Martin L. Shoemaker, author of “Unrefined”

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Above, Martin L. Shoemaker (far right) with fellow writer winners (from left: Sharon Joss, Amy Hughes, Michael Banker and Samantha Murray)

In all my long years of association with the publication of the Writers of the Future anthology, I’ve learned that the winning writer’s backgrounds are as diverse and interesting as their stories.

That is certainly the case with Martin L. Shoemaker who considers himself a “writer with a lucrative programming habit.” Coming from over three decades of programming, writing and teaching, he has been neck-deep in the developer community and was even named MVP by Microsoft. Yet all along, the drive to tell stories kept growing until he began writing more avidly in his own worlds.

Martin L. Shoemaker autographing books

Newly published author, Martin Shoemaker, autographing his story in Writers of the Future Vol 31.

Early on in his career, he won him 2nd place in the Baen Memorial Writing Contest with the prize being lunch with Buzz Aldrin! And he hasn’t stopped telling stories since—though his programming work continues apace.

His Writers of the Future-winning story, “Unrefined,” began as a tale about an asteroid mining team that must deliver a payload under pressure. His original vision shifted a few times thanks to studies and essays about rocketry and “Belter” civilizations. Once he found the solution for a particularly niggling science problem, “Unrefined” was born and new writing career history was made.

Jessica Tung Chi Lee

Jessica Tung Chi Lee, international artist and Illustrators of the Future Contest winner

“Unrefined” had an amazing piece of art crafted for it by Illustrators of the Future winner Jessica Tung Chi Lee. Lee originates from Taiwan, where she developed a love of dazzling entertainment in excitingly creative worlds. Soon, she began creating her own worlds, drawing inspiration from games, novels, and movies alike as she developed her own style.

Lee majored in visual communication design at the National Taiwan University of Art, followed by illustrative studies at the Academy of Art University. Nowadays, she’s a flourishing freelance illustrator and concept artist, and her growing love for bringing other worlds to life isn’t about to go away any time soon.

Together Martin and Tung Chi have created a world that is totally refined. Thank you both for sharing your creative worlds with us in our latest edition of Writers of the Future Volume 31.

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