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.

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.

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.

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)