Devon’s Blade Earns 5 Stars From Readers’s Favorite

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“Devon’s Blade is a solid sci-fi novella with an old school air combat appeal. It kept me interested from start to finish.” Readers’ Favorite

This little novella is starting to garner some praise out in the world. Reader’s Favorite is the latest, giving it a Five Star review!

Previous reviews include this one from Self-Publishing Review -“If you’re a fan of war fiction, especially with aerial fighting, and like your science fiction to have a large dose of recognizable realism, Devon’s Blade is action-packed, well-researched, and a fun read.” Self-Publishing Review






Writing in Atom


I’ve switched to yet another writing program for this novella. Now I’m using Atom, the programmer’s editor from the creators of GitHub. Basically, I’m a nerd and I love using programming tools to write my fiction. While this editor was not designed to write prose, it handles that task pretty good. I like how all my files are arranged in the tree to the left and it lets me view them as a web page with included images for the character descriptions. When I’m done with my draft I can export every scene into clean HTML files which can then be cut and pasted into Sigil for ebook creation.

The only hard part is going to be stitching them all up into one file. I may avoid that step by doing my editing in Sigil. Stay tuned to find out if I figure that bit out or not.

Shadow Fighter Showdown

My latest scratch built starfighter model is the K’nat fighter or as they call it in STARSTRIKERS – the Shadow fighter. While I’m building my model from plastic and Renshape, my son is building his model in Blender. He’s much faster than I am. It’s going to be a race to see who’s fighter will make it to the cover of K’nat Trap, my next novella.



At this point, he’s winning.

Discovery Engine


This is the year of finding an audience. Most of my writerly efforts will focus on marketing. I finally have three sequential books in my Star Saga series and just for good measure, two novellas set in between the three novels. Couple that with a anthology of short stories set before the series makes a total of six ebooks that are ready for public consumption.

My covers all match in style and are unique to my series, yet are still recognizable as Science Fiction. The ebooks are all edited and proofed and ready to be read. The website has a modern look and features all my books. I’ve joined professional indie writer’s groups and I’ve even got an author Facebook page! I know, right? Professional.

My next task is to create some advertising goals across all media that I frequent. It’s time to start spending money in order to start making money. I’ve started with a paid review and I’m now moving on to unpaid reviews from reviewers who are well respected in the genre. This is a slow process, but so was sending manuscripts to agents. The greatest sales spurt for any of my books came after a single web review by someone who I never figured had much of a reach.

I’ve also submitted to a contest for the first time. It wasn’t cheap, but I feel the odds were pretty good with one of my novellas. We’ll find out this September if that one paid off. I’d love to send out a manuscript to some traditional publishers, but all of my stories are set in the same universe. I just don’t see a publisher wanting one of them without the whole series. I’m not ready to give up the rights to that series. Short stories are different. I might try and write a short and send it to the big magazines to see if they will bite. It’s been years since I sent out shorts.

I’ll continue to use the email list to communicate with my readers. I may even try to do some YouTube videos. I even started an Instagram account. Ugh.

Other things I’m probably going to try include cross platform blog posts and of course Medium posts. Trying to get out there for people to find you is a bit like designing a discover engine. An algorithm that lets you plug in things about yourself and your books and turns that into word of mouth that results in book sales. We’ll see how I do.

Devon’s Blade Review

Getting the word out about your novels is pretty important and its been a weakness of mine for a long time now. So in an effort to increase my exposure I purchased a review for Devon’s Blade from the Self-Publishing Review website. So far it has not resulted in any sales, but there is no way to gauge how many people actually saw the review. It was a very positive review and you can read it on their site. They also supplied a quote for my Amazon page.


I’ll be venturing into many new advertising avenues in the weeks and months to come. Hopefully something will result in sales. In the mean time I’m slugging away on yet another Military SF novel.

Devons Blade Cover 4-26-15


Pre-Visualizing My Novel


I’m still working on all the bits of writing required before you actually write a novel. In the film business we call this Pre-Production work. It’s all the planning that goes into filmmaking before the camera rolls. In writing a novel there are many things that have to be written before you start the actual telling of a story. You have to plot out the story, you have to invent and learn who your characters are, you have to research things and places that might be in the book and you have to decide things like who’s point of view each scene will be. It’s almost as much work as actually writing the book. But it’s so worth having done before hand because if you do it well, writing the book goes so much smoother and faster.

This is one of the more interesting phases of writing a novel for me. I’ve had to spend more time learning the characters of this novel than any of the other Star Saga novel. Primarily because they are all new to me. So I have to allow myself the time explore who they all are, what they look like and what they need out of the story. One of the newer things I’ve been doing for this novel is casting my main characters by finding either actors or real people on line who look my main characters and saving their images into a picture folder. Just wish I could add pictures to my Plume Creator program someday. This helps visualize them more than you might think.


I have also created a static model of the SS Weippe for use on the cover of the novel. This actually helps me describe the ship and get a feel for how it looks next to other models I’ve built in this time period of the Star Saga. The more visual aids you have, the easier it is to write when you get going.


Speaking of the corvette used in this novel, I finally settled on the hull registration number for it. I decided to pay homage to the Flower Class corvette used in the famous novel, The Cruel Sea. The Compass Rose was K-49, so I made my SS Weippe, 049. I have also finalized the name as Weippe, which is taken from a small town in my home state of Idaho. Weippe is where the Nez Perce tribe first met the explorers, Lewis and Clark. You may have heard of them. Anyway, in my novel the Weippe is the first Federation ship to encounter the Votainions. Needless to say, it does not go as well for my crew as it did for the Lewis and Clark expedition.

Another interesting tidbit, I have decided that my captain will look like this picture of Ernest Hemingway.


Modeling Update

Just finished the primer coat on the GCU Griffin model this weekend. I still have some bits and pieces that need to be added, so will have to coat again next weekend. But you can start to see the general shape and fit of the ship now. I’ll admit that the design is a bit unconventional, but I still think it looks awesome. I originally designed this one back when I was a kid. Even built it in cardboard in almost the same scale. If you read Starstrikers, you’ll learn all about this important starship.


This new acrylic primer I’m using is much darker and bluer than the auto car body primer I was using. But it doesn’t stink near as bad.


The other side of the model for reference.


I used the whole bottle on the model, so will have to order a case of it or something. I also need to find some gloss coat and dull coat for decals. Probably use whatever I can find at Home Depot.



This is where I hid the slider switch for the internal lights. Sometimes you have to be sneaky. I didn’t plan this nice over hang, but it turned out to be the perfect spot to hide the switch. It’s starting to get warmer out in the garage studio, so eventually I’ll have to move operations inside or suspend the modeling until fall. I’ll be building smaller stuff until it cools off again. 


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Doesn’t get any easier than that. You want to be informed about my latest releases, I want to give you free stuff. Either way, you win!


Now when you join my newsletter, Dispatches, you get a shinny new cover version of Starforgers. Chose the Kindle version or the epub version, heck, take both! After you finish reading Book 1, you can pick up Book 2, The Rising and be on your way through the first trilogy of the Star Saga. Later this month, I’ll inform you that Book 3 is out and bingo, you’re in the know and you never miss a release again.

If you enjoy Starforgers and want more exciting Devon Ardel stories you can always pick up Devon’s Blade which takes place a year after Starforgers. Amazon readers have noted the similarity to WWII fighter pilot stories and that’s exactly what I was going for, so if that sounds interesting, be sure to pick up Devon’s Blade.


Introducing Manuskript

I’ve started testing a new writing program for Linux users called, Manuskript. This is a very promising first draft tool along the lines of Plume Creator or Scrivener. If you want to give the program a shot, I suggest you use the develop GIT version, instead of the pre-release. But if the terminal causes you anxiety then just wait for it to go out of beta, because this one is still unstable and going through rapid development.

I started outlining my latest novel using Manuskript and found it quite nice to use. Unfortunately, I was not able to recover from a file system location change and wound up losing some of my outline. For this reason I’ve returned operations to Plume Creator and will be coming back to Manuskript to test and play around with it as I write Corvette. What this means is I’ll be cutting and pasting my completed scenes into Manuskript after I create them in Plume. Then I won’t freak out if something happens to them.

But if you want to install and play around with Manuskript I highly encourage it! It’s a pretty slick tool already and as it becomes more stable it will be another welcome addition to the Linux writing tool set. While I was using Manuskript I introduced the program’s developer to Plume Creator’s developer, hoping the two of them could share experiences and ideas. I’m pretty sure this will help improve both tools and give us Linux writers a huge productivity boost.

As time permits, I’ll be doing more posts about Manuskript and showing you some of the features I really enjoy. If you have any program testing chops, this is the perfect opportunity to help a new project out. Download the develop version from GIT and let the developer know about the issues you find. That’s called giving back to the community and I believe it’s an essential part of being a writer. Very few folks use Linux to write books, but those of us who do, have the unique ability to help developers make our products better. Something users of proprietary programs like Scrivener, and Word, can not do.