New Venus Vulture track on Xernex compilation album – Into Hidden Visions

a3899940275_10With some upcoming writing news any day now, it’s cool to have some music news.

By day I’m a writer, by night I tinker with ambient music as Venus Vulture. There are a few Venus Vulture releases around, as well as numerous collaboration albums with Kendall of December Nightskies as Shadows on the Snow. I’m also grateful to Kendall for steering me toward some compilations (like this one).

The lastest Venus Vulture track, ‘Basalt Arches’, is out now on the Xernex compilation Into Hidden Visions – a free download from Bandcamp. My track’s a slight departure for me; less drone, more busy-ness. There are even some drums.

There’s quite a line up of artists there. I’m pleased to be able to discover some new people and new sounds.

Here’s the list, taken from discogs (link also includes more images).

Various  ‎–  Into Hidden Visions, Label: Xernex ‎– XE40
1 –December Nightskies – Then Darkness Covered The Land 05:29
2 –Badrich – Bog Corpse 06:15
3 –Grodock – Abgleiten 04:21
4 –Visqueen (2) –  Downers 03:35
5 –ELMA – The bridge 03:35
6 –BERTHELOT Perturbateurs endocriniens 05:53
7 –Jimmy Watt – Caronte on the banks of the seventh sea 06:36
8 –ZUMAIA – Intense Drama 02:11
9 –Twilight Of Emptiness – Black Stars 03:24
10 –Paranoid Movement – The Hunt 05:12
11 –Venus Vulture – Basalt Arches 03:32
12 –Nebelwächter, Thomas Bannier – Birdtalker 05:24
13 –Thlaaflaa – The Gospel 04:46
14 –Goat tunnel – Last Sorrow Drained 06:29
15 –VAULT (6) – Eridamus Weeping 06:10
16 –[ówt krì] – Attention 04:33
17 –Krāllār – Faster 02:29
18 –L_Arsenne – Âme noire 05:19
19 –No-Joy – Sperma 05:11
20 –PKWST – Untitled 04:06

Starting a new novel

After finishing my draft of Guest House Izarra, I wrote a few short stories (well, one crept up over 11,000 words). I’ve done that through the year – finished a novel draft and spent a week or so on stories before firing up on a new novel.

Lost Ark

So, with those stories aside and awaiting attention before submitting, I’ve started on a new novel. After a few days writing I’m about 3000 words into it and having fun. It’s not the novel I expected to be writing. It’s not part of any series (though it may be come a new series – like I needed yet another series to manage). It’s got a life of its own.

I started out with the title Lost Ark, but as I thought about that I figure that’s a pretty well-used title already, so I’ll come up with something else. I’ve made a quick placeholder cover (with a quick placeholder title – unlikely that will be the final title). Graced with another wonderful image from Innovari/Luca Oleastri.

All going well I might get this though all its drafts and out sometime in the first quarter of 2017.

The month of the novel

Guest House Izarra draft thumbnail borderEarly in June I thought I’d try my hand a writing a novel in a month. Now, on the last day of the month, I can report something: Success. (insert requisite number of exclamation marks). With the success comes a tinge of, if not quite failure, at least some stumbling.

The success is that I have completed the draft of the novel. It came in at 61,497 words. Right on the mark as far as my novels go, and the general length for books in the series. I finished up on the 29th – a day to spare, yay. A couple of thousand words a day.

I celebrated the completion by opening up a new file and starting the writing of a new story. Since writing it pretty much the most fun thing, a new story is a great way to celebrate.

I hope to have the book out by the end of the year, once it’s knocked into shape. It’s cool to have a cover just about ready for it.

The stumbling, I suppose, came from the direction the story took. The Karnish River Navigations series is hard science fiction. It’s set in the distant future, on a distant planet, with some very high-tech premises. While those are present in Guest House Izarra, in places I realized that the action was taking a front seat, making the story angle off towards a straight thriller. That’s fine, it was still fun to write, but I’m not sure who the audience will be. Perhaps readers of the other books in the series will be forgiving. I’ll definitely make sure the next one is very tech-dependent. I’ll probably start that one in August. I’ll take more than a month over it, though, I think.

I noticed that right away with the new story too: a swing of the pendulum the other way. High tech all the way. Very much fun to write.

Athena Setting – publishing on June 30th

Athena Setting is my latest novel. I had had an absolute ball writing it.as cover sw

When I was a teen, knowing I wanted to be a writer, I would fantasize about the books I would write one day. I even drew covers for some of them. One was called Athena Setting. About a spaceship on a death plunge into Jupiter. You know, the kind of thing a teenage boy thinks about.

That cover sketch is long gone. But the idea still sat with me. And I guess some of that teenage boy is still with me because I went ahead and wrote the book. I had just the best fun writing it too. Kind of like I got to be that kid again.

The new cover is by ©Mik3812345 | Dreamstime, with a little tinkering by me.

Of course I don’t know if the novel is any good or not, but I like to think that the fun I had in the writing will come through for the reader.

Like my story Low Arc (free to read), Athena Setting is pretty hard sci-fi. No aliens, no distant star systems, just people going about the difficult business of exploring the solar system.

After Gretel and The Cly, this one marks my third standalone sci-fi novel in a row. Next I think I’ll be working on some series, both thriller and sci-fi. More new on that later.

With Athena Setting I’m doing the pre-order thing, in attempting to make it available on all platforms at the same time. Release date is 30th June. I set that date as part of wanting a tangible way to celebrate writing a novel during the month. More on June, the month of the novel here.

Athena Setting: eBook, $5.99, print $15.99

Available from Smashwords, Amazon and various other retailers. Check your favorite.

 

“The Molenstraat Music Festival”‘s wonderful life

aurealis2016bMy story “The Molenstraat Music Festival”, published in the September 2015 issue of Asimov’s has surprised and delighted me with some of the notice it’s garnered.

Firstly it was a finalist in Australia’s Aurealis Awards in the Best Novella Category. The prize went to Garth Nix, a lauded and celebrated writer.

Next it showed up as a finalist in the Asimov’s Readers’ Awards in the Best Novelette Category (word counts vary as to what makes a novelette and what makes a novella). The estimable Michael Swanwick and Gregory Frost‘s co-written work Lock Up Your Chickens and Daughters H’ard and Andy Are Come to Town! took that award.

As part of the Asimov’s Readers’ Awards, most of the finalists are available to read for free at their website. Click here for The Molenstraat Music Festival.

Lastly, the story was a finalist for New Zealand’s Sir Julius Vogel Awards, losing to the extraordinary Octavia Cade. Nice to see Octavia has a story forthcoming in Asimov’s too. It was fun to hang out with other writers at Au Contraire and the awards ceremony a few weeks back.

I had a finalist in the short  story category of the Sir Julius Vogel Awards too, “The Harsichord Elf” from A.C. Buchanan‘s Capricious online magazine. The talented Lee Murray‘s story “The Thief’s Tale” won the award.

I’m thrilled to be nominated, and honored and humbled to be among such remarkable company. All this feels like a kid’s dream really.

Month of the Novel, quick update

kbsmAs I mentioned earlier, I’ve challenged myself to write a novel in the month of June. Looks like I’m on track.

20 days down, 44,102 words written. Running about ten percent ahead of target. Naturally some of those words will go before it sees the light of day.

While I’m having a ball writing the book, I’m finding I need to ensure I don’t borrow too much time from other activities. Sometimes that extra half-hour or so of writing each day pushes into the business of getting things formatted and out. Still, all a good learning experience.