Being a Better Writer: The Expectation of Instant Success

I’ll lead with a fun fact: This post was originally going to be an OP-ED last week, until I was barely into writing it and already switching into “and here’s how this comes up in writing,” at which point I realized that this was becoming a Being a Better Writer post despite what I had originally presumed about it. So it shifted over to the Topic List, and today … Well, you can clear see.

All right, so we’re diving in without a preamble: What on Earth—or whatever world you happen to be reading this on—is this all about? Most of you reading the title are probably going to guess that it’s going to be addressing the creator, and be about “tempering expectations.” And it’s not. We’ll address that briefly, but instead this post is going to be coming from a slightly different direction: that of the public.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves just yet. Let’s start at the beginning. Or rather, what the public often sees as the beginning: The publishing of the first book.

Continue reading

Last Chance for the Sale!

Whoa! Hold up there! This is your last alert! Today is the last day to get everything I’ve published on a 50% or better sale for the Big 300 Sale (a sale made in honor of reaching 300 ratings and reviews while still keeping a 4.6 out of 5 average—no mean feat)! Which means you’ve got the following books available on steep discount!


Colony and Jungle

$1.99

A corporate investigator who doesn’t trust his employer. A mercenary gun-for-hire with a talent for violence and a willingness to shoot first. And a white-hat hacker who doesn’t know when to quit.

Three independent contractors brought together for one unusual job. Five years ago, master programmer Carlos Rodriguez retired. Now his old employer wants him back.

Quietly.

It’d be a lot easier if he hadn’t left Earth.

Read a free sample by clicking this link!


$3.99

Jake, Anna, and Sweets are back in the long-awaited sequel to Colony!

Fresh off their mission to Pisces, the trio is looking forward to a well-deserved rest, and better yet, a fat paycheck after everything that occurred on the alien world. But all that comes to a crashing halt when they’re waylaid above Earth by their employer and find themselves with an extended contract, sending them right back out into space.

Worse yet, their trio has been split to best handle their new assignments. Jake and Anna find themselves attached to a scientific expedition, tasked as security escorts keeping the expedition safe as they investigate a new potential colony world thriving with a vast, vibrant jungle. Meanwhile, Sweets has been assigned aboard an UNSEC military vessel, tracking down the source of a pervasive cyberattack against their hardware.

But as both teams get to work, it’s clear that there may be more to their respective missions than they were led to believe. The cyberattacks are brazen and powerful, but simplistic and utterly untraceable. The alien world’s ecology defies logic and sense, puzzling the expedition team.

And above it all, the ripples of events on Pisces continue to spread through the galaxy …

Read a free preview by clicking here!

Continue reading

News: Last Chance on Sale, Beta Wave 2 Invites, and Updates!

Hey readers! I’m still blitzing away at two projects at once (Starforge first draft and Axtara – Banking and Finance editing) so I’ll be keeping this a little short. As short as I can, anyway, while still keeping you all informed!

So first up: The Big 300 Sale! If you somehow missed the memo, everything I’ve published is on sale this week, at 50% off or more.

Oh, and this sale ends tomorrow. So your window for picking up a book or two at an absolute steal is shrinking. Not that I mind people paying $3.99 for Colony or $7.99 for Jungle, but right now you can grab both of those for a combined total of $6.

So yeah, tell your reading friends! There’s only a day and some change left before prices go back to normal! Sands, One Drink is completely free, and its sequel 99 cents. That’s a weekend worth of reading right there. And since another $3 would grab you the excellent Shadow of an Empire

Anyway, spread the word, since there’s only a short time left!

Continue reading

Being a Better Writer: Selling the Vision

Today’s post is going to be more about editing. Sort of. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

So first, welcome back readers! I hope you all had a good weekend! Especially with Episode 12 of Fireteam Freelance having dropped on Saturday. Was that a ride or what?

Now, I’d like to say there’s more news, but at the moment … not yet. There have been some interesting developments on my side of things, but at the moment they’re still in the formulative stage, so I’m going to hold off talking about it as of yet. There’s still time for things to go one way or the other.

Which means we’re going to dive right into today’s Being a Better Writer topic. Also, the quicker we dive in, the quicker I can get to work today on Starforge, which is WHOA. Patreon supporters know what I’m talking about.

So then, let’s talk about selling the vision.

Continue reading

Shadow of an Empire is 50% Off this Weekend!

Shadow of an Empire

Hey folks! Remember what released almost two years ago today? That’s right! Shadow of an Empire is two years old on June 1st!

Naturally, such a moment couldn’t just slide by, so if you’re one of the few that hasn’t yet picked up a copy, be aware that it’s fifty percent off this weekend and through June 2nd!

Yeah, that’s right. This awesome work of Wild-West Fantasy is just $2.99.

Oh, and you can gift it as well. So if you know someone who was a big fan of Louie L’Amour or other western adventures, do them a favor and send them a copy!

Again, the sale runs from today (May 29th) through June 2nd. So grab it while it’s on the super cheap! Or if you already own it, nudge it at someone else. Or better yet, gift them a copy. Days from now, when they come up from their sleep-deprived journey across the Indrim Outlands, still brushing imaginary sand from their arms, they’ll thank you.

Probably. Click the cover above or this link to grab a copy!

Enjoy folks! New episode of Fireteam Freelance tomorrow!

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

News, All of it Good!

Hey readers! Who’s ready for some good news?

I know, it seems like that’s been in short supply this last month, but I’ve worked my hardest to try and bring you all some good stuff even when there was bad that had to come as well. But today it’s all good news. You ready?

First up, we’ve got a new episode of Fireteam Freelance dropping this Saturday! It’s already in the queue and ticking down the clock! Repeat Performance sees the team journeying to, of all places, Hawaii. The Big Island … though perhaps a little different from it is now. The same client that sent them to Mexico has another strange request of them, but for twenty-five million Euromarks, well … Let’s just say you can fulfill a lot of eccentricity with that kind of money …

So yeah, this Saturday will see the launch of episode four of Fireteam. Free to read, here on the site. That’s good news!


What’s next? Well, I am happy to report that after the terrifying and almost utterly complete slump of sales following the Covid-19 quarantine … Things have recovered! It didn’t last—and there was a very real fear that it might!

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

Life, The Universe, and Everything Starts Tomorrow at Nine AM! Plus LTUE Sale and Fireteam Freelance News!

It’s here, folks! Starting tomorrow at nine AM, Life, The Universe, and Everything begins!

I don’t know how much more there is I can say on this (but clearly a lot, judging from the size of this post). I mean, I’ve just about covered it backwards to forwards pretty clearly. Life, The Universe, and Everything is the Fantasy/Sci-Fi writing convention all about creating Fantasy and Science-Fiction. With hundreds of panels staffed by authors from all across the industry, LTUE is absolutely the best place to be if you want to learn about the art of writing a well-crafted story.

Seriously, take a look at the schedule (PDF warning for those on mobile) and all the different topics that’ll be on display as soon as LTUE opens its doors tomorrow, and marvel at the awesome contained therein. There are panels on various scientific methods for building cities on and under the ocean (surprisingly, I didn’t end up on this one). There’s a panel on building a brand. There’s a panel on using weather in fiction (I’m on that one!).

All of these are in the first hour. LTUE is awesome. Every year I inevitably find two or three panels I wish to attend that are all at the same time, and lacking the ability as of yet to be in multiple places at once, must choose which panel to attend.

Some are laugh-out-loud funny. Others are fascinating explorations of technology or writing techniques I’ve not explored. Some are just (for myself) a nice refresher.

But there are so many to chose from! Even just glancing at the schedule, I can see panels I’d love to attend. The Cold War and Science-Fiction? Or Folk, City, and Farm Magic?

Well, I’m on the latter, so I think my choice has been made for me. This is another “two places at once” situation. Anyone got a time-turner or a delorean I can borrow?

70081760_568294170598543_7425837595373862912_oOh, and let’s not forget that the launch of A Dragon and Her Girl also happens tomorrow at LTUE. Those of you that have pre-ordered your copies, start checking your accounts then! I’m excited to get my hands on it as well, since while I’ve read my story in it, there are still nineteen other stories about dragons and heroines in there I want to pore over!

If you’re not going to make it to the launch party but will still be at LTUE, you can also track me down during the con or during the signing event on Friday night and get your copy signed by yours truly! Yes, I will be at the book signing/sale fair. Curious how that’s going to work out as my books are all digital? Well, they are … but that doesn’t mean I can’t have a presence, sign copies of A Dragon and Her Girl, and a few surprises in store for those that swing by my table.

Semi-Pro Kinda LifeSeriously, LTUE is going to be awesome. Those of you attending, if you spot me walking the halls (see my mug there to the left) feel free to say hello! If I’m running to a panel I’ll let you know, but if not, you’ve got a very good chance of snaring me in a conversation! Many a time at LTUE an entire hour has vanished in conversations between folks in the halls, sometimes digging deeper into the topics of a panel, other times books, and even sometimes obscure but fascinating topics like the restoration of Santa Fe 2926 (a conversation which I look forward to engaging in once again this year and hearing how the last year’s progress has gone).

Also, before we hit the jump, which will head to my LTUE schedule so those of you attending can know where I’ll be, some other bits of news you’ll want to be notified of.

Jungle CoverFirst, everything is on sale for LTUE. Colony is 50% off, Jungle is 25% off, Shadow of an Empire is 50% off, Dead Silver is 67% off, and Unusual Events is 50% off. The only one that’s not discounted is One Drink, because it’s already as low as it can go under the current store rules. It’s 99 cents, folks.

Anyway, the big LTUE sale will run through Monday, February 17th, so if you’re looking to complete your collection, or looking to expand it as a newcomer who just picked up a copy of A Dragon and Her Girl, you’re in luck! You can literally grab everything I’ve published to date for $15. That’s over a million words of adventure, mystery, magic, mayhem, and more.

But only until the 17th. Click the cover to the right to go to the Amazon page and start browsing!

Now, onto the final bit of news before the jump and the schedule: Fireteam Freelance. Episode 0 dropped last week and, within a single day, became the most-read feature on the site that week. Off to a good start, I’d say. Well, for those of you that are fans, I’ve got good news. This weekend you’ll be getting an interlude. Not a whole new episode, but a smaller piece that slots in between “0” and “Kamchatka” while work continues on that next episode.

Patreon supporters, meanwhile, will get that interlude today. Rewards for supporting Being a Better Writer and all that. So if you’re a Patreon supporter, look for that interlude today, if you’re not, then come back this Saturday for a small glimpse leading into Episode 1!

All right, that’s all the news. Hit the jump for my schedule, and I hope to see you at LTUE!

Continue reading

Hello Readers, Do You Like Art?

Hello readers! Max here with some really good news, and a question for you: Do you like art?

Let me be more specific. Would you like this art? As a 12″ x 24″ glossy print suitable for framing?

Shadow of an Empire - Textless Wallpaper

This is the glorious cover image from Shadow of an Empire in all it’s full-sized glory, and there’s definitely a good reason I’m asking.

As most of you know (but some may not, hence the statement), LTUE is next week! That’s right, Life, The Universe, and Everything is next Thursday through Friday. The big writing con … and if you’re still drawing a blank, check this post for details.

So, at LTUE there’s a book signing and sale event, where you can get books and whatnot from your favorite authors. And yes, I will be there. Not with physical copies, sadly. Not this year. But I will have facilities for folks to grab my books anyway (I’m pretty proud of that).

But as I’m getting things printed up, well … this is a lovely cover for Shadow of an Empire, and I’m curious … how many of you attending LTUE would be interested in a 12″ x 24″ glossy of it? The kind of thing you could stick in a frame and hang on your wall?

Because I can print some up and bring them to the con. They’d be $14 cash or if someone showed me receipts right then and there for having just bought Colony, Jungle, and Shadow, complimentary.

If I print up a couple. So now I turn to you, readers. Are any of you attending LTUE interested in something like this? Post in the comments below and let me know!

Other good news: I would expect the first chapter of Fireteam Freelance this weekend. Just … letting that one out there.