Preston Dennett on stage

24 Things

I’m still excited after winning the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future competition

When I got the call that I won 2nd place in the Writers of the Future Contest, I screamed, I cried, I laughed, I did my happy dance. I had entered 47 times. I finally did it!

From 1988–1992, I did my best to become a sci-fi writer. But I couldn’t do it. All the magazines, and of course, the Writers of the Future Contest, rejected my stories. I gave up on my dream. Then, starting in 2009, I decided to give it another try. I had wandered the desolate plains of total rejection before, and I was terrified. Could I do it?

I began getting lots of rejections, including four from the WOTF Contest. Then I got my first honorable mention, followed by another. Soon I earned more, but I just couldn’t get past the honorable mention status. I wanted a silver HM, or a semi-finalist, or finalist! I started to get discouraged.

Meet Topanga Canyon

But I didn’t give up. Especially when I found out that I had a secret identity. Some of you may have heard of “Topanga Canyon,” the subject of a cautionary tale taught by Dean Wesley Smith, who appeared in Volume 1 of the WOTF volumes and is today one of the judges. In his workshop, Dean talked about a promising young writer who the editors were excited about. Everyone was wondering who was going to be the first to publish his stories. Even book editors showed interest. Then suddenly, he disappeared, never to be seen again.

Well, allow me to introduce myself. I’m Topanga Canyon, and I’m not giving up again. I discovered my secret identity on the WOTF forum. If you want to win this Contest, you are making a huge mistake if you don’t check out the forum! It was there that I got the encouragement, knowledge, and advice to keep entering.

Interview with Preston Dennett & Dean Wesley Smith, The Topanga Canyon Never Give Up Story

Getting that call from Joni Labaqui will forever be one of the best moments of my life. I had read all the WOTF volumes several times. I loved all the stories in them. And now, mine was one of them! I was so excited, I couldn’t contain myself. So, I did what I always do, I decided to write about it. I quickly discovered that there were 24 things that I was stupidly, insanely, and obsessively excited about. I wrote each thing down and braced myself for all of them to happen.

I was also able to talk about the realization of my dream on the first day of the workshop.

My 24 Things

Fast-forward several months later, and now that I’ve experienced all of them, I can say that I was right to be excited about every single one of them. Here they are, in some inexplicable order:

  1. Seeing my name on the WOTF website blog showing the list of winners. Amazing! Must stop clicking on it! I admit it’s been over a year since it appeared, and I occasionally still take a peek at it, just to make sure I’m not dreaming.
  2. Reading my story (and the others, of course) in the book. I’ve read all the volumes. Now my story will be in there. Wow! Now that I have read the new volume, I’m once again delighted. The stories are amazing. They’ve all got that quirky, original and creative twist that makes the WOTF stories so unique.
  3. The weeklong workshop taught by the best in the field. I bow humbly and am ready to learn. This turned out to be so much more than I expected. Having lunch with Dean Wesley Smith at the local burger joint, having a cocktail with Tim Powers at the hotel bar, a long list of guest speakers, all powerhouses in the field. I could go on! My notebook is filled, and my brain is trying to contain it all.
  4. The generous prize money. Always nice. So nice. (PS: Got it! It was nice.) And then I got paid pro-rates for the story itself too. Wow!
  5. The trophy. I seriously can’t wait. So, I’ve got my trophy now. It sits in the center of my dining room table, at least for now! You should see how it bends the sunlight.
  6. Meeting the judges. Very nervous, many questions. Okay, I’ve met them. All the judges were incredibly humble and welcoming. They were very knowledgeable and answered all your questions, and others you didn’t even think of asking.
  7. Meeting fellow winners. Always room for more lifelong friends. OMG, this was perhaps my favorite part! Hanging out in the hotel room, going to the local bar, lounging by the pool, talking about our speeches, trying to find a place in Hollywood to eat lunch, I will remember them always. What a great group of friends!
  8. Reading the stories in my quarter. I got second place. What story beat mine? What story got third place? So, fast-forward again. I’ve read the story that beat mine. And I can see why it won first place. And I’ve read the story that placed third in my quarter, and I have to admit, it’s one of my favorites of the entire volume. I loved it.
  9. Seeing the artwork for my story. Please have tissues ready. Lots of tissues. This turned out to be sooo amazing. And yes, I needed the tissues. I’ll just leave it at that.
  10. Giving my speech on stage. I’ve spent years on this one … not even kidding. I attended the WOTF awards nine times, always in the audience. Now I walked on stage as a winner. I was nervous, but I couldn’t have been happier. My main problem was, I was one of the last to give their speech, and all the other speeches before mine were starting to make me cry.
  11. Reading my bio. Yeah, I already know about me, but this is different. Seeing my bio in the WOTF, wow! I’ve always loved that the WOTF books include not only stories but bios and essays from the judges. It’s so amazing to be a part of a contest that has helped launch so many monumental careers.
  12. Seeing the cover of Volume 35. Haven’t seen it yet. Pretty darn excited about it. Saw it. Love it!
  13. Meeting Joni Labaqui, the long-time Contest Director. I couldn’t believe it when she called me telling me I had won second place. Still can’t believe it. I had met her briefly attending the ceremonies before, but now as a winner, it was different. All the people who run the Contest were truly incredible. They made me feel like a real writer, in a good way!
  14. The autograph session after the ceremony. So many times, I’ve gotten the autographs. Now I shall be giving Surreal! And ***coughs*** just the beginning. So, yeah, this happened. There were so many people, I actually got cramps in my hand. And who do I see before me, smiling, and holding a book for me to sign? Tim Powers! No kidding. I have the photo.
  15. Staying in a hotel in … wait for it! Hollywood! Hollywood! ***Cue the singing!*** So yeah, this was truly amazing. What a contest!
  16. Reading reviews of the book. Already bracing myself. So, the reviews are coming in. And they are quite favorable, thank you, humbly. I’m not sure why, but my favorite review is from an Amazon reader who said that my story was their favorite! And I didn’t even have to pay them! (Much … just kidding!)
  17. Being able to put “I won the Writers of the Future Contest” on my resume and cover letters. Slush pile? What slush pile? So yeah, this actually works. I even got a personal congratulation from the editor of a long enduring, pro-level magazine.
  18. Recognition! By winning the Contest, I got an invitation-only opportunity to submit to a pro-level publication. It happened! And my story has been accepted! Fourth pro-level story!
  19. Telling my family, friends and co-workers and fellow writers that I won. This was so much fun. Get ready for some hugs and congratulations! And do not tell them what your story is about. Let them read it in the book. Stay strong, do not give in!
  20. Reading the blurb for my story in the front of the book. I’ve read them for other stories. What will they say about mine? I know, it seems like a little thing, but when I saw it, I felt those tears again. It’s just one small sentence, but it captures my story perfectly. I won’t give it away here. Buy the book. You won’t be disappointed.
  21. Finding out what order my story is in the book. A weird thing to wonder, I admit, but what can I say? I’m weird. I might be first, yeah! I might be last? Yeah! Anywhere in the middle, which is fine with me. I don’t know why I even think of this, but I’m looking forward to seeing it. So, now I’ve got the book. My story is last! And I’m so happy! My words will the last words that the reader sees.
  22. Seeing how many pages my story takes up in the actual book. I already have a rough idea, of course, but I want to know exactly. So, my story occupies thirteen pages — really a very small section of the entire book. There are shorter stories, and some much longer. It’s one of the things I love about the WOTF volumes, they take all different lengths.
  23. I just know there’s something I haven’t thought of yet, and it’s gonna be amazing. The award dinner? The tuxedo? The book offers … I just know there’s something! Fast-forward and yes, there is, and I’m not saying what they are. There are too many, and frankly, it’s better a surprise.
  24. The confidence. Out of the thousands of anonymous entries, my story was chosen. Now I know for sure, I can do this. And that alone is the best prize of all!

So, there you go! Those are the 24 things that I’m still excited about after winning the Writers of the Future Contest. And I hope that they are also 24 reasons to inspire you why you should enter the Writers of the Future Contest, and win! As someone who entered 47 times, I can tell you, it was sooo worth it! Don’t give up!


Preston DennettPreston Dennett has worked as a carpet cleaner, fast-food worker, data entry clerk, bookkeeper, landscaper, singer, actor, writer, radio host, television consultant, teacher, UFO researcher, ghost hunter and more. He has written 22 non-fiction books and more than 100 articles about UFOs and the paranormal. But his true love has always been speculative fiction. After a long hiatus, he started writing again in 2009. He has sold 37 stories to various venues including Allegory, Andromeda Spaceways, Bards & Sages, Black Treacle, Cast of Wonders, The Colored Lens, Grievous Angel, Kzine, Perihelion, Sci Phi Journal, Stupefying Stories, T. Gene Davis’ Speculative Blog, and more, including several anthologies. He earned twelve honorable mentions in the L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future Contest before winning 2nd place for Quarter 1, 2018, (Volume 35), his third professional sale. He currently resides in southern California where he spends his days looking for new ways to pay his bills and his nights exploring the farthest edges of the universe.

 

 

Announced as winner to receive trophy

HERE BE DRAGONS – How one man charted his path to success through L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future Contest

When you look at the tattered edges of old nautical charts, often you’ll find a wicked sea serpent threading through the water. There is even a medieval globe with the inscription: HERE BE DRAGONS. It probably didn’t mean the explorers had run across dragons (although I’d like to think so); it meant they hadn’t explored that location and if you decided to travel there, you would do so at your own risk. You were navigating uncharted waters.

Much of writing is exactly that. No two writers’ journeys are the same because we all have unique circumstances and we are all singularly unique individuals. You can read and study what others did to find their course across the vast oceans of writing and publishing, but in the end, you have to chart your own path, catch the wind in your sails, put your hand to the tiller, and guide your ship to the destination that’s right for you. It’s your journey. You haven’t traversed these waters before. There will be perils. There will be dragons. But if you hold fast and fight to the last, there can also be rich rewards.

A 40-YEAR TALE

My journey to the stage of Writers of the Future has been a 40-year tale. It began at 15 when I submitted a science fiction story and won the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards—the same contest that first discovered Stephen King, Peter S. Beagle, Joyce Carol Oates, and a host of iconic names in the Arts. It became my first professional sale when it sold to Science World. With over thirty first place awards that followed in speech and writing events by the time I was 18, one would have thought smooth sailing to a professional writing career was just ahead. But my story has had several false denouements, thinking I had made safe harbor, at last, only to be sucked into a whirlpool filled with sea serpents slapping their scaly carcasses across my deck, snapping toothy jaws at my jugular. It’s a tale of triumph and woe where THINGS GET WORSE and had I told it to you, you might have even shed a tear … until you realized that no one becomes a professional writer without facing down at least a few dragons of their own.

My dragons were the usual: abandoned by my mother; a runaway escaping a violent father; living with uncaring foster parents; taking foolish risks with drugs because I didn’t care if I lived or died; waking up in a hospital and realizing the next time I might not; building a successful business only to be sued by an SEC receiver for a massive sum I had never earned; winning that seven-year court battle in spite of the receiver seizing every penny we had; and just when the court said no harm no foul and handed us our life back, the recession took our new business, the bank took our home, and cancer took my wife’s health. You know. Dragons.

And then I had an epiphany, as characters often do in the depths of their Dark Night. I had just brought my wife back from the hospital after two cancer surgeries and a second nuclear treatment—in fact, she was still radioactive, and I couldn’t be within ten feet of her. I realized then that I would never be one of those people that achieve that peachy life where health stabilized and finances secured and I could block out the time necessary to become a full-time professional writer. I decided then—against all the foreseen clinic visits and scans and therapy for my wife—that I would find a realistic goal for my writing that I could achieve within my circumstances.

I plotted a fresh course. What would be a reachable destination? I had never lost sight of the fact that winning Writers of the Future had launched many SF writers’ careers—people I knew personally like Dean Wesley Smith and Kris Rusch and Nina Kiriki Hoffman. I had entered the contest for over twenty years at this point when I had my epiphany. I had earned many Writers of the Future certificates—from honorable mentions to semifinalists—all the way back to the first coordinating judge, Algis Budrys. I had also won some major international contests and had achieved a second pro sale to Star Trek: Strange New Worlds 2, published by Pocket Books. And I had garnered innumerable personal rejections by the top editors in speculative fiction. I had earned enough positive proofs to know that if I intensely focused even my limited energy and free time on one specific goal, I had the potential to make something great happen. So I chose to focus all my energy on winning Writers of the Future by entering every single quarter, come what may.

CHARTING A COURSE TO WIN WRITERS OF THE FUTURE

Charting that one simple course was the key to changing everything for me. One story, written every quarter, submitted to the contest before midnight on closing day. Meeting that personal commitment in spite of the trials sweeping through our life taught me dedication to a specific task and how to meet deadlines. And in meeting each deadline, I wrote a lot more. I modified my goal to push my abilities to the limit by writing fresh stories outside my comfort zone. The writing came easier, because I was regularly exercising my writing abilities, and I was riding the edge of my imagination. I discovered I could write faster and better than I had ever believed possible. In short, dedicating myself to never let a Writers of the Future quarter go by without submitting a fresh story pushed me to generate the skills necessary to become a professional writer.

Of the fifteen quarters I entered after making that decision, I received honors from the coordinating judge, David Farland, fourteen times—the last being my finalist and second place win in the fourth quarter of Volume 35. But something else happened as my skills grew. I hit a definitive breakout moment.

What’s a breakout moment? In sailing, there is a directional wheel diagram called Point of Sail. It marks out a vessel’s direction of travel under sail in relation to the true wind direction over the surface of the water. A sailboat cannot sail directly into the wind. But there is a point in sail position called close-hauled, where a vessel is as close to the wind’s direction as it can go without losing power. You get to that point by adjusting the sail to the proper angle relative to the direction of oncoming wind and trimming it so the surface is taut, generating maximum lift on the sail. It takes a lot of practice, but you know it when you hit the perfect mark—the sail quits luffing and goes drumhead tight and the sailboat leans with power, gliding like a bird across the water. It’s a rush to go from being in irons—stalled on the water—into close-hauled tack.

A breakout moment in writing is much the same. Writers know when they hit it. You’ve probably experienced it yourself or watched it happen to a friend. For ages, nothing seems to be selling for them, and suddenly, everything is, to solid, career-building markets. Be happy for them. They worked long and hard to get that moment to occur.

My breakout moment happened last November. In the space of two weeks, the wind rushed my writing vessel, I heard that pop as the sail went taut, and my writing career moved into close-hauled trim. I had just had my story “War Dog” published by a pro-paying anthology, and they hired me to narrate it (it went on to win Critters Readers’ Choice Award for Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Story of 2018). Two days later, editor Alex Shvartsman hired me to be podcast director for a new pro-science fiction magazine called Future Science Fiction Digest, and the first story I narrated also became a Nebula nominee. Three days later, I got the call I had won a full scholarship to the Superstars Writing Seminar—one of the best writing seminars in the country. Two days after that, I got the call from Joni Labaqui I was a finalist in Writers of the Future 4th Quarter, and a week later she called again with her famous line, “Moon, are you sitting down?” I had won second place. ALL of this happened within exactly two weeks. As I posted the news to my social media, someone joked that I was an overnight success, because that’s what a breakout moment looks like. I responded, “Yeah, I’m an overnight success, forty years in the making.”

WINNING WRITERS OF THE FUTURE

In April 2019, I attended THE best workshop for new speculative fiction writers in the country, conducted by David Farland, Orson Scott Card, and Tim Powers—each writing heroes of mine, each authors of many books on my bookshelves. And I saw the release of Writers of the Future Vol. 35 on the Hollywood stage and was honored to have my award handed to me by Dr. Gregory Benford. But most importantly, I got to speak my heart about my journey, how I had been entering the contest for 25 years, how much I loved the contest, and how I had written a story in 36 hours in a desperate hail Mary at the very end of the contest year and had won. It was a euphoric moment as the crowds cheered to my tale.

And after that whirlwind, you go home. Perhaps this is the most dangerous moment for an up-and-coming writer after sailing at peak potential, close-hauled, soaring under best of trim. You go to a few signings at famous bookstores when you get back and then, no more wind. No cheering crowds. No fans asking for your autograph. If you’re not careful, the wind could entirely spill from your sails. You could lose all momentum. You could enter that dreaded point of sail called the no-go zone. But the old sailors called it something else: in irons, shackled in place. Bad things happen to captains when they lose the wind and their sails luff and the ship enters the dreaded doldrums. When you’re dead in the water, dragons can come, and they can be the worst of dragons: fear, self-doubt, feelings of inadequacy.

Well, I worked mighty hard to get to this particular point on the map, and I’m determined not to let that happen. A good sailor doesn’t let the wind slip from his vessel’s sails. Momentum is a powerful thing and hard-won. For instance, the day I had to drive to Seattle to catch my plane for the Writers of the Future workshop, I told myself I couldn’t leave until I finished suggested edits on a story I had gotten back from the editor of Deep Magic magazine. I got to my hotel way too late that night, but I had met my deadline. My reward? When I came home, I had a contract waiting for me, and my historical fantasy about a Spanish captain will appear in Deep Magic this Fall.

I then read our Writers of the Future anthology from cover to cover. I found brilliant advice from Mike Resnick, directing us to sell the reprint on our stories, especially to foreign markets. I had never thought about this before—when you’re a new writer, you don’t have a lot of published stories to even consider such things. But I knew Future Science Fiction Digest gets many of their stories reprinted for a huge audience in China, and they happened to be calling for stories to commemorate the Moon landing. I had a Moon story! I queried the editor, got his approval to send him “Super-Duper Moongirl and the Amazing Moon Dawdler,” and he sent me a contract. The reprint now appears in Future Science Fiction Digest, Issue 3. I was also commissioned to create the podcast.

SINCE WINNING WRITERS OF THE FUTURE

Other good things have happened as well. The funniest? Walking into the local casino where I dance and hearing the band leader announce across the PA system, “Hey folks, that famous author Wulf Moon is with us tonight. He’s been tearing it up on the writing scene!” And a stranger in the crowd actually got up and shook my hand! I guess I can say I’m “Locally Famous!” I also sent a letter to Donald Maass of the Donald Maass Literary Agency to give him a progress update on my novel. Don represented me long ago on a Star Trek novel that didn’t sell, alas. And then, all those dragons swamped my ship. I went to the Superstars Seminar primarily to renew my friendship with Don. We had lunch together, and he asked about my current work-in-progress. As I detailed the world his eyes lit up. He said in all his years, he had never heard of anything like it, and he said to send it to him, to send him anything I’m working on, in any stage of development. I’m really happy he’s so interested, as being a mainstream published novelist has been my ultimate goal. Now, Don knows I won another international writing contest, that I’m published in a #1 bestselling anthology, and he has a sample of my latest work.

So I’m using the gust of wind the good people at Writers of the Future have filled my sails with, but I’m sharing that power with others as well. I post tips on how to win the contest on the Writers of the Future Forum. My “Moon’s SUPER SECRET Bonus Challenge” topic has over 30,000 views. Many have told me the encouragement shared has helped them to start writing and submitting again. Two that accepted my challenge made Finalist, and several have said their recent honors were because of the help and tips I’m sharing. They did the work—all I’m doing is encouraging them to set the same goals that I did that finally got me my win. And I’ve just enjoyed a fresh honor from Author Services—president John Goodwin invited me to be a moderator in the Writers of the Future Forum.

AND NOW ITS MY TURN TO START PAYING IT FORWARD

Navigating your own uncharted waters toward the new world of professional writing will be one of the most challenging ventures you’ll ever engage in, but it’s worth every effort. I hope you’ll listen to my Writers of the Future Podcast interview and a video interview I did while in Hollywood, as well as visit my website at www.driftweave.com. I’ve sailed these waters successfully now, and I’m trying to help you navigate toward your own win. Come join us on the Writers of the Future Forum. You won’t find a better place for new writers to get encouragement from seasoned veterans, there to help you to stay the course. And if you keep beating back those dragons that slither across your deck and NEVER let them conquer you, you’re going to become powerful, and you’re going to discover something.



Writers of the Future Podcast—Wulf Moon


Wulf Moon interviewed in Hollywood

You are now stronger than they are. You transformed. When you unroll that nautical chart, you’re going to be right over that serpent mark, and you’re going to look about, and there’s going to be no one there but you.

Because … HERE BE DRAGON!

All the beast!

Wulf Moon


Wulf Moon

Wulf Moon

Wulf Moon is an Olympic Peninsula writer, artist, and narrator. Moon wrote his first hard SF story when he was fifteen. It won the national Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. It became his first pro sale in Science World.

His story “Seventh Heaven” was published by Pocket Books in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds II. A Borg love story. What could be sweeter?

His conquistador fantasy story, “War Dog,” was published by Third Flatiron. It won the Critters Annual Readers’ Poll award for Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Short Story of 2018.

Moon recently won the international Writers of the Future Contest. His story “Super-Duper Moongirl and the Amazing Moon Dawdler” first appeared in Writers of the Future, Volume 35, and was reprinted in Future Science Fiction Digest, Issue 3.

Moon is an approved narrator for Apex Publications, PodCastle, and Escape Pod, and has narrated numerous episodes for Gallery of Curiosities and Third Flatiron. He is podcast director for Future Science Fiction Digest. Enjoy more of his work by visiting www.driftweave.com.

 

Dragon Art

Wyverns vs Dragons

While wyverns and dragons have graced art galleries and portfolios and have been the subject of numerous bestselling fantasy books in recent times, they entered into the world of art and literature thousands of years ago.

The most common questions you will hear about wyverns vs. dragons are which one came first? And when did these mythological creatures enter the world of fantastic fiction? And what makes them different?

Some mythology experts have noted that dragons appeared as early as 2500 B.C. in a poem entitled Akkadian, considered to be the first great work of literature. In one of the most important pieces of English Literature, Beowulf, written around 1000 A.D., a dragon is slain by the legendary hero in a bloody battle.

Wyverns were first recorded as appearing in 752 A.D. in the figure of a dragon. They were encountered by the Trajan’s legions in Dacia. The Dacian Draco depicts the wyvern’s head on the standard banner of the ancient Dacian soldiers, which can still be seen on the Trajan’s Column in Rome, Italy.

Just as interesting as when they first appeared in the world of literature, are the many types, colors, and cultures of dragons.

Dragon Types

Amphiptere: A serpent with greenish-yellow feathers, bat-like green wings with feathered bone, and an arrow-tipped tail. Others are described as entirely covered in feathers with a spiked tail, beak-like snout, and bird-like wings.

Dragon: A large serpent-like creature that appears in the folklore of many cultures around the world. Beliefs about dragons vary drastically by region, but dragons in western cultures since around 1,000 A.D. have wings, horns, four legs, and are capable of breathing fire. Dragons in eastern cultures are usually wingless, four-legged, serpentine creatures with above-average intelligence.

Drake: A spiny wolf-like creature with a dragon head, horns, and two legs.

Lindworm: A legendary serpent monster or dragon-like creature. In Norwegian heraldry, a lindworm is the same as the wyvern in British heraldry.

Wrym: A snake-like creature with no wings or legs and a dragon head.

Wyvern: A creature with a dragon’s head and wings, two legs, a reptilian body, and a tail often ending in a diamond or arrow shaped tip. A variant dubbed the sea-wyvern lives in the sea and has a fish tail in place of a barbed dragon’s tail.

Dragon Colors, Countries, and Cultures

Dragons have different colors and come from different cultures. Pat Henry, the CEO of Dragon Con, conducted extensive research on the various colors and cultures of dragons, which he shared during his keynote presentation at the annual L. Ron Hubbard Writers and Illustrators of the Future awards ceremony.

Wyverns and dragons have been around for millennia and continue to be created today through movies, comic books, novels, and art.

Dragons in Contemporary Literature

L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future Volume 33

L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future Volume 34

Dragon Writers an Anthology

The Dragonriders of Pern by Anne McCaffrey

Winter Wyvern by McCaffrey-Winner

Dragons Run by Jody Lynn Nye

The Hobbit, by J.R.R Tolkien

Eragon by Christopher Paolini


Many famous authors continue to tell dragon tales through fantasy short stories such as:

L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future Volume 33, featuring the Dragon Killers Daughter by Todd McCaffrey

L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future Volume 34, featuring Illusion by Jody Lynn Nye

Dragon Writers an Anthology by Brandon Sanderson, David Farland, and collected authors

In magical and mythical creature stories such as:

The Dragonriders of Pern by Anne McCaffrey

Winter Wyvern by McCaffrey-Winner

Dragons Run by Jody Lynn Nye

And through epic fantasy fiction books:

The Hobbit, by J.R.R Tolkien

Eragon by Christopher Paolini

And lastly, the dragon even takes the stage in the New York Times bestselling science fiction novel Battlefield Earth, by L. Ron Hubbard, where the Chinese legend of the dragon eating the moon helps Jonnie Goodboy Tyler turn the tide in a battle of intergalactic proportions. Read part one of Battlefield Earth for free.

Dragon Art

World-class artists have created magnificent dragon art:

The Legend by Shun Kijima

The Legend by Shun Kijima, Battlefield Earth, Japanese cover art

Mountain Conflict by Larry Elmore

Mountain Conflict by Larry Elmore

Tea Dragon by Echo Chernik

Tea Dragon by Echo Chernik

Dark Dsurion by Ciruelo

Dark Dsurion by Ciruelo

The Rainbow Dragon by Bob Eggleton

The Rainbow Dragon by Bob Eggleton

Dragons and Wyverns have longed sparked our imagination and inspired art and stories about them—and they show no signs of dying anytime soon.

Sign up for the latest news, specials, giveaways, and cool offers.

You may also be interested in these articles:

Why Is It Not an Adventure Worth Telling If There Aren’t Any Dragons?

Ciruelo’s “Dragon Caller” Provides Magical Cover for Writers of the Future Vol 34

Dragon Con 2017 – Day 1

Can You Draw a Dragon? How Illustrators of the Future Inspires Students

New SF Blog Image

Brand New Science Fiction

Looking for brand new science fiction and fantasy? You are in the right place.

These science fiction and fantasy books have been written by the Writers of the Future award-winning authors and contest judges over the last year (along with a few coming out soon). The Writers of the Future program was created by L. Ron Hubbard to provide a chance for aspiring authors and their works to be seen and acknowledged. To receive information about the program click here.

Discover the cutting edge of speculative fiction, from space opera to hard science fiction, and urban fantasy to dark fantasy fiction, in both epic books and short stories.

Note: The anthologies below include one or more stories by Writers of the Future winners, judges, and L. Ron Hubbard, and many include stories written by other authors as well.

 

L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future Volume 35

  • Writer winners: Christopher Baker, Carrie Callahan, David Cleden, Preston Dennett, Andrew Dykstal, John Haas, Kyle Kirrin, Mica Scotti Kole, Rustin Lovewell, Wulf Moon, Elise Stephens, and Kai Wolden

  • Illustrators winners: Aliya Chen, Alexander Gustafson, Yingying Jiang, Sam Kemp, Qianjiao Ma, Allen Morris, Jennifer Ober, Josh Pemberton, Emerson Rabbitt, Christine Rhee, Vytas Vasiliauskas, and Alice Wang

  • Accompanied by: L. Ron Hubbard, Rebecca Moesta, Mike Resnick, Dean Wesley Smith, David Farland (editor), Echo Chernik, Bob Eggleton, Rob Prior, David Furnal (illustrator), and Brian C. Hailes (illustrator)

Brand new science fiction and fantasy authors and illustrators make their debut in the 35th international bestselling anthology of award-winning short stories, spanning from hardcore sci-fi to epic fantasy. Discover stories so fresh and new, they’re years ahead of the curve. Order your copy here.

“Hot new talent.” —Locus

L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future Volume 35

28 Minutes into the Future

Chrome Oxide

In a time when we need to laugh more than ever, here are nine hilarious (and irreverent) short stories that blow political correctness to smithereens.

“2018 Recommended Reading List” —Tangent Online

28 Minutes into the Future by Chrome Oxide

A.I. Void Ship (A.I. Series Book 6)

Vaughn Heppner

Humanity’s war for survival against the galactic machines is coming to a grim end—our extinction has been given top priority by the main A.I. brain-core. While desperate tactics have kept us alive so far, we’d better find some strong allies fast or we’ll be another extinct species.

“Expertly crafted. Its wit and brutality conveys the reality of a stellar humanity in the near future.” —Amazon Reviewer

A.I. Void Ship by Vaughn Heppner

All the Plagues of Hell

Eric Flint and Dave Freer

In a complex web of enemies, the usurper of Milan, also known to friend and foe as the Wolf of the North, must use the cunning and skill of his physician to neutralize the Venetian hostilities. But will it be enough to save him as Orkise, the snake-god of plague, uncoils its venomous magic in a plague of hell across northern Italy?

All the Plagues of Hell by Eric Flint and Dave Freer

Alternate Routes

Tim Powers

A fast-paced supernatural adventure from the labyrinth of Los Angeles freeways to a horrifying alternate world out of Greek Mythology. Sebastian Vickery, a disgraced ex-Secret Service agent and Agent Ingrid Castine must learn to trust each other if they are to survive, despite their old loyalties.

“Powers continues his run of smashing expectations and then playing with the pieces in this entertaining urban fantasy. More than a dash of the bizarre.” —Publishers Weekly

Alternate Routes by Tim Powers

Angels Don’t Have Dark Hair

Brennan Harvey

In this original short story, the ghost of Phil’s ex-girlfriend makes him an offer that will make his life better. Will he take her advice … or remain a slacker forever?

Angels Don't Have Dark Hair by Brennan Harvey

Apex Magazine (Issue 114)

Gary Kloster, Gary A. Braunbeck, Storm Humbert, Sabrina Vourvoulias, Paul Jessup, Andrea Johnson, Russell Dickerson, and Jason Sizemore (editor)

Apex Magazine features original mind-bending short stories of science fiction, fantasy and horror, including the emotionally stirring dark fantasy “Godzilla vs. Buster Keaton, Or: I Didn’t Even Need a Map,” “Master Brahms” tackling the concept of identity with a new twist, the fast-paced heroic story of a word witch using her powers for good in “Toward a New Lexicon of Augury,” and the short story “Riding the Signal.” There are also author interviews and an insightful non-fiction article.

Apex Magazine (Issue 114)

Arabella the Traitor of Mars (Adventures of Arabella Ashby Book 3)

David D. Levine

The Crown, the Galaxy’s last superpower, has turned its sights on Mars. Arabella is torn between the loyalties of her new husband and love, who fights for the Crown, and that of the Martians. And while the resistance of Mars is hopeless, she has many friends there—will she abandon them or fight along with them?

“Sci-fi steampunk at its best. Strong storyline and characters.” —Amazon Reviewer

Arabella the Traitor of Mars by David D. Levine

Asimov’s Science Fiction (September/October 2018)

Doug C. Souza, Greg Egan, Stephanie Feldman, Carrie Vaughn, Suzanne Palmer, Erin Roberts, Robert Reed, Sheila Finch, Jean Marie Ward, David Erik Nelson, Leah Cypess, and Rick Wilber

Filled with chills and thrills. Youll rendezvous with alarming creatures, discover what its like to be under the control of a rigid democracy with alien influences, walk through an endless graveyard, discover the power of nano-bots and their symbiotic interactions with humanity on Jupiter’s moon, and many many more cutting edge short stories.

“Interesting perspective—entertaining, and the end was well disguised.” —Tangent Online

The Assassination of Billy Jeeling

Brian Herbert

Billy Jeeling, after life-long service of cleaning up and repairing the atmosphere with the creation of the Skyship and its secret technologies, is under attack by the AmEarth Empire. They consider his old age a threat and have asked him to step down and turn over his technology. When he won’t, they launch a full-scale propaganda machine, resulting in massive demonstrations against him; and one officer who will stop at nothing to bring him down. However, Jeeling has even bigger secrets (and personal demons) that threaten himself and every living creature­—and he is the only one that can save them.

“A good read.” —Amazon Reviewer

The Assassination of Billy Jeeling by Brian Herbert

Bards and Sages Quarterly (Volume 10, Issue 3)

Sean Patrick Hazlett, Dawn Vogel, Eugen Bacon, Gustavo Bondoni, Kyla Chapek, Aaron DaMommio, Sarah Milne Das, Steve DuBois, David Fisher, and Julie Ann Dawson

Bards and Sages Quarterly is a celebration of science fiction, fantasy, and other speculative fiction short stories. It showcases amazing voices that otherwise might be missed. Discover both new and established writers is this collection of original work. This issue is a winner of their Reader’s Choice Awards.

Bards and Sages Quarterly (Volume 10, Issue 3)

Binti: The Night Masquerade

Nnedi Okorafor

Believing that the violence of the Meduse has been left behind, Binti has returned to her home planet. While her people are peaceful on the whole, the Khoush continue to fan the flames of their ancient rivalry with the Meduse. Before Binti can get to her village, the anger and resentment have already claimed the lives of many close to her. It is up to Binti, and her intriguing new friend Mwinyi, to try to prevent a war that could wipe out her people once and for all, in this epic conclusion of the sci-fi trilogy that began with the Hugo and Nebula Award-winning Binti.

“Nnedi Okorafor writes glorious futures and fabulous fantasies. Her worlds open your mind to new things, always rooted in the red clay of reality. Prepare to fall in love with Binti.” ―Neil Gaiman, New York Times bestselling author of American Gods

Binti: The Night Masquerade by Nnedi Okorafor

Blue Collar Space

Martin L. Shoemaker

Award-winning author of “Today I am Paul,” Martin L. Shoemaker, presents stories of everyday people, doing extraordinary things in interstellar situations. These are the people planning, constructing, exploring—living and dying—across the galaxy. The future doesn’t just happen … somebody has to build it.

“My only real complaint is that I want more stories.” —Amazon Reviewer

Blue Collar Space by Martin L. Shoemaker

Broadswords and Blasters (Issue 6): Pulp Magazine with Modern Sensibilities

David VonAllmen, Matthew X. Gomez, Robert Walton, Rie Sheridan Rose, Adam S. Furman, Marcus Hansson, Catherine J. Cole, J.D. Graves, Jared Mason, and Cameron Mount (editor)

Action-packed science fiction and fantasy stories that include the hero Bogerd and his troupe of warriors, a mechanical marauder that holds up stage-coaches, giant robot protectors and the team that protects them, grim outsiders of the desolation, and the crew of Dalton Delivery 5 facing more than they could have ever imagined.

“Great heart-pounding stories with interesting, unusual characters—what a ride!” —Amazon Reviewer

Broken Stars: Contemporary Chinese Science Fiction in Translation

Ken Liu

Edited by award-winning author Ken Liu, Broken Stars is a collection of Chinese science fiction and fantasy short stories that evoke the full emotional spectrum. They demonstrate the diversity and vibrancy of the genre, spanning from hard SF to cyberpunk, science fantasy to space opera, and showcasing stories with deeper Chinese culture.

“This anthology is a must-read.” ―Booklist (starred review)

Broken Stars: Contemporary Chinese Science Fiction in Translation by Ken Liu

Choosing Names (Man-Kzin Wars Series Book 8)

Larry Niven

The Kzinti learned the hard way that the reason humanity was no longer studying war, was because they were so good at it. Larry Niven’s Known Space is at war, the Man-Kzin Wars, and the Kzinti are getting another dose of why they should be respectful to the hairless Earthlings.

“Good addition to Niven’s Known Universe.” —Amazon Reviewer

Choosing Names (Man-Kzin Wars Series Book 8)

Crazy Town: Rogue Blades Dark Anthology of Fantastical Crime Noir

Julie Frost, Peter McLean, Michael Ehart, Patrick Thomas, Matt Abraham, Milo James Fowler, Jennifer Rachel Baumer, Douglas Smith, Jason M. Waltz, and Peter Gnas

Crazy Town knows no limits. Thirteen daring authors step into the dark and deliver explosive, haunted action: sin, shots, and secrets. This is Mike Hammer meets Roger Rabbit, with another notch closer to crazy.

“You will find a solid mix of nearly all types of speculative fiction, from fantasy to dark fantasy and on to science fiction, a superhero tale, and perhaps a touch of horror here and there.” —Amazon Reviewer

Crazy Town: Rogue Blades Dark Anthology of Fantastical Crime Noir

Dead But Once (Saga of the Redeemed Book 3)

Auston Habershaw

Arch-criminal Tyvian Reldamar has gotten complacent, which could prove to be very dangerous for him and his family and loyal friends. The city is known for its genteel aristocracy as much as its diabolical scheming. The ruling families are scrabbling for control with ‘polite’ but cruel tactics, waging war on one another, and Tyvian is being drawn into it. With swashbuckling flare, you will be swept up into a world of crime, magic, and political intrigue where life is cheap and justice is expensive.

“Habershaw’s most thrilling Reldamar adventure yet, with high stakes and dire threats.” —Amazon Reviewer

Dead But Once (Saga of the Redeemed Book 3) by Auston Habershaw

Deadly Sojourn (Deadly Series Book 1) 

John Haas

A struggling writer deciphers a cryptic message, allegedly from 1871, revealing a nearly impossible to believe story—so crazy it just might be true. Four adventurers take it up and attempt a modern-day treasure hunt to a desolate island. It is not long before they discover that they are not the only ones seeking the treasure and the hunters soon become the hunted!

Deep Magic (Issue 60)

Ken Liu, Christoph Weber, Jeff Wheeler, T.E. Bradford, Christopher Baxter, Charlie N. Holmberg, Obert Skye, and Micah Hyatt

Deep Magic, the e-zine of clean fantasy and science fiction, brings you five amazing short stories, including Ken Liu’s “The Ten Suns”, the winner of the Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy Awards, Charlie N. Holmberg’s “The Plastic Magician,” and Obert Skye’s “Wizard for Hire.”

“Delightful refuge with spellbinding creativity and unbounded variety. These short stories are truly gifts of magic.” —Amazon Reviewer

Deep Magic (Issue 60)

The Devil’s Thief (Last Magician Book 2)

Lisa Maxwell

To save the future of magic, Esta and Harte set off through time to steal back the elemental stones. The Book of Mysteries was supposed to hold the key to freeing the Mageus from the Order’s grasp, but now the book’s furious power lives inside Harte. And if he loses control, the power will rip the world apart—and will use Esta to do it. Only the elemental stones can bind the power. Time is running out as the past and future collide, even for these time-traveling thieves.

“A marvelous book, richly imagined, skillfully plotted, and densely peopled with both real and imaginary figures from a variety of historical times and places.” —Amazon Reviewer

The Devil’s Thief (Last Magician Book 2)The Devil’s Thief (Last Magician Book 2) by Lisa Maxwell

Divergent Fates Anthology

Robert J. Defendi, Matthew S. Cox, J.S. Hughes, Mark W. Woodring, J.P. Sloan, James Wymore, Wilbert Stanton, Patrick Burdine, and Benjamin Sperduto

Eleven unique stories in the Divergent Fates universe from nine daring authors: from the cyber-enhanced world of West City to 2418 Korea to the neo-feudal Japan, onto Allied Corporate Council territory, and straight into the Badlands.

“Well-written for the ever-expanding Divergent Fates universe. This collection of stories was all one could ask for.” —Amazon Reviewer

Divergent Fates AnthologyDivergent Fates Anthology

Dragon’s Hand

David VonAllmen

Grand-prize winner of the Baen Fantasy Adventure Award. David VonAllen grabs you from the star with this opening, “The Chained King. Flaming Goat. Moon of Day. Jane pinched the squares of heavy paper hard enough to turn her fingertips white. She’d finally drawn the hand of cards that would end her years of searching… ”

BAEN Free Stories

Enter the Aftermath (Book 2)

Matthew Rotundo, Julie Frost, Hunter Nedland, Lizz Shepherd, Rei Rosenquist, Kate Kelly, Barry McConatha, Evan Dicken, Robert Madison, Lee French, Jon Gauthier, Heather Steadham, Gareth Gray, Emily Devenport, Samantha Bister, Sanet Schoeman, Madison Keller, Elizabeth Hosang, Tabatha Stirling, Ken Green, Eddie Newton, Madison Estes, E.J. Shumak, James Van Pelt, Aspen Hougen, Stephanie Losi, David Hoenig, Michael Sano, Joachim Heijndermans, John Sanders, John Carlo, Samuel Van Pelt, G.G. Silverman, Katherine Fox, Dale McMurray, Eric Blair, Matthew Timmins, Jack Bates, and Kevin Stadt

Thirty-eight international authors bring you original dystopian stories of the end of mankind as we know it. Explore the burnout and height of disaster, meet dominating warlocks, misbehaving aliens, thoughtless kaiji, and survival mutations, and get their desperate takes on artificial intelligence. Enjoy the humor and darkness of Enter the Aftermath.

“One emotional punch after another.” —Amazon Reviewer

Enter the Aftermath (Book 2)

Eradications

William Mitchell

The Moon experiment into self-replicating systems has gone wrong, very wrong. A once-thriving colony lies in ruin, while the machines continue to take over the Moon, already infesting more than two hundred miles and growing. The one man who could stop it is hiding, as the world holds him responsible. Now there are powers at work that would rather control this new machine outbreak than eliminate it. The battle to clean up the operation is turning into an all-out war.

“Action packed and with a lead that is easy to sympathize with. I highly recommend it.” —Amazon Reviewer

Eradications by William Mitchell

Faery Prophet: Awakened Magic Saga (Faery Chronicles Book 2)

Leslie Claire Walker

A faery seerʼs apprentice, training to enforce magical law, gets in over his head when a troubled girl asks for help with her supernatural emergency. To save his friends, he must organize the resistance as hell arrives on Earth. He must face his own demons at the risk of becoming one. If you like hidden worlds and star-crossed romance at a fast pace, you’ll love this magical series.

“The stakes are higher than ever, and it’s not clear who can be trusted. Highly recommended!” —Amazon Reviewer

Faery Prophet: Awakened Magic Saga (Faery Chronicles Book 2) by Leslie Claire Walker

Fiction River: Wishes (Book 28)

Ron Collins, Leslie Claire Walker, Fiction River, Diana Deverell, Robert Jeschonek, Lisa Silverthorne, Annie Reed, Eric Kent Edstrom, Dayle A. Dermatis, and Alexandra Brandt

Fiction River, an original anthology magazine, offers sixteen unique stories centered on the power of making a wish, including a crash course in wishery to save a life, the victim of someone else’s wish, teens trying to wish away their problems only to achieve unexpected results, and many more. These stories offer just the right amount of magic, heart, pathos, and hope—no matter the trouble, these stories will lift your spirit and remind you there is still magic in the world.

“Makes great reading.” —Tangent Online

Fiction River: Wishes (Book 28)

The Final Summons: A New England Speculative Writers Anthology

D.A. DAmico, Chris Philbrook, E.J. Stevens, Scott Goudsward, Morgan Sylvia, Michael Bailey, Trisha J. Wooldridge, Rachel Menard, Steve Van Samson, Emma Lowry, Dave Pasquantonio, Suzanne Reynolds-Alpert, Peter N. Dudar, Errick A. Nunnally, Jeremy Flagg, C.H. Duryea, C.L. Alden, and Craig Martelle

Final Summons showcases fourteen brilliant speculative fiction writers and their mind-bending stories. Join assassins and improbable saviors as they battle for survival and strike deals with the Devil. Experience a planet-wide apocalypse and intimate tales of heart-wrenching sacrifice in this provocative short-story collection.

“Great new anthology. Different stories and styles.” —Amazon Reviewer

The Final Summons: A New England Speculative Writers Anthology

For All Mankind

C. Stuart Hardwick

Analog Award Best Novelette. Experience the triumph of humanity over Cold War paranoia, in this heart-rending story of the Apollo Program, the Tsar Bomba.

“Real and well-told. A great story. Well done!” —SFRevu

For All Mankind by C. Stuart Hardwick

Frozen Sky (Twin Soul Series Book 3)

Todd McCaffrey, Brianna Winner, and Brittany Winner

“Krea was bored and when she was bored, bad things always followed.” Welcome to the Twin Souls Series, a gaslamp fantasy world of magic, wyverns, dragons, airships, mechanical men, and mayhem. Newly-returned from the maiden voyage of the royal airship Spite, and tasked with a new and more dangerous voyage, Captain Ford and his crew are forced to choose between king and queen, glory or survival, and loyalty or greed, as they sail to the bitter north to bring back the winter wyvern—dead or alive. With adventure, romance, witchcraft, meddlesome gods, and danger around every corner, Frozen Sky is the thrilling sequel to Cloud Conqueror.

“Phenomenal at keeping the reader in anticipation.” —Amazon Reviewer

Frozen Sky (Twin Soul Series Book 3) by Todd McCaffrey, Brianna Winner, and Brittany Winner

The Future is Nigh: A Treasury of Science Fiction & Fantasy

C.L. Holland, Martin L. Shoemaker, C. Hardwick, Matthew S. Rotundo, William Ledbetter, L.D. Colter, and Brian Trent

What happens when winners of the Writers of the Future Contest come together? They bring you truly exceptional stories: from lab rats on the run to rocket-borne dreams and weird casualty loops to Serlingesque kismet. These talented authors have just begun to receive accolades: two Golden Pen Awards, a Jim Baen Memorial Award finalist, a Nebula Award nominee, a Tangent Online Recommended Reading List selection, and a Washington Science Fiction Association Small Press Award.

“A marvelous collection of stories. Each story steps outside the walls of this world and shows us why these tremendous talents won Writers of the Future.” —Peter Wacks, co-author of the Heroes Reborn Series

The Future is Nigh: A Treasury of Science Fiction & FantasyThe Future is Nigh: A Treasury of Science Fiction and Fantasy

Future Science Fiction Digest (Issue 2)

N.R.M. Roshak, Mike Resnick, Tais Teng, Jaap Boekestein, David Walton, Wanxiang Fengnian (translated by Nathan Faries), Dantzel Cherry, Natalia Theodoridou, Beth Cato, Svyatoslav Loginov (translated by Max Hrabrov), and Alex Shvartsman (editor)

50,000 words of original science fiction from thinking androids to human consciousness spanning multiple bodies, from the time of the dinosaurs to the heat death of the universe, from cats on the Moon to alien salad dressing that makes plastic delicious (and digestible)—there is something for everyone.

Future Science Fiction Digest (Issue 2)

Future Visions (Vol 2)

Fiona Lehn, Brian J. Walton, J. Scott Worthington, Bill Hackenberger, Allison Spooner, R.K. Nickel, Mark Keigley, Judith Baron, Julianne Q. Johnson, Lynette Mejía, Nestor Delfino, Ellen Denton, and Andrea Kriz

Future Visions presents twelve visional tales of the future—visions of heartbreak, horror, and humor with the common thread that despite the infinite possibilities we are still human. These future visions include a horrifying scientific discovery about the common house cat and a mother forced to listen to the sounds of her dying child every night. These are just a glimpse of what you will discover in this collection.

“These stories are windows into our possible future.” —Amazon Reviewer

Future Visions (Vol 2)

Galaxy’s Edge Magazine (Issue 30)

  • Editor: Mike Resnick

  • Laurie Tom, David VonAllmen, Sean Patrick Hazlett, Joe Haldeman, David Afsharirad, George Nikolopoulos, Kij Johnson, M. E. Garber, Mercedes Lackey, Eric Leif Davin, Nick DiChario, and Joan Slonczewski

  • Columns by: Robert J. Sawyer, Gregory Benford, Jody Lynn Nye, Bill Fawcett, and Joy Ward

Galaxy’s Edge is a Hugo-nominated magazine with stories from both new and long time friends, including an original story by Laurie Tom of an alternate history where wind magic shapes the tactics of World War I, involving a disabled Chinese Kite Dancer. A horror story utilizing gruesome blood sacrifices and greed by Sean Patrick Hazlett. David VonAllmen deftly mixes action and background to paint a sympathetic antagonist told from the monster’s perspective.

“My appreciation of the genre, the past masters, and new talent has expanded greatly thanks to this effort by Mike Resnick.” —Amazon Reviewer

Galaxy’s Edge Magazine (Issue 30)

Galaxy’s Edge Magazine (Issue 36)

  • Editor: Mike Resnick

  • Stories: Robert Silverberg, Todd McCaffrey, Elly Bangs, Austin DeMarco, Dan Koboldt, Edward M. Lerner, Jane Yolen, Alvaro Zinos-Amaro, Thomas K. Carpenter, Bill Pronzini, Barry N. Malzberg, Joy Kennedy-O’Neill, Christopher Blake, Joe Haldeman, and Charles Sheffield

  • Columns, articles, and interviews: Robert J. Sawyer, Gregory Benford, Jody Lynn Nye, Bill Fawcett, and Joy Ward (interviewing F. Paul Wilson)

Galaxy’s Edge is a bi-monthly magazine of science fiction and fantasy. It features some fine stories by new and newer writers, plus old friends. Also included are the recommended books column, the science column, the literary column, an interview with F. Paul Wilson, and part three of Tomorrow and Tomorrow. The enthusiasm for the magazine has kept it going strong for six-years, now celebrating with issue 36!

Galaxy’s Edge Magazine (Issue 36)

Half-Witch: A Novel

John Schoffstall

An NPR Book Concierge selection (best books 2018). Lizbet embarks on an impossible journey to find a mysterious book, a book that will free her father from a terrible tyrant. To get it she must enlist the help of Strix, a sarcastic young witch. Together they must cross the Montagnes du Monde, globe-girdling mountains that reach to the sky, and outrun powerful witches, goblins, and criminals. But to her horror, Lizbet realizes that Strixʼs magic is turning her into a witch too.

“Genuinely thrilling, unexpectedly poignant, and oddly reverent. Powerful female friendship.” ―Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Half-Witch: A Novel by John Schoffstall

HALO: The Cole Protocol

Tobias S. Buckell

New York Times bestseller based on the award-winning video game series Halo. It is 2535. Entrusted with a top-secret mission by the Office of Naval Intelligence, Navy Lieutenant Jacob Keyes heads to a remote corner of the galaxy where nothing is as it seems. He must rid the galaxy of navigational data that could potentially reveal the location of Earth, which would lead to the destruction of humanity.

“The richness of the Halo universe is developed even further in this amazing novel by an amazing author, Tobias Bucknell, who really seems to understand the tone and energy of the Halo lore. Cole Protocol is one of the most gripping tales.” —Amazon Reviewer

HALO: The Cole Protocol

In the Vanishers’ Palace

Aliette de Bodard

A dark retelling of Beauty and the Beast. In a devastated world, where beings of nightmares roam the land, Yên is sold to Vu Côn, one of the last dragons on the Earth. She becomes dangerously attracted to the dragon, who is her jailer and master. The question is whether her attraction will survive the revelation of Vu Cônʼs dark and unspeakable secrets.

“Emotionally complex relationships interweave with richly drawn and deftly nuanced world-building.” —Kate Elliott, author of the Kings Dragon

In the Vanishers’ Palace by Aliette de Bodard

Intergalactic Medicine Show (Book 65)

Tony Pi, Steve Pantazis, K.G. Jewell, Jonathan Edelstein, and Megan Lee Beals

Orson Scott Cardʼs InterGalactic Medicine Show is an online science fiction and fantasy magazine. This eclectic caravan of wonder brings you the sci-fi short story “God of Warˮ and fantasy short stories “The Late Mr. Folsom’s Luminosity Shop,ˮ “Nwanyi Enwe Eze,ˮ and “Coachwhip and Wade, Hex Tamers for Hire.”

Intergalactic Medicine Show (Book 65)

Intergalactic Medicine Show (Book 67)

Dustin Steinacker, Andrew Peery, Brian Trent, Alex Shvartsman, Leah Cypress, Randall Hayes, and Alethea Kontis

The Intergalactic Medicine Show brings you vibrant, strident, beckoning, and beseeching science fiction short stories. From a false Messiah to a harrowing journey homeward that feels at once fantastic and terrifyingly possible; from a cloned consciousness threatening the earth in order to win the hearts (and presence) of his source’s wife and child to a reporter fallen from the elite castes of the Arkology into the rattle-scrabble world of junkpunks.

“It includes a novelette and four short stories, three science fictional and two science fantasies.” —Tangent Online

Intergalactic Medicine Show (Book 67)

Interzone Magazine (Issue 279, January/February 2019)

David Cleden, Sean McMullen, Alison Wilgus, Tim Chawaga, G.V. Anderson, and William Squirrel

Interzone, the British science fiction magazine, welcomes in the new year with half a dozen new cutting edge science fiction and fantasy original works. Some of the stories look to the past, while others to the future, from fast-moving steampunk fantasy to existence in a bizarre new world.

“Thrilling tale of intrigue and adventure.” —Tangent Online

Interzone Magazine (Issue 280, March/April 2019)

Shauna O’Meara, Van Nolan, Maria Haskins, Nicholas Kaufmann, and Sarah Brooks

Enjoy this collection of two fantasies and three science fiction tales, including religion, revenge, redemption, reconfiguration, and romance. These original tales take you to other universes and introduce unique characters with fresh adventure and intrigue.

“All are substantial.” —Tangent Online

Let Sleeping Dragons Lie (Have Sword, Will Travel #2)

Sean Williams and Garth Nix

When an old man named Edga and a warrior named Hundred, with an ancient dragon chant, come to the kingdom, knights Odo, Eleanor, and their swords, Runnel and Biter, take off on a quest to unfamiliar lands, to fight unseen enemies, and unlock unbelievable secrets in order to prevent an unbearable impostor from taking the crown. Also, they will need to keep an eye out for dragons. Join these unlikely heroes on a tale full of fire, laughs, and twists for adventurous readers of all ages.

“They are fast and fun to read, interesting in both world-building and characterization. I really enjoyed devouring each of them.” —Amazon Reviewer

Little Things (Buffy the Vampire Slayer Book 26)

Rebecca Moesta

Buffy is having a hard time keeping her chin up and taking responsibility for Dawn since the death of her mom—even the little things are getting her down. When evil mini-monsters are discovered in Weatherly Park wreaking havoc, Buffy and the Slayers have mega-trouble on their hands, and little things take on new meaning. If the Slayers are going to stop this economy-sized evil, they are going to have think small!

“It’s got all the makings for a real Buffy episode: drama, horror, humor … and Spike!” —Amazon Reviewer

Little Things (Buffy the Vampire Slayer Book 26) by Rebecca Moesta

Lost Signals

Tim Doyle, Charles Gannon, Lawrence Schoen, Kacey Ezell, Mike Massa, Walter Hunt, Marc Miller, Joelle Presby, Alex Shvartsman, Gray Rinehart, Barbara Krasnoff, Robert R. Chase, Vonnie Winslow Crist, Alan Brown, Alistair Kimble, Robert E. Hampson, Rick Boatright, Jean Marie Ward, Griffin Barber, and Doug Dandridge

Just as humanity finally reaches out to the stars, it is confronted by “exosapient” species with unusual motivations. Caine Riordan and his team must contend with both humans and aliens during the exploration, statecraft, and warfare in our post-contact world. Lost Signals dives deep into the struggles of those beyond the spotlight. Twenty new voices tell twenty gripping stories of intrigue and high-stakes war throughout the Consolidated Terran Republic.

“The satisfying resolution is enhanced by the promise of more excitement to come in this fascinating far-future universe.” —Publishers Weekly Starred Review

Lotus Blue

Cat Sparks

Aurealis and Ditmar Award finalist. Powerful war machines of the far-future collide across a barren desert world in this post-apocalyptic debut novel. Seventeen-year-old Star and her sister Nene are orphans, traveling the Sand Road with a caravan of nomadic traders when the relic-Angel satellite unexpectedly crashed to Earth. A chain of events begins a journey that leads her far away from the world she knows, and she is forced to place her trust in both thieves and priestesses while coming to terms with the grim reality of her past—and the horror of her unfolding destiny. Meanwhile, something powerful has woken in the desert: a Lotus Blue, the deadliest of all the ancient war machines, and it’s programmed to wipe-out humanity.

“Imaginative and richly rendered. Sparks frames all of this in haunting, near-poetic detail. Sparks’s post-apocalyptic chaos is fresh.” —The New York Times

Lotus Blue by Cat Sparks

Made in L.A.: Stories Rooted in the City of Angels (Book 1)

Amy Sterling Casil, Cody Sisco, Dario Ciriello, Allison Rose, Gabi Lorino, Jude-Marie Green, Andre Hardy, and Bonnie Randall

Los Angeles-based authors bring a diverse range of genres and voices. Nothing is off-limits. Contemporary, noir, literary, science fiction, and ghost stories that will forever change the way you look at this iconic metropolis. For example, in Amy Sterling Casil’s “Chromosome Circus” a circus of genetic freaks must care for an abandoned furry boy who shows up out of the blue.

“Vibrant. The voices on display are as diverse as the people who call this grand, sprawling, intimate place home.” —Dan Lopez, author of Keep Your Eyes Open Till Morning Light

Made in L.A.: Stories Rooted in the City of Angels (Book 1)

Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction (Book 134)

William Ledbetter, C.C. Finlay, Gordon Van Gelder, Andy Stewart, Charlotte Ashley, Chi Hui, Susan Palwick, Marc Laidlaw, Charles de Lint, Paul Di Filippo, and Michelle West

These amazing authors bring you original works of science fiction and fantasy, exploring the dangers of the faery world colliding with the mortal realm, a moving story about acceptance and healing, a hunt for the beast from below, a young girl in Nigeria and the cost of social protest, a dark fantasy about being caught between the ocean and the cliffs, and a hard science fiction short story about the exploration of Titan. Read these short captivating tales and many more.

Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction (Book 134)

Man-Kzin Wars XV (Man-Kzin Wars Series Book 15)

Larry Niven, Brad R. Torgersen, Martin L. Shoemaker, Brendan DuBois, Hal Colebach, Jessica Q. Fox, and Jason Fregeau

The Man-Kzin Wars have been going for years, and despite the series of battles, neither side has ever been able to declare victory once and for all. The humans should have been easy prey with their small stature and lack of claws for the predatory catlike warrior race known as the Kzin. They have encountered and conquered many alien worlds with little effort; however, the war with humanity rages on in these short stories by award-winning authors.

“Wonderful job of covering new territory, while reading EXACTLY like Niven. It is UTTERLY faithful to the entire series. Recommended without reservation.” —Amazon Reviewer

Man-Kzin Wars XV (Man-Kzin Wars Series Book 15)

Moon Tracks (Bright Sparks Book 2)

Jody Lynn Nye and Travis S. Taylor

A teenage girl and her fellow Bright Sparks, along with twenty-five other teams, are making the first race around the Moon—counting on one another as they face thousands of kilometers of unknown dangers, where even a simple accident can have fatal consequences. While Dr. Bright is searching for rare minerals underneath a crater on the far side of the Moon, disaster strikes and only the Bright Sparks are close enough help him. Now the young scientists are not only racing for victory, but to save their beloved mentor.

“Fun and plausible futuristic elements. This science-fueled race around the moon is a nerdy Fast and the Furious.” —Booklist

Moon Tracks (Bright Sparks Book 2)

Music in the Night

Michelle Levigne

Ess must reach Carmen before it is too late. Carmen has no idea of the power in her blood or that the rose made of crystal allowed the Originators and Revisionists to travel through time. Carmen and her orphan charges are out on the streets in the shelter of an underground community, whose leader fears he is slowly growing insane. Carmen’s music may be the key to solving puzzles passed down from their ancestors, and only Ess knows that the fate of the world rests in their hands.

Music in the Night

Pack Dynamics: A Price to Pay

Julie Frost

Private eye Ben Lockwood, recently infected with lycanthropy, finds peace in his werewolf state. When one of his past horrors comes back into his life, armed with werewolf nanotech and determined to seek revenge, Ben is given a chance at payback of his own—his own inner demons may be a far graver threat than a nanotech-enhanced werewolf nearly twice his size.

“Frost’s newest book really keeps up the tension throughout. You won’t be able to stop turning pages.” —Amazon Reviewer

Pack Dynamics: A Price to Pay by Julie Frost

Passages: Best of NewMyths Anthology (Vol 1)

Scott T. Barnes, Marta Tanrikulu, Brent C. Smith, Delaney Green, Adele Gardner, Andy Oldfield, Susan Shell Winston, Andrew L. Roberts, Jennifer Winston, Bob Sojka, Toby MacNutt, Lisa Timpf, Ellen Denham, Vanessa Fogg, Aaron Zimmerman, R.W.W. Greene, Kathryn Yelinek, Gunnar De Winter, Christina Sng, Ann K. Schwader, Marge Simon, Rebecca Roland, Michelle Kaseler, Steven L. Peck, Ronald D. Ferguson, Jordan Taylor, Beth Cato, David Bowles, Stephen S. Power, Mike O’Reilly, Mark Arvind White, Doug Tierney, and Susan Winston (editor)

Passages by NewMyths e-zine presents twenty-five speculative stories and eight poems on the triumphs and losses, hopes and fears of entering—and surviving—every stage of life, from the magic of childhood to the struggles at the end. Contributing authors include award-winners of the NewMyths Reader’s Choice, Rhysling, Bram Stoker, and Writers of the Future along with other bonus and original material.

Passages: Best of NewMyths Anthology (Vol 1)

Petra Released (The Prison World Revolt Book 2)

Matthew Rotundo

The battle for Petra has just begun. Kane and Tayla must work with unlikely allies to fight merciless enemies to save themselves and all they believe in. While finding shelter from the brutal winter, Kane uncovers a plot to seize control of Petra that could kill millions, including himself and his friends. Shadowy forces in Farside are destroying all enemies and the powerful Petra Compact is hunting for the explosive prisoner records that were smuggled offworld—which have fallen into the hands of Kane’s wife, Tayla …

“Great writing. Story kept me so interested it was hard to put the book down, I loved it!” —Amazon Reviewer

Petra Released (The Prison World Revolt Book 2)

The Post-Apocalyptic Tourist’s Guide to Mammoth Cave (Series 2, Book 5)

Stephen Lawson, M.T. Reiten, Andrew Peery, and Ville Meriläinen

Oliver Lawrence searched for survivors in the depths of Mammoth Cave many years before Thursday Forrester made a desperate trek across the states. With an invisible monster haunting him, Oliver uses his ever-dwindling resources—and his wit—to keep his team alive.

“Another great installment in The Post-Apocalyptic Tourist’s Guide series. I love the premise of the series and the group of authors who are contributing their talents to the story.” —Amazon Reviewer

The Post-Apocalyptic Tourist’s Guide to Mammoth Cave (Series 2, Book 5)

The Prometheus Objective: The Morpheus Initiative (Book 5)

David Sakmyster

In a world on the brink of devastation, with the population reeling from psychic visions, a team of remote viewers must find a way to reverse the damage. The team has one chance, and one choice—in their secret base under the Antarctic ice they have access to the wisdom from the dawn of time: will they accept this gift … and the consequences?

“An excellent read. Fun, suspenseful, terrifying, and thrilling at times.” —Amazon Reviewer

The Prometheus Objective: The Morpheus Initiative (Book 5) by David Sakmyster

Pulphouse Fiction Magazine (Issue 4)

Mike Resnick, Kevin J. Anderson, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Dean Wesley Smith, J. Steven York, Robert Jeschonek, Kent Patterson, M. L. Buchman, Chuck Heintzelman, Michael Kowal, Jerry Oltion, Mary Jo Rabe, O’Neil De Noux, Ray Vukcevich, Sabrina Chase, David Stier, Valerie Brook, Stephanie Writt, and Annie Reed

Hugo Award-nominated magazine. As the cutting edge of modern short fiction, Pulphouse presents eighteen imaginative stories by some of the leading authors in contemporary short fiction. Just great stories, no topic or genre limitations. Feel, attitude, and high-quality fiction equals Pulphouse.

“All the stories have a lot of life to them.” —Tangent Online

Pulphouse Fiction Magazine (Issue 4)

The Queen of Crows (Sacred Throne Book 2)

Myke Cole

Heloise is no longer a shell-shocked girl, but a figure of revolution. Crippling injuries and religious tyrants, make her cause grow stronger. With the help of alchemically-empowered armor and an unbreakable spirit, she must rise to greatness and face the tyrannical Order to win freedom for her people.

“A heart-wrenching, blood-racing, all-around page-turner. Spare, vivid and surprisingly sensual, with a small, fierce heroine who will stick in your mind and live in your soul. ” —Diana Gabaldon, author of New York Times bestselling Outlander

The Queen of Crows (Sacred Throne Book 2) by Myke Cole

The Queen’s Adepts

Daniel J. Davis

A fast-paced adventure fantasy set in a city of flintlock firearms, sorcery, and steam-powered machines, in the tradition of Fritz Leiber. When a supernatural monster tries to assassinate the queen, two unlikely heroes need to uncover the truth—an ex-magician, aging war hero, and once a member of the legendary Queen’s Adepts, and the “Holy Roller,” a prizefighting priest. However, the corrupt Homeguards plan to pin the crime on them and the Cardinal of the Church silences those who ask too many questions.

“Great book from a new author. If you like steampunk and fantasy mix, check it out.” —Amazon Reviewer

The Queen’s Adepts by Daniel J. Davis

Release the Virgins

Jody Lynn Nye, Brian Trent, Michael Ventrella, David Gerrold, Allen M. Steele, Lawrence Watt-Evans, Keith R.A. DeCandido, Daniel M. Kimmel, Sharon Lee, Steve Miller, Shariann Lewitt, Alex Shvartsman, Matt Becthel, Shariann Lewitt, Gordon Linzner, Gail Z. Martin, Beth W. Patterson, Hildy Silverman, Patrick Thomas, and Cecilia Tan

Creative and varied fantasy, science fiction, outright comedy, and serious imaginings inspired by the concept: Release the Virgins. You’ll meet Manhattan gangsters, computer hackers, marathon-running aliens, teenage Cthulhu worshippers, sad superheroes, ghost dinosaurs, and even a unicorn or two.

“This collection keeps you guessing and grinning. Fantastic collection of well-known and respected authors who clearly enjoyed writing their short stories. Highly recommend.” —Amazon Reviewer

Release the Virgins

Resurrection Trust: Green Stories Competition Winners

Mica Scotti Kole, Brian Burt, Jane Roberts, Caroline Lucas, and Amanda Saint (editor)

These original speculative fiction stories are inspired by the potential of living sustainably: from sharing economies to resetting the earth back to prehistoric times, and from eco communities to singing buildings. These stories showcase diverse ideas about how humans can live more harmoniously with nature, and each other. They are funny, mad, dark, downbeat, upbeat, and fantastical short stories from the University of Southampton’s Green Stories writing competition.

“Diverse, surprising, and hugely enjoyable collection of entries.” —Jonathon Porritt, Co-Founder of Forum for the Future

Resurrection Trust: Green Stories Competition Winners

Re-Quest: Dark Fantasy Stories of Quests & Searches (Book 3)

Doug C. Souza, Douglas Smith, Robert E. Howard, James Dorr, Gregory L. Norris, Jonathan Shipley, Kelly A. Harmon, Dennis Mombauer, C.B. Droege, Jennifer Rachel Baumer, Dale W. Glaser, Jeremy Zimmerman, Christine Lucas, Bradley Sinor, Chris Kuriata, and Vonnie Crist (editor)

Wander magical worlds in sixteen fantasy tales, from old gods outwitted by heroes, dragons roaming the earth, magical weapons that bring good and evil, a wizard witnessing endless battles, and much, much more. Re-Quest will take you on fantastical quests filled with magic, adventure, and danger.

Re-Quest: Dark Fantasy Stories of Quests & Searches (Book 3)

Revelation: A Post-Apocalyptic Zombie Thriller (Arize Book 2)

Scott Nicholson

A zombie outbreak, with storms, earthquakes, and devastating plagues appear to support the enigmatic Rev. Cameron Ingram’s claim that this is a biblical apocalypse. He is rapidly forcing the world to submit to his authority. Dr. Meg Perriman and a group of survivors head for the BioGenix research lab in hopes to find a cure, but getting there is nearly impossible with the dead rising from their graves … and Meg isn’t sure that science can explain these sinister mysteries.

“His unique storyteller abilities bring this story to life. This is a must read for sci-fi horror fans.” —Amazon Reviewer

Revelation: A Post-Apocalyptic Zombie Thriller (Arize Book 2) by Scott Nicholson

Rewrite: Loops in the Timescape

Gregory Benford

A sequel to Gregory Benford’s award-winning bestseller Timescape. In this clever thriller, a history professor travels back to 1968, the year he was sixteen, where he finds a slew of others with the same ability, including Philip K. Dick, Albert Einstein, and Robert Heinlein. When he discovers this is a time loop, he tries to change one of the events of 1968, and not be self-indulgent—until some wicked time-travelers try to subvert him.

“Neatly balancing high concept hard SF with a humanistic appeal has made for a broadly accessible story that works well across the entire sci-fi spectrum.” —Amazon Reviewer

Rewrite: Loops in the Timescape by Gregory Benford

Rick and Morty vs. Dungeons & Dragons (Book 3)

Patrick Rothfuss, Jim Zub, and Troy Little

Dungeons & Dragons paradigms are real, and until Rick and Morty made their mark, the rules were absolute. You will plead the fifth (edition) as this chaotically evil story of family friction and fantasy frolics immerse you. Reality’s most dysfunctional animated series. The world’s greatest role-playing game. What could go wrong?

“Tons of fun and for DnD players, it is full of laughs. You don’t even have to be a Rick and Morty fan to love this one. And the art is really, really well done.” —Amazon Reviewer

Rick and Morty vs. Dungeons and Dragons (Book 3)

Searching for the Fleet: A Diving Novel (Book 7)

Kristine Kathryn Rusch

An epic search is sparked by a dangerous hope. The crew of the Ivoire is inspired by the hope that the Fleet still exists. Captain Cooper and Engineer Zarlengo know the dangers hope can pose—but this time it might lead them somewhere no one predicted.

“By mixing cerebral and investigative elements, emotional character segments, and the adrenaline of action, Rusch tells a complete yet varied tale that will please science fiction readers looking for something different from the usual fare.” —Publishers Weekly

Searching for the Fleet: A Diving Novel (Book 7) by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Services Rendered: The Cases of Dan Shamble, Zombie P.I.

Kevin J. Anderson

Dan Shamble, Zombie P.I., has teamed up with a human lawyer who battles injustice for monsters, his ghost girlfriend, and a police officer to solve the bizarre mysteries in the Unnatural Quarter, where the monsters have gathered. Even death can’t keep a good detective down as he tackles cases from mysterious to absurd, from a book collector who finds deadly curses instead of valuable autographs to a headless man who is sure his head has been kidnapped. From a medusa who battles stringent beauty contest rules to an infernal monster cooking contest, and more!

“Kevin J. Anderson has a gift for writing fantasy that leaves you laughing out loud.” —Amazon Reviewer

Shards: A Noblebright Fantasy Anthology (Lucent Anthologies Book 3)

Ville Meriläinen, B. Morris Allen, J.E. Bates, Jade Black, Gustavo Bondoni, Bokerah Brumley, Stephen Case, R.K. Duncan, M.C. Dwyer, Chloe Garner, Kelly A. Harmon, Pete Alex Harris, Ben Howels, Tom Jolly, Brandon M. Lindsay, Alice Loweecey, Jason J. McCuiston, Alex McGilvery, Jennifer R. Povey, Holly Lyn Walrath, Pat Woods, and Richard Zwicker, C.J. Brightley (editor)

This is an exciting collection of noblebright fantasy inspired by shards of myth and memory, the shards of life, shards of broken pottery or glass, and shards of a broken heart. The grimbright and nobledark stories included explore themes of brokenness tempered by redemption and despair tempered by hope. (‘Noblebright’ comes from gaming, taking noble +‎ bright; opposite of grimdark. It is a fantasy fiction subgenre involving good triumphing over evil and often a heroic quest.)

“Wonderfully unique tales. Amazing world-building and storytelling.” —Amazon Reviewer

The Shredded Tapestry: A Gothic Horror Story

Ryan Harvey

A thrilling Gothic horror story in the classical English tradition. On the run and accepting shelter from an old monastery, Richard Davey’s nightmare amps up when he comes face to face with the diabolic vengeance in feline shape that has haunted the monks for over two centuries, seeking redress for a crime committed long ago.

“Modern Gothic horror which actually entertained me.” —Amazon Reviewer

Skyward

Brandon Sanderson

New York Times bestseller. Spensa’s dream to become a pilot and soar skyward to fight for her people seems hopeless, as the betrayal of her father has left a mark of disgrace that takes her chances for flight school from slim to none. However, fate works in mysterious ways … she may yet find a way to claim the stars when she stumbles into a long-forgotten cavern.

“A resourceful, fearless heroine and a memorable cast. The pulse-pounding story intensifies as it reveals its secrets.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Soldier’s Heart (Brotherhood Protectors World Part 4)

Ilsa J. Bick and Brotherhood Protectors World

The killers are en route with a Special Ops team to recapture Kate McEvoy. She reluctantly joins forces with Wynn, though she suspects a double-cross. Though it will mean recapture, she tries to signal her minders only to discover that she has not only lost access, but the biobots and Jack are battling to take control. The clock is ticking. It’s a fight for life. Or death for all of them. Click here to get the whole series.

“Outstanding book. This was a much-anticipated book that surpassed what I could even imagine it would be.” —Amazon Reviewer

Speak Truth to Fire

Matthew Candelaria

This blend of supernatural horror with the all-too-real human horror of burning crosses, racism, and con artists creates an uneasy tension that builds throughout in this cross between Dashiell Hammett and H.P. Lovecraft. In the 1920s, the Klan ruled Denver. But what dark power ruled the Klan? Stanley Fields, P.I. and witch, is sent to Denver to stop a powerful conjuring. He finds a culture of cons, corruption, and bootlegging. Along with a couple of unlikely allies, they must dispel the lies about Otoniel Garcia, framed for the murder of an heiress to generate the hate needed to fuel the evil conjuring. But how can they succeed in a society where a pact with evil passes for patriotism?

“There is a breathless intensity to the atmosphere and pace. The writing is tight.” —Amazon Reviewer

The Speed of Belief: A Great Ship Novella

Robert Reed

Asimovs Best Novella finalist. An alien world inhabited by highly-intelligent—and living—rivers, made a deal with the Great Ship: humanity will be given moons and planets as gifts IF they send a mortal human as a sacrifice. Amund unexpectedly volunteers. Now this ordinary mortal holds the lives of billions in his grasp.

“A very rich story and an interesting exploration of what life really is.” —SFRevu

The Spherical Trust (The Sphere of Influence Book 3)

Mjke Wood

The King of the Sphere of Influence and Finance Director may both be in danger, but the threat is bigger than either man. In fact, there’s more to save than a ragtag band of mercenaries or even a lost planet—this time, the future of the whole Sphere of Influence is in play.

“A solid story loaded with very creative technology. I marvel at the things Woods comes up with. The well-developed characters are not what we usually see as space heroes. I highly recommend this book for a fun and engaging read.” —Amazon Reviewer

The Spirit in the Clay, Chapel Hollow/Silent Strength of Stones Universe

Nina Kiriki Hoffman

At the Winter Holiday Market, Evan Seale and Nick Verrou are challenged with what gifts to choose when your girlfriend is a witch and your best friend is a shapeshifter. To make matters worse, they discover that some gifts have agendas of their own and some gifts fight back!

“The author creates strong, cohesive fantasies with flawless logic that draw you in.” —Amazon Reviewer

Spirit Seeker: The Kassandra Leyden Adventures

Jeff Young

Kassandra strives to defend both the living and the departed, with the whispers of spirits in her ear and unlikely allies at her back. She’s inherited the extraordinary talents of her parents, and when her mother vanishes and her father turns to drinking, she must navigate her own way. There is as much intrigue as adventure when she learns that not all those she’s had faith in are to be trusted.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi: Cobalt Squadron

Elizabeth E. Wein and Phil Noto

Star Wars: The Last Jedi: Cobalt Squadron is the harrowing story of Rose and her sister Paige and the Cobalt Squadron. Experience the hardship and courage of the bomber pilots and technicians and their daring exploits, as they lead directly into the first scenes of The Last Jedi.

“A must-read.” —Amazon Reviewer

 

 

A Star-Wheeled Sky

Brad R. Torgersen

The surviving factions of humanity are on the brink of war—a democracy vs. a totalitarian nightmare. The race to take control of the new Waywork intergalactic superhighway, and whatever revelation or power lies on the other side, will determine Humanity’s fate­—freedom or endless dictatorship.

“Solid hard sci-fi with the frisson of well thought through action. Much to enjoy!” —Gregory Benford, author of Timescape

Stellar Glory

Scot Noel and Frank Schurter (illustrator)

The crew of the Intrepid, while responding to a distress call from an isolated colony, encounter the impossible—a winged god leading demonic warriors that can change shape and command great energies at will. This is just the beginning of their desperate mission, where through struggle and sacrifice, they risk their souls, challenge their beliefs, and suffer the loss of loved ones to stop psychotic alien renegades from establishing an eternal abyss among the stars. Stellar Glory is space opera in the tradition of Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, and Babylon 5, where flawed but heroic characters face overwhelming powers of destruction while bringing meaning and value to the world, whose actions are of consequence, and whose dreams are the vanguard of things to come.

Tales of Ruma

Jody Lynn Nye, Dave Farland, Julie Frost, D.J. Butler, Don Perrin, Aaron Michael Ritchey, Quincy J. Allen, Steve Diamond, R. Jon Rock, John D. Payne, Ethan Hedman, Robert Bagnall, Kristin Janz, Andrew Dunlop, and Daniel Hand

Welcome to a world where mythology and magic are real. Tales of Ruma is a collection of seventeen stories inspired by Roman and Greek mythology, which include stories of brave men and women fighting alongside majestic unicorns, elite soldiers striving to bring civilization to the savages, and massive kaiju struggling for supremacy. Some stories are set in Ruma, the alternate Roman Empire, while others are in worlds similar to our own but with a flair for the fantastic.

“Amazing stories.” —Amazon Reviewer

Ten Thousand Thunders

Brian Trent

InterPlanetary Council puts investigator Gethin Bryce to the task of uncovering the truth behind unexplained anomalies that lie outside their control. His investigation takes him from the battered Wastelands beyond civilization’s protection to the luxurious enclaves of Earth’s elite. He befriends a reluctant outlander who has an important piece of the puzzle—evidence of a sadistic entity which threatens not just civilization, but all life.

“Ten Thousand Thunders is a thrilling science-fiction adventure from first page to last; Brian Trent is one of our very best new writers and now’s the time to start reading him.” —Robert J. Sawyer, author of Flashforward

Terra! Tara! Terror! (Third Flatiron Anthologies)

Wulf Moon, Robert Silverberg, Salinda Tyson, Marie Vibbert, Jen Downes, Evelyn Deshane, John Paul Davies, Steven Mathes, Diane Morrison, E.M. Sheehan, Michele Baron, Liam Hogan, Stefon Mears, K.G. Anderson, Kelly A. Harmon, Matthew Reardon, Samuel Chapman, Emmett Schlenz, Gustavo Bondoni, Melanie Rees, Kiki Gonglewski, Caroline Sciriha, Dan Micklethwaite, Rhonda Eikamp, Blake Jessop, Elizabeth Twist, Josh Taylor, and Juliana Rew (editor)

Third Flatiron’s new anthology, Terra! Tara! Terror! takes you on an atmospheric journey through the realms of speculative fiction: from Fae to a cabin in the woods, and to a tomb by the sounding sea, savor its mixture of dark and playful themes, fantastical elements, and mystery. Also included is Critters Award-winning “War Dog” by Wulf Moon. This is an original collection of science fiction, fantasy, humor, and horror.

“The stories are clever, the editing perfect, and the authors are superb writers. You will read it from cover to cover.” —Amazon Reviewer

Terra! Tara! Terror! (Third Flatiron Anthologies)

Terran Tomorrow: Yesterday’s Kin Trilogy Book 3

Nancy Kress

Due to the transit time lapse, twenty-eight-years pass before the disastrous diplomatic mission returns to Earth from World. There are only a few million survivors in the aftermath of the spore plague cloud, and the knowledge brought back by Marianne Jenner and her staff are the only hope in turning the tide of this overwhelming biological warfare.

“Kress mixes contemporary issues of isolationism and refugee status with classic SF first-contact tropes, threaded neatly with solid scientific theory and speculation.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

They Promised Me the Gun Wasn’t Loaded

James Alan Gardner

Just days after a freak accident grants superhuman powers to Jools and her friends, they are on the hunt for a mad genius’s misplaced super-weapon. Jools falls in with a modern-day Robin Hood and his band of super-powered Merry Men, and soon realizes the line between the good guys and bad guys, is no longer clear—or on which side she truly belongs. Especially since nobody knows exactly what the super-weapon gun does.

“This book is packed with fun action, intelligent plotting, and likable characters.” —Amazon Reviewer

Today I Am Carey

Martin L. Shoemaker

Carey takes care of Mildred as her everyday memories fade. She requires the aid of a full-time android to assist her in everyday life, but Carey’s true mission is to fill in the gaps in Mildred’s past; to bring yesterday into today by becoming a copy, a copy from the inside out. After Mildred passes, Carey must find a new purpose. That purpose is Mildred’s family for a time. Carey struggles, he seeks to understand life’s challenges, and to make its own path. Carey must learn to live. To care. To grow. To survive. To be.

“Takes readers on a journey of self-discovery, coming of age, and ultimately life itself. VERDICT: This exploration of artificial life in the vein of Isaac Asimov’s I, Robot provides fresh insight into the human experience.” —Library Journal

A Town Divided by Christmas

Orson Scott Card

The quarrel over which newborn would be the baby Jesus in the Christmas pageant tore the town apart. Some decades later, a small-town genetic study being done by two scientists, runs directly up against the invisible walls that split the leading citizens into two congregations. The only way to join them is through love and forgiveness … and maybe a little deception—there are a few things that people just don’t need to know.

“Quirky enough to be thoroughly entertaining.” —Greensboro News and Record

Trace the Stars (LTUE Benefit Anthologies Book 1)

Kevin J. Anderson, Brad R. Torgersen, Eric James Stone, David Farland, Wulf Moon, Julia H. West, Joe Monson, Nancy Fulda, Sandra Tayler, M.K. Hutchins, Daniel Friend, Emily Martha Sorensen, John M. Olsen, James Wymore, Eric G. Swedin, Paul Genesse, Beth Buck, and Jaleta Clegg (editor)

Trace the Stars was created in honor of Marion K. “Doc” Smith, the original faculty mentor behind the creation of Life, the Universe, and Everything (LTUE), the annual science fiction and fantasy academic symposium. These exciting hard science fiction and space opera stories include a consultant who discovers how to communicate effectively with ancient, alien beings, a human becomes a hero for his actions … after his death, hard choices that must be made to save loved ones, when insanity becomes an asset in trying to prevent imminent death, and many, many more amazing stories. Proceeds support their mission of educating writers, artists, and editors to become successful in the speculative fiction field.

Tribulation (Arize Trilogy, book 3)

Scott Nicholson

Dr. Meg Perriman and her allies plan to infiltrate Promiseland and expose the oppressive Rev. Cameron Ingram, who has risen as the world leader in the wake of a zombie outbreak. But first they must get there through hostile wasteland and evade Ingram’s deadly army. And they soon discover it’s not so easy to kill a king—especially one that’s no longer human.

“Always surprises and always entertains.” —Jonathan Maberry, V-Wars

 

The Truth Undiscovered (The Golden City)

J. Kathleen Cheney

In this astounding prequel to The Golden City, The Lady was to weld the four most powerful witches in the world into a team that would investigate the Northern Portugal Special Police. However, they must first hunt for an assassin, deal with demons, and break a prison not meant for mankind.

“A wonderful addition to the Golden City series.” —Amazon Reviewer

Twisted Fairy Tales

Doug C. Souza, Mary E. Merrell, S.A. Stovall, Tiffany O’Haro, Dana Ardis, and B.B. Swann

The Aeon Writers Group proudly presents Twisted Fairy Tales, original works that make you fall in love these timeless classics all over again. Time-honored fairy tales have reversed their roles in these twisted versions of the classics. Some are in space, others in the modern world, somewhere the villains are the heroes, and one where the wicked witch is not so wicked. Rediscover the magic from a new perspective.

Undercurrents: An Anthology of What Lies Beneath

Ken Scholes, Brian Herbert & Kevin J. Anderson, Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson, Callie Bates, Terry Brooks, Delilah S. Dawson, Jason Denzel, David Anthony Durham, Lev Grossman, John Gwynne, Megan Lindholm (Robin Hobb), Mark Lawrence, Todd Lockwood, Seanan McGuire, Naomi Novik, Peter Orullian, Cat Rambo, Robert V.S. Redick, Scott Sigler, Anna Smith Spark, Shawn Speakman, Anna Stephens, Patrick Swenson, Ramon Terrell, Marc Turner, Carrie Vaughn, Tad Williams, and Deborah A. Wolf

From chilling ghost stories to the Magicians’ world, from Osten Ard in an epic first look at the Empire of Grass to the desert planet Dune. Travel the Ways in a new Wheel of Time novella then enter the amazing potter city of Seven, and many more. Fettered III sales support SF&F artists and authors with medical expenses.

“Top notch fantasy anthology. Heart and optimism—with the gift of each other’s care and love, we can triumph. Very much a worthwhile read.” —Amazon Reviewer

Unfettered III: New Tales by Masters of Fantasy

Jody Lynn Nye, Kevin J. Anderson, Rebecca Moesta, Kary English, L.D. Colter, Steve Pantazis, Terry Madden, Lisa Mangum, Jessica Guernsey, Kristin Luna, Chris Mandeville, Lauren A. Lang, and Joy Dawn Johnson

Twelve short stories capturing the essence of what lies beneath. Creatures of classic mythology, mermaids, sirens, and sea serpents, swim alongside more unusual beasts, including underwater cats and singing whirlpools. A giant Kraken rules the deepest ocean. The smallest puffer fish creates intricate works of underwater art. Stories that dive deep into the fears, losses, death, and physical or emotional danger that we bury beneath the surface. When these fears rise up and threaten to consume us, we must make a choice: be conquered or conquer the fear.

“Full of fascinating, imaginative, and thrilling stories. Some of them are incredibly dark. Some are profoundly hopeful. And some are just weird and thought-provoking.” —Amazon Reviewer

A Wasteland of My God’s Own Making: A Shattered Sands Novella

Bradley P. Beaulieu

With dark shameful secrets behind her, Djaga creates a new life in the Sharakhai fighting pits, rising as the famed Lion of Kundhun. However, her sister Afua tracks her down and threatens to reveal her past, which would not only ruin her new life but shatter the relationship with her new companion. Can Djaga face her past? And if she does, will she lose the one she loves?

“An exceedingly inventive story.” —Glen Cook, author of Chronicles of the Black Company

While Gods Sleep

L.D. Colter and Trevor Smith (Cover art)

Dive head-first into a 1950s Greece where conjoined queens rule a nation perched above an underworld filled with monsters and demigods, and a mortal man holds the key to the fate of the gods. After playing an ancient game of throwing bones, Ty quickly finds himself deeply in debt. To repay this debt, he is forced to descend to the mid-world of Erebus with sleeping gods, the factions that seek to control them, and a powerful enemy that may destroy them all.

“A suspenseful plot. Fans of Greek myths and celestial fantasy will root for Ty and eagerly await more adventures in this polished world.” —Publishers Weekly

While Gods Sleep

Xeelee: Redemption

Stephen Baxter

Michael Poole finds himself in a very strange landscape—the center of the Galaxy. The Xeelee have had time to build an immense structure here, without war or interference from humans. The Xeelee Belt has a radius ten thousand times Earth’s orbital distance, and its purpose is to preserve a community of Xeelee into the very far future. Poole and his party must explore the artifact and survive encounters with its alien inhabitants, before he, at last, finds the Xeelee who led to the destruction of Earth.

“A sense of grandeur few other SF novelists can even hope to match.” ―SFX Magazine

Xeelee: Redemption by Stephen Baxter

 


This impressive variety of sci-fi and fantasy novels and short stories shows why the Writers of the Future is acclaimed as the leading speculative fiction contest for new talent, helping authors and illustrators to launch careers with a success record like no other.

“A culture is as rich and as capable of surviving as it has imaginative artists. The artist is looked upon to start things. The artist injects the spirit of life into a culture. And through his creative endeavors, the writer works continually to give tomorrow a new form.

“In these modern times, there are many communication lines for works of art. Because a few works of art can be shown so easily to so many, there may even be fewer artists. The competition is very keen and even dagger sharp.

“It is with this in mind that I initiated a means for new and budding writers to have a chance for their creative efforts to be seen and acknowledged.” —L. Ron Hubbard, in L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future Volume 1

 

To learn about the program and get the latest news and special offers click here.

WHY ONLY BRAND NEW SCIENCE FICTION?

We have limited this list to books that have come out since 2018, with a couple of exceptions, where the author’s most recent release was in 2017. The winning authors and judges of Writers of the Future have written thousands of science fiction, fantasy, and horror novels and short stories (all genres and sub-genres of speculative fiction and beyond). If you notice we are missing any of their brand new books, please let us know (it would be impossible to find them all).

We will update this list periodically as new books become available, so check back regularly.

For more information about the contest or the annual anthology L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future check out these links:

About the Contest

Writer Judges

Illustrator Judges

Newsletter

Writers of the Future Titles

“L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future Vol 34” made it to the Best New Short Stories Books

New Year's resolution

The Future of Short Stories: A New Year’s Resolution

Writers of the Future is a contest built upon short stories, inspired by the days of pulp fiction, where short was de rigueur, whether science fiction short stories or fantasy short stories.

So we want to help you start off the New Year by keeping with the original goal for Writers of the Future as stated by L. Ron Hubbard when he launched the Contest in 1983, to “provide a means for new and budding writers to have a chance for their creative efforts to be seen and acknowledged.”

What better way to make a New Year’s resolution than to ask some of the top names in publishing their thoughts on the future of short stories. Allow them to help you reaffirm your goal to be a published author of fantasy short stories or science fiction short stories!

Bill Fawcett

Bill Fawcett“I see short fiction and media merging with cut scenes and videos weaved into eBook formatted stories and audio read stories … Multifiction format.”

Bill Fawcett, an American editor, anthologist, game designer, book packager, fiction writer, and historian.


David Farland

David Farland“The future for short fiction has never been brighter. With a plethora of new online magazines, it’s now cheaper to produce and distribute great short fiction than ever before, and so I see a burgeoning market over the next decade or two!”

David Farland, an international bestselling author, a writing instructor, and the Coordinating Judge for Writers of the Future.


Mike Resnick

Mike Resnick“The short story, as has been shown over the past couple of centuries, can be as powerful as the novel. It’s quicker to write, easier and cheaper to publish, takes less of a time commitment on the part of the reader (and usually, though not always, the author), and there’s no question that it’s here to stay. I would guesstimate that there are more short stories in print from the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s than there are novels in print from that same time period.”

Mike Resnick, has sold 69 science fiction novels and more than 250 short stories and edited 40 anthologies, and is Editor of Galaxy’s Edge Magazine.


Jody Lynn Nye

Jody Lynn Nye“With a single plot and a world drawn with rapid strokes, short fiction has a flexibility that long fiction does not. Readers can have the pleasure of downloading a piece to enjoy with their lunch, during a commute, or just standing in line. Writers have been experimenting with the explosion in social media and new technology to get their work into the hands of more readers than ever before. We’re already seeing short stories being posted on websites, transmitted over Twitter, or downloaded on cell phones (especially in Japan), in both text and audio formats. Every advance in communication is an opportunity for writers to offer their ideas, their characters, their worlds to readers. Short stories are those bite-sized pieces ready for those eager consumers.”

Jody Lynn Nye, the author or co-author of approximately 40 published novels and more than 100 short stories.


Dean Wesley Smith

Dean Wesley Smith“I think in this new world of indie publishing, short fiction will play a major part in a lot of different areas, from increased cash flow to promotions to discoverability of a writer’s work. In essence, I think any writer working into the future must know short fiction and make it a regular part of their writing.”

Dean Wesley Smith, has published almost 200 novels in 40 years, and hundreds and hundreds of short stories across many genres.


Nancy Kress

Nancy Kress“In science fiction, short fiction has gotten increasingly sophisticated and literary, and as a new generation writes, its social concerns will be reflected in fiction’s themes, as has always been true.”

Nancy Kress, bestselling author of 26 novels and four collections of short stories.


Orson Scott Card

Orson Scott Card“The investment a writer makes in a novel is staggering. For months or years of their lives, writers concentrate on a single story, usually a complex one, with many threads. Living inside that world, it becomes familiar and, when the books emerge, they are self-consistent exactly to the degree that the writers disciplined themselves to stay within the bounds of that fictional reality.

“In short fiction, however, the investment of time is far less burdensome. The writers have room to play, to explore. If they come upon an idea that contradicts what they said earlier, it’s a simple thing to go back and revise in order to fit in the new idea—because they will be revising here and there among 20 pages, not 200 or 1,000.

“Creativity, not consistency, is the river that spawns short fiction. Short fiction can make nonce rivulets that flow where there has been no stream before. It is in short fiction that genres are defined and redefined, banks and boundaries oversplashed and, in some cases, eroded away, to move the community of writers and readers into new channels and new possibilities.

“No television show can ever take the place of short narrative fiction, because the huge budgets required even for the cheapest storytelling podcast or vlog, compared to the cost of purveying short fiction, make it commercially impossible to create screen stories that do not meet audience expectations and follow the tropes and obey the parameters of existing genres.

“Even though television and its stepchildren on other screens have largely replaced short fiction in the attention of the vast public, there remains a select audience that recognizes that in the text of short fictional narratives, the best writers are carving out new territory. It won’t be ready for television for decades, in all likelihood—yet through that select audience, the influence of the short fiction will spread, opening the minds of the wider audience until they are ready to receive the new worlds and ways invented and discovered by the writers of short stories, novelettes, and novellas.”

Orson Scott Card, international bestselling author (Ender’s Game) and publisher of Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show


As we enter 2019, the future of short stories, whether science fiction short stories or fantasy short stories, looks brighter than ever. So if your dream is to be a published writer, then heed what these top authors above have said and avail yourself the opportunity provided by the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest.

Make your New Year’s resolution. Enter the Contest. And allow your creative efforts to be seen and acknowledged.

 

 

Walter Dinjos

“View from a Hill”

A tall, strong, young man stood on the crest of a hill, looking out over the green-brown plain below. A slight breeze ruffled the collar of his dark blue shirt. The air bore the sweet scent of the Maringa trees behind him and the musical chattering of the dabchicks in the ponds. The sun warmed his head through his short, curly locks. He held a long, straight, roughly shaped staff. But he did not lean upon it. He stood strong.

A short, gnarled old woman, old as the land itself, emerged from the trees and stood next to him. She also stood unbowed, and she gave the impression that she was larger than him in a way that the eye could not see. “You are audacious,” she said, “to bear a stick to meet me.”

He shook his head. “It is not a stick, it is a scepter.”

“I am the Woman of the Wood,” she answered. “I know this stick. I can name the tree from which it broke, and the stories of that tree, and of the seed from which it grew, and of the tree which dropped those seeds. Your eyes lie to you. It is a stick.”

“I do not see with my eyes, old mother, but with my spirit. As you have taught me. And my spirit knows that this is a scepter, and it marks me as king of all that I see.”

The woman chuckled softly as they looked out over the plain, with its stagnant ponds, sparse grasses, clumps of withered trees, and goats idly grazing. “And what do you see, O king?”

The young man shielded his eyes and looked out where she did. “I see rich fields where our people will someday grow sweet berries and yams and rice. We will plant vast crops to feed ourselves, and more. We shall feed a hungry world.”

She shook her head. “Once these lands were enough to feed our people, so they did not ask for food from others. Your spirit sees the past, before the wasters and the troubles, not the future. These lands were rich once.”

“And they shall be again! We bear burdens, but we do not sink beneath them. Someday we shall be rid of those who threaten the people and the land. We shall not break, we shall grow.”

“All I see is struggling grasses and goats wandering among them. And dirty little children,” she added, though she smiled when she did. “Children all around the field, if you know where they play.”

“And not just in the field,” the man answered. He glanced over his shoulder where bushes rustled, and he heard one small child’s voice gasp, while another giggled.

“They are brave, but foolish to approach me.”

“As was I,” the man answered. “Brave. Foolish. Burning with a hunger that food could not fill. I had to know. I had to know your ways.”

“And so it is with these? They come to learn of the Woman of the Wood?” Her eyes grew moist. “They still know of me?”

“No. They do not see you. Not yet.”

“I know,” she said, and a tear ran down the furrows of her face. “They do not know me anymore.”

“They will! It’s my turn now. I will teach them. They will know you, and they will know this future. That is what draws them today.” He lifted the stick and grasped it by the end. “They come to hear tales of my star sword!”

That turned the old woman’s frown into a smile. “I thought it was a scepter.”

“It is a star sword, won on the field of battle! You see?” He gestured across the plain with the stick. “Out there, beyond our rich fields, is the spaceport! There we shall build our own space program, with our own strong hands and our own bright minds. There we shall build rockets that shall take Nigerians to other planets. To the Moon and to Mars. To the stars!”

The woman’s dark lips parted, her mouth gaping. Finally, she said, “You’ve given me a gift. Now I know that even I, Oldest, can still wish. I wish that I could see that.”

“You will,” the man said. “My spirit sees it. We will go places that can only be seen in the imagination today; and wherever we go, we will take your stories. We will take you with us. I will tell your stories.”

“No,” the woman said softly. “I’m sorry. Not you.”

He turned to her. “So soon?” She nodded. “But I have so much to do. So many stories to tell. My children must learn. They must have this future.”

“You’ve made me believe, king of the world. They will. But you? Your spirit shall be freed to go many places, worlds even I have never imagined. And that journey starts today.”

The Woman of the Wood loomed tall over the man, her true majesty revealed at last as she reached out a hand and gently cupped his shoulder. He collapsed against her, strong until the final moment. And then he faded on the wind until all that remained was spirit, which she clasped to her breast.

And then she too was gone, and the old stick clattered to the ground, the only sign that the tall man had ever stood there.

The bushes rustled once more. After several minutes, the bravest of the two little boys came forward, looking around the hill and out over the plains. In the distance, he saw the silver towers of the spaceport. He picked up the stick. As a rocket blazed into the sky, the boy held up the sword and pointed it to the stars.


Emeka Walter Dinjos, 7 Dec 1984 – 12 Dec 2018

You saw far, but too briefly.


Walter Dinjos introducing himself as a Writers of the Future winner.

Walter Dinjos acceptance speech shown at the Writers of the Future Volume 33 awards event.

Walter Dinjos award-winning story “The Woodcutters Deity” was published in L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future Volume 33.

 


Martin L. ShoemakerMartin L. Shoemaker is a programmer who writes on the side… or maybe it’s the other way around. Programming pays the bills, but a second place story in the Jim Baen Memorial Writing Contest earned him lunch with Buzz Aldrin. Programming never did that!

Martin’s work has appeared in Clarkesworld, Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact, Galaxy’s Edge, Digital Science Fiction, Forever Magazine, Humanity 2.0, The Year’s Top Short SF Novels 4, Writers of the Future Volume 31, Time Travel Tales, Trajectories, Little Green Men: Attack!, The Glass Parachute, and The Year’s Best Science Fiction: Thirty-First Annual Collection.

Martin had become very good friends with Walter and so originated this tribute.

Elise Stephens

This Just Happened: A Writer’s Dream Come True

It was late April 2018. James and I were hiking Little Si, a small mountain near North Bend, WA. We navigated wet dripping branches and slick tree roots as we tried to rouse our minds and spirits from a season of mental fog that had engulfed us while my husband studied fervently for his Structural Engineer licensing exam.

Elise with husband in Spain

I just love this guy. Spain vacation.

He’d taken the test a few weeks before and would have to wait several weeks for his results. We’d left the kids with my parents and retreated for a one-night stay at a bed and breakfast to heal, spend time together, and catch up on many neglected conversations.

Amongst discussions of our families, hopes, and dreams, James and I also did some goal setting. James’ goal was to pass this SE test. It boasts a statistical 30% pass rate. It might take him more than one try.

At the beach with the young’uns!

At the beach with the young’uns!

My goal was to place among the winner’s ranks in Writers of the Future–a global Sci-Fi and Fantasy short competition. I thought I should give myself five years, vowing to submit one short story for every quarter. If by the end, I still hadn’t won, I’d at least have honed my writing skills with small, specific projects on which I could focus on while our kids are young.

October 4, 2018. I was standing by my front picture window when I got the call.

I dropped into the black IKEA armchair from my grandfather, shaky with anxiety. The woman on the phone informed me that I was a Writers of the Future finalist. I was shocked. I actually thought I’d made no headway in the contest. Now I was being told I’d made it to the top eight stories.

And then? Hurry up and wait. I waited three weeks.

About to fly internationally for 15 hours…

About to fly internationally for 15 hours…

My first week of waiting I was an anxious, sweaty wreck. I slept 3-4 hours a night. The second week, I started to lock down into tight-fisted anxiety. By the beginning of the third week, I heard God say, “I’ve heard your prayers. I know what you want, Elise. Now let me take care of it.” I taped Exodus 14:14 on my bathroom mirror. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still. I transitioned into a place of precarious peace, but it was infinitely better than the sleepless wreck of the first week.

As I waited for the news of whether or not I’d win the contest that I’d made into my all-encompassing writing goal, I imagined myself as Schrodinger’s cat. Both alive with joy and dead with despair. (Yes, I’m dramatic with my analogies. That should come as no surprise by now).

Finally, on the morning of October 26th, I received another call. Poetically, I was standing beside that same, sun-streaming window. And no, I hadn’t been rooted there for three weeks, you smart-ass. It was poetic like I said.

I took this pic the day I got the call!

I took this pic the day I got the call!

She told me I’d won first place for the quarter. My little story, read by kind critics and harsh critics, read on my laptop screen till my eyes burned, read out loud to my husband until my throat was dry…that little story had turned heads enough to be awarded a prize in an international contest. It didn’t feel real, but there it was, my name displayed for the world to see as if to say:

This girl can write.

A new chapter is opening. You guys, I’m going to be published in a sci-fi and fantasy anthology that hits national bestseller lists each year! I’ll attend a fancy awards gala (I’ll probably trip on my dress and laugh when we’re all supposed to be quiet, but that should make everyone more comfortable, right?)

They’ll give us writer winners a special writing class and fly us down to Los Angeles for everything.

Yes, it feels like a dream. I’m honored by the favor, overwhelmed by its magnitude. Very grateful to my friends who have supported me and read my drafts and encouraged me in so many ways. Thankful to my God who continues to show that he has some great plans that involve my writing.

It’s time for victory dancing, you guys! In April, I’m going to Hollywood!!

 


Elise Stephens

Elise Stephens began her career in writing at age six, illustrating her own story books and concocting wild adventures. Stephens counts authors Neil Gaiman, C.S. Lewis, and Margaret Atwood among her literary mentors, and has studied under Orson Scott Card. She dreams often of finding new ways to weave timeless truths into her stories. She is a recipient of the Eugene Van Buren prize for fiction. Her novels include Moonlight and Oranges (2011), and Forecast (2013), and Guardian of the Gold Breathers (2015, INDIEFAB Book of the Year Finalist). She lives in Seattle with her family.

Find her on Twitter @elisestephens and Facebook.

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Rainsdon Brittany Certificates

Birthing Stories: Five in Thirty-Five by Brittany Rainsdon

I’m Brittany. I’m a nurse. I’m also a mom. I just had a baby. And I got my fourth quarter entry in for the Writers of the Future Contest while working around giving birth. Crazy? Maybe. But sometimes our dreams make us push a little harder (pun intended) and crazy things make a certain kind of sense.

Discovering Writers of the Future

I first heard about Writers of the Future approximately two years ago, when I took an online writing class and was assigned to research potential markets. A few clicks made it clear this was the contest to enter—but it almost seemed too good to be true. In fact, I remember querying a few writer friends to find out if the contest was indeed legit. It was.

Another assignment involved reaching out to published authors from my target market and asking for an interview. Still intrigued by the contest, I hit up Sharon Joss, a previous Golden Pen winner (she also has eight novels under her belt). She gave me an entire page of writing tips and advice, but perhaps her most far-reaching was this: join the Writers of the Future Forum, a discussion board where members communicate about the contest.

I did.

I immediately found friends who wanted to exchange stories, talk craft, and some even seemed to have insider information on how to do well (Coordinating judge, David Farland’s tip emails were foreign to me at the time). They preached producing a fresh story every quarter, not giving up, and maybe (eventually) you would win.

They were right. Even if I didn’t win, my craft would. I would form habits. If I kept writing and then sending my best stories to other markets, I could even pro-out. That would be a win in and of itself. I’ll admit, I haven’t sold anything yet—but with two honorable mentions and a silver honorable mention from this contest, I have hope I’m on the right track. Writing professionally is a marathon, not a sprint.

At the start of Volume 35, one “forumite” set up a challenge—enter every quarter. I had already entered three in a row the previous year, so I committed to do four more. Obviously, at the time, I didn’t know I would deliver a little girl a few days before the end of the final quarter.

When two pink lines did show up a few months later, I determined to plow through all four quarters regardless. What’s a little morning sickness? But I discovered it was much harder producing stories while pregnant. I had three other children, and well, they didn’t exactly slow down when my body did.

Although it got harder to write with each trimester (and Writers of the Future quarter!), the real scrambling didn’t start until the end. For some reason (I blame hormones), I decided the old nursery needed to be completely redone and sanitized. I love my three other kids, but kids can be gross! We scrubbed the walls, painted, caulked, put up wainscoting, rented a carpet cleaner, and even sewed a matching nursery set. Coupling that with other health issues (thanks again, hormones), writing time became slim. Slimmer still as I felt like I couldn’t work on anything non-baby related until the baby came.

As the final quarter drew to a close, my story remained unfinished. With twelve days left in the contest and my baby overdue, I needed a boost. I took to the Forum.

Whenever I tell people my goals, it makes me more accountable. It’s the reason I’ve joined consistent critique groups in the past—friends help friends get things done. The Forum proved to be that and more.

When I told the “forumites” about my desire to finish, they were super supportive, but also reminded me to be reasonable. Having a baby is kind of a big deal, and they advised me it would be okay to take a pass this round. No judgment. I still wanted to finish, but it was a reality check that health and family came first. I told myself I would only write if I had time and it made sense.

I didn’t touch my story.

Instead, I focused on making my home baby-ready, caring for my other children, and eating as much spicy food and pineapple I could handle (spicy food to start contractions, and pineapple to prep the cervix for delivery). For the record, pineapple core is gross, but not so bad when blended into a smoothie.

When the baby still didn’t come, we scheduled to induce labor on the twenty-fourth. All my other children had come naturally, so medical intervention made me nervous—especially when well-meaning women would tell me their induction horror stories. And what would recovery be like? I didn’t think it would include writing. Still unwilling to admit defeat, I gave my laptop the side eye and packed it into my hospital bag.

Giving Birth

Rainsdon's BabyLucky for me, I went into labor on my own a few hours before my scheduled induction and had my little girl in my arms shortly thereafter. It was, perhaps, my easiest labor.

So, I wasn’t exactly giving birth with a typewriter atop my belly, but I was incredibly grateful I had my computer in the delivery room. When the rush of adrenaline came that wouldn’t let me sleep for hours, I had something to do.

While still in the hospital and snuggling my newborn close, I typed out everything but the last scene. I kept my promise to only write while it made sense. If I was tired, I slept, and when my other children came to visit, I visited.

Transitioning to home was difficult. The baby didn’t sleep, I didn’t sleep, and it seemed I had tripped just before the finish line. But my sweet husband knew my goal and offered to take the children on Friday afternoon (the twenty-eighth) so I could finish my story. A few hours later the deed was done.

On the last day of the contest, I edited as much as I could and then hit submit. It was my most rushed entry, I had no time for critiques, but hitting that button felt oh, so good. Four submissions in Volume 35—but by my count, I produced five in 35. I dare you to count differently. I birthed two babies that week!

I think I’ll keep pushing.


Brittany RainsdonBrittany Rainsdon grew up as the only girl in a family with four brothers. She’s reversing that trend with her own children—three girls and one boy. Brittany is a registered nurse and has worked in both medical/surgical and rehabilitation nursing. When she went to her first writing conference in 2017, she wore a new pair of green glasses and several people recognized her during lessons as “that girl in the glasses.” She kept the nickname and uses it as her tag on the Writers of the Future Forum. Brittany wants to eventually publish novels, but is currently focusing on writing short stories.

Author Scott Parkin (right) with fans at SLC FanX18

Writer or Author? How to start a story playing with a question…

I think the answer is pretty straight-forward. A writer writes; an author publishes for a paying audience. So while every author is a writer, not every writer has the stuff to be an author.

How do you make the transition (other than the obvious: selling)? You develop and internalize the tools needed to produce material that satisfies both your own inner critic and a publisher’s needs—and use those tools to deliver on-time and according to request (word count, genre, subject matter).

Things to Write About

For example, when you see a call for submissions for an anthology of urban fantasy with a deadline in two days, do yourself a favor and figure out what urban fantasy is. I had no idea, so I wrote a nice bit of magic realism involving a miniature horse and a WW1 veteran (based on a real person), then set it in Berlin. Sent it off the next morning so it would arrive before the deadline. Got a lovely rejection that same day from an obviously confused editor who said, “It’s urban … and it’s fantasy. But it’s not urban fantasy. Good luck selling this elsewhere.”

Oops. I hit the deadline just fine, but I didn’t understand the genre or its tropes. Writer, not author.

Sometimes you don’t have time to wait for the muse to provide inspiration for things to write about. So you learn to make anything into a story. I once used an “Empty every night” label on a trash can as a fantasy writing prompt to write a story that I’ve now sold three times by playing the question game.

How to Start a Story

Empty every night… Empty what? Stories are about characters so it should be a character who is emptied. Emptied of what? Thoughts? Toxins? Hope? Memories. His memories are edited each night. Is he a robot or a person? Editing a person’s memory is both harder and more horrific, so it’s gotta be a person. Who does it? Government agents? Caring family? Himself? I like the idea that he edits his own memories, but I think it’s more horrific if it’s done to him by someone he trusts. Aliens? Yes. Aliens whose only desire is to help, so it hurts them to do this cruel but necessary thing to him.

And so on until you’ve answered enough questions to generate a plot with try/fail cycles, character jeopardy, and meaningful consequences. What to write about—all from a trash can label.

Sometimes when working out how to start a story you start with an idea. I recently sold a piece based on the question, “What makes someone beautiful?” Sometimes you start with a colorful character as I did with the horse/veteran story above. Or an image, as I did with a microchip advertisement that featured a chrome-clad warrior woman standing atop a silicon wafer—who I immediately recognized as The Electric Valkyrie.

So go out into the world and experience new things to generate new images, characters, and questions that you can then transform into a story. You can literally turn anything into a story by playing the question game and exercising a little creative imagination.

Writer or Author?

In fact, this post is based on exactly that. I wrote an odd, quirky little experimental story that ended up winning a prize in the Writers of the Future Contest. (Read “Purposes Made for Alien Minds” in L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future Volume 31.) At the award ceremony, I noticed that the announcer always referred to the winners as either author or artist, and that set me to wondering why. And of course, I already knew the answer—an answer that had been reinforced time and again during the week-long workshop before the awards.

Authors are those who can turn anything into a story that’s well-written and interesting enough to be published. All you have to do is work hard and compellingly answer a few simple questions.

 

Scott Parkin after his book signing at FanX Salt Lake City 2018.


Scott ParkinScott R. Parkin is an author, essayist, podcaster, and pop critic who’s sold more than fifty short stories to a wide variety of markets from literary-academic to romance to military SF. He is also a proud winner in the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest.

Remember the stories in the news about exploding phone batteries? Well, Writers of the Future winner (Vol 33) Stephen Lawson turned the “Lithium-Ion Batteries exploding” phenomena into a terse rescue effort on the planet Titan. The story is “Homunculus” and it was this year’s grand prize award-winner in the Jim Baen Memorial Short Story category.

Alumni Update – Stephen Lawson

Remember the stories in the news about exploding phone batteries?

Well, Writers of the Future winner (Vol 33) Stephen Lawson turned the “Lithium-Ion Batteries exploding” phenomena into a terse rescue effort on the planet Titan. The story is “Homunculus” and it was this year’s grand prize award-winner in the Jim Baen Memorial Short Story category.

Stephen recently posted a link to the story on his blog so you can read it for free. He also includes in that same blog the proofs of concept for the scientific stuff he has in the story. And if you are into the geeky side of stories, you will find it is a fascinating read all on its own. It shows the level of detailed research he does in order to create new universes for his readers.

Bestselling author and contest founder L. Ron Hubbard will tell you from experience how research pays off in his article “Search for Research.”

Likewise author and WotF judge Larry Niven, in his trademark succinct style, gives this advice to new writers, “Always do your research. One mistake in hard science fiction, in particular, will be remembered forever. Remember: you’re on record.”

Obviously, Stephen is on the right track as his propensity for research is paying off in both entertaining and award-winning stories.

Take, for example, his short story “Moonlight One,” which garnered him a Writers of the Future Award (published in Volume 33). This one is a murder mystery set on the moon. What sets this story apart from the normal who-done-it, is there are only two people on the moon. When the protagonist wakes up to find her husband murdered, she has to find the real killer. But behind the story are all the science facts that make it all work, as Stephen explains in this video.

Being one of the Writers of the Future winners, Stephen attended the 2017 Writers Workshop. In addition to studying articles by L. Ron Hubbard on writing and getting sage advice from bestselling authors and workshop instructors David Farland and Tim Powers, there were also guest speakers providing profession tips, for new writers including: Kevin J. Anderson, Mike Resnick, Nancy Kress, Robert J. Sawyer, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Nnedi Okorafor, Jody Lynn Nye, Jerry Pournelle and Larry Niven, to name but some.

What additionally makes the Writer Workshop unique from others is the 24-hour story that each writer has to submit. The clock starts and the pressure is on as each writer has to turn out a complete story in one day. But Stephen, with his military background, is used to pressure as he explains here.

Looking forward to seeing what new worlds Stephen’s research will take us to next.

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