The Countdown (A News Post)

Three Days to Jungle

Jungle CoverThree days, people. Not counting today, since it’s halfway gone for most already. Three. Days.

And then Jungle drops.

I mean … what else do I even say? At this point, it’s just waiting to see what happens. Watch the pre-orders tick up for those folks that want it ASAP, and then see what day-one sales look like. Wait for reviews to roll in. See what all of you make of the biggest Sci-Fi adventure I’ve ever pumped out.

No pressure, right?

Seriously though, it’s all over but the waiting, now. In three days, those of you that pre-ordered will have a copy in your hands, be it on your phone, tablet, laptop, kindle, or whatever other device you’ve decided to use for reading it. And it should probably be a device, too. At 457,000 words, an actual print copy of Jungle would probably weigh something like six or seven pounds. Good luck holding that one-handed.

Three days. It’s finally happening. Just so you guys know, work on Colony, the first book in this set, started five years ago, in late 2014. Colony released two years later, in 2016, and work on Jungle started almost immediately afterward. So the grand total of these two books? Five years of work and effort.

In three days you’ll all get to see where that’s led us, as well as the series’ starring trio of Jake, Anna, and Sweets.

While we wait for that release, if you’ve already locked in your pre-order and before we get to the rest of the news, I’d like to do a bit of an informal survey among you readers: Who’s your favorite of the three, and what do you expect is coming for them in Jungle? Got any theories?

While you ruminate on that, hit the jump for some more news!


No Being a Better Writer this Monday

Most of you might have guessed at this one, but with Jungle coming out Tuesday, there will not be an episode of Being a Better Writer this coming week. Book launch … kind of a big deal, and the Monday beforehand will be the last chance to drum up more pre-orders for Jungle and get the word out that Colony‘s sequel has finally arrived. Pre-orders, do matter, rankings-wise, so every little bit of push to give Jungle that extra bit of momentum really helps.

Being a Better Writer will resume the following Monday (the 25th), and after the launch of Jungle there will be a weekend post calling for new topic suggestions to fill out the next list as well. So there’s plenty of upcoming BaBW content coming through the rest of the year. This is just a one-time break for a special occasion.

And hey, you can take advantage of the time freed up to make sure that your Tuesday is free!


Colony has seen its final price-drop to Backlog Price

colony-finalSpeaking of which, do you know what day just passed us all by? The three-year anniversary of Colony! That’s right, Colony came out three years ago, November 11th 2016. And, as it is now a title that’s three years of age, it has seen it’s final price-drop to backlog pricing. That’s right, you can now grab Colony in all its glory for the price of $3.99.

Seriously, it’s a steal. But then again, that’s how a backlog is supposed to work! It happening just before the launch of Jungle is a coincidence, but a happy one. If you’ve been looking over the site these last few weeks and wondering why there was such an ado made over Jungle well, now’s your chance to grab Colony and find out!

And for those of you wondering if this is a trend …

Shadow of an Empire is now $5.99

Shadow of an EmpireWell, or it will be as soon as the change goes through. It’s a few days early, but … eh, why not? As is following with my pricing tradition, with the release of Jungle, Shadow of an Empire will drop from its full, launch price of $7.99 to a discounted, older release price of $5.99. Those of you who were looking for an action-packed and mystery-fulled wild-west adventure, but wanted it on a budget of less than $7.99 can now rejoice, for your ship has come in!

Or at least, it will in the next few hours. I’ve made the change, but it’s kind of a variable when the actual change will propagate through all the various storefronts. Just keep an eye on it Shadow of an Empire has been a title you’ve been interested in.


Upcoming Projects

So … with Jungle coming out, what am I working on now? You know, aside from marketing for Jungle? Which I promise will slow off a little after Jungle is actually, you know, out. There’s just a lot riding on it.

Well, when I’m not busy with that, I’m back at work primarily on Axtara – Banking and Finance. Which was a project I started way back last year as a short for an LTUE anthology, but which quickly grew past a short to a novella, and as of now past that to a full novel (it’s currently sitting at around 63,000 words or so, with another 30,000 to go by my estimate). I got to work on it a little during the editing process for Jungle, but eventually it had to take a backseat so that I could get Jungle out and done on time.

But now, with Jungle coming out, work on Axtara is moving ahead at a fine clip. In fact, I’ll be going to work on it as soon as I’m done with this post, and, well, I’m excited to! It’s a lot of fun!

If you’ve forgotten, Axtara is a smaller story than the kind I usually tell, a more slice-of-life affair. In fact, if not for the absolutely toxic insanity surrounding the YA area of book writing, I’d sell it as a YA (but that’s a giant cesspool of insanity I’d rather avoid, so generic “book” it shall be).

But what is Axtara? Actually, a better question wouldn’t be what, but who? Because Axtara is the titular protagonist of the story, a young dragoness who’s setting out on her own at last and moving away from home. To do what? Why, to open her own bank, of course! Out on the edges of civilization, in a young, recently founded kingdom formerly just kingless wilderness.

She’s got experience (a decade’s worth working at her uncle’s bank). She’s got the fund (see the decade-long job). And she’s got determination. But will it be enough?

Well, you’ll have to read the book to find out. But don’t expect some huge, grand adventure filled with action and violence here. After all, this is Axtara we’re talking about. She’d much rather be doing figures, balancing accounts, sharing a new tea, and making use of an abacus than fighting or saving the world.

In other words, this one’s a bit different than most of what I’ve written before. Like I said, it’s more slice-of-life. The fantasy setting it takes place in is more familiar and easier to slip into than something completely original like Indrim (from Shadow of an Empire).

But that doesn’t mean it isn’t fun, and I’ve been enjoying it a lot. Not sure when it’ll come out, but right now it’s one track to have the first draft done before Christmas. So sometime in the next year, most likely.

Now, once that’s written? Well, that’s when I dive back into the more familiar, life-or-death style work and start up, at long last, Fireteam Freelance.

What is Fireteam Freelance? Well, it’s a side-story to Jungle. Not one that will be required to understand Jungle (gah, not at all), but rather a story chronicling a different team of characters in the universe around the same time dealing with problems of their own. Stuff that will back up events and goings-on in Colony, Jungle, and the soon-to-come Starforge, but isn’t going to be required reading for any of them. At most, it’ll answer some questions of “Hey, what did this character mean when they talked about this happening? What happened there?”

Oh, and it’ll be free. And episodic. That’s right, I’m going to be trying something new again. While there will eventually be a final, edited book copy that’ll go up for sale like everything else, the alpha draft will be uploaded, chapter by chapter (or episode by episode, still working some details out) here on Unusual Things as it’s written, for free for all to read.

Yeah. Free. Episodic. Right here on Unusual Things. It’ll get its own page and everything.

What’s it about? HAH! I’m not even writing the first episode yet and you want to know? Well, I suppose I can give you a small teaser. It follows a small team of soldiers for hire taking on odd jobs and just trying to survive day to day of life in the UNSEC universe when a few jobs they take start lining up a bit too neatly with one another …

That’s it. That’s all you get for now. Should be an action-packed ball of fun for those of you who like the bang of big, crazy guns, and your action fast and frequent.

Once that’s out of the way? Well … it’ll be time to start the next big project:


Now, I’m not going to talk about this one yet. Not outside of mentioning the name, and what little I’ve said before now. But suffice to say, this will be a big project. Science-Fiction. But that’s after Axtara and Fireteam Freelance, so for now … I’ll just drop the name and point out that this will easily be a project of 300,000+ words.


Life, The Universe, and Everything

70081760_568294170598543_7425837595373862912_oNow, to shift news slightly. Most of you who’ve followed me for any length of time know that I’m a big fan and proponent of Life, The Universe, and Everything, or LTUE, a massively amazing Science-Fiction and Fantasy writing convention held in Provo, Utah in February of each year. I’ve been attending LTUE for years now, and promoting it almost as long, because it is the writing convention to be at if you’re interested in writing Science-Fiction and Fantasy. Thousands of people attend, among the hundreds of authors who give panels, chat in halls, play games in the game room, and just in general have an awesome time. There are editors from major publishers, authors from all walks of life and methods of publication …

Seriously, if you’re an aspiring author of Science-Fiction or Fantasy, and you miss LTUE for any other convention, you’re making a huge mistake. LTUE is the con to be at for writing. You’re not going to find a con with this many talented and varied authors giving panels on everything writing, from how to find a good editor to how to mix fantasy and romance, or create a good subplot.

Okay, praise over. Suffice to say, LTUE this year is once again at the Marriott Hotel and Conference Center in Provo, Utah, February 13-15th. Tickets are on sale now, and I’d absolutely encourage you to show up. Seriously, it’s the best con you can go to for this kind of stuff. Hundreds of topics. Hundreds of panels. All staffed by people who are looking forward to sharing what they know about that topic.

People with names you might recognize. Kelly Barnhill anyone? Who wrote The Girl Who Drank the Moon? What about L.E. Modesitt, Jr? Mary Robinette Kowal? Howard Tayler? Brandon Sanderson? Michaelbrent Collings?

So yeah, I plug this. LTUE is awesome.

But it gets better. This coming February, you’ll be able to catch me at a number of panels! That’s right! I got my invite last Sunday. Hit this year’s LTUE and I’ll be one of those folks you see up there discussing how to subvert common tropes of Science-Fiction, how to use weather in your book, or how to write non-human characters. And that’s just a few of the panels you’ll see me on!

But that’s not all. LTUE will also be hosting the launch party of their newest anthology entry, A Dragon and Her Girl.  As you may have guessed … I’m in it. So yes, I’ll be there at the launch party, yes, I will be there at the signing, and yes, you’ll even be able to show up for the reading and hear an excerpt from A Game of Stakes, my entry in the collection.

The LTUE benefit anthologies, by the way, are entirely non-profit. All the proceeds from them go towards keeping the price of the con down for students (who can attend for just $5). And they’re filled with stories from a wide range of authors. Click that cover for A Dragon and Her Girl up above and you’ll see a full list.

But yes, that’s coming this February. I’ll talk about it a few more times on this site, since I do love LTUE, and I’d love to see as many of you as possible there, but since I just got my panel call this last week, I wanted you all to know as early as possible in case you were on the fence about going. Well, if you do, know that I’ll be one more author you can meet with, talk to, chat with, and even grab a signed copy from.


Upcoming Articles and a Review Tally

Some last bits of news before I head off to get back to watching a dragon make her bank work. I want to talk first about upcoming articles here on Unusual Things. Stuff that’s not BaBW. They’ve been pretty light lately, mostly because, well, again, Jungle is coming out. Launching a book is a herculean effort. So the articles needed to slow down.

But once Jungle launches, I’ll be free to do some more fun write-ups for you guys. And I have some interesting topics ahead. Topics covering subjects like “How do you write a romance story for men?” and “A farcical guide to understanding common review terms on Amazon and Goodreads.” Plus a review of a game I spent the last two months playing, and some other fun stuff.

So yeah, articles are about to start back up again! Now, what about the review tally? Well, some of you may remember that I was hoping to see a total of 400 reviews by the end of 2019. How’s that going?

Well … we’re over halfway there. Currently, the total is 216. Not a bad number of total reviews, but … It could be a lot better. Folks that leave reviews seem to be a pretty small percent overall, but hopefully with Jungle dropping next week we’ll see some new ones arrive, and not just on Jungle.

Poor Shadow of an Empire. Nine reviews. The west really did die out.

All right, that’s it for news. Time for me to go talk with a dragon about a bank account, and for all of you to go pre-order Jungle!

Catch you next Monday. In the meantime, don’t forget to comment with theories about Jungle and who you’re favorite of the trio is!


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