In Custody – New collection out now

In custody cover 28621 ebookAfter 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.

_____________

More coming next month.

Marbles shortlisted for the Sir Julius Vogel Award

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Yay. I may have mentioned, but my novella “Marbles” from Asimov’s, July/August last year, is on the ballot for New Zealand’s Sir Julius Vogel Award. Thank you all those who nominated the story to get it this far.

The others on the ballot are, Hexes and Vexes, by Nova Blake; How to Get a Girlfriend (When you’re a Terrifying Monster), by Marie Cardno; No Man’s Land by A.J. Fitzwater, and; Riverwitch by Rem Wigmore.  I know many of these people. They are awesome writers. These are extraordinary stories. So, uphill battle there. Still nice to be among such company.

Voting is available to members of SFFANZ, and closes at the end of May.

Image by Splitshire from Pixabay

New New New, finally

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.

analog cover march april 2021My 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:

Core runners 19 2 21 ebook“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.

Blast Crater 2 4 21 ebookIn 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.”

vv cfLastly, 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.

Take care.

Raphael Marooned – New book out January 20th

marooned-ebook-cover-27-1-21-bMy 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.

New Captain Arlon Stoddard Adventure, available January 20th

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

Desert Creepers

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.

Available from January 20th here – Universal Book Link – ebook $5.99, print $14.99

Captain Arlon Stoddard Adventures – Books 1, 2 and 3

Asteroid Jumpers

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.

On Amazon

Ice Hunters

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.

On Amazon

Ship Tracers

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.

On Amazon

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?

Three New Books

I have three new books out since I last got around to posting here (I really should post more often, I’m sure, but you know, the pandemic seems to take up a lot of my headspace). Oh, and WordPress, wonderful as they are, have changed their system for writing posts – something very clever called “blocks” which I find exhausting and challenging to wrestle into shape. Ah well.

Anyway, on to the books:

The first book is the YA sci fi novel Pirates, which is the second novel in the Matti-Jay and Dub Adventures series (following Good Ship Hartford, from earlier this year). There will be a third book The Great Wall of Endemo, out later this year. And that will be followed by a fourth, Blast Crater on Endemo. That one will be out sometime next year because I still have to write it.

The second new release is One Degree Below Freezing, which is a kind of companion volume to Landslide Country, which came out a couple of months ago. Both are collections of my contemporary or even literary stories. One Degree Below Freezing is due out on September 20th.

The  third is Hunting Shellot, another science fiction adventure novel. “Cody Wexland polices the galaxy…” That releases on October 20th. Available for preorder now. I’ll do another post closer to that date (assuming I can wrestle WordPress into shape).

All three books are priced at $5.99 for ebook and between $8.99 and $18.99 for print (One Degree Below Freezing is slim and Hunting Shellot is bigger). 

I may have mentioned earlier about a loss of momentum with writing. This started when I was traveling last year, which is kind of to be expected, with limited time to get words down, but it continued after. And then, as you’ve likely heard, there was a pandemic, which I struggled to wrap my head around, and so the writing still didn’t pick up. I was lucky to hit a thousand words a day (when you’ve been averaging over 1500, that’s a noticeable drop). And that was with the writing of posts for ProWritersWriting.com included in the count.

I’m happy to say that things have ramped themselves up once more. Better than before. I’m back to hitting more like 1600 – 1700 words a day, just on the fiction.

What happened? Well, that’s a longer tale for another post, but the precis is that I’m having another go at writing thrillers with one of those take-no-prisoners action hero drifters. It might be derivative, it might be corny, but the key for me is that I’m having fun. I write to entertain myself, and I wonder if through the trip I lost track of that and ended up writing for some other reason (who knows what?). Now, I’m back to having fun. I’m thinking next year might be the year of the thriller, as I start releasing these books. I’m lousy at marketing, but maybe some readers will find them and be as entertained in the reading as I have been in the writing of them.

Thanks for reading.

“Marbles” – new story in Asimov’s

ASF_JulAug2020_400x570My story (well, novelette) “Marbles”, set in the Art Worlds of Shilinka Switalla, appears in the July/August issue of Asimov’s Science Fiction.

Shilinka Switalla, an artist in the far future, creates vast, dramatic works on a scale that sometimes encompasses planets.

I’ve always been fascinated by Marble runs and, well, I’ve had fun with the idea in the story, creating the kind of complex run I’d love to be able to actually build.

This is my third Shilinka Switalla story in Asimov’s, following “Crimson Birds of Small Miracles” and “Ventiforms”. Both stories are still available as stand alone volumes as ebook and in print from Triple V Publishing. “Crimson Birds…” (ahem) won both the Sir Julius Vogel Award and the Asimov’s Readers’ Award for best short story. “Ventiforms” is currently a finalist for both the Sir Julius Vogel Award and the Aurealis Award (the links there take you to the universal book link where you can go should you feel inclined to purchase either… if you do, I thank you, I appreciate it).

In other news, I’ve had to step aside from WorldCon this year. I was excited to attend, after all, living in New Zealand, I was just a couple of hours drive away from the venue. That was pretty much a first. However with events around the world (i.e. the pandemic that’s changed the face of 2020 so much) the Con has gone virtual and in part lost its appeal, and also made it difficult for me to attend (with my limited access to and patience with tech). Hoping to get to the New Zealand Convention next year, as that unfolds.

A slower writing year this year, and still figuring out what’s happening there. Had a good jump up in the word count over the last few days (great new project that got me excited, that helps). I’ll post again soon about that, and my writing process.

In the meantime, I’m still posting weekly at prowriterswriting. My latest post is about how to celebrate completing your novel (a hint, it none of wine, fireworks nor hollering from mountaintops).

Thanks for reading. Stay safe in these strange and challenging times.

Late updates

So in a world in a little turmoil, it has been a while since I’ve posted here.

As with most people I suppose I’ve been in an interesting headspace. While I’ve continued to write every day, the writing has slowed down. I’ve consumed too much news and too many zombie movies. I suspect that last is perhaps something to do with attempting to deflect how terrible this pandemic is. It feels like we are an awful long way from seeing the end.

I do have three new books out, or at least available for pre-order.

Landslide Country is a collection of my more literary stories. Available now.  $5.99 ebook, $8.99 print.

Good Ship Hartford is the first novel in a new teen series – The Matti-Jay and Dub Adventures – following on with characters from The Chronicles of the Donner series. Available on preorder, coming June 30th. $3.99 ebook, $7.99 print (book one, so it’s smaller and at a discount. Book 2 Pirates is coming in August).

Chasing ‘Oumuamua is a collection of my science fiction stories. Available on preorder, coming on July 20th. $5.99 ebook, $12.99 print.

Thanks for reading. I hope to have something more soon, as I start getting my head back into writing and publishing, and away from all those zombie movies.

Take care out there.

Analog story – self promotion

sean analog
Self-promotion is something I still need to learn a whole lot about. I have dozens of indie books out there, but neglect mentioning them too often. Usually when they come out and they I shut up about it.
So, with a new story – “One Hundred” in the current issue of Analog Science Fiction Science Fact, it seems like a good opportunity. After all, if you’ve read and enjoyed the story, you might like to read some more of mine.
But where to start? Well, Analog stories are firmly hard science fiction – “One Hundred” is set in a Mars colony – so that’s what I’ll promote here.
Another couple of stories you might like are “Improvising at Branson Six” and “Mars Cycler Artist in Residence, 2017“. “Improvising” placed third in the Jim Baen Memorial Writing Contest some years back, the year before I won the award with “Low Arc”. Oh, that one’s around too – available free on the Baen.com website, and alson in a couple of anthologies – The Jim Baen Memorial, the first ten years, and Final Frontier, which also has an audio version.
“Mars Cycler” is a kind of another Mars story, since that’s the destination. The Mars cycler is one of Buzz Aldrin’s babies, a great way to solve the issue of getting materials and people to Mars and back. My friend Martin Shoemaker has a wonderful series – Blue Collar Space – with many stories set on a cycler. Some of these have been in Analog, so a tip of my hat to Martin here.
If you want to read something novel length, I’d suggest either (or both) Athena Setting or Gretel.
Athena Setting, is about a disaster in the orbit of Jupiter, and Gretel is about problems aboard a generation ship heading for the stars.
All good rollicking adventures.
If you want to try some of my other adventure novels, a good place to start would be Asteroid Jumpers. It’s softer science fiction, involving faster than light travel and a few other conveniences, but it is one of my personal favorites. It’s the first in a series, followed by Ice Hunters and Ship Tracers, with two more in series coming out in the next year or so – Desert Creepers and Core Runners. More rollicking adventures.