So what is “Aztec Eagle” about, you ask?

Written By: catherinewells | Categorized In: Book news, Enrique, Speculative Fiction | Comments: 0

You may have noticed, the copy on a book’s cover doesn’t always give a true picture of what’s inside. Or maybe it’s just a little short. So what do I, the author, think this novel is about?

“Aztec Eagle” follows Enrique Aguilar, a young boy from Puerto Penasco (Mexico) who dreams of escaping his life of poverty and joining the interstellar Peacekeeper Pilot Corps. With fierce determination, he polishes the skills he needs to succeed: math, science, and an extraordinary psionic gift. This extrasensory perception makes him an ideal candidate for a neural implant bonding pilot and plane. But it can’t spare him treachery and betrayal as he struggles to attain his goal. Nor can it keep him from making questionable decisions as he drags three friends along on an escapade that endangers their lives, and his future.

I hope that peaks your interest. “Aztec Eagle” is available from Jumpmaster Press in prints (ISBN 978-1-958448-02-01) or eBook (ISBN 978-1-958448-16-8) format.

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And “The Aztec Eagle” is available for pre-order

Written By: catherinewells | Categorized In: Book news, Enrique, Speculative Fiction | Comments: 0

You can see a draft of the cover on my FB page (catherine.wells.733). I love the artwork, it’s so dramatic! Okay, there’s no pyramid in the story, but what says Aztec like a pyramid, right?

I will post the final cover as soon as it is ready. Let me know what you think of it. In the meantime, you can pre-order at Jumpmaster Press.

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“Invasive Species” wins AnLab Award for Best Novella

Written By: catherinewells | Categorized In: AnLab Award, Short Stories, Speculative Fiction | Comments: 0

It’s official! My novella won the AnLab Award for 2021, as reported in Locus.   I’m so proud! I hope you all had a chance to read it. I struggled with this one—it took me two years to finish. Mostly it took till the character Patience appeared. Rath needed a good foil.

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“Invasive Species” Is Finalist for AnLab Award

Written By: catherinewells | Categorized In: AnLab Award, Short Stories, Speculative Fiction | Comments: 0

It’s true, it’s really true!  “Invasive Species,” which ran in the March/April issue of Analog, is a finalist for the 2021 AnLab Award for Best Novella.  Check it out here.  I couldn’t be prouder.  The winner will be announced at this year’s Nebula Conference.

And “The Aztec Eagle” is scheduled for a June release.  Things are going well.

Of course, I did get a rejection letter the other day on a short story.  But it was a very nice rejection letter.  “It’s a wonderful piece of writing with strong content on themes of poverty and an excellent YA voice.”  It just wasn’t right for that market.

The life of a writer.  Up, down. Up, down.

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It’s Coming Back…The Aztec Eagle

Written By: catherinewells | Categorized In: Book news, Enrique, EPIC Award, Speculative Fiction | Comments: 0

Gosh, to look at how long it’s been since I posted here, you might think I’ve been, well, writing or something.  In fact, I have been editing. I have a small press interested in The Aztec Eagle, which was a finalist for an EPIC Award way back in 2011. That publisher folded, and the book became unavailable in 2012. Sigh.

Now another small press is interested, and I have been working with their editors in anticipation of publication in 2022. This time around, I have amended the story to include a character absent from the previous edition, but part of the original concept back around 2000. Xopil is a companion spirit, a non-corporeal entity existing between particles of matter–which of course knocks the book right out of SF and into cross-genre. Publishers have been slow to accept cross-genre, so I removed Xopil for the 2011 edition.

But now he’s back.  So far, at least. We are not through the editing process, and Xopil is, well, a conundrum. As a companion spirit, Xopil follows the main character, Enrique, throughout his life. Xopil relates the emotions he observes in people to colors. Enrique is a sunny amber when he’s at peace, navy blue when he confronts an adversary, and churning with olive green when he’s physically unwell.  And when Lyla comes by, whoo, there comes that purple stuff Xopil really doesn’t understand. Enrique’s problem is he’s a poor kid with a big dream and many obstacles to surmount; Xopil’s problem is he can’t do anything about it. He can’t even communicate to Enrique that he’s there, although our perceptive hero sometimes wonders about that thing he can’t quite see, there at the edge of his vision. Hence the conundrum: Xopil does not influence the action. He is simply an observer with a unique perspective.

So Xopil gets mixed reviews from beta readers. Some don’t see the point, and his colorful asides can interrupt the flow. Others find his take on things humorous and charming, a whimsical and (pun intended) colorful aside. As the author, I find him useful in conveying feelings and motivations about which Enrique is often clueless.

I’ll keep you posted as the publication process proceeds. At the moment I’m feeling a little tangerine about it, with some streaks of umber doubt and a current of stubborn charcoal running through me. I doubt I’ll ever settle in to a soothing aquamarine.

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One good thing about staying home…another sale!

Written By: catherinewells | Categorized In: Short Stories, Speculative Fiction | Comments: 0

It was quite a change for me to have to cancel travel plans, to have my choral groups discontinued, to not even get out to church, etc., etc.  Most of you are in the same boat.  So eventually I had no excuse not to sit down and work on a novella that had been sitting untouched for about a year.  And guess what?  I not only finished it, I sold it.  No, I don’t know yet when it will run–probably spring or summer 2021–but Analog is sending me a contract for “Invasive Species.”

The story is set on Parsa where the natives have leased a tract of land to a Terran mining company.  Once enslaved by another race, the Parsans remain almost obsequious in their dealings with humans.  Able to manipulate their physical form, they can closely mimic humans–in fact, they can hardly refrain from this inborn defense mechanism–and many of them work for the humans in menial positions.

Strict regulations that protect native cultures have forbidden humans from stepping outside the Terran Zone on Parsa.  But when Rath van Dorn’s wife disappears, leaving their infant daughter behind, Rath knows the only place she can be is beyond the boundaries of the Zone. He ventures out in search of kidnappers, only to find more duplicity and conspiracy than he ever imagined.

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It’s here…! See July/August issue of Analog

Written By: catherinewells | Categorized In: Book news, Enrique, Short Stories, Speculative Fiction | Comments: 0

Greetings!  The July/August 2019 issue of Analog is now available online and in stores.  In fact, if you click on this link, you can actually read an excerpt of “The Quality of Mercy.”  Get a taste for it.  Yum.

Meanwhile, it looks like The Aztec Eagle is going to make it back into print later this year, with parts 1 and 2 combined into a single book  The second part (The Crystal Desert) was only up for a couple of days before the publisher shut down, withdrawing all files from the market.  Pretty sure Desert Moon Press will keep it available much longer than that.

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After 30 years…”The Quality of Mercy”

Written By: catherinewells | Categorized In: Short Stories, Speculative Fiction, Writing and Publishing | Comments: 0

A long time ago, after the sale of my first novel, I tried to write a short story called “The Quality of Mercy,” about a researcher studying a proto-human species on a distant planet.  Her foil was a character who later became Soln Shipner in “Beyond the Gates.”  I don’t think I even sent it to my agent.  I may not have had an agent at the time.

Then during the years I was pitching to “Star Trek: TNG,” I wrote a spec script using the same story but integrating TNG characters.  Like my pitches, it went nowhere.

Last summer as I was cleaning out my files, I came across the script and thought, “I should do something with this.”  So I did.  Same basic plot, same theme, but with a new perspective (mine) and a new foil.  In the original version, it was the foil who learned something; in this one, it’s the protagonist.  Apparently I, too, have learned something in the intervening years, because Analog just offered to buy “The Quality of Mercy.”

I’ll pass along pub information when I have it.

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It’s time for TusCon again!

Written By: catherinewells | Categorized In: Speculative Fiction, TusCon, Writing and Publishing | Comments: 0

If you enjoy science fiction and fantasy conventions, please stop by TusCon 2017, Nov. 10-12.  I understand the block of hotel rooms is sold out, so there should be a good crowd.  You can find more programming information here:  https://www.tusconscificon.com/index.shtml.  And of course, I’ll be there doing some panels.  My schedule is posted here:  https://goo.gl/mFS9fa#part/409

Hope to see you there!

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“Native Seeds” is in Nov/Dec issue of Analog

Written By: catherinewells | Categorized In: AZ, Book news, Coconino, Short Stories, Speculative Fiction, Uncategorized | Comments: 0

I just peeked at the upcoming issue information, and my novella “Native Seeds” will run in the next issue of Analog. This is a foundation story for The People who appear in the Coconino trilogy. I think you’ll enjoy meeting Alfonso and his friend Chico.

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