My short story “Arms Wide” has just come out in the latest (Spring 2013) issue of Landfall (Spring here in the southern hemisphere, though it’s summer already). I feel chuffed about this one – I’ve been submitting to Landfall for years. It’s the longest running literary journal in New Zealand and sets the bar pretty high, so getting a story in there makes me feel like I’m heading in the right direction.
There’s no online version, but I will publish the story for Kindle, Nook, etc. sometime during next year as a stand-alone.
Here’s the opening:
The first time my daughter stole a car, her mother acted with an indifference I should have expected. Julie, my daughter, was seventeen, and the car was a 1993 Subaru with every kind of trim, accessory and modification you could imagine. The thing had lights under the chassis to shine on the road.
“Listen, Trevor,” Amy – Julie’s mother – told me from her apartment in Omaha, “I’m fifteen thousand miles away. What can I do? Let her grow up.”
“She’ll go to jail,” I said.
“Blah, blah, blah.” Amy hung up.
Julie didn’t go to jail, but, you know, it was close. Real close.
“Maybe you should go live with Mom?” I said, back at home after the hearing. She’d escaped conviction, but was on some kind of a watchlist that I didn’t understand.
“Yeah,” Julie said. She smiled and gave me a kiss on the cheek. “That’s really gonna happen.”
A while ago I wrote a longish short story (8400 words), science fiction, set well into the future and sent it off to all the appropriate pro markets. It came back each time, sometimes with a form rejection, sometimes with a little personal note but still a rejection. So I’m putting it up through my own Triple V imprint with some trepidation.
You see, it’s about an astronaut running out of air. I haven’t seen Gravity yet, but the previews seem to have given the game away a bit too much (I’m going over the weekend so I’ll know more by Monday). I know my story’s very different from the movie (near-future vs. far future, international space station vs. space wreck, near-Earth-orbit vs. light years away, George Clooney vs. minor character, etc.), but still kind of feel like I’m ripping off the trope a bit, even though I wrote this before I’d even heard about Gravity.
Still, to assuage that guilt a fraction, for readers of this blog/facebook post, here’s a code to get it free. (I know there aren’t many of you, but feel free to pass the code on… it expires in a month anyway: Gravity will be fading from the theatres and I will feel less guilty).
Go to the ebook at Smashwords and enter the code FY77L. You have to be a member of Smashwords, but I think most of you are already. Let me know if not – I’ll send you the epub or mobi or whatever. You can preview 20% anyway with or without joining.
Promotional price: $0.00
Coupon Code: FY77L
Expires: November 24, 2013
It’s also on Kindle, and will show up on Nook, Sony, etc. soon.
Here’s the opening:
Clare Benjamin knew she had three minutes to live. The suit’s oxygen gauge read eighteen liters, atmospheric effective. Fifty breaths. She was already on the emergency tank.
She gave the strobe a flash and saw the way ahead. Conduits and wires. Some of them were damaged, pointing stiff and sharp edges into the narrow passages.
Behind the conduits the pressure walls might be intact. Probably were. She’d felt a thrumming in the hull when she’d pulled herself along through the evacuated hold. Somewhere inside there was an engine running. It might just be some automatic function, but it might also be a converter sustaining atmosphere to some sections of the wrecked ship. If she could get inside an atmospheric room, then she could buy some time to figure out her next move.
“You find it yet?” Suz said through the comms.
Clare pulled herself along another meter in the darkness. She fired the strobe again. The gap looked even more vicious up close. Like the serrated jaw of a deep sea monster ready to ingest her.
“Clare? You got an exit yet?”
“I’m here. No. I didn’t find it.” Suzanne Memphis was waiting outside the liner in their eighty ton tender, the Mercy Me.
“You need to move, girl.”
“Oh? Thanks for the reminder.” Two months ago, they’d been salvaging from The New Jersey, a station at Cannon’s Star, busted and orbiting Cooltown, the system’s biggest gas giant. The station had been shut down by its owners. Suz and Clare’s clients had lost all their personal property being shipped through. Suz had gotten herself lost. The memory still made Clare blanch.
Here’s what happened on my break away from just about everything electronic:
* Eleven rejection letters. Two personal (one from TOR, which almost feels like a handshake and a congratulations, without any monetary exchange).
* One acceptance.
* One publication (see below).
* An Honorable Mention for Writers of the Future Q3 (though I didn’t get listed on the page [because I was away when Joni emailed and she didn't get a reply]. * I’ll take a photo of me holding the certificate when it arrives just to prove that one).
* Stood, once again, on the edge of the Grand Canyon.
* Found my favorite diner has closed and been boarded up.
* Arrived home to thunderous downpours after 30 days of virtually no rain in the American south west. Kind of want to be back in Phoenix.
New story – “Let’s Go Find Karl” in The Colored Lens.
The Colored Lens have published a few of my stories now, the latest, which came out while I was away, is in the Autumn 2013 issue. It’s available for
My dieselpunk story “Memory Book” has just come out in the online speculative magazine Fiction Vortex. It’s been a while since I’ve published any ‘punk’ – mostly I’ve been writing straight sci-fi and literary pieces.
This one’s got a giant seaplane, an invading army and a little piece of ancient, lost technology.
Candace watched the big plane arc around the outside of the bay. Up on Rothan Promontory, the highest point overlooking the village, the breeze carried to her the heady sweet smell of pollen from the ocean of flowers that covered the hill between the rocky crest and the sand of the beach below. Spring had come in warm and bountiful; the flowers were blooming and the orchards, if the weather kept up like this, were going to bear a vast crop of fruit.
My story “Stone 382″ has just been published in the August issue of Perihelion Science Fiction – you can read it online for free (though you can donate at the site: they’ve already paid me for the story). This story was an honorable mention in Writers of the Future Q1, so it’s cool to see it published.
Here’s the opening:
“We’ve got a vessel incoming,” Jimmy said.
Keith saw him reach towards his console glass and tap it. Keith wished the kid wouldn’t do that. It was a nervous habit that was just irritating. Mostly Keith liked Jimmy, but sometimes his little habits annoyed him more than they should. Twenty-three years old, fresh out of training, and cocky. Too long cooped up in the tiny stations.
Halfway through the year and I’m halfway through my wordcount goal: 250,000 new words written from January first through to June thirtieth (251,055 according to the spreadsheet). This means just another quarter million by December thirty-first to hit that half-million word goal.
I’m writing fast and learning heaps as I go. In general I think my stories are getting better (sometimes it feels like I’ve written a dud, but usually I feel better about the next one).
No novels this year – that’s all short/long stories. Next year will be the year of the novel(s) – aiming for the same word count, but far fewer stories and getting those new novels and sequels written (yes, finally I will get The Deluge: The Hidden Dome part 2 published).
At the moment I’ve got more than forty stories circulating around publishers and that’s getting a bit unweildy, so I’m going to pull that back to about 10 as they filter back and self/indie publish the others as I go.
So far I’ve published 150,000 new words for 2013 (in various guises, under various pen names), and about 30,000 of those have been published in magazines (most of whom have paid actual money), and the rest is self/indie-published. I have several unpublished works (including novels) that need some proofing, correcting and so on. I have a different pattern of time availability coming up in a couple of weeks: I should be able to start getting to those then.
And right now I’m taking Dean Wesley Smith’s online lecture on pen names – I might just be shifting all those nom-de-plume stories over to reside under the Sean Monaghan byline (like those Len Stone stories I’ve been secretly publishing for a while now).
The issue, edited by Stephen Higgins, includes a story by Sophie Masson, an article on Kim Wilkins by Kate Forsyth, Carissa’s Weblog by Carissa Thorp as well as numerous reviews. It available now through the Aurealis website. The magazine is a $2.99 download, or $19.99 for a twelve month subscription.
Genn’s stuck in a spaceship with more questions than answers. He remembers an accident, but no one on board is giving him a straight answer. And the kernel that’s supposed to be helping him recover seems helpful, but does more deflecting than anything.
They had given Genn the kernel right after the operation, when he was still feeling somewhat woozy and disoriented. This was in April, a month and a half before departure. The kernel was the shape and colour of a single corn seed: deep yellow at the broad end, tapering to a white tip. It was the size of grapefruit, occupying, when he held it—as he often did—the whole of the palm of his hand.
‘It will help you through the transition,’ the medical team had told him.
‘Transition to what?’ he’d asked, but they had just smiled and left him in the post-op room with the sounds of the rattling hospital for company. There might have been an accident. He remembered Janice yelling at him on the freeway. Was it a transition to a life without a
‘Transition,’ the kernel said, ‘through the light barrier.’