Most of my novels run to something over 60,000 words – 250 plus pages. Most of my short stories sit somewhere under 10,000 words – 40 pages. Sometimes I write novellas – Goldie in the January/February 2022 Asimov’s is about 18,000 words (but with the way Asimov’s packs in the words, it runs to around 34 magazine pages).
And sometimes I write something longer than a novella, but kind of shorter than a regular novel. Depending who you talk to, you might hear that a novel is anything over 30,000 words, but you might also hear that anything under 90,000 is a ‘short novel’ (which basically covers all of my novels).
My new short novel Cami, Metta and The Cube will be out on February 10th. Since it’s shorter, it’s $3.99/$9.99 ebook/print – a little more than a short story, but a couple of dollars less than a regular novel.
Cami Gretton, courier, entreprenuer and getaway artist, trusts too easily. When the simple job of delivering a hypergrid Testa Cube turns sour, Cami finds herself tangled in a double cross. Or a triple cross. Hard to tell.
Could even be worse.
Cami needs every skill in her possession to extricate herself. And then some.
A near future thriller from the author of Dangerous Machines.
Cole Wright, disillusioned former cop. Kind of guy you want on your side when things get tough.
After working on these for the last couple of years and figuring out how to publish them, promote them and get them out, I’m finally underway. The Arrival, the first Cole Wright thriller is out now. Well, technically, “Dark Fields” a Cole Wright short story, has been out for a week or so already – kind of meant to be a teaser, or a way to try out the series to see if the character and my writing style appeal to you. Good, I figure to to read a complete story that wraps up, rather than just samples from the novels (though, the story download does include a couple of chapters from The Arrival, and you can read samples on the sites of the retailers anyway).
Enough rambling. Here’s the cover, the blurb, and the links to purchase it. $5.99/$14.99/$19.99 (ebook/paperback/hardback).
Worn, battered and bruised from years as a cop, Cole Wright wants a moment of peace.
But the Spokane locals have other plans for his vacation sabbatical.
And Wright just has to stick his nose in. Whether wanted or not.
For the last couple of years, I’ve released a new book on the 20th of each month. Sometimes a novel, sometimes a collection, and sometimes a standalone shorter piece.
Keeping that up, I’m releasing the final two for the year as preorders already. Might as well. Also, I will be starting the release schedule of a new thriller series for next year, so it’s good to get these out in the world now to give me a moment to focus a little planning for the thrillers and get ready for the first one on January 20th. More on those soon.
Both these new ones are novella length science fiction tales, albiet with very different focuses (as the covers hint, I hope), one very Earth-bound, and the other set in deep space.
Dangerous Machines – November 20th – $2.99 ebook, $5.99 print – available here – cover by Chepko Elelna
Gina Parker explores the underground alien tubes. The mystery of their existence draws her. Deeper and deeper. But the tubes hold more than mysteries. And Gina might just find more than the answers she so desperately seeks.
Load Bearing Member – December 20th – $2.99 ebook, $5.99 print – available here – cover by info793925
Coral Daimeer lugs her wrench around deep space vessel the Derlater. Sensors tell her what to fix. Coral fixes it. Coral’s intuition makes her great at her job. Mostly. A story that explores the question of what can a single crew member do when faced with impossible odds millions of miles from the nearest hardware store.
If you enjoy slightly longer sci fi stories with a heart, you’ll like these ones. Preorders up now, print available a few days before the ebook release date.
More news on the thrillers soon.
Right now I’m deep in the heart of writing the seventh Captain Arlon Stoddard book. It’s crossed the 200 page mark, with still plenty to go. Usually, as with most of my novels, these come in between 300 and 350 page marks, so enough left that I still don’t know the ending, but enough written that it’s feeling like it has some substance.
Hoping to have that out around early next year, depending on various factors. Then on to write a sequel to The Ergs, some more short stories, finish up the fifth of the new thriller series, then see where my writing goes. Feeling like another Captain Arlon Stoddard book might be fun. It had been a while since I’d written one, and I’m having a blast with this one. They really are a lot of fun.
Thanks for reading. Take care out there in the big wild world.
After publishing a several novels this year, I’m going round out things with a few short stories, before kicking off with more novels again next year, still working to keep up the business of having something new out on the 20th of every month.
“A Cultural Exchange” is a sci-fi action story which I think reflects some growing interest in hunter-gatherer societies and how very straightforward that seems compared to our increasingly busy, noisy and complex world.
That cover? I am a definite fan of Grandfailure’s artwork – it’s featured on several of my books. I suspect that I could get something more ‘sci-fi’ for these, but I find the images very evocative.
Arriving in the deep alien forests of Corrul, Tim Maxter and his crew hardly expect instant hostility from the locals.
Sixty light years from Earth to find someone pounding on the spaceship’s door. Welcome to a planet filled with surprises.
Surprises that will cut Maxter to his core.
A story from Sean Monaghan, author of Lydia’s Mollusk and The Ergs.
Available from the usual retailers as an ebook ($2.99): click the universal link, and from Amazon and others in real hold-it-in-your-hands print ($5.99). Print out now, ebook from October 20th, but available for preorder. 10,000 words, more or less, about 50 pages.
I’m enjoying this little period of working on formatting to get something of a consistent look. I’ve been going back and redoing covers – some of the thrillers will start looking more like each other instead of random hurled-together agglomerations. I like the kind of SF font look on the last three books:
As you can see, I’ve discovered that I can push my name a little bigger on the latest one – I do get paranoid about the bleed and so on with Amazon print books, so end up being too conservative.
In other news – The Ergs (as above) is now also available in hardback from Amazon. I’ve yet to receive my copy, but it’s my first hardback, so that’s exciting. Amazon have just started offering this service, so going forward, I’ll likely be putting all of my novels into hardback (tougher to justify for standalone short stories) and, time-willing, will try to get some earlier novels into hardback too. The Captain Arlon Stoddard series? That might deserve it, I think.
I have a new Science Fiction work up this month – Lydia’s Mollusk.
Now, even I don’t know how to describe this one. My proof-reader described it as one of the strangest things she’d seen from me. I want to take that as a compliment. I had a go at writing a blurb for it. One of the things I do work on with my blurbs is avoiding giving away too much plot (based on, I think, movie trailers filled with spoilers, and book blurbs that tell you something that happens ten chapters in). So, this is what I got to:
A shell with brilliant striations. Golds and whites and purples. Perfectly in its setting on the calm, warm beach.
Lydia hardly expects the creature be dangerous.
But then, looks can decieve.
A complex tale of mystery, misadventure, family, and a sea gone wild, from the author of Raphael Marooned.
I don’t know if that intrigues or engages anyone enough to want to read the book. Maybe if they’ve read anything else by me they might half know what they’re in for. I mention Raphael Marooned because it came out earlier this year, so still kind of new, and it’s a similar length. Probably at bit more standard SF – more adventure, deep-space based, but I do have a feeling that my writing has a similar tone whether my characters are blowing up planets, or simply wandering introspectively along a beach.
I also got stuck on the cover for a little while. Trying to be simple and straightforward, with the best image of a mollusk and very simple lettering. Actually, the story deserved something else. So I zhushed up the font (zhushed is a word I’ve heard people using – I like the sound but I’m making up the spelling), and found myself a new image. By way of comparison, I’ve included both here (dud tucked away at the bottom there.
Woman with swaying hair image by Chainat | Dreamstime, Mollusk image by Christian Sternberg | Pixabay.
Lydia’s Mollusk is available from your favorite retailer through this universal book link. $3.99 for the ebook, $7.99 for print.
Thanks for reading.
How do the images compare? Think I’ve made the right choice?
After releasing six novels over the first six months of 2021, I have a little change of pace with a collection of short stories for July. In Custody is a set of five of my off-beat stories.
Available from the universal book link for $5.99 (ebook) and $9.99 (print) – click here to find it from your favourite retailer.
“In Custody” the first story in the collection opens like this:
Jaine Mar took a deep, slow breath of the tangy Phline air and cast her eyes up along the lines of the crystalline alien tower.
Getting inside that was going to be tricky, that was for sure.
The Phline city spread out around her. Curved swirls of stony buildings, other towers, the shallow slope of the hardened banks of the wandering canal. The bustle and hum of Phline traffic surged and fell, like the swell of a cluttered, polluted ocean. Bleak gray clouds grew in the distant sky, preparing to roll in and dump maybe a cubic kilometer of water as heavy raindrops. Right now the air was warm, but in a few hours the temperature would plummet.
I’ve probably mentioned before that while I’m a relatively prolific writer, and probably not too bad at it either (a couple of awards along the way, so I must be doing something right on occastion), I can a little tardy at keeping this site up to date. What happens then is things build up and I end up jabbering about a half dozen things every couple of months, rather than one every week.
Hoping to change that. Maybe I’ll even schedule it. After all, I write fiction every day, why not talk about it every week? Similarly, I need to keep that sidebar, that’s probably showing on the right there, a little more current. And the pages links at the top.
Anyway, there are bits and pieces of news about new releases.
My novelette “Problem Landing” appeared in the March/April issue of Analog, which was kind of cool. This story comes from watching footage of the SpaceX rocket boosters making their landings for re-use. The story, though, is set on Mars.
I have another story coming out sometime later this year in Analog – “Eyes To The Height”. Again, a failing technology story, this one set on the moon.
Yay for space.
Analog also have their own blog – The Astounding Analog Companion – and I have an interview in that, about “Problem Landing”. That came out quite a few weeks back. There are other good interviews and opinion pieces on the blog too.
I have a new book out – Core Runners – book 5 in the Captain Arlon Stoddard series. Available in all the usual places. The blurb goes like this:
“A missing ship. A distressed mother. A planet of mysteryThe disappearance of the Astro Astoria challenges the capabilities of Captain Arlon Stoddard and his crew in new and desperate ways.Finding the ship, and the familes aboard takes every resource the have.And More.Another thrilling installment in the exciting Captain Arlon Stoddard series.Space adventure at its best.”
Core Runners is available in print and as an ebook from the usual retailers – check here to grab a copy. Paperback is $9.99, ebook is $3.99.
Book 6 – Underworld Climbers – should be out in June. The copy-editing is complete, just need formatting and to organise the cover.
In the meantime, another book in the middle-grade Matti-Jay and Dub Adventures series – Blast Crater on Endemo – comes out on May 20th. This is standalone, as all my series books are (as in, you can read them in any order), but it does chronologically follow on from last year’s Great Wall of Endemo, so if you’ve read that you might enjoy this one as a continuation.
This is the blurb for Blast Crater on Endemo:
“Filled with exotic wonderful sights, Endemo ranks as one of the most mysterious worlds in all of Ao space. With some time off after the challenging events at the Great Wall, Matti-Jay and her crew pay a visit to the stunning ancient crater in the northern reaches. Surrounded by gorgeous scenery, none of them expect bandits and crooks.But the crater holds secrets. Holds them close.Faced with impossible choices Matti-Jay and Dub dig into every resource they have. The crater gives no second chances.Another thrilling adventure in the Matti-Jay and Dub series, from award-winning author Sean Monaghan.”
Lastly, for now, I have a new Venus Vulture EP out on bandcamp. “Crystal Falls” is a suite of three tracks of gritty, drone ambient. This is my first real release of music made with my modular synthesizer system. Previously I’ve worked with FLStudio, Oscilab, paulstretch and GoldWave, among others, to put together music. It’s quite a different experience working in the analog world, and doing more actual playing of the instrument, rather than clicking on the screen.
I’ve been building the system for the last couple of years, and it’s been something of a learning curve. Maybe that’ll be a good topic for one of those every week posts.
Crystal Falls is available on Bandcamp – $5.00 for the download. You can listen online for free.
Well, thanks for reading this far.Right now I’m working on a new SF novel (which might end up just being a novella), then want to do some more short stories, and then some more thrillers. Later this year I’ll be repackaging my existing thrillers with new covers, and launching a new series. More on that to come, but there are three novels written so far – I should have two out before Christmas, with the third in January. Fair chance I can write and prep another before then, so there might be four of them by March next year.
My new novel, Raphael Marooned is out on January 20th. This is a shorter novel – about 40,000 words, so priced at $3.99 for the ebook. It’s available as a 6x9in print book at $9.99.
“The wrecking of Raphael Cruz’s vessel, The Willalou, on Planet Eduardine throws all his plans into disarray. With a trusty AI, Raphael plunges into a desperate race to survive Eduardine’s baking desert. Limited supplies, a broken ship and no way to call for help force Raphael to seek extreme solutions.Nothing comes easy.A survival story with a heart.”
This was a fun book to write. What I notice is that I’m having more fun with writing as I write more. I think perhaps I’m getting more relaxed with it, leaving behind the echoes of some of those ancient writing courses with all their strictures and constraints.
Find the universal book link here, which should take you on to your retailer of choice – Apple, Amazon, Kobo, B&N, Smashwords, etc.
Progressing through my challenge of getting something published every month for a year, the book for January is Desert Creepers, the fourth book in my Captain Arlon Stoddard series. Pacy sci-fi adventure. I think this is my favorite of the four so far. Hoping to have another two out later in the year – Core Runners and Underworld Climbers. One is ready to format, and the other needs final editing
Captain Arlon Stoddard, hero of the spaceways, tackles anything thrown his way. Even simple mysteries on backwater planets, like Souoria. Meanwhile, Emme Jonette, vagabond, opportunist, thief, roves Souoria’s scorching desert hunting down mythical Zeytana artifacts. With even more desperate thieves on her tail. Simple mysteries can turn into collision courses with devastating consequences. Cover image by Keremgo.
Captain Arlon Stoddard Adventures – Books 1, 2 and 3
Captain Arlon Stoddard’s ageing ship the Luminou closes in on one of the Crespin system’s asteroids. Hunting for fugitives in a protected dome. But what Arlon and his crew find will stretch their resources to the very breaking point. Fugitives become the least of their problems. Arlon needs to figure this out. Fast. The lives of his crew hang in the balance. Filled with rip-roaring adventure and complex intrigue, the Captain Arlon Stoddard novels cover it all.
Tracking and monitoring on Ardecelle–a deep frozen planet far from any sign of civilization–should be straightforward for experienced researchers like Commander Bea Calder and her tough crew. Getting lost should never happen. With failing equipment and lost communications they need urgent help. Which is where Captain Arlon Stoddard and his crew should be able to help. But then, Ardecelle has a few surprises of its own. With death, danger and disaster, the Captain Arlon Stoddard stories have it all. “Ice Hunters” finds the captain and his crew focusing on a small important task the might just hold revelations for the whole of human occupied space.
Finding killers hiding among the crevices and crags of cold dead asteroids challenges Captain Arlon Stoddard’s crew in whole new ways. Far out in the Corrin system, the asteroid Nankong has thousands of hiding places. Locating the culprits will take all their skills and test their wits. Especially when the asteroid deals out a surprising detail about how many people it has hidden away. Mystery and adventure and exotic locales, the Captain Arlon Stoddart stories have it all. “Ship Tracers” expands the tale of the crew into whole new territories.
In other news, there’s more new music out from both Venus Vulture and Shadows on the snow. I’ll post links and details soon, I hope.
Still struggling with the new (well, not that new now) WordPress ‘Blocks’ system for writing these blogs. I yearn for simplicity. I get that it’s way more powerful and does some clever things, but I still, yeah, struggle. All of the above is using blocks, so I guess I’m very slowly getting there. Should do more posts, I suppose, so that I learn it faster.
There will be more fiction – a preorder for a new short novel is prepped for February – Raphael Marooned – and more music later in the year.
Take care. I know it’s challenging out there. Let’s hope for a pretty great 2021. Gotta be better than 2020, right?