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Without going into dreary details, I was suddenly presented (about 10 minutes ago) with an opportunity: did I have a space-based SF short story, size in the 2-3k range, that I was willing to submit?

I turned to my Writing Portfolio spreadsheet (uh, you catalog your stories, don’t you?) set the words column to look for under 3500, and shazaam!  Three good candidates.

I relate this because between now and the end of July, there is no possible way I could write at 2-3000 word story.  As it is, I will have trouble making my Riddled Space deadline of 31 July.  But because, back in July of 2015, I wrote “Command Decision” for a market called The “Gernsback Writing Contest”, got rejected, but never deleted it, I have something to get to the editor tomorrow.

In the writing business, you have to be able to strike when the iron is hot.  It helps if you have a backpack full of ammo, ready to rock and roll, instead of pouring your minie-balls there on the battlefield.

Write.  Write often.  Submit to markets.  Save ALL stories.

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Well, that was fun.  On 13 July, I underwent percutanaceous nephrolithotomy.  Which is a fancy way to say “we stuck a tube through your back, into your kidney, and took out a big honking kidney stone.”  Now big?  About the size of a stack of 10 US nickels.  22mm.  If I didn’t get it out, it would eventually kill the kidney.  We can’t have that.  So, it was under the knife, then a week-long carnival of pain meds, not-bad hospital food, some really good nurses, and an unhealthy obsession with the contents of the drainage tube.  I finally got the tube removed from my back yesterday, and it’s time to move on to other things.

Like Riddled Space.  Yes!  The original novella, first written seven years ago is finally being fully fleshed out, and the other four novels in that universe are being written.  I have the first draft through the editor, and am working to get the final draft in by the end of the month.  Expect publication some time around late August.

I have a bunch of titles out, too.  One novella and two short stories are set in the Paradisi Chronicles open universe.  I also have one other novella, Ownership, set in the Family of Grifters universe.

I love all these tales.  All of them are fresh, new, and NOT recycled 3DN entries.  Well, I did write Live Wire for 3DN, but that was done deliberately, with the full intent of publishing it as soon as the contest was over and the winner selected.  I will put their reveals in separate posts over the next day or so, but in the meantime, I urge you to head over to their Amazon pages.  Here are the links (just click on the titles)

Paradisi Chronicles stories

Nuking the Noomies – The original story that was selected to lead the Chronicle Worlds: Paradisi anthology.  If you’ve not read that anthology, start with this one.
Live Wire – a novella set in the near future, where civil order is on the verge of breaking down, and 10 plutocrats are banding together to escape Earth. Some folks want on the ships, though, and are not above kidnapping to get their tickets.
Eye of the Needle – a short story that is a sequel to Live Wire (though written first).  A dangerous mission to secure an orbital cable, a headstrong woman, and the indulgent father who is bankrolling the mission all figure in this tale from the near future.

Family of Grifters stories

Ownership – The result of a bet that I couldn’t do a 3DN-style writing challenge over President’s Day Weekend, Ownership is a novella that explores who owns what, and who, and how our grifting crew can make changes to it.

 

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Subject to change, of course!

Under the gentle prodding of other Indie authors, I have finally put together a launch schedule for the rest of the year.  All of these dates are subject to change, of course, and it’s always a good idea to sign up for my newsletter (http://SmartURL.it/BillsWorlds) to get all of the latest info.

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apollo11_liftoff_clearslaunchtowerAfter months of intensive preparation, it has happened!
Chronicle Worlds: Paradisi has cleared the launch tower! 


The Road to Indie has finally reached its first waypoint with my first ebook only story release.   From the Amazon description:

From Samuel Peralta, creator of the bestselling ‘Future Chronicles’ speculative fiction anthology series, comes a line of anthologies charting new territories within a shared universe, within already-existing worlds.paradisi-cover

In the last decades of the twenty-first century, ten families seeking to escape a devastated Earth focus on constructing spaceships to colonize the world they call New Eden, in the Paradisi System. But the world they claim for their own is already inhabited, and the Ddaerans, although human in appearance, possess abilities that the Founders and their descendants do not…

In this latest title in the acclaimed ‘Future Chronicles’ series of speculative fiction anthologies, twelve authors take us on that incredible journey with adventurers, scientists and colonists, as they push the boundaries against the unknown, against alien civilization, and themselves.

Discover Chronicle Worlds. Discover Paradisi.

 

CW:P is also special to me for another reason:  “Nuking the Noomies,” my story, was selected as the first story in the anthology.  I want to thank Samuel Peralta for his trust in my story to lead off this excellent anthology.


godsandbox_snipSince, occasionally, people want to see more of my writing, I wrote a second short story set within the Paradisi Universe.   It was published today, and I urge you to check it out.

Ten Foundering Families exploit the intersection between digital copies of human brains and virtual reality, ‘running’ brains to more efficiently manage their global empires. All seems well, but some of the living humans are having some horrible dreams.

“God’s Sandbox” is available for purchase, but if you attend The Chronicle Worlds:Paradisi Launch Party on November 3rd, I will be giving away copies when I am running the party.  Just be there at 7pm (Eastern Time), and check out the party!

All readers who purchase “God’s Sandbox,” receive a free download, “Sciencing God’s Sandbox” where I discuss the various science-related elements of the story.


Wow!  It’s been a blast figuring out this new space.  Thanks for being there with me, every step of the way.

 

 

 

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So, I have been looking at a couple of story contests while the Alpha readers are spilling red ink on THT.  Cool one: SF with a strong element of medicine, health, illness.  You can submit TWO stories!  Woot–very nice!

I read the contest rules, and they are giving examples of stories that they would like.  All the classics.  Cyborgs, new drugs, bad vaccines.  The gamut.  Then it hit me.  What if I took one of those examples, inverted the story question, and wrote that?  (sorry to be coy, but they’re pretty strict on the judges not knowing the author, so I won’t say what I wrote).

Example:  Star Trek’s premise is to visit strange new worlds, boldly go, and such.  The inverse of that is ‘what is life like for the technologically hyper-advanced world of Earth?  Pretty sure there aren’t oil workers, mechanics, or paper-pushers.  So….what do people do all day?’

Wrote the work in about four days, three beta readers gave me feedback, I buffed it to about 300 grit, and sent it in.  Now it’s the 24th, and the contest ends on the 29th, and I have found a treasure.  From 2007–an unfinished short story left on my hard drive.  It’s so old that it isn’t even written in Standard Manuscript Format.  So I get to work on it, re-reading what I had written, way back in the dawn of my career.  And wouldn’t you know, it can be a great story when I finish it!

Spent last night and this morning thinking about it.  I had been dumping text, and re-reading cringe-inducing lines from the old days.  The MC is a columnist, and the BSF is a nurse.  I hover over these introductions, wondering if I should change them.  I decide not to, and move on.  I come to a line from the nurse, something like “I could use this my research paper topic.”  Wow, that’s got to go.  Except, I never really get around to deleting it.

Fast forward to this morning’s commute.  I realize that these two characters have exactly the right jobs to solve the medical issue in the story.  Even the research paper is the most plausible reason for the nurse to involve herself in the issue.  Good thing I hadn’t erased the lines!

Lesson: Don’t be too quick to slash and burn aspects to a partial story.  Your brain has been working on that story ever since you abandoned it.  Maybe it has a great reveal in the wings for you.

Keep writing!

 

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As promised, here are some Happenings since July.

Agent Search:  Still going on.  No new queries since October, of course.  I should restart this.

Three Day Novel:  Yes, I took part in this one.  We’re still waiting on the results.

Paradisi Chronicles:  This one deserves its own post.  An open universe, tied to a Future Chronicles anthology by the incomparable Samuel Peralta.  I was invited to write a short story and submit it.  The story has survived canonical review, and is awaiting Sam’s approval.

National Novel Writing Month:  As previously reported, I am one of two Municipal Liaisons for this fantastic organization.  In November, one is challenged to write 50,000 words in 30 days.  That I did, despite being out of state for about half the month.  Although the novel degenerated badly, at the end, I did write two very nice treatments of hard SF topics which I will extract and polish.  So it was worthwhile.

StarShipSofa:  I was offered the chance to narrate one of their stories, which I jumped on.  SSSofa is a Hugo-Award winning weekly podcast heard by thousands.  I recorded the narration before my brother passed away, did most of the editing, and then John died.  I couldn’t focus enough to revoice the MC, but they liked the product anyway.  They also added a nice tribute to my brother in the intro, which I found very touching.  Click the link and listen.

Princeton Writing Group:  Every Tuesday, I lead the meetings at the local Panera Bread.  This is where I got most of my writing and editing done.

Speaking of editing, I have finished the First Flensing of The Honorable Thing.  I cut it down from 221,000 words to just under 106,000.  The Second Flensing will whittle that down further to 85,000 or less.  It’s now out to Alpha Readers, so that I know it is at least somewhat readable before I invest more time in it.

Oh, and I’ve submitted stories in a few spots.

And…that’s about it.  Sorry it seems like I’ve been dogging it.  John’s Estate sucks up a lot of time.  I really miss him.

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So, you thought the blog was defunct, right?  No–only my posting behavior to this blog was off.  However, several things have occurred that further put me off my feed since July.  Brief list:

  1. My brother, John Patterson, passed away with no warning, on October 18th, 2015.

That affected everything.  He was not married (although he tried mightily), and had no children (because he was a responsible man).  My two remaining siblings live on the West Coast, and my mother is in her 80s and not doing well.  Thus, I am the executor of his estate.  Big job, it is.

Then came November and NaNoWriMo hit.  As the Municipal Liaison, I had a duty to make my 50,000 words, come hell or high water.  I did.  Oh, it was utter crap, but I still did it.  Why?  I had a perfect out–14 of the 30 days of November, I was down at my brother’s house, working on estate stuff.   I was counseled to take the pass and concentrate on estate stuff.

Nope.  Two reasons:  John would not have wanted me to slough off NaNo and my ML (and ML Mentor) responsibilities–he was not an author himself, but he used to send me all kinds of encouragement to keep writing.  Second, I had a golden opportunity to demonstrate that it is possible to write 50k even when a major life event has occurred.

December came, and the estate stuff got worse (if possible).  It’s January now, and I have a bit more breathing room.  Then I read Hugh Howey’s extremely excellent blog post:  So You Want to be a Writer…  In that, one of his mandatory steps is to write a blog entry every day.  I will ramp up to that, this is the first step.  Things will be busy the next two days, then I’ll post to catch everyone up.  There have been Happenings.

 

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