Thursday, December 13, 2018

My husband doesn't know I wrote this

Hey all, Robin here. Since Michael "called me out" in his last post, I thought I would hijack his blog...and yes, I'm working on a bread post...just have to get a loaf I'm proud of.  We are in the middle of a holiday sale (which is going quite nicely, thanks for the support) but as such, I'm in Michael's email checking around for any "shipping related" messages and so I'm snooping around a bit.

No, I've not found any emails to "the other woman" (I think he'd be smart enough to use a separate email for such things), but I did find this response to a reader, and I must say, I teared up (just a little) while reading it. So, while Michael is downstairs making his morning coffee, I'm sneaking on here to share this with you, dear readers.  I found it touching. I hope you do, too.

Michael J. Sullivan

Dec 11, 2018, 10:24 PM (2 days ago)
to chanapatterson81
When I first started writing I never thought anyone would ever read a word. I was thirteen, and I was right. Ten years later I was still at it, still writing. People were still not reading. Ten years after that, guess what? Still writing—writing every day, producing a novel a year. Readers, zero. There were no encouraging comments. No one bought me a thesaurus for Christmas, a pen set, or a T-shirt that said: The only way to fail is to stop trying. Most ignored what I did. My wife was always supportive. Busy making all the money while her lazy husband stayed home watching the children and doing "that writing thing". She didn't have time to read what I created but never made me feel what I was doing was foolish or a waste of time. 

Eventually, I figured that out for myself. 

I quit writing. I locked that dream in a drawer and went to work in advertising. For twelve years I pioneered computer graphic design. Did pretty well, but I got bored. So bored I opened that long-forgotten drawer. You see, I had this crazy idea in my head that refused to go away. Every time I took the dog for a walk I kept thinking about these two guys, a pair of thieves. I reminded myself that was stupid. Writing was bad. Writing had sucked up twenty years of my life and given back nothing. Then I'd go for a bike ride or drive to the grocery store and the two guys would pop back in my head. I saw them climbing a tower to steal a sword, but when they got there they see this dead body, and a crown and—no! Writing is bad. No one—no one will ever read any of it, and if no one reads it, what's the point?

One day I had nothing to do. I sat down at the computer and started typing. It sort of just poured out. I wrote all day, went to sleep, got up, wrote all the next day. I kept doing that. One month later I finished a novel. I called it Heir to the Throne. I kept going. The following month I finished another novel. I called it Avempartha. I kept going. The next one took three months because it was the holidays by then. I called that one Legends and Lore. Then I started Emerald Storm. I got half way and we moved from Raleigh to Washington DC. I stopped writing for several months during the transition. We weren't doing too hot financially and I had to get a job. I knew I would never finish if I worked a full-time job. But I kept going. 

I finished Emerald Storm, and then Wintertide. Finally, I finished Percepliquis, and I became depressed—really depressed. What I had feared finally happened. I had spent another handful of years writing and no one was going to read what I made. This time it was far worse. This time what I wrote was good—real good. I knew it. I knew it so deeply. If only someone would read...but no one would. This. too, would go in a drawer and be forever forgotten. 

My wife noticed I was depressed. She figured out why and in an effort to make me feel better promised to read the books. Her grudging kindness gave way to interest and then obsession. She skipped work to read the last book. She loved it. I was happy. That's all I really wanted, just someone to read and like it. That wasn't enough for my wife. She got it published. A small press, a real small press. No one noticed. Then the publisher's financial problems forced us to get back the rights and self publish. 

For years few noticed. The only ones who read the books were people I asked. Some seemed to like the books. They said things like, not too bad for a self-published author. Then I started selling more and they said things like, this is one of the best self-published books I've read this year. Finally, as Wintertide was released someone said: This is the best self-published book I've ever read. I was proud of that. It only had one qualifier. 

Then I was picked up by the New York publisher Orbit. Suddenly people were saying: This is not bad for a debut author. Then: this is one of the best this year. Finally, this is the best book I've read this year. 

People were reading my stories and liking them. They liked them so much they wrote me emails. And those messages kept getting better. 

"These are some of the best books I've ever read!" 

"You are one of my favorite new authors."

Then one day: "I just wanted to let you know that I love your writings you are my fav author and I hope you have a very Merry Christmas. Thank you for your books, they have made me laugh, cry, and have opened a new world to me. Please do not ever stop writing."

No qualifiers. No reservations.  

It's been more than forty years. Thanks for reading, thanks for giving me a point. Thanks for saying I'm your favorite author. It means a lot.

Thanks for the Merry Christmas. 

Merry Christmas to you. 

I'm still writing. 

Thursday, December 6, 2018

My Wife Made Me Write This

My wife, Robin, suggested writing this blog post. She "said" it was good to show the non-writing side of my life.

I tried to explain it will simply ruin the tiny residue of coolness I still retained—that quasi-aura of awe that being an author grants an individual so long as a lot is left to the imagination. Robin probably feels that since I failed to do dishes yesterday, I’m getting too full of myself, and so maybe this was her way to deflate my ego and ruin my rep. Personally I think the fact that  I’m a fantasy/science fiction novelist who played the original ziplock-bagged edition of Dungeons and Dragons back in the seventies, (great way to meet girls, let me tell you); or that at age fifty-seven, I still find time to play Early Access computer games on Steam; or that I created a replica of my fictional fortress, Alon Rhist, in Minecraft would be enough. Apparently not.

Now that I’m starting to regain a modicum of respectability due to waning interest in the oversaturated superhero market, living in a rustic-chic cabin in the mountains, and having visited Europe twice, she wants me to throw all that away and expose another geeky interest of mine. Either she’s telling the truth, or just wants to ensure I never have the opportunity to run off with a hot, forty-nine-year-old babe who’s into older guys that make up stories about elves. I’m thinking that might be it, but I’ll let you be the judge.

Here goes: I’ve started birding.

For those of you who have no idea what that means, it means you’re normal. I think most birders recognize they are different. You know, the way those of us who desperately needed to know the names of all five wizards in Middle-Earth—including the two “blue” Istari—are “different”. And just like a person who might not want to interchange Trekkies and Trekkers in front of a Star Trek fan, you want to know there is a difference between Birdwatching and Birding.

Birdwatching means you like to watch birds, like some ornithologist’s creepy voyeur obsession. Birding is Pokémon Go for old people. Well, older people. I suppose you don’t have to be old to enjoy birding. In fact, it’s a huge benefit to be young and in good physical shape. Given, however, the primary activity involves walking slowly and quietly outdoors, generally in natural places like forests and fields, or just sitting for hours listening and waiting, it tends to attract the AED people (Attention Excess Disorder), or “older people”. Oh, and Boy Scouts. They can get a merit badge for being able to identify twenty birds.

I started this bizarre obsession on Thanksgiving—technically the day after. You see, the family was looking for a good movie to watch. Given my afore mentioned lackluster attraction to superhero flicks we watched an old Steve Martin, Jack Black, Owen Wilson film called The Big Year, which is based off a novel by Mark Obamack. Both are the mostly true story of the 1998 Big Year Birding contest.

Let me tell you about what a Big Year is cause this is where things get a little weird—in a cool, nostalgic throwback way—but weird nonetheless.

The Big Year is a contest where individuals try to see more bird species in the US and Canada than anyone else. People go to great lengths spending tens of thousands of dollars, sacrifice a significant amount of a year's time, oftentimes suffer terrible discomfort, and sometimes abandoning marriages to achieve victory. What do they win? Nothing. Who checks to makes sure people really see what they claim they saw? Nobody. The whole thing is on the honor system and there is no prize other than your name at the top of a list published in a magazine no one reads. It’s absolutely Downton Abbey British.

It’s also a good movie. After watching it, the next morning, a bird landed on the railing of my deck next to a feeder my wife had me put up a couple weeks before. My daughter spotted it and got my old National Geographic Pocket Bird Identifier out and concluded it was a Dark-Eyed Junco. I got my DSLR camera, snapped on the 72-200mm lens (the one I recently bought to take on the Rhine Cruise that previous summer) and let her shoot the bird. 

That’s how it started.

Later that day, as a wholesome family outing, I took everyone across the street to the fire road that leads up the mountains of Shenandoah National Park. We brought the camera and binoculars. This was our first Birding trip. We saw one lousy bird. Robin thought it was a nice way to get exercise; my son just liked walking in the woods; Sarah and I eyed each other realizing the truth: we were now rivals in a serous competition.

We made a deal. One year. Identifiable photographs only. The most bird species wins. Deadline: next Thanksgiving. Bring your A-game, and your photos or settle for turkey.


Sarah bought her first telephoto lens. I shopped to upgrade mine, but couldn’t justify $2000 for sharper pics. I’m not that competitive—not yet. I did get the eBird and Audubon apps that shows hot spots to help me locate hard targets. And the wonderful Merlin app that will decode a photo and help me identify what bird I just saw. Real birders don’t require photos, but then read birders know which birds are which. They just use binoculars and jot the names in notebooks they call “Bird Journals”.

In the old days, before handheld cameras with rifle-length zoom lenses, birders used actual guns to kill birds. It was the only way to be sure what they spotted. John James Audubon, the famed American ornithologist, naturalist, and painter, made a habit of killing hundreds of birds, keeping a handful of the best to do his paintings from. He used wire to pose them and revolutionized wildlife art with his “life-like” poses. But starting in 1900, some crazy folks who were part of the Audubon Society (Audubon in name only as it was formed by George Bird Grinnell who sought to protect birds from the mass slaughter occurring at the time—and who had clearly never met Audubon, who died decades earlier) thought it might be fun to count instead of kill the birds.

So began the first CBC or Christmas Bird Count. After that, a guy named Roger Troy Peterson made one of the first Field Guides so people could identify birds by just looking. In the process, he performed a Big Year in 1953 by seeing 572 species. In 1973 Ken Kaufman, a poor, eighteen-year-old kid got 666 by hitchhiking the US and living on Little Friskies Cat food mixed with vegetable soup. Poor Ken lost that year to Floyd Murdock who got 669, but it only cost Ken $1000. James Vardaman spent over $44,000 in 1979 to spot 699. Ken wrote a Field Guide of his own.

Then in 1998 Sandy Komito, Al Levantin, and Greg Miller competed for the Big Year. This is what the movie and book are based on. I won’t tell you who won or what their scores were. It goes against my ethics and livelihood to give out spoilers.

Not being bird experts, my daughter and I needed photos to ID perps, or peeps, as the case may be. So we take photos. After Thanksgiving, we returned to our respective homes and began the hunt. Living in the mountains, I thought I had the advantage, and quickly added Song Sparrow, Golden Crowned Kinglet, Mockingbird, Red-Bellied Woodpecker, Blue Jay, Cooper's Hawk, Northern Cardinal, Turkey Vulture, Male/Female Mallard, White-Breasted Nuthatch, Rock Pigeon, European Starling, Northern Bluebird, Great Blue Heron, Downy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Raven, Bufflehead Duck, Killdeer, House Sparrow, Canadian Geese, Kestrel, and Morning Dove to my list.  Here's some of the pictures.

To my dismay, I learned Washington DC (near where my daughter lives), with its proximity to the Potomac, drew a lot of birds. After one week she was ahead by three. One was a Bald Eagle. Doh!

One of the primary differences between Birdwatching and Birding is that Birders hunt. Birdwatchers sit and enjoy witnessing birds visit their feeders. Birders travel. While I drove to local lakes to hunt birds, I really became a genuine Birder when I dragged my wife on a two-hour drive to the Occoquan Bay Wildlife Refuge to spend the day shooting birds. The weather was bad for shooting—dark and overcast, but at least it wasn’t raining and it wasn’t freezing. Best of all I bagged fourteen birds that day including a pair of eagles. 

I also met my first real Birder. I had heard about them. Rumor held they are quiet, shy but exceptionally friendly and helpful, and always eager to talk about birds. The fella I met was Scott Sarratt, who frequents the refuge and was a font of birding tips and wisdom. At that moment, birding became a massive multi-player game.

I now have a birding journal, a new strap for my binoculars, Ken Kaufman’s Field Guild, and the National Geographic’s hardcover Complete Birds of North America. My count is presently a cool forty confirmed bird species. Forty in eleven days is a decent start for a novice, pretty good even.

The real question: What is Sarah’s count?

She’s been quiet about it, which has me worried. I think she’d booked a charter flight to the Aleutian Isle of Attu for a three-week birding hunt. I have no proof, but I wouldn’t put it past her.

So there goes my reputation as the suave, sophisticated author. Maybe I should insist Robin write a blog on how she’s become a bread-baking fanatic and is desperately trying to extend the life of our perennial plants by taking clippings and Frankeinseining them.

Plants, birds, bread…yeah, we’re definitely AED people.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Cyber Monday Sale - Save 25% - 50% Off My Books

Are you looking forward to the holidays?  Do you want some great savings on my books? Well, I certainly want to help make it easier on your pocketbook this time of year.  So, starting today (and continuing through December 11th), all my books are on sale for 25% - 50% off! My past holiday sales have been at a 20% discount, but I have a lot of excess stock (particularly Age of Swords) and I'm deeply discounting the titles, so I don't have to pay for storage.  Here are some examples of the savings you can receive.
  • All three hardcovers of Legends of the First Empire now just $48.50 (regularly $83)
  • All three trade paperbacks of The Riyria Revelations, now just $37.50 (regularly $50)
  • All four trade paperbacks of The Riyria Chronicles, now just $40.00 (regularly $64)
Here's a breakdown of what's on sale and the savings you'll find.

And remember, all books bought from me come signed and with a custom bookmark! Oh, and one more thing...I'll throw in a free digital version of the Jester comic with each order. Now how much would you pay? Sorry, I couldn't resist. Seriously though, this is an excellent opportunity to get books you've missed to buy some presents for people you'd like to introduce to my tales.  Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Goodreads Choice Awards: The Fantasy Finalists

Well, we didn't make it to the finals, but I meant it when I said it was an honor to be nominated in the first round. So who has advanced on? Here's the group of 10.

There's a lot of great things to note in this list.
  • Like the US midterms, women are really kicking butt and taking names.  7 of the ten titles are written by women, just two by men, and one by a man/woman pair. That's so great to see!
  • A debut novel made the list (R.F. Kuang's The Poppy War). This is an amazing achievement, and my congratulations and good wishes go to her for continued success.
  • None of the write-ins advanced, but that's usually the case given they miss an entire round of voting. Still, they each should be proud to make the semi-finals. So good for them!
Here are links (and updated status) to aid you in the final round of voting.

TitleAuthorSeries Rating  # Ratings  Shelved by 
Beneath the Sugared Sky Seanan McGuire Wayward Children #34.099,65627,215
Burn Bright Patricia Briggs Alpha & Omega #54.2912,33230,141
Circe Madeline Miller N/A4.3550,02065,001
Grey Sister Mark Lawrence Book of the Ancestor #24.478,04122,980
High Voltage Karen Marie Moning Fever #104.337,83830,595
Iron and Magic Ilona Andrews Iron Covenant #14.4510,78427,373
The Poppy War R.F. Kuang Poppy War #14.097,63348,826
The Shape of Water Guillermo del Toro & Daniel Kraus N/A3.996,92430,805
Spinning Silver Naomi Novik N/A4.3117,54976,478
Year One Nora Roberts Chronicles of The One #14.0730,17176,499

Voting is open for the final round and it ends November 26th, so cast your ballot now!

Thursday, November 8, 2018

A 7th GoodReads Choice Award Nomination

It's that time a year again! No, I'm not talking about the approaching holiday shopping season (although I've already seen Early Black Friday sales online, and television commercials featuring Santa).  What I'm referring to is the Goodreads Choice Award Voting.

I'm sorry for the lateness regarding this announcement. Robin and I have been in Italy at the Lucca Convention, and while we could see that Age of War was nominated (on our phones and tablets), we didn't have access to computers to do an official blog post on the subject. Well, we're back, and the second round of voting is underway.

Fifteen books were picked by the Goodreads staff in the opening round, including the following titles.

Here are links to the books in case you want to check them out, along with some data from Goodreads.

TitleAuthorSeries Rating  # Ratings  Shelved by 
Age of War Michael J. Sullivan Legends of the First Empire #34.474,13419,844
Beneath the Sugared Sky Seanan McGuire Wayward Children #34.099,54626,715
The Book of M Peng Shepherd N/A3.753,90929,834
Burn Bright Patricia Briggs Alpha & Omega #54.2812,24729,652
Circe Madeline Miller N/A4.3548,95062,146
Grey Sister Mark Lawrence Book of the Ancestor #24.477,92522,430
High Voltage Karen Marie Moning Fever #104.337,76930,269
Iron and Magic Ilona Andrews Iron Covenant #14.4510,62226,616
The Land: Predators Aleron Kong Chaos Seeds #74.604,4918,737
The Poppy War R.F. Kuang Poppy War #14.097,63348,826
Senlin Ascends Josiah Bancroft Books of Babel #14.255,95831,157
The Shape of Water Guillermo del Toro & Daniel Kraus N/A3.986,81929,941
Spinning Silver Naomi Novik N/A4.3117,13875,254
Wrath of Empire Brian McClellan Gods of Blood and Powder #24.563,0489,900
Year One Nora Roberts Chronicles of The One #14.0729,93675,242

During the first round, five books were added by write-in ballots from Goodreads readers, increasing the total list for the semi-finals to twenty titles.  The added books included the following:

And here are their Goodreads links and data.

TitleAuthorSeries Rating  # Ratings  Shelved by 
Bloody Rose Nicholas Eames Band #24.362,2159,544
Foundryside Robert Jackson Bennett Founders #14.352,85222,703
The Girl in the Tower Katherine Arden Winternight Trilogy #24.4218,02754,670
Magic Triumphs Ilona Andrews Kate Daniels #104.6110,12229,310
Time's Convert Deborah Harkness All Souls Trilogy #43.966,73338,704

Current voting will narrow the field down to ten finalists. Although I've had seven nominations, I'm pretty sure none of my books have made it to the final round (which is fine, truly it's an honor just to be nominated). So, as always, I'm asking you to vote for the book you want to win the most, and if that happens to turn out to be Age of War, that'd be even better!  Voting in the semi-final round ends November 11th so cast your ballot now!

Sunday, October 28, 2018

I'm one of #BrandonsBuddies, hopefully you will be, too

F*CK CANCER! Yeah, I don't usually use such language as that, but in this case, I'll make an exception. I lost my father and my sister to this dreaded disease, I've trained and rode in a fund-raising campaign when my old and feeble body was barely up to the task, I've donated stories for Shawn Speakman's Unfettered books to help end his medical debt (and reduce the debts of other fellow authors), and now I'm joining with hundreds of fantasy authors to support one of our own.

Brandon Barr is dying. Nothing can be done to stop that fact, but hopefully, we in the fantasy community can help bring a little peace of mind to him, by providing some financial support to the wife and three boys who he leaves behind. So, I've become one of #BrandonsBuddies, and I hope you will, too. How do you do so?

  • Why not pick up one (or several) of Brandon's books, Rise of the Seer has just been released at an introductory price of $0.99.
  • You can join me in donating to Brandon's GoFundMe Campaign it's already raised more than 1/3 of it's $100,000 goal.
  • You can help spread the word about Brandon, his work, and the horrific situation he finds himself in on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media sites. Please use the hashtag #BrandonsBuddies. 

I've never read any of Brandon's books, but a lot of people have. Brandon is a USA Today Bestselling author, and here's what some people are saying about his stories:

"I’ve read a few books by Brandon, and he never disappoints. His books take you into a new world, but you get pulled in so deeply that you swear you are there. Looking forward to the next release." -- BellaT (Amazon Reviewer)

"Like all of the books by this author this series is captivating, the reader is sucked right into the epic adventures of the heroines. I loved it and highly recommend this book." -- Astrid Rudloff (Amazon Reviewer)

"I couldn't put it down. Love the characters and world that have been created. It's full of great twists and turns. Readers will be drawn into the story from the very first page. Readers who love sci-fi and fantasy will want to add this one to their TBR list." -- Diane (Goodreads Reviewer)

So if you're looking for some great epic fantasy, and want to do some good at the same time, please get yourself a copy of one (or several) of Brandon's books. Not only will you get a great story but you'll be helping one of fantasy's own whos voice will be silenced way too soon.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Assassin Author Roundtable - Today at 2:00 Eastern, 1:00 Central, 11:00 Pacific)

Hey all, I've been invited by the Angel Hayes at Indie Fantasy Addicts to be part of an online event today at 2:00. If you can't attend, I believe it's being recorded so you should be able to see all the happenings at a time of your convenience, and I'll update this post once the video is live.

I'll be joining a number of fellow fantasy authors including Andy Peloquin, JT Williams, Lindsay Buroker, D.W. Hawkins, and Steve Collier. Not entirely sure what all we'll be discussing, but I'm sure it's going to be a lot of fun. So, if you're free, stop on by, and if you're not. Check out the video whenever you get a chance.

Here is a link to the recorded session.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Honored to make the short list

A few weeks ago I posted about the Booknests' Fantasy Award, and how Age of War was picked by a panel to be one of the 50 titles submitted for consideration. The judges included nine popular fantasy blogs (Bookworm Blues, Fantasy Book Critic, Fantasy Book Review, Fantasy-Faction, Grimdark Magazine, The Fantasy Hive, The Fantasy Inn, The Grim Tidings Podcast, and The Weatherwax Report), three big fantasy imprints (Gollancz, Harper Voyager, and Orbit), and two well-respected agents (John Jarrold and Joshua Bilmes of JABberwocky Literary Agency).

What an amazing list with some incredible books, and I was pleased to be included. What I didn't expect was to make the short list. After all,  forty books had to go, and I expected mine would be one of them. But out of some miracle (and thank you to everyone who voted), the book made it to the shortlist.

Once again, I'm including some data from Goodreads (which I've updated from my last post). The odds-on favorite would be Children of Blood and Bone although I won't count out how much people enjoy Brandon Sanderson's work.

 # Ratings  
 # shelved 
A Time of Dread
John Gwynne
Age of War
Michael J. Sullivan
Bloody Rose
Nicholas Eames
 Children of Blood and Bone 
Tomi Adeyemi
Iron Gold
Pierce Brown
Master Assassins
Robert V.S. Redick
 Brandon Sanderson 
Spinning Silver
Naomi Novik
The Fall of Gondolin
J.R.R. Tolkien
The Girl In The Tower
Katherine Arden

Voting is open for the next round, and again don't feel obligated to vote for Age of War (you'll just be throwing your vote away, but by all means, vote for whichever book you want to see win.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Lucca Comics and Games Convention Schedule

In general, I don't do many conventions. It's not that I don't enjoy them, but travel can be trying (Robin has had two back surgeries and being on a plane for any extended period of time is painful, and I don't like going anywhere she doesn't come). Plus, unless the publisher is footing the bill, it can be pretty expensive. Don't get me wrong, I love to see fans, but if it's going to cost me several days of writing time and a few thousand dollars...well, you can see why I don't go to many conventions.

But when an opportunity arose to go to the Lucca Comics and Games Convention in Italy...with all expenses paid by my Italian publisher and the convention organizers, how could I say no? Especially when they offered to pay for all of Robin's travel as well.

If you don't know anything about the Lucca festival (I didn't until I was invited), here is a great video that gives you a good idea what we're going to be doing from October 31 - November 4th.

The convention has been described as "the western world's biggest geek meet." It's huge! Over 500 events, concerts, parades, and activities are held in historical buildings and on the streets, taking over the entire city. In 2017 the festival celebrated its 51th anniversary, with more than 50 international guests and about 245,000 attendees. To put that into perspective, Dragoncon (held in Atlanta each year) has about 80,000 attendees, and New York Comic Con has about 130,000. Those conventions are dwarfed when compared to Lucca.

Below is my convention schedule. If you are going to be at Lucca, please drop by and see me at any of these times.

  • Wed 10/31 11:00 - 12:00 Signing at the Armenia Booth
  • Thur 11/01 11:00 - 12:00 Signing at the Armenia Booth
  • Thur 11/01 12:00 - 14:00 Presentation on publishing (self and traditional) at Villa Gioiosa
  • Thur 11/01 19:30 - 21:30 Ceremony Night and Gala Dinner at the Giglio Opera House
  • Fri    11/02 11:00 - 12:00 Signing at the Armenia Booth
  • Sat    11/03 11:00 - 12:00 Signing at the Armenia Booth
  • Sat   11/03  16:00 - 17:00 Q&A Public Meeting at Ingelis Hall
If you won't be attending the Lucca Festival, we can still meet up.  I'll be in Florence on 10/30, 11/4, and 11/5 and a little bit on 11/6, and in the town of Lucca starting early on 10/31 and for a little bit on 11/4. Just drop me an email and let me know where and how you want to meet and we'll do the best we can to accommodate you.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

We did it--take that price gougers!

If you follow this blog you may be aware of a little mission Robin and I set out on. You see, recently Del Rey put the hardcover edition of Age of Swords out of print, and the third-party resellers on Amazon had a field day, taking the $28 hardcover and jacking up the price to astronomical levels. For instance, on 9/22 the prices for a new copy ran between $100.92 - $191.06.

Now, for the people who had put off buying their copies of Age of Swords, this would mean a hole in their collections, and I didn't want to have that.  So, Robin went to work to rectify the situation.
  • Step 1 was getting our hands on as many copies of Age of Swords as we could, which would cut off the supply chain from the price-gougers.  We could do it, but it'd be expensive...nearly $9,000.  But we had to try.
  • Step 2 was to run a crowdfunding campaign to raise the cash.  We sold the first three books of the series at a 20% discount and provided people with bonus perks like bookmarks, screensavers, and a new Legends of the First Empire Short Story.  The campaign raised more than $32,000 (more than enough to cover the buying, shipping, and storing of the books. Plus we sold more than 950 books in the process. Woohoo!
  • Step 3 was to get the books on Amazon at $28.  We turned to Shawn Speakman at Grim Oak Press (a great guy who've we worked with before on anthologies such as Unfettered, Unfettered II, and Unbound). Shawn already had an Amazon Marketplace account, so we shipped him a bunch of books at $10 a piece giving he a nice profit margin to earn well when people buy the books at the original list price of $28.

And there you have it!  The book is back to $28, readers won't have a hole in their Legends of the First Empire hardcover collection, Shawn will make some cash, we'll make some cash, everyone wins!  Well, except for those poor, poor, price gougers who aren't going to be able to sell their books at those outrageous prices!

My thanks to Del Rey, Shawn Speakman, Robin, and most important to you, dear readers, for helping to get this problem solved. We make a pretty good team!

Monday, October 8, 2018

Epic Fantasy Giveaway: Oct 8 - 18

Hey all, I'm once more partnering up with Fantasy Bridge to be part of an Epic Fantasy Giveaway.  You can enter here. All people who enter will receive 4 ebooks including my short story Professional Integrity.

  Shelved by  
 # Ratings 
 The Apples of Idunn by 
Matt Larkin
A Legacy of Light
 Daniel Arenson 
  Flight of the Krilo  
Sam Ferguson
Professional Integrity
 Michael J. Sullivan 

There will be 1 Grand Prize Winner and 5 Regular Winners. All six of these people will receive the 30 ebooks listed below. The Grand Prize Winner will also receive a $30 Amazon card.

• Darkblade Assassin by Andy Peloquin
• The Dragon's Champion by Sam Ferguson
• Sevenfold Sword: Champion by Jonathan Moeller 
• Dragon Bones by D.K. Holmberg
• The Dragon Orb by Shelton and Gillette
• The Rogue Retrieval by Dan Koboldt
• The Path Of Destiny by Mike Shelton
• Dragonvein by Brian D. Anderson
 Disappearance of Winter's Daughter by MJS 
• Olde Robin Hood by Kate Danley
• On Borrowed Luck by TJ Muir
• Stormwielder: by Hodges and Bentulan
• The Dragon War Trilogy by Daniel Arenson
• Banished by Michael Wisehart
• A Warden's Purpose by Jeffrey L. Kohanek
• Web Of Eyes by Castle and Bruno
• Windsworn by Derek Alan Siddoway
• The Dragon's Blade by Michael R. Miller
• Darkness Forged by Matt Larkin
• A Warrior's Path by Davis Ashura
• Reaper's Awakening by Jacob Peppers
• Phoenix Descending by Dorothy Dreyer
• Innocence Lost by Patty Jansen
• Wolves by C. Gockel
• The Buried Symbol by Jeffrey L. Kohanek
• The Story Master by Vincent Trigili
• Salvation's Dawn by Joe Jackson
• Ascend Online by Luke Chmilenko
• Bloodmark by Jean Lowe Carlson
• Whill of Agora by Michael Ploof

I really like the fact that there are some great offers just for entering, so everyone is a winner in that respect, but six people will reap even greater rewards. I wish you luck on the drawing!

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Voting for 2018 BookNest Fantasy Award

I'm pleased to announce that Age of War has made the long list for the 2018 BookNest Fantasy Award. Voting to create the shortlist will continue from now until Sunday 14th October. Nine popular Fantasy Blogs (Bookworm Blues, Fantasy Book Critic, Fantasy Book Review, Fantasy-Faction, Grimdark Magazine, The Fantasy Hive, The Fantasy Inn, The Grim Tidings Podcast & The Weatherwax Report), three big Fantasy Imprints (Gollancz, Harper Voyager & Orbit), and two well-respected Agents (John Jarrold & Joshua Bilmes of JABberwocky Literary Agency) helped to create the nominees.

All told, there are 4 categories for you to vote on including:
  • Best Traditionally Published Novel
  • Best Self-Published Novel
  • Best Debut Novel
  • Best Imprint (Publisher) 
You don't need to vote for my book, but please do go and vote for your favorites.  The full list of nominees in the Best Tradtiionally Publihsed Novel Category is presented here along with some data from Groodreads regarding how many books have been shelved, what people have rated the books, and how many ratings have come in. Any book on Goodreads with a rating higher than 4.3 is truly exceptional, so I highlighted some of those.

 # Ratings  
 # shelved 
A War in Crimson Embers
Alex Marshall
Age of War
Michael J. Sullivan
A Time of Dread
John Gwynne
Aru Shah and the End of Time
Roshani Chokshi
Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance
Ruth Emmie Lang
Blood and Tempest
Jon Skovron
Blood of Assassins
RJ Barker
Bloody Rose
Nicholas Eames
Sebastien de Castell
Children of Blood and Bone
Tomi Adeyemi
Madeline Miller
City of Lies
Sam Hawke
Anna Stephens
Fire Dance
Ilana C. Myer
 Robert Jackson Bennett  
Claire Legrand
Grey Sister
Mark Lawrence
Iron Gold
Pierce Brown
Jade City
Fonda Lee
King of Assassins
RJ Barker
Magic Triumphs
Ilona Andrews
Master Assassins
Robert V.S. Redick
Brandon Sanderson
Port of Shadows
Glen Cook
Walter Jon Williams
Ed McDonald
Seventh Decimate
Stephen Donaldson
Sebastien de Castell
Spinning Silver
Naomi Novik
Jacqueline Carey
Tempests and Slaughter
Tamora Pierce
The Bitter Twins
Jen Williams
The Deathless
Peter Newman
The Ember Blade
Chris Wooding
The Empire of Ashes
Anthony Ryan
The Fall of Dragons
Miles Cameron
The Fall of Gondolin
J.R.R. Tolkien
The Forbidden City
Deborah Wolf
The Girl In The Tower
Katherine Arden
The Infernal Battalion
Django Wexler
The Land You Never Leave
Angus Watson
The Last Namsara
Kristen Ciccarelli
The Mere Wife
Maria Dahvana Headley
The Outcast
Taran Matharu
The Poppy War
R. F. Kuang
The Skaar Invasion
Terry Brooks
The Tower of Living and Dying
Anna Smith Spark
Trail of Lightning
Rebecca Roanhorse
Den Patrick
Wrath of Empire
Brian McClellan

Monday, October 1, 2018

Ten Years & a Lifetime Ago

Ten years ago on this day, October 1st, 2008, my first novel was released by a small press (Aspirations Media Incorporated) to the thunderous applause of crickets. Well that's not entirely true, the crickets didn't applaud, and if they had, even their scant numbers couldn't produce anything thunderous. Like almost everyone else, they didn’t take notice either. My release “event” was held at the Arlington Barnes & Noble. I expected a crowd, and there were twenty people, but I knew every one of them. Nearly all were from my writer’s group that met in the same bookstore, on that same night, on the same floor, in the same place. And yes, we planned it that way because if we hadn’t, I’d have been alone with my wife wondering if we could smuggle liquor into a bookstore.

The Arlington Writer’s Group, better known as AWG, were quite gracious. They didn’t complain that I had hijacked their space, and they sat quietly listening to my very first public talk, which I can’t remember (such things are often erased from long-term memory for sanity’s sake). More important, nearly everyone bought a book and wanted me to sign their copies. I sat at a rickety folding table, sharpie in hand, as a line formed. I felt absolutely ridiculous. I was pretending to be an author. What got me through the event was that everyone else pretended, too.

That was the first and last line I'd encounter for my signature during the next four years.  The second time, my new publisher literally gave the books away to ensure a crowd. As it turns out, people line up for free stuff.

For years, I considered myself "The Little Engine That Might." I had persistence, some decent stories (at least I thought they were), and most important of all a loving wife that made it her mission to see that I would succeed. Why? Well, it wasn't for money or fame that she worked so hard. It was so I could live a dream I'd had since I was a 13-year-old boy: To be able to write the stories I wanted to tell and hopefully have a few people read and enjoy them as well. It's taken a decade since that first released book (and thirty years and thirteen books prior to that), to get to where I am now, and I think it's safe to say I should upgrade from "That Might" to "Who Did." I've sold more than 1.5M books in the English language (and I have no idea how many in the foreign markets), but I do have dozens and dozens of contracts in so many languages I've lost track. I'm also proud to say that I'm now officially a New York Times Bestselling author. And last week, I had two books on the Washington Post’s Bestseller’s List. 

What a difference a decade makes! And of course, I can't end this post without thanking the most important people to my success. No, it's not my agents, or my editors, or the publishers who have picked me up and expanded my readership (although I am grateful to them as well). But who I'm speaking about is you, dear readers. It's because you took a chance on one of my books, then went back for more, and most important of all, the fact that you recommended them to others. I've always said that it's word of mouth that makes or breaks a book, and in many ways, it's your contributions that have gotten me where I am now (even more so than anything I or Robin have done). So I hope that you, too, share in this 10th anniversary celebration, after all, it's you who have truly made it such a success.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Just a few days until the retail release of Winter's Daughter

As some may know, the only way to get The Disappearance of Winter's Daughter has been via or my own website. The reason has to do with a non-compete clause in my Legends of the First Empire contract, which prevented any books based in Elan to be published until a few months after the last book of that contract. Well, Age of War came out July 3rd, so we can now OFFICIALLY release the fourth Riyria Chronicle through the retail chains. So it's up for pre-order and books will start shipping on October 2nd.

Here are some places you can buy the ebook editions:

Here are some places you can buy the hardcover editions:


The trade paperback will hit the retail chain in about 6 - 9 months, but until then you can still get a signed copy directly from me at my online store: