Friday, December 27, 2019

Age of Myth Audio

Hey all, with Age of Death's release date less than 40 days away, it's a great time to pick up your copy of Age of Myth. And since Audible put it into their two listens for one credit sale, you can get it for half off.  But you have to hurry. The sale ends on New Years at midnight PT.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

The Adventure Ends

I suppose there are a few of you interested in when Age of Death will hit the streets, maybe even a handful hoping to discover when Age of Empyre will roll into beta. Might even be one or two wanting to learn more about the new trilogy: Nolyn/Farilane/Esrahaddon, or the schedule for Drumindor, the next Royce and Hadrian novel. But by far the vast majority of those who read this blog I am certain are on the edges of their perches desperate to hear how it all turned out. 

Who won the Great Birding Year Challenge of 2019?

Black-crowned Night Heron (shot in Central Park, NY)

As all of you are aware, my daughter and I began competing to photograph the most species of birds in one year. Given we started the day after Thanksgiving the contest is now over, and all of you I am positive want to know the outcome. Before I get to that, lets review.

Winter Wren (Central Park)

We based our contest on the movie and book of the same name: The Big Year by Mark Obmascik, but we changed the rules to require identifiable photographs in order to count. The result was a country-wide, year-long, Pokemon style adventure were we tried to shoot them all. Together, or separately, we traveled to Key West, Everglades & Merritt Island in Florida; High Island, in Texas; Occoquan Park, and Virginia Beach, in Virginia; Central Park in Manhattan; and several less trod sanctuaries mostly in the south, mid-Atlantic and northeast of the United States.  

Ruby-throated Hummingbird (Female) (Photographed in Shenandoah VA)

Over the course of the year, we learned a ridiculous amount about birds. At the start, both of us would have had difficulty identifying more than ten bird species; now we can do more than that by bird song alone. We have an understanding of migration patterns, where and how to find specific birds, their habits and quirks. Crows will lead you to eagles; chickadees always hang with titmice, usually in pine trees; owls are best seen at dusk; birds know to keep the sun behind them in order to blind you and ruin photos; Morning Doves are not owls but they sound like them; birds of many feathers flock together, and let you get closer the more of them there are; the board game Wingspan is almost impossible to obtain; birders are consistently some of the nicest people you’re ever meet; winter and early spring is the best time to bird, and leaves and misquotes are not a birder’s friend. 

Northern Water Thrush (Photographed Central Park)

Over the year, we had great fun, got plenty of exercise, went to places we never would have dreamed of going (skipping Disney World for Merritt Island) and are the better for it. I feel like I should have paid money for the fun we had playing this game, but it was free, and often I never had to leave my front porch to play. I once spotted sixteen species on my own front lawn in one hour. Even the rainy days, the cold days, the early mornings crawling out of bed, were far more enjoyable than I’d like to admit. And of course, we get to keep the photos.

Pileated Woodpecker (Shenandoah)

We’ll be doing it again this year, only this time well begin on January 1st like the rest of the world, and as we know how to identify, and both have good binoculars, we’ll play by the official rules. If you want to join us down load the free eBird app, get a pair of binocs, and then just go outside. 


Doesn’t matter where you are, there will be birds, and you’ll never know what you’ll see because life is chaotic and often magical. But be careful, and be warned this activity comes with the very real risk of learning something, experiencing real-life adventures, breathing fresh air, building muscle, seeing some wonderful sunrises and sunsets, and making new friends. 

Final tally:
My daughter shot 179 birds on the year. 

I lost by two, coming in with 177. 

Total List for 2019:

1. Anhinga.jpeg
2. Blackbird (RedWing).jpeg
3. Blackbird (brewers)
4. Bluebird (Eastern).jpeg
5. Brown Creeper.jpeg
6. Bunting (Indigo).jpg
7. Caracara.jpeg
8. Cardinal (Northern).jpg
9. Catbird.jpeg
10. Chickadee (Black-capped)
11. Chickadee (Carolina)
12. Coots (American).jpeg
13. Cormorant (Double Crested).jpg
14. Cormorant (Neotropic).jpeg
15. Cowbird (Brown-headed).jpeg
16. Crane (Whooping).jpeg
17. Crow (American).jpeg
18. Crow (Fish) VB
19. Dowitcher (Long-billed).jpeg
20. Duck (Black)
21. Duck (Black-Bellied Whistling).jpeg
22. Duck (Blue-Winged Teal).jpeg
23. Duck (Buffleheaded).jpeg
24. Duck (Fulvous Whistling).jpeg
25. Duck (Gadwall).jpeg
26. Duck (Greater Scaup).jpeg
27. Duck (Lesser Scaup).jpeg
28. Duck (Mallard).jpeg
29. Duck (Muscovy).jpeg
30. Duck (Northern Pintail).jpeg
31. Duck (Northern Shoveler).jpeg
32. Duck (Ruddy).jpeg
33. Duck (Wood)
34. Dunlin.jpeg
35. Eagle (Bald).jpeg
36. Egret (Cattle).jpeg
37. Egret (Great).jpeg
38. Egret (Snowy).jpeg
39. Falcon (American Kestrel).jpeg
40. Falcon (Merlin) VB
41. Finch (American Goldfinch).jpeg
42. Finch (House).jpeg
43. Flycatcher (Brown-Crested ).jpeg
44. Flycatcher (Scissor-tailed).jpeg
45. Flycather (Greater Crested).jpeg
46. Frigatebird (Magnificent).jpeg
47. Gallinule (Common).jpeg
48. Gallinule (Purple).jpeg
49. Geese (Canadian).jpeg
50. Geese (Snow)
51. Geese (White).jpeg
52. Gnatcatcher (BlueGray ).jpeg
53. Grackle (Boat-tailed).jpeg
54. Grackle (Common).jpeg
55. Grackle (Great-tailed).jpeg
56. Grebe (Horned).jpeg
57. Grebe (Pie-Billed).jpeg
58. Grosebeak (Blue)
59. Gull (Herring).jpeg
60. Gull (Laughing).jpeg
61. Gull (lesser black-backed)
62. Gull (Great Black-backed) Virginia Beach
63. Gull (Ring-billed).jpeg
64. Hawk (Broad-Winged).jpeg
65. Hawk (Cooper's).jpeg
66. Hawk (Harrier Northern)
67. Hawk (Red-Shouldered).jpeg
68. Hawk (Red-Tailed).jpeg
69. Hawk (Sharp-Shinned).jpeg
70. Hawk (Short-Tailed).jpg
71. Heron (Black-crowned Night)
72. Heron (Great Blue).jpeg
73. Heron (Great White).jpg
74. Heron (Green).jpg
75. Heron (Little Blue).jpeg
76. Heron (Tri-colored).jpeg
77. Hummingbird (Ruby-throated)
78. Ibis (Glossy).jpeg
79. Ibis (White-faced).jpeg
80. Ibis (White).jpeg
81. Jay (Blue2).jpeg
82. Jay (Scrub).jpeg
83. Junco (Dark-Eyed).jpeg
84. Killdeer.jpeg
85. Kingbird.jpeg
86. Kingfisher (Belted).jpeg
87. Kinglet (Red-crowned)
88. Kinglet (Golden-Crowned).jpeg
89. Martin (Purple)
90. Meadowlark.jpeg
91. Mockingbird (Northern).jpeg
92. Nuthatch (White-Breasted).jpeg
93. Oriole (Baltimore)
94. Oriole (Orchard).jpeg
95. Osprey.jpeg
96. Ovenbird
97. Parula (Northern).jpeg
98. Pelican (Brown).jpeg
99. Pelican (White).jpeg
100. Pewee (Eastern Wood)
101. Phoebe (Eastern).jpeg
102. Pigeon (Eurasian Collared Dove).jpeg
103. Pigeon (Ground).jpeg
104. Pigeon (Mourning Dove).jpg
105. Pigeon (Rock).jpeg
106. Plover (Wilson).jpeg
107. Polver (Palminated).jpeg
108. Polver (Piping).jpeg
109. Raven (Common).jpeg
110. Redstart.jpeg
111. Robin (American).jpeg
112. Sanderling.jpeg
113. Sandpiper (Solitary)
114. Sandpiper (Spotted)
115. Snipe (Wilson).jpeg
116. Sparrow (Chipping).jpeg
117. Sparrow (Field).jpeg
118. Sparrow (House).jpeg
119. Sparrow (Savanah).jpeg
120. Sparrow (Song).jpeg
121. Sparrow (White-Crowned)
122. Sparrow (White-throated).jpeg
123. Spoonbill (Rosette).jpeg
124. Starling (European).jpeg
125. Stilt (Black-necked).jpeg
126. Storks (Wood).jpeg
127. Swallow (Barn).jpeg
128. Swallow (Cliff).jpeg
129. Swallow (Norther rough-winged).jpeg
130. Swallow (Tree).jpeg
131. Tananger (Scarlet).jpeg
132. Tananger (Summer).jpeg
133. Tern (Caspian ).jpeg
134. Tern (Forester's).jpeg
135. Tern (Least).jpeg
136. Tern (Royal).jpeg
137. Tern (Sandwich).jpeg
138. Thrasher (Brown).jpeg
139. Thrush (gray-cheeked)
140. Thrush (Hermit)
141. Thrush (Northern Water)
142. Thrush (Swainson’s)
143. Thrush (Wood)
144. Towhee (Eastern).jpeg
145. Tufted Titmouse
146. Turkey
147. Veery
148. Vireo (Warbling)
149. Vulture (Black).jpeg
150. Vulture (Turkey).jpeg
151. Warbler (Black-throated Blue)
152. Warbler (Black & White)
153. Warbler (BlackThroatedGreen).jpeg
154. Warbler (Canadian)
155. Common Yellow-Throat.jpeg
156. Warbler (Nashville)
157. Warbler (Hooded).jpg
158. Warbler (Palm).jpeg
159. Warbler (Pine).jpeg
160. Warbler (Prairie).jpg
161. Warbler (Tennesee).jpg
162. Warbler (Yellow) Virigina Beach
163. Warbler (Yellow-Rumped).jpeg
164. Warbler (Yellow-Throated).jpeg
165. Waxwing (Cedar).jpeg
166. Whimbrel.jpeg
167. Willet.jpeg
168. Woodpecker (Downy).jpeg
169. Woodpecker (Hairy).jpeg
170. Woodpecker (Northern Flicker2).jpeg
171. Woodpecker (Pileated) .jpeg
172. Woodpecker (Red-bellied).jpg
173. Woodpeacker (Red-headed)
174. Woodpecker (Yellow-bellied Sapsucker)
175. Wren (Carolina).jpeg
176. Wren (Winter)
177. Yellow Legs (Greater).jpep

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Fantasy Bridge Holiday Giveway

When fantasy bridge told me they were doing a holiday giveaway and asked me to participate, I said, "Sure thing! I love giving away things. Especially during this time of year."

So here's the skinny.
  • From now through January 2nd of next year, you can sign up. 
  • Five winners will receive 25+ ebooks.
  • One Grand Prize Winner will receive the 25+ ebooks plus a $50 Amazon Gift Card.
  • When you sign-up you can opt-in to one (or several) writer's newsletters (but this is NOT a requirement to enter).
And just for entering, you'll also receive 2 free shorts (including one from me), and three novels (which are the start of a series). Here's the details on those freebies:
  • "Pile of Bones" by Michael J. Sullivan - a Suri and Minni short story adventure that precedes the Legends of the First Empire books.
  • "Prophecy of the Dragon" by Mike Shelton - a prequel short story to The Alaris Chronicles.
  • Journey of Fire and Night by D.K. D.K. Holmberg - the first novel in the  Endless War series.
  • Benjamin Forrest and the School at the End of the World by Chris Ward - the first book in the Endinfinium series.
  • Dragon Rider by Jada Fisher - a prequel novel to The Brindle Dragon series.
That's a nice set of perks, and I should mention that the ebook version of my short story isn't available through any of the retail chains so this giveaway (and various Kickstarters) are the only way to get it. So why not enter? You'll get some nice free stuff, and maybe you'll win one of the 27 full book sets.

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Legend Pre-orders on Sale at

It won't be long until the final titles are officially released:
Pre-orders have been coming in steadily and we already have more than 5,000 copies sold. But, if you've not picked up your pre-order yet, then here's a way to do so and save a little cash.

If you are an Audible Gold member, you know that your monthly credit costs $14.95. Well, for a limited time both of these titles are on sale for just $12.48.  That's a savings of almost 17%. 

While you're at it, you may want to look around for other titles as currently, Audible has every title on sale. Sale ends December 19th

Friday, December 13, 2019

Audiobook Giveaway

We LOVE audiobooks, and since it's the gift-giving season, Robin and I want to give away three of our audiobooks to some lucky person. But because of the format, you may have some questions, so I have some answers for you.
  • Which books are being given away? You can select up to three titles. They can be the first of each series (Theft of Swords, The Crown Tower,  and Age of Myth). Or you could get the first three books in a single series, or you can mix and match - it's totally up to you.
  • What if I already own all your audiobooks?  No problem! You can either gift them to someone else or choose 2 non-MJS books.
  • What if I'm not an audible member? Not a problem, you can sign up at (and receive a free book just for doing that.  Then, after we send you your free copies, you can cancel your membership (a full month before the first charge is made to your card).  Even when you aren't a member any books you have will stay with you.
  • What if I'm not interested in your books? Not a problem, as you can see from bullet #2, you can get three of my books or 2 of any other book. So go ahead and enter anyway!
  • When will I receive my audiobooks? The last day to enter is December 15 at midnight EDT. Winner will be drawn on December 16 and the audiobooks will be sent within 24 hours of the winner selecting the titles they want to receive.
  • How do I enter? Just hit the button below!

Friday, December 6, 2019

Free Heroes Wanted Anthology

Hey all, earlier today I sent on an email about a free copy of a new anthology that I have a Royce and Hadrian story in. At the time I sent the email, it was free on Amazon (and many other stores).  Well, the other stores are still free, but for some reason, Amazon has switched over to $0.99. That wasn't the intention of myself or any of the authors.  It would appear it's something Amazon did. 

We (the authors) still stand by making this anthology free, so if you are in a situation where you are seeing it for $0.99 (lowest price Amazon usually lets an author set), then drop me an email at with the subject: Send me a free Heroes Wanted. And I'll email you DRM-free copies.  In the meantime, the author who has this book listed on their account will be working with Amazon to get it back to free. We apologize for the inconvenience. I assure you it wasn't our doing.

12/8/2019 - UPDATE - The book is back to free again on Amazon. We apologize for the interruption in the free promotion, but as I mentioned it wasn't our doing.  You can still get the ebook from me here, but you can also get it from Amazon again.

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Holiday Book Sale

Okay, so I must admit I get a bit annoyed that the holiday sales season starts earlier and earlier. This year, I saw a number of promotions before Halloween! Well, since we have officially crossed into December, Robin feels it's time to launch our Holiday Sale.  So, whether you want to give the gift of Riyria or see why The Legends of the First Empire books have hit the New York Times Bestseller Lists, this is a great time to pick up some of my books.

What's on sale? Well, everything.  For ebooks, we are providing a 50% discount. For multi-book sets, we are offering 25% to more than 32% off.  For titles that we have to buy from our publishers, we have 20% off, and for books that we self-produced, we'll increase our discounts to 30% off the list price.  Here's the complete list of savings.

And remember - all books are signed! So, whether you are looking to dive into one of my titles that you've been putting off for a while, or you're looking to introduce a friend to my stories, now is a great time to buy. Oh, but you need to hurry. The sale prices are only good through December 15th.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Riyria on Sale @

Are you a fan of Royce and Hadrian? Or maybe you've not read any of the Riyria books but you're curious about giving them a try? Well, if either of those shoes fit and you enjoy audiobooks, I  have good news for you.  The latest book in the Riyria Chronicles series, The Disappearance of Winter's Daughter is on sale at right now. You can pick up a copy for just $7. This book normally would run you $25 in cash or the price of a credit (about $15 if you go that route).

And don't be afraid because this is the 4th in a series. This book (as well as The Death of Dulgath) is written to be a standalone, and no prior knowledge of any of the Riyria novels is necessary to enjoy it to the fullest. But don't take my word for it, here's what one of the editors at Audible had to say when they made it an Editor's Pick.

"This was the first Michael J. Sullivan book I've ever experienced. That fact might aggravate some of his more dedicated fans, seeing as it's the fourth book in the series ("you have to start at the beginning!"). But I heard that it could be enjoyed as a standalone work, and it definitely can because I was obsessed immediately. Sullivan's characters really take on a life of their own, especially with Tim Gerard Reynolds giving them such a dynamic performance. Sullivan's sense of pacing is akin to a thriller writer's; each chapter is succinct and compelling, with frequent cliff-hangers that make it impossible to stop listening. Most crucial, perhaps, is the quality and subtle detail of Sullivan's world-building - and his synergy with Reynolds - making it easy to dive headlong into this book."

So, if you've not yet picked up a copy. Now would be a great time. And thanks, Audible, for including the book in the sale.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Read Age of Death Now

Yes, the official release date for Age of Death is February 4, 2020, but more than 3,300 people are already reading it now. How is that possible? Well, they either (a) were backers of the Kickstarter that ended on September 10 (b) pre-ordered an ebook through BackerKit or (c) asked for a "manual add."

We just finished implementing all the gamma reader feedback and the presses will start rolling as soon as we get dates from the printer. The nearly 2,000 people who pre-order the hardcover through us will receive their copies within days of them coming off the press. So how do you get your ebook now and the hardcover on the earliest day possible? Well, you, too, can do a "manual add."  The process is quite easy.  

  1. Take a look at the above reward levels and select which one you want.
  2. Send an email to with the subject: AoD Manual Add
  3. In the email tell us (a) your name and (b) the level you want to pledge at
We'll take things from there and do the following:
  1. My wife, Robin, will add you to Backerkit at the desired level
  2. She'll send you a BackerKit invitation where you can (a) provide payment information (b) input a shipping address (if you are ordering a physical copy) and (c) specify if you want your name included in the acknowledgments. NOTE: It's too late to add your name to the print edition, but it will be included in the final ebook.
  3. Once we see that you have filled out the information, we'll lock your order and you'll have access to the Age of Death ebook in your Digital Download area of BackerKit. In addition, you'll receive all the digital rewards that came as part of the Kickstarter. (See the list below)
Almost 300 people have come in through the "manual add" process, and it'll only be available until we receive printed copies. At that time, it'll be in our standard online store.  Here is a list of the bonus material that you'll miss out on once the manual add window closes:
  • Bonus Short Story: Burning Alexandria
  • Bonus Short Story: Autumn Mists
  • Bonus Short Story: The Game
  • Bonus Short Story: Pile of Bones
  • Bonus Short Story: Little Wren and the Big Forest
  • 10 Original Musical Compositions
  • 192 Screensavers of Marc Simonetti's Artwork (8 Designs at 24 different sizes)
  • 15 bonus graphics for DIY printing of posters, puzzles, and t-shirts
  • Access to a Behind the Scenes Video
  • Access to an Author Q&A Video
In addition, if you sign up for a reward level that includes a physical copy of one or more books, you will also receive:
  • Signed Hardcovers
  • $3 - $4 off the retail price of each book
  • Pack of 5 custom bookmarks (1 signed)
  • Deep discounts on non-US shipping
By buying directly from me, you (a) receive a ton of extra material (b) you pay the same prices as the retail ebook but get it months earlier (c) if you get a physical copy you'll receive an 11% discount.

But you are not the only one who benefits. I receive a significantly higher share of your hard-earned dollars because the retailer's cut is much higher than the BackerKit processing fees. For example:
  • ebook sales: retailer cut is 30% (US orders) or 70% (all other countries)
  • physical book sales: retailer and distribution fees are 75%
  • BackerKit fee is just 5% + 3% for credit card processing.
If you've ever wondered how you can best benefit the author for their stories, buying direct is definitely the way to go. So, take a look, and if you want to start reading now, drop me an email, Robin will get you set up and reading in no time.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

The final 10: Goodreads Choice Awards in Fantasy

Well, we are down to the final 10 in this year's best book in fantasy voting. Final round of voting is open until Dec 2, so pick your favorite and cast your vote:

Monday, November 18, 2019

The importance of audio rights

So, if you know much about me, you know how much I value audio rights. For instance, It's the reason Del Rey has only 1/2 of the Legends of the First Empire series (they couldn't buy the second 1/2 because audio rights are required and we had already sold the audio rights for the whole series many years ago).

Audio rights are also where I see my biggest advances. Yes, audio producers are willing to pay more for just that one right than the traditional publishers are paying for ebook + print + audio!  When an author signs away these rights, they earn significantly less on each copy sold...and the situation gets worse if the audio right is sold as a subsidiary right by the publisher.

For years, I've mentioned that audio is where all the growth in the publishing industry is. This fact has a lot to do with why publishers are insisting on acquiring that right. But recently I heard a comment from an author who claims 70% of sales are still in the paper format - which I just don't believe, particularly given my physical book sales are about 20% - 25%.

So, I asked Robin to get me some data. She went to Amazon because (a) it's an easy place to get data (b) they sell more books than any other single source. They are really the only place we can see what formats are selling the best. When it comes to having your finger on the pulse of the book-buying business, Amazon is an excellent place to look.

Okay, so let's look at the Top 100 Best-selling Epic Fantasy books. Amazon reports this information hourly, and besides saying which titles are in the top 100, we can also see what formats of each of those books are selling the most.  So a few days ago she looked, and this is what she found.

And this is how it breaks down:

  • No paperback titles are making this list
  • Only 4% of the books are in physical formats (and 75% of those are boxsets)
  • Only one hardcover has made the list
  • 60% of the titles are audiobooks
  • 36% of the titles are ebooks (and 11% of those are boxsets)
  • 80% of the top 10 are audio
  • 76% of the top 25 books are audio

Of course, this is a single snapshot, but my gut tells me this is pretty standard in today's publishing environment. I'll have Robin pull these analyses from time to time, so we can see if this is an outlier or really is indicative of the current ecosystem.

If you are a writer, you should be looking at the audio market. If your books aren't currently there, get them in that format. If they are, you should consider how you can earn well from that format since that is where most of your sales come from. Many of my audio sales net me just 3.5% (because of how they were transferred and how they were produced), other titles earn me more than 5 times that amount. And if I were to self-publish them, I could get as high as 40%.

In any event, I thought this was something that writers should be aware of, and it may be that readers are interested in this kind of data as well.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

A small rant...

Hey all, Robin here. I'm Michael's wife and I sometimes take control of his blog. This is one of those times. I'm going over the very last of the changes to Age of Death before sending it off to the printer. First, I should mention that I'm an engineer by training (MSEE), but I spent most of my life in software. I'm a "technical gal" Math was my favorite subject, Grammar very near the bottom. So, it's ironic that these days I spend an amazing amount of time on the Internet trying to determine things like which of the following is correct:

  • None of them were his friends. 
  • None of them was his friends. 
As an analytic type person, there should be a singular answer to such a question. But English is a language with all kinds of issues--don't get me started on why backyard is a single compound word, but front yard is two words.

Apparently, the problem arises in the fact that "none" is not always singular. Apparently, it used to mean "not one," so was would be correct. In practice, however, it is sometimes meant to mean "not any," so were should be used. 

To make matters worse, people who spend their lives contemplating such mystical matters don't always agree. Just look at this online debate on the subject.

And to make matters worse, there is the last statement. "It should be pointed out that none does not come from not any, but from nan (old English), which was used with either singular or plural verbs."

Argh!!!  All I want to know is which word do I use!!

And the worst part, no matter which one I select, there will people who will treat it as a "grammar mistake." In other words, I can't win either way.  For someone who deals in black and white such things are maddening. I guess I'll just insist that no book written by Michael will ever use such a sentence!

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

2019 Goodreads Choice Award Nominees for Best Fantasy

Well, I was both surprised and pleased to find that Age of Legend made its way into the semifinal round for the Goodreads Choice Award. Robin and I want to thank all the people who voted for it. This makes my 8th Nomination!

There's an amazing collection of books nominated, and I'm honored to be among them:

Voting in the semi-final round will close on November 17th and the field will be narrowed to a final 10. Pick your favorite and join the 2.2M people who have already voted for their favorite books!

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

A Kickstarter project I'm backing and I hope you'll check it out as well.

Many people ask me for endorsements or help when promoting their book. If you follow this blog, you know I don't do much of that. Why? Well, I'm a picky (and prickly) sort, and few books are able to stand up to my exacting standards. I take my reputation seriously, so I have to feel strongly about a project before I put my name behind it. Well, today is one of those days.

I'm a huge proponent of Kickstarter, and I've been trying to nudge more authors to use this great platform (because it has so many advantages for both readers and writers). One of my author friends has finally taken the plunge and created his first Kickstarter to fund hardcover editions of the first book in his trilogy. Since this is something I've always wanted (I already have a signed paperback, the ebook, and the audiobook), I jumped on the project right away, and just today, I increased my pledge by $10 to get early access to the final book in the series.

I've known Dyrk Ashton for around two and a half years and he's stayed over at our cabin a few times. Also, every time I go to a convention that the two of us are at, I try to spend as much time with him as I can. Why? Dryk has a keen mind, a great sense of humor, and an amazing writing acumen that makes any conversation with him worth savoring. And he's a really kind and helpful guy to fellow authors, so how can you not love that?

But enough about Dyrk, let me tell you about his books because they are well worth crowing about. The trilogy is called Paternus and these are their titles:
  • Paternus: Rise of the Gods
  • Paternus: Wrath of the Gods
  • Paternus: War of the Gods
They are urban fantasy tales that can best be described as American Gods meets the Avengers. When I started reading Dyrk's debut novel, my first thoughts were. "Wow this guy really knows how to draw you into a story, and his prose is smooth as silk and well polished." But I'm not the only author that sings Dyrk's praises. Here are some quotes from other authors I respect, and what they say about Paternus.
"Epic, innovative urban fantasy. A great read." — Mark Lawrence, bestselling author of Prince of Thorns and Red Sister.
"Wow! Ashton's story is a crucible in which myths are melted and remade to thrilling effect." — M.R. Carey, author of The Girl with all the Gifts 
"Paternus is an imaginative, exhilarating ride. A refreshing take on contemporary fantasy." — Anthony Ryan, New York Times Bestselling Author of Blood Song and The Legion of Flame 
"Terrific! Paternus is intelligent, intricate, suspenseful, and epic." — Nicholas Eames, Gemmell Award-winning author of Kings of the Wyld and Bloody Rose
If you don't want to wait for the hardcover to get started, the first two books are out now, and they are enrolled in the Kindle Unlimited program so you can read them for free (or pick up a copy of each for under $5 -- such a deal!) And if you do, you can even get an early copy of the final book which will be released to the retail chain on May 19, 2020.

So, in conclusion, click the link, and check out the Kickstarter, and if you see something you like please back the project. I'm betting you'll be turned on to a new author and you'll want to read every book that he puts out, and he'll get a larger payday as buying direct is always more profitable for the author than purchasing through the retail chain. So ends today's public service announcement.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Washington Post Bestsellers List again.


Hey all, Robin here. I hijack Michael's blog from time to time to announce big news. Well, things have been so busy as of late that I forgot to mention that two of the Legends of the First Empire books hit a bestseller list again.  This one was for the Washington Post Hardcovers and they made the list in the middle of October. While Riyria was Michael's breakout debut series, the Legends of the First Empire books have certainly provided him with more notoriety. Here are some of the "big lists" that the books in this series have appeared on:

Age of Myth:
  • #2 Washington Post Hardcover Bestseller List (July 2016)
  • Barnes & Noble Bestseller in Science Fiction and Fantasy (July 2016)
  • Barnes & Noble Bestseller in Science Fiction and Fantasy (August 2016)
  • Barnes & Noble Bestseller in Science Fiction and Fantasy (Sep 2016)
  • Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Best Fantasy (Nov 2016)
  • #93 Amazon ebook Bestseller (March 2017)
  • #6 Bestselling Audiobook (May 2017) 
  • #6 Washington Post Hardcover Bestseller List (Sep 2018)
  • #3 Washington Post Hardcover Bestseller List (April 2019)
  • #7 Washington Post Hardcover Bestseller List (Oct 2019)
Age of Swords:
  • USA Today Bestseller List (Aug 2017)
  • #1 Bestselling Audiobook (August 2017)
  • #7 Washington Post Hardcover Bestseller List (Sep 2017)
  • Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Best Fantasy (Nov 2017)
Age of War:
  • New York Times Bestseller List (July 2018)
  • USA Today Bestseller List (July 2018)
  • #3 Bestselling Audiobook (July 2018)
  • #12 Washington Post Bestseller List (April 2019)
  • Goodreads 12 Best Fantasy of 2018 (Aug 2018)
  • #3 Washington Post Hardcover Bestseller List (Sep 2018) 
  • Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Best Fantasy (Nov 2018)
  • #3 Washington Post Hardcover Bestseller List (Apr 2019) 
  • #8 Washington Post Hardcover Bestseller List (Oct 2019)
Age of Legend:
  • New York Times Bestseller List (July 2019)
  • USA Today Bestseller List (July 2019)
  • #6 Bestselling Audiobook (July 2019)
  • Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Best Fantasy (Nov 2019)
We are eternally grateful for all the amazing support that you have shown Michael over the years, and we are just about to put Age of Death on the presses, so more excitement to come!

Friday, October 11, 2019


Around the turn of the century, Robin and I began playing a new revolutionary computer game called Everquest. This was one of the first massive multiplayer online role playing games, and became a massive success that is still in existence twenty years later. We found it incredibly fun and played it for over three years. Robin and I had many adventures and eventually joined a guild that for a time we ran together while the guild leader was away with real-life issues.

While playing I began writing stories about the adventures and misadventures of the guild members. Believing these led to an increase in membership, I was made an officer in the guild. I then went on to write a fictional serial story using members of the game server (mostly members of our guild). The story was so well-received that I seriously began thinking about writing again after a near ten year hiatus. The result was a book about two thieves, and some of the first readers of Riyria were members of our Everquest guild. Theft of Swords is partially dedicated to them: Dragonchow.

Everquest then went on to deviate from the game creator’s original vision as Sony began tacking on expansions that broke much of the game’s original foundations. In short, they made the game easier in order to attract a wider audience. Robin and I lost interest in the early to mid-2000s. Today Everquest bears little resemblance to the original.

Why am I telling you all this? Because it is all starting over again on October 25th.

A group of volunteers with a vision created a classic version of EQ as it was when it released in the spring of 1999. They opened the server in October 2009. This server, called Blue, followed the same expansion and update track as the original game up to the point where the original development team stopped. Daybreak Games, the owners of Everquest, blessed the project that became known as P1999, (Project 1999) so long as they did not make money off the game, or allow it to advance beyond the 2001 expansions.

Now ten years later, P1999 is opening a new server called Green.

Blue was considered the 10-year beta test. Green is expected to be the most accurate re-envisioning of the original game.

P99 (as it is called) is free, but the wonderful volunteers do accept donations to help pay for the maintenance.

I thought I would mention it because I wish I had known about the opening of Blue back in 2009. So I am passing on the info to you. If you have no idea what Everquest is, allow me to quote Foghat_Vender 9 from a Reddit post he made that I feel sums up much of the game’s appeal.

“No modern conveniences at all. No group finder, no map, no minimap, when you die your shit stays on your body for a week and you lose xp and have to run to your corpse naked, no loot distribution system, money has weight and doesn't auto convert into higher denominations. The graphics are garbage, and there are zones. Mobs follow you until you zone and training players is a thing that the community has informal rules and standards about. Spells cost money and you need to memorize the spells you want to use in battle beforehand (or during if you're not under attack). Mana users spend most fights sitting to regain Mana. Etc, etc, etc”

In addition, a few of the etcs that Foghat neglects to mention is that the game is designed to cause people to group up and play together, so soloing is hard, and multi-boxing is not allowed (and they police this.) The game is slow, at times tedious, and tough. Originally it took Robin and I a year to reach level 50, and another year to reach level 60. 

It is also the most fun I’ve ever had in a computer game.

Robin and I returned to p99 Blue about two years ago and played it off an on. We reinvented our original characters and leveled to 50. Then we heard about Green. 

We’ll be playing on the 25th. I hope the names “Royce” or “Hadrian” or “Esrahaddon” will be available.

For more information: 
Official sight:

Perhaps we will see you in Norrath.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Riyria Boxset Now Available

No, this isn't the hardcover boxset (coming early next year), and if you are interested in a notification for that release, you can sign-up for it here. This boxset is produced by Orbit and it's the paperback edition in a 4-color box. We had a pre-order for this product, and all copies have been mailed out (thanks all, for buying directly and getting early copies).

Currently, Amazon has this priced at 30% off ($28). And BookDepository has a 5% discount but ships for free worldwide ($37.44) At those prices, it's about the same price as a single hardcover, and you'll get all 6 full-length novels in a 3-volume, making it a  great holiday gift for loved ones you've been trying to hook on Riyria.

As always, we also offer signed copies directly from our store at list price ($39.99).

Here are some links to other popular stores:

Canada: Amazon | Chapters
UK: Amazon
Germany: Amazon
Worldwide (with free shipping): BookDepository

I hope you'll grab a set, if bought separate and at full price, these would cost $50.

Friday, September 27, 2019

Age of Empyre Cover Reveal

It's so satisfying when you finish up a series, especially one like Legends of the First Empire, which has taken years to write and release.  Today we debuted the cover of the last book in the series over at Fantasy-Faction. Want to see what Marc put together for the final book in the series? Well, come over and take a gander. I think it's pretty epic!

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Not to late to join the Kickstarter

I've received a number of emails from people who are bummed that they missed the Age of Death Kickstarter. Well, the good news is there is still time to join the fun. Thanks to BackerKit (a service we are using to help fulfill the Kickstarter, you can still join in on the fun. But time is limited, once the book is printed and orders start to ship, that window will be closed.

How do you do it?  It's pretty easy.
  1. Go to the Kickstarter and determine which reward level you are interested in
  2. Send an email to with the subject of ADD ME TO THE KICKSTARTER. And include in it the following pieces of information: (a) pledge level,  (b) your first and last name, and (c) if you will be receiving physical item (like a book, tote bag, or booksmarks), let me know what country I'll be shipping to.
  3. We'll take that information and add you to the Kickstarter. We'll send you an invite where you can answer important questions (such as what name you want included in the acknowledgments and shipping address if you are getting physical rewards).
And that's it! You'll be able to join in the fun and get all the bonus materials that people who buy from the retail chain won't be receiving. What kind of bonus perks?
  • Signed books
  • Set of 5 custom bookmarks (one will be signed)
  • Name included in the acknowledgments 
  • Receive the ebook 3 months before the official retail release
  • Screensavers of Marc Simonetti artwork
  • Behind the scenes video
  • Q & A video
  • 10 musical compositions by Will Musser depicting scenes from the books
  • 5 bonus short stories (Pile of Bones, The Game, Autumn Mists, Litttle Wren and the Big Forest, Burning Alexandria)

Friday, September 13, 2019

A heartfelt thanks for the amazing support

Another Kickstarter is in the history books. Robin and I want to thank all the people who helped make the Age of Death project such a huge success. With that out of the way, the final production begins. The manuscript has gone to the copyeditors and we expect to have their changes back in early October. For those that backed the Kickstarter, that means you'll get your ebooks next month. Robin has started doing the layout for the book so we can get cost estimates and schedule the print runs. Once all that is done, we'll know better about the shipping date for physical copies, but you'll certainly get them before the Feb 4, 2020 release date.

So, how did the Kickstarter go? Really well!

  • Our most successful Kickstarter to date.
  • 3,120 backers  - 567 more than Age of Legend.
  • $119,337 raised - $8,471 more than Age of Legend.
  • 2nd most-backed and 4th most-funded fiction Kickstarters of all time.
Here's some data about the past Kickstarters.

People are already asking when the Age of Empyre Kickstarter will launch, and normally I would have said 3 months. But that would land it right in the middle of the holiday season, and I'm not sure that would be a good time. So, Robin's current thought is early in January. We'll keep you posted.

Lately, Robin has been talking to a number of authors who are considering Kickstarters. We think this is great as the one-on-one interaction and special perks that Kickstarters provide make it a great experience for readers and writers. Hopefully, we'll see some other authors bumping us out of the top ranks.

Oh, and if you missed the Kickstarter, no worries. You can still participate via the BackerKit pre-order store. Robin is still setting it up, but it should be ready soon. We'll keep you posted.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Montemorcey Tote Bag added to Kickstarter

Well, it's been a fun ride, but we are getting near the end. There are 55 hours and change left for The Age of Death Kickstarter.

We've had a good run, and if we raise another $2,667, we'll surpass the Age of Legend project and become the 5th most-funded fiction Kickstarter of all time! (We've already surpassed Legend in terms of number of people supporting it, and it's currently the 2nd most-backed). Even if we don't reach that last stretch goal, we can be proud of having 2 of the 6 projects that exceeded $100,000 in funding. Thanks, so much for all the continued support of my work.

Oh, and I should mention that one of the things we added to the Kickstarter, is a Montemorcey tote bag.

This was a popular item from a Riyria Kickstarter, and we are happy to bring it back. If you are already a current Age of Death backer, just add $25 to your pledge (includes US shipping). When the Kickstarter is over, you'll be able to attribute that "excess money" to purchase the bag.

If you aren't a backer and want the tote, you can pledge $25 without a reward, and you'll be able to attribute that amount to the bag from BackerKit after the campaign is over. Or, if you'd rather, you can pledge $30, and select the SOUND ADVICE level, which will make you an official backer. Doing so will grant you other rewards like screensavers, having your name included in the acknowledgments, and free short stories.

One last thing. If we do meet that final stretch goal, Robin and I will be making a 30 - 60 minute video where we discuss the making of Age of Legend. It'll be a little behind the scenes peek at the creative process, and it'll be available to all backers. If you have any questions, please be sure to let me know.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Tracking the Kickstarter

There is a site called Kicktraq, which Robin uses to track how the Kickstarter is going. The widget shown below will be updated in realtime. So, if you've been watching the Age of Death project and anxious to see when new levels are reached, check back here. I suspect things will be calming down for a while, but hopefully, we'll get another burst toward the project's end. That's what generally happens.

Fantasy Novel: Age of Death by Michael J. Sullivan -- Kicktraq Mini

Saturday, August 24, 2019

3 of the Top 5 of all time

We are less than 48 hours into the Age of Death Kickstarter, but already it's moved up to the 5th most-backed Fiction Kickstarter of all time!

What's more, my Kickstarters have 3 of those top 5 spots. Isn't that amazing? It's only 168 backers away from overtaking The Disappearance of Winter's Daughter for spot #4.  Will it eventually overtake #2? It will need another 646 bakers to do that, and I think we'll be able to reach that goal in the next 17 days. But what about #1? Well, that would REALLY take some work because it would need more than 2,762 more backers, and currently, it only has 1,907. Still, strange things have happened, so I'm not going to rule anything out.

So, if you've read Age of Legend and are itching for the next book.  Or haven't started Legends of the First Empire and are looking to find a good excuse to start, please stop by the Kickstarter and consider backing it.

And for the more than 1,900 people who already have, Robin and I thank you for your support.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Age of Death Kickstarter Launching on Thursday

At 12:00 noon EDT on Thursday, Aug 22nd, I'll be pushing the Age of Death Kickstarter live. To find it you can go to the page posted at this link, and press the graphic. Doing that right now does nothing but on Thursday it will take you to the Kickstarter page.

HINT: You can also find the page by going to Kickstarter and searching for Age of Death or by looking for projects created by Michael J. Sullivan ;-).

So what are we offering through this project?

Well, for the most part, it will mirror the Age of Legends crowdfunding, with a few notable exceptions.

  • First, we have doubled the number of early-bird specials (100 rewards will be 20% off), but I still expect them to go fast.
  • Second, we won't have any "Nights in Avryln." There are still too many people who haven't yet had their visits, and until we get those knocked out, I don't want to add to that backlog.
  • Third, we've significantly reduced overseas shipping. Basically, we've taken a big cut out of our profit margin for those who live outside the United States: $20 (for 1-book rewards) and $46 (for those who buy all 5 books). We have applied these discounts to reduce the shipping costs charged to backers. Now, if we get enough overseas orders, we can do shipping locally from overseas fulfillment companies, and we might be able to recoup some of that sacrificed profit. We won't know if that is possible until after the Kickstarter is over and we know the number, weight, and volume of all the packages.
  • We are using BackerKit for fulfillment. This will provide an easier way for us to distribute electronic content, and it will also aid the process if people want to "trade up" to other reward levels after the Kickstarter has ended. This will also allow us to take pre-orders for people who miss the Kickstarter.
  • By popular demand, we'll be bringing back Robin's Tip Jar. So, if you want to help get her a little something special for the work she puts in, consider backing at a slightly higher amount then your reward level, and you'll be able to tip her in BackerKit when the project is over. She'll use the tips to get "something special" and she'll share with you what that is.
  • Unfortunately, we can't offer the audiobooks as those rights were sold to Audible Studios, and only they can distribute those files, but we have made a low-cost pledge ($5 - SOUND ADVICE) so people can get their names in the printed books and receive digital rewards such as the screensavers and any other electronic files that become available through stretch goals.
  • We are also discounting the hardcovers ($25 rather than $27-$28) and allowing you to get 1, 2, 3, 4, or all 5 of the existing titles. If you want to ensure a full hardcover set, I highly encourage you to get these copies through the Kickstarter. Age of Swords is already out of print (although we have a large shipment in our warehouse), and both Age of Myth and Age of War was on their way to an "out of print" status when I convinced Del Rey to do one more small press run for the Kickstarters. My guess is once those are gone, there won't be anymore.
Okay, so that's what is new, but what's the same?
  • Have you ever wanted to see your name in print? Do you want to show off to your friends (and the rest of the world) that you helped to make the hardcover edition possible? Well, all backers (unless they opt-out) will have their names listed in the acknowledgments of both the print and ebook.
  • The ebook is still offered at retail price, so you'll be paying the same whether you are preordering through the Kickstarter or buy it through online retail sites. The difference? You'll have an actual electronic copy (which can't be erased from your device), it'll be DRM-free, and you'll put a higher % of your money into our pocket by cutting out the middlemen. In addition, you'll get to read the story months before the retail release.
  • All reward levels that have a physical book will be signed.
  • All reward levels (except SOUND ADVICE)  will get the ebook in late October (a full three-months) before the retail release. So, if you are chomping at the bit to see what happens next (and I know many of you are), then you'll want to be a backer.
  • The hardcovers will match the existing books, and once more we are using Marc Simonetti for the amazing artwork.
If you are wondering why we are doing a Kickstarter, it's a subject I've talked about in the past, but maybe you missed it. You see, we sold the audio rights for the entire series long, long, ago. When Del Rey purchased the rights to the first three books, that wasn't a problem and they licensed just the ebook and print rights.  A few years later, when it came time to negotiate for books #4 - #6, we found out that there had been a corporate policy change with Penguin Random House and they no longer let Del Rey sign any contract that doesn't contain audiobook rights. Well, with those rights already gone, that meant Del Rey couldn't sign the rest of the books.

For a while, we worked on getting another publisher to do the books, but we weren't happy with the release schedule they wanted, nor certain clauses in the contract. So we decided to self-publish the book. That said, we know how important it is for readers to have all their books in a series be consistent so we use the same printer, paper, size, and even the same font, for our versions so the last three books will match the first three. But doing a print run is expensive, and by using the Kickstarter we hope to fund half of the production costs.

There is a lot more information about the Kickstarter, too much to go into here, so here is preview link, that will let you see all the details before it goes live.

We're pretty excited about this Kickstarter, and we hope you will be as well. It's always a fun and hectic time when we have one going on, and it's so great seeing everyone's excitement toward the project. I hope you'll join us!