the Author

Oracle Preview & State of the Writer

Posted in DAW, Essalieyan, chapters.

9780756410094March and April were very trying months. Not just because of the endless snow, but because, having finished Cast in Honor, I then had to go back and revise for length. (Yes, yes, I know this will not shock anyone — but it’s easily the longest of the books to date. It’s like I’m getting worse at the whole length thing, not better). The upside, for a variety of up that made me pull out half my hair, is that I actu­ally have a chunk of cut stuff that reads more or less contin­u­ously, which I will post much closer to the book’s pub date.

And I am just getting back to Grave, and in theory, it’s another 10 – 20k words to the end, but it’s been just long enough that I will start what I have from the begin­ning again.


I am not posting just to whine to a captive audi­ence. Honest. I am posting because it’s a month out from Oracle’s release date. I have not forgotten that I have promised to release the UK version in ebook at the same time as the DAW version is released, so I’m working on that. It felt, to start, that I would have tons of time to get all of the books out. Because anything that’s months and months in the future never seems like it’s onerous.

In the future, a dictio­nary some­where will have “Michelle Sagara” under the defi­n­i­tion of “disor­ga­nized”. I mean, how many times can you forget to put a coffee cup under your coffee maker in one month?

Which was a digres­sion. Since it’s a month out, I am posting the preview chapter/sample of Oracle. It’s here.

And yes, I will also post the long cut section about Sigurne as well — but I’ll prob­ably wait until a little bit after the release of the actual book to do that, because it’s prob­ably spoi­lerish, given its previous loca­tion. I may also release it as a novelet/novella.

54 Responses to Oracle Preview & State of the Writer

  1. Joey says:

    Yay for finishing CAST IN HONOR!

    Will you maybe post all the prior versions of GRAVE after publication?

  2. Donna. says:

    Double yay for finishing Cast In Honour (sorry, I have to spell it that way…it just looks odd other­wise.) Looking forward to Grave as well.

  3. Lisa Osterholt says:

    I loved the pre-view until I reached the end! Then I wanted more, as usual. FYI! There is a gram­mat­ical error in the section where Jester meets with Haval. Too many “me“s in the dialogue.

  4. Andrea Smith says:

    Congrat­u­la­tions! on finishing Cast in Honor. I can’t wait to see the cover and of course read book. The book descrip­tion has my mind racing a mile a minute… wanting some answers.

    Am I not the only one a little disap­pointed about the new release date for Cast in Honor being so close to the US holiday of Thanks­giving? The Chron­i­cles of Elantra is my favorite series and I want to read it without inter­rup­tions, which will be hard with my kids home from school and family around. I’m going to have to work hard to read what I can, as fast as I can and not be rude to the family;)

    On Amazon, when it was first posted, Cast in Honor was listed as book 11 of 12 in the series. Is this true? Are we down to the last 2 books, in The Chron­i­cles of Elantra series? I hope not. The books are so awesome. I love them. Thanks, Michelle for writing such great books.

  5. stacey says:

    Hooray! I’ve been waiting for Oracle since I finished the last book. I really enjoy reading your books. The char­ac­ters are put together so well and the story lines so great that I can actu­ally step into the stories. That’s a rare thing these days. Thank you for sharing your talent with us.

  6. Sharon says:

    Well, you have been concen­trating on work. But you are not alone with the coffee cup problem. At work twice within one week we had someone start the coffee pot without putting anything under it (like the 10 cup coffee pot) and walk away. The feeling was that the coffee was really needed that morning!

  7. Carol Duffy says:

    Hooray! And longer means more Michelle which can only be a good thing :)

  8. AT says:

    Defi­nitely here is another vote for longer, I enjoy savoring the books so much the longer is better. Also looking forward to the Sigurne Novella

  9. Pat says:

    Hurry up Michelle, can’t wait…just love your books!!!!

  10. Tchula says:

    Wow, thanks for releasing the begin­ning of Oracle. I can’t wait to read more about Jester – he was the only member of the Den I felt I didn’t have a handle on, but now we’ll get a good look inside his thoughts to finally under­stand him. Yay! So happy! Let the next month pass quickly…lol.

  11. ElizabethN says:

    Congrat­u­la­tions on completing Cast in Honor. I would have been happy with longer but publishers…

  12. Zia says:

    Thank you for posting the begin­ning of Oracle! I am possibly a little too excited at the prospect of a new book to read, but oh well. 

    Congrats on finishing Cast in Honor as well — though darn for the need to cut some of the length. I don’t suppose there is a number you could leave us that we could all call and politely (we will promise to be polite) ask that they let the books be longer if need be? 

    As for the coffee cup — you’ve been busy and things happen :) Does it make you feel better if I say I had a friend for the dura­tion of a summer go start a bath and then come back to talk to a group of us (online) and forget about said water running at least 12 times? It got to the point where the entire group of us would start timing things from the time she left to turn the water on to the time she likely needed to turn it off because 3 of those times water appar­ently started leaking through the ceiling and down the stairs.

  13. Salty says:

    Yea and Hooray!” for the Oracle piece, the finish of Cast In Honor, and the upcoming Sigurne piece. BTW, what is the differ­ence between a novelet and a novella? I’ve always wanted to know that. 

    Boo and Hiss” for a shorter Cast in Honor. Longer is most always better AFAIC, espe­cially for your work.

    Pish and Tosh” for the coffee cup thing. We’ve all done similar way too often for our own sense of worth. Let me not tell you about the 3 times (in a row!) I burned a batch of butter cookies. Took me the better part of a morning it what should have been an hour’s worth of work.

  14. Thank you, Michelle! Wonderful news about Cast in Honor! I look forward to the book’s release and the “outtake” too!

  15. Alan says:

    Longer is better, you can tell your editor and they can make the paper appear for free right?


    I still think Sigurne’s novella should be Appren­tice to match up with Warlord.

    The disor­ga­nized thing is a sign of a full and happy life. It’ll get better, but for now just try not to burn your­self with the coffee stream when you reach for the cup that isn’t there!

  16. michelle says:

    I use the page proofs as the preview sample because, among other things, type­set­ting, so *hope­fully* that’s one of the errors we caught >.

  17. michelle says:

    We are not, that I know of, down to the last two books. I think Amazon had CAST IN FLAME as 10 of 10, as well.

  18. michelle says:

    The differ­ence is in length. A short story is 7,500 words or less. A novelet is 7501 — 17,500 words, and a novella is 17,501 — 39,999 words. 

    So if I say it’s a novelet, I’m heavily implying that it is less than 17,500 words. But… CAST IN MOONLIGHT was a novella that was 39,600 words long, and actu­ally, 40k words would be consid­ered too short to be a novel if you were submit­ting it to publishers. 

    So maybe it’s best to say:

    1 – 7.500: short story
    7,501 — 17500: novelet
    17,500+ — novella

  19. michelle says:

    A lot of times when cutting, it’s shorter scenes scat­tered throughout the book, which don’t work as well without context — but there is one major cut in CAST IN HONOR which, while it won’t work at all without context, is actu­ally enough of a chunk that it’s quasi-self-contained.

  20. michelle says:

    I consider the disor­ga­nized thing to be a sign of an over­full life :). As in, too much going in, not enough room for it, things fall out. Sort of like trying to pour a glass of water and not remem­bering that actual *size* of the cup.

  21. AndiLynn says:

    I have to add my voices to longer Michelle is GREAT because I hate coming to the end of any of your books, and yet the end always seems to come too soon, even as each book in the series seems to get longer – thinking specif­i­cally of the Sun Sword series where book six was close to 1000 pages and the two prequels and first book were more in the 300 page range LOL. Each book got progres­sively longer and I couldn’t wait for the next install­ment. Same with the Elantra series and House Wars series :)

  22. liwella says:

    How exciting! I can’t wait for Oracle. I shall pre-order my copy now, so I can stroke it ador­ingly as soon as it comes out.

  23. DebbieH says:

    While your life may be disor­ga­nized, your writing is inspiring. Longer is much better for the readers who never want the books to end. Really counting the days for Cast in Honor, I just finished listening to the entire series in audio, again. While I would rather you just write all the time, I hope you schedule some fun time too. Wish we didn’t have to wait until November, but still some­thing to look forward to. Thanks for the many hours of enjoy­ment your writing supplies. Good luck with the coffee this month.

  24. Hurray for books! C.J Cher­ryh’s Tracker came out on my birthday and now there shall be new MSW ^^. Yipee.

  25. Zia says:

    I second the relief! I was more than a little concerned when I saw a count myself.

  26. br60103 says:

    Well, I’ve ordered the book, so I don’t need to read the preview and then wait a whole month for the next chapter, do I?

  27. Thank you, Michelle Looking forward to reading the rest of it. Will you be at Worldcon this year? Should I save some room in my luggage for it?

  28. I’ve done the coffee thing more times than I can count. Hang in there…this too shall pass 

  29. michelle says:

    I’m plan­ning to be at Sasquan, yes :)

  30. michelle says:

    I don’t read previews because the thing that should follow chapter one is..,chapter two. But I was convinced early on that not all readers are as impa­tient as I am.

  31. I then had to go back and revise for length. (Yes, yes, I know this will not shock anyone — but it’s easily the longest of the books to date.”

    I just want to say there is nothing wrong with your books running longer than someone else’s precon­ceived idea of a book’s length. 

    Myself, I prefer 500+ page books and find the 300-page books are just too short. I like to visit with the char­ac­ters and get to know them and a shorter book just does not allow the close­ness; even as part of a serial or episodic styled series.

    This is my vote for longer books.

    I am looking forward to “Cast in Honor” and “Oracle”. Thank you for contin­uing their stories.

  32. br60103 says:

    Well, I couldn’t hold out.

  33. Greg says:

    That you know of? ;)

  34. Chris Chen says:

    Yess! Cast in Honor has now been pre-ordered!

  35. Phlinn says:

    I agree. With the caveat that I have read books that could have stood to loose a couple of chap­ters. That was a matter of quality rather than quan­tity though.

  36. As someone who has been reading your books when I was a student I’d say please hurry up! The suspense is killing me. As a working adult (a librarian of all things) I still say please hurry up, and don’t shorten the book. There is so much I wanna know. It’s frus­trating when I am left hanging for so long… 

    Thanks for the great reads!

  37. Chelsey Holmes says:

    Yess! I really cannot wait :), I will be in Toronto the day after release date so I am defi­nitely stop­ping by to get a copy!

  38. Pewpewkachu says:

    In the same vein (prob­ably been caught already, but just in case), there’s an instance on p.41 of the pdf, in one of the last para­graphs, where there is an “under­stand” that prob needs to be replaced with “under­stood” (unless I’m just reading it wrong). Apolo­gies for not typing out the entire bit, but i’m typing this from my kindle, so it’s not terribly convenient.

  39. Mike says:

    I couldn’t agree more. One chapter is just a tease, and it will just make the waiting worse. I suppose it can be a useful tool to get new readers, but for those who are already addicted to your writing, it’s just painful…

  40. S. A. Kelly says:

    Michelle, any news please on the ebooks for the UK? I am desperate to get the ebook version as I have a 14 hour air plane journey to take 10 days after it is due to be released. If I have to buy the paper version then of course I will but I would much prefer to have it either on my iPad or kindle. 

    I have read the extract posted above and that has just whetted my appetite. I can hardly wait for the release of your latest offering. Any news on the next book in the House Wars series? 

    Thanks for reading this and I do hope you respond.

  41. Laural Armster says:

    Cast in Honor is also on my preorder list, and I am another vote for “longer, please!” :) I love 500+ page novels (*eyes MIrror­sight, The Wise Man’s Fear, and MOBY from cozy spot on the couch*), and I have all the Elantra books (and Cast in Moon­light) lined up at eye level behind my copy of Arwen’s sword from LOTR. I’m looking forward to adding Cast in Honor to the shelf!

  42. I can’t wait for Oracle, and I’m espe­cially looking forward to Cast in Honor. Do you think you’ll focus more heavily on the origin of Dragons and the Dragon War(s) at some point?

  43. Chris says:

    Yeah. Totally down with the whole longer book concept. Perhaps you could just write smaller and include a magni­fying glass with every purchase. My penchant for leaving said book in the sun by the pool should totally not factor into the deci­sion, though if your words set the world aflame…literally, I totally won’t send you a bill for damages. Prob­ably. Anyway congrats on finishing the books, I been jonesing for more Jewel since the last book and like your deci­sion to flesh out Jester. He reminds me a bit of Matt and yes I just refer­enced Jordan who was another of my favorite writers. I’ll be marking the days off the calender. As soon as I get one. Thanks again for the wonderful stories:)

  44. Angel says:

    I want to chime in and say “thank you” as well. I can’t wait to read Oracle or Cast in Honor (though I will wait for the actual book, as I find waiting for chap­ters doesn’t suit me :)

    I love the length of your books. When I describe your writing to a friend — when they ask if I can give them the name of a good author — I like to say, “I doesn’t matter how many char­ac­ters there are in a MSW book. Whether it’s 20 or 200, ALL the char­ac­ters are well-rounded.” I love that. It never gets old to get to know the char­ac­ters. Thank you for being the one who writes the books I so look forward to reading!

  45. Deborah says:

    Wow! I had wondered about that, lol! Thanks! I am eagerly antic­i­pating the new Cast novel, and like the others, the longer the better!

  46. Joseph says:

    You should get a French press! That way you actively have to pour it. Takes longer, but tastes soooo much better!

  47. Hilda says:

    Michelle, for some reason I’m not getting your messages. I came today to the website and found this. This is the second message I miss and discover by cominh here. I can’t believe this has been posted, a chapter for Oracle to read, and more and more. Please don’t drop me from your messages. Very grateful for all your books. Can’t wait to read every­thing. Like always, and like everyone: Thanks for all the plea­sure you bring to us.

  48. Hilda says:

    I need to go back to Amazon and Barnes & Noble to make sure I’ll get my books on time. I ordered Oracle a long time ago.This time I have to down­load to the Tablet (which is faster and can read in bed until I fall asleep) and the hard bound book for the collec­tion. It seems hard to believe that Oracle is almost here; and Honor almost behind,

  49. Zia says:

    Well after 6 years of arguing with Barnes & Noble over carrying the West novels (we had a 4 yr argu­ment over the Sagara series until they started carrying them from Cast in Silence on) they are ‑finally- going to have the book on the day it’s released. I there­fore am buying a hard cover copy (I’m not a huge fan of hard covers, but I want to encourage them to order the following book on time). I also have the kindle copy coming, but, well since they finally ordered the book ahead of time to have in the store I figured I should be nice enough to buy one. It only took a billion phone calls and in store requests to get it!

  50. Hilda says:

    OK, both books: HONOR and ORACLE, that had been reserved months ago, are now ordered in Hard­back format, and for My Tablet (Lenovo). My son did this; he gave me a tablet. I wanted to make sure I will be able to read them as they come out. I will have long nights ahead. My NOOK, that I loved so much, finally gave up with a bunch of my books inside.

  51. Tickle says:

    Yay! Cast In Honor and Oracle. Can’t wait! Thanks Michelle for the preview of Oracle. I love that Jester is getting some atten­tion & that he is someone Haval could train, ala Duvari. Love it. I’m so excited to get back into Jewel & Crew’s world. I too want to place my vote for Longer is Better w/your books! The last Cast novel ended way too soon for me & I loving that Kaylen has a home now and am curious to see who all actu­ally moves in, and how they interact. Keep up the good work. I recom­mend you to everyone. Has anyone ever asked you to make a series (Netflix or HBO type of network) or movie out of your stories? I would watch!

  52. br60103 says:

    Book­store e‑mailed that Oracle is in. Of course, I didn’t see it until after they closed.

Leave a Reply