LTUE 2022 Writeup – Day Three

We sold out, people!

Context, I suppose. As Day Three of LTUE 2022 draws to a close, I can happily report that the entire stock of my work available at the LTUE vendor hall SOLD OUT! In fact, one of the proprietors even told me that I should have brought more copies of Shadow of an Empire as they had sold out so quickly despite the $22 price tag.

Was this awesome to hear? Yes it was. Was it amazing to have a fellow panelist at the last panel of the day pull out a copy of Axtara and excitedly place it on the table for me to sign? Also yes.

Was this LTUE ultimately fulfilling and wonderful? Yes, yes, and yes. I talked with many wonderful people, listened to their stories (literally) and did what I could to push them along. I met starry-eyed new writers with a burning fervor to be the next American great, and grinning fanfic writers who were thrilled to talk about their latest fanwork.

It. Was. A. Blast. I am exhausted, sweaty, smelly, and my brain feels like it’s been stretched and warped for the last several days.

And I wouldn’t trade it for anything. LTUE is a fantastic experience for writers of all skill levels, ages, experience, and position. If you’re wondering “Should I?” for 2023, then allow me to answer:

Yes.

Now then, on with the write-up! Hit that jump!

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LTUE 2022 Writeup – Day Two!

Hello readers! I’m back! Day two of LTUE has drawn to a close, and I have excellent news!

So, this LTUE has a stock of my books for sale. Or rather, I should say, had. Yesterday they’d asked if I wanted to come by the booth and watch things and help upsell my stock. So I showed up today in the morning when I had a spot of time … and was informed that they had sold out of Shadow of an Empire and only had a few copies left of Axtara – Banking and Finance.

By the end of the day? Well, I don’t actually know since I was at the signing, but a number of people swept by my booth looking for copies, so … Perhaps not!

As you can imagine, this left me in a pretty good mood, which only got better as I went through the rest of the day. Day two I didn’t have any panels to present on, so instead I attended a number of panels, though the number was less than the day before because there were two two-plus hour events I attended (one the signing, the other a longer than average panel you’ll read about below). Still, as always the panels I attended were awesome and loads of fun atop being informative and interesting.

So hit the jump, and let’s get the summary.

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LTUE 2022 Writeup – Day One!

Hello readers! Max here with a quick post-day one LTUE writeup! Basically, I offer some quick thoughts and summation of the panels I attended today so that those of you who couldn’t make it (sadly, but there’s always next year!) can get a small taste of the awesome that is the LTUE synopsium!

So, without futher ado (and because I am beat after this long, marvelous day), here is a quick summary of some of the interesting stuff I noted at the panels I attended/was on. Please ignore typos. Am tired.

Hit the jump!

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The LTUE Writing Con Starts Tomorrow!

Hello readers! This post is going to be short and to the point: LTUE starts tomorrow!

That’s right, Life, The Universe, and Everything 2022 kicks off tomorrow morning, with registration opening at 8 AM and the first panels starting at 9!

Will I be there! Of course I will! A little groggy, perhaps, but I don’t miss LTUE. And fortunately, all of my panels are in the evening and afternoon, so I have most of the day to wake up. And see other panels.

Really quick, if you’d like to attend my panels, here’s a quick recap of the schedule:

Thursday:

  • 3 PM – A Space Opera Starter Kit
  • 4 PM – No Mirrors: Character Description in First Person
  • 7 PM – My Genre Wish List

Friday:

  • 7 PM – Book Signing!

Saturday:

  • 5 PM – Science Fiction Faux Pas
  • 7 PM – Fanfiction: Having Fun

But these are by no means the only panels in action at LTUE. You can check out the grid schedule of titles here, and I may see you at a few of these, since I love attending the panels. But I’ll be out and about as well. With free bookmarks! So if you grab a copy of Axtara or Shadow of an Empire at the LTUE bookstore, wave me down and get it signed! Or come to that book signing Friday night …

Anyway, tonight is the eve of the con, and I am jazzed and ready to go! If you see me (and in fairness, I have a distinct look), say hello!

Get Ready, Alpha Readers!

So today’s post is a little late. Can you guess why? It’s not much a guess, nor is it a trick question. If your answer was “Starforge” in any way, you’re right.

More specifically, it’s because this finale is lit. We’re talking full-speed, barely stop to breath awesome that is … let me check … over two-hundred pages long.

Oh don’t worry. That’s not bland “blow for blow” recitation. There is stuff happening here. This is awesome. Awesome enough that it’s kind of hard to pull myself away from it sometimes.

But not hard enough that I couldn’t duck over to make this post. Which is basically an overblown news post concerning two things, one obvious, one not. Well, three actually.

First things first, then: LTUE 2022 nears with each passing day! I just got notification that my books for the con bookstore have shipped and are on their way, which tells us all how near the event itself is. Next week I’ll do a full post of my panel schedule, as well as other panels I plan on attending, along with some other details for the convention for those that are going.

Hit the jump for the rest of the news, about both this Monday’s upcoming Being a Better Writer and the Starforge Alpha!

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Starforge News, LTUE News, Updates, and Reminders, Plus an Anthology Submission Call!

All right folks, gather round for the quick mid-week update on all things Unusual and extraneous! Starting off with some Starforge updates!

Last night I polished off the Pre-Alpha reading/editing of the final chapter of part three of Starforge. Weighing in at just 26,600 words, it was quite the ride. But the Pre-Alpha is now through part three!

“That’s it, right?” some of you may be asking. “Colony had three parts. Jungle had three parts. When is this finale hitting the Alpha Readers? Are you making an Alpha call yet?”

We’re close, but not there yet. Because you see, readers, Starforge has four parts. Surprise! Though some of you might have guessed that based on the length of the finale when the draft was completed last year.

Yeah, this is a big one. After all, it’s got everything from Colony and Jungle to wrap up, and as readers of those novels know, this is not a small universe. It’s a big one with some very terrifying threats.

However, with a few days left in January, will the Starforge pre-Alpha be completed by February? My official answer is “I don’t know. Maybe.” There’s still a quarter of the book to go. But I am making good progress.

Either way, however, it means that the first Alpha is very likely to start in February. Which means … Well, prior Alpha Readers, you know what this means.

Prospective Alpha Readers, those who would like to try being a part of the editing experience: Take notice and keep your eyes open. We’re close.

Oh, and Patreon Supporters, also keep an eye out. Once the Pre-Alpha is done, a few chapters and teasers are going to sneak up onto Patreon as rewards.

Side note: If you’ve been waiting for the trilogy to be complete, and are a slow reader, now is probably the time to start looking at Colony. Give Starforge say … another six months or so to come out, and that’s six months or so to read Colony, Jungle, and if you’ve got extra time, Fireteam Freelance and be ready.


So, that’s it for Starforge news. Now let’s talk about LTUE! I do still have a few updates to offer.

For example, I have asked the LTUE staff about it, and been informed that this year they will not be offering an online component as they did last year. The Discord will remain open, but there will not be an online streaming of panels.

I’ve learned they will also be filming/recording fewer panels this year. As I understand it, a few of their usual dedicated video crew are unable to attend this year (and let’s be honest, look at the last few years, and with a nod note “Yeah, that makes sense”) so while the staff will record what panels they can (for one, I would venture anything that Brandon Sanderson appears on), both they and the later uploads will be limited.

Basically this boils down to “Unless you can attend in person, you won’t be able to attend.” Which sucks for some of you, I know, especially after so many were able to attend online last year. But I’d ask you to bear with things. These are, well to put it bluntly, the “interesting times” of that old curse. There’s only so much manpower to go around, and hosting a conference both online and off can be a surprisingly in-depth undertaking.

However, if you are able to attend in person (and I hope you are), I would note that the final “early bird registration” offers are closing soon, at which point the price of a three-day pass to the con will rise. So if you are going to make it, grab your registration soon!

We’re only a few weeks out! February 17-19th!

Now, there’s one more thing to discuss, but you’ll need to hit the jump. This post has become too large for the front page.

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Being a Better Writer: Tabletop Conversations

Hello readers, and welcome back once again! If you’re here on this Monday afternoon by some prior plan, then you know what’s up. If not, then welcome to the site and our weekly Monday post of Being a Better Writer! This week we’re going with a bit of a more classic topic, though not without a bit of wordplay within the title.

But first, we’ve got news to talk about. Con news, to be specific! Life, The Univere, and Everything is coming February 17-19, 2022!

Those of you that know what LTUE is can rejoice now. Those who do not, or haven’t been on this site before and heard about the con, LTUE is a writing con. That means that the panelists are all authors and experts on specific topics, there to talk about writing in all its various aspects and forms. I’ve attended it for almost two decades now, first as a young student, now as a panelist, and it remains the best con I’ve been to for being all about writing. With hundreds of authors and panels talking about all sorts of writing topics, from the basic to the specific (there’s always a panel on how to write action scenes, for example, chaired by some of the better action writers in the business, but there are also panels like ‘garbage dumps through the ages’ taught by historians and authors who’d need to know that stuff) LTUE is a smorgasbord of expert writing advice.

It’s also cheap. Students, be they K-12 or collegiate, get in for $5. For the whole three days. That’s right. Five bucks. Non-students pay a bit more (usually around $75 for all three days), but that’s still an incredibly low price for three whole days of writing content. The panelists are all volunteer as well. This isn’t one of those “writing camps” taught by a few people with one book to their name who make the majority of their living telling others how they wrote that one book by being at that camp. These panelists are people taking time away from their normal day job of writing, editing, or being an expert on something in order to talk about the craft because they love it and want to help others.

If you’re somewhat versed in Fantasy and Sci-Fi you’ll recognize a few of these names too. This year’s Writing Guest of Honor is non other than Jody Lynne Nye, and if you check the “featured guests” page over on LTUE’s website, you’ll see quite a few other names you’ve likely heard of (or read). Checking the full schedule page will let you search all the attending panelists, and you may see a few more names on there you recognize!

Now, I’m going to link that schedule page once more, because that’s also how you can look at a full list of upcoming panels, and it’s time to start figuring out what panels you’d like to hit.

Even if you can’t come in person. Last year the entire LTUE experience was uploaded to Youtube as well as available to attend online. I’m not sure of the exact details around online attendance this year myself, since I’m going in person, but there are whole archives on YouTube of prior years’ panels. They usually end up online about six months later, but that’s better than nothing if you can’t make it.

UPDATE: I have been informed that there will not be as many recorded sessions this year due to some of the principle recording staff being unable to attend. The staff hope to record and post some sessions, but they will likely be few in number and take more time than usual if they’re uploaded.


Now, one more item of news before we dive into today’s topic. As in prior years, I will once again be attending LTUE this year as a panelist (most of you probably guessed that). It’s an absolute delight, and once again I’ve got a bevvy of fun panels to look forward to, including—

  • A Space Opera Starter Kit
  • Fanfiction: Having Fun
  • My Genre Wishlist
  • Science Fiction Faux Pas
  • No Mirrors: Character Description in First Person

I’d love to see you there! In addition, I’ll also be at the big book signing and moving around the con conversing and attending other panels.

But there’s one more little tidbit that I want to share that definitely belongs in the news section. Not only will I be at the book signing, but the LTUE book vendors will be carrying copies of Axtara – Banking and Finance and Shadow of an Empire!

That’s right! In prior years this hasn’t been a thing, because I’ve been solely a digital purveyor of products (despite attending the book signing anyway). But with a few of my titles now available in dead tree format, you’ll now be able to purchase them at the LTUE bookstore. I’ll be bringing a few extra copies as well to have on hand, but if you’ve been thinking of snagging a paperback for either of those two titles at last, LTUE will be your chance not only to do so, but to get it signed while you’re at it!

You know, unless they run out. They’ll have a decent stock of both, but the way they sell …

All right, that’s it for this Monday’s news. I know that was a lot, but hey, LTUE is a big deal, and only happens once a year. We’ll talk about it more in the future, but for now, let’s talk about “Tabletop Conversations.”

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Weekly Update – Starforge and LTUE

Hello readers! Max here with a quick update on what’s going on! Which is … a lot actually!

So, there’s really only one big question on the mind of most swinging by the site right now: “When is Starforge coming out?”

Well, it’s still going to be a bit. I work hard and fast, but getting Starforge out in anything under a few months would take a literal miracle. There are only so many hours in a day, after all!

But the news is good. I’m currently partway through part two of the book on the Pre-Alpha, making changes, tweaks, and little fixes. Once again, I’m glad I let myself have a break between writing and editing this thing, as some of the chapters I was most worried about I find I’m not nearly so critical of on the reread now that I’ve had a bit of time to “disconnect.”

That isn’t to say that there aren’t issues I’ve been finding and fixing, nor that there aren’t a few chapters that I won’t be paying close attention to the Alpha Reader response when the Alpha happens. There are a few I’ve written down where I want to see what the audience response is before I make a final call, and they may indeed see heavy or maybe even complete rewrites.

Good news is, though, that the Pre-Alpha is progressing at speed. Currently I’m pressing through about 30,000-40,000 words a day in the editing process (that’s about 100-130 pages in print, roughly, at standard sizes).

Those of you that are new are probably thinking “Oh nice, so this’ll be done in a few days, maybe a week at that rate, right?”

Ah, no. Not quite. Starforge is … large. Larger than Jungle by a decent margin. Granted, if you’ve read Colony and Jungle, you know why. There’s a lot of ground to cover in this one. And it does so!

Anyway, enough about Starforge. It’s getting closer, work is being done, and hey, you might even see a teaser soon.

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LTUE 2021 Panel Recordings Are Up!

Hello readers! This is not an April Fool’s Day prank! I realize that even saying that immediately raises suspicions of such, but it isn’t! And I’ll prove it! Right now!

Yes! You’re seeing that! It is not a Rickroll. It is a genuine panel recording of one of the LTUE panels I was on during this year’s Life, The Universe, and Everything! And it’s official, from the LTUE Youtube channel. Today their channel dropped (as near as I can tell) all the LTUE 2021 panels onto the web for your listening enjoyment! Those of you who couldn’t attend LTUE this year can now check out over a hundred panels on every writing topic imaginable!

What would I recommend? Well, I’ll embed my other three panels below the jump. The one above there was one of my favorites, and we had a blast (and ran long, since we had the time), but that isn’t to say the other panels I was on didn’t also have a lot of fun!

Anyway, I’ll drop the embeds all below, and again, you can check out all of the 2021 LTUE panels at the official LTUE YouTube Channel. While this is a lot to dump all at once, don’t forget that I did a write-up of all three of my days (day 1, day 2, and day 3) noting every panel I attended, so that’s a good place to start for suggestions of panels to search for on the LTUE channel (I recommend just loading all their latest videos and then using a CTRL+F to find the one you’re looking for).

Anyway, hit the jump for the other three panels, then head on over to the LTUE Youtube and check the rest out!

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LTUE 2021 Writeup – Day Three!

Hello again, people! This post is the third and final writeup for the third and final day of LTUE, Life, The Universe, and Everything, the Fantasy/Sci-Fi writing convention!

As there have been two writeups prior to this one, I’ll assume that you’re familiar with the process and not bother to re-explain how this works here. So hit the jump, and let’s recap the third and final day of LTUE!

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