Books I’m Reading and Have Read Lately

Most of the non-fiction I’m reading is focused on fighter pilots for my next novella. Also, they are just plane fun. (pun intended)

Fiction reading is lacking lately. I go through fits and starts when researching for a novel. Mostly I read non-fiction that is related to what I plan on writing. I also read books on writing craft. All the time.

Droidmaker: George Lucas and the Digital Revolution by Michael Rubin – Movie Tech Neepery.
Bogeys and Bandits by Robert Gandt – About a class of Navy fighter pilots.
Boyd The Fighter Pilot Who Changed The Art of War by Robert Coram – The fighter pilot.

Word Painting – The Fine Art of Writing Descriptively by Rebecca McClanahan – Due diligence for a writing weakness of mine.

Man From Earth (Screenplay) – Unique in that the whole drama is just dialog.
The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe (re-read) – Test Pilots!

Weekend Update 4 Aug 2013


We were cleaning out the kid’s closet today and had enough shoes to make a fun picture of him. Those are his baseball cleats from age 5-12. We then took him to the sporting goods store to buy new football cleats and turn in these for consignment. Below is another view of them.


He finally outgrew his football pads so we had to rent some for his final season of Optimist Football. New mouth guard, pants, socks and cleats were also in order. This is why daddy has no money for expensive hobbies. His football team is absorbing some new players this year and it looks like they will be a pretty awesome senior team. Practices start next Monday with temps in the mid nineties. Better him than me.

Work In Progress Report

The word count for The Rising, Book 2 of the Star Saga passed 50K this week. That’s a major milestone in the writing of any novel. Things seem to be moving right along now as I head into the third of four acts. This novel is taking much longer than the last one and will be nearly twice as long. Don’t hold your breath for a release this fall, it’s looking more like early next year by the time I finish the first draft and have it edited and proofed.


I finished reading The Cold Dish by Craig Johnson this week. Loved it. Much better than the TV series, although I confess to loving both mediums. I also started reading Joanna Penn’s latest book on selling ebooks. I think if I’m ever going to finish this first draft, I’ll have to cut down on my limited reading time and convert it into writing time.


Watched the bloody first episode of Hell on Wheels and won’t be watching any more. Didn’t care for the characters, situations or the gore. Nobody seemed the least bit sympathetic to me in that show. I don’t have much time for movies or TV right now for the same reason my reading time is limited. MUST FINISH BOOK.

Hopefully next weekend update I’ll have reached the 60K word boundary. All for now.


New Steam Punk Novella


I’ve been following Brooke on G+ for a while now, watching her put together her books and bring them to press herself. It’s not easy being a Self-Published author. Trust me on this, I know. But she’s doing everything right and I’ve really enjoyed seeing her progress. Yesterday I purchased her latest ebook, Le Theatre Mecanique, a Steam Punk novella. Not surprisingly, it’s fantastic. I literally read it every chance I get.

If you’ve always wanted to try an unknown author but for whatever reason were afraid, now’s your chance to discover a new voice in SF! While you’re at it, follow her on G+ and watch her career take off!

Amazon Kindle

Barnes and Noble Nook



Wise Beyond Your Field

I don’t review books formally, but sometimes I like to recommend a book to my audience. This is one of those times. Living here in Boise, I realize that my state is known for basically two things, potatoes and a blue football field. But we have some very talented and innovative thinking for a fly-over state. This book is a good example of what even small communities can achieve when they look around outside of the box.

Wise Beyond Your Field, written by Nancy Napier, a BSU professor,  expounds on the idea of reaching out to other career fields for creative ideas in how to manage your own career. There are first person stories of “The Gang” of local business leaders here in Boise, and at least one famous football coach who’s field is not so green.

I really enjoyed the stories in the book from various business leaders who have gotten together over the years to compare notes on what they know about life and business. The book is a testimony for how making odd connections can help you learn new ways to do business. There are lessons here that can be applied to everyone’s life, even creatives.

It’s a quick read and it’s priced reasonably enough to be accessible to anyone.

Auxiliary Memory


If you aren’t reading Auxiliary Memory, the blog of James W. Harris, perhaps you should be. Some of the best essays about life and Science Fiction I have ever read, have been while reading James’s blog. Recently he is cataloging what he feels are the best SF books of the 1950’s and 1960’s. As a writer of SF, I feel that I have to be educated about my genre and listening to the opinions of folks who have read and loved the genre since the early days is invaluable to me.

Do yourself a favor and subscribe to his mailing list so that his posts arrive in your email inbox. His intuitive and insightful thoughts about life and SF are one of the great joys of my week.

Books I’m Reading Now

I’ve been switching back and forth between reading two Space Opera novels. They are both authors who are not known for their Space Opera. The first is Second Star by Dana Stabenow who has made her name as a mystery writer. The second is Molly Fyde by Hugh Howey, famous now for his post apocalyptic Wool novels.

Second Star is the first in a trilogy of Space Opera novels centering on Star Svensdotter a female protagonist who lives and works on an L5 colony. I’m only a few chapters into both of these books but already I’m hooked and enjoying the differences. Second Star is written in first person and is more of an adult novel. Where Molly Fyde is a Young Adult novel written in third person.

The main character of Howey’s book is a young woman trying to be a pilot in the space Navy and meeting resistance from the all-male military school. I like the universe that Howey is building because its more like Star Wars, with aliens and hyper drive starships. Where as Stabenow’s novel is more realistic and grounded in near future science, at least early on.

Both of these writers are very good at their craft and I wonder why neither has returned to the genre. Probably because sales for uplifting Space Opera stories are low right now as people prefer to read about doom and gloom and zombies. BORING. But if all that changes, I look forward to a renascence of Space Opera.

I’ll update this review after I finish these novels, but right away I can recommend them both if Space Opera is your thing. Oh, and kudos to Dana Stabenow for quoting a Heinlein  character in her novel. ;-)

Null Pointer at TWiT Studios

My alter-ego, Johnny Batch’s book, Null Pointer was gifted to the Chief TWiT – Leo Laporte this weekend by my good friend Nate McIntyre. Not sure how much cooler my birthday month could have gotten. I mean, a mention in Linux Journal and having Leo get a copy of my programmer Mystery novel is just about unbeatable. Thanks Nate for passing the book on, I hope he enjoys it and passes it on to fellow geeks. You can get Null Pointer on Kindle for just a buck, or get the paperback for under ten dollars.

Seattle-Geekly Reviews Tyrmia

Matt from the Seattle-Geekly podcast read and reviewed my SF novel, Tyrmia. You can catch this week’s episode here, the review is about eight minutes into the podcast. He liked it over all but thought it was a bit short. At over 100,000 words in length, it was a challenge to keep it that short. Many readers have commented it should be longer, so perhaps there will be an expanded version of a sequel some day.

Just to answer one question from the review, the novel is a stand alone story, but other novels set in the same universe are indeed available and include Starstrikers and the anthology, Tales From Ocherva.

As a gentle reminder, Tyrmia is only .99 cents for a limited time. So there’s no excuse not to give it a try!

Dominant Species by Michael E. Marks

Dominant Species is the most film worthy book I think I’ve ever read. Michael E. Marks does a fantastic job of making you  visualize this fairly standard SF Military story. His military jargon and panache come across as gritty and realistic. If you liked the Aliens, Terminator and Starship Troopers movies, you’ll love this novel.  Dominant Species is easily the best Indie Sci-Fi book I’ve ever read to date. In the same league as anything published by Drake, Weber and Scalzi. In fact better than most, due to the author’s getting the military bits right.

Currently this title is exclusive to Kindle. I’m hoping the author goes POD or some other print medium, because this is one I want on my shelf.