Following two anthologies from the Future Finalists collective – 1st and Starlight (edited by Sky McKinnon), and 2nd and Starlight (edited by Dustin Adams), the esteemed Dr. Robert Finegold has rounded up a gaggle of us Future Finalists to produce a third volume.
“THE STARLIGHT ANTHOLOGIES seek to provide readers edgy new voices in science fiction and fantasy. Stories to amaze, delight, and touch the heart.
In 3rd and Starlight you’ll find stories by Hugo and Campbell award nominee Kary English, Aurealis award winner Nick T. Chan, and Jim Baen Short Story award winner Sean Monaghan, and more. All our authors are also winners, finalists, or semifinalists in the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest – the tourney field where most of our bards and storytellers first met…”
There’s a kickstarter campaign to promote the anthology, with rewards that include some of my ebook novels – Arlchip Burnout, Athena Setting and Asteroid Jumpers.
There’s also a mini interview with me on the kickstarter page where I spout probably little more than nonsense. Still, thanks for the interview Dr Finegold.
The Future Finalists group is a bunch of us who’ve made headway in the Writers of the Future contest – a mix of finalists and semi-finalists. Some have been in the Writers of the Future anthology as published finalist, and some (myself included) are no longer eligible for the contest having “pro-ed out”, by selling several stories to professional publishers.
I have made my final entry into the Writers of the Future Contest. For the last five years I’ve entered every quarter, but with my forthcoming story in January’s issue of Asimovs, my eligibility comes to an end.
Writers of the Future is perhaps the premier writing contest for non-professional speculative writers.
I’ve been a finalist, and I’ve had straight rejections. My tally over more than twenty entries also includes numerous honorable mentions, a silver honorable mention and three semi-finalist placings. So often feeling so close.
I felt a bit sad clicking ‘submit’ with my final entry. This thing is over. I have numerous friends who’ve won the competition and been published in the anthology. I would have liked to join them (well, I still have this one last shot, right?).
Flipside: I feel elated. I wouldn’t be losing eligibility if I hadn’t been having success with my writing. And I wouldn’t be having success if I hadn’t been tenacious. Taking those non-winning stories (and other stories) and sending them to other markets. Writing and learning and sending off and writing some more.
Now of course, I have my sights on some other prizes and awards. Aim high.
To round out a busy month of publications, my story “Ink for a Verbal Contract” is out now and available to read for free in James Gunn’s Ad Astra, together with a gorgeous illustration from Susan Nicolai.
This story goes back a long way. Once upon a time, it was a finalist (my one and only) in the Writers of the Future contest. So it came close. I’m just about to pro-out of the contest (it’s open only to non-professional writers and I’m soon to be considered professional), so it’s cool to see this story published.
With that, this story was my baby, in a way, a cherished one. I was not about to let it vanish, so it’s stayed on the submission rounds, and I’m pleased to have it in Ad Astra (my second story with them, after Mars Bomb Bound for Titan a couple of years back).
I also need to acknowledge my friend Monique Bowers for her invaluable feedback when I first drafted the story. Thanks Monique!
Ink for a Verbal Contract
by Sean Monaghan
Gemma felt the pain right away. She sighed, stretching, angling her limbs and hips, trying to find a more comfortable position. She blinked, looking at the Arhend side table strewn with folders.
Her Gadjet saw that she was awake and sat up, a message flashing on the screen. Alex had called during the night, and the Gadjet had let her sleep, waiting until now to show the message.
“Good results here,” the message said. “Promising prospects. Call you later on.”
Some years ago I was a finalist in the Writers of the Future contest (WOTF).
Since that time I’ve entered every quarter. I’ve had numerous Honorable Mentions and a Semi-Finalist placing. Never made it to that lauded “Finalist” again though.
Now I find myself creeping closer to pro-ing out. The contest is open to non-professional writers only, professional being counted as more than three pro-rate sales. With this August’s issue of Asimov’s I’ll have my third pro sale publication. One more after (or before) that and I’ll no longer be eligible for WOTF. I wonder how many more quarters I’ll be able enter.
In the meantime, the WOTF organization sent me this nice badge (thanks Joni). I figure I’d better display it. It might be my highest WOTF accolade.
My short story “Salazar” has just come out in Perihelion, January 2015 issue. Aura’s got a mission in the sliceworlds, to track down Gideon, but it turns out Gideon might not even be the man he seems.
AURA STEPPED FROM THE SHADOWS, feeling the shimmer off her steppingcloak glide and fade into the air behind. The brickwork wall loomed over her as she trudged through moonlight beginning her search for Gideon.
This was an unfamiliar realslice. She could sense cats, and baking. Stepping into the slices often reminded her of Middle Eastern countries. Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan. Cooking smells and shouting and animals lurking, usually blasting horns from distant traffic, but it was quieter here.
For those who are interested, this story was my first semi-finalist in the Writers of the Future contest. I’m glad it’s found a home.
There are a few names I know there, and some dark horses. Some have been finalists in the Writers of the Future contest and others have been place getters in the Jim Baen contest previously (including myself in both of those categories). I do feel humbled being among such luminaries as Brad R. Torgersen (Writers of the Future winner, Hugo, Nebula and Campbell award nominee), Martin L. Shoemaker (stories in Analog and Galaxy’s Edge, and forthcoming in Gardner Dozios’s Year’s Best Science Fiction), Marina J. Lostetter (Writers of the Future winner [in the same quarter when I was a finalist, grrr], stories in Galaxy’s Edge, Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show). Sheesh, I need to stop now, after all there are only three podium places.
Not only did I learn I hadn’t placed in Writers of the Future, I got three other rejection slips in the mail. All form rejections. Still that means that those stories can all go out to other editors who might like them. So that’s what I did. Sent them out. Within an hour or so I had my list back up to twenty live submissions.
Then, as I sent off that last one, some good news. An acceptance. Yay. It is in a no-payment, no-copy anthology so it stokes just my ego, but by then it was in need of a little stoking.
And it got a little better too – with some new music accepted for release on Zenapolae. More on that in another post. Right now I’m getting back to writing the next story.
With good cheer I can say that I missed the cut for a top three placing in the Writers of the Future. While I would love to have won, it still feels like I’m on the way and writing at a level that I’ve been striving for over many years. And there will be other competitions. I have an entry in for the third quarter and am in the process of writing the next one for the fourth quarter (WotF is a quarterly contest).
Nice to see another New Zealander there in the list. Well done Stacey. I’ve never met her (NZ isn’t that tiny), but she’s a pretty good writer – check out some of her stories: Waiting for the Apocalypse at Eschatology and; Back in My Day at Daily Science Fiction. (There are other New Zealanders on the list from time to time – John Harper a couple of times, Samuel Mae and, I’m guessing, others. Yay for us).
As for that story of mine that didn’t place? I’ve submitted it to a magazine. It can take its chances in the big wide world.
I’m a finalist in the Writers of the Future contest. There’s a press release about the current finalists, and that’s my name right there amongst them. Me. Wow. I’m feeling stunned by the news. There is still that next big hurdle – to actually win one of the prizes (and I’m not holding my breath; so often I have been “the bridesmaid and never the bride”) – but it feels very encouraging. It’s as if I’m on the right track. Kind of like how excited I was to get a personal rejection from Asimov’s. It wasn’t an acceptance, but I got a sense of having jumped up a notch.
If I don’t win one of the top prizes, I’ll enter again, and keep entering until I’m no longer eligible* Writing fiction at this level has been a long time goal and it’s good to see that I’m going in the right direction.
In other news, my current total word count for the year is just about to hit the quarter million mark. 249,224. I’m coming to the end of this round of tutoring, which does slow the writing a little. My regular daily goal is 1000 words (you can see I average more), but during tutoring that’s slowed to an average of just under 300 (lowest day: 132, but I did get through a bunch of marking). You know what, though? Today, even with tutoring, I’m going to do at least 776 words and hit that quarter million word milestone.
Best of luck to the other finalists. (and thanks for your message, Martin).
*From the rules: the Contest is open only to those who have not professionally published a novel or short novel, or more than one novelette, or more than three short stories, in any medium. Professional publication is deemed to be payment, and at least 5,000 copies, or 5,000 hits. Despite my string of publications, I only have one at that professional level – a children’s radio story broadcast in New Zealand many years ago. Believe me, I’m working hard at getting more and, while I’d love to win Writers of the Future, I’d love to become ineligible too.