Monday, November 10, 2014

Behind the Scenes of a Free Book Promotion: Part 4

In posts one, two, and three of this series I talked about my previous promotions and how I prepared for the next one. Now for the results. Did it have an impact on my sales?  Did I get a return of investment?

Friday, November 7, 2014

Behind the Scenes of a Free Book Promotion, Part 3

In the third post of my Behind the Scenes of a Free Book Promotion series, I will talk about Promotion Day itself.

The day before the promotion, I got an email from Booktweeters saying that my book wasn’t free today (that is, the day before the promo), and so they couldn’t feature it. I quickly responded saying it wasn’t supposed to be free the day before, and enclosed a copy of my invoice as proof. They responded, apologizing for the mistake. Good, but this wasn’t exactly increasing my confidence in them…

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Behind the Scenes of a Free Book Promotion, Part 2

In my first post in this series I talked about my previous experience with Free promotions. Lackluster at best, with no return of investment (ROI) with my first attempt at an ad. Here I'll talk about my next attempt at an advertised free promotion.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Behind the Scenes of a Free Book Promotion, Part 1

Discoverability is the primary obstacle for new writers.  Lost in the ocean of literature, it is difficult to attract readers.  There are various strategies a writer can attempt to remedy this, including using social media, taking out advertisements, and write more books!

Word of mouth is one of the most effective means of getting new readers, but you already have to have readers to spread the word in the first place. It takes readers to get readers.

Indie publishing champion David Gaughran states the issues far more eloquently than I can in his post Starting from Zero.

I have two novels out now, The Pirates of Alnari, and The Grand Masquerade. Sales are almost non-existent. What reviews I do have are good, so I know that my writing isn't utter dreck. The problem is not that my writing stinks; rather it's that no one knows about my writing at all. I don’t have readers, so I can’t get readers. What to do?

Friday, October 31, 2014

Robotech RPG Tactics Unboxing

I am a huge fan of Robotech. Along with Star Blazers, it had a huge impact on me growing up. I eagerly snapped up Palladium's Robotech RPG, read the novels, bought the comic books, read Protoculture Addicts, bought some of the Revell models, and then the DVDs when they were released. Like I said, I was a huge fan. But there was something missing from the fandom. Palladium's Kickstarter for Robotech RPG Tactics filled that gap.

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Pirates of Alnari Free Today on Amazon!

The Pirates of Alnari is free today on Amazon! Check it out!

Martyn and Arycke are two young nobles forced into hiding after experiencing an act of unspeakable violence. They buy passage on the Isalian frigate Selene, but after a bloody battle against two pirate vessels, Martyn and Arycke find themselves shipwrecked castaways along with a beautiful young woman, her ever-watchful grandfather, and the rest of the Selene's crew.

Unfortunately for the survivors, they are stranded within reach of the pirate city of Alnari. In short order, Martyn and Arycke must fight for their lives, not only against marauding bands of savage pirates, but mutinous elements within the Selene's own crew.

The shipwrecked survivors are dragged into a maelstrom of vengeance and intrigue, as rival pirate lords maneuver against each other for dominance over Alnari. Martyn, Arycke, and the rest of the Selene's crew will need every ounce of courage, cunning, and strength they possess if they hope to escape alive...

The Pirates of Alnari is also being featured today on multiple websites & mailing lists, including:

Kindle Books & Tips
The Fussy Librarian
eBookHabit
eBookSoda
EReader News Today
BookGorilla

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Command AAR: Deter, Detect, Defend Part 2


This continues the AAR of the Command: Modern Air / Naval Operations scenario, Deter, Detect, and Defend. Part One is here.

Tuesday, 21 August 1962, 224215Z
The situation is grim. Four AS-3 Kangaroos nuclear cruise missiles are inbound to the Seattle area. If the Nike Hercules SAMs that ring the area can't stop them, Seattle's fate could be like that of Vancouver, British Columbia... a radioactive firestorm with hundreds of thousands of casualties.

Not only that, but there are nineteen bogeys--most of which are likely Soviet bombers armed with nuclear weapons--on the way to destroy the cities of the Pacific Northwest. Only a handful of interceptors are available to go against them.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Command AAR: Deter, Detect, Defend Part 1

Deter, Detect, and Defend is a scenario for the fantastic wargame/simulation Command: Modern Air / Naval Operations, depicting a nuclear war scenario taking place in 1962, during the height of the cold war.

Thanks to Christopher Comars aka Randomizer for creating this scenario for Command--it was a blast to play.
Please forgive any mistakes I made in the AAR narrative that follows, as I am sure I have made gross errors about how things operate in the military, both organizationally and operationally.

Please note: In the AAR there are spoilers as to what occurs in the actual scenario, so proceed reading at your own risk. It's World War III, after all...

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Here there be Pirates: Q&A with Nick Smith, author of Gentleman of Fortune


Nick Smith is one of the seven piratical authors to participate in the Here there be Pirates Book Giveaway in celebration of Talk Like a Pirate Day on September 19.

Nick was generous enough to answer some questions about his books and fascination with pirates, as well as his new novel Gentleman of Fortune, the sequel to Rogues' Nest.  You can win a copy of Gentleman of Fortune or one of the other six pirate novels at the end of the interview.  Be sure to visit Nick Smith at his website and follow him on Twitter!

On to the interview!  Arrr!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Here There Be Pirates Book Giveaway!

Talk Like a Pirate Day is just around the corner and that’s just cause to celebrate! Swashbuckling! Plundering! Rum! The sea!

And how about a little literary treasure on top of all that, eh? To celebrate, myself and six other historical fiction authors are giving away seven pirate novels...

Monday, August 11, 2014

Boston Spartan Sprint 2014

August 9, 2014

The Boston Spartan Sprint was my first Obstacle Course Race (OCR).  The past few years had been tough on me and my family, and so seven weeks before the event I signed up as a way to motivate myself to try to get back in shape. Given the condition I was in, seven weeks wasn’t long enough to prepare for a Spartan race, but at least I could get started. I was confident I would be able to finish, and this race would serve as a means to learn what I needed to work on to better prepare for the next one.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Book Review: What Kings Ate and Wizards Drank

I picked up What Kings Ate and Wizards Drank: A Fantasy Lover's Food Guide by Krista D. Ball after seeing it mentioned on David Gaughran's inestimable writing blog, Let's Get Visible.  I respect David's opinion regarding anything to do with writing, and it seemed like a perfect research material for a fantasy writer, so I snapped it up.

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Grand Masquerade is now available in Paperback!

The Grand Masquerade is now available in Paperback!

The pirate city of Alnari burns, a victim of its own success. In the aftermath, the pirates thirst for revenge, the rival nations Isalus and Vaskuen grow ever more antagonistic, and the downtrodden nation of Hesborea is eager to play all sides against the middle.

The two young nobles Arycke and Martyn, survivors of the punitive raid on Alnari, attempt to settle in the city of Vinyalas, quietly attending the university while enjoying the exotic culture. But the threat of war throws their plans into chaos, as Duke Karleo of Alene conspires with his fellow Hesborean nobles to take advantage of the rising tensions to strengthen Hesborea’s position and exact revenge on his enemies.

Arycke and the noblewoman Starissa are sent on a diplomatic mission to Hesborea only to get more than they bargained for. Back in Vinyalas, Martyn is welcomed into the home of his new mentor, but when danger arrives on their doorstep, he must risk everything to protect his adopted family from the coming storm.

The Grand Masquerade continues the gritty fantasy adventure story begun in The Pirates of Alnari. It is a tale filled with glamorous masquerade balls, deadly political intrigues, brutal sieges, daring escapes, desperate swordfights and fiery naval battles.

The ebook is available from:
Amazon US Amazon UK Amazon IN Amazon DE
Amazon FR Amazon ES Amazon IT Amazon JP
Amazon BR Amazon CA Amazon MX Amazon AU
The Paperback version is available from:

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Book Review: The Martian by Andy Weir


I don't do many book reviews on this blog, but The Martian by Andy Weir was good enough that it warrants one.

Monday, June 23, 2014

The Grand Masquerade is Released as an ebook!

The Grand Masquerade is now available on Amazon as an ebook!

The pirate city of Alnari burns, a victim of its own success. In the aftermath, the pirates thirst for revenge, the rival nations Isalus and Vaskuen grow ever more antagonistic, and the downtrodden nation of Hesborea is eager to play all sides against the middle.

The two young nobles Arycke and Martyn, survivors of the punitive raid on Alnari, attempt to settle in the city of Vinyalas, quietly attending the university while enjoying the exotic culture. But the threat of war throws their plans into chaos, as Duke Karleo of Alene conspires with his fellow Hesborean nobles to take advantage of the rising tensions to strengthen Hesborea’s position and exact revenge on his enemies.

Arycke and the noblewoman Starissa are sent on a diplomatic mission to Hesborea only to get more than they bargained for. Back in Vinyalas, Martyn is welcomed into the home of his new mentor, but when danger arrives on their doorstep, he must risk everything to protect his adopted family from the coming storm.

The Grand Masquerade continues the gritty fantasy adventure story begun in The Pirates of Alnari. It is a tale filled with glamorous masquerade balls, deadly political intrigues, brutal sieges, daring escapes, desperate swordfights and fiery naval battles.

The ebook is available from:

Friday, June 20, 2014

DW: Olympian Republic 019: 2186-2189

2186.02.14  Ten Devastation-class Planetary Bombardment Ships are completed at Olympia and Elysion spaceports respectively.  The ten ships form 23rd fleet and immediately depart for Ohozruluvo.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

DW: Olympian Republic 018: 2185

2185.01.01 As the year opens, it looks like the Ackdarians have lost planets, just like the Enton Coalition.  Either four or five planets are missing from their empire.  This is grave news.  Hopefully they can hold out while the Olympians take the fight to the Shakturi.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

DW: Olympian Republic 016: 2175-2179

2175.03.20  The Imperial Phaerax Authority puts a blockade on Pi Persei 5.  After so many years of peace, the warmongers in the Olympian Way are itching for a fight.

Monday, June 16, 2014

DW: Olympian Republic 015: 2170-2174

2170.10.25 Seemingly out of nowhere, a Silvermist appears at the colony Zeta Cancri 1, and devours every living thing on the planet.

Friday, June 13, 2014

DW: Olympian Republic 014: 2165-2169

2165.10.16  After 31 years of ruling Olympia through unprecedented prosperity, the Olympian Way’s leader, Dak Undulian, leaves office and a new leader is elected.  Karl Mankara assumes leadership of the Olympian Way.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

DW: Olympian Republic 013: 2160-2164

2160.01.01 2160 turns out to be a quiet year, mostly with consolidating new colonies, watching out for pirates, planning, and doing lots of research.  Major breakthroughs are in the wings, and then the fleet will be upgraded.  

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

DW: Olympian Republic 012: 2155-2159

2155.01.01  2nd Fleet arrives at Keskuaa to find it devoid of life. Scanners also indicate that Omega Serpentis, which was the Keskudon capital, also appears to be barren.  

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

DW: Olympian Republic 011: 2150-2154

2150.01.01 After years of not paying enough attention, Olympian government look in on EX-01’s recon mission, which is to monitor the “World Annihilator Project.”  Disconcertingly, I looks nearly completed!

Friday, June 6, 2014

DW: Olympian Republic 009: 2140-2144

2140.01.01  With the new year, Olympia designs and begins construction of a dedicated anti-pirate fleet.  Consisting of a new cruiser design, a new destroyer design, and a resupply ship, taking advantage of the new fusion reactors, Olympia has high hopes for this fleet.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

DW: Olympian Republic 008: 2135-2139

2135.01.25  Olympia’s diplomats decide to ask for peace with the Atuuko (the plan being to renew hostilities as soon as the Elysion Invasion Fleet is ready.  But at the last minute, the Olympian diplomats play hardball and demand Atuuko becomes Olympia’s subjugated dominion.  To their astonishment, the Atuuko agree!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

DW: Olympian Republic 007: 2130-2134

2130.01.01 The Galaxy is at war.  After studying the flurry of war declarations, it looks like the Gizurean Consciouness and Paratakis Collective have both annoyed a lot of empires, and drew their wrath.  Olympia hopes it will remain unnoticed in the mess.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

DW: Olympian Republic 006: 2125-2129

2125.01.03  There is not enough fuel at Olympia to refuel the entire fleet.  It drops two ships, then sets a course for Atuuko 4.  

To the great shock of all the planners, the Atuuko have had a similar idea (that is, attack the enemy's home planet), and sent a fleet to attack Olympia itself.  They send four frigates...which are no match for Olympia Space Port.

Monday, June 2, 2014

DW: Olympian Republic 005: 2120-2124

2120.01.08 The new year starts off with trouble, as Reunion Space Port comes under a massive pirate attack.  1st Fleet manages to kill one pirate frigate before the Space Port goes down.

Friday, May 30, 2014

DW: Olympian Republic 004: 2115-2119

2115.01.01  The pressure to build hyperdrive is extreme.  The current available cash is 257,524 credits, while the cost to initiate a crash program to research hyperdrive is 256,546 credits.  Opponents to the program argue, “If we spend all our money on research, we won’t have any to build any ships once we do get it researched.”  Naturally this is countered by stating that research will still require time to complete, during which time savings will increase again.  On the other hand, if Olympia is attacked during this period, there will be no hyperdrive, and no money to build a defense fleet.  Intelligence indicates that no alien empire, or pirates, is in a position to attack at this time...  After much debate, the program is approved.  All resources are dumped into getting Hyperdrive completed asap.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

DW: Olympian Republic 001: 2100-2104

The Olympian Republic

Game Setup
v1.9.0.7
Distant Worlds Extended Mod 3.0.2
My own addition of human ship images, based on ones I made from Star Blazers and some of Kathaniel’s models.
System names based on Bayer designations.  (I used the Game editor to change a handful)
Spiral Galaxy
Expansion:  PreWarp
Research: Expensive
Aggression: Restless
Space Creatures: Normal
Difficulty: Hard
Pirates: Normal


Race: Human
Tech Level: PreWarp
Government: Republic
Auto-Generate 35 starting empires
All storylines enabled
No victory conditions - Sandbox mode

Friday, May 23, 2014

Engaged Family Gaming

I have a 5-year-old daughter and a 2-year-old son, who, if I have anything to say about it, will be as nerdy/geeky as their father is.  My daughter is budding race-driver in Mario Kart, and very much into Wii Sports and Sports Resort.  She's also started asking questions about Daddy's cars (aka Leman Russ Battle Tanks) in the miniatures cabinets.  As my children move from diapers to gaming, I want to introduce them into the world of gaming, but as a parent, I want to game with them.  Sure, I need time to myself sometimes, but I want to make family gaming part of our family time too.  So where to find good games that can be fun for both children and their parents?

Monday, January 6, 2014

Battle Report: Space Hulk Mission I: Suicide Mission

The limited-release of Space Hulk happened way back in 2009, and it took me a while to paint all of the miniatures for it, and even longer to play some games, and now, four years after its release, I have a battle report for it.

For this battle report Badelaire and I decided to start from the beginning and do the first mission, Suicide Mission. Badelaire would command the Blood Angels while I would command the Genestealers.

FORCES & DEPLOYMENT
Space Marines: The Space Marine player has one squad. It consists of a Sergeant armed with a storm bolter and power sword, one Space Marine armed with a heavy flamer and power fist, and three Space Marines armed with storm bolters and power fists. The Space Marine player depolys the squad on the starting squares shown on the map.

Genestealers: The Genestealer player begins the mission with two blips, and receives two reinforcement blips per turn. Blips may enter play at any entry area.

SPECIAL RULES
None.

VICTORY
Space Marines: The Space Marine player wins by firing the flamer at any square in the Launch Control Room. When this happens the game ends and the Space Marines win immediately.

Genestealers: The Genestealer player wins the moment he kills the Space Marine armed with the heavy flamer, or if the flamer runs out of ammunition before firing into the Launch Control Room.

Blood Angels:  Badelaire
Genestealers:  Darkwing
Deployment is shown above, with the Space Marines represented by the red circles, and the Genestealer entry points marked with the purple arrows.  The Space Marines must get to the Launch Control Room (marked with the green square) and immolate it with the heavy flamer before being overrun by the genestealers.