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Author Topic: [crowdfunding now!] "Over The Stars," a sci-fi novel by (me) Russell Zimmerman  (Read 1478 times)

Critias

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Ordered - word spread.  8)
Awesome, Cantrip, thanks!

We're up to 33 pre-orders in less than a week, and getting up to 50 would put us solidly in the top ten for this Nerdist contest (we're in a knife fight, going back and forth between #20 and #21 right now, but that's out of 84 contestants, and we started this contest three weeks late!). 

If y'all keep spreading the word and just one or two friends, each, decide to sink $10, we'll sweep this thing in no time.  You guys are great, it's much appreciated!

The Tekwych

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Thanks for the reminder. Pulled out the credstick and sloted.

Critias

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Thanks, Tek!  It's much appreciated!

I just posted an update a couple minutes ago, take a look:  https://www.inkshares.com/books/over-the-stars/backer_updates/0f1d7000

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Operation Week One:  a resounding success!  In the last seven days, 36 awesome readers have pre-ordered 43 copies of Over The Stars, and each and every click and share has helped us climb the ranks, to 17th place (out of 85 contestants!).  We started this contest when it was halfway finished, and we’re STILL doing great -- you’re awesome, everybody, and it’s much appreciated.

Our primary objective was just getting our feet on the ground and starting up the campaign, but we also did a bang-up job with our secondary goal during Operation Week One, and that was working up some stellar cover art.  Jason Kerr did great work, and thanks to some fan input he kept doing it, and now we’re pretty well settled on the current draft.  Thanks for your input, everybody, and let’s hear it for Jason!

Coming up this week we’ve got Operation Majestic Eagle (what, you thought I was just gonna called it Operation Week Two?), where I’ll post updates that introduce you to the cast of this season’s The Protectors.  This is one part game show, one part reality tv, one part military academy, and one part recruitment tool, and it’s a major lens through which this first book will be told.  Here, the Navy, Marines, Army, and Lunar Guard of the DemFed compete against one another to make their branches look good, to recruit new citizens, and to win the corporate sponsorships they need to keep ships in the air, grav-tanks sliding along, and uniforms snazzy.  This week you’ll be meeting the contestants, soldiers, spacers, and Marines, all ready to serve, and look good doing it.

But there’s a special note available just for the next few weeks:  not all of these character names are carved in stone.  Many of these characters can still be renamed at the drop of a hat, and when the time comes to do so, it’s going to be these earliest of backers -- folks who’ve helped us in this Nerdist contest! -- that I’ll be drawing names from!  So if you like the odds of seeing your first or last name mish-mashed up with other backers, and then featured as a major character here in Over The Stars, let’s keep those pre-orders coming...and make sure to share the link (and the news) with your friends, so maybe they can sneak into this sci-fi epic, too!

Thanks for the support everybody, and let’s keep the momentum going.

Top Ten, here we come!
--Russell Zimmerman

AJCarrington

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Great update Critias! I plan to place my order later tonight.

Critias

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Great update Critias! I plan to place my order later tonight.
Thanks, AJ!  The support is much appreciated!  Please remember the spread the word and entice your friends, too!  Every new reader is a big deal (new readers are how they're measuring progress in this contest).  We're working our way up into the mid/high teens, but if we can break the top ten -- and one good push, ten or twelve more backers, would do it! -- we'll get even more exposure, and can hopefully get lots of new clicks that way.  Sharing is caring!  :)

In the meantime, it's time for today's update...some actual fiction:  https://www.inkshares.com/books/over-the-stars/backer_updates/f5261db0
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[Bear in mind, dear backers, that this is all early draft stuff, and that I’m also suffering some formatting issues by copy-pasting it into an ’update’ like this;  things may change a bit when you see them in the actual pages! --RRZ]

Heron-class shuttles weren’t particularly graceful craft, despite their curves and Zhang-Singh Synergies pricetags. They were workhorses, lean, smooth-flying, equipped to handle a little atmo travel, a little in-system travel, and quite a bit of easy, fast, docking with larger vessels and spaceports. They were prized for their fuel efficiency, their spacious cargo bays and comfortable passenger compartments, and their namesake segmented, retractable, docking ramps, that made their job easy. The placement of those ramps—fore, above the bridge, yet another design decision to speed up the docking process—afforded pilots and ventral passengers a lovely view.

As the Goodnight, this particular shuttle, fired maneuver thrusters to swing about and begin its descent, then, the passengers had not only a lovely view, but an exceptional one; the planet they were ferrying towards, New Hibernia, was a jewel of DemFed space. A shining, deep blue, jewel.

Diego Patoyari, skipper of the Goodnight, sipped his coffee and smiled into his mustachios—splendid ones, if you asked him—while his passengers enjoyed that view. Even Andersen’s sloppy turn and too-heavy hand on the auxiliary thrusters couldn’t wreck the trip for him. Patoyari’d seen his fair share of worlds, working his way up the ranks from Able Spacer. He’d been from one end of DemFed space to the other, and border-hopped into PML territory a time or two, when the profit margins justified the risk. Yes, he’d seen a lot of worlds, but few so pretty.

Humanity had scattered like billiards balls after the Burning, fleeing Earth in whatever direction would get them away from their ideological opposites, and in all the hundreds of years since then, they’d never quite recaptured Terra’s old majesty, never quite hit the sweet spot. Patoyari, and spacers like him, had seen worlds just as big, certainly, and worlds with temperatures as welcoming, environments as comfortable, oceans as full of life, skies as blue, grounds as fertile, darkness cycles as regular and psych-friendly. Humanity had found and occupied worlds with flora as cultivable, fauna as docile, atmospheres as breathable, solar power as abundant.

But they hadn’t ever found all of it at once. Not in all the worlds the DemFeds or the PLM had, nor even the scatter-shot of two-bit moons on the edges of explored space, not anywhere, had they found anyplace they were so clearly meant to be as the home they’d wrecked and fled.

But New Hibernia? Oh, she came close.

Initial notes from the ECC—the Exploratory/Colonization Corps—had, generations earlier, tagged it as an Eden-class world in every category save size. She was small, New Hibernia was, which had led to her name; she was just a little island in space, compared to most worlds. She didn’t look it while you had a talentless hack of an Able Spacer-Limited at the helm, like Andersen—everything looked big behind a helmsman you didn’t trust not to run into it—but New Hibernia’s glaring flaw was her size. She was dense enough the gravity displacement wasn’t hard to adapt to, but even ripe as she was, teeming with life and rich with extremes of Terra-quality weather, she’d never supply the resources to host a proper hab-colony, nothing designed to encourage the fecundity of humankind, to host a swelling, not struggling, population.

No, she was a garden world, New Hibernia. During periods of her history, as the DemFed had grown and stabilized, as the economy rose with populations, she’d been a vacation planet, a safari location, a recreational destination. Her poles offered ice-climbing and comfortably small cold-weather resorts, her equatorial band supplied arid grasslands and beachfronts, her narrow midlands temperate rocky terrain and craggy hills, and her ample oceans—nearly sixty-four percent of her surface area—offered a sense of familiarity to those longing after a mini-Terra, rich oxygen, and that blue marbled look that humans adored in their home worlds. Her small size meant easy shuttling to any or all of the above in just a few hours. She was a princess among garden worlds.

None of that—nor even the view—was why the skipper was ignoring Andersen’s execrable piloting, though, and smiling into his fabulous mustachios. No, Patoyari was smiling because humanity had found a use for New Hibernia other than as a resort world for the idly wealthy. Something—somehow—even more lucrative for humble Heron-class shuttle jockeys like him had come along. It wasn’t just home to the jaded rich and their hunting and tour guides, lifeguards and life coaches, no.

It was a set. All of it. The wildly fluctuating weather, the disparate regional climates, the harsh, natural, beauty; it all made New Hibernia the perfect set for a very specific type of show.

It was the host-world to The Protectors, making it one of the most famous, most profitable, planets in all of DemFed space. The Terran-standard eight month cycle was about to begin anew, the twenty-fifth season was about to begin. Prefab buildings, grav-tanks, medical equipment, uniforms, recording equipment, broadcasting gear, weapons, ammunition; all had been shuttled down to the surface, along with the first wave of seasonally-invading technicians and engineers, sound experts, lighting experts, drone mechanics, caterers, personal trainers, and makeup artists. The show was about to start.

Broadcasting just twenty-fours behind live—leaving staff and crew struggling with a brutal editing and splicing schedule, and Patoyari a bustling shuttle trade to and from the support cruisers and stations in close-orbit—The Protectors was the most popular, most important, most perpetually-hectic show in known space. Flash-cast updates from the show interrupted and overrode politicians, emergency reports trumped all standard broadcasting, casting calls aired free on every major network. For two and a half decades, The Protectors had broadcast to the people of the Democratic Federation of Worlds, showing them their children, their champions, and everything in between, as their chosen few struggled in the mud and blood of advanced military training, the sweat and tears of competition, and the crystal-clear waters of New Hibernia.

DemFed credits rolled in by the billion, by the trillion, on this backwater too-little world, in support of the show. She was still a garden world, still a vacation destination in the off-season. Catapulted to intergalactic superstardom by the show, fans and tourists swarmed the place in droves the third of the Terran-standard world that it was available for citizenry to enjoy. Holo-capping themselves flexing over The Beast or splashing ashore at Nuevo Normandy, smiling to distant family from a guided tour of Base Camp, adventurously daring the Fangs, or taking a day trip into out into the Salts, tourists loved everything about New Hibernia, but the tiny sliver of fame, the brush with stardom, most of all.

But that was just the off season. Standard shuttle rates doubled, when the shooting started.

Filming began tomorrow. Skipper Patoyari’s Goodnight was ferrying in some of the last of the gear, some of the least of the crew, some of the first of the later-season necessities. The off season was over. The Protectors was about to begin. New Hibernia was about to be in the spotlight again.

The planet would be kept busier than ever, but at the same time comparatively Spartan and barren; all this crew, for so little cast. Patoyari wouldn’t shuttle them, no. The hosts had private ships, private transportation, private schedules to keep. And the contestants? The contestants always had a more dramatic entrance to make, nothing at all like a quiet, comfortable, ride aboard a simple Heron-class. Patoyari finished his coffee, still smiling, still blithely ignoring Andersen’s ineptitude.

Quiet, comfortable, and expensive, he amended.


AJCarrington

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Ordered and shared (a couple of days back on FB)

Critias

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Over The Stars has been making great progress, but we're still all tangled up around 17th-18th-19th place. We need a big push to get clear of this lot and blast into the top ten, and hopefully this week's story-centric updates will get us there!

On Monday you were -- very briefly -- introduced to the planet that supports the galaxy's most popular reality tv show, slash military academy, slash game show, slash military-industrial advertisement.

Now that it's time to this season's military hopefuls! Which team do we want to meet first first? The High Protectors (the Navy and Marines), or the Low Protectors (the Army and Lunar Guard)?

I'll be picking which preview to share (within the next day) based on reader/visitor/follower feedback, so don't hesitate to toss up a post and cast your vote...and in the meantime, please keep sharing the link, chatting with your sci-fi loving friends, and spreading the word!

Critias

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Hey guys, just a quick update and reminder;  we're down to the last few days of the Inkshares/Nerdist contest, and there's a ton of preview fiction available now, so if you haven't checked out the campaign lately -- https://www.inkshares.com/books/over-the-stars -- please take a second to do so, read up, and if you like what you see (or know someone who might), please share the link, and consider a $10 pre-order.

Thanks!  And holler if y'all have any questions or feedback or anything. 

Critias

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Last year, my plan was to get a Patreon up and running, and use that as a way to build up a reliable fan base, before moving on to trying to get Over The Stars published.  Then I ran into that contest, and it got me to jump the gun a little bit.  We had a great start (and your support is much appreciated), but ultimately I think their goals are unnecessarily high, and their prices could use some adjusting, also.

So.  Back to Plan A.  I'm going to use this Patreon to share a steady stream of short fiction, to get feedback, to get fan involvement, and to share some cool loot.  It's also going to be my notification system, once I've decided on a publication method for Over The Stars (whether Kickstarting a print run or going the Kindle Direct route, I'm sure I'll be able to get you an e-book for less than $10). 

If you've enjoyed my Shadowrun work, and you want more of it -- some every month! -- then go check out my Patreon, and consider a pledge.  Thanks!

 https://www.patreon.com/Critias?ty=h