Hello everyone, and welcome to the April edition of the Archefire Newsletter. I've been thinking of changing the name of this monthly publication for a while now, so I figured we might as well just go and do it. What do you think? Better than the JoshSE Newsletter, eh? Yuck!

It's a fitting time for a name change, as we've got an exciting update this month β€” let's jump right in!

To Burn All Belief

At long last, a real update!

Last Monday, I woke up to find an amazing email in my inbox. Stacey finished her edits on To Burn All Belief and sent the manuscript back my way! As you can see from the progress bars, I've been hard at work addressing her comments and line edits.

In fact, I'm already DONE. According to her, "the manuscript is in great condition!" which meant there weren't too many changes needed. It only took a week, which is a lot better than the month the several rounds of edits for An Ocean of Others took. Could it be? Am I...getting better at this?

As expected, there were a few kinks to work out, and as expected, they were primarily around the beginning of the book. It's always the start of the story that gets me. Some authors struggle with middles; I struggle with beginnings. Not to worry though, Stacey has swooped in to prevent me making a muddle of things!

Now that I've finished with her comments, there are only a few things before the 3.0 of To Burn All Belief is complete. I need to incorporate some feedback I received from my awesome alpha readers, then there are some minor revisions I never got around to before sending it out to them and my editor.

Those revisions are just things I noticed based on my own readthrough of the first draft. Hard to believe that was 6 months ago now! I would be comfortable publishing the book even without those changes β€” I think it still stands up β€” but they'll make the story that 1% to 2% better and make me feel all warm and happy inside. So I'm doing them!

Example of an epigraph shamelessly stolen from Mark Lawrence's upcoming book

Before I got the manuscript back, I was spending my time on another important part of the book: the epigraphs. You know, those little excerpts of poetry or in-world text at the start of chapters? Those.

Hoo boy, let me tell you, I did not properly account for how many of those I was going to need. To Burn All Belief has SIXTY-TWO chapters! At least sixteen of are going to be song lyrics. Do I look like a poet to you? (You know what? Don't answer that.) Darkfather, what have I gotten myself into?

But fret not, dear reader. The book will be published with these as well. Warm and happy inside, remember? Good.

Now...dare I say it? Dare I? I dare!

Next month, I'm thinking it's time for a cover reveal and release date announcement. 😱

There! It's out there, now it has to happen, right? Everything always goes according to plan, right?

AI and the Arts

Speaking of things that haven't been going to plan, I also spent a bit of time this month on my AI article. Remember that? The mythical thing I've been talking about for like 6 months now?

Well, it's over 5000 words long now and I still feel I've barely scratched the surface. Turns out my thoughts are...complicated. I don't want to publish this in bits and pieces, because the sections don't really hold up on their own, but if I'm not careful, this thing may turn into an AI book rather than an article. Yikes, what a disaster that would be. I've already got too many book ideas to publish, I don't need an impromptu one appearing on my plate! ISBNs are expensive, y'all!

Of course, this had to take a backseat to To Burn All Belief as soon as Stacey's edits came in, so the mythical article will remain firmly in the realm of myth for a while longer. Probably until after To Burn All Belief is published, but before Grave of the Waiting, if I had to guess.

Grave of the Waiting

Hah, you really thought there was going to be a Grave of the Waiting update? Nay, 'tis but a prank. April Fooβ€” ah shoot, I'm like 3 days too late for this.

Moving on...

Indie Reviews

Now for something you may not know about me. In case you weren't aware, I like to read books. Shocking, I know! I'll wait for you to regain your composure. Take a seat, take a breather.

Of course, as an indie author myself, I've got to read lots of other indie authors' work. Stay in the game. Be on that grind. Ya feel me? Mostly I just like reading indie because there are so many unique ideas.

I always make sure to leave a review for the indie books I read and publish them here on the site! Sometimes it takes me like...8 months to write that review, but that's neither here nor there. This month, I published four reviews to the Indie Reviews page.


/* Side note: Now is a good time to ask you to leave a review for An Ocean of Others if you haven't already, but I shan't...

No, I will DEMAND it! Go do it, before I get really angry and... I don't know, type mean words on my keyboard, you big stupid, dumb... Ah, no, the anger has left me.

Sorry, I don't know what came over me. Just remember: reviewing indie books is like tipping your bartender. It's not really mandatory, but yes it is, it's mandatory! */

Talking Spoilers

At long last, back by popular demand...okay, well not popular demand, but by... some demand. Okay, I demanded it myself, and that's settled. It's back.


Talking Spoilers, my podcast where I deep dive into an author's work with them, not worrying about silly little things like avoiding spoilers and other things that will turn away potential viewers β€” it's returning this Saturday, April 6 at 8pm EST!

I'll be live on YouTube and X with Yuval Kordov, author of The Hand of God and All of Our Sins, talking about his post-post-apocalyptic sci-horror-fantasy. Talk about a genre with lots of dashes! Yuval's work defies convention in all the best ways, making his Dark Legacies series unlike anything else I've ever read.

If you've read his books, I hope you'll join us. He's promised we're going to find out all the things.

I simply must know all the things

And if you haven't read them, well stop by anyway! I always say spoilers make a good book better. I know I'm not alone in believing that. πŸ˜‰

A Tournament of Others

A Tournament of Others. That's the terrible title I came up with for an otherwise awesome reader suggestion. You see, An Ocean of Others has a lot of characters. Too many, which is why there's a huge character list in the back of the book – the spot precisely calculated to be least helpful to the poor reader who doesn't realize it exists (that's probably most of you who've read the book).

But who is the BEST character? There can only be one, which is why we must get down to the bottom of this, dear reader. I have my suspicions, but suspicions are no way to do science. No! Unmoderated bracket-style tournaments sent out to anonymous voters on the Internet is!

Here's the plan:

A single elimination tournament with random seeds for sixteen of characters. Each month we'll vote on four matchups. That means for this month, the four votes to cast are between:

  • Pinch, angry Peeker vs. Bengard, veteran Finger
  • Tak, lead mortician vs. Inac, Archemaster
  • Wyran, Benefactor of despair vs. Ulken, Head of the Agency
  • Lorelay, blasphemous bard vs. Reed, First Eye

You can submit your votes in whatever way you choose! Leave a comment here, send me an email, message me on X, fill out this Google Form. However you do it, I'll see it and count your vote. Please only vote once!

You can see the live standings here: https://challonge.com/r0tpxwxe

For added fun, I've also enabled bracket predictions. Go to the tournament bracket's predictions and submit yours with the Create a Prediction button. This lets you guess who will win each seed and ultimately the winner of the entire tournament. Each round, points are calculated based on how close your prediction is to the outcome. Whoever ends up in first place at the end, you'll have a prize coming your way!

/* Note: Predictions will only be open THIS MONTH! It would be unfair otherwise, so get them in while you can! */

Question of the Month

Responses to last month's question were a little light, so I included everyone who left a comment on the March newsletter. And the Wheel has chosen:

Chad Hiking Reader! You will soon find yourself in possession of a really cool t-shirt. Seriously, I wear mine all the time and it's really comfortable!

Now, not to tip the scales on the best character tournament or anything like that, but this month's new merch is:

A mug! Featuring the most accomplished and heretical bard this side of the Bright Empire. It comes in three sizes – 11 oz, 15 oz, 20 oz – and I'll send whichever one you want. To enter the running for this mug for free, you must answer me these riddles three... er, well, just one question actually.

What's the last indie book you reviewed?

Contrary to popular belief, this doesn't have to be a review of my book! Link the last book review you wrote and you'll be on the list for this month's giveaway. And if you haven't written any yet...might you allow me to direct you to one of Goodreads' many wonderful offerings? For instance, this book, chosen completely at random.


And finally, we come to the most popular recurring segment of the newsletter, in which I pimp my dog's photos for imaginary Internet cred. I just can't help myself – he's too darn cute.

As you can tell, he loves interfering with my attempts to read (and who am I to deny his wishes?). Perhaps the only thing he enjoys more is a good chew on his Benebone (or any other furniture in the house).

Of course, he loves big fluffy pillows as well.

In fact, he loves them so much he's convinced himself this entire bed belongs to him (and at this point, we might as well admit it does).

If you ever try to naysay him, such as by reminding him that shoes are not for chewing, just remember...

Nazgul is always watching.

That's it for this month! Godspeed to all the characters in the tournament bracket. I'm rooting for you, Jacquin, the guy probably 5% of you will remember two weeks after finishing the book. Don't forget to vote! You won't get a sticker like the 2024 Presidential election, but it will probably be much more fun to cast this vote. 😜

See you in May for the cover reveal of To Burn All Belief!