The first draft of Zack Jackson & The Secret of Venus is complete!
Once I remembered how to write for this series (three fantasy novels in a row kind of made forget some of the character’s voices), I had a lot of fun writing it. There are several new characters to look out for:
- Rio, a transfer student who takes a liking to Zack
- Major Jericho, an EAC fleet officer who is on Cytherea to help with the immigration of Confederation citizens relocating to Vilicus
- Kaneer, a Kerrolan who is Zack and Ix’s new roommate
- Valianna Hallox, a Noble Devoran and daughter of the former Emperor of Devorus, temporarily stopping at Cytherea en route to Vilicus… Dravs may be in love…
I hope to have this one available for sale by next August (to be released at Gen Con). After a short break, I will start writing book 5, Zack Jackson & the Ruins of Athos.
You can buy the previous three Zack Jackson books at Amazon.com.
Art by Tadas Sidlauskas
Here’s another character from my Zack Jackson series, Genevieve “Jenny” DuBois.
Jenny is a Junior Ranger and student at Cytherean Academy, one of the EACs more prestigious schools. Cytherean Academy is on the eponymous aerostat on Venus. (See, breathable air is a lifting gas on Venus. In theory, an aerostat filled with breathable air would float in Venus’s dense atmosphere around 50 km. up, which provides approx. 1 ATM of pressure and livable temperatures, though folks still need protection from the clouds of sulphuric acid.)
She was born and lives (when she’s not attending school) on Messier Habitat in orbit around Mars. Don’t mistake them for Martians, though. Messiers are proud of their French heritage and will let you know it.
She’s pictured with a cloud glider. She’s solo rated and spends downtime at the academy helping Coach Dagon instruct other students, but thus far has resisted joining the school team as she feels it would be too much like work at that point.
So, I’ve commissioned some more character art, this time from my Zack Jackson series.
Art by Tadas Sidlauskas
This is Mungus (more properly, Mungaborrarius, son of Goreborrarius Tonnarvassas, First Warrior of Clan Stonetalon), an Ersidian from my Zack Jackson series. He’s a Junior Ranger in the same troop as Zack, Jenny, and the Valtraxian, Ix. Unlike the others, he still lives on his homeworld; his temper has gotten him kicked out of all the local troops.
The large knife on his back was his grandsire’s. Ersidians once had a proud, honor-obsessed warrior culture to which they still pay lip service. Their braids are their badges of honor. The more story beads woven into their braids, the more honor an Ersidian has. Cutting a braid to give to a friend is a mark of great trust and honor and other Ersidians will leap to the aid of one who carries an Honor Braid. Forcibly cutting an Ersidian’s braids is a gross violation and is punishable by death on Ersid. The Earth-Alpha Centauri Alliance feels this punishment is too harsh for a haircut and won’t extradite criminals to Ersid.
Mungus is an interesting character to include because he doesn’t go to school with the others, so realistically, he only appears in books that take place on annual term-break Junior Ranger trips. In books that take place during the school year, he mostly shows up in long-distance correspondence.
Though I was inspired by Star Trek’s replicators, I feature clothing fabricators in the Zack Jackson series regularly (in fact, these fabricators are used for most household items, like dishes, clothing, and furniture). I was very gratified to see this project pop up on Kickstarter: 3D Fabric Printer.
While the technology is in its infancy, it seems that within our lifetimes we may be able to order up and create our own cloth from the comfort of our homes. It’s commonplace technology in the 43rd century of Zack Jackson’s universe. Might it be commonplace sooner than that in our world?
In honor of ConQuesT 46, from 8AM May 21st (that’s today!) through 8PM May 25th, all THREE Zack Jackson novels are on sale at Amazon for only $0.99 for Kindle!
Follow the link and start your adventure in the 43rd century today!
Thanks to everyone who came out to my event at Indy Reads Books this past weekend, despite the crummy weather. The staff was helpful and friendly, and I appreciate the support of everyone who came out to hear me read an excerpt from Zack Jackson & The Hives of Valtra or to get books signed.
My next local event will be Gen Con (Jul. 30th – Aug. 2nd), but before then I’ll be at ConQuesT in Kansas City (May 22 – May 24). I was hoping to debut book one of Scars of the Sundering, Malediction, there, but due to illness-related delays, I don’t think that will happen. Meanwhile, I’m over 30,000 words into the first draft of book three, Salvation (Lament sits, patiently awaiting the completion of Malediction).
I’ll have some art from Scars of the Sundering to show off in the coming weeks, and I’ll be posting snippets from the first chapter, as well.
Categories: Scars of the Sundering, Writing, Zack Jackson
Tags: book signing, Calliome, Iron Fist of the Oroqs, Malediction, Scars of the Sundering, Wings of Twilight, World of Calliome, young adult, Zack Jackson
Earlier this year I commissioned an original sculpture by David Lee Pancake of the Valtraxian, Ix. You may have see David’s work at Gen Con (he’s the guy who has those really awesome mounted dragon heads). He recently posted a time-lapse video showing Ix’s creation on YouTube.
For those of you who haven’t read any of my Zack Jackson series, yes, Valtraxians are based on Vrusk from Star Frontiers. While they’re physically similar, their society is quite different. I’ll have it display on my table at the various conventions I attend, the first of which is coming up over Memorial Day: ConQuesT. I’ll also have it at Gen Con.
Ix’s sculpture stands about 12″ tall. Click to valtraxinate.
Well, it’s not really a experiment that will be that long reaching, but what I’ve done is pull all the Zack Jackson novels from Smashwords, DriveThru Fiction, and Kobo. Since I released Zack Jackson & The Cult of Athos back in 2012, I have had ZERO sales in from those three vendors on this line. So, effective immediately, they are Kindle exclusive and part of Kindle Unlimited. I intend to keep them there for the rest of the year, at least.
This will enable me to take advantage of their promotional tools and attempt to get some movement on these titles. They sell well enough at conventions and signings (as do all my titles), but I’ve heard YA is a very challenging market in ebooks. My experience is bearing that out.
There is another Zack Jackson novel on the horizon, but I’m committed to getting the Scars of the Sundering trilogy finish first. The first novel, Malediction is in the editing/revisions stage. Lament‘s first draft is finished. I still need to write Salvation. I figure Spring 2016 will see the fourth Zack Jackson novel, Zack Jackson & The Secret of Venus.
I’ve added all the convention and signing appearances I have scheduled so far this summer to my calendar on my Facebook page. Stop by anytime and check them out (and maybe give the page a “Like” if you haven’t already; it helps get my posts there seen by more people).
I never actually announced that Sojourn: An Anthology of Speculative Fiction volume 2 was released. It’s even bigger than the first volume with over 600 pages containing 32 stories by new and upcoming authors, as well as some veterans. My story, “The Pleasure Pools of Persiphia”, takes place in the same Seven Galaxies setting as “Forgotten Dreams” from Sojourn vol. 1. and follows the misadventures of the crew of the StarKnight as they take a much-needed shore leave on the popular resort world of Persiphia.
That description makes it sound like a light-hearted jaunt.
In other news, Scars of the Sundering: Malediction has moved into editing. There was a delay due to holiday insanity. The first draft of Scars of the Sundering: Lament is finished and I’m taking a break to work on a couple of short stories before diving into Scars of the Sundering: Salvation. Of course, I’m also working on Malediction revisions. Once I’m finished with the Scars of the Sundering trilogy, I’m going to get to work on the fourth Zack Jackson novel: Zack Jackson & The Secret of Venus.
2015 is going to be busy!
Categories: Publishing, Scars of the Sundering, Seven Galaxies, Sojourn, Writing, Zack Jackson
Tags: anthology, Calliome, Fear the Boot, publishing, Seven Galaxies, Sojourn, World of Calliome, writing, Zack Jackson
One of our friends sent me these pictures of LEGO creations her son made over the holidays inspired by Zack Jackson & The Cytherean Academy! I now know how it feels to have someone make fan art derived from one of my stories. Très coolio!
This first image shows Cytherea itself as it float in the clouds of Venus. You can see five domes and a cloud glider. It’s rendered in “chunky scale” as our friend described it.
The next set of images shows Jenny DuBois in her Cloud Glider. Cloud gliding is one of the many extra curricular activities offered at Cytherean Academy. It’s sort of like parasailing, but instead of being towed by a boat over water, one is flying 50 km up in a toxic atmosphere over a hellish landscape hot enough to melt lead with atmospheric pressure that will crush you like an insect. It’s pretty safe, though. This is the 43rd century we’re talking about! They have pretty good QC on those cloud gliders.
Finally, you can see Jenny joining the rest of the cloud gliders as they circle Cytherea, taking in the sights!
Click to Enlargenate
OK, I may have Photoshopped that last one. Still, pretty cool, huh? Can’t ask for a better endorsement of the book than that!