Starforge Is Here!

What more is there to say? The finale of the UNSEC Space Trilogy has arrived at last. Those of you who pre-ordered should be getting your copies as midnight ticks over, and those of you who didn’t pre-order … you can just go purchase it now! Click the cover below and experience the end of the journey! You can also click here to read the first five chapters for free before you make up your mind!

The end arrives in this epic conclusion to the UNSEC Space Trilogy!

Mankind stands on the edge of a precipice. The All sweep across colony worlds, consuming everything in their path. Earth has recalled her fleets to Sol, abandoning its charges. Pisces, her independence won, now stands alone as a foe unlike any other threatens from the dark. It is not a question of if the All will attack, but when.

Reunited at last, Jake, Anna, and Sweets again find their skills called upon, this time by the new leadership of Pisces. A desperate plan has been conceived, an all-or-nothing long shot out into the darkness of unexplored space to find a means of reactivating the artificial world beneath their feet. If Pisces’ weapons can be brought online there remains a chance that the relentless force of the All can be stopped before it extinguishes the light of mankind forever.

If. Threats move against them from all sides. The All has set its own plans in motion, determined to finish the work it began so long ago. UNSEC and Earth plot from the shadows, uncompromising under Eidre’s vision of a unified empire with Sol at the center, and willing to do anything to bring Pisces back into the fold—even burn it to ashes.

The Trio’s final journey has begun … and it’s an adventure unlike anything you’ve ever read before.

Thanksgiving Sale!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope you’ve got great plans and make the most of it!

As for me? Well, I just clicked the button to upload the final manuscript for Starforge. Which, in case you weren’t aware, comes out next Tuesday. The 29th of November. We made that release window after all.

Of course, some of you have been waiting for the series to be complete, and for those of you who have—or are just discovering this epic Sci-Fi series for the first time—I’ve got good news! The first two books in the trilogy are on a steep discount this weekend to celebrate the conclusion of the trilogy! You can pick up all three books—over a million words of Sci-Fi adventure—for only $14.97. Click those covers and grab the whole series now.

That’s right. Less than fifteen bucks. This is a fantastic deal. Plus, it’s over the perfect weekend to curl up with a book.

And yes, this is now a complete trilogy. No hidden “fourth book.” No “surprise, we’re going to have another ending.” This. Is. It.

So happy Thanksgiving, everyone. Enjoy, and I’ll see you all Monday for the Reddit AMA.

Starforge Is Now Available for Pre-Order

Ladies and gentlemen, readers of all ages, fans of Science Fiction … Starforge, the last book of the UNSEC Space trilogy, the conclusion to the epic journey that began six years ago with Colony and continued three years ago with Jungle … is now available to pre-order.

Yes, this does mean that it has a release date. I am pleased and proud to announce that Starforge will release on November 29th, 2022, just under three weeks from now. You can pre-order it today at the price of $9.99, and this juggernaut of a finale will be delivered to your e-reader of choice November 29th.

If you wish to pre-order now—and I don’t blame you—then just click the cover image above to go right to the pre-order page. Or, you know, that link right there. Or you can check out the synopsis below, as well as hit the jump for more details about the final product.

A quick reminder: Starforge is the third and final book in the UNSEC Space trilogy. For the full experience, it is highly recommended that you read the first two books in the trilogy before reading Starforge, Colony and Jungle, before reading this. The choice is yours, obviously, but as befitting the end to a trilogy, there are major spoilers for the first two books within the pages of Starforge.

Now, onto that synopsis! Here’s a summary of what you’ll be experiencing when Starforge releases November 29th!


The end arrives in this epic conclusion to the UNSEC Space Trilogy!

Mankind stands on the edge of a precipice. The All sweep across colony worlds, consuming everything in their path. Earth has recalled her fleets to Sol, abandoning its charges. Pisces, her independence won, now stands alone as a foe unlike any other threatens from the dark. It is not a question of if the All will attack, but when.

Reunited at last, Jake, Anna, and Sweets again find their skills called upon, this time by the new leadership of Pisces. A desperate plan has been conceived, an all-or-nothing long shot out into the darkness of unexplored space to find a means of reactivating the artificial world beneath their feet. If Pisces’ weapons can be brought online there remains a chance that the relentless force of the All can be stopped before it extinguishes the light of mankind forever.

If. Threats move against them from all sides. The All has set its own plans in motion, determined to finish the work it began so long ago. UNSEC and Earth plot from the shadows, uncompromising under Eidre’s vision of a unified empire with Sol at the center, and willing to do anything to bring Pisces back into the fold—even burn it to ashes.

The Trio’s final journey has begun … and it’s an adventure unlike anything you’ve ever read before.


There you have it! If you’d like a few more details about the final product, such as page count, pricing, etc, they’ll be below the jump.

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Starforge News Post!

First of all folks, I’m sorry there’s not a Starforge preview post today. They’ve been quite popular, and I know you guys are really excited to see the book finally drop. But sadly, I don’t have a teaser today.

I know. This will be the last one I miss. I promise. I didn’t hit it today because, well, I went over 50,000+ plus words today, a full tenth of Starforge, polishing stuff. Seeing as it’s now 3:30 AM … yeah. Sort of behind on getting that post written. And I didn’t just want to drop random chapter excerpts on you. I’ve only got one more of those kind of previews planned, and I need to be—to put it bluntly—a bit more cognizant than I feel right now.

So why make this post? Surely there’s a point here? Well, there is. After spending the last week going over more than a 100,000 words worth of Starforge (and that’s just this week) with a fine-toothed comb, I’m making the call.

Starforge is going into Copy-Edit.

What does this mean? It means that the pre-order, will, at last, go up next week.

That’s right. It’s finally here. I’m going to punch Starforge onto my reader and start doing formatting checks, on the introduction, the author page, table of contents, all that good stuff. Plus, you know, make sure all the “page breaks” are in the right place, and that everything is ready to go.

But while that’s happening? The pre-order can go live. Ladies and gentlemen, this is about to happen. The final piece and part of the UNSEC Space trilogy is going to be in your hands at last. One final ride for our trio. Jake … Anna … Sweets …

It’s all about to end.

And believe me. You won’t want to miss it.

I am exhausted and need sleep. See you folks Monday.

Weekly Update: Starforge and Other Things

I feel like for this announcement I should be climbing up on a mountain outcropping and shouting “BEHOLD!”

Yesterday, after thirty days of grueling work, I finished the first Beta Pass for Starforge. And grueling almost doesn’t describe it. I have now read through Starforge … five times, I think? I’m starting to lose track. And that’s just start to finish, in-depth reads, over the last few months. There’s still the “Oh, check this chapter again” reads, the rereading of a paragraph, several times, to check changes, aloud and silent …

Point being I’ve read it a lot lately. And there’s still at least one more full read-through to go. So … what is the status right now?

Well, today I’m taking a day off. I’ve been regularly up editing till past 1 AM several nights a week for the last few weeks, and I am exhausted. So I’m taking today to just rest and not be editing for a little while. Just for one day. As much as my mind is whirling and whizzing on “Okay, gotta check that” and “Ooh, make sure too …” I need a day off. Thirty days of grueling double-checking of every comma, period, and apostrophe, word by word, across a 500,000 word draft is … a lot. Thinking back to the Being a Better Writer post on Mental Health, I need to let some pressure out of my pressure cooker before my brain overloads.

This isn’t bad news, mind. I’m not trying to paint it as such either. This is good news. I’m still on track to get Starforge out in November thanks to all this work. It might be late November, but then to be fair so it was with Colony and Jungle.

So what’s next, then? Well, tomorrow (not today, despite my itch to jump right in) I’m going to go over the Beta Reader feedback, taking each of those catches and doing a master comparison against the whole manuscript. Plus there are a few checks of my own I want to make as well, things I caught but want to make certain I didn’t miss any instances of (for example, yesterday I caught a single instance of “steeping” instead of “stepping” and found on a search one other instance of it in the book). I want to recheck a few of the larger chapters, or those that saw heavier edits and may still have “shrapnel” (my term for when a paragraph or section gets cut up or rewritten but old stuff gets missed, put in the wrong place, etc). Anything I might have missed when I was up until 1 AM editing, or because I was enjoying an action sequence a little too much to be paying attention, etc etc. You get the idea.

That’ll probably take a few days. Once that’s done however, and I’m satisfied with how clean the draft is … It’ll be time for the copy edit. Yes, that means putting in a Table-of-Contents, an introduction, all the copyright stuff, etc etc. It also means that I will be sending out an e-mail to all Alpha and Beta Readers who participated, both for acknowledgement in the book itself and for figuring out where to send their complimentary copies once the release hits.

But … it also means that once I’m officially going over the Copy-Edit, something else can happen. The pre-order can go up, because I’ll be able to set a release date.

That might happen—I’m not setting anything in stone yet—next week. While it may not, I can say this: We’re getting very close.

Which is going to be a relief to me. Starforge has been a major stressor for me. I’m ready to finish this project and do some smaller, lighter things for a while. Like another Jacob Rocke novella. And the next Axtara book.

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A Short and Quick News Post!

Hello all! My apologies for this post coming in the evening, and being only one of two posts this week, though the other was a pretty significant one. I’ve just been quite busy.

How busy? I have been up writing past 1 AM more than once this week, and hit 2 AM at the latest. So I’ve been burning the midnight oil.

But! The short that blossomed into another YA novel in the Axtara setting—which I really need to name—has found it’s first draft completed! Sadly, it’s rough enough I’ll likely do a total if not near-total rewrite, but it is a neat story that explores a different side of the world already seen with Axtara and other related shorts.

Also, don’t forget, that other post this week was about the Starforge Beta Read! I am blitzing through the Alpha 2 changes right now, and will very likely have Beta chapters up for readers (and e-mails going out) either tomorrow or Monday.

Speaking of which, if you’re interested in being a Beta Reader, keep an eye on your inbox if you’ve commentated or been a prior Beta Reader, and if you’ve not been or done either of those things, comment at the Beta Call! If you already have, I’ll be reaching out to you soon.

Now, there’s a little more news, but it’ll be past the jump. Hit it!

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Friday News Post – Cover Reveal Countdown, Sick Days, Strange Catch, and more!

Hello readers and writers! I’m back! Well … almost.

Let’s start with the most prevalent news before we move on to other stuff: The sick days. Yes, I spent a good chunk of this week sick. No, it wasn’t COVID, at least not that I know of. None of the symptoms matched, so I didn’t get tested. It was, as far as I can tell, just a run-of-the-mill cold caught from a friend’s kids. But it did delay some stuff that was supposed to take place this week, such as Being a Better Writer being delayed from Monday to Wednesday, the finishing of Strange Catch, and the editing for beta of Starforge (we’ll have more on all of these in a little bit).

So, this does mean I’ve revised some of my own scheduling for things. I lost about three days of work due to being sick, but I’m going to try and condense a few things and make up for it. Next Monday’s Being a Better Writer should be up on the usual day, I worked on Strange Catch yesterday and will continue working on it today … basically, I’m trying to make up for the days I lost, and hopefully things will be back on speedy track next week. After all, August is ending, and September is almost upon us, and with that we’ll only be a few months from the release of Starforge!


Speaking of Starforge, we’re also less than a week out from the cover reveal! It’s next Thursday on September 1st, people! You’ve all seen the teaser (and if not, here’s the link to the tease to get your appetite whetted), so now it’s just counting down. Seven days, people! Seven days!

Speaking of Starforge, isn’t the Alpha 2 supposed to be ending soon? Why yes! Yes it is! Getting sick pushed things back a few days, but the plan is still to start making edits in earnest as soon as Strange Catch‘s draft is done (more on that in a bit). Which means that in addition to the Alpha 2 nearing its end … the Beta 1 is coming.

That’s right, Beta Readers. I know you’ve been patiently waiting all summer. Well, your moment is nigh. Next week, as I start the Alpha 2 edits, the Beta call for Beta 1 will go out. This is to make the process similar to the Alpha 2 in that each chapter for the Beta 1 will go up as it is edited from the Alpha 2. While some of you who haven’t dipped your toes into the book might wonder “But won’t that mean we’ll be waiting for you to upload the next chapter every time?” to which I say “I dare you to keep that pace” with a bit of a cheeky grin. Starforge is a juggernaut, and I think I’ll be able to keep ahead of the pack, especially with a small day or two headstart.

Either way, the implication here is pretty clear: Starforge will go into Beta 1 very soon. We’ve got the cover reveal next week, a Beta Call coming … Starforge nears at long last.

Oh, and eARC preview invitations will start going out sometime after that. Hopefully we can drum up a little early fire from a few reviewers before the big drop in November!

Speaking of November, there still isn’t a specific release date yet. Right now the focus is on Beta 1 and 2, then Copy-edit and so on and so forth.

Okay, that’s all the news on Starforge, I think. Hit the jump and let’s talk about some other stuff.

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Friday News Post!

Wow, it’s been silent this week, hasn’t it? There was Monday’s excellent—in my opinion, anyway—Being a Better Writer post and then just … silence. Nothing on Tuesday, which is normal. But then nothing on Wednesday or Thursday either.

Well, it’s not because I wasn’t busy. Alpha Readers from the Second Alpha for Starforge have continued onward, with I believe two in the final quarter of the book, the rest of the Alpha Readers coming up behind them. I’ve been getting steady, consistent feedback, but it has been largely positive thus far with only a few minor things rearing their head. A majority of which seemed centered around the chapter that saw the most rewrites, all concerning smoothing rather than major changes so … Yeah! Things are looking good! As the Alpha team gets further and further, my confidence grows that there will not be an Alpha 3, but a graduation into BETA!

Which does imply that those of you that have been Beta Readers in the past should feel the anticipation growing. Starforge is inching closer to being in your hands! The Beta Read’s time nears!

But there’s another meaning with that as well. Because usually in the industry, once a book is in Beta, that’s when preview copies start going out. And this time? I am looking at sending out digital copies once the Alpha is over and done with to interested reviewers who wouldn’t mind taking a look at the grand finale and seeing how everything shakes out … As well as, of course, maybe dropping some early reviews for the book before it hits.


All awesome, right? But that’s both what others have been doing and what’s coming. What have I been up to the last few days?

Well, I haven’t been writing, save Being a Better Writer and, well, now this post. Though I do have another short story for More Unusual Events bubbling in the back of my head involving a mermaid that’s found a new hobby in bird-watching … But that’s for tomorrow’s writing (the day, incidentally, that you’ll see this post). What have I spent my entire Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday on?

Something very Starforge related. See, with the Alpha 2 reading moving along at a good clip, before I started going over the chapters every Alpha Reader has made it through … I’ve been sitting at my desk with a copy of GIMP open, clicking away and balancing colors.

That’s right, people, the Starforge cover reveal is coming.

Not today. Not in this post. I want to let what I’ve got sit for a bit and see how I feel about it. Previously I’ve withheld from having cover quotes on the cover of my book (after all, I like the art to stand out), but I’m waffling a bit here with this cover.

But it looks good. Those of you who are in the Discord have seen some previews already. As have those of you who are Patreon Supporters. It took me a few days (because I’m not a graphic designer, though I’m certainly learning a lot of the same skills), but I’m pretty happy with what’s resulted right now.

Does it look cool? Yes it does. Very cool. Very striking. Very prime.

And this one? I think I will do a 4K background for it. You’ll see why when the image itself finally arrives.

More news on that next week.

With that, I’m out of news! Enjoy your weekend, people!

Starforge is coming.

Starforge Updates and Other Things!

Hey there folks! I know, it’s been a slow week, hasn’t it? Monday was a holiday, and I’ve really not said much since then.

But that’s because things haven’t actually been that slow. In fact, for me they’ve been very busy! And for the Alpha Readers of Starforge‘s Alpha 2!

That’s because as you’ve largely surmised, that’s what I’ve been hard at work at. And things are booming. Currently, I’m rewriting the majority of chapter 15, as it needed a severe cleaning, and about halfway through that chapter. Chapters 1-14 are up for the Alpha crowd, and I’ve been seeing comments crop up … though not that many given the work done on the other passes.

Will this be the last Alpha? Or will I go for a third? Can’t say, honestly. As I’ve stated before, this being the last book of the UNSEC Space trilogy (and yes, I will reaffirm that this is the end of the story started in Colony; no secret “surprise” extra book here) I want it to be as spiffy and shiny as I can make it for you all. So will it get a 3rd Alpha?

Maybe. We’ll have to see. But at the current pace, with my editing speed and the speed of the Alpha Readers (seriously guys, you’re rocketing along!) the Alpha 2 could be done this month.

And that would be awesome.

So yeah, Starforge‘s second Alpha is off to a rolling start, with several readers already racing to catch up to me at my rewrites … Though once chapter 15 is done, my pace will likely increase to what it was before I got slowed rewriting most of a chapter.

Though if any of you Alpha readers want to impatiently knock at my “door” by catching up, you’re welcome to try!


Now, moving onto related news … The rest of the UNSEC trilogy seems to be getting some attention over the last few months. Colony has continued to collect reviews since hitting the big five-zero, with much positive applause. Accordingly Jungle has followed suit, picking up new five-star reviews as well. The world is getting ready for Starforge! And when it hits …

Of course, Colony‘s star status is closer and closer to being challenged, as Axtara – Banking and Finance is currently outselling it. Granted, Colony is quite a bit older and Axtara is new, but the banking dragon is doing her best to unseat the adventures of Jake, Anna, and Sweets at the top spot. Though in fairness, Colony has quite a lead … but Axtara is winging hard to catch up.

I can only imagine once I get a sequel out things will really start to heat up.


Other than that, I’ll go light with the news. New Being a Better Writer Monday, as usual. For now, everyone enjoy your weekend, and get some reading in!

Oh, wait, I do have one last bit of news. Absolutely zero individuals expressed an interest in Ko-Fi support on the site. So unless you’re one who was interested but didn’t speak up, for now I think that’s going to be tabled indefinitely unless you do speak up. Speak now in the comments, or forever hold your peace!

Have a good weekend everybody!

So … I Changed My Mind

Hey folks! Max here with a big announcement. One that I spoke about a few days ago, now here with its own post.

Or rather … a cancelation of that announcement.

Look, it’s no secret that prices and inflation and all the jazz I spoke both in this week’s news post and also in The Price We Pay about have happened in the last ten years. I was all set to announce that July 1st would be the day I switched up my digital pricing, readying for the next ten years.

But you know … it’s technically only been nine since I started. And a half. And a “ten year” price adjustment just feels … better, you know?

I realize I’m jumping ahead here. After sitting down and thinking about it, and weighing the numbers … Yes, I am making about 20% less on every book I sell now than when I set my prices nine years ago, due to inflation. But … changing prices on July 1st? Well … that didn’t sit well with me. Because as I said above, it’s only been nine years. My first book (and all the pricing I worked out for the books after) only came to be nine years ago.

So rather than change the prices now to reflect shifting values and inflation, I thought why not do it on January 1st, 2023? Why not truly give it ten years, and update everything then?

Maybe it’s just because most of us like round, solid numbers like ten. Or maybe I just felt blindsiding everyone with something that was a week out was a little too short notice, though I’d been running the numbers for a while.

So the big announcement is that starting July 1st … Nothing will happen. January 1st, 2023 however, the ten year mark? That is when I’ll adjust everything for inflation once more.

No joke, I was sitting down and running the numbers and prepping tables to show the various values and suddenly thought “Why now? Sure, I need to make the adjustment, but right now? Is that 20% really going to kill me?”

Okay, maybe? 20% is kind of a substantial number (and I’m the guy that counts pennies). But … Who likes being blindsided by that?

So, here’s what’s going to happen July 1st. Nothing. At least for my prices. No changes. Boom. Bam. None. If something happens to you in your personal life, well, that’s on you. But I probably had nothing to do with it. Unless you buy a book of mine and love it.

But I’m holding off changing the digital price for a few months. Until the new year. When 2023 hits? Well … all the revised pricing I’ve worked out will drop. And then there will be a month’s-plus worth of notice and warning.

So … I guess I gave your eyeballs a big dose of nothing, huh? Well … I’ll make up for it. The Starforge Alpha 2 is almost upon us. So why not offer a teeny-tiny teaser of what some of you are going to get an early look at?

It’s below the jump.

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