I wanted to give a thanks to my supporters for the month of September in the U.K. I really appreciate your interest in my work and I will forever endeavor to write tales that will entertain you. Please spread the word!
The second book of the Captive Galaxy Series has been out for a little over a week now and I would like to thank my readers for their support. One of the neat things about Kindle Direct Publishing is that you can see exactly when people have downloaded a book as a purchase and how many pages have been read if they are a part of Kindle Unlimited. To see hundreds of pages read a day is pretty cool (thousands would be better though!). To see people read and enjoy my work helps get me through the day.
I appreciate you all!
I previously posted that I’d pushed the old “submit” button to send all my words saved as binary 1’s and 0’s to travel through the magical ethereal plane to the Amazon servers to then (hopefully) be summoned by kindles aplenty. If you have Kindle Unlimited you can borrow it for free (well..you pay a monthly subscription for it so it’s not exactly free) or if you have the $2.99 to spare, it is but a click or two away.
I hope my readers patiently (perhaps impatiently) waiting for this second installment enjoy the read. And please know that I am working on further stories to add to the series. Thanks and tell your friends!
As is becoming my tradition prior to returning to work in our wonderful public school system (sarcasm?) I have uploaded my most recent work (Book 2 The Bellerophon: Flight) to Amazon. Sure it was done months ago…maybe…but I dragged my feet. Why? Because even just one download makes my entire day and gives me something to look forward besides the final bell so I wanted to stall until school was starting back up again.
Hope you like it. Please give it a review and rating if you have the chance. If you want to pick up the first book it will be on sale starting on August 25. I’ll post some updates, cover art, etc. as this all moves forward.
BEWARE SPOILER BELOW!!!! (Maybe)
About a year ago I posted my thoughts on Star Wars: Episode VII. I made a prediction that the movie would start with a starship traveling somewhere (that was a hard prediction since every SW movie has started with a ship arriving or traveling somewhere) but at the time the prediction I made had the Millennium Falcon being the traveling starship. I would like to take that prediction back because…
…the Falcon has been stored on the desert planet that is home to the tough living Rey (Daisy Ridley). It has been stored there for several reasons that I will get into in a moment. In the most recent trailer the Falcon is being chased by tie fighters and during the fight the much beloved craft of the original trilogy daringly flies through the wreckage of the crashed star destroyer. Now, that would seem a crazy maneuver, one that is certainly against all odds (I won’t quote those odds of course) that is, unless the pilot was aware of the layout of the crashed destroyer and knew there was a way out and not just durasteel bulkheads waiting at the end of what would be a short flight.
Now why was the Falcon hidden away and why do I think it was hidden in the first place? Well, here come my spoiler predictions. BEWARE!!!
Episode VII starts 30 years or so after Return of the Jedi. Things didn’t go so well for the Rebellion after the death of the Emperor, Vader, and destruction of the latest iteration of the Death Star. Why? Because the Empire was…well it was an empire. A big, big empire with many huge warships and millions and millions of troops. They weren’t going to surrender and go home so easily now would they? I why should they? It wouldn’t make sense. They still outnumber the rebels tremendously and don’t need to make decisions based on morals and feelings like the good guys do. In the wake of the loss the emperor the remaining Empire leadership got together and likely said: “probably be a good idea to kill that Luke guy, Sole, and Leia about now, you all agree?” So assassin squids are sent out. Bounties are set and no kidding this time. Bring me Han’s head and you get a planet…because we have a million to spare. Seems a worthwhile transaction in my estimation. The Rebellion was still pretty small so they can’t protect all their people all the time. There were probably some higher ups that got snugged. Akbar probably didn’t see that it was a trap at least once (by the way it’s not helpful to say “it’s a trap” after its been sprung).
Luke probably saw that by staying close to his friends they would be put in danger so he may keep to his own little solo missions because he’s no general…he does pretty dumb and selfish stuff after all. SO of course Luke goes off and becomes corrupted by the dark side like Yoda warned. Which was why we didn’t see him in the last trailer. If you saw he was a bad guy there would be a missing twist opportunity.
Han and Leia on the other hand have a couple kids. A boy and a girl. They’re a happy family but they find that there is a bad guy(s) out their hunting them and knocking off the few jedi that have come out of the woodwork with the demise of Vader. They decide to have older brother fool with the memories of his little sister and pretty much brainwash her into forgetting who she is, her jedi abilities, and who her family is. She wasn’t a fan of this but she didn’t want her family to be hurt so she went with it. She is hidden off on a desert planet (somewhat like the planet where her uncle was hidden away on except this one has only one sun) and so she, Rey, lives her lonely life in the desert taking refuge in a home made from a destroyed AT-AT with her time spent tinkering on machinery (like her grandfather Vader), scrounging the battlefield littered with star destroyers and other downed craft, while working for some alien I expect to be Maz Kanata (Lupita Nyong’o). All the while Rey is having these feelings that something is missing…cases of déjà vu are rampant etc. She says at some point “I am no one” despite the fact that she is an uber jedi in waiting.
Rey is not the only valuable hidden away on the desert planet…the Falcon is also hidden away on the planet because it’s like a beacon strobe that says “HAN SOLO IS HERE.” That’s why in one of the short clips Han says “We’re home” and he looks relieved and nostalgic and then how he knows to fly through the downed star destroyer while being chased by a tie fighter.
Okay so what about older brother that mind wiped little sister Rey? What happened to him you ask? Well, in being older brother he felt that he would be able to protect himself and fight against those that were hunting him and his family (possible Uncle “dark side” Luke). It didn’t work out so well. He turns to the dark side himself and goes all naughty and jedi killy at the behest of his uncle. The galaxy needs order and only a nice sith working party can do that. They both, Ren and Luke, work to finish what Vader (grandpa and dad respectively) failed to do which was unite the galaxy and bring order; such a proud family.
So Kylo Ren is Han and Leia’s son who mind wiped daughter Rey and is now hunting them all because good is dumb (I heard that once before…long before you were born). Some of the math adds up at least. The actor that plays Ren is just over 30 and the movie takes place 30-years after Return of the Jedi. The actress that plays Rey (Rey and Ren by the way…how many parents use the same letter to start their kids first names…too many if you ask me!) is 23 so when Rey had her mind wiped she would have been like 8 or 9 and her brother would be 15+ which is old enough to be a decent jedi perhaps but surely old enough to be super stubborn and say “no, I’m a grown up jedi now and I can fight off jedi hunter uncle Luke myself.”
Now, just which major character dies? We need a worthy sacrifice and Jar-Jar won’t work (I think Jar-Jar is biding his time by the way and will make his move in Episode VIII by the way). Sorry Chewbacca but we’ll miss you. Our poor Wookie, perhaps the best “person” out of all the SW characters, will sacrifice himself and be slain by…probably Ren though I wouldn’t be surprised to hear it was Captain Phasma because she has to do something badass. Why else does she wear a shiny storm trooper outfit than to show off how tough she is?
Oh, and about the character of Finn played by John Boyega? Well, he’s a storm trooper that’s becoming more and more upset that he is on the side of the bad guys but, like any gang, you just can’t walk away without being…well, killed. So, after participating in the opening scene massacre, a massacre led by Kylo Ren (and his Knights of Ren buddies) as they hunt jedi and resistance folks alike, Finn decides he’s done and it’s now time to get out. He jumps in a tie fighter, which of course all storm troopers can fly (perhaps he is special because he’s a secret jedi and can just do things…the jedi part is also a reason to leave because he’s part of a bunch of fellas hunting jedi and it’s probably not a great idea to stick around). He blasts his way out of the star destroyer and flies away and it’s all good until it isn’t and he gets shot down and crashes which brings the bad guys to the doorstep of Rey and that brings Han, Chewie, and Leia out of hiding to protect their kid against their other kid. Chase ensues for an hour and Chewie dies in a cold, dark forest or something like that.
Enjoy the movie!
Don’t let me know if I’m right because I hate spoilers!!!
J.W. Kurtz (writer)…what I’m reading, what I’m watching, what I’m playing, & what I’m writing:
In an attempt to keep my ever busy mind occupied I quench its thirst with a bevy of media entertainments. Recently I watched Whiplash and wow! Wow! Wow! I haven’t watched such an intense film in I don’t know how long. It was absolutely fantastic. I don’t much care for the Academy Awards (Oscars) because they rarely if ever get it right. Well, J.K. Simmons winning for Best Supporting Actor was certainly warranted. I’ve always been a Simmons fan and it’s great to see that not only did he get casted in a role absolutely perfect for him to display his range but that he also received the accolades for his work. “Well done” all way around I must say. There is one thing that indie films and books tend to get right when compared to the massive corporate blockbuster world of media entertainment and that is story and heart. Indie’s time and time again get it right in a more consistent manner than the big fish. If you haven’t seen Whiplash you owe it to yourself to do so. Be prepared…it is rather intense and there is more than a little swearing so if you’re offended by such a thing you’ve been warned. Enjoy!
Currently I’m working my way through viewing The Last Ship. I’m more than half-way through the first season and I must say…it is not very good but I can’t bring myself to stop. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s the absolute absurdity of the whole thing. I feel like I am rubber necking while watching this fiasco. I need to stop but I just can’t! And no, it is not a guilty pleasure. It’s more like masochism.
What got me to watch The Last Ship in the first place? Well, I attempted to read the book once when I was about 14. I made it about 50-pages in and quit. I put it back on the shelf and moved on. Then about 6-7 years later I tried again. I loved the idea of it all but it was just very, very hard to get into. Then I tried about 5-years after that believing that my stronger background in naval history and end-of-the-world scenarios (I studied such fun things in college!) would better prepare me for one more attempt. Nope. Still couldn’t go past page 100 or so. Now here I am having a rough outline of the story (it is very different from the book) delivered to on the TV and I just sit there shaking my head wondering how it became a series. I’m shaking my head even as I write this. Obviously the creators of the series never attempted to read the book the show is based on for if they had they would have gone on to instead make a zombie vampire reality show or something. Oh and there’s a season 2!!! Crazy!
What am I playing??? Yeah I’m a gamer. A gamer that goes back to the Commodore 64 and Atari. Following those up I gamed on the first Nintendo NES and then I moved into the PC world of gaming. I’ve built…many, many systems over the years. Too many to count. I love games of all genres but especially strategy games. FPS and RPG games are fun but to me they don’t compare to the thrill I get from a classic double pincer move on a battlefield. Good times. The other day I found a deal on Steam for a game I’ve heard about for a while but I just haven’t had the time to check it out. The game is called FTL: Faster Than Light. It was on one of Steam’s super discount sales. I think I paid like $2.50 for it. How could you miss for the cost of less than a cup of coffee, right? Well, it was a bullseye. I played that thing for half the night. I’m looking forward to playing it later today when I get all my chores and projects done for the day. It’s my reward. Check it out. If you like strategy and supporting indie works you will not be disappointed!
Now what am I writing? I’m happy to have a great deal of time to work on my writing projects this summer. I hope to have the sequel to my first book, The Bellerophon: Ambush, completed by the end of the season. What has kept me so behind on this project? Well, I wrote about 80-90k words in a side project and then shelved it because work was interfering with my process and a whole bunch of other things were
going on. I don’t see it entirely as wasted time because it will be out at some point but I am really focusing now on Bellerophon Book 2 (just my working title). I do want to thank, again, all the people that have read and taken the time to review Book 1. There is nothing more thrilling to me than to see my book has been downloaded and that it was enjoyed enough to earn a review. Even the critical reviews are appreciated because they push me to do better. Thanks everyone!
Update: NOT talking about Russia, the continued slow death of the Constitution, or UC Irvin. Nope all about Sci-Fi!
An update for those that enjoy my updates. And for those that don’t…well whatever then. This update is about my writing and has nothing to do with the Russian assassination of a critic of dictator Putin or the attack on the US Constitution by those sworn to uphold it nor will I go into detail about my thoughts on the UC Irvin banning of the American Flag (at least until these future leaders of the “free world” realized they’d lose their funding and loans if they followed through with it). I must share that there’s a reason why I write science fiction and I study the past…it’s because the “now” kinda sucks. We are far, far from the Greatest Generation it shames me to say. Oh well I suppose the Earth Abides (my second favorite book of all time – check it out!).
My writing projects have been slowed by work. I wish I could devote more time to them but in teaching 4 of 6 classes that are outside my specialty (or any type of training) I find I’m pretty busy during waking hours. Trust though that I am still working on the sequel to The Bellerophon: Ambush. The first 3 chapters are done and the majority of the book has a very detailed chapter by chapter draft/plan in place. Just need time to do it all! And I’m also busily putting together other outlines as well. I’m good for the next 10 years of writing I think, now if I could spend any of those 10 years actually writing I’d be good to go I think! Don’t worry. I’ll have the sequel done going into the summer. I can tell those of you who have followed my writing that this next book will be far more entertaining than the first. Promise!
P.S. Reviews/rating are welcome!
This will be brief.
I only wanted to share that besides the Sigma Draconis sci-fi project and The Bellerophon: Ambush related novella, I will also begin work on a short novel in honor of my dog Sasha who passed away this past weekend. Upon her departure she left me with a final gift: inspiration. I miss her very, very much (just going through the motions at work right now) and I hope to honor her memory with a story that will be lasting. This will be a YA/Sci-Fi story concerning the loss of a beloved pet.
Author Updates: SEE BELOW
This is a notice for any of those dog lovers out there that read my posts to please be aware that this one may be kinda sad. I’ve been off my daily writing goal for some time. The reason is that one of my dogs, a 5-year old golden retriever named Sasha, has been battling an autoimmune disorder since Labor Day. A couple trips to emergency vet hospitals, a couple weeks of hospital stays, and weekly blood testing and therapies have not solved the issue. Her last prognosis (received yesterday when I picked her up from the specialist ER in Seattle) was “Guarded to Poor.” Fingers crossed and trying to stay positive is all that is left. She has a chance but it will take weeks to months for her to recover if at all. Thank goodness I had the foresight to get pet insurance for her because all I can say is her name should be spelled $a$ha as the dollar signs are completely appropriate. In truth there should maybe be another dollar sign in her name. Please know that I am still finding time to get some writing done be it in the morning before work, after work as soon as I get home, on the weekends as much as I can between chores that have to get done, and even while in the shower…I won’t go into the details on that one. Thanks for the continued support through the downloads and fantastic reviews that are both thoughtful and constructive. It helps tremendously. And thanks in advance for the positive thoughts for Sasha. She’s just a fantastic girl. My wife and I love her very, very much.
UPDATE: It is with a heavy heart that I share the passing of my little girl, Sasha. She put up a valiant fight but the deck was stacked against her. The night of the 15th and into the morning of the 16th of November there was a battle fought and lost. She was brave and as strong as she could be but on the morning of the 16th it was time. We said our goodbye, held her paw, and watched her drift off. The tears are heavy and will continue to be so for some time. I miss my girl oh so very much. Thanks for the thoughts and prayers. We were lucky to have her in our life. We only wish that it could be for just but one more day.
Update: Sigma Draconis
Still working hard on this project. Or trying to. The illness of Sasha has kept me from this project and I am okay with this. Very okay because she is so very much worth it.
I’m 54k-words in and I feel it’s coming along. Wish I had an extra day a week to get this done sooner for everyone. I took a personal day last week to write and another one the week before that. Gonna run out of personal and sick days if I’m not careful but I FAR ENJOY WRITING much more than what I do during my regular work day. FAR, FAR MORE! A note on SD: if you’re looking for a blow-it-up-explosion-a-second ride…this is just a little different book than my first work for Kindle. This has a more thorough explanation of the colonial system, corporate future of space, and characterization of the various actors. Yes there is action. Yes there is ancient alien stuff. Yes there is adult language. And yes it will be longer than The Bellerophon: Ambush. I hope people enjoy it as much as I’m enjoying the writing of it.
Update: Captive Galaxy Novella
Sitting at about 4K words on this. I hope to have this in the 20-40K range and released ASAP. Kinda a wide range I know but I’m letting it go where it needs to go. If it’s 20K words then it’s 20K. I’m not going to needlessly lengthen or shorten it. It knows what it needs to be and I am just the tour guide of the exhibit. This novel is more in line with The Bellerophon: Ambush in regards to being a more fast-paced military science fiction work. Super fun to write it is. It is written in the first person and is more space marine-ish. It’s also warming me up for the direct sequel to TB:A because there will be some first person parts in there regarding a discovered journal. When I put out this Novella it will be released singly and as part of an updated TB:A combined release.
Stay tuned for more updates and more film reviews. While on sick-dog-watch-duty I get to watch a lot of movies and I really enjoy writing those reviews. I’m glad folks liked my last one on Snowpiercer.
Thanks for the support and as always…
Good morning Sci-Fi fans. I’m very happy to display here, for the first time, the new cover art for my first released book The Bellerophon: Ambush. The original art was done with the cover art maker software on Amazon.com and it worked for me. For a time at least. Then I started to see others with nearly the same cover…so it was obvious that I needed something different.
From time-to-time over the years I’ve chatted with the talented Portland area artist Kevin Reynolds, a friend, brother really, for nearly 30-years (I cried at his wedding which means nothing as I cry at all weddings). We’ve talked about graphic novel work because I love to write, he loves to draw, and we both love to create. So here is the cover he came up with. I think it very well evokes the minimalist environment that is the arena for much of this series: deep space. I immediately thought of one of the original covers of the Greg Bear book Eon and one of the original covers for Rendezvous with Rama, one of my favorite books by perhaps my favorite author, Arthur C. Clarke.
I look forward to again work with Kevin Reynolds in the near future on more creative projects. Hopefully he can find time to fit me into his busy schedule of being a husband, father, co-owner operator of the Via Chicago restaurant (ttp://www.viachicagopizza.com) on Alberta Street in Portland, OR, (stop by and have a slice!) oh and he’s a Senior Art Director for Leopold Ketel & Partners (http://www.leoketel.com) in…you guessed it, that same Rose City. I need a nap after writing all that. Again, he’s quite the busy guy!
And an update on how things are going on Amazon.com…
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,792 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
For an Indie-writer I’m as happy as a clam with these numbers. Never thought I’d write “happy as a clam.” Ever. Thanks to all you readers out there. Now to get some work done. Also, stay tuned for some movie reviews. I’ve watched some off-the-beaten path films lately that I thinks folks will enjoy.
Have a great weekend and as always…