Archive for October, 2016

Writing a Book for NaNoWriMo

Posted in Writing with tags , , , , , on October 30, 2016 by Dawn Ross
NaNoWriMo 2016

November is National Novel Writing Month @NaNoWriMo,

Do you have an idea for a book in your head but just haven’t sat down and written yet? The prospect of writing a novel can certainly be daunting. Where do you start? How do you find the time? What if it’s bad? Here’s how NaNoWriMo can help.

What is NaNoWriMo?

November is National Novel Writing Month @NaNoWriMo, It is a non-profit organization set up to encourage new writers to write. Signing up is easy. And it also helps you find writing groups in your area who can help give you encouragement.

Where to Start

There are two types of writers. There are planners and there are those who just write by the seat of their pants, aka pantsers. I am a planner. I have my book entire mapped out and know exactly where I’m going to start on November 1st. If you’re just now thinking about NaNoWriMo, then it may be a little late to plan. But that’s okay. Surprising things can happen with your characters when you wing it. And believe it or not, a lot of writers write this way. So don’t let the fact that you don’t have a plan stop you.

How to Find the Time

This can be a tough one, especially if you’re trying to juggle work, school, kids, home, and whatever else comes up in your life. Joining and finding a writing group in your area can help. They often meet for what is called write-ins where everyone sits together and writes. Having like-minded people around you can not only provide encouragement but can also make you feel accountable. Write during your lunch break. Get an app on your phone so you can write while waiting in lines. Ask your family to give you time. Find time after the kids are in bed. These are just a few ideas. You can do it! 50,000 words is 1,667 words a day, which is less than a chapter a day!

Don’t Worry About Quality

November is just about writing. Don’t worry about grammar, spelling, prose, plot holes, boring parts, or anything else. Just write! Some NaNo writers have been known to get halfway through a story and realize they hate how it’s turning out so they start over. But they start over with another story. They don’t start over with their word count! Anything you write when writing your novel counts towards your 50,000 word count. Don’t cheat and write nonsense. But just write it and worry about fixing the story and editing it later. The most important thing in November is to write 50,000 words for your novel.

About Me

November 2015 was the first time I joined NaNoWriMo and it was the best thing I ever did. I wrote Book Two of the Kavakian Empire that month. No, it’s not published yet. I’m still working in fixing Book One so I can make it good enough for publishing. This November, I’ll be taking a break from fixing Book One so that I can write Book Three of the Kavakian Empire: Warrior Outcast. Find me on NaNoWriMo by searching author dawnross, all one word, all lower case.

To finish writing a novel is a very satisfying experience. Trust me. I know. So just sit down and write and you can finally get that story out of your head and on paper. Write it in November and then spend the rest of the year perfecting it for publishing. You never know, you just might be the next best-selling author!

p.s. I may or may not post what I write in November. But I will try to post something.

StarFire Dragons Chapter 1 Rewrite #3

Posted in Sci-Fi Part 1 - Revised 3, The Dragon Spawn Chronicles with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 29, 2016 by Dawn Ross

Book Cover for StarFire Dragons

StarFire Dragons

Book One of The Kavakian Empire

A Space Opera Saga by Dawn Ross

Note from author: As you may recall from last week’s post, there were a lot of great tips for improvements on this chapter. Some of it was conflicting, but I think I’ve got it figured out. Read chapter 1 of this sci-fi story again and tell me what you think. I’ve got to get this right before publishing so I need all the feedback I can get. Thanks!


Chapter 1

The front viewscreen of the bridge displayed an expansive stretch of deep black dotted with an array of shimmering constellations. The universe. So empty yet so full at the same time.

A heaviness settled deep within J.D.’s chest. In a way, the vastness of space reminded him of the forests of his home world. But instead of trees, there were stars. And where the trees sheltered a variety of nature’s creatures, the stars housed a multitude of different human cultures.

Back home, the trees brought serenity. Out here, there was nothing but discord.

Commander J.D. Hapker pushed down the hollowness rising within. There was a time when the prospect of visiting different worlds had made his heart soar. Though every terraformed world was outfitted with Earthen flora and fauna, each had developed their own unique aspects. A range of different landscapes promised a lifetime of adventure. And every human culture had evolved, or devolved, into new and fascinating facets of living.

The Kimpke incident had changed his perspective. The exuberance of his youth was gone, replaced with a disillusionment as depressing as the blackness that surrounded him.

J.D. sucked in his breath, letting his expanding lungs stretch his back. There was no use thinking about this. He stood up and stepped off the central platform down to the half-moon section of work stations located at the front of the bridge. A few officers glanced at him without so much as a head nod or smile. They could have been intent on their work, but J.D. couldn’t help but feel the weight of their judgement. They knew about Kimpke. Everyone knew.

It was a mistake coming here. He should have declined the commission to serve on the Odyssey. He should have just resigned and gone back home. Heck, he probably never should have joined the Prontaean Alliance Fleet to begin with. His father was right. The galaxy wasn’t ready for the enlightened view of a Pholan Protector.

“Sir,” The communications officer’s tone struck through the lull of the starship bridge. “We’re getting a distress signal from outside the Hellana system.”

J.D.’s pensiveness cleared away as though he were coming out of the gloominess of a nebula. He sat back down in the commander’s chair and focused on the new information scrolling across the bottom of the viewscreen.

“From who?” His voice came out louder than intended and with an edge of tension to it. After thirty days of border patrol with absolutely no activity, he’d been hoping it would remain this way. Despite having a background in strategy and combat, the last thing he wanted was to engage in more violence.

Lt. Brenson held the side of his half-bald head into the earpiece designed specifically for the unique shape of his ears. “It’s coming from a Tredon ship, Sir.”

J.D.’s skin went cold and his gut twisted. The Tredons. Just the ones he’d been hoping never to meet. They were a technologically advanced race of humans but with the barbaric mentality and desire for domination of the ancient Earthen Huns. “It’s a trap. It’s got to be.”

He tapped the comm on his console. “Captain, you’re needed on the bridge.” Again. “Lt. Commander Bracht, to the bridge.”

Lt. Brenson turned to him with a tilted head and wrinkled forehead. “Sir, the signal translation says they’re being pursued by the Grapnes.”

J.D. pulled back. “Grapnes? Are you sure?”

Brenson’s brows went up. “Yes, Sir. Quite sure, Sir.”

J.D. leaned forward. His mouth fell slack as he read the translation Branson posted on the viewscreen. This had to be the first. The galaxy’s fiercest warriors being chased by the vultures of the galaxy? It had to be a trick. “Locate the signal source and put it on the screen.”

“Yes, Sir.”

“And verify their claim. Scan for another ship.”

Captain Robert Arden entered the bridge with a solid and solemn gait. He stepped onto the upper platform with an iron composure and settled in the chair beside him.

J.D. pulled back his shoulders and straightened his spine. He was the captain’s new chief commander and if he expected his career with the Prontaean Aliance to last much longer, he’d best look less like an owl at sunrise and more like a sparrow hawk at dawn.


The captain’s rough tone made J.D.’s stomach do a flip. He’d served under harsh leaders before, but Captain Arden gripped his career by its heart. A career he was no longer sure he wanted, but he’d rather it be his own choice. “A Tredon ship reports they’re being pursued by Grapnes, Captain.”

Captain Arden’s dark bushy brows twitched downward over his eyes, eyes as sharp and as blue as kyanite crystals. A frown appeared through the dark beard covering most of his face.

“I’ve called Lt. Commander Bracht,” J.D. added. His stomach did another somersault. He hated having to notify the man. Adding the Rabnoshk warrior to the bridge meant a battle was surely eminent. But it was protocol to alert the chief of security in such a case.

The captain acknowledged him with a slight head movement. “Do your scanners pick up a Grapne ship?” he asked Lt. Brenson.

The lieutenant reviewed the information on his console. “I do detect another ship, Sir.”

J.D. scrutinized the information on the viewscreen. The Tredons actually told the truth, but there must be more to it.

“Forward the coordinates to the helm.” Captain Arden’s tone was even and calm. “Helm, set a course to intercept.”

J.D.’s shoulders fell. As commander, he probably should have given that order before the captain arrived. But every captain demanded a different level of initiative from his commanding officers. And after three months with Captain Arden, he still had no idea what the man expected of him.

The hulking form of the chief of security entered the bridge with an uncompromising expression and a savage look enhanced by his unruly blonde hair.

J.D.’s chest hardened as Lt. Commander Bracht made his way to the tactical station on the captain’s other side. He’d never met a Tredon, but god help them all if they were anything like the Rabnoshk warriors.

Lt. Commander Bracht seemed to embody every unpleasant stereotype he’d ever heard—loud and abrasive, confrontational, limbs like tree trunks, and, most unsettling, front teeth filed to reveal a carnivorous snarl. Having a man like this serve as chief of security certainly didn’t help change J.D.’s misgivings about taking this commission.

The front viewscreen switched from the displayed data to a single digitized image. J.D. shoved the Rabnoshk out of his mind and watched attentively as two dots moved rapidly towards a planet while the dot of their own ship still hung outside the solar system. “Something isn’t right.”

The captain didn’t respond, not in sound or gesture. The man seemed as cool as ever.

J.D. suppressed the urge to fidget. He hadn’t exactly said anything helpful, but the captain’s utter lack of response was unsettling.

A year ago, he had the confidence to deal with anyone and any situation. He’d been the fleet’s most promising officer, moving up rapidly in the ranks and even receiving a medal. But ever since Kimpke…

He pushed his thoughts aside once more. He had more important things to deal with right now than the state of his career and whether he was making a bad impression on his new captain.

“Can you identify the makes of the two ships?” he asked the operations officer.

“It’s still a bit far but we’ll be in range shortly, Commander.”

J.D. leaned forward in his chair. The dot representing the Odyssey was moving much too slow for his taste. He tapped his finger on the arm of his chair, adding to the other faint sounds of the ship—mechanical beeps, fingers tapping consoles, and a slight hum that he could always hear, and feel, when the Odyssey traveled over a certain speed.

His body itched. Though not much was happening yet, things had been too quiet for too long. A quick glance at the crew and he could tell most of them probably felt the same. Lt. Commander Bracht watched the viewscreen with a fierce focus. The operations officer hovered over his station. Lt. Brenson kept his hand to his earpiece and a hawkish gaze fixed on his console.

Captain Robert Arden, on the other hand, looked almost impassive. The man sat back in his chair with his hands relaxed on the arm rests. His face always appeared to be scowling, but perhaps it was because his brows were so prominent. As far as J.D. could tell, he seldom expressed any emotion. One could only guess at how many enemies he’d dealt with before his time on the Odyssey. The Tredons were just another variation.

J.D. had had his fill of contending with the Alliance’s enemies. After the Kimpke incident, it was obvious the Alliance viewed the protection of their people much differently than Pholans. They seemed to think sacrificing others for the greater good was acceptable whereas the only sacrifice Pholan Protectors made was with themselves.

His stomach soured. A confrontation with the enemy wasn’t what he’d signed up for when he took this commission. Although equipped with weaponry, the Odyssey was not a warship. If not for the escalating friction with the Tredons, the Odyssey crew would be well within the safety of the Alliance territory serving its normal function as a diplomatic and transport ship with civilians on board.

“The Tredon ship is only a small Serpent,” the operations officer said. “And the Grapne ship is actually an Angolan Cougar.”

This explained why the Tredons were running. He had seen a Serpent only once before. Although it was equipped with weaponry, it was far too small for anything other than hit and run tactics. A Cougar, on the other hand, now that was a full-fledged fighting ship—almost as well-equipped as the Odyssey and other Prontaean Alliance vessels. How in the heck the Grapnes managed to get their hands on such a ship was beyond him.

He absently rubbed his jaw, still unused to its clean-shaven smoothness. Knowing the types of ships involved shed some light on the situation, but it didn’t explain why the Grapnes would risk attacking such a dangerous warrior race. No one purposely messed with the Tredons.

“We’re in visual range, Captain,” another bridge officer announced.

J.D. tensed. The captain flick his hand and the officer responded by replacing the viewscreen’s graphic images with an up-close view of the Serpent.

A memory of a black cottonmouth snake popped into his head. This ship resembled its namesake with its flat head and narrowing tail. Its sleek design was worth admiring, even if it did belong to the Tredons.

The Cougar ship was not so elegant. It was more clam-shaped. The only thing cougarish about this ship was its yellow color. Even then, it wasn’t quite the same yellow he’d once seen on the real live cougar he glimpsed during an Earthen-like safari on his home planet.

J.D. inched forward in his seat and caught himself before slipping off the edge. Both ships fired upon one another. The spread of the dissipating energy from their shields indicated both ships were evenly matched in firepower. It was only a matter of time before they’d determine whose shields were stronger.

The perspective on the viewscreen widened, showing the blue-gray planet the ships were headed toward. “Is that Pensla?” he asked no one in particular.

“Yes, Sir.” The operations officer was the one who replied. “Fifth planet from the Hellana system star. It supports life, Sir, but it ain’t inhabitable.”

“Ah, yes. I remember that from my studies.” It was from one of the required readings he had been given shortly after he found out he was going to be assigned to this sector of the Prontaean Alliance territory. “It’s a small mining planet. And without masks or air filters one could only survive a few weeks. Is that right?”

“Yes, Sir, Commander. We call it the Blue Blight.”

“Communications are in range,” Lt. Brenson said.

J.D. straightened.

“Open a channel to both ships,” Captain Arden replied.

The half-bald Vrucian made a few quick taps on his console. “Open, Sir.”

“This is Captain Robert Arden of the Prontaean Alliance ship, the Odyssey. You are in Alliance territory in violation of the Ornman Treaty and committing criminal acts by the use of your weapons. Stand down immediately or you will be fired upon.”

The strength of the captain’s gruff tone penetrated to J.D.’s core. The man seldom spoke, but when he did, it was direct and to the point.

A low beep signaled the comm channel closed.

“We will be within firing range in 2,000 clicks.” Lt. Commander Bracht’s voice boomed. The ends of his long mustached stabbed down like daggers with each word. “I’ve targeted the Serpent.”

J.D. turned his head sharply and frowned at the Rabnoshk warrior. “The Serpent? The Cougar is the aggressor.”

Bracht scowled back. “And probably for good reason.”

“A small ship like that probably means they’re pirates,” one of the officers added.

It was a good point, but hardly enough justification. “We don’t know all the facts yet.”

Bracht’s frown deepened and his nostrils flared. “They’re Tredons. That’s all we need to know.”

J.D. clenched his jaw and returned the look. “Target both ships, Lieutenant Commander.”

He half expected the Rabnoshk warrior to argue. Bracht’s dark look didn’t change, but he did as he was told. “Yes, Sir.”

J.D. glanced at Captain Arden to see if there was any hint of whether he agreed or if he would counter his command. There was none. His new captain was known as a peacemaker for his efforts in negotiating peace with the Rabnoshk. But that was ages ago. The man seemed hard now. And unreadable.

The operations officer turned to him and the captain. “The Serpent is called the StarFire.”

J.D.’s mouth curled from a sour taste of bile rising in his mouth. Bracht may be right. A Tredon ship named after a deadly weapon probably meant pirates. Or worse—slave hunters. “Do we have any records on this ship?”

“Nothing, Sir.”

It wasn’t surprising. Tredon pirates changed the name and call signs of their ships all the time. But maybe, just maybe, the StarFire was just a regular transport ship that had ventured a little too far from home.

Neither ship had responded. He found himself on the edge of his seat again. The StarFire headed directly towards Pensla at an alarming speed. He almost couldn’t bear to watch. The ship was taking a great risk by entering the atmosphere too fast.

“What are they doing?” he asked out loud but more to himself. Surely they weren’t attempting suicide. Tredon’s were more of the ‘die fighting’ type.

“It looks like they’re going to try a skimming maneuver,” the helmsman said.

J.D. shook his head. “They’d better be damned good pilots to try that.” The maneuver was highly frowned upon because it was so dangerous. He had only seen it performed in simulation. In the few times it had worked, the intentional combustion of the upper atmosphere blinded pursuers and allowed the fleeing ship to disappear onto the other side of the planet. It was an amazing feat and there was a time when he’d daydreamed about trying it. Youthful foolishness, of course. Most simulations resulted in the destruction of the very ship that had deployed it.

He couldn’t tear his eyes away from the shrinking view of the StarFire as it dashed toward the planet. A bright orange cloud suddenly burst over a section of the atmosphere and rolled out in a gigantic wave. He reflexively pulled back. The fire rippled in waves of orange to yellow to brown and he lost sight of the ship. “Where’s the StarFire?”

“Scanning, Sir.”

“Are we in weapon’s range yet?” The sound of Captain Arden’s voice seemed to snap a few of the officers out of their awe.

“Almost, Sir.” Bracht’s bushy blonde brows were drawn inward as though he was angry at the Tredon warriors for attempting such a daring maneuver.

The Cougar was still firing but its shots were chaotic. They probably had no idea where the StarFire was either.

“They did it!” The operations officer’s voice was an odd mixture of awe and disappointment.

J.D.’s heart jumped. The viewscreen blinked into a focus on the StarFire as it flew away from the inferno. He leaned forward in amazement while other crew members mumbled their disappointment. Few had any liking for the Grapnes, but they hated the Tredons more.

His pulse raced in anticipation while the StarFire sped away. It was almost out of the Cougar’s firing range when one of the random shots struck its tail. His stomach twinged as the ship spiraled out of control.

“Open the comm to the Cougar.” The shape of Captain Arden’s brows were the same as Bracht’s, but he suspected his anger was for a different reason.

A distinct but subtle beep from the lieutenant’s console indicated the comm was open. “Cougar ship! You will fall back at once!”

J.D. stiffened at the heated tone. The captain’s knuckles whitened as his hands gripped the armrests of his chair. This was the most emotion he’d ever seen the captain display. He was obviously not a man to be disobeyed.

“The StarFire’s going to crash.” The officer’s tone was elated.

J.D. turned his head back to the viewscreen. The Tredon ship wobbled into the atmosphere of the planet with its tail in flames. He swallowed down a lump in his throat. Whatever he thought he knew about the Tredons, it was still tragic to see them go down after such an incredible maneuver.

“We’re in range, Sir,” Bracht barked.

“Arm torpedoes!” Captain Arden’s hands were now in fists. “Lock onto the Cougar ship.”

His heart pounded in his ears. The anticipation of battle made him antsy, but he managed to display an outward calm.

“Armed and locked, Sir,” the Rabnoshk warrior boomed from the tactical station.

Captain Arden opened his mouth to give the fire command.

“Wait!” Lt. Brenson’s high tone stabbed into his eardrum. “The Cougar is hailing us, Captain. A Captain Seth.”

“They’ve disengaged their weapons,” the operations officer added.

The captain gave Bracht a look. J.D. wasn’t quite sure what the look meant but he suspected Bracht was to keep the weapons armed and ready. Bracht glowered darkly but nodded respectfully.

The captain flexed his hands. “Open the channel.”

The viewscreen changed to the image of a Grapne. The man was thin and wiry, as was typical of most Grapnes. And there was a sly look about him that reminded J.D. of the eel he’d caught once while fishing with his dad.

“Captain Arden here,” he said just as the Grapne opened his mouth to speak. “What in the hell are you doing firing your weapons in Alliance space?”

“Captain Arden, we apologissse for the intrusion,” Captain Seth replied in the typical Grapne hissing accent. He tipped his head down in a way that reminded J.D. of a groveling dog. “We were in pursuit of these thievesss and didn’t have the opportunity to ssseek permission.”

A brief flicker of smugness crossed the Rabnoshk warrior’s face. J.D. clenched his jaw. Bracht may have been right about the circumstances but he’d been right too. The captain’s recent targeting order proved it.

“I do not have any reports of thieves, Captain Seth,” the captain replied tersely. “Protocol states you are to report such things to the proper authorities. You didn’t even do this much. I can only assume you are here for a personal vendetta rather than an ordinary pursuit of a thief.”

“I assure you, Captain, my intentionsss are honorable.”

“I doubt that,” J.D. muttered.

Captain Arden glanced at him and he realized it was a look of reprove. His gut twisted and the uncertainty of his new position threatened to well up again.

“Nevertheless,” Captain Arden said to the Grapne, “you will stand down and await disciplinary action. Is that understood?”

“Yesss, Captain Arden.” The tone would have been meek if it the Grapne didn’t sound like a devious little snake.

The viewscreen switched back to the full view of the planet. Any evidence of what just happened was completely gone. The fire in the planet’s atmosphere had dissipated quickly, leaving the blue-gray planet as serene-looking as ever.

“The StarFire has crashed,” the operations officer reported before he could ask.

“Survivors?” The captain’s brows were still drawn down, but seemed to have a more troubled than angry look.

“Unknown, Sir. The atmosphere distorts our scans.”

Captain Arden turned to J.D. “Commander, take a team of medical personnel down to the surface. And two teams of security as well.”

J.D. jerked his head back. Medical personnel for Tredons? Despite his surprise, he almost jumped out of his chair. “Yes, Sir.”

He had a feeling the captain was giving him a chance of some sort. Generally, Bracht, as head of security, would lead such a team. Since J.D. had once been head of security on another ship, he was just as qualified—except for the fact that he had failed in that position. At least according to some.

He glanced at Bracht to see if the man resented the fact that J.D. was going and not himself. The warrior was frowning, but this was nothing unusual.

“Commander!” Brenson said. J.D. stopped short. “It looks like the Grapnes are sending a team down as well.”

This can’t be good. He left the bridge and quickened his step. His heart raced in anticipation. If any of the Tredons survived, he doubted they’d be in any shape to fight. But the Grapnes would be there and he had no idea what the heck they were up to. Whatever was going on, he’d better be at his best. The last thing he needed was to get on the wrong side of another superior officer.


(This science fiction novella is protected by copyright) Copyright November, 2016 by Dawn Ross

Free to share so long as you link back to this website and mention, The Kavakian Empire by Dawn Ross.

Book Cover for StarFire Dragons

Rewriting the First Chapter of StarFire Dragons Novel

Posted in Sci-Fi Part 1 - Revised, The Dragon Spawn Chronicles, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 22, 2016 by Dawn Ross

Serpent Spaceship

As you may know from my previous post, I am getting conflicting feedback on the first chapter of my sci-fi novel. Many of my beta readers liked how it just jumped into the action. These beta readers were regular readers. They weren’t writers or writing experts. When I did submit my first few chapters to someone considered as a writing expert, I was told that I needed to ground my character in his normal world first and give the readers a chance to get attached to him. So which is correct? A writing expert can’t be ignored, but neither can the genre of science fiction readers.

I’ve been doing some research. Here is a site that I found the most helpful – 6 Ways to Hook Your Reader From the Very First Line. Of the four things this helpful writer’s article says they find the most annoying in the first chapter, I committed two of them. I started with dialog and I introduced too many characters at once.

One of the six things this article suggested I do to hook the reader was to begin at a pivotal moment. This seems to conflict with the writing expert’s feedback I received. How can I possibly start with a pivotal moment if I’m taking time to ground my character in a normal world?

This article on hooking the reader has other suggestions that might help. I could make the reader wonder, I can create an interesting picture, I can introduce an intriguing character, I could start with an unusual situation, and/or I could begin with a compelling narrative voice. Let’s visit each of these options.

Make Your Reader Wonder

I think chapter 1 does a good job of making the reader wonder. Why are the Tredons running from a race of scavengers? What will J.D. find on the planet?

Create an Interesting Picture

I was told by many of my beta readers that this story has the feel of Star Trek. While many sci-fi readers probably love Star Trek, is this what I want? Perhaps I should try to create a world that is at least a little different from Star Trek. But how can I make it interesting? I’m at a bit of a loss here. Really, the only thing I can think of is to make the history a little different and focus more on the characters.

To make the history a little different, I took into consideration other feedback about how I used too many Earth terms in my story. Everyone in my story is human. Earth became uninhabitable many centuries ago. The human race traveled to other worlds, terraformed them, and started over. Starting over took time. Over many more centuries, the populations on these planets grew and the people evolved (or in some cases, devolved). Although space travel had been known in the past, they did not travel during this period. It wasn’t until they were fully developed again that they began to explore and seek one another out. That’s where the Prontaean Alliance comes in.

Of course, I won’t explain all this in the first chapter. But I will hint at it.

Introduce an Intriguing Character

One of my beta readers told me that Jori is the best developed character in the entire novel and that everyone else falls short. I’ve known this and I’ve been trying really hard to make J.D. just as interesting as Jori. I did this by adding his insecurity about his new position as commander because of the Kimpke incident. However, this seems to have made him weak-minded and not very compelling. I’m still brainstorming about this.

Start with an Unusual Situation

I think I’m on the right track with this one. I’ve got the reader wondering why the Tredons are running from a race of scavengers. But I think I need to enhance it a bit more. J.D. is wondering this, but I need to put more feeling into it.

Begin with a Compelling Narrative Voice

I rewrote the first chapter at one time to set the scene. I used a lot of flowery words. But a compelling narrative voice doesn’t just mean using flowery words. Since my story is written in close-third, the narrator is J.D. and J.D. isn’t a man of pretty words. So somehow, I have to catch the reader’s attention through J.D.’s voice.

Begin at a Pivotal Moment

This story isn’t just about how J.D. and Jori evolve from being enemies to being friends. It is also about how J.D. learns to fit in his role as commander. So my pivotal moment doesn’t have to be about how J.D. and Jori first meet. It can begin with J.D. feeling out of place.

Now that I have all this information, I’m going to try and tie it all together when rewriting the first chapter. I won’t start with dialogue. I’ll only introduce a few characters rather than several at once. I’ll try to create an interesting picture with J.D. being more intriguing with a compelling narrative voice. And I will try to make the pivotal moment be more character driven rather than action driven.

Stay tuned! I will try to get the first chapter rewrite for my novel posted next week. In the meantime, feel free to comment with your ideas on how I can make this story better.

Beta Reader Feedback for Novel StarFire Dragons

Posted in Reviews, Sci-Fi Part 1 - Revised, The Dragon Spawn Chronicles with tags , , , , , , , on October 15, 2016 by Dawn Ross

I’ve submitted my sci-fi novel, StarFire Dragons, to several beta readers and their feedback has been exceedingly helpful. Beta readers are readers who look for loopholes, point out spots that are confusing, comment on whether the pace is too slow or too fast, suggest ideas for plot movement or character improvement, and so on. Beta readers do not edit for grammar, punctuation, or spelling (unless they want to).

In many cases, several people pointed out the same issues. This was helpful because it showed me something really needed to be fixed. In other cases, only one person pointed out a certain issue. This was also helpful because sometimes it was just something that other readers missed. Here are the most common issues people found in my science fiction story.

Action or No Action

Chapter 1 starts out with action. Some of my readers loved this while others did not. The ones who loved it said it really hooked them to get into the action. The ones who didn’t pointed out that a story should start with scene and character introductions. In other words, start the first chapter in the protagonist’s normal world. I can see how this would be important, but I am at a loss as to how to hook the reader with a normal situation. Also, I decided to rewrite the first chapter and present it to new beta readers and was told it was too boring.

Obviously, this is a case where I’ve received conflicting information. I can either decide to just please one set of readers or I can see if I can try to find a way to please both. The way to please both would be to show J.D.’s normal world, but in an exciting way that hooks the reader. Thoughts?

Too Many Characters at Once

This is another one where I received conflicting information. Some beta readers said I introduced too many characters at once while other beta readers wanted more information on each of the characters as they are introduced. A suggestion to fix this problem would be to only vaguely introduce the characters in chapter 1, then add to their characteristics as the story progresses. Thoughts?


Some of my beta readers said I gave too much detail while others said I gave too little. I think this is more of a reader preference than it is an issue. The readers who said I gave too much said a close-third point of view doesn’t justify lots of detail. They also said that today’s readers can easily fill in the blanks. The readers who said I gave too little felt the characters were too faceless. They said they couldn’t feel the scene as well because it was never described.

While I myself prefer to fill in the blanks, many people prefer more detail. So my choice is between not giving enough detail to readers who like detail or giving too much detail to readers who don’t like detail. I choose to give more detail. And perhaps to avoid giving too much detail, I should try to be brief but very descriptive about the detail. I should try to convey emotions with the detail. And I should try to convey the detail using other senses besides sight.

Terrible Antagonist

A few beta readers did not like Mik Calloway’s character. They said he was too cliché for a bad guy. I agree. I’m not very good at writing bad guys. I’ve decided to fix it by making him a little more personable. Although we still hate him, it will help us understand him better if I provide a better explanation as to why he hates Tredons so much. Any other ideas?

The Connection Scene

Many of my readers felt that the scene where Jori cried in J.D.’s arms really hit the spot. But one beta reader said it felt forced. The situation forced Jori to warm up to him rather than it happening organically. I kinda see the point. I tried to make it show organically when Jori was upset that J.D. called him a brat. This, to me, showed that Jori actually cared about what J.D. thought of him. So, I think I can expand on this a little more so that when the connection scene does come, it doesn’t come across as too fake.

Sentence Structures

I tend to write very formally. And as such, my sentences tend to be about the same size and the same structure. This was noticed by a few of my beta readers who are aware that sentence lengths should vary because it helps with the story pacing. Short and choppy sentences can indicate a fast paced scene while longer sentences can help provide the pacing for slower scenes.

Better Character Dialogue

Many of my beta readers pointed out that all my characters talk the same. This is not at all realistic, especially in a futuristic world where the races and cultures are even more diverse. I tried adding a different way of speaking for Lt. Jenna Stein, but it turned out to be more confusing for people. So I need to think of a way to make my characters speak differently without trying to write out annoying accents since today’s readers don’t like reading accents.

There are a few ways I can vary the way a character speaks without writing annoying accents: different sentence structures, different sentence lengths, different words, odd speech habits, swear words (which I succeeded at with Terk), jargon, characters who repeat themselves, characters who over- or under-explain, and probably many more I haven’t thought of.

I plan on keeping Stein’s use of the word “be” the same even though some of my beta readers were thrown by it. I think they were thrown because Stein was the only one who talked differently. If I make other characters talk differently, it may not be as noticeable. I plan on having Lt. Chandly use more jargon. Lt. Commander Bracht seems like a guy who would speak shorter sentences. The captain as well, but he always speaks much more formally than Bracht. Some other character may use the word “um” a lot. I’m still deciding on others.

Weak Main Character

A few of my beta readers felt J.D. was too weak of a character. One beta reader specifically said that Jori seems to be a much better developed character than any of the others and it would really make the story better if J.D. and perhaps even Captain Arden were just as compelling. I agree. I keep trying to make J.D. more interesting, but for some reason I am having a hard time. Suggestions?

Too Trekke

Almost every single one of my readers thought this story had the feel of Star Trek. This was intended because I thought it would make it easier for readers to relate to the setting. But it turns out that many of my readers was annoyed by this, especially since some characters, like Bracht, were too similar. They wanted to see a different world with different people. While I don’t want to deviate too much from the world I’ve created, I do understand the need to be a little different. Thoughts?


One person said I used the word “said” too much and should use other more creative tags. Unfortunately, though, I’ve heard that using a bunch creative tags is a weak and novice way of writing. A better way to fix the problem of too many people saying this and that is to use action before or after a sentence in order to tell the reader who is speaking. For example: The captain raised his eyebrow. “Are you sure you want to do this?” Another example: J.D. scratched his chin. “No. Probably not.”

Chapter End

One beta reader felt the story should end at chapter 30 because it left the reader hanging and inspired them to read the next book. I don’t know about you, but I hate it when a book leaves me hanging. I tried to inspire the reader to read the next book in the series at the very end, chapter 33, but I’m not sure I did a good enough job. I need to work on the ending so that it concludes the first book but still inspires readers to read the second book.


While I may not be fixing every point or taking every bit of advice given, everything my beta readers shared with me was helpful. The best thing about the feedback I received from every single one of my beta readers is that they really liked the story. This gives me a lot of hope and inspires me to perfect it as much as possible. Thank you, everyone for any tips and feedback you’ve provided. ❤


Conclusion to StarFire Dragons: Part One of the Kavakian Empire

Posted in Sci-Fi Part 1 - Revised, The Dragon Spawn Chronicles with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 8, 2016 by Dawn Ross

If you’ve gotten this far, then you like my science fiction story. Do you like it well enough to buy it? Great! Because will be ready to buy soon. Right now, it’s being reviewed by beta readers and edited by a professional. I will let you know as soon as it’s published.

“What? You mean I have to buy it in order to find out the end?” you say.

I bet you feel cheated, like I’ve dangled a free story over you like a carrot and then whacked you with the stick instead.

Before you send me a nasty email, let me explain myself. I’ve worked long and hard on this science fiction novella. I’ve worked many hours, days, weeks, months, and even more than a year on it. Now let me ask you… If you wrote a book or even created a piece of art or composed some music, wouldn’t you want to get paid for it? Of course you would! It’s only fair, right?

My intent is not to cheat you. In fact, part of the reason for posting this free version of my sci-fi novel is to keep from cheating people. How so? Well, have you ever purchased a book that really sucked, that sucked so badly you could barely get through to page 10? By giving the first 3/4 of my story for free, I’ve given people the opportunity to decide whether they like it or not. And so I say again, if you’ve gotten this far then you like it.

So please help an artist out. Encourage me to finish Part Two by purchasing Part One of the Kavakian Empire: StarFire Dragons. And keep me excited about writing so that I write even more of this continuing space opera saga (which I already have mostly mapped out).

Thank you for your consideration.

Dawn Ross

The Kavakian Empire Part One Chapter 33 – Revised

Posted in Sci-Fi Part 1 - Revised, The Dragon Spawn Chronicles with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 1, 2016 by Dawn Ross

The Kavakian Empire

A Space Opera by Dawn Ross

Part One – Starfire Dragons (provisional title)

Chapter 33 – Revised

(Here is another brand new chapter. I hinted at some of it in the unrevised version of my science fiction story, so maybe you know what’s coming… maybe.)

Jori sprung forward, landed on his hands, flipped back onto his feet, and repeated three times, adding an extra twist on the last one, and landed facing the direction he had just come. Terk furrowed his brow in determination and then did his own moves down the mat, landing next to Jori with a full flip.

The two went back and forth at increasing levels of difficulty, not really competing yet still trying to outdo one another. Neither of them spoke. They hadn’t spoken since yesterday’s incident at the gym. Jori was irked with Terk’s constant confrontational attitude and Terk was probably upset at him for calling him out on it.

What does he expect? Sure, the Alliance as a whole was their enemy. But Captain Arden’s words kept popping back in his head. Why? Why are we enemies? He still didn’t know the answer. But he knew J.D. wasn’t his enemy. The man had played a large part in saving their lives. And he’d been protecting him while Terk was in a coma. If only Terk would listen and understand.

J.D. walked by, dabbing his forehead with a towel. The wetness of his shirt indicated he was probably done for the day since the man rarely spent more than an hour at the gym.

Jori caught J.D.’s eye. The man gave a nod and small wave, verifying his assumption. Jori dipped his head in return while Terk simply glowered. His brother continued glaring at the man’s back as he headed towards the exit. Jori clenched his teeth and bit back the name he wanted to call his brother. Terk caught the look and the tension between them grew.

“I’m done here,” Terk said abruptly.

“Fine,” Jori replied.

Terk moved to leave. “Well, come on,” he said irritably. “We have to do what the Alliance says and stay together,” he added sarcastically.

Jori growled, but followed. No need to give the guards a reason to act. They were already watching with the intensity of a caged blackbeast, ready to attack as soon as the cage door flew open.

Jori walked the track with his brother sullen silence. He masked his emotions, knowing Terk would unintentionally feed off them. He also kept his mouth closed as they paused at different workout stations knowing if he showed any interest or disinterest, his brother would claim the opposite just out of spite.

A prickling sensation tickled his mind. He stopped.

“Come on already, dammit.”

Terk’s annoyance touched his senses, but the other sensation was too strong to be overcome. “Do you feel that?”

“Feel what?”

Jori looked back to where he thought the sensation might be coming from. There were several people doing various workouts, but their emotions seemed to be a simple mixture of determination and satisfaction.

“Menace.” A shiver ran down his spine. Where is it coming from?

“Menace?” Terk crossed his arms.

“You can’t feel it?” Terk’s ability was not as sensitive as his own. But the feeling was so starkly different from anyone else’s that he should notice. Maybe his own attitude is getting in the way.

Terk stepped beside him and looked around.

The sensation dissipated, as though whoever it was had left.

“Hey,” a man called out from behind.

Jori turned around. His concern was replaced by a spike of annoyance. Calloway.

“If you two are looking for something to do, how about a game of hoop ball?” Calloway wore a kind smile, but Jori could tell there was no sincerity in it.

What’s he up to?

“That’s not such a good idea,” one of his guards, Lt. Sharkey, said before he or Terk could reply.

It was odd seeing a female in charge of security. Odder still was seeing and sensing how much the other guards deferred to her without any hint of disdain—everyone except Calloway, anyway.

“Why not, Lieutenant?” Calloway cocked head in mock confusion. “It’s just a friendly game.”

Lt. Sharkey opened her mouth.

“Certainly,” Terk said. “I don’t mind a friendly game.” Terk also wore a smile, one just as duplicitous as Calloway’s.

Shit. Now they’re both up to something. He scrutinized the surrounding guards. As much as he’d love to humiliate Calloway, no good could come of this.

He glanced at Lt. Sharkey. He got the sense that she didn’t trust Calloway either, but she considered it anyway.

“Yeah, it’s just a game, Lieutenant,” one of Calloway’s team members said.

The other Alliance crew members apparently part of the hoop ball game looked less confident. Lt. Sharkey met the eyes of each. One man shrugged his shoulders. Two gave Terk and Jori a dark glare but masked the look from her. Jori sensed nervousness from some of the others, but none of them spoke up against the idea.

“Very well,” Lt. Sharkey said. “But make sure it stays friendly. Is that understood?”

“Yes, Sir,” Calloway replied.

Calloway’s smile curled up slightly and Jori sensed his smugness. Unfortunately, Terk also felt smug.

Chikusho. Shit.

The game was rather easy and not at all as intense as wall ball. All Jori had to do was pass the ball to other team members or throw the ball in the hoop. Being the shortest player gave him the advantage of being able to dart around the opposing players. And both he and Terk quickly got a feel for aiming the throw of the ball through the hoop.

The four players they had been teamed with had not been happy in the very beginning of the game. But they warmed up to them as their team’s score progressed. As Calloway’s team fell behind, Jori sensed the man’s anger rise.

Jori made a move in one direction, then pivoted in the other. He darted past another opponent attempting to block him only to find Calloway in his way. He feigned again. Calloway didn’t fall for it. Again, back and forth, until Calloway overreached in the opposite direction.

Just as Jori slipped by, Calloway slid his foot in the way. Jori skipped over it, nearly losing his balance in the process. He regained quickly and aimed the ball.

The ball sailed through the air and fell through the hoop. His team cheered. One member actually clapped him on the back.

“Great shot,” the man said.

The other team had the ball now. Jori had a knack for getting the ball away from them when they bounced it, but this time his opponent tossed the ball overhand. He jumped at it, but didn’t even came close.

Jori ran down the court, following the other team to their hoop. Calloway ran up beside him, then purposefully placed his foot in front of him. Jori hopped over it.

The game moved too quickly for him to respond, so he played on. Calloway tried twice more, and failed twice more.

The ball was his once more. He rushed down the court, bouncing the ball as he went. Calloway jumped in front of him. The man held his arms out wide. His stance was also wide, and so was the stupid grin he had on his face. Jori glanced around. All of his team members, including Terk, were blocked by their opponents. His only chance was to shoot the ball. It was a distance shot, but he could probably make it.

Jori held the ball up and took aim. He jumped up and flicked his wrist. The ball sailed out over Calloway’s head.

He didn’t have a chance to see the ball go into the hoop. The palm of Calloway’s hand jabbed him in the sternum, immediately taking the breath out of him. He flew backward. Master Jetser had taught him how to recover from a fall, but he couldn’t think quickly enough and landed with a hard thud.

Calloway barked a laugh. Jori’s face flushed. He quickly regained his feet and balled his fists at his sides. He opened his mouth with an insult ready on his tongue but Terk suddenly stepped between facing Calloway.

His elder brother’s elbow drew back and then a loud pop echoed. “Don’t you dare touch my brother, you fucking ass!”

Calloway landed hard with a grunt.

The guards rushed forward, surrounding him and his brother. He and Terk automatically went into a battle crouch and stood together back-to-back, ready to fight them off.


His brother’s command in their Tredon tongue spurred him to duck. The air crackled above him as the stun fire shot past.

“Stop!” a female voice yelled. “Stop, dammit! That’s an order!”

His heart pounded wildly while at the same time the heat of his brother standing behind him gave him comfort.

The guards stopped short. But each of them held their stun guns out, ready to fire. If they thought this would stop them, they were mistaken. Jori and his brother had practiced just such a scenario hundreds of times. They’d each duck and roll to one of their opponents and disarm them. Then they’d take each opponent down, two at a time, whether by turning their firepower against them or by physical force.

“Stand down!” a male voice said.


“I said, stand down!”

He and Terk remained in their battle stance. One-by-one, the guards tucked their weapons away and stepped back.

When they were all obviously no longer a threat, Jori stood erect. Terk did so as well, albeit much more slowly. His brother’s face was bright red and his knuckles were white from clenching his fists so tightly.

“What the heck happened?” J.D. said to no one in particular.

“He broke by dose,” Calloway said. The man was still on the ground holding his nose. Blood gushed from between his fingers. No one moved to help him.

J.D. turned his eyes to Terk. The look wasn’t accusatory. Jori could sense the man’s disappointment, though.

“He hit Jori and made him fall!” Terk pronounced each word like he was punching them out. His nostrils flared and his chest heaved.

J.D. looked at Jori. Jori replied with a nod of his head, but said nothing.

“It wad an acthident,” Calloway replied.

“Fucking liar!” Terk turned to go after the man again.

J.D. put out his hand. “Stop!”

Terk stopped and turned slowly to face J.D. A growl rumbled in his throat and Jori could sense his anger boiling over.

“I believe you,” J.D. said to Terk in a much calmer voice.

Terk’s growl died. A hint of confusion stabbed through his anger. Jori sensed the commander’s truthfulness so Terk probably did too.

J.D. turned to Jori. “Are you okay?”


“Let’s get you to sick bay and have a look anyway, alright?”

“Why?” Terk barked. “So you can verify we’re telling the truth? You think we’re lying about this?”

“I just told you, I believe you,” J.D. said firmly. “This is just protocol.”

His brother’s jaw rippled, as though he were grinding his teeth.

“I thought you left,” Jori said to J.D., hoping to divert his brother.

“Lt. Sharkey called me back. She suspected Lt. Calloway might try something and thought my presence would deter him.”

“Well it didn’t,” Terk said vehemently. “Why in the hell did that ass pick on my brother anyway?” Terk spit on the floor and glared hatefully at Calloway’s back as the man staggered toward the exit.

Jori glowered at the man’s back as well. Interesting how no one is bothering to help him. “He hates us. But since he can’t do anything about it, he resorts to pettiness.”

Terk frowned at his brother, but the look wasn’t hateful. “Why you?”

He shook his head. He and Terk had been taught to take out the strongest opponent first, so Calloway’s actions made little sense.

J.D. put his arm on Jori’s shoulder and looked at Terk. “He’s a bully. Bullies only pick on people they know they can overcome.

Terk huffed. “Jori can easily reduce that baka to a pile of bloody goo.”

J.D. winced. “Let me rephrase that. Bullies only pick on people they think they can overcome.”

Jori’s cheeks burned. J.D.’s words troubled him, though he didn’t know why. Perhaps it was the man’s corresponding feeling of disgust. Why did he touch my shoulder when he said that? Why did he wince at what Terk said? Does he think we are bullies too? Some Tredons were. His father certainly could be. I’m not though, am I?


Terk clenched and unclenched his fists against the tingling sensation in his fingers as the adrenaline coursed through him. “He’s a coward for trying to hurt my little brother. You shouldn’t have stopped me,” he said to the commander.

“While I agree Lt. Calloway was way out of line,” the commander replied with an annoyingly calm look on his face, “and he will get punished for it—your reaction made it look like you were the instigator rather than the other way around.”

He grunted. Master Jetser had said something similar on more than one occasion, but why in the hell should he care what others think?

The commander shrugged his shoulders. “It’s over now, at least. Let’s just go on to sick bay, alright?”

Terk heated again. “He said he’s okay. He doesn’t need to go to your stupid sick bay.”

The commander stiffened at his tone. He could sense a touch of uneasiness in the man and it almost made him smile.

“Well, I’m going anyway.” Jori briskly stepped away.

Terk opened his mouth to speak, then closed it again and growled instead. He caught up to his brother, giving both him and the commander a dark look.

He deserves to die,” he said to Jori in their secret language as they headed toward sick bay.

His brother sucked in his breath. “J.D. has done nothing!

He sensed the commander didn’t know what they were saying, but the man’s head cocked slightly at hearing his untranslated name.

Terk frowned. “I meant Calloway. But the commander too. All of them. They are our enemies.

Jori’s eyebrows went up slightly. “They saved us.”

He let out an exasperated sigh as a new heat flushed over him. “Not this damned argument again.”

His brother’s brows turned back down. “You wouldn’t even be alive if it weren’t for them.”

He stopped short and turned to his little brother, leaning in close to his face. His teeth clenched so hard that a pang ran from his jaw and down his neck. “I don’t understand why you like him so much. He’s a pussy.”

He’s not.” Jori steadily held eye contact.

He clenched his fists as a strong urge to knock some sense into his little brother came over him.

“Is everything alright?”

The commander’s voice grated his nerves but he ignored him. He could sense the man’s apprehension, but the feeling was overpowered by the determination he sensed from his little brother.

Terk straightened. As much as Jori frustrated him sometimes, he wouldn’t hit him. It wasn’t because Jori would hit him back. It was because he wouldn’t. Somehow, this bothered him more than anything. Besides, it wouldn’t do any good anyway. Stubborn brat.

Terk held his annoyance in check but refused to let the argument go, especially since he was right about this. “He is a coward. I can practically feel him shaking in his boots when he’s around us.”

He’s just being cautious.”

He’s afraid.” Terk spoke through his teeth.

And yet he still doesn’t cower. Master Jetser says bravery is when you stand tall despite your fear.”

I don’t give a damn what Master Jetser says. I still say he’s a coward.”

Calloway’s the coward.”

Which only brings me back to my original argument.”

Jori squared his shoulders. “Calloway got what he deserved. You humiliated him. You broke his nose and didn’t even get in trouble for it. I’d say that’s punishment enough.”

He huffed at Jori’s naivety. Men like Calloway needed to be put in their proper place—at the bottom. “You’re weak. You know that? You stayed too long with mother.”

Jori set his jaw firmly, but Terk could sense the comment stung. He averted his gaze from Jori’s hard stare. The comment was unfair and he knew it. Jori could outdo him in almost every physical activity. The only things holding him back was his current lack of strength.

Despite his guilt, Terk wasn’t about to apologize for the comment. “Fine. Maybe we’ll just hurt him a bit when we make our escape.”

He turned away and the two of them began walking again. The commander kept pace, radiating a sense of unease along the way.

We don’t have to escape.” Jori said. “They’re letting us go.”

Terk growled in frustration. “We can’t just walk away from here without doing something to make up for our failure.”

Father was going to be so pissed. He was Daiichi Prince and it was his duty become the fiercest of warriors. It was bad enough those damned Grapnes had caused a fiasco. Grapnes of all people! He had no intention of continuing to play nice with these Alliance cowards.

Jori scowled. “Father doesn’t have to know we were ever here.”

Dammit, Jori. Don’t you get it? We failed. I failed.” He leaned in slightly as they walked and pointed emphatically at his chest. “I can’t go home empty handed.”

Why not? Why should we try so hard to please someone who doesn’t really care about us?

Terk growled. “Because we have to be strong.”

I am strong. I don’t have to be hateful like father in order to be strong. Master Jetser says there is strength in standing up for what is right.”

Fuck Master Jetser!

“Hey!” The commander put out his hand to stop them.

Terk stopped but gave the man a dark and hateful look.

“I don’t know what you two are arguing about, but—“

“It’s none of your business,” Terk said through clenched teeth.

A sense of anxiety spiked from the commander, but the man squared up his shoulders. Terk glared at him, daring him to interfere.

Jori stepped between them with is back to Terk. “It’s nothing, J.D. Just an argument between brothers.”

The commander didn’t move. Terk kept his eyes locked to the man. He wasn’t about to be the first to turn away.

Jori stepped back into him, forcing him to step back. He looked down at his brother in reflex, breaking the lock.

His face tightened along with another wave of heat that swept through him. “Dammit, Jori.”

Jori’s face was dark red and his eyes like daggers. “Stop this, Terk. He is not our enemy.”

The torrent of fury his little brother radiated gave him pause. Not because he was afraid, but because he knew this level of determination. If he made a move against the commander, he had no doubt Jori would try to stop him and he’d have no choice but to fight with his brother too.

His stomach roiled at the thought but he pushed it down. He held his brother’s glare for a moment longer, then turned away abruptly. “Fuck this. I’m going back to the gym. You and your friend can go on to sick bay if you want.”

He marched back the way they had come, not caring if anyone followed. The guards did, of course. All six of them.


Derovichi scrolled through the information on his tablet. The captain had told him to leave it on his ship in their docking bay, but he needed to get this work done. Fortunately, getting the tablet right out from under their noses had been as easy as breathing, just as easy as it had been in getting the other perantium suits.

Someone tapped Derovichi’s shoulder. He looked up from the tablet and saw no one.

He stood, not the least bit afraid. “No games. Show yourself.”

A shimmer wavered in the air before him and coalesced into a man. Except for the silver suit the man wore, it was like looking in a mirror. Many outsiders couldn’t tell one Chekrosian from another, but in this case making the distinction was actually a challenge. Derovichi recognized the same jutting chin, the long but not too long face, the narrow lips and sunken eyes.

“It worked.” His twin brother grinned widely.

“So the security officer’s information was valid.”

“I have a plan.” Conovichi’s grin widened further.

Derovichi returned the smile. “I’ll notify the others. The six of us should be able to pull this off.”



To find out the end, you will need to wait until my book is published. This could take time depending on whether I can find some beta readers to give me feedback, whether the feedback requires a lot of rewriting, how long it takes for the book to be edited, and how long it takes for me to format it for both an e-book and a paperback.

I apologize for getting you hooked and not letting you read the end. But if any of you are artists (whether it be with music, fine art, dance, or writing) then you understand how much work goes into what we do and how important it is for us to be compensated.


I’d love to hear some constructive criticism. Please leave a comment below. Praise would be most welcome as well.

(This sci-fi saga is protected by copyright) Copyright August, 2016 by Dawn Ross

You may share this sci-fi novella so long as you link back to this website and mention, The Kavakian Empire by Dawn Ross.