Free and 99¢ books for February

Free:

L’enfer, c’est la Solitude

L’enfer, c’est la Solitude

eBook: free!
Two planets on the verge of war. Each has sent a single soldier to a military outpost so remote that the only other people to talk with are each other. What happens when one of them gets shot down—and survives? More info →
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Brothers in Exile

Brothers in Exile

eBook: free!
Isaac and Aaron are nothing if not survivors. Their homeworld lost and their people scattered, all they have left is each other. Then, in the Far Outworlds, they find a dead colony with a beautiful young woman frozen in cryostasis. She is also a survivor—and she needs their help. More info →
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99¢

Strangers in Flight

Strangers in Flight

eBook: 99¢ sale!
When Reva Starchild went into cryosleep, she wasn't prepared to be the sole survivor of a people that history never remembered. Isaac wants to help her, but he carries a secret that may decide the outcome of the war. Little does he know, the Imperials aren't the only ones hunting him. More info →
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Comrades in Hope

Comrades in Hope

eBook: 99¢ sale!
Isaac and Aaron have joined the war effort, and not a moment too soon. The Imperials are poised to strike at the heart of the New Pleiades and obliterate the ragtag flotilla standing in their way. Aaron always wanted to prove himself, but he was never ready to make the ultimate sacrifice—until now. More info →
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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

End of May update

So it’s the end of another month, and I’m happy to report that things are going well. Gunslinger to the Stars has had a decent release, and seems to be on its way to grow into its natural readership. I don’t want to push it too hard just yet, better to wait until a few reviews and also boughts come in. But I can push the short story, “Jane Carter of Earth and the Rescue that Never Was.” Will be interesting to see whether that garners interest in the novel.

On the writing front, I’m making good progress on Patriots in Retreat, my current WIP. The plan is to finish the last four Sons of the Starfarers books in quick succession, in order to release them one after another in the beginning of 2018. The covers are all done, and the editing shouldn’t be too expensive, so if I can knock all these books off over the summer, I’ll be in good shape.

The goal is to write each one of them in four weeks, with a week-long buffer between each draft. I’m trying out a new writing method—actually, a method I used to use when I was a kid but laid aside when I wrote my first novel. Instead of writing several distinct drafts, I’m cycling through the previous day’s work in order to produce a more clean first draft.

When I wrote my first novel, the goal was just to finish the thing, so instead of trying to fix all the problems with it as I went along, I prioritized getting to the end. Needless to say, that hot mess of a novel will never see the light of day. But for some reason, I’ve stuck with that method of writing ever since, sometimes to great detriment. Heart of the Nebula took several years to complete because the first two drafts were full of plot holes, worldbuilding inconsistencies, and totally useless characters.

Of course, back then I was a much less experienced writer and needed some emotional distance in order to figure out how to fix my own work. But now, I think I’ve got a pretty good handle of it. So we’ll try out the cycling thing with these books and see how it goes.

I did recently reread the first book, Brothers in Exile. Have to say, it’s not my best work. Not that the story itself is bad, but the writing is pretty poor and needs a good polish. Also, some of the character reactions are off. There’s a bit more melodrama than I’d like, and not enough consistency.

Again, nothing in need of a complete overhaul. Just a touch up. And maybe this is more just a recognition of how much my writing has improved over the last couple of years (at least, I hope that’s what it is). But once the last four books are done, I plan to take a couple of weeks to really touch it up.

In other news, The Sword Keeper, my first fantasy novel, is just about finished and on track for a September release. There’s a couple of issues my first readers have pointed out, but it’s more a question of patching the sails than bringing her into drydock and building a new hull. The next big step after sending it off to the editor is to find a good cover artist. I’ll probably post a classified on Deviantart, see who bites.

I really want an illustrated cover, not one of these photo-realistic things that all tend to blend together (or worse, copy the same stock photos). Those do tend to be a bit more expensive, but for my first fantasy novel, I’m willing to pay a little more.

On the publishing side of things, I’ve got a short story single and a short story bundle lined up for June. It didn’t seem fair to release the one story as a single only to release it a couple months later in a bundle, so I’m doing them both together. The cover is pretty spiffy—I’ll be sure to do a reveal later this week.

And that just about does it. Lots of things to do on the publishing side, lots of stories to write on the writing side, but it’s all coming together and I think you’ll really enjoy how it turns out. Take care!

What’s going on with Sons of the Starfarers?

ssf-i-large-coverssf-ii-large-coverssf-iii-large-coverssf-iv-large-coverssf-v-large-coverSSF-VI (cover)

I don’t know how many people are looking forward to the last four Sons of the Starfarers books, but I feel like I owe you an explanation for what is (or rather, isn’t) going on with the series.

I started the series back in 2014, after publishing the last Star Wanderers novella. Star Wanderers was an experiment with the trendy advice among indie authors at the time, to split up a wider story arc into lots of short books in a linear series, with the first one permanently free.

For the first two years, the experiment paid off—so much so that I decided to write another series using the same trendy publishing advice. That series was Sons of the Starfarers.

But then, things started to go downhill. Amazon introduced Kindle Unlimited, and the algorithms changed in ways that no longer favored the trendy publishing advice. Star Wanderers began to languish, and Sons of the Starfarers never took off in the way I’d hoped that it would. Up to this point, 90% of my sales were on Amazon. Needless to say, my career took an enormous hit.

Most indie authors in my position reacted by going all in with Kindle Unlimited. Essentially, they dumped 2012’s trendy advice for 2014’s trendy advice. I took the opposite tact and went back to basics.

This still left the awkward question of what to do with the unfinished Sons of the Starfarers series. Abandon it? That was unthinkable. But it wasn’t practical to finish it either, seeing as I needed something that would actually pay the bills.

So I kicked it around for a couple of years, working on it between other projects but not making it a huge priority. In this way, I wrote and published Friends in Command and Captives in Obscurity. But as more time passed, it soon became clear that this wouldn’t work. The books were getting harder to write as I became more distanced from the story, and releasing them piecemeal wasn’t exactly boosting sales of the previous books in the series.

A couple of days ago, I wrote up a publishing schedule for 2017. My goal is to have a new release every month. A couple of novels are on the schedule, including Gunslinger to the Stars and The Sword Keeper, but as of now there are no Sons of the Starfarers books.

This is not because I’m abandoning the series, however. Far from it. My goal is to release all of the last four books together, within a month of each other. In order to do this properly, I’m going to write them all together in one big sprint, probably sometime next year.

I haven’t planned out everything yet, but I do have all the titles figured out. They are:

  • Brothers in Exile
  • Comrades in Hope
  • Strangers in Flight
  • Friends in Command
  • Captives in Obscurity
  • Patriots in Retreat
  • A Queen in Hiding
  • An Empire in Disarray
  • Victors in Liberty

If I had the money, I would commission all of the covers right now (my poor cover designer thought this job would be finished a year ago—at least he got an advance!), but what money I have needs to go toward producing Gunslinger to the Stars. No idea how long it will take. And the books themselves probably won’t come out until 2018.

So don’t worry, I have not and will not abandon this series. If you’re waiting, I apologize for taking so long, and also for the fact that you’re probably going to be waiting a while longer. But the good news is that when the last four books do come out, they will come out in quick succession. So there’s only one more big wait. Hopefully that’s good news.

Sorry!

Where’s SONS OF THE STARFARERS: BOOK IV?

have you seen it yetSo it’s been several months since I released Strangers in Flight (Sons of the Starfarers: Book III), and I’ve already gotten some flak from people waiting impatiently for Book IV: Friends in Command. Some of you may be wondering about that yourself, considering how I wrote and released the first three books within a couple of months of each other.

Well, here’s what’s going on. I wrote Friends in Command a couple of months ago and sent it out to my test readers, hoping that they would enjoy it. Many of them did, but they pointed out some problems that required a major rewrite. Essentially, I had put the entire novel in one character’s point of view, but there were plot points that happened outside of her point of view that made that not work.

So I went back and did a major revision, throwing in Aaron as the secondary POV character. And the plot points turned much smoother. But when I sent it out to a second round of test readers, they told me that it felt too much like a bridge story—that something was still missing. It wasn’t that the book was broken, or that the story didn’t come together properly. The story was good, but the book wasn’t as satisfying as I wanted it to be.

Now, Friends in Command is part four in a nine-part series, so in a lot of ways it really is a bridge. But I want this story to be more than that—to be strong enough to stand on its own, and not just set things up for the later books. Kind of like how Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes back sets things up for Jedi, but is an amazing movie in its own right (arguably the best one in the whole franchise). So with the new feedback, I identified some character elements that I needed to develop, and went back to work.

So far in the series, each book has centered around a different character. The first book, Brothers in Exile, focused on Isaac, the older and more responsible brother. The second book, Comrades in Hope, focused on Aaron, the younger brother who is eager for a chance to prove himself. Strangers in Flight revolved around Reva, the girl that they rescued in the first book, and Friends in Command revolves around Mara, the close friend and confidante that Aaron makes in book two.

The main thing is that I’m doing all I can to make this book as great as possible. I could have pushed it out a couple of months ago just for the sake of putting it out quickly, but I didn’t want to do that until I knew I’d written a quality book. So don’t be worried that I’ve dropped the ball, or that I’ve abandoned the series—I definitely have not! I’m just hard at work making sure it’s done right.

If you’ve been eagerly awaiting the next Sons of the Starfarers book, the good news is that I think I’m just about ready to release it. I’m finishing up with the third round revisions today, and I feel really good about it. I’m still going to send it out for one last test reading pass, just to make sure, and if everything’s good I’ll send it out to my editor before the end of the month. My cover designer is already working on the cover, and my editor says he should have a slot open very soon.

So if all goes well, I’ll put Friends in Command up for pre-order in the first or second week of April. The pre-order price will be $.99, with a tentative release date of May 1st. If things don’t go well, I may have to do another revision pass, but I’ll still do my best to release the book by June.

Six months without a new release is far, far too long. Fortunately, I have some other books coming down the pipeline, such as Heart of the Nebula, a full-length novel and direct sequel to Bringing Stella Home. With luck, that one will be out before the end of the year. And I’m about halfway through with The Sword Keeper, another awesome novel that I think you guys are really going to enjoy.

Lots of stuff going on! I’d better get back to work, but don’t worry—the books are coming!