Two Weeks …

Starforge releases in two weeks, people. Fourteen days. At this point you could put a countdown app on your phone to when Starforge will be available to read in your country if you wanted to. And I wouldn’t blame you one bit.

If you haven’t pre-ordered yet for some reason, then click that cover there. Do it! Do it now! The finale of the UNSEC Space Trilogy is only a few clicks away from being delivered to your device on November 29th.

Maybe you’re waiting for the reviews. Maybe you’re hesitant that Starforge can deliver what it’s promised, to both tie up all the lose ends from Colony and Jungle while still being an epic, satisfying ending.

I get that. But you’re in luck. One reviewer has already received their copy and posted their thoughts on it, which you can read at this link. It’s got some small spoilers, but the biggest of all I’ll drop in your laps is the rating. 5 out of 5.

And the word “stellar” is used, which is quite appropriate given the subject matter.

We’re fourteen days away from this six-year journey (for the readers, anyway) concluding at last. I hope you’re pumped for it. Because you should be!


All right, what about other news? This is technically a news post, so yes, there is a little more to talk about. Yes, Starforge comes out in two weeks. Yes, that is grand. Oh, and yes, it has now passed its predecessor, Jungle, for pre-order numbers and is tied for third place. Yes, it has several preview chapters you can read and cool lore bits filling in some details of the setting at this tag. But surely there’s other news, isn’t there?

Well yes, there is. For starters, I’m looking forward to being able to work on other projects again. Like a new Jacob Rocke book. Or that Axtara sequel that everyone’s really excited for. I’m excited for it too. It’s going to be great fun to both write her once more.

Speaking of Axtara, did you know that on Amazon she’s almost eclipsed Colony for reviews? It’s true. As of writing this, she’s only two reviews away. She remains a bit further behind on Goodreads, but she’s still the sitting with the third-highest number of reviews there. And over 80% of them are 5-Star. Everyone just loves Axtara.

Colony and Jungle continue to get some attention as well, but I think right now there are just a few readers who are catching up, while most are waiting for the big finale to drop.


Let me see … Other news. Oh yes! November 29th is the release date for Starforge, so November 28th, which is a Monday and would normally be a Being a Better Writer post will instead be a Reddit AMA! That’s right! The last time I did an AMA on reddit was for Jungle, and so it’s only fitting that the finale to the trilogy comes with one more AMA.

Oh, and one last thing before I wrap this post up. Yes, there is a price increase coming for my library. More on that before it happens. But … if you were hoping to pick up the entire UNSEC Space Trilogy (that’s Colony, Jungle, and Starforge all at once when Starforge drops) now that it’s a complete, finished set, you might just want to wait until, oh, November 23rd or so. Just for … reasons.

Max out! I’ve got more copy-editing to do!

Three Years Ago … Jungle’s Pre-Order Went Live

Today I got an interesting reminder. Jungle, the second book in the UNSEC Space trilogy, had its pre-order page go live today, three years ago.

Now, this is relevant because I’m currently hard at work on getting Starforge, the third and final book in that same trilogy, into the same state.

As you might have guessed from the lack of a pre-order, I’m a little behind. Jungle released November 19th, three years ago, and right now that day is just two weeks a few days away. I’m not certain Starforge will be able to match its release date. At this point, shooting for the 29th seems more likely.

Why post about this? Well, two reasons. The first is that I want to reassure you folks that I am doing everything I can short of burning out to get this book out, and in as polished a state as I can get it. Right now the changes are all small. In fact, I’ll bet if it were to release in the current state, many of you wouldn’t even notice what typos I haven’t caught yet. Yesterday I went through almost 30,000 words and made something like four changes, most of which were “eh, that comma doesn’t need to be there.”

But I want this book to be as polished as a work of 500,000 words can be before I get it out, so the work continues.

The second reason I bring this up is because well, it is kind of a notable moment that three years ago today Jungle‘s pre-order went live. Since Jungle there have been several other projects, Axtara – Banking and Finance the most notable, but also Fireteam Freelance and a couple of other large projects atop Starforge.

Things have been busy. Getting Starforge out, combined with all those other projects (Axtara, Freelance, Stranded, etc) is no small feat. Combined that’s well over a million words of writing. And that’s just the fiction, and what’s been released. Or about to release.

My point being, I know the wait may seem long. But three years is a pretty speedy pace, all things considered. I know that hearing that the Starforge pre-order page isn’t live yet might be a bit grating to some of you, because you’ve been on this journey for six years now, starting with Colony, and you just have got to know how it ends.

I’m doing what I can. Starforge‘s pre-order isn’t live today, but it’s going to be soon. We’re close. And with luck, every book in the trilogy will have come out in November.

Now, back to work with me!

Oh, and I should probably do a Jungle retrospective if I haven’t already in the coming weeks. It feels apropos.

Weekly Update: Starforge and Other Things

I feel like for this announcement I should be climbing up on a mountain outcropping and shouting “BEHOLD!”

Yesterday, after thirty days of grueling work, I finished the first Beta Pass for Starforge. And grueling almost doesn’t describe it. I have now read through Starforge … five times, I think? I’m starting to lose track. And that’s just start to finish, in-depth reads, over the last few months. There’s still the “Oh, check this chapter again” reads, the rereading of a paragraph, several times, to check changes, aloud and silent …

Point being I’ve read it a lot lately. And there’s still at least one more full read-through to go. So … what is the status right now?

Well, today I’m taking a day off. I’ve been regularly up editing till past 1 AM several nights a week for the last few weeks, and I am exhausted. So I’m taking today to just rest and not be editing for a little while. Just for one day. As much as my mind is whirling and whizzing on “Okay, gotta check that” and “Ooh, make sure too …” I need a day off. Thirty days of grueling double-checking of every comma, period, and apostrophe, word by word, across a 500,000 word draft is … a lot. Thinking back to the Being a Better Writer post on Mental Health, I need to let some pressure out of my pressure cooker before my brain overloads.

This isn’t bad news, mind. I’m not trying to paint it as such either. This is good news. I’m still on track to get Starforge out in November thanks to all this work. It might be late November, but then to be fair so it was with Colony and Jungle.

So what’s next, then? Well, tomorrow (not today, despite my itch to jump right in) I’m going to go over the Beta Reader feedback, taking each of those catches and doing a master comparison against the whole manuscript. Plus there are a few checks of my own I want to make as well, things I caught but want to make certain I didn’t miss any instances of (for example, yesterday I caught a single instance of “steeping” instead of “stepping” and found on a search one other instance of it in the book). I want to recheck a few of the larger chapters, or those that saw heavier edits and may still have “shrapnel” (my term for when a paragraph or section gets cut up or rewritten but old stuff gets missed, put in the wrong place, etc). Anything I might have missed when I was up until 1 AM editing, or because I was enjoying an action sequence a little too much to be paying attention, etc etc. You get the idea.

That’ll probably take a few days. Once that’s done however, and I’m satisfied with how clean the draft is … It’ll be time for the copy edit. Yes, that means putting in a Table-of-Contents, an introduction, all the copyright stuff, etc etc. It also means that I will be sending out an e-mail to all Alpha and Beta Readers who participated, both for acknowledgement in the book itself and for figuring out where to send their complimentary copies once the release hits.

But … it also means that once I’m officially going over the Copy-Edit, something else can happen. The pre-order can go up, because I’ll be able to set a release date.

That might happen—I’m not setting anything in stone yet—next week. While it may not, I can say this: We’re getting very close.

Which is going to be a relief to me. Starforge has been a major stressor for me. I’m ready to finish this project and do some smaller, lighter things for a while. Like another Jacob Rocke novella. And the next Axtara book.

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The Weekly Update

Well, there really isn’t much to say today. This week was, well … editing. So much editing. Like the week before it.

That doesn’t mean there isn’t news there. Just that it’s close to the same. As of today, there are three chapters left for me to Beta. Then I need to go back and start going through the Beta Reader catches, checking the errors that they find against the master document as a whole …

There is a ray of sunshine here. We’re halfway through October, and I’m making a lot of progress. It is conceivable that before the end of the month, we could see a pre-order page.

We’re certainly getting close to that point. It’s such a juggernaut of a project though, I don’t want to make any promises yet. But again, I can confirm that this has been one of the cleanest drafts to leave my keyboard yet. That doesn’t mean there haven’t been plenty of edits, but thankfully they’ve been less “plentiful” than before.

Case in point, a methodical search of the entire manuscript found only twenty-seven instances or so of an apostrophe being used in place of a quotation mark. There were about ten in Axtara before Beta, if memory serves, so I’ve gotten better at preventing those, seeing as Axtara was a fifth this book’s size.

Oh, and for some amusing reason, over half of those typos were all in association with the letter “W.” Yeah. That was a weird little discovery.

Anyway, I’ve got three chapters left to go, so I’m going to get back to it. Patreon Supporters, you’ve got a live preview today, while those of you who aren’t supporting will get to see it tomorrow.

Until Monday, where we will start Topic List #21 (oh, and don’t forget the topic call), I’m off!

News and News

Well, this is a news post. Though there isn’t too much to say, really. And I’m going to try and keep it short anyway because I want to blast through at least the first half of Starforge‘s Beta today (I’m only a few chapters from the halfway mark, so it’s a good goal).

Speaking of the Beta Read, I will be sending out another email to those on the Beta Reader list today as many didn’t reply to the last one. I’m not sure if the email tripped up spam filters because of its content, or if a number of prior Beta Readers have since dumped those addresses, but usually they reply fairly quickly with a positive or negative. If you were a prior Beta Reader and wondering where your invitation went, I promise you it was sent, but I’ll be sending another one for good measure just in case.

Other than that, Beta Reading proceeds as normal, though I do have a small, fun factoid for you. One common error in many books is accidentally swapping a quote mark at the start or close of a sentence with an apostrophe, usually because the finger slipped off the shift key or was mistimed. This is also a booger to spot, but thankfully CTRL+F makes it a bit easier to track down these days.

Anyway, as part of the Beta edit, I was dutifully checking the entire 500,000+ word length of Starforge for this error, one apostrophe+a letter at the time. And I found an interesting statistic to share with all of you. Of the roughly 27 or so occurrences of a quote marker being accidentally replaced by an apostrophe, over half of them were at the front of a sentence and when the starting letter of the sentence was a W.

Well, I found it interesting. I suppose it’s something to do with the rhythm of my fingers when I need both that quote mark and a capital W combined with the shift key.

In any case, all instances of it across the story are fixed now. But it still amused me.

Again, the most positive thing I have to report is that Starforge is quite a bit cleaner in comparison to Jungle or even Axtara, though Axtara was pretty clean. I’ll chalk that one up to improving fingers.


In other news, this weekend is General Conference for my faith, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and so I’m going to forgo a Starforge teaser post for tomorrow. Never fear, they’ll be back next weekend, and we might even start getting glimpses of the text itself.

I hope all of you have a fantastic weekend, and now for me back to editing!

A Short and Quick News Post!

Hello all! My apologies for this post coming in the evening, and being only one of two posts this week, though the other was a pretty significant one. I’ve just been quite busy.

How busy? I have been up writing past 1 AM more than once this week, and hit 2 AM at the latest. So I’ve been burning the midnight oil.

But! The short that blossomed into another YA novel in the Axtara setting—which I really need to name—has found it’s first draft completed! Sadly, it’s rough enough I’ll likely do a total if not near-total rewrite, but it is a neat story that explores a different side of the world already seen with Axtara and other related shorts.

Also, don’t forget, that other post this week was about the Starforge Beta Read! I am blitzing through the Alpha 2 changes right now, and will very likely have Beta chapters up for readers (and e-mails going out) either tomorrow or Monday.

Speaking of which, if you’re interested in being a Beta Reader, keep an eye on your inbox if you’ve commentated or been a prior Beta Reader, and if you’ve not been or done either of those things, comment at the Beta Call! If you already have, I’ll be reaching out to you soon.

Now, there’s a little more news, but it’ll be past the jump. Hit it!

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Friday News Post – Cover Reveal Countdown, Sick Days, Strange Catch, and more!

Hello readers and writers! I’m back! Well … almost.

Let’s start with the most prevalent news before we move on to other stuff: The sick days. Yes, I spent a good chunk of this week sick. No, it wasn’t COVID, at least not that I know of. None of the symptoms matched, so I didn’t get tested. It was, as far as I can tell, just a run-of-the-mill cold caught from a friend’s kids. But it did delay some stuff that was supposed to take place this week, such as Being a Better Writer being delayed from Monday to Wednesday, the finishing of Strange Catch, and the editing for beta of Starforge (we’ll have more on all of these in a little bit).

So, this does mean I’ve revised some of my own scheduling for things. I lost about three days of work due to being sick, but I’m going to try and condense a few things and make up for it. Next Monday’s Being a Better Writer should be up on the usual day, I worked on Strange Catch yesterday and will continue working on it today … basically, I’m trying to make up for the days I lost, and hopefully things will be back on speedy track next week. After all, August is ending, and September is almost upon us, and with that we’ll only be a few months from the release of Starforge!


Speaking of Starforge, we’re also less than a week out from the cover reveal! It’s next Thursday on September 1st, people! You’ve all seen the teaser (and if not, here’s the link to the tease to get your appetite whetted), so now it’s just counting down. Seven days, people! Seven days!

Speaking of Starforge, isn’t the Alpha 2 supposed to be ending soon? Why yes! Yes it is! Getting sick pushed things back a few days, but the plan is still to start making edits in earnest as soon as Strange Catch‘s draft is done (more on that in a bit). Which means that in addition to the Alpha 2 nearing its end … the Beta 1 is coming.

That’s right, Beta Readers. I know you’ve been patiently waiting all summer. Well, your moment is nigh. Next week, as I start the Alpha 2 edits, the Beta call for Beta 1 will go out. This is to make the process similar to the Alpha 2 in that each chapter for the Beta 1 will go up as it is edited from the Alpha 2. While some of you who haven’t dipped your toes into the book might wonder “But won’t that mean we’ll be waiting for you to upload the next chapter every time?” to which I say “I dare you to keep that pace” with a bit of a cheeky grin. Starforge is a juggernaut, and I think I’ll be able to keep ahead of the pack, especially with a small day or two headstart.

Either way, the implication here is pretty clear: Starforge will go into Beta 1 very soon. We’ve got the cover reveal next week, a Beta Call coming … Starforge nears at long last.

Oh, and eARC preview invitations will start going out sometime after that. Hopefully we can drum up a little early fire from a few reviewers before the big drop in November!

Speaking of November, there still isn’t a specific release date yet. Right now the focus is on Beta 1 and 2, then Copy-edit and so on and so forth.

Okay, that’s all the news on Starforge, I think. Hit the jump and let’s talk about some other stuff.

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News, Updates, and Musings

I really need to make a new list of “assorting things to talk about” for these off days, but right now I spend so much writing time thinking about Starforge that doesn’t seem to be happening!

But hey, at least that means there are updates there to speak of. So, how is work coming along on Starforge?

Excellently. Yesterday I finished off revisions to Part Two of the book, with those revisions passed on to the Alpha 2 crew. Today work begins (for me) on Part Three, which is good because at least one of the Alpha 2 readers have already gotten through Part One.

Part Two took some work as well, particularly in one specific chapter which was not preferred by the Alpha 1 crew (those of you in that crew know which one I’m talking about). In the end, over half of it was completely rewritten, with the latter half being tweaked and edited along the way to bring it up to speed. Hopefully the Alpha 2 crew finds it much more digestible now.

That’s not the only change made across the second Alpha, but it’s so far been the largest and most sweeping one. Though there is one other change that’s been suggested by the Alpha 1 crew that the Alpha 2 crew now gets to deliberate, regarding where Part One ends. Basically, shuffling of chapters. I won’t say which direction I’m leaning with it, but there is a comment left by me serving as a signpost for the Alpha 2 readers asking their opinion.

Those Alpha 2 readers that haven’t reached that yet, what are you waiting for?


Anyway, work continues with that, but I’ve got some other news as well. See, once I finish this pass, I’ll still have to wait a bit for all the Alpha 2 readers to get some distance in the story before sweeping along behind them. Basically editing at the speed of the slowest Alpha Reader. Now, I’d like to get started on this by the end of the month, but if I finish getting all the Alpha 2 chapters up next week, what will I be doing then?

Why, starting on the cover for Starforge, of course! Yes, I’m going to be starting this one a little early, since I’ll need to learn a little more about my graphical editing (I think) in order to pull off what I have in mind, so it might take longer. Regardless, as most of you will probably guess, it is going to be in line with the other covers in the UNSEC Space trilogy. But … this one’s gonna be a little different. You’ll see … eventually. I’m not sure how long it’ll take, but if I can figure out the tools for what I’m going to try to do, the cover might be previewed as early as August!

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Starforge Updates and Other Things!

Hey there folks! I know, it’s been a slow week, hasn’t it? Monday was a holiday, and I’ve really not said much since then.

But that’s because things haven’t actually been that slow. In fact, for me they’ve been very busy! And for the Alpha Readers of Starforge‘s Alpha 2!

That’s because as you’ve largely surmised, that’s what I’ve been hard at work at. And things are booming. Currently, I’m rewriting the majority of chapter 15, as it needed a severe cleaning, and about halfway through that chapter. Chapters 1-14 are up for the Alpha crowd, and I’ve been seeing comments crop up … though not that many given the work done on the other passes.

Will this be the last Alpha? Or will I go for a third? Can’t say, honestly. As I’ve stated before, this being the last book of the UNSEC Space trilogy (and yes, I will reaffirm that this is the end of the story started in Colony; no secret “surprise” extra book here) I want it to be as spiffy and shiny as I can make it for you all. So will it get a 3rd Alpha?

Maybe. We’ll have to see. But at the current pace, with my editing speed and the speed of the Alpha Readers (seriously guys, you’re rocketing along!) the Alpha 2 could be done this month.

And that would be awesome.

So yeah, Starforge‘s second Alpha is off to a rolling start, with several readers already racing to catch up to me at my rewrites … Though once chapter 15 is done, my pace will likely increase to what it was before I got slowed rewriting most of a chapter.

Though if any of you Alpha readers want to impatiently knock at my “door” by catching up, you’re welcome to try!


Now, moving onto related news … The rest of the UNSEC trilogy seems to be getting some attention over the last few months. Colony has continued to collect reviews since hitting the big five-zero, with much positive applause. Accordingly Jungle has followed suit, picking up new five-star reviews as well. The world is getting ready for Starforge! And when it hits …

Of course, Colony‘s star status is closer and closer to being challenged, as Axtara – Banking and Finance is currently outselling it. Granted, Colony is quite a bit older and Axtara is new, but the banking dragon is doing her best to unseat the adventures of Jake, Anna, and Sweets at the top spot. Though in fairness, Colony has quite a lead … but Axtara is winging hard to catch up.

I can only imagine once I get a sequel out things will really start to heat up.


Other than that, I’ll go light with the news. New Being a Better Writer Monday, as usual. For now, everyone enjoy your weekend, and get some reading in!

Oh, wait, I do have one last bit of news. Absolutely zero individuals expressed an interest in Ko-Fi support on the site. So unless you’re one who was interested but didn’t speak up, for now I think that’s going to be tabled indefinitely unless you do speak up. Speak now in the comments, or forever hold your peace!

Have a good weekend everybody!

No BaBW This Week; Happy 4th of July!

Hello readers! Those of you in the United States probably aren’t surprised by this, but those of you outside the US may have forgotten that today is one of the US’s largest holidays. As such, I’ll be taking the day off, which means there isn’t a new Being a Better Writer this week.

But that “new” is italicized for a reason. I’ve got another one from the scheduled period while I was away that a lot of you may have missed. Better yet it fits the occasion, so I’ll link it below. But first, a little on the occasion.

The Fourth of July is like any other nation’s celebration of independence, being one of the 50+ holidays around the world celebrating independence from the British (this is funny, but also true). Every nation celebrates their holiday a little differently (we love fireworks and food), but in general they all revolve around celebrating what they’ve gained with their independence.

In the case of the United States, that tends to mean “FREEDOM,” though unsurprisingly many are iffy on what that FREEDOM might actually be. Politics (and who gets what freedom) tends to dominate the sphere of the 4th, with flags and fireworks, but in general the spirit of the holiday is generally applied pretty well to a celebration of what the founding fathers successfully put together.

Now, if you want to dwell a bit more on that today, I do actually have a recommendation. Twice annually, the leaders of my faith gather to speak on topics—almost always spiritual, but sometimes adjacent. Back in April 2021, one of them decided to discuss the Constitution in depth, drawing on more than 60 years of study and experience working with it as a law clerk for the supreme court, a professor of law, and well basically someone who has spent a lot of time learning about the birth, creation, and enforcement or meaning of the Constitution of the United States.

Even if you’re not a member of my particular faith, I think there’s a lot of good knowledge to be gained from this particular presentation on the history, meaning, and importance of the Constitution. Especially given that it does not sway to any political party (a rare thing in this day and age) but instead urges intelligent moderation and adherence to ideals, not to parties or individuals.

Anyway, you can read it here. It’s a perfect bit of reading for this fourth of July, personally.

But wherever you are (near or far?) I hope you have a solid Monday, and a happy 4th of July. Whether or not it’s a holiday for you. Please enjoy, and I’ll see you all in a few days.


But … if you’re determined for some Being a Better Writer today, there is a post you might have missed. During my trip north, I had posts updating on a schedule, but a lot of you missed them since they weren’t being posted anywhere but the primary site.

This is one of those posts. And kind of fitting for today as well. From May 30th, 2022, here is Being a Better Writer: You Want Content? Write It!

Again, happy Fourth of July, everyone, whether you’re celebrating with or in the US or elsewhere.