“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.

Fabulous Skies available for pre-order

Fabulous skiesMy second standalone short sci-fi story of the year “Fabulous Skies” is available now for pre-order.

 

Jenelle lives for storms. The elemental and the destructive. With her flotilla of flybots, she studies and researches the biggest storms. Right out in the wild.

But perhaps existing out in the wild takes more than she knows.

A story that asks the question, what are we running from?

A sci fi short from the author of Crimson Birds of Small Miracles.

 

 

Full release on February 29th, but available for preorder from the usual booksellers – Amazon, Smashwords, and others (universal booklink). $2.99 ebook and $5.99 in print (it’s a cutie – 30 pages… I do like these little books).

 

This is fun getting this shorter stories out into the world. Next month, however, we’ll have out, Deuterium Shine, the first novel in a new series “The Jupiter Files”. Following that another short, “Mem and Cyborg”, and following that the publishing will ratchet up a little, with some collections, omnibuses and more novels.

Alongside all that are more works in the “Matti-Jay and Dub Adventures” series. These middle grade works go through a different process to reach publication. This is the series I write for my daughter Matti-Jay, so before they go public we read them at home, just to make sure they’re good to go.

There are three novels in the first series for Matti-Jay – Blue Defender, Red Alliance and Gold Embers – which make up “The Chronicles of the Donner”. There is one short “Trapped” as part of the follow-ups in the “Matti-Jay and Dub Adventures”, but three more in the works right now, the novel Pirates, the novelette Good Ship Hartford and another short “Event on Algoria Three”. We’re almost done with that last one, so it might be available in the next couple of weeks.

I have story, “One Hundred” in the March/April issue of Analog, if you’re an Analog reader. Pretty chuffed with that one – my first in Analog. Later in the year I have another story in Asimov’s – “Marbles”, which is the third in Asimov’s in my “Worlds of Shilinka Switalla” series, following the (ahem) award-winning “Crimson Birds of Small Miracles”, and “Ventiforms”.

I’ll post more about those closer to the time they come out.

Speaking of Asimov’s, I had two stories published there last year, both of which are eligible for New Zealand’s Sir Julius Vogel Award – “Ventiforms” and “Chasing Oumuamua”. That’s exciting, though of course it all takes getting nominated to get onto the ballot. We’ll see how that goes. No matter, it’s always a thrill to be published in Asimov’s.

Almost there with The Stairs at Cronnenwood

Stairs at Cronenwood (1)The second book in my Morgenfeld series should be out on December 15th, all going well. As I speak the book has been proofed and copy-edited and print-formatted. Just need to finish the wraparound cover design for that, and get the ebook formatting done.

Oh, and write a blurb.

Here’s how things go for me in terms of writing, from easiest to hardest: novel, novella, short story, blog post, “short bio to accompany your story” and blurb. Yup, easier to write a 60,000 word novel than to write a 100 word blurb. I’ve done some work on it, taken a course or two and so I know some of the techniques – focus on the character and the problem, give away nothing more than is in the first chapter, use active language, and so on and so on. All seems very straightforward when you put it like that. Ha, ha.

I have to write my blurbs on a different computer from my writing computer. The tone and technique and parts of the brain used are all so different. Getting away from the creative space seems to give me access to a different kind of creativity, namely pretending to be a sales person.

Sales is not my natural bent. So, I practice. Maybe I’ll get something that works this time. I’ll post the blurb here in a week or two, once I’ve got it down. Or maybe just whatever I have at that point.

I am fortunate that I’ve been able to organise a space and a clunky old computer dedicated just to writing. No net, no games, no anything except the writing software. Easier to separate out that creative side from the business side.

Also in the works, getting the updated cover for the first in the series –  The Map Maker of Morgenfeld. In the year or so since that came out I’ve learned some about cover design. Long way to go, but I like these new versions. Grandfailure’s images just so suit the work, the broken-down jumble of the city and the sense of space and light and time.

In other, related new, I’m just about finished with the writing of book three in the series. Right now the title is just  Black Chimneys, but I do have a while to consider that, and to look for something with more rhythm closer to the other two, as in  The (something) of/at (somewhere).

Also recently sold a couple of stories, one to  Asimov’s, one to  Analog. Excited about both, but this will be my first in  Analog, and it’s always neat to see my work in a new venue. I’ll post again when I have the publication dates for those.

Since I’m rambling on, I’ll mention that I’ll be at WorldCon in Wellington next year – the World Science Fiction Convention. I’m in the process of putting my name forward to maybe be on a panel or two. If you’re going and we haven’t met, grab me and say hi.

 

 

 

The Billows of Sarto, in The Year’s Best Aotearoa New Zealand Science Fiction & Fantasy

yearsbestanzsff_1_frontcoverI’m honoured to have my story “The Billow of Sarto” appear in the just-released Year’s Best Aotearoa New Zealand Science Fiction & Fantasy from Paper Road Press. My, I’m in some good company there; quite humbled really. This is my first story in a “Year’s Best” anywhere (though I’ve had a few nods in those “Honorable Mentions” or “Suggested Reading” pages at the back of other volumes, which has been nice).

Paper Road Press is doing great stuff with New Zealand science fiction. Marie Hodgkinson, the publisher, does awesome work and brings a lot of wonderful energy to her projects. This is the first New Zealand year’s best anthology.

asimovs march april 2018The stories have all appeared previously in venues such as Strange HorizonsClarkesworldLandfall and so on. “The Billows of Sarto” first appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction, in the March/April 2018 issue.

Numerous people I know in person here – Octavia Cade, A.J. Fitzwater, Andi Buchanan, Mark English, M. Darusha Wehm. I was even on a panel at a con a few years ago with Marie, who was already doing great work with Paper Road Press.

And, if you happen to have published something during 2019, Paper Road Press is taking submissions for the 2020 volume. Details here: https://paperroadpress.co.nz/years-best/

Full 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 couldn’t find links for some of the authors – let me know if they have pages and I’ll update here).

Thanks too, to editor Sheila Williams of Asimov’s who published the story in the first place.

____

This is my first post here for a while. I’ve been away traveling (aka research for writing), in Papua New Guinea, South Korea and Taiwan. Eye-opening, let me tell you. What wonderful places. I did get a lot of writing done while I was away – on my little phone/mini-bluetooth keyboard set-up. I’ll post on that sometime soon.

I did manage to get ahead on posts for the Pro Writers Writing website, so managed to keep my responsibility there ticking over for while I was away, without having to worry.

The Sunday Star Times contest is on again. Egregious rules once more. I’m not bothering to post this year, but I’ve added a note to previous years’ posts – like this one – about that. Those posts continue to be my most popular around this time of year. I suspect just from people who want to enter and are looking for the rules and how big the prizes are, rather than those figuring out that the terms are less than fair. That’s okay.

Chasing Oumuamua – new story in Asimov’s

 

IMG_20190523_082919With the vagaries of postage, I had two publications arrive in the mail a couple of days apart.

A couple of days back, I mentioned my story in New Zealand literary magazine Landfall.

A while before, I mentioned my story “Chasing Oumuamua” in the May/June issue of Asimov’s Science FictionI said enough then enough then, but receiving the actual artifact is always exciting. This is my seventh story in Asimov’s (my second this year), and I’m still surprised each time. Little old me, next to other authors like Jay O’Connell and Ian R. MacLeod. Wow.

Now, I have no more stories lined up for the rest of the year. I will be self-publishing some, of course, and I’m submitting stories all the time.

Hoping to have Red Alliance, the sequel to my middle grade novel Blue Defender, out by the end of June. Lots of business things keeping me busy too.

Thanks for reading.

 

 

Chasing Oumuamua in Asimov’s

ASF_MayJune2019_400x570Following “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.

VentiformsAlso, “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.

 

 

“Ventiforms” a new Shilinka Switalla story in Asimov’s

Having just returned from a month’s break I guess I should mention my new story “Ventiforms” in the current (January/ February 2019) issue of Asimov’s.

Following my award-winning* (yay) story from two years ago, “Crimson Birds of Small Miracles“, this is another story from my world of Shilinka Switalla. Ms. Switalla is an artist who creates artworks on a vast scale. In the case of “Ventiforms” transforming whole canyons into musical instruments.

My Worlds of Shilinka Switalla universe is growing slowly, with two other stories also available, “Cathedrals” and “Ten Gravity Tower“. I have fun with the concepts, and I’m glad that readers enjoy the stories too.

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.

Q&A with me at Asimov’s From Earth to the Stars editor’s blog

asimovs march april 2018I neglected to give anything more than a passing mention that I got interviewed at the Asimov’s blog, specifically about my story in the March April 2018 issue.

The interview is here. I talk with the editors about my process for creating “The Billows of Sarto”, and my general writing process, and a few other things.

Check out the other interviews on the site too. You’ll build up a pretty good picture of authors writing for Asimov’s today.

 

Asimov’s Readers’ poll.

asimovs-cover-jan-2016Asimov’s Science Fiction hold reader polls each year – where readers get the chance to vote for their favorite story from the past year’s issues.

I’m honored that my story “Crimson Birds of Small Miracles” is a finalist in the short story category. Amazed really.

The full list of finalists, in all categories is on the Asimov’s website.

The story is also a finalist in New Zealand’s Sir Julius Vogel Awards, so I’m doubly honored.

And, triply cool is that the fabulous cover image by artist Maurizio Manzieri for the story is also a finalist in the Asimov’s Awards. I’ll be releasing the story later in the year as a standalone ebook, with an alternative illustration that Maurizio has graciously licensed to me.

Exciting times. Fingers crossed.

___________

As a bonus, most of the stories are available for a limited time to read online for free at the site.