Greetings and welcome to Bits & Pieces! This page is so titled because that is how things
will be posted here, in bits and pieces. Since the day the first edition of Rocket Babe (RB-DS) was published we’ve
received many emails about the book series from people all over the world and spoken to many more at various promotions. It
seems everyone has a question or two about us and/or the series.
Briefly, what I will be doing here from time to time is answering questions and sharing general
information about us and the RB universe along with some behind the scenes secrets you won’t find elsewhere. I
will also make an effort not to restate information that is already available on the Amazon Author page or the RB-DS, RB-FA
pages here on Vernarockets.com.
The posts will be numbered with the most recent at the top of the page. This way you don’t
have to scroll past older posts each time you return to the page.
*Please send your comments or questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org with Q & A as the subject. We look forward
to hearing from you!
If you have any questions PLEASE email us: email@example.com
#95 March 27, 2019
Ok, several fans have pointed out that it’s now
just over 1 year since Reflection was released and they want to know how I'm
coming with the next edition. First, let me say thank you for your continued interest
and yes there will be another Rocket Babe, but at the moment and to borrow a
line from an old movie, “Secure space doors.” Think of the scene in The
Search For Spock when Kirk turns to Scotty and says “And… now, Mr. Scott.” ‘Sir?’
“The doors Mr. Scott.” ‘Aye, sir, I’m working on them.’
That’s where I am, working to get the space
doors open. I’m as anxious as anyone to get 107 out on the runway and go to max
thrust but we’re still doing preflight. I’ve been making notes and working on
the draft for several months but there’s a good ways to go yet before I begin to
flesh it out.
No, I don’t have writers block, I have writers
overload. I have 3 different story lines and just haven’t been able to decide
which way to go; might have to flip a coin. Just remember, Rome wasn’t built in
a day and neither was Atlanta.
To be honest, there are several reasons why it
takes me a while to put out a finished product. My personal writing process is
unique to me. It is evolving as I write and also as I read and evaluate what
other authors do. It’s my observation that most authors and publishers are so geared
toward simply making a dollar that the product / storyline suffers. Without a
doubt, we need to at least make enough money to break even; being an Indie author
can be quite expensive and the sky truly is the limit. And while most Indie
authors don’t spend what I do, the old saying of, “You get what you pay for”
has never been more accurate. I’m often asked if I or any authors I know are
rich yet. Well, let me explain it this way: It’s very easy to make a million
dollars writing, just start with 2 million.
For me, if an author releases more than 2 books
a year I won’t waste my time. They’re working with a team of writers with the
goal of getting out as many books as possible. For TV that kind of weekly or
monthly treadmill writing is a requirement but for books, it’s counterproductive,
at least when it comes to quality.
I have been told (and I feel and like to
believe) that each Rocket Babe edition is better than the one(s) before. And
that, is MY goal. I would love to make a couple million bucks and have a major
movie about Rocket Babe but more than that, I want to improve the series with
every edition, not just knock out something for the sake of getting out another
book ASAP to make a few cents. Whenever I see a new release offered for 99
cents, I assume the author knows what their story is worth so I pass it by. Personally,
I’m not looking for cheap snacks, I like an enjoyable meal. Remember, you get
what you pay for no matter what it is.
Back on topic, yes, I am drafting the next
edition of Rocket Babe. Spring is when I normally begin any new project and all
4 of the RB series have taken less than a year from word one, chapter one, to
If you want to see the next edition sooner,
here are a couple of ways YOU can speed things along:
1. Purchase books as gifts for various special occasions. If you get them
from us we offer discounts and are happy to autograph / dedicate. Amazon offers
some deep discounts too if you watch their site. We have no advance knowledge
when they will do that or how much.
There are times I can get them from Amazon cheaper than from my own
2. Share RB posts on Facebook, with your Facebook friends. Help us market
by word of mouth. It won’t cost you a cent.
3. Leave a review on Amazon for any book in the
I don’t mention reviews much because I don’t
use them myself but many people do.
In closing this one, I want to thank all of our fans, old and new, for
your support and continued interest in Rocket Babe. We’ve made many new and
wonderful friends all over the world because of this series. Your friendship, encouragement,
emails, posts, presence and RB purchases are a tremendous blessing to us! We
hope RB is in some way a blessing or at least entertaining for all of you.
#94 January 23, 2019
been a while since I posted here, mainly because I post so much to RB Facebook
and Fire & Smoke but I do apologize for neglecting Bits & Pieces.
a quick catch up: I’ve spent so much time marketing since Reflection was
released last March and in so many ways over the spring and summer, by the time
the holidays rolled around I really needed a break. It’s hard to believe it’s
been almost a year since Reflection went live on Amazon. Mostly I spent time
with many members of DSSF (the grand kids) and family and trying to decide
which way to go next.
the moment and in addition to the next edition of Rocket Babe, I have 3
projects I would very much like to develop, none of which are sci-fi. All of
them would require my full attention and would take 5-6 months each.
for the next RB, I have about half of the outline needed to produce a complete
storyline. A friend of mine asked me recently if I had writer's block because he
expected RB 5 to be coming out soon, but I had to say no, that wasn’t the reason.
There is never a lack of ideas for RB. Actually, the number of ideas is what is
slowing me down, I have too many, and I am trying to be patient in order for
them to coalesce in my mind.
you ever heard an author, artist or composer asked where they got an idea or
lyrics for something they were working on? More times than not they will
answer, “It just came to me.” Well, many times, that’s exactly what happens but
once that spark flares, what follows is an explosion.
now there are 4 sparks and I’m trying to figure out which one to deal with
first while keeping the others burning, slowly. In the meantime I will try to
share a few things with you from the inside that most people wouldn’t know.
#93 Nov. 25th
Our annual Cyber Week is in progress until midnight Friday,
All Kindles are $2.99 each! That's 41% off regular price!
#92 Nov. 12
Hey RB fans! We're closing in on the holidays and Cyber Monday.
We'll be having sales for Kindle and paperbacks Nov. 26 - Dec 1st. If you need to reload RB on your new Kindle or want to
finally get RB in paperback, that will be the best time to do it.
And don't forget, if you're
giving a Kindle for Christmas make it even better by downloading one of the RB books or even the
Check the RB Facebook page or back here soon, for more details!
#91 Oct. 19
been a very busy 6 months since Reflection was released, with lots of marketing
and time spent with members of DSSF.
the last few days I have been posting updates to a few sites where we market
the series including our own RB Facebook page. On the RB Facebook page, if you
look just below the RB header on the right you’ll see the small photos of the
covers for Reflection and Ant Men. At the bottom of the photos you will see the
text: About Rocket Babe, and Rocket Babe - Dossier.
you click on, See More, below Rocket Babe - Dossier, you will see a brief
synopsis of the series including links to background information for each. This
segment is designed to help those who are new or unfamiliar with Rocket Babe, get
up to speed quickly.
the holidays approaching I am now planning for our annual Christmas sale and drawing.
Stay tuned for details on those, very soon.
#90 June 30
Yep, you're right, it's been a LOOONG time since I posted to Bits & Pieces. In that time, I have been marketing Reflection
and the rest of the RB series.
Overall, Reflection has done well, especially with the KDP Lending Library. If you're a part of that you understand what
I'm talking about. The rest of the series continues to post reasonable numbers, especially considering Dust Storm was released
well over 4.5+ years ago.
For the moment and at least through this summer, I will continue to market the series and spend as much time as I can
with the principle characters of the series, i.e. the grand kids that 12 of the characters are based upon.
And soon I will post a few photos that go along with the Reflection story line for your enjoyment as well as a few of
the real facts of the story I think most readers will find interesting.
#89 April 9
FINALLY! THE REFLECTION PAPERBACK is available on Amazon!
They may still be working on the listing because the paperback and Kindle are not showing together as of this posting but
they are both there and active. I assume in the next few days Amazon will have them listed correctly but in the mean time
you can find the paperback here:
(you may have to cut & paste it) Sorry it's so long, for the moment there isn't
a short link.
#88 April 9
A Monday update: Congratulations to Donna Heard for winning the First Copy drawing!
On Amazon, the Kindle sale for
Dust Storm, Fallen Angel and Ant men is about midway; tell your friends!
#87 April 6
Well, Amazon is still dragging their feet with posting the link for the Reflection paperback and I continue to complain. The
Kindle is doing well and we've filled quite a few orders for signed paperback copies purchased directly from us.
winner of the drawing for the FIRST copy will be announced April 7th!
Also, April 7th begins our huge U.S. / U.K. Kindle
sale for Dust Storm, Fallen Angel and Ant Men!
#86 March 26
The first responses from Reflection readers are very encouraging. I am humbled to hear that several of you are intentionally
reading only 2-3 chapters per day in order to enjoy, and as one person put it, savor, the read. I may never make the Times
Best Seller List but to know we have fans that enjoy the books that much is a tremendous compliment. Thank you!
though the Kindle has been fully operational since Saturday, as of this moment we're sill waiting for Amazon to post the paperback
link for those waiting for the old school read.
If I could do anything to speed things up it would have been done
long ago. I have complained to my publisher and Amazon but the bottom line is they'll get around to it when they feel like
In the meantime, signed paperbacks are always available from us for $17 including, book rate shipping.
#85 March 24
As of this moment I am still waiting for Reflection to go live on Amazon. Our end of set up was completed 12 days ago so the
wait is solely on Amazon.
In the meantime I am updating the websites on purchasing copies of the paperback directly
Also, we'll be having a BIG Kindle sale for Dust Storm, Fallen Angel and Ant Men in the next few days!
#84 March 17
Great news Rocket Babe fans!
To celebrate the soon to be released, Rocket Babe-Reflection, Captain Starr has several
giveaways and promotions planned over the next 30 days and to kick things off, we're going to do something many authors do
when a new book is released but with a Rocket Babe twist!
It's not uncommon for authors to give away copies when a
new book is released but they are almost always, copies.
However, in my case, I always receive the first 10 books
to be printed. Not drafts, not beta copies, not seconds, but the first 10 books printed.
Traditionally, I would receive
and keep the first copy but this time we've decided to celebrate the release of Reflection, by giving away the VERY FIRST
paperback hot off the printer! That's right, you can win MY copy, numbered and signed, shipped directly to you and prepaid!
easy to enter! Just send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
and put, FIRST COPY, as the subject and your name in the
body of the email.
That's all! Captain Starr will draw a name from the Jolly Roger entry box April 7, 2018 and the
winner will be notified by email and announced here and on the Rocket Babe Facebook page.
This is going to be a FAST
contest (21 days) so get your email in today!
And stay alert for additional giveaways over the coming month!
#83 March 9
Ok RB fans, here's a little preview of Reflection for you while we wait for it to go live on Amazon.
First off, I believe
Reflection will be well received especially by those who are already fans. When it comes to the RB series, my editor, Sharon
Coffman, has read every manuscript more than a dozen times, so when I say she knows the finished product as well as I do,
it's not an exaggeration. Sharon has told me she believes Reflection is the best RB yet. Since she knows the series so well
and it is her job to offer constructive criticism as well as look for flaws, I don't mind saying I am glad she feels that
Having been a sci-fi fan since I was 4 and having followed many series, especially franchise movies like Star
Trek, I am very aware that as the list of episodes grows longer, it is very difficult to maintain the, edge, fans expect from
No matter the series, TV, movie, or book, most writers / authors want to provide what the fans desire,
and that is for each offering to be the best ever, but the longer a series continues the harder reaching that goal becomes.
Reflection has taken longer for me to write and finalize because I wasn't just trying to crank out another sequel, I want
it to advance RB to the next level.
When the first RB book, Dust Storm, was released the very first fans to respond
made it clear they wanted more and I responded with additional books, and books that are longer. With 18 chapters and 264
pages, Reflection is by far (25%) the longest book of the series.
The main storyline of the series continues along
with several subplots but with plenty of action, twists and revelations, as the main characters continue to develop. For instance,
among many other things you'll finally know exactly how Randall's crew was formed, not to mention what actually brought down
an infamous wall and why one of the world's Super Powers fragmented. Of course, it's just sci-fi, or is it?
several new characters, not the least of which is our youngest granddaughter, Second Lieutenant, Lucy.
Some of the
new ones you will love to hate, and maybe one or two you'll be cheering for and be aware, there are two characters named Lucy.
The second Lucy, is General Barrett's real life wife, Lucy.
So what about the cover? By now most of those who follow
RB know that I have been working with the artist that developed the cover for Fallen Angel, Mike James. In keeping with the
effort to take Reflection to the next level, Mike has also done that for the cover. I gave Mike the parameters and he created
the exact image of the main plot, and make sure you take a moment to study the cover closely before you begin to read.
cover sets the stage, chapter 1 sets the plot and for true RB fans, what follows will be several hours of great sci-fi entertainment.
Fallen Angel, I asked Mike to make the cover pop. He did. For Reflection, he went nuclear.
So get ready, take your
BP meds, beta blockers, 81 milligram aspirin and have the cardiac nurse standing by with the paddles juiced. Rocket Babe -
Reflection will be here soon!
Finally! Rocket Babe - Reflection has gone to print!
this time I do not have a release date, I only know it will be soon and we're hoping it's by the end of the month.
#81 March 7
Good news! Yesterday I received the 2nd Galley proof, made 2 minor and very quick adjustments and sent it back. The next and
what should be the last Galley proof, should be back to me within a week. Once I send that one back we'll be in the pipeline
#80 March 3
The first Galley proof arrived in my email last Thursday afternoon just before 3 pm. A Galley proof is a pdf of the actual
interior of the book, it appears on my computer screen exactly like it will as the finished paperback or Kindle and it's purpose
is to give the author one last chance to make corrections or edits to the final manuscript.
I spent 6 hours that evening
and 5 hours Friday morning slowly reading every word, cover to cover, all 18 chapters and all 77,409 words! In all of that
I made 4 very minor corrections; 3 typos and 1 continuity change.
Sometime this coming week I should get a 2nd Galley
proof with my corrections made as indicated and if that is the case Reflection will enter the pipeline to be published.
that point things get very busy for the publisher and the people at Amazon. The publisher will prepare the electronic files
that create the Print On Demand for paperback and Kindle, while Amazon sets up the finished product and features you will
see on their website when Reflection goes live.
Keep your fingers crossed and check back for the next update!
#79 February 26
FINALLY! The publisher has the manuscript and the artwork for the cover!!! For the moment I'm waiting for my Galley proof;
the print version of the book. Once I have gone over it line by line and I KNOW it's perfect, I send it back to the publisher
for them to set it up for Kindle and On Demand printing for paperback.
If things go as usual RB-Reflection should
be out around the end of March or early April.
#78 February 14
THE FINAL MANUSCRIPT FOR RB-4 IS COMPLETE!
#77 February 5
Great news! The pre-publication process is completed. What that means is a lot of the nit picky details have been completed.
Now we're waiting on Sharon to complete editing and the final cover from Mike.
#76 January 26
We are very pleased to announce that Mike James is now developing the cover for RB-4! Mike is the artist who created the cover
of Fallen Angel.
#75 January 19
RB-4 has gone to Sharon for editing!
#74 January 1, 2018
Happy New Year!
As we begin 2018 I'm excited because I'm very close to finishing RB 4! Tuesday (Jan 2nd) I will be
sprinting toward the finish line!
For all those who have been part of the RB universe since day 1 or just joined us,
thank you for your support!
We hope 2018 is your best year ever!
#73 December 30
As we end 2017 I just wanted to post a quick RB update. I am currently midway of the LAST chapter of RB 4 but since this is
New Year's weekend lieutenant Sela, Captain Emmett (Heavy D) and lieutenant Charlie (Crimson Knight) will be staying with
us through Monday, so it will probably be another week or so before I will finish. Once I have the manuscript completed I
will do my final story line edits (a day or two) then send it to Sharon for complete, REAL editing.
This morning it looks like the entire country is in a deep freeze and snowbound for the next week; everyone be safe, warm
and have a Happy New Year's Eve!
#72 December 21
For all of those wondering, I am now working to flesh out the last chapter of RB 4. For a thousand different reasons it has
taken me at least 6 months longer than I had hoped but I will soon have it ready to go to Sharon for editing. For the moment
all I can say is it will be the longest of the series with more development and details on many of the main characters. As
always there will be new twists and turns and I believe those who love RB will love this one too.
From Captain Starr
and Commander Randall to all of you,
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
#71 December 10
Things are moving along well on RB 4 despite quite a few interruptions the past 3 weeks. With 14 chapters completed I'm still
hoping to have the manuscript to Sharon for editing by the end of the month or early January. I still have 2-3 chapters to
flesh out but I can almost see the light at the end of the tunnel!
#70 November 3
As we move toward the holidays and with the end of the year less than 60 days away I'm hoping to have the RB 4 manuscript
complete and ready for Sharon to edit by January 1st; at least that's the goal. I have 4 or 5 chapters and a couple of odds
and ends left to fill out but the drafts for each are complete!
#69 September 18
Hey RB fans! Yes, I'm still alive and working like a thundering heard of turtles on RB 4! Life frequently gets in my way but
I'm still creeping along and trying to pick up steam. Say a prayer that I have less interference and more time for production!
But either way I am pressing on!
#68 August 7
It's been a hectic summer with most of DSSF coming through here for various periods of time but as they return to school and
things get back to normal I'll be back to work on RB 4. At this point I'm more than half way with things picking up.
#67 May 3
Wow! Sorry folks! Between the day to day of normal life, the Facebook page, monthly features on this site and working on the
next RB, I lost track of how long it had been since my last post here.
As for RB 4, things are beginning to gel! Writing is moving forward and I have almost finished my part of editing for
the first 5 chapters!
This time I decided to do things a little differently than with RB 1-3, so I began by writing the last chapter first.
That's right, RB-4 was finished before it began! Once the ending was complete, I knocked out chapters 1-4 in order and continue
to work sequentially to fill in the rest.
In addition, I'm researching 2 new options for publisher and at some point I will have to decide between remaining with
Outskirts Press (publisher for RB 1-3) or one of the new options but there's no hurry for now.
And, I'm now in the preliminary stages of cover development with 2 different artists.
#66 March 13
For those anxiously awaiting the next edition of Rocket Babe, you'll be glad to know I am finally working on the first draft
of the next edition!
Chapters 1-2 are finished! Of course this is only the first few steps of a long journey. If you were onboard 100 with
Captain Starr, Earth could still be easily viewed on the aft monitor but she's cleared the Yard and her course is laid in.
Standby for max thrust!
#65 February 4
It looks like 2017 is going to be very busy for us; lots of things happening at the same time right now. I have the outline
for the next Rocket Babe completed but as most writers do, I continue to tweak things as I move forward. While I begin writing
I'm also checking into several cover options, a couple of new marketing ideas, a video trailer script to have ready when the
next book is finished and even a possible change of publisher, just to mention a few.
I will try to post more frequently here but rest assured much is happening behind the scenes even when things seem quiet.
Be sure to follow along and invite your family and friends to join us on Facebook and here on Vernarockets.com!
#64 January 1, 2017
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Just a couple of things to get 2017 off to a good start.
1st: Congratulations to Bill Chattin for winning Bones' ROCKET BABE GIVEAWAY! Bill received all 3 paperbacks! See post
on RB Facebook for a the photo of Bill, his rockets and his books!
2nd: The severe drought conditions that have plagued Alabama for the last quarter of 2016 are finally over! Hopefully,
launches will resume this month and we'll be seeing lots of great photos very soon.
3rd: I have finished the outline for the next edition of Rocket Babe! As soon as I can tie up a few loose ends, I hope
to begin writing this month.
Verna and I hope 2017 is your best year ever!
#63 October 5
It's finally cooling off here in the sunny South; summer is fading fast and none too soon for me! For many reasons fall has
always been my favorite time of year and as we get into October we know it won't be long before the holidays are upon us.
To that end, be watching here and on RB Facebook for some special offers we're working on and a chance to win some RB prizes!
#62 September 6
Yes, it's been more than a month since I posted here so let's get caught up.
The July Kindle sale was a success! We'll likely have another one in time for Christmas and next time in the U.K. too!
Summer was too long & hectic, I spent most of my RB time marketing and doing a couple of interviews that I think helped
sales and now I'm looking forward to Fall and getting back to writing.
Verna got to spend some quality time with the newest grandchild, Lucy, last month and Captain Starr says Lucy will make
a nice addition to DSSF! I've been trying to decide where to plug her in as I complete the outline for the next edition of
RB. If all goes well I may get to begin drafting the 4th addition soon.
As most of you know, Vernarockets.com was abducted a few days ago (not sure which enemy) but after I threatened to send
Starr to investigate, the site suddenly reappeared. The platform for the site is ancient and I really do need to make the
leap to a newer version but as with all things, time is a huge factor. The main hold up is that I've been trying to decide
what to keep and what to drop.
We've had several people join the RB Facebook page recently so a big welcome to all of them! We're glad to have you with
#61 August 1
Hey RB fans!
Our U.S. July Kindle sale was a huge success! Verna & I want to thank all of those who purchased RB Kindles, Liked
RB on Facebook or took the time to email us! It's always great to hear from YOU!
We'll be having a Kindle sale for those of you in the U.K. very soon! Stay tuned!
#60 July 15
Celebrate our anniversary with us!
Our Biggest Rocket Babe Kindle Countdown Sale Ever!
Dust Storm, Fallen Angel and Ant Men:
July 15th - 17th $1.99 each That's 61% off!
Get all 3 for just $5.97!
July 18th - 21st $2.99 each That's 41% off!
Get all 3 for just $8.97
Dust Storm http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HHJHOK6
Fallen Angel http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00O14ET8K
Ant Men http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01CX1UPCG
All Kindles return to $4.99 each, July 22, 2016.
& I are pleased to announce the birth of our 5th granddaughter, Lucy! She
is our 12th grand child over all.
How many authors can truthfully say 12 of their characters were literally born
for the part? Look for Lucy's debut in the next edition of Rocket Babe!
#58 July 9
Yikes! Until I logged in and prepared to post this I didn't realize how long it
has been since I was here. So, what have we been up to? Among other things,
I've done a RB interview or two and a good deal of marketing. When I have had a
few precious moments I've also been expanding notes and the outline for Rocket
Babe's next adventure. We enjoyed lots of friends and family over the July 4th
holiday weekend and next Friday Verna and I will celebrate another wedding
anniversary. This year we thought we'd celebrate with our biggest Kindle
Countdown Sale ever!
To that end, on July 15th beginning at 8am (pst) the Kindles for Dust Storm,
Fallen Angel and Ant Men will all be on sale for a limited time as follows:
July 15th -17th $1.99 61% off!
July 18th -21st $2.99 41% off!
So, if you'd like to get any or all of them at a great discount, July 15th -
21st is the time to really save on the Kindles! A reminder will also be posted
in a few days to the Facebook page.
#57 June 6
Happy summer, or winter for those Down Under!
It has been a hot humid summer in Alabama so far and it's just started. We just broke a mini drought yesterday, with our
first rain fall in more than 30 days. I think we got about half an inch, so not much really but at least it rained. Our lawn
looks like late August already.
Having finished the RB Fallen Angel trailer (see RB Facebook for the YouTube link) currently I'm doing research, building
the outline and making notes (10 pages of notes) for the next RB adventure. If I can find the time I may be able to work with
Rachel again soon on a trailer for Dust Storm and/or Ant Men.
Still hoping a few of you will have the time to post a review of Ant Men on Amazon and to that end I'm thinking of having
a contest to make it worth your while. Details on that soon.
Hey RB Fans!
If you have read Ant Men or one of the other books in the series,
please consider placing a review on Amazon for any of the books you've read.
It is our understanding
that even if you purchased your books directly from the author's website, you can still post a
review on Amazon as long as you have an Amazon account. Just be sure to mention
you purchased your copy directly from the author somewhere in the review.
#55 May 22
Yes! It's here! With many thanks to RACHEL BOSTWICK we proudly present our new book trailer for Fallen Angel!
Looks great when you click it up to full screen! Turn your speakers up; I love the ending! I found Rachel on Fiverr.com.
Check out her services and give her a try! Tell her Rocket Babe sent you!
If you're so inclined, please go to the RB Facebook page and click the SHARE button below the link and post it to your
Go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6DWignbF1qo
Verna & Randy
#54 May 15
Hey RB fans!
Just a quick note to let everyone know I've been working with someone to create a trailer for Fallen Angel. I hope to
have it finished and ready to post on YouTube in the next couple of weeks!
I'll let you know!
#53 May 4
It’s been an
interesting few days since I last posted. Verna received a nice box of retro
goodies from David Pinnick, we’ve had local people come by the house to pick up
their copies of RB-AM and I’m now in the early stages of research for the next RB
Last week I was able to
enjoy a day of mentoring at Bragg Middle School where our club, NAR 665, assisted
300+ boys & girls launch their rockets as first time flyers. It’s a lot of
work but also a lot of fun watching as 13-14 year olds build and fly a rocket.
#52 April 23
Yes, we are still here, just haven't had any time to post the last few
days. We seem to have survived spring allergies, at least for the moment and
long enough to celebrate my mother's 91st birthday!
Book sales have done well, we're signing and selling more and more and even
though RB-AM has only been out a few weeks many of you have asked what's
happening with the next episode of Rocket Babe?
Well, I now have the outlines for 2 different story lines that may be a pair of
short stories or eventually evolve into the next full book. At the moment even
I won't know which way they will go until I get into it. The next one came to
me as a side bar when I was about halfway with Ant Men and I've been anxious to
begin work on it for several months. Unfortunately, I already know I will have
very little time to work on anything through June.
If you haven't done so already be sure to scroll down the Rocket Babe Facebook
page and enjoy all the photos I've posted that correspond to the chapters
listed. I still have a few more to post as soon as I can get to them.
usual, we've been super busy! Promotionals and marketing have been taking up much of my time, so if it seems I'm not posting
as much, that is why. Book sales have been steady and the emails have been interesting. I hope to share a few with you soon.
For today: The most frequent question I get is from fans that haven't even finished the most recent edition of RB. They
want to know if I'm working on the next edition yet, and when will it be out? Well, the answer has not changed since word
one, chapter one, of Dust Storm and that is, that I am always thinking about the next story, scene, action, etc. etc. etc.
and I already have a good idea where the next story is coming from, but since Ant Men has barely been out a month, we really
have to concentrate on sales and marketing for the near future, but rest assured, Captain Starr and all those who support
her will be back.
Now, if sales suddenly go through the roof and we just blow the doors off the hinges, I could be back writing sooner than
expected but that really is up to the readers. Sales are steady, we are encouraged but we're trying to crack a very large
diamond when it comes to attracting a larger portion of the sci-fi audience. There are more than 6 million books, from millions
of authors currently on Amazon and we are a single, small voice... for now. That doesn't mean we aren't working hard to inch
our way to higher ground but as with all good things, it takes time, patience, some luck and a little help from our fans to
If you want more Rocket Babe and faster releases, please consider sharing our RB Facebook posts on your Facebook page
regularly, tell your friends about RB, tell your book club and give away a few copies to family, friends and your local library.
Every little mention helps, every copy sold expands the Rocket Babe universe!
To all those who have purchased Kindles, paperbacks, shared RB on Facebook and with friends, or Liked the RB page, THANK YOU!
#50 March 31
going on right now! The April updates for Photo
Month and Fire & Smoke are now online! Sales for RB-AM
going well, my 90 year old mom is home from the hospital after a fall and she
is doing well too. Spring has sprung and the pollen and oak tree squiggles are
performing their annual attack on my sinuses but I am surviving!
you enjoy Rocket Babe now is the time to
help us out by sharing a link to the RB Facebook page and /or Vernarockets.com
or by word of mouth. Get a copy for a friend for a birthday, graduation,
anniversary, spring break road trip or just to be nice to someone you know who
discover new friends and fans every day and
it is always wonderful and humbling to hear how much our fans love the series.
Please continue sharing your comments and asking questions. It's always nice to
know many of you care so much!
those of you that have already purchased
RB-AM or any book of the series, THANK YOU! We
greatly appreciate your encouragement and support!!!
#49 March 21 Rocket Babe – Ant Men
We have now chosen and posted
dozens of photos from the storyline for
your enjoyment, to the Rocket
Babe Facebook page, to help you
visualize many places and events that take place on Earth. The space action is
still up to your imagination. As we have said before, we hope seeing many of
the spectacular places mentioned in Ant
Men will enhance your enjoyment of the book.
If you have never been there,
the American South West is
incredibly beautiful and there are so many places to visit. If we could, we
would spend the rest of our lives cruising Route
66. We still have a few places left on our ‘bucket list’ and when we’re
finished we would love to spend our last days wandering Monument Valley and
Valley of The Gods. It is so amazingly peaceful and quiet. Not to mention no
pollen or allergies!
Please, when you have finished
Ant Men, Like the Rocket
Babe page and post a 5 star
review to Amazon. And be
sure to share your love for Rocket
Babe with your friends!
May the wind be at your back!
#48 March 17
By now many of her fans
have at least purchased the latest Rocket Babe adventure
but as always we can still use your help!
I worked for a company
doing cold call sales for almost 30 years and I can tell you for a fact that “WORD
OF MOUTH” is by far the best advertising you can get! So…
If you Facebook, Pinterest,
Tweet or just like to share fun things with your friends, please be sure to
share a link to the Rocket Babe Facebook page, Pin and post a photo or two
Verna Starr, or Tweet Rocket Babe’s web address.
Feel free to copy the
cover photo from one of our pages and paste it with a link anywhere and
everywhere you can or share in any manner you like.
The sooner I get sales
going again the sooner I can get back to writing!
#47 March 14 Rocket Babe – Ant Men
been a long time coming but RB-AM is finally live on Amazon, via paperback and
Men is longer, more detailed and intimate, than Dust Storm or Fallen Angel. The
few people I asked to review it before the official release agreed it is the
best of the series to date! I know Verna Starr’s fans will not be disappointed.
believe those who loved Dust Storm and Fallen Angel will find I have stayed
true to the RB story line with plenty of twists, drama, humor, romance and the
unexpected. And while I still consider this book to be light reading, be
prepared to actually read the story; if you try to skim the surface you will
miss a lot.
Men picks up right where Fallen Angel ended with a quick transition to their present
(fall of 1982) and the introduction of the winner of last year’s contest for
Special Guest Character, David Pinnick.
began writing Ant Men I asked David for some personal background to share
within the story line and I was amazed how close his real life experiences
matched what I had already outlined for a new character I was creating, but that had not been named. Some things are meant
to be and I believe David was meant
to be Commander Pinnick. Just remember as you read, it’s not over until it’s
last thing; I have come to classify my own works as, Sci-Fi Reality. Always
remember as you read that throughout the Rocket Babe series, there are obvious
things that are science fiction, but almost everything else that can be real,
is real or actually happened. The majority of the characters are based on
family and friends, and many of the places mentioned and many of the events,
are inspired by my own experiences throughout my life. I have simply interwoven
my reality, with my imagination.
And please, LIKE us on Facebook, share RB to your own Facebook timeline
and when you have finished reading the books take a moment to leave a 5 star review
strap in, I can hear the turbines of 100 spooling up!
and I hope you all enjoy, Rocket Babe - Ant Men!
#46 March 9
Just waiting for Rocket Babe - Ant Men to go LIVE on Amazon!
#45 March 8
I haven't been able to do much the last few days, my 91 year old mother fell and hurt her hip. We've spent most of our
waking hours at the hospital the last 6 days but she is turning the corner and starting rehab. We're slowly adjusting to the
change in schedules for all of us and trying to get things back on track.
As for Ant Men, things are moving forward! I have an advance copy and I am making the absolute final checks; and the Kindle
crew is working to get things ready once I say throw the switch. Just a few days now, stay tuned!!!
#44 February 28
A few quick updates:
RB-AM has gone to print!
I'm being forced to migrate our rocketry website (the site you're on now)
sometime soon. I haven't decided yet if I will stay with Tripod or try a new
host. Either way I'll keep everyone informed.
#43 February 23
As I reported on the RB Facebook page the cover text has been
corrected and the final cover is almost complete. Currently I am waiting on my Galley proof for the manuscript. As soon as
I can proof read that I will give them my final ok to publish. From that point it's a matter of where we land in the cue as
for how long it takes to hit the shelves or Amazon. The Kindle and print versions are usually ready within hours of each other
so once we have one we should have the other very soon thereafter.
#42 February 20
Just a couple of quick notes... Yesterday I received 2 different drafts for the cover of RB-AM but there was a problem with
the text for the back. It seems they somehow managed to get their hands on the back cover text from Fallen Angel and used
that instead of the new text for Ant Men. I have no idea how that happened and neither did the publisher. The only thing you
can be certain of when publishing a book, is that you can't be certain of anything.
So, instead of having completed the cover process there will be a short delay while they GET IT RIGHT! Probably only be
a few days but it should not have happened.
Also, please see my post to the Facebook page about posting photos there from many of the scenes described in Ant Men.
I hope the photos will increase your enjoyment of the book as you read. I will try to post at least 1 or 2 from each chapter
a couple of times per week until I'm finished.
Lastly, if you have noticed a slight problem with this website you are correct. I have been having a problem with blog
controls the last 2 weeks, mostly spacing and fonts. Tripod says they are working on it.
#41 February 13
Rocket Babe-Ant Men is now proceeding with the actual production of the book. There are several items yet to be completed
during production. Currently I am waiting on the Galley proof of the manuscript. Hopefully over the next 2-3 weeks I'll also
have the cover drafts. In the meantime set up for Kindle sales is also being executed. Once I approve the final manuscript
for print, and the final cover, it will simply be a matter of where she enters the production cue. The publisher always tells
me 10-13 weeks but it has never been more than 5-6 weeks so we'll see. As soon as I know a possible release date I'll post
#40 February 4
I completed the pre-production phase today! Mainly that means we've cleared all the hurdles needed to start actual production
#39 January 25
It can take a few weeks to a few years to write a book and along the way there are several ‘special
days’ an author looks forward to as progress markers. For me it goes like this: Day 1, getting started. Day 2 is when
I have the first full draft. Day 3 is the completed manuscript. Special Day #4, would be when I have the final compete edited
manuscript ready to send for publishing… and that day is today!
I’ve been looking for this day for many months, especially the last two weeks. Everything you
can think of has conspired to slow or stop the process but much like we always do in the Civilized Tribe, we endeavor to persevere.
At exactly 12 noon today I sent the manuscript for Rocket Babe – Ant Men to
the publisher! The lady I am working with there… almost fainted.
This edition has taken the longest to write, edit and prepare, of the series to date. I hope that means
it will be the best yet for those who enjoy Rocket Babe. In the coming days as
we move through the publishing process, I will try to share a few things that I think you all will enjoy.
In this edition, I have tried to respond to many of the email suggestions and desires of our/her fans.
It is longer, more personal, intimate, more humor, and in keeping with the overall theme, many of the places, dialogue and
relationships are based on actual events from our lives. Not just for Verna & I but for many of the characters as well.
Many people and fans, tend to forget that while Rocket Babe is a fictional character,
many of the people and much of what is written is based on, and adapted from, real life events and experiences of family,
friends and Verna & I. That is, the parts that are possible, names, places, etc.
Over the next few weeks be watching Vernarockets.com for
the new Rocket Babe - Ant Men page to appear. As soon as I have time I’ll
be sharing in greater detail, bits & pieces of the real events I used for inspiration in the new story. I’ll also
be posting photos along the way to enhance your enjoyment. You won’t have to imagine much of the scenery; I have photos!
A few months back David Pinnick won our Guest Character contest
and he has graciously provided some personal information that I have incorporated into his character. At this moment David
has no idea how his character has been written but I’m pretty sure he and all of you will enjoy his part.
There are a few more ‘special days’ to come as we get serious about the final cover and
the book is finally available for purchase. So hang in there! Rocket Babe – Ant
Men really is coming soon!
# 38 Jan
FINALLY! The boulder is on top
of the hill and the brakes are off!
Yesterday afternoon I sent the last chapter for the next edition of Rocket Babe to Sharon for editing!
When she’s finished we’ll be ready to send the complete manuscript to the publisher!!!
There is still plenty to do before we have a finished product to download or hold in our hands but things
are about to start rolling down hill. I should complete the text for the cover today then we move to preproduction!
Everybody say AMEN!
#38 January 7, 2016
The first week of the New Year has been very productive as I head down the home stretch with the latest
edition of Rocket Babe. I have been able to accomplish more the last 10 days than
I have the last 10 months. I can’t really explain why, I’m just glad to report it!
# 37 December 31
Like every year the past 59, 2015 saw its share of highs and lows. Many good things and a few bad but
it’s done now and 2016 is staring us in the face. We accomplished most
of our goals and the ones we did not, are still possible with a little more effort. My only resolution each year, is to not
Life is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. May you all move forward in hope and take a little time
to enjoy life with people you love!
Happy New Year!
Verna & Randy
#36 December 19
Well, I have to honest with you all; this past week was a disaster.
I should have had enough time to finish the manuscript for RB 3 but then last Sunday afternoon my 90 year old mother had her
hot water heater split and flood her downstairs. Along with a water disaster team we spent 6 days getting it all cleaned up
and ready for the repair work to be done to dry wall, carpet, baseboards, etc. etc. She’s doing fine and thank goodness
The only good news is that I was able to spend from 8-11pm pm
last night working on chapter 13. Keep your fingers crossed that I get some time between now and Christmas to move things
#35 December 12
Update for RB 3: Do you believe in miracles? You should! The last 2 weeks I’ve had several uninterrupted
days to work; for sure a Christmas miracle. In that brief time I was able to add 4 chapters to the next edition of Rocket
Babe! For the manuscript, we’re rounding the last turn and heading for home. I have 12 chapters in to Sharon for editing
and the last time we spoke I believe she said she had chapters 1-8 finished. I’ve just begun work on chapter 13 of a
possible 14-16 total, depending on how I conclude the story.
For those anxiously awaiting the next release all I can tell you for now is there are a number of hurdles
to make before I have a hard date but I am working HARD toward a February release. If there is any way I can make it happen
sooner, I will. Of course, much of the timing depends on the publisher but as a word of encouragement for those
holding their breath, I began the prepublication process with Outskirts Press last week so things are moving forward and we
are picking up speed!
Still to be done: The last 3-4 chapters drafted, edited and final manuscript submitted for publication.
I’m hoping for 30-45 days on that. During it all I’ll be working up everything that goes with the cover, including
Hang on, I’m pedaling as fast as I can!
#34 Nov. 30
We hope you had a great Thanksgiving, we did! Last week was very busy getting ready and then enjoying
family and too much food! We got to spend some time with quite a few DSSF officers over 4 days. I didn’t get to write
at all but I will get back to it this week. Sharon tells me she has finished editing chapters 1-8 so even though I wasn’t
writing things are still progressing!
If you are thinking of getting a Kindle or paperback of Dust
Storm or Fallen Angel for family and friends be sure to order soon AND look
for the Amazon Deal Of The Day. We have no way of knowing how much they’ll discount the books, when or for how long,
so it’s catch as catch can. But if you are going to order paperbacks we recommend you do so soon in order to have plenty
of shipping time.
# 33 Nov. 22
Well, there’s good & bad news. The good news is that the U.S.S. Pandora made it to this month’s
club rocket launch; NAR 665 Birmingham Rocket Boys. The bad news is that there was an ongoing problem with the club's launch
rack that is pretty close to shot and to make a long story short, the only engine of the 5 that lit was the D12 core. Pandora
did rise (all 27 ounces) to about 15 feet before making an impressive belly landing, coincidentally about 15 feet from the
There was little damage to the main rocket but 3 ounces of clay and lead weights in the vaccu-form nose
cone was a bit too much to handle for the aft attachment point. The resulting impact snapped off the cone (mainly due to 3.5
ounces of clay and lead weights in the tip of the nose) but left the tube it was attached to clean and ready for a new cone.
Don’t worry though, I’ll have her repaired as soon as I can order a new cone from David
at Sirius Rocketry and we’ll try again in January or February with the pad I made for cluster launches.
# 32 Nov. 18
Rocket Babe fans keep your fingers crossed and your eyes on the websites!
Looking at the long range forecast this morning it appears we may have a launch opportunity Saturday, November 21st.
If the winds are low the U.S.S. PANDORA will be launched on her maiden flight
at our club’s monthly launch! I’ve taken PANDORA to the field several times over the last 2 years but the winds
have been too high each time. Please say a prayer this time will be different.
Rocket Babe 3 is progressing. Sharon has the first 8 chapters edited and I’m moving steadily
#31 Nov 3
Congratulations Mr. & Mrs. General! Reality is always
better than fiction. Pete and Lucy Barrett, married November 3, 2015.
#30 Oct 28
The leaves here are beautiful and falling fast! Since my last post I’ve had several good days
for writing which means things are moving forward with RB 3. YEA!!!
I’m also getting ready to do the November updates for Verna
Rockets.com and even had an hour or so to do some minor work on the 3 engine Cestris cluster rocket and the 5 engine cluster U.S.S.
Pandora. I’m hoping to fly them both at our next club launch 3rd Saturday of November. You can see them both
on their pages on this website. The page menu is on the left side of this page at the top.
In the next update we’ll have a great deal for those who would like to give signed Rocket Babe books as gifts this Christmas.
Be back soon!
#29 Oct 20
Good news! For those interested, I’m well into chapter 8 and Sharon has edited chapters 1-3!
This post will cover several recent questions…
Over the last few days you may have seen or heard reports on the news about product reviews on Amazon.
The main focus has been on large groups of people posting reviews that were paid to post, who haven’t actually purchased
or used the product being reviewed.
Amazon has tried to set up their site set up so that only people who purchase an item from Amazon can
post there. Almost all reviews will have an indicator that says, “Verified purchase.” I think that’s a good
The recent problem for Amazon is that there are companies or individuals out there, that for a price
$$$, will get their “people or group” to post dozens of positive reviews for a product that they haven’t
purchased or even used. Of course, Amazon can’t allow that to happen. It
undermines the process and destroys all trust since the consumer wouldn’t know if a review were real or manufactured.
Not long after Dust Storm went live on Amazon we began seeing
reviews. Most were 5 star but not all and there was even a 1 star but that’s ok; we all have different tastes. I won’t
write more if they are all 5 star and I won’t stop if they are all 1 star. I
write as much as I can for MY audience, knowing in a world of 7 billion people, there will be those that like me and those
that won’t. To be honest, I hated Shakespeare until I was about 35 but now I love it. Tastes change.
Once I became aware there were reviews of our books on Amazon, I began checking to see what kind of
reviews other authors were getting and boy was I shocked by what I found on a few! Very quickly I realized there were people
who must have been doing what Amazon has recently cracked down on and that’s posting dozens of erroneous reviews. The
worst example I saw was of a new author’s book that went live one day and 2 days later there were more than sixty 5
star reviews. Really? No one knows you, but that many people bought a book, read it in less than 2 days and sat down and posted
that many reviews? I suppose it is mathematically possible but that was an easy one for Amazon to filter.
As for reviews, we of course welcome all the 5 star reviews people will post but as for a true guide
for buying a book or anything for that matter, it’s usually a matter of what you like or enjoy. I love the Beatles, another
person likes opera. Which is best? That’s your choice. Make up your
Here’s a fact: The majority of people are so busy these days they won’t take the time to
post a review unless they really love something, or they really hate it.
When you’re shopping, read the reviews, read the intro, then make up your own mind.
But keep buying our books, they’re all 5 star! Just ask me.
#28 October 7
Ok, it’s been too long since I’ve posted but as always, we’ve been very busy. There
are times I believe the universe really is conspiring against me. The good news is, I have been writing and I finally reached
the point I am satisfied with the first 6 chapters; Sharon now has them and has begun editing. Currently, I’m well into
chapter 7 and should have more time to write as the days grow shorter. I still hope to have the next edition of Rocket Babe out by early 2016 if not sooner.
There are times as I write, that much like many of our fans, I am frustrated by how long it takes to
get from page one, word one, to the end product but then I always remember an ancient saying that helps me move forward…
“The mills of the gods grind slowly
but exceedingly fine.”
Verna and I took Latin together in high school all 4 years and thanks to our teacher, Edna Galloway,
I came to know the phrase very well. Most people familiar with the saying attribute it to the poem, Retribution by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow but in reality, Longfellow borrowed it from an ancient, 3rd
century Greek philosopher, Sextus Empiricus. His works were translated into Latin in the 16th
For Sextus, the saying referred to the judicial system of
his day. Evidently, it was very thorough and could take some time before justice was achieved. I’m hoping the saying
has a similar meaning for my writing in that it takes a while for me to produce a book but hopefully the finished product
will be worth your wait.
And you thought I only knew sci-fi.
#27 September 10
I’ve been very fortunate in my life to have
large & wonderful family and many good friends. About 10 years ago Verna
& I met a man at a club rocket launch who is very intelligent, friendly and
he is always available to help a friend. Rocket Babe fans know him as DSSF Major, Blake
Driskill, Chief Engineer of the U.S.S. Pandora.
For many years Blake’s occupation and how
pays his bills has been working with and on computers (He is amazing!) but the
last 10 years his most frequent and main job, has been helping me when I have a
problem with my pc, which is frequently.
About 6 weeks ago I began migrating all the important
files from our ancient XP pc, to our newer pc but didn’t quite finish before
Sept 1 and all that happened last week with the Kindle sale. As of last Wednesday
night there were still 2 folders I needed to move; one was full of Verna’s Excel spread
sheets for our budget management and the other was chapter 6 of RB 3 and the draft
for the rest of the book, including ALL of my notes.
Late Wednesday evening as a strong electrical
storm approached, I shut down the pc with the intention of completing the file
morning but things didn’t turn out that way. Thursday morning I pushed
the start button but when
the pc came up it was stuck in a “safe boot loop” and refused to start Windows.
I called Blake and he first suggested using the original boot disk to see if it
could correct the problem but of course, after so many years, I didn’t have the
disk. Strike 1.
At that point I called my sister to ask her to
call my nephew that does I.T. work to see if he had one and as it turned out
his dad had a XP disk that had never been used. We got together and soon I
tried again but the disk didn’t work. Strike 2.
By now its lunch time so I called Blake to
report my progress and he told me to remove the hard drive and when he gets
off he’ll come by the house to see what he can do. Later Thursday evening Blake
came to the house and he brought a little black box I think he called a “sub-dock.”
In a few moments he had it hooked up to the new pc and then he plugged the damaged
hard drive into it much like placing an old 8 track into the player in my 72
The pc partially came up but still didn’t
really want to cooperate and as I waited for Blake to say, “It’s dead Jim” he
opened a couple of boxes, typed in a few well
placed prompts and faster than you can say, “Verna loves Randy” there they
were; every last file! The entire old
hard drive opened before our eyes and in less time than it takes Sela to fire
an Eradicator, all of Verna’s spread sheets and chapter 6, including my draft, were
on the new pc. Tragedy averted again, thanks to Major Driskill.
In the Star Trek universe Scotty is known as
a “miracle worker” but Scotty is pure fiction. In the real world, Blake truly
is a miracle worker and when a friend needs him most, he’s always ready to help,
and he always does.
Those of you anxiously waiting for RB 3 should
say a prayer of thanks tonight for Blake. Verna & I already did. His
ability prevented a lengthy delay in the next release date, and probably kept
acting Commander Randall from sleeping on the couch for quite a while.
#26 September 8
To all those who helped in any way to promote last week’s Rocket Babe Kindle sale, THANK YOU! Your efforts and
assistance is always greatly appreciated! While we’re not on the top 10 best sellers list just yet, the sale was indeed
a success! Now we’re working on a Christmas sale for our fans who are paperback readers. So if you’d like to get
a signed copy as a gift for someone I’ll have more information for you soon!
#25 August 30
The last 10 days have been very busy and as
usual I’m caught in a ‘catch 22’, dividing my time between writing and
marketing. I’ve spent a lot of time on the September updates and getting ready
for the Kindle sales here and the U.K. as well as promos for the main Amazon
website. Even managed to get the updates done about 36 hours early for a
Today I’m finishing up with promos for 6-7
forums and additional websites that should help increase sales. Increased sales
means more time to write, which translates into more Rocket Babe and more
September 1st will be a huge day
for us. On that day I will post a reminder ad on the Rocket Babe Facebook page
like the one on the top of Vernarockets.com now, and it would be a tremendous
help for all of you to click “Share” and post it on your Facebook pages as well
as to Tweet it, Pintrest or just share the Amazon book links.
Please, we especially need those of you in
the U.K. to help.
For those of you who can and will, THANK YOU in
#24 August 28
It’s been a decent week and as usual, I didn’t
get everything in I wanted to, but I did accomplish quite a bit including some writing. Chapter 5 is still percolating, while
6 is about 80% drafted. Since Labor Day will be a 3 day weekend I’m hoping to have some extra writing time. Keep your
I’m not really an I.T. person but I can do enough to
be dangerous. I spent most of this week working on final touches for our Fall book promos that will go out to several media
outlets and as many websites by Monday, as well as the usual monthly updates for our websites. Speaking of monthly updates
I’m really looking forward to the next one! It will all hit on Sept. 1st.
#23 August 20
After a very
active spring and summer things finally seem to be settling down for us. Fewer
distractions and brush fires have allowed more time for me to focus on writing.
YEA! The biggest problem I have at the moment is that I am not two people. If I
just had a clone that could market while I write, things would move along much
faster. And if I had a clone of Verna that could spend more time out and about
as Rocket Babe, marketing would go much faster too.
1-4 went to Sharon I’ve been able to pick up the pace just a bit. We’re
not up to freeway speeds yet but at least we’re no longer stuck in traffic. For
now the chapter 5 draft is on simmer (waiting for me to decide that I’m
finished with it - I think I am) so I move on, well into chapter 6. I hope
to have the rough draft of chapter 6 completed by Sunday evening and cover
development has begun.
I'll be back
with news on the Fall promos very soon!
Q: “How are things going? Hope Commander Randall and Rocket Babe
are doing well. It has been some time since you put anything new on Bit sand Pieces.
A: Sorry about that. We’re doing well and yes, it’s been
a while since I’ve had time to post on Bits & Pieces, so here you go!
We’re looking forward to September 1st to kick off
our Fall book promos and sales! I’ll have more on that in just a few days.
RB 3 is progressing, the first 4 chapters went to Sharon for editing
a few days ago, so YEA for progress! Our club should have its monthly launch next Saturday and if the weather and life are
ok with it, I’m hoping to get in the maiden launch the U.S.S. Pandora. If all goes well, she’ll go up on a core
D and 4 C’s. Keep your fingers crossed!
It’s been a long, hot and dry summer here and I’m really
looking forward to Fall. Fall in Alabama means 1 thing; FOOTBALL! And of course, cooler weather. You can’t beat fall
in the South.
I’ve been very busy all summer dealing with many little brush
fires but I think I finally have them out. I’m the most, caught up, that I have been this year. Currently, as I write
this, I’ve got a really bad sinus headache from all the dust. We could use some rain.
I'll be able to post more frequently now, so check back soon!
#21 July 22
As you might imagine, writing a book is not an exact science. Even
after you have everything needed to move forward including research and a working story line, things don’t always go
according to Hoyle. I think most of us would expect things to come together more easily and rapidly click along as a series
progresses, and to some extent it does, but not always.
For many writers the most difficult determination you have to make
is when a scene, a chapter, a book, or even a series is complete. For me, it all comes down to when I feel satisfied that
I’ve filled in enough information to properly portray what I intended, but there are times even after I have moved several
chapters further into the plot when I’ll think of one more tweak I want to make on something I thought I had settled.
Mostly I have flash backs to earlier chapters or even one of the other books in the series but yesterday I had a leap forward. I actually had to stop working on chapter 5 of RB 3 and for about 30 minutes I feverishly worked on notes
for what would be, Rocket Babe’s 4th edition. Many times the tweaks
come from what I am writing at that moment.
I can be zooming along in the middle of the very last chapter when
suddenly I’ll think of something I want to add to a scene in chapter 2. It may be something as simple as a rephrase,
or an additional item, and that’s all there is to it. Other times tweaking an earlier chapter will cause multiple scenes
to be reworked. Such has been the case with the latest, Rocket Babe.
Rocket Babe, edition 3, is progressing
slowly. I had hoped to be heading into the home stretch with this one by now but the good news is I finally have 4 chapters
I’m satisfied with (I think) and I’m moving well into chapter 5 with an excess of research and plenty of story
line for coming chapters. So please bear with me as I endeavor to provide RB’s fans with the best story possible.
And to close this time with a teaser, the winner of our Guest Character contest, David Pinnick, has been written into the story. How’s he doing? What’s happening
with David? Well, you’ll have to get the next edition of Rocket Babe to find
out. And when will that be?
I’m working on it! I’m working on it!!!
#20 July 7
a year ago I was very honored to learn that our first book, Rocket Babe - Dust Storm,
had inspired one of our fans and an old friend of mine to write his own book series. The fan’s name is Bill Selvidge
and within a few months of deciding to write his first book it was for sale on Amazon.
Book 1 Fallout
Austin Cole's home is ransacked and his brother inexplicably disappears, he embarks on a desperate search that sets him on
a collision course with a gang of international, illegal arms dealers who are intent on finding a powerful and deadly weapon
long thought to have been destroyed. But they soon find out there is much more to Mr. Cole than surface appearance would indicate.
Half way around the world a rising young agent of the Chinese Ministry of State Security leaves her promising future behind
and without the support of her government heads to the United States on an unsanctioned mission of her own. An action that
will have the NSA and the MSS utilizing every available resource to find agent Kao Yi Fun and soon find a strange and significant
link to one Austin Cole that simply can't be a coincidence. When the paths of the innocuous Austin Cole intersects with that
of MSS Agent Kao Yi Fun it becomes clear that an alliance between the two is their best hope to avoid capture by the NSA,
achieve their respective personal agendas and stop the arms dealers before they can find and sell the mysterious weapon to
enemies of either of their respective governments.
For those of you that have read RB-DS and/or RB-FA you might be interested
to know that the second in command of the U.S.S. Pandora, Lt. Commander Bill Collins, is actually based on Fallout author, Bill Selvidge.
Fallout, An Austin Cole
was the first in a series of three. I’m posting this today to announce Bill’s second edition, Aftermath, has just been released on Amazon in paperback and on Kindle.
Book 2 Aftermath
COLE IS BACK; AND DANGEROUS! It was
initially intended to be a simple investigation. Austin was to look into the apparent accidental death of a young CIA intern.
The investigation quickly turns treacherous. Austin Cole is forced to return to Langley, Virginia, and face a painful past
from which he'd been running for years. His return and subsequent investigation breeds an atmosphere of suspicion and contempt
but ultimately exposes several surprisingly deadly discoveries, any one of which could bring the entire security wing of the
United States to its knees. A dangerous trail of deception, mistrust, and hidden agendas, combined with a series of covert
Intelligence Agency operations, all carried out on U.S. soil against U.S. citizens, leads Austin directly to Langley and the
CIA, the last place he wanted to be. When two of his closest friends become the latest targets of a mysterious enemy, Austin
faces a technology he can’t understand, few friends to count on and what seems like an entire army intent on killing
him. Plunged into a desperate race against time, and an enigmatic adversary who is killing anyone associated with a three
year old OP, Austin discovers his actions to save his friends may very well leave him with few options, even fewer allies,
and his country’s security at its most vulnerable. THERE WILL BE AFTERMATH
I personally enjoyed Fallout very much and have been looking forward
to Aftermath for several months. Just as a side note, you will find a familiar
character in the story line but I’ll leave that for you to discover.
For those who like a good series you’ll be happy to know Bill
is already hard at work on what happens next in the Austin Cole series; part three is coming! In the meantime stop by Amazon,
use the Look
Inside feature and read a few pages of Fallout and Aftermath. Both
are available as paperbacks or on Kindle.
#19 June 28
A long week behind, another
coming up. Working on a number of things I hope to be sharing with you shortly. Also trying to get set up for the July
updates. If anyone out there has a transmorgafier I can borrow I would love to use it to clone myself about five times.
I have been able to write some this past week and do a little tweaking to the next edition of Rocket
Babe. And, I now have a working title but I'm not positive yet that it will be the final.
#18 June 21
first day of summer is turning out to be the hottest and most humid so far. Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there!
I haven’t been posting much lately; sorry. We’ve
been extremely busy around the Rocket Babe house. So what’s been going on here? PLENTY! To start, summer has set in
with a vengeance in Alabama. When the dew point is 77* it’s just too freaking humid! Add in temps for 10 days in the
mid 90’s and it’s miserable outside, especially if it’s sunny. We’re almost in drought conditions
now and this coming week the weather man is forecasting 4-5 days close to 100* and no rain. Yea! NOT!
As for important things, I spent some time last Friday prepping Verna Starr’s fighter
for its maiden flight at our local club’s monthly launch. The flight went well, returned with no damage and I noted
several things that can be improved upon before the next launch. I’ll have a short launch report and photos posted to
the next Fire & Smoke.
On the writing front, I’ve been able to spend more time this month on edition 3 of RB
and as a result chapter 3 is complete and chapter 4 is almost finished too but I have to tell you, Bones is beginning to get
on my nerves. He’s like a little kid; "Is it finished yet? Is it finished yet? Is it finished yet?"
I’m beginning to understand why a lot of writers used to go to a deserted island to
write. No phones! No lights! No motor cars! Not a single luxury… no wait, that wasn’t about writing… but
it’s a good idea. There’s nothing more frustrating than when you’re really ‘in the flow’ and
the door bell or phone rings. Usually it’s someone trying to sell me something I don’t want but I’ve finally
come up with a way to end the call early. If I can see the caller I.D. and it’s a number I don’t recognize, I’ve
started answering: “This is Jake, from State Farm.” Most of the time there’s a pause then they hang up.
I’d close this time with, “Stay Frosty!” But I don’t think
that’s possible right now.
#17 June 11
Q: Do you ever listen to music while you write or for inspiration?
A: Yes, there are times when I don’t have to fully concentrate on writing that I will listen
to an old favorite as I do research but not so much for inspiration. Most of the time I’m hoping for a quiet environment,
no phone ringing and no interruptions. Later, after I have a scene completed, there are times the scene will bring to mind
a song that would be perfect but to get the necessary releases would be very expensive and time consuming. I did explore doing
just that early on with Dust Storm but it soon became obvious it would lead to a nightmare of red tape and take far
longer than I thought.
The man that will be our guest character in the next edition of Rocket Babe, David Pinnick, made
a reference once about a RB soundtrack and if RB were to ever become a TV show or movie series, then I have about a dozen
titles that would fit many scenes perfectly. Coming up with a running sound track for a movie would be no problem and while
I can’t actually use them in the books, I can tell you a few of the ones I own and are my personal favorite singers
and titles. Just a couple I really like:
Peter Schilling - Calling Home
Radar Love - Golden Earring
Van Morrison - Moon Dance
Fall Out Boy - My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light Em Up)
I could easily come up with many songs for a general sound track, particular scenes, or for Starr and Randall.
YouTube has made it very easy to see any group or singer and hear almost any song ever written. I’m sure many of you
could offer suggestions too.
#16 May 25
or someone appears outside of its proper time in a story.
Form the first day I began writing this series I have tried to avoid
the use of anachronisms but you can find a couple, if you’re alert. In my ninth grade literature class at Banks High
School, Mrs. Akin taught us the meaning of the word anachronism as we read Shakespeare’s,
Julius Caesar. Old Bill used poetic license when he mentioned a chiming clock,
which would certainly have not existed during Caesar’s time but the reference helped to make the story more current
to his audience.
Like most sci-fi stories the Rocket
Babe series has the potential for many anachronisms and there are indeed a few between the first two books. If you’ve
kept up with the Facebook and website posts and the Behind the Scenes information
on the Dust Storm page, just to get you started with the most obvious, I will point
out that eleven of the main characters are based on our grandkids, the first of which is Sela who was not born until 2008.
The series time line begins on December 1, 1981 and with Verna & I both taking our first breaths in early 1956, it would
be impossible for us to have grandkids in 1981.
More in keeping with the use of an anachronism, the next easiest to
discover is the black ops entity of Sirius. Sirius is indeed a real company that produces most of the ships mentioned in the
series (flying models) and it is owned and operated by David & Evie Miller but the company didn’t exist until 1999.
Some of you might point out that a more accurate use of an anachronism
would be for something along the lines of DSSF using I-pad’s or Droids for communications and you’d be right but
part of what I hope makes the story more interesting is that for the most part I’m trying to stay within the boundaries
of 1980’s technology but as we all know things exist right now that we won’t learn of for several years, if not
decades, so there may be a few new items to discover in the next edition of RB.
In closing today I will tell you there are at least two obvious and
easy anachronisms in Fallen Angel that I have not mention in this post. One is
first mentioned in chapter 6, the other is in chapter 8. When you think you know what they are send an email with your regular
mailing address to: email@example.com and we’ll send you a free, autographed, Rocket Babe bookmark! Please list
Anachronism as the subject.
Hint: Not a company or a grandkid.
#15 May 16 Congratulations to David Pinnick! Verna drew his name for “Guest Character!”
We’d like to thank everyone that participated!
We’re a little disappointed at the moment. Today was going to
be a special day because Verna managed to get her first Saturday off since February 2014 and we were finally going to launch
Verna Starr’s Cestris Fighter and U.S.S. PANDORA on their maiden flights but when we got to the field not only was it
damp and drizzling, the winds were 12-15 mph. That’s a little high for these two rockets, so we’ll have to try
again. Hopefully at next month’s club launch.
We’ve been extremely busy since I last posted but the good news is that despite many set backs and
other responsibilities I have finally completed the first two chapters of the next edition of Rocket Babe. I had hoped I would
be at least half way by now but that is par for the course.
Les Randler received his RB poster in great shape and he put up a nice photo of it with his books and rockets
on the RB Facebook page. Take a look!
Time is running out to register for our “Guest Character”
drawing! Deadline to send in your email entry to firstname.lastname@example.org is midnight May 15, 2015. See post # 9 for details.
Sorry to be so short. Be back soon!
#13 May 2
Would you like a nice autographed bookmark for your Rocket Babe paperback? Get one to match your
book cover, free!
Just send us a selfie holding one or both of your Rocket
Babe paperbacks and your regular mailing address to: email@example.com
Supply is limited! We only have 100 each, so hurry! Offer
will expire without notice!
#12 May 1
The winner of the Fallen Angel Cover Poster is...
Your poster will be dropped in the mail this morning! It's going to look great hanging
over your livingroom mantle!
#11 April 25
Deadline to register for Cover Poster Giveaway is April 30, 2015!
Deadline to register for Guest Character is May 16, 2015!
When you read a book or watch a show, do you really pay attention?
Q: I know that many of the characters
of Rocket Babe are based on real people and events. Are there any subliminal or special secrets and tributes in your
A: The short answer is yes! I have scattered
many such nuggets throughout the Rocket Babe series. There are at least a dozen so far and more will follow but it’s
not really that anything is a secret. I just haven’t pointed them all out or publicized every little detail. I think
a lot of writers include little secret bits of their private lives in their works like an anniversary, birth date, pet
name or a team mascot, but of course, I am by no means the first person to do this.
One of my favorite examples is screen writer Chris Carter of X-Files fame. As a huge
fan of that series I know many of Mr. Carter’s inclusions. His most obvious is the use of the number 1013. The number
appeared throughout the show in many forms. Mulder’s birthday is October 13, there were file numbers with the sequence
1013 within a longer file number, as a door number in a warehouse, even his production company; Ten Thirteen Productions.
It’s something fun for fans to watch for as they enjoy the series.
An example from Rocket Babe I have not mentioned before
now is Captain Starr’s launch code from Dust Storm. Her launch code is the day we were married. Verna caught that one
right away. Of course, unless you are part of our family it would be hard for the average reader to know that but the person
it was included for got it.
Some characters are based on friends that I only used their first or last
name. Commander, Bill Collins is based in part on a very good friend of mine, Bill Selvidge. Bill recently released his first
book, FALL OUT An Austin Cole Novel and I highly recommend picking it up.
An example of a phrase that Bill and many of my friends and former football players
would recognize is one we used quite a bit when we coached little league football together in the 80’s and 90’s.
The phrase: “There are times when you are so funny… and then there’s
now” or some variation.
So yes, whenever you see a date, a code or repeated phrase in the RB series, it is
significant to a fan, friend or family member. If you see one and want to know it's significance send
us an email and I'll let everyone in on it.
I recently got an email from a fan that had a great phrase and I will be using
it in the next edition of Rocket Babe. What is it? Well, you’ll have to pick up the next book in
the series to find out, but I don’t know exactly when that will be available just yet. Oh, didn’t I tell
you? I began writing it last week.
#10 April 18
Have you entered the Fallen Angel Cover Poster
Deadline to enter is midnight April 30, 2015.
She’s getting ready to draw! Is your name in the Jolly Roger box?
And... don't forget to enter our be a Guest Character contest!
Scroll the page for details!
How would you like to be a ‘Guest Character’ in the next edition of Rocket Babe?
#9 April 8, 2015
There’s still plenty of time to enter the Cover Poster Giveaway!
Scroll down this page to post #6 for full details!
Here’s your chance to be a ‘guest character’ in our next edition of Rocket
Not long after Dust Storm hit the shelves I read an article where some author I had never heard of, was going
to do his fans a big favor.
For only $5,000 some lucky fan of his, would be given the chance to be killed
in his next murder mystery! I had to read his offer twice and still my reaction to that was, “SAY WHAT!?”
Wow, what a great guy, right? Only $5,000 to be in his book. Offers like that don’t come along every
day, right? That was really hard for us to pass up, but we did.
We love our fans, so here’s our FREE offer
to all of you that love Rocket Babe.
I have my outline completed and I will begin writing the next edition of Rocket Babe
very soon. If you would like to be a ‘guest character’ it is very simple and you should
all know the drill by now.
Say it with me... send an email… with your first and last name… and your snail mail address to:
firstname.lastname@example.org and put Guest Character for the subject. That’s it!
Email your entry to us no later than midnight, May 15, 2015.
Contest open to everyone age 21 and older.
*Please note: The winner must provide proof of age and sign a release for us to use your
real name in the next book. We will provide the release at the appropriate time.
YOU WILL NOT BE PAID! Your prize is your inclusion
in the next book.
What will the character be like? That depends on the winner. Since anyone could win, it could be male or
female, young or old. I can use your name only and create a profile, or the winner may include some basic information if the
winner would like that, i.e. age, veteran, profession, etc, but only if the winner wants to share.
Otherwise, I will generate a completely new and totally fictitious profile for the story using the winner’s
name only. They may turn out to be a scientist, a new pilot, or DSSF officer. Maybe a new arch enemy! My editor, Sharon Coffman,
had a cameo in RBDS as the seamstress that created Verna Starr’s first space suit. So who knows.
I will say this; think about what you've read in the other books in the series. I personally rate my books
as PG 13. Many of the current characters are real friends and family. I write these books in part for my grandkids. I will
treat the winner’s inclusion in the same manner as I have treated everyone else. Rest assured, I will never write
a book called 49 Shades of Rocket Babe. Just ain’t happening.
Verna will draw from the names submitted and we will announce the winner here, May 16, 2015.
So get your entry in!
#8 April 1, 2015
I have been extremely busy since the last post so just a couple
of quick photos this time. The first, as a follow up to the last post. This is from our senior annual and is one of Verna's
numerous leather skirts. This one was multi-colored tan & brown. You can't see the matching brown leather boots that
laced up the front but even in black & white, there's no mistaking the Verna Starr pixie cut. Verna is still pretty
good with an iron, the blouse was a medium bronze and you could cut your fingers on the creases of the sleeves. Do I really
remember it, exactly? Yep! It's black & white here but it's in Technicolor in my mind.
Photo by General, Pete Barrett
At first glance it appears that General Barrett has caught a shooting
star close to Polaris... or, could it be a Nephilim ship that ventured too close to Captain Starr's fighter? With
all the disinformation being spread these days we'll probably never know for sure.
#7 March 26, 2015
What was the inspiration for the various ‘looks’ of Rocket Babe.
A: Verna Starr’s personal and space togs are in line with and based on the general
theme of other sci-fi shows and movies of the 60’s & 70’s as well as some of the outfits Verna wore during
that time. In Dust Storm her jumpsuits and dress whites were described close to
what you would have seen any female military officer of that day wear, with the exception of the length of her skirt and that
was explained within the storyline. For the cover of Fallen Angel Captain Starr
is wearing a skin tight sci-fi space suit, typical of most movies and TV shows of the 50’s and 60’s. Just check
out The Day The Earth Stood Still, Lost In Space or any sci-fi space show of the time and you’ll find that men
and women were commonly dressed in some sort of form fitting metallic fabric, especially the women.
leather outfits described in the series as Verna’s ‘trademark’ outfit and worn by her over the years for
'rocket nose art' and promotional purposes is in keeping with the styles from our high school years. For those that don’t
know, Verna and I grew up together in the late 60’s & early 70’s. We’ve been best friends since 6th
grade and attended church, elementary and high school together. During that time women’s clothing went through radical
style changes from mini & maxi skirts to polyester pants suits. One of the most popular fabrics was leather; used mainly
for jackets, skirts and boots. Verna was no exception and she had her share of leather outfits. For Rocket Babe I just specified what I was used to seeing Verna wear. Even now, no one looks better in a leather
mini than Verna. Her legs are still perfect!
outfit you see Verna wearing on our Saturn V model rocket (the original Rocket Babe circa 2001) is the same one she has worn
for all the promotional events for the Rocket Babe book series. And to be honest, I am very proud of her and the way she has
taken care of herself. Leather doesn’t stretch. How many women can wear the same outfit they wore 14 years ago?
Q: How close is Verna to the persona of Rocket Babe?
A: The short answer; very. Mentally, spiritually and physically, she is VERY close. But,
she isn’t really a pilot, does not have an eidetic memory (close) and she does not routinely venture out as Rocket Babe
in full leather battle gear brandishing a .44 Auto Mag. That only happens for a Rocket Babe promotional event, giveaway drawing
or the occasional boot contest. You won’t see her out as Captain Starr at Walmart, church or work. Maybe at Comicon
or a Sci-fi convention. Most of the time and per her job, she is dressed business executive or relaxing at home in a baggy
shirt and pants.
I mentioned in an earlier post, she can not be easily programmed, catagorized or referenced.
#6 March 23, 2015
The Rocket Babe Cover Poster Giveaway is finally here!
Normally, anything we do is posted to all of our websites and announced and posted via several other outlets
and forums but this time, we are only promoting the Cover Poster Giveaway on the RB Facebook page and Blog.
It’s meant as a thank you to those who have liked the Facebook page, visit there and are fans of the book series.
We’re not hiding anything and it is certainly ok if any of you wish to spread the word but this time
it’s not about promoting rocketry. Rocket Babe just wanted to say thank you in a fun way to all of her loyal fans.
Sometimes I almost forget Rocket Babe is sold in 12 countries and 9 languages. Everyone, including those
outside the U.S. ARE eligible to win. We hope all of you will enter and for those of you in other countries, you should enter
And, we’ll be announcing another special giveaway and a new contest over the next few days so check
Now, read the details of the Poster Giveaway below…
We’re having another
drawing! It’s simple! It’s FREE! Nothing to buy!
That’s right! We’re giving away a BIG beautiful 16”x20” cover
poster of Rocket Babe - Fallen Angel to some lucky fan on May 1, 2015! And we
think you’ll have fun entering!
How To enter: 2 easy steps!
1. Send your email entry to: email@example.com with
‘POSTER’ as the subject.
*One (1) entry per person please.
2. Put your full name and snail mail address in the body of the email.
Eligibility: ANYONE WORLDWIDE age 18 or older.
Deadline to enter is midnight April 30, 2015.
Winner to be announced May 1, 2015!
Everyone automatically gets one entry per email, but you can increase
your odds of winning by:
1. Post a review on Amazon for Dust Storm or Fallen Angel or both (whichever
you purchased and read) and get 1 or 2 additional entries added to the drawing box. Be sure and email us that you have done
so and wish for it to count for additional entries. If you have previously made a review on Amazon of either book just email
us and point out which book reviews so we can verify them and add your entries.
2. For 1 additional entry, take a selfie with either book or both, and
email it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and list selfie as the subject.
Additional entries will be placed in the drawing box per item above
Got it? Example:
D.D. sends us an email entry, only. D.D. now has 1 entry and we thank her for entering.
J.T. sends us an email entry = 1 entry. Later, J.T. posts a
review of both books and sends in a selfie for 3 more entries. J.T. now has 4 entries and we thank him for entering.
T.J. doesn’t read well and has a hard time following instructions. T.J. sends us 99 email entries but
alas, T.J. still only has 1 entry, that some how mysteriously gets stuck to the bottom of the drawing box making it impossible
for T.J.’s name to be pulled, so he can’t win. And as soon as I can get to it, T.J. is on the Rocket Babe BLOCKED
list and the next edition costs him $300.
Of course, T.J. is fictional (we hope) and all that won’t really happen. But if he is real, I can guarantee
he will be a character in the next edition of RB and die horribly.
So, what are you waiting for? Email your entry!
(Optional; post your Amazon reviews and send in your book selfie, now!)
And please, don’t be like T.J.!
#5 March 19, 2015
Hopefully, some of you will find this interesting…
We get marketing information from several sources, so I thought today I’d share a few quick stats.
According to a recent poll, when it comes to reading science fiction in all of it’s forms, women account for roughly
18-20% of all sci-fi fans, but when it comes to Rocket Babe, our fan base is
currently 36% female. That’s almost double! The thing that surprised us most is that of the 18-70 age group, 74%
of our female fans are age 45-65. We would have expected the highest percentage of women to be younger, perhaps 18-35.
Men account for roughly 80-82% of all sci-fi readers and 65% of all RB fans, with 46% of those men age 45-54.
And, while men represent a much larger over all percentage, again, the largest group is also older than expected.
So, what does all that mean? We’re not really sure, perhaps nothing but could it be that there are
a lot of people like us who grew up on 1950-60’s sci-fi and we’re actually the norm? Who’d a thunk it?
On a parallel note, on May 11, 2011 Amazon announced that Ebooks
passed paperbacks and hardbacks in sales. The last report I saw during 4th quarter of 2014 said that Ebook sales
now account for over 60% of the entire book market and their percentage is steadily increasing! For us, RB Kindle sales are
an even higher percentage with Kindles accounting for more than 80% of total sales. Heck, even college and high school text
books are now on e-readers.
Does that mean paperbacks may soon vanish altogether? Well, not just yet. There are still millions of readers
who prefer to hold a book, smell the paper, etc. but without a doubt paperbacks may soon be fewer and farther between. That
kind of fundamental shift in the market demands that an author or publisher take a very hard look at the bottom line, considering
that it costs us six to eight times as much to produce a paperback, as a Kindle. When Ebooks become the norm, and they almost
are, paperbacks may quickly become a luxury, with hardbacks becoming even more rare and much more expensive.
#4 March 14, 2015
time Verna wanted me to go a little deeper about inspiration for characters for the series.
were several reasons I started the Rocket Babe series. Most of you know that primarily the books are my tribute to Verna and
that she is my ultimate inspiration for Rocket Babe. But in addition, many of you also know that to date we currently have
11 grandchildren. All of them are part of the series to some degree, and have at least been mentioned by name and with one
daughter still unmarried there may be others to follow in the future.
reason for including them is simple. Verna and I did not get to know all of our grandparents. My mother’s dad passed
long before I was born, as did Verna’s grandmother that she was named after. My father’s dad passed when I was
only 7 and I only have a few memories of him. Verna never knew either of her grandfathers and only one grandmother. And knowing
that even though we are still young to have so many grand kids, we also understand that we all live our lives 1 heart beat
away from eternity. Because of all of that, I wanted to leave something behind for all of our grand kids. I want them to know
when they’re older and we’re gone that we loved and knew them, even if they don’t remember us.
that, we currently have four granddaughters. I hope younger women who read the series will take away that they can be beautiful
and still be strong, strong and still be sweet, intelligent and still be spiritual. Mostly, I hope Rocket Babe will be a role
model for girls and women of all ages in that she does not allow others to dictate who she is, who she can be, what she can
do or allow anyone to limit her opportunities.
many times I’ve seen people completely write off another person or negatively judge them because of their size, gender
or their wardrobe. To borrow a phrase from one of my all time favorite sci-fi series, Rocket Babe can not be programmed, categorized
or easily referenced. She sets her own standards very high and then lives up to them, and that is Verna in a nutshell.
get me wrong, I’m not a feminist but I do believe in true equality, regardless of the circumstances and we want
that for our granddaughters, as much as our grandsons.
#3 March 10, 2015
Q: I have heard the term “Indie author, what does that mean?”
A: Indie, is slang for independent author and most of the time, by extension, independent
publisher. Many people think the two are synonymous but not always.
Q: The next logical question is, why independent?
A: The quick and simple answer is, it’s about control of the final product and
the time it takes to get a book in the hands of readers but there are many reasons to be your own publisher. For example,
when going through traditional channels there will be many re-writes, perhaps completely changing the author’s original
idea or story and in some cases it can take 2-3 years after a manuscript is accepted before a book is available to the consumer.
I do my own re-writes and refinements in far less time without losing the original content and I can have the finished product
on Amazon.com within 30 days of submission.
few of the positives are: I set my own schedule, work at my own pace and enjoy the time writing without meeting some publisher’s
deadline and with my original content intact. If I want to put writing aside for a bit and spend a day with Verna or play
with the grandkids, I can. I control the verbiage, content and how a scene is portrayed. And for the most part I control the
cover. While I have seen a few good ones I usually hate generic covers and I’m not particularly fond of composites slapped
together from a stock album of 50,000 photos. The cover for Dust Storm was 90%
of my desired outcome, Fallen Angel was exactly what I envisioned but it was developed with a commissioned artist -
the down side, the writing, re-writing, research when needed, marketing and every little detail all come down to me, not to
mention the expenses. Being your own publisher is substantially faster but it is not cheap. E-books are not terribly expensive
to produce or sell if you do all the work yourself, but even a cheap paperback can set an Indie author back anywhere from
$1,200 to $6,000 to publish, depending on how much of the process they farm out to other contractors. After publication marketing
and advertising can be much more expensive depending on how many platforms are utilized. With marketing, the sky really is
that’s a very general, superficial look, at what it means to be an “Indie” author.
Q: How do I become an author?
A: While I’ve written many short stories, articles for
newspapers and magazines and various websites for quite some time, I still don’t take the usual approach to the
profession that many authors employ. I don’t get up at a set time, lock myself away for days or rely on a
huge support staff to do the grunge work and for what it’s worth, I never want to do that. At that point it becomes
just another job, work, and a long term obstacle to over come.
I’ve learned a great deal over the last dozen years from the “hands on” end of things but
the main thing I want to pass on is this; anyone can be an author. YOU, can be an author! All you have to do is think of what
inspires you, sit down and hammer out your thoughts. It really is that easy to start but developing your style and skills
will take the rest of your life. You may find it very enjoyable even if you never publish a thing. It can also be a lot of
work and tedious at times but you’ll never know if you don’t try.
#2 March 6, 2015
To follow up the last post…
Q: Are you making a lot of money?
A: This is usually the first question I get
when we’re out doing a face to face and my answer is… uhhh, no! But it’s a fun thought! Getting rich from
writing is not our ultimate goal. If that had been my one and only goal, we’d really be disappointed right now.
As most people know, our main market place is Amazon. More than 1 million books are released
each year just on on Amazon and there are untold millions of full time authors out there, all writing for a
finite audience, so the chances of any one of them getting rich over night, or ever, are infinitesimal. It happens, but very
rarely and I can tell you this without fear of contradiction; the easiest way to make a million dollars writing or as
an author, is to start with two million.
We get a royalty for paperbacks and a percentage for Kindles but generally speaking we make
somewhere between $0.68 to $3.50 per copy, depending on the sale price. So it’s easy to see why an author has to sell
thousands of books to make any kind of living, much less bump Bill Gates from the top of Forbes. The first two books are doing
well for a relatively new author but as much as Verna would like to have a C-ment pond where she could swim, it will
be a while before we are neighbors with the Clampetts.
Q: How many characters are family or friends?
A: Of the 50+ characters so far; Verna, all
11 grandkids and 14 friends we’ve known from childhood or various interactions like work or rocketry, etc. The grandkids
are all age 6 and under. I base the character personalities of the grandkids on how I see them projected today. They all display
a high level of intelligence and remarkable vocabularies for their ages. Some are very out going, some are a little shy and
quiet but they are all unique little individuals with their own personalities. All of them seem to be much more advanced than
we were as kids. For example, Sela is the oldest and in K5 but her level of curiosity, perception and understanding is probably
equal to ours when Verna & I finished 3rd grade. It doesn’t hurt that all of the grandkids have parents
who have a degree; several are teachers.
Q: How do you classify yourself?
A: I’m not quite sure how to answer the question. Technically, per Webster’s Dictionary, I am
an author, but for me personally, I consider myself more of a story teller, than what I consider a traditional author. What’s
the difference? I think mainly it’s a different style or type of writing.
Dolly Parton was asked once about how she learned to act and she quickly shot back, “Oh, I’m
not acting, it’s just me” and if you watch her movies, you’ll understand, it really is, just Dolly. Well,
in the same manner I’m not a traditional author. I’m a story teller, and that’s just me.
Q: Why the Bits & Pieces page?
A: There are several comments and questions we get on a regular basis and we'd
like to answer them publicly but the RB Facebook page is not constructed in such a way that responding to them there is efficient.
Here, we have an infinite amount of space where interaction with fans will not be lost within the regular posts to RB Facebook.
Q: Is it still possible to post questions to RB Facebook?
A: Yes! Nothing there will change.
Q: Is it
still possible to get a personal response to RB fan email?
A: Absolutely! The sole purpose of this page is to INCREASE
RB fan participation and to help make Verna & I more accessible. After more than a year on Facebook we have noticed that
many people are a little bashful or reluctant to post their questions there, or even comment. Hopefully, this page will make
connecting with us easier. To this point we have answered every email and Facebook post we have ever received. Because we
have many obligations and a huge family, there are times it may take a day or two for us to respond but we will continue to
respond asap, to everyone!
As a last note for today, I think the one question I get more than any other is, "How
does it feel to be rich?" And, I usually answer, "Boy, I wish I knew!" Of course, they mean financially and
while I know several published authors, none of them are getting rich from writing, and neither are we. Oh, we are rich, but
not in that way. We have a blessed marriage, five fantastic kids, four of which are happily married too (one still single)
12 grandkids, a lot of family & friends and most recently, a growing number of fans. So, while we're not rich financially,
at least not yet, we are rich where it counts.
I'll share some author/publisher financial information in post #2.