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.
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.
Following “Ventiforms” in the January – February 2019 issue of Asimov’s Science Fiction, I’m privileged to have have a new story “Chasing Oumuamua” in the May – June issue.
“Chasing Oumuamua” is, I guess, another of my family relationships story. Ultimately I think most of my stories are along those lines. Even when there’s lots of stuff blowing up and people hanging onto blistering railings by their fingertips.
‘Oumuamua was the name given to a chunk of interstellar flotsam (or possibly jetsam) that flittered through our solar system (well, it’s still within the solar system, just that it’s on its way out and we can’t actually see it any more), first noticed in 2017.
‘Oumuamua comes from the Hawaiian ‘oumuamua, meaning scout (forgive me if I have the wrong), and I kind of like that name. Just a little scout, coming to take a look around. There’s a good overview on Wikipedia. Yes, the apostrophe comes first – something I neglected in my story.
While I’m here (I’m not here as often as I should be, but perhaps that’s a good thing), I’ll mention one or two other things.
I have another story coming out in Landfall, the Autumn 2019 issue which should be out in the next few weeks. “Landslide Country” is me heading into more literary territory, with a story about a retired woman finding herself coming of age, I suppose.
Landfall is New Zealand’s iconic literary magazine and I’m grateful to editor Emma Neale for taking the story. This will be my third appearance in Landfall’s pages, which is kind of cool.
This is also the first year where I’ve had three pro stories come out. Not a bad first half. I’m still somewhat startled that I’ve had even one at all, ever 🙂 I mean, seriously look at the names on the cover of Asimov’s there! Holy Money.
I’m still blogging on Pro Writers Writing – every Monday morning a new post comes out. That’s taking a little energy away from here, too, I guess. That’s okay. It stretches my brain. I am thinking that I’ll collate my posts maybe next year into a little book of my take on how to be a writer.
I do try to stay a few posts ahead on that. My posts there are a little like here too, somewhat stream of consciousness. They also come in bursts. Sometimes I’ll write three in a week, sometimes I’ll see next Monday looming and wonder what the heck I’m going to ramble about.
Also, “Ventiforms” my story from Asimov’s this past January, will be out as a standalone ebook on May 31st. Just in time for Geysercon. I’m moderating a panel, and sitting on another. I hope to have some print copies available for release at the con too.
Wonderful evocative illustration for the story by Kerem Gogus there. I like the image, and it’s forced me to shift around the type in places I wouldn’t normally put it. I don’t know what a professional designer would make of it, but I like it.
I’ll fill in more on Geysercon and other things in another post soon.
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 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.
I probably wax on about my teenage dream of getting published inAsimov’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.
My 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.
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.
Writers 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.
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.
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.