Like a Dragon

Hello readers! I’m back!

“Was I ever gone?” some of you might be wondering. Well … Remember how I got that Covid-19 vaccination on Monday? I noted as such in Being a Better Writer that day, then after I finished my post went right to work and chugged along. Well …

Let’s just say I got walloped. By late that night, I was shivering with fever so bad I was almost dropping things, and I ended up swiping every blanket in my apartment and piling them high on my bed to stay warm that night. And then, of course, in the tradition of fevers, having wild dreams and waking up way too hot … and then being way too cold once more. The fever broke by morning, but the fatigue and stiffness stuck, and the next night I slept until 2 PM the following day …

Yeah, no writing was had in the last two days. My brain was not in a place where writing—good writing, anyway—could happen. Just looking at the errors I made and had to correct posting online was proof enough.

This all said, do not take this as a recommendation against the vaccine. No, instead it’s the opposite. Get the vaccine, but plan ahead. This will probably knock you on your butt for a while. Plan accordingly, and don’t let your boss tell you that you can’t take time off to recover from the vaccine (in fact, if they tell you that, your boss is sadly a deadbeat skag-licker, and should be acknowledged accordingly).

But seriously: Do your part. Get vaccinated. Better a few days of discomfort than a week, or a month, or worst of all, transmitting the virus to someone who won’t survive it.


Now, other news! I would like to point out to all you readers that the Dragon Award Nominations are open again once more, this time for the period of 7/1/2020 to 6/30/2021. You can nominate here, but before you click that link and get to it nominating your favorite works from the above time period, I would like to note that Axtara – Banking and Finance is eligable for nomination in the “Best Young Adult/Middle Grade Novel” category. Am I going to recommend that for a nomination?

Well duh, yeah. I’d be a fool not to. Especially after seeing so many other posts from authors promoting their own book for spots.

Now I’ll be real, despite Axtara breaking into the global market (by the way, hello Italy!), I I know I don’t have much chance of winning a nomination. It’d be fantastic, but it’s unlikely.

But even so, I’d still ask you readers who have loved it to consider giving her the nomination for Best YA.


And with that … I’ve got two days of sick to catch up from when it comes to working on Starforge. Not that my time was totally lost. I watched The Adventures of Tintin once more (currently free on YouTube) and played Into the Breach, a title I literally bought several years ago just to get my hands on its soundtrack (a good chunk of Starforge has actually been written listening to it) and found it to be just as good as people claimed. And blisteringly hard. Oh, and grim. It is, however, one of the more clever Sci-Fi uses of time-travel as a mechanic. There’s little to spoil here, but basically it takes the idea that the moment you go into the past you create an alternate timeline and runs with it. The result is that in a war of desperation where mankind is being wiped out, every time they lose, these time-travelers jump to another timeline. Oh, and every time they win. They just keep going to alternate worlds where things are a little different, but always the Vek are there, wiping out mankind. And so they fight until they die … or lose or win, jump to another timeline to start all over.

Simple, and sweet, but still a clever premise.

And with that, I’ve got Sci-Fi of my own to write!

Bits and Pieces of News

Hello hello people! Yes, I know we had a post Wednesday and yesterday, but there are still a few things to say heading into this weekend. So, diving right in …


Those of you who are Patreon Supporters and fans of Axtara – Banking and Finance will want to keep an eye on the Patreon this weekend. Why? Because the first bit of a unreleased story set in the same universe will be dropping there this weekend. That’s right, it’s a supporter-only look at A Trial for a Dragon, a short story starring Axtara’s older brother Ryax. In … Rietillia? What is he doing there? Well, if you’re a supporter, you’ll have to tune in tomorrow on Patreon to get your first look.

But not the whole of it. It’s a short story but most of you know that doesn’t mean much where I’m concerned. So to keep Patreon from breaking under the size of the post, it’ll be in pieces.

And if you’re not a Patreon supporter, well … it is slated for a future release at some point in a collection. Patience will bring it to you in the end!


Speaking of Axtara, after 22 reviews, it finally got its first non-five-star the other day. A reader gave Axtara … four stars. For its 23rd review.

That’s not bad at all. The banking dragon continues to soar, and it’s a lot of fun to hear back from readers and fans how much they fell in love with Axtara and her adventures in Elnacier!


Speaking of reviews and ratings, just going to point out really quick: I am four ratings/reviews shy of 200 on Goodreads! This brings my total review rating count to … 357! And with all those reviews … still sitting at a 4.5 star average.

Now that’s the power of good writing.


Now, let’s talk about Starforge. I am on the second-to-last chapter of part three, so about to be roughly 75% done, and the total wordcount is … 337,000 words. We’re definitely looking at a Jungle-length adventure here folks. Some of that will probably get trimmed in editing—there’s a tricky balance with the action and pacing that needs to be met, and I’m positive the first draft will require some trimming and tucking to make it hit just right—but at the moment the concern is finishing the story off once and for all. Which I need to get back to, so let me drop other news and get on with it!

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Just News Things

So basically … kind of a news post. But not. More just a case of “Well, I really should say something, and there have been goings on lately …”

Also, I really wanted to talk about what happened yesterday. So you know how I have a standing thing with Axtara – Banking and Finance of “let me know if you find a copy in the wild?” Send a picture, etc?

Well, I’m sharing not a picture, but definitely a demonstration of how far Axtara has spread her wings. Yesterday a new entry popped up on my royalty notifications. One I’d not gotten before. It was an end-of-month royalty for copies sent to bookstore distribution. Checking up, I found that these are usually a bit after the fact (so this royalty was probably for back when Axtara launched), but there was another detail that I caught.

This order was for Germany. Which means that somewhere out there in Germany is a bookstore with Axtara – Banking and Finance proudly displayed on its shelves.

Or not, if it’s already been bought out, at which point they’ll probably order more. Yes, I definitely hope that.

Is this particularly special? Well, yes and no. It’s not like this is the first time I’ve sold books in Germany, or in other countries around the world. My ebook market is pretty global.

But Axtara is my first paperback, and this order means that someone working at a bookstore in Germany was either familiar enough with my work on their own through my ebooks to place an order based on what they already knew, or read the synopsis and thought “Yes, that sounds good. I want to read this, and I think people will buy it,” then placed it then.

Either way, it makes me happy. My paperback sales are now not just global, but they’re in bookstores outside of the US. That is a freaking accomplishment.

And it makes me dang proud. Axtara’s got wings, and she’s using them to fly around the world. I wonder where she’ll land next?

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The Bi-Weekly Update: Road of Recovery

Hello again readers! I’m back! And I feel … Okay, well I’m not quite at 100% yet. I still slept until almost noon today, and am occasionally popping a cough drop into my maw to calm my cavernous coughs … But I’m definitely feeling more like myself than I have since last Friday. I’m hoping that by tomorrow I’ll be back to normal!

So, my (improving) health aside, what’s new?


Well, first let’s talk for a bit about Starforge. And I do mean for a bit, since I’m not about to drop spoilers here. But I can give you all the current wordcount of the first draft. Starforge has grown to 284,000 words. And it’s still climbing. I think by now it may already have more action than Colony and Jungle combined. Think. It’s probably close. There’s still a bit to go though, before it’s done. I’m going to venture a guess and say it’s about a third of the way through part three of four.

Yeah … lot to tie up with this last book. Lot to survive too. And I’ve almost said too much. So I’ll leave it there. Progress continues (especially now that I’m well again).


So, how about something I can give you some more substantial information on, like Axtara! Well, here’s some fun info: Axtara – Banking and Finance continues to be a stellar performer. It’s also delivered some interesting data, like having nearly 1:1 sales between digital and paperback. An interesting result, given that from what I’ve gathered from a lot of other authors their sales tend to go one way or the other (either largely digital or largely paperback). Axtara being almost a perfectly even split is pretty curious to me, but also kind of cool.

Oh, and I have a special request for those of you who loved Axtara: Be sure to request it at your local library! The more people request it, the more chances of a copy being picked up and more people being able to meet Axtara and share in her adventure!

In that vein of audience reaction and request, thank you to all those that have left reviews for Axtara on Amazon and Goodreads! As of right now she’s amassed a total of 19 ratings and reviews across both, all encouraging! So thank you to everyone that’s left your review and rating to tell the world what you think! And if you read it but haven’t left a rating or review yet in either place, please do! Ratings and reviews help readers know what to make of a title (surprisingly enough, not everyone who sees the premise of “dragon opens a bank” come on board immediately).


So let me see … There is some other miscellaneous news to address. Started getting site hits from another college, this one in Texas, so it appears that yet another Being a Better Writer article has been added to a college syllabus somewhere there. That’s pretty neat.

Oh! The computer is fixed! Thanks to the donation of a used power supply and a used Nvidia 1060 GPU from a friend, my computer is once again functioning. Oh, and dead silent compared to how loud it used to be. I had no idea how much of the fan noise from my desktop was coming solely from my old 660 Ti, but it appears it was almost all of it. That one fan was louder than my CPU fan and my case fans. And always had been.

It is really nice to have a functioning PC again.

And though I’m searching my mind looking for more news … I think that’s it. I’m going to get back to work on Starforge now, and I hope all of you have a fantastic week!

Sick Day

It’s a good thing I beat my quota this month, because today? Well, today is definitely a sickday. I’m pretty certain it’s a nasty cold, brought about by lack of sleep, stress, and work, but I got the covid-19 test done just in case, since I did match a number of the overlapping symptoms (and my result arrived in under 15 minutes: Negative).

So yeah, no big post today folks. Sorry, but I’m beat. I’m going to bundle up and play some games. Maybe, if I can summon the energy, swap out my GPU (which failed its test last night). But that’s a big if. I’m not feeling great.

Apologies for the lack of content; I’ll hopefully be back Monday with another Being a Better Writer installment. I’ve got a weekend to recover, after all.

In the meantime, those of you who were sent Axtara paperbacks should be receiving them starting today, so check your mailboxes!

Oog. I’m going to go wipe out stuff in Gears 5.

Welcome to the Wild: The Bi-Weekly Update

Hello readers! It’s Wednesday, and that means a small news update on how things are ticking along!

First of all, there’s still more news about Axtara – Banking and Finance to deliver now that the paperback is out and in people’s hands. For starters, some of the author copies I promised to people have finally arrived, are now signed, and will be heading out as soon as I get to a post office this week. So rejoice, those of you who are getting one of those: You’ll soon have them in your hands!

Paperback copies of Axtara continue to go out as well. To where, I don’t get to see, but I’ve started seeing listings pop up on other book sites as well (usually European, maybe someone over there loves Axtara?), so they’re starting to spread out. I’ve been told that it’s been ordered by a few libraries as well, which is pretty cool!

So hey, if you’ve found Axtara in the wild, be it at your local library, a bookstore, or a bookshelf, let me know about it! I’d love to see how far she’s flown! Snap a picture with your phone and upload it to imgur or social media, then send me a link! I’ll post it here on the site if you’re willing!

Even if you aren’t, it’d be nice to hear how far she’s made it! How did you find Axtara? And where?


All right, time for other news updates. Starforge continues to make it’s way forward, and now clocks in at 270,000 words. Which may not seem like too much of an increase over the last I shared its progress, but I’ll remind you LTUE happened last weekend, and a big con like that does take a bite out of my writing days. Now I’m back on track and working my way through part three of the draft.


Speaking of LTUE, it was great this year. The team handled the con being all online really well, and a few rough patches on the first day were smoothed out by the end. Those who attended the conference can still go back and watch the streams of each panel, so if you signed up for LTUE and missed something, you still have the option to go see it!

Actually, for those of you who were able to attend this LTUE because of its online nature and would like LTUE to have an online component continuing in the future, let me know in the comments! I’ll pass them along to the LTUE staff and crew so they can see what sort of response they’re getting to keeping the streaming an active feature at future LTUEs!


All right, other relevant news. Computer is still holding up, though occasionally it gets a bit dicey. I’m fairly certain that my GPU is just on its last legs. While the life of that one hard drive can be “extended” by having my rig ignore bad sectors as they occur, a GPU going out is just a case of “it dies until it’s dead.” It’s kind of a shame the market for GPUs sucks right now with all the currency-mining going on; I’d have a better chance of getting a trip to Pisces than a new GPU to replace this old 660 Ti.

Then again, it’s served me long and faithfully. Maybe it can hold out for a year more.

Anyway, there isn’t much other news to share. So if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to get back to whatever it is that Jake, Sweets, and Anna are up to. Which happens to be—

No spoilers. Sorry.


… And I was mistaken. I realized right before I was about to post that I did have one last bit of news. So prior to LTUE, rather than a traditional Being a Better Writer post I had a live Q&A session where I took questions from a chat and answered them on camera. We had a few participants show up, and it was a lot of fun. Which got me wondering: Would any of you be interested in having a live Q&A with a bit more regularity? What sort of regularity, and for what? Leave your comments below if that would be something you’d be interested in seeing, even as a Patreon Supporter Special of some kind?

Let me know, and I hope you’re all having a great week!

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.

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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Axtara Paperback Not Yet Available Due to Amazon Issues

Hey readers! Max here with a quick update. I know I anticipated the paperback for Axtara – Banking and Finance being available today, but alas, it is not. Why? Well … therein lies a bit of a story. Mostly because once again, Amazon went cheap, and that’s created problems.

See, Amazon has a bunch of tools you need to satisfy in order to print a book. Straightforward enough … save that one of them is, well … a little broken. To be specific, their cover program.

See, Amazon provides a template for you to build a cover to. You make it a layer, stick everything within the lines of “everything past here will be cut” and call it good.

Except you don’t. Their program is a little … buggy. Because while it asks for stuff to extend past that trim edge of that template, actually doing so will often result in the program you upload the final cover to resizing your image if it has. Which then means that the cover image may be well inside the trim lines and you have a problem.

Basically? The first time I got the cover past Amazon’s program, I “cheated” and tricked it by doing some manual transforms combined with expanded background layers as a border. The result was the cover I got on the print proof, which looked fantastic.

But apparently, in trying to get that approved for publication, someone over at Amazon noticed that their program was being tricked and rejected it. Hence why it didn’t go up this morning, even though, as I’ll point out again, it worked and the print proof looked great (in fact, a quick Google showed a number of other authors use the same “border trick” to beat Amazon’s cover program, so this is a common thing).

I resubmitted it (and lodged a stern complaint with KDP via e-mail about the shoddiness of their cover program and its resizing issues. With luck, it’ll go through, Axtara will be in flight, if not by the end of the day, then sometime tomorrow.