Thursday, July 21, 2016

USS Massachusetts (BB-59)

Recently I was fortunate enough to stop by Battleship Cove in Fall River, Massachusetts. I had been there before when I was maybe ten years old, but although the Cove is only an hour and a half drive from home, I had never been back. I was in the area recently so I felt compelled to stop by and check it out.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Samurai Sprint Mud Run

2015 was the year where I tried Obstacle Course Racing to see if I could actually do it. The answer to that question was a definite yes, and my season reached its peak with The Killington Beast in September.

2016 was supposed to build upon 2015, and be the year where I improved on everything. I would take on even more Obstacle Course Races, and try a variety of them to see which kind of races I enjoyed the most, thereby defining what direction my racing would take.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Sherman III

I recently purchased a Sherman III tank from Warlord Games. One of the theaters that my friend Jack and I have focused on for Bolt Action is the Mediterranean, from the Western Desert Campaign to Sicily and Italy:  essentially everything covered by the Duel in the Sun supplement.

Jack's Desert Rats so I decided to do up a Sherman to add to his forces. I decided on painting a Sherman III from the 3rd County of London Yeomanry (Sharpshooters).

Monday, May 9, 2016

Tiger Tank, Part 3

I don't have all that much experience with weathering. For most of the model vehicles I've done, the weathering consisted of slapping one some mud colored paint, and if I was feeling particularly ambitious, making some paint chips, smoke marks, and rust streaks. Doing it the "right" way, or at least, more in depth than that, seemed pretty daunting.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Swatches

I have an unhealthy obsession with getting the "right" color for my miniatures. In trying to figure out the color I need for a particular project, picking the right color by its depiction on a store's website is impossible. They never match. Looking at a paint pot or bottle doesn't work either, because sometimes the paint is unmixed, and wet paint is usually a slightly different shade than what it is when dried.

So I make swatches.

It's pretty simple: I just cut out a lot of 2-inch squares of posterboard, and then painted them with each of my colors. Now I know just what the color looks like when dry.  Whenever I'm dithering over which color to pick, I grab some of the swatches and do a comparison until I make my decision.  A 2-inch square is also good in case I need to go to Home Depot and buy a pint of paint for larger projects.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Unboxing: Dungeon Saga: The Dwarf King's Quest

As I've gotten older and had less time to play large scale wargames, I've had more and more thoughts of a smaller game that could be played that was also more accessible to non-gamer geeks.  I even did a post about it, hoping for a return Warhammer Quest. That hasn't happened, but Mantic Games has answered the call with Dungeon Saga: the Dwarf King's Quest.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Tough Ruck 2016


After my 2015 Obstacle Course Race season, I knew that I had a lot of work to do. I felt that in spite my finishing seven OCRs in 2015, and improving a little bit over the journey, I still had a long way to go. By no means did I feel "in shape," so I was determined to do 2016 better. On Veteran's Day 2015, I saw an announcement for Tough Ruck 2016, which was a charity event to raise money for families of Fallen Servicemembers and First Responders. In addition to raising money for a great cause, it would be good motivation for me to train.

Tiger Tank, Part 2

I have a love/hate relationship with decals. When I was young and before I got into miniature painting, I did model kits, primarily aircraft and warships. Most of them had waterslide decals, and applying them was pretty straight forward: soak them in water until they come off the paper, and use a paintbrush to put them on the model and adjust them...and voila, all done.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Commission: U.S. Marine

Apparently due to the popularity of my Woodland and Desert MARPAT tutorials, recently I was contacted to do a commission. The task was to paint two identical 28mm miniatures, one in Woodland MARPAT, one in Desert MARPAT.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Epic Sixth F.I.T. Challenge

The Epic Sixth F.I.T. Challenge was my second OCR of 2016. I have to admit I wasn't looking forward to it very much. It had been a very tiring week for me, and due to real life getting in the way, I had all but ceased training. Doing this race was going to stink in a big way. But I had paid my money, and so I went.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Writing Part 3: Finally Publishing... Independently

While I was busy writing up story outlines to submit to Games Workshop's Black Library, my friend Jack Badelaire lost interest in doing the same and instead began exploring Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). At the time I thought he was missing the boat. KDP was interesting, but ebooks weren't all that popular (yet), and I was more interested in writing stories for Games Workshop. Seeing how into their games I was, it seemed like a dream job.

It did not take long for me to realize that it was I who was missing the boat.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Writing Part 2: Dodging Bullets

In my experiences with publishing my writing, I feel that I dodged some bullets in that I failed to get published. Had I gotten published by a legacy publisher, I think I would have gone down a bumpy road of frustration, disappointment, and ultimately failure. Failing to get published was actually a good thing. Each failure on the road to publication was like dodging a bullet. Yes, some of those bullets might have missed me by inches and others by miles...but the important thing is that I didn't get hit.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Writing, Part 1: How my Teachers Crushed my Creativity

I started writing creatively in elementary school, but rarely finished anything.  I started a story about wild horses that was a few pages long, and I started a novel about "Will the Cat" that lasted a chapter or two before I lost interest. In any event, I didn't mention my extracurricular writing to my teachers. Looking at the scrapbook where my mother collected selected assignments, I can see that some of my school writing efforts received standard praise, but that's not what I remember about my experiences. Mostly I remember the rejections.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

In Praise of the Kindle

Back in the early 2000s, I considering buying my first digital camera. I was leery of doing so, as all the photos I would take would end up on my computer, and how would I get prints? All of my family photos were in photos albums where I could feel nostalgic occasionally paging through them, provided I could get over the slightly musty smell. To be honest, only the oldest photos were in the albums--the more recent ones were more likely to be still in the envelopes from the local drugstore photo-developers.

I was already scanning some of the pictures I took after having them developed, and I could see doing more of that going forward, so I bit the bullet and bought a digital camera.

I never looked back.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Tiger Tank, Part 1

I see the incredible potential of airbrushes for model painting, but my experience is limited. Even so, I have managed some decent results, but getting them has not been without some frustration (this frustration is admittedly due to my unfamiliarity with airbrushing.

Monday, March 7, 2016

BoldrDash Winterdash

March 5, 2016
2016 got off to a rocky start OCR-wise.  After proving to myself in 2015 that I could do these races, I was determined to make 2016 a year in which I would “do them better.”  My first planned race was the Blizzard Blast at the end of January. I missed it because most of my family was sick and I had to take care of them.  By all accounts I missed a fun race. For most of February I was suffering from strep and then bronchitis, so my training essentially came to a halt. Most of the people I knew would not be attending this race, and although I know several New England Spahtens, none that I knew would be going to this particular race.

Friday, January 29, 2016

The Effectiveness of BookBub Ads

BookBub is the most popular mailing list / advertisement venue for ebooks right now. BookBub sends out a daily email to well over three million subscribers showcasing ebooks that are being offered for a discount. There are many other promotional sites out there that are useful, but they don't have nearly the number of subscribers that BookBub does.

For an independent author, the downsides to BookBub are twofold:  the chances of getting accepted, and the high price of entry.

There are innumerable posts out there already that give advice on how to better your odds of acceptance, including one by BookBub itself, so this post will not address that.

Instead, this post will address the high price of entry, or more specifically, the potential return on investment (ROI) of running a book ad. Depending on the popularity of the genre and the type of promotion involved, a Bookbub ad can cost anywhere from $55 to $2,350. (as of January 2016) As an author I am most interested in submitting to the Fantasy or Action and Adventure genres, where prices range from $260 to $1,450.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

RANGER: Operation Axehammer is Released for Kindle!


My third novel, the first in a new series, is now available on Kindle!

Eager to take the fight to the Germans, hundreds of young American soldiers volunteer to become Rangers, an elite unit modeled after the famed British Commandos. Chuck Hawkins and Alan Patrick are two such men, ready to accept the challenge and show the world that Americans are ready to fight. 

After surviving months of hellish training, Hawkins and Patrick are selected to join a Ranger squad on a covert mission in occupied France. Under orders to avoid contact with the Germans, the plan goes awry when bullets start flying minutes after their landing. Hawkins, Patrick, and the rest of the Rangers are determined to complete their mission, all the while pursued by a ruthless SS officer and his fanatical troops. 

 RANGER: Operation Axehammer is a military action - adventure novel written in the spirit of classic war movies and wartime pulp adventure fiction.

The ebook is available from:


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