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.