Welcome, welcome, welcome to this month's edition of the Archefire Newsletter! What month is it? Well, if you haven't heard...

Hoo boy, that really takes me back to the old meme days of yore. Oh, to be 20 again, actually using my Facebook account. Simpler times. A bygone era, and probably one best left in the past.

Now, that's enough lollygagging. We've got a lot to cover, and I'm stressed. Why am I stressed, you ask?

Well, it's because of this: 👇


Indeed, the cover of To Burn All Belief is out in the wild! What's more, we have a release date: June 4, 2024. That's right, I'm releasing this puppy on my birthday. And yes, it's 100% to guilt-trip you all into buying me a $2.99 birthday present.

Just joking. It's because in The Odyssey of JoshSE: Year 32, I set my one and only goal to publish this book before my 33rd birthday, and gosh dangit I really want to complete all my goals for once. So it's only 98% to guilt-trip you into buying birthday presents for me.

My wife is not happy about this release date—she thinks I'll be spending all day responding to comments about the book rather than celebrating my birthday. To which I reply, "How else would I celebrate my birthday?"

/* I kid, I kid. I'll spend time with my family, Rachel, I promise! (She reads this newsletter. She's always watching.) */

Back to the cover reveal! If you don't want to click the link, and I know you don't (I have stats on this, you link-averse heathens), you can feast your eyes upon the full cover right here:

Huge thanks to Felix Ortiz and Shawn T. King for this!

Fire, blood, a main character who's clearly going through some stuff—what more could you want in a fantasy cover? Dragons? Bah. Swords? So 2022. If you're as enticed as I know you must be, sign up for an eARC to start reading the book as early as...checks watch...right now!

Yup, I've thrown all caution to the wind. There's no vetting of ARC readers this time. As soon as you fill out the form, you'll get a link to the download page. The form is just for informational purposes. Doesn't matter if you've read An Ocean of Others, even.

Speaking of which, An Ocean of Others is free right now on Kindle! Go pick up a copy if you haven't already.

And while you're over there on the 'Zon, why not consider giving To Burn All Belief a cheeky little pre-order? This is certainly my finest book to date, and if you've read An Ocean of Others, I think you're going to be both shocked and satisfied with where this one takes the story. Not to mention, it's a great early birthday present. See? I just can't help myself.

One last thing for the cover reveal. Over on Twitter/X/Elontopia, I'm running a giveaway (another thing I just can't help myself with). If you want a shot at winning a signed copy, share the cover reveal post and make sure you're following me. It'll really help me spread the word, and you may get a free book in the process!

What's left?

Like I said, I'm stressed. It's not just because of the cover reveal. That's just the culmination of all the work I've done this month preparing this book for release. I also have a looming deadline: I have to pick up my puppy from daycare in like...10 minutes!? Darkfather, where has this day gone?

So, what else have I done this month? What's left to do before release? It's been hectic, to say the least. I've spent 1.5x more time in April than I did in January, February, and March combined preparing for the release. Putting a new book out is no joke, folks!

If you recall, I was in the middle of 3.0 revisions when I sent out the April newsletter. I wrapped those up about a week later and sent it off to Stacey for final edits. While waiting, I finished writing 60 epigraphs for all the chapters of To Burn All Belief. Those were a lot of fun—writing them was like creating a puzzle for you to piece together while reading. I'll be curious to see the theories readers come up with based on those!

Many of those epigraphs were lyrics thanks to Lorelay, everyone's favorite blasphemous bard, taking center stage in To Burn All Belief. This time I don't have to pull an example from Mark Lawrence's X account and can show you an actual epigraph of my own!

In the middle of writing these epigraphs, Stacey sent me...oh wait, hold on. I've got to go pick up Nazgul.



25 minutes later

Hey, sorry about that. Where was I? Oh yes, so in the middle of the writing the epigraphs, Stacey sent her final edits. I took care of all those in a single night, finalized the epigraphs the next day, and have been working on formatting for a week straight.

Formatting is the step where I take an ugly Word doc with no style and unsightly blue underlines all over the place (no, Word, I don't care if this verb or phrase may strike the reader as too informal) and turn it into a beautiful page fit for the paperback or eBook release.

The magic of formatting

It's one of those little detail-oriented problem-solving tasks that I could do for hours. In fact, I usually can't stop myself from doing just that. My average formatting session was over 3.5 hours. But the eBook is looking top-notch now, so it was worth it!

All that's left is to finalize the paperback—it always requires so additional steps after the eBook is done—and then the book will be ready for showtime! The end is in sight!


What's that? You think that doggy daycare thing was just a gag? I assure you, that was exactly when I left to pick him up and how long it took to return. Look, here he is now, right behind me.

There's a tournament going on!

The predictions are in! The votes have been cast! A Tournament of Others continues!

Let's take a look at the standings.

In round one, Bengard slayed a Benefactor and came out on top. Inac torched a mortician and will be going head-to-head with the veteran Finger. Ulken defeats a small boy, and in a stunning upset, Reed beat out Lorelay for the spot against his old friend. (Lorelay and Reed actually tied in the poll, so I jumped into a Discord call and made my friend Cris cast the tiebreaker. He's read the book; he just voted wrong for some reason.)

In any case, that's big news for my pal Tim and his prediction, "Reed em and weep." This can't be allowed to stand, but who am I to question the will of the people?

Pay no attention to the Author's Prediction in last place

With that stunner of an opener, we're on to round two!

  • Lomin, hunter of the Shaded Grounds vs. Andya, the stink-cart
  • Sentyx, faces into the wind vs. Vinlin, heir to the Bright Throne
  • Dunnax, oathbreaking Paladin vs. Garret, Ekoan ranger
  • Grim, the last bounty hunter vs. Jacquin, Ulken's First Eye

Cast your votes! Only you can decide who will progress to the quarterfinals in the greatest tournament of the millennium!

Monthly Question

To wrap up, we've got our monthly question and giveaway. Last time, I wanted to read some indie reviews, and it sounds like you're all reading some great books! For your efforts reviewing indies (I salute you), the Wheel will be allowed to decide your fate.

And the winner is...

Incredibly, this man has won two giveaways in a row! Just to keep me honest, I included the number of Results (1) in the screenshot to show I'm not re-spinning to favor any one person. The Wheel cannot be questioned. The Wheel cannot be altered. Chad, you will have your Lorelay mug—in whatever size you desire!

As for this month, well, it only seems fitting that the giveaway is To Burn All Belief related. I'll be ordering proof copies once the paperback formatting is finished. For An Ocean of Others, I sent out physical ARCs, so there are a handful of those out in the wild. To Burn All Belief, on the other hand, will only have ~3 of those copies. They'll be rare! Seems like a fitting giveaway prize to me.

If you don't know what a proof copy is, they're the ones I get from Amazon to make sure everything looks good ahead of publication. Here's what they look like:

To win a To Burn All Belief author copy, signed and dedicated to you, all you have to do is answer the monthly question in the comments below:

What is your CRAZIEST prediction for what will happen in To Burn All Belief?

I want to hear some truly insane theories. I'm talking "Tyrion is a time-traveling fetus" levels of craziness (100% chance that's going to be the most clicked link in this post). Show me what your deranged mind is capable of!

No More Puppy Pictures

Did your heart just skip a beat? I'm sorry, it's cruel to say, but there will be no more puppy pictures in these newsletters.

Because Nazgul is officially one year old! He's not a puppy anymore, he's a full-blown doggo!

We threw him a birthday party and absolutely spoiled him (and his diet). It's what he deserves for being such a good boy, incessant barking notwithstanding.

Now that he's a big doggo, he thinks he can eat entire trees. Spoiler alert: he can't.

He'll settle for a small stick instead.

Then when it gets too hot (black fur heats up quick!) he comes inside to stretch his legs and look as cute as ever.

Phew! That was a fittingly long newsletter for a long month. I'm very much looking forward to a vacation in June, but first there's work to be done getting this book out the door. I hope you're as excited to read it as I am to publish it! That's all I've got for now. Next month will be The Odyssey of JoshSE: Year 33 with all the usual retrospective in addition to the book release. Should be exciting!

As always, thanks for reading!