What’s Coming Next

With the release of the third Corvette starship novella coming in just a few short weeks, I thought I’d take a moment to let you know what’s coming up next. The Corvette Trilogy is just the first of three planned trilogies with the same main character – Armon Vance. His story started with Corvette, then advanced with Corvette: Seer of the Black Star and finishes with Corvette: Pirate’s Lair.

          

The next book I will write for this series will be called – Destroyer: Declo Demons. Look for it in the Spring of 2019. Following along on the heels of that will be book 2, Destroyer: The Mutineers, which should ship for Christmas in 2019. The trilogy will finish in the Spring of 2020 with Destroyer: Letting Go. The Destroyer Trilogy will be darker and all the books will take place in a single system with seven habitable worlds, none of which are in the Federation.

I have one final starship trilogy planned. It will be called the Explorer Trilogy. The names of those books are still subject to change, but chronologically speaking, will end with the events that take place in Starforgers, Book One of the Star Saga. That will complete the Captain Vance starship series and take you right into the Star Saga.

Speaking of the Star Saga, I need to get back into that middle trilogy starting with Book 5 – XiniX. The Starstrikers trilogy will continue in parallel with the Starship Series. After XiniX comes out, there will be a novella – Dark Wind, followed by the final book in that trilogy: Nex Gen. Now the Star Saga books take longer to write because they are closer to 300 pages long and usually have more involved plots. So it’s going to take me longer to write them. But when the Starstriker Trilogy is over, it will have three novels and two novellas, just like the Starforgers Trilogy.

Needless to say, my lunchtime writing sprints are spoken for well into the near future. I should continue to have two books come out every year for the next decade or so.

 

Cover Models, Corvette 3

The Corvette 3 manuscript is being scrutinized by Beta Readers at the moment, so I have some time to prep the starship models I built for the cover shoot. This began by using canned air to blow the dust off of both the pirate ship and the new corvette. More time was taken on the Kootenai to ensure dust and hairs were removed as it would probably be in the foreground. I had to glue a piece back on that the air can blew off, but other than that, they were good to go.

I still don’t have an exact idea how the ships will be positioned on the cover. I’ll try and replicate a scene from the novella and make it look visually interesting. But the end cover will come alive after a decent Photoshop session from Byron, my cover artist. The color scheme will include mostly blues and oranges. No more black and white covers like Corvette 2.

The title will be orange and the nebula and twin black holes in the background will be blue. I’m going to rely on Byron to make all that. I think the end product will be engaging and fit with the previous covers of the series. Since this is a trilogy and the next books will be called Destroyer, I’ll probably combine three novellas into a single book and charge $1.99 for it. That cover might be just a collage of the other covers.

The ebook should be out at the start of this summer with the paperback version probably coming out in the fall.

 

 

Writing Update

Corvette 3, Pirate’s Lair is heading out to Beta Readers and will then go to my Editor. I’m hoping to have it out in ebook format in May. I still have to make a cover for it. At this late date, I have no idea what that cover will look like. I think it will be orange titles and mostly blue nebula. Probably have some “laser beams” on it because, hell yeah, lasers!

Meanwhile I’m well into my next Mystery novel written under my alter ego’s name, Johnny Batch. It’s called Kill Dash Nine and I hope to have it out before Christmas of this year. So if you’re one of the one percent my readers who have read Null Pointer and are still waiting for another Joshua Jones mystery, this is your year.

So what’s on tap after I finish KD9? I had planned to dive into the fifth Star Saga novel – XiniX. But looking at my book sales numbers tells me I need to keep writing Corvette books like there’s no tomorrow. I’m selling far and away more copies of them than any of the Star Saga books. So XiniX is going to the back burner for a while. I’ll probably start writing the first of a trilogy called Destroyer using the same characters from Corvette trilogy. I’d like to plan out all three books and then start writing the first one in the fall of this year.

So in 2018 you will get the third Corvette novella and a new Mystery novel. Next year you’ll probably get two new Destroyer books. I have three novella trilogies with the same cast from Corvette. The ninth novella in that series will end right before the events in Starforgers, Book 1 of the Star Saga. If I continue with at least two novellas per year, then in 2021 I’ll finally be working on XiniX.

That’s all for now. I’ll try and do another post before the end of the year.

 

Time Lapse Book Writing

On Jan 3 of this year I took a picture of my watch and the lower corner of my Write screen that showed my word count. I did it again after my next writing session and kept it up for the entire month. Everyday that I write on my novella at lunch, I document it with a similar picture. Boring, right? Perhaps. Perhaps not. If you enjoy watches, you might find it interesting to see which of my watches I’ve worn or which band decorates it. Others might find inspiration in my word count or my ever increasing page count.

Either way, I’m still taking pictures after I write and posting them in this Google photo album. A time lapse recording of the writing of a novella. Or perhaps just the last half of one.  https://photos.app.goo.gl/FkF6qESZi5oulC5G2 

Star Saga Mug

In the things you need that you didn’t know you needed department, I give you my new mug design. It includes all the covers from the first trilogy of the Star Saga. All five books, including the two in-between novellas. The covers are set against a blue-gray field so they pop better and completely wrap around a standard mug. You can purchase this fine product from Redbubble.

Now you can admire the fabulous covers while sipping your favorite hot beverage and if a friend happens to ask you who that Ken McConnell bloke is, you can tell them how much you loved my novels. See what I did there, I created a marketing tool for all my fans to use. If you get this mug, send me a picture of you using it and I’ll tweet it out on Twitter!

Inspirations – Marty Robbins

A few years ago I wrote a bunch of short stories about a Stellar Ranger company stationed on a small, desert world named Ocherva. Those stories eventually culminated in book one of the Star Saga – Starforgers. The western style hero of my stories was a blonde woman named Devon Ardel. Devon went on to become the central character in the first three Star Saga novels and a huge reader favorite.

But she was born from a long and masculine tradition of the American cowboy and more specifically the Texas Rangers. Pictured above are some actual Rangers posing with their weapons. Pretty much the quintessential western bad asses. So I created the Stellar Rangers in their image. But in my research about the west and lawmen I came across a 1950’s album called Gunfighter Ballads by Marty Robbins.

I loved the gunslinger pose Robbins did for the album cover and specifically I liked the flat brimmed hat he wore. That became the look of my my Stellar Rangers. As I listened to the album I quickly became a fan of Marty’s music. Some of my short stories make references to songs on that album that probably only a Marty Robbins fan would pick up on.

I’m not a fan of today’s Country music but I really enjoy these Western songs from the 1950’s. If you’ve never listened to this album you owe it to yourself to give it a spin. Great stuff and great musical story telling by Marty Robbins.

 

Corvette: Seer of the Black Star, Paperback

Finally, you can order your own copy of the Corvette sequel in paperback. Once again I’ve chosen to go with Amazon’s quick and dirty pre-formatted paperbacks. Primarily because it’s less work on my part. Sure, I have to struggle and swear with LibreOffice Write to format it, but when it comes to creating it on Amazon it’s pretty painless. I think eventually we’ll produce some paperbacks of the Star Saga numbered books, but we’ll take the time to do the PDF’s of those in the same way a traditional publisher would, so we can control everything and make them look awesome.

Right now though, the sad reality is that I can’t sell paperbacks in the same volume as I do ebooks. Not even close. So it doesn’t make any financial sense for me to spend the time and labor on creating them. It’s relatively easy for me to make a decent ebook and get that to market. Follow the money, right?

You can click on this LINK to order your copy today.

I’ve had lots of fun writing this trilogy and I hope they provide you with a few hours of pleasure in this crazy old world we live in.

The Corvette Trilogy

When I set out to write the Corvette novella I specifically designed it to appeal to a certain type of reader and for the most part, that reader type responded and made it my most popular novel to date. I also intended it to guide new readers to my Star Saga series which it has, quite nicely. I didn’t expect it to do quite as well as it has, but now that fans have found it, they deserve more stories about the crew of the oldest corvette.

I spent the early spring months of this year brainstorming about where to take the crew next and what kind of stories to tell. I went off on a tangent that I thought would have been awesome and then realized that the readers of Corvette, probably wouldn’t accept what I was writing. So I stopped and recast and re-plotted the story into what you can read today as Seer of the Black Star.

It’s hard to talk about the new book without triggering spoiler alerts, so I’ll talk about it from a 30,000 foot vantage point. The big picture. I decided to make the Corvette books a trilogy in the classical sense and to loosely follow the career of Commander Vance. There is one year between each book of the trilogy and the over-all character arc concerns how Vance adapts to being a captain and handles some difficult crew issues and tough villains. If the trilogy continues to sell well and there’s a market for more books about Vance, I will continue his story as a Destroyer captain in a second trilogy. There is a very definite finale in mind to Vance’s character arc and hopefully readers will get to that point.

In Seer of the Black Star we start to see how a respected loyal crew member can go rogue and leave the Fleet. In many ways Vance takes that personally as he is involved with that crew member. But it is more than just a strained relationship story. There are rises and falls in many of the minor character arcs in this trilogy. As for Commander Vance himself, his career will take its own path and it’s not always going to be the proper one. I hope you come along for the ride. It’s going to be fun.

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.

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.

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