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?
My pacy sci fi adventure novel Hunting Shellot is now available in print and ebook.
Cody Wexland polices the galaxy, tracking down smugglers, pirates and brigands. Tough work. Even tougher breaking in a new team at the same time. The young group lacks experience, but they more than make that up in sheer enthusiasm and intelligence.
Good thing, because the most brutal pirate out there sets his sights on taking down Cody and her team.
At any cost.
Deep space action from the award-winning author of The Captain Arlon Stoddard Adventures.
My second standalone short sci-fi story of the year “Fabulous Skies” is available now for pre-order.
Jenelle lives for storms. The elemental and the destructive. With her flotilla of flybots, she studies and researches the biggest storms. Right out in the wild.
But perhaps existing out in the wild takes more than she knows.
A story that asks the question, what are we running from?
A sci fi short from the author of Crimson Birds of Small Miracles.
Full release on February 29th, but available for preorder from the usual booksellers – Amazon, Smashwords, and others (universal booklink). $2.99 ebook and $5.99 in print (it’s a cutie – 30 pages… I do like these little books).
This is fun getting this shorter stories out into the world. Next month, however, we’ll have out, Deuterium Shine, the first novel in a new series “The Jupiter Files”. Following that another short, “Mem and Cyborg”, and following that the publishing will ratchet up a little, with some collections, omnibuses and more novels.
Alongside all that are more works in the “Matti-Jay and Dub Adventures” series. These middle grade works go through a different process to reach publication. This is the series I write for my daughter Matti-Jay, so before they go public we read them at home, just to make sure they’re good to go.
There are three novels in the first series for Matti-Jay – Blue Defender, Red Alliance and Gold Embers – which make up “The Chronicles of the Donner”. There is one short “Trapped” as part of the follow-ups in the “Matti-Jay and Dub Adventures”, but three more in the works right now, the novel Pirates, the novelette Good Ship Hartford and another short “Event on Algoria Three”. We’re almost done with that last one, so it might be available in the next couple of weeks.
I have story, “One Hundred” in the March/April issue of Analog, if you’re an Analog reader. Pretty chuffed with that one – my first in Analog. Later in the year I have another story in Asimov’s – “Marbles”, which is the third in Asimov’s in my “Worlds of Shilinka Switalla” series, following the (ahem) award-winning “Crimson Birds of Small Miracles”, and “Ventiforms”.
I’ll post more about those closer to the time they come out.
Speaking of Asimov’s, I had two stories published there last year, both of which are eligible for New Zealand’s Sir Julius Vogel Award – “Ventiforms” and “Chasing Oumuamua”. That’s exciting, though of course it all takes getting nominated to get onto the ballot. We’ll see how that goes. No matter, it’s always a thrill to be published in Asimov’s.
Book II of The Morgenfeld series is now available for preorder from the usual bookstores.
Release date is December 15th.
Enter a bizarre and twisted world. A building without end.
A missing man. A raid on the Map Archive. A descent into desperation.
The vast city of Morgenfeld spreads across the land, an endless array of buildings jammed one against the next.Investigator Gail Deurgans takes on a new and challenging case. Way out of her usual territory. Mapmaker Cole Palmer and his staff work hard keeping track of the maze of the city. Another plunge into the depths of a place not even its denizens understand. The perfect journey for readers who love the fantastic worlds of Mervyn Peake and Michael Moorcock.
Morgenfeld Book I, The Map Maker of Morgenfeld is available too. Both books are standalone, so you can still dive into The Stairs at Cronnenwood first.
In other news, I’m nearing completion of writing The Chimneys at Atterton, Book III of the series. This one’s really twisted and doing my head in. The cover and title are just holding for now. Once it’s done and ready, we’ll see how it feels.
Because we were away traveling for an extended period, I’ve been writing it on my mini set up: a phone with a little bluetooth keyboard. The set up works well while traveling, but throws me now I’m back home. Do I transfer the work to my regular writing computer? What if I lose the thread from the mini set up? Oh no (wipes forehead), the trials of being a writer.
Still, I hope to have Chimneys out sometime in the middle of next year.