Look at that pup. See how tired he is? Yeah, that's about how I felt throughout most of February. But that doesn't mean I've come unprepared. Au contraire! This is going to be a long one, so buckle up.

Grave of the Waiting Updates

If you missed it, the latest chapter of Grave of the Waiting should be sitting in your inbox right now. If you read chapter thirteen, you'll know that some crazy stuff is about to go down. It should be no surprise that Chapter 14 - Recoil is the most action-packed chapter of the story...so far, anyway. One reader told me, "this newest chapter is brutal." Sobbing emojis were involved. I love to hear it.

This is a horror story, after all. And now that the antagonist is in play, our characters aren't going to be getting much of a break until... well, pretty much the end of the story. The slow burn of building tension is over. It's time for action! Consequences! Payoff! And of course, life-threatening danger. On rogue planet G9615, no one is safe.

In other Grave of the Waiting news, the cover spread got another update. This still isn't the final version, as I've been slowly iterating with all the tools at my disposal for the past...six months? In one sense, it feels like that's a while to be continually working on a cover. But in another sense, it's amazing that the tools I've been using have been adding new capabilities so quickly. ControlNets, Inpainting, LoRAs, Photoshop plugins—it feels like new features are added almost weekly.

Anyway, this still isn't the final version of the cover. That'll come eventually, but it feels like it's getting close. It's funny, I remember replacing the V2 cover with the V3 cover and thinking what a big upgrade it was. Now, the V3 cover looks awful to me and the V4 seems like a major improvement. Will the same happen when I come up with a V5 cover? Probably! But I'm happy with it for now.

Sibling Suns Update

An old image of Lorelay, circa September 2020, back when she was still called Lorilla and plans to publish this book were in their infancy.

There's good news and bad news on this front. I'll start with the bad news, which is that I didn't get as much done on your book as I hoped to this month. I hit about 12,500 words, finishing up Grim's chapters through Part II and starting Lorelay's chapters. It's not nothing, but it's a far cry from the 20,000 words I hoped to hit this month.

I'd like to say that some other stuff came up, but the truth is that I was just feeling tired for most of the month. Perhaps it was burnout from the pace at which I was writing in January. Maybe I got too excited and spent too much time working on the new Grave of the Waiting cover. No, wait, there's no maybe about that one.

In any case, I'm now feeling the pressure of the looming deadline on June 4th. Add that to the fact that I'll be on my honeymoon from mid-April to early-May, (meaning I need to revise not one but two Grave of the Waiting chapters at the end of this month) and it's looking like there's going to be a crunch to get it done in time.

Can I do it? It's going to be tough. I wrote 26 chapters in three months, and according to my outline I have 37 chapters left to go. Also in three months. And I'm losing two weeks of writing during my honeymoon. If I'm honest, it's feeling like a daunting task right now. All I can say is I'll try my best. I did leave some wiggle room in the schedule, so even if I don't finish the first draft on time, I can make up for it in the time I've allotted to the second draft.

Ultimately, I really don't want to have to tell you you're not going to get your book this year. However, if it really does appear to be going that way, you'll be the first to know.

Alright, now that the depressing stuff is out of the way, onto the good news!

Like I said, I've managed to finish Grim's POV chapters through Part II, so most of this month has been writing from Lorelay's POV, and she is an absolute delight to put on the page. I was a bit worried switching to a brand new POV that it'd be hard to find her voice. Luckily, it just worked right away.

Unironically though

She's a great contrast to Grim. Her personality effortlessly popped off the page, so her chapters were quick to write...I just didn't spend enough time writing them. That's one thing that gives me hope that I can get everything done in time: Lorelay's chapters are relatively short (and I suspect Garret's will be as well). It's just a matter of hands-on-keyboard time as I push for the end of the first draft.

Short Stories

I can't wait for you all to read Lorelay's story (and Grim's, and Garret's too, for that matter!), but did you know you don't have to wait to read more about the characters of An Ocean of Others? Back in April 2021, I wrote three short stories to dive into the backstories of Inac, Lorelay, and Garret. You can read all three Tales of the Sibling Suns and experience Paceeq, the Sea Pot Isle, and the stormjungles of Eko well before they make it into a Sibling Suns book.

/* Side note: I would like to give all three of them an additional editing pass to tighten them up so I can include them as a bonus in the hardcover edition of An Ocean of Others. The question is...when am I going to have time to put that together. As I said in January, hopefully sometime this year! */

Secret No Longer

Remember in January when I told you I have a secret project going on? At long last, it's no longer a secret! I just got the go-ahead to let you all know...

Drumroll please...


Alright, fine, I'll do it myself.

An Ocean of Others is getting an audiobook!

What's more, it even has a release date!

AN OCEAN OF OTHERS – Coming APRIL 11, 2023

I'm told pre-orders will be live on the Audible store in the coming weeks, and I will definitely be shouting from the rooftops when that happens. Remember: unlike on the Kindle store, Audible pre-orders actually affect your sales rank. So if you'd like to see this audiobook skyrocket to the top of the charts as much as I do, I hope you'll spend an Audible credit to help make it happen! Maybe we'll even make it a best-seller 😉

Hey, a guy can dream, right?

I'm super grateful to the folks over at Podium for taking a chance on an unknown like myself. When I signed that contract, I was in disbelief for quite some time, and I couldn't tell anybody about it! Finally, my silence is ended. Now just wait 'til you hear Danny Gavigan's voice for Sentyx. Talk about deep.

Stay tuned to any one of my countless social media accounts for more updates as we get closer to launch! Countless? Yes, countless. I've long since lost track of how many there are.

Speaking of which...

How to ruin your life in 60 seconds or less

Yeah, I've got a TikTok account now too.

'Nuff said. Moving on.

Closing Time

Sadly, my Store page must be shut down for the time being. It's just not economical to keep it alive when there's only one product for sale. Eventually, I'd like to add more merch – shirts, stickers, knick-knacks of various sorts – and I'll probably bring it back online when I have those things. But for now, it's costing more money than it's making.

So if you'd like a signed copy of An Ocean of Others, it's your last chance head over to the shop and pick up one of my remaining 7 copies.

In the future, I'd like to partner with an indie bookseller to distribute signed copies rather than doing it myself. So if you know of anyone who might be interested, let me know or send them my way!

That's about it for the main updates, so let's move onto some community stuff.

SPSFC 2 Semi-Finals

Last month, I announced the semi-finalists of Team Sciencefiction.News in the SPSFC2, and my reading is well underway. I'm currently working on my third book, and I've been reading them in order of longest to shortest. That is to say, I'm well ahead of schedule, and might even get to read some non-competition books this month or the next! 😅

Anyway, I posted my first review yesterday for Titan Hoppers by Rob J Hayes. I ended up greatly enjoying that book. It certainly knows its audience, which at times felt like the demographic of "teenage boys who like videogames." Luckily, I am a teenage boy at heart, despite being a thirty-one-year-old man. You can read my review by clicking Rob's book below!

More reviews to come!

A Giveaway...but not mine!

You didn't think you'd get a JoshSE newsletter without mention of a giveaway, did you? Maybe one day, but it is not this day.

However, the giveaway in question is being run not by me but by indie fantasy author and fellow user of the word 'Grave' in his book title, Michael Roberti:

There are lots of prizes and lots of ways to enter, so get in on this while you still can. Maybe you'll win a signed copy of one of these two great-looking books.

New Indie Fantasy

As is tradition (twice in a row means it's a tradition, right?), I'm bringing you some indie fantasy that's hot off the presses. On the first of this month, Joseph John Lee launched Pale Night, Red Fields, a novella that ties into his series, The Spellbinders and the Gunslingers. I picked up a copy on release day – or rather I should say, I downloaded a copy on release day, because the book is free to all his newsletter subscribers.

You can also pick it up on Amazon for &0.99 if you prefer, along with his novel The Bleeding Stone, for which Joe is soon launching a Kickstarter to fund an audiobook.

Good stuff! I love to see indie authors thriving like this, don't you?

Well, I told you it was going to be a long one. Thanks a ton if you've stuck around with me this far. I'll be back next month with another chapter of Grave of the Waiting and an update on Sibling Suns 2. See you then, and as always, thanks for reading!