Monday, December 11, 2023

A tiny baby crawls onto the front page of Royal Road

More than a decade ago, Robin started doing Kickstarters, and low and behold we found a whole new audience of readers that had never heard about my stories before, and we have been warmly welcomed, and eternally grateful for all the support.

Four months ago, she started a new experiment, to introduce my stories to the 401,000+ readers on Royal Road, a free serialized fiction site where people can read books for free.

Because the Riyria Chronicle books are largely standalone (and only the first two books are controlled by traditional publishers), she started there with these three stories:

Uptake has been slow. Many of the most popular books on the site have tens of thousands of followers and millions of views. In comparison, we have only 86,000 views and 758 followers. Even so we hit the coveted "Rising Stars" list for a short while, and that gave the books some exposure.

Now, I know what you may be thinking - Drumindor? That book hasn't been written yet - well, it has, but it's in its rough first-draft format, and the last chapter posted yesterday.  Now, as a rough draft it's riddled with typos and various grammar errors, but it will be on Royal Road and people can read it for free until the end of this month.

But the cool thing is, that with the posting of this last chapter, the 379,000+ words of these three books changed to "completed" other than "on-going," and because people have been rating the stories so highly it is now the #6 of the BEST COMPLETED list - and since the top 10 show up on Royal Road's Home Page, it may get some more attention now.  Here's hoping!

If you have the time, please stop by Royal Road and follow the book, it'll please Robin to no end to see the number of followers rise.

Thursday, December 7, 2023

What's next


It's been busy times at the Sullivan household, but when isn't it? Major activity includes:

But what about the next Kickstarter? What's going on with Indie: The movie? When will the Drumindor beta start? What is Michael writing now? When will Tim do his next recording? We field questions like this all day, so it's time to make sure people know about our WHAT'S NEXT MASTER PAGE.  

This page is updated as new milestones are met, and at a minimum either I or Robin will update it once a week.  So if you are wondering what is going on - give a click and find out for yourself!  

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

The Rise of The Rise and Fall

I love it when an entire series is out and available for sale. I like it even more when the books are selling well.  We just noticed that all three books are in the TOP 10 of the bestselling Sword and Sorcery audio books  (#1, #3, and #8).  That made my day! Our thanks to everyone who is reading and telling others about these books.

Monday, November 6, 2023

Two Documentaries are Green Lit!

Indie Author: a documentary 

As some may know, independent filmmaker Adam Grandy is making a documentary about Indie Publishing and Robin and I will be featured in it.

Other authors involved include: Will Wight (Cradle), Bryce O'Conner (Wraithmarked Creative), Delemhach (House Witch), AC Cobble (Merrick Books), Daniel B. Greene (Neon Ghosts), M.L. Wang (The Sword of Kaigen), Phil Tucker (too many books to count), and Travis Baldree (Legends and Lattes).

Here is a little blurb about the project:

Indie Author is a movie for the dreamers of the world. For most authors, writing is their passion, but the odds have always been stacked against them. Enter the underdogs, the people who didn't let anything stand between them and the impossible. They are the daydreamers, the romantics, and the storytellers who found what it takes to earn a full-time living from their craft and have built a community to help others will their fantasies into reality. Through their stories, you might find answers to launch your own writing career. At a minimum, you'll be entertained, inspired, and well-armed with the hard truths and inside facts about "the writer's life."

The plan was to fund through the project through Kickstarter, and their were funding levels for a digital copy of the movie along with a Blu-ray disc version, and boxset (with tons of bonus material). There were even pledge levels to attend the premier and after party (held in Luray and at Robin and mine's house).  A really cool reward was a way to be included in the movie!

Well, as the project neared its end, it looked like it might fall a few thousand short, so we added a second documentary - this was focused on readers of my book.

Elan Unveiled: secrets of the creation process

This will be a spoiler-filled discussion between Robin and myself on all things related to my books.  Here are some of the things we have planned to talk about.

  • What was the seed that started the story, and how did it grow to 20+ books

  • Changes made as a result of alpha or beta reader input

  • Why certain change requests weren't implemented

  • What died on the cutting room floor and why

  • Red herrings and misdirection - if it looks like a mistake it probably isn't - find out what is REALLY going on.

  • Robin's favorite Easter eggs and the implications to the story as a whole

  • Story details that Michael and Robin argued about, and who won each battle (Hint: It's usually Michael, but Robin got a few things in).

  • Most commonly asked inquiries and the answers that might just surprise you. You'll even be able to pose your own questions before filming starts so the answers can be provided as part of this bonus content. 

If you've read my books and find yourself (a) combing the pages for Easter eggs or (b) arguing with others about the meaning of something in particular or (c) just speculating on your own about  various plot elements, then you won't want to miss out on this bonus reward (which is available to anyone who pledges $25 or more to the Indie Author project). Even if you consider yourself to be an expert on Elan or  think you know what Michael has up his sleeve, you probably don't know the half of it - but you will after getting access to this bonus content!

My fans rallied

Robin put the word out and additional pledges poured in.  Within a matter of minutes the project went from $5,000 short to fully funded and it ended up at 146% and raised more than $58,000 from 717 backers.

Missed out? No worries

If any of this sounds like something you'd be interested in, but you are just learning about it now, you can still join in the fun. There is a backdoor known as a "manual add" - which essentially lets you become a backer even though the project is over. Just head over to this link

We hope you'll join in the fun. We think these will be two great documentaries, and we hope others are as excited about the project as we are.


Thursday, October 19, 2023

Free Royce Short Story

 A number of people have asked for a pre-Hadrian story about Royce, and for the the most part, I've not "gone there" because Royce was a less than "happy camper" during those days.  But when Wraithmarked Creative wanted a short story for their "When Swords Fall Silent Anthology" I made an exception. It's called "May Luck Be with You" and the story explains the origin of Royce's name.

If you take the Royal Road route, please follow, favorite, and rate the story - or drop a review to let me know what you think.

Saturday, October 7, 2023

Theft of Swords is a Daily Deal - get it for just $2.99

THEY KILLED THE KING. THEY PINNED IT ON TWO MEN. THEY CHOSE POORLY. Royce Melborn, a skilled thief, and his mercenary partner, Hadrian Blackwater, make a profitable living carrying out dangerous assignments for conspiring nobles-until they are hired to pilfer a famed sword. What appears to be just a simple job finds them framed for the murder of the king and trapped in a conspiracy that uncovers a plot far greater than the mere overthrow of a tiny kingdom.

From the New York Times, USA Today, and Washington Post  bestselling  author comes a tale of treachery and adventure, sword fighting and magic, myth and legend.

Theft of Swords was originally published as: The Crown Conspiracy and Avempartha.

Just $2.99 - Today Only

Amazon | B&N | apple Books | Kobo | ebooks

Friday, October 6, 2023

Indie Author: a documentary for all who dare to dream

Okay, so here's something I never thought I'd be talking about.  I "might" be in a movie. Here's the deal.

One day we got an email from "some guy" who wanted to talk to us about a film project. Usually these requests are from companies shopping for "an option" on one or more of my books.  That's kinda like a reservation. Someone gives the author some money, and the producer gets a certain amount of time to try and put the project together.

This request was not that.

"This guy" — I'll call him Adam from now on because that's his name — had seen Robin and I on someone's YouTube channel being interviewed about something — I think it might have been about Kickstarters. Anyway, he found our publishing history, and our partnership, to be quite compelling. So what Adam was actually approaching us about was making a documentary about us and my publishing journey.

To say that both Robin and I had the same response would be an understatement. We had to suppress our laughs. We didn't want to make Adam feel foolish, even though what he said sounded (at least to us) as the dumbest idea ever.  "Who in their right mind would want to see that," we replied.  Adam tried to convince us there were people who would be interested. We had our doubts. But if he wanted to waste his time on this pipe dream, who were we to stop him.

BTW: For anyone not familiar with the term, a pipe dream is a hope or plan that you know will never happen. Its origins come from the hallucinations produced when smoking opium. Originally these hallucinations were called opium dreams, opium pipe dreams, or pipe dreams. In the 1870s, the term pipe dream became the dominate phrase used to describe the hallucinations a person experienced while under the influence of opium. But I digress . . .

Anyway, after that first call, we didn't think much more about it. We often get "crazy people" with "bit ideas" regarding all kinds of "unrealistic ventures." In almost all cases, it's a single phone call then we never hear from them again, which is fine by us.  

But Adam called back a little while later.

He talked about various ideas he had come up with which led to some other discussions where he learned about my mentoring work to help  a small group of aspiring authors develop their craft, and Robin's endeavors to help authors earn more by learning the ins and outs of publishing. After that, Adam got even more excited.  We still thought his idea was crazy, and again we didn't think anything else would come of it.

 But it didn't end there. 

To be honest, I'm not sure how many total calls there were, but the more Adam talked the more we liked him. In many ways we saw ourselves...a creative person with a story to tell and a dream of telling it. His medium was just a big different. And I liked his passion and tenacity. We still thought it wasn't going to work, but we wanted to make it work - not for ourselves but for Adam's sake.  

That's when lightning struck Robin. Now a bolt of lightning is generally considered to be one of two things:

  • a sudden illumination and the destruction of ignorance
  • or punishment of humans by the gods from the skies, most commonly attributed to Zeus
This bolt might be both. I don't know exactly what Robin said but it was something along the lines of, "Look, I really like your passion, but I can't see how this will succeed, but if you're really serious about it I can think of something that 'might' work."

That's when she went on to talk about all the various indie authors we know and how successful they have become. Each of us has had our own varied path to success, and we all learned a lot along the way. In general, the "indie publishing community" is quite cooperative (much more so than traditional published authors) and we're always sharing information and strategies. So Robin's idea was while "we" weren't enough to make such a project compelling, if we expanded it and included "others," then, there might be something that people would be interested in.

Adam LOVED the idea.

To be honest, we still weren't sure if Adam was goign to actually "do something" or just be a guy with a dream that never quite got it over the finish line.  But the next phone call was to setup a weekend where he and his cinematographer could come out to shoot some initial footage.  

Okay, so we finally understood Adam was serious.

Robin got on the computer and reached out to some authors who she thought would be a good fit for this. She even was able to convince a few of them to drop what they were doing and head to our house to join us for the weekend's shoot.

Since that original weekend, Robin (and our friend Bryce O'Conner - CEO of Wraithmarked Creative) convinced other authors to sign on to the project. Here's a list of some of them: Will Wight, Travis Baldree, Daniel B. Greene, Bryce O'Conner, M.L. Wang, delmach (author of House Witch series), A.C. Cobble, and Phil Tucker. 

There's just one small problem.

Money. Film production is MUCH more expensive than writing a book. Adam isn't rich, and he didn't have the funds, and while we could finance the project, neither Robin or I were convinced of making enough to earn back what we would have to pay out. If Adam and his crew took no income whatsoever, they would still need $40,000 for equipment rental, travel expenses, post production editing, blu-ray production, and paying for a venue to hold a premier.  That is a lot to risk when we still didn't know how to judge the interest in such a project. 

Luckily there's a solution for people in that predicament.

Kickstarter. It's the bastion for dreamers and people with crazy ideas. The concept is simple - tell people what you are going to make, and if they are interested, they pre-order it. If the project has legs, it funds and the thing is made. If it's a dud, then it dies on the vine, no money is transferred, and there's no harm and no foul. To be clear, if this project funds, Robin and I won't be taking any money. Our hope is that Adam won't have to volunteer his time and talents. 

So, since that filming weekend Adam has been working on setting up the Kickstarter and making an introductory video. The project will launch October 10th, and if you have any interest in backing it, you can sign up to be notified when it goes live.  While still a work in progress, here is what Adam has come up with so far.

I do hope (for Adam's sake) that some of you will be interested in this project. You'll hear A LOT about Robin and I - our background - how we do things - all stuff that people seem to be interested in based on feedback from our Author's Notes and Afterwords. Plus, you'll get the same from a bunch of other authors. And especially if you dream of writing your own book someday, you'll learn a ton about what it takes to go from a blank page to earning a full-time living. But even if you aren't a writer, we think you'll be entertained and inspired by these people who did the impossible and made their dreams a reality - and hopefully, if we all pull together, we can do the same for Adam.

Friday, September 29, 2023

Esrahadddon ARC's have come in!

 Are you a book reviewer (website, podcast, YouTube) or BookTok influencer? Would you like to receive an ARC (Advanced Reading Copy) of the last book in the Rise and Fall series?  Here are some details:

  • For US Reviewers: You can receive a paperback advanced reading copy. It's a monster at 736 pages and 2 1/2 pounds, or you can get an ebook version, or both.

  • For Non US Reviewers: No physical book is available but you can get an ebook of your choice.

NOTE: Review copies are sent "in the hopes of" not in "exchange for" a review. Receiving a copy does not obligate you to writing a review, although we would certainly welcome one.

Books will be sent out daily and while the current hardcover release date is in December, it's likely to shift to January based on current print schedules.

Friday, September 15, 2023

On Sale: Nolyn & Farilane - 63% off

August was the launch month for Esrahaddon (the final book in the Rise and Fall Trilogy). So,Audible couldn't have picked a better time to put the first two book of the series on sale:

For the next 15 days, you can get either title at a 63% savings (just $7.99). That's almost like getting both books for the cost of a single credit.  Listen to them and fall in love with the incredible narration of Tim Gerard Reynolds, and when your done, pick-up the new and shiny Esrahaddon. It's a great deal at 29 1/2 hours for a single credit.

As always, Robin and I thank you for your support.

Thursday, September 14, 2023

Update on the Free Novel Experiment

 So some of you may know that Robin has been doing an experiment on Royal Road.  She's basically posted two of the my novels for free in the hopes of finding new readers.  So far, it's working well.

  • It hit the "Rising Star" list (albeit near the bottom), and stayed there for several weeks.
  • It's currently in the Top 100 for Best Rated books (#92 to be precise).
  • It's just a bit behind one of the most popular books on the site (Dungeon Crawler Carl)!

Not bad considering this site is mainly LitRPG and Progression Fantasy readers, and Riyria is neither of those.

Do you want to help?

There are several ways to do this.

Friday, August 25, 2023

Release Day +10 Esrahaddon

It's been 10 days since the release of Esrahaddon (in audiobook and ebook), and the reviews are coming in. I'm pleased that peole seem to be liking the book so much.  The audio version received more than 100 ratings and is running at a 4.8 average.  Out of the 42 books released on August 15th, only one has more ratings than Esrahaddon. Here are some of the things people are saying:

This is my longest single book so it's a great credit to lisening hours ratio (more than 29 and a half hours!) And as always, it's narrated by the exceptional Tim Gerard Reynolds. If you haven't gotten a copy yet, you can get yours here.


Thursday, August 17, 2023

Release Day+1 - Esrahaddon!


Hey all, yesterday we launched Esrahaddon, the 19th book in the world of Elan. I should not this is ONLY for the ebook and audiobook versions. The printed books (both limited editions and regular hardcovers) are with the printer, and it will still be a few months before those are in our hand,

Even so, we ended up with just a tad over 15,000 books sold in pre-order (either through Amazon, Audible, our private store, or the Kickstarter. That's pretty good!  Long ago we learned that most mid-list books are lucky to sell 5,000 copies so we are way ahead of that.

We also hit a number of the bestseller lists on Amazon (37 total, and 7 of them where #1)

If you would like to pre-order a signed hardcover (regular or limited edition), you'll get it before the December 5th release date (basically as soon as we receive copies.

Thanks to the Kickstarter, nearly 4,000 people received the gamma version of Esrahaddon starting in May. If you are one of those people who have already read the book, please consider posting a review on Goodreads or Amazon. When it comes to a newly released title, no one wants to be the "guinea pig," and pick up a copy without hearing if others have liked it, so that would be a great help.

Thursday, August 3, 2023

The free story experiment begins!

When I first started writing the Riyria Revelations, my plan was to post the stories on the Internet for free. You see, I didn't want to publish (that way just led to the dark side), and I had no clue how to self-publish (this was before the kindle, after all). At the time, there was no good place to do this so I think I had about three or five readers. Well, these days there's a great site for free stories, and it's called Royal Road. There are hundreds of thousands of readers out there, many reading early works by unknown authors, but Robin thought it might be a good place to help people discover Royce and Hadrian as well. She was right about using Kickstarters, so maybe she can pull this rabbit out of her hat, too.

Right now I have 50,000+ words posted and only 4 - 6 followers per title. That's not so good, but at this point there's no place to go but up.  Here's what's out there so far.

  • 4 Riyria short stories (25,888 words)
  • 2 non-Riyria shorts (13,280 words)
  • 3 chapters of The Death of Dulgath (12,690 words and new chapters posting daily)
The plan is to release my two indie standalone Royce and Hadrian novels (The Death of Dulgath and The Disappearance of Winter's Daughter) a chapter at a time - each day at 12:00 noon Eastern Time. When completed, that will be 215,000+ words.

Already a fan? I need your help!

Perhaps you've already read these shorts and novels. And if so - great! I thank you for your support, and I hope you loved them. And if you did, would you care to help others find these stories? 

You see, Royal Road has hundreds of thousands of readers, but there are millions of words on the site, and it's almost impossible for those throngs to find a new title. The solution is the "Rising Stars" list where books that are gaining momentum (as evidenced by followers and favorites), get a spotlight shown on them. So, if you could go to the site (it's 100% free) and click follow and favorite, that would help a great deal. 

Haven't read the Riyria Chronicles?

Maybe you've only read the Riyria Revelations.  Or perhaps you've come to my writing through Legends of the First Empire or the Rise and Fall books. If that's the case, then there's an even better reason for you to visit Royal Road. Free stories!  The way this site works, is authors regularly publish chapters (usually as they write them), but because these books are already written and published, I'm going to post a chapter a day (that's what the Royal Road experts suggest you do in order to gain a following). 

By the time this experiment is over, I'll have posted two complete full-length novels (that's 215,000+ words). Below is a bit about each book, to see if you might be interested in taking a peek.

Three times they tried to kill her. Then a professional was hired.
So was Riyria.

When the last member of the oldest noble family in Avryn is targeted for assassination, Riyria is hired to foil the plot. Three years have passed since the war-weary mercenary and the cynical ex-assassin joined forces to start life as rogues-for-hire. Things have gone well enough until they're asked to help prevent a murder. Now they must venture into an ancient corner of the world to save a mysterious woman who knows more about Royce than is safe and cares less about herself than is sane.

When Gabriel Winter's daughter mysteriously disappears and is presumed dead, the wealthy whiskey baron seeks revenge. Having lived in Colnora during the infamous Year of Fear, he hires the one man he knows can deliver a bloody retribution - the notorious Duster. Riyria's job appears easy: discover what happened to the missing duchess and, if she lives, bring her home . . . if not, punish those responsible. But nothing is simple in the crowded, narrow, mist-filled streets of Rochelle where more than one ancient legend lurks.

As always, I'm eternally grateful

I must say, that I feel a bit embarrassed to make this request. After all, you've already helped to make my dreams a reality, and now I am asking for more. But I truly think these books are a great deal of fun and I would like more people to read them. And since, they can do so without giving me a dime, I think it's might be worth asking for a helping hand.  I'll keep writing and hopefully others will keep reading.

Monday, July 31, 2023

Don't Miss the Orconomics Kickstarter!

Of all the indie books I've read and loved (and there have been many). The one that stand head and shoulders above the rest is Orconomics. Zachary isn't a fast writer, but he's an excellent one and his trilogy (The Dark Profit Saga), is finally done, and he's launching the final book with a Kickstarter for the full set. 

Why do I love it so much?  Well, it's so damn fun, and addictive, and original, and just plain wonderful.What's it about? Well, here's the back of the book marketing copy: 

High comedy meets high fantasy in this award-winning, bestselling satire
Fight, kill, loot, get credit. Repeat until you're dead.

The adventuring industry drives the economy of Arth, where professional heroes are hired to risk their lives to slay fantastic creatures. After said slaying, the loot gets hauled back and divided among investors, banks, plunder funds, adventurers, and the Heroes' Guild. This works out well for everyone except the Shadowkin—orcs, goblins, kobolds and the like—who must apply to become Noncombatant Paper Carriers (or NPCs) to avoid being killed and looted by heroes.

When Gorm Ingerson, a disgraced and drunken Dwarven ex-hero with a checkered past, stands up for an undocumented Goblin, he is forced to accept a suicidal quest to save himself and his new friend from certain death. With one shot at redemption, Gorm must get his party of eccentric misfits to stop fighting each other long enough to recover a stolen treasure and stay one step ahead of the powerful organizations showing an unusual interest in their progress. Through a series of unfortunate choices and with the guiding hand of an insane goddess, Gorm inadvertently sets off a chain of events that will change his lifeand the worldforever.


Oh and you don't have to take my word about how good of a book it is. Orconomics won the SPFBO (self-publishing Fantasy Blog Off), and it was the highest rated book (out of 1,200 entries) over the first four years of that competition). I think it's still tied for first place after 9 years of that competition started by Mark Lawrence.

I'm an enthusiastic backer of this project, and I hope you will be, too. It's currently just shy ($9,000) of becoming one of the six-figure elite, and never was there a project that deserved it more. So, what say you? Do you want to be part of something truly special? Then head over to the Kickstarter and back it. You can thank me later - it truly has my highest possible recommendation.

Thursday, July 13, 2023

Author Interview - The Fantasy Review

I had a great interview with the folks over at The Fantasy Review.  There were a lot of great questions, but the one that is probably most interesting to people here is:

 "Are you working on any new books or other projects at the moment?"  

Please check it out. The Fantasy Review is a great resource for people reading in the genre.

Monday, July 10, 2023

Starting From Scratch

So, back in the day, once I returned to writing after a ten-year hiatus, I vowed not to publish because riding the query-go-round and receiving nothing but rejections was just too painful. My plan at that time was to just publish the books online for free, and hopefully, a few friends would read them.

That didn't go well. At the time, they were on a website that few people knew of, and I think I only had three or four people take a look.

These days, there are much better sites for making stories available for free, one of them is Royal Road. It's mainly a place for people to serialize their novels, but for now, I'm going to post some of my short stories out there. The hope is I get some "eyeballs" on it, and then I can post some of my novels in the hope that some new readers will discover my work.

As with most sites of this kind, discoverability is difficult, but I'm hoping that maybe more than three of four of you will read, rate, and comment on my stories, and if you do, others will start to find them. 

Royal Road is free, and there are many stories to be found there. (Mother of Learning - a serial novel that has been doing amazingly well, had a Kickstarter done by Wraitemarked Creative that I backed and I'm enjoying the story quite a bit.

So please go here, checkout my tale, and please comment or rate it so others might find my work.

Saturday, July 8, 2023

Farilane Trailer

 It's been over a year since I posted this video, but it was buried in a larger post and so some people might not have seen it so I'm sharing again. If you haven't read Farilane (and you should since Esrhaddon is just a bit more than a month away),  this may get you to give it a try.

My eternal thanks to @RiyriaExplained, a massive fan on YouTube.

Thursday, July 6, 2023

Fantasy Review's Six Fantasy Books That Will Make You Believe in the Power of Hope

I'm often asked by readers about other books that are like my own. In many ways, there aren't that many because I tend to see the world through rose-colored glasses, and much of fantasy prefers grim-dark spectacles. But I recently ran across a list from The Fantasy Review that focused on the more positive aspects of fantasy. So I thought I would take a moment and shine a spotlight on the books they picked. So here are their Six Fantasy Books That Will Make You Believe in the Power of Hope.

I hope you find this list helpful, and I have my fingers crossed that you'll find more books to love. Oh, and thanks again to Robin, who did all the hard work of putting the montage of covers together and compiling data from Goodreads for the following chart.

  Title  Author    Publisher   Ratings   Reviews  
Travis BaldreeTor92,50119,302
T. J. KluneTor 486,459 80,996
 Raymond E. Fiest 
  Bantam Spectra  92,4722,327
 Terry Brooks  Del Rey94,3034,662
Emly TeshTorDotCom16,1713,126
  Michael J. Sullivan  Orbit   64,926   4,668

Wednesday, July 5, 2023

SAVE 80% - Age of War Audiobook

There's another great opportunity to save big on a Legends of the First Empire audiobook.  As part of the monthly deals, Age of War is just $6.99 (less than half a credit).  This was my first New York Times Bestseller, and it has a 4.8 / 5.0 rating on Audible with more than 11,900 ratings.  If you haven't picked it up yet, this would be an excellent opportunity to do so.  Get your copy here.

Sunday, July 2, 2023

A very big side benefit of writing

When I started writing, I was just hoping to get someone . . . anyone. To read my books. I hoped they would enjoy it, and over the years a number of people have written to me saying that they have. That is, indeed, a gift beyond measure.  But from time to time I get an email like this:

"I have always hated books. I didn’t like that when I was in school I was forced to read them. It did not help that I was always bad at reading; my ADHD made sure of that. Similar to your daughter it takes a lot of energy out of me to read so I just don’t. I have not read a single book (not even my books for class) in full since 5th grade, when I read the Hardy Boys. I am 24 years old now. My friend in college two years ago recommended I try reading the Riyria books. Hesitantly I went to a library and picked up Theft of Swords. I could not put down the book. For an entire week, I spent every bit of my free time reading Theft of Swords. Something inside me changed. I started to actually like the calmness of reading. I was able to quiet my mind because I was diving into this whole knew world. I quickly picked up Rise of Empire and was able to finish that in two weeks. I found a new love of reading."

I never in a hundred years expected to have this kind of impact. As a young boy, I, too, didn't like reading. It was Tolkien who got me to find my "love of reading," and to find out I've done the same for someone else is a treasure beyond measure.

Friday, June 23, 2023

Best Fantasy Books for Beginners

I may not have mentioned it lately, but I'm thrilled to be in one of the best professions in the world. Storytelling affects people in so many ways, and when I get an email saying, "Your books turned me onto fantasy, and now I'm devouring everything I can find," I can't help but smile.

Petrik Leo of Novel Notions does a great job introducing readers to new fantasy books and just did his second Best Fantasy Books for Beginners post. This is great for many reasons, but also because Petrik highlights so many self-published authors — many of whom I consider my friends (and hopefully, they feel the same way about me).

Petrik broke his recommendations into a number of groups, including:

  • Classic Epic Fantasy
  • Modern Epic Fantasy
  • Magic School Setting
  • Cozy and Urban Fantasy
  • Morally Gray Main Characters or Grimdark Fantasy
Here are all 20 books, and I'm proud to have one of mine included in the group.

Go watch Petrik's, video. He has a lot of insights. But to help you narrow down which books to try out first, I've included a handy-dandy chart below which will take you straight to Goodreads so you can check out the titles (just click the book covers), authors, who published them (pay particular attention to the "Self" ones as these are really the creme of their crop and really are worth checking out, and how many ratings and review each book has.

I hope you find this helpful, and I also have my fingers crossed that you'll find more authors to love. Oh, and thanks to Robin, who did all the hard work of putting the about montage of covers and this chart together.

  Title  Author    Publisher   Ratings   Reviews  
 M. L. Spencer Self3,877607
Ryan CahillSelf5,104725
 Raymond E. Fiest 
Janny Wurts
 Harper Voyager36,6871,107
  Michael J. Sullivan  Orbit36,1602,078
Anthony ReynoldsOrbit2,113419
Richard SwanOrbit5,4451,246
John GwynneOrbit27,7464,260
Domagoj Kurmaić
J. T. GreathouseGollancz1,897485
James IslingtonSaga Press1,239279
Dyrk AshtonSelf2,403499
Rachel AaronSelf12,8521,333
Travis BaldreeTor89,41018,695
  Christopher Buehlman  Tor15,8732,441
Michael R. Fletcher Harper Voyager 2,798534
Daniel T. JacksonSelf1,466411
Peter McLeanAce4,795879
Mike ShackleGollancz1,438285
Krystle MatarSelf322142
Nicolas LietzauSelf1,163329

Thursday, June 22, 2023

Recently I learned...

I'm generally oblivious about what's going on with regard to the sales of my books. A pretty good thing in general. It allows me to concentrate on writing new stuff.  But Robin feeds me information from time to time, and the last few days have brought a few revelations.

During this morning's coffee, I learned that Farilane and Nolyn are on the Mover and Shaker List. For those that don't know, it means sales of a particular title have really "picked up."

The cause for this recent rise is that yesterday we learned that the first two books in the Rise and Fall Trilogy are in Audible's 2-for-1 sale. Audible is a smart company, and the timing couldn't be better because we are less than two months away (54 days but who is counting?) from the release of Esrahaddon, the final book of the series. 

What's really interesting is that there are 500 books in this sale, and book #1 on this list isn't in that sale. so Nolyn and Farilane are outselling just about all of those titles (Book #3 is part of the sale). I'm taking a bit of pride in that, but maybe it's because so many people were waiting for the series to be completed before starting the series.

But Robin also put together a little graphic for me to post on Twitter:

And from that, I've learned that the first two books have had 10,523 ratings on Audible (10,526 as of today), so I guess there have been SOME people digging in before the final book was finished.

But are people liking the books? Well, Nolyn has a 4.7/5.0 rating, and some comments from the headers of the 5-star reviews have said: 

"A Great Beginning | He does it again | Loved it! | WOW | Just amazing!"

And Farilane has 4.8/5.0, and its comments are even better:

"Fantastic! | One of his best works yet. | Wow! One of MJS's best! | Outstanding story" 

So, I guess the answer to that is yes.  All this boils down to it's good from time to time to take a look around and see if spending all this time on the books is worth it. I mean, I'm enjoying myself, but it's good to know that others have (a) found the books and (b) like them.  So, thanks, all! Oh and for those who haven't picked up the books yet, save yourself some cash and get the first two for half price. The sale will end June 25, 2023 at 11:59 PM PT (US).  Just click here, or the images, to shop the sale.