“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.


“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.


Nice review of “Invasive Species”

Written By: catherinewells | Categorized In: Short Stories | Comments: 0

I was so pleased to receive an email from fellow Analog writer Guy Stewart praising my novella “Invasive Species” that is running in the March/April 2021 issue of Analog.  He said, in part, “I thought it was both fascinating and moving.  As an ANALOG writer myself, I read every issue with a somewhat critical eye; rarely just for enjoyment, but to be surprised by NEW IDEAS. “Invasive Species” had a new idea — but you didn’t get “lost” in the idea; the story was compelling …”

He ended the email by saying, “I’m sure I’ve enjoyed your stories in ANALOG in the past. But this one hit my heart and startled my mind…”  That’s my ambition in life:  to tell stories that hit people’s hearts, and make them think.


“Invasive Species” now in Analog

Written By: catherinewells | Categorized In: Short Stories | Comments: 2

I checked the Analog website this morning and found my novella “Invasive Species” is in the March/April 2021 issue.  It features a shape-shifting race trying to keep human incursion on their planet to a minimum.  Rath van Dorn has always tried to honor the native culture and its sensitivities, but now his wife is missing, and she is nowhere inside the designated Terran Zone.  He needs the natives’ help to find her, and he needs to invade their sovereign territory to do it.


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.


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.


“The Quality of Mercy” to run in July/August 2019 issue of Analog

Written By: catherinewells | Categorized In: Short Stories | Comments: 0

I just proofed the galleys for this short story, which features a researcher studying potentially sentient creatures, who is at odds with the military veteran helping her set up her base camp. It’s questionable which one has the worse temper.  The questions:  Are the beautiful, peaceful zohr really “people”?  And is something threatening them in their idyllic meadow?


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.


“Native Seeds” in Lightspeed

Written By: catherinewells | Categorized In: AZ, Coconino, Short Stories, Uncategorized | Comments: 0

The issue of Lightspeed with a reprint of “Native Seeds” is now available online, for those of you who missed its premier in Analog.  The paper and ebook should be available through Amazon shortly.

Somehow I never had the opportunity in either venue to explain that this novella is a prequel to my Coconino trilogy, also available through online bookstores.  It’s set in southern and central Arizona after famine and other catastrophes have driven most of the population to colonial planets in distant solar systems.  Those who remain find themselves facing age-old questions about culture, survival, and self-determination.


Look whose name is on the front cover of Nov/Dec Analog!

Written By: catherinewells | Categorized In: Coconino, Short Stories, TusCon | Comments: 0

Yes indeed, there it is at the top of the list!  Look for “Native Seeds” inside, an origin story from the Coconino series.


And a lovely cover it is.  If you have a copy, bring it along to TusCon this weekend, and I’ll be happy to autograph it for you.