Psst! Over Here!

Pssst! You! Hey, you! That’s right, over here! Looking for some good book deals? Sure you are! Well, don’t look around or make it super obvious—I said don’t look around!—but there’s like, a secret sale or something going right now. Limited time only.

Yeah, I don’t know why either. Something about the date. And it probably won’t last because, well, that clock keeps ticking. Time’s moving forward.

Anyway, now you know. The secret sale is live! Pass it along and move along, quick, before someone spots us. Go see what you can find!

Shadow of an Empire Preview

Shadow of an Empire is a new novel set in the world of Indrim, where steam-industrialization combines with magic to forge an empire that spans a continent. Salitore Amazd is an adjudicator, a legally-approved roving arbitrator of law wandering the Indrim Empire’s Outlands keeping the peace. When a trainload of full of dangerous prisoners bound for the worst prison in the Indrim Empire escapes in his territory and announces an intention to lead the Outlands in a revolution against the rest of the empire, and implicates Salitore as an accomplice, Amazd is forced to join forces with a member of the Imperial Inquisitors to try and clear his name.

Right, I need a better back copy than that, but this is spur-of-the-moment. Anyway, enjoy a free preview of Chapter 1 from the Beta for Shadow of an Empire! Coming this Spring!

As you might guess, everything you’re about to read is owned in its entirety by me, Max Florschutz.

Continue reading

Shadow, Ads, and Other News

Hey guys, Max here with a couple of noteworthy news updates!


I’ll get to the first and most exciting one first. Shadow of an Empire is now in Beta! The Beta Readers invites have been sent out, several readers have already responded and received their links to the Master Beta Read document, and things are in motion!

Which, if you’re not a Beta Reader, is still pretty cool. After all, a Beta Read is one step closer to Shadow of an Empire being out. We’ve got the Beta Reads, the copy-edit … and then publication.

Whoa. Yeah, it’s getting close. Which means you can probably start looking for a cover preview popping up here before long.


But you know what? That’s not the only preview you should expect. Why stop there? This Monday, I’ve got both another work shift and a doctor’s appointment (my last one for the knee, huzzah!), which means that Being a Better Writer will be Tuesday, right? But why not give you readers something else in its place?

Something like … a full Chapter 1 excerpt from Shadow of an Empire? Beta, sure, but come on, it’s Chapter 1!

So yeah, look for that this Monday morning in lieu of the normal BaBW post!


Okay, shifting gears a bit, because I do have some other news I want to talk about, this concerning the site itself. So, as of last week, Unusual Things is on its own domain: maxonwriting.com. Three cheers, right?

Well, yes, but the new freedom of having Unusual Things be on its own domain came with some questions. And one of the biggest ones was: Ads.

Ads are a pretty strong revenue source. And when my site went to its own domain, no longer dependent on ad-revenue to stay up … those ads vanished. As of right now, the site is ad-free.

Almost immediately, I pointed out that the idea of putting up some ads to bring some of that former revenue my way was … tempting. But at the same time, the more I thought about it … the more I realized I just really don’t like ads. They’re annoying, rarely topical to the site, and worse, a lot of them can hijack web browsers with adscripts, play music, cover content, etc etc etc. No matter how hard a place like Google or other ad companies works to keep ads from doing it, the number of dirtbags who sneak things past are legion.

So here’s the deal. No ads as long as I can afford to keep the site open. You heard me. No ads. Anything you guys see is going to remain 100%-me generated content. All have to do is be able to afford to keep the site running on book profits and patreon donations.

But hey, as long as I can keep doing that, the site will remain ad-free! Not a bad prospect!


Let’s see … Shadow of an Empire in Beta. No BaBW post on Monday, but a sneak peek at chapter 1 of Shadow instead. And no more ads. I think that’s it!

See you all Monday, folks!

 

Shadow of an Empire Beta Call!

I know I said there would be a news post on Tuesday. And then that … got derailed by a lot of work. As did Wednesday, as I was half-dead from lack of sleep and honestly didn’t trust myself to rub two sentences together.

But after a long, hibernation-like sleep, I am ready to deliver the news that, you’ve all guessed by now from the title. Shadow of an Empire is going into Beta! Which means it’s time for the Beta Reader Call!

See, the Alpha Readers are done with Shadow, and I’m simply catching up with their changes and revisions, which I should be done with in another day or so.

They liked it. Quite a bit. Suffice it to say, it’s a pretty wild adventure, the Alpha Readers loved the universe, magic, and setting, and they were quiet pleased with everything that went down. No major changes were needed, thankfully, though as you would expect, there were a number of minor changes, tweaks, and small sections where things were polished a bit. All in all though, it was a pretty clean draft.

But all that is bringing me back around to the point. The point, readers, is that it’s time for the Beta Reader Call! That’s right, Shadow is about ready for the Beta Read, which means I’m looking for some Beta Readers!

Those of you who have Beta Read before (you know who you are) are automatic shoe-ins. I should still have your contact information in my master reader file, so even if you don’t leave a comment, you should be getting an e-mail in the next few days as Shadow breaks out of Alpha.

Now, what about those of you who before have not done Beta Reading but are looking to hop in? Wondering what Beta Reading is? Well, it’s pretty simple: It’s typo and error hunting. The plot’s been polished, the paragraphs keyed in. Beta reading is about finding misplaces apostrophes, accidental capitals, misspelled words … all the nitty-gritty detail stuff. Typos, functional errors, misplaced letters, double-punctuation … all that jazz.

Once that’s done, Shadow of an Empire goes into the copyedit … and from there … it gets listed and gains a release date, and I can start working on The Dusk Guard: Hunter/Hunted.

So, interested in being a Beta Reader, former or new? Drop a line or a comment. It’s time to get this book out!

Shadow of an Empire Update

Hey readers! Dropping a small news update here for Friday afternoon to keep you updated on Shadow of an Empire‘s Alpha progress!

And the update is … It’s going well! I’m about halfway through cleaning up miscellaneous errors and fixing little plot niggles that slipped through, and so far the feedback from the Alpha Readers seems to be that it’s a fantastic story with fascinating characters, a cool setting, unique magic system, and fun plot. With, you know, minor Alpha stuff to fix here and there, which is the point of an Alpha after all. Making sure all the numbers add up, that there aren’t any lingering loose ends, etc etc.

Crud, two of them finished it in the first week. I’m playing catch up with the changes!

Bottom line, though, is that the Alpha is going well and it doesn’t appear that there will be a third Alpha, which means … Yes, Shadow of an Empire will be moving into Beta! Which, naturally, means that there will be openings for Beta Readers soon. Interested? Let me know. If you’re a prior Beta Reader, especially, as you guys are basically instant welcomes.

So, what does this mean in the long run? Well … it means that a release could come as early as, oh … Mid-April! No promises, but … that’s the goal!

Anyway, back to it! I need to get a bunch of chapters done today so I can get this into Beta!

More Alpha Readers Needed!

Hey readers! Just a quick post here but …

I need more Alpha Readers. A few of my old standbys are busy with life/college/etc and are unable to contribute at this time, and I’d really like to get a few more eyes on Shadow of an Empire before bumping it to Beta status. Right now, we’re sitting at one Alpha having already read through completely, and a few more working on it, but I’d like to get a wider net if possible.

If you’re interested, have the time, and up for an early look at an awesome Fantasy-Western, drop me a line. The sooner I get Shadow out, the quicker I’ll be able to start work on the next Dusk Guard book, since Hunter/Hunted is my next project …

Quick News Post

Sorry for the lateness. Had work yesterday and I’ve been battling a gnarly chest-and-throat cold that refuses to die. Now, really quick, some news!

Unusual Events

First up, Unusual Events: A “Short” Story Collection, is currently 50% off. It actually has been for almost a week, but being blasted by being sick, I completely neglected to mention it. In any case, you can grab this collection of ten “short” stories (there are two novellas in there, and only three or four of them are actually short enough to warrant the short story tag) for just $2.99!

Second, the Alpha 2 Reading of Shadow of an Empire is moving along, but at this point I’d like to get some more eyes on it. If you’re interested in being an Alpha Reader (and if you’re confused as to what an Alpha Reader does, check this handy post here on the topic), drop me a line! The more eyes, the better.

Third, LTUE, or Life, The Universe, and Everything, the writing con, is coming up! Next week, in fact, from February 15th-17th. Unfortunately, this year I will only be able to make it to one day due to costs, and that will be the first day, the 15th. Still, if you can at all make it to one of the best writing cons for chatting with authors and learning about the craft, this is it. And if you’re going to be there that first day and want to put a face to the words, let me know! I’m always happy to talk with fans!

Okay, last one, I promise. This one has been on the back-burner for a while, but with everything sort of reaching an equilibrium, there’s no sense in me not destabilizing my carefully balanced load with some new business. I pose to you readers a question: How would you feel about doing a live Q&A session over Discord? I get a mic, you readers get questions, I drop a link here on the site at a pre-planned time, and I spend an hour or so answering questions on a variety of topics? Anyone interested in that?

Right, that’s it for the news! Onward to today’s Being a Better Writer post!