Hot Space Station Justice

Fonts, sub-titles, and text boxes

Several people commented on the utility of the sub-title, and I’ve included it as a signal of intention. There are two other books planned, and I’d like to establish continuity from the start. Here’s the latest iteration. My wife thinks it odd, given the title, that the font should be white, but it seems more legible.

Closing in – target lock

Hugely appreciate all the input. How’s this look?

Steeldragon weighs in

Hold the phones… a fellow gamer just came up with this.

Or one of these?

Thanks everyone. Lots of suggestions to keep the Title in light colors, but give it more character.

Decisions, decisions …

Need a hand determining which cover works better. Weigh in with your opinion or make a suggestion.



Alejandro did a great job, eh?

Are we the baddies?

Waiting on editors and artists, so I figured I’d post one of my favorite YouTube vids. Kids, pay attention in school, ’cause this is only really funny if you know enough history.War history at that.

This one is great too.

Cover art for upcoming print version of Running Black

Rough cover for the print version of “Running Black” by the exceptional Alejandro Martinez. Title and name need to be added and there’s some minor changes/details coming, but this is the basic idea. Cool eh? I’d swear it was the cover of a real book.

Good little video. Missio Dei

My eldest son was in Portland, Oregon over the weekend and passed on this  video. Apparently author Donald Miller attends the Portland congregation, and seeing as I’m a fan of Blue like Jazz and Searching for God knows what, I figured I’d pass it on as well.

Read More

Eshu International – a private security firm

(I know Blackwater is “Xi” now)

News reports today highlighted the withdrawal of America’s last combat brigade from Iraq, although nearly 50K troops will remain in “non-combat” roles until 2011. The name of the operation has also been changed from “Iraqi Freedom” to “New Dawn” , as if the garnish of a new title would make the situation any less volatile, the country any less fragile. Close your eyes and call it something else… we’ll see how that global strategy works. A news footnote mentions that the size of private security forces will be doubled. (Won’t be near enough)

For more on that precarious decision, I suggest Peter Singer’s “Corporate Warriors” or Robert Pelton’s “Licensed to Kill”. Or read Ralph Peter’s articles in his recent compilation “Endless War”.

Back to the fiction…

Set in the near future, “Running Black” centers on a small team of former soldiers, an indentured corporate hacker, and illegal combat clones who’ve formed a “private security” outfit doing dirty work for tomorrow’s massive financial entities. Think it’s far-fetched? Think again. Private security is a rapidly growing, multi-billion dollar industry, and with politics, budget cuts, the constant need to maintain strategic interests, the opportunities are only going to increase.  As global markets expand, corporations are going to need real security in the face of terrorists, pirates, and constant internecine war in Africa, Asia, and the ME as they compete for consumers and resources.

The bottom rung, sketchy transactions of a shadowy outfit like Eshu International are more a matter of time than plausibility. Nations and corporations will always need dirty work done and there will always be people willing to do it for cold cash. Like Jace says in the novel, they’re ‘deniable, deletable, and disposable.’  The perfect tool for ruthless pragmatism.

Note on self-publishing

It was a tough decision. Seriously.

Perhaps I was premature. Perhaps RB isn’t up to professional standards yet, or -as a first novel –  never will be.  Perhaps I took the easy way out. Last thing I want to be is prima-donna deluded (or is that prima uomo?) and come across as sniveled and sanctimonious. But after 18 months of queries, waiting, lack of communication, editing, wondering, I decided it was time to stop scratching at the door of the traditional gatekeepers and move on.

To be clear, I’m not lifting my leg on agents and publishers. They’re professionals with a tough job, and they don’t owe me a thing. I’ve received very gracious responses from several who took the time to read and comment on my manuscript. Their feedback was invaluable to this first time author.

It’s just that between the slogging and waiting, and the exploding opportunities for self-publishing, I opted to change my course. From Smashwords free services (free ISBN for ebooks… how cool is that?) to Lulu, xLibris, iUniverse, CreateSpace, etc, the field is wide open and I’m sensing the readers are becoming the new gatekeepers. The material, distribution and access is at your fingertips.

Yes, there’s loads of trash to wade through. I’ve winced my way through the opening pages of many stories. (Get an editor, guys) Some will toss “Running Black” on the garbage heap, but that’s not the point. The game has changed, and I think in the midst of all that verbiage, there’s genuine talent that will rise to the surface and be appreciated.

And, I bet dollars to doughnuts if a self-pubbed book starts selling well, a publishing house will overlook their qualms and work something out.

Good Luck.

maybe I shoulda read this first?