I was working on a New Year's post, but I really wasn't feeling it. Mostly, it's because I was using 3-400 words to say "Happy New Year!" and nothing else of substance.
I have book news, but I can't share it yet. There definitely isn't any book news in any images or pictures that may or may not be shared on this post, so you probably shouldn't even look.
And in the absence of book news, as many of you know, I'm always struggling to think of what I should share in this space. If I were you, I'd probably only be following this blog to find out about new book releases, and the second there's a post that isn't about the next book, I'm out.
However, today I decided to talk about what's really on my mind. Which has to do with how I write and produce books.
And that "how" is very simple: I panic.
Tim Urban, on his excellent blog Wait But Why (which you should totally read), has a famous post about procrastination. He does a TED talk on the same subject, which I haven't linked but you can easily find on YouTube.
In this post, Tim imagines two forces battling in the procrastinator's brain: the Instant Gratification Monkey and the Panic Monster.
The Monkey lives in your brain and always begs you for something now. It tells you to check Reddit every two seconds, and that you can always start working in just a second, because now you should watch that new YouTube video.
The only thing that scares away the Instant Gratification Monkey is the Panic Monster. When you panic, when the deadline is looming and you have no time left and you're going to fail the class, the Panic Monster takes over. And now the Monkey runs away. It's easy to avoid procrastination when you're panicking.
This concept resonated with me so much that, a few years ago, I actually bought a plush Instant Gratification Monkey that I keep around my house. Here he is lurking behind my laptop as we speak:
I've written a lot of books. More than most people do. But all of them, I've written while the Panic Monster is in charge. Which means I durdle around for too long and then shotgun out a book in a panic.
That's not great. So I've been working on trying to control my procrastination, so that I can write books in a steady, healthy way, rather than with the Panic Monster at the wheel.
...although I haven't been super successful thus far. Maybe tomorrow.
P.S. For real, though, go read Wait But Why.
Now that I've adjusted my peg leg and straightened my eyepatch, I emerge to share my wishes for you this Christmas!
May you open a gift and find a dragon egg waiting for you within, iridescent to the eye and warm to the touch.
May you find a worn and battle-scarred Santa waiting for you with his hat in his hands, begging you to take over his powers and defend the North Pole from eldritch invaders.
May you roll a snowball only to find its cold seeping through your fingertips, into your veins, crawling up your bones and changing the very heart of who you are...you have received the Gift of the Snowball, and now you can conjure a perfect snowball into your hands at any time of year.
May you dig into Christmas dinner to find that each bite sends new strength flooding through you. Every bite of ham drives away your old wounds and illnesses. Every cranberry sharpens your eyesight, every dinner-roll your hearing. The potatoes pump power to your limbs, and every sip of wine (or juice--I don't know how old you are) quickens your thoughts. You emerge from the dinner table in a perfected version of your old body.
May unseen elves clean up your wrapping paper. And also your house while they're at it.
And if Christmas has already ended for you when you read this post, may you raise your eyes from this screen to see a red-and-green portal ready to take you back in time to a Christmas day on which all of these wishes came true.
Starting tomorrow morning, I'm going on a cruise. A writing cruise.
...which only means that I've booked a cruise ticket with the sole intention of staying on the boat writing. Where am I cruising? I don't know, and I don't care, but I know I'm going to get a chunk of prose done on the way.
I'll be gone for about a week. In the meantime, Blackflame is supposed to be released from Audible's imprisonment any day now. We're also planning a pre-Christmas sale on books that I'll have details for when I return!
And speaking of Christmas, DID YOU KNOW THAT I SELL A BUNCH OF MERCHANDISE? WELL, I DO!
We've got hats, mugs, shirts, cursed antiques*, posters, and forgotten souls*! If you have a friend, family member, or hated enemy that could use some materials goods with a simple emblem on it, then look no further!
More when I return!
*(subject to supply; curses and forgetfulness not guaranteed)
I know I've been talking about this a lot lately, but uh...we've had a lot of audiobooks coming out lately.
Both City of Light and Blackflame are to be released very soon! The Cradle narrator, Travis Baldree, has been a joy to work with, and the audiobooks are coming out way faster than I could have hoped.
In the meantime, I hope you all had a great Brown Thursday, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday, and that you're all hyped up for Lavender Tuesday tomorrow. I went camping and fried a bunch of turkey, then I went back to writing.
I'll be doing a short story for Christmas in a few weeks, too. I was thinking Traveler's Gate, but I know there are few Elder Empire or Cradle short stories (although it's been a while since I released a short story of any kind). Last year I did Santa's list, so I could do another cross-universe holiday thing again. I haven't decided. Always in motion is the future.
Let me know in the comments what sort of short story you'd prefer, and tell me how your Thanksgiving went!
(...and I am working on books still, I swear.)
Never let it be said that I don't keep my word...eventually.
For those of you with an Audible.co.uk account, now's your chance to get a free copy of Unsouled on Audible! We're giving away twenty-five copies of Unsouled on audio...which as far as I know may be more than I have fans in the UK, so maybe everybody will get one! Who knows?
And we'll be doing another UK giveaway for Soulsmith soon (though we may not give out so many copies that time), so look out for that!
Comment below on this post and tell me which superpower you would most want and why.
My hidden gnomes will then pick their ten favorite responses and give those people a code for a free Unsouled audiobook!
When you comment, make sure to use an email address you check, because on Wednesday we're going to pick those 25 comments and email you each a promo code to download Unsouled for free!
(You can use it yourself or give it to someone else with an Audible.co.uk account!)
DISCLAIMER: The code only works on Audible.co.uk, NOT Audible.com. If you don't have an Audible.co.uk account associated with your email, please either don't comment or make it clear that we shouldn't pick you as a winner (let's save the code for someone who can actually do something with it).
If you get your audiobooks from Audible.co.uk, these codes are for you! So let's see your comments below!
Here are the winners of the free copies of Soulsmith on audio (in the US) that my team of elite hidden gnomes selected. I've included their words and the reason they were selected.
Ashley: "Stelliferous." Not only is this a nice, obscure, cool-sounding word, but everybody likes stars!
Jeff: "Fred." They thought picking a name was clever, and this was a funny name to pick. Well played.
Eric: "Wightboi." We saw what you did there, Eric.
Gavin: "Aspirant." They didn't give me a reason for this one, Gavin, so I think they just liked the cut of your jib.
Darren: "Defenestration." Because this is how I punish my hidden gnomes when they fail me.
Ann R: "Defenestration." It's still a good word.
Jeff2: "Word." Nicely done, Jeff the Second.
Meng: "Daydream." Because of the way you phrased your reasoning: "Isn't this how books begin? A little daydream that dared to try."
Dave: "Syllepsis." That's a cool word.
John Herring: "Chork." For the funniest word on this list.
Jack: "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious." We all know why.
Mark: "Methylchloroisothiazolinone." Because we couldn't pronounce it, so we figured we might as well give it a prize.
Matt: "Monosyllabic." Because it's not.
The Last Reader: "Imperitum." Wins the "most likely to be used in a mystic incantation" award.
sophie: "Hangry." Because we all get that way sometimes.
As you may or may not know, the Soulsmith audiobook is available now on Audible and Amazon!
As a matter of fact, the narrator--Travis Baldree--is so awesome that he's already done recording Blackflame! It's headed off to editing already. I don't know how he keeps up with these.
Now that Soulsmith is out, I have to do a giveaway. As is tradition.
Comment below and tell me your favorite word and its definition. Any word, real or made up. My hidden gnomes will then pick their ten favorite responses and give those people a code for a free Soulsmith audiobook!
Here's the deal: comment on this post (here on the blog) and tell me about your favorite character word. When you comment, make sure to use an email address you check, because TOMORROW NIGHT we're going to pick those 10 comments and email you each a promo code to download Soulsmith for free!
(You can use it yourself or give it away!)
DISCLAIMER: The code only works on Audible.com, NOT Audible.co.uk. I'm going to have a separate giveaway for U.K. codes, so if you're in the U.K., save your comments for next time!
As for people who are in neither the US nor UK...I think it depends on whether you use Audible.com or Audible.co.uk.
If you get your audiobooks from Audible.com, these codes are for you! So let's see your comments below!
P.S. If you are in the UK: Yes, I forgot about you last time. That happened. Therefore, I'm going to be doing a giveaway for the Unsouled audiobook in the UK on Monday. And instead of giving out ten codes, as an apology, we'll be giving out twenty-five UK codes, which may be more than we have responses. After that, we'll do the Soulsmith giveaway as well.
...sorry about that. I won't forget you this time, I promise.
I know this isn't the release announcement most of you were hoping for, but good news! The Soulsmith audiobook will be available any day now, the City of Light audiobook is completely finished recording and is now in editing, and the Blackflame audiobook is almost done recording as well!
It's an audiobook bonanza!
Check this space (and all of my other spaces) for an official announcement when Soulsmith goes live!
Last week, I promised that I’d update you on the state of my various projects! Here are those updates, in the form of cryptic but accurate statements.
Some of them are less cryptic than others.
Elder Empire: A man on a long journey may take many twists and turns, until even he cannot tell when he will arrive at his destination, but his journey continues regardless.
City of Light audio: The city’s gates groan as they prepare to open.
Soulsmith audio: In one turning of the moon, the world may change.
Underlord: The boy shifted in his chair, sweating. “I know I said I would stop crying wolf. I meant it, I swear. But it just rolls off the tongue so easily.” He straightened suddenly, stabbing his finger at the door. “LOOK OUT, A WOLF!” No one turned, and he shrank back. “Last time, I promise.”
Sorry it's been so long! As most of you guessed, I've spent the last couple of weeks locked in a cabin writing.
Also, apparently my assistant asked you on Facebook which questions you'd like to see me answer on here, so I'll do that!
(I have some content updates. They're coming. Next week, I swear I'll give you some information about the books. But I just got back, and I'm still getting organized, so in the meantime...)
A: Who is your favorite Disney character and why?
Disney owns too many characters now. I can't be certain my own characters aren't owned by Disney somehow. But my real answer: Carl Fredricksen from Up. I aspire to be him when I am older, but with an even more tragic backstory.
B: If you could only have one app on your phone, what would it be?
I don't know, Safari? I'm not very good at these social media-type questions. If www.WuxiaWorld.com had an iOS app, it would be my most-used app and the one I would keep above all others. I spend most of my time on Safari reading web novels.
C: What five things could you not live without?
1.) The four elemental crystals that keep nature in balance, without which all of humanity would be scoured from the face of the planet by constant natural disasters.
2.) The ring I inherited from my great-grandfather that tells me what every child wants for Christmas.
3.) My artificial heart.
4.) The collar that keeps me from transforming into a werewolf every night.
5.) Terraria on PC.
D: What is your favorite knock knock joke?
E: When will Underlord be released?
This was by far the most common fan-submitted question.
The time approaches when ravens cry with the voices of men. I see a day when lakes and rivers reverse their flow, when dogs and cats merge into the perfect pets, and when the moon cackles and stares at the people below while blood leaks from the corner of its mouth. Ia! Ia! These are the signs that the time of Underlord is nigh!
"The sea was empty."
84% of draft
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