Many of you have probably read George R.R. Martin's quote that there are two types of writers, architects and gardeners. Essentially, a writer who plans ahead and one who goes with the flow.
I used to write on the fly. Perhaps I kept a small number of notes stowed away somewhere, likely under empty envelopes and expired lottery tickets, but the vision I had for my novels was mostly stored in my head. I didn't keep outlines. I didn't keep notes about characters.
Those days are thankfully over. I realize they may work for some writers, but I am not among the esteemed few. I now start each book with a rough outline for the first ten chapters, along with character sheets, world building info, how the magic system works, etc. Before I sit down to actually write a chapter, I write a detailed outline of that chapter. It makes the process so much more enjoyable.
Because of this, my output has increased dramatically. I've gone from writing ~2,500 words a day to 6,000. Because of that, I'm adjusting my expected productivity for the rest of 2018.
Ascension Book 2 (Runeforged 2) is finished and has been since March 18th. I have it back from my editor, but it still needs proofread and a cover. It's being released May 8.
The first book in a new series—let's call it Labyrinth—is being released in mid-June. This is a fantasy novel with some sci-fi elements that I'm having a great time writing.
Ascension Book 3 will be released In mid-to-late July.
Labyrinth 2 will be released in late August.
A new series will be released in early October.
Labyrinth 3 will be released in early-to-mid November.
New Series Book Number 2 will be released in mid-December.
This is subject to change slightly, but it's unlikely I'll deviate from this schedule too much.
So, essentially, one book per month (not exactly one month, but close enough).
I understand that some of you may be concerned about a drop-off in quality by writing this fast. I've actually found the opposite is true. My writing is more cohesive and generally requires fewer revisions the more I write per day.
I'm aiming for 90,000-100,000 words for future books, which is the same length as Runeforged, and I believe that flowed really nicely. The Dragon Thief, by comparison, was 125,000 words. It also featured 5 primary PoVs that gave me fits as the series progressed. I won't be tackling that large of a cast again for some time.
TLDR: More books faster.
With 2018 well underway, I want to give everyone an update on what projects I have planned for the year to come. But first, a look back at 2017.
My Sorcery and Sin trilogy was wrapped up in November with the release of Wrath of the Wraith. That book marked only the third novel I released in 2017, a year that saw my daughter born and the subsequent arrival of a whirlwind of fatigue.
Despite my lack of productivity, 2017 was a year of great success. An Assassin's Blade trilogy stayed at #1 in epic fantasy on Amazon UK for nearly 4 months straight, and held the #1 spot in all fantasy several times. Although that's no New York Times Bestseller list, it feels pretty damn good to see your book bumping elbows with the likes of J.K. Rowling and Neil Gaiman.
Here's what I'm working on for 2018.
Untitled Fantasy Series (let's call it Runes for now).
Book 1 will be published in March. It's with my editor right now.
Book 2 is currently being written. It'll be in the hands of my editor by the time Book 1 is released.
Book 3 will have been written by the time Book 2 comes out.
So we're looking at a release schedule of March, May, July.
Untitled Fantasy Series 2
I don't have a placeholder name for this yet, because I don't have the slightest idea what it's about. What I do know is that it'll follow a similar release schedule, so you can expect books to come out in September, November, January.
I'm confident the above dates won't change, because I'll have each subsequent book with my editor before the current one releases. If I fall off my roof and break my wrist, get mauled by a rabid animal or otherwise suffer severe injury, then all bets are off, but I like my chances.
I'd like to break ground on an epic fantasy that won't get itself out of my head, but I think this one will be truly epic in both scope and word count. I'm not keen on publishing zilch for several months, so I'm putting it on the back burner.
I've been flirting with the idea of diving back into Astul's world as well. That won't happen this year, and it probably won't happen next year, but I'd love to revisit Mizridahl.
I would also like to keep this site updated more frequently. I've said that in the past, so we'll see how it goes. I do update my Facebook page semi-frequently, so check there if these pages start collecting dust.
And as always, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Coming August 2.
My weekend morning routine of watching Futurama seems to be influencing my post titles. But I do have good news. Book 2 of Sorcery and Sin should be released on August 1. I'll have a title and cover reveal in the next few days.
At the time of this book's release, it will have been four months since The Dragon Thief (Book 1) was published. That's not something I consider acceptable, but since it happened, I'll try to explain why.
I finished The Dragon Thief Feb. 20. I wrote most of the book while caring for my newborn daughter, which was exceptionally difficult. Basically, I carried her around on a sling while she slept and I wrote. I wanted to start Book 2 by March 1, but at that time she was 3-months old and not napping so frequently or for as long.
My writing days were short, often interrupted, and I got very little done in the month of March. In April, we hired a nanny, so that problem was remedied. Unfortunately, a new problem presented itself: Book 2 came with a host of problems and kinks that took me far longer to figure out than any book has in the past.
I didn't finish the final draft (pre-editor) until June 18th.
Will Book 3 suffer the same fate? I don't think so. Firstly, it hasn't taken me a month and a half to start working on it. Secondly, I've outlined most of it, so there will be fewer surprises and roadblocks than in Book 2. I'm still on target to release in September, but it will be late September.
Thanks for sticking with the series despite the longer-than-usual delay between books. I think you'll find it very much worth the wait.
Those of you who have read The Dragon Thief know that I had planned to release book two of Sorcery and Sin in June. I wanted to give everyone an update that it will actually be released in July. Book three will be out in September.
I'm only about 25 days late to posting this on my website, but better late than never, I suppose. The Dragon Thief, Book 1 of Sorcery and Sin, is now available as book an ebook and paperback. Get it on Amazon for only $3.99 or free if you have Kindle Unlimited.
Book 2 is coming this July, which means I'll probably get around to posting it here in August (hopefully that's a joke).
The Dragon Thief
Sorcery is a sin that has been purged. But now sin is the world's only hope.
Lavery Opsillian would trade anything, even his ghostly friends in the city tombs who comfort him, to have his father back. Instead, he must face reality as Valios' new king.
But his kingship is short-lived. Seized by cutthroats and held for ransom, Lavery learns he possesses a gift he soon deems a curse, but one that may well douse the flames threatening to engulf his world.
Sorcery has returned, and dragons are coming.
My soon-to-be-released novel has a name, although its gender is still TBD. The title is The Dragon Thief, and it's book 1 of a brand new series titled Sorcery and Sin.
I'm still seesawing between an April 4th and April 11th release date, but I'll have to make a final decision on that soon. Why not a date between those two? Because I've a very strange fascination with releasing books on Tuesdays. It's not very rational, truth be told. But it's always worked for me.
As with all my new releases, it will be priced at $0.99 for one week only, so get it while it's hot!
In other news...
An Assassin's Blade: The Complete Trilogy recently ended its four-month run as the number 1 best-selling epic fantasy (Kindle) on Amazon UK. It was also the number 1 best selling book in numerous other fantasy subcategories. The response to this trilogy, quite frankly, blew me away.
I had high hopes for releasing all three books together, but I never could have imagined how many people I would have reached. A huge, huge thanks to all of you who have read the series — whether you enjoyed it or hated it, I sincerely thank you.
Keep on the lookout for cover art for The Dragon Thief. It's coming soon.
Back in October, I had planned to release another book in the Rim universe sometime in January. Let's all laugh at how badly I missed that mark.
I do have a new book on the way, however. It's an epic fantasy, the first in a planned trilogy.
I'm sending it to my editor on Feb. 20th and anticipate a release date in mid-to-late April. There's a splash of adventure, a smattering of darkness and morbidity, a couple scoops of political intrigue, and a whole heaping of the fantastical, all brought together by myth and legends and things that threaten humanity. Tasty, I promise.
Neither the series nor the first book have a name. That will come soon. This is the most ambitious project I've taken on to date.
And with that glimpse into the future, let's leap back into the past.
I have published four books in the last year (The Misbegotten, The Miscreant, The Misjudgment, and Curses, Crones and Unspeakable Things). That's slightly below my ideal output of six per year, but not bad for my first full year as a full-time author. Also, had I not changed course in early November, I would have had another novel out in January.
That shift happened because Curses, Crones and Unspeakable Things didn't sell very well. The idea was to create a universe -- called Rim -- that would serve as the backdrop for many novels, each a standalone. Think Discworld or Xanth. The problem is that Curses, Crones and Unspeakable Things -- and all future books in the series -- didn't fall into a specific market.
It wasn't dark fantasy or epic. It wasn't urban fantasy or sword and sorcery. It was part comedic fantasy and part general high fantasy. Comedic fantasy is not a popular genre, exceptions notwithstanding. General fantasy is too massive to serve as a book's only genre. Simply put, Curses simply failed to gain traction.
As much as I like to view my career from an artistic standpoint, I must also consider the business implications. I'm not certain that the Rim universe can be successful at this time. Because of that I'm putting on hold future projects in that universe. Know that if Curses, Crones and Unspeakable Things had been the first book in a series, I would have written its sequels -- I'll never let a series go unfinished. But it is a standalone in every sense of the word.
For those of you who enjoyed the Rim universe, I hope to pick it back up at some point in the future. For now, I'll be focusing my efforts on this new trilogy.
My absence on this blog during the past couple months comes because I've been hard at work on my newest book, and I didn't have much information to share. Until now!
Curses, Crones and Unspeakable Things will be released October 11th, 2016. It's the first book in a universe that will serve as the backdrop for the majority of my stories for the foreseeable future. Each book will be a standalone, and you can read them in any order you like.
So what's Curses, Crones and Unspeakable Things about? Part urban fantasy, part humor, part grand conspiracies involving witches, a sixteen-eyed tyrant, and a voyager who draws pictures and jumps into them.
I'll have more information to share as the release date draws near. Speaking of the release date -- would you like to read the book before October 11th? I'm offering advance review copies to anyone who would like one. The only request I have is, given it's a review copy, that you please leave an honest review on Amazon in return. If you'd like a copy, please email me at email@example.com.
On May 1st, I sent the final installment in the An Assassin's Blade trilogy, THE MISJUDGMENT, off to my editor. Afterward, I took seven days off in which I did mostly nothing except play Overwatch beta and The Witcher 3, and walk the dog.
My little vacation came to an end a few days ago, and with its conclusion began a new fantasy series that I'm really excited about. I'm only 7,000 words in right now, so it's way too early say how it'll take shape, but it's looking to be a mashup of urban and epic fantasy.
It's quite the departure from An Assassin's Blade in tone, setting... pretty much everything. I love dark, gritty fantasy, but I was itching for some variety after writing 330,000 words in the genre, and I think this series will scratch that itch.
I expect to have the first book out at the latest by October 6. I'm aiming for a bit earlier than that, though. We'll see.
The Misjudgment is set to release June 21st. As with The Miscreant, I'm looking to move that up -- probably to June 15th, but I'll need to make sure there aren't any large revisions required before I do so.
And one last piece of news. I'm hopeful to have The Misbegotten out in audio book sometime this fall. It's too far out to give you all a target date or even month, but I'll be sure to keep you in the loop.
Until next time,
Book 2 of the An Assassin's Blade Trilogy, THE MISCREANT, was officially moved up to April 13th last week. That puts us at 60 days between the publication of it and THE MISBEGOTTEN. Book 3, THE MISJUDGMENT, will be released no later than June 20th, no earlier than June 13th. At worst, that puts us at about 67 days between releases.
Will timeline continue? Not quite so fast, no. Each book in this trilogy was over 100,000 words, which isn't far from the norm for fantasy — quite underwhelming if you compare to Rothfuss, Sanderson, and others who write door stoppers. I had the first draft of Book 2 finished prior to the publication of Book 1, so I had a decent head start.
I anticipate most of my books hitting that 100-110K-word mark. I write ~2500 words a day, 5 days a week. So 40 working days until a first draft is complete. But let's say 50, as a buffer. That puts me at August 15th for the finished draft of a new trilogy I'm planning. By the time editing and all that fun stuff is done, we're looking at probably an ~October 5th release date. So, what, 3-and-a-half months? That's a little longer than it'll usually be, because we're moving into a house at the end of May and I'm migrating south for vacation in June, but ~3 months is a safe bet between releases for the foreseeable future.
That works out to 4 books per year, which I'm happy with. I understand yinz, ya'll, whatever y-word to indicate a group of people you prefer using, would love even more frequent releases, but that probably simply won't happen with the size of the books I'm putting out.
But I did want to give everyone a heads-up, so you know what to expect in the future. I've been writing professionally for many years, so I've learned to be pretty accurate in my estimations. I might be off by a week or two, but you won't see any 6-month, 10-month or year-long gulfs. I do this for a living, and it brings me far too much enjoyment to go that long without productive writing.
Now, if I ever decide to embark on a 300,000 word epic, then yeah. There'll be a slow-down. That's not in the cards for the immediate future, though.
Book three of An Assassin's Blade trilogy has a name: THE MISJUDGMENT.
I'm still aiming for an early-to-mid June release date. It will go on pre-order alongside the release of THE MISCREANT (Book 2). Speaking of which, THE MISCREANT is slated for an April 25 release date. I said in a previous post that date would likely get bumped up. So long as I don't run into major restructuring issues after receiving the manuscript back from my editor, I'll be changing the release date to April 13.
Seeing as THE MISJUDGMENT will be the concluding book in the trilogy, I want to give a rough outline of my plans going forward.
I'll be starting a new series in a new world with new characters. Still fantasy, but probably not rooted in medieval culture. This could change, as ideas are wont to do. I hope to have the first book published between mid-August and early September.
I'll also be working on a couple novella-sized stories involving Astul's past. Think short, fun reads that give you further insight into the Black Rot, Astul's friendship with Vayle, etc. These stories will be 100%, totally, absolutely and entirely FREE if you subscribe to my newsletter. When each individual story is ready for publication, I'll send it to you in your preferred format (.mobi. .epub, PDF, etc.).
So sign on up! I only send my newsletter out when I have a new release to announce or a free book to send. No spam, no annoying, pointless drivel. Just the good stuff. And you can unsubscribe at any time.
For anyone interested in getting THE MISBEGOTTEN in paperback, that version should be up within the next 7-10 days. Time constraints and formatting problems forced me to delay its release. It'll go live as soon as I receive my proof copy and make sure there aren't any blank pages or other oddities.
While this post title doesn't have quite the same impact as Ray Bradbury's opening line in FAHRENHEIT 451, it nevertheless captures my mood this week.
The week leading up to a book release is busier than normal, to the point where I'm usually focusing solely on preparing for launch instead of writing the next book. You ideally have most things prepared for launch well-ahead of time (cover art, formatting, advertising, etc.), but when you're running on a fairly rapid release schedule — 4 to 5 novels a year — some pieces of the checklist are inevitably left to the last minute.
I had to take most of last week off to proof THE MISBEGOTTEN after it came back from my editor, set up paperback formatting (which is still not complete), finish the blurb for THE MISCREANT, fiddle with the blurb for THE MISBEGOTTEN, finish this website, and complete various little tasks (setting up a Facebook page, Twitter, etc.).
This week I was quite happy to return to the artistic side of writing and get away from the business side for a bit. Although I do think the brief sabbatical helped reinvigorate me for the approach that is the middle of a novel. I'm almost halfway into the third and final book of AN ASSASSIN'S BLADE trilogy, which is where things tend to slow down. Not so much narration-wise, but rather from my point of view. The writing simply takes longer. I still hit my ~2,000 words a day goal most days, but instead of those words coming in three or four hours, they come in six or seven.
I anticipate having the book complete by early April. While it will go up for pre-order alongside the release of THE MISCREANT, it won't be released until ~June 15th. It'll need to be graced by the pen of my editor so you're not reading a hot mess. Or at least a lukewarm mess; I like to think my own revision process turns down the temperature a little.
The MISCREANT releases April 25th (and quite possibly a week or so sooner — I'll know that relatively soon) and is available for pre-order now.
As a poet once said, hip hip hooray, it's release day! The Misbegotten, Book 1 of An Assassin's Blade trilogy, is now available on Amazon. For this week only, it's $0.99. Which is cheaper than a lot of things, but funny enough not one of our cats. Free felines aside, the book is also available for Kindle Unlimited subscribers (at the very cheap price of free).
Astul is a shepherd of assassins and a purveyor of sin. Also, depending on who you ask, a general ne'er-do-well whose mother obviously didn't love him enough as a child. He's a hunter too, and his prey at the moment is a naughty little king slayer. If Astul cuts him down, he'll secure a reward big enough to buy a decade's worth of wine.
There's just one problem. This king slayer's trail leads to a cache of disturbing secrets involving insane kings and mad queens and kingdoms suddenly hungry for war. Why, it almost seems like people are losing their minds. Or rather, forfeiting them.
Astul has seen this before, minds rebelling against their owners. He just never expected to see it again. But he soon learns death is sometimes a myth and the occult still lingers in his world. Well, his world for now. Ownership is about to be transferred.