Two New Editions of My Ebooks

I’ve managed to get new versions of Tyrmia and Tales From Ocherva, Volume One published to Kindle and Nook this week. Still waiting on Kobo, there appears to be some delay with them. But for now, you have new ebooks on two vendors. Yeah!

Tales From Ocherva is my first anthology of short stories that take place before Starforgers. If you enjoyed the androids and Silicants from that novel, you’ll love these stories. They all have a distinctly Space Western feel to them. They are action packed and fun to read. If you’re not careful, you might learn some important background details on Eighty-eight and Thirty-seven, not to mention Stellar Ranger Devon Ardel.

The Second Edition of my novel, Tyrmia has been reedited and cleaned up for your reading enjoyment. This novel is set in the Star Series a few years before Starveyors. Unlike the other Star Series novels, Tyrmia is more for mature readers. There are some adult situations and language in this novel. It’s the first of the Planetary Series of novels that I have planned. Most of the story takes place on one world like the old Planetary Romance novels from SF’s past.

This is the opening salvo of new ebooks due out in December. Stay tuned for new versions of Starforgers, Starstrikers and the debut of Starveyors.

Writing Update, Late November

I’m moving closer to end game with Starveyors. The manuscript has been edited, copy proofed and broken down into individual sections. Now its heading off to the ebook designer along with the other two Star Series books. If all things go as planned, the ebooks will be available in fresh new editions in mid December.

With the new releases, come higher prices. I’m moving from $2.99 to $4.99 for all three ebooks. Sales have been pretty lame for months and I thought it was a good time to try a new price point. Both $2.99 and $4.99 are popular prices for indie books and the difference between them seems unimportant to potential readers. Anyway, get them at the old prices before the increase, if that sort of thing matters to you.

If you wait and get them in late December, you’ll get the new ebook formats for all three books. They will look sharp on any reader and will have a unified style.

I’m also planning a three book Omnibus version that will probably be $9.99 which will save you five bucks. That bundle will also include several short stories not available in ebook form.

What about Tyrmia, you ask? I’m going to give that one a new copy edit and relaunch it sometime early next year. I have not decided for sure yet, but I could be dropping it to ninety-nine cents to create a funnel for the Star Series.

As for the short stories, I’ll be keeping them on Amazon only for the foreseeable future. They are intended to act as funnels too, but they don’t really sell well at all right now. The anthology – Tales From Ocherva, Volume One, will remain at $2.99 and will be available on all the ebook vendor sites that I support: Kindle, Nook and Kobo.

That’s all for now. I’ll be posting more and more about Starveyors as the release date gets closer.

Building the GCU Sokol, Part 9

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 |Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10

Part 11 | Part 12

New Greeblies

This weekend I went to some dollar stores and filled up my spare parts boxes with some fresh greeblies. Greeblies being the little bits of detail you see on space ship models. These are not from model kits, but rather from kids toy bags. Various cheap, plastic party favors that happen to be perfect for scratch building starship models.

This is the back of the head after I filled in the empty spaces with the new and some old, greeblies. The trick is to make the parts look like they have a purpose. Also, knowing when to quite when you are ahead. It’s an art.

This shot above shows the head attached to the main body via the neck. I have to fit things together regularly, so I know they fit.

I added some strips of plastic, windows and various small bits to the area behind the forward gun pods. This is more indicative of what will come in other areas of the model. Grooved plastic and i-beams are a modeler’s best friend there.

This is the nearly complete back of the head. I like the symmetry of the two sides, with just a touch of differences to imply various instrument packages and fittings. I’m quite pleased with how this is turning out. Next I will try and cover up the colors with a base of light gray paint.

This is viewing the neck from the bottom. I added some fittings to make the neck thicker, more like the drawings I made of it. Never throw away bottle caps from liquid detergent.

Finally, a look topside of the main deck. I used a piece of PVC for the back of the conning tower. I also used an old Lego piece. The back of the main super structure is also boxed in. I’m liking where this is going, but now its much more difficult to turn the beast upside down to work on the bottom. Doh!

Star Series Notes – Chapter Quotes

While I’ve been working through Katie’s edits on Starveyors, she brought to my attention the importance of the pre-chapter quotes that I have been using in these books. Here is what she said about the one I used for Chapter 17 (Click to Enlarge):

The idea to include these realistic quotes from fictional works came from a friend of mine who reads much more Fantasy than I do. He suggested that they would help the reader become more involved in the story by adding to the world building. He was right. Thanks Scott!

As Katie indicated in her comment, they can also convey a bunch of useful information in a way that doesn’t feel like an info dump. But more than that, they also let me the writer, more fully develop certain POV characters by sampling what they had to say about the events that were taking place in the chapter.

The keys to doing this effectively are to keep the quote relevant to the action in the chapter and to keep it short. Also, you can’t reveal to the reader any surprises that may have not come yet. That can be a challenge.

One thing that I have not been able to pull off yet is to add to the narrative in a substantial way with each chapter quote.  The idea would be to tell a subplot with Twitter-like sound bites. If the novel was told from a single POV, that might be possible. Similar to journal entries by the protagonist. As cool as that might be to pull off from a nerdy writer perspective, I don’t think it would work in this particular Space Opera series. Having different points of view in the quotes really does add to the world building. Or in this case, the universe building.

STARVEYORS – by Ken McConnell, available this December, from GB Press.

Starveyors Back from the Editor

I got my copy edits back from my editor, Katie Abderhalden and they are fantastic. She’s really good at finding the weak points in my writing. This time around I set records for head hopping and showing not telling. I hope she had those comments in her copy and past buffer, because typing them over and over would have been tedious. Every novel seems to have something that I lapse on all the way through.

This novel was not as much fun for me to write as Starforgers. I’m not sure exactly why, but I expect that its because there is a substantial lack of esplody things going on. In fact, the idea in this book is to stop shooting and blowing things up. It’s about a peace treaty and ending a war. Not saying things don’t go wrong, far from it. But the galaxy is more civilized and less wild in this time frame.

So I’ll be in editing and fixing mode for much of this month. I hope to have the manuscript into the final proofing stage before the end of November. I’m still expecting to launch Starveyors in December.

Building the GCU Sokol Model, Part 6

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 |Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10

Part 11 | Part 12

I’ve been in modeling hiatus during the summer months as my garage is not air conditioned. But now with Fall here and the temps lower, I can venture back into my garage and start up the model factory. I left off work on the Sokol last Spring with completing the first major superstructure and finding parts for the engine nozzles.

These pics were taken in low-light conditions as I was shutting down for the night. I’ll try and update them at a later time. I’m probably going to focus on getting the back side of the model built up first, so I can use it in some pictures that will be used on the back cover of the Starveyors book.

So I’ll be building up the superstructure and then only detailing the back side of it. Ignoring for now the head and all other surfaces. That’s kinda unusual, but only the rear of the model will be used for these pictures. I’ll also be building some extremely small scale versions of other Alliance starships and once again, only detailing the back sides.

When I get some of the smaller starships built up I’ll record their construction in this same, rather long series of posts.

In the above photo you can get a sense of the scale, as it actually fits on my desk. The model is about two feet long.

Neanderthals and Votainions

When I was casting about for the origins of my evil galactic empire, I decided to make them human or at least partially human. What I based them on was a hominid species that had gone extinct on Earth long ago. In this way they would retain bits of the same DNA that we modern humans had. Which would make interbreeding, however unlikely, at least a possibility.

I’m a writer, not a geneticist or evolutionary biologist. I probably had things all kinds of out of whack when I imagined the early Votainions as being transplanted Neanderthals. Someone happened upon the Earth in ancient times and picked a dying branch of the human tree and took it hundreds of light years away and plopped them down on an alien world. These transplanted people eventually evolved into modern Votainions and started to viciously conquer the galaxy.

Time passed and I wrote two books in the Star Series. I added bits and pieces of the Votainion story in these books but when it came time to write the final book in the series, Starveyors, I had to ensure that the humans and the Votainions were genetically compatible. This is where modern scientists have helped me by their findings about Neanderthals.

It seems that while primitive human tribes were committing genocide against the Neanderthals they were also interbreeding with them. So modern humans with lineages that come out of Europe actually have some Neanderthal DNA in them. Fascinating. This fit into my plans perfectly. (Hands writhing, evil cackling.)

You can read some of the latest news on Neanderthals in this National Geographic article where they have once again created a sculpture of a lovely Neanderthal woman out hunting.


One of the last frontiers in computer use for me is becoming proficient in using Blender. Blender is a program that lets you do 3D rendering and animations. I’ve always wanted to learn how to make computer models, especially useful as I really enjoy modeling in traditional mediums like plastic.

The problem has always been the complexity of the Blender program itself. Staring at all those controls you quickly feel intimidated and realize that you’re never going to be able to just feel your way around and actually create anything useful. You have to commit to learning it. Kind of like what you had to do with Photoshop and or The Gimp. Learning a program by following tutorials always takes time and effort that in this busy world is hard to justify for what arguably is just a hobby.

But now I’ve developed a business need for knowing how to render my starship designs. It will be much easier for my cover designer to incorperate 3D images into the back cover designs of my novels than for him to use images that I’ve taken of real world plastic models. So then I have to wiegh the time spent making those models in plastic versus making them in Blender.

I’m pretty sure that making them in Blender will take more time, until I become proficiant at rendering them. So I’ll probably do a bit of both. Learn the program by making some simple models and building more complex models in the real world with plastic and glue.

I have to say, I’ve always enjoyed using my hands and you know, sniffing the glue and breathing in the dust from sanding that traditional modeling has involved. It gets me off the computer and into the real world for a while. So making the transition from old school modeler to computer modeler will not be easy for me.

On the other hand, I love learning new things and as any Self Published author will tell you, that’s part of the challenge of doing things yourself. You get to learn new tools and new processes. Blender is just the latest tool in my vast tool box as a published author.