Ambassador 5 is out!

Ambassador5Small

The next Ambassador book went live!

Read about it and get buy links here.

With the previous book, Coming Home, I finished the arc that I started at the end of book 2, involving the ancient ship. Blue Diamond Sky is a complete story, but at the end you will see that it leads into a bigger arc that I will spend the next few books exploring. We are going back to Earth. There is an election looming and things are looking dicey.

I am really enjoying the series. The characters are like friends to me and I know them very well.

My favourite character? There are a couple, actually.

Veyada, because he talks no bullshit.

Sheydu, because she talks no bullshit either, and because she is an older woman with a penchant for explosives.

Thayu, because Cory does not quite know the depths of her previous experience. He doesn’t really know what she did before she came to his household. He knows she has upper level spy training, but he doesn’t know what she did with it.

Asha, because he leads the most powerful army in the galaxy, because he finds Cory curiously interesting and toys with him like a cat with a mouse, giving him scraps of information or positions not normally available to outsiders to see what he will do with it.

More news!

I’m auditioning Ambassador 1 for audio production!

Image of the Day is in in ruins

ruined city

Some more Terragen. More photography to follow once the calendar and elements cease to conspire against me. I have some awesome locations upcoming, but this week was a bit of a disaster (Whaddyamean you forgot to dial the ISO back from 4000 to 100? Whaddyamean you got LOST in Vaucluse? GRRR). Anyway. Maybe next week (Tuesday, not Monday), maybe the week after.

Meanwhile, I’m doing the pre-final edit of Soldier’s Duty. It’s coming together. A bit of stuff still to trim and shift and add (especially in the last quarter or so).

I also got my edits for Ambassador, so I’ve been working on that.

Some newsy bits:

I started a Facebook group for my ebook covers covers. Click and like if you’re interested.

I realised that The Shattered World Within was out of contract, so I put it on Amazon. Kobo is playing silly buggers with me and holding it in publishing. I’ve also put it on Smashwords.

And then, I discovered an old MG manuscript that I should do something with because it’s kinda hilarious and not far from being finished. How can I not do anything with a story that starts like this?

Once upon a time, there was a boy named Florian.

Uh-oh, you say, this is a fairytale, because they always start with “Once upon a time”.

And you’d be right, because it a tale about fairies. About evil fairies, and greedy fairies. You see, fairies are not all pretty with glittery wings and frilly dresses, but Florian didn’t know that yet.

So…

Once upon a time there was a boy named Florian.

What sort of name is that, you’d ask? Which parent who loves their children would call a boy Florian? Jack, James, Morgan even, but Florian? That’s ridiculous, you’d say.

And all of the children in Florian’s class would agree with you.

Florian-the-sissy, they called him, or Florian fat-boy, and this is how, when this story starts, he jumped off the school bus alone, while his classmates jeered at him from the back seat.

The bus rumbled off, leaving Florian alone by the side of the road, with the nasty things they’d said still ringing in his ears. He wasn’t going to cry, he was not that sort of boy, but he didn’t know how to face his father about yet another jumper lost.

He crossed the road and slouched up the long driveway that led to his father’s caravan. Green fields stretched out on both sides of the muddy path, Mr MacDonald’s cows in one paddock, his father’s horse in the other.

Florian jammed his hands in his pockets, imagining what his father would say. He’d look at him with those stern eyes, and then he’d say, “Are you sure they threw your jumper in the creek?”

Florian would nod, and then, and this was the worst part, his father would push himself up, limp to the other side of the caravan, while his walking stick went tap-tap-tap on the floor, and he would draw the money tin from under the bed. He would give Florian a handful of coins, and say, “Now make sure you don’t lose it again.”

And then Florian would have to go into the uniform shop and dig in the old cardboard box that was shoved underneath the rack with brand new girls’ dresses, some still in plastic. He would have to untangle school pants with holes and jumpers that looked more purple than blue from washing them too many times. The worst thing about that box was that someone had scrawled “Recycling” on it, but what they’d really meant to write was Florian’s name, because no one got clothes from that box. It stank of mould, too.

autumn leaves

Public service announcements

With the above image (taken at the lakeside walkway in Belconnen, Canberra), I officially announce autumn. A bit late, but it’s been warmer than usual. If you don’t see the image, it’s because you’re seeing this in the home page. Click on the post title and you will see it.

I suppose most of you will already know this, but in case you don’t, Trader’s Honour has finally trickled through all sites and is now available everywhere, even on Sony–although don’t ask me where the cover went. I suspect it will show up at some point in the future. Sony needs to pull up its socks, but that aside.

This page on my official author site details all the places where you can get it.

I’ve also taken delivery of print copies to sell at Supanova Sydney, where I will share a stand with fellow Kindleboarders Anya Allen and Selina Fenech. Both Anya and Selina are locals. We hope to meet Kindleboarder extra-ordinaire Colin Taber (from Perth) there, who is a true self-published Guest of Honour at the convention.

After the poll I did, I haven’t decided what the next project is going to be, so I’ve started on a couple:

I’ve made a start on Soldier’s Duty, book 3 of the Return of the Aghyrians series. In the style of the previous two books, this novel features a different main character. This character is Izramith Ezmi, and if you’re familiar with my world, you may get that she’s from Hedron. She’s one of the feared, veiled and heavily-armed guards. She’s very, very angry about something done to her family. The story offers a different perspective on the world, while we continue to follow the overall threads of the series: the sliding into total badassery of the Mirani council and the trials and tribulations of the extended Andrahar family. This is becoming an epic space opera!

I’ve also picked up a half-finished draft of a hard-SF novel set in the ISF-Allion world. This novel will show some of the reasons why ISF and Allion slid into war, and builds on some of the setting covered in His Name In Lights. The main character for this is a really weird guppy, a guy by the name of Fabio Velazquez, who is a poster child for why messing with artificial minds and artificial bodies is a Really Bad Idea.

I really need to write some short fiction and have started a Solaris Agency story (my WOTF-winning story was another such story). These are space-detective stories.

I am aware that there is a lot of stuff I haven’t started on, but Russ is threatening to send me edits for the novel and when they arrive, I’ll have to deal with those first, and I probably don’t need any further projects.



Patty writes hard Science Fiction, space opera and fantasy. Her latest book is Trader’s Honour, in the space opera series The Return of the Aghyrians. If you’d like to be kept up-to-date with new releases, remember to sign up for Patty’s new release newsletter.

Shattered World Within now on Giganotosaurus

My novella The Shattered World Within is now at the Giganotosaurus site run by buddy and fellow Foreigner enthusiast Ann Leckie.

This novella is set in the same world as my novel Ambassador which comes out later this year and deals with a very important sociological aspect in this world.

Here are the first few paragraphs:

The ship glided into the dock, into the care of grappling arms and snaking robotic leads.

Clang, click, contact.

The navigation hub flashed with the station control override. The screen showed a logo, but no inbound or outbound communication.

Seated next to the pilot, in the bluish glow of the controls, Zhyara didn’t realise how tightly he’d been gripping the edge of the seat, all the way while they’d drifted past the scratched surface of the station, all the way while he listened to the pinging of their unanswered broadbeam probes. His instinct, after being cut off from his associates on Zhiminda station for so long, ached for confirmation that personal networks were still intact.

“I think they could have provided some better damn light in here.” The pilot’s voice pierced the tense silence. The remark, no doubt intended to be light-hearted, fell flat. Everyone aboard the ship was tense.

“But I guess things could have been worse,” the pilot added into the heavy silence.

“Much worse,” Zhyara confirmed.

He breathed out tension. At least someone was still alive aboard the mining station. At too many other stations, they’d found nothing except dead husks of metal, where the emptiness of space had erased evidence of the living.

Read the rest

New Novella now out: Looking for Daddy

The short story Looking for Daddy was originally 2500 words and was published in the Tales for Canterbury anthology. After a lot of comments about it, I’ve expanded the story to a 32,000-word novella which is now available on Amazon (sorry, in KDP Select at the moment, so it may become available elsewhere later, but not yet).

This is hands down the weirdest thing I’ve ever written. It has a young protagonist but the subject matter is rather creepy, more so than in the short story. Amazon doesn’t have a bizarro category, so I’ve classified it as horror. However, it’s not horror-as-you-know-it. It’s creepy more than scary. There are zombies, but they’re quite funny. In fact, the people are more scary than the zombies.

It’s… weird, that’s all I can say.

Book info:

Three weeks ago, Daddy left town with the other volunteer firefighters to fight the fires in the city, and Tom and Mother have looked after the farm. Radios, phones and TV broadcasts have fallen silent, trains have stopped coming and the main road has remained empty.

When Tom finds a large metal egg on the farm, and a metal-spiked echidna hatches from it, the neighbour Mr McGregor wants to kill it. Whatever has silenced the rest of the world is creeping into town. Roads start talking and zombies come into town, wanting to tell everyone how they died. People must fight back.

But Tom thinks differently. The echidna, which he names Thing, is a true friend. Thing protects Tom from the greedy roads, the evil zombies and even Mr McGregor. To find Daddy, Tom needs to follow a map he has found in a vagrant camp site, a map which leads him straight to the place where all the trouble started.

ASIM 53 now launched!

My latest foray in editing has come to fruition. ASIM 53 is now a reality.
Front cover by WOTF artist Nico Photos, and internal art by Greg Hughes and Olivia Kernot.

Poem ‘The Djinn’s Wife’ by Alexandra Seidel

Stories:
‘On the Train to Cairo’, by Gary Cuba
‘Or Bind His Tongue With a Cord’, by B G Hilton
‘House Of Cards’, by R P L Johnson
‘Blood Man Calls The Whale’, by Marissa Lingen
‘Flyby’, by Clare M Clerkin-Russell
‘Marianne and the Mushroom Man’, by Lee Blevins
‘The Riddle of Svinn’, by Krista Hoeppner Leahy
‘The Nine Billion Pixels of Samsara’, by Gary Cuba again
‘Gauntlet’, by Barton Paul Levenson
‘How To Run A Five-Star Restaurant in the Capital of the Elf Kingdom’, by R H Culp
‘Welcome to New London, Population: 1’, by Matthew Fryer
‘How The Moon Got Its Cousin’, by Lee Hallison
‘Riding the Eye’, by J F Keeping
‘Snow Cat’, by Debbie Moorhouse
‘The Realm of Lost Things’, by Murray Ewing
‘High Density’, by Jo Anderton

Print, PDF, EPUB and MOBI editions available

Two updates – new story and new group

First of all, I am very happy that my short story Where the plains merge with the sky went live at Scape magazine. This is a short story that makes me cry every time I read it.

The first few paragraphs:

The subhuman’s name was Eleven. All day, the creature had trailed me with the insistence of a shadow. Whenever I glanced aside, its dark eyes were watching me. And now, while I was helping in the kitchen, its chest darkened with hormonal flushes.

I looked away, my hands trembling, and kept rehearsing the lines of my story.

The night was cold and full of stars. I brought the knife down on the cutting board. Two potato halves bounced over the table.

The world was covered in a coat of snow. No, it was a blanket of snow, not a coat. I picked up the potato halves and flung them in the pan. Water sloshed over the side, which Eleven hastened to mop up.

Drops of sweat tickled on my upper lip. I would never remember the lines. I would freeze up when facing the gathered clan.

Mother stood at the stove, stirring the soup, her broad back to me. Her stoic face never showed disappointment, but I knew it was there. I might attain the middle name Vana because the elders knew whose child I was, but I’d never carry on the legend of the Muravi clan’s great storytellers.

Secondly, I started my own writer’s group on goodreads

Take a ride with evil: Icefire Trilogy part 1: Fire & Ice

Fire & Ice
Part 1 of the Icefire Trilogy

The southern land is an icy plateau that is so poor and isolated that its name has fallen out of use. The inhabitants live in subzero temperatures in crippling poverty, building houses out of the remains of a long lost civilisation, but its source of energy, radiation called icefire, poisons the land and a large part of the population.
Life in the City of Glass is harsh and so are the people. Loriane, midwife to the select few young women still able to conceive. Isandor, apprentice Eagle Knight despite having been born with only one foot. Carro, Isandor’s friend, plagued by crippling visions. Jevaithi, the puppet queen, surrounded by leering knights.
The equilibrium is upset when the sorcerer Tandor arrives in the City of Glass. He wants to restore the glory of the old machines that use icefire, even though he alone cannot control the raw power.

This is not a series for kiddies. Although most violence and sex takes place off-stage, this series deals with aspects that are adult in nature, such as childbirth, torture and rape as punishment.

Available on Amazon

Available on Smashwords

Available on OmniLit

Seven thousand soldiers, one woman: Charlotte’s Army

In a far future, a fleet of ships hurtles through space on its way to a distant war. Aboard the ships is an army of artificial human soldiers, highly trained and dangerous. Doctor Charlotte West, the neuro-technologist responsible for the soldiers’ artificial brains, travels in the support fleet. Two months before the arrival at the war site, the soldiers start fighting each other and disobeying commands. When they are brought in for tests, Charlotte finds that all seven thousand men share a pathological obsession with her.

Smashwords
or
My website
or
OmniLit
or
Amazon

New novellette: Luminescence

The short story Luminescence was published in Martian Wave in 2010. Because it is part of a world in which I ‘ve set more stories, and part of a greater story, I’ve adapted it and it is now available on Smashwords and Amazon. Click on the image for the Amazon link.

Smashwords link here.

Here are two first two pages, for #SampleSunday:

A bright flash turned the ice under my feet into a sheet of white.
The inside of the inflatable dome blazed in X-ray vision as my visor’s auto-polarise function cut in, providing me with a skeleton-view of the flexible struts that held up the fabric.
A split second, and then the murky orange hue of the Titanian atmosphere returned. Darker still inside our tent on the ice of Kraken Mare on Titan’s south pole.
I depolarised my visor, heart thudding. Black spots danced in my vision. ‘Paul? Did you see that? Paul? Do you hear me?’
I stared at the entry hole in the ice in the middle of the tent. The black surface rippled.
‘Paul!’
There was no reply.
The snaking hoses of the breathing apparatus and the heater were the only sign of Paul’s presence in that blackness. Through my suit’s helmet I couldn’t even hear the humming of the air compressor in the shed.
Static crackled in my earphones. Paul’s words garbled into unintelligible mush, laced with excitement.
‘What is it? What do you see?’
‘It’s . . . beautiful. You can’t begin to describe it, Hadie. There’s colours and pictures and . . . It looks like a spider’s web . . . Holy fuck!’
The line went dead. I strode to the reception unit and pressed the reset with clumsy gloved hands. The roamer icon tracked over the screen and found . . .
Nothing.
Oh for fuck’s sake. This lousy radio never worked when you needed it.
I waited. I told myself not to worry. Paul could take care of himself. The hoses still pulsed, and now–relief flooded me–the downrope was moving, a sign that he was climbing up the ladder.
Sure enough, ten minutes later Paul’s helmet broke the surface, then his shoulders, followed by his be-suited arms. I hauled him up the last rungs of the ladder, the touch awkward through both our suits.
‘You OK?’ I asked.
Vapour rose from the suit, methane gas curling towards the roof of the tent, where it would condensate against the fabric, run down until it met the ice and freeze in globby stalagmites.
Paul dropped his sampling canisters, which he’d taken to collect samples from bacterial patches we had found living under the ice. My helmet receiver remained silent; I couldn’t see his face behind his visor. I cursed. This time when we got back to the habitat, I would complain to the Research Division, fuck the notes it would earn me against future promotion. It was one thing to let scientists work with sub-standard equipment when they worked in an environment where they could breathe the air, and they could sit around waiting for a bail-out if things went wrong. We didn’t have that luxury. Small things about the Titanian atmosphere like the general lack of oxygen and temperatures that would freeze your butt off meant that any equipment malfunction quickly turned serious with big fat capital letters. The tight-arses could at least give us receivers that fucking worked all the time, not just when they felt like it.
I guided him across the tent. His steps were stiff, that all-too-familiar feeling that leg muscles had frozen senseless, through the suit and layers of insulating clothing.
Into the air lock. I pulled shut the thick door and operated the panel. Waited. Just us in our suits, and a tiny light. Vapour rising off Paul’s suit, curling up to the vent in the ceiling. I hated the silence.
Lights flashed; the inner door opened. I preceded Paul into the familiarity of the tiny lab of Research Station 5: a simple table and four straight-backed chairs, lab benches with stacks of sample tubes and an assortment of equipment parts, mostly spare parts for the dive gear, because the samples needed to be kept outside–too warm for them in here. A rack with protective clothing. Thermal under-suits.
Monitoring and comm screens blinked warnings against the back wall. Initialisation sequence not detected. Unease clawed at the back of my mind.
I flicked the heater up as far as it would go. Fans jolted into action. The pump hummed below the floor, sucking up methane from under the ice.
The light was warm in here, and when I wriggled off my suit’s helmet, the air heavy with the scent of synth-coffee. Empty cups still sat on the table.
Paul sank down in one of the chairs. He reached for his helmet and I helped him unclip it.
‘Paul? What happened?’
He said nothing, his hazel eyes staring at the opposite wall like a blind man’s.
‘Paul!’
I swung one leg over his so I faced him. His expression remained blank. His skin looked marble-pale, his eyes wide open. Most of his curly hair lay plastered to his head, his lips dark with cold. Those lips I’d kissed before he went down.