Black Star Build, Part 2

Remember last time when I said there would be trouble with the frame? Yeah, well there was trouble. Primarily because there was no backbone for the length of the ship. It turns out yogurt cups can’t hold all those cargo pods together. So I improvised like a Jazz musician and stuck a bracket through the center and bolted it to the RenShape block.

Retro-fitting a frame is not recommended. Prior thought would have been easier.

The model has held together nicely after the aluminum frame was installed. Here it is on the C-stand above the bench.

Here’s the Star and the Weippe in formation.

One last shot showing it next to a yardstick. Yeah, now that’s a starship. Easily the biggest one I’ve built.

Back to the cargo pods and detailing. Mmmm, detailing.

Starting to look like a ship. Pass the model parts, there are some flat spaces in there that need details. Note the clean desktop. It happens.

Something missing on the last section. Oh yeah, details! Better get busy.

For some reason, I started on the bottom first. Check out that bad-ass looking piece on the engine. I think that’s a military tractor or something. Love it.

Then I impaled it with the mount pole and it finally died.

Fast forward to the drive section’s side. More delicious details. I only detailed one side due to reasons. Mainly because I knew I would be photographing it from only one side, so to save time and parts, I only built three sides.

Detailing these models is an art form in and of itself. You can’t just slap parts on there and paint ’em. Things have to look like they have a purpose. It’s my absolutely favorite part of scratch building starships.

It’s okay to recognize parts at this stage, but after it’s done, I don’t want you be able to do that. At least not quickly.

This area is starting to look pretty cool.

Back to the front and some nice neck details behind the bridge section. One of the parts in there is a AT-AT Walker foot from a Star Wars toy.

Bridge windows were created from styrene strips. I with I had a store display of Evergreen plastic. I’d use it all in just a year.

Damn. She’s looking pretty fierce for a transporter.

That’s it for the detailing phase. Next up is paint. Not my favorite part, but paint makes the model.

 

Black Star Build, Part 1

This model was going to be a little different from my others. I wanted to build it fast and on the cheap. I didn’t want to spend money on specific model kits for details and I wanted to use just what I had on hand to build it. I work for a large tech company in the valley and I have access to lots of mechanical parts in the garbage bins. I decided to recycle those parts into a bad ass starship. This would save time and money and hopefully produce a model in record time because I was writing the book as fast as I could and that book needed a cover model.

I used these drawings as I wrote the novella and so started with them when it came time to build the Black Star. The ship was originally a long haul transporter with a single big Class C stardrive and lots of modular container pods to store things. Pirates took the transport over in a raid and then slowly converted it to a brutal pirate ship with lots of guns and shielding.

With this in mind, I surveyed my junk pile in the garage and found some parts that would work for the basic frame. A large plastic pipe and some hard drive mounts would be the first parts I selected. I went with a block of RenShape for the mount, as has been my standard for some time now. You can drill it out for a metal rod mount that can be secured with a set screw and that fits on my C-stand model mount

The SS Wieppe model is there for scale. The Black Star had to be bigger than the tiny corvette.

The plastic pipe fit into this piece from the junk bins at work. All I added was some PVC board to give it some heft and to build out the container pods.

The head was a concern until I found this wonderful clear plastic fan cover from a high end PC. The above photo shows the mount block drilled out and the PVC boards cut for the pods. Always laying out the design in a test fit before reaching for the glue. Also in the above shot you can see some plastic bits that I thought would make great container details.

I used PVC pipe for the neck and now the final size of the ship comes together. Can you spot the yogurt cups? Used as spacers between the cargo pods.

Once again, you can see the true scale next to the 1/350 Weippe model. The Black Star was wired for light in the stardrive, but I elected not to use it in the end.

Close up of one of the cargo pods showing the details placed on the sides. I had enough to cover both sides of each pod.

Here is the engine section showing the mount. It’s not a solid as I had thought or hoped for. Bad things were coming…

Building up the cargo pods and boxing inn the bridge section. Boring work that needs to be done.

Some more computer parts are selected for the bridge section. These black pieces will go on each side of the bridge.

Had to have some fun, so I started detailing the bridge with model parts. I love this part of scratch building.The PVC board lets you glue plastic parts on with plastic cement.

More juicy model bits on the bridge section. That’s it for this installment.

Corvette 2 Release Date

Busy weekend. I’ve uploaded a stub for the next Corvette book and it’s now up for Pre-Sale on Amazon. So far, five eager readers have ordered it. Many thanks! It’s already done better in pre-sale than three of my back list books! The actual release date is this coming Tuesday, 14 November 2017. So it won’t have but a long weekend to gather pre-sales.

In preparation for the release I’ve also spent some time updating this website with a new page for the book and adding it to the front page. The cover I’m using is not quite final yet but it’s close enough. We’re going to add that it’s book 2 of the Corvette Trilogy and then alter the old book 1 cover to match. Details, details.

In the meantime, I’m still pounding on the Corvette 3 first draft. I’ve realized that I might actually need an outline for this one and so will take some time to organize it before continuing on. I have plans to do another trilogy following the career of Armon Vance, so I have to make sure the final Corvette book sets up the story arch for that trilogy. If it gets written, and that depends on sales and sales alone, that series will be called the Destroyer Trilogy. I think you can guess he’ll be captaining a destroyer starship.

Next year will be dominated by finishing the third Corvette book and working on the fifth Star Saga novel – XiniX. Can’t wait to get back to those characters again and see what the Silicants have been up to for the past five hundred years. Sometime in the next two months I will do a post on how my book sales have done this year. Thanks to the first Corvette novella, it’s been a pretty damn good year.

Corvette 2 Almost Ready

I’ve been pretty scarce around here and on my mailing list for the past month or two and for that I apologize. I have a fairly decent excuse – been nose to the grindstone on Corvette 2. The ebook is finished and proofed and it’s now awaiting cover art. This one is proving to be difficult to create a cover for. The ships are long and narrow and the cover is vertical so that limits how much of the ship we can show and how to place it in the frame. I’m not really sure we have it figured out yet, but we’re trying. Provided we get something decent, the ebook should be out this month.

I’ll be getting back to the first draft of Corvette 3 next week, as I await a final cover for Corvette 2. There will be just three books in the Corvette trilogy. If fans clamor for more, I’m prepared to do another three books after that. But in the meantime, I need to do a short story or two in preparation for working on XiniX, Book 5 of the Star Saga. That novel will be my primary focus for 2018. So next year you’ll get Corvette 3 in the Spring and possibly a few short stories and then perhaps XiniX by Christmas.

I have all the models I need for the next couple of books, so for 2018 my modeling hobby will focus on WWII aircraft.

DISCO Doesn’t Suck

I don’t care what you think, I like the BeeGee’s and I like Disco-very. Also, I love both of these characters. And just to make sure I piss everyone off, I also love Captain Lorca. It’s about time Star Trek had a psycho captain.

 

PS – I want one of those shirts to work out in.

Corvette 2 Update

Corvette 2 is in the hands of beta readers and hopefully, by the end of the week will be in final edits. At that time I’ll format the paperback and ebook. In the meantime, the models used for the cover are being photographed. Here are some shots from the first attempt by me to capture the Black Star and the Weippe.

The above shots were taken with my phone while I waited fro the sun to clear clouds. Meanwhile, the shots I took during the clouds are probably more interesting to look at. Glad I have a few of both. I played for a little over an hour with ship and camera positioning. Hopefully my brother can use something to create a dynamic cover.

Above is an example of one of the shots we may use taken with the good camera. The models are the same scale, 1/350, so you can see the size disparity between them.

I’m still aiming for a Halloween-ish release date, fingers crossed.

Readers’ Favorites

  

Last year my novella, Devon’s Blade received a Five Star review from Reader’s Favorite. This year my novella, Corvette, won Silver Award and received a Five Star review from Reader’s Favorite. Both of these stories are Military Sci-Fi and feature my style of realistic story telling coupled with characters that you want to root for. Both of them are also small stories that focus on a small portion of a larger conflict. Devon’s Blade is a classic air combat tale and Corvette is an old Naval tale re-imagined in the genre of Sci-Fi.

Both of these novellas have inspired a loyal following from readers, Corvette in particular really took off on Amazon and sold enough copies to garner me entry into SFWA in a single month. Corvette continues to sell better that any other book I’ve written and it’s success has been good for my back list.  It’s good to get some recognition bling for it now.

I’m currently editing the second Corvette book and writing the third one. Look for those ebooks to hit Amazon starting next month for book 2 and possibly book 3 by December.

 

 

Indie Author Day

I’ll be on a panel and doing a reading for Indie Author Day – October 14th a the Main Library in Boise. Looking forward to seeing everyone there. Come and say Hi to me and all the other local Indie writers!

Indie Author Day SATURDAY, OCTOBER 14, 2017, 10AM – 4:30PM
Indie Author Day
Location Main Library – Third Floor
Room Marion Bingham Room
Contact Name Lorie
Contact Email lbroumand@cityofboise.org
Library Branch Main Library
Type of Event Book Sale, Books & Reading, Special Programs & Events
Age Adults

Local authors! The Main Library will celebrate Indie Author Day on Saturday, October 14th, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

If you’d like to sell your books, read your work aloud, or share your expertise on a panel discussion, we’d love to hear from you! We have several spots available for the book sale and reading. Panel discussions will focus on publishing (self-publishing, small press, and traditional) and elements of craft — but if you have other ideas, we’d love to hear those, too. We welcome authors at all stages of the writing journey.

For more info, please email Lorie at lbroumand@cityofboise.org.

Book Series Issues

I’m having quite the time figuring out the branding of my Sci-Fi universe. For the past few years I’ve been calling it the Star Saga, which is accurate in that the whole series follows multiple generations spread out over a thousand years, but doesn’t make it easy for the reader to understand. So I’m reorganizing the books once again for clarity.

This is part of branding my fiction and plays into how it gets advertised to readers. If the reader comes across one of my books I want her to know where that book fits into big picture and where to find the next book so she can continue the story. This is no easy task when confronted with the Star Saga. It was previously divided into three trilogies and then each of those trilogies became five books long, which technically means they are no longer trilogies. Then I added some short story anthologies to the mix and finally, a prequel series revolving around a single starship and its crew. The end result was mass confusion.

I’ve given up on the whole trilogy moniker and instead will start using “series”. So the Star Saga now contains four series each in a different time period and with a mostly different cast of characters. The next problem becomes what to number them. Some of the books are full on novels and some are novellas and the novellas come in between the novels. Currently the plan is to just number them in time order, regardless of whether they are novels or novellas. This will suggest reading order and when done, each series will be just five books long.

But what happens if I write another cool novella set in the middle somewhere? Then you can’t just redo all the book covers in the series. Do I say Book 2.5 in the series? Then later I write another related novella and call it 2.1 and that one comes before 2.5? So I think I’ll only number the main trilogy of three books. That’s the main arc of the story and the lead characters. The novellas are fillers and smaller tales so they won’t get a number but they will be in a specific order that will be listed in this read order list. This lets me come back to the series and write another Devon Ardel novella that takes place before Devon’s Blade or After The Rising and as long as this one page is updated the reader will know the time order of the book.

Below is the latest incarnation of the Star Saga broken down into four series. I will put a page that shows this breakdown in every book going forward and hopefully by next year they will all have it and possibly a galaxy map. Although that has yet to be commissioned.

 

The Star Saga

Starship Series

Corvette (Starship Series, Book 1)

Seer of the Black Star (Starship Series, Book 2)

Pirate’s Lair (Starship Series, Book 3)

(30 Years)

Starforgers Series

Tales From Ocherva, Vol 1 (Starforgers Series)

Starforgers (Starforgers Series, Book 1)

Devon’s Blade (Starforgers Series)

The Rising (Starforgers Series, Book 2)

The Blood Empress (Starforgers Series)

Counterattack (Starforgers Series, Book 3)

(500 Years)

Starstrikers Series

Trader Tales, Vol 1 (Starstrikers Series)

Starstrikers (Starstrikers Series, Book 1)

K’Nat Trap (Starstrikers Series)

XiniX (Starstrikers Series, Book 2)

Dark Wind (Starstrikers Series)

NexGen (Starstrikers Series, Book 3)

(500 Years)

Starveyors Series

Anthology to be Named Later, Vol 1 (Starveyors Series)

Starveyors (Starveyors Series, Book 1)

OPFOR Vikens (The Starveyors Series)

Tripartite (Starveyors Series, Book 2)

Nor Alien I (The Starveyors Series)

Ancestors (Starveyors Series, Book 3)

Long Overdue Writing Update

WRITING STATUS

Fans of the Corvette novella will be pleased to know that the first draft is complete and in the hands of a few select beta readers. A second draft or pass at the manuscript will occur after I get some comments from the betas. Then it’s off to the editor and copy editor and finally, it will get released. When will that last part happen, you ask? Probably in late October.

In the meantime, I’ve already started writing book 3 and the final Corvette novella. If I finish it before winter you can look for that one to be released late winter or early next year. By that time I will be well engaged in writing Book 5 of the Star Saga – XiniX.

The only book on the schedule for next year is XiniX but that could change. If the Corvette trilogy continues to sell well and the demand is there, I could do the first book of a second trilogy in that series probably called Destroyer. As you can guess, Captain Vance progresses to a bigger ship in that trilogy.

SALES UPDATE

Corvette sales have slumped in the last month but sales of the other Star Saga books are steady as new fans make their way through the back list. I average about two thousand US dollars per month which is not too shabby for no advertising and no big publisher backing. Last month I did a reading at one of my local libraries and enjoyed hearing what other local writers were doing and meeting them to talk shop.

MODELING STATUS

On the modeling side of the house or more appropriately the garage, I’m trying to finish detailing the Black Star pirate ship for the Corvette 2 and 3 covers. Another week or so of fiddling with greeblies and then I can get her primer coat applied. From there it’s a base coat of flat black and then a bit of weathering and battle damage to finish her off.

I have drawn up plans for a second corvette model, this one a bit newer in design that will be featured on the third Corvette book cover. I probably won’t light it and will knock it out as soon as the pirate ship is finished and photographed.

LIFE IN GENERAL

Summer is another scorcher here in Idaho and now the area forest fires are making the air hard to breathe. It’s my least favorite time of year in the western US. The temperatures are hovering in the high nineties and hundreds Fahrenheit.  Which means I have to do my model building in the mornings and writing in the afternoons when I’m confined to the air conditioning.

We did a short family vacation last week in McCall Idaho and had a blast. Hiking, boating and canoeing were some of the fun things we did in the local resort community.

Hope you summer is going well and I’ll check in again when I have some updates.

 

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