Hey everyone! We've made it through another month, and a scorching one at that, at least here in the eastern States. Rather than being sensible and flying south in the winter like God and geese intended, I chose to visit my family in Florida in July.
The feature photo up there was taken at a beach near Tampa when it was nearly 100° F and the water felt even hotter than the breeze from the Gulf. I was reading Mark Lawrence's excellent new book, The Book That Wouldn't Burn, entirely certain that I myself would cook right through. Only by the grace of Helios was my pale flesh spared.
Despite the heat and the travel, I managed to get a lot of work done this month. I'm right on track with my writing goals, but deadlines are bearing down, so let's keep this newsletter brief, shall we? (Famous last words.)
Sibling Suns 2 Update
This month, I wrote just over 17,000 words for your book – my best month of writing since January! I also found a few ways to trim the plot while we're still in motion. I always appreciate when an author can tell an efficient story, keeping the pacing fast without sacrificing the characters' emotional beats. That's what I'm shooting for here.
Last month I estimated the first draft would come in at 160,000 words based on the progress bar. Now we're looking at 150,000 words, putting a September finish date comfortably within reach. I doubt I'll finish before September 1st like I've got planned, but it's possible. In November '22 I wrote 35,000 words and this January 25,000.
What I'm certain of is I'm feeling pumped up and energized to finish this story! My next chapter will be the first where the POV characters all begin to converge for the big climax. I love it when a plan comes together.
Next month I'll report back to let you know how close we are to the end — and I'll let you know what the book's going to be called! For now, I'm keeping that one close to my chest. 😉
Until then, here's a little teaser of the cover art that the inimitable Felix Ortiz recently finished. I can't sing his praises loudly enough. The man is a true artist.
Become an Alpha Reader
Things are moving quickly now, and pretty soon I'm going to need your feedback to help shape Sibling Suns 2 into its best possible version. If you'd like to read the book before its release date and provide feedback to help me improve the story, sign up here:
I may not be able to accept everyone who signs up, but those who help me will get a signed copy of the paperback when it's published and your name included in the acknowledgments. I'll also name a side character after you if you've got a favorite!
There's more info in the form, and if it all sounds good, please sign up and I'll contact you before the month is out so I can announce you in the next newsletter!
I love when authors have such dedicated fanbases that they create a compendium of every word they've ever spoken about their series. I'm thinking of the So Spake Martin archives at the Citadel for A Song of Ice and Fire, or the Words of Brandon in the Coppermind for Sanderson's stories.
Well, dear reader, I never expect to have such a dedicated fanbase, so I'm building the damn thing myself.
Over on X/Twitter, I'm opening up a perpetual Ask-Me-Anything. Tag me in a question with #AskJSE and I'll respond with an impromptu video answering it. Here's an example from an AMA I did back in February:
Scott's question was more about the background of the story, but feel free to ask anything you want! Story details, spoiler questions, writing process, anything – we're an open book here at JoshSE Industries. And all my answers will be considered canon for the series.
Why tangle myself up in such a knot, you may ask? Some say I'm a sucker for self-punishment. They're probably right. But really, I just want to hand out a RAFO card at some point in author career.
Anyways, this is just a fun thing I wanted to do. Feel free to join me! This may start as only a small trickle of questions. But! Before it ends, it shall become... a slightly larger trickle, most probably.
One other thing. The hashtag. The way I'm envisioning this is a sort of self-generating encyclopedia of lore about the series. All you have to do is click the hashtag, and there it is.
But that means it's kind of a big decision: I can't really change the hashtag later on if I think of a catchier name than #AskJSE. Not without fragmenting the archive and losing all of the initial questions and answers, which could make it harder for new readers to find all the discussions we've had.
That's where I need your help again. If you message me with a better name before next month, I'll give you a free signed copy of every book I publish in paperback. Like...all of them. Forever.
You can email me, X/Twitter DM me, or even just tag me in X/Twitter post! Whatever you want. Just please don't spam me with tons of ideas – that's not a good way to get me to choose yours. I'm looking for something short, easy to remember, and directly linked to me or my work. Can't wait to see what we come up with!
Your Monthly Dose of Nazgul
The puppy has certainly grown in the past month! He nearly doubled in weight, and he's tall enough to get into all sorts of new mischief. Despite that, he remains the cutest member of the household, as you shall soon see.
Of course, sometimes he's more derpy than cute.
Try writing 30,000 words with that beast looking over your shoulder.
That's what I'm off to do. I hope you enjoyed the newsletter, and I'll write you next month to let you know how it went. As always, thanks for reading!