Never Stop Working (Even in a Drought)

Hey readers! Max here with, well, just a sort of general catch-all update post to yap about stuff with. Tomorrow I might have one of those interesting topical ones, like last week’s set of posts on MacMillan’s burning of their own market, but for today I just don’t have the time because I picked up an extra work shift and I need to get some editing done.

So this is going to be one of those news summary posts that goes over all my current projects and keeps you all appraised as to what’s going on with each one of them. Now, it’s easy to see from the stats I have on posts like these that they aren’t as popular as other posts … but hey, that’s drama-free news for you. And some of you do read these, which means you like being informed about my progress and what I’ve been up to. Plus, I like writing them because, well, lets face it, a long period of time can pass in writing without you readers seeing much coming of it until a book pops out of ether, and this does show that “Yes, I’m accountable for these projects, here’s how they’re going, etc, etc.” Which I think you guys like.

So, the quick of it? Yesterday I added about 5500 words to my quota, between editing on Jungle and writing. Then I’m writing today before taking an extra work shift, and well … Basically I’m keeping super busy guys. Good old 10-12 hour days are back again.

With that said, let’s get to the talking about what I’m doing with all that work, starting with Axtara: Banking and Finance.


Axtara: Banking and Finance (don’t worry, last time I’ll write out that full title) is currently sitting about 40,000 words and, by my estimate, halfway done. This is a bit of a different project for me, I’d definitely peg it as YA, moving more toward the young end of that spectrum a little. Why? Well, because it’s just a fun idea and story. I write a lot of complicated, intertwined plots with a lot of heavy issues quite often. I mean, I just came off of Hunter/Hunted and am editing Jungle. Writing a fun, shorter, simpler little story about a dragon moving to the edge of civilization to open a bank is, well … kind of relaxing.

Now, that doesn’t mean there won’t be an actual plot. There is. This story is just a bit more slice-of-life than my usual fare. And I’m enjoying it.

Anyway, as I said,  the story is about halfway done. So that means it’ll probably end up about 80,000 words when all is said and done. Trimming should be able to bring that down a bit more. Either way, that’ll make this easily one of my shorter works, but that was kind of what I wanted to do. Just a little novelette. Okay, technically I know 80K would be in novel territory, but for me that’s practically a novella.

Anyway, I’m enjoying working on it, and it should be done in another few weeks, even with the editing on Jungle. And since I’ve just brought that up, well … time to talk about it!


Alpha editing on Jungle is swiftly moving toward its conclusion. I think I’ve gotten enough eyes on it at this point to have caught the small snags (including some humorous ones) and fixing these is moving forward. I’m currently moving through a heavy edit pass, and there will be one more light pass after this is over just to finalize everything and make some last minute checks … and then Jungle will go into Beta!

Which, naturally, means those of you that have been Beta Readers in the past should start checking your calendars for the end of this month and early next month seeing if you’ve got time in your schedules to start reading through a Jungle Beta, because it’s coming, and coming soon!

Okay, so what does this mean for the rest of you who aren’t Beta Readers or even interested in that? It means that the end-of-summer/early fall release is still on track. Woo! Better yet, as soon as the Alpha is done, while the Beta’s are diving in, I’ll be working on getting a cover worked out. So yeah, look for that coming soon. Jungle draws nearer and nearer!


Okay, so that’s the one titan project I was working on (again, Jungle is about 460K). But what about that other large project I was working on? The fan one? Hunter/Hunted?

Well, that’s been going up and slowly picking up attention. I’m mostly just talking about it here because I’ve noticed an interesting trend. For those not reading in, Hunter/Hunted swaps off every other chapter between its two protagonists. Why yes, this was written right after Shadow of an Empire. I was trying the idea out to see how it worked elsewhere.

Personally, I think it worked pretty well. But I have noticed an interesting trend: Sabra’s chapters are more popular and have more views than Hunter’s (the other protagonist). Yeah, you read that right. They have more readers than Hunter’s chapters.

Now, I’m curious to see if this levels out, but it does lend some weight to the idea that a number of readers in books with split protag chapters will simply jump to the ones that they want to read while ignoring the others. Currently? That number is about 10%.

Am I bothered? Not really. I’ve heard of people doing this before. Now I’ve just got a number on it that’s fun to muse over. What’ll really be interesting is to see if these values later balance out, or if they stay skewed, meaning that the 10% is dedicated to only reading one side of the story from one character.

Again, this is just kind of a curious musing. Hunter/Hunted readers will see the next chapter on Friday, as usual.


Now, since we’re talking about something that releases chapter by chapter, let’s talk about my next big writing project and experiment: Fireteam Freelance.

Right now, Fireteam Freelance is in pre-write phase. What that means is that I’m brainstorming, figuring details and working out the major plot points and how they tie the story together. Which is … different for this one, because this story is episodic. Which means rather than one giant plot working from start to finish, it’s a number of smaller plots that have ending points, or lulls, that then point to the next larger episode, before then all coming together at the end.

Which is a little different from my usual sphere (part of the reason why I want to do it). But it comes with some cool stuff too. Like the antagonists/villain? I think you’ll like this.

Fireteam Freelance, by way of reminder, is a side-story to Colony, Jungle, and Starforge that takes place during the events of Jungle. It will also be posted here on the site in episode chunks as it’s completed. What can I say? New project, new experiments, new approaches. We’ll see how it works.

Anyway, that should be my main writing project once Jungle is in Beta. Which means that the first episode should be releasing around the time Jungle starts hitting shelves.

The juggle never stops. And once Fireteam Freelance is done, I can start work on the last book in the arc: Starforge.

Wait, had I revealed that yet? I can’t remember if I have or haven’t. Well, if not, here you are folks! The final title in the Colony trilogy (I need a better name for it) will be titled Starforge, and I’ll be starting on it as soon as Fireteam Freelance is done.

It’s gonna be epic.


Okay, moving on, let’s talk about the site for a minute! Specifically, let’s talk about Being a Better Writer’s Summer of Cliche Writing Advice!

Yeah, that’s a long title. But apparently that doesn’t matter! These posts have been popular!

Don’t get me wrong, on any given day, 95% or so of the site’s traffic is driven by Being a Better Writer. So any BaBW post is naturally going to have eyes on it. But the Summer of Cliche Writing Advice is proving to be very popular. Especially with new readers, which it seems to attract a lot of.

Now, I know summer is technically, by calendar, almost over. Don’t worry. Rather than stopping and going back to traditional BaBW posts and saving a bunch of the cliches I’ve got on my list for next summer, I’m just going to finish the list. So yes, this will extend into fall.

Honestly, I’m glad they’re being well-received. There was a part of me that was worried they would be brushed off by a lot of readers, but … they’re quite popular. And helpful, judging from the feedback I’ve been getting.

So yeah, there will be another one Monday, as usual!


Now, in the title of this post I referenced a “drought.” Some of you might be curious about what that meant. It’s pretty straightforward: Sales drought. I don’t know why.

Sometimes it just happens. This last week and a half, numbers have gone from being strong everyday to almost nothing. The occasional sale every few days. KU reads have dropped off into nothing.

Explanation? I haven’t got one. At all. At least my reviews and ratings are still going up. Maybe it’s got something to do with most heavy readers hitting the nominations for various awards right now? Or the heavy back-to-school focus on a lot of people’s minds?

I legitimately don’t know. The sudden shift of KU reads to almost nothing is the strangest, because that’s always been popular. Did Amazon just change how KU is advertise or something?

I don’t know, but it’s weird. I’m not alarmed, as I’ve had droughts like this before. I’m just curious, really.


I think that’s it for the … Wait! Nope! Hang on! Got one last little tidbit. For those of you that know what Sunset: Stranded is, well … there will be another chapter of that going up before the end of the week. Hopefully. I’ve got 21 hours of work shifts through Saturday, so I’m going to be a little busy, but I’d like to get this next chapter done tonight.


Okay, that’s officially all the news I have to give! Now I’ve got to get ready for my shift, so I’ll see you all later!

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