Next Week

Hey folks. Do you know what happens next week?

After months of work, I get to close the draft for Starforge. Because today? Today I was working on the epilogue. That’s right. The last chapter is over and done. The final battle, from start to finish (and I count start as the moment it engages, not the prelude) weighed in at 68,000 words. The draft right now is sitting at about 493,000 words.

And it’s almost done. Which … is good. I’ve barely done anything but write, exercise, and then relax these last few weeks. Starforge has taken over almost everything. Including the usual posts on the site, save Being a Better Writer.

But it’s been worth it. Monday, maybe Tuesday … Starforge will be done. I’m writing the closing moments. The characters are taking their bows. The last few bits and pieces are being wrapped up in an ending that, hopefully, feels earned.

And I am tired. My brain feels worn out. This draft is almost half a million words, and I wrote it in less time than it took to write Jungle. I’m really looking forward to taking a break for a few days and then writing an non-UNSEC story for a bit.

But it’s basically there. Sands, I might just finish it tomorrow and sacrifice the weekend just to be done.

Because it’ll be worth it.

So again, sorry for the lack of other posts this week. But this titan is almost done.

2020 in Review: A Look Back

Hello readers, and welcome to 2021! That’s right, the calendar has flipped, the months have passed, and we are in a new year once more. Which means, as I tail out of my vacation, that it’s time to take a look back at the last year and take stock. Also, to apologize for the lateness of this post; my staycation has caught up with me. In fact, I feel as though my leaving my warm bed in the afternoon should have been narrated by Attenborough, saying something like “Forced to leave his warm burrow by a dying battery, the creature finally emerges from his hiding place in search of power.”

Anyway, in lieu of a classic Being a Better Writer post today, I thought I’d use today as the perfect time to take a look back at the site and my writing over this last year and see what 2020 ended up as. What came out of 2020. What did I accomplish? What did I achieve? Did I release anything? How did the site perform? How were sales?

You get the picture. So, today, I deliver to you readers a summary of the year past. Writing done, books published, site stats … all of it. Hit the jump, and we’ll get started. It’s time to look at some good from 2020.

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It’s Official: Starforge is the Most Stressful Thing I’ve Ever Written

All right, readers. It’s time to come clean. Last night, as I lay trying to sleep at around 4 AM, my mind whirling with questions and maybes and possibilities concerning Starforge, I realized something.

Starforge is officially the most stress-inducing project I’ve worked on in a long time.

Perhaps being kept up until hours like 5 AM thinking “Maybe I need to start over. Redo the entire opening like this?” should be taken as a massive clue.

For the record I’ve not restarted the entire opening. Though … yeah, even at 100,000 words in, I’ve considered completely redoing it from another angle. More than once. Technically I’ve already done it too; earlier in the project I cut 20,000 words and started the opening in a completely different way.

This project is stressing me out.

Why? Well, it’s pretty simple. Starforge is the finale of a trilogy. There are two books before it, both really well received and loved by a lot of people. Further still, those who have read the sequel have ranked it better than the first book, even as it drove things forward toward a finale. So the trend is now I have to deliver a finale that’s the apex of all three, tie everything up, keep everything from almost a million words of prior content straight, reference it, use it …

Yeah … starting to see how I might be a little stressed out? And of course, stress like that makes it harder to work (lack of sleep, etc) which has made me more concerned that the final product could be below the bar, which leads to more stress, which …

Yup. It’s self-enforcing at this point. The worst part is, I’m not quite sure what to do outside of trust my instincts (I had lighter versions of this for previous works and they turned out all right) and keep working forward.

Starforge has to be the best thing I’ve written to date. Full stop. If that means rewriting almost 100,000 words of it, then so be it. That’s only two months worth of work. This is the big finale. The end. Everything the prior two books led up to comes to a head here. This is it.

I can’t stop. One way or another Starforge is going to release. And it will be the next book I release after Axtara. But it has to be the best thing I’ve written. Every bit of character I’ve built up so far, every nuance, every bit of development. All of it needs to peak here.

I’m just praying I can pull this off.

Anyway, I’m about to dive back into it. Wish me luck, folks. This is the mountain of mountains thus far in my career, and that peak has got a lot of obstacles on it.

Now if I could just get some sleep …

Axtara – Banking and Finance Alpha Now Open, Plus Starforge News!

Yeah, I don’t have a cover for Axtara yet (working on it), so the cover for A Dragon and Her Girl will work as the featured image for now. Especially as Axtara takes place in the same setting as A Game of Stakes, which featured in A Dragon and Her Girl. So the two do connect a little!

Anyway, got an exciting news update for you here, readers! Those of you who can read the title have already deduced it, but I’ll repeat it here anyway: Axtara – Banking and Finance is now in Alpha!

Yep! Invites to previous Alpha Readers went out and replied to. How’s it going so far? Well …

One Alpha Reader finished the book within 15 hours of getting their invite. Yeah. It was almost non-stop.

In other words, I think a lot of you readers are going to love this one.

Second, if you’re a prior Alpha Reader but have not received an invite, check your inbox and make sure it didn’t get sent to spam or promotions or some other folder.

Now, with the influx of Alpha Readers received on this title, there’s not really a need for more Alpha Readers at this point … However, they can’t hurt. If you’re interested in being an Alpha Reader, have Alpha’d before or know what it entails, or would like to do a trial run, get in touch with me and we’ll see what we can do.

Other than that, I’m going to keep working on getting this cover done, and once a few more Alpha Readers get through Axtara, start polishing for Beta! Right now I’m planning on a late summer release, and it looks like that window will be neatly open.

There is one other item of note, however, before we hit the jump. Just an FYI sort of bit, but Axtara is only 122,000 words. So standard novel size compared to my usual far. But this also makes it small enough (hah!) to get a print run.

Surprise! More on that as we move closer to a release date. Now, hit the jump for some news on Starforge.

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The Emergency Update

Initial Emergency post here.

First of all, thank you everyone who posted get-well wishes, sympathy, and support for my sister. It was passed on an appreciated. She’d had a rough week already before everything went sideways at 40+ MPH, making the collision and totaling of her car the cherry on top.

However, she’s doing really well. The first two days were the roughest, as all the muscles across her body were not having a good time after the accident, and so bruised and tensed and whatnot were stiffening, swelling, and pulling her broken collarbone every which way they could. Tuesday morning she was too sore and stiff after sleeping to even get up.

But the swelling has faded, the muscles healing and loosening up, and my sister’s adjusted enough to having one functional arm at the moment that as of last night I am back in my own home.

I slept way in this morning lol. Catching up.

Okay, so there are two things I need to discuss now: how my sister’s doing, and what the status of Christmas updates for the site will be.

First up my sister: She’s well-cared for now. Her collarbone is broken, yes, but it’s a clean break and should heal well. She’s already seeing a sport-doc for it, and insurance, while a tangled, complicated mess, has at least let the wheels roll forward. It appears that she’ll be on leave from work for some time, but it’ll be covered, as well her medical and whatnot. There’s plenty to do going forward, but she’s gotten past the start, which was pretty much all uphill.

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A Multitude of Various Updates

Hey readers!

I know. Content has been light the last few weeks. Thankfully enough, that’s about to change, starting with today!

First, I can’t tell you how good it feels to be writing again, even if I’m only at the moment doing about 1,500 words a day. Which all things considered is pretty good. But doing more than that makes me pretty sore. And it might get cut down slightly now that I’ve started physical therapy, which has given me a rash of exercises to do that, well, if you’re familiar with how physical therapy works, they wear the recovering area out.

But I’m doing my best to bring things back up to speed. Things may be a little shorter than normal for a while, but I’m trying. But today I’ve got some updates for you on how Unusual Things will be coming back on track. Upcoming features, current projects, etc. And then at the end of it all, a Being a Better Writer topic call! It’s been a while since I’ve done one of those!


So, first and foremost, the current editing project: Hunter/HuntedHunter/Hunted is currently in the Alpha, and has been distributed to several Alpha Readers, and now I’m just waiting for them to work their way through. Once that’s done, we can move to beta, and once that’s done? Well, the usual. Out to the public with it! Or at least, the side of the public that’s made up of my old guard fans.

At this point, though, it’s up to the Alpha readers to go through it. I’m excited to let this one out into the wild, but not until it’s ready to survive and thrive.

Which reminds me, I gotta find a new artist for the cover.

Now, onto more news!


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Answers on the Arm

Hey hey! Guess who’s back at their computer?

Sort of. I’ve got a massive brace on my right forearm that doesn’t make typing easy. I’d say I’m at less than half-speed right now. Maybe a quarter.

But … that’s better than nothing, and better than a phone. So what’s the story with the arm and what’s going on?

Well, the injury if from my part time job. If you’ve ever been at a college or a convention center, odds are you’ve seen air-wall. Those large, mobile wall pieces used to divide rooms in half?

Well, in our building’s largest room, we have two of them. The ceiling in this room is fifty feet up. That bit is important. As well is that these air-walls are pretty … old and badly maintained.

Yeah, there’s no other way to put that. This was the third incident of falling metal from the air-wall railings. And the first instance of it hitting someone. The air-wall came to a stop, we tried to start it moving again, and …

A six-foot, 15 pound or so piece tore free and dropped right at me. Unfortunately, this happened at the junction where the air-wall moves into its storage. Which meant that I was backed into said storage and really didn’t have options for moving out of the way easily. So I ducked my head, put my arm up in a block (I did martial arts for several years in high school and I’m glad that muscle memory held up), and took this long bit of metal right on the back of my arm, wrist, and shoulder.

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Nips, Tucks, and Other Site Changes

The attentive among you may have noticed some small changes here and there across the site. Particularly the removal of ads, and the rearranging of the sidebar on the right side there. I’ve moved a few things around to make a few of the more important items (like the search function, we’ve got a five-year archive of writing guides here!) more easy to access.

Everything’s still in it’s infancy, however. A lot of these changes are just minor, quality of life changes designed to make the site a bit more user friendly, easier on the eyes, and distinct. Which … is easier said than done. When I learned how to code a web-page, it was not only basic stuff, but it was back when HTML was new. So not all of it carries over.

But past that, I’m trying to work with the look the site already has. Having my own domain and whatnot does open up a lot of other “looks” and ready-made themes other than this one which I can slap across the site (in fact, this one is legacy support, so if I dumped it, I’m not sure I could get it back) but I’ll be fairly blunt about these other options: even the “clean” ones look cluttered and ugly compared to the current setup.

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Quick News Post

Sorry for the lateness. Had work yesterday and I’ve been battling a gnarly chest-and-throat cold that refuses to die. Now, really quick, some news!

Unusual Events

First up, Unusual Events: A “Short” Story Collection, is currently 50% off. It actually has been for almost a week, but being blasted by being sick, I completely neglected to mention it. In any case, you can grab this collection of ten “short” stories (there are two novellas in there, and only three or four of them are actually short enough to warrant the short story tag) for just $2.99!

Second, the Alpha 2 Reading of Shadow of an Empire is moving along, but at this point I’d like to get some more eyes on it. If you’re interested in being an Alpha Reader (and if you’re confused as to what an Alpha Reader does, check this handy post here on the topic), drop me a line! The more eyes, the better.

Third, LTUE, or Life, The Universe, and Everything, the writing con, is coming up! Next week, in fact, from February 15th-17th. Unfortunately, this year I will only be able to make it to one day due to costs, and that will be the first day, the 15th. Still, if you can at all make it to one of the best writing cons for chatting with authors and learning about the craft, this is it. And if you’re going to be there that first day and want to put a face to the words, let me know! I’m always happy to talk with fans!

Okay, last one, I promise. This one has been on the back-burner for a while, but with everything sort of reaching an equilibrium, there’s no sense in me not destabilizing my carefully balanced load with some new business. I pose to you readers a question: How would you feel about doing a live Q&A session over Discord? I get a mic, you readers get questions, I drop a link here on the site at a pre-planned time, and I spend an hour or so answering questions on a variety of topics? Anyone interested in that?

Right, that’s it for the news! Onward to today’s Being a Better Writer post!