SF Novellas, etc.

I have a new novella, Barrens, out at the start of May. It seemed like a good moment to mention novellas and where they sit in the scheme of things. Well, in the scheme of my writing.

First, a little about Barrens.

***

A beautiful piece of engineering, interstellar ship, Elegia Fortune should function perfectly. When the vessel falls out of warp, Lila Sansom and the crew find themselves with more problems than they can count.

Including an impossible planet in the wrong place

Deep space adventure at its finest.

Available now for preorder for release on May 1st. ebook $3.99, print $5.99


While I do write a lot of SF novels, and a lot of SF stories, I also write plenty at intermediate lengths. Most of my novels run between 300 and 450 pages, and my short stories anywhere from 5,000 to 10,000 words, or about 20 to 40 pages.

Novellas are a fun length. Now, it depends who you ask which label gets applied to which length. Some will say anything from 15,000 words to 30,000 words is a novella, and 30,000 words and up is a novel. Some will say even 50,000 words is only a short novel.

Owlcation has a definition that seems to broadly fit – flash fiction: 53 – 1,000 words, short stories: 3,500 – 7,500, novelettes: 7,500 – 17,000, novellas: 17,000 – 40,000, novels: 40,000 + words.

I like the idea the flash fiction starts from 53 words. Very specific. And Hemingway possibly wrote a six word story – see Wikipedia for better analysis than I can provide.

Still, sometimes my stories grow into little monsters, larger than short stories, but not quite novels. I think part of what is fun about them is that I can explore the worlds and the characters with more depth than in a short story, and also that the commitment of time that a novel takes isn’t there.

To blow my own trumpet, a good example is my own novella “Goldie” in this year’s January/February issue of Asimov’s. A longer tale, taking place in a wide world, with numerous characters, over the passage of weeks and months.

To the reader’s advantage here is that they can be priced a little lower than novels (well, they are quicker reads). So my novellas sit at the $3.99 mark for ebooks, and, mostly $5.99 for print. Print is a different beast, so for some of the slightly longer ones, that price creeps up toward ten bucks. Still a bargain, I think. I will keep the ebook price at $3.99 for pretty much anything under the 40,000 word mark.

Universal Book Links here:

Cami, Metta and the Cube

Fubrelli’s Ghost

Lucy Yesterday

Load Bearing Member


Also should mention that in April there are a couple of other things showing up. Book seven of the Captain Arlon Stoddard Adventures, Island Hoppers will be out on the 20th (that one’s a novel), and a twisted time travel novella Lucy Yesterday out on the 10th.

Thanks for reading.

 

 

 

 

Island Hoppers – Captain Arlon Stoddard Adventure #7 available for preorder now

I have several series on the go now, and it’s hard to pick a favourite. I like them each for different reasons. The Captain Arlon Stoddard Adventures are really just me writing the kind of stories that I liked to read as a teenager. They’re fun to write, and Arlon’s universe is broad and complex. I’ve had settings in deserts and deep space, ice bound planets and jungle-covered lands. Island Hoppers is set on an ocean world, dotted with islands.


Island Hoppers – Blurb

Captain Arlon Stoddard and his tireless crew patrol the spaceways.

Arriving on Melle, a planet covered in vast oceans, hundreds of archipelagoes and entirely lacking continents, the crew know they have their work cut out for them.

With conflicting jurisdictions, megalomaniac leaders and a mysterious ruin, the planet presents exactly the kinds of problems the crew specializes in. Impossible ones.

But betrayal from an unexpected quarter throws them into a desperate battle for their lives.

A battle that might just have Melle reveal its secrets.


Out on April 20th. Available now for preorder from the usual channels – universal book link here. Paperback available around April 17th. ebook $5.99, print $15.99.


 

 

 

 


If you love space adventure, the Captain Arlon Stoddard series is for you. A close knit crew, devious villians and near-impossible situations, all with a twisted mystery and a genuine heart.


With Island Hoppers, the series draws level with my Karnish River Navigations series with seven books. I’m just about finished drafting an eighth book in that series – Jackpot Kingdom – and hope to have that finished and out later in there year. I enjoy writing in both, so I might be alternating with them for a while.

Thanks for reading.

Sean

Measured Aggression – Cole Wright Thriller #2 available for preorder

Following book 1, The Arrival, Cole Wright book 2 Measured Aggression will be out on March 20th – the ebook is available on preorder now.

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The sign at the edge of town announces it as Cooperville, Pop 3516.

Small town. Big problems.

Passing through, Cole Wright just wants a meal and to get back on the road.

Always happy to have a nice meal.

Always happy to avoid problems.

Sometimes, though, problems just demand attention.

ebook $5.99, print $15.99, hardback $19.99 – UBL here


To promote the book’s release and give you a taste of Cole Wright, I’ll be putting up a Cole Wright short story – “Schedule Interruption” – for free on this site for a few days, starting Monday 7th March. From the 10th, the story will be available for $2.99/$9.99.

On his way toward Spokane, Cole Wright rides a rickety old bus. Local service. Regular schedule. Few passengers. Small town to small town. Heartland people.

Wright plans to pick up the long distance service when the bus reaches the freeway.

Plans, though, have a way of getting interrupted.

A standalone Cole Wright story that comes right down to good people in tough circumstances.


If you wanted a taster right now, well, there is The Arrival, but there’s also another short story – “Dark Fields” – available now. Again $2.99/$9.99 – UBL link here.



In other news, the third novel Hide Away is about ready to go and will be out in May, and the fourth, Scorpion Bait, is set for July. The fifth novel, Zero Kills, intended for September, turned out to have more than zero kills, so it’s been retitled Slow Burn. I have a couple more short stories written, so should be able to pair a short with a novel in each release month. And I’m going to power on and write a novel with zero kills to fit that title. Might even be able to have that out in December.


In other, other news, for those who might prefer my science fiction to my thrillers, I have a standalone SF novella The Chule coming out on March 10th as well.

Setting up a quiet, simple colony on planet Barchime should be idyllic.
Eliza, Della and the others have high ideals.
Sparsely populated, the gorgeous planet offers everything they need.
But when something riles up some local wildlife, the simple life might just come to an end
A very sudden end.

ebook $2.99, print $9.99 – UBL here


More news next week, about the next Captain Arlon Stoddard novel, and the next in the Karnish River Navigations series (finally), and, remember, the free story too.

 

Thanks for reading

Sean

Two new Sci-Fi preorders

After the thriller novel, and accompanying short story in January, February sees two new Sean Monaghan releases – two science fiction long stories or novellas or even short novels if you like. Quick reads?

First out of the blocks is Cami, Metta and The Cube. A kind of cyberpunk, high-tech thriller, but definitely on the science fiction side (a rental car AI with attitude, and a hypergrid terrorist). Available for preorder, with release on February 10th. Universal book link here. $3.99 ebook, $9.99 print.


Cami, Metta and The Cube

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.


Second up, on February 20th, but already up for preorder, is Fubrelli’s Ghost. Science Fiction, but of a very different kind (I think). Set on Jupiter’s moon Callisto and, given the title, a little bit of the supernatural. Available for preorder with release on February 20th. Universal book link here. Again, $3.99 for the ebook and $9.99 in print. I have yet to figure out how to hang the print version into the preorder system, so that will be released a few days before the 20th.


Fubrelli’s Ghost

Jupiter’s huge frozen moon Callisto suits Claire. Suits her perfectly. Its rugged, barren landscape entrances her as she works with the station crew to fathom the icy secrets.

But when a ghost shows up, Claire and the crew face secrets that go far beyond science.

Secrets that might just change the entire nature of deep space exploration.

A space adventure from the author of ‘Problem Landing’ and ‘One Hundred’.


 

Cami, Metta and The Cube – new short novel, February 10th

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.

The Arrival – A Cole Wright Thriller – out now

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.

 

Universal Book Link


The short story Dark Fields is here – Univeral Book Link – $2.99/$9.99(ebook/print)

South Dakota. Sunset. One dark day in July, Brad crashes his busted light plane in a dusty cornfield. Not great for his weekend plans. Not great for anything.

Passing by, Cole Wright stops to lend a hand. Which might just plunge them both into something more dangerous than plane wrecks.

Two preorders for November and December

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.

New standalone SF story coming soon

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.

Cultural Exchange 25921 thumbThat 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.

Blurb:

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.

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.

Essaline 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

Lydia’s Mollusk – New short novel (or long novella) out this month

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.

Beautiful, intriguing.

Beguiling, even.

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.

Lydias Mollusk thumb

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?

Lydias Mollusk thumbLydias mollusk dud thumb