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.

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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

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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.

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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.

The Billows of Sarto in The Year’s Best Aotearoa New Zealand Science Fiction.

yearsbestanzsff_1_frontcoverMarie Hodgkinson of Paper Road Press produces some wonderful books. Coming in November this year is the anthology The Year’s Best Aotearoa New Zealand Science Fiction & Fantasy. I’m fortunate enough to have a story included.

There are some amazing writers in the book. This is the full table of 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’m privileged to be among such company. I’m also thrilled in that this is my first “Year’s Best” selection. I’ve had friends appear in them before, and had my stories listed in the “Recommended Reading” or “Honorable Mentions” pages. Yes, it’s a regional publication the advantage of that is that I think I’ve met about half the writers in person. I’m still pretty stoked.

The anthology is available for preorder now from Paper Road Press

Rebranding gradually

Ship Tracers 2018 thmbI’m very conscious that while I’m a pretty good writer (ahem), and I’m okay with most of the business side, I’m really pretty lousy when it comes to sales and marketing.

Key point for an indie writer, right? Market yourself.

Some of my books have fairly bad covers. Some have terrible sales copy. I don’t even have a mailing list. This site sits in WordPress’s paid domain, but free side. I’ll be upgrading that (*update, Saturday – upgrade done – already I’m out of my depth with customizing the look. Good – out of my depth means I’ll learn to swim).

All of that was okay in the early days of indie publishing, but times have changed. Around me. And in my dozy state I’m just beginning to notice.

So I’m making a few changes. My website. Trying to figure out managing a mailing list. Trying to get a handle on, you know, the basic stuff if you want to gain a few readers here and there. I did start a facebook author page – here where this blog posts to and I do occasional separate posts. That’s a whole other area of learning – social media.

Now I do have some covers and copy I’m proud of – my Captain Arlon Stoddard series books look okay to my mind. Not up there with the $2500 professionally designed books, but still doing okay.

So this will be a time of experimenting. First out of the blocks, I’m going to update the covers and blurbs for the first series I released, starting back in 2012 – The Hidden Dome. Here’s a preview of the new covers. What do you think?

I’m looking for a consistency of branding there, so at least I think I’ve got that. Next step: amazing sales copy. Then the whole repackage, getting them out as print and ebooks again (somehow I never got around to putting The Eye out as a print book, so it will be good to have them all done).

Will I get more sales? Who knows? The thing is I need to work on my branding, my sales and a whole bunch of other things. This is like a practice round.

The Map Maker of Morgenfeld thumbAfter that I do have a second book coming out in my Morgenfeld fantasy series – The Stairs at Cronnenwood. At the same time I will update the original’s cover (see the current cover here – too many design faults there, though I might even use that image). And if I can figure it out, I’ll create that mailing list and have a giveaway Morgenfeld story for signups.

Plan is to have The Stairs at Cronnenwood out in September.

Then there’s another Captain Arlon Stoddard novel to come out. And the third in the Chronicles of the Donner series. I’m not short of material, but I have so much to learn about getting into the hands of readers.

 

 

 

Sargeson Prize – competition for New Zealand writers

sargeson-small-fileOver the last few years I’ve railed against the terms and conditions of the Sunday Star Times short story contest – where they effectively retain the right to publish any entry without paying the author. I have been in touch directly with them, and had a positive response, indicating that they will look again at those terms and conditions should they run the contest again.

In the meantime, there’s another contest open for New Zealand writers – the  Sargeson Prize, run through the University of Waikato. The contest is named for celebrated New Zealand writer Frank Sargeson.

Under the terms of this contest, writers retain the rights to their story, win, lose or place. That’s fair. There is no entry fee (my advice, avoid contests that charge a fee: money flows to authors, not from).

There’s a nice prize too.

You can enter here. Entries are restricted to residents of New Zealand.

Entries close on June 30th, so there’s still a little time to get something in. You could write it tonight and send it in tomorrow, if you’re really keen.