There emerged two themes in the short stories that I wrote, they were all about either androids or Stellar Rangers. I live in the American West and I've always loved Western films and novels. So I created a world that was very much like the old west and populated it with lawmen and women who happened to fly cool starfighters and carried blasters instead of six guns. I was developing the concept of world building and creating my own legendary fighter who purposely was a woman instead of a man. At the time, this was still unusual. The character was Devon Ardel and her adventures on Ocherva resulted in enough stories for the anthology - Tales From Ocherva, Volume One.
The android characters were taken directly from my very first short story that I wrote on lined paper and turned in to my 8th Grade English class. My teacher at the time, thought I had stolen the idea. She was partially correct. It was a retelling of the bar scene in the first Star Wars movie. Instead of banning droids from a bar, the droids banned humans. It was called, "The Robotic Bar". I rewrote that story and named it "Silicants Only". The Silicants would become primary characters in the Starforgers trilogy and Ocherva was where they obtained their sentience.
I self published it and and it pretty much tanked. But I didn't care, I was honing my craft and ready to tackle the first Starforgers novel. Over the next few years I wrote two more novels in the trilogy and in the process, came up with another insane idea to write even more stories in this trilogy. When I wrote The Rising, I realized that I had enough story for two novels. So I cut out the plot about the Votainion Empress, and put it into a novella and set it after The Rising and before the third book - Countertattack. This novella became The Blood Empress. Seeing a space to write a second novella, between Books 1 and 2, I wrote a story about Devon Ardel's time as a starfighter pilot in the military. It was called Devon's Blade, which is what her unit became known as by the enemy. I stole that idea too, from a Japanese novel about fighter pilots.
Devon's Blade was extremely unique at the time. It was primarily about three women pilots and the men in the story were just background characters. The book was submitted for a Reader's Choice award and won! The ebook sold quite well and it became my best selling book. Funny thing though, I started to notice that my trilogy was selling in sequential order. Devon's Blade was bringing readers into the Star Saga.
I took some time off writing after completing the Starforgers Trilogy and tried to see what I could do to help sales. I was gaining a small following of mostly white, older men. Not unusual for Military SF. So I decided to try and write a prequel to the Star Saga in the form of a naval battle story with a traditional male lead and a tried-and-true plot - a tiny ship up against incredible odds with a bearded old captain at the end of his career. I did exactly what I was told never to do, I wrote to my audience. Gave them exactly the kind of space story they loved and was popular in self publishing at the time.