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Captain Ventris

'The Shadow Among The Stars' - A Sci-Fi Novel

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Amazon Kindle Page here:




First real quick, my public author's page: https://m.facebook.com/dylanwaynesanchezauthor/

I am writing (actually currently editing) my debut novel! It's a hard-ish science fiction novel of high action and a delicious amount of something we all love: monsters getting blown into pieces! This is the first in a trilogy of novels.


Blurb (I.e. The back of the book stuff) for 'The Shadow Among The Stars:


    In the far future, Humanity has overcome many of its structural and prejudicial shackles. We have spread through the stars to explore and learn, unhindered by many of the mistakes that had plagued our civilizations and institutions for so long.

     Alongside the mighty Astral Marine Corps., Humanity's future is safeguarded by the Colonial Special Operations Executive. The CSOE protects mankind from disasters of every sort through diplomatic, logistical, and sometimes subversive means. For the most important and trying tasks (such as flash point crises and the assessment of little-understood dangers) the CSOE deploys an Operative, an eminently capable individual trained to handle almost any eventuality. Though few in number, they are the most well-known and lauded portion of the venerable organization.
     The greatest of the CSOE's Operatives is Dame Bryluen Branok. Her face is known from the Qixing Commonwealth to the Ly Aulth Stellar Confederacy, and her name has long been a byword for courage and heroism. She is simultaneously an iconic inspiration to all Humankind, and one of the most feared executors of its will.
     When a little understood threat strikes a remote research outpost, Bryluen is the prime choice to investigate. Even she has seen nothing like the foe she encounters there, and the aftermath of the attack opens up a bevy of questions and mysteries. Soon the CSOE charges Bryluen with a task for which she was born: to gather a unique strike team and confront a danger that threatens the very existence of civilization.


For those who aren't well-read in Sci-Fi: as long as you don't get lost during the average episode of Star Trek involving engine troubles, the hard sci-fi stuff is explained in an understandable fashion.


Content: Splattery violence, language, and backdrop elements that make my super-Lefty political nature blatantly evident.


I am self-publishing on the Kindle store in both E-Book and Paperback formats, and the book is currently scheduled to come out in December. It's a little over 110,000 words.


I'll be asking for Early Readers (to provide both input for final editing and for launch-day Amazon reviews) at the beginning of September, so keep an eye out for that! Later I'll be putting the first 3 chapters out for free as a promo as well. Anyway, thanks for reading! Tell people about me, follow, share, etc. if you please!

Edited by Captain Ventris

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Hey, cool. :)


I'm not usually excited about hard sci-fi (not since The Martian or maybe The Forever War), but this could be fun. I'd definitely check out the first three chapters.


Not to sound like 'that person' but I'm not about to touch Facebook links or the site itself, do you have a GoodReads account? I'll add you to my watched authors and keep a look out for the book (and the promo). Good job on finishing the project! I'm about 280 grand into my own series right now, and it still feels great putting 'the end' on draft 1 of my manuscripts. Right before the crushing dread of that black cloud labeled 'editing pass' rolls in to rain all over my celebration. :)

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Here's part of a recent cover art concept drawing (behold the lovely placeholder gun-shape!). It's shaping up to be pretty awesome though, and the artist has been really great!

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Oh man, hope you get the what you deserve! Thats really amazing I can tell. I also write a lot, but not that much of Sci-Fi, It can get complicated sometimes. But hell, writing is a lot of fun and is fantastic when people love the work you work so hard and so in love to make real.

Wish you the best of luck! 

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Last night I put up a post on my Author page about the artist doing the cover art for "The Shadow Among The Stars".


Other than that, more editing, which at this point is mainly consisting of amending minor descriptions and touching up some background details for consistency's sake. I've been pretty good about that but things can slip through the cracks during the course of writing an entire friggin' novel.


Also, a cover art preview update! Ta daaa




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Captain Ventris - do you have anything posted on DakkaDakka or other 40K sites? Also, thanks for promoting Goodreads. I just created an account and you just received a friend request from me (Adam). I'd be happy to help where possible.

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Can't say I do, no.


And you mentioned help, well here ya go, few hours earlier then the official Facebook page!:





Alright folks, as 'The Shadow Among The Stars' marches ever further towards being publication-ready, I need Early Readers! At the bottom of this post are some Questions you need to answer for me to apply as an Early Reader. Otherwise just be sure you've read the first section about what being an Early Reader entails in this case.


Please share this post with people you think may be interested, etc. as always. The more people who want in, the better for the book!





     Early Readers are going to participate in two time-limited phases: Beta Reading and Advanced Review Copy Reading. The total of the two phases amounts to roughly 2 months, so you have to be able to commit the time to read 110,000 words TWICE during that time. To be clear reading that many words twice is 37,000 words LESS then reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix once.

     During the initial Beta Reader phase, Early readers will receive a password-protected digital manuscript of the novel. I've got copyright, don't leak it, etc. etc. You are to read the manuscript and, in whatever way you wish, send me your input on the novel to bring it up to publication shape. This should be both plot/structure feedback and character development as well as any typistry mistakes, grammar problems, etc. Also: literally any other thing you feel like mentioning. Go ahead and nitpick; that's kind of the point of this.

     An Early Reader should send their feedback at the end of each chapter they read during the beta phase. Whether that feedback is about the book overall, that chapter in particular, etc. I leave to your discretion.


After the Beta Reading Phase I will send an Advanced Review Copy (also digital) incorporating any necessary changes etc. You ALSO need to be willing to register (if you don't have one) an Amazon account and write an HONEST review of the novel based on the ARC (I'll keep a changelog and send that, too). That review is to be posted on the Amazon page for the novel when it is released. I need a minimum of 20 Amazon reviews to hit a critical mass with Amazon's algorithms, so I'm going for at least that many Early Readers. Before anyone asks, this is a totally standard and approved practice. Thus, PLEASE specify that you received an Advanced Review Copy at the beginning of your review.

     Finally: an Early Reader HAS to be honest with me. You are COMPLETELY USELESS as an Early Reader unless you can do that. I need you to let me know EVERY concern you have, even if you think it's spurious or due to topical ignorance. I know how to handle criticism and, as the author, I have no problem making value judgements on what to take into consideration and what I believe is extraneous. So seriously, just let me know. I live on the internet, I know harsh. I'll likely discuss the input with you as things go along as well.




So no one receives an ugly surprise.



     One of the characters is a Marine who is now able to curse when around her superiors for the first time in years, so feel free to extrapolate what that might be like. That said the dialogue isn't crass per se, just enhanced via a healthy dose of profanity.



     The book features a significant amount of violence, but it is elicited in a stylized/elegant fashion and is mainly guilt-free, splattery monster blasting! For a frame of reference, I was made uncomfortable by Kong: Skull Island's depiction of graphic, screaming dismemberment of the human characters. So I'm REALLY not into gore-porn.



      There's some sensuality, but anything beyond that is implied because it's so very, very unimportant to the plot. Other then that, all the presence of sex and sexuality is one anthropological discussion about an alien race with three sexes, a few humorous remarks, an implication or two, etc.



     Aha, surprised you with this category! But it's worth specifying that this book is by no means inscrutable. If (for you) this book would constitute a jump-on point for Sci-Fi, it's possible you might not be familiar with a couple concepts initially, but everything relevant is explained concisely within the text.


The Almighty SJW Factor:

     I never use the word 'Mankind'. The main character is a lesbian woman of color. There are neutral pronouns at play. You get the idea. This isn't actually a content warning, I just want to be clear that anyone who owns a MAGA hat is going to have a conniption every other paragraph for various reasons.





If you want to be an early reader, answer these questions and message those answers to me by Mid-October. This questionnaire is to ensure a varied array of Early Readers (if I get substantially more then 20 applications), and to get a sense of your POV and tastes in order to put critiques in context. If selected, you will be sent the manuscript mid-October. There are no wrong answers. If selected you will receive further information on your role, etc. as necessary.


How much of a reader would you say you are (entirely subjective)?:


What genre(s) of books do you most often read?: 


What are some Sci-Fi books that you have read and enjoyed, if any?:


What are some Sci-Fi genre works you have enjoyed in other media (movies, comics, games, etc.), if any?:


What is the best way for me to send reminders and other information about the Early Reading process to you?:


The main character is (to modern ethnic/national considerations) a minority. She is queer, married, and older than middle-aged. She is a career professional in a line of respected work that often engages in ethical questions regarding the application of violence. Do you share any of/identify with any of these features? If so, which ones?:


You're in a desert, walking along in the sand when all of a sudden you look down and see a tortoise. You reach down and flip the tortoise on its back. The tortoise lays on its back, its belly baking in the hot sun, beating its legs trying to turn itself over. But it can't. Not without your help. But you're not helping. Why is that?:


Edited by Captain Ventris

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Hey folks! I still need plenty more applications for Early Readers! There are no wrong answers, so don't worry about being rejected. I know it requires some time and effort, but I need and definitely will appreciate it. Feel free to relay this to anyone you know who might be interested!


Also here's some more progress on the cover art. The artist's adding values now!


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A diverse cadre of Early Readers are working their way through the manuscript and helping me ensure that “The Shadow Among The Stars” is the best book it can be. Impressions and opinions of the novel have been good, as seen below (all comments are from different readers):


“It’s like 2001 except we send out a tank instead of a recon mission.”

“The aliens are imaginative and quite alien (something you don’t see that often).”


“Nicadzim is a kickass idea. Reminds me of H.P. Lovecraft's ‘The Book’.”


And probably the most versatile quote I’ve received so far:


“It’s pretty amazing tbh”


Thank you to everyone that’s supported me this early on!

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It is with immense pleasure that today I am able to announce the date of publication for The Shadow Among The Stars! I sincerely hope you’ll join me in the first book of The Dread Naught Trilogy.


Pre-Orders for The Shadow Among The Stars in Kindle E-Book format will be available December 1st!

The Shadow Among The Stars will be unleashed upon the galaxy December 15th, in both Kindle E-Book and Paperback formats!

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The Shadow Among The Stars is now available for Pre-Order in Kindle E-Book format!


The Shadow Among The Stars releases in both Kindle E-Book format and Paperback on the 15th! The book is also available through the Kindle Unlimited program, and readers who purchase the paperback copy receive a discounted price on the E-Book.


Buy dozens of copies for all of your friends heedless of their wishes!



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The first Early Reader review is up!

To anyone on the fence about The Shadow Among The Stars, please allow me to pull you to this side. I got to be a beta reader, so I was given access to a beta copy of the manuscript a little in advance. The Shadow Among The Stars is simply GOOD.

It's a story that spans a galaxy (and maybe a little more), where humans have finally made their way into the interstellar neighborhood. We are invited to imagine a time where our petty differences are realized as being so incredibly minute that they are practically put aside entirely. This sort of passé courtesy is extended to other alien species in a more limited way, but you can tell that it's not every day that a human meets whatever Vort is, for instance. :P
A threat has... threatened... colony worlds to the point where we are starting to get a little nervous. But we may have hope in the skills and bravery of a ragtag group of elite agents.

In terms of writing, it is like a cross between Tom Clancy, Robert Heinlein, and maybe just a little bit of Tolkien ;). Tom Clancy for the tactics and strategy, and the way Dread Naught is assembled; Heinlein for the setting and world-building, and the way Author Dylan Sanchez manages to use the strangeness of beings beyond our solar system to turn a mirror on ourselves and see how truly strange we must be; and Tolkien for the sheer scale of the journey, the variety of characters we see, and how much we are able to learn about their actions intentions based on their lore.
Very important is the worldview in which the setting takes place. So much what we worry about socially between humans, and the choices and judgements we make about people, are based on myopic preconceptions and biases that, once viewed through the lens of the interstellar community, simply melt away into acceptance. This is a story of people that could have seemed like untouchables even in our current time, and they lead their lives purposefully, and with every opportunity every other being in the galaxy has. Author Dylan Sanchez reminds us that every sentient being is the captain of his or her fate. (Or aour fate. Don't assume a Qixing’s gender.)

Overall, it is a highly accessible, accepting, exciting and intriguing story that takes you across worlds and cultures, with a looming threat bigger than anyone thought, pushing our motley crew of heroes and heroines towards an uncertain fate. I highly recommend it, and I preordered the book as soon as I heard it was available, not least of all because I got to see a list of what changed, but I haven't been able to read those changes yet. ;)
Check it out, y'all. It's worth your time.

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