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An open thread where people can ask questions and make comments. Now appearing quarterly for your record-keeping pleasure.
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An open thread where people can ask questions and make comments. Now, successfully posted two months in a row!
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The original manuscript of CROWN OF VENGEANCE that I turned in to Tor ran over 1600 pages. Tor demanded a considerable number of cuts, so less than half the original manuscript was included in the published edition. Most of the excisions were in the nature of single paragraphs and even single sentences, but in some cases, entire chapters were removed.

Here's one of those outtakes. Vieliessar's journey to the Western Shore to seek alliance doesn't go quite as she expects.
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...
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.
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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.

merlinscribe: (captive unicorn)
Greetings to all of my friends and readers. I hope the holiday celebrations of the last 90 days went splendidly, and here's hope for more condign revelry in 2014.
news and updates )
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No matter what Amazon may say, "The House of the Four Winds" is NOT the next DRAGON PROPHECY book. That would be "Dragon Prophecy #2: Blade of Empire"...

Meanwhile, "The House of the Four Winds" is another collaboration between me and Mercedes Lackey, and we hope you enjoy it. Details to come.
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Crown of Vengeance, first book of the Dragon Prophecy Trilogy, will be released on November 13, 2012. I wish to assure readers of this journal that I have not secretly changed my name to Stephen Zimmer, who also has a book called "Crown of Vengeance" coming out this month. I'm rather surprised that this seems to be such a common title.

And what is our new book about? I'm very glad you asked:


Read more... )
merlinscribe: (wild unicorn)
Dear Readers and Friends:

As we wait together for the publication of Crown of Vengeance, allow me to offer up a small entertainment: The World Of Obsidian Wiki. At the moment its content is scant: I hope, in the weeks to come, to add entries and material drawn from both the published and unpublished tales of Obsidian, and I invite you all to join me, for it is truly said that the labor of many hands is light labor indeed.

Very Truly Yours,

James Mallory, Writer
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When I delivered The Enduring Flame: Book Three: The Phoenix Transformed to my publisher, it was over 250,000 words long -- appreciably longer than the previous two books in the trilogy. I was aware I would need to make significant cuts in the manuscript in order to prepare it for publication. Most of them were a matter of a few sentences here, a few paragraphs there ... but there were also three chapters in the first half of the book -- roughly 30,000 words -- that were almost entirely omitted.

As you will see, certain key scenes in these chapters -- such as Ahiran's meeting with the Firecrown -- were included almost unchanged in the final draft. Others were either cut substantially -- such as the stop at Kannatha Well -- or only summarized.

I present them here, for those of you who might find them of interest.
The first thing they did at sunset was decide that they weren't going any farther tonight... )
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A reader writes:

"Dear Mr. Mallory,

Do you and Mercedes Lackey have plans for more books set in the World of Obsidian?

All the Best,

A. Reader"

I am pleased to announce that Ms. Lackey and I have just delivered to our publisher The Dragon Prophecy: Book One: Crown Of Vengeance. Tor has not scheduled it as of yet, but it is likely to be a Fall 2011 or Spring 2012 release.

The Dragon Prophecy Trilogy is set long before the events of The Obsidian Mountain Trilogy. It tells the story of the first war fought between the Children of Light and the Endarkened, of the Elves in a time millennia before they had the race of Men to aid in their fight, from a time before the Wild Magic -- and long before the High Magic had been thought of.
Vielissiar Farcarinon, Great Queen, victor of a thousand battles... )
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Greetings to my unseen lectors. Today I note, for posterity and my stylesheet, the forms of a word that will surely perplex my dear copyeditor in the not-too-distant future.

Komen = knight, [common usage]
Komenara = company [or meisne] of knights
Komentai = Knight, Sir [respectful, usually inferior to superior]
Komentai'a = [plural and singular] company of knights, any number [respectful, usually inferior to superior]
Alakomentai = Knight-commander, leader of a komentai'a
Alakomentai'ia = [plural form] Knights-Commander, leaders of komentai'a

And the root word, komen -- which was Old Elvish - didn't really mean "Commander" or anything like it. It meant -- as close as you could come to it in non-Elvish -- "Brotherhood." Try to translate the whole thing, and what you got -- besides a headache -- was "the servant of the Brotherhood."
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As I mentioned in my previous entry, every writer keeps a file of notes about the project in hand, information that never makes it into the finished work or, if it does, does so in a greatly-etiolated form. When the writer in question isn't writing about the mundane here-and-now world, his file of facts grows necessarily greater, containing everything from notes on the local weather and detailed descriptions of clothing to the composition of favorite dishes. Here now another short excerpt from mine.
Read more... )
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Every writer of long series' must keep a concordance or risk falling into grievous error in later volumes. I thought you might be entertained by this page from my notebook.
Read more... )
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A little more than a year ago Tiercel Rolfort and Harrier Gillain had been ordinary boys looking toward an ordinary future. Harrier had been ready to embark upon the Apprenticeship that would eventually lead to him succeeding his father as Harbormaster of Armethalieh Port, and Tiercel, like most of his age-mates, would be attending Armethalieh University before taking his place in the thriving bureaucracy of the Nine Cities.

But that was Before.
Read more... )
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The Phoenix Transformed, Book Three of The Enduring Flame, will be a September 2009 Tor Books hardcover

The Phoenix Transformed
September 2009
512 pages
ISBN: 978-0-7653-1595-3
Hardcover: $27.00US/$35.99CAN