Friday, June 29, 2018

Garmil's Gate Done & Campaign Coming Soon

Now that Garmil's Gate has finished its serial run, I will compile the segments together into a single manuscript presently and let that compiled manuscript sit for a spell before I get to revising and rewriting it. The final version will, again, be made into an exclusive prequel story should the relaunched crowdfunding campaign hit the threshold for its inclusion.

The date for the relaunch will come after the (American) Independence Day holiday, so you've got another week or so; there is no way that I will get the attention that I seek if I attempt to relaunch during the upcoming week, so I won't waste your time or mine trying. Bad idea.

Instead, you will know when it happens--and newsletter subsribers get 48 horus advanced notice--because I'll post it here and across all the socials I use. All I'm saying is that you need not worry about missing out on valuable family time over the holiday. Go forth, enjoy the long weekend, and then be ready to Make Space Opera Great Again.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Crisis at Garmil's Gate - 26

Sibley struggled to make his way to the bridge. At every turn he fought three or four to one, cutting and blasting through would-be pincer moves to fix him before they fry him with blasters. But then they push him into the lift, and from the bridge they run him down to the cargo hold.

In the hold, Sibley sees a giant-sized sensory deprivation tank. Cables and waldos runs from the walls and attach to it, securing it in place. Curiosity claims him, and he approaches. As he does, the foreboding fills him, but he steels himself and advances. As he comes about, he sees what--who--rests inside.

"Mother of God..." Sibley gasps.


Sibley turns around and there he sees a big, blue-skinned brute bearing a beam sword. "I'd hoped to find the captain."

"I'd hoped to fight the Paladin." Gori said, igniting the blood-red beam blade as he approached Sibley, "You will have to do."

"The right-hand men fighting on our masters' behalf, eh?" Sibley said as he stood ready, "I appreciate the poetry of it."

"Consider this a courtesy." Gori said as he squared off against Sibley, "I could have just blown the seals and sucked you out of here, but I'd rather that you know why you failed before I toss you out the airlock."

"Win before you taunt."

Gori lunges at Sibley, a blow the old man beats away but forces him back. Sibley adjusts his stance, putting his sword hand into a place where deflecting the force of Gori's strikes is much easier, and then reads the pirate's body language as Gori attacks. The pirate has youth, reach, and power over Sibley but lacks skill and isn't wearing a personal screen- just armor.

Sibley soon sees that Gori's strikes are better suited to a hatchet than a sword, as he finds the pirate not thrusting now. Still possessing his pistol, Sibley shifts his feet when he moves to parry Gori's next overhead chop. In a smooth motion, Sibley shifts his sword to his off-hand, and as he blocks the chop Sibley draws his pistol and shoots Gori multiple ties square in the guts.

Gori cries out in pain, and he staggers, but he only falls to one knee. "I figured you might try something like this." Gori said, grimacing, and Sibley saw a second layer of armor that his blaster failed to penetrate as Gori got to his feet.

"You're smarter than you look." Sibley said, breaking off and holding Gori at the point of his blaster. The old man flicked a switch with his gun-hand's thumb. "That's a mistake I make only once."

"Fortunately, old man, its not the only one you make this day." Gori said, his breathing labored as he sealed his armor and turned on his suit's magnetic anchors, "DO IT!"

Sibley recognized the tell and sealed his armor also, but not soon enough to anchor himself as the cargo hold's door opened to space. The explosive decompression blew him--and several unsecured items--out of the ship's hold. As he tumbled, he keyed into his suit's comlink for Creton to retrieve him. This took the Baden-Powell away from the Revenge just long enough to allow Dashing Jack's plan to reach fruition.

As the hold's door closed shut once more, Gori released his anchors. "We're ready and the ship's clear. Follow when ready, Captain."

Outside, Ramsey held Jack in a mech-to-mech beam sword clinch. "You're cornered, Jack!" Ramsey said, "Your ship's boarded. The Maribu's soon to catch up, and I'm more than able to hamstring your ship to ensure that Duke Far does so."

Jack answered with a smug smirk. "Am I?" he said, and then he pressed the button he installed into his cockpit.

Ramsey watched as Jack's mech seemed to jump away with the Revenge, without tether or external jump drive, and after a moment he slammed a fist against the cockpit. Soon thereafter he and Sibley rendezvoused with the Maribu and met with Duke Far in the Duke's quarters.

"You're certain?" Far said, "A fallen angel?"

"Aye, Your Grace. No mistaking that visage."

"Which means that this entire affair was a very elaborate ruse." Far said, "But for what end, and why bring the Church into it?"

"We'll find out soon enough." Ramsey said, "But I am certain of this: not only will we see Jack again, but his master also. This prize is a horrible one for them to seize. The Court of Stars must be informed."

"I'll handle that, Lord Roland. There are foolish interests in the Court that cannot be trusted to know the full details, lest they seek to exploit them at the expense of Christendom."

Friday, June 22, 2018

Crowdfunding Update: I Am Not Waiting For Freestartr

Last weekend, Stripe shut off service to Freestartr. This immediately forced Freestartr to suspend all campaigns currently active. While the CEO is at work on replacing Stripe as a payment processor, I am unwilling to wait for this to run its course with regard to the current crowdfunding campaign.

I still believe in the site and its principles, but after private discussion with Mr. Niemeier I've decided to take the opportunity to take a Mulligan and relaunch elsewhere. That place is IndieGoGo. I've set up an account there, but I am not yet ready to relaunch, as there are details I need to address before I bring the campaign up and try again.

  • Change The Title: Yes, I do love this title and especially the subtitle, but I concur that--after reviewing audience expectations for this genre--it's far too literary. I'm changing the series title to the snappy Three World Title format I've long been comfortable with due to it being present in a lot of the anime Space Opera I watched as a child and young adult. The book title can vary a bit in length, but it too needs to be snappy;
  • Make a Video: This will be my weekend task. I've got the video software mentioned, so I'll figure out how to make it work and do the Elevator Pitch video once I get my bearings.
  • Get Original Art: Take a look at Ethan Van Scrier's page at IndieGoGo for Cyberfrog. Scroll down to "Overview" and you get a clear character portrait of the title character. If the title didn't inform you of what to expect, that portrait did. I need to do that too. A picture of Sir Ramsey, beam sword at the ready and sidearm in the offhand, should do.

Once all that is in place, and any other details get hammered out, I will fix a launch date. This time, the campaign will be only 30 days long. Email subscribers get 48 hours advanced notice, so hit up the Contact tab to find the subscribe link. When the relaunch happens, you'll see me announce it here.

I thank all of you for your support, and I can't wait to make this happen. Stay tuned.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Crisis at Garmil's Gate - 25

Dashing Jack and Sir Ramsey took aim at each other, while their wingmen broke off and engaged the enemy. Both men launched missiles at the other, forcing counter-missile fire using beam rifles, before they closed to gun range and began manuevering around each other in a dogfight. During this action, Sibley switched from mech to mech in his attempt to weave his way through the furball and sneak his way to the Revenge, and he ended up relying on his personal vernier backpack when he realized that he couldn't ride his way there.

To mask his presence, he stayed in an ironic position- squarely between the nearest point-defense batteries and the dogfighting mechs off the starboard bow. While risking life and limb flying down through a hail of blaster fire, against which his personal screen would--at best--let him take one stray shot, the veteran sergeant-at-arms kept cool knowing that so long as he kept inside the blind spots of the guns the odds of getting shot were slim.

Keeping an eye out for the old man was his son, Creton, at the controls of the Baden-Powell, doing his best to drive the gunners' attention away from Sibley when the dogfighting mechs couldn't hold it. Swift fly-bys, blasting the hull near the ship's sensor array, ensured that those point-defense guns that could otherwise have noticed the old man instead chased the scout ship in vain.

While the Maribu now accelerated, giving chase, and therefore kept up its barrage from its turrets the Revenge no longer had any line of sight to return fire. With its missiles depleted, it had no means to return fire either. Nonetheless, both Jack and the few wingmen left he had would not give up or retreat.

"You won't escape." Ramsey said, "I'll soon overwhelm your squadron, then you, and then your ship will be my prize."

The Maribu's guns again got closer with each barrage. Missiles launched upon the Revenge started to overwhelm the point-defense guns, striking near her engines.

"No, Paladin." Jack said as he ignited a beam sword and went to melee, "You and your ally are easily read."

Ramsey's wingmen from Gatewatch, while taking serious losses, now gained the upper hand and began sweeping away Jack's depleted squadron. Sibley now reached the dorsal hull of the Revenge, and with beam sword in hand began to look for a hatch.

"You think the situation is a simple piracy problem, Paladin. Now you shall see how wrong you are."

Hatches on the dorsal hull opened, and armed pirates emerged with blaster rifles. Sibley drew his pistol, used his sword to block a few shots, and ducked for cover behind an active turret. "I'm pinned! BOY!"

Creton came about and strafed the hull, sending some pirates into cover and the rest to their maker. As Creton passed, Sibley broke out and charged the nearest pirate standing. He shot that man down with three well-placed shots, and then turned to the next one; he knocked away the few shots that man got off before returning fire. Once he closed, he cut down the cad with his sword. A third took a shot between the eyes before drifting off into the void, and the last one fired and fired and fired as Sibley calmly advanced on him.

"Mercy!" the pirate cried.

"Exterminatus." Sibley replied, and removed the offender's head.

Then Sibley, finding the nearby hatch, cut his way through to the airlock. He waited for the emergency seal to close off the outside hatch, and then cut his way through the inside hatch to gain access to the ship proper. Once through, he found what he expected: battle lighting, alarm klaxons, and calls over the comms for reports to and from the bridge.

"I'm in." Sibley said into his comlink.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Against The Poz We Must Stand As One

I've seen Brian Niemeier write at his blog more than once about the distressing tendency for those on the Right to not back each other up, especially as it pertains to the culture industries. I can't solve every problem by myself, but I can do something to turn this particular trend around, and you're already seeing it if you read the main blog this week.

I'm making a point of spreading the word regarding people I regard as friends and allies making their own moves to improve the culture, because we've got to make the things that we want to see if we want the culture to be as we'd have it, and that's a task far too great for one man to do alone.

And that means we've got to get better about working well together. I'm learning hard and fast how to manage this thing I've taken on. I don't draw, hence why I want to get help making the cover--come back for why I care about that another time--and that means I'm quickly learning what that entails. I know my writing ain't perfect, which is why I want to hire an editor; Brian's post on what the sorts of editors do (and some suggestions in the PulpRev Discord server) influenced my decision to make that part of the goal. Brian laid out what isn't negotiable, and I'm following the man's lead.

So, if you're wondering where I'm at right now, here's the news: One week in, and we have eight backers. Combined, there's a total of $115 dollars pledged. We need $885 more to meet the goal, so if there's anyone you think would be willing and able to back my project and you haven't told them yet, please do so- share the campaign link far and wide.

And while I hustle to adapt to changing circumstances, I'm taking in the words of the Supreme Dark Lord, Vox Day. He had a Darkstream a few days ago on just this topic. I suggest that you take a listen, as he goes over his own path to making this same realization; as I prefer to learn from the mistakes of others (because I don't have the time to learn from just my own), I urge you to learn from his and commit--as I have--to doing better in cooperating towards common causes.

Western Civilization was not built by atomized men. It won't be saved by them either. Pick up a spear, sling up a shield, and take your place in the phalanx against the enemy. Only together can we stand a chance of winning.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Crisis at Garmil's Gate - 24

"We're in the clear!" Gori said, "Far can't pursue us much further."

Down in the hanger, still in the cockpit of his mech, Jack snapped back: "Not so fast, Gori. We're missing a major player in this drama."

"Captain, really-"

"Shut up and follow orders, Gori. He's coming, and soon."

A boyish thing, more resembling a wolf pulp on two legs than a boy, approached Jack and handed him a small box. Jack petted the pup and sent him on his way.

"Spin up the drives and prepare to jump to the rendezvous point." Jack said, "Don't worry about me, Gori. I've got my contingency plan in hand."

On the bridge, Gori watch the Maribu slowly turn about, firing its guns as the Revenge pulled away, in a vain attempt to pursue. As Jack removed what appeared to be a palm-sized painted rock from the box and slotted it into his mech's systems, Gori saw an alert of an incoming jump light up.

"There he is!" Jack said, and then he turned his attention to the techs about his mech: "Hurry up! We've got a damned dog to shake off."

The Baden-Powell appeared, already on an intercept approach towards the Revenge. Hanging of its hull like a bunch of desperate refugees were the remaining mechs stationed at Gatewatch, all of which now released their hold and rocketed forward to engage the pirate ship.

"You're right, Captain!" Gori said, "He brought Gatewatch's garrison with him."

"Is his mech out there?"


"Prepare for boarders, Gori. I'm going to buy us time."

Jack closed up his cockpit, detached from his refueling and rearming waldos, and once more sortied from the ventral hatch. Behind him followed the remaining squadron members. The Maribu and the Revenge continued firing on each other, scoring fewer and fewer hits as the distance grew, but the Revenge's point-defense guns lit up as the Baden-Powell and its allied mechs approached.

"Jack's come out." Ramsey said, "I think he suspects the plan."

"So we go with the alternative then, my lord?" Sibley said.

"That we do. Get ready, Sibley. Creton, take your father's seat. It's time you put your pilot skills to the test."

Creton's face lit up with delight and he eagerly replaced his father in the co-pilot position. Without being asked, he moved fire control to his new station, and took up the controls. Ramsey mussed the boy's hair as he got up, and then looked back as he made ready to sortie.

"We're counting on you, lad!"

"Aye, my lord! You can count on me!"

Sir Ramsey and Sibley went to the launch bay. Sibley adjusted his armor to make room for a locator beacon, and Ramsey adjusted the loadout of his mech to concentrate on close-quarters combat. The two fighting men then nodded at each other, entered the airlock, and then dropped out the ventral hatch. Sibley held on to the hull as Ramsey called forth Durendal, then the elder man switch his hold to the back of Ramsey's mech.

"We're off, Creton! You know what to do!"

Friday, June 8, 2018

It's Happening: Support "The Taking of Gabriella Robin"

I'm taking a big step today. Today I launch my first crowd-funding campaign for my debut novel.

Head on over to my Freestartr page today, where you will find the campaign page live and awaiting your pledge of support. I don't have much to offer in terms of backer awards, as one would expect of someone starting out; I can't become someone that can do that sort of thing down the road if you don't trust me to deliver on my modest offerings now.

So what do I offer you?

If you haven't been keeping up, this is my #StarWarsNotStarWars AND my #AGundamForUs contributions, something I'm writing with as much inspiration from the East and the West, from the Pulps as from Medieval and Ancient epics, and played straight and sincere. If you want a hero that John Carter would be proud of, come put your money down for my space knight-errant and his adventures in a galaxy full of wonder and peril. No ponderous, plodding, bloated door-stoppers here: just slim, lithe page-turners like E.E. Smith and Robert E. Howard used to write.

I promise you Action! Romance! Giant Robot Combat! Space battleships pounding each other in engagements full of passion and valor, villains whose evil will make you love to hate them, and a heroine who is every bit the Deja Thoris to my John Carter, my Clarissa MacDougal to my Kimbal Kinneson. Some may not make it to the end, but nihilism and despair have no place in Galactic Christendom, so you'll find no such rob-the-reader endings here.

If you want to see more of this, then you've got to make it happen. $1000 is all it takes to make it happen; more than that just makes what you get--and what comes after this--better. Show me what you've got, folks! Show me that you want this to happen, and make it happen I will! Scout's Honor!

This will also be the LAST time I make this sort of announcement here before I send out an email to the subscribers of my newsletter about such things. If you want to know well ahead of time, then click this link here and sign up. From this point forward, my newsletter subscribers will get no less than 48 hours lead-time for these announcements. I'm getting serious about this now, and that means finding ways of giving value to you as best I can- something else I can do more of down the road if you back me now.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Crisis at Garmil's Gate - 23

On the bridge of Redalen's Revenge, battle lighting and alarm klaxons mirrored the mood of her captain and crew.

"Helm, bring us about. Configure for point-blank range and go all-ahead full!"

Gori looked to his captain. "Ready here, Captain!"

Jack called down to the hangar. "Prepare my mech for launch. I'm going out." he said, and then gave a thumbs-up to Gori. The space pirate headed for the lift while his lieutenant took his position. As Jack descended from the bridge to the hangar bay, Revenge turned about to advance on the Tiger of Maribu, dodging volleys from its turrets in doing so, and it turned on its axis to present all of its guns upon the enemy.

"Fire!" Gori bellowed, and all of the pirate's cannons fired upon the Maribu, scoring solid hits across the dorsal hull. A volley of missiles followed, swarming down and forcing the point-defense systems to their limits. With the mech squadron brawl now moving to push between the two battleships, the Maribu adjusted its position to maximize its turrets' ability to fire upon the Revenge.

Now Jack ran through the hangar bay, rushing across the open space to where his personal mech stood ready for him. Once inside, and the cockpit closed, he keyed the comlink as he rushed through takeoff.

"Gori, transmit Order Zahn and wait for my signal."

Jack's mech finished its takeoff sequence. Powered up and ready to go, Jack maneuvered to the ventral hatch and stood ready. Oh the outside, the Revenge and the Maribu pummeled each other with successive volleys from their turrets as well as emptying their missile bays with repeated launches as they closed to point-blank range. Back inside, Jack monitored the distance between the two ships, and when the distance reach clear visual range, Jack keyed the comlink: "GO!"

Jack launched from the ventral hatch, now appearing upside down from the perspective of the Maribu, and used the exchange of fire to cover its signal until it appeared out of the Revenge's shadow. Then it joined the dogfight, quickly clearing out Far's men and relieving his own. With no more enemy mecha, they fell in behind Jack and followed Jack's assault on the Maribu as the Revenge pummeled it without mercy. While several of his men fell to the ship's point-defense guns, enough slipped across the hull to support Jack's attack on the engines to make the threat of crippling or destroying them viable.

"Maximum firepower!" Jack said, "Now!"

Jack and his remaining men launched every munition they had and exhausted their guns by unloading them into the Maribu's engines. Several satisfying explosions erupted from them, forcing the engineers therein to flee as bulkheads slammed into place to contain the damage and expel the explosive forces into space. With oxygen quickly consumed, the fires flared out fast, but by then the ability of the Maribu to maneuver had already been hobbled.

"We're done here. Let's go." Jack said, and as the Revenge now began to open the distance again Jack lead what men he had left back into the hangar bay of the Revenge. The battleships kept firing upon each other, lancing each other with main guns and further slicing each other up with the secondary guns, but the engagement was now decided and both Jack and Duke Far realized it.

Unless Ramsey arrived in time.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Getting Paid Is The Goal, Not a Shameful Act

I'm going to finish "Garmil's Gate" by the end of this month, so I need to decide what to do next. Late last night, this came over my Twitter feed from the leading Hispanic voice in science fiction, Jon del Arroz. Behold!

As Jon goes on to clarify, this is from the Science Fiction Writers of America's meeting at the Nebula Awards. Seeing this finally got me to get off my ass and move to the next step as a writer: getting paid. To that end, I opened a FreeStartr account. I'll spend my Saturday post on the main blog announcing this with more grandeur, but for now know this: this is how I intend to raise money for turning these stories into books (as I would at IndieGoGo) in addition to accepting ongoing support (ala Patreon).

At the very least, I want to collect "Garmil's Gate", re-write it (because it needs works), let an editor help me finish the job, put a good cover on it, and get it out for sale on Amazon before North America turns cold again. This also means that I'm going to start accelerating work on Taking, since I can see now that the iron is hot and that means it's time to strike.

I think it's time to launch an email newsletter of my own, and put posts like this there instead. I also think it's time to move the serials over to Steemit, reverting this blog to industry-specific as well as craft-specific commentary and analysis. (Yes, I solicit your feedback for this.) Time to increase my skin in the game. It's one this to be well-spoken and respected. It's another to be able to buy your own mountain.

I want to buy my own mountain. Time to make that happen.