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Now For Something a Bit Different…

A painting post this week, but with a bit of a twist! I had an urge to build a model aeroplane recently, something I’ve not done since I was a teenager, with pretty mediocre results. I picked up a beginner Airfix kit to scratch the itch, and had a lot of fun doing it!

Here’s how it went:

I’m pretty happy with the end result, and I think all my mini painting has definitely helped get me a better result than back in the day! It was a very therapeutic way to spend a few hours, and I reckon I’ll have to rotate them in to my mini painting time!

That’s all for this week. I ‘ll be back next Monday with some more updates on how work’s progressing. Until then, take care!

January Updates

Just a quick post with some updates this week!

I’m juggling a few projects at the moment, which is certainly keeping me busy. My main focus is on working through the edits for the final part of the Blood of Kings trilogy. I’m still on track for a late April release for this, so hopefully I’ll be able to keep to that!

I’m also working on the first draft of the third book in my Alpha Protocol series, which is a lot of fun. Doing some thing a little different to fantasy really keeps things fresh, and it also helps that I really enjoy spending time with the Alpha Protocol characters. I’m hoping to have this book finished and out later this year.

The final thing I try to spend an hour or two doing every day is some ideation on my next planned fantasy work. There are still some gaps in my world building for this series which will be set in an entirely new world. The basic world building has been straight forward enough, as I’ve had a strong sense of what style of world I want to set this in, that being a Carolingian era world, but with the focus location for the stories to centre around an Irish themed nation.

Most notable of the gaps that is how I want to deal with magic in this new world, or if I want to include it at all. I started my Middle Sea books with no magic, but gradually gave in to introducing it incrementally as part of the greater plot arc. I think I will have it in this world, in some form or fashion. Right now I’m leaning toward something druidic in style, but I need to give that quite a bit more thought – I plan on writing in this world for quite a while so need to be happy with it! Once I’ve made that choice, I’ll need to decide on how it’ll work, so lot’s still to do on that before I start into writing it!

That’s all for this week. It’ll be some mini painting next week! Until then, take care!

A Knight in Green

Hey folks,

I hope you’re all keeping well. We’re back to some mini painting this week, with a knight in green. I haven’t done a rider and horse in quite a while, so gave this guy a go. I bought him quite some time ago, and am afraid I can’t recall who made it…

On to the photos!

I thought this guy had quite a peevish facial expression. His very fashionable hair style makes up for it though! He’s in metal, another thing I’ve not painted in a while. His sword is very thin and bendy, and it looked like a flamberge by the time I finished painting him. I then managed to break it, and seem to have straightened it out in the repair.

I went for a blackened steel armour, and a green livery with non metallic metal silver trim. I pushed the contrast on the green quite far, and although I think it’s a little much in the flesh, I think that approach always photographs well.

The four different non metallic metals – black armour, bluish sword, silver trim, and gold fittings, took quite a bit of effort, but it was good practice. I should have pushed the contrast harder on the gold, though.

A good view of the sword break here! And a little more of that haircut. If only I wasn’t bald…

The other side. I really need to start putting more effort into basing my minis!

Grrrr…

I considered filing the shield flat so I could practice my freehanding a bit more, but justified leaving it as further NMM practice!

Overall he was a fun mini to paint, although I think I’m a convert to plastic and resin rather than old school metal models I grew up with. I’m going to do so more mounted minis in future, as they’re fun and look great when finished (plus, I have a drawer full of them!)

That’s all for this week. I’ll be back next week with news and updates! Until then, take care!

January Updates

Hey folks,

I hope you’re all keeping well. I’ve some updates for you this week!

I’ve had a productive couple of months here at Hamilton Industries. I sent the final book in the Blood of Kings trilogy away for its developmental edit back in early December, so am well on track to release that in the coming Spring. It’s pretty cold here at the moment, so I’m looking forward to that (Spring, that is!).

Right now, I’m working on the third Alpha Protocol book, which as usual is a lot of fun to write, and a nice change from the boundaries fantasy places on your work. I always really enjoy the opportunity to explore something completely new in my writing, and Alpha Protocol has given me the opportunity to do that.

I’ve pretty ambitious plans for this year in terms of the work I want to get done as with the end of the Blood of Kings series, I’ve brought to a conclusion the broader story arc that I was exploring across all of the different series set in the Middle Sea world. With the release of that book, I’m going to take a break from that setting.

There’s a story idea that I’ve been playing around with for quite a while now. About 5 years now that I think about it! I’d originally planned setting it in the Middle Sea world, but as the story idea developed, I started to think it would be better suited to something new, free from the confines of the Middle Sea.

So, what I’m getting to is that I’ve a new story planned, one that will probably go on longer than my usual preference for trilogies, and it will be set in an entirely new world.

Back when I started the Middle Sea with Society of the Sword, I was really fascinated with Renaissance Europe, and most of my stories were developed out of that fascination. Over the years I’ve flitted about deep and prolonged interests in specific periods, from Ancient Rome to the later Early Modern Period (7 Years War, Napoleonic Period etc…) to the Second World War, to the Dark Ages, to the Ancient and Pre Ancient Periods and to the Medieval.

For the last while the dark ages—that vacuum left by the fall of the Roman Empire—the period out of which modern Europe as we know it started to take shape as been my main area of interest. With that in mind, you can expect there to be more of a ‘traditional’ fantasy feel to the setting of my upcoming series, one which also draws a lot of inspiration from European folklore, myths, and legends, much of which will come from my home country of Ireland.

I’m hoping to have the first book in that series ready for release sometime early next year, so keep checking in for updates on that! I’ll be back to some mini painting for next week! See you then!

Happy New Year!

Hey folks,

Happy New Year to you all! I hope everyone had a great Christmas and that 2023 has started off well for you! After a particularly hectic holiday period here at Hamilton Industries, I’m hoping to get back to normal service with my Monday blog posts.

I’m going to start back with some mini painting, as I managed to get a few done over Christmas so have a bit of a backlog to get through. I’ll have a more considered updates post for next week!

I wanted to try something very different with this model, while holding to my non metallic metal project. I saw a video on Youtube doing a bone armour that I thought looked pretty cool and decided to give it a go. He’s another model from Scibor miniatures, and once again a real joy to paint.

I think the face on this guy is one of the best I’ve done so far. I experimented with washes to give him some stubble effect, and also to give a bit more colour variation to his skin tone. I find my skin tones are always very flat, so that’s something I want to work on going forward.

I made a bit of a mess of the reflected highlight on the lower part of the cuirass here, but I’m only noticing it now from the photo! This is a good shot of the face. Sadly I didn’t write down my method, so can’t remember what I got right. From now on I’m keeping a notebook to record what I did for each mini!

The eagle on the shield is a freehand based on one in a heraldry book I have. The ones with lots of images of contemporary representations of arms are great as they tend to be quite simple and are easier to reproduce. I’m hoping I’ll improve with practice, but I’ve always been hopeless at drawing, so I’m not getting my hopes up too high! Also went with a worn leather for the scabbard. Along with the NMM fittings, I’m quite happy with how this turned out.

I could probably have gone further with the cloak highlights. I was trying to stick to the 80% rule for black (80% of it needs to be black for the whole area to read as black), but I still think I could have pushed further within that 20%. Quite happy with the NMM on the sword blade, but I think it’s a bit better on the other side.

A quick shot from this front angle. Not happy with the wood grain on the shield, so need to find a better method of doing that. I’ve also used global highlighting for the hair, and want to improve on that with a more directional effect in future.

All in all I’m happy with this guy. I think I’ve made improvement on the areas I’ve been working on, and can see plenty of ways to build on that more. That’s all for this week, so until next week, take care!

Last Day of Alpha Protocol Sale

Hi folks,

I hope you all had a great weekend!

I just wanted to send you a quick message to let you know that The Alpha Protocol is on sale at $0.99 and its equivalent for one more day. The price goes back up tomorrow, so if you’ve been thinking about giving it a try, now’s the time!

You can grab a copy here:

Alpha Protocol 1 Cover eBook

Also, a reminder that the sequel, The First Officer, is now out!

You can get your copy here:

Here’s a little on what the story’s about:

Forgotten treasures lie waiting in deep space. So too does the greatest threat humanity has ever encountered…

Assigned to a new warship with cutting-edge technology, Jack Samson returns to the Frontier, determined to cast off the question marks over his previous conduct.

The Navy ventures ever farther beyond the Frontier, with fantastic new discoveries becoming a daily occurrence. As humanity reaches for these technological riches, it enters a deadly contest with a lethal adversary, the very survival of the human race being at stake.

Samson and his crew face the fight of their lives as they seek to secure ancient technological wonders and humanity’s place amongst the stars.

I’ve not had the chance to think about next week’s post, but I suspect it will involve some painting, so check in next Monday for that! Until then,

All the best,

Duncan

The First Officer – Alpha Protocol Book 2 Out Today!

Today is the big day for The First Officer – Alpha Protocol Book 2! By the time you get this email, the book will be released into the wild!

You can get your copy now at the following links:


Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.ca

Amazon.com.au

Here’s the back cover copy to give you a taste of what the story is about:

Forgotten treasures lie waiting in deep space. So too does the greatest threat humanity has ever encountered…

Assigned to a new warship with cutting-edge technology, Jack Samson returns to the Frontier, determined to cast off the question marks over his previous conduct.

The Navy ventures ever farther beyond the Frontier, with fantastic new discoveries becoming a daily occurrence. As humanity reaches for these technological riches, it enters a deadly contest with a lethal adversary, the very survival of the human race being at stake.

Samson and his crew face the fight of their lives as they seek to secure ancient technological wonders and humanity’s place amongst the stars.

If you haven’t read the first book in the series, I’m running a $0.99 sale on Book 1 this week, so you try out the series for minimal investment!

You can get a copy of book 1 at its sale price until next Tuesday, at this link:


Amazon

Writing sci-fi is a bit of an enjoyable diversion for me from my main stream of fantasy books, and while there tends to be a lot of cross over in audience between the two genres and I realise not everyone signed up for this newsletter is a fan of sci-fi, but I hope if you give my sci-fi books a shot, you’ll enjoy them. I like to think of them as being fantasy stories set in space.

The Alpha Protocol series follows the adventures of a naval officer called Jack Samson, as humanity encounter aliens in deep space for the first time. I like to think of the tale as a blend of Star Trek, any of my fantasy trilogies, with a splash of Indiana Jones added to the mix!

The First Officer Excerpt

Hey folks,

I’ve got an excerpt from The First Officer this week. The book focuses on Jack Samson again, our naval officer from book 1—he’ll continue to be the focus character for the series generally for as far as I’ve outlined it—but I’ve got a couple of new characters in this book who help expand the story for this book, and the broader arc for the whole series.

Here’s the excerpt to give you a little taster of what’s to come in the book. Yes, it ends in a cliff-hanger. Sorry, not sorry!

‘Make connection with the sensor buoy and pull its data,’ Captain Jones said. ‘Set ship’s passive sensors to maximum range.’

‘Aye, Captain,’ said the sensors officer, Lieutenant Perez. ‘…Ma’am, the sensor buoy is inactive.’

‘Why?’ The captain sat up in her chair.

Perez frowned. ‘It looks damaged.’

‘Can you give me anything more than that?’ Jones said, adrenaline starting to seep into her blood.

‘Not without an active sensor scan, ma’am.’

Jones chewed her lip. An active scan would light them up like a Christmas tree. There was no way she was going to do that until she had a better idea of what was here.

‘Stick to the passive sensors for now,’ she said. ‘Pull whatever you can from the buoy.’

‘Aye, Captain,’ Perez said. ‘It looks like the basic cartographic array is intact. We should be able to pull that data completely, but I can’t make any promises about anything else.’

‘Get it to me as soon as you have it.’

‘Aye, Captain.’

Jones took one more look at the readout of the ship’s vital statistics and considered returning to the letter she had been writing. The situation with the buoy had worried her, though, and she didn’t like to write to her son when she was worried. He could always pick up on it. She stared at the viewscreen, which was blank except for some telemetry data and ship status icons. They didn’t have enough detail in their system yet to put anything on it, and unlike some captains of her acquaintance, Kallista Jones didn’t like fake representations of whatever star system they happened to be in.

‘I have the cartography data,’ Perez said.

‘Put it through to my station,’ Jones said. She tapped some buttons on the armrest of her chair, and the buoy’s preliminary system scan came up on her private viewscreen.

They were aware there was a star in this system, but they didn’t know much else. It was easier to simply send a probe or a ship to a system you were interested in, rather than trying to watch it with telescopes and work out how much dark matter there was.

Her eyes drifted across the image that appeared. Four planets, and—

Her eyes stopped, locked in place.

‘What the hell is that?’

I hope that whets your appetite for The First Officer! You can preorder a copy now at the links below. The book will be released on Thurs Dec 1, so only a few more days to wait!

You can preorder your copy of The First Officer here now:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Amazon Australia

Amazon Canada

The First Officer Cover Artwork

Hey folks,

Today, I want to show off the full original cover art for The First Officer in all its glory. Fred Gambino is the man behind it, and as always, he’s created a piece of art that is fascinating in and of itself. I like for a cover image to tell a story of its own in some way, which has been the driving inspiration for my Alpha Protocol covers, and it’s something Fred always pulls off with flair.

Here’s the complete image, which will form the full cover of the paperback version.

The story picks up shortly after the end of book one. It’s a self-contained story, so although it’s part of a bigger story arc, you can pick up this book and enjoy it even without having read part one. Here’s the back cover copy to give you an idea of what it’s about:

Forgotten treasures lie waiting in deep space. So too does the greatest threat humanity has ever encountered…

Assigned to a new warship with cutting-edge technology, Jack Samson returns to the Frontier, determined to cast off the question marks over his previous conduct.

The Navy ventures ever farther beyond the Frontier, with fantastic new discoveries becoming a daily occurrence. As humanity reaches for these technological riches, it enters a deadly contest with a lethal adversary, the very survival of the human race being at stake.

Samson and his crew face the fight of their lives as they seek to secure ancient technological wonders and humanity’s place amongst the stars.

The First Officer will be released on 1 Dec and is available for pre-order now over on Amazon, and will be coming in Audio a little later. You can pre-order your copy of The First Officer now at these links!

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/3UKYl18

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0BM4WQYT1

That’s all for this week. I’ll have some more on The First Officer next week. Until then, take care!

Alpha Protocol 2 Cover Reveal!

Hey folks,

I’ve finally got myself organised enough to make the announcements I had promised for last week, so here we go!

I’m very pleased to be able to reveal the cover for my upcoming book, and second part in the Alpha Protocol series. The book’s title is The First Officer, and here is the cover!

The artwork was once again created by Fred Gambino, who I think has the most incredible ability to visualise and execute science fiction artworks on a truly epic scale. The only difficult part of working with Fred is deciding which of his concept paintings to go with for a cover – all of them look so good. As with any good piece of art, each one of them inspires a story of their own and they all certainly get my creative wheels turning.

I chose the image I felt was most fitting for the story, and am very happy with how it turned out. It really conveys the aesthetic and sense of story that I wanted, and gives a bit of a hint of what’s contained within. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, I think it’s very eye catching!

I’ll have more details about the book in coming posts over the next few weeks. The First Officer will be released on 1 Dec and is available for pre-order now over on Amazon, and will be coming in Audio a little later. You can pre-order your copy of The First Officer now at these links!

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/3UKYl18

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0BM4WQYT1