Fabulous Skies available for pre-order

Fabulous skiesMy 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.

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?

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.