Quick Note: GraphicAudio has a special deal going on through the end of April on a complete set of my Fallen Blade series in full cast audio with sound effects and music, like a radio play. I’ve been listening and these are really good productions. In particular, I adore what they’ve done with Faran. Use the 35% Off Code CDSET35 FALLEN BLADE CD SET
I’m incredibly excited that the first of Graphic Audio’s rendition of my Fallen Blade series is out now. These are abridged full cast audio productions of the the books with sound effects, a bit like a radio play and the are super fancy!
Darkened Blade is out today! One bizarre and possibly self-protective quirk of my psychology means that every time I have a book out it comes as a huge surprise to me on launch day.
*panics* *runs around like poultry sans cranium* *deep breaths*
So, yes, Darkened Blade is the 6th and final book of the Fallen Blade series and it’s out today and it would be awesome if you all went out and bought it. Maybe even two—it makes a great present, slender affordable, shiny cover, good a paperweight, absorbs spills, etc.
So, it’s one month out from the launch of Darkened Blade, the sixth and final book in the Fallen Blade sequence, which is kind of hard to believe. After that, my next novel will be School for Sidekicks, a snappy snarky full length novel aimed at kids and all those adults who happily read fun books without worrying about target audiences which just received a starred review from Kirkus.
2015 Update: This post about adapting to having two contracted books a year was originally published as I was working on Bared Blade. The pressures remain pretty much the same, and though I’ve since managed to write a Blade book in just 88 days now, I’m not sure I’m really capable of much more than two books a year.
So, this year I made the jump from having one book under contract per 12 month window, to having two books under contract per 12 month window. Now, at first glance you might say: That’s a doubling of your work load, what were you thinking?
What I was thinking was that in each of the previous four years I’d written two books, one on contract, one on spec. And, since I haven’t yet sold any of the spec books, though I do expect to, I would be doubling my income with no concomitant increase in work load. Turns out I was wrong.
Over the last decade or so I’ve tended to work in spurts with gaps of weeks or months between. Since ’06 that’s produced around 150-160k words per 12 month period, or one adult fantasy and one YA written on spec. And that’s been a mostly stress free level of production.
Under the new deal I’m only contracted for 180k per 12 months, which shouldn’t have been that much more work. But I also made the jump from contemporary fantasy to secondary world high fantasy and that seems to add about 20 percent more effort to the process. I’d heard something like that from George R.R. Martin at some point, but he was moving from science fiction to fantasy, and I was just changing types of fantasy. Surely it wouldn’t be that bad…
Add in that the first book went 7k long and that I expect this one to do so as well, and suddenly it’s the equivalent of 220-230k of what I was doing before. That’s 70-90k extra, or nearly another adult novel’s worth of effort. I’m getting it done and not dying, but it’s a major change.
The biggest adjustment from one book a year to two is how fast it catches up to me if I take a break. I’ve often dropped out for a month and a half of downtime at the end of a book, or when I needed to think about the story, or just to spend more time with my professor wife when she’s off from the University. Now, if I haven’t worked ahead, a month and a half is a 22k word deficit that I have to make up some time in my remaining four-and-a-half months.
When that was on a spec book, it didn’t really matter. I could always punt my personal deadline a little further out. I almost never did, but knowing that I could made a huge psychological difference. So, an extra novel’s worth of work plus more than doubled pressure. I think I’ve found a balance that makes it work for me, but it’s going to be very interesting seeing how things go when we hit my wife’s summer break this year.
2015 update: I wrote this day after I finished Broken Blade and it’s hardly worth porting over, but there it is.
I’m done with the first book in the Chronicles of Aral Kingslayer and it’s left me completely wrung and kind of empty feeling. Not my normal pattern with a book. My head feels like there’s been a fire inside that just burned the whole thing hollow.
Oh hey, I’ve been meaning to post this for forever. Due to production errors the glossary for Drawn Blades was incomplete. So, belatedly, here are the missing terms:
Ancubonite—An Asavi-made poison, among the deadliest in the world.
Arimandro Tree—An enormous semi-tropical hardwood native to the Sylvani Empire.
Asavi—Tiny Others living in miniature cities within the Sylvani Empire. Allied with air.
Buried Gods—Undead sorcerer gods of the Others, bound into the earth by the forces of Heaven after the godwar.
Calren the Taleteller—God of beginnings and first Emperor of Heaven.
Castelle Filathalor—A fortress erected atop the tomb of The Changer.
City Understairs—One of the greatest of the Asavi cities. Located under the grand stairs in Sylvas.
Cobble-runners—A gang in the Stumbles.
Darksight—One of the terms used by the Blades to describe the sense that they borrow from their Shade companions.
Disquisition, the—The Sylvani Imperial authority associated with the nuliphate. The Disquisition is tasked with stamping out any rising of the buried gods and the elimination of their cultic followings.
Dorak-ki—Durkoth term. A throne of earth tied into the elemental energy flows of earth and stone.
Durkothi—The language of the Durkoth.
Dyad—A binary entity made up of a human sorcerer and their familiar fused into a single consciousness.
Eight Major Elements, The—Light, shadow, earth, air, water, fire, death, and life. Only the first seven are known to have corresponding elementals.
Fallows, The—The strip of land that runs on either side of the Wall of the Sylvain. God-magic prevents any construction from happening there.
Fathudor—Durkoth word for the sense-of-stone.
Filathalor—A beast of the Sylvain, more or less a cross between a tiger and a boar.
Fiver—A Magelander coin—literally a fifth of a broken kalend.
First—The word the Others use to describe themselves.
God-sniffer—A type of Sylvani mage trained to smell out god-magic.
Godwar—The war between Heaven and those among the Others who sought to rival them.
Grays—The traditional garb of the blade. Usually consists of low boots, flowing pants, a loose shirt, and a yoke and cowl, all dyed in an abstract pattern of dark grays. In colder weather a poncho is added.
Gutterside—The world of the slums.
Hasheth—A Durkoth word for cursed. Usually refers to weapons touched by the power of the buried gods.
Hasheth-ctark—A sort of spell-stone used by the Uthudor of the Durkoth to encyst a curse.
Heaven—The land of the gods, ruled by the Emperor of Heaven.
Heaven’s Reach—The temple kingdom ruled over by the Son of Heaven.
Heaven’s Shadow—The name the Son of Heaven has given to his organization of Blade traitors. Their grays are slightly red tinted.
Hierarch—A rank in the Sylvani anti-priesthood of the nuliphate. (Rank is denoted on badge by shield pips.)
Iander—One of the Blades who went over to the Son of Heaven.
Illiana—A Master Blade, killed in a suicide attack at the fall of the temple, one that ended the life of the then-Signet.
Inkathiq—Durkoth word for an unbroken chain of earth energy.
Grave Tree—A burial tradition of the Sylvani in which a very long lived breed of tree is planted to mark the graves of their fallen.
Kalend—A Magelander coin, roughly equivalent to the Zhani riel.
Key of Sylvaras—A mythical item associated with the god Sylvaras.
Kothmerk—The original signet ring of the first King of the Durkoth.
Kreyn—The oldest branch of the Others. They live in forest enclaves within the Sylvani Empire. Allied with shadow.
Krith—A Durkoth word for a cave dwelling.
Krithak, Dame—A Durkoth Uthudor.
Kyrissa—A Shade, familiar to Siri. Takes the form of a winged serpent.
Liess—A Shade, familiar of Sharl.
Lin-hua—A Zhani game of chance involving tiles.
Mabung—One of the Blades who went over to the Son of Heaven.
Malora—A master Blade slain by the Hand of Heaven several years after the fall of the Temple.
Maryam—A onetime journeyman Blade.
Milkstone—A white stone similar to alabaster.
Mouse Gates—Magical gates that allow full sized people to enter the miniature cities of the Asavi.
Nuliphate—An institution of the Sylvani Empire. Essentially an official anti-religion that arose as a response to the godwar and its aftereffects. Equally against the buried gods and the forces of Heaven.
Oaken Throne—The seat of the High King of the Kreyn.
Olen—A master Blade who taught Aral.
Omira—A onetime apprentice Blade, once one of Faran’s closest friends.
Oyani—Zhani term of respect denoting outland nobility.
Parsi—One of the Blades who went over to the Son of Heaven.
Patiss—A Shade, familiar of Master Urayal.
Ping-slick-fingers—A professional gambler in Tien.
Pol—A master Blade, long since dead.
Rakshifthra the Changer—A buried god who sometimes takes the shape of a filathalor. Once of the Kreyn.
Rapportomancer—A person with the familiar gift but no mage gift.
Roric—A onetime journeyman Blade, Avarsi by birth.
Scent-breaker—A charmed fan used to prevent hounds or other smell hunters from catching a scent.
Seldan, Dukes of—Varyan nobles, two of whom were executed by Jax.
Shekat—Durkoth word for the soul, which they see far more clearly than they do faces.
Shekatudor—Durkoth word meaning the soul of the stone.
Smoldering Flame, The—A buried god. Once one of the Durkoth.
Ssalassiss—A Shade, familiar to Iander. Takes the form of a miniature elephant.
Ssassisshatha—A Shade word denoting identity or, soul signature.
Sshssithssha—A Shade word denoting a sort of path through shadow.
Ssissathshta—A Shade curse.
Ssolvey—A Shade, familiar to Roric. Takes the form of an enormous six-legged badger.
Ssuma—A Shade, familiar to Illiana.
Stirby—A freshwater fish common in Zhan.
Sunrunning—Blade slang for maintaining a shroud in bright daylight.
Sword-Rig—An arrangement of leather straps and blackened steel D-rings that allows a Blade to attach their swords and other tools in a variety of configurations.
Sylvani—The Others who populate the Sylvani Empire south of the eleven kingdoms. Allied with the element of light.
Sylvaras—First emperor of the Sylvain and greatest of the gods who rose from the First. Allied himself with Heaven in the godwar.
Sylvas—Capitol of the Sylvani Empire.
Tamerlen—A Master Blade killed in the fall of the temple.
Thera—A Master Blade killed in a magical experiment.
Thiess—A Shade, familiar to Javan. Takes the shape of a huge horned owl.
Thuroq—A Durkoth envoy (or speaker).
Tolar—A branch of the Others living within the Sylvani Empire, mostly in the wastes. Allied with fire.
Truevelyn—A word the buried gods use to refer to their disciples.
Tunnelworm—A sort of earth elemental that bores passages large enough for people to walk in.
Ulriss—A Shade, familiar to Leyan.
Urayal—A Master Blade, killed in an attempt on Ashvik.
Ussiriss—Shade to Kaman.
Uthudor—A Durkoth scholar of the earth.
Vadric Poetry—An Aveni form of epic poetry.
Veira—A Master Blade, killed after the fall of the temple.
Velyn—A Sylvani word for Otherkind.
Vrass—A Shade, familiar to Maryam. Takes the form of a hydra.
Wall of the Sylvain—Or simply the wall. A giant magical warding in the shape of a five thousand mile wall. Built by the forces of Heaven to bind the buried gods and the magic-using Others into the lands of Sylvani Empire.
Wind-Carpet—An enchanted rug designed to capture the attention of the great air elementals who live in the upper winds. Has to be launched from at least a mile above the ground.
Zissatha—A Shade, familiar to Parsi. Takes the form of a giant rat.
I am absolutely in love with the cover for the final Fallen Blade book. My editor, Anne Sowards, has done amazing things for me with these books. I adore all six of my John Jude Palencar covers.
Should you be so inclined it’s worth noting that the book is available for preorder. Here are a couple of direct links: Amazon. Barnes and Noble. Nook. Kindle. Or, you could preorder via your local independent book store and support me and local business.