Release Day!

Eight months after my Corvette novella launched, I’m releasing the sequel – Seer of the Black Star. That’s the fastest turn around for a book I’ve ever managed and it happened for one reason only. Corvette got fans! The little novella about the littlest ship in the Fleet took off and became a best seller in it’s first month. I’ve sold 7,268 copies so far this year and what’s better than that? It’s lit a fire on my back list and led to eleven thousand sales total on the year so far. Not too shabby.

The best way to ensure I write a sequel is to buy my books, not just one, but all of them. Fans have done just that and this book is their reward. If you enjoyed Corvette and then went on to read a few of my other books, I thank you! This book’s for you!

Seer is the second book of a planned trilogy and I’m writing the next book as I launch this one. With any luck, book 3 will be out next Spring and the trilogy will be complete. If sales continue to climb for this series, I can assure you there will be more. I have another trilogy planned with Vance and his crew that will be called Destroyer. In the meantime, I’m back to the Star Saga next year, writing Book 5, XiniX.

Black Star Build, Part 4

I actually took the time to include Vynn’s four winged starfighter as it would have looked after he rammed the bridge of the Black Star in chapter one of the novella. I build it from strip styrene stock and stuck it into the bridge windows. At least I know it’s there.

I also added a hand painted flaming skull that marks it as a pirate ship in this universe. At this point the model was done and I had nothing to do but photograph her for the book cover.

Here she is with the Weippe.

Took this one with my phone so you could see the set up in my garage. I used the sun as my single key light.

The Black Star made regular trips to my office for show and tell. Below is the final book cover after a decent Photoshoping by my brother, Byron.

Byron improved the flaming skull and composed the elements into a pretty cool scene from the book. Done.

Black Star Build, Part 3

The base color of the Black Star is flat black. The best way to cover these large models is with a rattle can. Ain’t nobody got the funds to pay for model paint via an airbrush. So I used flat black spray paint and went to town.

There’s a dumbbell holding the base down and covered with the drop cloth.

Looks good.

Looks like some kind of massive laser rifle.

Back on the C-stand and ready for weathering.

Not sure why I started here, but I did. I mixed black and white artist chalks with a dry brush and rubbed it in good. This gives the black a more slate gray or charcoal black color that I was after. It’s a slow process.

Soft focus but you can see the whole ship has been dusted with the chalk.

Next up was a pass with brown for rust coloring. Just to add interest and age the ship.

This side’s looking pretty sweet.

Because the model would be photographed in “space” I was a bid concerned you would loose detail. So I dry brushed silver over the details to help make them pop and add another layer of age to the model.

It looks a bit too rust colored here. But trust me, on the cover, it will look smashing. Like the decals and the scribbling graffiti?

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.

 

 

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