I probably should have blogged about this two days ago, but I was busy checking Amazon rankings and high-fiving.
Once again, we reached #1 in the entire Kindle Store. You'd think that would get old, now that we've gotten there for three titles in a row, but it really doesn't. Still awesome.
Even if we couldn't beat Dune in audio...that's okay, Dune. You can have your win. For now.
In case you missed it, Reaper is available now in all formats! And the fan response has been...overwhelming.
I was worried about this book. Those of you who have read it understand why, I'm sure. But so many fans have read it and enjoyed it at this point that it makes me feel like an idiot for worrying.
Thanks for reading, all of you! Thanks for sticking with me for so long! And for those of you who haven't read it yet, or haven't finished, I hope you enjoy the story!
Please try to keep the comments as spoiler-free as possible, for the sake of those among us who like to savor their meals. I'd like to do a spoileriffic discussion with everybody soon, once a reasonable amount of time has passed. Maybe a stream?
The pre-order for Reaper is still up, but soon it will have fulfilled its purpose, as November 2nd is right around the corner. For some, it is already here...
For you Australians and "Australians" who already have the book, please don't spoil anything for people living in the past! Please don't ruin their fun before I do.
Tonight at 9 PM Florida Time, I'll be doing my traditional launch stream on my Twitch channel! Tune in to hear me answer fan-submitted questions (not about Reaper, because spoilers) and watch me run around in circles in some video game!
I'm not sure what I'll be playing, but probably something that rhymes with Flubrottica, Plateau Hero.
I always get unbelievably nervous before a book release. People tend to make fun of me for it, since I know I'm going to sell a lot of books, but it's not book sales I'm worried about. I want people to enjoy the books.
So waiting for a book release always feels like waiting to see if you're going to get the death penalty.
Trust me; I've been in both situations a lot.
P.S. Since people are already reading the book, if you don't want to be spoiled, stay out of fan communities until you're done reading!
Especially if the thread is marked as a spoiler. Common sense, people.
First, the "news!" Most of this is a recap, so please allow me a moment to take you on a tour of the present before we discuss the future...
1.) The Reaper pre-order is still up!
We didn't take it down, because that would have been stupid!
2.) Cradle merchandise is still 10% off!
It's not much, but it's more than 9%!
3.) Voting for the Path contest is live!
I hope that link works and doesn't send you to some crazy document about how to sabotage a hospital or something!
4.) We'll be announcing the winners of the Path contest on my Twitch channel!
We're going to announce the contest winners this Friday at 8 PM Eastern, and you can vote right up until that begins!
Full disclosure: I have not read these Paths...but I will be reading the winning Paths live, so you'll get to see my genuine reactions! My incredibly narrow-minded, judgmental reactions of pure scorn. Tune in!
5.) Also on Twitch, I'll be doing my normal Monday night pre-launch stream from 9 PM to midnight!
If you're Australian (or pretending to be...) and have already read the book prior to that stream, please don't spoil anything for those of us living in the past!
If I have to know what happens without telling anyone, so do you.
6.) REAPER LINES OUT OF CONTEXT!
I've got a couple of lines pulled randomly from the book. I shouldn't be spoiling anything significant here, but if you're particularly spoiler-averse, shield your eyes.
MILD SPOILER WARNING!
Reaper Line 1: “Oh no, I missed something!” Eithan cried. “Quickly, repeat your entire conversation before you forget a word!”
Reaper Line 2: “…she’ll be your opponent.”
Little Blue put hands on her hips and whistled a challenge.
Reaper Line 3: Reigan Shen coughed up blood, which wasn’t as bad a sign as it seemed.
Also, in just a moment I'll reveal the first line of Reaper. Thought I ought to lead with that information.
But first! There's been a lot happening since I've been on Broken Foot Leave, so it's time to catch you up on all the succulent news.
1.) Cradle #10, Reaper, is now available for pre-order in ebook and audiobook! It releases on November 2nd, and we have NO PAPERBACK PRE-ORDER.
Amazon's paperback service is print-on-demand and they can't do pre-orders for us lowly independently published authors. Our hands are tied. We'll try to release the book early enough in paperback that you might be able to get it delivered and read it on Day 1...but we can't guarantee that, because we don't know where you live.
Our ninja spies followed you home, but they never reported back. You have very impressive security ghosts.
2.) There's a sale going on right now for Cradle merchandise! Everything Cradle is 10% off, no promo code necessary, but unfortunately we still can't ship outside the US.
COVID and the Union of Bridge Trolls really wreaked havoc on our shipping lanes.
3.) The third Cradle collection, Rise of Lords, is now available in ebook!
Just like the first two collections, this one contains three books of the Cradle series in one file, this time of course being volumes 7-9.
I don't know what I'm going to call the fourth and final collection. I've been workshopping Lindon Dies, but I'm also considering that as the final book title. Lindondies.
4.) The first six books of the Cradle series are FREE right now on ebook, in case you need something else to stuff your Kindle before Halloween.
This sale includes Unbeseelt, the German version of Unsouled, which is 100% in German and also currently 100% free!
See if you can catch all 16 secrets I slipped exclusively into the German version!
5.) >When on November 2nd will the book go live in my region?
Good question, you!
The answer is, WE DO NOT AND CANNOT KNOW. People have been upset at us in the past for the book not becoming available exactly at 12:01 AM in their region, and we have no control over that.
If I could control Amazon, I would be in space right now. But I cannot.
However, the audio and the ebook WILL both be released on the 2nd, that we can guarantee.
They're both coming out and they'll both be out on the second of November , but the timing is never guaranteed across regions. We've had people on the west coast of the US get it before people on the east coast, we've had people in the UK get it before people in Australia, and some people don't get it until 8 or 9 AM. But it's always up on the day of release.
Audio and ebook = November 2nd!
Paperback = Probably before November 2nd! Does that mean you'll get the book on or before November 2nd? We don't know! Paperback shipping was an inexact science even before the Rise of the Paper Weevils.
6.) There is a fan-submitted Path contest going on through next Monday, the 25th, at noon EST! I guess you submit through this link!
I did not even know this contest was going on until very recently, because I have been sequestered from such knowledge.
Speaking of which...
7.) My foot is fine, thanks for asking. I know you were scrolling down to see how I was doing physically, and my heart radiates in sympathy with your concern.
I was getting tired of waiting for it to heal, so I had it replaced with a cyborg foot. It's one more step toward my ultimate goal of transcending fleshy humanity.
Is that it? I think that's it!
PS. First line of Reaper:
Information restricted: Personal Record 8154.
Authorization required to access.
Authorization confirmed: 008 Ozriel.
Ozmanthus Arelius looked up into the ash falling from the sky and knew he’d failed.
This week, on the World's Least Interesting News: I had a minor fracture in my foot, so I'm basically trapped on a couch until it heals.
How did I do it, you ask? As you know, it's currently Alligator Season in Florida, when tumble-alligators roll down the street on every stiff breeze. My friends and I were playing a quick game of Alligator Soccer, and my kick must have caught one of its bony scutes.
I did, however, make it into the goal. And my alligator bit the keeper, so that's two points.
While trapped, I've been re-reading Part 7 of JoJo, re-watching Futurama, and still re-playing Mario Odyssey. Lots of re-doing things.
For the next week or two, if you happen to see me out and about, please don't kick the crutch out from under me. Sure, it was funny the first three or four times I face-planted in the street, but now it's getting old.
And, in case you hadn't heard yet, Cradle #10: Reaper is due out November 2nd! By which time I should be back on my feet, hobbling around like a one-legged hippopotamus as usual.
It's been a long month. A good one! But a long one.
I'm not permitted by my handlers to say more than this, but I expect news about Reaper's release date to come soon. Maybe as soon as--oh no, they've found me. Quick, whistle inconspicuously!
We're headed to DragonCon this week, and we still have a fan meetup scheduled for Saturday!
Now, COVID being what it is, DragonCon could be canceled at any second. I have their website refreshing right now. So we're all being very flexible over here.
But as long as we're allowed to be there, we plan on being there! 12 PM - 3 PM at the Embassy Suites at Centennial Park in Atlanta (Ballrooms A & B)! Plus, far more exciting than me, meet Travis Baldree!
We'll be adhering to all safety guidelines set by the con, the hotel, and the city...and we hope we get to see you there! We also hope the event happens at all!
Since I can't share more details with you on pain of dismemberment, here's a recommendation for some light reading: The Villain Wants to Live. It's a Korean translated web novel without too many chapters so far, and I've really been enjoying it.
Not a whole lot of complexity to it, but the character is charming in a unique way, it's fun to read, and there's no harem nonsense. I don't know about you, but that's a big plus for my reading experience.
Also, in the moments I've caught my breath since finishing the latest draft of Reaper, I've been replaying Mario Odyssey and Divinity: Original Sin 2. I know this is the farthest thing from a hot take, but boy those games are good.
This just in: Mario games are fun. This news is hot off the presses.
While I've been slowly waking from my traditional post-book coma and exhaustion-related illness, I've been kicking around some ideas. I'd like to write some short stories here soon; maybe slide back into Traveler's Gate after who knows how many years, or maybe shore up the sadly lacking canon of Cradle short stories. Not sure.
Is there a particular type of short story you'd like to see from me? Would you like to berate me for having said nothing all month? Maybe you want to ask me when Reaper is coming out, which I will not yet answer!
You can request these things and more...in the comments.
It's been a while, so I thought I'd give you an update on my Reaper progress! There's only so much I can say without spoilers, so I'll be giving you as much information as I can without saying anything that will get me in trouble.
First off, I've finished the first draft and am working on storyline changes/improvements for the next one. The book right now is about 120,000 words, which I don't expect to change too much over the rest of the process. I'll be adding some things, but I'll be cutting others, so it normally evens out at this point.
That makes it a comfortable runner-up in length to Wintersteel, since WS is 144k words and the current silver medalist, Blackflame, is about 110k.
MOST MINOR OF SPOILERS, PROBABLY NOT EVEN A SPOILER, I JUST DON'T WANT YOU TO COMPLAIN:
Structurally, I'd say it's more similar to Blackflame, as the main reason Wintersteel was so long is that I had a full plot for both Lindon and Yerin. This time--while I of course do have some sub-plots--the majority of the book follows one storyline.
END "SPOILERS" THAT ARE ACTUALLY JUST ABOUT GENERAL STORY STRUCTURE
As for the release date, I can't comment. Learned my lesson on that years ago. I know when I think it will be done, but if I make that guess and then don't meet it, I will be whipped endlessly by gangs of stalkers wielding cat-o-nine-tails.
Cats-o-nine-tails? I'm not sure what the plural for that would be.
Here's the most I can commit to: we certainly plan to release Reaper in 2021.*
Finally, I really wanted to call this blog post "A Peeper for the Reaper." This is a Peeper. Play Subnautica.
*What? No, not the year 2021. We're releasing it in Dimension 2021, home of the Sentient Octopus ruling class. All hail Chancellor Skwirgle.
You all know what it means when I don't post for a while. It means I have gone into The Cave and hacked out hundreds more pages using my mystical typewriter.
But I know that when I go silent for too long, the speculation ripens. Is Will still writing? Does he have writer's block? Has he angered an ancient cabal of assassins who are after his life?
Therefore, I check in when I can to reassure you. I am always writing unless I tell you otherwise, I never have writer's block, and I anger some new ancient cabal every week or two. It's part of the curse.
The Reaper draft is currently longer than every Cradle book except Wintersteel, and I'm not finished with it yet, so it'll most likely end up Wintersteel-sized or a little shorter. Or so I expect. The beta readers might slap me upside the head and tell me I need to cut half the book.
That's never happened before, but you know. Could happen.
I don't know what that means in terms of release date--I haven't finished the book yet, after all, and more words means longer editing time--but I'll let you know when I have something concrete!
Until then, remember that when I go to my quiet place, it is always to write.
Or to hide from a cabal.
After I dug myself out of the avalanche of recommendations that came in after my last blog post, I spent some time sorting them.
I started responding, and I realized two things: first, if I responded to all of them I would never get another book out. And second, that a lot of my responses were going to be "I read/watched/injected that already, and here's what I thought."
I like talking about fiction. I like it a lot. Way too much.
So to avoid getting trapped in that never-ending maze, I had to curb my comments. But I did read every single suggestion!
I probably spent more time doing that than I did reading fiction this week.
So that brings us to the cutthroat competition, and the incredible prizes I have in store.
Third place, the one who has earned a half-used Krispy Kreme coupon that I can't seem to locate at the moment: Way for recommending Steins;Gate.
You're only in third place because I've already played Steins;Gate, but you earn that coveted theoretical coupon because it's a great game. And also a really good anime.
Now, in second place are the hordes of people who recommended me something that I'm definitely going to read but haven't yet: He Who Fights With Monsters.
Pretty sure a million and one people recommended this. I haven't read it, but I will read it. I'm going to, I swear. With this many recommendations, it deserves my full attention.
Now, I don't have that many dragon eggs to go around, so I feel like we'll just split the one I do have into pieces and divide it evenly. Watch for a minuscule fragment of dragon shell to manifest mystically on your desk at some point in the next 4-6 astral weeks.
And first place, the winner of my R E S P E C T, and the person who gave the recommendation I actually took...
...was, unfortunately, not a blog comment.
A guy named Jon (or who CLAIMED to be named Jon...) messaged me and pitched me Star Odyssey on www.WuxiaWorld.com. Well, I read a lot on that website, so I tried that.
I really liked it. It's space fantasy, which I've long wanted to write myself, and it's a Chinese cultivation novel with a focus on one thing and one thing alone: fighting to get stronger.
That's it. Very straightforward and streamlined. Definitely my cup of tea.
Jon, you can pick up your wheelbarrow full of respect outside your nearest home depot.
Now for the HONORABLE MENTIONS!
Daniel Larman for recommending me 86: Eighty-Six on Crunchyroll! I haven't watched it yet, or you would have gotten that delicious Respect Wheelbarrow, but I absolutely will. And thank you for not recommending me an anime I've definitely already seen.
Speaking of which...
Everyone who recommended me anime gets a secondary mention here. You were all barking up the right tree, which I appreciate. And you recommended me some really great shows.
However, you also reminded me that I apparently need to talk more about anime, because other than Daniel's recommendation, I had seen...yes, I think every single other show recommended.
From about 2005-2013 or so, I watched literally everything that got animated. There were some shows I dropped here and there, but I at least gave everything the three-episode test.
Some might say I spent too much of my time on anime, but who had an anime-inspired book on the New York Times list last month? THIS GUY!
Let that be a lesson to you, young people: you're not "wasting time," you're doing research for your future career.
I've been much busier since then, what with books and all, so I have replaced watching every anime with reading every manga. It's a lot faster. These days I only watch the anime if I already know it's going to be good.
Like with Jujutsu Kaisen, which was indeed great. I've been reading since the first chapter was released, and as soon as Gojo appeared I knew I was along for the ride.
Josh S., for recommending The Black Company. I really love The Black Company, and I recommend anyone interested in bleak morally gray fiction to give the first collection a shot, if you haven't already. It's a classic for a reason.
Tiberius Arelius, for recommending Second Coming of Gluttony. It's in contention for my favorite web novel of all time. The main character changes over time and has a very distinct personality, the magic and system are consistent and fun to read, the characters are memorable...it's genuinely great.
The only warning I have when I recommend it to people is that it does contain some harem nonsense. But if you can't pick around harem nonsense like you're picking tomatoes out of a salad then I don't know how you watched much anime.
Zuben for recommending Kenshi. But not because I like Kenshi. AH-HA, TWIST! I used to have the most helpful negative review of Kenshi on the Steam store.
It's such a great concept, and I'm sure a great game, but I spent thirty hours pickaxing a rock in isometric top-down view with no clue of what to do and never got any indication of what I could or should do that would be fun.
I have no doubt that it is fun, because people have racked up thousands of hours in Kenshi. But that remains as one of my most vivid gaming experiences because I kept thinking "Everybody says you should push on...maybe a few more hours."
And by the end of it I was still like "No, I don't get it."
So you definitely found something in that game that I didn't, but I want you to know that I really, really tried.
All the people who recommended the Red Rising series. I love that series. Initially, when it was a trilogy, I loved the first and second books, but wasn't a big fan of the third.
Now that there are more, I feel like the author has really fleshed out a lot of the characters and brought this mythic fantasy-esque scope to a sci-fi story, and I'm here for it.
Fragrant Bacon, for saying this: "Will usually takes the approach to others in his own genre: if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all."
I also like to stay silent when I have mixed criticism, or really anything other than overwhelming praise. That's why I don't recommend things very often here. Even when I say five positive things and one thing that I think is a fair criticism, people tend to focus on that.
And I don't want to bring people negative attention. I want to bring them positive attention!
Anyone who told me to go outside and play:
I'm always in an awkward position at this point in the writing process, because the book isn't far enough along for me to mention, and I can't talk about my many secret projects lest I lose my government contracts.
So since I can't discuss work, I turn to you: how should I waste my non-work time nowadays?
I haven't read a new book in a while, so I'm open to suggestions on that front. I have books piling up on my Kindle waiting to read, but I'm always willing to make that list longer.
I've also heard good things about Resident Evil: Village and Returnal, but I haven't checked them out myself yet. Subnautica: Below Zero was so good that I kept playing it after beating the story, which by the way had a fantastic ending. In case I hadn't recommended that enough recently.
I also watched through Ted Lasso, which I enjoyed despite knowing literally nothing about soccer. I was pretty sure it was played in a rink.
I'll let you know next week what I end up consuming in the limited amount of time I'm allowed to stop typing. Whoever makes the winning recommendation will have earned my undying respect.
Second place gets an actual dragon egg.
Third? A half-punched Krispy Kreme frequent customer card.
If that's not enough motivation, I don't know what is.
Level 99 Gengar
(2nd in series)
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