Just in case you hadn't heard about this yet, the audiobook version of House of Blades is available now on Amazon, Audible, and iTunes!
People ask me for an audiobook more than almost anything else, and honestly I expected to have finished House of Blades last summer. But I put it on the back burner to get OSAS out on time, and here it is! Only a year later!
Future audiobooks won't take so long. But I'm waiting to begin Crimson Vault for the time being, because I want to see how HoB sells, and get a little bit of reader feedback.
Speaking of which, if you do listen to the audiobook, feel free to leave a review...
To celebrate 100 combined reviews of the first pair of Elder Empire novels, I've agreed to give you some extra content here on the blog. Because I'm awesome, and because 100 is such a cool number, I'm including not just one piece of content, but five!
That's four cooler than it could have been!
Here's the first: information regarding the future of Simon and the Traveler's Gate universe.
(Hit the jump to see it!)
At this exact moment, three years ago, I was writing the first words on the first page of what would eventually become House of Blades.
At this exact moment, two years ago, I was waiting on House of Blades to upload to Amazon.
It wasn't until June 2nd, 2013 that I sold my first book, but it was the night of June 1st that the upload began. At this time, I was refreshing my laptop every thirty seconds to see if I'd gotten that email saying my book was finally available for sale.
I had a book. It was rough. And it was going out into the world all alone. I only hoped that people wouldn't hate it too much.
At this exact moment, one year ago, I sold my 101,988th book.
I don't talk much about my personal life on here, mainly because my "personal life" mostly consists of writing more fantasy novels. There's not a whole lot else to tell. But let me assure you that this has been an amazing journey for me over the past two years. For one thing, I've always wanted to be a professional writer...but I never expected to get there so quickly.
If we're going by the timeline in my head, I'm about twenty years ahead of schedule. I was supposed to go to college, get my degree, and then figure out some career while I was writing on the side. Eventually, maybe I'd be good enough that I'd write a book that people would want to read.
There are a million proverbs and parables that essentially translate to, "If you think the future is going to play out the way you planned it, you're an idiot." Pick your favorite.
So I just wanted to share this with you, as I sit here after two years. Because many of you have been following me, supporting me, reading me, or riding around on my shoulder (I'm looking at you, Shuffles) for every one of the last 730 days.
All I wanted to say was thanks. It's been fun.
I know it might not mean that much to you--you're looking for something to read, and I fully understand that--but I get to entertain you. I don't care if you shelve my books next to Lord of the Rings or if you spent a couple of hours reading my books on Kindle and never thought of them again.
If you're here reading this, it means I was able to distract you for a while. To me, believe me, that's a humbling privilege.
And I thank you for it.
P.S. And now, on the second anniversary of House of Blades, I'd like to reveal the cover for the soon-to-be-bundled complete Traveler's Gate Trilogy!
We've got a total of eleven reviews on the Elder Empire books, as I'm writing this, so it's time for me to answer ten questions in character!
Remember: you're asking the characters questions, not me. And they'll answer the first ten, with the first answers coming tomorrow, January 4th: I'm giving the questions a little time to pile up.
So start asking now! It's first-come, first serve.
EDIT: The ten questions are in! And heeeeeeeere they are...
1.) (from Michael) To Kerian [Of Shadow and Sea]: "How did you just make the food appear like that? Or how do the Consultants just seem to appear and disappear without a trace?"
Kerian sits behind the polished desk in the chapter house of her Guild, a pleasant smile on her face. "I pride myself on my preparations, sir, and our Guild operates with the highest levels of discretion. I cannot comment on the specific incident to which you refer, but I can assure you that we are qualified to satisfy your every request promptly and with absolute stealth. Speaking of which...would you like a drink?"
2.) (from Yosef) To Kathrin [City of Light]: "Who and what is your advisor?"
Kathrin runs a hand through her short, graying hair. "I try not to think about it. They're cats, you hear me? Ceramic cats. I've got a black one and a white one, and they can send messages to one another. That's it.
"What? Oh, sure, it's useful. Nobody else can communicate over distance, but I mean...Indirial can sense danger. Corren could track her prey for miles over desert! I could have had an adviser that sees through walls, or lets me fight in the dark, or helps me stay hidden, and I get the one that has absolutely no combat application.
"Sure, okay, yes, Denner's got his book. But that's not the same thing."
3.) (from Curious) to Valin [City of Light]: "Why did you set forth on a world-hopping, Territory-founding adventure? What were you before you did that?"
Valin looks around the graveyard, confused, as green lightning flashes overhead. "First off, how did you even get in here? You know what, never mind. It's an easy answer. The Territories are just so much more interesting than our world, so I spent all my time there. I never attuned to any of them, though. I guess they wouldn't have me.
"The Damascan royal family recruited me for my...particular talents." He hefts his sword, examining its blade in the rolling green light. "After that, everything got complicated. I'll tell you the story some other time, but I find myself growing tired."
With that, the Wanderer fell onto his back and died one more time.
4.) (from Aaron) to Valin [City of Light]: "Did you ever find your dragons?"
Valin grips his borrowed sword and stares off, into the forest of graves. "A whole army of them."
5.) (from April) to Hariman [House of Blades]: "How was Orgrith Cave created? Why does it exhibit the characteristics of the Territories?"
The golden face on the surface of the book practically shines with excitement. "Why, certainly! What an excellent question! I can see that you are an educated soul, with a carefully cultivated taste for knowledge!
"In the older days of this land, shortly after the arrival of the Damascans from the other side of the Western Isles, the Territories were still poorly understood. Travelers were considered ill fortune, if you can believe such a thing, and were often shunned. A group of them--perhaps only five or six, or maybe as many as a hundred, according to conflicting sources--sought shelter in a cave. They began to use their powers to search for food and water, to defend themselves, that sort of thing. It is a pity there were no Asphodel Travelers among them, isn't it? Would have made this story much shorter.
"Sadly, they were only a collection of Ornheim, Tartarus, and Naraka. As well as perhaps a Lirial or two, though no one is certain. Very little food in those Territories. They supported one another as best they could, but after only a few months, they were discovered.
"Now, it was carelessness that led to this discovery. Pure carelessness. You see, in the first year of King--"
Hariman is cut off by Denner, who picks up the book and shoves it under his arm. You hear muffled protests beneath Denner's elbow.
Denner sighs. "I'm sorry about that. He goes on. Long story short, the Travelers are attacked by their neighbors. They change the cave, twisting it, making it more and more like a Territory so they can defend themselves. They raise guardians they don't understand. The attackers never make it in, sure, but neither do the defenders ever make it out."
He shrugs. "Because of that story and many like it, Travelers began to organize. There you go. Now I've saved you five or six hours."
Hariman squirms his way out from Denner's arm, grumbling. "I could have done it in four."
6.) (from April, since she wrote two reviews) to Gilad [House of Blades]: "What did you confess to the Obsidian Tree in Naraka?"
Gilad won't meet your eyes. His answer is little more than a whisper. "I don't have to talk about that. I don't have to think about it. It's tradition. I have been punished...I am being punished."
Without another word, he opens a Helgard Gate and Travels away.
7.) (from Jeremiah Halstead) to Nikolos [Tower of Winter]: "What happened to Donia after you traveled together in the Tower?"
Nikolos, old and gray and seated beneath a blanket, laughs fondly when he hears your question. "Seven stones, Donia Sarkis! I haven't thought of her in years. As for what happened to her...would you believe I don't know? No, really! I barely know what happened to me, if you want the truth. We're trapped beneath the ice, and I'm asking childish questions because I'm sure we're going to die. I woke up what seemed like seconds later, lying in the middle of a random village. I don't even remember how I made my way to Bel Calem, but from there the Overlord got me home.
"As for Donia...I tried to find out, for a few years. Bribed a few Helgard Travelers, but none of them would ever talk about it. They don't like talking about the sixteenth floor at all, as it turns out. It's a shame, really. I left a few things behind."
He peels away the blanket over his legs, revealing that they end in stumps beneath the knee. "I suspect it's thanks to her that I still have my life."
8.) (from John) to Will Wight [Earth]: "Why does the cover use an ampersand and the Amazon title 'and'?"
"You broke the rules, John. I told you to ask the characters questions, not me. And yet you just wouldn't listen. Don't you know the rules are there for a reason? It's hard enough keeping all these characters in my head! I can't do it with me in there too! The walls are breaking down! I can see a host of worlds...a sparkling multiverse, like a sea of stars...who am I, against the infinite? What am I?
"What have you made of me, John?"
9.) (from Scott) to "All the Valinhall Travelers" (nice try) [House of Blades]: "What is your favorite room in Valinhall?"
Simon: "My old bedroom."
Andra: "The garden is incredible."
Kathrin: "The outside."
Denner: "The entry hall. It lets me leave."
Valin: "The Nexus."
Indirial: "Bring your sword if you wish to ask me a question! I am Valinhall!"
The rest say nothing, because they're dead.
10.) (from Mesmerizing Suggestion) to the Eldest Nye [House of Blades]: "What is or was the fighting style of the Dragon Army? Formation? Individual? Please elaborate."
The Eldest is behind you. No matter how you twist or turn to follow his rasping voice, he's always behind you. Like your shadow.
"Valin's 'children' took after their father. They were prideful. Individualistic. They formed teams, certainly, temporary alliances that were easily broken when they drifted off to pursue conflicting goals. Together, they could have been a force that broke Damasca like a hammer through glass. But they never worked together, and it led them all to death.
"That was the past. The future will be different--a weapon built to my design. For I am wise where my Master was foolish.
"The new generation of Dragons, they work together. They eat together. They live together. I am forging one weapon, not thirteen. And Damasca thinks they are servants. I know, more than most, the power servants have over their masters."
A cold length of chain settles around your throat, biting into the flesh of your neck. Your heart races, and you spread sweaty palms to show that you aren't reaching for a weapon.
Dry breath whispers into your ear.
"Tell me. Would you like a sword?"
It's been two weeks since my meeting in Seattle, and it's been quiet on the blog front since then. I thought I'd catch you up on what's going on in my world.
Believe it or not, there's a lot.
First of all, I did start recording the House of Blades audiobook last week. I don't know when it's going to be up, because I don't know how long the recording process will take, but I expect it out this summer.
Also last week, I uploaded the City of Light paperback edition. However, Amazon hasn't quite merged the sites yet, so if you're interested in a physical copy of CoL, you can grab it from this link.
Soon, I hope, it will be available on the normal CoL page. But I was hoping it would be up by now, so you see what blind hope gets you.
I'm also working on getting the new House of Blades made into paperback. If you buy a physical copy of HoB right now, it's still the old version with the not-quite-as-interesting opening. So I'm trying to get that version updated.
In the meantime, I've started working on my new series: Of Sea and Shadow.
...and also, happy Memorial Day!
For those of you wondering, the revised House of Blades is available on Amazon. They were supposed to send out an email to everyone who purchased the HoB ebook, but they didn't, so that's that.
Eventually Amazon may email you, but in the meantime, you can update your e-version of House of Blades to the new stuff by asking them for an update. You can do so at this link: http://www.amazon.com/kindlesupport
To summarize once again, the major changes are in the beginning of the book. There are minor changes in every chapter, including a couple of new scenes, but I really wanted to make sure that the beginning got new readers off to a good start.
In other news, I should cross ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND total novel sales sometime in the next 48 hours.
This is mind-blowing to me. House of Blades technically went up for the first time on June 1st, 2013, although it wasn't REALLY available for sale until the 2nd.
But either way, that means I've sold 100,000 novels (I'm not counting the short stories) in my first year as a professional writer.
That's incredible. Some days, I still don't believe it.
Today, I'm putting the finishing touches on the new version of House of Blades.
It's still got some issues. I've only worked on it for two weeks, and--just like any book--I could re-write it forever without ever feeling like I was really 'done.' The plot still lurches forward in a few places, and certain facts aren't explained quite as well as I'd like.
But it's noticeably better than it was.
I've made adjustments throughout the book, but most of the severe changes/additions are in the first 40-50 pages. That was the section of the book that needed the most attention, as it originally took some effort to read all the way to Valinhall.
Hopefully, it should be a little easier now.
EDIT: I've realized this wasn't clear, so I'm adding a note in here to explain how things work. If you own the Kindle version, you WILL NOT have to purchase anything else. The book should update automatically within the next couple of days. Amazon should send you an email notifying you when it happens. Thank you.
I'm posting the revised prologue here, to give you a taste of what's changed in this edition. Keep in mind that only the first four chapters were altered to this extent; again, I've made corrections/added a bit of polish in every chapter, but I focused most of my attention on the first section.
Could I spend longer on this book? Yes. But every hour I spend here is an hour I'm NOT spending on a new story. At some point, I simply have to move on.
Anyway, here's the new prologue! I hope you like it! As usual, if you notice any typos, errors, or awkward sentences, just let me know and I'll change them.
(Hit 'Read More')
I always need some time off when I finish a book, but now I'm back and ready to get back to work!
First on the agenda: some quality of life improvements to House of Blades. The first half of that book is pretty rough, so I'm going to add in some scenes, fix up some others, in generally edit the story to bring it up to the level of Crimson Vault and City of Light.
That should be complete in the next week or two. I should have the City of Light paperback and House of Blades audiobook online shortly after that.
In the meantime, I'll be starting on the next story!
I'm really excited about that: making the stories is the fun part for me. Bringing ideas together, coming up with names, making it all work. I've been enjoying it so much that I've started, like, three different stories while on vacation.
So where will I end up? I don't know. But we'll get there by this fall, I can tell you that!
Well, this will come as no surprise to many of you, but I won't have The Crimson Vault out by the 10th.
There are many reasons for this, but here are the main two:
1.) House of Blades was far more successful than I expected.
As a result, I've had way more work to do. When I set the August 10th release date, I expected to have sold maybe 1500 copies by now. Instead, I just crossed thirteen thousand. It apparently takes a lot of work to maintain a successful book. Who knew?
This also means that your expectations are higher. People liked House of Blades more than I thought they would, which means The Crimson Vault has to be as good as I can make it. At this point, rushing it out like this just wouldn't cut it.
So, because of House of Blades, I had to effectively write a better sequel than I anticipated in less time than I expected to have.
2.) The Crimson Vault is longer than I anticipated.
If The Crimson Vault was the length I had expected it to be, I would have finished writing it four or five days ago. Instead, I'm still not done. In fact, I had to almost completely re-write the last third of the story so that it didn't feel rushed or abbreviated. A lot of people felt that I skimmed too much in House of Blades, and I'm trying to avoid that here. After editing, I'm not sure whether it will end up longer than the first book, but it's certainly longer right now.
That said, I will have the book out before the end of August. It will not be September when this book is released. I don't care what stage of the editing process the book's in at that point; if I have to release a draft that still has my margin notes in it, I will do that. If I have to release extra chapters later as free DLC, I will do that.* But I will 100% have it to you this month.
Believe me, I hate to wait for new releases as much as you do, so I'm committed to making your wait as short as possible.
If you have further questions, or would like to tell me what a horrible person I am, please leave a comment or send me an email: <Will@WillWight.com>
Now, in a totally unrelated piece of news, a very helpful reader has informed me that the latest draft of House of Blades went out with the text entirely in bold. So if you bought the book in the past four or five days, the text was bold.
That's extremely annoying, and I apologize for it. I've changed it in Amazon's database, and it should be fixed within the next few hours. If this has happened to you, please email Amazon with the problem, and ask them to let you download the new version (as far as I know, this is the only way to get updated drafts of a Kindle book).
Once the upload is available, I will be trying to contact Amazon and have them re-release the latest draft for everyone who has bought House of Blades, so that you all have the newest typo-free--and hopefully un-bolded--version.
*NOTE: These weird things won't happen, I just use them as an illustration of how committed I am to getting it out in August.
I have returned to the surface after weeks of total immersion in The Crimson Vault to make an announcement: House of Blades is now available in paperback!
You can order it on Amazon, just like the eBook, only it's not an eBook. It's made of paper and everything. If you see me in person, I'll sign it.
On another note, we've hit 11,000 sales for House of Blades (w00t!), and I am almost done with The Crimson Vault. If I keep up my current blistering pace, I'll be done writing it this weekend.
Of course, that still leaves it to be edited. But don't worry; I'll keep you apprised of my progress.
And that's it for today. I'm spending all of my time working on Crimson Vault, so I'm sorry if I haven't responded to your comment or email. I promise I will get to it eventually, it's just that somebody around here promised a book in two months, which means I have to work like a madman.
As always, thanks for reading!
Want to get short stories and book releases before anyone else? Sign up below!