News! And also State of the Author, October 2018 edition (long)

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

It’s me, and if I’m warning you that this will be long, well.

This is probably going to be long. I did consider splitting it into two posts, but there doesn’t seem to be a length limit in WordPress, so. (For the record, my long-suffering husband suggested that I split it into three. Yes, he survived.)

So, first: The Sun Sword has been reissued in trade paperback (which is the larger, non-standard-size paperback format). Yes, this means they are more expensive, sorry =/. This happened in July, but I didn’t find out about it until the end of August. I’ve added the relevant information to the book pages here.

I am not, as will become immediately obvious, much of a photographer >.<. As you can see, there’s been some changes to the cover cropping and type. I’ve put my reference copy of Shining Court beside the new version (which has reflected light on it that I only notice now T_T) to give you a sense of the size difference.

Covers TP Sunsword

Sun Sword trade paperback spines

Page size comparison

Below is a page spread from the trade paperback of Broken Crown. The books have not been re-typeset – it’s the same page layout as the mass market original, blown up in size.

Trade page

They are all available now.


Next up: It’s official. Mira has bought two Severn novels. Neither of which are written yet. These novels started as a novella, long over-due to the person who donated to a charity to be allowed to give me a short story prompt. >.<. In my defense, I did refuse to commit to a length – but I believe I also said it wouldn’t be a novel. Technically this is sort of true.

It’s early Severn, and the Wolves. I can’t really say more than that at this point, in part because the first seven chapters did not go quite the way I thought they would (which is why this is novel(s) and not “novella”.


And as for the State of the Writer:

I spent a few years doing nothing but revisions, subjectively speaking. In the real world, it was a couple of months.

First, Firstborn. It has more words in it than it did when I first split the book, and it was not as straightforward as any other split in my DAW career (of which there have been many), because I wrote the book knowing I couldn’t split it; War was supposed to be the final volume. But then at 430k, we had a book that couldn’t be bound. So.

I chose the only emotional point from which the end of a novel could naturally arise and then… had to restructure things to give that ending the impact it deserved. In the end I chose to open up something that seemed obvious to me, if off-the-page, from the end of the entire 430k monster. My alpha reader told me that this was not obvious at all in the former iteration.

This is a problem I often have; things that are not obvious seem obvious to me, because I know how they work. Things that are obvious to others seem more difficult to me because I can’t always see forest for trees. Examples of both abound >.<.

After I sent Firstborn off to my editor, I then sat down with what is now called War. (Sun Sword was a moving title as well; I started every book after Broken Crown with the rough draft title Sun Sword. It only stuck at the end, because it was the title meant for the last book.)

War, however, now started in the middle of a book.

The middle of a book is not a great place to begin a book. So the revision on War was both necessary and front-loaded. I think, in the end, Firstborn is actually a bit longer than War. Both are now with DAW, and I will not see them again until page proofs arrive, which in the case of the former, should be any minute now.

But, they were done, and sent to Sheila! Yay!  I sat down and started the first book of the last arc – which, for a West novel, means iterative approaches to the beginning of a book. This did not last two days.

The universe decided I had not actually done enough revision; there was clearly not enough revision in my life. Cast in Oblivion came back from my Mira editor, and so: Revisions! Again!


By the end of those revisions I had reached an important conclusion: do not revise three books in a row. Revisions on one book – and I’ve only ever had one, with actual writing breaks in between – are fine. It’s bumpy in that I approach a book looking only for things that don’t work – things that I messed up, things I knew in my head that never quite made it to the page – but it’s positive in that I can make it better.

Three months of seeing nothing but the things I got wrong? Even the joy of fixing things or adding things is so heavily shadowed by the fact that I wouldn’t need to do this if I could just get it right the first time. And that mythical ‘get it right the first time’… never happens. There are always things I miss. I know no authors personally who can claim that they never revise. There might be authors who don’t – but I’ve never met them.

I’ve been doing this for a while now. I understand that revisions do not mean the work is garbage or terrible. I understand–pragmatically speaking–that I have always revised, with editorial feedback in hand.

But the pragmatic understanding did not stand up well to three novel revisions in a row. I’m never doing it again; I will take time to write actual book words–to create–in between. As it was, reading for the F&SF review column saved what remained of my sanity, because I had a book review column due, and had read only 2 books for it. I read, I wrote the column, and I sat down to new book words again.

The Cast in Oblivion copy-edits arrived in my inbox.

In the mean time, the gloom had the effect it always has: I avoid the internet. I avoid being on-line. I avoid being an author in public. Because I feel like a fraud; if I were the author that readers actually wanted to interact with, I would never be this incompetent, right? The little voice that says, “but you’ve always worked this way since day one” is too quiet.

The part of me that is Eeyore in real life?

Is finally taking a nap. I have sent in the copy-edits for Cast in Oblivion (which is the stage after revisions and approval of same). I am looking at: three possible places to start the first of the End of Days books, and two possible places to start the Severn book (the beginning that’s there doesn’t quite work for a novel; it would have been fine in a short story), and my creative brain is now starting to be excited rather than cowering in embarrassment.

60 Responses to News! And also State of the Author, October 2018 edition (long)

  1. Crystal says:

    That was slightly confusing lol. I’m always one who loves to interact with an author. Your a human (I assume) I’m not one to expect greatness. I’m also an introvert and can do without people most days. So I do understand. But if you ever need encouragement I’d be there. You know “your a great author” or “you write these books to express your creativity who cares about people”. Lol. I’m so excited about oblivion already prebought it is that the end of the series. I don’t think I’ve read the firstborn series. So I’m off to find them…

  2. Joey says:

    Thank you for the updates! Are you satisfied with the tpb reissues? It seems a bit odd they were just made bigger, without being re-typeset.

    Yay for naps!

  3. michelle says:

    @Joey: I am happy that they are in print. My mother finds them easier to read. I personally prefer the Sacred Hunt book – which I adored – because it was off-set and re-typeset, but: at least they’re in print >.

  4. michelle says:

    @Crystal: No, it’s not the end of the series; I still have a couple of books I really want to write (Bellusdeo book/Dragon Court; Fieflord Council or formation thereof, among others) :)

  5. Christine says:

    I realize that this is “just not how it is done”, but, as an avid reader who *wants the story!*, I don’t understand why the publisher can’t take those 430k words and publish them as a two-book set for the finale; War, part 1 and War, part 2. That would certainly cut out a lot of work! I also realize that $ would factor in. I wouldn’t mind paying for a two-book set. Don’t you want to be a trend-setter? Haha.
    I love your stories so much that I have bought many many of your books to give to friends, and I am going online to Amazon to buy this *new* set of The Sun Sword … actually, two; one for me and one for a friend who hasn’t read them and needs a happy surprise in her life right now.
    Arrgghh! I want a new bedtime story so I can stay up all night!

  6. Valerie says:

    You’re the best! Only human, please please keep writing! I eagerly anticipate each new release! I’m glad Eeyore is napping, be proud of your creations. Understand the overwhelm, I can’t imagine revising three books at once. Thank you for sharing your creative writing with us, your readership.

  7. michelle says:

    @Christine: It would work sort of. But readers will come into the series not actually knowing that these two were published at the same time. Readers are used to writers who write series – but… half a book is still half a book, if that makes sense?

    And as a reader, I haven’t seen that “half a book” work well. People will get to the end of that actual volume and be unhappy with it as a book, on the very few occasions I’ve seen it done.

    So, this is effectively like that, but years from now if people are still reading these books, this one will work the way any other volume would. In theory.

  8. michelle says:

    @Sally: we definitely all have Eeyore moments. A friend illustrated a children’s book – I’M SAD (Debbie Ridpath Ohi, Illus, Michael Ian Black, author) that I really *really* wish had been around when my own kids were young. Or hell, when I was.

    That said, I’m glad to not be in that frame right now :D

  9. Anne says:

    Wow; that’s a lot. Glad you’ve gotten through it and hope you’ll have some time to regroup and reflect on what is next. Love it all.

  10. michelle says:

    @Anne: I’m an impatient writer; the hardest thing, pre-pub, for me to learn was to slow down and plan. Not outline, but – world-building, for instance. I wanted to jump right in and start right now.

    But… I think I’m constantly reflective (about writing, I hasten to add); there’s a constant thread of Book Stuff going on, even when I’m not putting actual words on the page; it’s a kind of compulsion.

  11. Zia says:

    Wow! A lot of things going on for sure. Thank you again for everything and I cannot wait for all three “coming soon” novels as well as the two Severn novels (though, I confess, I’m not a huge fan of Severn…still excited for the books, but we’ve established I’m odd) and just everything else. Thanks for posting an update as well, they are always greatly appreciated!

    I hope all is going well for you otherwise, and I cannot believe it is October.

  12. Melissa says:

    This is all so exciting! I can’t even imagine trying to revise three books at once, I have yet to make it through one without an editor’s critiques without completely falling apart and putting it aside, usually forever. I cannot wait to devour your books! The beginning of 2019 is looking bright!

  13. jo-ann says:

    I am so happy Sun Sword is reprinted and available again. But please allow me to grumble a bit as I have Just managed to finish gathering all these together again from various 2nd hand sources online. I read these initially through the library and wanted copies of my own so I could start a Complete re-read to get properly amped for the final (?) installment next year. (I know that House War is a ‘separate’ series technically, but Practically I consider Sun Sword and House War to be one series.) I so would have preferred supporting your writing more directly – but I will be nudging whoever I can in the direction of what has become my favorite series of all time. Seriously. Move over Tolkien, Donaldson and Martin… I do wonder whether this has Something to do with your authorial voice As a woman.
    I know those can be choppy waters, and even not particularly appreciated – such comparisons only go so far and I imagine authors just want their writing to be appreciated on the merits Of it, and not ‘it’ as some sort of reflection of their gender. Still.
    I have lots of ideas as to Why this might be so, but won’t venture to talk about them here unless others and you are interested in talking about this notion.
    Also because here is a place where we can just express our support and continuing appreciation of You and your writing efforts – however tangled and mired in problems ‘of your own making’. Just know that this reader recognizes the way you manage to take these sort of situations, from the ‘real’ life we all live, and infuse your characters and plots and dialogue with complexity, tension, humour, vibrancy, conflict, pathos and joy – all of which enable me to see and experience someone(s) Dealing with It all – the characters on the page, and at a remove, You as a writer, plugging through all the roadblocks.
    Thanks for that. Oh so seriously and Joyfully, thank-you for all of it.
    (Just for the record, the Chronicles of Elantra series is equally treasured. Do wish All of your books were available in hardcover – but I’ll take them any way I can get them.)

  14. Vicki Ferguson says:

    I want to thank you so much for the books and stories you have created and generously shared with your readers. I look forward to every one of your books and pre-buy them so I get them on their release dates. Getting lost in your stories and your engaging characters is the best way to spend an afternoon. I hope you will continue to enjoy writing for years and years to come!
    So sorry about the re-writes; I can certainly relate as I dislike re-writing myself. I’m of the ‘do it right the first time’ mind myself and it irritates me to no end to have to redo just about anything lol!
    Please believe Michelle that your books are so well written that those darn re-writes must be worth it no matter how much they play havoc with your belief in your abilities. Those are mighty and we thank you! Big Hugs to you from a true fan!

  15. Tchula says:

    Wow, seems like you had a few rough months of revising! I am so excited for 2019 though! It’s gonna be a great year with 3 Michelle books! Go take your well-deserved nap. You’ve earned it! ;-D

  16. DeDe says:

    Aw Michelle – that sounds like an awful summer! So glad you pushed through, and I echo Tchula – very excited for 2019! Sounds like War and Firstborn will read well as stand-alones, but when the paperbacks are released – I may take paperclips and attach the back cover of War to the front cover of Firstborn – just to see if I can even hold it in my hands. ;-)

  17. Steve says:

    You are my favorite author. Period…I would love to write even half as good as you. My own stuff tends to be ‘Kitchen Sink’ efforts lol. But any author I talk too has these panicky / Depression / impostor doubts . I honestly think that experiencing these emotions allows us to write characters so well, without all this feeling / conflict how could we portray it otherwise ? Just my 2cents..

  18. Donna says:

    Michelle, you can only do what you can. We fans are mostly ;) happy to wait. I know you wouldn’t want to put out anything but your best. Keep looking after yourself!

  19. Banzai! More books, no series ended = I’m a happy camper! I get more Eeyorish myself as time goes by. My newest avoidance tactic and beloved discovery is the K-Pop group SHINee.

    Also, that blog entry was much shorter than I expected. Heh.

  20. Tyke says:

    I find it odd that the cover for The Broken Crown does not align with the layout of the other 5 titles. Your name is top-lined and in a larger font on all but that book … seems unusual that they wouldn’t all be typeset the same way.

  21. Cynthia S. Philbrook says:

    Of course we would want to meet you and interact online. I think you are just a wee bit burnt out from all the revisions. Take some time for yourself, sounds like you need some.

  22. michelle says:

    @Dede: Firstborn isn’t standalone – but it should read as if it were a novel in the series, as opposed to half a book, if that makes sense?

  23. michelle says:

    @Vicky: Thank you :)

    @Estara: Another friend of mine is very interested in K-pop as well :).

    @Jan-Michael: The audiobooks that currently exist for anything else were picked up by Audible. The first 8 books haven’t been =/. From all accounts, it costs about 4k to put out an audiobook of “normal” length. so, my guess would be about 8k per book were I to get those rights back and do it myself and then upload it to Audio. (By do it myself, I mean: hire a narrator and book studio time). Well, except for HUNTER’S OATH, which is shorter. The bulk of the cost is paying the narrator per hour of reading time.

    I’ve been very lucky to be able to support myself with my writing – but, ummm, I would need to be rolling in money to be able to do this. Yes, in theory its an advance against future earnings – but… I don’t really have the up front money to do them myself.

    Which doesn’t mean it will never happen, but.

  24. michelle says:

    @jo-ann: I think this is a conversation for either in-person or another place.

    I think, hmmm. What I hope for from my own web-site, no matter how infrequently I post, is less a logistical look at why things sell–or don’t–and readers who *have* found my books. (This doesn’t mean that I don’t have readers who are sometimes upset in the comments, because obviously that does happen from time to time.)

    If someone told me that, if I wrote like Robert Jordan, I would be a millionaire, I would thank them (unless they demanded that I do it, in which case…), but I can’t write his books. I can’t write Sanderson’s books. I can only write mine. It’s not a question of quality; it’s not a question of good/bad, etc.

    If someone asks me for a story about Dragons, I can write a story about Dragons. But so can 20 other authors, and all takes will be different, if that makes sense?

    And I can spend the time thinking about how all the other authors sell hugely well, and I don’t sell *as* well – but some of this discussion presupposes that somehow *if* people read the books they *would* love them; i.e. it’s only a visibility problem: If I were as visible as some of the male writers, I’d be just as popular. And I’m just not certain that’s correct in my particular case.

    Reading, to me, is a little like falling inexplicably in love. There’s a chemistry to it that can’t easily be put into words (ironic, given that it’s the words that I fell in love with).

    But here, in this space, I try to talk to people who *have* found and *do* love the stories that I have in me to tell, if that makes sense?

  25. michelle says:

    @Tchula: it was a more stressful than anticipated block of time – but I am actually looking forward to Real Writing. As opposed to Writing Work. Hope things are going well for you :)

  26. Hi Michelle, thanks for getting back to my question! So you mean that DAW DOES have the rights to produce the first 8 books? But if you wanted to produce them yourself, you would have to buy the rights back for each book? Well I will continue to keep my fingers crossed. Some old classic fantasy series by top authors like yourself (as I am sure you know) have FINALLY been put to audio…Ironically all DAW authors. So each week I keep checking to see if the Sun Sword series is there, LOL. I guess I just have to finally go back and begin rereading them again. Now that the trade paperbacks have come out, it has inspired me to reread them from the beginning again. I also thought that with the release of the trade paperbacks, that it might mean they were finally getting an audible treatment!

  27. michelle says:

    @Jan Michael: DAW has the rights (90% sure on this, but those books were sold well before audio books were a thing), but the cost in my answer would not involve buying those rights back.

    The cost would be entirely in the *production* of the audiobooks were I to do it myself.

  28. Peter Moore says:

    Well yea and hooray! Firstborn to look forward to; Cast in Oblivion to look forward to; War to look forward to. And in the future, End of Days series!
    “Reading, to me, is a little like falling inexplicably in love. There’s a chemistry to it that can’t easily be put into words (ironic, given that it’s the words that I fell in love with)” …
    This is so true. Most of my extended family are inveterate fantasy readers. Of the dozen or so fantasy/sf readers there are only 3 besides myself that like your work. In addition I’m the only one who doesn’t like GR Martin’s “Song of Ice and Fire” series. Also the only one who has given up on Rothfuss ever finishing up his series. As a Quebecois friend of mine says “Chacun a son degout” (unfortunately I can’t add the ascii accent over the ‘e’ )

    But keep up the good work. I’ve been following you ever since the Hunter Oath duology came out. Adding re-reads and comparative re-reads (between the Hunter duology and the House War books) you have provided me with at the least WEEKS and most likely MONTHS of reading enjoyment. Thank You.

  29. Lyne says:

    So excited for the Severn novels! Been anxiously awaiting since I first heard this was in the works!

    Also, though all the recent ‘writing work’ has obviously been stressful, as a fan I (and most likely we) am/are *extremely* thankful that you slug your way through it. Your talent and dedication are appreciated so much! I hope you can remember this when stuggles like this arise: we will always love the stories you give us.

  30. Stefani says:

    Terry Goodkind produced The First Confessor as an audio book only. He did it all out of pocket. The book when you remove some of his massive repetitiveness was pretty good for his series. My husband loves audio books and listens to them when ever he drives. Audio books allows people who have issues reading to enjoy stories they would not otherwise experience. It does require buyers, but audible has actually been putting out adds on streaming websites to try to get more people.

    I personally love your books. It is a well written world that you flesh out a little more in each book. I do not know if you have heard of P.C. Hodgell. She wrote dark fantasy back in the 1980’s with a female story lead before it was a popular thing. She is still writing her series and has been off an on for the last 30 years. Like you people love her work, but she is not as popular as she could/should be. Both of you have a lot of similarities. Like you she also talks with people who read her books. This is one of the things I really like about you as well. It is not easy to write a world into being. We the fans point out any flaw. It can be good and bad depending on the story.

    I will be very honest, I rarely ever see an advertisment for any novels outside of a bookstore. I love fantasy and first bought Cast in Shadow at Borders book store. I am glad that you made the series and that it has done well enough that they are buying more. We the readers have faith that you will do your best even when you question yourself a hundred times about the story you are working on. Try to remember that fact when you are overwhelmed. Thank you for allowing all of us to be part of your journey.

  31. Marilynn says:

    Dear Michelle,
    Thank you for all your hard work! Can’t imagine revising 3 books at the same time! Although you may think that you are an Eeyore, I really enjoyed reading your books! Can’t wait to see the next 3 in print and a series with Severn? Wow! You always do such a fabulous job. Have read and re-read your books, especially the Cast in… series with Kaylin. You are a wonderful writer! Thank you again for being willing to share your stories with us.

  32. Rhea says:

    Hi Michelle! A friend put me on to your Chronicles of Elantra series last year and I’ve been hooked ever since! I’ve read them all, and I can’t wait to read the newest one. I do have one question though. Will we ever see Kaylin becoming more comfortable (friends) with Nightshade?

  33. Talisha says:

    Hey Michelle! I so appreciate all of your hard, fantastic work that you do to bring us these amazing stories year after year. As soon as I read that we are getting Firstborn, War & Cast in Oblivion in the same year….I jumped up and yelled, “Yes”, LOL. My hubby looked at me crazy, but when I told him why I yelled, he understood. He said, “Oh, OK, you love her books”. I absolutely love your stories. I catch myself thinking about Jewel, Merallone (sp?), Kaylin, & even some newer characters like Andre, etc. at odd points. That makes me go back and reread whatever book(s) have the situations I was thinking about. 2019 will be the bomb! I was wondering if you ever thought to pitch or have been pitched by a streaming service (Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon) to make the entire world of Sun Sword & corresponding books, into a series. Your world, characters, story arcs are so strong, well defined, magical, that it would make a great visual show. Would you be open to something like that? Anyway, please keep on keeping on w/creating these masterpieces. If you ever feel like a fraud, please just come on here to see that we fans do not think you are a fraud & that we are waiting with bated breath for your next creation!

  34. Lesa says:

    KEEP ON WRITING!!! Your stories are so good, just hearing the dates for new releases get me excited. Hearing about your revising, remind of having to grade papers because grades are due. 😬

  35. michelle says:

    @Peter: I have not given up on Rothfuss finishing :). I loved the first two, but… his process makes it harder to finish. Every revision of his–and this is me interpreting what he’s said–is like *my* revision of Firstborn. If every revision of every West novel were actually like that… I’m not sure there would *be* more than 3 books.

    Yes, I have thrown out a West novel from page one and started it again. Yes, I’ve had to add hundreds of pages in the revision stage before (everything in Broken Crown prior to the assassination, not including the prologue). So it’s not a cut-and-dried process thing – but his iterations change a lot of the (unpublished) book.

    Hmmm. If I were Pat Rothfuss, I’d be throwing out entire books from page one over and over again. I don’t think he has to do *that*, because his process is not my process – but if his process were more like mine, he’d’ve written 10 novels by now, by wordcount alone (this is a guess, but I’m fairly confident in it). The amount of writing he does on the single published book is probably millions of words.

    It’s like, hmmm. Touch was probably about 450k words worth of writing for that single book, which was certainly not 450k words when published.

    Grave was the same. You could say I wrote a million of words of fiction between the 2 books, only a quarter of which was actually publishable, in the end. But… the million words still took writing time. It’s not that I wasn’t writing; it’s that what I was writing wasn’t, in the end, right.

    So, I have faith that we’ll get the last of the Kingkiller books :). But I also don’t think the last of the three *is* the last book in that universe.

  36. michelle says:

    @Lyne: thank you :)

    @Stefani: I do understand why audiobooks are popular; I have a friend who used to read, but now does all his reading on long work drives. I have a friend who listens to audiobooks when she’s knitting or cleaning or cooking – it’s a way of getting to the words that don’t require use of your hands or use of your eyes (i.e. driving).

    I have never bought a book based on advertisement. I *have* bought books based on reviews and on the recommendation of people with whom I have overlapping reading tastes – but… never from an ad. So on some visceral *reader* level, I never quite feel that ads work. This is probably wrong; I’m sure they can – but … they don’t work for me as a reader, so I don’t sweat their absence as a writer.

    @Marilynne: Thank you :). The Severn books aren’t an open-ended series, because they’re early Severn; his entry into the Wolves. And his weapon. (Which is the intent, at any rate >.>. I wanted to write a Shadow Wolf book, but my first attempt was Cast in Peril/Sorrow, which were, in the end, Teela books).

  37. michelle says:

    @Marilynn: I don’t always thing I’m an Eeyore, but – while I have learned to deal with bad-writing days over the years, I have a slightly type A personality: it’s so much worse if I feel it is All My Fault . I know there are readers who love my books — I’m grateful for it, because if not for readers, I’d pretty much have no career. Thank you :)

  38. michelle says:

    @Rhea: a) Thank your friend for me! and b) yes, I think so. I’m not really good at romance, sadly, but friendships, I kind of understand :).

  39. michelle says:

    @Talisha: I have one or two friends who have gone on to sell series to TV, and who have even written scripts for those shows. But they didn’t pitch the series, as far as I know. I wouldn’t say No out of hand if someone else wanted to do this. I think.

    There was someone who was interested in the CAST novels, but they contacted me *before* they’d finished the first book, and I told my agent, there’s no way they’ll pursue this. Why? Because of what Severn did in order to save Kaylin. They couldn’t film it and make it work for a larger television audience, imho.

    A West reader who kind of disliked CAST IN SHADOW said that the only thing she really liked was that when the traumatic events of the past were finally revealed, they *were* traumatizing. They weren’t simply a misunderstanding. But I don’t think that it would have that effect. Structurally it would have to be like end of season reveal, and even then–it would be a very hard sell.

    @Lesa: I will definitely keep writing :)

  40. David Youngs says:

    I don’t think you could film the Cast novels. I mean, besides me, who would you get to play the Barrani?

  41. Carla says:

    Thank you for the updates Michelle. I am so excited for the new cast book and to have Severn pov books!

  42. Natasha says:

    Hi Michelle,

    About the 432k words…since there’s no physical binding for an electronic book, It would be awesome if they (the powers that be) provided the option for readers to purchase the larger book as an e-book ONLY. I’d definitely buy it. While I know this is wishful thinking, I must say that I truly miss the days of the 1,000+ page book! Anything less than 300 pages is a novella–at least, in the world according to Natasha. :-) I know I’m going on and on. However, it would be awesome to have a book that I could read that lasted a week or more. I work full time, go to school part time (master’s degree), am a mother of 3 boys (plus, Lucky–our puppy), and I’m a wife–but I read instead of watching TV–most days. Thus, having a book that lasts more than 2-3 days would be like Christmas everyday–or at least a week or so.

    Anywho…I can’t wait for “Cast in Oblivion,” “Firstborn,” and “War” to be available. I’ll read them much too quickly, and be depressed for a day knowing I’ll have to wait another year for the next book. However, to tide me over, I will purchase The Sun Sword series for myself and for my sister (Christmas present). I’ve read the series twice, and will probably re-read the House War series in preparation for Firstborn and War.

    Nevertheless, keep sharing the fantastical, wondrous, vivid, and many times surprising worlds that live inside your head with us–your loyal, avid (sometimes rabid) readers. :-)

  43. Esa says:


    I’m nearing the end of Sun Sword (76,2% in at the moment). I read House War 1 – 3 and Sacred Hunt 1-2 before starting the Sun Sword series. Really like the series. Anyway, I really like long epic series like this and I’d be interested in knowing if you have any length estimations for The End of Days? Closer to Sacred Hunt or Sun Sword?

  44. michelle says:

    @Esa: Closer to Sun Sword. I think I can get it down to 4 very long books if I cut a few things from possibly making it onto the page. But… closer to Sun Sword.

  45. michelle says:

    @Natasha: I read instead of watching TV as well :D.

    But I always believe, when I start a book, that *this one* will be short T_T. Except for WAR.

    And if writers could write at the speed readers could read…

  46. Veronica says:

    I love reading your books. You have a wonderful talent that brings you right into the story, like you are right there.
    The hardest thing is the wait. 12 months to wait to finish the book in a day. Thought they most definitely are the type of book you can reed time and time again. They happen to be the most read books in my library.
    Thank you, I look forward to reading your next creations.

  47. Esa says:

    “End of Days will be closer to Sun Sword in length”

    Sounds awesome! Don’t cut out too much, I certainly won’t mind if it turns out to be 5 books long :D

    Currently 66,1% into Skirmish. One of my favorites so far. Anyway, was there a conscious shift in writing style between Sun Sword and Hidden City? It’s been a while since I began reading Hidden City (203 days to be exact (Yes, I keep a list)), but I seem to remember the writing in it being closer to what it is now in Skirmish than what it was in Sun Sword. The writing in the House War books seems somehow more intimate or character centered (And more funny too). Don’t really know how to describe the difference, but anyway, the writing in HW is seriously some of the best I’ve ever read, possibly even the best.

    So yeah, kind of a long post. Just wanted to tell you that I’m happy that End of Days will be a long series instead of a short one and that I’m really liking both the writing and the actual content of Skirmish.

  48. Megan O says:

    Hi Michelle! I’m really looking forward to Cast in Oblivion and am excited to read here that you’ll be telling Severn’s story!
    I’ve loved the Elantra series for your world-building, characters who make me laugh – and cry – out loud, and creative storylines. (My friends always know when I’m re-reading a Kaylin novel, as I’ll often laugh aloud without any explanation). The audible versions are my go-to stories for when I’m driving or working on something else that requires hands and visual attention; the chosen narrator does a wonderful job with the characters.
    Unfortunately, though, the last few books have been harder to read. They’re missing a dimension found in the earlier novels, which is evident in pace and story development as well as in dialogue and character development. There have even been entire segments in the last few books that I’ve had to read multiple times just to figure out who is actually “speaking”.
    I can’t imagine doing the many rounds of revisions you describe above; it sounds exhausting and disheartening! But editors who love the story and understand your process can make a real difference in the end results. In a much earlier update you mentioned that your editor was suddenly no longer available and that you needed to choose another. If there is any way that Mary Therese Hussey can work with you again – even in a freelance/consulting role – I encourage you to pursue the possibility! When you worked together, your stories had more depth, direction and intangible quality that’s hard to define. I still love your stories and your characters – they’re still funny and conflicted and quirky. It would just be fun to see the sparkle again.

  49. Taylor Martin says:

    I would like to thank you for the amazing stories you have written. I was reading a book on Kobo and before I finished it I looked at the recommended books. I read a bit about a book and it said something about people that lived underground and we’re shunned by society. I thought, neat I’ll check that out after. So after I finished the book I went back to recommend and saw The Hidden City and thought that was the book I read about before and instantly bought it, I didn’t even read the synopsis. Turns out it was one of the best mistakes I’ve made. A chapter in I realized I made the mistake but continued to read untill I couldn’t stop. I ended up reading them a bit out of order, House War novels, Sun Sword, then finally Hunters Oath. After all of that I was craving more of your work and have inhaled the Elantra novels. Loving it all and patiently waiting for the next.

    Thank you again

  50. Lydia says:

    Hi, Michelle! I hope you can tell that you, and your months of revisions, are SO appreciated. I’m also impressed at your thoughtful responses to so many of the comments above. I’ve enjoyed reading both your original post and the ongoing conversation that follows from it! I’m so excited for Oblivion – whenever a new Elantra book comes out, I tend to re-read all previous books in the series, so I guess it’s about time for me to start that again! Thanks for all your hard work!

  51. TSnor says:


    You can now pre-order WAR at Amazon (I did) for June 2019 delivery. “..War (House War Book 7) will be auto-delivered wirelessly to your Kindle on June 11, 2019….”.

    FIRSTBORN has been out there for a while, but is not linked from your Amazon page “..This title (Firstborn) will be auto-delivered to your Kindle on February 19, 2019…”. ( a google search with “house war firstborn west” finds it)

  52. michelle says:

    @Robert: Yes, both books will be coming out from Audible (Or at least I’ve signed contracts to Audible to that effect >.>). I don’t know when, though =/.

  53. michelle says:

    @Taylor: thank you! That is also kind of funny – the buying it assuming it was an entirely different book. Are you–or is Kobo–thinking of ABOVE, maybe, by Leah Bobet? (Which is excellent, but which is not really Hidden City).

  54. melanie says:

    Michelle, I can understanding having to much to do and not enough time to do it, and it all getting muddled. I am sorry for it. Take care of yourself, be kind to yourself, you are an amazing writer, I love all your stories which I have. I hope now none of the stories end. As much as I love them and want them all, I can wait. Your books are so worth the wait.

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