Massive Announcement: First “Professional” Sale!

I’ve been quiet about this for the past week, but I can’t keep the lid on any longer.

Exactly one week ago, I signed a contract for a short story, selling it to a magazine. Which magazine, may you ask? That magazine would be Nature magazine, published by Nature Publishing Group, a division of PAN MACMILLAN/TOR!

I won’t lie, my jaw smacked the desk when I saw that Nature had accepted my story. At 19 years old, I sold fiction to a magazine published by a division of one of “Big Five”.

Phew. Wow.

So, I scrapped my brains off the wall and popped a beer in the fridge to celebrate (it was first thing in the morning, and even by Australian standards that’s a tad early). Then I saw that Nature publishes anthologies with names like Arthur C. Clarke, Stephen Baxter, Philip K. Dick and others, and that Nature is the most cited science journal in the world, with over 3 million visitors to the website per month.

And I scrubbed my brains from the ceiling one more time. I seriously couldn’t believe it. Even now, it’s a little surreal. Hell, even family, teachers and people I barely know, who don’t even read science-fiction (some don’t even read at all) know about Nature magazine.

There are no words that can express just how riveted I feel. My editor has been phenomenal in making the story the best it could possibly be. I’ve seen the page proofs and artwork, and I love it.

But I’m not getting side tracked. This is the first step in a long, long journey that I won’t be quitting any time soon.

Look for my story in a future issue. For me, I’m back to my editing and writing. And who knows? Maybe I’ll sell another story with them in the future.

Actually, scratch that. You can bet that I will.

New Publication: Grimdark Magazine Issue #2

Issue 2 of Grimdark Magazine was released earlier this month, and I’m super excited. Why? Because I have a publication in it.

This isn’t just any other venue. This a professional venue, one that’s on the standards of the SFWAs. They’ve published incredible authors such as Mark Lawrence, Adrian Tchaikovsky, but in Issue #2 of the magazine they’ve published R. Scott Bakker, Kameron Hurley, Richard K. Morgan, and more. And guess what?

I’m published there too!

Goodreads*sniffles*

I honestly can’t say how stoked I am to have my name alongside theirs. I’ve been a fan of R. Scott Bakker for a while now (reading about the controversy is books have stirred is amusing), Kameron Hurley is a Hugo award winner of incredible work that’s also been “slammed” by a someone we shall call Requires Attention. (That’s all I’ll say. Google is your friend – or in this case, your enemy), and I’m a huge follower of Richard K. Morgan and his work. He’s actually worked on the videogames Crysis 2 and Syndicate. He’s written work that’s considered to be a classic in science-fiction and fantasy. In fact, his novel, Altered Carbon, is getting turned into a film by James McTeigue, the director of V for Vendetta.

And I’m published alongside them. In a professional SF/F magazine dedicated to grimdark.

Even now I’m still busy wrapping my brain around it. Sitting in a boiling hot room, pounding away a cheap keyboard in the summer holidays, I never dreamed I’d be up to this point. And I am.

But I’m just getting started.

You can pick up the issue of the magazine here, on the home website. It’s also on Amazon, smashwords, etc, so pick where you’d like, but remember that this is a new publication that’s going pro straight out of the bat. Do what you can to support them, so grabbing it from the home website would be much better for ’em.

Also, if you could nab along to Goodreads, give it the appropriate rating, and add it to your list, that would be swell, too.

Thanks for reading, folks!

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Special Announcement…

It would seem that something quite major has just happened. Actually, major is an understatement. It’s pretty big.

I’m now an Assistant Editor at StarShipSofa.

I’ve been an avid listener of them in the past, so it’s an honour and a privilege to be working with them. They’ve won the Hugo Award, (which is essentially Best Picture at the Oscars but for literature. Except the Hugo is for the cool kids.)

Suffice to say that it’s going to be a fantastic experience, working with authors, writers, editors and fellow nerds alike. You know you’re onto a good thing when the people running the joint rival your enthusiasm for fantastic science fiction. And believe me, that’s not something that’s easy to do. Not at all. And I’m not sorry in the slightest.

I’ll be getting an interview sometime in the near future, which will likely consist of me stuttering awkwardly and droning on endlessly.

But either way, check the website out. It’s a fantastic place for writers, authors, readers and fans alike, and not just because I’m going to be lurking in the shadows. Just look at this gorgeous artwork:

 

Come on, just how awesome is that?

If you have a favourite story that you’d like to hear podcasted, give me a buzz. I’m looking for fresh new talent, brilliant classics, and the big players out there. If it’s good, I’m interested. Send me the loudest, pulpiest, most daring, and viciously excellent stuff you know of. You know, the stuff that your mother, Harold Bloom and your teachers told you not to read. Send me Space Opera, cyberpunk, steampunk, dieselpunk, hard SF, post-apocalyptic, military SF, time-travel, alternate history, science-fantasy, silpstream, dystopian SF, biopunk, golden age SF, adventure SF…the possibilities are endless. I couldn’t list all the possible combinations and genre styles if I typed for the rest of my life.

But no fantasy and no horror. And definitely nothing “realistic”, literary or serious. The sort of stuff that literary critics would find “profound” and call existential . We don’t want that stuff. At all. Keep far away, shredded into a million pieces, locked in a box of onyx and launched into a black hole on the far outer edges of space.

But it’s a little harder to distinguish between speculative fiction genres, especially as most short stories tend to be hybrids. If you’re uncertain, tell me about it anyway. But if it’s along the lines of medieval Europe, urban fantasy, etc, then I’m sorry to say we don’t want it. Again, genres do cross over (Edgar Rice Burroughs’ John Carter novels, and even to a degree Mark Lawrence’s The Broken Empire are examples), but strictly fantasy or horror ain’t what we’re looking for. They’re fantastic writers, but we’re after science fiction. Tell us about the dystopian futures, alien invasions, galaxy-spanning space operas, hiveminds, cyborgs and everything in between.

You can tweet me at @JeremySzal or just use the Contact Me form.

It’s going to be wild ride. Welcome aboard, good citizens, and enjoy the flight.

First Book launch event

On Thursday we had the launch of UNSW’s annual anthology, aka UNSWeetened 2014. I had a story that managed to get into it, which was very much awesome.

The night passed away in a blur of cheese, wine, crackers, signings and lots of discussions about books. It was pleasant, being able to chat to fellow book lovers, ranting on about own our stories and passing the anthologies along to each other to be signed. Yes, it was at university and I’m not exactly having people sleep overnight outside the bookstore to get hold of their copy, but it was fantastic to experience what would hopefully be the first of many events such as these. There’s artwork to go along with each story (some of the stories in the collection are very, very good), and they got sold off to a silent auction for charity. Also, I was told by many people that my work reminded them of Game of Thrones/GRRM, but that was probably just the wine.

I’d like to get hold of some photos (there was a guy taking far too many of them), but I haven’t as of yet. I’ll post ’em if I do get them. In the meantime, a pdf/ebook version of the anthology should appear online soon, but if you, like me, prefer the feel of dead trees, you can pick one up free of charge at the UNSW bookstore. Or, if you’re unfortunate enough to know me in person,  I can give you one myself.

That’s it for now…

 

 

Fantasy author of the day on Reddit!

It seems that I’m fantasy author of the week on reddit. It would be greatly appreciated if you could pop along to visit, have a mug of ale, and even leave a question/comment for good measure.
Seriously, I would really, really appreciate it. I’ve been waiting for this for months now. I’m in Thailand as I type this, but I’ll do my best to answer questions by people who I’m sure will turn up…eventually.

Anyway, do come and visit!

The link is here…

Honourable Mention from Writers Of the Future contest!

So, I sent in this little science-fiction short story in somewhere. Where, may you ask? Only the biggest writing competition in the world. The same one that shot people like Patrick Rothfuss (The Name of the Wind) to fame. I knew I was up against heavy odds. So then, after a bit of correspondence, I got this in the mail….

 

CCF08072014_00000Yep. An Honourable Mention.

I already knew I’d gotten it and was going to get something similar in the mail, but it hasn’t really hit home for me just how awesome this is. Until now, of course. I’ll be framing it somewhere. It’s my first major award, and I hope that it won’t be the last.

A special thanks to Alan Baxter, Mark Lawrence and Robin Hobb for their support and encouragement, particularly to Alan and Megan (Robin’s real name) who I met at Supanova 2014 here in Sydney. They’re awesome people, and their encouragement and urging to never give up did a lot for me.

The story that won, A Dome of Chrome, is scheduled to release in Issue 23 of On The Premises Magazine on July 12.  I’ll be in Thailand at the time. Yep. That’s my way of celebrating. (not really, I’m going there to visit my friends, who will be forced to read this story and savour every morsel.)

What I’m watching/reading now

In in between my endless exams, story writing and taking the dog for yet another walk, I’ve been doing one or two things…such as…

Game of Thrones: Season 3

With Season 3 having finished a few months ago I’ve been eager to re-watch some of the episodes, particularly the latter ones. Of course, watching “The Rains of Castamere” with my friends at university and seeing them squeal in shock (hint: I’ve read the books already) gives me some sort of sadist pleasure. I’ll be posting a blog the entire Season later. So moving on..

I’ve been reading these….

Far too much pointless swearing and a little hard to keep up on who you’re actually following in the narrative, but still good so far.

I seriously need to find out why everyone is raving about this. I got my copy signed when I met the guy at Supernova. Not bad, huh?

In in between my endless exams, story writing and taking the dog for yet another walk, I’ve been doing one or two things…such as…

Game of Thrones: Season 3

 

Writing at Uni

One of the best things about university is that you’re told, no, commanded, to let your imagination go free. Work as hard as you can; achieve whatever you can. Publish, research, propose, discover, conclude, produce theories, launch websites, yada, yada, yada. It’s great stuff.

The negative part?

You’re hemmed into a specific method of doing something – such as writing. You can write what you want, but it has to be about this [insert random topic here]. You can have whatever colour you want, as long as it’s black. You know what I mean? Sure, I love some of my classes, (and hate others) but as a writer I feel that we aren’t given enough freedom. While others might write about themselves or their lives, I’d rather write about alternative universes, aliens, magic, the future, and whatever else comes to mind. It’s partially because my life isn’t that interesting, but it’s also because I feel there’s more to literature and university than complying by the rules. In some boring lectures I think about a new short story and by the end of the 2 hours I have about 1.5k of words down. Probably not something I should admit, but whilst university is a great place to expand your mind, they should allow you to think freely in how you do so.

 

Anyway, enough of my ranting: I’ve got some studying to do and some lectures to attend, although my mind will likely be elsewhere….

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