Tag Archives: science fiction

Geysercon in Rotorua, Queen’s Birthday weekend

I’ll be at Geysercon in Rotorua Queen’s Birthday Weekend, Saturday May thirty-first and Sunday June first. If you happen to be there, please stop me and say hello.

I am on two panels. The first I’m the moderator (so hopefully I’ll shut the face up and let the panel members do the talking), and the other I’m a panel member.

I’m moderating the panel To Boldly Go: Ships in SFF featuring Kodi Washere, Dave Hadwin, Carleton Chinner, and Guest of Honour Alena Van Arendonk. Fortunately, having been in touch with the others, they know their spaceships and their SF way better than me. I feel privileged to be along for the ride.

I’m a panel member on Scripts to Screen. So I’m relatively inexperienced on this one, so we’ll see how it goes. I offered to be on the panel since I have licensed the film rights to one of my stories. That’s exciting, though I am very conscious that it’s a long way from rights to sitting in a theatre watching a finished film. I’m excited by the director and his energy for the project, but it is very early days right now. We’ll see.

That story is “Ventiforms” which appeared in the January/February issue of Asimov’s. The story is available as a pre-order ebook, with full release on the first day of conference. From Amazon and various other retailers. Also available as a nice little print book on Amazon too (actually available right now, since I haven’t yet been able to figure out how to do a pre-order with the print versions). I will have a few print copies with me at the conference.

The other two panelists, Jean Gilbert (moderator) and Claire McKenna, have far more experience than I do. Expect starry eyes from me there.

I have been a fan of film since I was a kid. One of my day job bosses years ago loved film too and he had this cool way of rating a film. Any number from one to fifty-two. A film with a rating of fifty-two was for films that people who see a film a week should see. A rating of one was for films that people who go to a film a year should go and see. As in, this is the ‘film of the year’.

Me, I usually saw more than fifty films in a year. And I still do. The arrival of Netflix has upped that number. Whew.

So I like to think that I have some understanding of the process of short story/novel to script to film. As in a novel is a different medium to film, so things don’t necessarily work interchangeably.

The example I like to use is how in Blade Runner, based on Philip K. Dick’s novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, the entire third act of the film is an extrapolation of a single sentence in the book, in effect.

Similarly, whole tracts of novels’ storylines are left out of films based on them.

As well as “Ventiforms”, there will be copies of some of my other books on sale at the convention bookstore. And please do introduce yourself if you’re there.

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Chasing Oumuamua in Asimov’s

ASF_MayJune2019_400x570Following “Ventiforms” in the January – February 2019 issue of Asimov’s Science Fiction, I’m privileged to have have a new story “Chasing Oumuamua” in the May – June issue.

“Chasing Oumuamua” is, I guess, another of my family relationships story. Ultimately I think most of my stories are along those lines. Even when there’s lots of stuff blowing up and people hanging onto blistering railings by their fingertips.

‘Oumuamua was the name given to a chunk of interstellar flotsam (or possibly jetsam) that flittered through our solar system (well, it’s still within the solar system, just that it’s on its way out and we can’t actually see it any more), first noticed in 2017.

‘Oumuamua comes from the Hawaiian ‘oumuamua, meaning scout (forgive me if I have the wrong), and I kind of like that name. Just a little scout, coming to take a look around. There’s a good overview on Wikipedia. Yes, the apostrophe comes first – something I neglected in my story.

 

While I’m here (I’m not here as often as I should be, but perhaps that’s a good thing), I’ll mention one or two other things.

I have another story coming out in Landfall, the Autumn 2019 issue which should be out in the next few weeks. “Landslide Country” is me heading into more literary territory, with a story about a retired woman finding herself coming of age, I suppose.

Landfall is New Zealand’s iconic literary magazine and I’m grateful to editor Emma Neale for taking the story. This will be my third appearance in Landfall’s pages, which is kind of cool.

This is also the first year where I’ve had three pro stories come out. Not a bad first half. I’m still somewhat startled that I’ve had even one at all, ever 🙂 I mean, seriously look at the names on the cover of Asimov’s there! Holy Money.

I’m still blogging on Pro Writers Writing – every Monday morning a new post comes out. That’s taking a little energy away from here, too, I guess. That’s okay. It stretches my brain. I am thinking that I’ll collate my posts maybe next year into a little book of my take on how to be a writer.

I do try to stay a few posts ahead on that. My posts there are a little like here too, somewhat stream of consciousness. They also come in bursts. Sometimes I’ll write three in a week, sometimes I’ll see next Monday looming and wonder what the heck I’m going to ramble about.

VentiformsAlso, “Ventiforms” my story from Asimov’s this past January, will be out as a standalone ebook on May 31st. Just in time for Geysercon. I’m moderating a panel, and sitting on another. I hope to have some print copies available for release at the con too.

Wonderful evocative illustration for the story by Kerem Gogus there. I like the image, and it’s forced me to shift around the type in places I wouldn’t normally put it. I don’t know what a professional designer would make of it, but I like it.

I’ll fill in more on Geysercon and other things in another post soon.

 

 

False starts and new beginnings

Blue Defender CoverWriting about a work in progress again here. Maybe that’s going to be my new thing for a while.

I’ve started work on Red Alliance, the sequel to Blue Defender. I got about seven or eight pages in, a couple of thousand words and into the second chapter, and wasn’t feeling it. It felt like hard work. Like I was trying too hard. Trying to get everything covered. After all, it’s a sequel; need to cover all that old ground in a general way. It got lumbering and dull.

Missing an important element there.

Story.

So, I started off again. Started with the story. Not with the old story, but with the new. Those critical details started working their way in piece by piece. And now it’s starting to feel like it’s taking on a life of its own.

That’s good.

For me, anyway. Because now it’s fun to write, rather than being an obligation.
And if something’s fun for me to write, I’m guessing it will be fun for readers to read.

Sequel to Blue Defender is underway

Blue Defender CoverI don’t ordinarily write about works in progress. Maybe about upcoming releases, but mostly I shut up about what I’m working on. Maybe because, well, what if it crashes and burns? What if I get expectations too high?
But Red Alliance, the sequel to Blue Defender, has made a start. 1325 words (about four pages) for the first day. That’s an all right start.
I don’t have a cover yet. I don’t have a plot outline. I’m excited to see where it goes.
Interesting side note, the title for Red Alliance was chosen by my daughter. I wrote Blue Defender for her (see this post about that) and she seemed to enjoy it. At least enough that she wanted a sequel. We tossed around titles. Her first thought was that it needed to be Red [something].
I had to agree. If there’s a third book, well, I guess that’ll be Green [something], or maybe Yellow [something].
These are books written for her, so I guess for a middle-school age, but the adults who’ve read the first one enjoyed the story, so I guess it’s for all ages.

Blue Defender is available from various retailers here, also, Amazon

Eastern Foray – ebook available for preorder… print book available already

Turns out I’ve still got something to learn about how to run preorders. Apparently it’s a basic for indie publishing… build momentum and generate interest and so on. There are many things about this that I’m still at a very basic level with. I’m okay at business, pretty good at writing, but definitely a novice with sales.
So I’ve set up the ebook for preorder, with release on January 31. That worked fine for the aggregators and for Amazon. But when I went to set up the paperback, I must have messed something up with setting the date. Actually I couldn’t see a place to set date, it just said “Live date”. Figuring this meant a date the same as the ebook’s release I went ahead with the next steps.
Turns out that the paperback went live. So you can get it now. It’s sold a copy already (someone’s got the jump on things there, thank you, I hope you enjoy it).
So, rather than trying to mess with that, I’ll have another go for my next preorder.


I published seven novels this year. All with no preorder. Next year I’m looking at five novels – Eastern Foray, plus two from the Captain Arlon Stoddard series, and two from The Jupiter Files, a new series. I’ll figure out this preorder thing during the year.
Hopefully

The print book is available from Amazon here. $16.99. You can preorder the ebook through the universal book link

Eastern Foray – A Karnish River Navigations novel – now available for pre-order

The latest installment in the ever-expanding Karnish River Navigations series is available for preorder from all the usual outlets. Release date is January 31st.

“A day learning to fly the giant Alman-Kruder aircraft over the canal lands gives investigator Flis Kupe the chance to unwind after some tough assignments. At least until someone fires a smart missile at her.
Kind of changes her day. A whole lot.
And as Flis and fellow investigator Grae begin unraveling the mystery, missiles might become the least of their concerns.
Another episode in the thrilling Karnish River Navigations science fiction series that asks the question: who can we trust?”

I’ll post a preview sometime before the release date too.

Also, this has the new style of cover for Karnish River Navigations. I’m slowly working my way back through the other books in the series to bring them all into line.

The book is available for preorder here – Eastern Foray (universal book link – leads off to your favorite store). Ebook is $5.99. Print is $16.99. (print is a whole other thing I’ll blog about shortly).

Blue Defender – finally

Blue Defender CoverMy daughter has watched me writing up a storm for the last few years. Her question, why didn’t I write a story about her? Fair question. After all, shouldn’t she always be uppermost in my thoughts? How could I be writing about strangers?

A tricky thing that. How could it be done right?

Some writers I notice write real people into their stories. Clive Cussler mentions himself as a car collector or a marine archeologist in several books. One I recall the characters even had a conversation with Cussler. David Baldacci auctions off the privilege to have your name used as a character with the proceeds going to charity.

So, putting various concerns aside, I started writing. In secret. I did have one issue, being that I while I have a dedicated writing computer in a nook, I do spend some time writing on a laptop at the breakfast table.

Chances were, she would glimpse her name on the screen. So I changed her name in the manuscript for the duration of the writing of the book. Matti-Jay became “Bleu”, in part because I decided to title this secret manuscript “Blue Harvest“. Some of you may know that title as the secret working title of a well-known movie from last century.

So, in Blue Harvest, fifteen year old (yes I gave my daughter a few extra years – kids like reading about kids older than themselves) Bleu set about her adventures. When she was done, the magic of search-replace change Bleu to Matti-Jay.  The title became Blue Defender.

Next step: would she like it? To try it out, I formatted and uploaded it through my usual channels, and obtained a proof copy. When that arrived, it became our bedtime read for a couple of weeks.

I must have done a few things right, because the end of a chapter was frequently met with a “Keep going” (usually reserved for books like “Mortal Engines” or “Homeroom Diaries”), and the end of the book was met with “start writing the sequel now”.

That’s heartwarming for a dad, let me tell you. Better than any five star review.

Blue Defender is available as an ebook and in print through usual outlets. $5.99 for the ebooks. $14.99 for print.

Print

Amazon Kindle

Smashwords

Kobo

Barnes and Noble

Apple