State of the Writing, September 2010 edition

Posted in Books, Cast, DAW, Luna, writing.

Volume 03 of House War: House Name

House War: House Name: This has been finished; the cover was posted downstream. The last of the three books that follow Jewel’s past. It’s scheduled for January of 2011, and it can be preordered from: Indiebound | Amazon | Powell’s | Borders | B & N

Cast in Ruin: This book begins a few days after Cast in Chaos ends.  Kaylin is called in for the etiquette lessons she’s managed to avoid until now — and is also called in to help with an unusual investigation in the fief of Tiamaris, where the relocation of thousands of strangers is not perhaps going entirely smoothly.  Cast in Ruin has been revised and sent to my editor. It will come back with a revision letter, and if it evades that, will come back with line edits, copy-edits, and page proofs. Hopefully it will come with a cover, as well, and when it does, I’ll share.

House War: Skirmish: I’m about 110k words into Skirmish and I desperately want people to read it, or at least the parts of it that were a revelation to me. It isn’t finished yet, but it starts the day after Jewel’s return to the House in the ‘present’ time-line.

Silence of the Grave: A YA novel I wrote a while ago on spec.  I meant to return to it and revise the beginning, but ended up writing all of Cast in Chaos and “Cast in Moonlight” first.  I’m currently (finally) revising the first third of it, and will hopefully be finished in a week, at which point I will start:

Cast in Danger: So far, only background work has been done on this book, and the title is very tentative. I know how it starts, and I know that it involves the Shadow Wolves and the Barrani. I don’t want to say much more because I haven’t actually written any of the book words yet–just the foundation notes and information.

33 Responses to State of the Writing, September 2010 edition

  1. Carol Duffy says:

    Thanks for the update! And I suspect that we are every bit as anxious to read what you have written as you are to have us read it…

    And does this mean that the members of House Terafin are taking the story in ways you didn’t anticipate? Have you, as author, proved to be not quite the seer Jewel is ?

    Carol (putting in a good word for Devon ATerafin while we’re at it)

  2. Genna Warner says:

    Okay I’m excited about the news. I can’t wait to read it all up. I haven’t pre-order House Name yet due to it’s not listed for Kindle yet, but I look for that every other day (sometimes mutliple times a day).

  3. And does this mean that the members of House Terafin are taking the story in ways you didn’t anticipate? Have you, as author, proved to be not quite the seer Jewel is ?

    It means that everything that happened makes absolute sense given all of the events in the Sun Sword–and was at the same time not how I was expecting things to occur. This often happens. I know a lot of things, and I generally assume that the story will go in a specific direction because of the things I know.

    But sometimes what I know suddenly explodes and reforms in a way that lines up with everything else I know — but not at all in the way I’d half-planned. Usually it’s better, and once I’ve stopped pulling my hair out, I accept it and move on from there. The pulling hair out? It’s when something game-changing suddenly rears its head.

    This probably sounds vague. But I hate to spoil people who hate spoilers.

  4. Carol Duffy says:

    At some point, when all is out in the world and published, would you ever consider discussing what went in a different direction; how you thought something would happen versus how it ultimately played out in the authorial negotiation with her creations? Perhaps that isn’t something you would be remotely interested in doing, and I completely respect that should that be the case, but I, for one, would be fascinated to know a bit more about that aspect of your writing process.

    And thank you, as always, for taking the time to respond.

    Carol (who most assuredly does *not* hate spoilers and who is, once again, putting in a good word for Devon ATerafin which I completely understand you have every right to utterly ignore )

  5. DeDe says:

    Thanks for the update. I’m with Carol on the (NOT hating) spoilers, and will read any tidbit you pass on.

    As far as the hair pulling goes…the older I get, the more I realize it’s much more efficient to pull your husband’s hair out instead of yours. :-)

  6. DG says:

    I know stuff is really preliminary but…

    Shadow Wolves + Barrani = WIN!

    Seriously.

    Can’t wait for Cast in Ruin, but Cast in Danger (or whatever it’ll be named) has me hyped!

    President of Team Nightshade,
    DG

  7. @Carol: Yes, I’d be happy to discuss it — especially for this book, although I think some of the reasons it caused such alarm on my part does involve information outside of the particular book’s scope.

    This frequently happens when I’m writing — in either small or large ways — and it’s what makes a book feel alive to me. Some authors outline. Some outline in so much detail they writing of the book is simply another iteration — and expansion of what’s already on the page. An author I greatly, greatly admire once said to me “if the book takes a turn in a direction I didn’t plan, I stop writing because it means I haven’t thought it out enough.”

    This, however, isn’t the way my particular subconscious works. Even if I have a particular short-term plan, it goes off the rails fifty percent of the time when it’s something as simple as “Jewel and Haval talk”. I know, when I start, what Jewel wants to talk about. I know what she opens with. I think I know what Haval’s response will be. But frequently, and entirely in character, one of the two will respond in a way I didn’t expect.

    I think I’ve talked about Sea of Sorrows here before, because to date, that’s probably been the book that deviated most from what I’d expected the end to be. Not in overall plot, oddly enough, but in tone and closing.

  8. Erin says:

    I’m with Carol, putting in a good word for Devon ATerafin!!! I’m really excited about this whole series! However, I’m one of the people who hates spoilers so thanks for keeping some things to yourself.

    I picked up “The Broken Crown” at my local bookstore back when I was a sophomore in high school, 1997. I feel like I’ve been living in your head/world ever since! The bookstore may have closed, “thank you” B&N, but I’m still haunting the web/shelves for whatever comes next. I enjoy reading a variety of different series and genres, but this is MY series. Thank you so much for all you do to keep us updated and happily waiting for the next piece of the puzzle.

  9. hjbau says:

    I am so ready to read House Name and Skirmish. Skirmish starts the day after Jewel’s return in present time. I so am ready for that.

    Also something is a game changer? I really love that you write the characters doing what they would do and that this is what furthers the plot instead of just having a plot with characters wandering through it. I hope that made sense. It did in my head. Somethings a game changer? I so want spoilers, but at the same time i so do not.

    I am with Erin in this, i read a lot of different kinds of books also, but this series, the West series, is the one i am so all about.

  10. @Erin & hjbau: Don’t take this entirely the wrong way, but I love you :D.

    I am so ready to read House Name and Skirmish. Skirmish starts the day after Jewel’s return in present time. I so am ready for that.

    The one thing I’ll say — because I do know that a lot of people have been suspended in limbo with regards to the present time-line — is that House Name overlaps Hunter’s Death. But it introduces one character of import in the shape of the war (in Jewel’s camp, oddly enough, but through Finch). Finch and Teller are more central.

    I’m trying to come up with an afterword for House Name which essentially says: Now, please go and read all of The Sun Sword because it is necessary. This is giving me ulcers.

  11. Carol Duffy says:

    Hmmm. Looking for the written version of “previously on ’24’ “?

    I guess my question would be: *is* it actually necessary, as opposed to desirable? Or, put another way, “Are you giving yourself enough credit?” While I read the Hunters books before reading The Sun Sword, and they certainly added a lot to the latter books, I wouldn’t say they were necessary to understanding them. You did a wonderful job of keeping “new” readers up to speed if they hadn’t read the first two.

    I suppose you could say exactly what you posted, in a “The events of this trilogy (or quartet, or octet ) take place after those in The Sun Sword and are based in part on that story ” kind of way. It could warn readers coming to your books for the first time that there might be backstory they would find helpful without making them think they can’t buy this book without first reading all the others.

    Which, of course, they should simply because they are all wonderful.

  12. hjbau says:

    Personally i don’t think it is necessary to do that. If someone really enjoys your books they will go looking. I know i did. I received the Hunter duology for Christmas and when i finished Hunter’s death i went looking for the next book.

    I think you do a good job of having each book seem an inclusive story unto itself and yet not being repetitive on what happened in past books which can be tiresome. I actually like that. Sometimes you say something just once and if you aren’t paying attention then you might not get it. It is like there is something to know in each word you use.

    A new character in Jewel’s camp. That is interesting. January doesn’t seem so far today and it comes out early on in January as well. It is probably for the best. If it had come out before Christmas i might have had trouble engaging with the family over the holidays and that wouldn’t be good.

    New words. Can’t wait.

  13. Genna Warner says:

    I just recently started reading the West novels. I started with the advice on this website and read Hidden City, City of Night, then read Hunters Oath and Hunters Death. Then got all 6 Sun Sword books to read (Im starting the third book now), but wondered if I should have waited until after reading House Name to actually read the Sun Sword books. Now Im sort-of wishing I had waited. Some people say read the books in the order the author wrote them, but I’m not really one of them. I like (if at all possible) to read a story in chronological order. Bouncing back and forth in time can give me a bit of a headache. But since I have started the series, I can’t put it down. It has made working a bit hard actually, I would rather be reading. :)

    So basically I hope for New readers who are like me, that an afterword does go into House Name. But then again, if the reader is anything like me, they probably have already started reading the Sun Sword books.

  14. AumiHunter says:

    Hey, I was just wondering if you knew if Mass Market Paperbacks were going to be released for Cast in Fury onward?

  15. Aaron says:

    Please, please don’t stress about the order! There’s often a lot of subtle information that you’ll miss the first time around anyway; re-reading is quite a pleasure.

    I think Michelle is just saying that she wants you to read the Sun Sword series before ‘Skirmish’, because there will be plot spoilers for Sun Sword in the conclusion of the House war. I don’t think this will be a major issue, any more than Rath’s storyline was an issue between ‘Hunter’s Death’ and ‘City of Night’ – but everyone is different.

    If you’re already in the midst of Sun Sword, don’t stop. The 3rd and 4th books are pivotal to Jewel’s story and will present the context you need to understand her growth into the leadership role in the House war.

  16. Genna Warner says:

    @Aaron, oh trust me I couldn’t put the books down now if you were trying to force me to at gun point. :)

  17. Hey, I was just wondering if you knew if Mass Market Paperbacks were going to be released for Cast in Fury onward?

    I believe that two books — Cast in Fury and Cast in Silence, will be released in mass market paperback in August or September of 2011 (i.e. next year). I know it’s only those two, but when I talked to my editor, the dates hadn’t entirely been pinned down yet.

  18. simplewhimsy says:

    I still haven’t gotten to read House of Night. . .still no paperback at my local B&N. I think maybe I will just have to order it online or something; knowing that soon there will be TWO House books out that I haven’t read yet is rather unbearable. :(

    Probably should just reread the Sun Sword series anyways, it’s been a long time and I barely remember the main plot, much less the intricacies.

  19. Talisha says:

    I just wanted to say that I absolutely LOVE the whole Sun Sword world. It is one of my favorite series and yearly re-reads. I can’t wait for Skirmish to be released. I also wanted to know if you were going to continue the storyline for Kiriel, Auralius, and Anya, also Tor Arkosa and the rest of the Voyani? I would also love to hear what is happening with Valedan and Diora.

  20. Talisha says:

    I was wondering if you or your publisher will make The Sacred Hunt into ebook form. I would love to have them on my Sony Reader because my paperbacks are a little worn.

  21. @Talisha: Yes, Kiriel, Auralis and Anya are important, but in the books beyond the House War (in what I call the End of Days arc). The Tor Arkosa and the Voyani, via Adam, are or will also be significant — again, in the End of Days, and not so much the House War.

    I’m entirely uncertain at this point whether or not I’ll revisit Valedan and Diora, because in some ways, their story feels complete to me, and I’d like them to have a couple of happy and constructive years. Being protagonists in a novel is pretty much a way to guarantee that they won’t >.>

  22. hjbau says:

    “Being a protagonist in a novel is pretty much a way to guarantee that they won’t.”

    That sounds about right.

  23. Hilda says:

    Michelle, I really have this very weird idea that when Kaylin finally meets the Emperor they will become good friends; hit it off right away. The poor guy is so much surrounded by terrified dragons. He needs a break!!!

  24. w-b says:

    “This, however, isn’t the way my particular subconscious works. Even if I have a particular short-term plan, it goes off the rails fifty percent of the time when it’s something as simple as “Jewel and Haval talk”. I know, when I start, what Jewel wants to talk about. I know what she opens with. I think I know what Haval’s response will be. But frequently, and entirely in character, one of the two will respond in a way I didn’t expect. ”

    I read this and understand it so well. While I am not published I do enjoy writting stories and one of the things I find is my characters behave in ways i lest expect some days. I have plans and idea’s of what will happen next and the charcter by his/her own “definetion” changes the plans. Some people think I’m crazy when I say things like that but, when you create a character and your writting as the charcter you realize they wouldn’t do what you wanted them to do because it contradicts there nature or something along those lines…. personally i think my characters just like to drive me bonkers almost as much as my children.

    Thanks for the amazing update on your work. Thanks for taking the time to tell us:)

  25. Lynn Everett says:

    I am looking forward to Cast in Ruins. I enjoy Kaylin and her adventures. After reading the prequel Cast in Moonlight I spent 2 weeks rereading the series. Will the mysterious egg from Cast in Chaos return in Cast in Ruins?

  26. Mikaela says:

    If you have some free-ish time would you mind updating the news section? Or actually, updating anywhere with info on Cast in Ruin?? Or anything really. You haven’t posted on the site for a while. :( That, and I can’t wait for Cast in Ruin! I’m soo excited! Happy Holidays Michelle!

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