Clues Under a Couch – A Weekly News Update

Hey folks! Max here with a weekly update post. There’s not going to be anything Earth-shattering or lifechanging in this post (at least I don’t think so), but if you’re wondering what I’ve been up to and what’s going on, this is the post to check out.

So, with absolutely zero ado, here’s what’s going on.


First up, how’s progress on the new Jacob Rocke book going?

Well. It’s going well. The current draft is sitting at about 22,000 words, and the mystery has taken shape. At a guess I’d hazard this winding up around 60,000-80,000 words long, which isn’t bad. It’s about the size and shape I’d want from a new Jacob Rocke adventure.

So what’s this one about? Well, Rocke’s back on the East Coast of the US this time, having just dealt with another haunted hospital room, when he gets a call from the NSAU. It seems a college student at a nearby university was reporting missing that morning, but the local police force balked the moment they were told she was an unusual, and has claimed the case is out of their jurisdiction. Being the closest agent, Rocke is assigned to the case, and while elements of actual unusual involvement are dubious at best, he’s going to do his job and see if he can’t track the missing student down, especially as the days pass and she remains missing.

So yeah, I’ll probably have that polished off by sometime next month. Which leads me to February, which is a natural segue into—


Life, The Universe, and Everything 2023!

That’s right! LTUE, the writing convention about writing for writers, is coming up! February 16th through 18th! And once again I will be one of the many authors present, speaking at panels on a variety of writing topics (as well as attending a number, because you’re never to experienced to learn), and just wandering the hallowed halls chatting with folks.

Seriously, LTUE is awesome. If you can, you should absolutely attend. And say hello! There will be copies of Axtara and Shadow of an Empire at the LTUE book fair, and I will be on hand for the signing to deface your books with my handwriting (but hey, with gold ink, so that’s something, right?).

And again, I will be a on a few panels. Here’s the list:

  • So you want to be a writer: Tips and tricks for new creators (February 16th, 9:00 AM)
  • Farming in Rough Terrain (February 17th, 10:00 AM)
  • Tooth, claw, and tail: How to write compelling creatures into your fiction (February 17th, 1:00 PM)
  • Exposition ettiquette: Sharing your worlds with readers without overwhelming them (February 18th, 11:00 AM)

I will also be at the book signing event and a few other events around the con, so these won’t be my only appearances.

Life, The Universe, and Everything is a blast each year, and I always look forward to it. Hope you can make it!


Now, what’s next? Well, let’s talk about Starforge, reviews, and sales.

It seems the sales heat of the Starforge release has finally tempered a bit, though it remains at a much better pace than it was before the book came out. Settling, it would seem, though based on how review shake out, it might also be a momentary lull.

Speaking of reviews, Starforge‘s release has brought in a lot of new readers that have discovered and are now loving their journey through the trilogy. Jungle wound up with a new 5-star review last night that definitely indicated another new fan.

Overall, Starforge seems to have met with critical acclaim and reader response. Colony and Jungle have, as well, found a bunch of new readers with Starforge‘s release that are, well, as the review last night showed, eagerly making their way through my library.

It’s kind of like “If you build it, they will come.” Save that now I’ve got a number of books and a complete trilogy built, and people are finally starting to realize its there. Those that come? They’re getting a pretty good time, gauging from the reviews.

So things are going … well. Yes, well.


And with that … Yeah, that’s pretty much it. There are really only two other items on my docket worth mentioning at all, one of which is my wait to see how Colony does as an SPSFC quarterfinalist and if it moves on up into the finals. The other is that I’m running another tabletop campaign this year using a refined version of the system I made for the Gears of War campaign a few years back. Given everything that’s going on with the OGL right now, having my own system to fall back on feels like a good idea. But it does mean my project weight this year has increased a bit.

Anyway, I need to get writing so Jacob Rocke can gather more clues. That’s the news for this week!

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