Sorry about the quiet since DragonCon; it's not because I've been working, this time. It's the fault of my new neighbor, Irma.
I live in Orlando, and we're not supposed to get the worst of it, but it's still coming down pretty hard. And we just discovered my roof leaking.
I'll let you know if I survive, or if I get carried off to Oz.
I was hoping for September 1st, but that ended up being too optimistic. However, I did finish the book last week, so I'll be getting it to beta readers after I return from DragonCon.
All of which means I'm on time for an October 1st release!
There's only two scenarios that might cause a delay:
1.) An actual emergency, like my brother spontaneously combusting again or the Webspawn hatching early from their ten billion eggs and rising to consume the Earth.
2.) The beta readers tell me the book is broken and needs to be significantly rewritten. This has never happened before (I'm the only one who has ever said to me that a book is broken and needs to be rewritten prior to release), but you never know.
I always have to include this clause just in case, but it's not likely to happen.
TL;DR - Skysworn on October 1st!
I'm leaving for DragonCon as we speak!
In honor of the convention, the Traveler's Gate Trilogy (the complete collection) is on sale on Kindle for $2.99 from September 1st through 5th!
I'm going to be here and there throughout the convention, but I'd like to meet you! If you're going to be in Atlanta this weekend, send me an email (email@example.com) and we'll find a place and time to meet! I'm bringing books, cards, and (a small number of) shirts to sign! And, of course, I'm willing to sign whatever you bring me.
Especially sheared lambs. Those are my favorite things to sign...so supple. So smooth.
In just about a week, from September 1st through 4th, DragonCon will be in Atlanta, and I'll be there!
I'm supposed to be on some panels this year, though they still haven't released their schedule, so I'm not sure which panels or when. I'm sure it will be fantasy-related, so if you're going, keep your eye on the Fantasy Literature track.
Also, if you haven't heard, Blackflame and Soulsmith paperbacks are now available on Amazon! I'll have some with me at DragonCon ready to sign, but if you just want the books, they're already available online!
Skysworn news (and potentially OKAK news, although I may have to wait on that) soon, along with a drastic update in the progress meter!
EDIT: Now that my birthday is over and those mysterious black helicopters have stopped hovering over my house, I've had time to respond to some of your comments. If you were waiting on a response from me, check below!
If I haven't gotten to you yet, I'll be answering more over the next couple of days!
I've done it! I salvaged enough of Blackflame's extra parts that I can cram them into Skysworn.
So Cradle is next, followed by OKAK (which I've also been making progress on, over the last couple of months).
I still don't have a firm release date for Skysworn, and if I officially confirm the date I'm aiming for then you will take it as a promise and lynch me, but it won't be too much longer.
In the meantime...
Let's play a game!
You give me a detail, and I'll make up a short, one-paragraph-or-less story incorporating that detail into one of my worlds. For instance:
"What are prisons like in Cradle?" On the Iceflower Continent, far from the Blackflame Empire, there's a buried chamber chiseled into the heart of a halfsilver vein. Madra is dispersed as soon as it touches the air, and thirteen layers of script repel all aura. There are twenty cells, and no more than twenty prisoners. Imprisoned here are those who cannot be executed.
"Tell me about mountain climbers in Elder Empire." The body of Kthanikahr, the Worm Lord, weaves through a mountain as though through a rotten apple. The Great Elder is miles long, and the stench of his decay is overpowering. Still, some brave the corpse--and the cordon of Imperial troops around the area--to scale the peak and try to harvest a strip of the Worm Lord's skin. It is said that a charm made from this leathery strap can repel Elderspawn, so dozens make the trip each year...and only a handful return.
"Are there any magic wands in Traveler's Gate?" Yes. Most of them suck.
...stuff like that. I'll invent an answer on a spot, and we can do some good old-fashioned worldbuilding together.
It's kind of like writing mini-short stories, except it doesn't take much of my time away from writing books.
For real this time, I've now got a store page on my website! Check it out!
Many of you may remember a few months ago, when I offered T-shirts for sale the first time. Well, when I got mine, I didn't like it (the symbol on the front was too grainy and washed-out for my tastes), so we shopped around until we found one that I liked.
I like these, so now you can buy one! Cradle shirts are up now, and I just got the early drafts of the first Traveler's Gate and Elder Empire designs!
Will, I hate you. Why are you talking about T-shirts when all we care about are release dates?
Good question, Chorus of Voices In My Head! I can't promise much, but I can promise you this: if I don't have another book out by August 21st, there will be a total eclipse of the sun.
I'm home and back to the grindstone this week, but I promised I'd at least let you know what I worked on for fun.
I spent the most time trying to write a dungeon-style novel of the sort that's popular in web novels nowadays, where the primary action comes from the hero progressing through a dungeon and leveling up. I enjoy reading them, they seem fun to write, and they also seemed easy--if I came up with something, I figured I could actually post it.
But uh...it turns out that when I tried to cut out the parts of the dungeon-crawl genre I didn't like, and add in the stuff I liked, I was just plotting another novel. Whenever I tried to just dive in and write off the top of my head, I couldn't do it--who is my main character? What are they after? Why does the dungeon work like a video game? There has to be some sort of logic to it.
It was fun trying, though, so it fulfilled its objective.
Then I spent some time working on a story where the hero actually accepted the villain's offer of employment (quite a few of you suggested something that got my mind jogging along these lines, including Anil, JP, and Alex). My first scene had the hero walking through the dark lord's burning fortress, and the dark lord actually persuades him to join. The hero was so demoralized by his treatment at the hands of the good guys that he was ready to accept a better offer.
Problem was, he had almost defeated the evil army already. Now that he's switching sides, he's the underdog again, despite his personal power.
...I've read things with similar stories before, as I'm sure have you, but it was fun to work on. It raised a few questions, too: is that the right place to start, or should I take the reader through his journey of being worked and exploited by the light side? Is this a standalone or a series? What series of events leads to an actual video-game style confrontation between the good guy and the bad guy? How does the world work that this became necessary?
Cheese Doodle, Adarsh, and a few other people suggested writing with other author's copyrighted characters and concepts (which I could do since I'm not planning to publish any of this). I tried it, but I couldn't quite crack it.
More specifically, I made a roster for a big 2v2 tournament with famous fighters from all throughout fiction, so that I could pair up people who would never meet and imagine their interactions. Locke Lamora (Lies of Locke Lamora) + Saber (Fate/Stay Night) vs. Parson Gotti (Erfworld) + Kratos (God of War), that sort of thing.
I tried to set up each pair for character conflict and then pit them against a similar team, in the hopes that I could draw some sort of inspiration from imagining their interactions.
Didn't help much. Either I didn't feel capable of writing the characters well enough to model their interactions believably (Parson), or they're so simple they didn't teach me anything (Kratos). There's probably some sort of fanfiction-driven exercise here that I would enjoy, but I couldn't quite get there.
Reddan, I loved the idea of an invent-ery where things are spontaneously invented, but I didn't do anything with it. I'm sorry, I have failed you.
And everybody who suggested meta ideas about a writer writing about writing...that's too convoluted for me. What if the story gets too close to reality and comes to life?
Thanks to everyone who left suggestions! I really did read them all during my vacation, even if I didn't reply.
I'm on vacation this week, so I'm going to write something just for fun.
I always do that--it usually leaves me with half a story and a huge outline for a cool new world that gets my juices flowing. Helps me get refreshed and excited for writing when I return.
This year, I thought I'd open it up to you guys: what's a weird, out-of-the-box story I could work on for the next couple of days? (Just to relax, you understand. Every one of you that suggests I spend this time working on my books gets a Karate Chop of Justice.)
Some examples of what I'm talking about:
--When I took a break in the middle of The Crimson Vault, I wrote a scene from the perspective of a powerful dark wizard who personally obliterated any village where a prophesied child was said to be born. He heard a rumor, and he just went out and fireballed it to the ground. No sense taking chances. As a result, he enjoyed a long and productive tyrannical reign.
--One year (I don't remember when, tbh), I wrote about a woman traveling through a forest as one of her trials to become a magic-user in this world. She ends up meeting and befriending a traveling companion, a seemingly insane young man. In the end, it turned out that he was the founder of her order in disguise, and he was coming along to see what the trial was like from the perspective of someone who wasn't a genius.
--Last year, I took extensive notes for a travelogue/journal in the style of The Martian, but on an ocean planet. And not sci-fi, because science requires research and magic requires invention. So this person was a magical space explorer stranded on an ocean planet, trying to survive while adapting to the world's unique magic.
That sort of thing.
It won't likely result in a real short story, but I could at least share something on the blog. A detailed description of what I worked on, if nothing else.
So...you have any thoughts? I can't promise I'll use any of them, but maybe I will! Maybe I'll combine two!
Regardless, should be fun to talk about! At least until my nose is pressed against the grindstone once again.
"...it slipped from the ship, splashing into the water below."
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