State of the Author, August 2017 edition

Posted in Books, Cast, DAW, Elantra, Essalieyan, writing.

I had really hoped to be able to write this yesterday, because I could then tell myself it was still July.

But, it’s not July, it’s the beginning of August.

When I went to Australia, War was at 340k words. I thought it would be 30k words to the end. Where in this case, thought probably means “prayed”. This is not, as you know from the last blog post, what happened.

Today, I have typed the figurative “THE END” on War. It is, as it currently stands, 430k words. This is too long. Not necessarily for readers, but my poor, poor editor. And publisher. So while I have typed “THE END”, my part in that book is not yet over. I have to revise, fix the eight million typos, and find things that can be cut without harming what the book is. But: for better or worse, what I’m doing now is pruning and reshaping. The book itself exists. It is done.

And this means that I am now starting the next CAST novel and the Severn short story. Finally. When my head is caught up in the end of a book, the book and the story structure and the little things about bringing the end home effectively eat up my writing brain.

But in this case, since “end of book” was about 90k words, it means that’s all of the writing I’ve been doing for all of July and the last half of June. So: my brain – or what is left of it – is now once again open to other stories.

That’s the first bit of news.

Second: I know that not many people use the forums here, but some still do, and … we have migrated to different forum software, which was interesting and which is not entirely perfect yet. I experimented with a short post about Valerian, the movie. In part this was because the old version was not supported, and we require the spam filters, which are actually good.

And third: I have sold two more CAST novels to HLQ/HCP. They don’t have titles, so I can’t actually tell you anything else about them yet, beyond the fact that the first of the two starts where Cast in Deception leaves off.


(Edited to add: I managed to delete this post the first time I posted it because my brains have mostly dribbled out my ears due to heat and book’s end. So, I apologize if you get two emails, and the first one takes you to 404, page not found >.<)

46 Responses to State of the Author, August 2017 edition

  1. I look forward to War. I have loved this series from the very beginning, and in some ways I don’t want it to end, but all things end. And that is as it should be.

    Will we see War this year, or next?

    90k, 6 weeks. That’s some serious effort!

    Yes, fix the typos. Leave all the words. :)


  2. Joey says:

    Hello blog post “1865-2” possibly aka “state-of-the-writer-august-2017-edition”! I think I’m replying to the former.

    Congratulations on the completion of WAR!

    Yay for two more opportunities for a CAST IN NETS!

    Miscellaneously, I’m interested in your “Valerian …” post. I plan to see it.

    Happy August!

  3. michelle says:

    @Joey: what I said on twitter was: It’s a GREAT movie, but unfortunately, it’s not (necessarily) a good one.

    It is objectively better than Jupiter Ascending, which I also enjoyed, to the chagrin of some. But very different, to me.

  4. merie says:

    Thank you for keeping us all in the loop. It is very appriciated. I hate to ask you this but, you say War is finish which means It will be in stores when? Not trying to push you but so anxious to get it. You also say that you sold two more Cast books, are they already written or they are on your to-do list? What is HLQ/HCP. Not too inform in the author ‘s language. So happy to hear you are in a written mood but, take a rest now and again. Thank you again fot the plesure you bring to our lives. I still re-read Sun Sword series. One of the best written by anyone.

  5. michelle says:

    @merie: I can’t answer the first question, because I don’t know. I still have some work to do on the book, and… it’s very very long =/. Neither of the CAST novels are written yet. Usually, with an ongoing series, we sell a book (or two or three) with the understanding that we will write it in future. (We don’t get paid all of the money upfront; we get paid on signing the contract, on delivery of proposal, on acceptance of the finished novel.) HLQ=Harlequin and HCP=HarperCollins Publishing.

  6. Debbie H says:

    Wonderful, 2 more Cast novels. Congratulations! Remind your editor that we, your faithful readers do not consider any book too long. Good luck with the pruning. Really looking forward to the completed book and Cast in Deception. Thank you for all your wonderful work.

  7. Dorthy Redmond says:

    I love all the Cast books. Can you give a hint about what to expect the Cast in Deception will be about. Will Severin and Kaylan ever get together.

  8. Susan M Ivey says:

    Oh my gosh, I’m sooo excited!!! Keep as many words as you can, please, please.And more Cast …YEA!!

  9. Michelle, I can see in email that comments have been posted, but none of them are here, including the comment I posted very shortly after your original post.

    Do you moderate comments before they are visible? I thought I saw comments here earlier!


  10. michelle says:

    @Jake: All of the comments are here on my screen; none have disappeared >.>

    There’s no moderation unless the comment goes into the spam filter, which tends to trigger on things like web-links.

  11. Joey says:

    Dear The Author: I went back to both the “1865-2” and “state-of-the-writer-august-2017-edition” versions of the August 1 blog post page and see no comments. When I went to your blog page via your main page using another browser, I don’t even see the August 1 blog.

    Might you be viewing things from an admin or super-user view? Or something like that?

  12. controuble says:

    OK, that was weird. I got 2 emails about 2 blog entries and I commented on the first one and it never came up. I opened the second and all I see from me is the duplicate entry comment because the second entry was the same as the first, but now it has comments from others and now it has also changed its name to the first entry.

    Anyway – YAY for more Cast books and so glad you finally came up for air from War.

  13. Zia says:

    And this update is showing up so…differently on all my devices. Is anyone else having a problem? Sometimes it shows up on the main site in the Archives for August, but most of the time I can only get here through the link my email sent out.

    And, under “recent posts” it’s listed as 1865. It also says there are 5 comments (one of which I believe I wrote, in theory) But I am not seeing any of them actually posted or listed here once I get on the page?

  14. Zia says:

    Ah! Now the comments are showing, and the one I wrote earlier is MIA (darn it!). So now I possibly get to sound like a bigger idiot. Anyways…

    Congratulations on finishing War! I’m sorry it reached the length where cutting is required, but hopefully that goes smoothly for you. I honestly cannot wait, and I am thrilled about the whole 430k word part, even if that’s not the end result.

    Yay for two more CAST novels after Cast in Deception! That is terrific news. I hope the writing of the next CAST novel and the Severn short (shortish?) story go smoothly.

    I hope things have been going well for you overall! I cannot believe it is August already. My boss and I were commenting about it this weekend because she see it as August=Almost Winter, which means snow and neither of us are really ready for the commitment winter requires yet.

    Thank you, as always for writing, and then for taking the time out of your day to post here to let us know how things are.

    Also, the new forum software update looks neat, and I’m glad now of the original posts poofed with the update!

  15. Zia says:

    And the comments are gone again even though I get emails saying other people have posted >.<

    This is so odd. Even finding this post again takes time. I either need the link from the original email I got, or I have to go to Archives, July 2017, to get August 2017 to show up, and then I can find this post, but the comments are MIA. I believe, based on the last email I got regarding this post, that I am not alone in having trouble seeing things?

    Last time I posted comments appeared when the page refreshed, so maybe it will happen again?

  16. Lesa says:

    I am so glad that you are writing more Cast books! Take a break and then keep writing. Love your books!!!

  17. Hanneke says:

    Thank you for all the good news. It’s very good to hear that you have finished writing War. I admire very much your ability to keep all the story-threads going and to tie them all off neatly at the end, for such enormously complex and long story-arcs, with always satisfying endings that ring emotionally and psychologically true.
    That writing for months at a time at this highest of grand-master levels leaves you no brain-space for anything else is eminently understandable, and so is the relief of finally finishing up such a grand project as this series.

    Making head-room and publishing contracts for more Cast books and stories is good too!
    It’s a fine assurance of future reading pleasure for us (and probably a welcome bit of financial surety for you), to know you can continue to explore in that fascinating world and get the books published, at least for the next couple of years.

    And better spam filters for the forum are a must in the present state of the Internet, to save your brains for the more important work of writing and living instead of whacking spam-moles!

    Congratulations on all three!

  18. HI Michelle,

    Thank you for being the author you are.

    War, done. Yay. I have enjoyed this series and the cross-over with the “Sun Sword” series. I hope the overall series continues.

    War at 430K words. YES! I know it is hard on everyone who reviews your books, but one aspect I love about them is their length allows me to feel involved with the characters, instead of feeling like I had a Sunday afternoon breeze-by.

    Two more Cast books. YES! I look forward to reading new Cast books for years to come.

    As far as “Valerian” is concerned, I enjoyed the movie. I found it to be visually compelling with enough story to move along the visual beauty. Then again, I also enjoyed “Jupiter Ascending”, also, to the consternation of my friends.

  19. Carol Duffy says:

    Hurray! For all of it! May I echo what was said; fix the typos, keep the words :) In all seriousness, much looking forward to whatever words you choose to send our way.

  20. Joyce Ronquillo says:

    I am very glad you finally got War to it’s conclusion. Hope the edits are not too painful. I have a friend who sold her first book and the edits have been torture for her.

    Please assure your publishers that you have not jumped the shark on the Cast series and we faithful will continue to buy them so they should too. I do have a question though. Can I read Deception without gritting my teeth at the end? I don’t mind re-reading the previous book but I hate being left clinging to a cliff for a year or more.

  21. michelle says:

    @everyone: Can you let me know if the comments are still disappearing? I thought it might be server confusion because I was not very smart (deleting post by accident, redoing it, and changing the title to the SAME THING), so I asked the web person to delete the server cache, hoping that would clear up the confusion.

  22. Zia says:

    On my end, via the computer, if I click “respond” to the comment through my email link then everything shows up, but if I just follow the link to your post/go here to the site directly to search for it, the post is difficult to find and then some of the comments are missing.

    On my phone, it’s still even sketchier. But, it is getting better.

    Could it, by chance, be a bad plugin or something along that line?

  23. michelle says:

    There is a natural end for the CAST novels, and it has always been my intention to write all the books that I want to write in that universe before writing that natural end. The one that is still giving me grief – by being elusive – is the Dragon Court book, because I have wanted to write once since, hmmmm, Cast in Silence. But the shape of a story just won’t cohere.

    @Jake, Robert, Carol: The problem with length is entirely physical, though – it’s the binding, and the cost of the binding. And the cost of the paper, and the cost of the proof-reading and copy-editing. If I were Robert Jordan, people would grit their teeth and bear it – but I’ve never managed to reach as wide an audience. (This is not meant as a complaint; there are things he does that I don’t do, and these books are both mine and what they are).

    To be honest: I will finish the final arc set in this universe. But if I do have to self-publish it, I am…looking forward to the total lack of stress about things like book length. Because there isn’t a novel, with the exception of The Queen of the Dead series, that hasn’t, at the end, caused me ulcers because the book is too long.

  24. Melissa says:

    Sweet, sweet music to my ears! Ready to begin the Severn story and 2 additional CAST novels… WOO-HOO!
    … and Congrats on “finishing” War. It must feel incredible to finish such a huge saga.

  25. Dan says:

    I don’t know whether it’s an error or not but there is a live link on Amazon to pre-order Cast in Deception with an availability date of February 23 2018. It doesn’t have a cover yet which leads me to believe the link has gone live early. I couldn’t help myself and had to pre-order the book

  26. Zia says:

    @Dan: Amazon normally places the books up fairly early for preorder, most of the time before they have a cover. I preordered my copies (Kindle and the actual book) back in May I believe. …I’m pretty sure it was a month that started with “M” >.<

    @Michelle: The site now seems to be loading comments correctly on my end at this time :)

  27. @Zia: It was my fault – it was a problem with the cache. Once I asked to have the site cache cleared, it removed the memory of the accidentally deleted post with the same name as this one. But I’m glad that it works again!

  28. Tickle says:

    Yay! I’m so excited to know that you’ve finished War (and I truly hope that’s not the end of the entire saga as I hope to see some of my favs back from the Sun Sword series). I’m also happy that we can expect 2 more Cast books. I so wish HBO, Netflix, and/or Amazon would option one of your series (preferably the Sun Sword series) to make a TV version. Your worlds are so rich and the characters so compelling. Has anyone approached you about that and would you be willing to let them? Anyway, keep up the great work. I concur w/others, to let your editor/publisher know that we don’t care how long the book is, we will still buy it.

  29. Denise says:

    Congratulations on selling more of the Cast in Series!!!! I am looking forward to the next book.

  30. DeDe says:

    War is done! Very glad to hear. Had to laugh. I hope you don’t have to self-publish the end of the arc, but if you do – I’m picturing something like my old-fashioned unabridged dictionary.

  31. All good news! For me as bystander of course, not for your case of … exasperation? at yourself. War finished bar the pruning and two new Ellantra books under contract, wohoo!

    In my wishful fantasy I am hoping you get to be like C.J. Cherryh with the Foreigner series there, she’s on book 16 by now. I’d love some slice-of-life books mixed in with all the main plotline upheaval, maybe focussing on Kaylin’s experiences with various of her side characters.

    But whatever you feel like writing, I’ll buy ^^.

  32. @Estara: My attempt to write a slice-of-life book was Cast in Flame. Which would have been much smaller if not for the inconvenience of the ending of Sorrow.

  33. Andrea Smith says:

    Congratulations! on finishing War and selling 2 more Cast books. I’m excited to read them all. I was wondering when you were going to post, Cast in Deception cover? For me, seeing the completed cover makes the real. I know in the past covers have popped up on Amazon first. But often color is off and doesn’t do the artwork justice. You seem blessed in the cover department.

    As we’re moving into fall, am I the only one starting to do a read through of Chronicles of Electra? I’m ready for more adventurers and enjoy reconnecting with old friends.(Thanks Michelle)

  34. Melanie says:

    Awe, facebook, emails, and here are my go to…. did not get an email.. but longed on here, so Thanks a Million for the old ways….

    I hate endings… yet with an ending, comes a different path, hopefully!
    I have been lucky enough to have and read all your books which I love. So glad there are more cast books to look forward to… Also will be delighted to read war, yet kinda sad with the end
    Yet happy for your peace of mind, get some rest, enjoy your family, take care always, thanks for writing

  35. Penny Beard says:

    Michelle, I am so grateful that you share with us these two wonderful worlds. I am not ready to let go of Jewel and den, but yes, things must end. I’m looking forward to the next arc in this world. There are so very many characters that you can write about. Your world is endless, and honestly, I feel as though only a very small handful are “side kicks.” Each is to me so integral. I strongly feel that for good or ill, we meet people in life for a reason. I wish you and your family well and look forward to more Elantra as well.

  36. Nevada says:

    It’s exciting that War is complete, but you don’t really have to cut that 430K words, just do another series extension. It’s so bittersweet to think about the end of a world I’ve been reading the last 20 years. Congratulations, and thank you for writing them.

    Tickle, above, was asking about TV shows. I always thought Kristin Kreuk would have been a good Diora, but oh well.

    On a different topic: Where are some fave places to discuss these books? I have so many questions and Goodreads is strangely quiet on these series.

  37. Kick says:

    “In my wishful fantasy I am hoping you get to be like C.J. Cherryh with the Foreigner series there, she’s on book 16 by now”

    We are greedy, I tell you greedy. Michelle has written us something like 12 Cast books, the Queen of the Dead trilogy and 14 books between Hunt/Sun Sword/House. I think we forget how much she has written for us given our aforementioned greed. I am dying for War and … what’s it going to be called? … the Black Gauntlet ? series as well but when I am feeling grumpy about waiting I try to remember just how much she has written!

    Then I recognize my greed but sadly go immediately back to being impatient because I am an imperfect soul.

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