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.
Yeah. Finally. After a bunch of things getting in the way (things called “life”) I now have book 2 done. The Bellerophon: Flight will be available on Amazon.com hopefully by the end of the month. I’m just waiting for cover artist Kevin Reyonlds to send me a cover and it’ll be uploaded shortly thereafter. Look for Bellerophon: Flight to be out soon and look for it to also be bundled with my first book Bellerophon: Ambush for a savings if you want to pick up the first two books in what will be a series of 4-6 books (not counting spin-offs).
Thanks so much for your patience and I’ll get back to whatever it is that I do.
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!
Okay…so I get up this Black Friday morning thinking that I may browse some of the deals online before I get to work on my daily writing goal. Maybe while “window” shopping I’ll come across an interesting writing prompt to get me warmed up. I come across the new Star Wars trailer so of course I watch it a time-or-ten.
My reaction? ( Note: it is vitally important to remember that my personal reaction weighs oh so heavily on the Internet and its ultimate well-being).
My reaction is “huh…” So it appears JJ Abrams is doing what I expected him to. He’s turned Star Wars into a grittier world much like another movie franchise…now what was that one called again? Oh, yeah, Star Trek! Now just throw in a couple of redshirts (color the white stormtroopers red maybe), warp drive, phasers, and teleporters now because they would not be entirely out of place after seeing and hearing the trailer. Even the voiceover guy, talking about the “awakening force” and whatnot, sounds very much like it could have been recorded for a Star Trek movie trailer.
We did get to see the Millennium Falcon so that was pretty cool. What was completely missing was any other recognizable character – unless of course you consider tie fighters, storm troopers, and x-wings characters, which I suppose they kinda are. Where is Luke, Leia, Han, all the hyped up returning folks? Where is the wookiee roar! For goodness sake? Where are the stars of Star Wars!? Where are the stars for that matter? Everything takes place over sand dunes, a dark forest (I have to admit the bad guys red light saber looks cool – it has to be difficult to imagine a usable bad guy sword for every new Star Wars movie I suppose), and there are even x-wings screaming over what appears to be a lake. Nothing in space. Nothing.
So after viewing the trailer I am neither turned on or turned off (okay…maybe there was a little hair standing up on my arms when the Falcon zipped by – been missing her for more than 30-years!) for the upcoming mega-blockbuster-cashcow-in-waiting. I left more scratching my head trying to swallow the pill that this is Star Trek with the force and guys sweating like crazy under their stormtrooper armor. Just not entirely thrilled with the initial feel (love it for Star Trek but it has been done!) and not super excited about the look at all. Even the stormtrooper blasters look wrong. And what the heck is with the beach ball droid??!! I hope that droid isn’t a major player because I have a feeling he could be a mechanical Jar-Jar or something.
Yes, Disney, I’ll pay to watch it…I’ll pay for the Blu-ray to follow most likely. But I’m not going to say right now that it looks like I’m going to like it.
Just be prepared for the inevitable Star Trek crossover in the future everyone. Seriously.
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…
Sigma Draconis update:
Sigma Draconis threatens to end me, I swear it! I’m about 55K into the story and it wants, calls, to be split into a two parter! This was a project that originally started as a novella mind you so perhaps you can understand my trepidation and concern. Well…it’ll get done for no other reason than I’m super excited to begin my other projects. I really wish this is what I did full-time!
Novella update: I’m aiming for 30K with this one. A fast, fun, and exciting piece centered around one of the characters of my first book. It’s coming together. I hope to have this one done soon before Christmas and then Sigma early into the New Year. If I could devote the time I want, that it deserves, to this project I’d already be done! It is what it is…
Thanks to all those that have supported me by downloading my first novel. I hope to get more out to you soon!
Writing Project(s) Update:
First off I’d like to thank my readers in Australia. October was a pretty good month for downloads there. I taught my students the awesome song Waltzing Matilda weeks ago so obviously that news made it’s way from Washington State to the land down-under and thus the uptick in downloads there. I love that song…perhaps the best unofficial national anthem ever. The real one, “Advance Australia Fair,” is the official anthem but the one everyone really knows is Waltzin’! Love it!
Sigma Draconis is coming along. Not as quickly as I’d like but it’s coming along. The trouble is not the writing. It’s finding the time to do the writing! Holding down a full-time job with a commute that’s more than an hour round-trip really cuts into my writing and brain-working time. I’ve changed things up this week writing at home a couple hours before I leave for work. This worked well for me while I pecked away at The Bellerophon: Ambush last spring. I tried to change things up this year by writing after work but then people saw my light on which then obviously meant I was there to answer their questions…so I stopped that this past week. When your door is closed and your classroom lights are off and the only light on is your desk lamp that should say something. Many are deaf to this however. So from now on, when it’s 4pm, I’m out! If I’m still in the mood when I get home I may be able to put another 500+ coherent words for a current writing project (Sigma Draconis novel, TBA short story/novella) or to outline a new story. I have dozens and dozens of those. Writing story outlines is almost as addictive as writing the actual stories! Perhaps even more so in fact. Wouldn’t it be great to have an 8th day of the week that was all yours?! I could go with that. No wonder folks that work 4 ten-hour days instead of 5 eights are so much happier.
Long story short…the writing update for SD:
Despite the change in writing schedule, a crazy work week, and my brain outlining new projects seemingly every day, I managed to get Act/Part 1 done yesterday. The draft comes in at 50K words and without looking through it yet (which will change what I say next most assuredly) I’m pretty happy with it. It is different than my first book TB:A but I promise it’s still great fun. I’m more excited for this piece than TB:A in fact. The plan is to start Act/Part 2 tomorrow morning and see where that goes. What it looks like right now is that for sure there will be 3 overall Act/Parts and possibly a 4th. If it goes to a 4th Act/Part it will probably mean it’ll be split up into two releases so I can hit my self-imposed deadline. I’m happy either way that goes. The only problem is that it may push back the direct sequel to TB:A just a little bit but I promise it will be a month delay at most. I hope to get that done by this late spring. Stay tuned for more on that!
Update: TBA short story/novella
So this is a shorter piece of fiction following one of the crew from the Bellerophon and how he or she came to sign-on with Captain Wray. I’m experimenting a day a week on writing this. It looks to be first person which I’m very excited to do for several reasons. For one it’s great to write in this manner because you get a lot of extra dialogue and character development because you get the internal dialogue and how the character is thinking. And second it’s my homage to one of my favorite books of all-time, Heinlein’s Starship Troopers. Finally, I’m exploring this point-of-view writing style because it may return for the direct sequel to TB:A. At least part of it anyway.
Thanks for following and keeping up with my notes on this and that. I watched Snowpiercer on Halloween night and a review on that film is forthcoming. Let’s just say I’m very glad I saw it.
Cheers and keep the faith!
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