Hard Ground, Cole Wright book 8 now available for preorder (and a special secret code to get it sooner at a discount)

Cole Wright.

Wrong Place. Wrong Time. Just As Well.

Book 8 sees him facing perhaps his most dangerous foe yet.

Hard Ground

Picked over by birds and coyotes, the body on the riverbank looks days old.

When Cole Wright rolls into Pointer, Montana, he figures a few days of quiet before heading on. Maybe Canada. Maybe over the mountains and on through Idaho.

Turns out, Pointer holds on to people. In very odd ways.

Another Cole Wright thriller filled with deception, twists and turns, and a whole lot of mystery.

Available now for preorder from the usual outlets (Universal Book Link), priced at $5.99 for the ebook, $15.99 for the paperback and $18.99 for the hardback. Releases on December 20th.

But, now that I have a Shopify store, you can buy directly from me, at least for ebooks for the moment. I’m slowly working on getting my catalogue of books over there, Bit of a job.

Anyway, to celebrate getting the store underway, I’m making Hard Ground available there immediately (ie. no pre-order: get it now) and if you use the code “Hard Ground” at checkout you’ll get a half-price discount: $.2.99 (that’s a novel for the usual price of one of my short stories). The discount runs through until December 20th, when the price will revert.

Still don’t know if it’s worth it? Well, how about a free-to-read short story? I’m just putting the finishing touches on “That’ll Leave A Scar”, a new Cole Wright short story, and I’ll have that up to read right here on the website. Coming soon. Stay tuned for details.

“That’ll Leave A Scar” follows “Stillness“, earlier this year, which came out at the same time as the novel Not Above The Law.

Check out the main Cole Wright page here on the website for a list of the novels, novella, short stories and the collection published so far.

It’s been a good couple of years for Cole Wright. The books and stories are fun to write. There will be more next year too.

Thanks for reading.

Little preview

There’s a new Cole Wright thriller on the way. December 20th. I’m still working on the cover, the blurb and so on but here’s a little teaser.

This will be book eight. And I’ll have a new Cole Wright short story available here to read for free for a week or so before the release.

I Blurbed a Book

I was fortunate enough to receive an advance copy of Remains to be Told: Dark Tales of Aotearoa, edited by Lee Murray and published by Clan Destine Press and given the opportunity to write a review.

I’ve put the whole review below, but the publishers have also used an exerpt in the opening pages, along with blurbs from Richard Thomas, Eric J. Guignard and Christa Carmen. All high praise and all quite right – it’s a remarkable collection.


Remains To Be Told

Dark Tales of Aotearoa

Edited by Lee Murray

Review by Sean Monaghan

It’s always a treat to dip into a collection of short stories by different authors. The eclectic mix of styles and voices creates a wonderful smorgasbord of flavours and feelings. There are stories you will love and stories that will leave you perplexed, stories that are heartwarming and stories that are challenging, stories that are straightforward and predictable until the last moment and stories that seem to come from the strangest of places, make a brief visit to startled readers and depart back to their odd origins.

This anthology has all of this, with the remarkable addition of a deep Aotearoa/New Zealand feel, and another layer in that the stories are startlingly prickly and uncanny horror tales. The title gives that away, of course, but what one forgets, in the midst of New Zealand fiction and, in particular, New Zealand speculative fiction, is that we can be a little bit nice.

Sure our fiction is filled with family drama and challenging situations, but often we skate over the surface and miss plunging into the very visceral mire these stories present.

It’s an eclectic mix and I’d like to avoid singling out any particular stories–my favourites would quite possibly be different to yours anyway (which is one of the delightful aspects of multi-author collections). What I will mention is something that the stories have in common; these are stories of the land, about the history and the geography of our odd nation. These are stories that invoke our remarkable blending of cultures.

Colonization and decolonization stand side by side. The intertwining of Māori myth and oral history with the day to day practicalities of raising families in this twenty-first century capitalist world is one of the key threads that unify these stories as they bob and weave around social commentary, entertainment and pointed, bald and wry–even witty–observations.

A supremely readable collection that deserves high recognition and a wide readership.

I’ve written numerous book reviews over the years, for newspapers, and that’s always been fun. With changing times, there are fewer newspaper review slots around, so it’s nice to have the opportunity again. Even cooler to have an exerpt included


The volume contains stories by Kathryn Burnett, Helena Claudia, Gina Cole, William Cook, Debbie Cowens, Neil Gaiman, Del Gibson, Jacqui Greaves, Denver Grenell, Tim Jones, Nikky Lee, Paul Mannering, Owen Marshall, Tracie McBride, Kirsten McKenzie, Celine Murray, Lee Murray, Dan Rabarts, Bryce Stevens, and Marty Young.

How interesting – halo effect?

Way the way back in the autumn of 2014 I had a story out in The Colored Lens, titled “The Whalefall”. In 2015, I published it as a standalone story available from Amazon and so on. It sat there quietly minding its own business. Then, last month and the previous month, it sold a few copies more than usual. Enough to be noticable.

I wondered what was going on. Why the sudden interest? I think it’s down to something maybe called the Halo Effect. Seems that an erstwhile writer by the name of Daniel Kraus has just published a book titled Whalefall.

New York Times bestseller. “The Martian meets 127 Hours” according to the blurb.

I’m tickled. I hope that not too many people were disappointed to discover that they’d bought my book, which is not at all “The Martian meets  127 Hours” and more like “Little House on the Prairie meets 47 Meters Down” or something.

I have yet to read Mr. Kraus’s book, but I can assure you that mine centers around an actual whalefall – the remains of an alien whale lying on the seafloor.

Tramp Steamers – looking for a cover image

I’ve long appreciated the wonderful images by Ian McQue of boats gliding through the air. I find them evocative and beguiling. There are whole stories told within his illustrations. (And he does way more than boats – see his instagram).

Part of my creative process for imagining the world of Tramp Steamers was doodling my own ideas of the boats and I thought I’d share some of those rough sketches here, just for fun.



I don’t know why there’s a castle in with these last three, but I kind of like that picture.

Tramp Steamers – Captain Arlon Stoddard book 10 now available for preorder

I’m excited that the Captain Arlon Stoddard series has now reached book number 10. I have such a blast writing these and it’s fun setting them free into the world.

Also, this is going to be the first with an updated cover style. Still with the “A CAPTATIN ARLON STODDARD ADVENTURE” banner across the top (but now in caps), but also switching the title to the bottom, and my name to the top. In this world you gotta shout out if you want attention 🙂

Here are the old style and new style covers by way of comparison. Next part of my plan is to retrofit all the previous nine novels in the series like this.



Tramp Steamers

Planet Ulshene’s unique trading culture takes some getting used to. Steamers ply the skies, skimming over the endless prairie.

Barl Brennan rates his skills as a crewman. Without a job, he faces a tough choice. Edmond Steverin knows desperation when he sees it.

Captain Arlon Stoddard slips undercover and finda himself tipped into a world filled with intrigue.

Can they survive the complex interlinked web of easy deceit and mortal danger?

Universal book link here. ebook $5.99, print book $18.99. Preorder available now, releasing on October 20th.

I love the art of Ian McQue, most especially his junks and tugs that float through the sky. Would that I could draw images like those. At least those images were part of the inspiration for Tramp Steamers. Something that fitted right into the Captain Arlon Stoddard Adventures – antigravity is part of the stories already, and the idea of pirates and complex commercial shipping all kind of fell in together.

And another inspiration was Sherri S. Tepper‘s wonderful 1989 novel Grass. Less about the alien side of it, but certainly a planet dominated by prairie. I was much younger when I first read it and found myself plunged into her remarkable, immersive world. Sometimes it’s compared to Dune, as a book that takes a world with a singular aspect and exploits that for the story.


A quick update

A new post. How about that? I’ve been otherwise distracted with travel and some licensing issues that needed resolving. Just about there with all that now, but a little more travel lies in my future, so it may take a little while to get back up to speed.

Looking ahead now to the next Captain Arlon Stoddard adventure Tramp Steamers. This will be the tenth book in the series. Something of a new direction, but with all the action and adventure you enjoy with the crew.

Finishing up the cover and blurb now so it should be out for preorder soon, with a release date of October 20th.

At the moment I’m deep in the heart of the next book in the series, tentatively titled Cradle Robbers. Hope to have that out next year. The next Cole Wright Thriller Hard Ground is complete and with the copy editor now, then it’ll get a final proof and should be available on December 20th.

I’ve been able to get a few short stories up as standalones, as well as a story collection The Blaze of Pollux and hope to get back into that through the rest of the year.

I’ll post once Tramp Steamers is available. Being the tenth book, it kind of feels as if it might need some kind of little celebration.

Rorqual Saitu – Karnish River Navigations book 9

Finally I’ve made it. Rorqual Saitu has been written, proofed, formatted and sent out into the world. It’s up on preorder now for an August 20th release. The paperback will be out a week or so earlier.

Get them here: Rorqual Saitu, Univeral Book Link

Rorqual Saitu

When Kumi Saitu’s difficult mission to wrest vital data from Hundstein’s criminal network almost kills her, she faces a critical decision.

The maelstrom of danger and intrigue draws in Kumi’s old friends, Flis and Grae.

Facing an ancient harvester and a far-reaching illicit web, they must fight the clock to set things right.

Have they met their match?


Cover art: © MerryDesigns | Dreamstime.com (Flis), © Bianca Van Dijk from | Pixabay (Rorqual), © Bertrandb | Dreamstime.com (Background)

Rorqual Saitu is book 9 in the Karnish River Navigations series, started way back in 2015 with Arlchip Burnout. Astute readers will notice that book 10, Tombs Under Vaile came out in 2018, and might ask ‘why the long wait?’ Fair question. The answer stems from the title of the first book, when I noticed that the first letters each word in the title were A and B. It struck me that that was also the first two letters of the English alphabet. So then I wrote Canal Days which came out in 2016.

Suddenly I had a thirteen book series to write. All the way to a book using the letters Y and Z in the title (more about that little problem further down).

The next book I wrote was Guest House Izarra, somehow sneakily using up an extra letter of the alphabet there (and in 2018 later I did the same with Tombs Under Vale – now it was a tidier twelve book series). I had, though, skipped over the letters E and F. I guess I have ‘oooh, shiny’ brain with this series, and just write all over the alphabet.

The books can be read in any order, but if you put them alphabetically you’ll get books one to ten (with eleven and twelve coming next year, hopefully). With the ten books out so far, if you take the order they came out, you get 1, 2, 7, 3, 8, 9, 4, 5, 10, 6. (that is, Eastern Foray the third book in the series, was the seventh one out, and book four, Guest House Izarra, was the third one out).

Possibly this shows some lack of planning. Or perhaps there’s some greater scheme that my subconscious is not letting me in on.

I did mention they can be read in any order. Apparently they can be written in any order too.

I hope that over the years I’ve become a better writer, and that Rorqual Saitu is a stronger book than Arlchip Burnout (though I do stand by that book, absolutely). I wonder if the contrast is notable for readers who go from Liquid Machine (2023) straight into Night Operations (2016). I would hope that seven years of practising at being a better writer would yield a stronger book. Perhaps though, that (slightly) more youthful me wrote with more verve and energy? I don’t know. That’s up to the readers.

Anyway, all that said. I’m having fun with the series and it’s nice having it rebranded and looking good.

Now, though, I do have the challenge of coming up with titles for the WX and YZ books. Didn’t think of that, Sean, did you, when you raced on into Canal Days imagining the alphabetic series. Wiggling Xylophone anyone? Wasteful XerxesWicked X-ray?

It should be out sometime next year. I suspect it may take as long to come up with a decent title as it will take to write the book.

Thanks for reading, and remember to check out the series on the Karnish River Navigations page..


The Blaze of Pollux – short story collection

Sometimes I write stories that are a little off beat and unusual. At least, I like to think they are – a writer being the worst judge of their own work, it may be that these are simply cookie cutter stories in the same vein as everything else I write, though somehow, I don’t think so. Take a look at the blurb:

The Blaze of Pollux

Ice cream on a space liner headed for disaster. A hike with a difference.  Strange animals on the loose. Odd solutions to trash overload. A scam artist lost in space.

Immerse yourself in another collection of offbeat science fiction stories from award winner Sean Monaghan.

Cover illustration © Eevlva | Dreamstime.com.


In the early days of my indie publication explorations – 2014 and 2015 – I put out four collections – Balance, Balance ii, Balance iii and Unbalanced, on the premise that they were neatly balanced collections, but the last one – Unbalanced – brought together quirky stories – a manga character on the loose in the real world, a transcript of a future NASCAR race commentary – and turned out to be a fun collection. It’s even sold a few copies – thanks if you were one of the purchasers. I hope you enjoyed that one.

With the passage of years, I hope I’m a better storyteller, so I would like to think that these ones are a little better than those. Of course, as I mention in the book’s introduction, a writer is the worst judge of their own work. I’m pretty sure that the cover and the interior look better than those early fumbling attempts.

Pick up The Blaze of Pollux from your favorite retailer: ebook $4.99, print $9.99. – Universal book link.

These ones below are still available. No universal booklink, but a search in your faborite retailer will bring them to the top. Sometimes I might even go back and redo those covers. So many covers, so little time!

Looking ahead – two new books coming

With book 7 of my Cole Wright thrillers series just out, I thought I’d take a quick gander ahead at upcoming books. I do like to have the next preorder available before the last one is complete, but I’ve to missed that this month. I still plan to have Rorqual Saitu (Book 9 of Karnish River Navigations) on full release on August 20th, and Tramp Steamers (Book 10 of the Captain Arlon Stoddard Adventures) out on October 20th. There’ll be some short stories and maybe even another novella or two in the meantime. I thought I’d share here the draft cover layout mockups for Rorqual Saitu and Tramp Steamers here. I like them, but there’s probably still a little way to go. What do you think?










It’s kind of cool seeing two of my series side by side like this – the series each have their own look.