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.

Wednesday, June 21, 2023


When I was quite young (before I was able to read), my mother took me and my older sister to the local library. It only occurred to me recently that this wasn't done to instill a love of reading, but rather she couldn’t leave a child my age unattended at home. The trip was for my sister. Nevertheless, I was also allowed to borrow a book from the library—one of my own choosing. I couldn’t read, so the contents of the book didn’t matter, nor did the title. I was, instead, drawn to the cover, the size, the weight, and the feel of the book. I wish I could tell you the name of what I chose, but my memory is not that good, and besides, I couldn’t read, remember? What I do recall is that the book was all black, hardcover, and small. I still remember this, which should tell you a few things.

First, I like books, which will become even more apparent as this post continues. Second, I had a strange attraction to little black books, and I still do. When I was in eighth grade, my brother took me to his college bookstore as the school year began. I didn’t want the typical and cheap paper Duotang folders, or the big snap ring binders, or the Class A Winnebago, motorhome of the school supply world: "the Trapper Keeper," which was about to take the nations student body by storm. I wanted something different. So, of course, I was drawn to the little black legal pad folio.

I was a strange kid.

But today, I am struck by how much of my life revolves around books and little black notebooks. I have used Moleskins and now tend to employ Leuchttrum notebooks, all of which are little, and black. 

Of course, my fondness for books doesn’t begin and end with those that are little, black, and unreadable. I began collecting books the moment I started making a paycheck. Being a teenager, and earning only minimum wage, I had a tendency to browse used bookstores. I still do. Just a month ago, while I was in England, I browsed a tiny used book store near Merton College in Oxford, where Tolkien was a professor of English Language and Literature. It began to rain as my daughter, and I were exploring the college grounds, so we ducked into this little, ancient bookstore. The whole thing was perfectly Diagon Alley-ish. And as always happens in any bookstore, or fairy ring, if you step in for just a moment, you'll discover upon exiting that hours have passed.  

Over the many years, I must have purchased hundreds of old books. Just as I had borrowed that little black book from the library, some of the used books I obtained merely because they looked beautiful. Others, I hoped to one day have the chance to read. One of those was an old battered copy of A Farewell to Arms, by Hemingway—a little black book. I took this on multiple camping and week-long canoe trips with friends in the hope of reading it. I threw it into backpacks and sacks and the bottom of an Alumacraft Canoe. I even used it as a coaster for a beer. I never got around to reading the thing…until the pandemic. 

Every year in the summer, I endeavor to read an old classic novel that I’ve never read. In the late summer of 2020, I spotted the old battered little black book sitting so patiently on my shelf. 

I picked it up, sat on the porch of my cabin, and with an alcoholic drink (obligatory for a Hemingway novel), I began to read. The novel, if you are unfamiliar, takes place during WWI, which got me thinking. There was another pandemic back then. The “Spanish flu” had devastated the world from 1918-1919. I was struck by how it was almost exactly one hundred years ago. As a result, I was curious about when A Farewell to Arms was first written. I flipped to the copywriter page, looking for the usual list of various printings, but all I found was this:

I was puzzled for a moment then it dawned on me. The book was first published in 1929, and this was the first edition. I had no idea. I was reading a book that was nearly a hundred years old about a time just after a pandemic while I was in one. The symmetry was fascinating. This got me wondering, and I went and checked another one of those old used books and discovered I have another Hemingway first edition. This one was For Whom the Bell Tolls (which I had read years before, but had never checked the copyright of.) 

Now, this last summer, my wife professed an interest in reading E.M. Forester’s A Passage to India. I had an old hardcover copy and purchased a new paperback so we might read together. Then we arranged for a very romantic—albeit nerdy—date. When one reads Hemingway, one is best served to have a glass of liquor and sit in the sun on the porch. When one reads Forester’s A Passage to India, one sits in the shade of the veranda and drinks tea. Thanks to a very kind gift from Will Wight and his team, I have a fancy-dancy tea brewer. So, for our date, and in an effort to encourage Robin to work less and enjoy life more, I set out the pair of books under the overhang along with some fruit, wafer cookies, and tea in the hopes of reading a chapter a day over the course of the summer. 

You must keep in mind the challenge here. Robin is a workaholic who doesn’t like to just sit. She also prefers to listen to books, and she hates tea—unless it is saturated in sugar. She and my daughter both prefer sweet drinks. As she is on a diet, I hoped a good tea and maybe a dash of cream might satisfy her. 

She took several enthusiastic swallows.

“You like the tea?” I asked 

She looked sheepish. “I’m really thirsty.”

Then she took a bite of the cookie and put it down. I tried one myself and understood why. They were quite stale. The wind picked up, and I looked at the sky to see darkening clouds as a summer storm moved in. This was going about as well as most dates I had invited women to. Still, we preserved, and luckily the chapter was short. 

Robin read the new Penguin Classics paperback, and I read the old hardcover. Robin found a footnote, flipped to the back, and also discovered a glossary. My copy had no footnotes and no glossary. There were other small differences as well. Some of the unusual contractions were replaced with more standard words. We ended up discussing the differences as I asked her the meanings of some of the Indian words used. And then Robin happened to ask if I knew when A Passage to India was originally written. I didn’t know, so I flipped to the copyright page. 

I see a trend forming. Today's "date" was canceled on account of rain and very cold weather. So we are huddled inside and are going to do something a bit more modern. Robin's shoulders are once more hurting and since our friend Bryce O'Conner tells us that "motion is the lotion," Robin is going to go rock climbing this evening - virtually, that is. Instead of old books and hot tea, it'll be virtual reality goggles and me making sure she doesn't knock over anything or fall while exercising her arms by climbing a mountain that is only pixels.

Oh, and bonus points go to anyone who can identify what bird the title of this post applies to. 

Sunday, June 18, 2023

I have to admit, it's a little bit of an ego boost when you see your name mentioned in a Forbes article about Patrick Rothfuss, George R.R. Martin, and Scott Lynch.  Sure, the shout-out is mainly because I write the full series before publishing the first book, but I'll take any mention I can get, especially when it's in such a mainstream place and next to such heavy-hitting authors.