Early January Update

The holidays are over. Blergh.

I don’t generally do well when my routine gets broken up by outside forces, which is why this blog has fallen by the wayside for the last week or so. I’m also not very good at creating structure in my life where none exists, so during times like the holidays I don’t tend to do very well. This is definitely a skill that I need to work on.

In any case, the holidays are over, which means it’s time to get back to work. Thank goodness!

I am about 10,000 words from finishing my current WIP, An Empire in Disarray. With the work on my friends’ basement finished and my roommate starting school in Salt Lake today, there shouldn’t be any more interruptions between now and the end of next week. This bodes well.

When that’s done, I’ll jump right into work on Victors in Liberty. I’ve got to admit, there are other projects I’d really like to work on right now, but finishing Sons of the Starfarers takes priority.

The series was supposed to be finished way back in 2015. But I underestimated the volume of work I’d taken on—and that was before I got a girlfriend. I fell behind on my writing as the relationship got really serious, and then we broke up, which didn’t help with productivity either.

Long story short, I did a lot of things wrong back in 2014. But I learned from my mistakes, and I think my books are better because of it. So instead of finishing up Sons of the Starfarers in 2015, I’m finishing it now in 2018. And then I’m moving on to other projects.

Edenfall is at the top of that list. It’s been years since I started the Genesis Earth trilogy, which is another ball that I’ve dropped. Genesis Earth does stand alone, but I’ve been promising to finish the trilogy since I published it in 2011, and judging from the reviews (as well as the slow but remarkably steady trickle of sales), this is a WIP that deserves to get priority.

One thing I’m really trying to do this year is to get better at structuring things: my writing, my publishing and marketing efforts, my daily routine, etc. Towards that end, I’ve put together a publishing schedule for 2018. Here it is as it stands at the beginning of the new year:

  • JANUARY — Patriots in Retreat (Sons of the Starfarers, Book 6)
  • FEBRUARY — The Janus Anomaly: A Short Story
  • MARCH — A Queen in Hiding (Sons of the Starfarers, Book 7)
  • APRIL — Time and Space in Amish Country: A Short Story
  • MAY — An Empire in Disarray (Sons of the Starfarers, Book 8)
  • JUNE — Lizzie-99XT: A Short Story
  • JULY — Victors in Liberty (Sons of the Starfarers, Book 9)
  • AUGUST — Edenfall (Genesis Earth Trilogy, Book 2)
  • SEPTEMBER — Sholpan
  • OCTOBER — The Sword Bearer (The Twelfth Sword Trilogy, Book 2)
  • NOVEMBER — In the Beginning: A Short Story
  • DECEMBER — Gunslinger to the Galaxy (Gunslingers Trilogy, Book 2)

Lots of book 2s and finishing series. I suppose you could say this is the year where I start to finish what I’ve started.

And while the schedule may seem a bit daunting, the first four books are already ready to go, with Patriots in Retreat and A Queen in Hiding already up for preorder. Of the ones that are left, half are already written. So even though it seems ambitious, it’s actually quite doable, even if something crazy happens and I end up eloping to Mongolia before the end of the summer.

So that’s what I’m up to. I’ll get back to blogging as I can, but my first priority is writing, followed closely by publishing. Lots of behind the scenes stuff happening which I don’t have time to get into right now.

Take care, and thanks for reading!


Late November Update

Is it time for another update? Why yes, I suppose it is.

Sons of the Starfarers is coming along quite well. Book 6, Patriots in Retreat, is up for preorder right now with a release date of January 19th. My editor just got back with the edits for book 7, A Queen in Hiding. Haven’t had a chance to look through those yet, but I will in the near future. Come January, that book will be up for preorder as well, with a release date of March 16th.

Right now, I’m writing book 8, An Empire in Disarray, with a hard deadline of 22 December (just before Christmas). Normally, I’d be panicking right now, but I’m trying out a new outlining method that seems to be working quite well. If everything works out the way I hope, I’ll finish up book 9 sometime in February and move on to other projects.

Looking back, it was a mistake to set out to write a nine-book series before knowing how the first one would do. If I could go back to 2009 and do it all over again, I’d stick to trilogies, where the first book stands well enough alone that I can abandon the other two books if it doesn’t gain much traction. That’s going to be my modus operandi from here on out.

So here are the trilogies I need to finish:

Genesis Earth Trilogy

This one has been outstanding for a long time. The first book did much better than I was expecting, and while its popularity has fallen off in recent years, it still gets very good reviews. For a first novel, I’m honestly surprised that this book has done as well as it has.

The second book, Edenfall, is still on the back burner for now. Partially written, partially outlined, it shouldn’t take more than a couple of months to get it done when I finally sit down to finish it.

As for book three, The Stars of Redemption, I have no idea because I haven’t even outlined it yet. Perhaps that’s what I need to get the ball rolling: outline the last book, so I know what has to happen in the second book. In any case.

Gunslingers Trilogy

Gunslinger to the Stars hasn’t done as well as I would have liked, but I enjoy this universe so much that I’m going to finish the trilogy if for no other reason than the fun of it. I’ve already written the first four or five chapters of Gunslinger to the Galaxy, and it’s coming along swimmingly. In fact, I’ll probably go right back to it after finishing up Sons of the Starfarers and call it a vacation. Expect to see more Jane Carter soon!

The Twelfth Sword Trilogy

I am super super excited to finish this trilogy—which is good, because the way the first book ends, it’s definitely not a standalone. Definitely not. Haven’t formally outlined it yet, but there’s a ton of stuff I’m going to throw into the second book, The Sword Bearer. Mercenaries, sorcerors, death mages, winged cataphracts, desert ruins, and mountain strongholds—it’s going to be great fun!

The Outworlds Trilogy

For a while now, I’ve been playing around with the idea of condensing all of Star Wanderers into a novel and then turning it into a trilogy. The first book will basically be made up of bits and pieces from all of the Star Wanderers novellas, spliced together to make a coherent novel. In particular, I’d like to expand on Noemi’s viewpoint and trim out some (or a lot) of the extraneous stuff that made the series drag on. Basically, turn it into less of a sci-fi romance and more of a classic space opera.

I’ve already started the sequel, Children of the Starry Sea, though I haven’t gotten past the first chapter. Where Star Wanderers is a series of novellas, though, Children of the Starry Sea is definitely a proper novel, and it would probably work a lot better to frame it as a trilogy than anything else.

I suppose it’s a bit like how Orson Scott Card turned a bunch of his early short stories into The Worthing Saga, which in my opinion is his very best book. I won’t unpublish any of the old Star Wanderers stuff, but I may just let it fade into obscurity as I push the other stuff.

These are the books that are on my mind. I’ve got to be honest: Sons of the Starfarers feels a bit like a ball and chain, but I’ve committed to finishing it and I’ll do my best to finish it well.

On the publishing front, there’s so much stuff I want to do that I’m having trouble keeping up with it all. My main goal is to get to 10k subscribers on my email list. Currently, I’m just shy of 4k. InstaFreebie has been hugely useful for that, but I’ve got to try other strategies as well. One of those strategies involves a new signup incentive, so if you’re already signed up for my email list, I’ve got a surprise for you soon.

So much stuff going on. I swear, this is the best depiction of what it’s like to be an indie author:


It’s finally out, guys! The Sword Keeper is now available for your reading pleasure. If you haven’t already preordered it, pick up your copy today!

The Sword Keeper

The Sword Keeper

Only those who rise to their calling discover why they were chosen.

Tamuna Leladze always dreamed of adventure, but never expected to answer its call. That changes when a wandering knight arrives at her aunt's tavern. He is the keeper of a magic sword that vanished from the pages of history more than a thousand years ago. The sword has a mind and a memory, and it has chosen Tamuna for purpose far greater than she knows.
Order Now!
About the Book

Only those who rise to their calling discover why they were chosen.

A thousand years ago, an order of twelve magic swords kept the world at peace. Each sword had a personality, a mind, and a memory. Through the bonds they shared with their bearers, the wisdom and skill of generations was preserved.

But the swords became corrupted. They turned on each other, shattering the order and plunging the world into war. The twelfth sword went into hiding until the day of prophecy, when the last sword bearer would free the world of men.

That day has come, and the sword bearer of prophecy is a mere tavern girl.

Tamuna Leladze never sought for this honor. Raised by her aunt Sopiko, her only knowledge of foreign lands came from the travelers who passed through her aunt’s tavern. She always dreamed of adventure, but never thought she would answer its call.

But when a wandering knight arrives at the end of the harvest season, all that begins to change. The old knight is the keeper of the sword Imeris, who has chosen her in the eleventh hour. For far to the north, a terrible empire has unleashed a reign of blood, fire, and steel. Led by an evil brotherhood more ancient than the sword itself, their darkness will soon sweep the land.

As events carry Tamuna far from her village home, she cannot help but wonder if the sword has made a mistake.

This book is rated T according to the AO3 content rating system.

Series: The Twelfth Sword, Book 1
Genres: Epic Fantasy, Fantasy
Tag: 2017 Release
Publication Year: September 2017
Length: Novel
eBook Price: 5.99
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About the Author
Joe Vasicek

Joe Vasicek fell in love with science fiction with Star Wars as a child and hasn't looked back since. He is the author of more than twenty books, including Genesis Earth, Bringing Stella Home, Heart of the Nebula, and the Star Wanderers and Sons of the Starfarers series. As a young man, he studied Arabic at Brigham Young University and traveled across the Middle East and the Caucasus. He currently lives in Utah, which he claims as his home.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the page above are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. You will not receive any additional charge.

The Sword Keeper — excerpt 8

Master Ivanar looked Tamuna in the eye, putting both hands on her trembling shoulders. “We must go south, to the kingdom of Aramand. You’ll be safer there.”

“But what if Araste gives chase?” someone asked.

Ivanar turned to face the room. “We’ll split up to confuse him. I’ll travel to the coast and alert the Aramandi people so that they’ll be ready to receive us. In the meantime, we must do all we can to keep the sword bearer from being discovered.”

The faces around the room were grim, but several of them nodded in approval. Ivanar searched them until his eyes settled on a tall, blond-haired young man. He nodded, and the young man stepped forward, his expression as hard as flint.

Alex, I’m entrusting the girl to you. Take her west over the mountains, until you reach the stronghold at Akalika. Wait for me there.”

“Yes, Master Ivanar.”

Alex bowed curtly and turned to Tamuna. His arms were strong and muscular, his chest broad. He had a sharp chin and high cheekbones, with deep blue eyes. Even though he was clearly a warrior, he couldn’t have been more than a few years older than her.

You do realize that you may never come back, said Imeris. A war is coming, and this village may not be here when—or if—you return. I wish that you had more time to say goodbye, but that is a luxury neither of us can afford.

Tamuna swallowed, and her knees went weak. She glanced at Sopiko, whose face was red with rage. Part of her longed to hug her, but she hesitated, worried that her aunt would nag her for being so sentimental. In that brief moment of indecision, Aunt Sopiko turned and stormed out of the room before she could say goodbye.

“Here,” said Ivanar, fitting a cloak over her shoulders. “It’s a bit large, but it will have to do until we can get you a proper one.” He reached into his rucksack and pulled out what looked like a belt, but wider and with broad leather straps. As Tamuna adjusted the cloak, he put on the belt and fastened the scabbard to it.

“This may feel a bit cumbersome, but you’ll soon get used to it.”

Alex bent down and pulled the leather straps tight. When he was done, it felt as if she were carrying a bag of rocks on her hip, but the strap across her chest and shoulder offered enough support to make it comfortable.

You’ll grow used to it with time, said Imeris. I won’t always be such a burden.

“No, it’s fine,” she said aloud, blushing as she remembered that only she could hear him. But Alex and Master Ivanar were too busy conferring with each other to hear, and most of the others had already left. She glanced at the door, hoping to catch sight of her aunt, and instead saw Nika. Her eyes widened, and her heart skipped a beat.

“Nika!” she said, hurrying over to him. “Did you hear what happened? There’s so much to tell you, I—”

“Mistress Leladze,” said Master Ivanar, putting a hand on her shoulder. “I’m sorry, but we have to go.”

Nika looked from her to the sword keeper and back again, thoroughly confused. A horrible sinking feeling rose in Tamuna’s stomach, and without thinking she threw her arms around him.

“I have to go, Nika,” she said. “I don’t know when or if I’ll come back, so… goodbye.”

“Goodbye?” he said, giving her a stunned look as she drew back. “Where are you going?”

“I don’t know. Away, far away.”

“But when will you—”


She turned her face to hide her tears and followed the sword keeper out into the yard. A rooster crowed as the sun began its descent behind the mountains, while all around her the monks took to their restless horses. She glanced one last time at Aunt Sopiko’s tavern—the only home she’d ever known—before following Alex onto a chestnut mare. He spurred the horse forward, and she held tightly onto him as they galloped southward.

The Sword Keeper

The Sword Keeper

eBook: $5.99
Series: The Twelfth Sword, Book 1
Genres: Epic Fantasy, Fantasy
Tag: 2017 Release
Tamuna Leladze always dreamed of adventure, but never expected to answer its call. That changes when a wandering knight arrives at her aunt's tavern. He is the keeper of a magic sword that vanished from the pages of history more than a thousand years ago. The sword has a mind and a memory, and it has chosen Tamuna for purpose far greater than she knows. More info →
Buy now!

Late September update

I am not a pleasant person to be around when I’m struggling to finish a difficult book.

Me: There’s just not enough time in the day.

Dad: I know how you feel, son.

Me: I don’t think that you do. You’ve never been self-employed.


Me: I need to quit my job.

Dad: But Joe, what about the benefits?

Me: Screw the benefits! I don’t want to be dependent on anyone for “benefits.” Besides, there’s a public pension crisis looming over this country, and in ten years your teacher’s pensions are all going to dry up. You can thank a decade of 0% interest rates for those “benefits.”

Like I said, not very pleasant.

So I had to push the deadline back another week for A Queen in Hiding. Really hate to do that. Problem is, the only writing time I can carve out of my schedule comes in short 1-2 hour chunks, and a single interruption can throw off everything. Like when a truck shows up during my lunch break. Or like when I’m playing catch-up and sleep in past my alarm.

It doesn’t help that every chapter, I run up against a wall that forces me to go back two or three chapters and completely change the direction of the story. This is definitely one of the weirdest books I’ve ever written. It’ll come together eventually, but it’s definitely taking more effort than it’s worth. Should lead the series in an interesting direction, though, and tie into the Gaia Nova series much further down the road. If I ever write any more of those books.

Anyway, so that’s coming along slowly. On the marketing end, I’m trying out a bunch of new things and/or working harder at things I’ve been doing for a while. All of my free and 99¢ book deals are scheduled through August 2018—now I just need to figure out how I’m going to promote them.

Not much is happening on the publishing front, other than The Sword Keeper which comes out this weekend. I’ve got a release schedule that runs through August 2018, which is part of the reason why I’m so stressed about getting Sons of the Starfarers finished. That series WILL be complete before the end of 2018, hopefully before July 2018. Four more books, of which 1.5 are currently written.

So that’s what I’ve been up to. Time to get back to writing.