So, as you probably noticed, First on Mars did not make its funding goal and so everyone has been refunded. Some of you have contacted me wanting to know more, so I felt I should update everyone.

This campaign has always been a long shot – getting 250 pre-orders for a book from an unknown author using primarily free publicity in this world is a hard thing to do. I had hoped to get a lot more exposure, but it mostly didn’t pan out.

It’s been a great run. I’ve learned a lot in this process and met some really great people. I’ve been impressed by the support from people in my circle, and I am so grateful for any assistance you gave – I’ll never forget it – and I’ve also been impressed by support from complete strangers, which is a great feeling. If you need anything let me know.

I especially want to thank those people that reached out to me to offer encouragement and editing help, you know who you are – thank you!

As promised, and just because, I’ve given $100 to the AFSP (I promised $1/order, so I rounded up a little). It’s a four star charity and supports a great cause. It also happens to be national suicide prevention week this week. Check out the site if you want to know more.

This project is not over for me, but not meeting the goal has forced me to rethink my plans. In retrospect I underestimated how much work it is to run a campaign like this. (Not surprising, I’m constantly underestimating how much time something takes). So, regardless of which direction I go, I’m going to focus on getting the story in good shape first. If you would like to help me out by beta reading, please let me know!

Thank you again!

ICYMI: Mars Mission Crew Emerges from Yearlong Simulation

The time has come! Please share this however you see fit. Thank you for your help!

"First on Mars," a hard science-fiction novel about the first manned mission to Mars in 2031, is taking pre-orders.

What’s the deal? Inkshares is like a kickstarter for books. First on Mars will be open for pre-orders until midnight August 31st 2016. If it reaches the goal of 250 orders, it will be polished and published by Inkshares.

Extras: (you can only get these if you pre-order)

  • An ebook and updates from the author.
  • A chance to win a copy of “The Martian” (whichever you prefer: book, DVD, or Bluray extended edition).
  • A signed paperback and mission patch if ordering a physical copy.
  • Support the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to the tune of at least $250.
  • The author’s gratitude forever.

There are only 28 days left in the campaign!


“With a three dimensional world and compelling characters, First on Mars draws reader in with its narrative structure. […] Add in a mystery to keep the pages turning and this book is sure to delight!” – STEPHEN CARIGNAN

“I’ve been craving optimistic near-future pro-science scifi, especially regarding space exploration. […] So yeah, sign me up!” – JOANNA LYNN BROSIUS CHAPLIN

“A brilliant start to this story, and I cannot wait to read the rest […] so let’s get this funded!” – MICHAEL HAASE

“I love this book!” – JOY A LAM

“I love it. Such a great opening, with clear, concise writing” - BRYN HAGAN

“First on Mars begins with a bang, and doesn’t let up.” - ALEXANDER ZERO

Please pre-order First on Mars to help bring this book to life! Here’s the link:


(If you’d like to learn more, please visit: bit.ly/firstonmars)

 Hi everyone!

Firstly, a huge thank you for choosing to support me and “First on Mars.” I cannot thank you enough for ordering a copy (or even several copies!) and I hope you realize how much it means to me. Before I started, I wasn’t sure that anyone would like what I have to write, but I have been blown away by the amount of positive feedback and support I’m getting. Thank you!

It’s people like you that make it all possible. What is a book without readers?

I’m sending this out to you all to ask for one more thing so that this book can actually be edited and published and become something more…

Please join me this Thursday, August 4th for “First on Mars Share-a-thon.” I’m going to post and tweet a message about “First on Mars” and then I’m asking you to retweet it, share it on facebook, recommend it on goodreads, and/or to your local reading club. If every one of you do this, I will be virtually guaranteed to reach Quill and you will get the best possible version of this book in your hands (or computer/Kindle)!

Remember, here’s what supporters of “First on Mars” get:

  • An ebook and updates forever.
  • A chance to win a copy of “The Martian” (whichever version you prefer).
  • A signed paperback and mission patch if ordering a physical copy.
  • Support the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to the tune of $250 (this is coming out of my own pocket, I get nothing for the first 250 orders).
  • My gratitude forever.

There are only 33 days left in the funding campaign, so please help. Thanks!

Here’s the link: https://www.facebook.com/events/175379712879833/

Despite all of my emails, facebook posts, tweets, videos, and posting of fliers around town, very few people have actually even heard of “First on Mars.” If you doubt me, here are some video view numbers:

This means more people have actually pre-ordered than have watched the latest book trailer (which is slightly longer than one minute).

Here’s the link again: https://www.facebook.com/events/175379712879833/


Hey all! Short update!

Due to a few orders rolling in, we still need several orders until we reach 100 and I can post chapter six. Would love for this to happen this week!

I’ve been very busy and don’t have much time between work and family, so here are the updates:

  • The web-site has been updated with character backgrounds for six characters (eight if you count Mars and Rigel)
  • I’ve added an event to the facebook page for the book.
  • Inspired by some other authors here on Inkshares, I’ve made a Spotify playlist (which may change). Check it out!
  • “What happened to Chapter four?” you may be asking. I’m still working on it and will release it to you readers once we hit 125 orders! Chapter seven will come at 150 orders!
  • I may ask Inkshares for an extension if the book gets a decent amount of orders in the next month but doesn’t make the cut.

For now, here’s the background for Mars:

Humans have long been fascinated with Mars, the fourth planet from the Sun, often called the "Red Planet" because of its red hue as seen in the night sky. It is named for the Roman god of war. 

Ever since humanity has contemplated space travel, we have dreamt of going to Mars. In recent years the draw has become even more pronounced as we have discovered frozen water and even liquid water on the surface. Among all the other planetary bodies in the solar system, Mars is the most like Earth. It has an atmosphere, a better temperature than most, decent gravity, and a close to 24 hour day.

However, there are several hurdles to living on Mars. Its atmosphere is extremely thin and unbreathable - the air is much thinner than even the top of Mount Everest. Although the temperature is occasionally bearable, it is on average much colder than Earth and can be incredibly cold at times, causing even carbon-dioxide to freeze. In addition, the "soil" on Mars is contaminated with perchlorates, which can adversely affect human health, acting as a thyroid inhibitor and lung toxin.

Despite these hurdles, many prominent figures have announced their desire to "colonize" Mars in the coming decades.

Hi all!

Quick update. There are only 42 days left in the campaign now for First on Mars. Time is running out, so I’ve decided to make a couple of changes.

Firstly, I’m not going to post any more chapters on Inkshares. Only readers who pre-order are going to get more chapters. I’m so grateful to every person who takes a chance on me and pre-orders and I want to give something back in return.

Secondly, if the funding campaign is successful by Sept. 1st, I’m going to raffle off a copy of The Martian Extended Edition on Blu ray (every pre-order or referral gives you an additional chance):.

Here’s a little teaser: In Chapter 6, the President gives an address to the world, members of the Phoenix crew are split, and an election takes place back on Earth that changes everything.


Author Spotlight

I would like to highlight this incredible book by fellow Dragons, Dread, and Droids member, Matthew Dho: I Am Waltz.

This work promises to showcase the best of what science fiction can be, familiar, yet strange, and exploring timely and deep philosophical questions while also entertaining and delighting readers.

Please support this independent science fiction author in pursuing his craft. All author proceeds go to the families of those killed in the Orlando nightclub shooting, so you will also be supporting a good cause.

Thank you.

Dragon Nell Walton · Author · added over 6 years ago
Welcome to the Dragons, Dreads and Droids collection.

Hello all!


Great news! I was just interview by the fantastic Nell Walton. Check it out! You might learn something new about me, or (more importantly) about the book.


In case you missed it, First on Mars now has seven great reviews. Here are some highlights:

“I love it. [...]You leave us hanging, desperate to find out more - who would have thought our only hope is Earth - it leaves us so many unanswered questions. Great job.” - Bryn Hagan, author of “The Bully Book

With a three dimensional world and compelling characters, First on Mars draws reader in with it’s narrative structure. [...] this book is sure to delight!- Stephen Carignan, author of “The Sleeping Man

“...It’s accurate, honest and a darn good read.” - Kendra Namednil, author of “Borehole Bazaar

If you haven’t pre-ordered. What are you waiting for? If you have... order another?


You may have noticed Chapter 1 appear in your Inbox. This is because I finally felt it was in pretty good shape – not complete mind you, but at least readable. I plan on sending each chapter after it hits this imaginary benchmark. After completing the draft in this way, I will send it to my beta readers.

Remember, it still needs to get to 100 orders so I can post the next full chapter (in which a lot of crazy stuff happens). So tell your friends. Don’t forget you can get a $10 credit for referring people with a link (through Inkshares, twitter, facebook, or email), using the buttons on the book page.

Author Spotlight

I’d like to give a shout out to Jaye Milius and her book Terminus. It was chosen by two syndicates and it’s a staff pick, but more importantly, it’s just an awesome concept that is nicely executed.

Hello all!


Good news! “First on Mars” just got another great review, this time from Kendra Namednil (maybe go check out her book Borehole Bazaar). This means there are now six great reviews!

In other news, “First on Mars” is about one-third of the way to Quill! There’s no time to rest though. We still have a long way to go.

As an incentive, I’m going to post the next full chapter (6: Bottom Up) when we hit 100 orders (which is not too far away). Although it still needs some work, the draft is done. This chapter is when the real crisis of the book begins and things really get interesting. So please pre-order, share, or recommend!


As part of doing research for this book, I’ve hacked together some concept artwork. Here is one such image, a design concept for Rigel:


One of the great things about funding this book is that I’ve gotten readers from all over the world. Here’s a map of the readership (Inkshares provides this by analyzing IP addresses I assume):

Thank you for reading. In case you were wondering, you’re the reason I write. Yes, you, the one reading this – not those other people, just you. :)

Until next time,