Sunday, October 4, 2015

Can't Wait Sci-Fi/Fantasy of 2016

One of the really cool things about goodreads is it's ability to create lists. The bad side of this is they are often not accurate ;-(. The Can't Wait Sci-Fi/Fantasy of 2016 list has (at the time of this writing), been voted on by 423 people. Currently it contains 129 books - but as you'll see some of the most highly anticipated won't be coming out in 2016. Here's what I know about the top 10.
  1. Patrick Rothfuss: - doubtful for 2016. Patrick is no longer saying much about books until they are "close" to release and given how much post-production work is involved I doubt we'll see this in 2016.
  2. George R.R. Martin: - rumor has it that George is trying to be more concentrated on writing since the series is getting a head the books. I'm not sure this will make 2016.  I think 2017 is more likely, time will tell.
  3. Brandon Sanderson: - only at 21% complete at the moment, but Brandon does write quickly. He's said that if he can get the first draft done by March November 2016 is possible. I think it will probably slip into 2017, but we'll know more by April 1.
  4. Scott Lynch:   - This was originally targeted for 2015 and so I think the the chances for 2016 are pretty good. Scott, has been notorious for missing deadlines in the past, he suffers from bouts of depression that effects his ability to write, but I think in general he's been better on that front in recent years.
  5. Brandon Sanderson: - pretty much a done deal, the release date is early int he year, pre-orders are live, and the manuscript is 100% through the final draft. This will hit 2016.
  6. Mark Lawrence: - I'm sure this will hit 2016. Mark tends to write ahead of schedule on his books and has a good track record of on-time releases. 
  7. Michael J. Sullian: - No question this will come out in 2016. My editor received the book in April 2015 and it's already been through structural editing with not much in the way of changes required. 
  8. Brandon Sanderson: - Again I think this is a pretty "done deal" for 2016. 100% through the rough draft so it should be good to go.
  9. Robin Hobb:  - A mid-year release from an author with a good track record for on-time delivery - I think this will hit on schedule.
  10. Brent Weeks:  - No pre-order page on Amazon and no listing in Nielsen's Bookscan, which surprises me. Brent tends to do books on a 2-year schedule so I do think he'll hit 2016.  Also, initial chapters are already circulating and so this bodes well so I give it a 90% chance of hitting 2016.
Okay, so that's the list I'll summarize my "guesses about release here."
  • Unlikely: Doors of Stone & Winds of Winter
  • Potential Risk: Oathbringer & Thorn of Emberlain
  • High Probability: Assassin's Fate, The Blood Mirror
  • Sure things: Bands of Mourning, The Wheel of Osheim, Age of Myth, Calamity

Friday, October 2, 2015

Start spreading the news...

I'm leaving...well not today, but soon (Oct 11 to be precise, for an event on the 12th) for a quick trip to the Big Apple.  I'm going to be taking part in Del Rey's Author Meet and Greet. So if you are going to NYCC, or happen to live in or near New York City why not come see me and a bunch of other authors. We're even giving away some free books for those that stop by, but feel free to bring copies of your own to get signed. NOTE: Del Rey won't be selling copies of books and the number of free books will be limited. Here's the skinny:
  • Where: Penguin Random House building at 1745 Broadway (between 55th and 56th streets) after signing in with security you'll go to the 2nd floor Club Room for free coffee and mingling with authors.
  • When: October 12 from 11:00 am -1:00 pm  (come and go anytime during those hours)
  • How: RSVP by e-mailing with the word RSVP in the subject line (and include the full names of everyone that are coming with you in the body of the email.
  • Note: All attendees need to bring a photo ID with them.

So who can you see at this shindig?  Here's a list of the authors that I know about so far:
  • Bradley P. Beaulieu   
  • C.A. Higgins
  • Alan Smale
  • Terry Brooks
  • Marshall Ryan Maresca  
  • Shawn Speakman
  • Myke Cole
  • Sylvain Neuvel
  • Michael J. Sullivan
  • Alis Franklin
  • Naomi Novik
  • Erin Tettensor
  • Melissa Grey
  • Daniel Jose Older
  • Judd Winick
  • Susan Griffith
  • Bill Schweigart
If you can't make it during that time, and you still want to meet-up, drop me an email and I'll see what I can do. Hope to see some of you there!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Top 100 Epic Fantasy Audio Books

Hey all, Robin here. Michael's out at the pub so I'm taking over his blog. Since The Death of Dulgath is in pre-order I thought I'd take a look to see how Riyria is doing these days so I went to Amazon's Top 100 Best-selling Fantasy audio titles.  What I found was something really great.  5 out of the 6 books are on the list!!  Also, I've heard from the publisher for Age of Myth that the pre-order for it will be up in a few days.  In any case, if you want to checkout a new audio release, you might want to consider one of these hot titles.

As for Riyria books, when I looked yesterday they had the following spots:

  • #10 - Theft of Swords
  • #22 - Rise of Empire
  • #39 - Heir of Novron
  • #67 - The Death of Dulgath
  • #93 - The Crown Tower
Not bad...not bad at all.  Thanks as always to Tim Gerard Reynolds for lending his amazing voice to the series.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The last leg of a long road...

The Death of Dulgath is in it's final stages.  The copy edits have been turned in by our three great editors: Laura Jorstad, Linda Branam, and Paul Witcover.  Robin is hard at work combining all their comments into one file so I can easily approve/reject what they've suggested.

We've also put the entire book into InDesign, the program that allows the creation of the files for the printer. They are standing ready  and as soon as the file goes out we'll be putting together the ebook.

At the same time, the final copy will be going to Audible so they can prepare for Tim Gerard Reynold's recording (occurring in mid-November).

For those who don't know, we had a pretty difficult deadline for this book, mainly due to the The First Empire which will start coming out next June. Basically we needed to get the book released before the end of the year so that it wouldn't conflict with Age of Myth (which is now live for pre-ordering) by the way.

While I suspect I'll be able to fulfill pre-orders before the online stores, here are the official release dates that have been posted:

  • ebook - November 16th
  • Hardcover - Dec 1st
  • Audio - December 15th
Currently we have 1,871 people who have either pre-ordered through my page, or are part of the Kickstarter. Not a bad send off for the pair.  If you are interested in pre-ordering a copy for yourself. Here are some of the links that are available now, and there will be more coming soon:

UK: Kindle | Audio

NOTE: We're working on getting print distribution in the UK, Europe and Australia. I'll post about it when I know more. (Which means when Robin has it all buttoned up and let's me know).

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Grammar Tips: Hyphens and ages

Hey all, Robin here. I don't have a blog myself (maybe I need one) so I'm hijacking Michael's. I want to do a series of posts on editing...I'm doing a lot of editing these days and I'm always learning something new and thought I would pass on what I find interesting.

Today, I want to discuss a when you use hyphens in ages. For instance is it "twelve-year-old" or "twelve year old."

The answer depends on if the phrasal adjective comes before or after the noun.  
  • When before the noun: use hyphens
  • When after the noun: no hyphens

That's all fine and good but I had a bigger problem, what if you are using the phrase as a noun rather than an adjective.  This came up because of the following sentence in Michael's new novel, The Death of Dulgath.
My mother had all the creativity of an eight-year-old with a spotted puppy. 
Well, as it turns out you do hyphenate it.  If you want to learn more on the subject, I recommend this post on the Grammarist site.

Hope it helps someone. If nothing else, it'll provide a nice bookmark for me the next time my old brain can't remember how to handle hyphens and ages.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Relics of Writing Past and Present

I just turned 54. It would appear from the Facebook and Twitter well-wishing that most of you know this already. I was 48 when I first published The Crown Conspiracy, and a full 50 years old when I was first traditionally published. Stephen King was on The Late Show this week and mentioned he was 26 when he published his first book, Carrie. And rumor has it that the average age of a novelist's first publication is around 36 years old.

One of the better questions I've been asked in interviews is,  "If I could go back in time, what advice would I give myself?"

 They mean about writing of course, not advice in general. If that were the case, I'd have plenty to say. I hit a fire hydrant sideways at eighty, blowing all four tires and rupturing the gas tank of my first car because I was stupid. Then there was the time I went on a week-long canoe trip deep in the wilderness with food for three days (because that’s how long we thought it would take). On the same trip we never considered bringing an extra paddle because…what were the odds of losing a paddle? Apparently they were pretty good and we had to carve a replacement from a  log. All there of these would have been good candidates.  But, no, they mean what writing advice would I give myself. For me that’s an easy one:

I would have told the early me..."It’s all gonna be worth it someday."

That’s it. That’s all I’d tell that poor twenty-something with the two toddlers living in the deep snows of Vermont. I honestly think that’s all it would have taken. I just couldn’t see it happening back then. I still wince when watching the Charlie Brown Halloween Special. Poor Linus. I lucked out at least. My Sally Brown was way more understanding.

Still, I wonder what I might have accomplished by now if I had known. How many books could I have written during the twelve years I stopped writing. Maybe nothing at all. Might have taken that long for me to unlock the puzzle that is novel writing, or maybe the market needed to shift, or the Kindle had to hit. On the other hand, maybe—like Stephen King—I, too, might have had a stack of published books as tall as me. Elan could have been a more complete place today, and a handful of other worlds might have been born.

On the third hand, maybe technology just wasn’t there yet.

I’ll admit software helped. I learned loads from all those red and green underlines that are so prevalent in word processors today that weren’t there when I started because word processors didn’t exist. The instant teacher that ran a red underscore every time I typed the word “ recieved” wasn't around. Eventually I realized—oh right—except after C. 

After a certain point, birthdays aren’t celebrations anymore than New Years Eve. They’re times to look back and take stock. This year I looked back at the Relics of Writing Past. Like just about everyone, I started with a pen and notebook, the cheap spiral you got at a five-and-dime—with inflation I think they call them Dollar Stores now. And, like most kids, I couldn’t figure out why the ink in the clear stemmed Bic didn’t flow backward when you pointed the tip up. To be honest, I still don’t.

Writing only really got fun when I found my sister’s old portable Royal that fit in a little hard-shell case. You had to hammer the keys to get a good letter on the paper, especially when the ribbon was running dry. If you hit too hard some of the holes in your Bs and Ds would fill in, but at least three days later I could still understand what I wrote. Other people could, too, and that changed everything.
After marrying my wife (I was twenty-one, Robin not yet twenty), I invested big money in a top-of-the-line typewriter—an Olivetti Praxis. Sleek, black, and aerodynamic—why a typewriter needed to have the profile of a sports car I had no idea, but it was sexy as hell. But the coolest thing was it had correctable typing. This meant that the lower band on the ink ribbon was laced with White-Out powder. Before that, I had to paint mistakes with a bottle and brush like applying white eyeliner, then reinsert the page, line it up, and type again. Later they made little sheets the size of cigarette paper that came in nifty plastic cases. You’d just backspace, insert the correction sheet between the key and the paper and retype the mistake. The powder would cover it up far more neatly than the paint. But the Olivetti had that bit of magic built right into the ribbon.

The ability to erase a mistake? What a dream come true! I had to have that. Robin was less than happy about spending $300 on a typewriter, but this was my dream, and she of all people knew how much I needed to correct mistakes. Sadly, this was 1983. Now that I think about it, I might also tell my younger self to hold off on that space-age typewriter, because the real deal was right around the corner.

In 1984, my wife—an electrical engineer for a small firm in Michigan—found herself being drawn more and more into this new field of Software Engineering, and one day she came home with a present for me: a Compaq Deskpro—a computer. I'd never been so excited about a present...except when I was eight and found a full set of Tonka trucks under the Christmas tree. I was also bewildered beyond words. I had no idea how to use it. What I did know—what Robin told me—was that it was gonna beat the crap out of the Olivetti.

I never could learn Basic, and most of the word processors at the time were not much more than typewriters—except you could backspace and erase mistakes before printing. That was beyond cool, a form of time travel that let me fix mistakes before I made them.  There was no mouse, so moving the curser and highlighting blocks of text required an advance degree in keyboard language. I couldn’t get the hang of most programs, but one called Samna worked like a typewriter. I understood it, and off I went on my amber-on-black screen (green on black was so 1982.) I wrote close to five novels on that Compaq, printing them on a noisy dot-matrix printer that shook my desk. Life for a writer was so sweet.
When Word for Windows came out, I discovered the luxuries a mouse provides -- although it was awkward having to take my hand off the keyboard. I became an ardent fan of the new company called Gateway Computers. I think I single-handedly made them successful as over the the next twenty years I bought more than a dozen of them. I’d given up my dream of becoming an author by the time I bought the big 21 inch, fifty pound, monitor I called Mammoth. At that time, I was running my own advertising agency, which was why I could afford the monitor. We had a little iMac for translating files between platforms, one of those plastic gum ball machines that I couldn’t take seriously. No one in the office actually used it. I suspected the Mac might be a better system, but all the good games were on Windows, and after thirty years of breaking and fixing them, I knew Microsoft like I knew my old ’68 Dodge Dart—the one I wrapped around the fire hydrant.

When my career took off, when Orbit picked up my series, I was using a five year old Gateway and a ten year old monitor. I convinced myself I deserved a new computer, a nice one. I bought an Alienware. After six months it was having problems, and after a year it failed. Looking back I realized this happened a lot. For decades I had to wipe and reinstall everything on my computers at least once a year or buy a new one. By the time the Alienware melted down, I decided to take the plunge and go all-out iMac, baby!

I bought it last year, and as I expected, it has been like going through rehabilitation after an awful car crash. Learning to walk again as an adult sucks. I spent a month doing nothing but learning, but I got the hang of it. It’s been well over a year and I haven’t had a single issue with the iMac. The thing runs as good as the day I bought it.
I realize there’s a cold war between Apple and Microsoft—at least there used to be. Not so much these days, I think. Now its more of a shrug and an eye-roll sort of a battle, still I might ruffle a few old-school feathers, but I have to say I think there’s one more thing I might tell my younger self. 
And yeah, it was all worth it.

So anyway, another year over and it was nice seeing all the birthday well wishes. It was also fun strolling memory lane.  Thanks for your thoughts and best wishes.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Audible $4.95 Win-Win Sale: 49 Great Fantasy & Sci-fi Titles

I love it when audible does one of their $4.95 sales.  Even better when they include on of my titles ;-) Right now (and until September 20th, 11:59 EST) You can get these 49 Fantasy and Science Fiction titles for less than a five-spot.

Now there are some restrictions. These sales are generally for existing members. I'm not sure if you can join up and then get some of these books (I'm already a member). Here's the complete list:

Title & Author   Reviews     Rating   
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien 13,624 4.6
Red Rising by Pierce Brown 4,728 4.5
Theft of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan 7,004 4.5
The Lost Gate by Orson Scott Card 5,357 4.2
Ark Royal by Christopher G. Nuttall 2,572 3.9
The Strain by Ron Perlman 3,082 4.1
The Remaining by D.J. Moles 2,930 4.2
The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell 1,294 4.1
Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey 3,572 4.3
The Crystal Shard by R.A. Salvatore 1,579 4.4
The Android's Dream by John Scalzi 4,103 4.2
The Second Ship by Richard Phillips 2,174 4.1
Ex-heroes by Peter Clines 3,937 4.0
Calculating God by Robert J. Sawyer 2,525 3.9
Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke 2,489 4.2
Spider's Bite by Jennifer Estep 3,118 3.9
The Lost Starship by Vaughn Heppner 824 4.0
Nemesis Games by James S.A. Corey 965 4.7
A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller 1,295 3.9
Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey 2,302 4.1
Bloodier by Helen Harper 925 4.1
Under a Graveyard Sky by John Ringo 862 4.3
Prudence by Gail Carrier 635 4.3
Half a King by Joe Abercrombie 633 4.2
A Kiss of Shadows by Laurell K. Hamilton 1,212 4.0
The Magic of Recluse by L.E. Modest Jr. 937 4.0
The Iron King by Julie Kagawa 1,665 4.0
Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence 948 4.0
Emperor Mollusk Versus the Sinister Brain by A. Lee Martinez 1,584 4.1
Oath of Swords by David Webber 996 4.2
Mark of the Demon by Diana Rowland 1,028 4.1
Sheepfarmer's Daughter by Elizabeth Moon 1,478 4.1
The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell 895 4.1
Mutineer by Mike Shepherd 1,067 3.9
Raising Stony Mayhall by Daryl Gregory 1,150 3.9
Secrets of a D-List Supervillain by Jim Bernheimer 575 4.5
Discount Armageddon by Seanan McGuire 633 4.0
The Long Way Down by Craig Schaefer 351 4.0
Diablo III: The Order by Nate Kenyon 193 4.0
A World out of Time by Larry Niven 460 4.0
A Vision of Fire by Gillian Anderson 123 4.1
The Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen 166 4.6
The Mechanical by Ian Tregillis 104 4.1
The Decoy Princess by Dawn Cook 98 4.3
Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini 98 4.3
The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin 37 4.4
Antigoddess by Kendare Blake 32 4.1
The Golem and the Jinni by Helen Wecker 5,953 4.3
Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut 988 4.1

That's an amazing list of titles, and I know I added a few to my shelf. Hopefully you'll see something you like and add it as well. Happy listening!