Monday, December 26, 2011

Multi-missile launcher....

I feel sort of like I've launched a group of missiles from a launcher, or set of launchers with Book 6 of the H.E.R.O. series (H.E.R.O. - Paragon).  The goal is for them all to hit one target in a giant explosion of a story.  That's my hope, anyway.  The story is definitely moving along.

The Christmas festivities are over.  I'm glad to be at home, typing away on a day off.  It's great to see friends and family, but it's a lot to do in a few weeks time.  I'm thinking that I may try to find a giant bag to pull over the tree and just haul it downstairs in one piece so I don't have to put it all together again next year....

Hope you all had a Merry Christmas!

'Til next time.


Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas season is busy....

I've had quite a few gatherings to attend for family and friends in the last week, and more to come this weekend. The same sort of thing is hitting my editors, so Book 5 is likely to slip into January while we wait. On a good note about that - one of my editors said that Book 4 was my best novel, and that Book 5 is even better.

It's always my goal to create an entertaining, interesting, and at times exciting story for my readers. I won't always go with the idea of having a "tight" plotline in a novel, though. After all, these are superhero novels I'm writing - these people ought to be reacting to crimes, disasters and other events occurring in the city. Also, an ongoing novel series is more akin to a television series than to most books, or even most trilogies.

With the cover for H.E.R.O. - Horde finished, I shifted my attention to my notes for Book 6. On Tuesday I began writing the novel, so the gears have begun turning on it. There is a tiny convention in Green Bay, WI that I'm debating on hosting a booth at during March 30 - April 1, 2012. My hope is to get the book out in time to have paperbacks printed to bring along.

I'm also debating putting together the art for some posters of the characters. I've got so many already that I'm not sure which ones people would want. Gah - I never thought I'd be in this position back when I began making the 3D characters.... On the other hand, time taken out to work on poster art keeps me from working on 'the next' novel after #6.

Okay, done with rambling.

'Til next time.


Saturday, December 17, 2011

X-Mas events

I defeated Lady Rapture - I had to totally re-design the gold of her hair - but it works, and doesn't take long to render now.  The intent was to make it the same golden color as Psystar's, and since I like the new gold much more than the old I re-did Psystar's hair to match.  (Psystar was the first character I designed.)  I rendered sixteen pics of each and have those up on the website.

Now that Rapture is complete I've been working on the cover design for H.E.R.O. - Horde.  My inclination is always to throw in more and more characters on the cover to give the reader an idea of the characters within.  One of my editors and some friends thought it looked too cluttered, so I'm going with a simpler look on this one than on H.E.R.O. - Dark Research.  It does look pretty clean, though - I've got a tiny version of it on the Books page, and am waiting on a (hopefully) final render of Ladies Nocturne/Celeste/Rapture to complete to plug in.

Today is an X-Mas event for me.  Sadly, my girlfriend is stuck working all weekend, so I get to go alone to a massive extended family affair.  It should still be enjoyable, but would have been nice for her and the kids to be there.

One (rough) edit of H.E.R.O. - Horde is complete by an editor.  I'm still hoping to have it out by the end of the year.

I believe I have the core storylines for Book 6 ... H.E.R.O. - Paragon ... selected.  I'll probably begin actual work on it tomorrow.  (I don't really consider collecting notes and story ideas as part of the "work" for each novel.)

'Til next time.


Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Ladies

I completed the graphics for Lady Celeste and Lady Nocturne - both are now on the H.E.R.O. tab of my website with pics and descriptions.

Lady Rapture is being difficult.  I finished her design, but I've had four PCs rendering images of her, and after 8 hours none have completed a single render.  Her hair is apparently a beast on the render engine.  (It's metallic.)

I still have to select the heroes (and poses) that also go on the cover for H.E.R.O. - Horde.  But, the cover is progressing.  It certainly takes a lot more to do the graphics stuff than I'd thought.

'Til next time.


Monday, December 12, 2011

Goth & Metal

Someone clued me into Within Temptation - they are a Goth band.  Kind of a mix of celtic and metal music mixed together (and to a degree sound similar to Evanescence at times).  I like it - and kind of wish I'd heard about it before starting on H.E.R.O. - Horde, although it wouldn't have changed the novel, I suppose.  But hearing the music while writing the scenes at the Goth clubs would have been interesting at the least.

On another note, I sure wish there were an easy place to go to email new bands - heavy metal in particular at this time.  I could really use some band art (from either their t-shirts or CD cover) to put on the t-shirts of some of the Horde guys on my novel.  Sadly, I'd have to get the "legal OK" from them to use it on my work, and I suppose that would bog down using anything like that.  But it'd be cool to have.

'Til next time.


Rawr and H.E.R.O. - Dark Research

Rawr!  Had a great chest and triceps workout this morning, hit new highs on my bench press, decline press, incline press and dips.

H.E.R.O. - Dark Research (book 4 in the series) is now available on for the Kindle.  I immediately enrolled it in the Amazon Prime borrowing club deal as well if you have a Amazon Prime membership.  The proof for the paperback has also been ordered (to review the layout on the paper version), so that should be on its way to me soon-ish.  Createspace seems to follow their own version of the space-time continuum for printing/shipping books.  They are great when a customer orders, but when an author orders it can be lightning fast ... or turtle slow to get it out to us.

Thanks again to my editors - Ralph Gadbois, Dan Henry and Kimi Johnson - for their hard work on the fourth book, and my apologies to them for hitting them with the fifth book just before the holiday.  I'm hoping they find time to squeeze in the edits on it amongst the other obligations the Christmas season brings with it.

Have a great day, everyone!

'Til next time.


Saturday, December 10, 2011

Dec 10, 2011

Today's a good day.  Two of my three editors finished going through H.E.R.O. - Dark Research the other day, and I've implemented the changes requested.  The last sounds like she'll be done tomorrow, and then I can put the book out for Kindle right away.

Also, I finished my edit review of book 5 (H.E.R.O. - Horde), and sent it over to the first two editors.  Not sure of a timeline, but it is now past one more hurdle on the path to release.

On a different note, I enrolled all of my novels in Amazon's Kindle Owner's Lending Library.  If you have a Kindle device (sadly, they don't allow it with a PC, iPad, etc. running the Kindle reader - it must be an actual Kindle device) - but if you DO have one, then my books are now available for borrowing as your free monthly book to read.  The downside of this is that I had to pull them from the Barnes and Noble bookstore for at least 90 days while I try this out.  I'll see how it works for the first 90 days and decide which route to go after that, but Nook owners either buy very few books, or it's a dead platform or something.  I've sold very, very few e-books for Nook devices.

Anyway, I'm now beginning work on the cover art for H.E.R.O. - Horde.  I've got a strong idea of what I want to go with, now to see if I can actually do it and have it look decent.

'Til next time.


Saturday, December 3, 2011

Blog on

I'm fairly excited, I found a way to post the RSS feed from my site directly on my main website.  I added a menu item at the top for ease of viewing as well.  Now people won't have to leave my website to see the blog (which I pretty much hated).

Still waiting on my editors on the fourth novel, although it sounds like the second is nearly finished.  I'll be excited to get it out there for people.

Due to the delays of the holiday season with them, I've gotten way ahead of schedule on Book 5 (H.E.R.O. - Horde).  I'm working on the final scenes now, and it's up over 102,000 words.  Depending on how fast the editing goes on that one it may be out within weeks of Book 4.

Of course, now the mind begins thinking about covers.  I'm going to go with a similar approach as with Book 4, although this one will have a horde of brick-like brutes at the bottom half (all mashed together, like they are standing in a tight space), and some heroes up in the center.  I'm debating doing up the graphics on one to three of the main Goth mutant ladies that appear in the novel as well, since one or more are likely to appear in later novels.

Sadly, the newest "cool" character to me - Borgax - may not be possible for me to do up a decent 3D graphic for.  He needs to look like a robot, or an exoskeleton in this novel, and I don't have good art assets to build that sort of thing.  (Also, while I'm fairly proud of most of my hero character images, I don't know that I'm good enough to do him justice, at least not yet.)

Well, back to finishing up the novel.  Good fortune to you all.

'Til next time.


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I'm on Fire

Perhaps not literal fire, but I'm making real progress on a few different things.  I've the toons Rampart and Muckman up on the website in all their graphical glory.  Muckman's not overly special (as far as the costume goes), but I wanted people to see what I generally envisioned for him.  I really like how Rampart's costume turned out.

I'm still waiting on my editors for H.E.R.O. - Dark Research.  I'm hoping that doesn't mean the novel's chock full of typos and grammatical mistakes - although I'm fairly certain they are both simply quite busy.  I'll have it out as soon as they get the results back to me (and make the changes).

That hasn't stopped me from forging ahead on the fifth novel in the series.  It'll be called H.E.R.O. - Horde, and is already nearly 50,000 words in already.  Considering a full novel is about 100,000 words, I'm nearly halfway done, depending on how the story turns out.  Some of the heroes you've barely seen in the other novels get some more face time in this novel.  Some of the notable mutants who aren't simply interested in anarchy begin to appear in the series as well (Lady Nocturne and Lady Celeste, for example).  I'm strongly tempted to do up the graphics on those two.  I'm not certain I have the graphics assets to make Lady Nocturne with her odd mutant parts, but Lady Celeste wouldn't be hard to make, methinks.

On a side note of interest, I hit 300 lbs. on my bench and decline presses recently.  I don't often speak of my weight lifting - I'm a somewhat overweight guy who hits his home gym five times a week and weight lifts hard, mixing in time on the elliptical between every weight lifting set (I like to keep my heart rate as close to or above 150 beats per minute as I can during a workout).  My weakness is food - I love bad food, and someone forgot to install the switch in me that says 'you are now full' that most others seem to have.  I'm not crying about it, however, but simply bringing up a core reason why I hit the gym hard five days a week.

'Til next time....


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

New characters on website - Zonk and Big Man

I've added both Zonk and Big Man to the H.E.R.O. page of my website.  Both are bricks, although each also has an unusual power.  Big Man is more of the standard, serious hero of Metrocity.  Zonk is a clownish guy who may not be entirely (at all?) sane.

Both came out generally like I envisioned, especially Zonk - who just looks crazy.

Here's one pic of each, although there are sixteen of each on my main site:

'Til next time...


Saturday, November 5, 2011

New H.E.R.O. character on the website - Watermane

Say hello to Watermane!  This established heroine of Metrocity hangs out near the river district, and literally enjoys walks along the beach.

Sixteen renders of her have been added to, along with some general information.

Her data page is

Now back to working on my notes for the fifth H.E.R.O. novel....  :)

'Til next time.


Friday, November 4, 2011

H.E.R.O. - Dark Research now has a cover

I believe I've finalized the cover for H.E.R.O. - Dark Research.  Here's a tiny pic of it:

I'm breaking from using the gradient backgrounds I did on my previous three covers, but this one seemed to work out fairly well.  I might go with this approach on future novels as well, I guess I'll have to see how the next one turns out.  Razorwing's dark wings work nicely as a backdrop here.  I'm not sure sure it'll work as well with some other character in the background.

This fourth novel in my H.E.R.O. series is in the hands of the editors right now.  With some fortune they'll finish sometime this weekend and I'll be able to get the book out for Kindle and Nook early next week.  (Paperback is always delayed due to the requirement of ordering a proof copy.)

On the Books page of my website ( the cover is clickable to view a larger version of the above.

'Til next time....


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

H.E.R.O. - Dark Research first draft complete

It's pretty exciting to hit this point. The fourth novel in the series is (roughly) complete. Now for the editing stages. The book should be out within a month(ish).

This book was interesting to write. It flowed out of me like a torrent. This story feels bigger. Certainly there are more heroes involved than in the prior novels. Metrocity is growing and evolving, and apparently I have a few new supers to make for my website. >;)

On the other hand, it's also kind of strange. I've been so hell-bent on this story that hitting the end almost feels like I flew off the edge of a cliff and I'm now freefalling.

Or perhaps that is just from getting sick. A cold is hitting me hard - far more rapidly than I'm used to.

Whichever, I've got a book to edit.... :)

'Til next time.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Heart's an amazing thing

Yesterday morning I did a pure cardio workout.  I don't do them very often - only occasionally on a Wednesday when I'm just not in the mood for a leg workout.  (I also need to burn calories pretty badly.)  Anyway, it was interesting to get the heart rate to 150-170 for the first half hour, and then kept it from 170-183 for the second half hour on the elliptical.  Not my best, but I wasn't doing all out sprints either.  (I was *attempting* to work on the HERO4, but it was pretty difficult to type at the speed I was going.)

What's really neat is that when I couldn't sleep at 2 a.m. last night for some reason, I used my heart rate monitor watch to see what my heart rate was out of curiosity.  Two samples, one showed 52 BPM, the next showed 51 BPM.

It's pretty cool to have something in us that can more than triple its speed like that.

I mentioned that video I was working on - I finished a prelim version and have it out at:
http:\\\images\skellyhead04.avi  if you want to see it or download it for free.  It took my main PC over 8.5 hours to render 40 seconds of video (which I then stretched to 1 minute).  Yeesh.  And that's only at 800x600!  No wonder Pixar needs huge render farms for their movies.  It would have taken longer if there wasn't so much black space on the video as well.

Last note - HERO4 (e.g. H.E.R.O. - Dark Research) is up to 65,000 words so far.  I'm way ahead of schedule on it.  At this point I'm now hoping to be able to release it *around* December 1st, 2011.  If you are a reader of my H.E.R.O. novels, then I thank you.  Please spread the word.  :)

'Til next time....


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Darn wind

The wind really kicked up in the area and some of the tombstones in front of my house blew away.  :(  That's annoying.  On a happier note, while I do have that Halloween video I mentioned before, I've been playing with Poser Pro 2012 and some of the skeleton and demon type figures I've bought to for it.  I can make them wander around and create videos myself.  I made a quickie, but I might see if I can get something creepy going just to alternate with the other video.  Having the same one play for three hours straight might be mindbending.

H.E.R.O. - Dark Research is going really good so far.  I'm already up to 45,000 words.  I don't have an exact word count for what it'll end up at - probably 100-120k, but at least it's moving along fairly quickly.

On another note, I was speaking with one of my editors the other night and mentioned that I'd like to create more H.E.R.O. people in 3D, but hate not using them for who knows how long.  She brought up the idea that having them allowed me to at least mention them in novels even if they don't make an appearance.  Gotta love when someone helps you feed the habit.  LOL.  ;)  It's a good thing, though - I like the website having a lot of heroes on it.  Plus, when I hit 20 total I can make another 3' x 2' poster of the second set of ten.  The first one turned out amazing.  Someday I might go onto Zazzle or a similar site and make posters of some of those images for people to buy.  I don't at this point because so far I haven't heard any interest in it.  I'm a visual person, however, and do enjoy having posters of toons.  Someday if I get around to doing conventions I'm thinking about having good super high detail renders of some toons printed and make them for sale at my booth.  (Not for a ton of money, as with my books I wouldn't price them to get rich, the markup is extremely low on my books currently - so much so that I actually don't make any money at present due to the cost of the advertising and cover art.)

'Til next time....


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Halloween plans, Dark Research.

I'm excited about Halloween this year.  I've got an old projector, and one of the neat Halloween videos that show things like giant eyes looking around, ghosts, skeletons, etc.  I picked up a white shower curtain liner and used the hair dryer on it to allow it to straighten out.  It's now hanging in the spare bedroom to hopefully work out the rest of the creases.

It should make for a very interesting display.  I'm interested to see if I get more people stopping by.  My guess is that there'll be more people who just stop as they are driving past.  I've had it happen before when I really decked out my yard, and combo the bunch of gravestones and skeletons out front with the video and I believe it'll be a draw.  Should be fun to see what occurs and if I get any comments at least.

The only thing I'm unhappy about is the 5:45 p.m. sunset calculated for 10/31/2011, and yet Trick or Treating begins at 4:00 p.m.  Something doesn't seem right about starting the ToT thing at 4:00 p.m. on a working day - a lot of parents won't even get home for another half hour or hour to get their kids ready (much less be there to answer the door to hand out treats).  Boneheadedness on the part of the gov't, that's for sure.

On another note, Book 4 of the H.E.R.O. series is about a third done on the first draft now.  This will be a full size novel.  I'm really enjoying the fact that I've got so many heroes that can become involved, do cameos, and more in this novel.  The series just feels like it is getting tighter as it progresses.

Speaking of heroes, I need to finish Muckman.  I'm not 100% happy with his 3D render yet, but he's close.

On another note, I picked up a replacement battery for my heart rate chest strap.  I like it a lot better while working out if I know for sure that I'm hitting 150 BPM or more on a regular basis.  I really ought to get the eating under control, though.  Kind of failing there.

'Til next time....


Saturday, October 8, 2011

Change to, pain

Just some random updates....

My morning weight lifting workouts are going extremely good.  Weights are going up every week, if not twice a week for most exercises.  Hit 275 lbs. on my sets of 12 for bench presses, and 16 chin-ups.  I'm reasonably pleased about that.  I've been unsuccessful at losing much weight, but at least I'm getting stronger - that's something, right?

I just updated my website and cleaned up a few mistakes - like which book is coming out next, for example.  I added a new character to the site - Tiriffa.  Sadly enough, the first person I showed her to asked me if she were a night elf from WoW, the second claimed she looked a lot like a Wraith from Stargate: Atlantis, and the third thought she looked like some character from another movie or book.  Sigh.  No, she's NOT based on any of those at all.

The most obvious change is to the background image on the right.  Rather than the flowery image I created a collage of my characters.  It certainly looks more interesting, if perhaps a bit busier.

Brought the girlfriend and kids up to put out all of the external All Hallow's Eve decorations.  It looks pretty cool with a bunch of gravestones, skeletons, skulls all over and such.  Of course, having 80 degree weather in October is unusually pleasant in Wisconsin.

'Til later....


Thursday, September 29, 2011

H.E.R.O. - Rise and Fall released into the wild!

As of today H.E.R.O. - Rise and Fall (Book 3) is available for the Kindle!  Shortly (as soon as they 'clear' it) the Nook version will be available - it'll happen automatically either tonight or tomorrow (Friday).

Createspace cleared ordering of my paperback proof copy as well, and I ordered that.  Now to wait a week(ish) to see if the cover, binding and physical layout look good on it before I make the paperback available.

By the way, if it looks odd that I put out Book 3 so soon after Book 2, it had more to do with waiting on the edits and the cover for Book 2, and Book 3 just happened to take far less time for those things.  So the appearance is that it only took a few weeks, when it actually took longer to make Book 3, there was just a time overlap as other things happened on Book 2.

Had a great workout this morning, weights went up on the decline press, incline press, and dips, and added reps to the bench press.  Got together with a bunch of buddies this evening to celebrate birthday stuff, so that was cool.  Bars sure are nicer to be in with them being smokeless now.


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Busy Day

Today I began writing book four of the H.E.R.O. series.  I'd already written a rough outline for a good chunk of the novel, but this put the first actual 'words to paper,' so to speak.  It certainly starts out different than the other novels.  :)

I also created the graphics for Razorwing and added him to the character list on the H.E.R.O. tab of the website.  I'm rather pleased that I succeeded in matching my description in H.E.R.O. - Rise and Fall.  One reason for creating some of these characters prior to being used in a novel is that it is far easier to generate the graphics for a character, and then describe them in a book.  The reverse requires a lot of hunting for graphics files and texture editing.

Speaking of H.E.R.O. - Rise and Fall, it's nearly done with the final edit, and I'll be getting it out for the Kindle in a day or two.


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

New H.E.R.O. Character - Rayna

I've added Rayna to the list of H.E.R.O. characters.  She has a brief bio as well as sixteen pictures of her with her three B's.

On a side note, I'd like to point out that the H.E.R.O. novels are an ongoing series.  They aren't a trilogy or other set number of books - rather they are more like a television series of episodes (granted, fairly long ones).

Random Initial Thoughts

I've got my core website I've been keeping up for a while, but I figured I'd share some of my thoughts in a blog for everyone.

H.E.R.O. - Rise and Fall (book 3 of the H.E.R.O. ongoing series) is at the final editor.  The cover has been created and tweaked from numerous angles until I found one that shows everyone's faces and looks fairly good.  I'm keeping the styles (the gradient background) on each of the novels to make them easily identifiable as a series.  This one I'm going to put out for $0.99 as an e-book (the others are $2.99).  I'm hoping to find a way to give it away for free for a month at the beginning, though I'm hearing that doesn't always work out right.

Last night I spent most of the evening working on a new character for the H.E.R.O. universe.  This one will be a woman who creates small creatures with her powers, and she uses them to be a superhero.  Two other new heroes were added over the weekend.  I'm not giving away the details/background on them yet as they haven't been put into a book yet - but I wanted the look and feel of the characters generated before I got into the writing for H.E.R.O. book 4.

Had a great back and biceps workout this morning.