A Sneak Peek at Devon’s Blade

21702169809_5ea0ca8b92_z  Pre-order it from Amazon now. Launch date is Halloween.



The morning mission was not intended to be a revenge killing, but I knew that’s what was on everyone’s mind, especially Katya’s. I let her lead to test her ability to control herself. If she went solo trying to get the Red Ace, it would be her last flight. I was reasonably sure she would stick to the mission plan. I kept the mission simple and instructed everyone to keep their eyes open and look for any weakness they could find in the new enemy fighters.
As for tactics, I told them to fly like they do when they go against each other in training. Assume the new fighter handles similar to their own fighters only better. The new fighter appeared to have a tighter turn radius and was faster, they needed to compensate for that fact when they tangled with them.
I could see in their eyes that they were scared again. As much as everyone was out for blood, they also looked as if I were sending them off to slaughter. Any of them could close their canopies for the final time. I wanted to go with them but I couldn’t risk my own life and leave the unit leaderless.
My preflight speech was more of a pep rally than instructional. I needed to make sure they didn’t come apart up there at the first taste of combat. They had to maintain the fierceness that had made them so good these past few months. As I watched them gather their gear and head to the flight line, I wondered how many would come back. I hadn’t even considered that before now. Dammit.
Karvuk and Sweetness would be the leads, with Condor and Double as their wingmen. I hesitated to send up Sweetness again so soon, but she was our most experienced pilot against the new fighters. I felt they had a better chance with her along. She seemed up to the task and even eager to get back in the fray. That was a hopeful sign.
All the off duty pilots gathered in Ops to listen to the mission on the comms. I stayed in my office until they reached the enemy airbase, occupying myself with trying to figure out new tactics. Nothing was coming to me.
I checked my messages hoping for guidance from Fleet. There was only a message received notice, no official response. I contacted the base Comm Squadron and asked if there were any issues receiving messages from Fleet. They assured me that the communications lanes were open. Dammit.
A knock at my door was Hank.
“Ma’am, they’re almost to their target now.”
I nodded and got up to join everyone in the main room.
The fighter telemetry was displayed on the main viewer as blue icons representing the Alpha Flight. There were no red icons on the map, but that wasn’t unusual and was mainly due to our poor scanner data of the planet.
They buzzed the airbase low, searching for parked enemy aircraft and only found a dozen or so KiV-3’s parked in their revetments. A second pass brought ground to air fire from the base defenses and made their attack more difficult. Karvuk and Condor circled higher up, waiting to be pounced on by fighters on patrol. But they encountered nobody. After several passes and at least six fighters confirmed destroyed on the ground they formed up and headed for home.
“Control, Alpha Lead. No joy on the new fighters,” Katya’s voice sounded defeated.
“Copy, Alpha Lead.”
I went to the paper map that was pinned to another wall and ran my fingers over the island chain where they had just been. There were no other bases within reach to house the new fighters. Where the hell had they come from?
I opened up my sweep to a few more hundred klicks and found another, smaller atoll. The islands were uninhabited and barely above sea level. I moved to the main screen and pushed around menus until I opened the latest images we had of the atoll. There were about seven smaller islands and two larger ones. I zeroed in on the larger ones. One of them had what looked like a natural cave entrance that was large enough to store fighters.
I grabbed the mic. “Alpha Lead, this is Rocket One. Change course heading 270. I want you to do a pass on the Ring Atoll. Copy?”
There was a pause as she no doubt was searching her navicomputer for the coordinates.
“Alpha Lead, Rocket One. Wilco.”
Seconds later they were all on course for the atoll, climbing to combat altitude. Everyone sat on the edge of their seats or stood leaning into the comm system to listen. Minutes ticked by as we waited for Karvuk to report in what they saw. As the icons got closer to the atoll the comm lines crackled.
“Holy shit, we kicked the hornet’s nest!”
“Tally ho!” said Sweetness.
New icons emerged as the combat computer was updated with current telemetry from the Swifts. Three, then six and finally nine enemy fighters poured out of the cave from the main island. It seemingly took them mere seconds to gain altitude and meet Alpha Flight. Alpha were outnumbered and they had lost the element of surprise.
“Alpha Lead, break off and disengage. Copy?” I said into the mic.
A burst of static was the only reply. Followed by excited chatter from Condor, Double and Karvuk. It sounded like they were able to gang up on the first wave of fighters and were close to splashing one. Seconds ticked by again. An eternity.
Finally. “I got one! Splash one of those bastards,” Condor said.
A cheer broke out from the other pilots and was quickly quieted when more chatter crackled over the speaker.
“Double, break right and come up. I’ve got your six,” Karvuk said.
“Negative Lead, I’m losing pressure and speed.”
“Double pull up and stall it, I got him.”
One of the blue icons winked off, followed by another red icon. Nobody cheered that time.
“Sweetness, I can’t get around him. Where are you?” said Double.
“Other side, back at you.”
Another red icon winked off.
“This is Lead, break off. Repeat, disengage. We’re out numbered up here.”
“Copy Lead,” said Sweetness.
“On your wing Lead,” said Condor.
“Control this is Alpha Lead. State twenty to splash. Lost Double.”
“Alpha Lead, Control. Enemy status?”
“They are breaking off too. Looks like they’re heading back to the main base,” Karvuk said. You could hear the defeat in her voice, or was it disappointment?
I walked over to the status board and crossed off Double’s name. Then I went back to my room. The other pilots spoke in hushed tones about losing Double. I couldn’t face them right now.

Proofing Starveyors

The final printed proof of the Starveyors paperback is in my possession and I’m going over it all one last time. So far I’ve found two cover issues and a bunch of interior issues, primarily related to formatting. We’ll get these things cleaned up this week and hopefully have it for sale in early July.


The folded pages here indicate problems we need to fix on the interior pdf.


This is the final back cover now with the bar code box. I’m very happy with how the artwork turned out. My brother Byron used many angles of the models I built to create this scene from the novel. He got all kinds of detailed by including starfighters in the bay of the closest starship. Click to embiggen the pics.


Starveyors Paperback Coming in June


Presenting the latest pdf proof of the Starveyors cover wrap-around. It’s nearly complete. We’re going to make the space scene a bit more Epic, but the overall design is pretty set now.

This week we’re proofing the interior pdf, trying to catch any last formatting and copy errors. I’ll be ordering a copy proof next Monday. With any luck, this paperback will be available by the end of June.



Between panels here at Norwescon today, so thought I’d show you this unboxing shot of my new Star Saga paperbacks.


If you at at Norwescon today and see me, I have some of these books with me. If you can somehow prove to me that you have read any fiction that I’ve written, I’m liable to hand you one of these books. They are quite nice. ;-)

Having a great time here in Seattle at Norwescon for my second year in a row. Really enjoyed my panel with Tina Connoly and Kevin Scott yesterday and attended some interesting panels too.

Star spotting – Jay Lake, poked his head into the Green Room. William F. Nolan and PZ Myers, Ken Scholes, and Edward Tenner.



We received the first proof copy of Starveyors on Friday. I’m not going to be editing on it yet, as I’m saving it to show off this weekend at Norwescon. But after I get back, it’s going to be handed over to Bill and he’s going to bleed all over it with his red pen. We hope to have the final copy edits complete by mid April.

At this time, you can now order the paperback versions of Starforgers and Starstrikers on Amazon in the US. They sell for $9.95 and are 5 x 8 inches, just slightly bigger than a mass market paperback and smaller than a trade paperback. Starforgers is linked to the ebook and I expect the same will happen to Starstrikers soon.

We’ve already discussed doing a paperback of Tyrmia in the months to come, but there is no firm date on it yet. Tyrmia is set in the Starveyors Era of the Star Saga but is not a numbered book in the series.

I won’t be selling these books at Norwescon, but I’ll have some copies with me. I will be passing out some designer bookmarks during my signing at Norwescon and I’ll gladly sign the book mark for you. There is a URL on the bookmark for a free epub of Starforgers.

Paperback Proof of Starstrikers

The latest proof for my paperback versions of the Star Saga novels arrived this week. Above is a picture of both books together. We opted to go with a series banner at the top and this causes a slight realignment with the other elements of the cover. Both books are 5×8 format and are printed by CreateSpace.

Here they are side by side, spines out. Two things of note here. The first is the removal of the coin at the bottom of the spine. It was determined that the image was unreadable in final form, so we replaced it with the name of my imprint. This brings the book into compliance with my imprint format that we established with my Mystery novel, Null Pointer.

The second thing we added was a series number in a black circle. You’ll note that Starstrikers is actually book 4. Starforgers is book one and Starveyors is book 7. Yes, just like Star Wars. I have essentially three trilogies in this nine book series. I wrote the first book in each trilogy to establish the characters and world building. Each series is separated by 500 years and each has its own set of characters.

The numbering convention will confuse the readers and make them wonder WTF is going on. There is no getting around that. But when you flip through the opening pages of each book you see a graphic that informs you of the time between books. So it’s safe to read books 1, 4 and 7 first and then come back and read the other two books of each trilogy. You won’t have spoilers.

Here is another look at both books. Starstrikers is pretty much dead on what it will look like in final form. The spine text will be aligned better when we are finished.

This is the back cover of Starstrikers. Now it can be revealed why I spent so much time building an awesome plastic model of a starship! For use on this cover, of course! ;-)

The red banner color was chosen to reflect the war years. Starforgers will have a blue banner and Starveyors will have a green banner. More clues to the reader that they are from separate trilogies.

Here is a shot of the graphic that explains the time line of the war in which the books are set. This same graphic is currently in the ebooks.

One more book to go and we’ll have three proofs. I expect that the Starveyors proof will be just about perfect.

I’d like to thank my brother for his tireless work in bringing these books to life. He’s been doing everything on them. From the interior typesetting to the cover art and design. If you’re looking for a top-notch interior or exterior book designer, I can’t recommend him more. He’s available too! Check the blogroll for his contact information.

Star Series Omnibus Now Available

Star Series Omnibus Cover

The ebook version of Star Series Omnibus is now available on Kindle, Nook and Kobo. You get all three Star Series novels and three bonus short stories, one never before published; all for the price of two regular ebooks.

Bundling is becoming very popular with ebooks. It’s easy and less expensive than doing the same thing with paper books. The Star Series will eventually be nine books long. Each of these books in the Star Series Omnibus is actually the first book of a trilogy. The next novel that I publish will be the second book in the Starforgers TrilogyThe Rising. That will be followed by Book 3 – Counterattack. At that point I will bundle the Starforgers Trilogy. Ultimately, there will be nine complete ebooks and four bundled ebooks.

Bundling increases your product catalog. I have four Star Series related novels out, one Omnibus and one anthology of related short stories. That’s six ebooks for sale in three major ebook markets, all of them DRM Free. For a writer these days that’s a good start. At this time, virtually nobody has read my work. So having more books available really doesn’t do me much good. But the odds favor that one of those books will eventually tickle the fancy of a Trust Agent and that person or persons will help get the word out and if the crowds start forming, I will have something to sell them.

Building the GCU Sokol, Part 14

Detailing the Keel and Bottom Port Side

Lots of pictures this time and not a whole lot of progress. I managed to get the bottom and port side of the keel finished and the port side underneath the main gun decks. We’ll start with the bigger details in this long shot. I spent some time in the center of the deck using parts from a 1/35 Hummer that I parted out and various bits of pieces from the bench stock.


There are two turbo cannons on the bottom of the keel and two on the bottom of the main gun deck. When I positioned them, I tried to take into account fields of fire to protect the ship.


This shot shows the major details before I scored panel lines and added some strips of plastic and other panels.


This is the finished port keel and bottom. I also started gluing the thin panels over the PVC tube. That bit is unfinished. But the panel lines and other details on the keel and bottom are pretty much done. I’m quite pleased with this effort, but now I have to turn the beast around in the vise and do it all again on the starboard side. Sigh.


I took this side pic so you could see what it would look like if you were witnessing a fly by from the side. More work to do on the PVC covering, but you can begin to see where I’m going with that. I sanded the PVC and glued the pieces on one end at a time.


Close up of the port gun deck bottom. Gonna stick a fork in this area and call it done. But it sure looks pretty good. I did my best to smudge up the scored panel lines so you could see them.


Another shot of the keel and underside of the port gun pod. I tried to keep to the lines on the sides and keep the bottom of the keel from cluttering up with too many greeblies.

Below I have some little kit bashed model starships that might find their way into the back cover art for the paperback version of Starveyors. More on that effort in another post.


Starveyors Ebook Now Available

The latest Star Series book is finally out. Starveyors is now available on Kindle, Nook and Kobo. You can click on the book covers to the right of this blog to select which vendor you prefer to purchase from. All of them feature DRM FREE ebooks.


From the Synopsis:

The Great War nears to a close, but peace hangs in the balance as Ambassadors on both sides battle a thousand years of ill will between the Votainion Empire and the Alliance. Professor Rachel Kelley is recruited to lead the peace talks for the Alliance after the previous Ambassador is killed by the Votainions. Accompanying her is Lieutenant Cryse, a human and Votainion half-breed Starveyors officer with a natural talent for negotiating. Working with a sympathetic Votainion Ambassador, the two humans embark to go where no human has gone before in a desperate attempt to end the thousand year war between the two galactic civilizations.

Along with this new release is the reissue of the other two ebooks in the series. Both of which have been cleaned up and formatted to match Starveyors, including new covers and a series graphic that helps put them into perspective.

If you are new to the series, I might like to suggest that you hold off purchasing them until the new Omnibus edition comes out next week. It will include all three books and three short stories all for just $9.99 USD, which is like getting the short stories and the third novel free.

As always, please leave a review wherever you purchase your ebooks from, and if you enjoyed the stories, let your friends know on social media and with word of mouth. Thank you for considering my Space Opera series!

Finally, be sure and sign up for the newsletter to get your free short story next month!

Cover Reveal – Star Series Omnibus

Time for another cover reveal. Today it’s the upcoming Star Series Omnibus edition. This is all three Star Series books – Starforgers, Starstrikers and Starveyors including three short stories, one of which has never been published before.

This cover is another outstanding design by my brother, Byron McConnell. He incorporated the design elements from all three books in the series. The book will be coming out later this month.