A Brief Post Concerning the State of Things in the US

Those of you who are in the US most likely know what I’m talking about today. Those of you outside the US have most likely picked up tidbits, given the amount of non-US news crews covering everything (and finding themselves assaulted for it), so I don’t need to rehash the events surrounding the death of George Floyd or the subsequent protests and then riots sweeping across the US here. If you somehow haven’t gathered much on what happened (another cop killing someone on camera in cold blood with no repercussions) … well that parenthetical is likely all you need to decipher, along with a decent imagination of “Well, how would people react to that?”

Now, I’m not going to go into a lot of depth on this today. Be aware that that depth does exist. If you wish to find records of police brutality, videos of Australian news crews being clubbed with batons, or old men beat up by police until they’re lying bleeding on the pavement for the “crime” of trying to get to their home or waiting for a bus.

So what am I going to say on this? A few things.

First, the murder of George Floyd was wrong. As is any of the racial profiling that still sticks with a lot of people in the US. I think I’ve made it pretty clear over the course of seven books that I think judging someone based on the color of their skin is an utterly asinine practice that no one should engage in. Positive or negative (yes, it’s just as bad to assume someone is “good” because of a skin color as it is to assume something bad about them).

People. Are. People. We’re all human beings on this little rock we call Earth. Blue, green, purple, whatever. Judging someone based on the color of their skin is wrong.

You want to make a judgement on someone, do it by something that matters, like the content of their character.

Continue reading

The Stable Instability

Hello readers! Never fear, I’m still alive. Just hard at work on episode #10 of Fireteam Freelance.

Episode ten? Why yes, I am getting that far ahead. Which is good, because these last episodes are probably going to be pretty titanic. “Season finale” and all that.

Of course, having a pretty good buffer does mean that this Friday will see the release of the next big episode: Missing Persons. I’m pretty pleased with how this episode turned out. Not only did we get a neat view of a future cityscape, but we also got to see a seriously cool action sequence. And some more puzzle pieces clicking together …

Anyway, that will be up this Saturday, so be sure to keep an eye open. We’ve passed the halfway point with Mandatory Takeout, so things are coming together and moving with a swifter and swifter pace, and again, I’m pretty pleased with some of the action sequences from this Saturday’s episode. They’re pretty crazy.

So, moving on to further news: Facebook advertising is now rolling forward. It’s still somewhat experimental, and I’ll admit I don’t have the strongest grasp on it yet (a lot of this is very much learn as you go), but I desperately needed something to combat the abject slump that came about with the reopening of the economy. Sorry, partial reopening. A topic which I won’t get into outside of saying “It’s divisive.”

Continue reading

Happy Memorial Day!

Unsurprisingly, when I posted last Friday, I absolutely forgot that today was Memorial Day! It had registered at some point in the back of my mind, but it wasn’t until yesterday that I connected things far enough to realize “Hold on a moment, I don’t do Being a Better Writer on Memorial Day. It’s a holiday.”

So there won’t be a Being a Better Writer post today. Instead, go out and celebrate Memorial Day! Or honor it, if that’s open to you.

colony-finalAnd if you’re looking for something to do, well, why not grab a copy of Colony and get caught up for your Fireteam Freelance binge?

Either way, enjoy your Memorial Day, all of you, and I’ll see you another day! And if you’re really bummed there isn’t a new Being a Better Writer post today, hit that search bar on the side and browse some old ones! Even I forget how many there are these days!

Updates, Queries, Facebook, and More

Hey folks! Who’s ready for a weekend?

I certainly am. This week has been, no mistake, all over the place. I’m looking forward to some relaxation when the weekend hits, that’s for sure! Not too much, though. I’ve still got work on Stranded to think about. Slowly but surely, that story grinds forward.

But that’s not what I wanted to talk about today. Well, outside of reassuring some expectant readers that it’s still coming. No, today’s post is a bit of a grab bag post, talking about everything that’s been going on. Such as Fireteam Freelance.


Last night I put the finishing touch on episode #9 of Fireteam Freelance, and it was a good one. I’m not going to spoil how, or why, but I think it may be one of my personally favorites in the series to date.

You readers, of course, are still on episode #6 (Mandatory Takeout). So I think it’s safe to say the backlog is building up pretty well right now. Today I start episode #10, which marks a noted shift as, well, it’s near the end of the season. Again, no spoilers, but with a name like Swift Tilt, those of you invested in the universe can probably make some good estimates. And if you’ve been carefully hording your puzzle pieces so far, trying to piece together everything … get ready. That’s all I’ll say.

Granted, you’ve got some time yet. Tomorrow’s update will be another interview, the second-to-last, this time with the team’s close-combat specialist, Ursa. The Saturday after that will see the release of episode #7, Missing Persons, and you are not going to want to miss it. The week after that? You’ll have to see, but I think many of you will find it worth the wait.


Now, that’s not all the news I have on Fireteam Freelance. For those of you readers here that are familiar with the website SpaceBattles, I’ve begun considering posting episodes of Fireteam Freelance there on their fiction boards. Why? Well, I’ve noticed a few other posters of original fiction posting material that has come from their work elsewhere, and it could be good publicity. Those of you here who hail from SpaceBattles, what say ye? I know you’re here, since I see the link-trackbacks from time to time. And I am on SpaceBattles myself.

Continue reading

New Fireteam Freelance Tomorrow! Plus a Topic Call!

Hey readers! Just a quick heads-up: Episode 5 of Fireteam Freelance drops tomorrow!

That’s right, it’s finally here! Catch Your Breath sees the team once again hired by Commander Castillo’s “old friend” for a job that takes them to the Corporate Dragon Bloc with a very specific goal in mind. What is it? Well, to find out you’ll have to read it. Suffice to say, shots will be fired, and a lot of them.

That said, how are you readers finding Freelance so far? Personally, I still find it a bit different than my usual fare: It’s much more focused on delivering a hit of action with every episode and having less time spent on the character of the team, since there’s only so much space per episode and that action does need to happen. That, and it’s episodic. At this point someone could jump in with the latest episode, I feel, and still enjoy the explosions, gunfire, and action without knowing too much about the overarching narrative or setting (though that’s all still there).

Anyway, while I hope you’re all enjoying it, I do acknowledge that this is somewhat experimental and may be a little different than say, Colony or Jungle. Rest assured, Starforge won’t be following the pattern of episodic style this story is working with. Fireteam Freelance is very much a one-off experiment. Just one I hope you’re enjoying and finally does give a little more glimpse at what life back on Earth can be like … or as close as we get through the lens of a merc company living in the Dragon Bloc.

So tune in tomorrow as episode 5 drops at last! 10 AM EST!

Now, on to the second part of this post: the Topic Call!

Continue reading

News Time: Upcoming Fireteam Freelance Episodes!

Hey readers! I’ve got some news for you!

For starters, I just finished up Episode 5 of Fireteam FreelanceCatch Your Breath. Which means tomorrow I’ll start work on Episode 6, and we’ll be halfway through the season!

Or I will, anyway. And while you all might be expecting a new episode this Saturday, I’m actually going to drop another interview, this time with the team’s sniper: Zhang “Owl” Li.

Why? For one, I think her interview coming before this episode will give her scenes in it some added context. And secondly, because I’m all right with having a little bit of a buffer as I race to get episode six written.

So this Saturday, the interview with Owl will go live! But that’s not all that will go live. Those of you who have been keeping up will recall the second part of Adah’s interview went up a few weeks ago. Well, this Saturday the uncensored raw of that interview will go up on Patreon for Patreon Supporters. As with Part #1, supporters might find some interesting differences between the two!

So to summarize, new Fireteam Freelance interview this Saturday, new episode next Saturday.

So, with that said, how are you all finding the episodes so far? I can track the stats on my side, and they seem to be drawing in readers. I know they’re a bit different from my usual fare, but have they continued to be enjoyable and entertaining now that we’re four episodes in? Have any of you figured out the timeline of events and started to draw connections between FreelanceColony, and Jungle yet?

After all, this may be episodic, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been weaving this all together carefully with little hints and whatnot!

Anyway, tune in Saturday for the Owl interview (or the uncut Adah interview if you’re a supporter). That’s all for now!

“A Trial for a Dragon” Moves into Beta!

Hello readers! I’ve got news! One specific bit of news, to be precise. A Trial for a Dragon is moving from Alpha to Beta!

Plot holes and missteps have been cleaned up. Segments rewritten, rephrased, or even in some cases cut. And with a ticking clock hanging above it, it’s time for the next phase.

Beta Reading! As before, those of you that have been prior Beta Readers should watch your inboxes, as I’ll be sending you invitations to participate shortly after this goes live. Those of you that are interested in being Beta Readers for the first time, leave a comment and I’ll get in touch with you.

Tomorrow I’ll have a new Quarantine Chat post, just so I’m not totally absent from the site (sorry, been editing).

Again, I know this isn’t much of a post. Just kind of working to keep all the plates spinning. Check your inboxes, Beta Team!

And with that, I’ve got writing to do on the next episode of Fireteam Freelance!

“A Trial for a Dragon” Alpha Reader Call!

Hello readers! As society breaks down outside your door, I’ve got good news! The kind that’s good enough for you to put down that bat you’ve been hammering nails int, and maybe even make you reconsider putting on those post-apocalyptic leathers for another day or so.

A Trial for a Dragon, my entry for Parliament of Wizards (more at the link if you’re lost) is now ready for Alpha!

Yes, it took a few days, even once the first draft was done. See, the submission limit where wordcount is concerned for Parliament is 17,500 words, and the first draft of Trial clocked in at around 19,960 or something like that. So clearly I had to do some cutting and trimming. A lot of cutting a trimming. Sands, I even rewrote the entire introduction, cutting out some elements and getting it down to about 1,500 words less.

If you’re a Patreon Supporter, by the way, the original, expanded introduction is a supporter reward, so it’s not gone forever.

What’s Trial about, you may ask? Well, I’ll leave that for the jump. First I want to make two details clear:

  1. It’s time for Alpha Readers to have a crack at it.
  2. Work on the next episode of Fireteam Freelance has begun.

Continue reading

News, Updates, Recap

Hey readers! It’s time for an update! So let’s start with the biggest thing on everyone’s mines: Covid-19, AKA the Coronavirus.

By now I imagine no matter where you are in the world you’ve been affected by this thing, and it’s no different in where I am. In pursuit of slowing the spread of this thing to manageable levels, public gatherings have been limited to ten people, no more, by law where I’m at.

For entirely understandable reasons, mind. I don’t disagree with it. I bring it up to illustrate how serious things have gotten over these last few weeks.

But everyone’s dealing with that seriousness fairly well. I say fairly because I have no idea why everyone got it into their heads that toilet paper was the new gold. For that matter, after going to the grocery store last night, I also have no idea why people are stockpiling Oreos and ice cream. The chips and popcorn I somewhat understand, as everyone’s ready to look at nothing but entertainment for the next few weeks, but Oreos? Ice cream? The latter isn’t even a good survival food, since you have to chill it.

Or maybe I’m just being picky and everyone really wants comfort food right now. Regardless, I’m getting away from the topic at hand, which is Covid-19 and its effects.

The big effect? Book sales have slowed massively. Saw a news article about it the other day, and it confirmed what I’d already seen. This week has been dead. Which, since book income is my only income right now, is not a good sign.

There’s not much I can do about either. After all, it’s a symptom of a pandemic, and I don’t have any control over that. This last week people have just been hunkering down, getting ready to ride things out. Maybe once that’s over and people are in the “ride” phase they’ll start buying books again, but it seems right now they’re more worried about other things.

Oreos, I guess. No, I’m not stopping harping on that one. Who loads up on Oreos in a disaster?

Still, if sales are dead for me they’re probably dead for a lot of other authors and creative types out there. Which … hurts. It takes a lot of work to even get both arms on a rung of the ladder of success in creative fields. Getting your feet kicked out from under you is brutal.

With luck, this downturn is temporary, and people stuck at home quickly decide they want some reading material to make their day better. If not, well … I don’t know. A bummer of an answer, but times like these are full of uncertainty and difficulty.

A bit depressing, sure, but I can’t help that. Sometimes bad news is bad news. So then, onward to some better news!

Continue reading

Patreon Supporter Content Update

Hello readers! I hope you’re all staying healthy and hale out there! Just dropping a quick update, mostly for Patreon Supporters.

Why? Because they’ve gotten two bits of bonus content in the last two days. And substantial content at that.

The first? Well, for those of you that have read the Interview Excerpt with Adah Nay, AKA the latest Fireteam Freelance entry, you may have noticed some … discrepancies. After all, it was edited for “space constraints.”

Well, thanks to a team member, a raw unedited version of that interview chunk is now up on Patreon as a support bonus! Comparing the two might lead to some … interesting … differences.

But that’s only the first bonus. The second? As I work on my entry for Parliament of Wizards, tentatively titled A Trial for a Dragon, one of the things I need to do is cut down my wordcount, which ended up about 2,100 words past the 17,500 limit.

Continue reading