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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LTUE 2021 Writeup – Day Two!

WOW! What a day! I am bushwhacked! But not enough that I’d skip this post! LTUE’s second day has passed, and once again, there were a whole array of fantastic panels to attend, question, and learn from. I already explained yesterday that LTUE is online this year, so rather than summarize that once more, I’m just going to dive right into my recap. So hit that jump and get a brief taste of what LTUE 2021 was like on day two!

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LTUE 2021 Writeup – Day One!

Hello readers! LTUE 2021 is here! And that means, in grand tradition here on Unusual Things, there’s write-ups on the way summarizing my experience! Starting with day one!

Now, this year’s LTUE has been a bit different. Thanks to Covid-19, LTUE has been held online, entirely digital, and this has brought positives and negatives. On the positive side, people from all over the world have been able to log on and watch! I’ve seen some familiar names that I’ve not been able to see at LTUE before, which has been awesome. On the negative side, once Youtube (or local ISPs) started throttling a few of the feeds, a few of the streams got … behind. Hopefully someone can sic a dragon on the folks responsible for the throttling, because cons need bandwidth!

But there’s a positive there, too. Everything is being recorded and will be up later to watch, so attendees will be able to see it without the lag. But the lag is a shame because some of these panels are awesome!

As always. It’s LTUE. So, how did my day go? Well, let me recap! Hit the jump for an hour by hour recount/summary of what I made it to or presented!

Oh, but first, let me share this. At one point, in the chat, we were joking about “explaining books as instruction manuals” and I jokingly gave a few of mine a go, including “How a dragon could open a bank.”

Instant reaction from someone in the audience of “I just started reading that today and I love it! How did you hear about that one?”

Me: Well, I hear it’s really good! 😉

So yeah, that pleased me greatly! I wild Axtara encounter at LTUE! She’s soaring far and wide!

Now hit that jump for the summary!

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Life, The Universe, and Everything Starts Tomorrow!

I mean, after a headline like that, what else is there to say?

I kid. There’s plenty! LTUE 2021, or Life, The Universe, and Everything, the writing convention for writers of Science-Fiction and Fantasy, starts tomorrow and runs through the weekend! Attendees will be able to choose from the hundreds of panels available on a wide variety of topics, covered by experts and experienced authors from those fields. Hours upon hours of content, all day, through the weekend, on just about every topic you can think of associated with writing.

But wait, there’s more! See, due to Covid-19, LTUE this year is not happening in person. It’s all being streamed. Online. Over the internet. And while this does come with some sad drawbacks (no signings, or fun crowds in the halls geeking out over various things) it does have some advantages of its own. Being all online, the geeking out can occur in Discord channels, but with a wider audience than ever before! Where just one year ago your only option if you couldn’t afford a plane ticket to the con itself was to sadly watch the weekend pass by with no writing con experience whatoever, this year thanks to the magic of the internet anyone can watch!

Well, anyone who’s become a member of the convention. These things still are a huge amount of work. But you can register right now at this link if you haven’t yet. And hurry, because the convention starts tomorrow!

As for me? I’ll be there. In fact, I’m presenting on several panels as you can see from this bit from their guestbook:

Now as always, I’d love to hear that you enjoyed one of my panels, but if there’s one at the same time you also really want to go to, I understand. My convention schedule often has two or sometimes even three panels at the same time that I’d like to attend, forcing me to choose, so I get it. There’s always a tough choice to be made. Or sometimes not so tough.

Point being, LTUE is full of amazing panels on all sorts of topics. I will be watching as many as I can with great glee, and hope that with LTUE being online this year, more of you get a chance to attend than ever before.

It’s full of expert advice, insights on the industry, goofy fun (the Fantasy-Romance panel still stands out as one of the funniest panels I’ve ever attended), and lots of chances to geek out over Sci-Fi and Fantasy in all forms.

Hope you can make it.

Today’s Being a Better Writer Will Be Tonight … and a Live Q&A! TEST CLOSED!

EDIT: Thank you to everyone who showed up, asked questions, and helped me test the stream! We went for an hour and a half, and it worked great!

All right people, pay attention to this post! We’ve got a special event happening tonight!

So, as most of you should know, this week LTUE 2021 is happening, or Life, The Universe, and Everything. It is the writing convention for Science-Fiction and Fantasy writers, and in a unique twist that makes sense as long as you haven’t been living under a rock, is online!

Yes, that’s right. Due to the coronavirus there will be no physical meet-up this year. Instead the entire conference will be held in digital space, with streams of the panelists up to watch for those that have registered for the conference.

So what does this have to do with today’s lack of a Being a Better Writer post? Simple. I’m one of the panelists. Which means I’ll be streaming my panel thoughts, comments, and knowledge out over the internet this Thursday-Saturday. However, I don’t want to do so without testing my system first.

To be more accurate, without stress-testing my system. I want to make certain that the camera, mic, headset, and everything else I’ll be using will be functioning properly when this Thursday arrives, both in the short term and over the course of an hour or so. I want to make sure that the tone is clear, that there’s no disruption or distortion from overlying cables … You know, the works!

How am I going to do this, you might ask? Simple! Tonight, at 6 PM, this post will gain a discord link after the jump. It will take those who click it to a discord server set up just for this occasion, where I’ll be using Discord’s streaming capabilities to stream myself and answer any questions people have about writing, my books, whatever! It’s going to be a bit of a free-for-all, and I’ll try to keep things running smoothly (bearing in mind that my goal is to test my mic and camera setup, as LTUE’s staff are handling their own server and streaming for LTUE.

So yeah, that 6 PM Mountain time. I know it’s short notice, and an odd time, but I just want to see how well my rig runs things and if there are problems. Note that if there are problems (like say, a BSOD), I’ve got multiple backups that should enable me to keep streaming. Same with LTUE. But the point of this stress-test is to make certain my system is up for this long term in advance. So we’ll go for an hour. 6-7.

So, come back at a little before 6 PM Mountain time tonight and look after the jump for a link to the temporary server. The rest of this post (also after the jump) will be some news for all of you to enjoy. But mark your calendars (or leave a note on your phone or whatever) so you don’t forget!

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News and Updates!

Hey readers! Guess what? There’s only ONE WEEK left until the Life, The Universe, and Everything writing convention!

Yeah, that’s headline number-one today. As of today, we’ve only got a week left! Are you ready? I’ve been letting my brain boil over my panel topics, as well as making sure I’ve got a working setup to stream myself live. In fact, I’m considering doing a test run over Discord to see how my mic holds up, maybe a sort of live Q&A in place of next week’s Being a Better Writer, just to see how it goes. I’ve got a decent mic and headset, but I could also borrow a better one if needed. And I should have a decent webcam, but again, I could perhaps get a better one working. We’ll see. Look here for further updates. Point is, LTUE is coming and I’m excited! Are you?


Next up, let’s talk about Axtara! So the ebook has been out for over a month now, and the paperback a little over a week. How has everyone been finding it so far?

Spectacular. Okay, that’s my own reaction to the public’s reaction, but I’ve got those too. Reviews have started to roll in from a wide range of sources, and so far they have all loved meeting Axtara and getting to know her and her world. For example, we’ve got this bit from a review from a reader on Goodreads—

… Florschutz hit it out of the park with “Axtara–Banking and Finance.” … Regardless of whether you have a mathematical mind, I would highly recommend “Axtara–Banking and Finance”, and if the author is considering making a sequel, I would definitely look forward to picking it up. 

—or from this review on Amazon—

I’ll admit I was drawn to this book by the cover and the tittle, I mean a dragon banker, how could I not check this out? And this book delivers with laughter and intrigue … everything you could ask from such a book. 10/10.

—or this one—

… I loved it … it does leave it open for a sequel too, and I hope that there is one – or more – eventually!

—or this one—

I’ll give a try on kindle unlimited to most any book with a dragon as the protagonist, but I quite liked this one enough to leave a good review. I was particularly interested in the entrepreneurial elements as Axtara works to establish her bank. Axtara’s focus on reaching break-even point shows the author did their research here, and the business side seems well grounded and interesting. The fantasy setting was a lot of fun seeing how business would work there, and had some interesting hints as to other things yet to be discovered in the world (I’d definitely read a sequel …)

—that all seem pretty certain that they love Axtara and can’t wait to see more! And yes, there will be a sequel. I already knew the basics of the plot before Axtara was even halfway finished, and it’ll come along in due time. There also will be, and has been, more in the same setting (A Game of Stakes, my short in A Dragon and Her Girl, takes place in the same setting but a few decades earlier, while the as-yet-unpublished Trial for a Dragon stars Axtara’s older sibling Ryax).

But that isn’t the only feedback I’ve had from people regarding Axtara either. I’ve got two others I’ll share with you guys, though not in direct quotes. I’ve been told via Facebook by several people that their teenaged (or near it) daughters have been reading Axtara.

The ultimate test, as that is the intended audience. And …?

Well, in the words of one parent, and I quote, “She loves it!” Which has been the response from the other parents that have told me about their kid’s experience. Axtara, it would seem, is indeed a winner!

Oh, but that’s not all. Behold the following picture! It’s beyond the jump, since this post was getting long.

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A Smorgasbord of News!

Hello readers! How has you week been?

Mine has been busy. And it’s not going to let up anytime soon. There’s a lot going on for me in the next few weeks, and there already was a lot going on to begin with! Of course, one of the largest projects questing after my time was the Axtara – Banking and Paperback release, but if you’ve been following the site, you know that … that was this week!

That’s right! That’s the first bit of news I’m going to crow about. Because yes, the day finally arrived: You can now purchase one of my books in trade paperback. Sands, you can even order it from your local bookstore thanks to expanded distribution! Or ask your local library to acquire a copy (I still get paid either way, so enjoy your read)!

Of course, you can also just order it right now at this link. The one I just repeated twice for good measure! Or you can click the cover there over on the side. Come on … you know you want to … And plus, as those who have already read it can tell you (check the reviews) it’s a fantastically fun story. And suitable for a good range of ages too!


All right, so that’s Axtara talked about and plugged. So now I need to talk about the next big thing that’s happening and keeping me busy.

Life, The Universe, and Everything 2021!

Yes, that’s right, readers! It’s still happening this year, despite the quarantine. Just … not in the same manner. This year (and only this year, as again Covid-19) LTUE will be online! And yes, I will once again be both attending and presenting this year.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. For the newcomers, what is LTUE, and why should they care? Well, Life, The Universe, and Everything is a Writing Convention for Science-Fiction and Fantasy writers (primarily) that has, over the years, branched into a number of related topics such as art, gaming, and other associated venues while still being primarily arrayed around on thing: Writing.

This means that it has panels on topics such as worldbuilding, writing action scenes, or even writing non-human characters, chaired by authors that have written successful books on those topics. Panels where said authors will talk about the experience, common mistakes, ways to succeed, and take questions from the audience.

To be blunt, if you are at all interested in learning writing advice on hundreds of topics from experts in the business, this is the con to go to.

Oh, and did I mention it’s $5 for students? It’s an educational conference, after all.

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NEWS! Both the Axtara Paperback and Life, The Universe, and Everything 2021 are Almost Here!

Hey readers! Max here with a quick news update for all of you! One that’s about to deliver some truth to the phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Are you ready? Here you go!

Eh? Eh? Take a look at that! That’s right, the print proof for Axtara – Banking and Finance has arrived! And it looks even better in person than it does in these blurry photos (I’m an author, not a photographer as you can plainly tell).

So, what’s next? Well, I’ve already spotted a few minor tweaks I’m going to make before letting it go live. The inner margin feels a little cramped, so I’m going to widen that up, and there’s a page near the back that’s on the wrong side of the paper. All easy fixes. I’ll be going through it this weekend, make the changes Monday and … well, yeah, unless I find a major problem, Monday paperback orders for Axtara – Banking and Finance will go live!

Something to look forward to, no? Now, in other important news … did you guys realize that Life, The Universe, and Everything 2021 is only three weeks away?

Yes, you read that correctly! It’s in February … and we’re almost done with January. Time flies, doesn’t it? But in case you were wondering, yes LTUE is still happening this year, and yes you can register for it now. However, this year it will be all online, in light of Covid-19. No travel. Just you and an internet connection.

Anyway, I’ll be posting more about LTUE 2021 as it nears. For now, I just wanted to alert you readers that it is coming, and quickly!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a paperback to read.

Reminder: LTUE Online Event Tonight!

Heads up people! Don’t forget that there’s an LTUE online mini-event starting tonight at 6 PM Mountain Standard Time! There are three different panels running at each hour until nine under a variety of topics, so check it out!

In fact, I’ve got a handy sheet of the topics available, provided by the event! So here’s what’s coming!

To join, just head on over to https://ltue.net/october2020 and be sure to have Discord at the ready (which can be run through your browser, so no worries there about needing to install something). Find a panel you like, and hope to see you there!

News: Axtara and a Mini-LTUE

Great news! Beta 1 for Axtara is done! And yeah, as a reader said, it was impressively clean. But not perfect. There were some typos and errors fixed, and a few aggressive searches to hunt down really pervasive and hard-to-catch issues, but at the same time … it was remarkedly clean.

No, this doesn’t mean it’s up for pre-order yet. I’m trying to get the cover first so that there’s something to show. Today will be that (if I hear from the artist) and moving into copy-edit.

With that comes something I’m sure most of you are wondering about: Release dates.

So here’s the thing: November is dead. Save maybe at the tail-end.

Why? Well, two reasons. One is that Brandon Sanderson is releasing a new book in November. That’s like a giant that crushes all other news of books, and for those people who buy one book a month, a dedicated sale. Two: It’s an election month, and politics kill book sales. You can actually see the debates, political movements, etc in a bar graph of my book sales. Something political happens … no one is thinking about books.

And yes, I know I launched Colony in November of 2016. I’ve also been told that while the sales were good for me, they were also a lot lower than they should have been because there was an election that month.

So I’d like to avoid November if at all possible. If that’s possible.

Which means what? October? December? Well, if I get the art ball rolling and have a cover in the next week or two, I can open pre-orders, and Axtara will be out before the end of the month. Digitally, at least.

Okay, let me clarify on that. So I’ve already said I expect Axtara to be a print release as well as digital. Don’t worry, that hasn’t changed. What I’m not sure it will be is a simultaneous release.

See, I’ve not done a print book before (something about a print book only being able to be so many pages and most of my titans eclipsing that for now). But I do know a bit about the process and it does still require some extra time the digital edition does not. A digital release is one where I can make instant changes, then drop the title onto my reader and see immediately if everything is working or not.

With a print run, I can’t quite do that. I have to order a sample, wait for it to arrive, and then go through and check to see that everything has held up. I can do a lot of digital work beforehand to minimize the chance of an issue, but the chance is still there.

So depending on how the next few weeks go, it may be that the Ebook version of Axtara drops at the end of October, while the hard copy drops in December.

Maybe not. Some of these tools are new to me, so we’ll see. Also, a lot depends on when I can get finished cover art.

But tentatively hope for Axtara in October!

Now, one more bit of news for after the jump. But a juicy one. News regarding an online Mini-LTUE. On October tenth.

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