Forward and Back – A Look Ahead at 2023, and at the Accomplishments of 2022

Wow. 2022 was a year.

No, not in the way 2020 was. In fact, I mean that in the best possible sense. 2022 was, by almost every metric available to me, a standout year. Sales were up overall despite a few slump months, with books such as Axtara – Banking and Finance finding success in almost double the number of markets as any of my other closest books, and then Starforge smashing its way to victory in the final months of the year. Site hits were up—in fact, the site saw more traffic, interaction, and the like in 2022 than it ever has. That’s including two prior years in which a single post in each year went a bit viral and accounted for a good majority of all traffic.

Yes, that’s right. Without having a post go “viral” and score thousands upon thousands of hits, Unusual Things still saw more visitors, readers, and regular reads than in any prior year in 2022. And, while it’s still only week two of 2023, the current level of site traffic isn’t just holding steady … It’s growing. December of 2022 had more hits than November of 2022, which had more hits than … well, you get the idea.

And this introduction has already gotten away from me. Welcome, readers and writers, to a post-2022 news post, and a look ahead at what’s to come in 2023. We’re going to talk about what went on in 2022, what the impact was of the lone book release (but it was a big one), and then we’re going to discuss what’s in the pipe for this year.

And folks, I’ve got a good feeling about what’s to come. Hit the jump!

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Starforge Is Here!

What more is there to say? The finale of the UNSEC Space Trilogy has arrived at last. Those of you who pre-ordered should be getting your copies as midnight ticks over, and those of you who didn’t pre-order … you can just go purchase it now! Click the cover below and experience the end of the journey! You can also click here to read the first five chapters for free before you make up your mind!

The end arrives in this epic conclusion to the UNSEC Space Trilogy!

Mankind stands on the edge of a precipice. The All sweep across colony worlds, consuming everything in their path. Earth has recalled her fleets to Sol, abandoning its charges. Pisces, her independence won, now stands alone as a foe unlike any other threatens from the dark. It is not a question of if the All will attack, but when.

Reunited at last, Jake, Anna, and Sweets again find their skills called upon, this time by the new leadership of Pisces. A desperate plan has been conceived, an all-or-nothing long shot out into the darkness of unexplored space to find a means of reactivating the artificial world beneath their feet. If Pisces’ weapons can be brought online there remains a chance that the relentless force of the All can be stopped before it extinguishes the light of mankind forever.

If. Threats move against them from all sides. The All has set its own plans in motion, determined to finish the work it began so long ago. UNSEC and Earth plot from the shadows, uncompromising under Eidre’s vision of a unified empire with Sol at the center, and willing to do anything to bring Pisces back into the fold—even burn it to ashes.

The Trio’s final journey has begun … and it’s an adventure unlike anything you’ve ever read before.

Thanksgiving Sale!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope you’ve got great plans and make the most of it!

As for me? Well, I just clicked the button to upload the final manuscript for Starforge. Which, in case you weren’t aware, comes out next Tuesday. The 29th of November. We made that release window after all.

Of course, some of you have been waiting for the series to be complete, and for those of you who have—or are just discovering this epic Sci-Fi series for the first time—I’ve got good news! The first two books in the trilogy are on a steep discount this weekend to celebrate the conclusion of the trilogy! You can pick up all three books—over a million words of Sci-Fi adventure—for only $14.97. Click those covers and grab the whole series now.

That’s right. Less than fifteen bucks. This is a fantastic deal. Plus, it’s over the perfect weekend to curl up with a book.

And yes, this is now a complete trilogy. No hidden “fourth book.” No “surprise, we’re going to have another ending.” This. Is. It.

So happy Thanksgiving, everyone. Enjoy, and I’ll see you all Monday for the Reddit AMA.

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!

UNSEC Space Lore: A Tour of a Nemesis-Class Destroyer

Hey guys, Max here reminding you that Starforge—the book which you’re about to get a little bit of lore from—is now available for pre-order and can be found at this link! The finale to the UNSEC Space Trilogy releases November 29th, bringing the series to a breathtaking conclusion that should not be missed!

Got it? Good! Now on with the lore!

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Starforge’s First Review!

So, starting this post with the obligatory reminder: Starforge is now available to pre-order and releases November 29th! That’s right, the epic conclusion to the UNSEC Space Trilogy is finally here! The journey that began in Colony six years ago and continued in Jungle three is now finally coming to its breathtaking, action-packed conclusion, and you won’t want to miss it!

Of course, some of you might be skeptical. After all, it’s not unheard of for the final book in a series to deliver a less-than-spectacular ending. Maybe you’ve read Colony and Jungle but are worried that the big finish won’t do what you hoped to wrap everything up and answer those lingering questions?

Well, that’s why with Starforge I decided to send out early copies for review. And now that the pre-order is live, Starforge has it’s first review, courtesy of reviewer PaulAsaran (who also reviewed Colony and Jungle). How does he find it? If you’ll pardon the pun, “stellar.” Here, have a few choice selections of his words on the matter:


Starforge jumps into the action from the start. Max’s action is as riveting as ever, and is accentuated by new threats, new solutions, and new consequences. The trio find themselves traveling across an alien world yet again, only this time accompanied by a bunch of soldiers … As time goes by and these people survive more and more brutal encounters, it can be easy to start recognizing names and rooting for a few … Then people start dying.


In the midst of these character elements comes the worldbuilding. We’re traveling across an alien world, and our inquisitive protagonists can’t help but theorize and guess at what it all means for the race that not only used to live there, but literally built it. There’s an effort here to truly embrace the concept of “alien life”, with unique architecture, quirky technological concepts, and interesting ideas regarding how an aquatic species might view the world around them.

The worldbuilding is, not to put too fine a point on it, stellar.


Just know that this is a big story with a lot going on … But you should be reading the whole thing anyway, because it’s all great … A great read, and a delightful way to end the trilogy.


Ultimately, Starforge has earned its first 5 Star rating, what will likely be one of many. You can check out the full review on Goodreads, or if you’re already convinced, go pre-order Starforge here.

November 29th can’t come soon enough! See you all tomorrow for another Starforge lore preview—this time with a new spin on things—and Monday for more Being a Better Writer. Until then, have a great weekend!

Starforge Is Now Available for Pre-Order

Ladies and gentlemen, readers of all ages, fans of Science Fiction … Starforge, the last book of the UNSEC Space trilogy, the conclusion to the epic journey that began six years ago with Colony and continued three years ago with Jungle … is now available to pre-order.

Yes, this does mean that it has a release date. I am pleased and proud to announce that Starforge will release on November 29th, 2022, just under three weeks from now. You can pre-order it today at the price of $9.99, and this juggernaut of a finale will be delivered to your e-reader of choice November 29th.

If you wish to pre-order now—and I don’t blame you—then just click the cover image above to go right to the pre-order page. Or, you know, that link right there. Or you can check out the synopsis below, as well as hit the jump for more details about the final product.

A quick reminder: Starforge is the third and final book in the UNSEC Space trilogy. For the full experience, it is highly recommended that you read the first two books in the trilogy before reading Starforge, Colony and Jungle, before reading this. The choice is yours, obviously, but as befitting the end to a trilogy, there are major spoilers for the first two books within the pages of Starforge.

Now, onto that synopsis! Here’s a summary of what you’ll be experiencing when Starforge releases November 29th!


The end arrives in this epic conclusion to the UNSEC Space Trilogy!

Mankind stands on the edge of a precipice. The All sweep across colony worlds, consuming everything in their path. Earth has recalled her fleets to Sol, abandoning its charges. Pisces, her independence won, now stands alone as a foe unlike any other threatens from the dark. It is not a question of if the All will attack, but when.

Reunited at last, Jake, Anna, and Sweets again find their skills called upon, this time by the new leadership of Pisces. A desperate plan has been conceived, an all-or-nothing long shot out into the darkness of unexplored space to find a means of reactivating the artificial world beneath their feet. If Pisces’ weapons can be brought online there remains a chance that the relentless force of the All can be stopped before it extinguishes the light of mankind forever.

If. Threats move against them from all sides. The All has set its own plans in motion, determined to finish the work it began so long ago. UNSEC and Earth plot from the shadows, uncompromising under Eidre’s vision of a unified empire with Sol at the center, and willing to do anything to bring Pisces back into the fold—even burn it to ashes.

The Trio’s final journey has begun … and it’s an adventure unlike anything you’ve ever read before.


There you have it! If you’d like a few more details about the final product, such as page count, pricing, etc, they’ll be below the jump.

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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.

Starforge Preview: Chapter 3 Excerpts

Well, we’ve reached this moment. We’ve seen Jake. We’ve seen Anna. That just means that there’s one member of the trio left to get our early look at.

That’s right, it’s Ray Candy! Though to his friends he’s just Sweets. Or Dystopian_Snowman if you’re one of his hacking buddies.

Jungle was a huge shift for Sweets. While Jake and Anna were marooned down on the surface of [REDACTED], Sweets was shuttled off on his own aboard the military cruiser Casimir, where things were absolutely not what they seemed. Alone and with limited resources, Sweets had to push ahead, ultimately saving the lives of not only Jake and Anna but several others as well in a daring dropship rescue … which since it involved flying, was a pretty bold move for Sweets. And honestly not the first time, either, if you recall the end of Colony.

But what’s happened in the meantime? With the threats now facing Pisces, what’s the last member of our group been up to, and how might he play a part in the what’s to come?

Well, to find out in full, you’ll have to snag a copy of Starforge when it releases this holiday season. But you can get a taste of what’s to come—as well as what Sweets has been up to—by hitting the jump.

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Starforge Preview: Chapter 2 Excerpts

I know many of you have been waiting for this moment to arrive. Last week, the writing was on the wall when you all got your first look at some bits of chapter 1 of Starforge, at long last giving you a peek a what our famed corporate investigator has been up to since the end of Jungle. And, of course, there was the sense of omnipresent dread that the prologue chapter (revealed a few months ago) delivered. But I know for a number of you, the big question was “What about Annalyne Neres?”

Well today, readers, you get to find out. Today we’re taking a look at some scenes from chapter 2 of Starforge! Today you get your first taste of what Anna’s bringing to the party when Starforge drops this holiday season.

Are you ready? Hit the jump.

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