Hard Science Fiction that will appeal to fans of James S. A. Corey or Elizabeth Bear (85,000 words)
Earth has gone silent. A century and a half ago, colonists arrived at Zeta Reticuli to build the first—and last—human colony outside the solar system. Settlements have spread across a dozen habitable moons coexisting as a contentious union, but they may be all that remains of humanity in the cosmos. Now the colonists have launched their first mission to the unexplored planet Nephthys—a dry run for a voyage of discovery back to Earth.
WREN DUNPHREY is a disgraced engineer desperate to redeem her reputation with this mission, but that hope seems dashed when an explosion cripples her starship and kills a crewmember. When the crew abandons ship for the planet surface, Wren stays behind to fix what she can but finds herself surviving alone and in total darkness, counting the days until she runs out of air and water.
MAIA ST. JAMES was maimed in an earlier mishap of Wren’s and now her son BYRON ST. JAMES is among those stranded. When she joins a rescue mission, she finds herself working with friends, rivals, and bitter enemies. Political conflicts nearly scuttle the mission, while behind the scenes a secret plot is readying to exterminate the native life on Nephthys to open the planet for unbridled human settlement.
The rescuers arrive at Nephthys, finding Wren alive but traumatized after weeks in darkness. They soon recover the rest of the crew as well, weirdly healthy after their ordeal., and puzzling questions arise as rescuers and survivors work together. There are gaps in the survivors’ memories and inconsistencies in their accounts of the aftermath of the explosion. When one of the rescuers conceives a child with Byron, a cascade of unsettling discoveries makes her question what it is she’s carrying in her womb. The stakes rise as a mysterious disease breaks out on the ship and one of the survivors is found murdered. Wren, Maia, and their shipmates face life and death choices as events spin out of control and their starship hurtles toward murder and mass extinction.
Even Bones May Fly
Historical Fantasy in the tradition of Naomi Novik's Temeraire series (100,000 words)
In 18th century Britain, weathermaster Ian MacPherson controls the winds for a flying ship captained by his lover, Lily Trowbridge. They become suspects in an attempted regicide when their ship is hired to transport the Catholic contender for the throne into the heart of Protestant England. As the country slides toward civil war, a game of conspiracy and murder will test their integrity and their love to the breaking point. Both of them struggle to find ways to stay true as they see their moral guideposts crumbling all around them. Probing for the root of the conspiracy will force Trowbridge to confront a traumatic past and an old enemy she’d rather forget, while it brings MacPherson into a showdown with another weathermaster that could spin out of control into a weather war devastating all of Europe.
I self-identify as a novelist and I've been known to say "I don't write short stories," but sometimes they just slip out anyway. As the following are unpublished stories making the rounds of SFWA-certified publications, I can only give teasers here.
(1000 words) A young Wiccan man encounters an archetypal presence in a shopping mall Santa.
Jake walked out of the hospital into a raw, sleeting December afternoon. He shivered, buried his hands in the pockets of his leather jacket and hunched against the cold. He needed to walk. If it were warmer he’d walk for miles and miles until the Earth beneath the pavement took his grief and his worry and held them. Instead he went to the mall.
He felt out of place there, with its fluorescent lights and piped-in Christmas music. Looked out of place, too, with his blue hair, Doc Martin boots, and an enormous pentacle painted on the back of his jacket. …
The Gilded Alchemist
(1200 words) An affable but misguided wizard is a little too eager to plumb the secrets of the universe.
My experiment was rather more successful than I had anticipated. I am determined now to record the outcome in detail, though this task is made more difficult because all of my preliminary notes were destroyed in the experiment.
The flash of divine LIGHT that ensued at the completion of my alchemical prism was of such intensity that I was momentarily dazed and fell to the ground. All of the books and papers in the room were seared to ash, as was the front of my robe and (it seems) my beard. …
(3000 words) Lovecraftian horror turned on its head. The people of St. Martin’s Beach have a horror of the sea and all creatures within it. A selkie living as a human among them is isolated and alone until he finds another of his kind.
(4300 words) Stranded in Earth orbit and hours away from a cataclysmic crash landing, a scientist tries to use a telepathic enhancer to warn those on the ground, with exasperating and hilarious results.
The Giants' Dance
I have two completed novels currently seeking representation as well as several short stories that are making the rounds of SFWA-certified publications. Both novels have had the benefit of professional editing. Contact me if you are an agent or publisher and are interested, or if you would like review copy.
A row of two dozen shabby cottages face the sea, squatting on pilings in the sand, their grimy windows staring blankly at the horizon. Like the whole town of St. Martin’s Beach, they are poised at the shifting boundary between two worlds. The sea lashes at the windows, driving sand under the sills to gather in the corners of the rooms. Even on the landward side of the house I will find jellyfish desiccating in the scrubby grass, hurled over the rooftop during a restless night.
All the cottages save mine are empty from first chill of autumn until the return of summer. I can imagine no other home that would suit me, for I am truly at home nowhere at all. …
“You’re going to Earth? For goodness sakes, why?”
Connie Chan Smith was listening with only half an ear to her sister Ellen, eight hundred thousand miles away. She scanned her apartment one last time for anything she might have forgotten to pack. “I’m presenting a paper at a sym—”
“It’s amazing to see how an entire planet can go down the tubes like that.”
“—posium.” The time lag for radio between Ganymede and Calisto was only a few seconds, but it was annoying as all heck.
“I hope you’ve had your shots, is all I can say.” ...
(7200 words) This story was originally written as the first chapter of a novel, but it stands on its own. A trader in Roman Britain travels to the far north and is welcomed into a community of Orkney giants.
The dances were slow, almost sedate, but with intricate steps. The music was lively, with complex rhythms and some eerie dissonances that were not quite like anything Thomas had ever heard before. He tried joining in on some of the simpler dances, but spent a good deal of his time just watching and listing, occasionally being drawn into conversation with others on the sidelines.
There were 39 giants living on the main island, 56 on the whole archipelago including about a dozen children, and all of them were here tonight. …