Tag Archives: sci fi

Writing what I love for the fun of it

gallostI’ve written a few books now. I write because I love to write. Sometimes there’s the temptation to write into current trends. Someone even suggested that I should write some romances because they sell really well.

Hmm. It would be nice to have have a book sell really well. Absolutely.

I doubt, though, that I could write a convincing romance. I don’t really read in the genre. I’m sure that would show. Chasing sales based on trends feels like hard work.

Lately I’ve been coming back to writing the kinds of books I loved to read while growing up. I could list a whole lot – The Godwhale, Ice and Iron, Icerigger – and I wondered to myself what if I just wrote some things along those lines? Would it be fun? Would the novels work?

One way to find out: give it a go.

Turns out writing like that is a blast. It’s more than that old adage of ‘write what you know’ and kind of ‘write what you love’.

My novel Astjewel of jeroid Jumpers comes from playing with the ideas and tone of Gregory Kern’s Cap Kennedy/F.A.T.E. novels. The Jewel of Jarhen was one of my favorites (though back in the eighties, I only had the first six and now, thanks to the Internet, I’ve discovered there were many more in the series). I also loved the Tim White covers, though many of the volumes sported covers that looked much more like 1950s SF

So, in Asteroid Jumpers I have an investigative crew, including an alien, battling through against impossible odds. I don’t know that my Captain Arlon Stoddard would quite measure up against virtual superhero Cap Kennedy, and the novel is unlikely to ever be mistaken for one of Kern’s (Gregory Kern was one several pen names used by prolific English author Edwin Charles Tubb – back in the day I read several Space 1999 novels by E.C. Tubb, fully unaware the authors were one and the same). Asteroid Jumpers is not intended as a pastiche, or even an homage, more just a ‘this is what the kid in me enjoyed reading, this is what the kid in me likes writing’.

And I had a whole lot of fun in the writing of it.

Should I write more about where my novels come from? What do you think?

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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.

 

“The Molenstraat Music Festival”‘s wonderful life

aurealis2016bMy story “The Molenstraat Music Festival”, published in the September 2015 issue of Asimov’s has surprised and delighted me with some of the notice it’s garnered.

Firstly it was a finalist in Australia’s Aurealis Awards in the Best Novella Category. The prize went to Garth Nix, a lauded and celebrated writer.

Next it showed up as a finalist in the Asimov’s Readers’ Awards in the Best Novelette Category (word counts vary as to what makes a novelette and what makes a novella). The estimable Michael Swanwick and Gregory Frost‘s co-written work Lock Up Your Chickens and Daughters H’ard and Andy Are Come to Town! took that award.

As part of the Asimov’s Readers’ Awards, most of the finalists are available to read for free at their website. Click here for The Molenstraat Music Festival.

Lastly, the story was a finalist for New Zealand’s Sir Julius Vogel Awards, losing to the extraordinary Octavia Cade. Nice to see Octavia has a story forthcoming in Asimov’s too. It was fun to hang out with other writers at Au Contraire and the awards ceremony a few weeks back.

I had a finalist in the short  story category of the Sir Julius Vogel Awards too, “The Harsichord Elf” from A.C. Buchanan‘s Capricious online magazine. The talented Lee Murray‘s story “The Thief’s Tale” won the award.

I’m thrilled to be nominated, and honored and humbled to be among such remarkable company. All this feels like a kid’s dream really.

One day: three rejections

So while I’m busy writing (I’ve finished up the second novel, and completed a long short-story since I last posted), and tutoring (whew, almost at the end of round four) and, well, just life in general… I’m also busy submitting stories to magazines. Great news – I’ve had an acceptance (a sci-fi novella, coming out soon… more details on that to come). Yay.

Today, though, was one of those “oh, well” days. Three rejection letters. All form letters too. Along the lines of “Thank you for submitting but we regret that we cannot use your story at this time”. You know the kind of thing. So, I found some other magazines with current open submissions and sent those three off right away. Just because some editor doesn’t have space for my best, second best and third best stories, doesn’t mean someone else won’t.

Now, back to finishing up this last bit of tutoring, and writing the next story.

3am, Persledt Eight – new pulp sci-fi story by Len Stone

I’ve been writing some pulp stories under the name Len Stone. “3am, Persledt Eight” is a hard sci-fi romp that twists and turns a little. This is the first of several Bren Taylor stories – Taylor is a fix-it man, but sometimes gets more than he’s bargained for. The story is available now as an ebook through Triple V Publishing – 99 cents. It’s a little over 8000 words. It starts like this:

___________________

“Situation?” I said as I picked up the phone. No one calls at 3am unless there’s a problem. I have no family left so no heart attack was worth disturbing my sleep.
“Taylor?” the voice said. Joe.
“Situation?” I said again. He knew it was me. Making an urgent call then messing around did not endear me. I could be sleeping.
“The BonOrbit facility. A patient ran amok and now they’re trapped.”

__________________

Update, December 16 – changed the cover – the first one felt a bit washed out. This one is grainier, but the colours are more dramatic.