Landslide Country – new story in Landfall

LandfallThose who know my writing will have noticed that mostly I write Science Fiction. At times I dally with Fantasy, though I’m not then a real heroic fantasy kind of writer, with dragons and swords and wizards hurling wonderful spells around. Sometimes my Science Fiction has elements of Fantasy (as in there’s no scientific reason this is happening…). I write thrillers too, on occasion.

Sometimes I also dabble with literary fiction. I have a couple of literary novels out, and numerous stories. Over recent years I’ve had a few stories published in Landfall, New Zealand’s premier literary journal, and I’m pleased to have another in the current issue.

landfall contents“Landslide Country” evolved from an exploration of pacing and setting. One of those ones where the setting is almost another character (though of course, that’s up to the reader to determine, rather than the writer). One of the editors noted that things seemed to happen in slow motion, which was cool, something I’d tried to achieve: a micro-focus on detail, while maintaining the tension and arc.

There’s quite a line up of great writers in the issue. I’m humbled to be in such great company.

Landfall is available from booksellers and through subscription. Many New Zealand libraries have subscriptions, so you can find it on the shelves there.

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Not sure that anyone might be interested, but mostly when I write I’m not sure where the story is going to go. At least in that moment when I’m sitting down to type in those first few words.

Mostly it ends up as science fiction, but the process is no different for literary. It’s all just words on the page. The story in my head coming out so that hopefully the reader gets the same story in their head.

I like to think that I bring the same level of craft to all my work, whether literary or more commercial.

2015: The year that was

japan 1drt6gAs far as writing years go, 2015 was pretty good. I’ve acheived my goals, realized some dreams, and learned a few lessons.

I had numerous publications over the course of the year, and was pleased to be in the pages of Asimov’s Science Fiction and Landfall once again. My second stories in each of those magazines, over consecutive years, and that suggests to me that the first wasn’t a fluke. I may actually be doing some things right.

I also had stories in Perihelion, Capricious, Takahe, SQMag and Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine. A good mix of literary and science fiction.

Good news on the competition front too. I was first equal in the Gernsback Amazing Stories innaugural competition this year for my story “Penny of Tharsis Montes”. That should be out in the first issue in February.

I self-published numerous short stories, and five novels. Sales of these have been unspectacular. Included in the plans for 2016 is more learning about marketing, discoverability and the like. I’m confident I have a good product: I lack the skills to get it noticed.

I’ve also taken more courses and read more books about writing and business. I’ll continue that next year.

As Shadows on the Snow, Kendall and I had a lot of music come out. Kendall’s brilliant at getting the stuff out into the world. Thanks Kendall!

I managed to fit in a jaunt to Japan (hence the photo), which was fabulous. Almost a month there visiting Hiroshima, Kyoto and Naoshima Island among other places, sampling okonomiyaki (yum) and green tea ice cream (not so yum).

For the fourth year running I wrote every day (including on the trip, albeit slower). Also for the fourth year in a row, I wrote over a half a million words. Funny thing; the goal is 500,000, but I hit that on November 19th. With forty-one days left, I wondered what to do. Why not write another novel? So I ran with that. Athena Setting will came in at around 57,000 words and I’ve just finished it tonight, New Year’s Eve (squeaked in at 11.59). These days, it’s not often I’m up at midnight for new year, but there you go. I celebrated finishing the novel (as I usually do) by starting the next piece. Might even be a new novel.

For the first year since starting that word count, I also published over a half million (about 100,000 over that – not bad). I have more words (should say complete stories/novels) written this year and last, that haven’t made it out yet. Next year.

Next year’s goals remain the same, with clear additions. Write every  day, write a half million words, and publish ten novels. Also; learn a whole lot more around business and marketing and so on.

Happy New Year everyone.

 

Half-year review

Well, I haven’t had much to say lately, which is fine. Very busy writing, naturally, just not so much on the blog/facebook, etc. Since the end of June has slipped by, I thought I’d do a quick review, as much for my benefit as anything.

A few publications around – “Salazar” in Perihelion, “Number Man” in SQ Mag, and “Concentration” in Landfall. It seems like a very slow year, but I’m focusing on two things: submitting to more pro and fewer semi-pro mags, and also writing fewer stories and more novels. This means there’s less stuff out there. I’ve had a few other acceptances, which I’ll announce when they arrive in stores.

Perihelionsq-mag-19-cover1LF229
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Music-wise, there have been some Shadows on the Snow releases and one Venus Vulture release.00_-_shadows_on_the_snow_400Mu cover 1Nudibranch on Zenapolae
I don’t think that’s all of them – I have trouble keeping up with Kendall and his sheer enthusiasm!

Check here for A Thousand Winters Against the World. Others can be found at archive.org, Bandcamp, Kruk Records and Zenapolae.
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With the self/indie-publishing, I’ve put up quite a few items, including three novels (one horror, one literary and one sci-fi). I’ve got a few more in various states of readiness (and some more in my head). These show up at smashwords, Amazon and other ebook/physical book retailers.
the room pod 6x9 5sw second run cover 3Arlchip Burnout cover 10 smallWalking Gear2b
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The business of writing-words on the page-has progressed well too. Despite a slower time while travelling in Japan, I’ve still completed a quarter million words for the first six months of the year. I guess that’s what writing every day (even while travelling) does.

Better yet, I’ve completed more words so far this year. That is, items proofed, corrected and formatted. Over 300,000 words. Over the past few years I’ve let some items sit around (including a 92,000 word novel), but I’m feeling more onto it this year. It’s all very well to write, but if it’s not finished and submitted/published then I’m not satisfied. It feels good to be getting some of last year’s (and the previous year’s) stories completed.

Similarly, I’ve published more – 340,000 words so far. Yes most of that is indie/self published. Likewise, it feels good to have the writing out there.

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For the next six months. More of the same. I’d like to get another five to seven novels out. I’ve promised readers The Eye book three in The Hidden Dome series, so I need to write that (I expect to finish the draft of the current novel in the next few days, then get to writing The Eye). I have a few other novels fully drafted, just needed that final tinkering. That does mean more proof-reading/reader feedback, and more formatting.

The main thing, though: I’m having a ball. Thanks for reading.

Walking Gear image © Artem Popov | Dreamstime.com
Arlchip Burnout image © Kuan Leong Yong | Dreamstime.com
Used with permission

Arms Wide – new story in Landfall

landfall 226 My short story “Arms Wide” has just come out in the latest (Spring 2013) issue of Landfall (Spring here in the southern hemisphere, though it’s summer already). I feel chuffed about this one – I’ve been submitting to Landfall for years. It’s the longest running literary journal in New Zealand and sets the bar pretty high, so getting a story in there makes me feel like I’m heading in the right direction.

There’s no online version, but I will publish the story for Kindle, Nook, etc. sometime during next year as a stand-alone.

Here’s the opening:

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The first time my daughter stole a car, her mother acted with an indifference I should have expected. Julie, my daughter, was seventeen, and the car was a 1993 Subaru with every kind of trim, accessory and modification you could imagine. The thing had lights under the chassis to shine on the road.
“Listen, Trevor,” Amy – Julie’s mother – told me from her apartment in Omaha, “I’m fifteen thousand miles away. What can I do? Let her grow up.”
“She’ll go to jail,” I said.
“Blah, blah, blah.” Amy hung up.
Julie didn’t go to jail, but, you know, it was close. Real close.
“Maybe you should go live with Mom?” I said, back at home after the hearing. She’d escaped conviction, but was on some kind of a watchlist that I didn’t understand.
“Yeah,” Julie said. She smiled and gave me a kiss on the cheek. “That’s really gonna happen.”