Thursday, December 31, 2020

Good Riddance to 2020!

Well, we've just about made it.  Less than 12 hours from where I sit until 2021 rings in. It's been a terrible 2020 but hope springs eternal to a better New Year.  I hope all of you had a great holiday season, and that we can all see a return to normalcy in the new year!

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Age of Legend and Audible 2 for 1 sale

Are you an Audible member and want to stretch your credits? Right now (and for the next 6 days) Audible has put a number of titles on sale in their annual 2-for-1 post-holiday sale.  I'm pleased to find that one of my titles (Age of Legend) has been included:

That book has been very well received (6,407 ratings with an average of 4.7), and the good news the last two books of the series are already released, so there is no long wait to finish up The Legends of the First Empire tales.

As to other works in the sales, there are only 68 titles in the Sci-fi and Fantasy category, and authors that are featured include George R. R. Martin, Brandon Sanderson, Terry Brooks, Robert Jordan, John Scalzi, Andrzej Sapkowski, R.A. Salvatore, N. K. Jemisin, Gene Wolfe, Anthony Ryan, Miles Cameron, Seanan McGuire, Sarah J. Maas and many more.

In the Fiction category, there is even a selected set of short stories read by Neil Gaiman. If you've never heard Neil narrate, it's well worth 1/2 a credit to pick it up. I did.

Here are some of the titles that caught my eye that you might enjoy as well.

I hope you do pickup some titles during this great sale, and if one of them is Age of Legend, thank you for the support, and be sure to let me know what you think of it.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

9th Goodreads Choice Nominee!!

Our thanks go out to everyone who did a write-in for Age of Empyre for the Goodreads Choice Awards. Due to your efforts, I'm pleased to say we received our 5th nomination in a row and our 9th since 2010!

The full list of the semi-final round includes the following titles:

Here's a bit about each.

  # ratings  
Michel J. Sullivan
Jim Butcher
Rebecca Roanhorse
 Andrea Stewart 
R. F. Kuang
N.K. Jemisin
Naomi Novik
S.A. Chakraborty
Nghi Vo 
Mark Lawrence
Sarah J. Maas
T.J. Klune
V.E. Schwab
Alix E. Harrow
Susanna Clarke
Jim Butcher
Brandon Sanderson
Patricia Briggs
Joe Abercrombie
Will Wight

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Goodreads Choice Award 2020

It's time to vote!  No, I'm not talking about the 2020 Presidential Election, we've already done our civic duty there. I'm talking about the Goodreads Choice Award!  I have two books eligible this year:

Neither made the first round, booo!  But due to my amazing fanbase, a number of my past titles have made it into the second round through the write-in process. Having two books eligible means that they might split the vote making neither one eligible, so if you are thinking of writing one in, please choose Age of Empyre as I think that will be the one that most people will be selecting (since it is the last in the series.  

But if you are going to try to help to get it to round #2, you have to hurry - today is the last day for voting! As always, you help would be greatly appreciated!

Friday, October 23, 2020

New Titles added to the Hurt Sale!

As some people may already know, we've been having a 50% off sale to get rid of stock that we received from the Ingram warehouses.  What is a "hurt book?"  It's a book that was shipped from the warehouse to a bookstore and then later returned to the warehouse.  These are 100% new books (no one has owned them before), so they (a) have no markings in them, (b) are not missing and pages, or (c) haven't been dog-eared.  But because they have "traveled a lot" (from the printer to the warehouse, from the warehouse to the bookstore chain's warehouse, from there to the individual stores, possibly back to the book chain's warehouse, and then back to Ingram where they normally live), they may have is some minor "wear and tear" on the exterior.  This could mean a scuffed dust jacket a banged corner, or some other minor imperfections.  

In some cases, these books are indistinguishable from books that have come right out of a printer's box, but they are declared as "hurts" because they go to the "returns" warehouse rather than the warehouse that ships out books that come directly out of a printer's box. 

Now, until just recently we DID NOT have any "hurts" for Age of Death or Age of Empyre because these are fairly new titles (one released in February of this year the other in June), but we did receive some of these now, and so the sale has been expanded to include all six titles.  This means you can now get an entire set of the series that has been SIGNED by me for just $84 rather than $168!

What if you already have some of the books?  No problem, you can buy just one or all six at just $14 apiece!  

I should also note that in addition to receiving Legends of the First Empire "hurts" we also received some of Grim Oak Press's anthologies. We have sold out of Unfettered and Unfettered II but we still have a few copies of Unbound (which includes a short story by me) and a fairly sizable number of Unfettered III.  Each is just $15. Here's a bit about those anthologies:

  • Unbound: 501 pages •  Only 20 copies left • Signed by Michael J. Sullivan •  includes short stories by Michael J. Sullivan •  Terry Brooks •  Joe Abercrombie •  Jim Butcher •  Mark Lawrence  •  Brian McClellan • Anthony Ryan  •  Brian Staveley • Rachel Caine • Kristen Britain • Harry Connolly • Delilah Dawson •  David Anthony Durham • Jason M. Hough  • Mary Robinette Kowal • John Marco • Tim Marquitz • Seanan McGuire • Peter Orullian  •  Kat Richardson •  Shawn Speakman  • Sam Sykes • Mazarkis Williams

  • Unfettered II: 651 pages •  Signed by Michael J. Sullivan (but he DOES NOT have a story in this anthology •  includes short stories by  Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson • Terry Brooks • Megan Lindholm (Robin Hobb) • Lev Grossman • Mark Lawrence • Naomi Novik • Tad Williams • Peter Orullian • Delilah S. Dawson • Jason Denzel • David Anthony Durham • John Gwynne • Brian Herbert & Kevin J. Anderson • Callie Bates • Todd Lockwood • Seanan McGuire • Cat Rambo • Robert V.S. Redick • Ken Scholes • Scott Sigler • Anna Smith Spark • Shawn Speakman • Anna Stephens • Patrick Swenson • Ramon Terrell • Marc Turner • Carrie Vaughn • Deborah A. Wolf
So far we have sold 427 copies (225 Legends books and 202 of the Anthologies), which have saved readers $6,000.  We still have a number of boxes left, so please help us clear these out and save yourself some money in the process.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Theft of Swords on Sale for $2.99


Well, my publisher didn't tell me about this, so I'm not sure how long the sale will last. But I stumbled over the fact that the ebook for Theft of Swords is on sale for just $2.99 (regularly $9.99). And because this book is actually an omnibus edition with two full-length novels, that means it's an even better deal (jus $1.50 per tale).

This is the first book in the Riyria Revelations which is a completed series of six novels sold through three volumes. The other two are Rise of Empire and Heir of Novron.  If you've recently read the Legends of the First Empire series, this would be a great time to dig into other books based in my world of Elan, and you'll be "in the know" and unfooled by a number of lies I tell about Elan's past in the pages of the Riyria stories.

This was my debut novel and the individual novels were released in 2008 (for the Crown Conspiracy) and 2009 (Avempartha).  The series is still a fan favorite with more than 45,660 4- and 5-star reviews on Goodreads and 1,384 ratings on  Here is a bit about the book from the marketing copy on the back of the book:

They killed the king. They pinned it on two men. They chose poorly.

There's no ancient evil to defeat or orphan destined for greatness, just two guys in the wrong place at the wrong time. Royce Melborn, a skilled thief, and his mercenary partner, Hadrian Blackwater, are enterprising thieves who end up running for their lives when they're framed for the death of the king. Trapped in a conspiracy that goes beyond the overthrow of a tiny kingdom, their only hope is unraveling an ancient mystery before it's too late.

You can pick up your $2.99 copy from any of the links below:

Friday, October 9, 2020

Hurt Sale Update: 340 books sold $4,860 in savings


I want to thank everyone for taking part in the 50% off "hurt book" sale.  Our garage is really starting to clear out, and that's a welcome change.  We might even be able to get our car back in there soon! Here are some statistics for the books sold so far:

  • 108 orders shipped
  • 340 books sold
  • $4,860 in savings to readers.
But we still have some books left (although we have sold out of Unfettered and have only one copy left of Unfettered II).  While the thought of burning books is abhorrent to me, it's better than dumping them into a landfill which is the only other alternative).   For those who don't know what a "hurt book is," they are new copies that weren't sold while in a bookstore and therefore returned to the warehouse.  Because warehousing books costs money, we had to get them "out of there" and the only place for them, for now, was our garage. 

Now some of these books are 100% pristine and others may have slightly bent corners or minor wear to the dust jackets. We, of course, are picking the best of the bunch when doing the shipping and at 50% off the cover price they are a great deal.

So if you are interested in quality hardcovers at deep discounts, please shop the sale and help me get access to my garage again. Any books not sold will have to be disposed of, and I'd rather not take that drastic measure. Hopefully, it won't come to that.

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Now Available - Paperback for Age of Death


Although the official release date isn't until November 17th, we've received some copies of Age of Death in the mass market paperback format.  They are now available in our store, and like all copies bought directly by us, they will be signed. This edition follows the size and format of the titles released by Del Rey such that all the books are the same height and width.

This leaves just one title yet to be released in the smaller format (Age of Empyre) which is due to be released on March 9, 2021.  Once that last title is available, we'll make a boxset available similar to the boxset created by Orbit for The Riyria Revelations. The only difference, of course, is it will be the mass market paperback size (4.1" x 7.4" rather than the trade paperbacks which are 5.4" x 8.25")

Why the difference? Well, for books we publish, we match the size of the original publisher and Orbit chose to do their books as TRADE paperbacks and Del Rey did theirs as MASS MARKET paperbacks.

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Virginia Early Voting


If you are like me and Robin, our "Voting Plan" was developed such that we don't have to physically show up to our polling place in November.  Long lines and possible exposure just made that seem like something to be avoided.  

So we voted absentee...but if you do that, make sure your vote has been received.  Most states have tracking information. For instance, in Virginia, you can check the status of your absentee ballot at this link.

Robin dropped her ballot off by hand when she had to do an errand "in town." But they wouldn't let her deposit mine, so she stuck it in the mailbox instead. 

Robin's got in a few days sooner:

But at least we know that both of them are safe and sound. We even put on our stickers, even though only each of us are the only ones seeing them ;-)

Sunday, September 27, 2020

50% off Hurt Hardcover Sale

A short while ago, we were cleaning out the Ingram warehouses of every Age of Legend book we could get our hands on (because we sold out the first printing, and the second printing wasn't yet off the presses). In doing so, we were shipped two pallets of books, much more than we were expecting. What we received were "hurt sales" of not only my books but a number of anthologies created by Grim Oak Press. Since these are currently taking up space in my garage, it's time for a HUGE SALE to clear them out.

What's a "hurt book"?  Well, when bookstores order copies that aren't eventually sold, the books are returned to the warehouse. All of these books are new (meaning they've never been read by anyone and won't have any marks or highlighting), but because they have gone back and forth to bookstores (and sat on shelves for some period of time), they have been handled a lot so there may be some minor dents in the cardboard covers or scuffs on the dust jackets. That said, some of the copies I have looked at are 100% pristine, and you don't even know they've been around the block a few times.  

Another type of returned book is a remainder.  Like hurt books, they also may have a little wear, and they've never been read by others. There is a small dot placed on the edge of the pages to indicate they aren't available for returns from bookstores. When Del Rey remaindered a few hundred Age of Myth books we picked them up cheaply. Some of them are first editions, but it's the luck of the draw whether you'll get one of those or not. 

Because these books are "gently used" we are selling them at a huge discount. All hurt books are priced at 50% off and include FREE US shipping!  We don't have any "hurts" for Age of War or Age of Empyre, but I added them to the sale at 20% off so people can buy a complete set while getting the other bargain-priced books in the series.

Now, I recently mailed out my newsletter and told people about this sale, so we sold out of all the Unfettered and Unfettered II books we had. But there are still copies available for Unbound and Unfettered III. These are massive tomes (500 and 650 pages respectively), and each is just $15!

These anthologies contain some of the biggest names in fantasy

  • Unbound has 23 short stories by Michael J. Sullivan • Terry Brooks • Joe Abercrombie • Mark Lawrence • Jim Butcher • Brian McClellan • Rachel Caine • Seanan McGuire • Anthony Ryan • Brian Staveley • Mary Robinette Kowal • Peter Orullian • Sam Sykes • David Anthony Durham • and many more.

  • Unfettered III has 38 stories by Robert Jordon & Brandon Sanderson • Terry Brooks • Robin Hobb • Lev Grossman • Tad Williams • Mark Lawrence • Naomi Novik • Seanan McGuire • John Gwynne • Peter Orullian • Carrie Vaughn • Robert V. S. Redick • David Anthony Durham  • Carrie Vaughn • Brian Herbert & Kevin J. Anderson • Ken Scholes • Delilah S. Dawson • and many more.

You won't find better fantasy talent than that at these prices. Quantities are limited, so if you are interested, pick up your copies right away.

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Age of Myth ebook Sale - Save 80%.

For a limited time (ending October 4th), Age of Myth will be on sale for just $1.99. That's an 80% savings off the $9.99 regular price. This book has only been on sale four times since its debut in 2016, so if you are thinking of digging into my latest series, now is an excellent time to do so. 

Why put the book on sale now? Well, we recently released the last book, and we know some people don't start an incomplete series. Now that all the books are out, people can binge-read through the entire tale While based in Elan, no prior knowledge of the Riyria tales is required to enjoy this series to its fullest, but for those people who have read Riyria, you'll learn I've lied to you about a great many things regarding various historical figures and the origin of the gods. Through the Legends books, you'll discover the truth that lies in myths.

The series has done remarkably well.  Here are just a few of its accomplishments:
  • 2 Books were New York Times Bestsellers
  • 3 Books were USA Today Bestsellers
  • 3 Boos were Washington Post Hardcover Bestsellers
  • 4 Books (all that have been eligible) were Goodreads Choice Award Nominees
Here is a bit about Age of Myth (from the back of the book copy)

Michael J. Sullivan's trailblazing career began with the breakout success of his Riyria series: full-bodied, spellbinding fantasy adventures whose imaginative scope and sympathetic characters won a devoted readership and comparisons to fantasy masters Brandon Sanderson, Scott Lynch, and J.R.R. Tolkien himself. Now Age of Myth inaugurates an original six-book series.

Since time immemorial, humans have worshipped the gods they call Fhrey, truly a race apart: invincible in battle, masters of magic, and seemingly immortal. But when a god falls to a human blade, the balance of power between humans and those they thought were gods changes forever. Now only a few stand between humankind and annihilation: Raithe, reluctant to embrace his destiny as the God Killer; Suri, a young seer burdened by signs of impending doom; and Persephone, who must overcome personal tragedy to lead her people. The Age of Myth is over. The time of rebellion has begun.

I think the sale is only available to US customers, although you should check your local online stores because I may be wrong about that. Here are links where you can pick up your copies:

If you haven't started the series, I hope you'll give it a try. I'm very proud of how it came out, and I'd love for you to join in the adventure!

Friday, September 25, 2020

Last night I was a guest on the Keystroke Media's Podcast "The Writer's Journey" to talk about various paths to publishing and what it takes to "make it" in this whole writing game. Near the end, Robin even did a "drop in" to discuss some contract issues to look out for.

Our thanks go out to Lauren Moore and Kalene Williams for hosting what became a marathon session.

Friday, September 4, 2020

Questions and Answers!

 I must admit, I enjoy doing interviews.  Oftentimes it gives me a chance to reflect on things I never thought on without someone posing a question.  

Recently, fellow author A.C. Cobble (who I know as Andrew), did an interview with me and today it went live on his site. I've had Andrew out to my house and we often talk about "the business." He's a sharp guy and an excellent writer, and I'm proud to have played some part in helping to make his path to publication just a little bit easier.  That said, I'm sure what I contributed is NOTHING compared to all his hard work, but I was still honored by his introduction to the interview...

"In addition to being the best-selling author that I know, Michael and his wife Robin, are amongst the most generous people I have ever met. There is no manual on how to achieve success in the publishing game, and when someone says there is, it’s because they’re a charlatan trying to sell you a course. Instead, we have something better, we have Michael and Robin. They are always open to sharing what they’ve learned in the industry, and for a legion of Indie authors, they are our insiders and can tell us how it REALLY works."

So if you want to learn a bit about my past, how Robin and I work together, and what's coming down the pike,  drop by Andrew's blog and read the interview here.

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Nolyn Sneak Peak


So, after a marathon session of intensive weekend editing, Robin and finally agreed on the content for the first section of the first chapter of Nolyn.  Yes, it took us 2 days to edit 8 pages, but we finally got something that we are willing to show others. So, how about a sneak peek?

Here for your reading enjoyment is the first paragraph.  I hope you like it!

Friday, August 21, 2020

Riyria and more on Audible's $6.95 Sale

I'm honored to be included along with the likes of Brent Weeks, Joe Abercrombie, R. A. Salvatore, and many more for Audible's $6.95 sale.  If you haven't yet started the Riyria Chronicles, now is a great time as The Crown Tower is included in the sale.  But you have to hurry, the sale ends August 23rd at 11:59 PM PT (US).

If you haven't yet heard the amazing talent that is Tim Gerard Reynolds, you owe it to yourself to check out the story (if for no other reason than to hear him work his magic).

Here are twelve fantasy books that caught my eye in the sale, but there are plenty more as well.  I hope you'll find something you'll love.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Boxsets are back in stock!

 Orbit ran through the print fun for the boxsets of Riyria (seen here)

So we've had them marked "out of stock" on our store. But we just received a shipment of 48 of them, so they are back in stock for now. For those who were waiting, check your emails as we have set aside copies for you.  We'll order more if this batch goes quickly, and I think it won't take so long in the future as it was the printing that was the problem.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

German Edition of Legends of the First Empire #4

 I just received my copy of the German translation for Legends of the First Empire #4. Looks like it hits the retailers later this month on the 27th.

Other books in the series include:

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Experienced masters and exciting newcomers in 2-for-1 audiobook sale!

Fantasy by experienced masters such as Brent Weeks and Raymond Fiest are joined by newcomers Duncan Hamilton and Will Wight in Audible's 2-for-1 sale. I picked the 14 fantasy titles that caught my eye, and, of course, my own Age of Death was one of them!  It's always great to get twice the listens for the same 1-credit price, so come on by and see what tickles your fantasy fancy and pick up a few new books to try!

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Legends of the First Empire slipcases are a go!

Now that the entire series is released, we thought it would be a good idea to do a slipcase to turn the hardcover editions into a nice boxed set.  But slipcases are expensive to make (especially in quantities under 250), and we weren't sure if people would be interested in them.  Well, to determine if people had some interest we launched a . . . you guessed it a Kickstarter!

We reached our goal in under 15 minutes, and currently have demand for at least 620+ slipcases in the US.  For people outside the United States, you'll also be able to get a slipcase, but there are two possibilities for shipping.
  • Ship directly from the US with the USPS - which is quite expensive.
  • If there are is enough demand, we can transfer a large shipment to the UK for distribution throughout the world.
So, if you aren't in the US, you can sign up here and we'll calculate the postage for you using both alternatives and you can determine if you want to proceed once you know the final costs.

Oh, and as part of the Kickstarter you can pick up discounted hardcovers in case you are missing any in your set.  Two of the books (Age of Swords and Age of Legend) are already out of print in the hardcover edition, but we purchased up a large supply of both for this Kickstarter.

If this sounds like it is of interest to you, stop on by the Kickstarter and check it out. But you have to do so soon. The Kickstarter will end July 14th at 7:00 PM (EDT).

Friday, June 12, 2020

Name The Scene

An old illustration I did back in 2009. For extra credit, can you name the three individuals portrayed?

Sunday, May 31, 2020

When will I receive my books?

Update 6/6/20/20 - Well, we got the rest of the books signed on Monday 6/1/20 and after 4 days of "official shipping" we are doing well. Here is a status:
  • 2,100 total orders (1,873 Kickstarter, 227 pre-orders on our website)
  • 997 orders shipped (47%)
  • 733 orders picked (meaning they are being packed up but no labels yet (35%)
  • 370 orders haven't been started (18%)
Click here to see a spreadsheet that will show all orders and what state each is in. I'll try to update it at the end of the day on Monday.  If the status has a number - that is your tracking ID and you can track it via the USPS site.  We'll also be uploading tracking information into Kickstarter.

NOTE: This data is only for US orders (except for website which has orders from all countries). We'll start preparing the pallets for Canada and Overseas on Monday.


This is a question that we have been receiving a lot recently. And with COVID-19 it's even harder than usual.  But I will tell you what I know at this precise moment, and update this page as I learn more.

To answer when you'll get your book, the first question is where did you pre-order it from. There are a number of possibilities.

  • Direct from us - which means you backed our Kickstarter or you bought from our store
  • From an online retailer like Amazon or Barnes and Noble
  • From your local bookstore who is doing curbside pickup or mailing books
Okay, let's give just a bit of history.  The original release date for the book was May 5th (just like the ebook and the audio versions), and there are two printers involved in its production: one that does the dust jackets, and the other which takes care of the printing of the interior pages and does the binding and folding the dust jacket around the outside. In early March, it was anticipated that the books would come off the press by mid-March, and be in the retail stores warehouses by end of March so that date looked fine.  Then the middle of March came and things started getting pretty interesting.

Some printers were shut down completely, others were operational because they were doing things for medical suppliers or printing essential items like instructions for large corporations with many sites. In any case, our "on press" date was pushed back and we had to change the date. We pushed to May 26th.  But that turned out not to be enough cushion.

In late April, we still weren't on the press so another date needed to be set, and to make matters worse, Ingram (the warehouse that ships to the retail chain) was collapsing operations and we couldn't use the Pennsylvania warehouse. All shipments that would arrive after May 1st had to go to their Tenessee warehouse. Since the printer's updated "off press" date was moved to May 20th, we set June 23rd as the new retail date (giving the retail chain 4 weeks to "move the books around" from place to place. In other words to get the books from the printer to Ingram, then Ingram get the books to the Amazon and B&N warehouses.  There is an additional step of getting books out of B&N warehouses and to retail stores - which is a whole different can of worms. At this point, I'm concentrating on "online" orders rather than curbside pickup.

Okay, so our sights were set on the next milestone, having books ready to ship out from the printer.  as it turned out May 20th didn't happen but we got close and on May 22nd there were 10,200 books waiting to go somewhere.  Two shipments were prepared.
  • One for 2,688 books to go from Harrisburg VA to Madison VA for orders bought directly from us.
  • The other for 7,512 books to go from Harrison VA to Jackson TN
Usually, these shipments take 1 - 2 days, but with COVID-19 it took longer. The Madison shipment arrived late in the day on May 27, and the Jackson TN got theirs on May 29.

Now, books bought directly from me, need to be signed, and normally we come in the next day to do that and for the number of books to be signed it would take 3 - 4 days), but that couldn't happen this time. The warehouse where we sign has strict rules from the Governor of Virginia regarding under what circumstances visitors are allowed into their facility. It was a good thing that the printing took longer because for a while there was no ability for us to get at the books to sign, and we were contemplating options such as signing in the parking lot, or getting a UHaul van to move the books from Madison to Luray where we would sign in our garage.  Long story short, they were able to build a little isolation area for us within the warehouse and as long as we remained masked, brought plenty of disinfectants (Lysol, Clorox wipes, hand sanitizer (which we couldn't get but substituted gloves which we did have) and also brought our own table and chairs we could get permission to sign for two days Friday May 29th and Monday June 1st. 

We signed 1,512 books on Friday and will finish up the 1,176 on Monday. Since no one took the signed books out of our area by end of day Friday, I suspect the shipping of our direct orders will start on Monday.  We have the following backorders:
  • 1,859 orders consisting of 3,045 books (Kickstarter)
  • 152 orders consisting of 280 books (bought directly through our website.
As the books start shipping, I'll report the number shipped and the backorder remaining on this page.

As for the retail chain, I mentioned before that the "official" release date is June 23, but I suspect they will start shipping pre-orders as soon as books arrive in their warehouses from the Ingram warehouse. Because Grim Oak Press is our distribution partner I have no insight to their online systems so I can't see when books have moved out, and I don't want to bug Shawn constantly with requests for updates, but I will ask him for snapshots mid-month and end of the month and post them here. 

I should note, that some people are reporting that their pre-orders have been canceled, probably because the retailers didn't know when they could expect books. So, if your order was affected, you can do the per-order again or buy directly from our site.  I suspect that new orders to our site will be processed within 48 hours of receiving as that is our terms and conditions when not dealing with backorders.

I have my own pre-order through Amazon, and I'll report here when it arrives as that will give people some indication of when the books are shipping through the retail chains.

As for brick-and-mortar stores, some are open for curbside delivery, but that varies from state to state. Keep in mind the books have to get from Ingram to the Indie bookstore or from Ingram to B&N warehouse to the B&N local store, so it may take 2 - 3 weeks before all those books get to their respective locations, which would make them "just in time" for the new June 23rd release date.

Non US Shipments
Okay, one last thing. All of the above was for US copies of books. I have no idea at this point how long it takes Amazon to move books from the US to their distribution centers in Europe or elsewhere.  I suspect that BookDepository (free shipping worldwide) will have the same delivery schedule as Amazon and there are some countries that can't be shipped to at all right now.

As for non-US books purchased through the Kickstarter or our Foreign Sale, those require pallets to be created and then mailed to freight forwarders. I've asked the people at our local warehouse when we can access to non-Age of Empyre books so we can prepare those shipments, and they are working on a plan for that.  I suspect we'll know something more in about a week or so, and I'll keep this page updated.

Bare with us people, we are doing all we can to get the books to you as soon as humanly possible, but most of this relies on other people and so it is outside our control. But we'll keep you as updated as possible.

Thursday, May 21, 2020


My present workhorse cap adorned with the Sullivan coat of arms purchased for me by my daughter while in Ireland.
Once again here we are in reply to questions on my previous posts…primarily the question about hats.
I tend to like old-fashioned things. I have developed a fondness to certain mostly obsolete tools. Most just struck me as classier than their contemporary counterparts, and I enjoy the sensibility or atmosphere they create. In using them however, I came to realize many are frequently better than the more generally accepted modern versions.  I’ve always wondered about this. Why the change? 
Price I have concluded to be the primary reason. Fountain pens for example have never been cheap, but a Bic Cristal, that ubiquitous clear plastic ball point, was introduced at $.19 cents a pen—and it hasn’t raised its price much at all since. Most things changed with the advent of mainstream plastic. Some because plastic was clearly the better choice, as in  medical tools, but others I suspect—like the fountain pen—proliferated based on cost, ease of manufacturing, and the commercial benefits of a product that is used only a few times then thrown away prompting the purchase of a new one. 
When disposable paper cups were first introduced as a means of improving sanitary conditions at public water pumps, where previously an attached tin cup was used, people who were in the habit of not throwing anything useful away, kept the paper cups and reused them. The public needed to be taught how not to be so frugal. While the paper cup was created for a sensible cause, not all disposables have been. 
The razor blade is a prime example. Razor companies don’t make much money selling razors, they make money selling blades. Straight razors create an awful return on investment as a one time purchase is all anyone needs for as the blade dulls, it is simply sharpened. The safety razor, the hefty chrome device that often uses a double headed blade that is dropped in, made shaving easier, but did invite the need for replacement blades. Still, replacement blades for an old-fashioned safety razor is minimal compared to the modern-day metal sandwich stack of the plastic disposables. 
Like most young men who began shaving in the seventies, I started with the new,  “cheap” plastic handled multi-bladed razors, but I soon became frustrated with how quickly hair gathered and clogged between the edges of such blades making them useless. The more blades the quicker they clogged. I took to constantly scrubbing the blades with my toothbrush between ever few swipes, which did my toothbrush no good. Much later I tried the safety razor my father once used. I cut myself several times and the result was an awful shave. 
This is why they razor was improved! I concluded. I was wrong.  
Here I learned a valuable lesson: Old things aren’t like new things. They don’t work the same. Most often, they demand more from the user, they require a bit of practice and a modicum of skill. 
Shaving with a straight razor, or even a single bladed safety has a learning curve. For one thing, I discovered that when using a single blade, it is necessary to shave twice. Once, going with the general direction of the hair, and once going across it. This takes more time than a single pass with a double or quadruple blade, and this time saver was clearly one of the selling features for men in a hurry. But it isn’t an improvement—merely a time saver. The shave of a double blade isn’t as good as a double shave with a single, because the blade only cuts one way. And the idea that one blade stretches the hair so the other can cut close is actually a negative made to look like a positive by marketing people, as this effect causes ingrown hairs by cutting below the skin and often razor burns. 
I was drawn to the old-fashioned safety razor out of frustration with the plastic, but I stayed because of the quaint elegance of the antiquated ritual. I purchased fancy shaving cream and brushes, cups, and soaps and took my time learning how to shave correctly. Side effects resulted in never running out of shaving cream or razors again. I have enough blades to last about a hundred years, and shaving soap for another century. The most surprising by-product is that something I hated having to do, I now enjoy. I actually find shaving fun because I like the smell of the British Truffit and Hill Sandalwood scented cream, I enjoy creating the perfect lather, and I am proud of my ability to do a job that takes a bit of skill.  
Because I found so many benefits from using a safety razor I tried a straight. This is a whole level up. Far more challenging, but also more rewarding—and more versatile. Getting those hairs under the nose is near impossible with a bulk safety or disposable razor, but a strait blade can get anywhere. The first time I shaved entirely with a straight razor with out a nick, I was proud. You just don’t get that with a disposable. 
While I no longer smoke, when I did (back in my twenties) I smoked a pipe and hated cigarettes for many of the same reasons that I now dislike disposable razors. I found them to be crap. The tobacco was dry, and the flavor was always a fine bouquet of charred paper. Pipes, by contrast, were old friends. They went with me on trips and I had my favorites. Tobacco I used were blends that I sampled like wine. By now you can likely guess I didn’t smoke for the nicotine.  In fact, after about ten years, when I detected the first hint of an unreasonable urge to smoke, I realized I was developing an addiction and I promptly quit. I don’t like anything controlling me. It’s sort of a pet peeve, if peeve was analogous to rage.    Still it is the same thing. Pipes I found to be so much better than cigarettes for just as many reasons as razors. 
I still use a computer to write, but I compose ideas in old-fashioned notebooks using the previously discussed fountain pens. There are many practical benefits to fountain pens, (and with the more modern versions, few negatives) but mostly I use them because I enjoy the subtle elegance and old-world, storybook sensibility that accompanies the act of picking from an assortment of artfully designed bottles of ink to load a pen that is a work of art that you might have owned and used for decades, or perhaps was handed down to you from a grandparent. They transcend tools, and aspire to that lofty plateau of old companion the way a legendary singer-songwriter feels about their battered guitar who was always there to console after a heartbreak. 
Books are that way too, and cups, watches, typewriters, some umbrellas and scarfs and…hats. 
The very first thing I purchased with my very first pay check was a hat. It was a Newsboy, the one with the button in the center of the top, not to be confused with the flat top. 
The wool cap was made “popular” in 1571 when Queen Elizabeth, in an effort to help out the wool trade, required all males over the age of six (except for nobility) to wear wool hats. Caps were cheap, so the common man wore a cap. So too did some aristocrats when sporting, as wind had a tendency to topple stovepipes and even occasional flip off the more study derby. 
When Irish immigrants came to America they brought the established habit of wearing wool caps. The most common for them was the single button Newsboy, Cabbie or Paddy Hat, etc. The Flat cap without the button, I personally feel is the more British version of the collapsable brimmed cap, although they are popular in both counties as well as Scotland and Wales. To me the flats are a bit more aristocratic and priggish—but that’s just me and based on the look and mostly the feel of a flat which is stiff, while the button top is more like a rag with a brim, which I find far more versatile and therefore, practical. 
That first hat I bought was a brown corduroy and I wore it often from the age of sixteen and took it on many adventures. Out of an abundance of caution, I even sewed money into the brim when I took my first out of state trip with friends. Then I met and fell in love with a young woman named Robin. We were both poor and I hadn’t much to give her, and so I demonstrated my feelings by gifting to her, what she well knew, was my fondest possession—my cap. 

The original corduroy 

After we married we shared the cap and it wasn’t until I was published through Orbit and went to New York that I felt my first cap was too old. After thirty years it had lost all shape. The lining had shredded. The headband was nearly gone as well and the brim broken in so many places it simply sagged. 
That is when I assumed Manhattan must have a hat store. We spent hours looking for one. I found dozens that sold hats, mostly baseball style with NYC on them, but no pure hat stores. Finally I began asking. No one could help. Then one old man mentioned JJ Hats saying he thought it might be the last in the city. 
We sought it out and I purchased a replacement for the original which lasted me thirty years and which I still have today, but now I leave the old gal on the shelf granting her a much deserved rest. 

Adventuring fedora

Since then I have purchased several. I got a white linen cap for summers, a wool one with fold down ear flaps for deep winter, a black derby for formal occasions, a fedora for adventures, and while I was in Death Valley I bought a cowboy hat for very practical reasons, which I now most often use when riding my lawnmower on hot sunny days. 

The Death Valley hat

Once more I found that the antiquated habits of using hats, scarfs, and umbrellas to be among the forgotten wisdoms of an earlier time. Being from the midwest, no one wore hats or scarfs or carried umbrellas—they were never more than a few feet from the warm shelter of a car. Only when I spent time in a city using mass transit did I discover the wisdom of ancient treasures. 
Hats are one of those—caps in particular. They keep the rain and the heat of the sun off the crown of your head, and the visor aids sight far better than sunglasses which hinder as much as help. The visor also defends against pelting snow and droplets. A cold wind hitting one ear can be defended by pulling down one side, or flaps if you have them. You can use it as a handkerchief to wipe off sweat, or a damp bench for your wife to sit on. When not in use a cap can by stuffed in a pocket, frisbeeied to a friend, or used to protect a drink from insects—or to swat one. I’ve even used my cap as an oven mitt, and a handy bag. 
I suspect that somethings become obsolete because they are replaced by an improvement, but then there are those that people let slip away through false promises or popular fashions. I’m not crazy; like I said I write with a computer, but I always find time to literally put pen to paper because…as with a razor, and a hat, it’s fun, and the ink flowing onto the page becomes more than a metaphor. It is the smell of baking bread that awakens the appetite and heralds the wonders of creation.