About the author

Hello, and welcome to my website! I’m Vanessa MacLaren-Wray, and I write stories and poetry. And code. I’m into photography, mathematical simulation of electric power systems, kittens and puppies, solar and wind power, space travel, efficient energy use, and chocolate.

This page is essentially my resume; for a formal author database with media-ready images, bios, book descriptions, and buy links, please navigate to the opposite end of the menu, where my press kit resides.



New Podcast Episode: I interview Clara Ward for Small Publishing in a Big Universe

“Cold Trap” a structured speculative fiction poem, will appear in the California Writers Club’s 2024 Literary Review

The Unremembered King

Corren, son of an armorer, adopted son of a king, faces existential threats to the nation he’s been raised to lead. This imagined memoir of a soldier’s career begins with his early failures, and follows his path to knowledge, not only of military strategy, but also social issues, family relationships, and justice.

Inspired by the lives and careers of service people I have known since childhood … but set in another universe.

Don’t worry: there are lots of funny bits.

Book 1: Shadows of Insurrection

Corren has enough on his hands, working his way up the ranks of the King’s Guard. When a strange woman turns up claiming to be from another world, it only complicates his mission to find out who’s trying to overthrow the matriarchy he serves.

Book 2: Flames of Attrition

War has come to Jeska, and Corren will need all his military genius, the skills of his loyal guardsmen, and the support of his family and friends to protect the matriarchy from insurrectionists and invaders intent on installing a patriarchy.

Special Release: The True Son

This prequel short story shows Corren and his brother Tymon as teenagers under attack from a jealous rival for the position of heir-to-the-kingship.

All That Was Asked (A Patchwork Universe book)
Parrish Blue
Paper Angel Press Sampler
Science Fiction Sampler 2022

Reunion (in Fault Zone: Reverse)
Heart’s Delight (in Fault Zone: Reverse)
Coke Machine
The Smugglers

Flash Fiction
The Haunting of Docking Bay 47: Truck Stop at the Center of the Galaxy (digital release)

Prank: Truck Stop at the Center of the Galaxy (digital release)

Love Song: Truck Stop at the Center of the Galaxy (digital release)

Machine Design, Hadrosaur Tales 19
Particle Physics, The Magazine of Speculative Poetry

Cold Trap: in Fault Zone: Detachment
My mother is not, and never has been, a pine cone: in Fault Zone: Detachment

Afterword: Dragon Gems Spring 2023

Special Recognition

Fault Zone: Reverse won the 2022 Independent Press Award for Anthologies.

“Heart’s Delight” was nominated iin 2022 for the Pushcart Prize and the World Fantasy Award.

“Coke Machine” won the First-Person Narrative Fiction contest at the Literary Stage 2021 event hosted by the California Writers Club.

Fault Zone: Detachment won the 2024 Independent Press Award for Anthologies.

“Cold Trap” won second place in the Structured Poetry contest at the Literary Stage 2021 event hosted by the California Writers Club and is also the leading piece in Fault Zone: Detachment

Book cover A man with a spear stands beside a loaded pack-pony and looks out over a landscape of hills and valleys. Text: Shadows of Insurrection Book 1 The Unremembered King. Vanessa MacLaren-Wray

About Cometary Tales

This site is my home on-line. Please keep that in mind as you visit.

It began as a simple blog, a place to park a few thoughts, a few experiences, some photos, science experiments for kids. Gradually, the little blog became a complicated one. Then I finished a book. Then a few stories. Now I’m working on a series, and a sequel, and another series, and so on.

So, now, this page is where all those stories land.

The blog is still here, of course. Our past is our present is our future.

All material–words, images, everything here–is subject to copyright and may not be used without prior permission.

Permissions will be readily granted for reasonable uses. Just ask.

Material from elsewhere is incorporated here if it’s public domain (with attribution, if available) or permission is given. Please notify me if you encounter anything needing proper citation and I will make corrections promptly.

Image credits for this page:

Comet: The Great Comet of 1843, attributed to D.A. Hardy. Per Alan Hale, a modern comet-hunter, writing at RocketSTEM, the painting was likely done around March 23, 1843. This particular image clip was grabbed from clipart.com’s public-domain image files.

Cover Art by Kelley York , for Shadows of Insurrection.