Ostrov Warship Build – Part 1

Just as I’m crazy enough to write an entire trilogy at once, I’m building two book cover models at the same time. This one being the Ostrov Warship from the Destroyer Trilogy. The Ostrov system is where our heroes are stranded, looking for the pirate ship Black Star and it’s captain – Trin Lestor. Ostrov is the largest populated planet in a system of seven planets.

I started with this old attempt at some kind of ship that I found in my parts bins. I started fitting various parts to it and before you know it, I had the makings of a ship that didn’t look anything like the usual designs of the Star Saga.

I had to match the panels on one side of the triangle body. Then I just started adding more greeblies to the back side.

The head was taken from a common meeting room microphone system. If you work in corporate America, you may even recognize it. The plan is to glue some engine nacelles onto the sides and then start adding smaller details and panel lines. I expect this will be a quick build and might even be finished before the Sultran warship seen in the background.

Ten Creative Goals For 2020

Some creative things I’ll be looking to accomplish in 2020. No particular order, after zero.

0. Vote Trump out of office.
1. Continue learning to play guitar, get an acuistic guitar.
2. Finish some new starship models for my book covers.
3. Read more fiction/non-fiction.
4. Finish and publish the Destroyer Trilogy of novellas.
5. Write XiniX, Book 5 of the Star Saga.
6. Get an agent for my Mystery Novel.
7. Go to a writer’s conference again. Been a while.
8. Watch all the new TV Star Treks.
9. Watch all of Lost in Space Seaason 2.
10. Promote my writing.

Writing Accomplishments – 2019

This year was the first year in over a decade that I didn’t actually publish anything. My initial goals were to finish three novellas so that I could begin publishing them next year. I managed to write two of them in a year. I’m still many months away from finishing the third novella and from publishing any of them. So that goal will extend deeper into 2020 than I anticipated.

The first novella of the Destroyer Trilogy was written quite fast and cording to my Beta Readers, is one of their favorite things I’ve ever written. But getting that second novella done took most of the year and was a real pain in my ass. I managed to finish it just a few days before the end of 2019. It still needs a good edit, but I think it allowed me to move the story arc along nicely, for a great final book. I’m already 1400 words into book three as of this writing and I have a renewed enthusiasm for the series.

My writing output has been slow this year, and I think the biggest reason is all the time I’ve spent volunteering with Civil Air Patrol. I took over as the Squadron Commander for the Boise Composite Squadron in October of 2018 and CAP has become something akin to a full time second job this year. Time spent at activities and worrying about personnel issues has drained me quite a bit this year. Hopefully I can manage that position a bit better in the next three years, until I hand it over to someone else.

New Starship Models

It’s fall and the temperature here in Boise has finally come down to tollerable levels. This means it’s model building season at House McConnell. My workbench is already dirtied up with bits of plastic and a new model frame on the stand. I have to create two new starship models for an upcoming trilogy of Destroyer novellas.

I’m starting with a Sultran Warship which is loosely based on drawing a buddy of mine did when we were kids. Of course I’m improvising the build and using a bunch of kit bashing parts from the junk bins of the company I work at. I’m hoping that foks won’t recognize anything and that I have used and it will look unique in the universe for which it was built.

There is another warship, slightly smaller that I still haven’t worked out yet. I’m considering something more along the lines of a rocket or perhaps a submarine-like shape. The Sultran ship will be a matte green color, so I might do the opposing forces in silver or something completely different than what we’ve seen before. The stories are set in a distant star system that is not part of the main Federation, and can therefore be very different in just about every way imaginable.

Stay tuned for more progress posts on these models.

What I’ve Been Doing This Year

I have to be honest. I keep forgetting I even have a blog. I just don’t have much time to tend to it these days. Well, let’s just say I’ve got other priorities right now. This has been the only year in the past ten years, that I have not published a novel or novella or even a short story. Nothing. Dead air. Only two blog posts in six months.

So have I quite writing fiction then? No. Not entirely. My goal is to write three novellas this year. I’m at 1.2 so far, so I need to keep typing as the year’s more than half over now. Can I finish one and a half novella’s before the end of 2019? Possibly. Usually I finish a book and publish it, but this time I’m planning on releasing an entire trilogy in like a few week’s time next year. Just to see what happens. Then it’s back to a book or two a year again.

These last few weeks it’s been a slog getting through book two of the Destroyer Trilogy. Part of that is due to my plot being not exactly clear to me and part of it is due to lack of interest in writing. Maybe I’ve hit some kind of wall, maybe it’s plot related and maybe I’m just tired of it all and my creativity is hibernating. Whatever it is, I need to kick myself in the butt and get writing.

I have a Mystery and a stand alone SF novel in editing, but those are both being reserved for traditional publishing. So you might not see them for years. In the meantime, I should have this trilogy out early next year.

New Addition

The youngest in our family needed a car this fall and I was ready for a new ride, so I passed down my trusty Honda Civic to him and I got something different. Well, kinda. Yesterday we welcomed this 2015 Subaru WRX to the family car lot. Now the Subbies out number the Honda 3 to 1. ;-) Anyway, the kid gets a reliable car for school and I get a fun car to commute with and sometimes carve a canyon road with.

So asside from getting his father’s old car to drive around in, complete with a VHF Ham radio, he also upgraded his Ham license to General yesterday, so very proud of the youngest. As for my new ride, I’m happy to be driving a performance car for the first time and looking forward to hearing the boxer engine rumble while rowing through the gears to work and back.

Saying Farewell to a Coworker

Sometimes the people I know find their way into my stories. I usually will honor a friend by naming a character after them but that character never looks or acts anything like the person they are named after. Such was the case for a friend who works with me at my day job. He has always been one of my best fans and has read many of my books. When I was writing Devon’s Blade I decided to honor him by creating a character named after him. That character was called Hank in the novel. For those of you who haven not read the novel, Hank dies in the end. But my friend always insisted that his death was never confirmed and that Hank lived!

This week is my friend’s last week with my work group. He’s moving on to bigger and better things and we’re all going to miss him around the office. To honor him, I wrote him a short story about Hank and what happened after Devon’s Blade finished. I hope you enjoy it as much as my friend did. Maybe someday I’ll include it in a new version of the ebook. But for now, you can read it right here, on the blog.

Goodbye, Hank.

Final Draft Editing

The rest of December is pretty much all about me polishing the final drafts of two novels that may not see the light of day for years to come. I was recently pointed to a new book called Save The Cat! Writes A Novel by Jessica Brody. I’m using it as a guide to make sure my novels stay on track and in addition to Story Engineering by Larry Brooks, it’s proving to be a big help in that department.

In the above image you can also see the new laptop that I purchased for writing. It’s proving to be a really good platform. For the curious, it’s an HP Spectre 13″ running Ubuntu 18.10. I normally use Google Docs for drafting, but I switch to LibreOffice Write for editing.

I’m hoping to have my SF novel to my editor by the end of this week or next and then follow that up with the new Mystery novel. Hopefully sometime in mid-January I’ll be ready to start sending them both out to agents. They each represent the best writing that I’ve done to this date. I don’t expect to have too much trouble selling either one or both of them. Unfortunately, until they get rejected by everyone under the sun, they won’t see the light of day. 

In the mean time, I’m back to writing the fourth Starship Series book, entitled Destroyer: Declo Demons. That will be published next year. My second book for 2019 will in all likelihood be Book 5 of the Star Saga – XiniX. 

Next post I promise to write about the books I’ve read this year and recommend. 

New Looks

It’s that time of year when I start to feel the need to change the look of my blog. Must be all that time off during the holidays. Anyway, we’re going black again and in the process, cleaning up some things. I’m not happy with the header image yet, so expect more change to happen there. But otherwise, the current dark theme is working for me.

My wife got a Chromebook update ahead of Christmas, and I used it last week for a writing sprint. It worked out great, so I can safely recommend the HP 2-in-1 12.3 Inch Touch-Screen for writing books in Google Docs and StoryShop.

My own laptop replacement won’t get to me until next month, so stay tuned for that report.

I’m currently cleaning up my Mystery novel and a stand alone SF novel so that I can start querying agents at the first of the year. I know, WTF? Well, we can’t stay Indy only forever, now can we? Anyway, both of these novels are pretty awesome and I feel my chances of finding representation are much improved after writing and selling fiction for the better part of a decade.

Stay tuned next year to hear how that goes.

In the meantime, I’m back to work on the Destroyer first draft. I’d like to have that novella to readers in late Spring of next year. Then I’m bound and determined to tackle XiniX, the next Star Saga novel.

In case things get crazy in December, have a great holiday season and I’ll catch you next year!

 

Oh, Hello Blog!

I’ve been away from this blog for a long spat of time. I really can’t remember when I stopped posting. Checks logs. Oh, last time I posted was on my birthday back in September. Well, high time I posted again, or the internet might revoke my domain or something.

I finished writing my latest mystery novel and it’s out to Beta Readers at the moment. So far they are loving it and I will soon be cleaning up the manuscript and sending it off to my editor. I’m not sure that I will self publish this one. I have totally failed to succeed with the first mystery, Null Pointer. So I’ve started taking it out of online stores. If you still want it, get it ASAP. I’m thinking come Christmas, it will be gone. The reason I’m taking it down is that I plan on sending the second mystery to an agent. It’s the second book of a six book series, so I’m hoping to sell it as a series. Anyway, sometime early next year I’ll be sending it to agents who work with mysteries and sci-fi.

Because, I also have a stand alone sci-fi novel that is nearly ready to be edited too. If I can snag an agent for the mystery, I’m hoping they will at least consider the sci-fi manuscript. Anyway, all that will be going on in the next few months behind the scenes. Meanwhile, I have a couple of series that I need to get back to.

First up is book 4 of the Starship Series which will be called Destroyer, Declo Demons. Follow Captain Armon Vance and his Destroyer crew into a seven planet star system in search of Trin Lestor. This is the first of the middle trilogy books and I hope to have it out in the Spring. The other book that I will write next year is Book 5 of the Star Saga – XiniX. I know, I’ve been talking about that one for a while. 2020 will be the year it gets written. Unless of course I sell a mystery series and suddenly have to write four more Joshua Jones novels. ;-)

I tried to make the writing of the Destroyer novella live on Google Docs, but I didn’t get the impression anyone cared. So I’ve taken it off line and loaded it into StoryShop. Not sure if I’ll like writing in this on-line IDE, but I’ll give it a go with that book. I do like the casting ability of this tool which lets you create character bios and pictures of your characters.

As for me personally, Fall is here and I’m still out there running three times a week and lifting in my garage and eating as best as I can. So my health is good physically. My mental health is being treated with books and less and less TV News. It’s the only way I can make it through this long National Nightmare. I’ve read far more books this year, than I have in a long time. Unfortunately, most of them are non-fiction books about politics and science. But the political books are nearly done and the science books will take over. In between them, I’m hoping to get back into more fiction. Both SF and mystery.

My trusty System76 laptop is still going strong, but will soon be retired from book writing. I’m passing it down to my son who will use it to write programs and web applications. Meanwhile, my primary writing laptop will be an HP Spectre x360. It just won’t run a crap OS. It will be running stock Ubuntu. ;-) As many of you may know, I write primarily on my lunch hour at work. My employer has mandated that we only use HP laptops while at work, so I’m towing the line. Luckily, HP makes some bad-ass laptops and I’ll be driving a pretty cool one. Here’s a picture of one, below.

 

That should get you up to speed regarding me and my writing. Next post I’ll let you know some of the books I’ve read this year and why I recommend them.