the Author

State of the Author, early July 2017 edition

Posted in DAW, Essalieyan, writing.


I wrote over 30,000 words while in Australia, and War is not yet finished. There was much teeth gnashing and hair pulling and I am back in Toronto, still working on War.

This means: I have not yet finished the (two) short stories that I have booked from the pixel project fundraiser, either =/.

War had ‘two chap­ters plus epilogue to go’ when I landed in Bris­bane. And… it still has two chap­ters plus epilogue to go, even with the addi­tion of two and a half chap­ters. Alpha reader thinks that West readers will actu­ally like the book, as written, which is a bonus, because the book isn’t finished yet. Ahem. I promise I have been writing, and will continue to write — but I so very much wanted to be able to post that the book is finished. And it’s not.

I hope everyone else had produc­tive months, other­wise. Or at least had some fun during the previous month.

40 Responses to State of the Author, early July 2017 edition

  1. Joey says:

    Welcome back! Happy July and Belated Happy Canada Day!

  2. hsmyers says:

    2 and 1/2 chap­ters strikes me as very produc­tive and of just the right type for my taste! Longer is of course better :)

  3. Kate Mohandas says:

    Happy Canada Day. I hope July will be the month that War is finished. I am consumed by desire to read this final book, but I can wait until you feel that you have got it right.

  4. More to read = yay ^^

  5. controuble says:

    Your books are always worth the wait.

  6. Susan M Ivey says:

    Yes, worth the wait.,.…

  7. Zia says:

    I’m looking forward to reading War, and more words I completely fine with me :) 

    I hope you had some fun while in Australia, and that overall things are going well. As always, thank you for taking the time to update us.

  8. Carol Duffy says:

    A longer book? From you? Lol. More of your writing is only a good thing. It will be ready when it’s ready. And belated happy Canada day

  9. Ralph Walker says:

    More writing, a longer book, I’m shocked ;). In the real world, wars are messy things. They never quite go as expected. I imagine it must be the same in the Essalieyan world. As you know, we will always wait, impa­tiently, for your next book.
    I hope you and yours are in the best health. Thank you for the update. Can we still expect the Black Gaunlet series, after WAR?

    ps. belated Happy Canada Day

  10. Alan says:


    I am of course gleeful, but still sympathies.

  11. Dan Pierson says:

    I’m mildly shocked… You haven’t yet announced that War will be two books :-)

  12. What series is War part of? Cuz me? I’m waiting on the next Elantra book. Really wanna see what happens next in the lives of Kaylin and her friends/family.

  13. Alessandra Porta says:

    Don’t worry, more to read!

  14. @Kate: If War is not finished before the end of this month, *I* will be T_T

    @Ralph: re: Black Gauntlet: Yes. One way or another, I will write it.

    @j.Lee: This is the House War series as Michelle West. Cast in Decep­tion is finished and with the publisher (but I have not received my edito­rial letter/revision request(s) yet, so it’s not completely done in the tradi­tional publishing schedule).

  15. Debbie H says:

    Don’t stress. We all will wait. Take some time for your­self and your family. We will still wait.

  16. Joyce Ronquillo says:

    Amazon has a January date (but no cover) and I have a pre-order so the publishers had best beware my high dudgeon if there is a delay.

  17. Emile De Antonio says:

    More is good! — as long as it doesn’t lead to the dreadful slough of endless revi­sion. Thank you for keeping us up to date.

  18. gary swarga says:

    Thanks for the update. Waiting for “Cast & War.” Sooner the better.

  19. @Joyce: there won’t be a delay for the CAST novel; it’s pretty much set in place now :)

  20. @Debbie: I just — I really wanted to be able to post news >.<. Writing updates all begin to feel like: “Still working”, but I do know that some people like to know that.

  21. Stephen Engel says:

    Michelle, you create beauty and that takes time. Thank you for a very good Essalieyan world. When I read about your created world, the world I live in becomes better. Thanks again.

  22. Lara says:

    I have faith in the judge­ment of Alpha Reader =)

  23. Elissa says:

    Don’t think that you didn’t have a produc­tive month! Just because you didn’t make it to the exact goal you had set out for your­self doesn’t mean that you weren’t working your butt off.

  24. Andrea Smith says:

    I’m glad your trip went better this year and your not sick. Thanks for the update. I’m enjoying spending summer break with my kiddos. I can relate though… I blink and months past. I make great plans to accom­plish things and fall short. The impor­tant things get done. Servival! What can I say? I relate to Kaylins tiredness ????

    Someone asked about the next Electra book. It comes out in January 2018. I was hoping to get my fix sooner but was happy to see it on Amazon. I’ll be looking forward to the seeing the cover. For me, the cover makes it real.

  25. Rita says:

    Yes, longer is good but take time and don’t stress your­self out. Thanks for the update.

  26. Linda says:

    Hi Michelle, I just looked a local website to see when Cast in Decep­tion would be avail­able to order and it had a ship­ping date of Jan 23 2018. I can”t wait for the the next book, however Jan 18 seems so far away.…..

  27. Peter Moore says:

    I can wait for War. I dearly love ALL of the Essalieyan universe. I’m currently reading both Hunter’s Death and House Name looking at differ­ences that 16! years of writing has brought to your craft. I thought that I would univer­sally like House Name over Hunter’s Death, but that’s not so. But I’m having a great time switching back and forth between the two books. So when ever you finish War will be OK.
    I hope you had at least some fun with the 30K words, even if they didn’t finish up the book. I know for sure that I will have fun reading it. And as an aside; some­times produc­tion is over rated. I once had a t‑shirt that said “The Joy is in the Journey”; that too, can be a truth. Look at it this way, at least you are WAAAYYYY better at getting stuff out than Patrick Roth­fuss. So keep plug­ging along, we are all pulling for you.

  28. @Peter: That is … an inter­esting reread. (I mean it!). I’m now thinking about the differences.

    As the author, I can honestly say that my ability to reread my own books is highly depen­dent on my frame of mind, and on some days, what I can see is what I would do *differ­ently* now. i.e. if it works, I almost don’t notice it.

    As for the 30k words, yes, for a variant of fun that involves tears. But good tears.

    @Rita: This is a thing that I do at the end of every novel, these days: I stress because the book is Too Long. And as it’s not finished, the stress doesn’t decrease. If editors did not care, if publishers did not care, I wouldn’t find it stressful — but they do. It makes me feel unpro­fes­sional, tbh =/. But I have never devel­oped the knack for knowing which story will fit which length. But… I write the story anyway.

    On the rare occa­sions when I’m asked for a short story for an anthology, if the hard upper word­count is 6k or less, I say No. Because I know that I won’t be able to do that reli­ably, and ureli­ably might mean I have to write 3 or 4, or at least 3 or 4 partials, to get *one* that fits.

  29. Melissa says:

    I just pre-ordered Cast in Decep­tion! Yay Amazon! (both the Kindle and the trade paper­back — because I won’t be able to wait until the postman brings it on the release date. I will be reading it at 12:35am when it is down­loaded to my Kindle)

    Hmm… If I pre-order a copy from “your” book­store (do you still work occa­sion­ally at a sci-fi store?) and pay for ship­ping, will you sign it ?!? Even if it takes a couple weeks to arrive, that would so be worth the wait. 

    TWO short stories! Did I miss another fundraiser? I thought you only auctioned one??? What is the subject of the second one?! So exciting!

  30. Tchula Ripton says:

    Just got back from Bethany Beach today and I get a new post from Michelle, yay! I’m not worried at all about War, I know you’ll finish it when you finish it, and I’ll love it just the same as I’ve adored all the other books. 

    Glad you had a nice trip to Australia. I would so like to go there, but I just don’t know if I can do the plane flight. Same reason I keep putting off a trip to Japan, which I would dearly love to visit. I just don’t fly well, as in, I throw up almost every time I fly. I keep waiting for a Star Trek tele­porter to be invented. Maybe Elon Musk can get right on that, lol…

    Anyway, no pres­sure, we will also have Cast in Decep­tion to enter­tain us, so write on! ;-)

  31. @Melissa: The 2nd story is a short story based in a world that’s existed only in the short stories — it’s an Augus­tine story. And I’ll write it after I write the Severn story :)

    @Tchula: I hate hate hate the plane flight, but they don’t make me nauseous, just stir-crazy because it’s a tiny space and I’m stuck in it for 16 hours. (There’s the 4 – 5 hour flight out to Vancouver as well, but that, at this point, seems trivial.)

  32. David Youngs says:

    When I was in the book­store buying Grave a couple of weeks ago, I asked and was told that the ship­ping on a book that size was about $15. And that they could prob­ably do a second book for the same price.
    My copy was signed, but Michelle was nowhere in sight.

  33. Tyronne Hodgins says:

    So, you had 2 chap­ters and an epilogue to go. You wrote 2 1/2 chap­ters while in Bris­bane, came home and you still have 2 chap­ters and epilogue to go now that you’re back home. Your Alpha reader says that ‘we’ the fans will love it. I really am sorry to hear that you’re a little stressed but WOOOOOO HOOOOOOOO!!!! An extra couple of chap­ters for this amazing story! This is why we love you Michelle!!!! Thank you!

  34. Melissa says:

    @David: Excel­lent! Thanks for the info, I will look into it.

  35. Geoffrey Friedman says:

    I’m dying here. Going back to the begin­ning and rereading(for the umpteenth) the whole series. Please release soon!!

  36. @Geoffrey: If you mean WAR, it’s … not finished yet =/. It is very close. But… that means it’s close enough to send to the publisher, which is still a ways off from publication.

    It is now also offi­cially the longest of the West novels to date; easily the longest of the House War novels.

  37. DeDe says:

    Wow! Offi­cially the longest?! Do your editors ever take bets on final length? ;-)

  38. @DeDe: only once that I’m aware of. And that was for the 30th anniver­sary short story anthology — for “Memory of Stone”. As I recall, I was asked for 6k words, max. And I said, I could write them a story that was 6k words, or I could write a story set in the West universe, but I could not write one that was both — I had never written one that was shorter than 10k. 

    And so, they said, okay, West universe, max 10k.

    And I was told by one of the DAW staff that they did, in fact, have bets on who would come in longest — and I even phoned one of the authors in dismay when I heard she’d finished *her* story at 14.5k words, because… mine was not finished and it was longer.

    Although I guess that’s not entirely a bet on final length…

  39. DeDe says:

    That’s still pretty funny. You know how much we love the length of your stories. Are we sure War will stay at one book (not get split in two?)

  40. Peter Moore says:

    Since “Memory of Stone” is my favorite ‘shorter’ (as opposed to novellas my favorite novella is “Cast in Moon­light) story so far I am very glad that you didn’t end it at 10K. I’m also in favor of War being the longest West book. Looking forward to it.

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