News! The Alaska Trip, Upcoming Alpha Call, Axtara Fan Art, and More!

Heyo readers! How are things going on your side of the screen?

Things over here are … busy, to put it lightly. Last week I edited 168,000 words, and I’ve already put a solid effort in this week on another 60,000. Haven’t even started today yet (because sadly I cannot edit and write this news post at the same time, though if I could …).

But one of the things that I need to be busy with is this news post! Because I’ve been AFK for five weeks (not counting last week), and the news continued to pile up during that time. So I’ve got some stuff to drop for everyone. Including, yes, you read that title correctly, Axtara fan-art that I received while I was in Alaska.

But we’re going to talk about that in a bit. First, let’s talk about the Alaska trip. Now, unlike last year I’m not going to dedicate a whole post to this. Last year was a special occasion, and in addition had much more eventful happenings (like the killer whale pod that checked us out). This trip was more sedate by comparison. With a few exceptions.

Which isn’t to mean I didn’t get some pictures. A friend of mine asked me to snap some pictures for them, and I obliged, sending them a decent-sized dump when I was back on the grid. Though, just in fairness, these are all quick snaps, unlike some of the pictures I took last year. They’re still solid pictures, but they’re not professional in any sense, and I say that with even more emphasis than last year.

I didn’t even have any pictures of wildlife this time. What exposures we had were brief and over far too quickly to get a picture. With one exception, which was when we were pulling a set that was following a beach, while further out from some whales that were playing or feeding at the beach.

There are no pictures or video of this. We had our hands full. And there wasn’t much to see outside of occasional spouts as both took a breath and went back to whatever it was they were up to. But it was a neat counterpart to our work for a good half-hour, since we were keeping time up the beach.

Okay, with that disappointment of no footage for all of you, here are the pictures I took. Consolation prize, right?

Yes, that is a barge in the last picture. Hauling trains. Well, train cars anyway. Portions of a train? Trainlets? Carriages?

You get the idea. The rest is just scenery, which is usually what I was able to find time to capture pictures of.

So, here’s a quick question for you (which some of you might have wondered about): Why did this trip take me five weeks? I’d of course warned it might take that long, but why did it?

Well … the correct answer is equipment failure. There’s a lot of equipment you need for fishing, and one of those is a very vital piece of machinery that I’ve always called a “depth finder” though I’ve also heard it referred to as a “depth sounder” or in a term that dates the user, “color machine.”

Basically, this neat little device bounces signals off of the seafloor and displays the result on a screen, telling you both how much water you have between the bottom of your boat and the seafloor (more than zero is ideal) and, if you know what you’re looking at, the condition/material of that floor.

When you’re fishing on the bottom, this information is vital. Which is why it’s really bad if you’re about to set out from the harbor and the depth finder will not function.

Long story short, the boat needed a new one, which meant finding a new one, ordering a new one, waiting for it to arrive, and then installing it. All of which royally wrecked the schedule. On the plus side, I had a sudden abundance of days with which I got to just read and catch up on the fat stack of books I’d been holding onto.

But yes, as to why it took five weeks instead of three? That’s why. Thankfully, I’d guessed that something like it might, and prepped the site accordingly.

Now, this wasn’t the only disaster that occurred on this trip. There was a brief but very exciting incident with one of our holds losing, shall we say, containment, and dumping hundreds of gallons of water into a particular place that water should not have been, resulting in very bad things happening aboard the boat until we figured it out. That story, however, does deserve its own telling, and so I won’t post it here.

Besides, we’ve got more news to get to, including some Axtara fanart to see. So hit that jump, and let’s talk about what else is coming down the pipeline.

Okay, so in other news, and moving to things that are coming instead of things that have already happened, let’s talk about the Alpha Call 2 for Starforge.

Right now I’m in the closing chapters of Starforge on the first pass for the Alpha 1. The second pass will be to ready everything for the Alpha 2, and will involve some major changes to a few earlier chapters (chapter three in particular, as well as fifteen) to smooth them out. Turns out that most of the improvements noted are all for the earlier chapters, which is both rough but encouraging.

Point being, I will be putting up an official post for the Alpha Call on Friday to start collecting interested parties. If you’ve been waiting for the second Alpha of Starforge to come along, or messaged me saying you couldn’t do the first but were excited for the second, this is that time. I expect that the first chapters of the Alpha 2 will be live as early as next week, so when that post drops on Friday, be ready to get into contact.

Those of you who are wondering what an “Alpha 2” is, the post will explain everything. And those of you just excitedly waiting for the third and final book in the UNSEC Space trilogy, you can be excited. This isn’t a release date, not yet, but it’s an important step in getting this titan of a book ready for your eyeballs.

Now, I believe I mentioned something about some Axtara fanart?

Okay, so while I was up in Alaska I was occasionally able to connect to the grid, and during one of those occasions, there was a ping on the site’s official Discord server (more on that in a moment). I opened the app, and much to my delight saw the following image had been shared in one of the channels, which I now, with the artist’s permission, share with you.

There it is! Or rather, there she is! Axtara, everyone’s favorite banking dragon, as envisioned by Piiec!

So obviously, a huge thank you to Piiec for this spot of art, and a thank you as well for his enjoyment of Axtara! It’s always neat to see someone’s take on her and what she might be up to! So again, thank you for creating and sharing this!

By the way, those of you who saw “Discord” above, yes there is an official Discord, The Makalay Camp! I’ve yet to put an official link on the sidebar, but if you’re curious you can follow this link here and say hello! It’s a fairly laid back server, and we’re still adding new channels from time to time as things shake out, but for now if you want the latest updates, to chat with other writers or like-minded fans, or even take part in Live Being a Better Writer Q&A shows, it’s a pretty good spot to hang out. Give it a look if you’re curious!

If you don’t know what Discord is, that’s okay too. It’s basically a collection of chat rooms built around server “themes,” this one being, well, Unusual Things. You can open it in a browser, so don’t feel pressured!

Now, onto the last news item of the day: the price increase.

For those not in the loop, the short of it is that I set my book prices almost ten years ago, and have now noted that between my “tail sale” practice of dropping older book prices when a newer book comes out (until a book is half its original starting price) and the rapid inflation of the last decade, my books are not quite as valued as they once were.

To put it another way, I need to increase their prices due to inflation. Colony being $3.99 is now worth quite a bit less than it was when it initially became $3.99. And so, I am about to increase prices.

When? Starting July 1st. It’ll take a few days for the prices to roll over, but that’s the day I will sit down and put the new prices in. This Friday, I will take the time to drop a post dedicated to this price increase, explaining the lessening value over the years brought about by inflation and noting the new prices. They will, as before, be aimed at reproducing the “bargain prices” of 1994.

This is not gouging. As I once explained in a post on book prices, the aim of my pricing is to capture the “bargain paperback” era of the mid-90s. The prices everyone remembers, but accounting for the value of a dollar now.

By the way, paperback prices are not increasing with this jump. Just the digital prices. This is an adjustment to the tail prices that are, due to inflation since I first set those prices about ten years ago, now priced lower than their initial value.

Yes, the post on Friday will include a neat little chart showing the changes to the prices and why they’re being adjusted.

For most this won’t mean much. Basically, Colony and other books in the tail are about to get a price increase of around a dollar. Colony will, in fact, be bumped to $4.99.

This also means new and upcoming titles will be more expensive as well. Again, adjusting for inflation here. Overall the value will still be set at the same level. But what was $7.99 in 2013 is more like $10.03 today. So yes, we’re looking at a $9.99 price point for the Starforge ebook.

But I am letting everyone know in advance of the price hike that it is coming. If you’re distressed about the increased price, then buy the books now, before it happens. You’ve got until July 1st (and however long it takes the storefront to update). After that … well … the price is the price.

Again, this only effects digital editions. Paperback prices are recent enough that they’re okay. Just the ebook prices.

And with that, I leave you one last picture, and go back to editing. Have a good day, readers!

Yeah, that was great to see. It’s now signed!

2 thoughts on “News! The Alaska Trip, Upcoming Alpha Call, Axtara Fan Art, and More!

  1. Thats some sweet fan art! Nice to see that Axtara is now being known enough that creative works are starting to pop up for it!

    I’m perfectly fine with the price increases. Writers have to earn a living too after all, and I’ve come to accept that inflation is simply a fact of life and a necessary evil that accompanies economic growth.


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