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
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.
I’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.
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.
As 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.
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…
My hard sci-fi story “Aerobrake” is out now in the Winter 2014 issue of The Colored Lens. The story’s mostly set in low Earth orbit. Claire’s about to call it a day repairing satellites when she gets a distress call. Another tech, ship scraping the atmosphere, could use a hand. Here’s the opening:
The galaxy, for a moment, looked frozen. Claire’s ship pitched on its axis and she had a passing view of the stars in lockstep with her view through the forward windows. From orbit, especially this low, the distant blazing suns were always sweeping by. The ship’s current altitude, 326 kilometers, had her completing an orbit in just over ninety minutes.
The ranging radar pinged at her. She was less than thirty kilometers from the errant satellite. With a sweep on the controls, she swung the cockpit around on its internal gimbals. For a moment she was in darkness. Only another couple of hours and she would be done for the month. Back to Levithab for two weeks in the station’s gravity spin. After three months on call–basically meaning out all day every day–and a full week in the Demeter’s tiny cockpit and living quarters, she really needed a break. The ship was starting to feel dank and lived in, like old socks that needed a wash, rinse and airing.
The Colored Lens is published for Kindle – available at Amazon for $3.58. There are a whole bunch of stories in there – a really great magazine.