Tag Archives: asimov’s science fiction magazine

Crimson Birds of Small Miracles now available as a standalone ebook, and in print

asimovs-cover-jan-2016

So, this is my little story. This is the one that pushed me out of the Writers of the Future Contest.

That contest is for non-professional writers. The contest rules, as with the Science Fiction Writers of America, count professional as three professional sales. Professional as in rates from (I think) six cents per word. That’s venues like Asimov’s, Analog, Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, Clarkesworld, Fantasy and Science Fiction, and numerous others.

With Writers of the Future, you are allowed to enter until the publication of your fourth professional story.

I had been a finalist in the contest, once, and a semi-finalist three times. That’s kind of cool. Finalist is top eight, semi is top sixteen. Apparently they receive thousands of entries.

Along the way, I had three stories published in Asimov’s. “Walking Gear”, “The Molenstraat Music Festival” and “Wakers”. Honored and surprised and probably proud that I’d achieved that. Thank you, Sheila Williams, for your faith in my stories.

As I went I continued to enter the contest.

Then I got a fourth acceptance from Asimov’s.

That would put an end to my career as a serial Writer’s of the Future entrant. It’s run four times a year, and I entered in twenty-six consective quarters (I think, I’m not sure of the exact count).

With that acceptance, I had three entries left. Just. The story came out in January 2017, and I submitted my last entry in December 2016.

I didn’t win.

But the cool thing – very cool, in fact so cool I’m still surprised – was that this story, the one that meant I would never win Writers of the Future, went on to win a couple of awards itself. It took New Zealand’s Sir Julius Vogel Award for best science fiction story 2017, and it won the Asimov’s Readers’ Poll for best short story of 2017.

I kind of like that, without blowing my own trumpet too much (or have I already done that?).

Isn’t there a saying that when one door closes, another opens? I feel as if that’s what’s happened here.

Oh, it was also the cover story. I know plenty of you have had cover stories, but this was my first ever and that’s as overwhelming as anything.

Also cool, I just discovered that the previous story of mine in Asimov’s, “Wakers” got listed among the Honorable Mentions in the late Gardner Doizois’s Best Science Fiction 2016. It’s a long (long) list, in a huge book, but still, that’s kind of heartwarming.

Gardner’s passing leaves a huge hole in the science fiction world. I never had the opportunity to meet him, but I feel it. Go well.

crimson birds ebook cover smCrimson Birds of Small Miracles is now available in print and ebook.

The cover is by the marvelous artist Maurizio Manzieri, who also painted the cover for the Asimov’s issue where the story first appeared. I’ll write another post about that, I think. This is already too long.

ebook, $2.99: Smashwords, Kindle
print book, $5.99: Amazon

Thanks for reading.

If you’d like a free copy, comment here and I’ll send you a coupon for smashwords.

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The Billows of Sarto – new short story in Asimov’s

asimovs march april 2018I probably wax on about my teenage dream of getting published in Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine. This month marks the publication of my fifth story there, in the March-April 2018 issue. I’m humbled every time. That my little ol’ story gets such an honor.

Without giving too much away, “The Billows of Sarto” is set in an dormant volcanic crater, teeming with forest life and hotpools, on a far away planet (isn’t science fiction cool – I get such a fun playground). There’s an interview around somewhere with me (I’ll link to it once I find it!), but one of the questions was about my inspiration for the story.

Well, I do like volcanoes. Growing up in New Zealand, they’re all over. On a clear day, with a bit of elevation, you can see two from my hometown – Taranaki and Ruapehu.

I’ve also been lucky enough to visit volcanoes in other parts of the world too, from the volcanic plugs of the Glass House Mountains in Queensland Australia, to Rano Kau on Easter Island to Mt Fuji in Japan (well in the distance from a train).

One of my favourite places is Crater Lake National Park in Oregon. This is a genuine collapse caldera, where part of the mountain has dropped into the magma chamber (if I have those processes right). A smaller cone has even developed inside the caldera.

(photographs by Diana Monaghan – when I was there I was so in love with the place I forgot to take any. Excuse the bluriness – not Mum’s fault: mine. I photographed her photos with my phone. Sheesh).

It was fun to write the story, taking those places and reinventing them, with new ecologies and geothermal systems and, I hope, interesting characters.

Oh, it also turns out that my last story for Asimov’s, “Crimson Birds of Small Miracles”, is also a finalist in the Asimov’s  Annual Readers’ Award Poll, short story category, which is quite an honor. Maurizio’s wonderful cover art is also a finalist in the art category. Feels like that’ll need a longer post soon.

Crimson Birds of Small Miracles – story in January/February Asimov’s

asimovs-cover-jan-2016My story “Crimson Birds of Small Miracles” is out now in the January-February issue of Asimov’s Science Fiction. 2017 marks the 40th year of Asimov’s. I’m honored to be included, and extra-honored to have my story illustrated for the cover with wonderful art by Maurizio Manzieri.

C.J. Penn does everything he can for his ailing daughter, including traveling across worlds in search of relief from her symptoms. When they find the opportunity to witness the displays of Shilinka Switalla’s crimson birds, Penn leaps at the opportunity.

The issue should be out in bookstores now, and it’s also available as an ebook from Amazon, Barnes and Noble and others.

Maurizio was kind enough to share with me (and grant permission for me to share here), the original image and his study work for the birds themselves. I’m thrilled with these. The images capture the story so well.

Final entry into the Writers of the Future Contest

I have made my final entry into the Writers of the Future Contest. For the last five years I’ve entered every quarter, but with my forthcoming story in January’s issue of  Asimovs, my eligibility comes to an end.

WOTF-FINALIST-#31Writers of the Future is perhaps the premier writing contest for non-professional speculative writers.

I’ve been a finalist, and I’ve had straight rejections. My tally over more than twenty entries also includes numerous honorable mentions, a silver honorable mention and three semi-finalist placings. So often feeling so close.

I felt a bit sad clicking ‘submit’ with my final entry. This thing is over. I have numerous friends who’ve won the competition and been published in the anthology. I would have liked to join them (well, I still have this one last shot, right?).

Flipside: I feel elated. I wouldn’t be losing eligibility if I hadn’t been having success with my writing. And I wouldn’t be having success if I hadn’t been tenacious. Taking those non-winning stories (and other stories) and sending them to other markets. Writing and learning and sending off and writing some more.

Now of course, I have my sights on some other prizes and awards. Aim high.

 

“Wakers” in Asimov’s Science Fiction, August 2016 issue.

71mt-lhxg1l-_sl1024_My story “Wakers” is out now in the August issue of Asimov’s Science Fiction. This is the third of my stories editor Sheila Williams has selected, and it continues to be a humbling honor. I’m stunned to see my name on the cover. It was a teenage dream to ever be published in Asimov’s, let alone see that.

I’m sharing these pages with some established authors – Sandra McDonald, James Alan Gardner, Jason Sanford, Kathe Koja & Carter Scholz (who doesn’t seem to have a website, and whose name some websites have as Sholz. He’s also a composer of music, which is kind of cool) – and some newcomers like me, Sieren Damsgaard Ernst and Matthew Claxton (sorry, can’t find links for them right now).

The issue has been out for a couple of weeks, though right now I’m still waiting for my subscriber’s copy. A disadvantage of living halfway around the world. Still can’t wait to get my hands on it.

“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.

Finalist Badge

WOTF-FINALIST-#31Some years ago I was a finalist in the Writers of the Future contest (WOTF).

Since that time I’ve entered every quarter. I’ve had numerous Honorable Mentions and a Semi-Finalist placing. Never made it to that lauded “Finalist” again though.

Now I find myself creeping closer to pro-ing out. The contest is open to non-professional writers only, professional being counted as more than three pro-rate sales. With this August’s issue of Asimov’s I’ll have my third pro sale publication. One more after (or before) that and I’ll no longer be eligible for WOTF. I wonder how many more quarters I’ll be able enter.

In the meantime, the WOTF organization sent me this nice badge (thanks Joni). I figure I’d better display it. It might be my highest WOTF accolade.