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.

 

A quarter million

wing cover 3Halfway through the year and I’m halfway through my wordcount goal: 250,000 new words written from January first through to June thirtieth (251,055 according to the spreadsheet). This means just another quarter million by December thirty-first to hit that half-million word goal.

I’m writing fast and learning heaps as I go. In general I think my stories are getting better (sometimes it feels like I’ve written a dud, but usually I feel better about the next one).

No novels this year – that’s all short/long stories. Next year will be the year of the novel(s) – aiming for the same word count, but far fewer stories and getting those new novels and sequels written (yes, finally I will get The Deluge: The Hidden Dome part 2 published).

At the moment I’ve got more than forty stories circulating around publishers and that’s getting a bit unweildy, so I’m going to pull that back to about 10 as they filter back and self/indie publish the others as I go.

So far I’ve published 150,000 new words for 2013 (in various guises, under various pen names), and about 30,000 of those have been published in magazines (most of whom have paid actual money), and the rest is self/indie-published. I have several unpublished works (including novels) that need some proofing, correcting and so on. I have a different pattern of time availability coming up in a couple of weeks: I should be able to start getting to those then.

And right now I’m taking Dean Wesley Smith’s online lecture on pen names – I might just be shifting all those nom-de-plume stories over to reside under the Sean Monaghan byline (like those Len Stone stories I’ve been secretly publishing for a while now).

Deadstick updated


To celebrate a year since my first re-engagement with Smashwords and ebook publishing, I’ve updated my dieselpunk story “Deadstick”. It’s got a new cover, and is combined with my steam/diesel-punk story “How Do You Like These Heights”. Combined with that, it’s also available as a print book. And a new blurb to go with that. I’ve been working on upgrading my blurbs to be a little more punchy. How’s this?

Hank’s scorching across the California sky in a race to save his son. The afterburners are overheating and Sally Jean is tearing apart around him. At 55,000 feet.
A dieselpunk story by Sean Monaghan, author of Pan Am 617 Heavy. Includes bonus story “How Do You Like These Heights”.

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ebook $3.49

Smashwords
Kindle
Apple
Nook (looks like the old version today – hopefully they’ll update soon.
Kobo (also an old version – what’s going on?)

Print $4.99

Amazon
Createspace

Back from Vermont – reading, ebook and in print

My literary story “Back from Vermont”, originally published in Takahe, then reprinted in Midnight Train has now been published, with two bonus stories, through Triple V Publishing as both an ebook and in print.

Back from Vermont is one of my personal favourites – quirky and heartfelt and fun. It was fun to write and it’s nice to get it out there so many ways.

For those who happen to be in Palmerston North on Saturday October 13th, I’ll be reading the story (aloud) at the Palmerston North Book Fair at 11am. I will have copies of the book for sale ($11-), as well as some of my other books, and will do signings.

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Larry’s building a grand scale railway on the sidewalk right out in front of the house. And all along the street. Lisa’s furious, but the neighbors all want to ride. Includes bonus stories “Norwegians” (previously published in Literary Foray and “Steam Furnace” (first publication).

Front cover image by Giladm – Dreamstime

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ebook
($4.49)
Smashwords
filtering through to Nook, Kobo, Sony ereader and Apple soon
Kindle

Print (94 page paperback) – $6.49
Amazon

Lucy Snyder – on sales versus publications

I’ve had Lucy A. Snyder’s slim collection Installing Linux on a Dead Badger on my shelf for a couple of years, always meaning to get on to reading it. From the title you can tell it’s pretty tongue in cheek, and it is. From sly snickers to laugh-out-loud moments I really did enjoy the collection. Some of the stories are told in fairly standard narrative, while others are written as news reports. There’s a thread running through the book – the whole Linux as a way to work with the undead, and similar ideas – which makes it a strong unifying whole.

This prompted me to check out her website, and Lucy’s been busy since (and before) publishing the badger book – several books from Del Ray, which I’ll be checking out.

That all leads me to the point of my post – Lucy’s cool post “On sales versus publications” about why she lists her story sales, rather than her publications. Go read the post. Okay, it’s a few years old now, but the concept still stands. It’s been argued elsewhere – along the lines of treating writing like any job, a writer deserves to be paid – but Lucy gives a great and concise argument.

You’ll see in my bibliography I list publications. Just a handful of those are genuine sales, and many of those for token amounts.

Bridesmaid once again

With good cheer I can say that I missed the cut for a top three placing in the Writers of the Future. While I would love to have won, it still feels like I’m on the way and writing at a level that I’ve been striving for over many years. And there will be other competitions. I have an entry in for the third quarter and am in the process of writing the next one for the fourth quarter (WotF is a quarterly contest).

Congratulations to the winners and other participants. I hope to be on the podium, so to speak, one day.

Nice to see another New Zealander there in the list. Well done Stacey. I’ve never met her (NZ isn’t that tiny), but she’s a pretty good writer – check out some of her stories: Waiting for the Apocalypse at Eschatology and; Back in My Day at Daily Science Fiction. (There are other New Zealanders on the list from time to time – John Harper a couple of times, Samuel Mae and, I’m guessing, others. Yay for us).

As for that story of mine that didn’t place? I’ve submitted it to a magazine. It can take its chances in the big wide world.