“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 Asteriod 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.

“One Hundred” – a new story in Analog

AFF_Mar2020_400x570

The March/April issue of Analog Science Fact Science Fiction includes my story “One Hundred” about a colony on Mars.

Let me tell you that this is just way exciting for me. Not only is this Analog’s 90th year (!), but it’s also my debut in its pages.

I’ve had quite a few stories in Asimov’s Science Fiction over the last few years, which has been pretty, pretty cool for me, but Analog is another thing. I tend to play fast and loose with the laws of physics and the arrival of aliens and so on, and sometimes the science takes a little back seat in my stories. That’s made Asimov’s kind of a natural home for them.

Analog readers do want real science in their stories. So “One Hundred” fits right in there. Mars is on our minds right now, with Space X’s short-ish goal of putting people up there, and NASA’s longer term goal of doing likewise.

That whole “Planet B” concept is gaining traction. Especially in the face of a climate that’s delivering terrible fires, ferocious hurricanes and tides that keep on getting higher. And with the looming threat of pandemic very currently on our minds, creating another spot to live and breed might be a pretty sound idea.

I’m honored to have my story among such luminaries as Gregory Benford and C.C. Finlay.

Living, as I do, across the far side of planet Earth, I have to wait for shipping for my copy to arrive. I’ll probably do that thing of posting an image of me holding it when it gets here.

Fabulous skiesIn other news, “Fabulous Skies” another short story, will be out on Saturday from Triple V Publishing, my little indie venture. $2.99 for the ebook. Different to “One Hundred”, but I guess I do have a style of writing.

Also, I continue to post on ProWritersWriting.com, weekly on a Monday morning. If you’re a writer and want to get a sense of my take on the writing process, go check the posts out. Of note is that there are a bunch of other writers posting there (new posts daily), and we do have different takes. It’s a great resource for starting writers.

Have a great day, and thanks for reading. I appreciate it.

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.

Life-Span released today

Life SpanLife-Span, a short sci-fi thriller about genetic engineering takes flight today, January 31st. It’s already February in New Zealand, so that kind of melts my brain a little 🙂

Cody Albine watches as her elegant and well-organized presentation collapses. Right in front of her last chance at getting corporate funding for the project of a lifetime. Her absolute passion

But hope lies with her friends. It might take compromise, but a little compromise between friends never goes astray.

A short biological sci fi thriller with a heart. From the author of Overrun and L-Own.

 

Available from your favorite bookseller – click the universal link here. It’s a short, so it’s priced at $2.99, and $5.99 for the paperback.

 

Planning Releases for 2020

 

This year we’re targetting getting twelve releases out. This will be a mix of standalone short stories, novels and collections. If we can really get things together, a couple of the collections will be omnibuses of a few of my earlier novels.

For January, February, March and April there will be four science fiction releases, three standalone short stories, “Life-Span”, “Fabulous Skies” and “Mem, and Cyborg”, and the novel Deuterium Shine.

The novel is the first in a new series – The Jupiter Files. The second book, Tritium Blaze will be out later in the year. There are no concrete plans for a third book, so this might well be a duology. Of course, the obvious third book would be Hydrogen Something. Can’t use Sonata since Ian M Banks did that so well already. Would it be cheeky to call it Hydrogen Coda? After all it would be the last book. Perhaps I’m getting ahead of myself there.

“Life-Span” is available for preorder from Amazon, Smashwords, and other retailers. Just $2.99 for the ebook and $5.99 for print, since it’s a short story. Release day is January 31st.

The blurb goes like this:

Cody Albine watches as her elegant and well-organized presentation collapses. Right in front of her last chance at getting corporate funding for the project of a lifetime. Her absolute passion.
But hope lies with her friends. It might take compromise, but a little compromise between friends never goes astray.
A short biological sci fi thriller with a heart. From the author of Overrun and L-Own.

 

“Fabulous Skies” will be available from February 29th, Deuterium Shine from March 31st and “Mem, and Cyborg” from April 30th. All will have preorders for about a month. Short stories stay at $2.99/$5.99, but the novel will be $5.99/$16.99 (probably – still working on the layout and the size of the print book dictates the price).

 

Moving on from there, May will be a collection of literary short stories, with some previously published. June will be the novel Desert Creepers, the fourth book in my Captain Arlon Stoddard series. It’s been a while since the last volume, so it will be great to get this series going again. There are two more already written in the series – Core Runners and Underworld Climbers.

July will likely be an omnibus of shorter sci-fi novels, August will have a collection of sci-fi stories, September should be Tritium Blaze. For October we’re targetting another omnibus, this one of earlier thrillers, November another sci-fi stories collection, and December will be book three of the Morgenfeld fantasy series, The Black Chimneys in Atterton.

That’s it. A big year that will push me out there into some areas that challenge me.

Exciting times.

Gearing up for a busy writing (and music) year.

After a year of being almost in stasis, of stumbling and letting things slide, focus feels like it is returning.

I knew I would be more focused this year, but then Dean Wesley Smith offered a publishing challenge. I signed up. Nothing will motivate me more than having to report in monthly. I had already planned to release a piece of writing each month, but this ups the ante with each monthly item having to be a novella (20,000 words plus), a novel, a collection of stories (minimum five) or an omnibus of novels.

That’s a level up from where I was heading – I was aiming for four novels, and eight stories. Maybe putting out a story collection later in the year.

Now, I did  put out four novels last year.

But it was a bit haphazard. There were a couple of standalone stories in the mix too. This year I’ll be scheduling everything. Doing preorders (hoping I can figure out how to get the paperback to run as a preorder on Amazon, rather than just dropping the moment I complete the uploads).

I’m formally beginning the challenge from May (I have some travel and other commitments through to April), but I’m still sticking with the release per month schedule from January on to April anyway. Targeting the last day of the month. The first is available for preorder now – the short sci-fi thriller “Life Span” (short as in sixty odd pages). I’ll do a proper promo post on that soon.

Life Span

Life Span will be out on January 31, and the preorder will be pretty wide shortly. Here’s the blurb

Cody Albine watches as her elegant and well-organized presentation collapses. Right in front of her last chance at getting corporate funding for the project of a lifetime. Her absolute passion.

But hope lies with her friends. It might take compromise, but a little compromise between friends never goes astray.

A short biological sci fi thriller with a heart. From the author of Overrun and L-Own.

 

I’m also putting some focus back on getting music out.  Some few of you may know that I make electronic music as Venus Vulture.

Chelden River Suite 2

For the last few years I’ve still been making music, but letting it linger on the hard drive. Some I’ve been sharing with Kendall, my collaborator from December Nightskies. We release music as Shadows on the Snow.

Even that has slowed down a bit.

So, my challenge this year is to get some music fragments to Kendall each month to see if we can do some Shadows on the Snow releases.

I’m also taking on getting a new Venus Vulture album out every three months. It’s not like there’s a shortage of music (either in the world or on my hard drive), but the act of getting the music out there takes some focus for me.

Chelden River Suite, a four part album, is already up and available at Bandcamp, again as a preorder for full release on (you guessed it) January 31.

I’m also figuring out reactivating venusvulture.com. After all, I’m paying for that URL.

 

Add to that keeping this site active, posting weekly at prowriterswriting.com, staying fit and healthy, a little travel, a WorldCon to attend and everything else that keeps us going, I think it will be a pretty fine year.

The Billows of Sarto, in The Year’s Best Aotearoa New Zealand Science Fiction & Fantasy

yearsbestanzsff_1_frontcoverI’m honoured to have my story “The Billow of Sarto” appear in the just-released Year’s Best Aotearoa New Zealand Science Fiction & Fantasy from Paper Road Press. My, I’m in some good company there; quite humbled really. This is my first story in a “Year’s Best” anywhere (though I’ve had a few nods in those “Honorable Mentions” or “Suggested Reading” pages at the back of other volumes, which has been nice).

Paper Road Press is doing great stuff with New Zealand science fiction. Marie Hodgkinson, the publisher, does awesome work and brings a lot of wonderful energy to her projects. This is the first New Zealand year’s best anthology.

asimovs march april 2018The stories have all appeared previously in venues such as Strange HorizonsClarkesworldLandfall and so on. “The Billows of Sarto” first appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction, in the March/April 2018 issue.

Numerous people I know in person here – Octavia Cade, A.J. Fitzwater, Andi Buchanan, Mark English, M. Darusha Wehm. I was even on a panel at a con a few years ago with Marie, who was already doing great work with Paper Road Press.

And, if you happen to have published something during 2019, Paper Road Press is taking submissions for the 2020 volume. Details here: https://paperroadpress.co.nz/years-best/

Full contents:

“We Feed the Bears of Fire and Ice”, by Octavia Cade (originally published in Strange Horizons)

“A Most Elegant Solution”, by M. Darusha Wehm (originally published in Terraform)

“Girls Who Do Not Drown”, by Andi Buchanan (originally published in Apex Magazine)

“Logistics”, by A.J. Fitzwater (originally published in Clarkesworld)

“The Billows of Sarto”, by Sean Monaghan (originally published in Asimov’s Science Fiction)

“A Brighter Future”, by Grant Stone (originally published in Cthulhu: Land of the Long White Cloud (IFWG))

“The People Between the Silences”, by Dave Moore (originally published in Landfall)

“Common Denominator”, by Melanie Harding-Shaw (originally published in Wild Musette Journal)

“Te Ika”, by J.C. Hart (originally published in Cthulhu: Land of the Long White Cloud (IFWG))

“Trees”, by Toni Wi (originally published in Breach)

“The Garden”, by Isabelle McNeur (originally published in Wizards in Space)

“Mirror Mirror”, by Mark English (originally published in Abyss & Apex)

“The Glassblower’s Peace”, by James Rowland (originally published in Aurealis Magazine)

Cover art by Emma Weakley

(I couldn’t find links for some of the authors – let me know if they have pages and I’ll update here).

Thanks too, to editor Sheila Williams of Asimov’s who published the story in the first place.

____

This is my first post here for a while. I’ve been away traveling (aka research for writing), in Papua New Guinea, South Korea and Taiwan. Eye-opening, let me tell you. What wonderful places. I did get a lot of writing done while I was away – on my little phone/mini-bluetooth keyboard set-up. I’ll post on that sometime soon.

I did manage to get ahead on posts for the Pro Writers Writing website, so managed to keep my responsibility there ticking over for while I was away, without having to worry.

The Sunday Star Times contest is on again. Egregious rules once more. I’m not bothering to post this year, but I’ve added a note to previous years’ posts – like this one – about that. Those posts continue to be my most popular around this time of year. I suspect just from people who want to enter and are looking for the rules and how big the prizes are, rather than those figuring out that the terms are less than fair. That’s okay.

New Release in December

Morgenfeld, a vast city-building, deep in a fantasy world not too far removed from our own, moves to the whims of a different set of rules.

Right now we’re targetting the release of the second volume in the Morgenfeld series for December 15th.

 

The Stairs at Cronnenwood brings new challenges for Cole and Dana as thieves pull off a daring raid on the Map Archive.

Following The Mapmaker of Morgenfeld this new book explores and deepens the swirling complex world that is Morgenfeld. A near-endless fantasy city-building with entire communities hidden away, secret sections and a ruling dynasty that stretches back thousands of years.

Preorder of the book will be up from November 15th. Soon before, we’ll have a free download of a Morgenfeld short story, “The Rocking Horse Mystery”.
Covers are by way of example only final art will be confirmed in November.
Book 1, The Mapmaker of Morgenfeld is available in print and as an ebook from the usual outlets. Cover art update coming soon.

I’m thinking I’ll start writing the third book while I’m traveling in September and October. I wrote the first when we traveled to Easter Island, the Atacama desert and the Galapagos a couple of years ago. Travel to different places definitely stimulates my imagination for the strangeness of Morgenfeld. I’m relatively well-traveled, but Papua New Guinea, Korea and Taiwan should be plenty strange for a someone who lives in a relatively western culture.

Gold-Embers-originalOh, while I’m writing here: Also out soon, on September 2nd, is Gold Embers, book three of The Chronicles of the Donner. Middle Grade SF: action and adventure with a heart. The final secrets of Ludelle reveal themselves in stunning ways. If the survivors of the Donner can figure them out.
If you want a taste of Ludelle and the characters, try out “Trapped”, a short story set there. Matti-Jay and Dub find themselves in a sudden fight for survival. Write to me and I’ll send you over an ebook version.

Sometime I’ll figure out how to integrate this Mailchimp thing into the website and create a proper mailing list.
Thanks for reading.