Concept Art, Book Release News, and More

Please excuse the poor quality of these images; pencil does not scan very well.

circe 001

belladonna 001

xandricus 001

These are the three scene I plan to use on the cover of The Daedalus Enigma. I’m thinking of using acrylic paints for this one. They are a medium I haven’t worked with in well over a decade, but I think acrylic will work better for my purposes than watercolor on this cover. Colored pencil is not an option. It doesn’t scan well, and even if I get a digital version to look good, the printout sucks ditchwater. I learned that lesson the hard way with the cover of Silent Fathoms.

I’ve been told to expect an October release for The Daedalus Enigma! Nice to know things are back on schedule with my publisher. There were a few hiccups last year which pushed the last book back a couple of months to December.

I don’t have any more conventions I plan to attend this year, but I think I will run a Red Shirt contest this September as part of my efforts to promote before the book release. I’ll post details next weekend for that on how to enter, how many spots are open, and how long the contest will run. I have a few other pre-release marketing ideas, but I need to get things in place before I can say anything official about them.

I also plan to get back in touch with my beta readers for The Adventures of Pigg & Woolfe soon. I’d like to query a few publishers with the first few episodes and hopefully get a start-up date for the serial in publication by early next year.

If you’re going to dream, might as well dream big.

Off to the Editor!

The Daedalus Enigma has been submitted! At a current pre-editing word count of 91,950, this may be the longest book in the series.

There is one scene which will probably get cut and find its way to the Dungeon of Deleted or Altered Scenes, though. It is pretty graphic and not really important to the plot. It was just one of those scenes I had to write down to get it out of my head (the kind I really don’t want to know where they come from).

Now I have cover art to come up with. I had an image in mind when I did the cover for Hell’s Dodo last year, but I don’t think I want to go with that one now. I have another idea beginning to form which I like better and I believe will be more eye catching.

Approaching the Finish Line

Only four and a half chapters remain to be typed on The Daedalus Enigma. I had to read through chapter 34 fully before I could type it up. I’d marked about three pages to be rewritten, and I didn’t remember why or if I’d done so yet. The read through let me know I had rewritten that segment, and the rewrite flowed much better than the original version.

I should be able to finish the manuscript up and do a proofreading next weekend. After I’m satisfied with that, I’ll send it on to my editor.

Then comes the fun part of creating the painting for the cover art while I wait for the first rounds of edits to be sent back to me. I’m still trying to decide if I want to use watercolor again or go with acrylics.

Introducing Professor Write

If you are a writer or plan to become one, this will be a very valuable resource… and it’s FREE!

Professor Write


Welcome to Professor Write: Your Online Writing Classroom. This site will serve as your place to sharpen your writing skills, explore your imagination, and most importantly find your voice.

The central focus of this website will be the Professor Write Video Lecture Series.  Please subscribe to my YouTube channel and follow the series as we cover the essentials for developing your writing skills. Designed for college students and aspiring writers, the videos will cover the fundamentals for honing your writing skills at your own pace and on your own time. Each Monday, I’ll add links to the new videos.

Wednesdays will be devoted to vocabulary with 20 new words added weekly. I’ll cover definitions, etymologies, and usages so that you can build a world class vocabulary.

On Fridays, I’ll answer writing related questions that I receive through the week. You can leave a comment anywhere on the blog, and…

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Grace O’Malley and Writing Progress

While I’ve not gotten any typing on The Daedalus Enigma done during the work week, I did make good progress on the first draft of Maelstrom of Fate. That seems to be my current writing pattern: write on book seven at work breaks during the week, and type on book six on the weekends.

I’m currently writing chapter 24 of Maelstrom, with about half my plot points and notes for the book still to go. I’ve gotten four more chapters typed on Enigma this weekend; which puts the document at 197 pages, 28 chapters, or 63k+ words completed. I’ve only 11 chapters left to type to finish the second draft. I made myself stop tonight so I could write this blog post.

I’m at a section of the story which was fun to research. Viktor will have to deal with a fictional descendant of Grace O’Malley, the “pirate queen.” Please, I encourage you to click on the link to the wiki article on her. It makes for some very interesting reading.

I’ve named my fictional descendant Darcy.


Statue of Grace O’Malley on the estate of some of her actual descendants


Rock Fleet castle, one of Grace’s residences


Did You Miss Me?

Then you should adjust the sights on your gun.

Just kidding.

My work schedule this month has been…unusual; hence no post last weekend.

Let’s see: I’ve gotten a nice bit of typing done on The Daedalus Enigma. I am up to chapter 25. Granted, some of the chapters are short-ish. I’ve never been one to assign a specific word count to chapter lengths. I just put chapter breaks where they feel natural in the story.

I finally posted my photos from LibertyCon 29 to Facebook. You can find them here.

I want to welcome D.A. Adams , friend and fellow author, back to the blogosphere after an extended absence. Good news: he’s planning to turn his blog into a writers’ workshop/teaching tool! Whether you are a seasoned pro or a writing novice, this should prove to be a very valuable resource. I’m also happy to hear he’s writing on the fifth installment of his Brotherhood of Dwarves series. I’ve been waiting on this book for years now.

I also added a publisher to my to-query list for my The Adventures of Pigg & Woolfe Steampunk serial. It’s a newly formed indie press, but I know a few of the staff and their dedication to pushing their stories when they were self-pubbed authors. They know how hard it can be to get a book noticed among the millions of titles out there, and they still managed to be successful at it. (I won’t name the press in this post, because they are one of several I plan to query.)

On the home front, we’ve been getting some little visitors to our yard I haven’t seen in previous years.


House finches. They’re tiny things and seem rather fond of dandelion fluff seeds. I’ve seen at least two pairs, but there could be an entire flock just visiting in twos or threes at varying times.

Of course, while looking for images (because I’m not gonna get something THIS nice with MY camera) I came across this and had to share.


That’s all I’ve got for this week.

Rock-It Sigh-Ants

Yet another late blog post. I know; I know.

As promised last week, here is my report on the LibertyCon 29 Space Update panel.


Les Johnson once again hosted the Space Update (formerly the NASA Update) and covered quite a lot of material in 50 minutes, despite a couple of videos failing to play during the presentation.

I took notes. Any misinformation or errors in this post are purely my own.

DAWN: This probe on a mission to the asteroids Vesta and Ceres has provided a wealth of information. The probe uses a solar-electric propulsion system and is only the second deep space probe to use this system. the propulsion system works by using an electromagnetic field to project charged particles. This allows it to go much further than a chemical propulsion system can on the same amount of fuel. Of course, this system is not practical for use in the outer solar system (beyond the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter), since it relies on solar energy for its power source. The further from the sun, the less efficient solar energy is.

One of the discoveries which caused some excitement laid to rest the notion that several bright spots photographed on Ceres might be crashed alien crafts. Instead, the spots are highly reflective magnesium salt deposits. Of course, researchers have yet to determine how they came to be where they are.

NEW HORIZONS: This mission to the dwarf planet Pluto launched in January 2006 but almost did not happen at all. The craft, which uses plutonium pellets for fuel, had a very narrow launch window in order to make its rendezvous with Jupiter for a gravity assist to reach its destination. Plutonium is highly controlled and was not in production at the time, production having ceased after the end of the Cold War. The White House almost didn’t give the approval in time to make the window. I thought it humorous that they had to use plutonium to reach Pluto.

For those who wish Pluto would be returned to full planet status, it’s probably not going to happen. For now, Pluto will remain classified as a dwarf planet; especially since several new objects in this category have been discovered in the outer solar system, and many more are being extrapolated even now.

New Horizons discovered that Pluto is not the frozen rock it was once believed to be. Rather it has proven to be volcanic and geologically (or Plutologically) active with multiple types of ice besides water ice.

Les also informed us that the most accepted pronunciation of Charon is “share-on,” but since it is a name from ancient Greek mythology, and no one alive knows exactly how ancient Greek was pronounced, “chair-on” and “care-on” are also acceptable.

JUNO: This probe was actually the first to use solar power in deep space exploration. Jupiter, it’s target, gets only one sixteenth of the light Earth gets. This meant much more efficient solar cells were required, and all of the probe’s systems had to be designed for low power.

JUNO and CASSINI, the current Saturn probe are expected to complete their missions and go dark around the same time. When this occurs there will be NO orbiters active in the outer solar system. This is due to the plutonium shortage and current NASA budget sequester.

Mars  exploration is alive and well, however. Spirit is still taking readings and functional; it’s just stuck/immobile. Opportunity and Curiosity are emulating the Energizer Bunny. They keep going and going. The drawback to the Mars rovers is lack of communication when Mars’ orbit takes it opposite of Earth with the sun between them. Currently it is impractical to build a relay system to keep communications open. The designs for such a system will be revisited as communications tech becomes smaller and cheaper to build, however.

ISS (International space station): Currently there is a one year mission underway to study the effects on the human body of extended time in space. This is vital to future plans for manned exploration beyond the Earth and Moon. This is a controlled experiment using identical twins: one on the ISS and one planetside. This is NOT the first time someone has spent a year or more in space, however. An unfortunate cosmonaut spent more than a year on MIR because the USSR fell shortly after he reached the station. It took that long to get things politically organized and settled down enough to send a rescue mission up.

BIGELOW EXPANDABLE ACTIVITY MODULE (BEAM): This inflatable compartment is currently being tested on the ISS. Instruments will monitor changes within the compartment. It will not be used by live crew until the testing and vetting are completed, and it is deemed safe.

HUBBLE  is still going strong… for now. It is finally nearing the end of its mission. It has undergone many repairs, but it was declared Hubble would not be repaired again the next time it malfunctions. The CHANDRA X-RAY OBSERVATORY is still going strong and delivers more data than Hubble.

My notes mention the SPACE X FALCON 9‘s launch and first stage recovery, the SPACE X DRAGON capsule recovery, and BLUE ORIGIN. However, I didn’t take notes which give me context for these; sorry.

Gravity Wave Astronomy has been born with the detection of gravity waves and the collision of black holes. I suspect there may be more news on this new field of astronomy in the coming years.

KEPLER is another mission which keeps on going. 1284 new exo-planets (planets orbiting other stars) were discovered in just the last few months. Nine of them might even be capable of supporting life. The Kepler Orrery III was mentioned during this segment.

The NASA SPACE LAUNCH SYSTEM (SLS) will be used early 2020 to launch a mission to Europa, one of Jupiter’s larger moons. While smaller rockets could perform the same task, they would take around 7 years to get the probe to its destination. The SLS can get it there in 2 1/2 years.

NEAR EARTH ASTEROID SCOUT will be a secondary payload on a future SLS launch. The scout will be comprised of a 6-unit cube satellite and will deploy 4 21ft booms to spread its solar sail. It is designed to keep going until it breaks after its primary target is reached.

Well kiddies, that pretty much covers the Space Report for this year. I hope you found it informative.