Second Place!

Well, I managed to get another podium position for a short story contest… so that’s something!

That makes it sound a bit more glamorous than it actually is. The competition was between 13 submissions of two thousand words or less, and of those submissions I managed to land 2nd. Which, don’t get me wrong, still very happy about! I think this is the second time I’ve placed second out of three contests they’ve run, and one first place, so I’m at least consistent!

I should give a big shout out to my “voice actors”, the group of friends that helped out by lending their voices to the recording. The voice record has been a tonne of fun! Maybe in the future I will do an actual audio story, rather than just reading one of my short stories out loud, but that’s a future goal.

In other good news, huzzah for more short stories I can post on the website! I’ll put out a link to my Patrons later this week or early next, and then everyone else can enjoy it a week after that.

Right! Back to the writing! Tomorrow is the first meeting of the new Writers Group, which is exciting, but also means I need to be a bit organized for that!

Tintian and the King's Claw Available as Print on Demand!

Hello good people! I’m excited to announce that my first novel, “Tintian and the King’s Claw”, is now available as a print-on-demand book!


Let’s face it… ebooks are great, but sometimes having a physical book in your hands is just… better. And now you too can own a copy!

You can follow the link right here, or you can go check out the “Tintian and the King’s Claw” page directly to be taken there.

Wider distribution will still be a while away, since I’m focused more on getting additional stories finished rather than promoting the ones I’ve already finished at this point, but I’ll be working on that over the summer.

But for you… no waiting! You can go get one right now!

February Is Weirdly Warm

I mean, I live in Southern Ontario… it should be deep-freeze right now. And yet it’s been positive degrees, the snow has all melted, and the sun was bright and warm today.

It’s freakin’ me the heck out.

All joking aside, it’s nice that the weather is okay (as opposed to constant blizzards), but this means little to a writer such as myself. My days off are consumed with sitting in front of the computer, shunning the outside world and cramming words onto digital-paper. Still, it’s nicer to do that while it’s sunny out, I suppose.

ANYway, busy busy busy! I have a request for a short story I need to finish today (a weird semi-quasi-historical-sci-fi), plus putting the finishing touches on my Tintian novel for Print on Demand. The “Starconvoy EH-76” PoD has been doing okay (about par with the digital version), so that’s encouraging. Really, the goal at this point is to just keep putting content out.

I’d better get back to it! Hope everyone is having an amazing start to the month!

Positive Review!

So I frequent a website called “Shut Up & Sit Down”, and the other day one of the posters had this to say:

Last week, faithful commentator Marx mentioned his writing and I wanted to take a second to recommend one of his series.

The elevator pitch for Tintian and the King’s Claw is that it’s a science fiction take on Tintin. And while that’s true, it really undersells just how inventive and clever the translation is while still retaining the central heart of the original.

All of the things you love about Tintin is here, but the story also stands alone as a crackerjack and thoughtful space adventure. The changes Marx made to the Tintin mythos aren’t just to distract the Hegre estate, but also modernize and deepen the story.

I highly recommend it for yourself or for anyone you know in their Tintin years. You can pick up all five episodes on Amazon via Marx’s website.

I just wanted to thank Eize Basa for the amazing comments, and for directing people here. So unbelievably nice to get the feedback and the traffic! Thanks!

In other news, working on a few more short stories today. Gosh, I love writing… anyway, hope everyone out there is having a great day!

The Slow and Steady Grind

Well, I’m back at my other job (the one that pays for THIS job), but that’s okay. I finished Novel 4 (well, the first draft at least), I’ve queried a few potential agents, and I’ve submitted a short story to a contest to see how that one goes.

Overall, the wheel keeps grinding.

Today I’m going to do some work on another short story I think, maybe 2, because I want to give myself a few weeks away from Novel 4 before I start heavy edits (just to give myself a bit of mental space). I may even try to write a few submission-level short stories… you know, stuff for F&SF and/or Asimov’s. It’s been a few years since I submitted to them, and I didn’t get any traction last time, but I did try a lot, and that’s worth something at least, I hope.

Plus, my best paying gig by far was a short story… so I plan to put a bit more time and energy into that. Might as well… as much as I love writing novels, they take time, and it’s far easier to post short stories on this here website!

Anyway, overall this has been a very productive first month of 2019. Hopefully all of you have had great starts to the year as well!

First Draft of Novel 4 finished!

Yup! You heard it here first… Novel 4’s first draft is done.

Now, keep in mind that I (and many other authors, apparently) refer to said first draft as the “vomit draft”, in that everything that’s anything ends up on the page. The next task is to try and manipulate what I have written into something more resembling a coherent, intelligent story… which, to be honest, I think I should be fine with.

Downsides include that the novel is a bit shorter in its current form than I am super happy with (50k words), but that is a fixable issue. As I read through it, I’ll see if there are any areas I can work a few more paragraphs into while I am also trimming and cleaning up the story. Still, I suspect it will end up between 50-60k words, which would make it shorter than most of my other novels (which all hover around the 75k word mark), but that’s okay! If that’s how long it takes to tell the story, that’s how long it takes.

But, more exciting for me at least, is that for the next month I’m going to get to work on something else! I finished one short story while I was here on Hoth, I have two more in the planning stages, and I’m going to see what i can do for a layout of Novel 5 (in all honesty, I suspect I will take one of my four or five other unfinished works and see if I can clean-up and finish those… few things I hate as much as unfinished art!). Maybe that “space marshal-cop-police in space” story I started a few years back… hmmm. Well, we’ll see! Exciting!

Last note: first day off, I wrote 500 words. Second day, 1,500. Third day, 2,400. Fourth day, 4,200. Sadly, today I return home and will probably only get about 2,000 done again… but still. It’s crazy to realize how much I could be outputting if I only had the time. Oh well! One day.

Novel 4 Progress!

So I’ve been on Hoth for 3 days now and managed to get a fair bit done (finished a short story, for example). The print version of Starconvoy EH-76 is out in the world, and I’ve sold my first couple copies, which is nice. Sure, it’s probably not going to take the literary sci-fi world by fire, but it is out there and I am proud of it. So that’s definitely something.

I’ve also committed to a bunch of stuff when I get back home, but that’s not for another three days, and until then, all I have to do is focus on my writing, which is amazing. Big fan, gotta tell you.

Novel 4 (the next in the Tintian series) is moving along at a relatively healthy clip. Had a long walk with my partner, discussing the story and how I intend to get myself out of the corner I’ve kinda written myself into. The temptation to put it aside (because it’s going to be a hard bit of writing, honestly) and work on something new is pretty powerful, but I’m going to fight that urge. It’s better to get this finished first, because as we all know, the hardest part about being a novelist isn’t getting a book started, but getting them finished! And then after you get one finished, working on the next one… and then the next one… and so on.

Anyway! Also of note, I finished “Lock In” by John Scalzi. Lovely little police procedural. Tonne of fun to read… I continue to aspire to be as good at balancing humour, thoughtful science, and action as Scalzi is.

Print Version of Starconvoy EH-76 Now Available! Woo!

Says it all in the title, folks. Links are up on the Starconvoy EH-76 page, but since efficiency is a thing and all, here’s the link right here:


Currently only available through the USA Amazon store, but the UK store should be near behind. Sadly, no specifically Canadian version (Sorry, outta my hands… just the way Amazon handles this stuff), but with some luck maybe before too long… but that’s a future-me problem.

For now, just going to get back to writing the fourth novel and basking in a job well done with novel two! Thanks folks!

Print on Demand Progress!

Yes., I know, it’s been literally months. I know! I know. Life has an ugly way of messing up plans, especially in November and December.

But today I am FINALLY cleaning up the handful of mistakes in the Print on Demand versions of my two novels, and then re-uploading the files (for both the PoD and digital versions), and then that’s done and I can leave it in the rear-view mirror while I work on Novel 4 over my week of writing-retreat.

Which I am SO looking forward to.

I mean, I love my paying job. I do. But I’d drop it in a heartbeat if I could make even a modest living by writing, and my few weeks off over the year where I can to just focus on writing are lovely, warm, friendly reminders of that. The ability to just wake up, set my own schedule, and crank through a few tens of thousands of words.

It’s gonna be great!

Anyway! That’s for next week. For TODAY, I return to the editing already in progress! Hope everyone is having a great January so far!

The Upsides of Being Sick

Let’s be honest, there isn’t much good about being sick. I mean, it’s not a serious sickness (thankfully), just my butt being kicked for pushing too hard around the winter purchasing season. A cough, general soreness, everything being slower and slightly more painful.

But there are a few upsides. For example, today I had a day off from work to help recover. And I spent the vast majority of it reading.

In fact, I polished off Book 2 of “The Collapsing Empire” by my writing patronus John Scalzi (book 2 is called “The Consuming Fire”). It’s a quick read, but still, me finishing the entire thing in a few hours was an unexpected pleasure… I stayed tucked under the blankets, snuggled with two of my kittens, and just read. And that was lovely.

So here’s to taking some much needed me-time, and doing something good and proactive with it. Scalzi is still a tonne of fun to read (although I find he has a few too many characters that like to “cut through the bullshit”, but that’s an acceptable flaw). I look forward to the day my writing has the emotional and comedic depth that he manages.

Anyway! Progress on the novels will have to wait a few more days for me to more fully recover, but that’s okay. Hopefully everyone out there is having a good start to 2019!

Another Successful Circumnavigation of the Sun!

Well, it’s that arbitrary, and yet somehow important, time of year again. Time to take stock of the previous 12 months and to plan and look forward towards the next 12.

Ups include finishing Novel 2 and almost finishing Novel 3 (well, still with my agents, but I’ll bug them after the holidays), figuring out most of the kinks with the Print On Demand version of my two books, and lots of positive memories from the last year.

Downs include… well, lots of stuff really, but that’s okay! Overall, I’m still satisfied with my progress as a writer (and as a human in the grand scheme of things), and I’m looking forward to getting another two or even three novels finished this year!

One of the big downsides was my inability to get a writers group restarted this year… going to put sufficient energy and time into making sure it happens early 2019!

Right, with that, I’m off to a small gathering of friends for New Year’s Eve! I hope everyone has a happy and successful 2019!

A Bit of a Breather, At Last!

Well, I didn’t get the novel ready for Print on Demand by Xmas (which is now a few days past)… I came close, but the last week of work I was pulling over 70 hours and it just wasn’t a good place to be in order to both work myself to exhaustion AND try to edit a novel.

It will be done soon, hopefully before January (or very, very shortly thereafter). I’ve gotten the results from a few good beta readers, and incorporating the changes will be pretty straight-forward.

But, more importantly, I’m back to sane hours and work schedules, and things have settled a bit at work (I expect the weekend will be insane again, but that’s a Saturday-me problem, not a Now-me problem!).

Anyhoo, hope everyone’s holidays were great, and more exciting news coming soon!

So close!

My beta readers (those incredible, amazing, wonderful people!) have been finishing up with the print version of Starconvoy EH-76.

There are a few typos that will need to be fixed (a missed “J” here, a lower case “i” there), but overall it seems to be ready! Which is good, since there are still 8 more days before Xmas!

Next year, I’m going to have to jump through all these hoops in October, get everything ready in advance, and then just RELEASE it in December, rather than trying to do both the grunt work and the release at the same time. Too stressful!

Not much else to report on. Work continues to be busy (a good problem to have), writing continues to be focused on editing tasks… and that’s about all that’s been accomplished, really! Even as I write this on a Sunday, I am minutes away from returning to work for the day… a shorter day, thankfully, but it will almost unquestionably be a busier one.

Anyhoo! No complaints on my end, and I would like to again express my wish for everyone to have a great holiday season!

Still Working!

Lots of working! Working all the works!

Just a quick stop by to say that I’m still writing (a short story for the end of the month at least, hopefully more on the novel, time provided), but as mentioned a few times previously, November and December are nuts. Nuts-nuts.

But! No fear! I’m still here, and I’m still producing stuff, and come January there will be a deluge of new content, both for submission to various publications and on this here website! Woo!

Thank you for your continued patience, and I STILL hope to have the Print on Demand novels available by the end of this week!

December Is Upon Us!

… or possibly Up On Us… hard to know sometimes.
Anyway! It’s been a whirlwind few weeks, which is why I haven’t written anything here! My apologies! The holidays are always rough at the best of times.

That stated, I won that short story contest in mid-November (yay!), and since then I’ve been pouring all my energy into getting the Print on Demand versions of Starconvoy and Tintian available before Xmas. Progress is good! The Advanced Reader Copies have arrived, and a handful are in the amazing, loyal hands of beta-readers, scouring the books for formatting errors.

My current goal is to have the novel (at least Starconvoy, hopefully both!) available on Amazon by December 10th for people who want to purchase a copy for themselves or a loved one (or, heck, an enemy who they think will enjoy good sci-fi!) before the end of the massive commercial chaos of the season is over. Then in January I can spend some time and energy trying to get wider distribution of my book through avenues other than Amazon (I have a few lined up in a very rough way, but nothing definite).

Other than that, I haven’t actually done much writing in the last few weeks. My second job which pays for editing costs is insane from November 1st to December 31st… but no excuses. I have a few short stories I’m submitting to contests, and of course work on Novel 4 waits for no one!

Anyhoo! More updates soon, and of course I’ll let everyone here know when Starconvoy is available in print!

Won a Short Story Contest!

Woo! Go team!

One of the short stories I submitted to the Infinity-related podcast “White Noise” won!

Not a huge prestigious award or anything like that, but it is nice to submit something and have people like it.

The story is called “The 10 Commandments of War on Varuna”, and sadly, like the last one, it won’t make much sense to anyone who isn’t familiar with Infinity-lore, but I am really quite proud of how it turned out.

No time to post it tonight, but I will try to put up the story itself on this website on Tuesday… but just wanted to let everyone know I won! Yay!

Anyway, work at the game store is still insane (and getting more insane daily as Christmas approaches), but winning was still a little ray of sunshine in a pretty gray month.

Hope everyone is doing well!

T'is The Season...

Ah, the “joys” of working at a game store during the holidays.

I’ve been bumped up to 6 days a week (including Sundays), starting last week, which is super fun (it’s not), but that’s okay. A bit more money means a bit more money saved for my trip to Japan and for editing costs for Novel 4… whenever I get a chance to finish it.

I’m doing okay with that one… 40,000 words still, and I’ve reached a point where I may have to walk away from it for a little while to figure a way out of the hole I’ve written myself into. I don’t suspect it will take long to figure out (one of the joys of sci-fi is the ability to reverse the polarity or realign the dilithium or whatever you need to do to magic your way out of a problem), but I do want to do the original source material justice.

Plus, I really like Tintian. She’s a fun character, and SN0-EE was a small stroke of genius if I do say so myself.

Anyway, goal is still to have the story finished by the end of January at the absolute latest, which means working on it at least infrequently during the holidays.

Ha. Holidays. Maybe some day.

Anyway! Otherwise, things are good. I’ve had a surprisingly productive morning (prepped my bike for winter riding, changed the tires on my partner’s car, assembled and prepped more stuff for work), and I had a very busy but satisfying day yesterday, so really, in the grand scheme of things, life is pretty good.

Wow, that felt good to write… Anyway! Back to it. I still have almost an hour before I have to be at work!

Ironing Out Print-On-Demand Issues

So a writer friend suggested that I should look into getting my books formatted for Print On Demand.

Amazon and IngramSpark both have pretty robust, simple to use (theoretically) services for providing customers a print copy of your book at a more-or-less reasonable rate.

Sadly, their software isn’t as easy as they would have you believe… the hype would have you believe that if you’ve already formatted your book for eBook publishing, all you have to do is click a few buttons and poof, ready Print On Demand book.

Of course, life is never that easy.

Now, all that stated, this is still lightyears ahead of what was available even 10 years ago, and I’m happy to report that the progress is going well. The new cover looks acceptable (not great, but considering my budget for covers is limited, still pretty good… next time I’m going to have to spring for full wrap-around cover art, rather than just the cover image itself, but we live and we learn), and the formatting makes it look pretty much like a book, which is great!

I’ve also learned a few tricks that I’m going to use moving forward, but mostly it’s just a process. It takes me about a full day of work to prepare my novels for digital distribution, and now I know it takes about another full day to prepare them for Print on Demand.

Speaking of which… today’s work is doing this exact same thing for my last novel (Tintian and the King’s Claw) so that it can be purchased in dead-tree format as well… not exactly “fun” work, but hey, it’s all part of the job!

Anyway! Thank you to everyone who’s purchased my work in the last week, I really appreciate it, and I’ll let you guys know when the print version is available!

And it's Live!

Novel 2, “Starconvoy EH-76”, is now available through Amazon and Kobo!

I’m chatting with another writer friend to see if I can figure out a less-expensive way to do dead-tree format… my experiments in the past have been extremely unsuccessful, but hopefully this time around it’ll work out better.

But why wait!? You can get Starconvoy EH-76 right now by following the links on the main page, or these ones right here:
Amazon (USA, although available in every major Amazon site!)

Publishing my second novel!

Well, it’s time. It’s been a few years (far, far too long), but I’m finally ready to publish my second novel.

I’m really proud of Starconvoy EH-76. It started as just an idle thought (specifically: I wonder what the most successful convoy run during WW2 was?), and slowly fleshed out into a full story over a few years.

Lots of tweaks and changes… Griff was originally named Greg (small change, but one that I am happy with), and the character of Westerly has gone through a few revisions over time as well (more gruff, less serious, more Picard, more Sisko, etc…).

In all honesty, I think the last 10 chapters are among the best things I’ve ever written… which, considering the full work is 15 chapters long, is saying something! And there are a few moments that I’m really happy with!

Regardless, I got the art sorted, got the few spelling “errors” sorted (one of the weapons in the book is called a “spakker” due to the noise it makes when fired… not a spelling mistake, but not an English word, so that’s not really a surprise!).

Anyway! It’s off to Amazon, and should be live in the next 72 hours or so!

Coincidentally, I’m offering the first Episode of “Tintian and the King’s Claw” for free for the next 5 days… little cross-novel promotion probably can’t hurt! Thanks for all your support, as usual, and I’ll post here again when the novel goes live!