Eyes to the Height in May/June Analog Science Fiction and Fact

Screen Shot 2021-05-13 at 7.22.57 PMMy short story “Eyes to the Height” appears in the current issue of Analog. This is my third Analog story, and I’m thrilled to have had even one. Cyan Reddings struggles with an issue or two with her little cutter as she flies above the moon. These are the opening few paragraphs:

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Cyan Reddings tried again to coax some response from the consoles of her misbehaving cutter. She’d launched from Herschel III sixteen minutes ago and things had gone south from the get go.

The cutter was a Sampang Sliver, with a very nice Merlin engine. Twenty two meters from stem to the base of the main nacelle. Way too powerful for just moon hops–twenty thousand kilograms of thrust and just about enough fuel capacity to kick her out to Mars if she wanted.

Not that she could. She would run out of food and air and sanity, probably not in that order, long before she even got ten percent of the way out.

The Sliver’s cockpit was plush and comfortable. Way too much space for just one person. Sampang had fitted it out for at a dozen.

Moon tourism.

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Check it out at analogsf.com, and available on Amazon and other retailers. Even at your local newstand.

 

Wow, my second post in a week. Part of my effort to here a little more frequently. Hopefully I can continue to have things worthwhile saying. Hopefully this was worthwhile. Thanks for reading.

New New New, finally

I’ve probably mentioned before that while I’m a relatively prolific writer, and probably not too bad at it either (a couple of awards along the way, so I must be doing something right on occastion), I can a little tardy at keeping this site up to date. What happens then is things build up and I end up jabbering about a half dozen things every couple of months, rather than one every week.

Hoping to change that. Maybe I’ll even schedule it. After all, I write fiction every day, why not talk about it every week? Similarly, I need to keep that sidebar, that’s probably showing on the right there, a little more current. And the pages links at the top.

Anyway, there are bits and pieces of news about new releases.

analog cover march april 2021My novelette “Problem Landing” appeared in the March/April issue of Analog, which was kind of cool. This story comes from watching footage of the SpaceX rocket boosters making their landings for re-use. The story, though, is set on Mars.

I have another story coming out sometime later this year in Analog – “Eyes To The Height”. Again, a failing technology story, this one set on the moon.

Yay for space.

Analog also have their own blog – The Astounding Analog Companion – and I have an interview in that, about “Problem Landing”. That came out quite a few weeks back. There are other good interviews and opinion pieces on the blog too.

I have a new book out – Core Runners – book 5 in the Captain Arlon Stoddard series. Available in all the usual places. The blurb goes like this:

Core runners 19 2 21 ebook“A missing ship. A distressed mother. A planet of mysteryThe disappearance of the Astro Astoria challenges the capabilities of Captain Arlon Stoddard and his crew in new and desperate ways.Finding the ship, and the familes aboard takes every resource the have.And More.Another thrilling installment in the exciting Captain Arlon Stoddard series.Space adventure at its best.”

Core Runners is available in print and as an ebook from the usual retailers – check here to grab a copy. Paperback is $9.99, ebook is $3.99.

Book 6 – Underworld Climbers – should be out in June. The copy-editing is complete, just need formatting and to organise the cover.

Blast Crater 2 4 21 ebookIn the meantime, another book in the middle-grade Matti-Jay and Dub Adventures series – Blast Crater on Endemo – comes out on May 20th. This is standalone, as all my series books are (as in, you can read them in any order), but it does chronologically follow on from last year’s Great Wall of Endemo, so if you’ve read that you might enjoy this one as a continuation.

This is the blurb for Blast Crater on Endemo:

“Filled with exotic wonderful sights, Endemo ranks as one of the most mysterious worlds in all of Ao space. With some time off after the challenging events at the Great Wall, Matti-Jay and her crew pay a visit to the stunning ancient crater in the northern reaches. Surrounded by gorgeous scenery, none of them expect bandits and crooks.But the crater holds secrets. Holds them close.Faced with impossible choices Matti-Jay and Dub dig into every resource they have. The crater gives no second chances.Another thrilling adventure in the Matti-Jay and Dub series, from award-winning author Sean Monaghan.”

vv cfLastly, for now, I have a new Venus Vulture EP out on bandcamp. “Crystal Falls” is a suite of three tracks of gritty, drone ambient. This is my first real release of music made with my modular synthesizer system. Previously I’ve worked with FLStudio, Oscilab, paulstretch and GoldWave, among others, to put together music. It’s quite a different experience working in the analog world, and doing more actual playing of the instrument, rather than clicking on the screen.

I’ve been building the system for the last couple of years, and it’s been something of a learning curve. Maybe that’ll be a good topic for one of those every week posts.

Crystal Falls is available on Bandcamp – $5.00 for the download. You can listen online for free.

Well, thanks for reading this far.  Right now I’m working on a new SF novel (which might end up just being a novella), then want to do some more short stories, and then some more thrillers. Later this year I’ll be repackaging my existing thrillers with new covers, and launching a new series. More on that to come, but there are three novels written so far – I should have two out before Christmas, with the third in January. Fair chance I can write and prep another before then, so there might be four of them by March next year.

Take care.

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.

“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.