Most of my novels run to something over 60,000 words – 250 plus pages. Most of my short stories sit somewhere under 10,000 words – 40 pages. Sometimes I write novellas – Goldie in the January/February 2022 Asimov’s is about 18,000 words (but with the way Asimov’s packs in the words, it runs to around 34 magazine pages).
And sometimes I write something longer than a novella, but kind of shorter than a regular novel. Depending who you talk to, you might hear that a novel is anything over 30,000 words, but you might also hear that anything under 90,000 is a ‘short novel’ (which basically covers all of my novels).
My new short novel Cami, Metta and The Cube will be out on February 10th. Since it’s shorter, it’s $3.99/$9.99 ebook/print – a little more than a short story, but a couple of dollars less than a regular novel.
Cami Gretton, courier, entreprenuer and getaway artist, trusts too easily. When the simple job of delivering a hypergrid Testa Cube turns sour, Cami finds herself tangled in a double cross. Or a triple cross. Hard to tell.
Could even be worse.
Cami needs every skill in her possession to extricate herself. And then some.
A near future thriller from the author of Dangerous Machines.
Cole Wright, disillusioned former cop. Kind of guy you want on your side when things get tough.
After working on these for the last couple of years and figuring out how to publish them, promote them and get them out, I’m finally underway. The Arrival, the first Cole Wright thriller is out now. Well, technically, “Dark Fields” a Cole Wright short story, has been out for a week or so already – kind of meant to be a teaser, or a way to try out the series to see if the character and my writing style appeal to you. Good, I figure to to read a complete story that wraps up, rather than just samples from the novels (though, the story download does include a couple of chapters from The Arrival, and you can read samples on the sites of the retailers anyway).
Enough rambling. Here’s the cover, the blurb, and the links to purchase it. $5.99/$14.99/$19.99 (ebook/paperback/hardback).
Worn, battered and bruised from years as a cop, Cole Wright wants a moment of peace.
But the Spokane locals have other plans for his vacation sabbatical.
And Wright just has to stick his nose in. Whether wanted or not.
My novella “Goldie” appeared in the January/February issue of Asimov’s. My copy finally arrived in the mail. Here’s me looking suitably geeky holding it. Yes, I guess I’m proud. Though the March/April issue is now on the bookstore shelves, the issue with Goldie is still available from Amazon.
I wrote a short essay for the Asimov’s blog on the background to writing the novella – Goldie Origins – and that’s up now on From Earth to the Stars (free to read), I think it would appeal to both writers and readers and while it doesn’t contain spoilers, I would suggest that as a background essay, you might want to read the story first.
I tend to write here and there – a little fantasy, a few thrillers and a whole lot of science fiction. Sometimes it’s all on the basis of whim.
For 2022, a little more focus.
Over the last couple of years I’ve been working on a new thriller series – Cole Wright – and I’ve got them lined up for publication over coming months – January, March, May, July and September. The first four are written and just about ready to go, with Zero Kills (September) at the late draft stage. There are also a few short stories that will pop up here and there.
The first book – The Arrival – releases on January 20th, and is available for preorder now (the link takes you to the Universal Book Link and then on to your regular retailer – Amazon, Apple, Kobo, Smashwords, etc.)
A short story “Dark Fields” will be available free to read here on this website for one day on Monday 10th January, and then available for $2.99/$5.99 (ebook/print) from the usual outlets. There will also be a free story for mailing list subscribers (“Junkyard Mornings”), at some point during the year (soon, I hope. You know all those ‘subscribe’ buttons everywhere? I’m sure it’s very easy to create a mailing list, but right now I’m still figuring it out).
The Arrival will be $5.99/$14.99/$19.99 (ebook/paperback/hardback).
Worn, battered and bruised from years as a cop, Cole Wright wants a moment of peace
But the Spokane locals have other plans for his vacation sabbatical.
And Wright just has to stick his nose in, whether wanted or not.
On January 1st 2012 I gave myself the challenge to write every day. I’m a writer, after all, so that seems like nothing too challenging.
Over the years, though, despite writing lots, I would still miss some days, perhaps even some weeks. I doubt I missed a month, but maybe somewhere I did.
Still, I didn’t have that regular habit. Today, as I write this, December 31st 2021, marks the ten year milestone. 3653 days (by my calculations – I think there were three leap years in there, 2012, 2016 and 2020) of writing every day.
As part of the challenge, I recorded my word count. Some days I wrote not very much (156 words was, I think my lowest number), some days a little more (one day was over 8000 words), but most days sat somewhere north of 1000. Most years were somewhere over 500,000 words. This last year I set myself the additional goal of writing a minimum of 1600 words a day – and I hit that, for a total of 652,682 words (which is actually over 1700 words/day average – kind of what happens when you set the bar higher, I guess). Not bad. Still not quite up to real pulp speed.
One thing that kept it engaging was the thought that ‘it’s all practice’. Just practising getting better. Practising openings, practising characterization, practising the rule of threes (see what I did there?). With practice, I would hope to get better.
Along the way I’ve published a lot of my works indie – links to a lot of them are here on the website – and gone wide, so you can find me on Amazon and Barnes and Noble and Smashwords and Apple.
The big sense that the practising was working, though, came when I started selling to the professional magazines – Asimov’s, Analog, Landfall, etc. Maybe I was getting better. Some writers get there real fast, but for me it’s been more of a matter staying the course. Submitting. Learning to write better. Submitting again. I still want to get better, of course. I have a bunch of courses lined up and a bunch of new goals.
The challenge continues. Writing every day. Aiming now to make it to 10,000 consecutive days. That would be something. But still, 3653 is something in itself.
So I have a little bit of a back catalogue with some, well, let’s say ‘not so great’ covers. Best I could do at the time, but I’ve learned a little in the meantime. Taken some courses. Listened to some advice. Looked at other people’s covers.
I’m slowly working my way through my novels. In between writing, and getting new things published. It’s a little bit of a job. Patience is my friend.
A few years back I started a series set in the distant future, in a distant planet:
Battle weary after years of interstellar war, Flis Kupe returns home to the quiet peaceful Karnish canal lands on Paulding, her home world. Turns out, times change. The turmoil of pirates, brigands and low lives shatters the peace. All too often.
The first was Arlchip Burnout. It was fun to write, and I knew there were more stories to tell. I noticed (later, believe me it wasn’t intentional) that the title’s initials were A.B. I’d read some of English writer Toby Litt‘s books, where each starts with the next letter of the alphabet (Adventures in Capitalism, Beatniks, Corpsing, deadkidsongs, Exhibitionism, etc). I think his next book is called Quiche.
Figuring, in my naivety I could try something similar, I embarked upon Canal Days. Then my order got mixed up. I got my titles all over. Technically the books can be read in any order (though Arlchip Burnout is the origin story), but what happened was I got to the end of Tombs Under Vaile and got distracted writing other things. I’d left some gaps.
I like Amazon’s description of series being ordered (like Lord of the Rings – should be read in order), or unordered (like Sherlock Holmes – read them any old which way). Karnish River Navigations is like Sherlock Holmes – read them in any order. Trouble is I’ve given them ordered names. Second trouble is, I’ve left gaps. Many readers like to know a series is complete before embarking on it.
Guess I need to embark on filling those gaps then.
What’s cool with working on updating the covers, is that I’ve found a new energy to complete the series. I even made a cover for Jackpot Kingdom, though it only exists in rough draft form. Hope to knock it into shape to be out later next year. Then the L.M. book and the R.S. book in 2023. W.X. and Y.Z. can wait a little while. Thinking of some of the titles makes my head spin a little.
Six of the seven books reuse the original art, but in new ways. I like the font, I like the background and I had fun with the colors. I’m no expert designer by any means, but let me tell you, these are way better than they were before.
My longer novella “Goldie” will appear in the January/February issue of Asimov’s Science Fiction, available from the middle of December. Look at that amazing cover. I’m so honored to appear in Asimov’s, but to have such a wonderful cover, with the illustration by Dominic Harman, is overwhelming.
For the last couple of years, I’ve released a new book on the 20th of each month. Sometimes a novel, sometimes a collection, and sometimes a standalone shorter piece.
Keeping that up, I’m releasing the final two for the year as preorders already. Might as well. Also, I will be starting the release schedule of a new thriller series for next year, so it’s good to get these out in the world now to give me a moment to focus a little planning for the thrillers and get ready for the first one on January 20th. More on those soon.
Both these new ones are novella length science fiction tales, albiet with very different focuses (as the covers hint, I hope), one very Earth-bound, and the other set in deep space.
Dangerous Machines – November 20th – $2.99 ebook, $5.99 print – available here – cover by Chepko Elelna
Gina Parker explores the underground alien tubes. The mystery of their existence draws her. Deeper and deeper. But the tubes hold more than mysteries. And Gina might just find more than the answers she so desperately seeks.
Load Bearing Member – December 20th – $2.99 ebook, $5.99 print – available here – cover by info793925
Coral Daimeer lugs her wrench around deep space vessel the Derlater. Sensors tell her what to fix. Coral fixes it. Coral’s intuition makes her great at her job. Mostly. A story that explores the question of what can a single crew member do when faced with impossible odds millions of miles from the nearest hardware store.
If you enjoy slightly longer sci fi stories with a heart, you’ll like these ones. Preorders up now, print available a few days before the ebook release date.
More news on the thrillers soon.
Right now I’m deep in the heart of writing the seventh Captain Arlon Stoddard book. It’s crossed the 200 page mark, with still plenty to go. Usually, as with most of my novels, these come in between 300 and 350 page marks, so enough left that I still don’t know the ending, but enough written that it’s feeling like it has some substance.
Hoping to have that out around early next year, depending on various factors. Then on to write a sequel to The Ergs, some more short stories, finish up the fifth of the new thriller series, then see where my writing goes. Feeling like another Captain Arlon Stoddard book might be fun. It had been a while since I’d written one, and I’m having a blast with this one. They really are a lot of fun.
Thanks for reading. Take care out there in the big wild world.