Instafreebie Giveaways for October

In case you haven’t read it yet, Outworlder is currently available on InstaFreebie in exchange for signing up for my email newsletter. This is the first Star Wanderers novella, my most popular series thus far.

If you have already picked up a copy, you may be interested in some of these other fine InstaFreebie giveaways for the month of October. I haven’t read all of these books, but they look pretty interesting and I’ll probably pick up a few on my own.

As with Outworlder, you can receive a free copy of any of the listed books in exchange for signing up to the author’s email list.


Thanks for reading!

Beginning of September Update

It’s September, my favorite month of the year! Maybe I’ll revisit that post in a blast from the past or something. So many reasons why September is awesome.

Things are going well on the writing front. I’ve switched up my daily routine to make more writing time, and it’s working well so far. My alarm goes off at 5:45 am (just after oh-dark-thirty) and I write for about an hour before heading off to my part time job. I’ve found that I tend to write a lot more when I start first thing in the day, so the earlier I can start, the better.

I won’t bore you with the rest of my routine, unless you want me to write a post about it. There’s a bunch of interesting lifestyle tweaks I’ve been trying out, like reading a couple chapters from one of the books I’m reading as soon as I get back from work in the afternoon, in order to refill the creative well and not get caught in a Youtube / general internet trap. Stuff like that.

My current WIP is A Queen in Hiding (Sons of the Starfarers, Book 7) which is proving to be a surprisingly difficult book. It’s definitely one of the weirdest things I’ve ever written, and that’s saying a lot. In Captives in Obscurity, Reva and Isaac get assimilated into a hive mind, and things only get crazier from there.

Sometimes, stories come really easy, almost like they spring fully formed from the mind. Other times, I’ve found I have to throw out almost the entire first draft before I discover the story.

The weird thing is that it has nothing to do with actual book length. Stars of Blood and Glory and Outworlder are totally different lengths, but they both came out almost perfect in the first draft. However, almost all of the Star Wanderers novellas took multiple drafts filled with stuff that had to be cut. Heart of the Nebula took years to finish, and I had to throw out multiple characters and subplots. I struggled for a long time with Genesis Earth, until I decided to throw the whole thing out and start with a blank page. The book was finished less than four weeks later.

The holy grail, of course, is to write a perfect book in four to six weeks (or less!) every time I set off to start a new one. But as awesome as it would be to barf rainbows and poop gold, all of those things sadly remain out of reach.

My goal at this point is to publish the last four Sons of the Starfarers books in 2018, two months apart from each other. Ideally, I’d like to have the next one up for preorder in time for the previous one’s release. It’s going to take some coordination, but I already have all the covers, which leaves just the writing and editing (metadata and formatting doesn’t take more than a day).

Unfortunately, that isn’t going to happen unless I can get A Queen in Hiding ready to go by December. So that’s what I’m trying to do.

Gunslinger to the Galaxy is on hold for now, though so far it’s coming along very nicely. I should be able to pick it up and finish without too much trouble. Edenfall is also on hold, for how much longer I really don’t know. Before the end of 2018, I’d like to publish either the one or the other, but publishing them both is probably a bit of a stretch.

Also, I haven’t even started The Sword Bearer yet (second book in the Twelfth Sword Trilogy), though I have lots of great ideas for it. Since The Sword Keeper is coming out in just a couple weeks, I should probably get on that.

On the publishing side, I dropped the ball a bit in August. It took so much energy to get The Sword Keeper ready for publication that I totally spaced publishing anything. I do have a bunch of shorts that are nearing the end of the submissions gauntlet, and some bundles that can go up too.

I don’t sell many print books, but I want to get print versions of all of my books up, including short stories. That’s going to be an ongoing project for a while. I also want to put up audiobook versions eventually, but it’s going to take some time to get that ball rolling. However, it has moved up the priority list.

That’s pretty much it. So much stuff I want to do, so little time to do it. Time, money, or youth: you can only pick two (and one of them isn’t your choice).

Take care, and thanks for reading!

All of my books and stories, in series order

A friend of mine recently asked me to give him a list of all my books in series order. That was just the kick in the pants I needed to put this page together. For your convenience, I’m putting it up as a blog post too. The links to all the book pages will appear on the series page as soon as I can get around to it.

Joe Vasicek

Gaia Nova

The Gaia Nova books are all mid-sized novels (75k to 110k words). It is a far-future space opera series that takes place in a galactic empire long after Earth has been lost to legend. They can be read in any order, but they take place in the same universe with recurring characters. They are listed in the order in which they were published. Heart of the Nebula is a direct sequel to Bringing Stella Home.

Bringing Stella Home
Desert Stars
Stars of Blood and Glory
Heart of the Nebula
Mercenary Savior (forthcoming)
Empress of the Last Free Stars (forthcoming)

Star Wanderers

The Star Wanderers books are novellas (15k to 35k). They take place in the same universe as Gaia Nova one thousand years earlier. The first four books are linear, while the last four books are parallaxes of the first four, from the point of view of the side characters.

Outworlder
Fidelity
Sacrifice
Homeworld
Dreamweaver
Benefactor
Reproach
Deliverance

The Jeremiah Chronicles (Omnibus 1-4)
Tales of the Far Outworlds (Omnibus 5-6)

Sons of the Starfarers

The Sons of the Starfarer books are short novels (35k to 45k words) that take place in the same universe as Star Wanderers, with a few recurring minor characters from those books. It is a linear series.

Brother in Exile
Comrades in Hope
Strangers in Flight
Friends in Command
Captives in Obscurity
Patriots in Retreat (forthcoming)
A Queen in Hiding (forthcoming)
An Empire in Disarray (forthcoming)
Victors in Liberty (forthcoming)

Sons of the Starfarers (Omnibus 1-3)

Gunslinger Trilogy

These books are all short to mid-sized novels (50k to 90k words). They take place about 40 years in the future, after Earth makes contact with the galactics.

Gunslinger to the Stars
Gunslinger to the Galaxy (forthcoming)
Gunslinger to Earth (forthcoming)

The Twelfth Sword Trilogy

These epic fantasy books are all mid-sized to long novels (85k words and up).

The Sword Keeper (forthcoming)
The Sword Bearer (forthcoming)
The Sword Mistress (forthcoming)

Genesis Earth Trilogy

These are all mid-sized novels (about 70k words) that take place in the near to mid-future.

Genesis Earth
Edenfall (forthcoming)
The Stars of Redemption (forthcoming)

Short Stories and Novelettes

Below are all of my short stories and novelettes, in the order in which they were published. If they first appeared in a magazine or anthology, I’ve included that in parentheses.

Decision LZ1527 (Leading Edge Magazine, December 2009)
Memoirs of a Snowflake
A Hill on Which to Die
Starchild
L’enfer, c’est la Solitude
(Perehilion SF, March 2016)
The Curse of the Lifewalker
(Sci Phi Journal, June 2016)
The Gettysburg Paradox
Utahraptors at Dawn
Welcome to Condescension
Killing Mister Wilson
My Name is For My Friends
Jane Carter of Earth and the Rescue that Never Was
The Open Source Time Machine

J.M. Wight

Short Stories

Worlds Without Number

The timelessness of novels

Every few months, an article about the “death of the novel” makes the rounds on the internet. This subject, the impending doom of one of literature’s most enduring forms, is a perennial favorite for bookish handwringers everywhere. If it isn’t ebooks that’s going to kill the novel, it’s millennials, the internet, our dwindling attention spans, or one of a hundred other things.

As a professional writer, though, I am awestruck by the timelessness of the novel. Think about it:

From its origin with Don Quixote in 1605, the modern novel has endured through social and political upheaval, global pandemics, the collapse of numerous societies, the most devastating war the world has ever seen, genocide and holocaust on an industrial scale, and rise and fall of half a dozen global empires. The world today would be unrecognizable to a person from Cervantes’ time, yet the novel has endured.

Movies didn’t kill the novel. Television didn’t kill the novel. Video games didn’t kill the novel. On the contrary—numerous franchises from Star Trek to Halo have a thriving line of novel tie-ins. When the ebook revolution was just getting started, people thought that so-called “enhanced novels” would dominate the marketplace. They failed to realize that all of the added audio-visual content was a distraction for most readers. Plain text is not a bug, it’s a feature.

It’s important here to make a distinction between novels and other literary forms, such as novellas and short stories. The other forms have endured as well, but not with anything approaching the popularity of the novel. Short stories are great for exploring an idea, but not so good at immersing the reader into another world. Novellas are great for telling an intimate story about two or three characters, but not nearly as good at conveying scope or intrigue.

There’s something about a novel-length story that captures the imagination in a way that other forms just can’t. Whether it’s the large cast of characters, the intricate world-building, or the interplay of numerous subplots, novels are more immersive, and therefore have the capacity to be much more satisfying. Little wonder, then, that the novel has endured.

I’ve seen this in my own books, too. Over the years, I’ve done relatively little to promote my full-length novels, and yet they still chug along with a steady month-to-month trickle of sales. When I do promote them, such as with this month’s free run of Genesis Earth, the results are astounding. My full-length novels also tend to receive much higher reviews.

In my second year of self-publishing, I got impatient and switched to novellas. While I don’t think that was a mistake, it did not provide the foundation for a lasting career. The Star Wanderers novellas did well for a couple of years, but I don’t think they’re going to endure in their current form.

I love writing novellas, but the books that I’m proudest of are all novels. Where novellas entice, novels satisfy. Where novellas tell an intimate story, novels possess greater depth. As such, I think it’s time for a change.

In the next couple of months, I’m going to prune back my catalog a bit. The Star Wanderers series will still all be up there, but I’m going to remove the individual novellas from sale, keeping the omnibus editions instead. This will pave the way for a sequel novel, Children of the Starry Sea, which I’ve already started work on.

I will probably remove most of my older short stories, and some of the derivative works. I don’t want to clutter my book pages with my earlier practice work, or anything that looks too obviously self-published.

I’m not sure what I’m going to do with Sons of the Starfarers just yet. I’ll definitely finish the series, but I’m not sure whether to do the other two omnibus editions or to just release each individual book in print. I’m toying with the idea of releasing the last four books in rapid succession, to build some momentum for the series, but it would take some time to write them, which means that Patriots in Retreat (Book VI) would be delayed for maybe a year.

I’m definitely going to turn Genesis Earth into a trilogy. No idea when the next book, Edenfall, is going to come out, but I’m going to do as thorough a job with that book as I did for Genesis Earth, which means it may take a while.

Novels take a lot longer for me to write than shorter books, but the end result is generally worth it. The trouble is that without a busy release schedule, sales tend to dwindle as you fall out of readers’ minds. I’ll try to make up for that by upping my marketing game and running more free and group promotions. In the meantime, anything you guys can do to spread the word would help!

I’ve got a couple of really awesome projects that should be coming out before the end of the year: The Sword Keeper, Gunslinger to the Stars, and a bunch of other stuff that’s really going to branch out my catalog. I’ve also got a couple of short stories that should be appearing in some new markets soon. Be sure to keep an eye out, and let me know what you think!

Patty Jansen’s January Free Book Promo

Fellow SF&F author Patty Jansen is running a massive free book promo over on her blog, and Star Wanderers: Outworlder (Part I) is one of the books being featured. For some other great SF&F titles, be sure to check it out!