Patriots in Retreat now up for preorder!

For those of you who have been waiting for the next Sons of the Starfarers book, I have good news! Book 6, Patriots in Retreat, is now up for preorder and scheduled to release on January 19th, 2018. Check it out!

Patriots in Retreat

Patriots in Retreat

eBook: $3.99
Gulchina's betrayal has all but sealed the fate of the Outworld Confederacy. As world after world falls before the Gaian Imperial onslaught and the crew of the Merope-7 take losses of their own, a young Imperial agent must decide what she's truly fighting for. More info →
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Book 7, A Queen in Hiding, is with the editor right now and should be up for preorder soon as well, with a release date in March 2018. If all goes well, book 8, An Empire in Disarray, should be out in May, and book 9, Victors in Liberty—the final book in the series—should be out in July.

Thanks for reading!

Sorry for dropping off the face of the Earth

So this blog has been silent for a while—basically, ever since I said that the blog would be the last thing to get up to speed when I’m back to 100%.

Don’t worry about me, I’m doing just fine. Right now, I’m finishing up A Queen in Hiding and getting it ready to send out to my editor. I’ve struggled with this book so much, but it’s finally up to the somewhat ridiculous standards that I set for myself. Should be up for preorder soon.

Which brings me to Sons of the Starfarers. As I’ve said before, my goal is to publish the last four books in the series by the end of July 2018. Here are the publication dates that I’ve set:

  • Patriots in Retreat: 19 January 2018
  • A Queen in Hiding: 16 March 2018
  • An Empire in Disarray: 18 May 2018
  • Victors in Liberty: 20 July 2018

This is a slighly terrifying schedule for me, considering that I haven’t written the last two books yet. But I’ve outlined An Empire in Disarray quite thoroughly and should (fingers crossed) be able to put it out in the next forty days.

Lots of behind the scenes stuff going on to streamline my writing process. If it works the way I’m hoping it will work, I should be able to publish two or even three times as many books each year as I am right now. It would take several blog posts to give you the full run-down, but it basically comes down to writing clean first drafts and structuring the story before I write it. Still a lot of experimentation left to do, though, before I’m confident in this new method.

Starting next week, I hope to get the blog up and running once again with daily posts. There’s an awesome new YouTube series by the guys over at Extra Credits, and I definitely have things I want to say about it. Might make it into a regular thing. Also, a bunch of other stuff that I wanted to blog about but never really did.

Lastly, Patriots in Retreat is up for preorder right now! See, I told you there was stuff happening behind the scenes. Expect a lot more in the days and weeks to come!

Patriots in Retreat

Patriots in Retreat

When all else is lost, the bonds of war become a cause all their own.

Gulchina's betrayal has all but sealed the fate of the Outworld Confederacy. As world after world falls before the Gaian Imperial onslaught and the crew of the Merope-7 take losses of their own, a young Imperial agent must decide what she's truly fighting for.
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About the Book

When all else is lost, the bonds of war become a cause all their own.

It is the Outworld’s darkest hour. Gulchina’s betrayal has eliminated the Outworld Confederacy’s only strategic advantage in their war for independence. As the full force of the Gaian Imperial Navy bears down on them, defeat is all but inevitable.

Mara Soladze fully expected to lose the war. It is not her own life that she fears for, however, but the lives of her men. As world after world falls before the Imperial onslaught, those fears may soon be realized.

No commander is ever fully prepared to watch their men make the ultimate sacrifice, but that may no longer be avoidable in


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

Series: Sons of the Starfarers, Book 6
Genres: Military Science Fiction, Science Fiction, Space Opera
Tag: 2018 Release
Publication Year: January 2018
Length: Short novel
eBook Price: 3.99
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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.

Back in Utah

So! It’s been a while since I updated this blog, and there’s actually a good reason for it. I quit my day job in Iowa a couple of weeks ago and just moved back to Provo. In other words, I made the pioneer trek in the wrong direction and repented.

Driving across Wyoming, I got a small sense of what my pioneer ancestors must have felt as they made the trek to Utah. Compared to Iowa and eastern Nebraska, Wyoming is a lonely, windswept wasteland. It’s not quite as empty as Nevada, but wow, is it a forlorn place. Beautiful, but lonely.

After passing through Evanston, route 80 descends from an attitude of about 7,000 feet into the mountain valley’s of northern Utah. I have to say, the stretch between Evanston and Park City is gorgeous. Absolutely gorgeous. From there, I came down the eastern side of the Wasatch mountains through Heber and Provo canyon, which is also gorgeous this time of year. Fall foliage, with just a little bit of snow on the highest peaks.

It’s good to be back. I’m renting a room from my friend and cowriter Scott Bascom, who is letting me pay him back in labor to clean and improve his house. He went through a series of major life crises in the last couple of years, and a back injury prevents him from getting the house back in shape. That’s where I come in. It’s a suitable arrangement for both of us and I think it will work out quite well, especially once we get a virtuous cycle going with our writing.

That’s my going to be my focus for the next several months: writing. I have a very aggressively release schedule for the first half of 2018, and a much better business foundation after taking a small business class in Iowa. I also saved up enough money from the old day job that I can afford to focus exclusively on writing and publishing for the next several months. So that’s the plan.

In 2014, I had my first 4-figure month and thought I was doing well enough to go full time in the near future. But looking back, I can see that I didn’t have the foundation set up to sustain a profitable business. The market shifted, the things I was doing to sell suddenly didn’t work anymore, and I made some stupid mistakes that drastically hurt my business. But I learned a lot from all that, and now I’m coming back with a much better foundation, a detailed plan for how to build on it, and enough experience to know how and when to abandon that plan as circumstances change.

Lots of stuff to talk about on that end, but I’ll leave it there for now. One thing you can definitely expect, though, is for the Sons of the Starfarers series to be complete before the end 2018–hopefully before the summer. Also, Gunslinger to the Galaxy should be out next year as well. And if you’re a fan of print books, I hope to put out a paperback of every book that I’ve written in the not so distant future. Audiobooks too, in the long run.

So if you haven’t already, be sure to sign up for my email newsletter, since that’s the best way to stay abreast of my new releases. I’m not always as good at posting about them here as I should be. Also, now that the big move back to Utah is complete, expect to see more on this blog.

So long, and thanks for reading!

SSF-V: Captives in Obscurity 2.0 is complete!

Yesterday I finished the second draft of Captives in Obscurity (Sons of the Starfarers: Book V). I’m extremely pleased with how it turned out, and I think you guys are really going to enjoy it!

Unfortunately, writing the book is only the first step. Publishing is going to take resources that I don’t currently have, so it’s going to be a few months before I can get it out. Right now, it looks like Captives in Obscurity will go up for pre-order sometime in April/May, for a release date in July.

In the meantime, I plan to start working on Book VI: Patriots in Retreat right away, in order to release it soon after. With luck, there should be three Sons of the Starfarers books published next year, with only two left to complete the series.

I’ve got so many awesome ideas for stuff to fit into the next few books. Captives in Obscurity and Patriots in Retreat fall squarely into the midpoint of the series, where the characters hit rock bottom right before the plot twist. In other words, this is where I really get to twist the knife, and if you’ve read my other books you know that that’s the part I like best!

So yeah, it’s going to be a while before these books come out, but they are really going to be awesome when they do. In the meantime, I’ve got some short stories coming off of submission in the next couple of months, including a Sad Puppies inspired piece that I want to have up before the Hugos are in the news again. So even if it takes some time for Captives in Obscurity to get out there, I’m definitely not going away!

Why SSF-V: Captives in Obscurity won’t be coming out in January

Okay, so here’s the deal.

Back in May, I made what might possibly be the worst mistake of my entire publishing career: I severely underpriced all of my Star Wanderers books. For the year and a half leading up to that decision, sales had been declining rather steadily, and I was getting rather desperate for some way to reverse that. By lowering my prices from $2.99 to $.99 for that particular series, I thought I would bring in some new readers who would go on to buy my other books, and that that would offset the loss in income.

At the time, I kind of had an impression in the back of my head that it was a bad idea. And for a while, I listened to that impression. But when you feel desperate, there’s a temptation to shift strategy and just do something, especially if it’s easy and produces immediate results.

So from May to October, I severely underpriced my books. In October, I went through all the data I’d collected, and realized that I’d categorically failed to accomplish any of my goals. Sales had increased by only two or three copies a week for the books I’d discounted, and sales for the non-discounted books hadn’t increased at all. Meanwhile, my writing income had fallen precipitously, to the point where I could barely cover costs.

At the same time, my personal expenses started to become a problem. I’ve always been frugal, but a couple of unexpected expenses combined with poor planning and lack of work meant that by the end of the summer, my emergency savings were drained and I had to make some hard choices. Long story short, I had to pull most of the money out of my business account in order to avoid going into debt.

I’m doing okay right now, so don’t worry about that. Work opportunities have picked up with the Christmas season, so I should be able to get by for the next couple of months just fine. And as for the writing end of things, business is still profitable, so if I just let it sit for a couple of months I should be able to replenish the money I had to take out. It’s not like I’ve eaten my seed corn.

At the same time, though, it kind of is like I’ve eaten my seed corn, because I don’t currently have the money to pay for editing and cover art. In a couple of months, I will, but not soon enough for a January release.

I had originally planned to release Captives in Obscurity (Sons of the Starfarers: Book V) in January. And on the writing end, I’m still doing pretty good: I’ve heard back from my first readers and should have the revisions done by the end of the month. But the actual production isn’t something I can do right now, so I have to put the project off until the money comes in.

So that’s what’s going on. It kind of sucks, but lesson learned.

As for Captives in Obscurity, barring any more problems, it should come out in March. And I do still plan to publish some short stories between now and then. The nice thing about short stories is that they’re small enough that you can do most of the editing/art yourself. It’s kind of like the difference between planting a backyard garden and planting several acres of farmland. In fact, if things go well I should be launching a pen name soon, potentially as soon as December.

And for the future, I will be careful not to underprice my books. If I could, I would love to give away all of my books for free (in fact, I actually do: on Smashwords, my books are available on a “reader sets the price” arrangement), but that just isn’t practical. Lesson learned.