Attention Patreon Supporters – Go Vote!

Hello readers! Today’s quick post is directed at those that are Patreon Supporters, because you’re getting a chance to pick the name of Pisces’ first major arms manufacturer and R&D lab!

That’s right! Without spoiling anything, near the end of Starforge Anna finds herself in possession of a new weapon produced by a Pisces-based startup. As I was wondering what to name this new company, it hit me … Why not let you decide!

So there’s a blank spot in the draft for Starforge with [POLL WINNER HERE] written in it, waiting for your decision! I put the full list up in a Supporter poll on Patreon. It’ll be up for a week starting today, and each supporter gets one vote. So make it count! There’s a small list to choose from, which I’ll drop here to help get your minds thinking, but I won’t tell the public at large who won! The answer will only be revealed when Starforge itself comes out later this year when it comes out (I’d like it to release end of this year, but it’s far enough off I won’t commit quite yet).

Anyway here’s the list, Patreon Supporters can hit the jump at the bottom and go vote!

The choices:

  • Poseidon Arms and Ammunition
  • Minerva Munitions
  • Revolt Arms
  • Ōjin Weapons Development
  • Lemuria R&D

Now Go Vote!

Final Bit of Pre-Vacation News!

Hey readers! I know a Saturday news post is a bit unusual, but hey, I’m going to be on vacation next week, so it is what it is, right? Plus, I do have news!


First, let’s talk about Starforge. No, the draft isn’t done. I’m currently at work on the fourth and final portion of the story, and actually kind of glad I’m going on a vacation because I’ve hit a … shall we say swing point? I know where I’m at, and I know where things are going, but I have two different ways to reach that point and I’m trying to figure out which one works best for the characters.

Again, this is the most stressful writing project I’ve ever had because well, Starforge has to live up to Colony and Jungle, and that is a tall order, especially when it has to finish off both of their respective stories.

The current draft has cracked 400,000 words, by the way. Probably about another 45,000-50,000 to go. Yes. It’s close. Then I’ll probably put it down for a month or so, do some short stories or something for other books or works to let my mind disengage, and then … come back and start editing. Hard. Maybe we can get a November release, but I make no promises.

Of course, if you’re reading this, you’re probably thinking “Sounds like you need that vacation.” Everyone keeps telling me that. Anyway, I’ll have a week off to think about how to swing this last bit of the finale, and there will very likely be some rewrites for the current chapter I’m working on (at the moment I feel it’s a little inconsistent with the tone) once I’m back, but … Other than that, I’ll I’ve got is “it’s still coming, it’s still the most stressful thing I’ve ever written, and I really hope I’m keeping it up to the standard of the first two.”


But I’ve got other news! Really good news, in fact. As of last night, I have officially reached 200 reviews and ratings on Goodreads!

How’s that for a milestone? Combined with my Amazon reviews, that brings me to 359 reviews total. And the average of all those reviews?

4.5 out of 5. If we double that to find the “US grade scale” that puts me at a 90%. Actually, a 91% since there’s some rounding with the last few digits.

Yeah, for all the stress I’m experiencing over Starforge, that review average feels pretty good. And I’m only 41 reviews from hitting that big old 400 I’ve been hunting for.

Curious what pushed me to the new milestone? It was Axtara. Another five-star review from a thrilled reader was the last tick I needed to go from 199 to 200. At the current pace Axtara is racking up reviews, it’ll be competing with Colony before long!


Now let me see. Other news. There will be a Being a Better Writer post while I’m gone, and I’ll be setting up a few classic throwbacks while I’m out so the site won’t be totally dead. I’m going to try and spend this next week somewhat relaxed so my brain can punch through the last few finale bits of Starforge without shredding itself, so I won’t be doing new posts while I’m gone. But again, stuff is set up, so keep an eye on things here. Nothing groundbreaking, but still fun.


Oh, and while we’re discussing news, eagle-eyed Patreon Supporters may have already noticed that the fourth and final portion of A Trial for a Dragon went live this morning! So those of you that have been following the misadventures of Axtara’s older brother Ryax have the conclusion to his struggle with the Rietillian Council of Wizards at last! Thanks for supporting!

And with this, I’m going to sign off, get a few final scheduled posts ready to go … and check out. Enjoy next week everyone, and wish me luck!

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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A Plea to Please Consider the Patreon

Hello readers!

So this is a bit of a different post. But it is that time of year. As of yesterday, the payment to keep both the site and the webdomain running for another year—ad-free—has been paid.

I want to focus on that for a moment: “Ad-free.” As you might imagine, I get a lot of pressure from both the domain hosts and other sources, such as Google, to put advertising on the site. Just clicking to my daily stats for the site quite often puts me face to face with an ad that advertises the “financial virtues” of advertising to all of you.

I’ve steadily ignored that for years. Why? Because online ads suck. And I wouldn’t have control over them either. The last thing I want to hear about on this site would be someone reading a Being a Better Writer article to find their text split by an advertisement that had nothing to do with the site. Or worse, advertising something I myself wouldn’t agree with having on Unusual Things (which could be anything from competing books, to autoplaying noise, to lewd ads).

So no, Unusual Things remains ad-free despite these constant bombardments to me “explaining” to me how much money I’m missing out on. In a similar vein, I’m also constantly advertised at that the site could be running on a subscription model. Being a Better Writer, WordPress really wants me to know, could be behind a paywall! As could all my other content.

Now, there is one “upside” to all this. I could, if Amazon made changes I absolutely couldn’t stomach tomorrow, sell all of my books direct from the site using this service. Yes, it would let me sell files. So there is that option if I really needed it. But that’s a small upside I hopefully won’t need to take advantage of anytime soon.

Okay, so what’s the point I’m getting at here? My point is that there I receive constant encouragement to monetize advertising on Unusual Things. Which, given the regular traffic, isn’t that surprising. I choose instead not to monetize the existence of the site through ads because ads suck and make the site a lesser experience for everyone. Instead, I pay out of pocket to keep the site going while remaining ad-free.

Again, because I hate ads, and don’t think they’d add anything (hah) to the site.

I do, however, have a Patreon account set up, and noted with a single button on the side on the right. Because, well … Unusual Things isn’t free to run. But past that it also requires a good amount of time and dedication. To date, Being a Better Writer has been running each Monday (barring a few holidays the like) continuously now for almost six years. And along the way it’s become a staple of some writers’ Mondays. It’s featured in various college courses, cited/quoted on Wikipedia, linked to from Reddit and Facebook … Being a Better Writer has become for many a source of writing advice akin to Writing Excuses.

All right, maybe I am singing my own praises a little bit in that last statement, but the idea wasn’t to aggrandize things. It was to draw attention to how much Being a Better Writer has done over the years, and continues to do, while being given with zero up-front cost or adveritising.

But it’s still a lot of work. Hence, the Patreon.

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Being a Better Writer Topic Call Ongoing!

Surprise!

Yeah, I’m taking this Monday off. From Being a Better Writer. For three reasons.

One, it’s been a while, and a break sounds kind of nice. I churn these out almost every Monday without fail, year round save the occasional holiday, so yeah, a break actually sounds kind of nice. If you’re still itching to read something BaBW today, I’d say hit that search bar on the side and find one of the hundreds already up!

Or, you can participate in the second reason there’s a break today and suggest a topic in the comments! See, I keep an actual physical list sitting on my desk, checking topics off one by one, and right now, Topic List #15 is done for and #16 is being populated. Not just with topics I’ve come up with, but with suggestions from you!

So you can hit up the comments and leave suggestions about a topic or topics that you’d like to read about! Let’s populate the list!

Third reason? Because that leaves me more time to work on the Copy-Edit for Axtara – Banking and Finance, which I would like to get a lot done on today. The sooner it’s done, the closer it is to being published, so … I’ve got a lot of reading to do today!

All right, that’s it! So, one, taking a break. Two, your topic suggestions for Being a Better Writer are requested! And third, Copy-Edits on Axtara!

Hmm, I suppose there’s a fourth here. If you’re a Patreon Supporter, there will be a supporter update today. If you’ve been following the last few, you can probably guess what it is! Head on over to Patreon to check it out!

Now fill the comments with topics!

News, News, and More News!

Hello readers!

I feel I must start this news post off with an apology. I know I haven’t said too much on the site lately outside of the regular Being a Better Writer posts. But there has been a reason for it. I’ve been busy writing and trying to help my ribs heal up as quickly as possible, and between that mess (the ribs) and everything else, site posts have been a matter of “Hey I should write that … after I do this one thing.”

But I hope to make up for that a little today. Because this is a big news post. We’ve got the ribs to talk about, AxtaraFireteam FreelanceStarforge … There’s a lot going on!

So, let me get right down to it, starting with the ribs. Rib updates first! Why? Because in a way it has messed with my writing a little.


So, how are the ribs doing? Actually, pretty well. I’ve been working hard to take care of them, from heating and cooling to sleeping in a semi-upright position in a recliner every night. And only two weeks and four days after the breaks occurred, I’m definitely more mobile than the last time I cracked some ribs, and they’re not nearly as battered as they were. In fact, I’ve even been able to go biking for exercise once more—on flat, fresh paving, mind. Cracks and bumps still don’t feel great (though they’re not as bad as they were even a week ago).

Sleeping upright, adding more calcium to my diet … If there’s something I can do for my ribs, I’m doing it. So where, you might be wondering, does this come into writing news? Well, outside of the general health implications … it has messed with my sleep cycle pretty harshly. Sleeping is not comfy with cracked ribs, and even though they’re doing better, lying down is still uncomfortable at first (and not good for them healing), so I’ve been sleeping in a recliner I have.

I don’t sleep that well in a recliner. I’m managing, but between the awkwardness (I really like to both stretch out and sleep on my side, both major no-nos with rib injuries) and the point of my body going “Hey, you need rest to heal this mess” I’ve been sleeping rather late when I do.

So while I have been hitting my quotas, it’s been taking me a bit more time to do so, and since I’m trying to put most of my energy into Starforge at the moment … Well, it has left me a little pressed for time.

So, that’s why there haven’t been as many posts, but the real important work is getting done! So, let’s talk about that important work. First up, let’s talk about Axtara – Banking and Finance!

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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!

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.

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News Update: Fireteam Freelance, Patreon, Parliament of Wizards, and Coronavirus

News post! All the news I’ve got for you this week! Or at least, today. Starting with Fireteam Freelance news!


Fireteam Freelance

So, it would seem that Fireteam Freelance is slowly but surely gaining momentum, especially with the launch of the second episode! Now, I’ve got good news and bad news. The good news? There’s more coming, including this Saturday. The bad news? This Saturday’s update won’t be the next episode, but rather an interview interlude. There will be another episode soon, but I don’t want to promise anything yet. However, I did make a lot of bonus content in advance, so … Yeah, come Saturday there will be more content, just not episode three.

The next episode is titled Underground Orbit, by the way. But until then, how’d you all like Blackout? It ran a bit long, I think, but I was having so much fun with it I didn’t really mind. I hope you all had as much fun reading it as I did writing it. The power saw scene in particular …

Well, anyway, I hope you guys have enjoyed it. More is on the way! Now, next up, let’s talk about Patreon!

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Fireteam Freelance Patreon Supporter Content!

Heads up, readers! Are you supporting on Patreon? Because if you are, you might want to dart on over there and take a look at the latest supporter only post: an early preview of Fireteam Freelance!

Before you get too excited, it’s not the first chapter. That hasn’t been written yet (and when it is, the alpha will go up on this site, as promised, chapter by chapter).

No, it’s something else. A “supplemental” if you will. Fireteam Freelance is going to be a more “episodic” story, with clear-cut chunks of chapters following the titular fireteam. But I wanted to do something so that there was more to it than just that, and as I was figuring out the cast, I had the idea of “What if someone was interviewing them? Then between “episodes” there could be a short segment of an interview!” Thus, I could write the interview to find each character’s “voice” and develop them a little further before starting the story, and then I could take chunks of those interviews and place them between episodes.

But which chunks? Why obviously I’d need to write the whole thing first! And I have! Or at least, I have for one of the four new protagonists we’ll be following in Fireteam Freelance: Adah Nay! And, if you’re a Patreon Supporter, you can now go read the entire interview, unredacted or edited by Icon News Media, on my Patreon!

So if you’re a supporter, don’t miss out. Head on over and give it a look!