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Maddy Dune’s First and Only Spelling Bee

Back in 2011 my short story, “Maddy Dune’s First and Only Spelling Bee” won a first prize in the Writers of the Future contest. A few years later it was published as a standalone story.

Recently I’ve been trying to get the price down on the standalone version.

Why would I want to do that?

Well, because the full text of the story is available for free simply by downloading the “try before you buy” sample of my novel, Flame in Shadow from Amazon. The Maddy Dune short story is the first chapter of the novel, largely without changes.

So, you can read the story for free by downloading the Flame in Shadow sample (and maybe you’ll like it and want to read the rest of the novel), or you can still pay some nominal fee for the story as a standalone title.

Maybe I shouldn’t let stuff like this bother me, but it does. I’m proud of my work and I expect to get paid for it. But I remember what it was like starting out, when every penny counted. You can pay for the short story if you want (I’d like you to), but you don’t have to.

Here’s the cover for the standalone short story:


And the blurb:

A dozen of the best young spellcasters in the land. The heir to the throne, determined to beat them all. And Maddy Dune, a half-human enchanter who’ll settle for getting through the competition without killing anyone.

This story was first published in L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future Volume 27.

Should you want a shortcut to this story there are links to the various online retailers under the “Books” tab at the top of this site.

“The Lamplighter Legacy” Now Available

Back in 2013 my short story, “The Lamplighter Legacy” won the grand prize in the James Patrick Baen Memorial Writing Contest sponsored by Baen Books and the National Space Society. There are details about the contest in previous posts if you’re interested.

Anyway, that story is still available to read for free at Baen Books here:

It’s also now available as a standalone ebook download from the usual suspects. It isn’t free but as close to free as I was able to get it to be.

Here’s the cover:


And the blurb:

When high school student Ernesto Suarez wins the Lamplighter Prize for Best Amateur Space Blog he finds himself thrust into the heart of a hidden conspiracy that will forever change the course of human space exploration.

Should you want a shortcut to this story there are links to the various online retailers under the “Books” tab at the top of this site.

“A Man of His Times” Now Available

FR Pulse Pounders ebook cover web

I have a new short story available in the Fiction River: Pulse Pounders anthology.

Just in case you missed the earlier post below, Publishers Weekly called this story, “a delightful WWII romp.”

I had a great time writing the story and I hope you like it.

Here’s the publisher’s description of the anthology:

Starts with a bang.

Ends with a bang.

And a lot of bang in between.

Pulse Pounders. Ranging from straight thriller to science fiction, fantasy to pulp adventure, these stories make your heart race. Share the excitement as a woman held hostage in a chair has only a few minutes to escape, and a man trapped in a time loop revisits a crisis point in the past.

Including an original never-before-published Frank Herbert story, these page-turners show why Adventures Fantastic says Fiction River “is one of the best and most exciting publications in the field today.”

“… fans of the unconventional will be well satisfied.” —Publishers Weekly on Fiction River: Pulse Pounders

I read the Frank Herbert story last night. When I was done I realized I’d scooted to the edge of my seat. What a great writer.

Fiction River: Pulse Pounders is available in print and electronic format from your favorite retailer.

Thanks to the folks at Kobo there’s a special edition of the anthology with three bonus pulse-pounding stories available exclusively at Kobo.

FR Kobo Special Edition Pulse Pounders ebook cover web

Future Novel News: “Her Novice Season”

I have new novel coming out some time next year. I’ve finished the writing, and it’s queued up at the publisher for editing and all the rest.

I’ll leave an update here when I know more about the release date.

There have been a few changes from the project I originally pitched. Instead of a standalone novel this has turned into a three book series that takes the reader along for a wild ride every heartbeat of the way, from that first white-knuckled ride-around in driving school to the final full-throttle chequered flag of Her Novice Season.

This is quite a departure from the science fiction and fantasy I’m known for, but it’s set in the world of motor racing, a world I know well, and one I think more people should have a chance to discover.

For the better part of a decade I was part of a road racing team; as a mechanic, crew chief, driver, and team owner. What a lot of people don’t know about grass roots racing is that it’s a family sport, and one with a lot of drama, both on and off the track.

Here’s an advance look at the (draft) eBook cover for the first title:


I don’t know what the back cover copy will be yet but here’s what I sent in as part of the synopsis:

The high-octane world of auto racing begins here. Money. Guts. Skill. Pick any two to stand a chance.

The reckless son of a powerful Washington lawyer.

A wealthy entrepreneur’s win-at-all-costs heir.

And the determined high school sophomore who knows she can beat them.

“A Man of His Times” Short Story Mention

Publisher’s Weekly did a review of Fiction River: Pulse Pounders in the November 24th, 2014 print edition.

I certainly wasn’t expecting a mention in a review of an anthology with a previously unreleased short story by Frank Herbert, or a story by Kevin J. Anderson and Peter J. Wacks, or the story The Scent of Amber and Vanilla, a standout “nail biter” penned by Dayle A. Dermatis.

There it was, though.

Here’s the excerpt regarding my short story:

“Pulp fiction lives on in Patrick O’Sullivan’s over-the-top “A Man of His Times,” a delightful WWII romp in which a reporter faces various clichéd dangers.” 

I had a blast writing this story. I don’t think I’ve ever had more fun just sitting down to write. I’m glad some of that fun made it onto the page.

It was also great fun submitting a story to Kevin J. Anderson. Not only is Kevin an incredible writer and editor but he’s also an inspiration as a businessman and professional.

As a special bonus I now have a story in an anthology with David Farland (Dave Wolverton), a science fiction and fantasy hero of mine, and the very man who handed me a Writer’s of the Future award on stage a few years ago. I’m looking forward to reading David’s story once this anthology hits the shelves.

There are a lot of great stories in this anthology by writers you already know, or will want to know. You should check it out.

Here’s a link to the Kobo expanded edition that includes bonus pulse-pounding action not available elsewhere:


“The Priest Hunter” Short Story Now Available

My short story, The Priest Hunter is now available in the Kobo edition of  the Fiction River: Past Crime anthology.  The story is only available in the expanded edition from Kobo, so if you’d like to read the story you’ll need to get it from Kobo. Here’s the link for US customers:


Special thanks to Mark Leslie Lefebrve and all the other folks at Kobo, and to all the folks at WMG Publishing who made this special edition possible.

And double special thanks to Hugo award winning author and Hugo award winning editor Kristine Kathryn Rusch for her kind words in the introduction to this story:

Patrick is one of the best new writers to emerge in this decade.

It is difficult to express how much that single sentence means to me, especially coming from Kristine Kathyrn Rusch.  Kris Rusch is not only one of the most brilliant writers working today in multiple genres, and a legendary editor, but one of the most decent people I’ve ever had the pleasure to know. That she likes my work in general, and this story in particular, is a great honor.

The thing I like best about this Fiction River series is all the other great stories I’ve had the pleasure to read. There are stories available in this edition that are only available through Kobo. (One set in England, two set in Ireland, plus Laura Ware’s gripping “Choices”, a story set in my adoptive home state’s all-too-recent past.)

Check it out.

Fiction River Kickstarter

The folks at WMG Publishing are running a subscription drive for the Fiction River anthology series they put out, and they’ve decided to do it as a Kickstarter. I watched the video and it makes perfect sense, that a Kickstarter would be better and less intrusive than those subscription cards that used to fall out of magazines, or the content-interrupting pledge drives they use on some media outlets.

Anyway, I agreed to contribute some e-copies and  some autographed print copies of Flame in Shadow, so if you’d like one you can get it there, along with a subscription to the groundbreaking Fiction River anthology series from WMG Publishing.

If you end up with one of my stories drop me a line here to let me know. If I haven’t already sent the autographed copies to the folks at WMG Publishing and you’d like your copy personalized I’ll be happy to do it.

And either way, e-book or print edition, if you let me know you got the copy through the Kickstarter I’ll forward on a surprise extra.

Here’s the direct link to the Kickstarter:

Flame in Shadow Available Next Month

Flame in Shadow Cover

I have a new book coming out next month. I’ll add links as the various retailers add it to their catalogs.

From the back cover:

Flame in Shadow

When half-human enchanter Maddy Dune unexpectedly wins the All-Arduvulin Spelling Bee she accidentally plunges into the heart of a terrifying conflict no one warned her about.

Now the magical and unpredictable Folk are whispering of prophecy and plotting rebellion. Changelings grown from stolen hair and fingernails are turning up on her doorstep. Undead sorcerers are turning up everywhere.

And Its Royal Tanist, her new best friend and heir to the throne has disappeared.

The Department of Criminal Magic is clueless.

Her adoptive parents are hopeless.

Her only allies are her adoptive brother Rookhaven, a birdlike emissary created by the murderous kylochs of Ghula, and Madame Aubergine, her adoptive father’s fantastically clever clockwork cat.

Maddy has to search for Tan. She has to. But she can’t.

Not until she discovers exactly what the mysterious Spelling Bee trophy is.

Not until she understands what the trophy’s strange magic is doing to her.

And why.

Quite Possibly Alien Available Next Week


I have a new book coming out next week. I’ll add links as the various retailers add it to their catalogs.

From the back cover:

Quite Possibly Alien

When graduating senior Ciarán Mac Durmuid intervenes and rescues a fellow spacer from alien assassins he breaks the Freeman Federation’s unwritten law – mind your own business.

When Ciarán’s mysterious damsel in distress demands to know his particulars he breaks the Freeman Federation’s unwritten law again – keep your mouth shut.

Now a single decision will determine Ciaran’s future.

He can surrender his lifelong dream of winning an interstellar merchant’s license and escaping his dreary farm-boy destiny.

Or he can apprentice himself to the black sheep of the powerful nic Cartaí clan, a young woman who is almost certainly a pirate, aboard a sentient starship that is almost certainly insane, on a mission that will almost certainly get him killed.

Ciarán has to decide.

Does he bring his cat, or should he leave her with friends?

Beneath the Hidden Gyre Available This Week


I have a new book coming out this week. I’ll add links as the various retailers add it to their catalogs.

From the back cover:

Beneath the Hidden Gyre

When Professor of Enchantment Eusebius Quille arrives at the scene of a gruesome murder he discovers the sins of the past have been resurrected.


The undead sorcerer Ilse January stalks the fogbound streets of Arduvulin City, hunting victims to power her death magic.

The crypto-naturalist pirate Captain James Malachy has returned from his watery grave, determined to shatter the delicate truce between humans and their reluctant neighbors, the magical and unpredictable Folk.

The fate of the Fogbound Realm hangs in the balance. The very future of the Aos Sí teeters on a knife’s edge. Not even the Director of Its Royal Highness’s relentless Department of Criminal Magic can be trusted. Not this time. Quille’s only hope lies closer to home. Closer to heart.

Detective Inspector Nadine Oortsgarten has no use for Quille’s unsubstantiated claims and absurdly fantastic theories. She already has her suspect. A disreputable enchanter with a shadowy past, known criminal associates, and an extremely short life expectancy.

Professor of Enchantment Eusebius Quille.