the Author

State of the Writer, May 2012 edition

Posted in Books, Cast, DAW, Elantra, Essalieyan, Queen of the Dead, writing.

I have been fighting a rear­guard action against a sinus infec­tion for the past two weeks, and I am at that stage where any move­ment of my head — at all — is Very Unpleasant. This has killed Yoga for the past week, and I am there­fore feeling sluggish.


Cast in Peril’s copy-edits went back to Luna last week. I just got email informing me that the page proofs are on the way, and should arrive tomorrow. Those are the last things I have to review before the book is out of my hands — at least until author’s copies arrive.

The title of the next Cast novel is: Cast in Sorrow.

I may have mentioned, some time back, that I had written 50k works of Touch, the follow up to Silence in the Queen of the Dead trilogy. At that point, I stopped and thought this book needs to be written from a different view­point. I then started again, and wrote 30k words from this different view­point … and real­ized that this was also not working. 

So, I’ve been working on Touch, mark III, and it is not yet finished. It will be the shortest book I write this year — in theory. In prac­tice, I will have written more words to reach that shortest book than I write on my longest Cast novels. But: I am working on it. While I still have hair that I have not pulled out.

I had a lovely time at the book launch at the store, and met a bunch of people I had not met in real life before. I also ate about a pound too many cookies. There were no balloons.

Battle, the fifth book in the House War series, is the only book that is not making me pull out hair, which is good. It is not yet done, but it’s much, much closer. It will not be short. I actu­ally read a conver­sa­tion between Finch and Jarven at the book launch because, well, because. I don’t regret writing Skir­mish, but the pertur­ba­tions in the world that occurred because of Skir­mish have made West writing life intensely … interesting.

My email inbox, on the other hand, is down to 895. Yes, down. So, a different way of putting this post is: I have managed to stay on top of the writing duties, but as usual, have not managed to do much more than that.

26 Responses to State of the Writer, May 2012 edition

  1. Paul Howard says:

    Take care of yourself.

  2. Angela says:

    Hope you’ve been to the doc for the sinus infec­tion. I suffer from them on a regular basis, and I know how bad they can get. Mucinex, plenty of fluids, plenty of soft tissues, ibuprofen, and a nice place to vege­tate with either a laptop, a book, or the TV to keep you company.
    When do we get a snippet of Cast in Peril?

  3. I loved Silence! As I was reading it, I kept having flash­backs to the series of LJ posts you made last year about your son’s kinder­garten years. Since my son is also ASD, I recog­nized most of Michael’s behav­iors. Want all the next books, but my TBR piles (yes, plural) are threat­ening to topple, so I’m sure I can keep myself occu­pied until they get here.

    Hope you feel better soon.

  4. Genna Warner says:

    If it makes you feel any better, there are others out there suffering through sinus issues as well. Misery loves company. I hope you get to feeling better soon.

    I am excited about Cast in Peril but the next title Cast in Sorrow makes me think some­thing bad is going to happen to one of our beloved char­ac­ters.., just hope that the title isn’t as ominous as it sounds.

  5. Hilda D. Rodriguez says:

    It’s possible the sinus infec­tion is a contin­u­a­tion of the really bad one you had after Xmas; the antibi­otics may not have taken good care of that problem and it was alive but in hiding. Hope you feel better soon.
    May I suggest a shower cap for every time you are writing?
    It’s inter­esting too know that this ” not to yet done … not be short … ” Battle was supposed to be one and last of the House War book series But then, we all said that longer and more is better. Was the “pertur­ba­tions in the world that occurred because of Skimish”, the huge number of messages from your readers or some­thing else in the writing world of authors? I’m so looking forward to Peril and Battle, but like Genna I think “Sorrow”, after Peril is … hmmm.

  6. michelle says:

    When do we get a snippet of Cast in Peril?

    I usually put up the first chapter the month before the publi­ca­tion date — which in this case would be some­time in August.

    As for the rest: I used to have a terrible time with allergy-related sinus infec­tions, but they went away for almost a decade. It’s not partic­u­larly wonderful to have them back 

  7. michelle says:

    Thank you :).

    I think one of the frus­trating things about ASD is that a) yes, it’s diffi­cult but b) it doesn’t infan­tilize the person who is ASD. The girls keep an eye out for Michael because they always have — but they under­stand the ways in which help is neces­sary and the ways in which it isn’t. 

    Michael’s appear­ance on the page changed the book entirely — but not because of Michael. I actu­ally wrote a piece for Scalzi’s ‘Big Idea’, which talks a little about this; I think it should be live some­time in the next day or two.

  8. michelle says:

    When you read Peril, you’ll under­stand part of the why of the title (Cast in Sorrow)- I don’t think it’s bad. Silence was, I think, an indi­cator that things were going to be darker — but that’s possibly because I knew what that book was about .

    And yes, misery some­times does love company :)

  9. michelle says:

    Was the “pertur­ba­tions in the world that occurred because of Skimish”, the huge number of messages from your readers or some­thing else in the writing world of authors?

    It was in the writing itself. I have a very rough outline in my head of what a book will be when I start it. Some­times I’m right (Broken Crown, Uncrowned King) and some­times I’m wrong (Sea of Sorrows, Cast in Court­light).

    I always under­stand the char­ac­ters. I know who they are and what they want; I know what they fear and what they’ll over­come fear for. But the world is a char­acter, and much of the shifts in my percep­tion of what a novel is about and what a novel is actu­ally about comes about because of the inter­ac­tion of the characters.

    The char­ac­ters (world or people) are entirely true to my under­standing of who and what they are — but the inter­ac­tions between them were not, to me, predictable.

    So: I expected Skir­mish to be largely polit­ical. Skir­mish was, instead, the begin­ning rumblings of ancient & wild magic. I under­stood that the para­digm of the ancient world had shifted with the war in the South — but until Celle­riant hit the grounds in a very foul mood, I didn’t realize how strongly that would affect events. 

    I loved writing Skir­mish. I loved it. I would not change it for the world. The things that happened that I didn’t expect to happen, I thought might happen in slightly different ways in the future. 

    But events that occurred in Skir­mish have conse­quences, and the conse­quences ripple through every other story that’s left to tell, because — oh, wait. Let me stop there.

  10. I do hope you feel better soon!

    I do have to say a new book from you is a bit like opening a gift on Christmas Day. I never know whether it will make me laugh or cry or both, but I know it’ll be special and cher­ished for a long time.

  11. mvictorine says:

    Prior to that last para­graph I was actu­ally going to say nice things to you without mocking you about how your very rough outline for a trilogy somehow spirals into a decology (or an icosology).

    And you know what? I’m *still* going to do just that. Because that’s how much I loved Skir­mish. How much I am looking forward to Jewel setting foot on the Eldest’s Path (and making it her own, as she no doubt must, if she is to survive the ordeal and return wielding a shard of her soul).

    And how *very* much I am looking forward to Stephen and his Hunt­brother going toe-to-toe with the Lord of the Hells.

    I love your stories. I love the way they make me feel. I love that you write to emotional arcs, and that they always make sense. And yes, no matter how much I still grumble over what you did to my second favorite of all your char­ac­ters (in my very favorite book of all time), I respect that you let those emotional arcs go painful places when they need to.

    (But if you kill Jewel or the *OTHER* Stephen, so help me… >.<)

  12. David Y says:

    We’ve been going through colds and a bit worse for a couple of weeks.

    Would it be possible to get the extra bits you wrote for Skir­mish included in the paper­back edition? Prob­ably as an after­word or appendix. I suspect it’s prob­ably too late and the author doesn’t get that much say.

  13. Heather says:

    Absolutely love the Chron­i­cles and am excited about learning more about the Barrani. Can you say if you will be showing us more about the Aerians soon?


  14. michelle says:

    (But if you kill Jewel or the *OTHER* Stephen, so help me… >.)

    If it makes you feel any better, my editor once told me if I killed Finch or Teller, I was in big, big trouble.

    I don’t actu­ally like to kill/torture/maim char­ac­ters. I think the hardest scene I’ve written (so far) in this series is the scene in which Lefty goes missing. Hunter’s Death wasn’t hard only because that scene was the point to which I’d be writing. 

    Of course, I then had all the rest of the book to write.

  15. michelle says:

    Thank you <3.

    I am, because there were visi­tors that needed babysit­ting, starting even later than usual tonight, and so, with encour­age­ment from this :)

  16. michelle says:

    It didn’t even occur to me to ask. They weren’t actu­ally written when I turned Skir­mish in, and weren’t quite finished when the book came out because I was a little behind on every­thing (I know, I know — it’s the state of my life).

    I’m not sure they’d work as part of a book; they don’t have a cohe­sive struc­ture for some­thing like a prologue. Hmmm.

  17. michelle says:

    I want to write an Aerian book, yes :). Peril and Sorrow take place outside of the city, but after that it’s either Aerian or Dragons. At least that’s the plan at the moment; the plan often jogs right when I was expecting a left.

  18. GGreyes8 says:

    Truly hope you feel better soon! 

    And I must say that your Cast novels are some of my favorite books, ever! (My library sadly doesn’t have your other books, but I am always on the lookout for them.) 

    I think you may have answered this in another thread before, but I’ll ask for my own sanity: since you have the title for the next book (and though you’ve put to rest some fears, I am still scared to read Peril for the sake of my beloved char­ac­ters) do you know defin­i­tively how many books Luna will publish after Sorrow? (My apolo­gies if I don’t under­stand the publishing world correctly). 

    I would love to read about the Aerians and Dragons of course, but I have to wonder if you’re going to throw us another curve­ball and intro­duce us to another race of people.

  19. michelle says:

    After Cast in Sorrow, I am under contract for two more books. 

    When I first sold Cast in Shadow, it was a three book deal. After that, they gave me a two book deal, which would take us to Cast in Silence. Following that, I was given a three book deal — and Cast in Peril is the final book in that set.

    They then contracted for three more books, all of which are unwritten so far, and only one of which now has a title.

  20. Chris says:

    Your editor is wise. ;)

    Mean­while, I do hope that you feel better soon.

  21. Hilda D. Rodriguez says:

    Thanks so much for responding. I’m so glad that you write the way you write. Don’t change it; you may have a different idea at the start of the book, but at the end it’s magical. It seems to me that you write like a reader. What I mean is that when I finish your books, I steal your char­ac­ters and they keep doing things. They are doing the same thing to you: char­ac­ters and their activ­i­ties for the next series are stealing their way into the House War series and causing events now. And it’s just great.

    In a different topic, I feel like you for Lefty and, since we never knew what happened to the rest of the den, I keep hoping that somehow Lefty appears again in a later book.

  22. Aaron M. says:

    Sort of related:

    Riven Shield is avail­able as an e‑book! Well, at least for kindle…I haven’t checked other outlets. Here’s to hoping the rest of the West books are released soon!

  23. Kate says:

    I can’t tell you how happy I am to hear about the snippet coming in August. The tension on waiting for the next Elantra book has been getting to me so much I swear if my finger­nails were longer, stronger and sharper my desk would look like Marcus’ and my hair would be a perma­nent afro style. Have re-read all the released Elantra books so often that I’m glad I got them in ebook form since there’s no way the spine of a paper copy would’ve borne the wear and tear I’ve put them through.

    Trying to last until September was feeling unbear­able. I might _just_ be able to last until August.

    : )

  24. David Y says:

    Not sure where else to ask this:
    You used to have a list of the antholo­gies your short stories appeared in. It doesn’t seem to be on the new site. I’m not an eBook person, so I’d be looking for copies, unless the eBooks can be made as hardcopies?

  25. michelle says:

    @David: The Bibli­og­raphy link at the top, on the navi­ga­tion bar, is basi­cally the old page, but much pret­tier. The top of the list is a picto­rial link to the series, with links of the books in boxes, but the infor­ma­tion beyond that is the old infor­ma­tion for the short stories and their orig­inal sources.

  26. ddurham says:

    I think your books are great. I have been reading scifi & fantasy for over 40 years and I’m in awe of the cast series. Can not wait until cast in sorrow comes out..

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