Half-year review

Well, I haven’t had much to say lately, which is fine. Very busy writing, naturally, just not so much on the blog/facebook, etc. Since the end of June has slipped by, I thought I’d do a quick review, as much for my benefit as anything.

A few publications around – “Salazar” in Perihelion, “Number Man” in SQ Mag, and “Concentration” in Landfall. It seems like a very slow year, but I’m focusing on two things: submitting to more pro and fewer semi-pro mags, and also writing fewer stories and more novels. This means there’s less stuff out there. I’ve had a few other acceptances, which I’ll announce when they arrive in stores.

Perihelionsq-mag-19-cover1LF229
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Music-wise, there have been some Shadows on the Snow releases and one Venus Vulture release.00_-_shadows_on_the_snow_400Mu cover 1Nudibranch on Zenapolae
I don’t think that’s all of them – I have trouble keeping up with Kendall and his sheer enthusiasm!

Check here for A Thousand Winters Against the World. Others can be found at archive.org, Bandcamp, Kruk Records and Zenapolae.
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With the self/indie-publishing, I’ve put up quite a few items, including three novels (one horror, one literary and one sci-fi). I’ve got a few more in various states of readiness (and some more in my head). These show up at smashwords, Amazon and other ebook/physical book retailers.
the room pod 6x9 5sw second run cover 3Arlchip Burnout cover 10 smallWalking Gear2b
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The business of writing-words on the page-has progressed well too. Despite a slower time while travelling in Japan, I’ve still completed a quarter million words for the first six months of the year. I guess that’s what writing every day (even while travelling) does.

Better yet, I’ve completed more words so far this year. That is, items proofed, corrected and formatted. Over 300,000 words. Over the past few years I’ve let some items sit around (including a 92,000 word novel), but I’m feeling more onto it this year. It’s all very well to write, but if it’s not finished and submitted/published then I’m not satisfied. It feels good to be getting some of last year’s (and the previous year’s) stories completed.

Similarly, I’ve published more – 340,000 words so far. Yes most of that is indie/self published. Likewise, it feels good to have the writing out there.

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For the next six months. More of the same. I’d like to get another five to seven novels out. I’ve promised readers The Eye book three in The Hidden Dome series, so I need to write that (I expect to finish the draft of the current novel in the next few days, then get to writing The Eye). I have a few other novels fully drafted, just needed that final tinkering. That does mean more proof-reading/reader feedback, and more formatting.

The main thing, though: I’m having a ball. Thanks for reading.

Walking Gear image © Artem Popov | Dreamstime.com
Arlchip Burnout image © Kuan Leong Yong | Dreamstime.com
Used with permission

Concentration in Landfall

LF229My story “Concentration” has just come out in print in the Autumn 2015 issue of Landfall.

Landfall is New Zealand’s longest running literary journal – around since 1947.

“Concentration” is a surreal dreamloop story about trying to reconnect to the world, while everyone around you is trying to disconnect… or something like that. It’s kind of a cross-over literary story, with hints of science fiction (I couldn’t resist, you know?).

Anyway, I’m thrilled to be in Landfall again, and pleased to be sharing the pages with the likes of Owen Marshall, Karen Zelas and Emma Neale.

Nudibranch – new ambient album on Zenapolæ

Nudibranch on Zenapolae

Nudibranch on Zenapolæ

No writing news lately, but the Zenapolæ netlabel has just released my Venus Vulture ambient album Nudibranch.

On a visit to the small but cool Santa Monica Aquarium, I saw these wonderful, graceful and peaceful creatures, drifting and swimming. Their langorous movements and transparent bodies inspired some tranquil music and I’m glad it’s found a home.

The cover is from a photo I took at the aquarium. These are Lion’s Mane nudibranches, one of dozens (well 2300 maybe) of species. Nudibranches are molluscs that shed their shells when they move into adulthood.

Fog – new album on Petroglyph Music

00_-_shadows_on_the_snow_400Petroglyph Music have just released the new Shadows on the Snow album, Fog. An hour of relaxed ambience. Free download from the Petroglyph Music site.

Shadows on the Snow is a collaborative music project with Kendall Keener (December Nightskies) and me (Venus Vulture).

This album is not to be confused with my literary short story “Fog”, published on Triple V Publishing, which has a somewhat similar cover.Image4

Number Man in SQMag

sq-mag-19-cover1My little story “Number Man” has just come out in the March issue of the SQ Mag, an Australian Spec Fic Magazine. The story, “charts the difficulties of life after prison, especially when your family got you put in there in the first place” (from Sophie’s introduction). It’s also described as Cyberpunk, but I hadn’t thought of that when I was writing it (did someone once say a writer is the worst judge of his own writing?). Anyway, it was a fun adventure to write, I hope it’s as much fun to read. There are some other cool stories in there too, and I do like that cover.

Salazar in Perihelion

Perihelion January 2015My 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.
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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.
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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.

2014 in review

2014 in review

2014 has been kind to me. I’ve acheived a couple of lifelong goals: having a story published in Asimov’s Science Fiction, and winning a writing competition – The Jim Baen Memorial Writing Contest.

I also wrote more than ever before. In 2012 I first took on measuring my output and writing every day. That year I managed around 507,000 words. 2013, still writing everyday, I hit 519,000. Last year I also made sure I only submitted stories to paying markets (that’s a long story for another time).

This year my current count is over 566,000 words and I might even hit 590,000. As well as the two pro “sales”, I sold numerous stories to semi-pro markets (some of these publishers have been very supportive as I’ve developed my writing: I have a soft-spot for them). The second half of the year has seen a slow-down on acceptances, but I keep writing new stories.

As well as numerous short stories and collections published indie, I managed to get out The Deluge, the sequel to The Tunnel in my Hidden Dome universe. Current writing plans have the third book The Eye out next year.

Speaking of next year: more focus on novels; more focus on getting things to publication; still writing every day; still learning about craft; more learning about business; less goofing off – I might have to give up a block of time to the new Tomb Raider game due out in 2015, but writing will still happen :-).

Overall a pretty good year (actually, an astoundingly good year). It’s given me a lot of energy to push on and feel confident I’m on the right course.

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