Almost there with The Stairs at Cronnenwood

Stairs at Cronenwood (1)The second book in my Morgenfeld series should be out on December 15th, all going well. As I speak the book has been proofed and copy-edited and print-formatted. Just need to finish the wraparound cover design for that, and get the ebook formatting done.

Oh, and write a blurb.

Here’s how things go for me in terms of writing, from easiest to hardest: novel, novella, short story, blog post, “short bio to accompany your story” and blurb. Yup, easier to write a 60,000 word novel than to write a 100 word blurb. I’ve done some work on it, taken a course or two and so I know some of the techniques – focus on the character and the problem, give away nothing more than is in the first chapter, use active language, and so on and so on. All seems very straightforward when you put it like that. Ha, ha.

I have to write my blurbs on a different computer from my writing computer. The tone and technique and parts of the brain used are all so different. Getting away from the creative space seems to give me access to a different kind of creativity, namely pretending to be a sales person.

Sales is not my natural bent. So, I practice. Maybe I’ll get something that works this time. I’ll post the blurb here in a week or two, once I’ve got it down. Or maybe just whatever I have at that point.

I am fortunate that I’ve been able to organise a space and a clunky old computer dedicated just to writing. No net, no games, no anything except the writing software. Easier to separate out that creative side from the business side.

Also in the works, getting the updated cover for the first in the series –  The Map Maker of Morgenfeld. In the year or so since that came out I’ve learned some about cover design. Long way to go, but I like these new versions. Grandfailure’s images just so suit the work, the broken-down jumble of the city and the sense of space and light and time.

In other, related new, I’m just about finished with the writing of book three in the series. Right now the title is just  Black Chimneys, but I do have a while to consider that, and to look for something with more rhythm closer to the other two, as in  The (something) of/at (somewhere).

Also recently sold a couple of stories, one to  Asimov’s, one to  Analog. Excited about both, but this will be my first in  Analog, and it’s always neat to see my work in a new venue. I’ll post again when I have the publication dates for those.

Since I’m rambling on, I’ll mention that I’ll be at WorldCon in Wellington next year – the World Science Fiction Convention. I’m in the process of putting my name forward to maybe be on a panel or two. If you’re going and we haven’t met, grab me and say hi.

 

 

 

The Billows of Sarto, in The Year’s Best Aotearoa New Zealand Science Fiction & Fantasy

yearsbestanzsff_1_frontcoverI’m honoured to have my story “The Billow of Sarto” appear in the just-released Year’s Best Aotearoa New Zealand Science Fiction & Fantasy from Paper Road Press. My, I’m in some good company there; quite humbled really. This is my first story in a “Year’s Best” anywhere (though I’ve had a few nods in those “Honorable Mentions” or “Suggested Reading” pages at the back of other volumes, which has been nice).

Paper Road Press is doing great stuff with New Zealand science fiction. Marie Hodgkinson, the publisher, does awesome work and brings a lot of wonderful energy to her projects. This is the first New Zealand year’s best anthology.

asimovs march april 2018The stories have all appeared previously in venues such as Strange HorizonsClarkesworldLandfall and so on. “The Billows of Sarto” first appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction, in the March/April 2018 issue.

Numerous people I know in person here – Octavia Cade, A.J. Fitzwater, Andi Buchanan, Mark English, M. Darusha Wehm. I was even on a panel at a con a few years ago with Marie, who was already doing great work with Paper Road Press.

And, if you happen to have published something during 2019, Paper Road Press is taking submissions for the 2020 volume. Details here: https://paperroadpress.co.nz/years-best/

Full contents:

“We Feed the Bears of Fire and Ice”, by Octavia Cade (originally published in Strange Horizons)

“A Most Elegant Solution”, by M. Darusha Wehm (originally published in Terraform)

“Girls Who Do Not Drown”, by Andi Buchanan (originally published in Apex Magazine)

“Logistics”, by A.J. Fitzwater (originally published in Clarkesworld)

“The Billows of Sarto”, by Sean Monaghan (originally published in Asimov’s Science Fiction)

“A Brighter Future”, by Grant Stone (originally published in Cthulhu: Land of the Long White Cloud (IFWG))

“The People Between the Silences”, by Dave Moore (originally published in Landfall)

“Common Denominator”, by Melanie Harding-Shaw (originally published in Wild Musette Journal)

“Te Ika”, by J.C. Hart (originally published in Cthulhu: Land of the Long White Cloud (IFWG))

“Trees”, by Toni Wi (originally published in Breach)

“The Garden”, by Isabelle McNeur (originally published in Wizards in Space)

“Mirror Mirror”, by Mark English (originally published in Abyss & Apex)

“The Glassblower’s Peace”, by James Rowland (originally published in Aurealis Magazine)

Cover art by Emma Weakley

(I couldn’t find links for some of the authors – let me know if they have pages and I’ll update here).

Thanks too, to editor Sheila Williams of Asimov’s who published the story in the first place.

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This is my first post here for a while. I’ve been away traveling (aka research for writing), in Papua New Guinea, South Korea and Taiwan. Eye-opening, let me tell you. What wonderful places. I did get a lot of writing done while I was away – on my little phone/mini-bluetooth keyboard set-up. I’ll post on that sometime soon.

I did manage to get ahead on posts for the Pro Writers Writing website, so managed to keep my responsibility there ticking over for while I was away, without having to worry.

The Sunday Star Times contest is on again. Egregious rules once more. I’m not bothering to post this year, but I’ve added a note to previous years’ posts – like this one – about that. Those posts continue to be my most popular around this time of year. I suspect just from people who want to enter and are looking for the rules and how big the prizes are, rather than those figuring out that the terms are less than fair. That’s okay.

New Release in December

Morgenfeld, a vast city-building, deep in a fantasy world not too far removed from our own, moves to the whims of a different set of rules.

Right now we’re targetting the release of the second volume in the Morgenfeld series for December 15th.

 

The Stairs at Cronnenwood brings new challenges for Cole and Dana as thieves pull off a daring raid on the Map Archive.

Following The Mapmaker of Morgenfeld this new book explores and deepens the swirling complex world that is Morgenfeld. A near-endless fantasy city-building with entire communities hidden away, secret sections and a ruling dynasty that stretches back thousands of years.

Preorder of the book will be up from November 15th. Soon before, we’ll have a free download of a Morgenfeld short story, “The Rocking Horse Mystery”.
Covers are by way of example only final art will be confirmed in November.
Book 1, The Mapmaker of Morgenfeld is available in print and as an ebook from the usual outlets. Cover art update coming soon.

I’m thinking I’ll start writing the third book while I’m traveling in September and October. I wrote the first when we traveled to Easter Island, the Atacama desert and the Galapagos a couple of years ago. Travel to different places definitely stimulates my imagination for the strangeness of Morgenfeld. I’m relatively well-traveled, but Papua New Guinea, Korea and Taiwan should be plenty strange for a someone who lives in a relatively western culture.

Gold-Embers-originalOh, while I’m writing here: Also out soon, on September 2nd, is Gold Embers, book three of The Chronicles of the Donner. Middle Grade SF: action and adventure with a heart. The final secrets of Ludelle reveal themselves in stunning ways. If the survivors of the Donner can figure them out.
If you want a taste of Ludelle and the characters, try out “Trapped”, a short story set there. Matti-Jay and Dub find themselves in a sudden fight for survival. Write to me and I’ll send you over an ebook version.

Sometime I’ll figure out how to integrate this Mailchimp thing into the website and create a proper mailing list.
Thanks for reading.

Gold Embers – Book 3 of the Chronicles of the Donner trilogy – release date set

Gold-Embers-original

Gold Embers, book three of The Chronicles of the Donner is due for release on September 2nd

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Marooned on planet Ludelle, Matti-Jay and the survivors of the Donner struggle every single day. Threats hang over them nonstop.

When a giant craft appears over the forest, it looks like it might hold the key to their escape.

Or maybe things just got a whole lot harder.And Matti-Jay finds herself making some of the hardest choices.

Ever.

 

There’s a nice Universal Book Link to select your favorite store. $5.99 ebook, $15.99 paperback.

cropped-chronicles-of-the-donner.jpg

 

Re-release of The Hidden Dome Trilogy

When I first embarked on this indie publishing venture, back in 2011, I had a lot to learn. After eight years, I still have a lot to learn. Oh boy.

Still, slowly getting a handle on things. I do spend more time learning to be a better writer than I do learning to be a better sales and marketing person. For me, writing is more fun. Yes, it would be nice to connect with more readers, but hey, I’m still around after all this time. Some of the others I knew back then seem to have slipped away (come back, we miss you!).

The Tunnel was about the third novel I published as an indie. I had fun with it, though of course I did still have a lot to learn as a writer (hmm, there’s a theme there). Still, I think it stands up as a sci-fi action, adventure story. It was followed by two more books in the series, The Deluge and The Eye.

The first cover was for The Tunnel, well, not so great. The second was, well maybe a little better (I’m not showing them here for fear of embarrassment). Now, I’m rebranding the whole series, with a look I kind of like, and a better consistency. New blurbs too (another whole thing I’m slowly learning about).

Not that I expect to suddenly find more readers with this. For me the point is to practice having better covers. I like the “Captain Arlon Stoddard” series covers, but do need to go back and work on the “Karnish River Navigations” covers.

Also, I’ll keep writing all the while (after all, that’s the most fun).

 

The Hidden Dome books are available from all the regular places. eBooks for $5.99, print (through Amazon, Barnes and Noble and so on) for $15.99

Amazon

Smashwords

And the universal book links for each of the books.

The Tunnel from Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Apple, etc.

The Deluge fromBarnes and Noble, Kobo, Apple, etc.

The Eye from Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Apple, etc.

 

 

The Bristol Morton Equation – new Shadows on the Snow album out on Studio4632

Naturally, most of the words I post here are about my writing. That’s my main focus. But from time to time, there are other creative things that happen.

It’s been a while since Kendall and I had some new music out from out Shadows on the Snow project. Things have slowed down as we’ve both focused on other things.

But here we are, with a new album out on Studio 4632.

The Bristol Morton Equation is three tracks of long, evolving patterns, subtle repetition and, we hope, surprising moments.

Thanks to Candy from Studio 4632 for putting the release out. Available now to stream or download from Bandcamp.

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In the meantime, I am working on writing always. Lately I’ve been producing lots of short stories. It’s an interesting shift from novels. Also working on preparing the files for the updated releases of The Hidden Dome trilogy. Plan to have all those out at the start of August. Also working on final edits to Gold Embers, the third of the Chronicles of The Donner series. Yes, I have too many series, and I need to do a better job of tracking them.

I’m still writing a post a week for Pro Writers Writing, which keeps me on my toes. I’m going to be away for a while  later in the year, so I need to get well ahead on that to have a few posts in the bank. Heading off to Papua New Guinea, Korea and Taiwan. Should be able to do some great story research there. Looking forward.

Thanks for reading.

 

That time of year again

A quick post here about short story contests. Specifically the Sunday Star Times Short Story Contest, here in New Zealand.

sst-logo

Each year around this time, my site gets a lot of views because I’ve written over the last few years about this contest, and, I guess, people are looking for information about when it opens, what the prizes are, when it closes and so on. A google search brings my posts up on the first page when you search up the contest.

I have written about the contest because over those years, their rules have been egregious: their terms and conditions allow them to effectively publish any entry without having to pay the author.

I don’t think that they go ahead and use those rights – they seem to just publish the prize winners. The thing is that rights are all writers have, and we need to protect them.

I don’t know if they’ll retain that this  year. I did get in touch with the contest organisers about the issue, and had a positive to neutral response; to the effect that they would look at those conditions again for the next time they run the contest.

So, I’m hopeful that when they next run the competition, that the conditions will be more favourable to writers. Also hopeful that they will run it this year, and announce the details soon.