Islands in the Sargasso – Galaxy’s Edge magazine issue 15

June 30, 2015

GE15cover

The July issue of Galaxy’s Edge is now live, and you can read my novelette, “Islands in the Sargasso”, for free — but only for the next couple of months, until the September issue is released and then you’ll have to buy the issue. So, read now! It has alien invasion fleets, a galaxy-spanning conspiracy, and drug addiction.

I always love being published in Galaxy’s Edge — not only because it’s edited by Mike Resnick, whom I greatly admire, but also because I get to share the table of contents with all kinds of cool people. Just look at the above!

At 8000 words, “Islands in the Sargasso” will briefly become the longest piece of my fiction available — but only briefly. The H. G. Wells, Secret Agent novella is coming out very soon! In fact, July 2015 will have more new words written by me released into the world than any month prior. I’m super excited!

#SFWAPro

 

 

 

 

 

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Announcing Dark Expanse anthology TOC

February 25, 2014

Dark Expanse cover

Announcing the table of contents and cover for Dark Expanse: Surviving the Collapse, edited by yours truly and William Snee.

This is a collection of 18 short stories set in the universe of the Dark Expanse video game.

  1. “Castles in the Sky”” by Nancy Fulda
  2. “Dominoes Falling” by Alex Shvartsman
  3. “The Ten Suns” by Ken Liu
  4. “Betrayal, Clear as Kanzai Glass” by Deborah Walker
  5. “The Price of Escape” by David Walton
  6. “Hellfire Unleashed” by Simon Kewin
  7. “Breaking Down” by Michael Haynes
  8. “They Cannot Scare Me With Their Empty Spaces” by Deborah Walker
  9. “A Small and Secret Freedom” by Matt Mikalatos
  10. “Lightspeed Back to You” by David Wayne
  11. “Escape from Planet Error” by Michael Greenhut
  12. “Jump” by Deborah Walker
  13. “Loud for All the Stars to Hear” by Alex Kane
  14. “To Soar on Winds of War” by David Wayne
  15. “Fires of Night” by Alvaro Zinos-Amaro
  16. “Gorlack the Destroyer’s All You Can Eat Adventure” by Robert L. Russell
  17. “Ghost Ship” by Nancy Fulda
  18. “The Shadow Conspiracy” by Nancy Fulda

This book will premier on Amazon in March 2014.


Publication: The Sgovari Stratagem in Intersteallar Fiction

August 1, 2013

OldRivals-ISF-Banner#SFWApro

Interstellar Fiction is a semi-pro online magazine edited by Adam Crouse which launched in August of 2012. The inaugural issue included my story “A Better Tomorrow,” and I’m happy to return to the virtual pages of IF with another tale for its one year anniversary issue.

“The Sgovari Stratagem” is a sequel to “The Dragon Ships of Tycho.” Both are stories about a team of human diplomats whose job it is to secure alliances with various alien species to help humans prevail in a galaxy-wide war. The complication? Pretty much the entire universe already hates our guts.

You can pick up a copy of “The Dragon Ships of Tycho” for your favorite e-reader or buy the Galactic Creatures anthology it originally appeared in.

The Sgovari Stratagem” is available to be read for free on the Interstellar Fiction web site.

 


The Great Short Story Ebook Experiment

March 8, 2013

I finally did it — I took several of my previously published short stories and made them available as e-books. They’re currently up on Amazon and over the next few days I’ll be making them available on B&N, Kobo, and Smashwords.
I made the plunge for several reasons:

* New readers. There are tons and tons of people out there who enjoy and buy e-books (including short stories) on places like Amazon, but aren’t an active part of SF/F fandom and aren’t even aware of some of the fine magazines and anthologies these stories appeared in originally. An optimal scenario for me is to have someone who’s never heard of me before buy an e-book, love it, pick up the other ones, and then come over to this page to see what else I’m up to.

* The skills. After working on this project, on and off, for the last month I have learned several things. I have a very rudimentary understanding of how to create a book cover and how GiMP works. I learned how to create a digital book from scratch. I learned how to format it properly for various e-readers and platforms. These are all skills that will likely come in handy as I work on future UFO Publishing projects (though I’d still much rather let professional cover artists and book designers create THOSE books, at least I can understand some of what they’re doing better).

* The data. I want to know as much as possible about the business. What sort of sales can I, as an author, generate on each platform? Which promotions and advertising works, and which doesn’t? Posting a few short stories is a low-budget way to tip the toe in the self-publishing waters and see what’s up.

* The money. Seriously, I don’t expect much. Each of these stories is priced at $0.99 and when one sells, Amazon will give me $0.35 of it. So I won’t be putting my kid through college off these short story sales. Probably. But… who knows, right? What is one of these goes viral? Once the e-book has been created and uploaded, there is no more cost to keeping it online indefinitely — in either time or money. Even before I had the chance to write this post and “officially” announce the existence of these particular e-books, several people bought “The Dragon Ships of Tycho.” At this rate I’m getting dangerously close to earning enough for a medium coffee from Dunkin Donuts.

I’m no expert on self-publishing, but I did have several ideas in mind that I hope will help make these e-books successful (besides writing the best possible stories I can, of course):

* Offer a well-edited, well-formatted, easy to read book. You’ll be surprised at how many self-published books (novels, even) are poorly edited and poorly formatted. I spent a fair amount of time making sure this wasn’t the case with my stories.

* Offer more to read. I intentionally waited until I could publish several stories at once that stand a good chance of appealing to similar readers. This way, should a reader happen to enjoy the story, there’s something else they can pick up right away. Each of these stories features a little ad for the other two at the end of the book.

* Great cover art. I can’t stress how important this is. There are so many self-published and small publisher books out there with mediocre covers. I really wanted my stories to stand out and spent a lot of time looking for perfect pieces for each story. I was fortunate enough to team up with several amazing artists from around the globe. The art is theirs. The layout (in 2 of 3 cases) is mine — so don’t blame them for it!

Without further ado, here are the three stories:

The Dragon Ships of Tycho

Human diplomats race against the clock to forge an alliance with a one-time adversary who possesses a fleet of dragon warships.

Originally from the Galactic Creatures anthology edited by Elektra Hammond (Sparkito Press/Dark Quest Books)

Cover art is “Space One” by the British artist Andy Fairhurst.

Price of Allegiance

Earth’s ambassador to the Galactic Union wants his superiors to choose loyalty over technological advancement. But, when it comes to the interstellar politics, the choices are never what they seem.

Originally from Penumbra magazine (Musa Publishing)

Cover art is by the French artist Benoit Dromby

A Better Tomorrow

On a crippled spaceship, as the air is running out, one man must fight to protect the cryogenically frozen colonists, even at the cost of his own life.

Originally published in Interstellar Ficiton magazine.

Cover art and cover design by American artist Aimee Cozza

Unlike the other two stories, A Better Tomorrow is available online for free. You can read it here. So why publish an e-book, you ask? It’s all part of the experiment. As I wrote above, there are many people browsing and buying on the Kinde, Nook, and other devices who are not familiar with web zines, and I’m curious to see how the sales of this book will compare to the sales of the other two, which are not available online for free.

So there you have it. Let the experiment officially begin!

If you want to pick up one of these e-books or if you already read these stories and would like to do me a kindness of posting a brief review, please follow the links below:

The Dragon Ships of Tycho

Price of Allegiance

A Better Tomorrow

I will post the links to other sites once these books become available on there.

 


“The Far Side of the Wilderness” accepted at Beyond the Sun

January 28, 2013

BTS-Cover-400x267

I first heard about “Beyond the Sun” when editor Bryan Thomas Schmidt launching a crowdfunding campaign for it on Kickstarter. I love space opera, and was intrigued by the concept as well as by the stellar list of potential contributors. So I summoned up the courage and reached out to Bryan, asking if he would consider a submission from me.  He graciously allowed me to submit something, and a few weeks later I e-mailed him a space opera story with lots of alien races, intergalactic conflict, and other cool stuff that I was certain would win Bryan over.

It was rejected within a week.

Bryan was a class act though. Despite the fact that he knew he wasn’t going to pick up the story, he returned the file with extensive copy-edits and suggestions, many of which I adopted before submitting it elsewhere. I thanked him, and asked if I could try something else. Bryan told me that he’d let me know, but in all fairness, he wanted to get submissions from all the other writers he invited first. Which made perfect sense.

Fast forward to two weeks ago. I was down with a nasty case of the flu which was just beginning work me over. I wake up on a Wednesday morning to an email from Bryan, letting me know that I can submit something else, but I’d have to get it to him by the weekend. At this point I have no space opera story in my inventory, or even a developed idea for one. And I’m enjoying the flu.

So I sit down to brainstorm on Wednesday morning and write half a story. On Thursday morning I write the other half, and send it off to beta readers. I edit based on their suggestions and submit it by late Thursday evening, and after some very minor edits, Bryan accepts it on the following week.

This is, without a doubt, the fastest concept-to-submission-to-sale turnaround I’ve had on a story that isn’t flash-length.

Bryan announced the TOC today. It includes stories from Robert Silverberg, Mike Resnick, Nancy Kress, and many other writers I like and admire. My own story will appear between tales by Jason Sanford and Cat Rambo! Behold the complete table of contents.

Beyond the Sun will be releasing later in 2013.


Publication: “Price Of Allegiance” in Penumbra

July 1, 2012

 

My space opera story “Price of Allegiance” is out today in the Politics-themed issue of Penumbra e-zine.

When it comes to influence and power among the membership of the Galactic Union, Earth is near the bottom of the totem pole. So when an opportunity comes along to finally  earn some clout and possibly gain access to advance alien technologies, Earth leaders jump at the chance. But things aren’t as they seem, and soon the humans are entangled in a dangerous power play that can determine not only the future of Earth itself, but of all the worlds within the Union.

Click here to purchase the issue.


BaltiCon and a New Sale

May 23, 2012

I will be attending BaltiCon, a science fiction convention in Maryland over the Memorial Day weekend.

There is a plethora of firsts in this for me:

This will be the first non-gaming science fiction convention I attend on my own. Anatoly Belilovsky was kind enough to bring me along on a day trip to LunaCon a few months back (which I enjoyed a lot) — but this will  be the first time I attend on my own and stay overnight.

The main reason for my trip is to attend the launch of “Galactic Creatures,” an anthology from Dark Quest Books’ Sparkito imprint, managed and edited by Elektra Hammond. This was the first anthology project I was directly invited to participate it, and will be the first physical, printed *book* that I’m in. I’ve been published in e-book anthos and printed magazines, but never in an actual book. .

I owe many thanks to Elektra Hammond, who not only had enough faith in me to invite me to this project, but also kindly encouraged me to come out to this convention. I’m still a little anxious because I know practically no one there, but she managed to convince me that I should go, and now I’m super excited and can’t wait for the weekend.

And, on top of everything else, I will get to do a brief reading from “The Dragon Ships of Tycho,” my “Galactic Creatures” story.

I’ve done a fair amount of public speaking in the gaming industry and have no fear of it. However, while I can speak well guided by a handful of bullet points, I’m *terrible* at reading aloud from the page. I realize that this is a weakness I have to correct if I’m to take writing seriously. If I’m successful at writing, it’ll come with more public reading opportunities in the future, and I have to prepare. So I’ve decided to practice.

I read the beginning of “The Dragon Ships of Tycho” out loud several times so far, using a timer so that I could figure out where to stop without going over my allotted five minutes of infamy.  My first reading was pretty awful, but it got a little better with each pass.  Reading an article about reading aloud by Mary Robinette Kowal posted on the SFWA web site was also very helpful.  I’ll continue to practice until the weekend and, hopefully, manage to put on a decent performance on Sunday.

If you are attending BaltiCon, I hope you’ll consider stopping by the Dark Quest Book launch party, which is scheduled for 7-9pm on Sunday in the Garden Room. And if you see me wondering the convention halls at any point during the weekend, please do say hello. There’s only a small chance I’ll then follow you around like a lost puppy, I promise.

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When I set out to write science fiction, I imagined that most of my stories would be in the genre I love to read most — space opera. But it turned out that most of my stories fit into other sub-genres. “The Dragon Ships of Tycho” is one of the handful of true space operas with lots of alien races, galaxy-wide conflict and grandiose scale. Another such story is “Price of Allegiance.”

“Price of Allegiance” was among the first stories I wrote, back in 2010. The original iteration was unpublishable — it was poorly structured, featured a ton of exposition and suffered from most other faults that afflict the beginner writers. But the idea behind it was good — good enough that I didn’t want to give up on this story. I kept rewriting it, and each iteration became a little better. I had to eliminate some of my favorite lines and even scenes in the story, but those painful cuts improved it overall. I changed lots of things about it, until finally I felt like the story was good enough to be published.

 

Around the same time, Penumbra Magazine announced the upcoming lineup of issues which included a politics-themed one. “Price of Allegiance” is all about the interspecies politics on the galactic scale. The fit seemed perfect. So much so that I not only held the story until the submission window opened up, but trimmed it even further in order to make it fit within Penumbra’s length guidelines. The wait and those painful cuts of the extra few hundred words were worth it. After several close-call round 2 rejections for other issues, Penumbra has accepted “Price of Allegiance” for inclusion in its July issue!

I very much look forward to appearing in Penumbra, and this latest story sale is timely in that, along with last week’s Nature publication, it provides a much-needed confidence boost for my trip to BaltiCon. I hope to see a few familiar faces there, and especially look forward to making new friends.