31 December 2011

2012 - Dun Dun Dun!

And so 2011 is quickly coming to a close. In about 10 hours here in Omaha, Nebraska the clock will strike midnight and 2012 will be heralded in with cheers and glad tidings...and hopefully not the world ending. That movie still haunts me. . . O_O

It's bee a full year for Renegade Data Core. Site up, Der Sternvolker going on sale, then the short story A Cruel Solar System. While I didn't finish the novella Run (bad OmahaRenegade!) it is almost complete and edited. And, for those of you who don't know, Der Sternvolker is now available as a trade paperback through CreateSpace, and will be available on Amazon.com and other book retailers in about a week.

With the new year coming up I have a few New Year's Resolutions:
  1. Finish the next full length novel
  2. Write another novella (about Amelia perhaps?)
  3. Skydive
  4. Get back into Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai and stick with it through the whole year
  5. Get another tattoo (suggestions?)
  6. Make it to at least 1 convention this year
  7. Get to the firing range at least twice a month
  8. Take up archery and stick with it through the whole year
  9. Kayak in the Rocky Mountains
It's quite the list, if I do say so myself (and I do).

I hope you all have a great New Year's, and that you all make and achieve some awesome resolutions.

Until next time. . .

24 December 2011

Glad Tidings

I hope you all are having a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and a generally good holiday season.

As this year comes to a close I find it amazing at what's happened with Renegade Data Core. What started as a full blown publishing idea transformed into a more lean digital publishing plan and the site opened in April with free content and the promise of the first book. In August, Der Sternvolker hit digital shelves, and in October the short story A Cruel Solar System followed.

You have all waited patiently as I have transitioned jobs and started my masters degree and writing progress wasn't what I expected or promised, and I thank you. Thank you to everyone who has purchased both the book and the short story. I hope you have enjoyed them, and I am hard at work to provide you with more excellent science fiction and, in the future, fantasy.

During this season of giving I'd like to draw your attention to the amazing artwork of Nicholas R. Giacondino at DeviantArt and at his online comic, Free Mars. Nicholas, also known as Aerion-the-Faithful on DeviantArt, is an amazing comic artist who has even caught the attentions of Warhammer 40k author Dan Abnett. Nicholas' Warhammer 40K art, specifically his adaptation of Inquisitor Eisenhorn and his retinue, and his long-running Free Mars comic are excellent pieces of work. I recommend Nicholas' art and suggest that everyone check out his sites and give him a little business if your funds allow it.

Now, as Christmas gift to my patient readers, here is another excerpt from the upcoming novella Run.


            Alfred Zwinger turned his data pad to face Peter. On the tablet’s screen were two ships Alfred had in stock. Skeleton crews manned and secured the vessels for Alfred until the ships were purchased. The longer the ships sat in Alfred’s inventory, the more money he lost.
            “Here are two ships that are the closest matches to the price and specifications you provided, Herr Drexel.”
            Peter scrutinized each ship. He scratched his chin as he read each ship’s service and maintenance history. Details such as cargo space, small craft bays, and fusion reactor capacities ran through Peter’s mind.
“They’re so old,” Peter said.
“They’re five-hundred thousand,” Alfred said. “Anything newer would cost you more.”
Peter pointed to one of the vessels. “How is this ship still in service? It was built before the End War.”
Alfred shrugged. “The pirates that used to own it kept it in good shape. There are a few jury-rigs--”
“Like with the reactor itself. It looks like they stripped out the old thorium-based nuclear reactor and smashed the fusion reactor into its place. God, it’s ugly.”
Alfred stole the data pad from Peter. “Perhaps you’d like to find someone else to purchase a ship from, Herr Drexel.”
Peter sighed. “No, it’s fine. Let me look at the other one again.”
“Now that is a fine ship.”
Peter retrieved the data pad from Alfred and clicked the image of the other vessel to zoom in on the picture and its stats.
The ship looked like some strange bloated insect, or perhaps an alien’s egg, Peter couldn’t decide which. It wasn’t very large, but it wasn’t some Venusian junk, either. It was a frigate with a full compliment of light naval guns and point defense weapons. Although the frigate’s one-third gravity centrifuge wasn’t ideal, Peter did note that all of the living accommodations were located there.
“Tell me more about this one,” Peter said as he pointed to the screen. “The Voyager-class frigate.”
Alfred smiled. “She may not look like much, but the city-state that used to own her kept her in amazing condition. The fusion reactor is one of the newer models from the Olympus Mons Technocracy. She was originally built in twenty-ninety-five, just before Earth died. The North American Federation crew took her to Ganymede and settled with one of the larger NAF colonies, Gir. The Community Fleet took her a few weeks ago when said city-state decided to harass our merchants.”
Peter smiled. “I remember reading about that on the ‘Net. A single squad of Renegade power armor troopers took the ship.”
Alfred smiled. “Indeed they did. Our boys and girls are efficient. And I made sure they were rewarded handsomely for their hard work.”
“Such is business.”
Peter stared at the image of the ship a moment longer. Some gut feeling told him this was the ship for him. Of course, he would have preferred a battleship of some sort. But he had to start somewhere.
“I’d like to take a look at it,” Peter said.
            “I’ll arrange transport for us.” 

25 November 2011

Skyrim, Conan, and Writing Progress

Been playing a lot on my XBox 360 lately. Lots of Modern Warfare 3 online. If you see me I'm RenegadeDataCor (OmahaRenegade was already taken! WTF!?).

But I've also been exploring the wide, wondrous world of Skyrim!
I love this game. It has such an in-depth story line, not just on the surface in the missions you do for everyone and anyone, but also in the background stuff. Going through a lot of tombs and caves you see a lot of ancient Nord art and, fighting the reanimated Nord skeletons, you see a lot of ancient Nord weaponry. I love this aspect of the game. It gives the entire world of Skyrim a great deal of flavor and gives you a sense of where the Nords came from. It also makes me ask questions like, "What were they doing when they died?", and, "Why would a Nord be buried with an iron ingot?"

In the game I'm a red haired Nord (surprise surprise, right?), seen here.
Yes,  I know, the picture quality isn't great. I play on XBox 360, not computer, so screenshots are done with my iPhone 4.
Technology at its best, I know.
Another feature the XBox 360 version does NOT have is the ability to pan the camera around your character. So you can't see the awesome red skull warpaint on his face. If you could he would look REALLY mean.

Really. . .he would. . .

Alaric Khan (my character) is on the roughly defined berserker track. Two handed weapons (a steel warhammer in this case), heavy armor, smithing, and some blocking are his specialties. I have added a bit in lock picking  sneaking, archery (damn mooses!), and light magic (burn, frost troll, burn!!) to round him out.

I have, of course, sided with Skyrim.
Here I am at a Stormcloak encampment preparing for another daring raid to free Skyrim from the damned Empire.

The vast number of characters and NPCs really gets me, too. It's incredible just how lively towns and villages are. I mean, it's still a game, and with it there's that game-stiffness to it all. But Bethesda did a great job on everything. The graphics are incredible. And fights with dragons are truly epic. :) I love how there aren't any specified classes. Instead the player develops certain ability areas to their liking. The 600 page strategy guide gives players a general guide if they want to specialize their characters (ie. Berserker), but trait development it completely left up to the player. I really think this is the new standard instead of the more locked-in classes of other RPGs, MMO or otherwise.

So if you don't hear from me for a few weeks/months/years. . .brb, goin ta Skyrim. :3

All this Northern barbarian fighting has gotten me into a rather Northern barbarian mood (although my ancestors were Northern barbarians, so that might have something to do with it). I've been reading the Conan stories lately. Robert E. Howard wrote some amazing stories, and the prints I'm reading (with the Frank Frazzetta covers) are great! A buddy of mine went to Vegas to visit family and happened upon a small bookstore off the strip. Herein he found IMMACULATE copies of the 1963 prints of the Conan books. We now have all of them.

While some of the writing is kinda of bad (in some cases miserable) the stories are awesome and ALL THAT IS MAN! Dangerous fights with swords, daring adventures around the world, fearful dread magics, and drinking and wenching as you go!! Who couldn't love these stories!!?? And as the books and stories go on they get better. I just read the story The Frost Giant's Daughter. The battle scene between Conan and the Vanir warrior was heart pumping. My adrenaline was through the roof! So I went to the gym to work it off. The point is these stories are great and you should read them.

So go, read them. Now!

But I'm sure all this talk of video games and reading books has you wondering, "Where do you have time to write?"
Worry not, reader, for I have been writing up a storm. Run, the upcoming novella, is in it's second chapter, with the third starting soon. If you still haven't read the free first chapter, go HERE and do so. You could also go to my DeviantArt website and read it there.

Next Blog Post: Occupy My New House! Join me!. . .actually just read about it here. I want my new house to myself. The last thing I need are smelly picketers. :/

Until next time. . .

16 November 2011

Glee Fail

Crazy I know, but I'm updating again in such short order.

Except it's not about writing or technology or my website (see obligatory link and GO THERE!).

No, it's about Glee.

Yes. Glee. The TV show.

I'm not a huge fan of Glee as it is, but I watched the November 15th episode (perhaps because the girlfriend made me?).

I understand that it's a bit out there due to the musical/dramatic nature of the show, so nothing really makes sense as it is. I learned that after my first viewing. . .where I got to see a lot of man love. . .*shiver*

But this got kinda ridiculous.

1) The Irish kid gets beat up by a bunch of GIRLS! Seriously? I mean, seriously? It's dodge ball. And he was bleeding? Man card: REVOKED. If I were Ireland I would be sending the IRA to blow Glee up.

2) The Irish kid got "saved" by the ultra effeminate weak gay guy (sorry, I don't know names of characters). That's a second strike on the man card. And Ireland should be rioting and invading wherever Glee is produced (California?).

3) In the fight for School President it was mentioned that dodge ball is a sport to bully - and I'll stop there for this point. To bully? I've always LOVED dodge ball. Who cares if someone gets off on throwing big red rubber balls to hit people. Guess what: EVERYONE DOES! Plus have you seen the movie "Dodge Ball"? Fail on that guy's part.

4) Then he says "Violence is never the answer." Or something to that effect.
So. . .we totally could have stopped Hitler with words. North Korea would have totally given up South Korea at the beginning of the Korean War war with negotiation. Iraq would have totally left Kuwait if we had not invaded. And Osama bin Laden would absolutely have turned himself in after 9/11 if we had just been more reasonable.
On a more close-to-home note, bullies will totally stop bullying merely because they're suspended from school and told not to. And gang violence will totally end because the gang members are arrested and told to stop.
I am of course being facetious here.

Really?! These are the messages they want to send to America's youth, and the USA in general? And by extension people in countries around the world?

I dunno, maybe it's just me. What happened to being tough and not a bitch, and actually fighting?
See: The Conan stories by Robert E. Howard.

On a positive note the music was pretty good. I enjoyed most, if not all, of the musical performances. And the mash ups were pretty cool! I guess if I could cut out the story line the musical part would be phenomenal.
And then there's that guy in the wheel chair. . .

Abnormal rant. I don't normally talk about my societal beliefs here, but I felt I had to clash against "popular culture".

Next time: the joys of Skyrim. :3

Until next time. . .

15 November 2011

Run - Chapter 1

I must admit I've been slacking on posts, both here and on the Facebook page. Life is a little busy right now as I start a new job and begin my Masters degree.

But I have been writing.

Really, I have. Though it's been slow (much like other projects I've been working on). So I've decided to treat you, my audience, with the first chapter of the novella titled Run, Peter's origin story. You can see it in PDF format on the RENEGADE DATA CORE website in the FREE STUFF section.

Or check it out here: Run - Chapter 01

I'll have a longer post up later this month.

Until next time. . .

12 October 2011

Writings, LinkedIn, and Amazon Kindle

I promise I HAVE been writing vigorously. It's just been taking a while as I'm also between careers and looking for a full-time job. My current project is Peter's origin story tentatively titled "Run" (though I am planning another short story for late October/early November). So far I have a chapter written, with four more to go. This will be a novella and sell for $1.50 on the site. Just for your reading pleasure here's an extract from the first draft:

“How much do you have for a ship?”
Alfred Zwinger stared at the ragged pup in front of him.
The young man had the trademark white-blond hair of Sternvolk that lived the majority of their lives on the community ships of the fleet. His skin was pale from a life of exposure to only artificial lights.
It was the man’s eyes that sent a shiver down Alfred Zwinger’s back. They were as cold as the ice on Titan.
They were predator’s eyes.
Now they were locked onto Alfred, studying him.
“I have five hundred thousand marks with which to purchase a ship,” the young man said.
Alfred shook his head. “Can’t buy much for five hundred.”
“I’m not looking for a yacht. I just need a ship that works.”
“Not many ships for that price, period.”
“Don’t feed me that crap. I know that the Community Fleet took four pirate ships within the last two standard weeks, and that at least two of the Community Fleet picket vessels are on your payroll. You probably paid the crews half what those ships were actually worth.”
The kid was informed, Alfred had to give him that.
“What makes you think I want to sell any of my vessels to you?” Alfred asked.
“Because I have money in the bank, which is money in your pocket. You don’t have to worry about finding me if I don’t pay. Less risk.”
He had a point.
“You can verify your funds?”
The man proffered his new-model data pad. His account information was displayed on the screen.
Sure enough, there was five hundred thousand marks.
“You didn’t kill anyone for this money, did you?”
“Would it matter if I did?”
“Not unless it comes to bite me in the ass.”
“No, I didn’t kill anyone. I earned some of it. Part of it is a loan.”
“So the bank may come looking for you.”
“I’ll worry about the bank. You worry about finding a ship that matches my offer.”
Alfred scratched his chin in thought. It was a good deal.
With a nod Alfred stuck out his hand. “Alright, let’s see what we can do, Herr. . .”
The blond man gave Alfred’s hand a firm shake.
“Drexel. Peter Drexel.”

When I first heard of LinkedIn I thought it was just a mobile phone App. Those of you who know what LinkedIn is are probably balking at that statement. When I discovered the actual site (i r smrt) I found myself in a whole new world, and a whole new platform to market my products.

But LinkedIn is more than that. You can connect with like minded people, find people with certain expertise, and ask questions and receive feedback. For example I posed a question to several of the writer's groups I belong to in order to gather info to improve my website (note: expect changes to the website). It's also a place to find jobs and post your resume to a global network.

If you're a writer like me and you want to get into some of the good LinkedIn writers' groups, I would suggest Writer's Hangout, Science Fction readers, writers, collectors, and artists, LinkEds & writers, Independently Published Author's Marketing Association, and Authors, Writers, Publishers, Editors, & Writing Professionals. All are excellent sources of knowledge and info full of numerous people with tons of knowledge about writing, publishing, and marketing your work.

This is a bit delayed, but I thought I'd bring it up: Amazon now has a whole new line of Kindles. The newest basic Kindle is now $79. This is a great price for such a device and makes it more accessible to more people. The Kindle Touch and Kindle Keyboard are $99. Again, cheap and reliable.

I rue this last bit, though, because I purchased my Kindle Keyboard for $139 just months ago. $139 is the price of the Kindle Keyboard with 3G. And finally the Kindle Touch with 3G is $149. Very reasonable prices for eReaders. Such low prices will allow more and more people to purchase them and make reading eBooks more common.

Finally Amazon has debuted it's tablet, the Kindle Fire, set for release November 15th and priced at $199. While there has been debate over whether it will dethrone the iPad as the tablet of choice, there's no doubt that the people at Amazon thought this one through very well. It can play movies and music, and allows users to read digital magazines and books. Amazon advertises thousands of apps and games. Web brousing will be done with the browser Amazon Silk, and Amazon provides free cloud storage for all your Amazon content. And if you're an Amazon Prime Member you'll enjoy unlimited, instant streaming of over 10,000 popular movies and TV shows.

All the details can be seen HERE.

So what do I think?

Do I think? 

As one wise filosofikal kitteh once filosofikized, "Aifinkso, derefor it iz!"

Anyhoo, I like the Kindle Fire so far. Relatively cheap price compared to the iPad with numerous similar features from a company that (I think) has been reliable with its technological products. Amazon didn't just release this product. They worked years on it to perfect it and make it the right device. Not so companies like HP, whose tablet was dead on arrival, or ASUS who ran out of ASUS Eee Transformers within the first month of release. The only drawback with the Kindle Fire is that it doesn't have 3G capability. That said, though, many people have wireless in their homes or portable 3G/4G wireless hotspots (I have a built-in 3G hotspot in my iPhone), and many businesses have wi-fi in their buildings now.

 Honestly I would have to play with a Kindle Fire to get a real good feel for it, and only time will tell if it's the product everyone is anticipating.

Until next time. . .

22 September 2011

A Cruel Solar System - Released!

The short story A Cruel Solar System is now available in the PRODUCTS section of the Renegade Data Core website. Head over and get your copy today. Just $0.99! And keep checking back at the site for the artwork for the story.

UPDATE: Or you can purchase A Cruel Solar System here:
Buy Now

Buy Now

18 September 2011

Lessons Learned: Working With Artists, E-Junkie, and Upcoming Story

To begin: Yes, more content IS coming. In fact, it will be up for sale THIS WEEK! Keep an eye out on the PRODUCTS section of the site for a new short story in the same universe as Der Sternvolker. Short stories will be released with more regularity in the weeks to come.

Which allows me to jump into the first topic.

Lessons Learned: Working With Artists
As you all know the talented Alessandro "Ganassa" Mazzetti has done a lot of amazing artwork for the site and for the book. And in the upcoming short story Alexis Kimble will be doing the cover art. I am appreciative to both artists for their help and the fantastic work they are doing and have done for me.

But sometimes the wait can be painful, especially if not planned right.

I began writing the upcoming short story at the beginning of this month. As I wrote I created an idea in my mind of what I wanted the cover image to look like. Finally, with the story completed (before three consecutive rounds of editing), I contacted Alexis to commission her to do the cover image.

But note, fellow authors: your artists have lives, too. 

Alexis has her day job and has been busy with other commissions she is scrambling to complete for their respective commissioners (part of the reason the short story will be released this week and instead of last week). Alessandro is a very famous artist on the internet in his own right, and is working overtime to complete a flood of projects and commissions. Three pictures I commissioned from him (pictures of Balder, Borge, and Eyolf from Der Sternvolker) are waiting in his ever growing queue.

The lesson here is to plan. Something I will be doing in the future is to create definite outlines of the story before I write so I can have the artist work on the image while I'm writing, so that image completion and story completion coincide and I can release on schedule. Usually I'm what's called a "Marvel writer" (correct me if that term is wrong): I write without any sort of outline or structure and the story flows from my fingers, to be refined in subsequent rounds of editing.

Most authors create an outline. The book Writing the Breakout Novel: Workbook (associated with the book Writing the Breakout Novel) has a very good structure to help you outline your stories. I used that outline structure to write Der Sternvolker (for the most part), and I think I'm going to start going back to it, at least to aid in rough outlines so I can get artwork and advertisement going at the same time.

As you noticed on the Renegade Data Core site I've linked Der Sternvolker to the Amazon and Barnes and Noble sites so you can purchase the book. It worked out better this way because the sites were already available and so many people already have Amazon and B&N accounts.

For short stories and (most) novellas I will be using E-Junkie. With E-Junkie you can either build your own store or connect your account to your Google Checkout or PayPal account and sell goods online. It's $5 a month, and they even have space to load and store digital content. The upcoming short story will be sold via this method in PDF format. And, instead of direct DRM which blocks you from sharing digital content, E-Junkie merely puts the name and basic info of the purchaser on the front cover of the PDF. So you and your friends can enjoy it without troublesome restrictions.

And yes, I am against DRM. Does that mean I may lose money on some of my stuff? Yes, it might. But more people can enjoy my work, which ultimately is more important to me. :)

But I digest. . .

Upcoming Story
Finally, the good stuff. I know this is what EVERYONE was waiting for.

The upcoming short story will be titled A Cruel Solar System, and will be up the night of Thursday, September 22, 2011. It has a trip to Venus, advanced technology, and the meddlesome Technocrats we all know and love. . .or love to hate. This short story will be referenced in the next full length novel coming out next year.

Keep checking back throughout the week for the cover image and a video book trailer.

And let me know what you thought of Der Sternvolker! I know a lot of people have gotten their hands on it and have read most or all of it and I'm excited to discover what everyone thought about it, the good and the bad.

Until next time. . .

16 August 2011

Book Release, Lessons Learned, and The Future

The book is released!! You can purchase your copy of Der Sternvolker in the Amazon Kindle Store, Barnes and Noble Nook Store, Apple iBookstore, or the Sony Reader Store.

It's been a long time coming to this point. I actually started writing the book over a year ago, and since then its gone through numerous changes. Originally the story took place only five years after the nuclear holocaust that destroyed Earth, and Peter and his crew were part of the Elysium League (like a futuristic Hanseatic League). Peter's father was the head of a major corporation, and Peter was cutting his teeth in the business before taking his father's place. The mercenaries were organic security, and the team was twenty strong. Peter even had a sort of side-kick - a fifteen year old youth whose family had been killed when a rogue European Union military unit razed his colony.

It grew from there. At first it was just going to be a series of short stories, roughly 4,000-10,000 words a piece. But as I wrote and developed the post-Earth solar system I decided I wanted to write a full novel. Peter and his crew changed again into merchant-warriors who forged economic alliances with colonies and city-states to increase the power and wealth of The Elysium League - and themselves.

The idea of the Sternvolk, German for Star Folk, came from several sources. Clan Sea Fox, formerly Diamond Shark, from Battletech was the first source. I always liked Clan Sea Fox for their unClan like, merchant ways. I thought it was amazing when almost the entire Clan moved into ships and began hopping around the Inner Sphere. I had never thought of that, and never read about it in any sci-fi.

The nomadic space peoples in Mass Effect intrigued me, and the idea of an entire culture jumping around space was pretty cool. In fact, the first solid title of the book was The Pilgrimage, and Peter set forth to find himself in the Solar System. In this iteration of the story, Peter and Amelia had been friends since early childhood, and Balder and his six-man team were selectively bred, genetically enhanced super-soldiers that served as the Community Fleet's main offensive force. The book started with Peter and his mercs exploring "Kirk Station", a long lost space station that had been rediscovered in the asteroid belt, and ended up being infested with the genetically altered, feral descendants of the original populace that had been turned into the guinea pigs for a mad scientist. Part of the story was that Peter was the descendant of a long line of Berserkers, and his uncontrollable rage would lead to a huge turning point in the story (and would also spawn the third book in a series). That idea died a slow, painful death because the whole kirk station incident was three chapters and I worked so hard on it. But I wanted the story to be more "believable" (as believeable as it can be. . .), so I hacked it apart and forged ahead. But this is where the final story formed from.

So now we have Der Sternvolker in all its eBook glory. Roughly 246 pages, over 80,000 words, and plenty of blood, sweat, and tears to forge it into a pretty darn good book if I do say so myself (and I do).

There's a lot I learned from this process. . .and a lot I missed.

When you purchase the eBook you will notice that I jump back and forth between calling Rickard's lands "D'Helion District" and "House d'Helion Territory". With all my editing I totally missed that. It SHOULD be "D'Helion District". So, lesson learned: don't just triple edit, quadruple and quintuple edit. Keeping running notes on stuff like that helps, too. This will be corrected in future stories.

Another point: when you publish through BookBaby you will notice that, when your book is ready to be published, you can see in your book details how long you'll have to wait for your book to appear in one of the online stores after BookBaby sends it to that vendor. Some, like Amazon, take 3-4 business days. Others, like Sony Reader, take 3-4 weeks! This is part of the reason that the book is not showing up in the Sony Reader Store yet. Word to the wise: send your book in 6 weeks prior to your publication date JUST to make sure.
"And what is in store for the future?" you may ask. Renegade Data Core is just spinning up and I have lots of ideas that I want to turn into full stories. In the next few months I will be churning out several short stories that will be sold for $0.99 on the site as PDFs. I plan to find an artist or artists and finally create a comic. And I'm already working on the next full length novel. If you read through all of Der Sternvolker you'll know who the next novel is about.

Also keep watching out for more artwork. I will be commissioning the talented Ganassa, and others, to turn my ideas into amazing works of art for your viewing pleasure.

Until next time. . .

10 June 2011

Website, Editing, and revisit of Pogoplug

First in today's post I wanted to direct you to the website's new URL: http://www.renegadedatacore.com.
That's right, I've purchased the domain name and now the website is officially standing on its own. Google Sites (https://sites.google.com/) makes it very easy to redirect your DNS to your Google Site. In fact, in the "Manage Site" section of your Google Site there are instructions on how to redirect. My DNS provider, 1and1 (http://www.1and1.com/), is very user friendly, and cheap ($5 for the first year) and, once I had purchased the DNS and received my customer ID (takes anywhere from 15 - 24 hours after sign-up and purchase), it took me a few minutes to put in all the information to redirect the DNS to my site :). This is very cool stuff, and so easy for people like me who are still trying to wrap their heads around the more advanced website stuff. (And I know, all of you veteran programmers and website owners/designers are probably thinking, "Wow." Trust me, I know I'm a bit behind the power curve, but I'm a faster learner)

Second, I wanted to give a little spiel about editing your manuscript.
So you have your completed manuscript. 80,000+ words, and months of blood, sweat, and tears, and your first novel is done. Congratulations! :) Seriously, it takes a LOT of dedication and discipline to finish that manuscript.
My first suggestion: put it away! That's right. Once you type "THE END", save your word document and don't open it for the next 7-14 days.
Next: Purchase the book Self-Editing For Fiction Writers: How To Edit Yourself Into Print (I got the Kindle edition). In the eleven chapters the writers, Renni Browne and Dave King, show fiction writers how to self-edit their work and sharpen it to make it the manuscript it SHOULD be.
Now I know what you're saying: "My book is a masterpiece! I should just publish it now!"
Don't. Please don't. I thought the same thing at first. After reading this book, and going through Der Sternvolker (my first finished book) I realized I had A LOT of work ahead of me (hence the delayed release date...). There are so many mistakes we as novice writers make in our first manuscript, and even veteran writers make, that we need to take the time to carefully self-edit ourselves, especially if you are looking to self-publish like I am.
Another thought that may come to your mind: "Oh, I'll get a freelance editor to do it."
This is good, in theory. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of excellent freelance editors out there. But they cost money. A LOT of money. I made the mistake of not evaluating my financial situation before entering into a contract with a freelance editor. She wasn't trying to cheat me out of my money, she was actually one of the best in her field and was dedicated to helping me improve my manuscript to publishing quality. But her cost was over $2,000. Once I realized I couldn't support that cost, even over several installments, I had to duck out of the contract, and I was out the $870 I had already paid her.
Lesson learned: GO THE CHEAP ROUT FIRST.  Self-Editing For Fiction Writers: How To Edit Yourself Into Print is $8.32 on Amazon ($9.99 for the Kindle edition...which seems backwards, but oh well). That small cost is much better to start with than the hundreds or thousands a freelance editor costs.
Now if you have that kind of money, and it is financially viable for you to purchase the services of a freelance editor, more power to you. I'm just suggesting you look at the lower cost option, first. This is especially good for those who are open to criticism and can honestly and dispassionately evaluate themselves without their ego getting in the way.

Finally, I want to replug a great little device I discovered several months ago: the Pogoplug. This little device is an external hard drive that allows you to access and share your personal content wherever you have an internet connection. There are no size limits, and no subscription fees. When I first blogged about Pogoplug the price of the device was set at $139. Now it's $99. Ofcourse, that's more expensive than Dropbox, but with unlimited size, compared to Dropbox's 2GB, it pays for itself over time. Not that I'm knocking Dropbox - I have an account with them I use regularly - but Pogoplug  is clearly much more powerful. I guess it really depends on what your needs are. For me Dropbox is just fine - and it's FREE (which is huge for me right now as money is a bit tight). But if you're looking for a higher end, more powerful device for much larger files, and you have a hundred bucks available in your budget, then I suggest Pogoplug.

Before I go, I want you all to know that I WILL have another short story up soon. I need to edit it (using the lessons taught in Self-Editing For Fiction Writers: How To Edit Yourself Into Print), and then it will be available in the FREE STUFF section of the RENEGADE DATA CORE website.

Until next time. . .

05 June 2011

14 May 2011

Final Cover Image

Here it is! What you've all been waiting for: the final cover image!

The wonderful and talented Ganassa created this piece. A big hearty thanks to him!

You can find free downloadable wallpapers of this image in the FREE STUFF section of the Renegade Data Core website. I will have the formatted cover of the book up soon, along with the book description.

We're coming down to the wire on the book. Currently it stands at 75,293 words as it heads to the copy-editor. That said, I may be pushing the publication date back a bit. When I started out on this journey of self-digital-publication I never thought everything would take as long as it has. Even writing took longer than I thought. I'm still shooting for the 1st of June, but be prepared to have the release date pushed back a week or two.

While pushing the release date back is bad, good can come of this in two ways. 1) You will receive the quality product I promise in my ABOUT section of the site. I would never want to sell you an eBook or eComic that was of degraded quality purely because I rushed the job. 2) This gives me a better measure for when I write my next book (already in the works) to provide you, the readers, a more accurate, realistic release date.

Keep watching for updates.

Until next time. . . 

23 April 2011

Cover Art and BookBaby

First and foremost I would like everyone to see the first rough sketch of the cover of my upcoming book Der Sternvolker.

Here we see Peter (center), Amelia (right), and Balder (left) running through a burning city and fighting for their lives against some ghastly enemy.

This piece was done by the talented Ganassa at DeviantArt. Check out more of his amazing work there.

The book itself is quickly nearing completion, and June 1st is just around the corner. Keep watching here and at on the Renegade Data Core site for more updates and free content!

Second I would like to direct everyone's attention to BookBaby. BookBaby is an eBook distribution site that distributes your eBook to all the major stores such as the iPad store, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Sony Reader. For $99 you can distribute your book and you get all the profits. Unlike PayPal or business sites they do not take a cut off the top. It is one flat rate of $99. A pretty good deal if you ask me.

Der Sternvolker will be available through the Apple iPad store, Amazon Kindle, Barnes and Noble, and Sony Reader store via BookBaby when the book is published. You will also be able to purchase the book from the Renegade Data Core website. It's up to you.

Until next time. . .

06 April 2011

39,000 Words and Growing

It's been a while since I've updated, so I thought I'd give you all a small blog posting today just to let you know that I'm alive and still writing.

The book, tentatively titled In Darkness Forged has reached over 39,000 words and is still growing. By the time the book is finished it should be somewhere around 80-85,000 words. This could increase as I continue to write, but 80,000 words is the goal. I'm also muddling around with titles. While In Darkness Forged is very ominous and could draw a lot of attention, I'm not sure it's the title I want for this book. The Sternvolker is the other title I'm throwing around. This one is a bit more descriptive since the main character, Peter Drexel, is Sternvolk (or Star Folk; the proper German for that would be Sternvolker, the -er denoting the masculine).

With the massive amount of work I've completed on the story the 01 June 2011 publishing date should be easy to reach. In fact, if I get everything done sooner, I may push the publishing date to an earlier time. But we'll see how things play out.

I should also have a cover image shortly. I have contacted to artists about completing the cover for my book. Once one of them gets back to me I will update you regularly on their progress.

And don't forget to check out our Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Renegade-Data-Core/106951916051355?sk=wall. 'Like' Renegade Data Core and spread the word through the social network.

Until next time. . .

20 March 2011

The Patient Spider and Yahoo eCommerce

I have just posted a new short story on the Renegade Data Core website titled The Patient Spider. Head over to the Free Stuff section and download it. Again this is FREE science fiction for your enjoyment.

I've been working diligently on both this short story and In Darkness Forged. If there's one thing I'm discovering about all this it's that it's not easy. Between work, fight training, bull riding training (yes, I said bull riding), and friends, writing one story is hard enough, let alone writing TWO. I give props to those authors who do it every day. I know there are a lot of authors at The Black Library who work on two, three, or four stories/scripts/comics DAILY. That's incredible. My hats off to you, gentlemen.

I will be posting yet ANOTHER short story next month around the same time (though probably after Easter, as I will be spending much of my time with family that weekend). Hopefully this one will have associated art with it to spice it up a bit.

In other news, I've decided that, prior to the release date of In Darkness Forged, I will be migrating Renegade Data Core to a Yahoo eCommerce website. I thought about using PayPal, but a $30-$40 a month Yahoo eCommerce account is much more cost effective than PayPal. PayPal charges 2.5% +.05 for each transaction. If I sold just one hundred (100) copies of my book, they would charge me almost $65. I guess the pros of having PayPal, though, is if nothing sells I don't pay them anything. But that's where an aggressive marketing plan comes in.

Until next time...

25 February 2011


I blog today (well...tonight, really; it's midnight here) with glad tidings and joy in my heart...and my colon.

Allow me to introduce you to my new website: https://sites.google.com/site/renegadecore/

(There's also a link to the right)

This is sort of what I've been talking about on and off over the few months I've had my blog. Renegade Core is my eBook and eComic sales site. Here there will be novels, novellas, short stories, comics, and more for sale. Take a look around the site. The "Free Stuff" section already has some items up for your enjoyment. And there is definately more to come.

This began as a desire to start a small business of my own. Initially, though, the idea was to not only write the books and draw the comics (I would have had a staff working with me), but to also purchase office space and digital printing presses. Upon deeper research, though, I found such a plan was folly. A single digital printing press that I wanted to produce books cost over $500,000. That's one digital printing press. I wanted four.

So I sat down and re-looked my business plan. I wanted to write, and work with others to write stories and draw comics. Creating new, exciting worlds and interesting people to populate them has always been a hobby of mine, and to do so as a job (even a small, part time job) has always been my dream. A friend of mine suggested I go full digital (thank you Martin). At the time Pres. George W. Bush had published his book Decision Points. Data showed that, of the over two hundred thousand copies that were sold that first week/month (I forget at the moment), 60,000 were digital copies. And now eBooks, in either epub or mobi format, are outselling print books (http://www.beyond-black-friday.com/2011/01/27/are-eBooks-finally-outselling-printed-books/).

So I decided that's what I'd do. I write the stories, edit, revise, rewrite (repeat those three numerous times), and then publish them in eReader format and sell them. I would control the content, distribution, pricing, and marketing.

Renegade Core is the culmination of this hair-brained idea. The book I'm writing, In Darkness Forged, is slowly nearing completion and I've set a release date for 1 June 2011. In the meantime I will also be writing two short stories and a novella that will be free to download and enjoy to entice you a bit more. Of course, other content will be put on the website for sale before the big release date of my first book, but it will not have the fan fare (at least for me) as the book.

I hope you enjoy the site. And please, give me feedback on what you like and don't like, and what you would like to see added in the future. I'm an definitely open to ideas.

Until next time...

02 February 2011

My New Wacom Cintiq 12WX

Today I received my new Wacom Cintiq 12WX. It was a breeze to assemble and install. All of maybe 15 minutes.
Here it is as I begin to set everything up. This is pre-software-installation.

And here it is with all the software, including Corel Painter, installed.

Here I am, diligently trying to learn the new system. Note: It does take some getting used to. But once used to it, it is an excellent way to go about drawing.

And here is my first drawing with my Wacom Tablet :)

This is a profile picture of Amelia, a character from the book I am writing. Again, I was just getting used to the tablet, so it's not Da Vinci quality.
Here is a picture I drew from this photo: http://kayleigh.deviantart.com/gallery/#/d2vmx6y.

Again, still working on getting used to it.

The Wacom Cintiq 12WX is $999.00 on the Wacom website (http://www.wacom.com/cintiq/cintiq-12wx.php). But I purchased mine on Amazon for the amazingly low price of $940.00 (http://www.amazon.com/Wacom-Cintiq-12WX-12-Inch-Display/dp/B00115OFJK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1296696953&sr=8-1). Though I think they were having a sale, as now it's $970.00. But still cheaper than the Wacom website. The Wacom website also has this weird thing where it tries to charge your account even if you did not make a purchase...it doesn't go through, but it WILL hold up funds/credit card accounts until it disappears.

Hope you enjoyed this little piece :). If you get one I wish you the best! The Wacom Cintiq 12WX is a great tool.

Until next time...

28 January 2011

Wacom Cintiq

It's been a while since I last blogged. Returning to the USofA and getting settled in, as well as holidays and seeing family and friends, has filled much of my time.

Updates: I don't think I will be adding to the "Legion" story any time soon. I'm working on several projects that demand my attention. I will attempt to Blog more often as things are settling down.

Today I would like to touch on the Wacom Cintiq, which can be found here: http://www.wacom.com/cintiq/
Both the 21UX and 12WX are superb devices. With these models you actually draw on the screen on the tablet, then transfer to computer, rather than drawing on the tablet and looking at the computer screen to make sure you got it right. I currently ordered the Cintiq 12WX, and am awaiting it's arrival in the mail.
An individual I watch on YouTube, reiqws ( ), has a video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=95GvRH_e38s, in which he demonstrates his new Cintiq 21UX. He purchased the 21UX based on size and his constant drawing. I purchased the 12WX for the same purpose. He has a lot of desk space, while my desk...needs work. He draws daily, even several times a day. I draw...once in a while...I should draw more.

So check it out. If you're an avid drawer I highly recommend it, and I will post pictures and info about my experiences with it when I receive it.

Also, please check out my DeviantArt gallery, where I post both pictures and short short stories: http://barontophervonpanda.deviantart.com/

Until next time...