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Over half the year has gone by and I felt I should update. It likely will come along as more of a ramble. I wanted to wait until I had good news or update on book four, but the work on the later has ground to almost a halt and the former is in short supply. The reason for the lack of work is the lack of a computer with Microsoft word, which kindle works with. I lost my computer when I was evicted last May along with most of my possessions, down to three bags and three baskets (I'm not sure to count the tote bag or not). I am not homeless, and have a roof over my head and food to eat regularly and thanks to my host I can borrow their mac, which unfortunately doesn't have word. But a friend is on track to a possible laptop so possibly by next month I may be able to resume work on book four.

The book series has had steady sales, not great ones, but until ironically May, steady. June and July have been no sales, a bit of a downer, and this month looks like an unprecedented third straight month of zero sales, however I am grateful for this last year of steady sales, mostly in the US and surprisingly in Europe with at least one sale in China (Yay!) and unexpectedly (but I was over the moon over) someone in Japan picked up all three books! As a fan of anime the latter really was great news and overall I have admired Asian culture, so I just need someone in Korea to get the 'big three' I had admired. Admittedly that was after I attended a Korean wedding, a friend's wedding, he was quite the artist and attended several services at a Korean church with a different friend...I didn't understand a thing, but the hymns since same music even though the words had changed.

In hindsight I think she was trying to date me. I was always bad at noticing that. Come to think of it, I did date a Japanese woman for a time, but I found I couldn't look her father or brother in the eye and say I'd take good care of her. My life had been a series of disasters and I couldn't imagine dragging someone else through them, although in another hindsight, I was stupid not to actually talk to her about it. I'm sure she's found someone wonderful, she was a fantastic woman just as the woman who invited me to her church those Sundays.

There was a Taiwanese co-worker I admired, she inspired several characters in the book series and looking back over my life I seemed to have ended up with quite a few friendships as well as two waitresses at two different Chinese carry outs that had wanted to date me and my first taste of sake was due to the staff of one restaurant adding it to the soup (this was in addition to my actual order) they gave me one winter when we were snowed in at the strip mall we worked at. Whether ironic or not, my sole time dressing up for a Renaissance fair was in a male kimono complete with a pair of geta. This has probably all impacted my interest in Asian cultures along with a brother who had been studying Mandarin back in the early 80s, this was right after my graduation from high school and at my first paying job at a Roy Rogers. Come to think of it, after he moved on from that job, ironically (again with the irony) a Chinese woman had started to work there as if in replacement. 

I had actually studied Japanese back in the late 80s, and was asked back then by the mission board to go teach English in Japan, however I didn't take it up because I was a lousy teacher having tried teaching earlier in the 80s to sad results. By now I've lost most of the unused Japanese, although I found in the late 90s some still was there. I had been exchanging lessons in Spanish with English with some co-workers and one day they were headed off in the wrong direction and I was talking with someone else when I realized that and turned to shout wait. However instead of either English or Spanish, out came Japanese. Well they did pause and turned back to me even though they didn't understand what I had just said. Anyway the three books in Amazon Japan really pleased me (and surprised me). 

Recently the series is listed in the Women's fiction category in Amazon, another plus, which I hope it reaches the audience I want it to. I know I don't write 'black enough' to come across as authentic, even Black Science Fiction society, where I am a member, ignores me, but I still wanted to write a series, a setting where the 'cast' majority were women of color who didn't have to do things the same way men do, to go off on their own adventures, including women of other cultures to go off with them. 

While I don't have many comments, I am glad I don't have any flames. I confess I am not looking for criticism as I know I have horrible grammar (another reason I didn't take the teaching English in Japan offer) and every editor I had originally lined up something had happened to them. I was actually getting concerned about asking anyone else to proofread for fear of something happening to them. Which is another reason I did just self-publish without proper proofreading and editing as I would have loved to have done. I know I also have a habit of placing many ideas in the same story, so the praise on book one is appreciated. I'd love more, but I think right now exposure is the problem and obviously I have zip money for advertising to the right audience. For now I rely on being stumbled upon or word of mouth. Still even though the work on the series has slowed, it remains burning within me. I actually have 50 chapters drafted at this point, with plenty of notes if I do get a laptop or tower computer with Word (and windows, I miss windows) again. 

Health took a hit after the eviction, but I am slowly getting back to commenting on the wonderful works on DA again. There are so many talented people here I miss not commenting on them since so many deserve the praise and encouragement. I know I am not getting to everyone I should and hope those I haven't gotten back to don't feel as if I think their work is not worthy of my attention. I am looking, just strength to properly comment is not there yet, but its getting there. 

That's it for the ramble-update, best to all of you! 
Under My Protection III by JovianJ
Under My Protection III
The full source image created by csmchowhk.deviantart.com and used for an alternate cover for my third book, The Good Neighbor. 
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The Good Neighbor alt cover by JovianJ
The Good Neighbor alt cover
The third book's alternate cover image created by csmchowhk.deviantart.com on commission. With some of the image obscured I'll probably post the source image shortly. 
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Our Enemies, Our Allies alt cover by JovianJ
Our Enemies, Our Allies alt cover
Using another commissioned work from csmchowhk.deviantart.com, this is an alternate cover up for my second book. It turned out better than the previous alternate as the majority of the image can be seen. 
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To Serve and Protect by JovianJ
To Serve and Protect
This is the full image by csmchowhk.deviantart.com created by commission and used for the alternate cover for the book First Steps. It captures the spirit of intent of a warbot wishing to play caregiver, yet not to the expense of ignoring it has to fight too. 
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First Steps alt cover by JovianJ
First Steps alt cover
An alternate cover to my first book. It didn't turn out as well as I had in my head, I'm still getting use to cover creator. I wanted more of csmchowhk.deviantart.com excellent work to be seen. I'll post the full image created by that artist shortly. 
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Under My Protection II by JovianJ
Under My Protection II
Another from a commissioned set by csmchowhk.deviantart.com, an earlier, cozier one. 
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Under My Protection by JovianJ
Under My Protection
This is from a commissioned set by csmchowhk.deviantart.com that actually does sum up one of the ongoing themes of my book series as well as touches on what might seem strange to others, a childhood dream involving robots, especially B9 of Lost in Space and Robby the Robot of Forbidden Planet. 

Here is where it gets strange, growing up there was an unspoken notion that blacks shouldn't help whites because it showed a slave mentality. I am happy to say I saw that fade as I grew older, but I won't say it is gone, I just don't see it. The problem was I love to help others, so in my childhood mind I noticed that both B9 and Robby (as well as anime such as 8-man, Astroboy, Anaylizer and Giant Robo) could help others because they were robots, not a race, so I leaped to the desire to be a robot to help everyone, which really that is what Mansa does, focusing in on women in a digitized version of a Code of Chivalry, a high tech Knight in Shinning Armor. 

The Beo2k10 design (by mestophales.deviantart.com) is one of my all time favorites, up there with B9 and Robby in my heart, and even in the book series I think of them as the drones the non-humanoid Mansa uses when 'bots on the ground' (instead of boots on the ground) are needed called Kele-bolos, which is one of the Mali Empire terms for a solider, war-arm I think it translates to (which had surprised me to see the bolo part, as a fan of the Bolo series created by Keith Laumer among inspiration for the Mandinka Saga). So in my mind this could very well be a scene from just about any of the books and I hope you enjoy it however it might come across to you.

So in a way, this pictures how I've spent my life helping others, to serve and protect. 
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Beginning work The UDSV Mandinka by JovianJ
Beginning work The UDSV Mandinka
This is work that an excellent artist, Adam J Cross at adamjcross.deviantart.com had started based on sketches of mine that date back to the mid 1990s. One sketch is in my scraps section if you wish to stop by my site. Back in the beginning the Mandinka (named after the Mandinka Epic, a story told at the time of the Mali Empire of West Africans off to explore the Atlantic and discovered America) was a ship. Now it is a UCAV or robot that just happens to carry along the humans it serves as his precious payload (the first ring you see with the four capsules, each capsule an ark or payload). It is suppose to measure 7.7 kilometers long, the first ring a kilometer, this is just a placement model, and the second ring, the second ring is 5 kilometers in diameter. 

I am very grateful to Adam with his work about breathing visual life to something that had been in my head for years and now I've been writing about in story (working on book four at the moment of this posting). 
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First Steps book cover by JovianJ
First Steps book cover
This is the cover of the first book I've self published for a series where the first four books are intended to act as a kind of pilot, like a television or cable series, presenting the many possibilities for a setting I'd describe as Star Trek-meets-Sliders-meets-Space Battleship Yamato, with more than a dash of Giant Robo/Johnny Sokko and His Flying Robot, although it might properly be called Professor Lashley and Her Flying Robot, however non-humanoid hers is.

Beyond the focus of women of color as the main protagonist, the series also has a cast of characters of ethnic diversity to promote the dream that, for those who wish to, any or all, could go to the stars and beyond. While the main cast numbers what one might expect for the reader to follow, the extended cast is numerous. Some have a line or two, others merely a name dropped, but all are there to show that diversity.

Here is what I have as the book description; 

In an alternate timeline the African diaspora leads to a space based nation in the orbit of Jupiter.

They create advance AIs called Artilects, who in turn create technological wonders for their creators.

One artilect selects a group of women to form a matriarchy and travel with it to explore the multiverse.

The Mandinka Saga begins.

Professor Rayna Lashley, AI psychologist Yumiko Fujimoto, their AI Mansa and the women of the Mandinka expedition travel the multiverse where they meet new new life and new civilizations, encountering twist in timelines where history had unfolded. Together they explore the very variations of existence itself.

Rayna, Yumiko and the women of the expedition are from the Jovian Concordant of Worlds, a space based nation comprised mainly from descendents of the African Diaspora of the Americas, Asia, Europe, and Russia. They encounter the greater multiverse and how some entities want to manipulate civilizations, others wish to consume them, but others are potential friends and allies.

The other book covers should be up soon, and I may include a sketch of Mandinka from back in 1995 where the concept solidified more than what I came up with in elementary school of 'Space Goddesses' who are not faced with if they can do something but should they do it, where the drama is more moral, any physical fights a foregone conclusion and portrayed more as a show of force than the usual approach of struggling to win. I'm not sure if the approach will work, but it has been fun to write. I can only hope others will enjoy escaping into the setting that has been developing in my head for quite a long time. 
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TGN cover by JovianJ


Book three is now on sale at Amazon, and it had been a journey with writing it.  

For those new to this series, I would classify the Mandinka saga as Star Trek-meets-Sliders-meets-Space Battleship Yamato, with more than a dash of Johnny Sokko and His Flying Robot, although it might properly be called Professor Lashley and Her Flying Robot, however non-humanoid hers is.

A special thanks to a few whose off line discussions helped shaped aspects of the setting and in one case, some of the characters. So thank you Sirin and Dee (not to be confused with Dee Block whose artwork inspired a lot of things in the setting). My health has been slowly improving and I'll get to that more in just a bit, I'll just say now instead of the expected recovery by now, it looks like sometime next year. 

Book summary 

In an alternate timeline the African diaspora leads to a space based nation in the orbit of Jupiter. 

They create advance AIs called Artilects, who in turn create technological wonders for their creators.

One artilect selects a group of women to form a matriarchy and travel with it to explore the multiverse.

The Mandinka Saga continues, Girl power will change the multiverse.

Professor Rayna Lashley, AI psychologist Yumiko Fujimoto, their AI Mansa and the women of the Mandinka expedition travel the multiverse where they meet new new life and new civilizations, encountering twist in timelines where history had unfolded. Together they explore the very variations of existence itself.

Rayna, Yumiko, Mansa and the Mandinka expedition continue their exploration of the multiverse, meeting new friends who need a helping hand, while others start to see how their help is interfering with their own agendas. However the exedition is resolute to help regardless of the scale of this assistance, whether such help is extended to an individual or entire civilizations.

                                                                                 ****

I usually share a bit behind the scenes with the journal entries, and this time I'll borrow from TV tropes to show a few tropes that seem to apply even if I might find them embarrassing to admit.

The first and thankfully primary would be "Gunship Rescue", where the heroes (in this case heroines) are the cavalry for someone else. A reoccurring theme is our heroines coming to someone else's rescue, instead of needing to be rescued is one I particularly like.

The very background they work with has the obvious trope named The Multiverse, and our heroines as Dimensional Travelers. Dimensional Travelers can move between universes and explore the multiverse. Where the settings refer to not just one other dimension, but to a whole set of other dimensions and universes. A system of distinct worlds exists, often interconnected in a way that allows characters to travel to and from them. It might be as a tourist who just goes to look and tries not to change anything, or as a participant who goes in and interacts with the people in the other universe.

Supporting the primary trope or perhaps equal to it, is the trope named Planar Champion, where the description reads as Imagine a Time Master but for alternate realities and multiverses. You get someone with the ultimate sense of Walking the Earth, But Now I Must Go, and even The Homeward Journey where the person's wanderlust or adventurous nature doesn't just take them across the world but beyond and between worlds. There is an increased impressiveness when a hero's traits are adapted for not just one grand frontier, but billions of them. And that sums up what I hope the series formula might be like. 

The next trope would be "Showy Invincible Hero", as the show doesn't play up the suspense. With this trope, whether the heroes win or lose is not the point. It's them looking awesome when they do it. It's all about the spectacle with these shows. I ended up with this because I wanted the struggle to be social and often I just plain want to see the heroes kick tail with the usual back and forth struggle that seems the standard for too many series. 

That and a desire to explore some wonder tech to display an amazing quality of life our heroines enjoy, I have to admit to ending up with the trope of "Do-Anything Robot". While the robot is  non-humanoid and over 8 kilometers long, it still is the robot of the series serving our gals. As the trope states, no matter what the situation, no matter who the foe, not only did the robot's creators think of it, but the robot has the counter already built in.

Whenever the robot runs into trouble, it has exactly the gadget it needs to get it out. No matter how strange or unlikely the situation, the robot simply has to retract an arm or open a panel, and out comes a gadget that seems to have been added for exactly that purpose. It also probably carries an Everything Sensor, to spot the problem in the first place ("Danger, danger, Will Robinson!") as well as being able to slice, dice and julienne vegetables. And I'll add the little known fact it also eliminates calories, eat all you wish, it makes sure you never gain the weight from it. 

I also admit to going overboard with the weaponry, ending up with the following tropes, first, "Disproportionate Retribution", as this trope goes in some situations, it makes sense to let the opponent know that if they so much as sneeze on someone you protect, it will cost them a limb. If you have tried an eye for an eye and it really didn't do anything except help sell eyepatches, the only way to stay alive is to be drastic. Pay back any offense tenfold, hundredfold if necessary, until the survivors learn to stay away.

This lead to "There Is No Kill Like Overkill", There are some opponents you want to defeat. There are some opponents you want to kill. Then there are the opponents whom you're not satisfied with until you've stabbed them, shot them, blown them up, unleashed the hounds on them, electrocuted them, irradiated them, jumped up and down on them, and then shot the remains into space on a rocket full of time bombs. Characters who don't have enough overkill at their disposal just might resort to crossing the Godzilla Threshold instead.

Which is the last one mentioned here, "Godzilla Threshold," There is wisdom in facing a threat with a proportionate response. Sure, There Is No Kill Like Overkill, but it'll likely cause a lot of avoidable collateral damage, and it'll guarantee that tomorrow the next threat is stronger. But every so often, the time comes when the threat is so great, the situation has gone so horribly wrong, that there is no proportionate response. When circumstances are so dire as to justify the use of any and every thing that might solve it, no matter how reckless, nonsensical, or horrific, regardless of cost. When even the summoning of Godzilla, king of the monsters and patron saint of collateral damage, could not possibly make the crisis any worse. Every so often, the situation crosses the Godzilla Threshold.

Once the Threshold is crossed, any plan, with even the smallest possibility of success, no matter how ludicrous, dangerous or abhorrent, suddenly becomes a valid option. This serves both narrative and authorial purposes.

I'll wrap up with the health report, it is slower than expected recovery, but unlike a few of my friends, it looks like there will be a recovery. It still looks like a when and not if. I'm grateful either way. I still look forward to getting back to surfing DA as so many great artist here, and I include writers and a few photographers I have come across with the label of artist. I want to say more, but I'm running out of steam again. I look forward to the future as I hope all of you will, hang on for tomorrow, you never know how bright it might be until you get there.

Thank you everyone who wrote, it was great to see when I could make it online. Best to you all!
Over half the year has gone by and I felt I should update. It likely will come along as more of a ramble. I wanted to wait until I had good news or update on book four, but the work on the later has ground to almost a halt and the former is in short supply. The reason for the lack of work is the lack of a computer with Microsoft word, which kindle works with. I lost my computer when I was evicted last May along with most of my possessions, down to three bags and three baskets (I'm not sure to count the tote bag or not). I am not homeless, and have a roof over my head and food to eat regularly and thanks to my host I can borrow their mac, which unfortunately doesn't have word. But a friend is on track to a possible laptop so possibly by next month I may be able to resume work on book four.

The book series has had steady sales, not great ones, but until ironically May, steady. June and July have been no sales, a bit of a downer, and this month looks like an unprecedented third straight month of zero sales, however I am grateful for this last year of steady sales, mostly in the US and surprisingly in Europe with at least one sale in China (Yay!) and unexpectedly (but I was over the moon over) someone in Japan picked up all three books! As a fan of anime the latter really was great news and overall I have admired Asian culture, so I just need someone in Korea to get the 'big three' I had admired. Admittedly that was after I attended a Korean wedding, a friend's wedding, he was quite the artist and attended several services at a Korean church with a different friend...I didn't understand a thing, but the hymns since same music even though the words had changed.

In hindsight I think she was trying to date me. I was always bad at noticing that. Come to think of it, I did date a Japanese woman for a time, but I found I couldn't look her father or brother in the eye and say I'd take good care of her. My life had been a series of disasters and I couldn't imagine dragging someone else through them, although in another hindsight, I was stupid not to actually talk to her about it. I'm sure she's found someone wonderful, she was a fantastic woman just as the woman who invited me to her church those Sundays.

There was a Taiwanese co-worker I admired, she inspired several characters in the book series and looking back over my life I seemed to have ended up with quite a few friendships as well as two waitresses at two different Chinese carry outs that had wanted to date me and my first taste of sake was due to the staff of one restaurant adding it to the soup (this was in addition to my actual order) they gave me one winter when we were snowed in at the strip mall we worked at. Whether ironic or not, my sole time dressing up for a Renaissance fair was in a male kimono complete with a pair of geta. This has probably all impacted my interest in Asian cultures along with a brother who had been studying Mandarin back in the early 80s, this was right after my graduation from high school and at my first paying job at a Roy Rogers. Come to think of it, after he moved on from that job, ironically (again with the irony) a Chinese woman had started to work there as if in replacement. 

I had actually studied Japanese back in the late 80s, and was asked back then by the mission board to go teach English in Japan, however I didn't take it up because I was a lousy teacher having tried teaching earlier in the 80s to sad results. By now I've lost most of the unused Japanese, although I found in the late 90s some still was there. I had been exchanging lessons in Spanish with English with some co-workers and one day they were headed off in the wrong direction and I was talking with someone else when I realized that and turned to shout wait. However instead of either English or Spanish, out came Japanese. Well they did pause and turned back to me even though they didn't understand what I had just said. Anyway the three books in Amazon Japan really pleased me (and surprised me). 

Recently the series is listed in the Women's fiction category in Amazon, another plus, which I hope it reaches the audience I want it to. I know I don't write 'black enough' to come across as authentic, even Black Science Fiction society, where I am a member, ignores me, but I still wanted to write a series, a setting where the 'cast' majority were women of color who didn't have to do things the same way men do, to go off on their own adventures, including women of other cultures to go off with them. 

While I don't have many comments, I am glad I don't have any flames. I confess I am not looking for criticism as I know I have horrible grammar (another reason I didn't take the teaching English in Japan offer) and every editor I had originally lined up something had happened to them. I was actually getting concerned about asking anyone else to proofread for fear of something happening to them. Which is another reason I did just self-publish without proper proofreading and editing as I would have loved to have done. I know I also have a habit of placing many ideas in the same story, so the praise on book one is appreciated. I'd love more, but I think right now exposure is the problem and obviously I have zip money for advertising to the right audience. For now I rely on being stumbled upon or word of mouth. Still even though the work on the series has slowed, it remains burning within me. I actually have 50 chapters drafted at this point, with plenty of notes if I do get a laptop or tower computer with Word (and windows, I miss windows) again. 

Health took a hit after the eviction, but I am slowly getting back to commenting on the wonderful works on DA again. There are so many talented people here I miss not commenting on them since so many deserve the praise and encouragement. I know I am not getting to everyone I should and hope those I haven't gotten back to don't feel as if I think their work is not worthy of my attention. I am looking, just strength to properly comment is not there yet, but its getting there. 

That's it for the ramble-update, best to all of you! 

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JovianJ
Jeffery Watkins
United States

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:iconeldritch-shambler:
Eldritch-Shambler Featured By Owner 2 days ago  Student General Artist
Your watch is noted and most appreciated!
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zenturio11 Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2015
Thanks for the watch :) (Smile) 
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Melinda-Exposed Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2015   Photographer
Random llama time :rose:
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Blablablablan Featured By Owner May 4, 2015
Hi there ^^ 
Im sorry to bother you but can I ask for points?
I really need them now 
Thank you and have a nice day!
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:iconamalia-illios:
Amalia-Illios Featured By Owner Apr 20, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Good to hear you are working and sharing your thoughts here again. I hope success will be with you on your endeavours in the way you most desire -- and that your health will allow you to enjoy it to its fullest! :surprise-kiss: by ChaosEmeraldHunter
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JovianJ Featured By Owner Apr 20, 2015
Thank you very much Miss Amalia! For everything!
 Thank You Hearts Sign :tiphat: 
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Amalia-Illios Featured By Owner Apr 22, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you! It really is my pleasure! :hug:
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Amalia-Illios Featured By Owner Dec 25, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
A belated Happy Birthday! and all the best wishes for the holidays -- may the only way be up, with only the sky being the limit! :huggle: :smooch:
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JovianJ Featured By Owner Dec 25, 2014
Thank you very much! Thank you for the well wishes, the generous gift and the watch as well! May your holidays and the new year, be the best ever! 
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Amalia-Illios Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you, and it's really my pleasure! :w00t:
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