My name is Stephen G. Parks. You’ve probably never met me and that’s fine. It’s a big world and you haven’t met most of its inhabitants.

Motorbike Taxi, rural UgandaI’ve lived an unusual life, on four continents and in communities both well-off and under-developed. Much of my past can be read at Vicarious Vistas, my travel and living abroad site (UPDATE: The site’s down while I redesign it).

Throughout my life I’ve been a storyteller: I drew my own comic books as a youth; I wrote fiction as a teen; I was a journalist in university and beyond; later, I defined information flows as an information designer; I communicated language as a teacher; and I’ve shone a light on some very deserving people as a communications specialist and fundraiser for educational charities in Africa.

Now it’s time to tell my stories. And I’ve got a number to tell.

Stories that need to be told

I’ve written in many genres although you’ll notice that this list – which is only of novel- or novella-length stories, is dominated by science fiction. Don’t typecast me!

Tau Ceti and Sol are a matched pair, yin and yang in a series that I’m thinking of calling Quantum Traverse. I’m really excited at the prospects of writing Sol once I’ve completed Tau Ceti. There’s a third story here too, possibly called Laniakea, but I’m not sure I want to write it and the story, or elements of it, might just fold nicely into Sol. If that happens, I might use the name Laniakea for the series instead of Quantum Traverse. I don’t know why trilogies are so highly prized in the publishing industry. I blame Tolkien.

Hryka is my oldest story, one that I started writing while I was still in high school, and one that’s continued to evolve – as has Tau Ceti, which I started writing in university.

Tau Ceti has evolved to an obscene degree. I swear, I could write an essay just about that story’s journey and what it’s taught me about the creative process.

I stumbled onto writing YA Science Fiction when I started re-working a short story idea into a long form novella. The Winds of Zephyr is that story, and it is also one of the very few times that I’ve written in the first person. I’ve always been against first-person narrative, as it takes an element of suspense from a story – specifically, will the protagonist live? Well, the narrator certainly will. It was only after re-reading S. E. Hinton’s The Outsiders as an adult that I realized that first-person narrative could be compelling and that I wanted to rise to that challenge.

There’s a series that I’m working on, although I haven’t found its name yet. One of the characters is Deacon Carver, a name that’s so good that I know I have to use it as a focus. In the initial draft of the series, he’s actually a minor character entering around the third story. Now I’m pulling his entry forward and making him more prominetn from the beginning. Publishers have talked about the need for entry-point science fiction – stories that can introduce the concepts and tropes to a new audience and pave the way toward lifelong reading in the genre. I see this series as being in that niche. Depending upon how this seven-story arc evolves in the writing, it might not be YA.

Pilot is a story that has been sitting in my mind for a long time, almost as long as Hryka. It’s more in the style of James Blish’s Cities in Flight series that anything else. It also has hooks that tie into the Deacon Carver stories, if one wants to see them.

“How It Really Happened… is my bane. I know exactly the story I want to write, but whenever I put pen to paper (or more realistically, fingers to keyboard) it comes out wrong. The story idea is simple. Hollywood always gets alien invasion stories wrong – here’s how it would really happen. Why can’t I write this?
UPDATED: I took a new angle on this one and wrote a very short version that I’ve submitted for publication. It was published October 19, 2015. Read it here.

“Earth Bound” is a modern day techno-thriller, one of those “ripped from the headlines” stories. Unfortunately, events in Ukraine and Russia (as of summer 2014) keep out-pacing my story writing.
UPDATED: I reformatted this idea as a short story and renamed it “The Maiden Voyage of Novvy Mir”. It’s currently on submission. I’ll keep you posted.

The Lebanon is an amazing piece of historical fiction that I’m dying to tell. Unfortunately, I’m not a good enough writer yet. When I am, I’ll write it. It’ll be amazing – think Salmon Rushdie good – and you’ll enjoy it. I promise.

There are other stories in this brain of mine, among them, Lost Tales of the Hryka, a short story collection that fleshes out the mythology of Hryka, and In Retrospect, which is a very tentative title for a real-world story about hindsight and wisdom that comes too late to save friendships.