May. 17th, 2014

merlinscribe: (Default)
Dear Friends:

I am so pleased at the number of you who have asked about the progress of BLADE OF EMPIRE. The short answer is: the manuscript is half-finished, and in another hundred thousand words I will hand it over to my editor at Tor. I expect to do this in August or early September of this year.

I feel very bad at the long delay between the previous book and this one. It has been said that a writer has no obligation to his audience beyond producing whatever book they currently hold in their hands: I believe a writer who starts a story has an obligation to his audience to finish it. When a writer says: let me tell you a story… his audience expects exactly that: a story with a beginning, a middle, and (most of all) an end. By beginning a story, a writer assumes the obligation to finish it. This is an obligation I take very seriously.

Of course, Life Happens. My editor wanted me to write another book in between CROWN OF VENGEANCE and BLADE OF EMPIRE. When I was in the middle of BLADE, I had to drop everything to deal with a family emergency. But as I say, the book is back on track now and soon to be done.

So when will it come out? In Publishing, the old school rule of thumb was twelve months from delivery to publication, which would put BLADE on the 2015 schedule. In addition, though a book can be released in any month of the year, for certain publicity and record-keeping purposes (as well as catalogue appearances), it is assigned to a “list”. Most publishers these days do only a Spring and a Fall list (back in Publishing’s glory days, there were four seasonal lists. Of course, Maxwell Perkins was alive then): conventional wisdom says that the Spring List contains the “beach books” and the Fall List contains the “gift books” – ie, the ones people will give as gifts that December. I suspect Tor thinks of the World of Obsidian books as “gift books”, which means BLADE would be on the Fall list, which covers (very roughly) September through February of the following year, and be released sometime before the December gift-giving season.

But at this point, I have no real information on publication date, just educated guesses. Nobody can really start juggling schedules until the book is not only turned in, but is submitted to Production, which means the editor has read it and I've made the revision she indicates.

When I know more, I’ll let you know. Knowing that there’s someone out there waiting to see what happens next is a wonderful encouragement to any storyteller, and I am grateful for all of you.

--James
merlinscribe: (HOUSE OF THE FOUR WINDS)
THE HOUSE OF THE FOUR WINDS (ISBN-10: 0765335654; ISBN-13: 978-0765335654), my “other” book, will be an August 5, 2014 Tor Books release. It is even now being turned into an audiobook by Brilliance Audio, the same people who will be bringing you the audiobook of CROWN OF VENGEANCE.

THE HOUSE OF THE FOUR WINDS is something of a departure for me, being a contrahistorical set in the Age of Piracy with a strong romantic subplot (though the romance isn’t furthered much by the fact that the hero thinks the heroine is a boy right up until the next to last minute).

Amazon says:

The rulers of tiny, impoverished Swansgaard have twelve daughters and one son. While the prince’s future is assured, his twelve sisters must find their own fortunes.

Disguising herself as Clarence, a sailor, Princess Clarice intends to work her way to the New World. When the crew rebels, Clarice/Clarence, an expert with rapier and dagger, sides with the handsome navigator, Dominick, and kills the cruel captain.

Dominick leads the now-outlawed crew in search of treasure in the secret pirate haven known as The House of Four Winds. They encounter the sorceress Shamal, who claims Dominick for her own—but Clarice has fallen hard for Dominick and won’t give him up without a fight.

Full of swashbuckling adventure, buoyant magic, and irrepressible charm,
The House of the Four Winds is a lighthearted fantasy romp by a pair of bestselling writers.

This is, ah, reasonably accurate. Clarice disguises herself as a boy when she leaves home, meaning to make her fortune as a swordsmaster. She travels to the New World on a whim (also on a ship), only to discover that Captain Sprunt (aka the cruel captain) is a very bad man who does not intend that she -- or most of the crew -- survive the voyage. Without food or water, and weeks from land, the mutineers' only haven is the destination Sprunt had been making for: a secret landfall where admission is gained only by a mystic talisman.

The good news? Clarice and Dominick have Sprunt's talisman. The bad news? The House of the Four Winds is a pirate haven. The good news? Dominick and his crew can pass for pirates. The bad news? Shamal, sorcerous queen of the pirates, doesn't care whether Dominick is a pirate or not...

And pirate or not, he's likely to have a very short life.

Each book in the series is intended to be a standalone following a different daughter of the Ducal family of Swansgaard as they find their own places in the world. They’re much shorter than the World of Obsidian novels, and certainly less epic in scope. My overall inspiration for the series is the pulp adventure fiction of the 1930s: there will be lost cities, mystic princes, wicked sorceresses, foreign legions, swordplay, and probably a few dirigibles.

I admit it’s something of a struggle finding room for the romance when I’m more interested in the swordplay, but I rely on my lovely and talented co-author to help me deliver a rousing and satisfying tale (as it says on the label). I had a lot of fun writing HOUSE OF THE FOUR WINDS, but I promise you: that is the very last time I set something on a ship! In the first place, all your characters are stuck together in a very small space, which presents certain problems. In the second place, I am no Patrick O'Brian, and the amount of research I had to do to bring the brig Asesino to life was more than a little daunting, and I am sure I will be hearing from fans of Fighting Sail about everywhere I put a foot wrong.

Still, it was a lot of fun to write, and I hope it’s a lot of fun to read.
merlinscribe: (wild unicorn)
An open thread where people can ask questions and make comments. I hope to become organized enough to start one of these on the first of each month, just to keep things orderly around here. Barrista, another round for everyone...

Forthcoming:

The next book in the "Dragon Prophecy" series is Blade of Empire. It will be published by Tor Books at the end of 2017.

March 2017

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