Moving up

Just an FY:

The Stars Came Back is now at:

#18 15 in  Books > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Military

#26 22 21 Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Military

#42 35 34 Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Action & Adventure > Science Fiction

Which at the moment translates into 164 183 209 units sold, 4 borrowed.


UPDATE: now at #1918 in Amazon paid Kindle store.

Got Plugged

Whoo-hoo! I got plugged. Er, perhaps I should explain that.

My book, The Stars Came Back, got a plug in the Book Plug Friday over at PJ Lifestyle, part of the Pajamas Media Megaplex. Be interesting to see what effect it has on sales.

So far the book has three reviews – I’d greatly appreciate more from any of you that have read it, particularly if you have written reviews before. Doesn’t have to be magnificent writing (that’s my job), just tell what you liked about it, strengths and quirks, compare it to other better known books or authors you liked. Thanks for your support, now back to our regular gun-news.

Flinging time

Yup, looks like it’s done enough to toss out into the wild. The Stars Came Back is now a genuine product you can buy at Amazon. It should be pretty clean, and the story’s all there, and there are some graphics included, and more at the supporting website, It is also a good place to ask questions, find out more, etc. If you DO notice any typos, problems, or whatever, let me know, I can update it. If you like it, positive reviews are always appreciated.

Sorry it’s taken so long, after planning on getting it out last June (or maybe July), but it’s been a very educational process for me. Now I get to learn about taxes, exchanged rates, defending copyrights, all sorts of exciting stuff like that.

Basic Tajemnica video

Over at The Stars Came Back I posted a simple AVI that Paul put together of Helton’s first walk through of Tajemnica. He’s been playing with modeling it, doing some various graphic things. May post the “outstanding training value” image sometime soon, too. Getting nearly done with editing (yeah, I’ve said that before, I mean it this time).

Stars schedule slippage

Best of intentions, yadda yadda yadda. Between various things happening on the home front that took time away from editing, my editor having a few medical challenges, the fact she’s doing it “on the side” and has to work around her work schedule, and the fact I am ending up looking at somewhat more substantive edits than I had originally planned, it isn’t ready quite yet. Cover art is taking longer than expected, too. All in all, The Stars Came Back is taking a bit longer than planned. *sigh*. An educational experience, if often frustrating and painful, all around. But I think the book will be much better for it. Now aiming for sometime in November, because it is national “write a novel” month.

Art, or not

Hmmm… Another swing and a miss in the art department. I’m trying to find an artist / illustrator willing to get paid to do cover art, to create a picture that looks more or less the way I want it, rather than the way they like drawing spaceships. I’m looking to commission a piece because none of the “stock art” I’ve looked though looks like what I want, or even close enough to say “good enough” if you squint just right in poor lighting.

I can’t pay a lot, but I can pay. So, anyone out there know any friends, nephews, nieces, cousins, coworkers, or something that has some bit of talent and wants to draw some spaceships colliding in space, at least one of which looks like the ones in the book (not just any old random spaceship)?

Thanks to Paul, I’ve even got some images of Taj, so I don’t just have to explain what she looks like, but can show the artist.It should be, or at least CAN be, a pretty simple, clean image. No people. Smaller spaceships colliding with and splattering on Tajemnica, another of the smaller ships being “grabbed” by the glowing drive field. Background planetary and moon stuff optional. Comments here or over in, where I also have some graphics posted now.

Elevator Pitch

The “elevator pitch” for a product is what you say if you find yourself in an elevator with a potential buyer or investor. It is something that has to get to the core of the item, pique  their interest, and be very brief. It has to grab the attention, give enough to make them want more, not give away to much, and it must not misrepresent the item. I’ve been working on it a little bit, trying to get it “just right,” with enough mystery and enough “feel for the story” in a few brief lines. The best version will get posted on the main The Stars Came Back” topic page. Continue reading

Getting closer to release

I bit the bullet, as it were, and grabbed the name, through With Barron from hosting it I got things up and operational. I’m working on getting some content going, so that by the time I get cover art and editing all done, I can have some extra stuff there as part of the “marketing push.” I’m getting pretty close, now, I think, maybe, hopefully. I’d like to get things fairly well fleshed out before launch, so anyone that’s been following the story and waiting for the final release so you can watch Helton die in a blaze of gory glory… (Oh, wait, no, that DOESN’T happen. Sorry. That was the original ending) I mean, anyone that wants to make comments over there on things they like to have, see, or find out about the story. The better the site is, the more likely the book will be a success, and the more likely I can talk the other half into letting me write another instead of getting a “real” job.

Editing is tedious, part 2

Over a month ago, I stopped posting daily installments of The Stars Came Back. I said it would be a week or two to finish and go live. Oops. About three weeks ago, I said it was going, but slowly – editing is tedious. The story is done, now. I’ve gone over it several more times, end to end, tweaking it here and there, but also fixing basic grammar and word selection goofs. And I’m still finding them. It’s amazing, really, how many basic things slipped by not only my first reading, but my second, the several wonderful volunteers that have sent me a lot of corrections and questions. I had a long conversation with Sean about some big picture things, some of which he had some great criticisms on, and some of which he had questions about, but the choices made were conscious decisions on my part because I was trying to do something specific with the story. And yet, there are still minor errors cropping up here and there. Cover art is being worked on. Paul very generously created some much nicer drawings of Tajemnica from my sketches. It will be a much better story for the effort being put into it now, but it will still be at least a few days, maybe a few weeks if I hire a professional editor to give it a good thrashing, er, I mean, a going over, but I hope the final product will be worth the wait.
In the mean time, I’m giving it a few days rest, so I can let my eyes uncross, and think about what stories I could write in the same universe. So far, my main ideas are Lag’s komenagen, Allonia’s past, further adventures of Taj in the future, or a series of stories about Tajemnica’s past adventures; the downside of the last one is that they’d tend to be downers at the end of each installment. (for example, how did she win a battle but lose her entire crew?) Going in a different direction, there are doing things like looking at the life of a terraforming platform crew on a new planet.

Editing is tedious

My eyes are starting to go buggy. Been spending a LOT of time recently working on editing The Stars Came Back. The story is done. I’ve addressed some of the issues people had, like the attempted rape scene (ubu), the no-alarm airlock (Sendarius, I think, or was it Defens?), the “sudden pile of bodies” shortly thereafter (several people), the poker game (ubu), the multiple planets in one system L3/L4 issue (forget who, but thanks, it helped later, too), etc. Also think I got all the to/too, breath/breathe, clothes/cloths issues. Still a few things to work on, and now awaiting to hear back from a few of those brave souls that said they’d be happy to look it over and see what errors they can find in it. (If you asked to do so, and haven’t heard from me, drop my a line, because apparently my email to your email address you use when posting isn’t working for me). Not sure on the going live on Amazon date. Still awaiting to hear back from a couple of people on possible cover-art things (still entertaining suggestions on that front, actually), and want to go through it at least once and not find another error of some sort.

The Stars Came Back -110- Descent

Cut to

INT – DAY – Bridge of the HMS Hussein

The spacious bridge is crowded with people at stations and standing or moving about. The Watch Commander stands next to the command chair. The side door opens, and the captain walks out, adjusting his medal-bedecked uniform, swagger-stick under one arm. Continue reading

The Stars Came Back -108- Approach

[sorry for the delayed post. Had a minor power problem, details later]

Fade in

EXT – NIGHT – Space, not far from a large, angry, dimly lit orange gas giant.

In the far distance, the sun of the New Medina system glows, shedding what little light reaches out to this far distant orbit. In the near distance, space glows and Tajemnica pops into existence. The hull is covered with the same tanks, turrets, and missile pods as before. From an internal magazine, a launch tube pops up and a missile is launched, glowing slightly rather than using conventional rocket motor. It heads for the massive failed star in the distance, rapidly disappearing into the distance. Continue reading

The Stars came Back -107- Plans

Fade in

INT – DAY – Officers mess

Helton, Lag, Harbin, Ahmed, Capt THRIM TOKAREV (commander of the 13th Mountain Shields, late 30s, short hair, goatee, medium skinned, scarred, tough, bull-necked and broad-shouldered) sit around the table discussing strategy. On a wall screen is the planetary alignment diagram, on the table screen is a layout of the expected battlefield. Continue reading

The Stars Came Back -106- visitor

Fade in

INT – NIGHT – Tajemnica bridge.

Helton and Allonia sit, relaxed, chatting. Helton is in the command spot, Allonia is at com. Lighting is dim, background is quiet. Star diagrams and charts, systems status readouts, and a few internal passageway camera views are on the screens. One of the navigation chart diagrams suddenly starts blinking, then enlarges to take over several screens. Continue reading

The Stars Came Back -105- News

Fade in

EXT – NIGHT – Deep Space

Three ships hang in the near black darkness. A supply ship, Tajemnica, and Borealis. The three are all “snuggled up” together, airlock to airlock, supply ship in the middle. In the far background, stars and the Milky Way turn lazily by, making the three ships seem insignificant. Continue reading

The Stars Came Back -104- Training

Fade in

INT – DAY – Tajemnica mid-deck passageway, near a stairwell

Helton, looking tired, walks heavily down the stairs, and clumps down the passageway headed for the galley. He pauses and looks through a window into the cargo bay, where two formations with about one hundred young men are doing drills wearing armor and carrying shields. The formations face one another as shield walls layered four ranks deep, and they are practicing pushing forward against the other, while the other side falls back in good order on command. Shove, counter-shove, advance, fall back, bugle call, change direction, do it again. Through the open windows a crashing of metal and flesh, a grunting of men struggling to breath and keep going, corrections and encouragement from the experienced soldiers. Another short bugle call and they both fall back a few steps and then rest in place a moment. Kwon steps up next to him to watch as well. Continue reading

The Stars Came Back -103- Recruits

Fade in

EXT – DAY – Training field on New Texas

Aerial view of a vast grassy plain in full, bright sun. It looks like a really hectic Day One in a HUGE boot camp. On a large training field, there are thousands of young men in companies of a hundred or so running all sorts of speed, agility, and strength tests. Each company has a handful of guys in uniform, and they are racing individuals and teams against one another in a high-speed, highly competitive, multifaceted course selection. The guys in uniform are broad-shouldered, sold-looking, mature men with short hair and a serious look. Continue reading

The Stars Came Back -102- Charter

Fade in

INT – DAY – Officer’s mess

Helton, Lag, Kat, Harbin, Bipasha, Allonia. On the wall and table screens is a lot of text, and a star-system planetary diagram with a dozen planets on it. The fourth planet is alone on one side of the star (at the 12 o’clock position), with most of the planets are almost completely on the far side (between the 5 and 7 o’clock positions). A gas giant is at the 3 o’clock position at the outside edge. Continue reading