My latest release continues the theme of strange and dangerous environments challenging the characters. I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of vast cities so it I had fun taking free rein creating the world of Mackelle. The blurb goes like this:
After muddling my way through my website, I’ve managed to finally complete a page dedicated to my Karnish River Navigations science fiction adventure series.
The page is available here: Karnish River Navigations, or from the drop-down menu under Science Fiction at the top of the seanmonaghan.com website. I notice I still need to tinker with the page format a bit to get everything lining up. I’ll get there.
The first three books are out already, and I hope to have the fourth, Guest House Izarra, out soon (it’s written, proofed and copy-edited, just needs formatting and uploading, and I need to finalise the cover).
The story? Flis Kupe makes the mistake of burning out her embedded military arlchip. Discharged and returning home, she fights her way across the Karnth canal land to rescue her brother. Each book stands alone and the books can be read in any order. Arlchip Burnout is kind of the first, though Night Operations is probably my favorite.
The series is fun to write, and I hope it’s as much fun to read. I plan to write more in the series next year. There’s tech I want to explore, and Flis and Grae are fun characters to hang out with.
Arlchip Burnout cover art by © Kuan Leong Yong | Dreamstime.com
Night Operations cover art by © 1971yes | Dreamstime.com
Canal Days cover art by © Elisanth | Dreamstime.com (figure), © Patrik Ružič | Dreamstime.com (background)
Guest House Izarra cover art by © Antaltiberiualexandru | Dreamstime.com (background), © Algol | Dreamstime.com (figure)
My short story “The Bubbcat” appears in the Fall issue of Cirsova magazine. Cirsova has now reached its fourth issue and goes from strength to strength. I’m pleased to have my story here.
Dolci D.’s job should be simple. Retrieve and protect the Bubbcat. Easy. It turns out, the device can just about take care of itself. And when people start bombing subway stations, Dolci D. needs every bit of help the Bubbcat can give
A great collection of stories here, running the whole gamut. I’m pleased to be in such great company. Lots to enjoy.
So, as well as tracking my word count this year, I’ve also tracked my number of submissions. Now, I do keep close track of where and when I’m submitting (it would be kind of silly not to), but this is the first time I’ve ever recorded the actual number as well.
So far this year I’ve made 100 submissions. That’s submissions of short-stories/ novelettes/ novellas to various markets. It doesn’t count items I’ve sent to indie/ self-publishing.
To be clear, though, I have completed a total of fourteen new pieces. All of those submitted. There have been some novels that have gone directly to indie, so I’m not counting those.
Getting to one hundred submissions means some of those fourteen, and some of last year’s stories (and a couple from the year before) are finding themselves resubmitted. This is pretty standard practice. One market rejects a story, off it goes to another. Repeat. Heinlein would say ‘repeat until sold’.
Of those fourteen, I’ve so far sold six. Not a huge number for me, but I’ll take it (of course). Pretty low ratio in terms of submissions: six percent, but not too bad in terms of stories completed.
Cover illustration for The Last Great Time House of Muldemar Ridge © Ateliersommerland | Dreamstime.com
My short story ‘Kernel’ has just been published as a standalone by Digital Science Fiction – available from Amazon for a princely 99 cents. I understand it will also be included in one of Digital Science Fiction’s anthologies later in the year.
Originally published in Aurealis, Kernel is one of my quirkier stories. Well, I like to think so.
I love the new cover – gives a perfect hint of the story (my thanks to the artist – though I don’t know who it is).
Genn’s stuck in a spaceship with more questions than answers. He remembers an accident, but no one on board is giving him a straight answer. And the kernel that’s supposed to be helping him recover seems helpful, but does more deflecting than anything.
They had given Genn the kernel right after the operation, when he was still feeling somewhat woozy and disoriented. This was in April, a month and a half before departure. The kernel was the shape and colour of a single corn seed: deep yellow at the broad end, tapering to a white tip. It was the size of grapefruit, occupying, when he held it—as he often did—the whole of the palm of his hand.
‘It will help you through the transition,’ the medical team had told him.
‘Transition to what?’ he’d asked, but they had just smiled and left him in the post-op room with the sounds of the rattling hospital for company. There might have been an accident. He remembered Janice yelling at him on the freeway. Was it a transition to a life without a family?
‘Transition,’ the kernel said, ‘through the light barrier.’
I seem to be lax in yelling out when I have a new book available, so I’m going to see if I can stop and just go ahead and post. Last week I mentioned my forthcoming publishing plans, including for my new novel The Cly.
I am writing and publishing a lot this year, so I guess it’s easy for me to forget to mention things in a practical, right-brained way (practical is right-brain, right?). While I’m fairly good and writing (as in, I spend a lot of time on it), I still need to learn an awful lot about marketing and business (writing is way more fun, so I spend a whole lot less time on marketing and business).
So The Cly is my longest novel in awhile – a shade under ninety thousand words. Mostly I’m clocking somewhere just north of sixty thousand. Initially I thought it would hit that shorter length, but the plot demanded more action and more resolution.
Here’s the blurb:
Tony Brock saved humanity once. But in the mess, he lost his relationship with his daughter.
Now the Cly pose a new threat. A threat that might destroy the Earth itself.
And the aliens won’t negotiate.
So Brock’s back in the thick of it. Chasing them down, and chasing the faint hope of seeing Bex one more time.
An alien invasion novel with a difference.
I should mention the wonderful cover illustrator – Luca Oleastri. Thanks for another great image.
Available from most ebook and print book retailers (ask at your local bookstore for the print version – all 500 odd pages of it).
I’ve been self-publishing/indie publishing for about four years now. Learning as I go. Kind of like a busker or a street performer. Out in public practising. Getting better as I go, I hope. Taking courses and reading books and learning all the time, too.
On occasion, some kind reader buys one or other of my stories, like tossing money into a buskers cap. It’s encouraging. I hope they enjoy the stories they purchase as I practise in public.
With the learning, as soon as I feel I’ve got a handle on the writing, I seem to discover some new technique or approach. Often things that seem obvious. Right away I incorporate that into my writing, with various degrees of success. When I look back over my stories, some I’m very proud of, others seem to have been written by a different person.
The other key thing I’m learning is business. That’s a much tougher road for me. I don’t think I’m a natural entrepreneur, so I have to concentrate. I have to make an effort to take those risks, invest some cash, and push into those realms that are a whole lot more uncomfortable.
One of the things I’m beginning to look at are some of those older stories, with bad covers and terrible blurbs. Case in point: Stone Goddess. It was a fun little story I wrote some years back. It got published in an anthology titled Horror Through the Ages from Lame Goat Press. No monetary payment (at the time I was fine with that: I was happy to be in print). It also got a podcast at Cast Macabre (and seems to be still available, for free). Again no monetary payment.
At some point along the way I realized that giving stories away was not a path to making a livelihood (slow to catch on, I know).
I started putting my stories up on Smashwords, Kindle, iTunes, Kobo, Nook and so on. Even putting some of the longer ones in print. I did my own covers. I wrote my own blurbs. Learning all the time.
Now, I’m going back and gradually updating some of those older works with some of the things I’ve learned more recently. So “Stone Goddess” has a new cover. To my embarassment, I’m putting the old cover next to the new. I like the new one better.
Original cover image by me. New cover image by © 1971yes | Dreamstime.com
I’ve redone the interior too, and added a couple of other stories to fill it up a bit (“Stone Goddess” is kind of short) for some value for money. A new blurb too:
Top Mars researcher Ben James loves getting out into the field. Under the stars. Into the dust and stone.
But today something’s amiss. Something’s out there. Calling to him.
Something he’s got to find.
Even if it means breaking every protocol.
A short story from the author of The Molenstraat Music Festival. Includes three bonus Mars stories.
I think it could still use some work, but I dare not show the old blurb (omigosh amateur ramblings).
The story is pretty much available at your favorite ebook retailer. I’m thinking about making a print version (though it’ll be slim). If you’ve read this far (thanks) here’s a coupon for a free copy from Smashwords. Click here and enter the following code:
Promotional price: $0.00
Coupon Code: XH22Q
Expires: April 26, 2021
Five years was the longest I could set the coupon for. I think you have to create a Smashwords login – if you’d like a copy without all that palaver, just let me know here.
All that said about going back, I am continuing to go forward. Trying to write better stories. Working on having consistent covers. And writing sensible, engaging blurbs.