Release Day – The Ergs

The Ergs thumbMy SF adventure novel The Ergs is out now, from the usual retailers.

$5.99 ebook, $16.99 print

Click/tap here to go to the universal book link and then on to your favourite retailer.

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Jessaline loves exploring the old hidden relics out on the erg. Tolesse has many secrets. A history dating back to the earliest times when humans first inhabited the planet.

But do humans belong?

A twisted tale of hidden destiny and people who will stop at nothing to get what they need.

Even from the innocent.

Cover art © Brian Vectorartist | Dreamstime

The Ergs – new SF adventure novel out September 21

I have always liked the raw elemental nature of deserts. In New Zealand we have little in the way of desert. There are some wonderful dune fields way up north (I even considered working with a photograph I’d taken earlier this year for the new cover – left that in favour of Joshua Woroniecki’s wonderful illustration – see below), and there is the Rangipo desert, though this is a high-plateau area, most of which is army reserve, so not accessible to the public. Nor is it anything like that classic endless dune sea that you might think of when you imagine the Sahara, nor wide open hot lands as you would find in Australia, Chile and Peru, or even the Western U.S.

I have been lucky enough to travel to some of those places. The dry, hot wind whipping across a dune crest is something to experience.

I have written a few books and stories set in deserts – it’s fun to go play in these desolate places – both Raphael Marooned and Desert Creepers (part of the Captain Arlon Stoddard series) came out earlier this year. Set on distant worlds, where the rules of deserts may be a little different to here.

One thing I try to avoid with my SF worlds, is making a planet have all one environments. I have the feeling that there would be at least some variety. My new world, Tolesse, does have ice caps. It has some flora that thrives in tough ecosystems, closer to the the ice caps. But mostly, it’s desert. Bare rock. Sand. Barchan dunes. A few salt pans around, maybe. Certainly some local fauna. Oases with fruit palms. A culture of nomads, and feudal lords (I suppose) and some conflict (well, a fair bit of conflict).

The Ergs thumb

I am looking forward to the movie Dune, coming out in October. I loved the first three Dune books. Transported to that wonderful place.

It may seem opportunistic to release this book so close to the movie’s release. For a moment I was even tempted to name it just “Erg”, but that would have been a little much, perhaps.

So, yes, why not put it out now. It’s ready, I think it’s a fun read (at least, I had fun writing it), and it’s not Dune. There are no sandworms or stillsuits. No spice, nor anything like the Bene Gesserit. There is technology, though it’s unequally distributed. There are ancient ruins and a megalomanic ruler.

Here’s how I describe the book in the blurb:


Jessaline loves exploring the old hidden relics out on the erg. Tolesse has many secrets. A history dating back to the earliest times when humans first inhabited the planet.

But do humans belong?

A twisted tale of hidden destiny and people who will stop at nothing to get what they need.

Even from the innocent.


The Ergs – available from September 21st from your friendly online retailer, in both print ($17.99) and as an ebook ($5.99).

I think there’s space here for some more books too. I know some writers plan out their series and get the all neatly scheduled up (I do have thriller series coming out like that next year – with three and a half books written and the fifth in the back of my mind), but in general I tend to let my inner writing child just write whatever it feels like, and then I put things out.

Of course, I should write some more of those Captain Arlon Stoddard books. And some more of the Karnish River Navigation series. And there’s a sequel to Hunting Shellot around somewhere. So many things to write and only 168 hours in the week.

And I also need to tidy up this site to make it actually something vaguely close to up to date (sidebar, I’m looking at you). And I have a bunch of cover updates to do. I did manage to update the two Emily Jade thriller covers recently, making something that looks closer to professional, and more on point for genre. And I have to get that mailing list going. Did I mention that there are only 168 hours in the week?

Thanks for reading. Take care in these challenging times.

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.

 

 

 

Gold Embers – Book 3 of the Chronicles of the Donner trilogy – release date set

Gold-Embers-original

Gold Embers, book three of The Chronicles of the Donner is due for release on September 2nd

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Marooned on planet Ludelle, Matti-Jay and the survivors of the Donner struggle every single day. Threats hang over them nonstop.

When a giant craft appears over the forest, it looks like it might hold the key to their escape.

Or maybe things just got a whole lot harder.And Matti-Jay finds herself making some of the hardest choices.

Ever.

 

There’s a nice Universal Book Link to select your favorite store. $5.99 ebook, $15.99 paperback.

cropped-chronicles-of-the-donner.jpg

 

Raven Rising, my second novel for 2018, is out.

Raven Rising thumbI’ve published my shortest novel to date. Is that something to brag about? Not sure. I do like Dean Wesley Smith’s philosophy that a story is the length the story needs to be, rather than pushing to hit some arbitrary wordcount. I think I hear that a hundred thousand words is where a novel should aim.

Well, my story, Raven Rising didn’t need a hundred thousand. Or even fifty thousand. More like thirty-two thousand. Too long to be a novella, but still short for a novel.

This might be more like those “Bookshots” from James Patterson. Little standalone books, full of adventure. Though mine is very much science fiction. Not really the thriller, or similar stories in those books. Deep space science fiction at that.

Cover illustration © Philcold | Dreamstime

Blurb: Light years from home, Starship Raven went down in a plunging blazing wreck. Crack investigator Angelie Gunnarson and her team love this kind of impossible mystery. But the Raven might have more secrets than even Angelie can handle. An action-packed short sci-fi novel from the award-winning author of The City Builders.

Coming up soon, a post about just how hard I find it to write decent sales copy. It uses a different part of the brain, I’m thinking.

Anyway, Raven Rising is available from various retailers, (link goes to books 2 read universal page, then on to retailers – still learning about that one too). The print version will be available soon. ebook $5.99, print will be $9.99.

book links image

Three months down, three novels complete.

Ice Huntersglass baysmDeuterium shine small

I’ve done it! I’ve completed the challenge. Three months. Three novels.

I started in on Dean Wesley Smith’s challenge on May 18th. Under the terms of the challenge, I could write up to half of a novel in the previous month (as in, write up to half of June’s novel in May, half of July’s novel in June, half of August’s novel in July). I finished up Deuterium Shine on August 22nd. Three months and four days.

Two science fiction. One thriller. Obvious from the covers, I hope.

Two from series. One stand alone (Deuterium Shine, though that might need a sequel).

Short novels, I’ll admit (41,000, 45,000 and 50,000 words respectively). Most of my previous novels run to about 60,000 words. One or two have crept up over 80,000 words. Still, it’s 136,000 words for the three months, only around 1400 words per day (though there were a few side tracks in the novels I cut out, so still closer to my usual 1500 words per day actual writing).

Now to get them tidied, copyedited and out into the world.

Writing these has been the: Best. Fun. Ever. Right now I’m working on a few short stories, but I’m thinking I’m going to continue with writing a novel a month for the rest of the year. Might as well, since it’s, you know, so much fun. Who knows, I might complete a few more novels by year’s end.

Onward.

Images by; Algol (Ice Hunters), Claudio Arnese (Glass Bay), Savagerus (Deuterium Shine), all Dreamstime.

Karnish River Navigations series

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)

Starting a new novel

After finishing my draft of Guest House Izarra, I wrote a few short stories (well, one crept up over 11,000 words). I’ve done that through the year – finished a novel draft and spent a week or so on stories before firing up on a new novel.

Lost Ark

So, with those stories aside and awaiting attention before submitting, I’ve started on a new novel. After a few days writing I’m about 3000 words into it and having fun. It’s not the novel I expected to be writing. It’s not part of any series (though it may be come a new series – like I needed yet another series to manage). It’s got a life of its own.

I started out with the title Lost Ark, but as I thought about that I figure that’s a pretty well-used title already, so I’ll come up with something else. I’ve made a quick placeholder cover (with a quick placeholder title – unlikely that will be the final title). Graced with another wonderful image from Innovari/Luca Oleastri.

All going well I might get this though all its drafts and out sometime in the first quarter of 2017.

Athena Setting – publishing on June 30th

Athena Setting is my latest novel. I had had an absolute ball writing it.as cover sw

When I was a teen, knowing I wanted to be a writer, I would fantasize about the books I would write one day. I even drew covers for some of them. One was called Athena Setting. About a spaceship on a death plunge into Jupiter. You know, the kind of thing a teenage boy thinks about.

That cover sketch is long gone. But the idea still sat with me. And I guess some of that teenage boy is still with me because I went ahead and wrote the book. I had just the best fun writing it too. Kind of like I got to be that kid again.

The new cover is by ©Mik3812345 | Dreamstime, with a little tinkering by me.

Of course I don’t know if the novel is any good or not, but I like to think that the fun I had in the writing will come through for the reader.

Like my story Low Arc (free to read), Athena Setting is pretty hard sci-fi. No aliens, no distant star systems, just people going about the difficult business of exploring the solar system.

After Gretel and The Cly, this one marks my third standalone sci-fi novel in a row. Next I think I’ll be working on some series, both thriller and sci-fi. More new on that later.

With Athena Setting I’m doing the pre-order thing, in attempting to make it available on all platforms at the same time. Release date is 30th June. I set that date as part of wanting a tangible way to celebrate writing a novel during the month. More on June, the month of the novel here.

Athena Setting: eBook, $5.99, print $15.99

Available from Smashwords, Amazon and various other retailers. Check your favorite.

 

Midway through the month, midway through the novel

Somehow I’ve managed to maintain momentum with my target of writing a novel in June. As I mentioned earlier my novels seem to come in at around 60,000 words. So far through June, with 15 of 30 writing days completed Guest House Izarra stands at 33,194 words. So I’m running about ten percent ahead.
Guest House Izarra draft thumbnail borderHow’s the writing itself?  Well, I’m happy with progress. Feel like I’m going in the right direction. Don’t feel like there’s much that will need to be cut. So far.

We’ll see. I feel like I have a few thousand words ‘in the bank’, so to speak. With the last couple of days writing, cycling back through the previous days’ work, I wonder if this will be a shorter book anyway.

Either that or much longer. It might have to continue to July if that’s where the story goes. I don’t want to arbitrarily force it shorter just to finish within the month.

I’m glad to have a draft mock-up draft of the cover in place. Nice similar look to Arlchip Burnout. It still needs a tagline or something else at the top I think. I’ll have to track down art that’ll work for the other books too. With this one, the background is by Antaltiberiualexandru, and the figure by Algol. Kind of shows the book just about perfectly.

Glitches? Well, I had hoped to get finished with formatting my earlier novel Athena Setting for release already. Somehow though, when I imported the original document into the formatting software I dropped out all the italics. And it wasn’t until I’d just about completed formatting-page breaks, chapter headings, bookmarks and so on-that I realized. So now I’m in the process of working through to put all the italics back in. Sheesh. Starting to think it might have been easier to re-import and do all that other formatting over again.

Anyway, that’s slowing other aspects down. Still focusing on getting a couple of thousand words down every day.

I’ll see how the rest of the month goes.