Shadow of an Empire Releases in Two Weeks!

Shadow of an Empire

I mean, do I really need to say anything else? It’s almost here! Two weeks from today, you’ll finally be able to get your hands on this sweeping Fantasy-Western adventure! If you haven’t pre-ordered your copy yet so that you can have it in your hands for the first weekend of June, click the cover there to get cracking!

In the meantime, look forward to some related events coming up next week! In addition to the usual Being a Better Writer post, you’ll get the unveiling another X-Com 2 character pack! Starring—Who else?—Salitore Amazd and Meelo Karn from Shadow of an Empire. Fun side note, these two were actually the first custom characters I made in X-Com 2. I’ve had them in my roster for a long time … and now it’s your turn.

Next week will also see me doing an AMA on Reddit! That’s right, Friday, May 25th, at 1 PM Mountain Time, I’ll be doing a Reddit AMA for several hours to promote—naturally—Shadow and just answer any wild questions you guys might have about writing, Shadow, my other books, or really anything else.

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Shadow of an Empire on Goodreads

Just a heads up, readers, but Shadow of an Empire is now listed on Goodreads (alongside the rest of my books). Which means you can let Goodreads know that you’re planning on reading it or that you’re excited for it to come out. You can also recommend it to others on Goodreads and even (once it comes out) leave a star rating for it!

Naturally, I wholeheartedly recommend doing show, especially the bits about letting Goodreads know you want to read it and sharing it with others. Just like with Amazon pre-orders, Goodreads recommendation metrics get a boost out of readers letting other readers know they’re looking at a book, which in the end is a big help to me.

So if you’ve got a Goodreads account, let ’em know you’re excited for Shadow of an Empire and spread the word!

News Blast: Shadow of an Empire, Colony, and Milestones

Welcome to Monday, readers! I know the culture, at least here in the US with it’s workaholic pastimes, is to despise Mondays, but maybe I can make things a little shinier for you at the start of this week. After all, I’ve got a nice news post here for you to read (and then we’re getting Being a Better Writer), with lots of good news about the upcoming weeks that’s sure to excite a good number of you!

The first and most important bit of news? Shadow of an Empire is available for pre-order and releasing June 1st! That’s right, the Fantasy-Western Epic is sweeping onto e-readers and devices everywhere in just under three weeks! Swing by the Amazon page and pre-order your copy now so it arrives ASAP! And share that link; the more people know about Shadow, the better. Redditor? Facebook user? Fanfic socializer? Let people know. Word of mouth is majorly helpful! Also, if you’re an Alpha or Beta Reader, feel free to talk about the book now and tell people all about it! I’d advise not dropping too many spoilers, but I’ve seen your enjoyment for months now, so go share it with others!

Second bit of news? Well, it’s related to that first one. In the coming weeks (date not officially set), I will be doing a Reddit AMA to promote Shadow of an Empire. Yup. For several hours I’ll be answering any and all (within reason) questions there, both to help spread writing knowledge and to talk about—of course—my newest release, as well as what else to expect from me in the coming year and whatever else people bring up. If you have a Reddit account, please come and participate. The more people show, the better off the AMA will be, and the more traction it’ll gather! Check back here for more details as I narrow the date down with Reddit mods!

Third bit of news: Shadow of an Empire‘s preview chapter will be getting updated to the final version tomorrow. There will be a notification of it, the cover art will be included, etc, etc. Following this, chapter two will go up the following Tuesday, and the Tuesday after that, chapter three. The final book, by the way, is thirty-one chapters, so you’re only getting the first little bit as a preview.

Okay, last bit of news (I promise!): Colony is getting its first price-drop. As well as a text update. Okay, don’t go wild, it’s the standard “This book is now X months old” drop I’ve done for my other works. Colony will soon be $5.99 instead of $7.99. In addition, the text will be updated with a number of small corrections and error fixes to promote a smoother reading experience. Those of you who already own Colony should see the update the next time you connect to the web, and those already connected will just, well, have it!

And, last but not least … I didn’t even realize it, but I’ve passed a review milestone! Specifically, an Amazon review milestone: 50 Five-Star reviews! To be more specific, 52 of them! Out of—get this—82 reviews total. That’s right, well over half of the reviews I’ve ever gathered are Five-Star reviews! Huzzah! Now just to keep getting those reviews out in front of readers! Oh, and to keep collecting them. The more reviews a product has, the more people trust what they say.

In any case, that’s the news update! Lots coming in the next few weeks as we move closer to the release of Shadow of an Empire. Don’t forget to pre-order your copy!

Nips, Tucks, and Other Site Changes

The attentive among you may have noticed some small changes here and there across the site. Particularly the removal of ads, and the rearranging of the sidebar on the right side there. I’ve moved a few things around to make a few of the more important items (like the search function, we’ve got a five-year archive of writing guides here!) more easy to access.

Everything’s still in it’s infancy, however. A lot of these changes are just minor, quality of life changes designed to make the site a bit more user friendly, easier on the eyes, and distinct. Which … is easier said than done. When I learned how to code a web-page, it was not only basic stuff, but it was back when HTML was new. So not all of it carries over.

But past that, I’m trying to work with the look the site already has. Having my own domain and whatnot does open up a lot of other “looks” and ready-made themes other than this one which I can slap across the site (in fact, this one is legacy support, so if I dumped it, I’m not sure I could get it back) but I’ll be fairly blunt about these other options: even the “clean” ones look cluttered and ugly compared to the current setup.

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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!

 

The Knee Post

Yeah, this one’s actually newsworthy enough it’s getting it’s own post.

First of all, don’t worry about this affecting my writing. That’s one thing I can say is that the news I got back after my MRI this week isn’t going to affect my writing life. Other facets, however …

Turns out, the doctor was wrong. Even he was surprised by that … though looking at the actual result, I can’t quite blame him. It’s a little unexpected. Especially at my age.

The initial knee injury? Long since healed. The pain and swelling now? That’s my cartilage. That’s right, I, at the ripe age of 31, have light arthritis in my right knee. And it’s only going to get worse from here.

Yeah. The MRI showed a big old ball of nasty (I’m guessing scar tissue and the like). Apparently, in my 31 years of life on this ball of rock, I’ve done a good 50-60+ years of living on my knees … and now I’m reaping the reward of living that way.

Granted, it’s not too bad yet. There are definitely some jobs, hobbies, and workouts that I have to give up if I don’t want my knees to explode and need a total replacement before I’m 40. Of that list, the hobbies and workouts one, especially where they cross over, hurts the most. A couple of those just got wiped out. I can still go hiking and level running (I think), and biking is fine as long as I’m not pounding my knees or taking big jumps … though the doc was unsure on mountain biking. Jobs that involve lots of squat-lifting are out too, since that’s going to explode my knees very quickly.

On the plus side, none of these things involve writing. So I can at least keep writing and selling books. And it’s a good thing I’ve got an income stream I’ve been working on there, too, because I hate to think what kind of mess I’d be in right now if I’d been banking on a physical job, because that’d be it for me in that career.

On a side note, Colony‘s new advertising seems to be doing a decent job of getting eyeballs on it, and maybe even a few sales. It’s a little early to tell yet, so I’m not quite uncorking the celebratory Martinelli’s (though that would be nice, as this week hasn’t given me much to celebrate with the core of this post, though I must say that the Alpha Reader reactions to Shadow of an Empire continue to be encouraging), but as of the beginning of the experiment, it’s at least paying for itself, so there is that.

Anyway, the good news is that the knee injury isn’t going to affect my writing that I know of. But it’s definitely making me reconsider some things I’d taken for granted.

Medical Delays!

Sorry guys, but Being a Better Writer is going to be a little late this week. Wednesday, to be precise. Unless I get a score of luck later, but …

Normally, even if I had a work shift on Monday and Tuesday (which I do) I’d still have Monday night to get the next BaBW post done … or at least Saturday. But this last weekend I was really crunched for time (and will be this weekend as well), and tonight? Well, tonight … I’m getting an MRI.

Yeah, remember that knee injury? Yup, it’s still being an issue. So I’m going in for an MRI tonight prior to getting a knee surgery that should put things back on the right track at last.

So yes … slightly delays. Sorry about that. But with luck it will be worth it!

In the meantime, I do have some good news and a link to a classic post. First bit of good news? Colony is being advertised now! That’s right, if you’re kicking around anywhere with an Amazon ad (I believe) or on Amazon itself, you can see a nice, shiny ad for Colony! And there will be more news coming on Colony soon (yet another project while getting Shadow of an Empire edited).

And that classic post? Here you go—

Being a Better Writer: I, Villain.

See you in a few days!