State of the Author February 2018, with bonus Cast reissues

Posted in Cast, Essalieyan, writing, Shane Rebenschied, Mira.

January was the month in which I vowed I would write the Severn short story that has been owed since, oh, March of last year. However, at 35k words and chapter seven, I realized that this was not actually even a long novella–it’s a novel as it currently stands. So, that is now being discussed with publisher, because: novel. (I’m sorry, Melissa T_T)

I have started the second short story I owe from the same period. At the moment, however, I have confidence that this time it will be short, and regardless, length is less of an issue because it doesn’t run afoul of option clauses. I think. (For the record, it’s a short story that takes place in the universe of The Augustine Painters and The Colours of Augustine. The first was 15k. The second was 31k.)

I have also been working on Cast 14, although the current angst is not the writing, which is going well, but the title, which – as you can see – is perhaps not.

I have no news to give to West readers re: WAR, but hope to have news soon; for reasons which make perfect sense to me, my editor was unable to read the giant book when she’d intended. So: that’s still in her hands, and there’s still no definitive date =/.

I may have mentioned earlier that Mira intended to reissue Cast in Shadow and Cast in Courtlight in trade paperback. They have! I’ve updated the cover image on the web-site (and the isbn links) to reflect this. Since these two have been unavailable in print for a while, I am also posting the covers so you can see the differences, but – the base art remains the same; it’s the layout of type, etc., that’s changed. The first book has bigger changes, in that they removed the wing that started at the spine and spread out on the back cover.

And they are going to do this with all of the other Cast novels as well, come April 24, 2018.

53 Responses to State of the Author February 2018, with bonus Cast reissues

  1. pam wolff says:

    Re: the Severn story. YAY! Hip Hip Hurray! Huzzah!!! Take as long as you need as long as we get it soon! ;)

  2. Zia says:

    Thanks for the update and your continued hard work on all of the current works. I’m looking forward to each and every one of them. I like the subtle changes to the Cast novels (though I’m happier to hear they’ve gotten a reprint) and I may have to buy a set since I’m odd like that.

    Hope everything else in your life is going well!

  3. Tchula says:

    That’s actually great news about the Severn novel. I’d love to hear more about his time in the Wolves and something more about the Wolf Lord. Will this become Cast 15 do you think? Or will 14 be pushed back to become 15? Looking forward to them all either way!

  4. michelle says:

    Cast 14 is the novel that follows Cast in Deception, and it’s in progress now (I was working on it and Severn, until I heard back re: WAR. I have now moved Severn into the wait-for-external response, where it joins WAR, and have moved the 2nd story into the writing slot it occupied.)

    And, you know, I might be more excited about Severn and Wolves if it weren’t for the fact that I kind of owe a short story from the charity I participated in *last year* T_T.

    ETA: I don’t mind taking the prompts – I don’t mind writing the stories. I hate the guilt, and it moves right in and makes itself at home.

  5. Maureen says:

    TY Michelle—I read through Deception in 2 days, could not put it down, please, please, please give us more. BTW, could Deception have been split in half?? It just felt like to many loose ends…. Water Element, Cohort….. or am I just a glutton for ‘more’.

  6. pam wolff says:

    I hope you’ll give us at least a few hints on Severn’s early history… why he was on-hand to take Kaylin under his wing when he was 10 and she was 5, and how he “knew her mother somehow”.

  7. michelle says:

    @Maureen: Yes. It’s like the Peril/Sorrow split, where Deception would be the Peril analogue, and “14” would the Sorrow. And I’m working on it now :).

    @Pam: that’s a bit earlier than I had meant to go, although as it currently stands there *is* more of that. Just… not a lot.

  8. Nova says:

    Huzzah, this is so exciting! I’m elated about Severn story turning into a novel (if you couldn’t tell). I love these characters and the world and can’t wait to read more. And thank you so much for giving us updates so we readers know what’s happening with the different works in process.

    Finally, I hope all is well with you personally. While I’d love to read your stories as soon as possible, taking time to take care of yourself is super important. 😊

  9. hsmyers says:

    I think that many of us have no upper limit on how much of your storytelling we can consume…ummm…just so you know, you know! I’ve always be delighted that your idea of short story runs to 500 pages while novel hit’s 600—no problem!

  10. Not surprised the Severn story got longer. He never gets his say 😄. Burned through the latest Cast book and as usual really great. Can’t wait to see the finish and how the cohort story plays out.

  11. Stephen Engel says:

    Michelle, Guilt when writing excellent stories should not be applicable, though I know that is not how guilt works. You get a pass on guilt in my book, any time. You are the best!

  12. Melissa says:

    I think it is stellar that the Severn short has become a novel! Hopefully they jump at the chance to publish it. I may cry if Severn’s story is cut short. Seriously… there will be tears. I am very excited to read it!

  13. Donna says:

    Yay! Great news about book 14 and the Severn story. And finally have been able to get Cast 13 on kindle.

  14. ralphw2548 says:

    Ursula K. Le Guin October 21,1929 – January 22,2018

    To say that the world just became a little dimmer is an understatement.

    Ms. Le Guin was one of those bright lights that illuminate the universe. Her writings enthralled us; inspired us; engaged us; and challenged us. Ms. Le Guin was more than just an author. She was a “pioneer” in all sense of that word.

    “Freedom is a heavy load, a great and strange burden for the spirit to undertake. It is not easy. It is not a gift given, but a choice made, and the choice may be a hard one. The road goes upward toward the light; but the laden traveler may never reach the end of it.” ~ Ursula K. Le Guin, The Tombs of Atuan ( the Earthsea Cycle, Book Two ) page 171

    Farewell. Maybe we will pass each other on the other side of the low wall.

  15. Laura says:

    So glad you clarified about the split. I was thinking when I finished it that it felt like it was one long book split into two kinda feel based on the position in story line. It’s nice to know I am thinking about it correctly!

  16. Debbie H says:

    Thanks for the news and all your hard work. I really appreciate it. Really loved Cast in Deception, on the second reading. Looking forward to Severn’s book, actually any book you may write. Will not offer any suggestions or changes – you are the writer, they are your worlds, I only get to visit them and I am grateful.

  17. Brendan Morgan says:

    Glad to hear the next book is coming along! I came to the end of the last one and was surprised so much was left unfinished. Glad its just another two parter and the other one is being worked on :) I want to see more of the Emperor, how the Cohort does, and how the war crisis with the Consort is resolved. I have been hoping for a while that Kaylin can summon the Devourer to destroy the shadow or anything else with a true name. Sounds like in the next book we might finally get a good confrontation with the Shadow, though I was expecting this book after the preview chapter.

  18. David Youngs says:

    Re: Cast in Courtlight
    I was reading this when one of the ladies in the campground asked why she was taking her dress off. Didn’t like my explanation that this was her first formal dress and she was trying to get into it all by herself. After that, I had to read the books with a big black cover on them.

  19. Dorthy Redmond says:

    Yay.. I am so very excited for a story on Severn. I love all your books. You are my favorite author.

  20. Andrea Smith says:

    I’m happy to hear the Cast books are getting a reprint. I’ve been unable to find a set. I was just telling my hubby I’d have to check used books stores, so this has made my day.
    Bonnie ~ I’ve found the book number changes 12 to 13 when they include Cast in Moonlight, a prequel to Cast in Shadow. If you haven’t read CiMoonlight, you should it’s fast pace and gives an incite into Kaylin at 13yrs.
    Michelle ~What’s the chance of us receiving the Severn novel before Cast 14? I’m looking forward to getting my hands on Severn’s story and glad to hear we’re getting a longer book. 😁 Hopefully, Mira wont push it back. Also, are you exploring a “new” story arc, since completing Grave/Queen of the Dead? (knowing you are finishing your short stories and I’m just curious not begging you to write faster) I’ve been seeing this pattern with writers.
    Thanks, so much for the update. Sounds like you’ve been busy, glad things are going well.

  21. Joyce Ronquillo says:

    A Severn NOVEL??? That’s grand since I prefer novels though I understand your dismay since you still need a short story. I, for one, will read anything set in the complex and fascinating world of Elantra and I’m sure there are numerous side stories of any length yet to tell.

    About the time Cast in Flame came out I decided to re-read the whole series and realized that the earlier books had been donated to the library in some past frenzy to lighten the book load. I mean, what good are books you can’t find because they are in boxes? Anyway, I am in process of re-acquiring all of them in digital format so that I can refresh whenever I want to.

  22. michelle says:

    @Andrea: the (possible) Severn novel is *not* a novel yet. It’s at 35k words and paused. Mira hasn’t bought it; until I reached 35k and realized that it had to be a novel, they didn’t know about it. And while I have now queried, there’s been no formal offer or negotiation, so at this point, no. Cast 14 is the next Elantra novel.

    Bonnie (I had to do this to make sure I was counting right, and thought I’d just cut and paste):

    1. Cast in Shadow
    2. Cast in Courtlight
    3. Cast in Secret
    4. Cast in Fury
    5. Cast in Silence
    6. Cast in Ruin
    7. Cast in Chaos
    8. Cast in Peril
    9. Cast in Sorrow
    10. Cast in Flame
    11. Cast in Honor
    12. Cast in Flight
    13. Cast in Deception

    14. Cast …

    Cast in Moonlight was a novella written – actually, I don’t remember the date, and would maybe sit as 0. in the list.

  23. michelle says:

    @Debbie H: Thank you for that. Sometimes, when I know readers want a very specific thing and I cannot make it work in a story, it adds pressure and the feeling of failure, neither of which will give them what they want.

  24. Melissa says:

    I really hope I didn’t cause you to feel that way. I am excited that your quick jaunt into Severn’s world has stimulated an entire book’s worth of content and I will be sad to have missed it if Mira passes, but I in-no-way meant to make you feel pressure or stress over it. I was attempting to show excitement & support; but I can see, now, how that could be channeled into “I don’t want to disappoint my fans.” To clarify, my disappointment will not be in you for failing to tell the story I was hoping for. My disappointment will be in Mira for failing to publish … basically everything you write, lol. I do not expect everything you write to be gold, I just like to hear the ideas that bounce around in your brain; even the ridiculous ones. So, no pressure, no stress. Severn’s story obviously wants to be told, and if it is the cliff notes version… so be it.
    BTW, Deception was excellent. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  25. michelle says:

    @Melissa: Noooooooooooooooooo!

    I in no way meant to refer to you or the other person who so graciously donated to the charity. The pressure and guilt is *mine* because that charity was in March of *2017*. You have both been unfailingly patient.

    Asking for a story about Severn is not hard on me. There are a few Severn stories I thought I could tell in a shorter form. Or a novella. The problem is in no way yours, and the pressure I personally feel? It’s not something you’ve caused in any way.

    I have had disappointed or angry readers write to tell me what I should be writing much more specifically, or how my characters should be acting (mostly vis a vis relationships). And because I know that as a writer I can’t make that work, I feel that I’ve disappointed them as readers.

    But… I can’t make certain things work. Some authors probably could. I’ve tried in the past, and it doesn’t always work out very well. So I write the books I have in me to write.

  26. Melissa says:

    (huge sigh of relief) I thought for sure that my silly ‘I’ll cry if they don’t publish’ comment had made you feel unintended pressure. Phew!

    As for the (ahem) misguided individuals that wrote to you, presuming to tell you how or what to write… the joke is on them. One of the ways I differentiate between a great author and a mediocre one is whether or not they can make me feel something from their writing. If I find myself genuinely caring about the welfare of a character (as if they were a real person), or holding my breath through an entire scene, or furious about what has just happened, or laughing out loud, then I know that the author is a good one. They wrote the scene well enough that I was able to feel it. Whether or not I liked their message or agreed with what they said is moot. … Sounds to me like you inspired such feeling in those people that they stopped & took time out of their lives to write to you about it. So, joke’s on them, because obviously you were good enough to piss them off. Kudos to you!

  27. Julianne Single says:

    Will read anything you have to write Michelle, and that Mira hopefully chooses to publish. I love the idea of a Severn novel, if it is accepted, he is such an interesting character quiet and solid in the background but his silence so obviously hiding an interesting past as we learned in the first few novels. I loved the moonlight novella also, as it was most fun I think to read other character POV of Kaylin. (I don’t generally like multiple POV stories, it is one thing I enjoy about cast novels being primarily Kaylin’s POV but the novella worked for me) young Kaylin was such a fun little hooligan, and always enjoy the little hints sprinkled in the novels of her pranks and trouble she caused , like stealing inkwells and hiding moldy sandwiches in Tain’s desk. I’ve always wondered though about the bracer I understand why she was given it but it is unclear to me why they let her unlock it. I have suspicions but sometimes my thoughts don’t clearly line up with yours and yours win :)

    Well if you haven’t an answer, I wonder if you could answer this burning question. What does the Emperor DO in his spare time? I can’t imagine he sit on his throne all day, since we’ve met some of the official he must deal with, I can’t imagine that without a little personal time to unwind that Elantra wouldn’t be all ash. So what’s he do? Discuss old dead things with the Arkon? War strategies with Diarmat? Have a little Zen garden? Bonsai trees? It is a burning curiosity of mine. Especially given his known temper, I just figure he needs an outlet or a hobby. Haha.

    I do think Kaylin get her revenge on you though. In the first scene of Shadow Kaylin is late and realizes she’s missing a day. It seems only fair that you would miss a day too, on the latest publish date. Just sayin’

  28. DeDe says:

    I love the Augustine world! Always excited to hear about the chance for a new novel. LOL on the Cast title. I have complete faith in you! :-)

  29. Jason says:

    Deception really felt like it left me hanging… hanging but hungry for the next installment. As for your difficulties in title for 14… kinship, origin, scions, are all words that come to mind with the direction that Deception felt like it was headed, being centered around the cohort… I’m looking forward to reading Severn’s story just as much. Perhaps a novella on a previous Chosen? Something to contrast beliefs against or skills of the Chosen.

  30. Melissa says:

    @Jason: What a fantastic idea! A Chosen novella.

    Okay Michelle when are you doing another fundraiser bc we need that one written too, lol!

  31. Anna Wick says:

    @DeDe novella on Hope’s past is a grand idea
    @ michelle I read Cast in Deception twice in a row, it was just so good (sorry people on hold in library)
    I noticed and error in the book both times it took me out of the story so I thought best let you know: It’s Chapter 15: … in such a way that she (Orbaranne) Terrano and Teela formed the points of a triangle. That should read Bellusdeo.

  32. Louise McCoy says:

    Well I’m very jealous of those readers who have managed multiple reads of the latest Cast novel!
    Alas, my pre-ordered Cast in Deception is supposed to arrive this week in Tasmania (the small island at the bottom of Australia)…and there are still none in the bookshop (or I might have succumbed and bought a 2nd!
    Of course, I would have taken the impatient option of both buying the paperback AND buying an electronic version (like I have all the other books), but for some reason, the electronic version is not available to Australian consumers :-(
    So, I have been counting off the days (and gnawing on fingernails, lol) until my much wanted prize finally sends it’s way here – hopefully some time this week!
    Of course, then there will be a marathon reading session, followed by another re-reading of the series… then pining for the NEXT in the series. Thank you Michelle for writing such wonderful books!

  33. Thunderchild says:

    Louise, I was just able to buy the kindle version from, so maybe check to make sure amazon is redirecting you to the Australian site,

  34. Marie Hughes says:

    I am a long-time reader with not much to say, BUT I am curious about the Augustine references. Please explain what, where, who are Augustine Papers. Marie Hughes

  35. Wanted to let you know that I love the Elantra series! Would you consider self-publishing the Severn story if Mira isn’t interested? I think that you have the readers to support this! And with the latest technologies like BookFunnel, you can sell direct from your website and make a higher profit. Just a thought from a fan!

  36. Terrie A Redmond says:

    I know you said no War date, so I am doing my best to patiently wait. I went and started over, completely from the beginning, including re-reading all of the sacred hunt, as well as all of the other short stories of characters in this world. I am now back at the Sun Sword. I think I am enjoying the re-read SO MUCH more now that I have more context (from reading everything even remotely related to the series that I could get my hands on). I am about to start on Jewel’s beginning/back story, I am REAALLY trying to go slow enough to allow the final book to be out, but it is killing me! I know you are writing as much as you can and trying to make sure the story is as it should be, so I will wait until you say it right….but I am DYING for this story! I will take off of work the moment you give me a release date because I have no doubt I will be unable to do anything but read once I have those words in front of me!

    No pressure or anything :)
    PS: You are my FAVORITE author.
    I love that occasionally I have to read a sentence 2 or 3 times to truly understand the context. I love the level of intelligence and problem-solving that you expect – No, DEMAND-from your readers if they are to get the full import and subtlety of your story from start to finish. Please keep doing what you’re doing!

  37. Terrie A Redmond says:

    One more thing that I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned, The Books of the Sundered are probably my favorite thing you have ever written. They give me hope, break my heart, and yet mend it again, all over again, every time. I have read that series no less than 10 times. I love that in the end, if you are willing to sacrifice enough, love really can conquer ALL.

  38. dianne says:

    Really just a question for Michelle…did you have the backstory (Cast in Moonlight) all plotted out before you wrote the first few books? If not, explaining all the moving pieces years later is pure genius. As usual after reading the most recent book I have this urge to start at the beginning and re=read, and I pick up new facets each time. Wonderful series!

  39. Treesa says:

    I just finished Deception. So great .So grateful. I support whatever works In your creative process and eagerly await any and all versions of Novels Novellas etc.
    Thank you for the rich world and characters and especially for Kaylin and Jewel.

  40. Michelle thank you so much for writing the “cast in” novels. I have loved them since I found the first one. I enjoy them so much that I have them in print and audio. I loved them so much I bought them and donated them to the university library that I work at. These are one of the series that I am able to reread and still enjoy the books. Thank you so much for taking the time for writing and sharing these stories.

    I too would love to see Severn’s story in print. I hope very much that Mira does pick it up.

  41. Courtenay says:

    As far as the Cast 14 title goes, if numbering the books works for Janet Evanovitch, why not for you? :-)

    Please keep your books coming. I will keep reading them.

  42. Agustine says:

    Yesterday I saw the title of the next Cast novels in Google Play Books, where i can already pre-order them for Jan 2019. It’s called ‘Cast in Oblivion’. I’m super excited! =D


  43. Amber says:

    M heart is so happy to hear that there is a severn story coming at some point!!! Also that your already underway on 14! Yay!!!lia

  44. Gen says:

    I am in love with the a Elantra series….you mentioned short stories…..were can I find them

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