Tag Archives: short story

Crimson Birds of Small Miracles now available as a standalone ebook, and in print

asimovs-cover-jan-2016

So, this is my little story. This is the one that pushed me out of the Writers of the Future Contest.

That contest is for non-professional writers. The contest rules, as with the Science Fiction Writers of America, count professional as three professional sales. Professional as in rates from (I think) six cents per word. That’s venues like Asimov’s, Analog, Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, Clarkesworld, Fantasy and Science Fiction, and numerous others.

With Writers of the Future, you are allowed to enter until the publication of your fourth professional story.

I had been a finalist in the contest, once, and a semi-finalist three times. That’s kind of cool. Finalist is top eight, semi is top sixteen. Apparently they receive thousands of entries.

Along the way, I had three stories published in Asimov’s. “Walking Gear”, “The Molenstraat Music Festival” and “Wakers”. Honored and surprised and probably proud that I’d achieved that. Thank you, Sheila Williams, for your faith in my stories.

As I went I continued to enter the contest.

Then I got a fourth acceptance from Asimov’s.

That would put an end to my career as a serial Writer’s of the Future entrant. It’s run four times a year, and I entered in twenty-six consective quarters (I think, I’m not sure of the exact count).

With that acceptance, I had three entries left. Just. The story came out in January 2017, and I submitted my last entry in December 2016.

I didn’t win.

But the cool thing – very cool, in fact so cool I’m still surprised – was that this story, the one that meant I would never win Writers of the Future, went on to win a couple of awards itself. It took New Zealand’s Sir Julius Vogel Award for best science fiction story 2017, and it won the Asimov’s Readers’ Poll for best short story of 2017.

I kind of like that, without blowing my own trumpet too much (or have I already done that?).

Isn’t there a saying that when one door closes, another opens? I feel as if that’s what’s happened here.

Oh, it was also the cover story. I know plenty of you have had cover stories, but this was my first ever and that’s as overwhelming as anything.

Also cool, I just discovered that the previous story of mine in Asimov’s, “Wakers” got listed among the Honorable Mentions in the late Gardner Doizois’s Best Science Fiction 2016. It’s a long (long) list, in a huge book, but still, that’s kind of heartwarming.

Gardner’s passing leaves a huge hole in the science fiction world. I never had the opportunity to meet him, but I feel it. Go well.

crimson birds ebook cover smCrimson Birds of Small Miracles is now available in print and ebook.

The cover is by the marvelous artist Maurizio Manzieri, who also painted the cover for the Asimov’s issue where the story first appeared. I’ll write another post about that, I think. This is already too long.

ebook, $2.99: Smashwords, Kindle
print book, $5.99: Amazon

Thanks for reading.

If you’d like a free copy, comment here and I’ll send you a coupon for smashwords.

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My story “Crimson Birds of Small Miracles” wins the Sir Julius Vogel Award

asimovs-cover-jan-2016
A few weeks back I mentioned that I was honoured to be a finalist for New Zealand’s Sir Julius Vogel Award in short story category, for my Asimov’s story “Crimson Birds of Small Miracles”.
Well it turns out that, ahem, another small miracle has occurred; the story won the award. I’m amazed and surprised. The other stories on the ballot (at least those I had the chance to read) were excellent, and the authors of those stories read like a who’s-who of New Zealand science fiction: Grace Bridges, A.J. Fitzwater, Andi Buchanan, Octavia Cade.smFront-v5

Yeah.

With other commitments, I was elsewhere during the presentations, but I thank Lee Murray for collecting the award and reading my little speech.
This is my third time on the final ballot, so it’s heartening to pick up a win.
My congratulations to the other winners – a full list here: SJV Winners 2018.
Great to see some others I know in there: Darian, Dan and Lee, and Grace, but well done all.

sjv winners 1

I will be publishing the story as a standalone ebook (and print) in the near future, with a wonderful alternative cover by Maurizio Manzieri.
And, while I’m sharing good news, I have signed the contract for another story, titled “Ventiforms”, set in the same universe, which will be coming out in Asimov’s either later this year or early next year. More news on that closer to the time.

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Asimov’s Readers’ poll.

asimovs-cover-jan-2016Asimov’s Science Fiction hold reader polls each year – where readers get the chance to vote for their favorite story from the past year’s issues.

I’m honored that my story “Crimson Birds of Small Miracles” is a finalist in the short story category. Amazed really.

The full list of finalists, in all categories is on the Asimov’s website.

The story is also a finalist in New Zealand’s Sir Julius Vogel Awards, so I’m doubly honored.

And, triply cool is that the fabulous cover image by artist Maurizio Manzieri for the story is also a finalist in the Asimov’s Awards. I’ll be releasing the story later in the year as a standalone ebook, with an alternative illustration that Maurizio has graciously licensed to me.

Exciting times. Fingers crossed.

___________

As a bonus, most of the stories are available for a limited time to read online for free at the site.

The Billows of Sarto – new short story in Asimov’s

asimovs march april 2018I probably wax on about my teenage dream of getting published in Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine. This month marks the publication of my fifth story there, in the March-April 2018 issue. I’m humbled every time. That my little ol’ story gets such an honor.

Without giving too much away, “The Billows of Sarto” is set in an dormant volcanic crater, teeming with forest life and hotpools, on a far away planet (isn’t science fiction cool – I get such a fun playground). There’s an interview around somewhere with me (I’ll link to it once I find it!), but one of the questions was about my inspiration for the story.

Well, I do like volcanoes. Growing up in New Zealand, they’re all over. On a clear day, with a bit of elevation, you can see two from my hometown – Taranaki and Ruapehu.

I’ve also been lucky enough to visit volcanoes in other parts of the world too, from the volcanic plugs of the Glass House Mountains in Queensland Australia, to Rano Kau on Easter Island to Mt Fuji in Japan (well in the distance from a train).

One of my favourite places is Crater Lake National Park in Oregon. This is a genuine collapse caldera, where part of the mountain has dropped into the magma chamber (if I have those processes right). A smaller cone has even developed inside the caldera.

(photographs by Diana Monaghan – when I was there I was so in love with the place I forgot to take any. Excuse the bluriness – not Mum’s fault: mine. I photographed her photos with my phone. Sheesh).

It was fun to write the story, taking those places and reinventing them, with new ecologies and geothermal systems and, I hope, interesting characters.

Oh, it also turns out that my last story for Asimov’s, “Crimson Birds of Small Miracles”, is also a finalist in the Asimov’s  Annual Readers’ Award Poll, short story category, which is quite an honor. Maurizio’s wonderful cover art is also a finalist in the art category. Feels like that’ll need a longer post soon.

Te Kōrero Ahi Kā – To Speak of the Home Fires Burning

KoreroAhiKa-FrontCoverI have a story the new New Zealand speculative fiction anthology Te Kōrero Ahi Kā –  To Speak of the Home Fires Burning. Edited by Grace Bridges, Lee Murray and Aaron Compton.

This is a wonderful collection, and I’m thrilled to be included. There are familiar names, and some new names, which is always good.

The publisher, SpecFicNZ, exists to promote and support speculative writers in New Zealand.

I haven’t read all the stories yet, but I do like Mark English’s story especially. Despite having been writing for, well, many years now, this is the first time I’ve been in an anthology with so many people I actually know and have met in person, and consider friends.

My own story, “Dance, Tiny Particles, Dance” had an interesting genesis, dating back a couple of years when I went to enter the Gernsback Amazing Stories contest. I wrote the story, then went back to the contest guidelines and realized that, happy as I was with the story, I’d strayed significantly. (I wrote another story, which actually co-won the contest – it’s available to read for free here: “Penny of Tharsis Montes” at the Amazing Stories site).

I’m pleased that the story has found a home, especially pleased that it’s here in New Zealand too. That’s kind of cool.

Te Kōrero Ahi Kā is available directly from Amazon, and other online retailers, and should show up in local bookshops pretty soon.

KoreroAhiKa-3D

New story in Perihelion

asteroid jumpers thumbMy story “If You’re Listening, We’re Going to Try Something” will appear in the May 12th issue of Perihelion. “If You’re Listening…” features characters from my novel Asteroid Jumpers. (Which has a fabulous cover by Innovari/Luca Oleastri)

I’ve had a story set in a novel universe come out before (“Scour” in New Myths, is set in the world of my Karnish River Navigations novels), but “If You’re Listening…” is the first to include characters from the actual novel.

Trapped aboard the Zadie Captain Arlon Stoddard and navigator Eva Strong must make instant decisions if they’re going to get to safety.

The story is free to read at Perihelion.

Crimson Birds of Small Miracles – story in January/February Asimov’s

asimovs-cover-jan-2016My story “Crimson Birds of Small Miracles” is out now in the January-February issue of Asimov’s Science Fiction. 2017 marks the 40th year of Asimov’s. I’m honored to be included, and extra-honored to have my story illustrated for the cover with wonderful art by Maurizio Manzieri.

C.J. Penn does everything he can for his ailing daughter, including traveling across worlds in search of relief from her symptoms. When they find the opportunity to witness the displays of Shilinka Switalla’s crimson birds, Penn leaps at the opportunity.

The issue should be out in bookstores now, and it’s also available as an ebook from Amazon, Barnes and Noble and others.

Maurizio was kind enough to share with me (and grant permission for me to share here), the original image and his study work for the birds themselves. I’m thrilled with these. The images capture the story so well.