My story “Low Arc” wins a prize.

Jim Baen Memorial Writing Contest
Though some of you already know, I’m still thrilled to announce that my short story “Low Arc” has won the Grand Prize in the 2014 Jim Baen Memorial Writing Contest.

The contest is sponsored by Baen books in conjunction with the National Space Society to celebrate the role science fiction plays in advancing science.

The brief is to write a short story that shows the near future (no more than about 50-60 years out) of manned space exploration. I stuck my guy on the moon, with an orbitting Orion capsule, and a busted up lander. And I got to use the very cool word “pericynthion” (which I learned during reading up and preparing the story).

So my next step is to get myself to L.A. in May to pick up the trophy, and, as part of the prize, attend the 2014 International Space Development Conference. Very excited.

800 – published in Black Denim Lit

Black Denim Lit March 2014 My short story “800″ is now out in the March 2014 issure of Black Denim Lit. This is free to read online. It’s a 3000 word sci-fi/literary tale about ageing and generation gaps. Nothing too serious. Here’s how it starts:
___________________________

Today my daughter is turning 769. July 16th. It might not seem like a milestone–no easily divisible figure like 750 or 777–but it is.

For me, at least.

Mary was born when I was a couple of months shy of my 31st birthday. This coming September I will turn 800.

__________________________

Keep reading here: 800

Changing Modes

DSCN2859b small Last night I finished the draft of my first novel of the year.

That’s change mode number one. For the previous twelve-plus months I’ve been focusing on short stories so have mostly been writing in the 3000 to 10,000 word range.

Writing a sustained story that’s 60,000 words long takes a different kind of process. Glad I did Dean Wesley Smith’s Pacing Workshop (non-affiliate link!) over summer. That gave me a whole new way to approach a novel.

Change mode two: once I finished the novel I got started on a literary short story. Each year in New Zealand there are a couple of big literary contests and I make sure I enter both. One of them has a prize of $10,000 – seriously! I guess my chances are about 1/10,000, but that’s better than that Lotto thing and I still get to send off my story to other markets when it doesn’t win (one of last year’s entries has just been accepted for Takahe, a NZ literary magazine, yay).

So I went from the validation at the end of that sixty thousand word hard sci-fi novel to the opening of what will be a 3000 word piece focused on language and character more than action and wonder. I hope I can pull it off.

And, yes. I got started on the story as soon as I finished the novel. I saved the file called “pirates 25 2 2014″ and created a new file called “the accident 25 2 2014″ and began typing. Some writers apparently take a week off after finishing a novel. Nice for some, I guess. I want to capitalise on that momentum and carry on with writing. Anyway, I have a daily word count goal to hit.

Oh, that busy bee in the sunflower? Just last week in the garden. Summer is really giving us a scorcher for the moment. I know most of you are practically snowbound at the moment – I hope the pic gives you some cheer.

Jim Baen Memorial Writing Contest 2014

jbmwc2014finalistsI’m thrilled to be joining a group of esteemed writers as a finalist in the Jim Baen Memorial Writing Contest 2014. Amazing to see my name on that list.

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.

Best of luck to everyone.

Blood Relation – sci fi story in Outposts of Beyond

outposts3 My science fiction short story “Blood Relation” has just come out in the January issue of Outposts of Beyond. Sally’s waiting on her brother Bevan to decide whether to donate a kidney. On an asteroid belt-based space station running on limited resources it’s not an easy call for either kid. I’m still waiting on my copy, but it looks like a bunch of interesting stories in there. It’s available in print from the Alban Lake Store for $8.

Robert Silverberg and Asimov’s

Asimov's March 2014As a teen I devoured books by Robert Silverberg. The Man in the Maze, Those Who Watch, Downward to the Earth… the list goes on. I didn’t read everything – his output was prolific, I couldn’t even find them all – but his accessible, engaging, clever stories were a big part of making me want to be a writer. I’m sure many of my early tales were little more than awkward adolescent copies of his books.

Well, over time I guess I’ve found my own voice, and have published many stories along the way. Now, though, I’m thrilled to have achieved one of my dreams from those teenage years: a story published in Asimov’s Science Fiction. My novelette “Walking Gear” is in the March 2014 issue.

Not only that, but I’m sharing the contents page with Robert Silverberg.

Of course, Mr. Silverberg’s piece is his regular column, so getting a story in Asimov’s meant a fair chance of coinciding, but I still feel very honored. There are other luminaries in the issue too, like Mike Resnick, Ken Liu and Cat Rambo. Wow.

(Asimov’s on Kindle)

Quisic Smith and the Russian Puzzle Doll – fiction at Perihelion

Perihelion January 2014

Perihelion January 2014

Thrilled today to have my short story “Quisic Smith and the Russian Puzzle Doll” published in Perihelion’s January issue. This story’s a bit more light-hearted than a lot of my writing. It’s free to read online. Here’s how it starts out:

QUISIC MARCHED FOR THE back of the store. The credit bot followed at a safe distance, hovering above and behind, throwing out looping light tendrils as it checked the merchandise. One of the fluorescent tubes above the aisle flickered.

He had to find the doll set, and quickly. Trawler Cooper needed it today, and Quisic needed the payday. He was going to need more too, with the way the lawyers were fleecing him.

“Try Lavendish Mango for men,” one of the bracket displays advised him. It gave an aerosol burst of a woody-fruity scent. “Impress the girls.”

keep reading at Perihelion…

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