dark, moody tracks and I feel that this one really exemplifies where we’re at with our approach to music.

Kendall also collaborates with Charlie Naked, release music as Something Like Squids – check out those releases, all available through the December Nightskies Bandcamp page.

“Marbles” – new story in Asimov’s

ASF_JulAug2020_400x570My story (well, novelette) “Marbles”, set in the Art Worlds of Shilinka Switalla, appears in the July/August issue of Asimov’s Science Fiction.

Shilinka Switalla, an artist in the far future, creates vast, dramatic works on a scale that sometimes encompasses planets.

I’ve always been fascinated by Marble runs and, well, I’ve had fun with the idea in the story, creating the kind of complex run I’d love to be able to actually build.

This is my third Shilinka Switalla story in Asimov’s, following “Crimson Birds of Small Miracles” and “Ventiforms”. Both stories are still available as stand alone volumes as ebook and in print from Triple V Publishing. “Crimson Birds…” (ahem) won both the Sir Julius Vogel Award and the Asimov’s Readers’ Award for best short story. “Ventiforms” is currently a finalist for both the Sir Julius Vogel Award and the Aurealis Award (the links there take you to the universal book link where you can go should you feel inclined to purchase either… if you do, I thank you, I appreciate it).

In other news, I’ve had to step aside from WorldCon this year. I was excited to attend, after all, living in New Zealand, I was just a couple of hours drive away from the venue. That was pretty much a first. However with events around the world (i.e. the pandemic that’s changed the face of 2020 so much) the Con has gone virtual and in part lost its appeal, and also made it difficult for me to attend (with my limited access to and patience with tech). Hoping to get to the New Zealand Convention next year, as that unfolds.

A slower writing year this year, and still figuring out what’s happening there. Had a good jump up in the word count over the last few days (great new project that got me excited, that helps). I’ll post again soon about that, and my writing process.

In the meantime, I’m still posting weekly at prowriterswriting. My latest post is about how to celebrate completing your novel (a hint, it none of wine, fireworks nor hollering from mountaintops).

Thanks for reading. Stay safe in these strange and challenging times.

Late updates

So in a world in a little turmoil, it has been a while since I’ve posted here.

As with most people I suppose I’ve been in an interesting headspace. While I’ve continued to write every day, the writing has slowed down. I’ve consumed too much news and too many zombie movies. I suspect that last is perhaps something to do with attempting to deflect how terrible this pandemic is. It feels like we are an awful long way from seeing the end.

I do have three new books out, or at least available for pre-order.

Landslide Country is a collection of my more literary stories. Available now.  $5.99 ebook, $8.99 print.

Good Ship Hartford is the first novel in a new teen series – The Matti-Jay and Dub Adventures – following on with characters from The Chronicles of the Donner series. Available on preorder, coming June 30th. $3.99 ebook, $7.99 print (book one, so it’s smaller and at a discount. Book 2 Pirates is coming in August).

Chasing ‘Oumuamua is a collection of my science fiction stories. Available on preorder, coming on July 20th. $5.99 ebook, $12.99 print.

Thanks for reading. I hope to have something more soon, as I start getting my head back into writing and publishing, and away from all those zombie movies.

Take care out there.

Concentration – free .pdf ebook

LF229ConcentrationQuick post. I’ve been invited to participate in Lockdown Writers Reading, at the Palmerston North City Library YouTube Channel. I’ve done a short reading from my story “Concentration” which appeared in issue 229 of Landfall in 2015. The reading is just a couple of pages, but the whole story is available as an ebook for $2.99 through Draft2Digital (and so to a variety of bookstores).  BUT! There’s also a free download of the .pdf version of the story right here on the website:

Concentration pdf download.

This is the blurb: Aaron loses concentration when Casey aims the car for the clifftop. But concentration is the new thing. Does he like her? Does she like him? A literary story that asks the hard questions, from the author of “Landslide Country” and “Back from Vermont”.

Listen to the short reading of the first few pages here on YouTube at the Palmerston North City Library’s channel.

Analog story – self promotion

sean analog
Self-promotion is something I still need to learn a whole lot about. I have dozens of indie books out there, but neglect mentioning them too often. Usually when they come out and they I shut up about it.
So, with a new story – “One Hundred” in the current issue of Analog Science Fiction Science Fact, it seems like a good opportunity. After all, if you’ve read and enjoyed the story, you might like to read some more of mine.
But where to start? Well, Analog stories are firmly hard science fiction – “One Hundred” is set in a Mars colony – so that’s what I’ll promote here.
Another couple of stories you might like are “Improvising at Branson Six” and “Mars Cycler Artist in Residence, 2017“. “Improvising” placed third in the Jim Baen Memorial Writing Contest some years back, the year before I won the award with “Low Arc”. Oh, that one’s around too – available free on the Baen.com website, and alson in a couple of anthologies – The Jim Baen Memorial, the first ten years, and Final Frontier, which also has an audio version.
“Mars Cycler” is a kind of another Mars story, since that’s the destination. The Mars cycler is one of Buzz Aldrin’s babies, a great way to solve the issue of getting materials and people to Mars and back. My friend Martin Shoemaker has a wonderful series – Blue Collar Space – with many stories set on a cycler. Some of these have been in Analog, so a tip of my hat to Martin here.
If you want to read something novel length, I’d suggest either (or both) Athena Setting or Gretel.
Athena Setting, is about a disaster in the orbit of Jupiter, and Gretel is about problems aboard a generation ship heading for the stars.
All good rollicking adventures.
If you want to try some of my other adventure novels, a good place to start would be Asteroid Jumpers. It’s softer science fiction, involving faster than light travel and a few other conveniences, but it is one of my personal favorites. It’s the first in a series, followed by Ice Hunters and Ship Tracers, with two more in series coming out in the next year or so – Desert Creepers and Core Runners. More rollicking adventures.

“One Hundred” – a new story in Analog

AFF_Mar2020_400x570

The March/April issue of Analog Science Fact Science Fiction includes my story “One Hundred” about a colony on Mars.

Let me tell you that this is just way exciting for me. Not only is this Analog’s 90th year (!), but it’s also my debut in its pages.

I’ve had quite a few stories in Asimov’s Science Fiction over the last few years, which has been pretty, pretty cool for me, but Analog is another thing. I tend to play fast and loose with the laws of physics and the arrival of aliens and so on, and sometimes the science takes a little back seat in my stories. That’s made Asimov’s kind of a natural home for them.

Analog readers do want real science in their stories. So “One Hundred” fits right in there. Mars is on our minds right now, with Space X’s short-ish goal of putting people up there, and NASA’s longer term goal of doing likewise.

That whole “Planet B” concept is gaining traction. Especially in the face of a climate that’s delivering terrible fires, ferocious hurricanes and tides that keep on getting higher. And with the looming threat of pandemic very currently on our minds, creating another spot to live and breed might be a pretty sound idea.

I’m honored to have my story among such luminaries as Gregory Benford and C.C. Finlay.

Living, as I do, across the far side of planet Earth, I have to wait for shipping for my copy to arrive. I’ll probably do that thing of posting an image of me holding it when it gets here.

Fabulous skiesIn other news, “Fabulous Skies” another short story, will be out on Saturday from Triple V Publishing, my little indie venture. $2.99 for the ebook. Different to “One Hundred”, but I guess I do have a style of writing.

Also, I continue to post on ProWritersWriting.com, weekly on a Monday morning. If you’re a writer and want to get a sense of my take on the writing process, go check the posts out. Of note is that there are a bunch of other writers posting there (new posts daily), and we do have different takes. It’s a great resource for starting writers.

Have a great day, and thanks for reading. I appreciate it.

Fabulous Skies available for pre-order

Fabulous skiesMy second standalone short sci-fi story of the year “Fabulous Skies” is available now for pre-order.

 

Jenelle lives for storms. The elemental and the destructive. With her flotilla of flybots, she studies and researches the biggest storms. Right out in the wild.

But perhaps existing out in the wild takes more than she knows.

A story that asks the question, what are we running from?

A sci fi short from the author of Crimson Birds of Small Miracles.

 

 

Full release on February 29th, but available for preorder from the usual booksellers – Amazon, Smashwords, and others (universal booklink). $2.99 ebook and $5.99 in print (it’s a cutie – 30 pages… I do like these little books).

 

This is fun getting this shorter stories out into the world. Next month, however, we’ll have out, Deuterium Shine, the first novel in a new series “The Jupiter Files”. Following that another short, “Mem and Cyborg”, and following that the publishing will ratchet up a little, with some collections, omnibuses and more novels.

Alongside all that are more works in the “Matti-Jay and Dub Adventures” series. These middle grade works go through a different process to reach publication. This is the series I write for my daughter Matti-Jay, so before they go public we read them at home, just to make sure they’re good to go.

There are three novels in the first series for Matti-Jay – Blue Defender, Red Alliance and Gold Embers – which make up “The Chronicles of the Donner”. There is one short “Trapped” as part of the follow-ups in the “Matti-Jay and Dub Adventures”, but three more in the works right now, the novel Pirates, the novelette Good Ship Hartford and another short “Event on Algoria Three”. We’re almost done with that last one, so it might be available in the next couple of weeks.

I have story, “One Hundred” in the March/April issue of Analog, if you’re an Analog reader. Pretty chuffed with that one – my first in Analog. Later in the year I have another story in Asimov’s – “Marbles”, which is the third in Asimov’s in my “Worlds of Shilinka Switalla” series, following the (ahem) award-winning “Crimson Birds of Small Miracles”, and “Ventiforms”.

I’ll post more about those closer to the time they come out.

Speaking of Asimov’s, I had two stories published there last year, both of which are eligible for New Zealand’s Sir Julius Vogel Award – “Ventiforms” and “Chasing Oumuamua”. That’s exciting, though of course it all takes getting nominated to get onto the ballot. We’ll see how that goes. No matter, it’s always a thrill to be published in Asimov’s.

Life-Span released today

Life SpanLife-Span, a short sci-fi thriller about genetic engineering takes flight today, January 31st. It’s already February in New Zealand, so that kind of melts my brain a little 🙂

Cody Albine watches as her elegant and well-organized presentation collapses. Right in front of her last chance at getting corporate funding for the project of a lifetime. Her absolute passion

But hope lies with her friends. It might take compromise, but a little compromise between friends never goes astray.

A short biological sci fi thriller with a heart. From the author of Overrun and L-Own.

 

Available from your favorite bookseller – click the universal link here. It’s a short, so it’s priced at $2.99, and $5.99 for the paperback.