Happy New Year, everyone! I hope you all had a relaxing and rejuvenating holiday and managed to avoid stuffing yourself with gingerbread cookies and chocolate better than I did. When it comes to sweets, I have no self-control, I swear.

We're starting off what's sure to be an exciting year with an exciting newsletter, particularly if you want to get your hands on a signed copy of An Ocean of Others! I've got two different ways for you to win one and a 50% off sale to celebrate the holidays if you'd like to buy one.

After that, I'll jump into the writing updates I have for you this month, then close out the newsletter with some wedding photos.

/* If you're not interested in a signed copy and just want the latest updates on my writing or personal life, scroll past the next few sections until you see a picture of mountains (for writing updates) or me and my beautiful wife at our wedding (for personal updates)! */

Giveaway the First

First, I must own up to my mistake from the last newsletter. I ran a giveaway where the method for entering was replying to the newsletter email. One problem: the newsletter was sent from a Do Not Reply email address. If you tried entering and got your email bounced back by Mailer Daemon (that rascal), I sincerely apologize.

Unsurprisingly, I received no entries. Well, except one from the person who alerted me to the problem (thanks Michael!). He'll be getting a signed copy too, but I'll be redoing the giveaway this month to make sure everyone has a chance to win.

To remind you from last month, the rules are simple: just reply to this email and you're in! I'll accept entries until the end of the month. Three people selected at random will win a signed copy of not only An Ocean of Others, but also a signed copy of Sibling Suns 2 as soon as they're available. Two books for the price of none! That's a deal.

And lest you worry, yes, I did test that you can actually respond to the email this time. It should be sent from josh@archefire.com, an email address you should feel free to contact me at whenever you'd like. I promise to respond to every person I hear from!

Giveaway the Second

The second giveaway has been going on for a while now. It just needs a proper conclusion. I think the combination of this extremely cursed image plus starting it in the middle of NaNoWriMo caused me to scour its existence from my memory.

Well, I promised you all an AMA video (two actually!), so I'll definitely be filming it this month. So, if you'd like to ask a question, this is the last call for the spoiler-free AMA. (AMA stands for "ask me anything", in case you were wondering.)

And heck, I'll make it really easy for you. If you don't have a Twitter account (I wouldn't blame you considering all that's happened there lately), then you can just email me your question, and I'll consider enter you into both giveaways!

Once this AMA is wrapped up, I'll solicit questions for a spoiler-filled video, where you can seek answers to all the An Ocean of Others questions that have been keeping you up at night.

50% Off Sale

Finally, if you don't want to leave it up to chance, I've set the book to 50% off on my Store page until the end of January. I'll only have 10 books left in stock after the giveaways, so be sure not to wait too long if you want a copy!

What's in store for 2023?

Big things, naturally! My first priority, of course, is getting Sibling Suns 2 through the publishing pipeline and into your hands by the end of the year. It's going to be a tight squeeze, especially since this book looks like it's going to be about 50,000 words longer than An Ocean of Others.

If I can achieve my second Year 31 Goal (finishing the first draft by my next birthday in June), I'm confident I can publish it this year. However, if it starts slipping and needs to be pushed back to early 2024, you, dear newsletter reader, will be the first to know.

I have a much better handle on the publication process now that I've gone through it once, so I'm not making the mistake of waiting too long to get the rest of the team on board. I haven't been sitting idle this December–I've coordinated with Stacey Kucharik (who edited An Ocean of Others) and the inimitable Felix Ortiz to work on the book next year. I'm hoping to get Shawn King back as well. Essentially, I want the same team that brought An Ocean of Others to life, because they all did a phenomenal job. I can't wait to work with them again!

However, I am also searching for a new team member. I would love to have two high-quality maps – one of Lawiko and one of the entire Bright Empire – illustrated for the next book. So, if you know of a really great map illustrator who is looking for commissions, please point me in their direction!

Grave of the Waiting // Chapter 12 - Exopolis

My second top priority is to continue Grave of the Waiting. If you haven't caught up on the sci-fi horror serial yet, now is a great time, as we're right around the corner from this story turning into a true horror tale. The latest chapter was published a few days ago and should be in your inbox already.

I love this story and can't wait for you to experience the crazy twists and turns I have planned for the second half of the book. However, I must admit that it's a rather time-consuming process, and I need to balance that with my commitment to finishing Sibling Suns 2 this year. So, there are going to be a few minor changes.

Each chapter will still be published on the 1st of the month, no change there. However, I will no longer be maintaining the PDF version, and unfortunately the Story So Far page has got to go as well. Very sorry if you've been reading those, but I'm afraid I simply don't have time to keep them up to date. Not if I'm going to finish two books this year.

Oh yes, that's the plan. When Sibling Suns 2 is in the hands of my editor, I'll be revising all of the remaining Grave chapters at once. With those revisions complete, the entire book can be scheduled for publication on the website. The serial will be complete. (The release schedule at that point is still TBD.)

There will still be more to do, however. The ultimate plan is to publish Grave of the Waiting as a print book as well, and for that I'll need to do another full revision of even the previously published chapters, to make sure the entire story is polished and cohesive in a way that I don't think I can pull off in serial format. That will involve pulling another team together and require lots of work and funding on my part, so there's a good chance it won't be published until after Sibling Suns 3.

Other than that, I have a few other things on my roadmap, the full details of which I hope to announce sometime this year:

  • An Ocean of Others hardcovers
  • A full website overhaul (long overdue!)
  • More merch
  • A fan art competition
  • A secret project

Of course, every author's got to have a secret project now, don't they? This one is well underway, and I wish I could tell you more than that, but my lips have been forcibly sealed, and the key is in someone else's pocket. I don't know when I'll be able to say more, but suffice to say I'm extremely excited and I think you will be too once you find out!

2022 has been an incredible year. Between An Ocean of Others and Grave of the Waiting, I've published over 206,000 words in the past 12 months, and in 2023 I'm planning to publish significantly more!

Thank you, sincerely, for joining me on the adventure of a lifetime. Without readers like you, I would just be shouting into the wind. It's hard work being a writer, but harder still is imagining that I'll ever stop. Likewise, I hope you'll never stop being a reader – not just of my books, but of all books!

George R.R. Martin wrote that "a reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one." So, wherever your reading lives take you, may you find joy and meaning in the stories you read this year and all the rest to come.

Wedding Photos!

At long last, our wedding photos have come back from the photographer! We received over 1400 shots, so my wife and I narrowed it down to 40 of our favorites that perfectly captured the whole day. If you'd like to see those, head over to the Wedding Photos album. Here are some of my favorites:

That's it for this month's update. I'll see you in February, and as always, thanks for reading!