More Alpha Readers! Plus News.

Hey folks! Max here with a bit of an interesting request from an Alpha Reader on A Game of Stakes.

See, I’ve got some folks going over it, picking through things, etc etc. So far, the majority response has been overwhelmingly positive, which is awesome. There are a few things to clean up and wrinkles to iron out (the ending needs a little adding), but overall I’ve already been told by a few that it’s hands-down one of the favorite things they’ve read from me.

Which is awesome. One reader however, did stand very firmly on what they see as a very large misstep and issue with a character. I disagree, and no other pre-readers have said anything about it, but there’s always a chance that there’s a grain of truth to it.

Hence? A SECOND Alpha Reader call! I want to get some more eyes on it and see if anyone else brings up the same “issue.” Personally, I doubt it, but in the interest of polish polish polish I’d rather get some more eyes on things just too see.

Crud, I won’t even say what the issue is. This is going to be 100% blind. Which doesn’t mean I want Alpha Readers that make a problem. No, that’s not the goal here. The goal is the same as any other Alpha Read: Read through and look for Alpha issues (plot errors, awkward segments, etc) all as normal. If someone else brings the same issue up, then it needs a serious look. If not … well, some things truly are opinion.

A Game of Stakes is only 15,000 words, so it won’t take too long to read through. Plus, it’s got a dragon, which is always a bonus, right?

If you’re interested in Alpha Reading, do the usual thing and contact me, and we’ll see about hooking you up with an Alpha invite.


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A News Post

Whoa! Things have really piled up lately. Between writing, my part-time job (with extra hours), running the end of a DnD campaign, keeping up with exercise, and well, life being what life tends to be, things have gotten crazy levels of tight lately! There’s a lot that’s been going on! Not all of it newsworthy, but some that is. Which means it’s time for … NEWS POST.


Patreon first! Never fear Patreon Supporters, I haven’t forgotten you. September’s post just ended up late because I spent the weekend a bit under the weather and decided to spend what brainpower and time I had trying to finish a chapter in Hunter/Hunted. Monday was another Being a Better Writer post and more work, Tuesday was  work all day, and then today … Well, finally today this month’s Patreon Supporter Reward went up! And this month, it’s a preview of A Game of Stakes, The first straight Romance (Fantasy Romance, to be specific) story I’ve ever written. Supporters get to see the first third of it. There will probably be a teaser for the rest of the site in the coming months, but for now, this is the only way to get an early look save being an Alpha Reader!


Okay, next bit of news? Sales have picked up a little again. They’re not quite back to “pre-cliff falling” levels, but they are still there, especially on the Kindle Unlimited service. So it looks like a burst sale worked. Oh, and all three titles on sale sold well during said sale. Colony again dominated everything else though. As many copies as that book has sold, Jungle I think will be the only book I release for a while capable of challenging it.

Thankfully, with sales also come more reviews. Or, at least, ratings on Goodreads, which seems to be a much bigger driver now that Amazon has restricted reviews to those who purchase more than $50 of goods through them per year. The sale saw a few new ones crop up, as have the last few weeks. If you’ve ever poked your head over to Goodreads, head on over and take a look! Maybe leave a rating of your own, or check out some reviews!


Last but not least, update news. Hunter/Hunted is still moving along. I’m nearing the end of part 2 of 3. If October goes well, it’ll be done by the end. Maybe mid-November if things run late. Which means I can then get started on the next book project (a submission for an established universe) and then get to work on Fireteam Freelance and editing for Jungle! The end of this year will be busy!

Okay, a little bit on Fireteam Freelance, since I’ve mentioned it before, and it’s listed on my current projects page as “upcoming.” Fireteam Freelance is going to be something unique: An episodic story that is posted here on this site, chapter by chapter as it’s written (and in time with the editing of Jungle). That’s right, the entire Alpha will go up for free here on the site. As an early Alpha. So anyone will be able to read it.

What’s it about? Well, all I’ll say at this point is that it’s set in the same universe as Colony and Jungle, but follows a different cast of characters. Oh, and it’s set on Earth. Directly and very clearly. Details are still being worked out, but if you were one of those readers who expressed disappointment that Colony left future-Earth for an alien world, this story is definitely one you’ll want to check out.

And since the Alpha will be going up chapter by chapter on this very site for all to read, you’ll be able to with ease.

Yes, the book will still get an editing run and for-purchase release. The Alpha chapters will stay up but be clearly marked as such. This is kind of an experiment, an idea I had a while ago that I think is worth playing with.


Granted, ALL of this might be delayed by a few months if that established-universe-thing-I’m-not-being-too-specific-about-yet gets picked up. I’ll have to swiftly flip some plans and push things back in that case, but it will be for a darn good reason. But … we’ll see how that goes.

Anyway, that’s the news for today, unless you’re interesting in fanfic news (in which case, check that blog). With that, I need to get to work!

Pushing Forward

Sorry guys, there’s just not much in the way of news this week! I’ll fill you in on the generals, but there’s not much I can do other than that.

Life continues to assert it’s balance. My book royalties have gone up … so naturally, my job decided to lower hours almost in perfect concert. So I’m slightly better off than I was a few months ago … by only a matter of a few dozen dollars where my budget is concerned. Lovely, but at least I had the royalties to pick up slack.

Colony continues to be my largest seller by far, outselling Shadow of an Empire by a 2 or 3 to 1 ratio. Having them both at regular sales is nice, but it says to me that the market for Sci-Fi Epics is definitely a bit broader than for Fantasy-Western Epics. Granted, I knew that going in, but it’s still fun to compare the sales numbers. Shadow hasn’t matched Colony to a similar degree in numbers of reviews or ratings, sitting at 1-in-4, so it’ll be interesting to see if that levels out as Shadow continues to sell at the current rate, or if the review numbers will end up being different say … three years from now (Amazon’s changes to review policy may affect that as well).

Work on Hunter/Hunted is still paused while I work on this short story for the anthology request. Probably another day or two’s worth of writing to put into it, followed by some aggressive editing before submission. Still, it’s a unique little story. There certainly aren’t many like it. Once it’s done, though, back to Hunter/Hunted.

Outside of that? Life continues pretty much as usual. Working my way forward. It’s what I’ve got. Just have to keep hanging on and typing one word after another.

Being a Better Writer will, of course, be back on Monday.

And with that, I’ve got a story to finish!

The News

Last night, I reached the … Hang on, would this be a spoiler? Thinking about it … no. Because if you’re reading my stuff and don’t expect this, it must be the first thing you’re reading.

So, last night, I hit the last twist of Jungle.  Everything in the story is in the endgame now.

Which is good, because I’m behind schedule by about two months, between the knee and getting sick. So I need to catch up and get this draft finished so that I can pour through and get the next draft of Shadow of an Empire ready for the next phase, so I can stay on track getting that out by the end of this year.

Granted, this means I’ll be pushing hard over the next few weeks. I need to pull my bank account out of the red, which means additional shifts at work, but I also need to knuckle down and get Jungle done. It’s going to be busy.

I am confident enough, however, that I can do this that I’m going to start putting some ticking clocks on things. I expect in another two weeks, three at the most, Jungle‘s first draft will be complete.

So, hopefully first week of October. From there, I dive into getting Shadow of an Empire into Alpha 2 (3 if needed), Beta 1, Beta 2 … you get the picture. October, November … I may be able to make a December release.

At the same time, I’ll be readying myself for Hunter/Hunted, which will be the next big writing project. And … that’s as far as I want to confirm for the moment.

Wish me luck, guys. It’s going to be a busy few months.

It’s a Jungle in Here

So, Thursday update …

You ever have one of those moments where you’re all gung-ho to do something, and then you sit down and your mind goes blank? Yup, that’s me at this post right now. So I suppose I’ll just go with the basics, starting from the top.

First, don’t forget about the Birthday Sale! Seriously. Even if you’ve already bought my books, April 19th (which is now just six days away) will be a great day on which to share one that you particularly enjoyed on Facebook or another site or what have you. So please do, as it would be really helpful.

No, it really would. Right now it seems the biggest wall I’m running into is just getting my name out there. Which, in today’s very crowded world, isn’t easy.

Anyway, that’s my pitch. Please share a book when April 19th hits!

So, on to other news: This month I have been working my tail off. See, the last three months I’ve come in just below my quota every single time. And that’s a reduced wordcount quota of about 60k-70k, on account of me having this other job I have to spend time at. And quite frankly, while I’m fairly tired of that job, I’m not so tired that I can’t do the math and see I’d be homeless without that little income (it’s risky enough and I cut far too many corners even with it).

In any case, I decided that this month I was going to get things back on track. Saturday is no longer a break day, for starters, and I’ve become a lot more stringent with my time. The result: I am keeping up with my quota this month. Which means a quicker turnaround for some of the newer stuff down the line.

Speaking of which, the update on that.

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