the Author

State of the Author, October 2021

Posted in Elantra, Essalieyan, Mira.

Well, October saw one of my least favorite and one of the most neces­sary steps on the road to publi­ca­tion of Sword and Shadow: Copy­edits.

Those were reviewed, correc­tions made, tears shed, hair pulled out, and returned to Mira. During that period I wrote no new words on either of the two books on which I’m working, but I am once again returning to our regu­larly sched­uled words.

I’m pretty sure everyone has heard about the various supply chain diffi­cul­ties publishers are facing at the moment: paper supplies, printer avail­ability, etc. But: at the moment, Sword and Shadow has a February 2022 publi­ca­tion date (and yes, I orig­i­nally typed 2021. And then corrected it to 2020 T_T).

So I am contin­uing with the as yet unti­tled Cast 17, and also Hunter’s Redoubt. At this very moment, I am looking at titles, or trying to look at titles, or alter­nately cleaning the kitchen so I don’t have to look at titles.

I have also been working on a proof-of-concept self-published audio­book, which would be for Sea of Sorrows, about which more later. And when I say working, I mostly mean orga­nizing (voice narrator, cover art reprint rights, etc., etc.). If this works well, or at least not disas­trously badly, I hope to self-publish audio books for the last West arc.

Other than that, we are all still healthy, as are our extended family. Ontario has not yet seen the cata­strophic growth of covid spurred else­where by school open­ings – but Ontario still has mask mandates in place for in-public every­thing, except restau­rants. For restau­rants, bars and a couple of other places, proof-of-vacci­na­tion is required — which, I think, has caused more people to risk going to restaurants.

We’re all kind of watching how covid numbers progress as it starts to get colder. Still, at the moment, there’s cautious hope.

How has everyone else been doing?

22 Responses to State of the Author, October 2021

  1. Sue Ivey says:

    So glad to hear of the audio book. I’m also glad you’re all ok. My family is all vacci­nated, and being careful in public.

  2. michelle says:

    @Sue: The thing about being a “publisher” is… so. much. orga­ni­za­tion. I’m not actu­ally doing any of the real work — narrating, cover design, etc. But I have to find people who can, and then arrange to have them do the things I can’t do, and work around sched­uling because when more people are involved, sched­ules have to overlap harmo­niously, or try. In theory, this is not a diffi­culty; in prac­tice there are bumps. Which is to say: Narrator: check. Cover art reprint rights: check. Cover design: check. But process to get all of these things together into some­thing that can be called an audio­book… bumpy.

  3. Peter says:

    Looking forward to Sword and Shadow. Amazon has had a 2/22/22 (that’s a lot of 2’s) avail­ability date since June, and is open for preorders. The cover art is out there also.

    Here’s the blurb. (blurb’s don’t count as spoilers do they?) “In exchange for infor­ma­tion about his past, Severn Handred joins a Barrani lord on a mission to the West March — an enclave well outside the bound­aries of the Empire. Granted a leave of absence from the Wolves, Severn is in danger the moment he steps outside the reach of Impe­rial law. But the instincts that led him to the Wolves and the sense of duty that keeps him there can’t be discarded as easily as the tabard he wears.

    In the heart of the West March, enmeshed in a tangled web of secrets that have been kept for centuries, Severn’s belief in justice is going to be tested. There are murders to solve, people to protect, and truths to uncover. It’s one mortal man and his single Barrani friend against a commu­nity of immor­tals who will die and kill to keep their secrets. But they’re up against the Wolves now.”

  4. michelle says:

    @Peter: Yes. But I know five authors now that have their books delayed because of supply chain issues, and those books *were* sched­uled and preorders had been made. So: I believe the book will come out on time — but I’m just not certain, so I don’t want to promise that pub date until we’re closer to it, if that makes sense?

  5. Joey says:

    So … CAST IN NETS still has a chance?

    Keep staying safe!

  6. michelle says:

    @Joey: It has as much chance as you do, at the moment -.-.

  7. Elizabeth says:

    Very happy to hear of any progress. I know it’s extra hard, in time of covid. I’ve did a complete relisten of both series in the summer of 2020. That was when we all started with to realize just how long the pandemic journey might be. Your books were such a help.
    And Severn getting his own arc reminded me how much I like your char­acter development.

  8. Peter says:

    ..but I’m just not certain, so I don’t want to promise that pub date until we’re closer to it, if that makes sense?.” Sure does ! I’m really looking forward to another piece of Severn’s story. I’m glad the pre-order came out so early even if the date moves. I don’t exactly worry about missing day 1, but it’s nice to only need to check once or twice a year to get the order placed. The pre-order for War changed title as well as moved the publi­ca­tion date quite a bit. It still was fine.

    I find the tone (? wrong term I’m sure) of the Severn books a bit different than the Cast books. We get less insight into what Severn is thinking. For some reason the cover art of the book fits that tone, and the covers of the Cast books fit their tone. Nice to see the projected page count is a substan­tial 496 pages.

    Do you plan to overlap events between Cast and Wolves?

    Aside, P.C. Hodgell (God Stalk) is another author I love, but wish had your productivity.

  9. michelle says:

    @Peter: Severn doesn’t like to talk. Kaylin’s internal thoughts are contin­uous; Severn’s only when he’s actu­ally thinking about a problem at hand. Some­times there’s a glimpse of things that are not that, but — he’s just way way way more closed off. Which, tbh, I didn’t entirely expect until I started to write him. It’s part of the reason there are multiple view­points in the Severn books.

    as for over­lap­ping: I’m uncer­tain at this point. 

    I kind of want to write the Academia/magic school book >.>

  10. michelle says:

    @Elizabeth: thank you :D

  11. Jazzlet says:

    Ooooh Robin’s time at the Acad­emia, yes please! I would like to know more about Robin, and so much more. But I’ll read what­ever you write in that world.

    Glad to hear you are all keeping well, and that delta has not had the effect it has had here in the UK. Despite the numbers of infected going up there is no sign the Govern­ment is plan­ning on doing anything until they have no choice, and many people are taking that inac­tion as license to go mask­less, ignore distancing and gener­ally act as if COVID had been beaten. It is very frus­trating as well as worrying — about my husband who only has one kidney, and his sister who is in contin­uing treat­ment for recur­rent cancer and my best friend who has MS … your books provide such a real world to visit I can forget all of that for a few hours.

  12. br60103 says:

    I would like to see Kaylin telling Robin’s parents that she’s found him, although he may be able to leave and see them himself.

    If you do a book exploring the creation of sentient build­ings … Cast in Concrete?

    (I’ll get my hat and leave quietly.)

  13. Joyce Ronquillo says:

    I don’t see why a lack of paper should delay a digital copy…says the not-at-all-enti­tled lady who can’t focus prop­erly on small print and needs her Kindle to survive. The new Severn book sounds deeply enthralling and I want it sooner rather than later. I once tormented (politely, I wasn’t Karen) a publisher through email about the continued delay in releasing a book I REALLY wanted to read to the point they sent me an ARC to make me stop. 

    I’m glad to know that Covid has receded to the back­ground of your world and allows you some head­space to pursue words. The Acad­emia would be a most welcome addi­tion to the world of Elantra. I enjoy magic school stories. 

    Stay safe and sane up there.

  14. michelle says:

    @Jazzlet: the covid situ­a­tion in the UK seems grim — but we have Alberta and Saskatchewan =/. Ontario has not been gold-stan­dard in cautious proto­cols, but… we still have a public mask mandate, and proof-of-vacci­na­tion is now required for restau­rants, theaters, etc. I think it’s the public mask mandate that has kept things under control, even with school open­ings — but we’re now heading into colder weather. 

    And yes, I totally under­stand the frus­tra­tion and worry =/

  15. michelle says:

    @Joyce: to be honest, I would not want a gap between ebook and paper­back. I do under­stand that ebooks don’t have to be delayed, but in my (limited) expe­ri­ence with split­ting pub dates, the early ebook kills or lowers the print sales (speaking as book­store person). This does make sense to me: print readers are not likely to be happy if they feel pres­sured to buy ebooks instead, and while there’s no explicit pres­sure, the implicit pres­sure would be there =/.

  16. michelle says:

    @br60103 …sigh. I’d suggest you join Joey in racing to the horizon -.-

  17. Daniel Catudal says:

    Loved all your news and all comments actu­ally, hoping to have this long overdue covid reset soon; 3 of my extended family died of covid at this point, dont need more grief. Take care you all and keep us up to date. I woul really enjoy having to immers in a new book from one of your series to put all worries away for a spell.

  18. michelle says:

    @Daniel: that is so hard =/. Although I have lost 2 rela­tives over the course of covid, none of them were to covid; it just made funerals and the comfort they can provide the bereaved impos­sible =(. I know people have cancelled weddings, etc., but it’s the lack of safe funerals that I find most heart­breaking for the people who are grieving.

    But, ummm, nothing new from me until February 2022 T_T

  19. Aquilegia says:

    My niece is getting married next week. We had a very small masked wedding shower last week. The happy couple and their parents will be the only people attending the actual cere­mony. They plan on having a small recep­tion next spring, but we will need to wait and see what happens. COVID is making every­thing diffi­cult, but happy that they are taking it seri­ously. Here in the States, it feels like three quar­ters of the popu­la­tion are pretending that it is over. Because ignoring prob­lems is the best way to solve them, right? 

    Re: narra­tion… A lot of theatre students want to go into voice acting right now. Even before COVID video games and anime made it a really attrac­tive choice. Now it is the perfect way to continue acting while staying distant. Hope­fully that will make finding narra­tors easier in the future.

  20. michelle says:

    @Aquilegia: I have a friend who has a friend who works in ICU. The ICU nurse intu­bated a patient who was thirty years old – and at this point, with Delta, almost no one survives intu­ba­tion =/. That patient? A woman who caught covid on her wedding day from her sister. And no, neither were vacci­nated. This very unhappy story caused a different friend — who is vacci­nated — to give a pass on attending a wedding, because the bride … is not vacci­nated. So: yes, covid does terrible things to weddings. Our neigh­bor’s daughter had her wedding in the back­yard of her family home, with maybe 10 people in atten­dance, all outdoors.

    Re: narra­tion: The thing I’ve found with narra­tors is, unless the narrator is terrible, the narrator becomes the “voice” of the book. So if I, say, had a different narrator for the CAST books, a lot of audio­book listeners would … not be happy. Some­thing would sound “off”; some­thing would cause friction.

    Yes, I wrote the book — but listening adds a texture and a sense of famil­iarity that the books on their own don’t have? I could find a different narrator — but Eva is the voice of the West novels for those who have been listening to the audio­books, so preserving that narra­tion seems impor­tant to me, if that makes sense?

  21. Aquilegia says:

    @michelle That… that is so unspeak­ably awful. I can’t even imagine the pain everyone involved is going through. The sorrow mixed with anger, grief, and self-loathing that I assume they must be feeling. That any rational person would feel. 

    I am having a great big case of anxiety about my grandmother’s upcoming 100th birthday party. All the kids and nearly all of the grand­kid­s/­great-grand kids will be there, over twenty people from three states. All of us have suppos­edly been vacci­nated, and I know she and my parents have had their third shot. I know that at 99 she prob­ably won’t live much longer anyhow. (/cries) And all she wants for her birthday is to see everyone together one last time. (/cries ugly tears) And a box of fancy choco­lates, I love my grandma. But I am still worried that we will be spreading the plague and possibly killing one of my favorite people.

  22. Hanneke says:

    Off topic but impor­tant for non-NZ authors who’s books are in the New Zealand national library, so I’m copying this to all the author blogs I visit.
    The NZ govern­ment has decided to donate its over­seas collec­tion to the Internet Archive and put the onus on authors whose work is still under copy­right to opt out. We have until 1 December to opt out. This is the page with the list and with what to do to opt out:

    If you go to this page, there’s a spread­sheet with the titles in ques­tion that you can down­load. Suggest sharing this with any authors you know who need to be concerned. The orig­inal poster passed this on to their literary agent and you might do the same.

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