More Alpha Readers! Plus News.

Hey folks! Max here with a bit of an interesting request from an Alpha Reader on A Game of Stakes.

See, I’ve got some folks going over it, picking through things, etc etc. So far, the majority response has been overwhelmingly positive, which is awesome. There are a few things to clean up and wrinkles to iron out (the ending needs a little adding), but overall I’ve already been told by a few that it’s hands-down one of the favorite things they’ve read from me.

Which is awesome. One reader however, did stand very firmly on what they see as a very large misstep and issue with a character. I disagree, and no other pre-readers have said anything about it, but there’s always a chance that there’s a grain of truth to it.

Hence? A SECOND Alpha Reader call! I want to get some more eyes on it and see if anyone else brings up the same “issue.” Personally, I doubt it, but in the interest of polish polish polish I’d rather get some more eyes on things just too see.

Crud, I won’t even say what the issue is. This is going to be 100% blind. Which doesn’t mean I want Alpha Readers that make a problem. No, that’s not the goal here. The goal is the same as any other Alpha Read: Read through and look for Alpha issues (plot errors, awkward segments, etc) all as normal. If someone else brings the same issue up, then it needs a serious look. If not … well, some things truly are opinion.

A Game of Stakes is only 15,000 words, so it won’t take too long to read through. Plus, it’s got a dragon, which is always a bonus, right?

If you’re interested in Alpha Reading, do the usual thing and contact me, and we’ll see about hooking you up with an Alpha invite.


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A News Post

Whoa! Things have really piled up lately. Between writing, my part-time job (with extra hours), running the end of a DnD campaign, keeping up with exercise, and well, life being what life tends to be, things have gotten crazy levels of tight lately! There’s a lot that’s been going on! Not all of it newsworthy, but some that is. Which means it’s time for … NEWS POST.


Patreon first! Never fear Patreon Supporters, I haven’t forgotten you. September’s post just ended up late because I spent the weekend a bit under the weather and decided to spend what brainpower and time I had trying to finish a chapter in Hunter/Hunted. Monday was another Being a Better Writer post and more work, Tuesday was  work all day, and then today … Well, finally today this month’s Patreon Supporter Reward went up! And this month, it’s a preview of A Game of Stakes, The first straight Romance (Fantasy Romance, to be specific) story I’ve ever written. Supporters get to see the first third of it. There will probably be a teaser for the rest of the site in the coming months, but for now, this is the only way to get an early look save being an Alpha Reader!


Okay, next bit of news? Sales have picked up a little again. They’re not quite back to “pre-cliff falling” levels, but they are still there, especially on the Kindle Unlimited service. So it looks like a burst sale worked. Oh, and all three titles on sale sold well during said sale. Colony again dominated everything else though. As many copies as that book has sold, Jungle I think will be the only book I release for a while capable of challenging it.

Thankfully, with sales also come more reviews. Or, at least, ratings on Goodreads, which seems to be a much bigger driver now that Amazon has restricted reviews to those who purchase more than $50 of goods through them per year. The sale saw a few new ones crop up, as have the last few weeks. If you’ve ever poked your head over to Goodreads, head on over and take a look! Maybe leave a rating of your own, or check out some reviews!


Last but not least, update news. Hunter/Hunted is still moving along. I’m nearing the end of part 2 of 3. If October goes well, it’ll be done by the end. Maybe mid-November if things run late. Which means I can then get started on the next book project (a submission for an established universe) and then get to work on Fireteam Freelance and editing for Jungle! The end of this year will be busy!

Okay, a little bit on Fireteam Freelance, since I’ve mentioned it before, and it’s listed on my current projects page as “upcoming.” Fireteam Freelance is going to be something unique: An episodic story that is posted here on this site, chapter by chapter as it’s written (and in time with the editing of Jungle). That’s right, the entire Alpha will go up for free here on the site. As an early Alpha. So anyone will be able to read it.

What’s it about? Well, all I’ll say at this point is that it’s set in the same universe as Colony and Jungle, but follows a different cast of characters. Oh, and it’s set on Earth. Directly and very clearly. Details are still being worked out, but if you were one of those readers who expressed disappointment that Colony left future-Earth for an alien world, this story is definitely one you’ll want to check out.

And since the Alpha will be going up chapter by chapter on this very site for all to read, you’ll be able to with ease.

Yes, the book will still get an editing run and for-purchase release. The Alpha chapters will stay up but be clearly marked as such. This is kind of an experiment, an idea I had a while ago that I think is worth playing with.


Granted, ALL of this might be delayed by a few months if that established-universe-thing-I’m-not-being-too-specific-about-yet gets picked up. I’ll have to swiftly flip some plans and push things back in that case, but it will be for a darn good reason. But … we’ll see how that goes.

Anyway, that’s the news for today, unless you’re interesting in fanfic news (in which case, check that blog). With that, I need to get to work!

When Is a Sale Not a Sale?

When it doesn’t sell anything, clearly.

Okay, this needs a bit of explanation, but it’s an odd one. So things have been going pretty well sales-wise lately. Colony and Shadow of an Empire just keep ticking away copies, finally moving my book income from “Spare change” to “rent payment.” Or at least, they were, save for this last week.

What happened? Well, I went ahead and put Unusual Events: A “Short” Story Collection on a random sale for the week. Starting a 99 cents. Colony and Shadow were both doing well, so I figured that a nice discount on Unusual Events (Still, to date, my only book to not generate a profit and my lowest selling of all time) would maybe allow it to move a few copies alongside its stronger siblings.

Let me tell you, did that backfire. Instead of Events selling a few copies … all other sales stopped dead.

No, I’m not kidding. Fine one day and then wham! Down came the wall. All sales stopped dead. Even Kindle Unlimited reads dried up, going from a steady number of reads per day to almost nothing.

And then on Monday, the sale was over, and what happened? The numbers took a few days to go back up, but now they’re moving back to where they were.

Honestly? I’m as confused as anything about this one. The only theory I’ve got is that people who were looking at getting their hands on a copy of Colony or Shadow saw that Events was on sale and decided to wait until one of them was on sale, maybe?

That’s literally the only theory I have. As I watch the numbers slide back to normal post sale, that’s all I can offer. And even that doesn’t explain the KU numbers dropping into the abyss.

Is it coincidence? If so, it’s one of the strangest coincidences I’ve seen. And like I said, I have no explanation. Maybe Events is even less-appealing than I thought, so much so that it taints all other books based on its price?

I have no idea. Regardless, I thought it was interesting. Guess that’s one mistake I won’t be making the future. Unusual Events goes on sale with everything else, or not at all!

What Are You Looking For, Readers?

Weekend post here. A tiny bit of update, but mostly a question for those of you poking around the site.

What are you looking for?

I’ll explain what I mean by that in a second. But first, the news. Hunter/Hunted is coming along, though I did spend a good part of this week (and last weekend) working on another short story for that anthology. I’ll be sending out Alpha invites today to prior alpha readers, but my weekend project now is polishing it up for the book.

And that’s the news. So, the question! What are you looking for? More specifically, what else are you looking to get out of this site? Being a Better Writer is, no surprise, a draw to many, if not most who frequent the site, as is news about my books. But that news isn’t nearly as regular as the Monday Being a Better Writer posts are.

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Pushing Forward

Sorry guys, there’s just not much in the way of news this week! I’ll fill you in on the generals, but there’s not much I can do other than that.

Life continues to assert it’s balance. My book royalties have gone up … so naturally, my job decided to lower hours almost in perfect concert. So I’m slightly better off than I was a few months ago … by only a matter of a few dozen dollars where my budget is concerned. Lovely, but at least I had the royalties to pick up slack.

Colony continues to be my largest seller by far, outselling Shadow of an Empire by a 2 or 3 to 1 ratio. Having them both at regular sales is nice, but it says to me that the market for Sci-Fi Epics is definitely a bit broader than for Fantasy-Western Epics. Granted, I knew that going in, but it’s still fun to compare the sales numbers. Shadow hasn’t matched Colony to a similar degree in numbers of reviews or ratings, sitting at 1-in-4, so it’ll be interesting to see if that levels out as Shadow continues to sell at the current rate, or if the review numbers will end up being different say … three years from now (Amazon’s changes to review policy may affect that as well).

Work on Hunter/Hunted is still paused while I work on this short story for the anthology request. Probably another day or two’s worth of writing to put into it, followed by some aggressive editing before submission. Still, it’s a unique little story. There certainly aren’t many like it. Once it’s done, though, back to Hunter/Hunted.

Outside of that? Life continues pretty much as usual. Working my way forward. It’s what I’ve got. Just have to keep hanging on and typing one word after another.

Being a Better Writer will, of course, be back on Monday.

And with that, I’ve got a story to finish!

News Post!

Afternoon folks! Max here with a news post! Just little odds and ends of news both local (ie, my news) and large (like say, Dragon Award voting). There’s no real order to this, just news as it comes.

So, first bit of news: Patreon Supporters! Tomorrow your ship comes in! This ties in with the second bit of news, but if you’re a Patreon Supporter, tomorrow around noon, I’d check Patreon for the August Monthly Reward. It’s going to be a good one.

Why? Well, yesterday I sat down and put my current project, Hunter/Hunted, on hold for a few days to tackle a second project. Got an e-mail a few weeks ago looking for short stories for an anthology set that comes out with a certain Writing Con each year, and the requests they had for what kind of stories they wanted got my brain ticking. I spent a few weeks coming up with a good plot, characters … You know, just letting it bubble in the back of my mind while I was at my part-time until I arrived at something I was really excited to work on, and well, since they do need it sooner rather than later and I’d just finished another chapter of Hunter/Hunted, I decided to take a quick break and write this story out.

It’s still unnamed, at the moment, though I’m bouncing some ideas around. And even if it does end up in this anthology, it’ll still be one of the first stories I’ve written for More Unusual Events: Another “Short” Story Collection. So don’t worry, it’ll show up at some point no matter what.

And for Patreon Supporters, part of it will tomorrow. I’m still writing it, of course, but part of the bonus of being a Patreon Supporter is getting an early look at things I’m working on, which tomorrow will be the first few thousand words (plus whatever I can get done today) of this story.

Right, so that’s two news things: Delays for Hunter/Hunted for a short story anthology, and the Patreon Reward for August. What other news do I have?

Well, here’s one. Tomorrow is the last day you can cast a vote for The Dragon Awards. Yup, August 31st is the final day! So if you want to cast your eye upon the nominations and vote for your favorite works, head over to that link and sign up for a ballot! The Dragon Awards is open to anyone who wishes to nominate, vote, or both. The more people do so, the better the award becomes! Plus, they don’t just do books; there’s board games, movies, and more in there! Take a look!

Okay, and final bit of news. Well, not really news, but more a recommendation for a place to hang out on the internet. Have you ever heard of suggestmeabook?

Your eyes don’t deceive you; it is just “suggest me a book” without spaces. Because web addresses don’t use spaces. Anyway, suggestmeabook is a Reddit subreddit that delivers exactly what its name suggest: Suggesting books. Folks show up and post that they’re looking for a book. It can be “I want something in this genre with these stipulations” or just “I really liked X book by this author, does anyone know of anything similar?” And posters on the sub can go in and recommend books that match up to what they’re looking for.

It’s actually a pretty sweet sub. I’ve found some good stuff being recommended that I’ve added to my library list just by browsing. If you’re looking for more books to read, or want something that’s like something else you’ve read but aren’t sure where to look, swing on over there and give them a try!  Fiction, non-fiction … they take it all!

Anyway, I’ve got writing to do. This has been the news!

And?

Okay, so the Hugo Award winners were announced, and there’ve been a few questions of what I’d have to say about it. So here we go. My response?

And?

Yeah, that’s pretty much it. There seem to be a lot of news outlets saying how shocked and surprised they are that Jemisin took the first ever triple-crown … but she said she was going to do that three years ago when her first book won. As did her publisher, and her friends … In fact, most of the comments I saw from last years Hugo Awards were of the vein of ‘something else better not win, because Jemisin deserves this!’ Same for this year, though it was more of a ‘How could anything else win? Jemisin is going to have the triple!’

So my response to this year’s winners is “And?” Or maybe “So?”

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