Building the GCU Sokol, Part 16

Primer and Primping

Much change on the model during the week off for the holidays. Finished the top decks and the main deck above the star drives. Also finished up the top of the gun decks. Then I finally sprayed on the Flat Gull Gray and magically transformed the model from a rainbow of parts to a battleship.

This is the upper decks and the poop deck getting the detail treatment. I really like how the back of the poop deck turned out. Just a few more details were added to it after this picture was taken.

I had to move operations inside as the weather got very, very cold this week.


This view shows the front of the main deck and the top of the gun deck. I also like the front of the mast or communications decks at the top of the model. Turned out pretty nice.

I took the model outside on a sunny day and took some pics of it against an old black sheet. The key light was a bit harsh and thus most of the details are washed out. But they are cool anyway, so there you go. Enjoy them.

Nice view of the bottom details. I wasn’t sure about the non-symmetrical greeblies, but now I really like it.


This view is of the monster coming right off your bow. Can’t wait to paint up this beast and add me some battle damage. Going to look absolutely awesome.


Moving away in this beauty pass. The main stardrive tubes will have panels when I’m done. Another detail I need to add are the port holes.


Coming right at you, guns blazing. Hard to separate the head from the body in this shot. Darn sun light, I need to make me a screen.


I love this shot. Looking pretty menacing.


This is the start of the hangar deck just aft of the poop deck. This will house a squadron of  starfighters and a shuttle craft. I’m building this one up from scratch so as to have the hangar doors open. Not going to put in the starfighters, but still want to make it interesting to look at.

I believe we are all caught up for now. Next post will be the second to last. I’ll have finished the hangar deck and covered the star drive tubes. I’ll save the final post for painting the details.




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!

Building the GCU Sokol Part 7

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

Part 11 | Part 12

Coming Together

Spent pretty much all day in the garage building this beast Sunday. Thanks to super glue and sharp knifes, I made some decent progress. Built up the head of the starship and most of the main superstructure. The biggest parts are done, but there are more large parts that still remain.

This is the head going together. The hole for the neck was drilled out with my new variable speed hobby grinder. Can’t recommend one of those enough for scratch building models like this. That’s the grinder holding up the parts drying.

This is the damage you can do with the grinder, when you need to get those large holes bored out of the thick plastic. Nothing like burning, grinding plastic to get you going in the morning.

The main body needed some modeling putty and then a good sanding. That washer is surrounding a hole cut out for a main gun. Most of the guns are closed or covered, this one and one on the other side are open to reveal the canon barrel inside. Detail. Love it.

This is looking at the mains and the details therein. Three parts make up the nozzles; OJ bottle lid, Scotch tape center and the cap to Vitamin C tablets. There will probably be more details added later, but since I had these already built, I glued them in place.

Here’s the finished head attached to the body. The last thing I glued on was the cover on the front of the superstructure. I’m trying to get the body blocked out before the cold chases me out of the garage. I can detail the model inside.

The next thing I need to work on is figuring out how to mount it and building a jig for it to set in while I’m detailing it. Thinking of using a wooden jig that could end up being the base for the model. Always something.

The Star Trilogy Explained

The Star Trilogy is a trilogy in that the books are connected in thematic ways, but they are not related in characters, at least not for the most part. Confused? Me too. I’ll try again.

The main characters in Starforgers are both human and android or my specifically sentient androids called Silicants. Humans don’t live forever, but Silicants can. So some of the Silicant characters introduced in Starforgers will come back in Book Three – Starveyors. But the main focus of the story is the start of a millennial war between the humans and the bad guys, the Votainions. So Book One is about the start of this Great War.

Book Two, Starstrikers takes place nearly 500 years later or about mid-way through the Great War. The human characters in Starstrikers are not related to the characters in Starforgers. The war has raged for 500 years and the whole Alliance is structured to make weapons and fight in this interstellar war. Therefore we follow the lives of warriors in Starstrikers. There are very few if any politicians or non-military personnel. It’a all about fighting and countering the newest weapon in the Votianion military arsenal. There are no Silicants in this story. (This is not an oversight, but I don’t explain why there are no Silicants. That will be revealed in the next book set in this universe – XiniX.)

In Book Three, Starveyors, the Great War is nearing an end. The Alliance has already started absorbing the planets once ruled by the Votainion Empire. The Empire is shrinking and so is their warship armada. The main characters of Starveyors are peace makers, trying to bring about the peaceful end to the long, bitter war. It’s about 500 years after the events of Starstrikers. The galaxy has changed. The Silicants have returned and are insisting on being a part of the peace process. Some of the same Silicants we met in Book One return in Book Three. There are revelations about Humans, Silicants and Votainions in Starveyors that I can’t reveal right now. But you can rest asure that it will be interesting.

So even though characters change for each book, all three books are related in that they act as a kind of book ends to the entire universe that I created for the stories. The only common thread between all three books is the war itself. In Book One, we see how it starts, in Book Two, we see it being fought and in Book Three, we see how it ends. As a trilogy, these three books are kind of unique in that they are so different from each other.

I’ve created a vast universe from which to write in and there are many books planned in every time frame, pre-war, mid-war and post-war. Once you read the trilogy, you will understand the overall framework of the universe. So when I start writing the filler books, it will all make even more sense and become more interesting. There is one such filler book available today and that is Tyrmia. Tyrmia is set in the same time period as Starveyors, so it happens after the Great War.




Starfighter in Profile: Spieron

The P-44 Spieron Starfighter from Trestar Aerospace.

Speiron Starfighter

The Spieron was the largest mass produced starfighter during the middle of the Great War. It served in every theater of the war and was used by the Surface Army and the Stellar Fleet. After a rocky period of instability when it was first released to front line units, the Spieron quickly smoothed out and became the most popular allied starfighter in history. Pilots loved the speed and maneuverability of the fighter in nearly any environment it was deployed too. Compared to the other starfighters in the Alliance stable, the Spieron was clearly the most elegant design.

Spieron Starfighter

The Spieron seemed to get more adoration than the Tache and Arcon starfighters. It was sleeker and sexier than the other fighters and pilots just seemed to develop closer a bond with it. Perhaps it was the tiny wings of the Spieron that reminded pilots of aerofighters from the past. The stablemate of the Spieron was the Tieron fighter. Heavier and slower, despite having increased power from larger engines, the Tieron was a respected attack fighter, but not as well loved by the pilots. Both starfighters were built by Trestar Aerospace and were often deployed alongside each other as a complete pursuit and attack package.

Tieron Starfighter

The primary opponent of the Spieron was the Votainion Triak starfighter. Alliance pilots often referred to the menacing fighter as the Tri-Death, because there were three ways the fighter could beat you in combat. It could out turn you, out run you and usually, out shoot you. Pitted against the Spieron though, given equal pilot skill, more often than not the Spieron pilot would prevail.

Triak Starfighter

The secondary threat that Spieron pilots faced was the Votainion KIV-9, Terror Diver. Not as fast as the venerable Triak, the KIV-9 was deployed nearly as much and was well respected by Spieron pilots. The huge, twin barreled canons that extended from the engine nacelles of the KIV-9 gave it an aggressive appearance. Many of the best Votainion pilots preferred the KIV-9 for its agility and firepower.

Terror Diver

“Never lets you down!”

Spieron Starfighter (color no-comments)

Military Unit Coins

The covers of all three of my Star Trilogy books have military unit coins on them. Just what are unit coins and why would I want them on covers of Sci-Fi Space Opera novels? That’s a good question, let me attempt to answer that for you.

Unit coins were believed to have been first issued by allied air forces in WW1. They were intended to be a unique way to establish esprit-de-corps and were only given to pilots. One pilot who was shot down behind enemy lines, used his unit coin to identify himself to the French Underground who were preparing to execute him as a German spy. Thus began a tradition of calling them Challenge Coins.

Soon many other military units were minting their own unique coins and the idea of challenging people to produce the coin began. When I served in the USAF I was a Munitions Systems Specialist, otherwise known as an AMMO troop. We used AMMO coins to challenge each other in bars when over seas. If someone pulled his coin out everyone else had to do the same, or else they owed the table or the room, a beer for his or her indiscretion. Below is my AMMO coin from Kunsan AB, Korea.

When I was designing the cover for Starstrikers, I decided to use the unit coin of the Starstrikers special operations group. In a final draft of that novel, I even incorporated the coin into the story. So it made perfect sense to have the coin on the cover.

As I started writing the first and then the third book in the series it was a no-brainer to feature unit coins on their covers too. Especially since each book was loosely about a particular military unit.

The unit coins on our covers are original designs by myself and my brother, Byron McConnell. I usually come up with a design and he executes it in Photoshop. I think we have done a pretty good job with them.

So now you know a little bit about military unit coins and have a new appreciation for why I used them on my novel covers.

Tyrmia Edits Underway

I got the manuscript for my next novel back from my editor yesterday. In case you’ve been under a rock, the book is called Tyrmia. Pronounced (Term-eeya). I’ve already suspended work on Starforgers and dived into editing Tyrmia. The plan is to spend the next two weeks on Tyrmia, working on those marvelous edits. Then I will print it out and begin copy editing. Hopefully I can get another set of eyes on the copy edits. The e-book of Tyrmia should be out before Christmas this year. Possibly late November.

My editor for all my books to date has been Angela Abderhalden. She’s a fantastic author in her own right and a very meticulous editor. My books have all been immeasurably improved by her edits.

Tyrmia is set in the Starstrikers Universe but it takes place about 500 years after the events of that book. The Great War with the Votainion Empire is over and a combined fleet of Votainion and Western Alliance crews are exploring lost worlds and making amends for planets disrupted by the war.  Tyrmia is the planet where humans and Votainions first encountered one another and was then promptly forgotten as war broke out. This is the story of how that planet’s history was forever changed by the war, and how one woman attempted to right the wrongs of her ancestors.

Starstrikers Slipping, Short Story Rising

It looks like Starstrikers is slipping back off the best seller lists. Going to have to make a push to get my anthology out next month. Interesting how Kindle sales wax and wane over the months. Now that I’m recording daily sales I have a better perception of trends. One thing I’ve noticed is the lack of sales on the weekends. This seems odd to me.

My short story entry for the Girls With Guns anthology is nearly complete. With only about 30 minutes in the morning to work on it, the process seems to take forever and is somewhat disjointed. I need to spend some time going over it before unleashing it to my beta readers for comments. The deadline for submission is the end of May. I’m pressing hard to make that.

Starstrikers Hanging Tough

Starstrikers sales are fluctuating wildly, but its still not completely out of the game. Some days I will sell only one, others I will sell fifteen. There does not seem to be any rhyme or reason to it. The average sales per day is still nine. I’m feeling the pressure to release something new. I will probably put up my latest short story on Scribd this week. Meanwhile, I’m still halfway through the second short story for the month. I think I’ll be able to finish that one this weekend and get it out to the Beta Readers.

If both of these new shorts turn out to be worthy, I will include them in Volume One of Tales From Ocherva. This will hopefully complete the anthology and allow me to start prepping it for release.  Byron has a very cool cover design for it and he’s almost done tweaking it to perfection.  Since the anthology will only be available as an e-book, he just has to design the front cover. Meanwhile, he’s busy type setting the paperback version of Starstrikers. I’m looking forward to having the Second Edition of Starstrikers in print.

In other news, SF writer Tobias Buckell is cleaning out his closet and making his Crystal Rain series of books available for order on his website. But you have to act fast, as he will close shop this Friday! I ordered the signed hardback of Crystal Rain, the only book in the series I owned in paperback.

Crash and Burn

All the high flying success Starstrikers enjoyed on the Kindle for the past few months has come crashing to the ground almost as fast as it took off. Went from averaging 10 sales a day to just five sales per day for two days and then just one sale today. I’m clinging to just one list but way back in the 70’s.

Just like I had no idea why it took off, I have no idea why it landed hard today. But, it was a wild ride and I hope some folks got to read my fiction who might never have had the opportunity.  I don’t have any hard numbers as the month is only half over, but it’s looking like March 2010 will be my best month of sales as a fiction writer.  So, that’s pretty cool.  A special thank you to all those Kindle users who spent a buck on my book in the past several month!

Meanwhile, I’m back to writing.  I have to rewrite the opening scene of “Silicant Remorse” and then I’d like to tackle another short story.  If I can get these two stories whipped into shape, I’ll include them in the Ocherva anthology. Otherwise, they could be available for sending out and possibly make their way into the next Ocherva volume.