So, why the delay?

A few of you might have noticed that the release for Fireborn was pushed back a few months. A whole lot more of you keep asking when the next Half-Orc book will be (my own punishment for leaving things at a cliffhanger, as well as writing an awesome series so many of you love. Yeah. Yeah. Woe is me.) So as way of explanation, I’m going to write in detail what the heck happened. It’s a tiny bit personal, but whatever. Here we go.

So for starters, I have terrible posture. Like, hunched over, cave-man, neck sticks out on a ninety degree hinge posture. Got it? Okay. So my family and I took a trip to the St. Louis zoo, a little under a four hour drive from where I live. On the trip home, my dad drove while I sat in the back with my oldest daughter, Morgan. For much of it, she fell asleep leaning over on my lap, and trying not to wake her, I just got as comfortable as I could, leaned my head against the window, and stared at my phone to pass the time.

Now I don’t know if it was the trip, the crappy hotel bed, my lifelong sucky posture, or just all of them coming together into a perfect storm of awfulness, but I woke up the next day in terrible pain. ‘My neck must be out’ I told myself, and made a chiropractor appointment. Didn’t work. Next day, the pain quadrupled.

Lemme tell you about this pain. See, I’ve had my collarbone break in half while growing up, and was told that’s one of the more painful breaks to experience. I’d rather have broken my collarbone again. The left side of my neck felt like a knife were being twisted into it every few seconds. The muscles locked tight so I could barely tilt my head 45 degrees to either side. The pain traveled up the back of my skull and wrapped around the left side of my forehead and temple, settling in as a constant, jabbing twitch above my left eyebrow. Over. And over. Like the muscles were being pulled back, torn, and then reset.

Naturally I went to the doctor. Oh, it’ll pass. Probably tweaked a muscle. Here’s some muscle relaxants. And for about two weeks, that was my life. I lay on the couch, barely able to think. Tylenol and Ibuprofen were as effective as candy. The throbs of pain were so intense I could feel them in my teeth. Chiropractor did nothing. Muscle relaxants did nothing (other than help me sleep the day away). Each morning, I woke up with the same thought: is it finally better? And inevitably, it wasn’t.

Now I should mention I was two chapters away from finishing Fireborn. Two. We’re talking maybe a few hours of work and I’d be done, and it drove me nuts. On one desperate attempt I downed an unhealthy amount of Ibuprofen and tried to hammer through, failing miserably. Simply sitting at the computer was a nightmare, something I couldn’t manage to do for more than thirty minutes at a time before retreating back to the couch. Eventually I got an appointment with a pain specialist, but it was a good month away before I could get in.

Finally I said screw it, something is clearly wrong with my neck. Time to check the internet! Said internet claimed I was dying of twenty different cancers, so not a whole lot of help, but I did find a video of exercises for rehabilitating an injured neck. Well, my neck’s injured, it’s clearly not getting better, and I couldn’t imagine how in the world I could make it worse. So I started doing the exercises, simple stretches and the like. I also started doing yoga with my wife, because hell, I had to do something to get off the couch.

After three days, the pain decreased. Now it didn’t go away, oh no, but it went from ‘omg please kill me’ to ‘wow, this is a seriously bad migraine’ levels. I felt like crying that first morning I woke up and it had lessened. Most importantly, the damn throbbing pain above my left eye was gone. I wish I could convey just how incredible that moment was, how night and day my entire existence became.

Zoom ahead to the pain appointment, and I finally receive a diagnosis. My neck had developed not just one, but two trigger points in the nerves. If you don’t know what a trigger point is, here’s my oversimplification: imagine a nerve getting agitated, swelling up into a little bubble, and then going haywire, sending referred pain signals throughout the surrounding areas. The treatment? An injection, a very unpleasant one, too. Hey, is your nerve hyper-active and freaking out? Let’s jam a thin, sharp piece of metal into it! Not fun, and even worse, my doctor didn’t know at the time I had two trigger points (this was something we figured out later). And when you’re dealing with referred pain, where it hurts the most isn’t always where the nerve is located.

So she missed. I had to endure another two weeks before going in again. Two more weeks of feeling like a completely non-functioning adult. This time she gave me three of those wonderfully fun shots, hitting common locations as well as where my pain seemed to originate. This time, she got it (as evidenced by my near blacking out during the shot and my neck spasming a few good moments upon receiving the injection).

After a few days, I felt immensely better. My pain dropped by like, 70%, to the point where I could easily control the remaining pain with over the counter stuff. This was when we discovered I actually had two trigger points, to which that second one is still lurking around in the back of my neck to this day (I have another appointment at the end of this month, for another round of ‘let’s find the bastard nerve with a needle’). So from start to relative end, this was nearly two months of my writing time completely, thoroughly shut down. That. Sucked.

Now, normally this would seem where the story gets all happy and we move on, but you must remember something. The human body is stupid. So, for about two months I was under incredible pain, and suddenly, the vast bulk of that pain is gone. So what does my brain do? “Oh, hey, you’re not in incredible pain anymore, so you don’t need all these feel good chemicals I’ve been pumping into you lately, lemme shut these off…whoops, did I turn off too much? Oh well, deal with it.”

Now, my family has a lengthy history of depression. In reality, I’m pretty sure I have a lengthy history with depression. I’ve just never acknowledged it. I’d go through spurts where I didn’t feel like myself, where I napped all the time, was cranky with the kids, suffered anxiety attacks, all of which had gotten exponentially worse during the past two months with my schedule obliterated by a nerve death star. And when the pain went away, it effectively bottomed me out, hard.

There’s a lot of way better examples of depression out there on the internet (I’d recommend these two comics by Allie Brosh) so I’ll just detail the important moment. We were shopping for groceries, me and my wife, and I was grumbling about how tired I was. I couldn’t write, because the moment I sat at the computer I wanted to do nothing more than fall asleep. I’d bought a treadmill desk, elevated the monitor, been doing yoga, was fixing my posture, exercising, drinking tons of coffee…and still, tired, sleepy, exhausted, unable to think. And while at the store, I described it like this: where I’m looking is what exists, but everything else I’m not looking at, stops existing to me. Like, not in a physical sense, but more that I didn’t have the energy or effort to even acknowledge these out of focus things. Weird, sure, but that’s the only way I can describe it.

My wonderful wife, hearing me describe this, pauses and goes “David, I think you might be depressed.” It seems silly, but this really was one of those light bulb type moments. I’d never considered it, not once despite all the family history. But man, once you know it, looking back, it’s stupidly easy to see sign after sign after sign slowly developing over the past five years, to the point I kinda feel like an idiot for taking so long to notice.

Another doc appointment. I start a low dose prescription of an anti-depressant. And then the fun begins, because why in the world would I hope for something to go easy? Anti-depressants have an interesting (and by interesting, I mean terrifying) list of potential side effects, particularly in the initiation period when your body is first becoming accustomed to the medicine. The one I got?

Anxiety. Like, constant, unending, throat-constricted, heart-racing, hands-twitching anxiety. Imagine your body being locked in the fight-or-flight state from dusk to dawn. I felt like an easily startled rabbit. My seven year old actually stood in front of me and yelled Boo! and I nearly died of a heart attack. I couldn’t sleep for more than a few hours at a time. Performing simple tasks, like driving my kids to school, was too overwhelming to even comprehend, resulting in a dry-heaving attack in the middle of the freaking shower. Once again, I felt like a non-functioning adult.

The reason I endured was because that same morning the anxiety began, my former self returned. I was laughing and joking with my wife. I felt awake. I felt happy, even despite the anxiety. My wife described my behavior as someone learning to human again. And that’s how it felt, like I’d awoken for the first time in months. Still, there was a problem.

Do you know what’s not easy to do when the slightest thing gives you crippling anxiety? Sitting down to work on a book that’s now long overdue. The idea of even calling my agent would spike my heart with terror. And so I endured. It’d pass in time, which it did. And after nearly four months of some of the most bizarre or out-of-nowhere problems, I finally was able to sit down and work on Fireborn.

Now I cannot express how incredibly wonderful Orbit has been through this entire thing. My editor, Devi, has never once made me feel pressured to get this book in. They gave me all the time in the world, despite delay after delay and missed deadline after missed deadline. No worries. No panic. Just focus on getting better. If anyone from Orbit actually reads this, well, you’re awesome, and thank you.

Now I’m still working on getting the proper dose of medication for my depression, and I’m still annoyed by this sting in my neck, but they’re both being dealt with. Hopefully in time, they’ll both be gone completely. More importantly, though, is that I can finally write again. I finished Fireborn a while back, and it’s in Devi’s hands, waiting to undergo round two. But the four month delay there is why the publication date was pushed back. As for the next Half-Orcs, well…those four months I spent as a pathetic lump on the couch were the four months I was hoping to crank out King of the Fallen.

So what’s the current plan? Right now, I need to write and finish Shadowborn. That’s priority number one. After that, I’m hoping to crank out KotF for you all, putting a nice little ribbon on the current angel storyline. Then comes the next project for Orbit, one I can’t wait to eventually discuss more with you all.

Lemme check the word count here…sheesh. Over 2k. Well, if anyone got to the bottom of this ramble, thanks. I can’t wait to get back into the swing of things writing, cranking out crazy adventures and blowing things up with fireballs.

David

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Free Dawn of Sword (until Oct 23).

I’d like to send you a free Kindle copy of Dawn of Swords, Book 1 in the Breaking World Trilogy. I’ll first need you to opt into Amazon’s Whispercast system in via this link: https://whispercast.amazon.com/join/WVpn8N1dz9m9mrrpqmsXsVIEQMn37buo

Please do so by Thursday, 10/23/2014.

Note we are collecting your email address for the sole purpose of delivering your free Kindle copy of Dawn of Swords.

Once delivered, you will be able to access your copy from your Kindle device or the free Kindle apps for iOS and Android per the instructions below:

(NOTE: the book will not show up immediately, but instead they’ll be sent out in one big blast to everyone on the 24th)

From your Kindle Device (Kindle, Kindle Touch, Kindle Keyboard or Kindle Fire): You will find your new book in the Archived Items section of your library or your Cloud library (depending on what device you use).  You can also find it in the Manage your Kindle section of your Amazon account on Amazon.com. Be sure you are connected to Wifi or 3G to download.

From your mobile device or tablet (Android, iPhone, iPad):  Open the Kindle App on your Android or iOS device. Be sure you are connected to Wifi or 3G before proceeding. Your new book will be visible in the Archived Items section of your Library or the Cloud (depending on what device you use).  It will also be available in the Manage Your Kindle section of your Amazon account. Browse for your copy of Blood of Gods and select it to begin downloading it to your device.

For more information about free Kindle Reading Apps mentioned above or to download, go to http://www.amazon.com/kindleapps

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A Dance of Shadows – So What’s New?

First and foremost: this book used to be called Blood of the Underworld. I figure we’ll get the easy changes out of the way now 🙂

Also, before I begin, I’ll say this is the only one of these four re-launched titles that I would strongly suggest re-reading prior to Shadowdance 5, even if you’ve already read the original self-published version. I reworked a ton of stuff, as you’ll soon see, and I guarantee I’m forgetting plenty of things. I’ve also added in about 15,000 words (about four chapters), just to help flesh out this storyline. But, if you want to know what all is different prior to throwing down your money, or just want the quick notes for later, then here we go.

Standard changes as usual, of course, a tightening of the prose and editing out of all the little mess-ups, stuff like that.

First up is Melody Gemcroft. Her entire motivation I’ve changed, especially her relationship with Alyssa. She does not hate Alyssa, not in the slightest. Instead, she’s trying to save her soul from the eventual judgment of Karak. This means later conversations between her and Stephen have all been heavily rewritten to make her character’s motivation far more solid and consistent (especially come later revelations in book five). I also changed around her relationship with John Gandrem, developing it further while also showing more of the damage done to her throughout her lengthy imprisonment among the gentle touchers. Also, new scene with Melody meeting with the disguised Widow in the marketplace, relaying orders and revealing some of her motivations. Basically Melody is following Luther’s orders, no matter how much she might disagree with some of them near the end.

Melody’s not the only character heavily reworked. Laerek, the go-between for Luther and the rest, was completely, thoroughly rewritten. I started him from scratch to far, far better fit the overall storyline, as well as match up with what Luther was doing. He’s now a very young, twitchy priest doing his best to work with Luther, while also keeping his existence a secret from the rest of the followers of Karak.

More new stuff. Terrance, Alyssa’s young steward in charge of much of her financial dealings, reveals to her in one new scene that he’s been doing fairly standard tax-evasion stuff, and is terrified Victor will discover it. Meanwhile, in a far later chapter, to reveal Victor’s growing ability to disregard the strict morals he swears by, he destroys the proof of the deed upon deciding that courting Alyssa would be his best bet for reclaiming his power.

I added another member of the Bloodcrafts: Joanna Bloodcraft, daughter of Carson and Nora. She’s awesome, has a fun new fight scene with Haern, and helped fill in a dead spot in the novel in terms of action, as well as explain why Haern loses sight of Victor at one point (he’s trying to, uh, not die).

Stephen Connington also had some changes, mostly in how he views Alyssa as competition for affection from Melody, and actually starts to disobey her orders at times out of spite. Hard to go detail by detail when all this happens, just know he’s even more messed up in the head now. When he finally goes to kill Alyssa, and takes her eyes, he’s doing this against Melody’s desires.

Well, that’s all I can think of after browsing through the book. I’m sure there’s some I forgot, and so many of these focus on the motivations of the various characters. When I first wrote this book, I had only a vague idea where the story was going, whereas upon re-edit I knew where the story was to go, and had to fix all the parts that just flat out made no sense upon retrospect. Hopefully I did a decent job.

David

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A Dance of Mirrors – So What’s New?

As usual, I’m here to chat about the changes going from the original version to the new spiffy Orbit versions. Remember, these are intended for those who have already read the previously self-published versions. I’m trying to detail all that’s new, so that if you’re trying to make up your mind whether or not you wish to read the new ones, this will help you out. And if you don’t, well, you’ll know all that was changed so you’re not in the dark come A Dance of Ghosts.
 
Now, onto the absolute biggest change: it’s called A Dance of Mirrors now. Yes. I still get asked this question.
 
Onto a bit more important stuff. This one was a bit trickier to work with. It didn’t have as many changes as Cloaks, yet was definitely more flawed than Blades. Again, ignoring all the basic editing, sentence tweaking, etc, going to try to stick to just the plotline changes.
 
The intro chapter with Haern I toned down a little bit. Too much melodrama snuck in, and for that, I was slapped on the wrist. Also, I revealed that the shoes Brug made for Haern make his footsteps quieter. Nothing major, but I did have people asking about that, so, there we go. Mystery solved. Also in the first chapter, I added a scene with Delysia saying goodbye to Haern. Seemed odd not to have her do so prior, especially with the relationship they were forming in Blades.
 
One of the larger cuts: the subplot with Egar (now renamed Edgar, because I hated the name pretty quickly upon returning to the book) and Yorr…yeah. I failed pretty badly at setting up any sort of mystery with them. So instead I removed completely any and all set up for the eventual betrayal, instead having Egar killing Yorr come as a surprise, though he still uses the same argument to explain why (the lie that Yorr was in the Merchant Lords’ pocket).
 
Wrote out a scene only hinted at, that of Haern torturing information out of a mercenary to discover that the Merchant Lords are pulling out all their ships in preparation for the elves’ attack on the city. Makes things flow better that way.
 
All this stuff is pretty minor, though. It’s the ending I changed pretty thoroughly, and it actually does have some implications on the later series. First up: Haern’s final meeting with Warrick Sun, newly in charge of Angelport. Before I had it seem as if Haern were thoroughly defeated, and I just don’t know why. In this new one, I have Warrick explain why the Violet was only part of a larger plan. Haern threatens to kill him should Warrick move to cause war (which Warrick insists he’ll never do). The scene ends with Haern revealing that he’s stolen the document Alyssa was forced to sign, dissolving the Trifect, and then burns the document right in front of Warrick.
 
The epilogue in particular I significantly rewrote. For starters, Torgar doesn’t die in the same exact way. Instead he’s in charge, frustrated with it yet still enjoying the power. He goes to a secret meeting with Stern Blackwater. Stern basically orders Torgar to give up all control of the Keenan wealth to him, since he is little Tori’s grandfather and has far more biological claim than Torgar (who has, well, none). Torgar, being Torgar, says screw you.
 
And THEN Dieredon shows up and shoots him with an arrow. But the big change is that now Stern is effectively a new Lord of the Trifect, ruling while Tori grows up. This also establishes why the Merchant Lords stop causing problems down in Angelport instead of continuing their attempt to crush them. With Stern one of their own, and down in Angelport, the Merchant Lords effectively have free reign to do what they want, and they’re very much enjoying it.
 
Last, the conversation between Haern and Delysia. It’s too much really to detail, but while the sentiment at the end, with Delysia supporting Haern no matter what, all remains the same, much of it is changed to more accurate reflect the events of the book instead of this weird pseudo-dark depressing ending I was trying to force in for stupid reasons. I’m quite fond of it, honestly.
 
And that’s it. Stuff’s new in there, but nothing too drastic, with most of the new scenes fairly quick and short. It’s the ending that really got overhauled.
 
Hope all this helps.
 
David
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FAQ – November 2013

These are some of the most common questions I’m still getting in my inbox, so I’ll try to put it all out in a nice little FAQ here, in hopes that it’ll be somewhat useful. And away we go!

I’m confused by these new releases for the Shadowdance Series. What’s new, what’s not?

I sold the rights to both Shadowdance and Watcher’s Blade to Orbit. We’ve heavily re-edited them, given them new covers, some of them even new titles, and are now in the process of re-releasing them. So in terms of brand new, never been published before, you won’t see that until Shadowdance #5, A Dance of Ghosts.

What exactly is new in these re-releases?

I’ve been writing little primers detailing the changes, the first four here, herehere, and here.

Is A Dance of Mirrors the book originally titled A Dance of Death?

Yes. We changed the title, because I hated the old one.

Is A Dance of Shadows new?

It was previously published as Blood of the Underworld, but is being merged into the Shadowdance books, where, in all honesty, it belonged in the first place.

So the Watcher’s Blade Trilogy is gone now?

In a sense, yes. Instead of the Shadowdance Trilogy, and Watcher’s Blade Trilogy, there is instead a six book Shadowdance Series.

Will we ever be able to download free digital upgrades to these books we already purchased?

Sorry, we tried, but the various sites shot us down. If you want the spiffy new versions, you’ll have to buy them separately.

So when do we get something new, new?

A Dance of Ghosts will be the first new book of mine released by Orbit, in 2014. It is the continuation of the various elements begun in A Dance of Shadows.

Where does Cloak and Spider fit in all this?

Cloak and Spider is a six story collection all focused on Thren Felhorn. Each of the stories predates the events of A Dance of Cloaks. It goes on sale the same time as A Dance of Mirrors, Dec 3rd.

What are you currently working on?

As of right now, I’m finishing up A Dance of Ghosts, followed by A Dance of Chaos. During that, I’m also working with Rob on finishing up the third novel in the Breaking World series.

What’s up with that, anyway?

The Breaking World books are in the same world of Dezrel, only taking place hundreds of years prior to all my other books. They’re being published by 47North, with all three coming out in 2014, starting in January with A Dawn of Swords.

When does the next Half-Orc book come out? Are you still writing it?

I have not abandoned the Half-Orcs. As to when I will get back to it, that I don’t know. My hope is maybe to have some free time in the upcoming summer and crank it out then. When I know more, I’ll post so on my Facebook page.

Will Orbit be buying anything else of yours?

Not a friggin’ clue.

And there we go. If you managed to read all the way down to here, I hope you learned something 🙂

David

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A Dance of Blades – So What’s New?

Well, I’m sitting here with a copy of A Dance of Blades in front of me, so let’s do yet another catch up. As before, this is written for those who have already read ADoB prior to Orbit’s version, so spoilers aplenty. I’m going to do my best to list out any and all significant changes, so that if someone wants to skip this over, they won’t be lost or behind come A Dance of Ghosts. Soooo let’s start.

First up is the minor stuff, the tidying up of the writing, editing out little errors, things that I do want to point out are in there without actually, you know, pointing them out. Just know the book should read a bit cleaner. Also want to add that I’ve always viewed A Dance of Blades as the most solid of all the Shadowdance books (plus Blood of the Underworld). I think its narration was the tightest, its story the most even and the amount of characters the most balanced. So it didn’t surprise me, and shouldn’t surprise you all, that this book out of all of them underwent the fewest changes. So, onto the more real stuff.

Deathmask’s intro has been modified a bit. Nothing major, but the ploy that was used to bring Veliana to him I rewrote for two reasons. One, I made sure it all made sense in hindsight (the original plan was a bit…unbelievable in hindsight). Two, and more fun, I now get to drop in a reference to both Angelport and the Violet leaf, setting up a few things in book three. Stuff like this makes me happy.

Next up was the biggest addition, a lengthening of Haern’s first chapter in which he decides to leave Veldaren to pursue the stolen gold being smuggled into the city. I added a brand new character named Dashel, a master of mint that Haern goes to question involving the source of the gold coins. All of this was to help firmly establish why Haern’s going north, and what he’s hoping to achieve. The end of that chapter also involves a bit more introspection on Haern’s part, as well as a bit of establishing what role his father now plays in his new life. Fun stuff, nothing earth-shaking, but I do think it helps round out the book.

Sprinkled throughout the book are extra paragraphs here or there, usually involving Haern, and getting a bit more detail as to what’s going on with him and Delysia, and the rest of the Eschaton too. Nothing massive, but again, fine touches I enjoyed adding.

The last bit of significance is the final fight with Ghost. Because I couldn’t resist, I had Ghost survive Haern’s last barrage. Well, survive long enough for them to exchange words as Haern calms down, and they exchange a few more sentences. Ghost asks Haern to give him an honorable death, and Haern instead leaves him to bleed out and die painfully. Just putting in a bit of a harder edge into Haern, particularly to set up his conflict with the Wraith in book three.

And that’s basically it. Nothing too massive like with A Dance of Cloaks, nor with reworked themes and ending like I’ll get into with A Dance of Mirrors (which heck, even its title didn’t get to remain the same). Until then, I hope you all enjoy the time and effort I put into giving you the best possible story I know how.

David

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A Dance of Cloaks – So What’s New?

All right, I promised to do one of these for each book, and so here I am (albeit a weee bit late). I’m going to say right now that this is written specifically for those who have already purchased and/or read the previous self-published editions of my books, and are only wanting to know what has changed. I don’t want anyone going in blind, or thinking they might miss out on any plot changes that will have ramifications on Shadowdance books 5 and 6. So, let’s dive into this. I’m going solely on memory here, so it is possible I’ve missed a few things, though I hope not.

The biggest noticeable difference any reader should see with DoC is an overall tightening up of the writing. Not to say I sucked as a writer when I first did DoC, but I’d like to pretend I’ve gotten better as I’ve gone along, and a few poor phrases or confusing wordings should now be excised. A combination of my own editing run-through plus everyone at Orbit should result in a much cleaner flow, and I don’t just mean in the individual sentences.

The timeline itself was reworked, because I had a lot of chapters taking place all over the place in terms of time. I think the worst was when I had three chapters in a row, with the chapter between taking place a good five days *later* than the ones it was sandwiched between. Needless to say, all of this has been nice and clarified. I’ve reordered many chapters, with the goal of keeping the timeline sane, as well as just ensuring there’s no overly lengthy gaps between the appearance of characters. That, and I tried to emphasize Aaron’s importance in the beginning, as well as making it easier to just get into the story (example: you don’t meet Alyssa until chapter 3, when she was originally chapter 1. Instead you get the two chapters of Aaron running for his life from the assassins that ambushed him at Robert Haern’s home).

Now, what’s new, you may wonder. Well, there’s a lot of tiny bits here and there, nothing dramatic. Thren and the Worm actually speak for a moment at the end of one chapter, revealing how he knows where the Worm has Veliana trapped. I’ve added more parts of Aaron alone, helping get a tiny bit more into his mindset. The biggest was a brand new chapter involving Zusa and Alyssa. Alyssa attempts to run away from the camp, with Zusa chasing her down and insisting that instead of running she turn and face her captors. This sets up their relationship in later books, as well as their killing of the Kulls near the end of DoC.

Speaking of Alyssa, her relationship with the douchebag, Yoren Kull, has been reworked. The rape scene is gone, and he is far less aggressive to her. I want to keep it realistic that he could believe she’d still be is loyal little wife and play along, and this should help.

Zusa and Eliora have actually swapped places in a view spots. While originally it was Eliora who rescued Zusa from the Worm and then took her to the temple, now it is Zusa doing so. The reason should also be obvious: I want to set up how Zusa knows Veliana in book two. Truth be told, when I wrote book two, I just completely forgot that it was Eliora, not Zusa, who’d done the rescuing. Now I get the chance to rework things so faulty memory = reality.

I’ve added more scenes with Thren and Haern, most only a page or two long, but designed to help clarify their relationship, as well as how Thren views the rest of the guilds (he gives a bit about how they’re all to be conquered once the war is over to Haern on their way to kill Delius Eschaton, for example).

Other tidbits people should like. Kayla no longer dies so easily, but instead makes an attempt to kill Thren when she’s been found out. Yes, she still dies, but at least she goes down fighting, something I know a lot of people were unhappy about before.

The house the Spider Guild is using now contains references and items directly linked to the Kane family from Shadowdance #4.

Well, that’s about all I can think of. It’s definitely not just a grab and republish, in case you were worried about it. If you were hoping for massive new additions, I must apologize and say they are not there. If you wanted a fine-tuning, and some extra scenes to flesh out a few characters and improve the flow, then that you will indeed get. If you wish to buy the book again, it’s up to you, but know that in terms of actual plot, and being lost come SD 5 and 6, know you should be just fine having read just the self-published edition.

David

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Operation: Orbit Takeover

Well everyone, this is the moment I’ve been counting down toward for quite awhile. Today my self-published versions of the Shadowdance Trilogy (plus Blood of the Underworld) are officially pulling from sale from Amazon, B&N, and the like. Why’s that? Because Orbit is taking them over, and they’re replacing them…with these.

All Three

The above makes for a great background if your monitor’s big enough. Just saying*

I can’t describe how much I love those covers. Going in, I was really curious to see what their creative team would come up with to surpass my own, but well, surpass them they did. If you’d like to see them in their full form, just click: A Dance of Cloaks, A Dance of Blades, and A Dance of Mirrors. I absolutely, positively cannot wait until I can hold the print versions of these in hand.

Now, there’s a few things I get asked a lot, and I’m going to try to answer those here.

1: No, these books are not totally rewritten from scratch, nor has Orbit somehow mandated down to me a bunch of changes against my will. This was a collaboration, with the goal of making these books the best they could be. Basically Devi (story editor and overall awesome lady) would read through it, marking down questions, oddities, or most commonly, places I messed up, dropped a plotline, had a character behave out of of character, etc. I’d then fix it, send it back, see if it would suffice. All three books have undergone several of these story edits, and that’s not counting the actual line edits for simpler stuff like misspelled words, jacked up grammar, etc.

However, nearly all three books has new chapters, new scenes, some even a new character or two. As the release for each book gets closer, I’ll be writing up a little primer detailing what the changes are for those who have already read the books and just want to see. Possible side note: those of you with digital copies, Devi is looking into letting all of you update your older copies you’ve purchased with the new ones at no cost. It’s going to take a bit of cooperation from Amazon/B&N/Apple, but keep your fingers crossed.

2: Yes, these will indeed be in bookstores. Like, regular, normal, walk into a Barnes and Noble and see it on a shelf bookstores. I also hereby require you to make sure that my books are very prominently placed in the store. Just be sneaky about it. If the people working there catch you, you’re totally on your own. (Okay seriously, don’t do that – angry emails from librarians and booksellers is totally not a way to brighten my day)

3: Yes, A Dance of Death is now renamed A Dance of Mirrors. Why? Because I hated the old title. Hated it within a week of hitting publish. It always felt melodramatic and unimaginative. A Dance of Mirrors may not be much better, but at least I like it more, and the change was totally my decision. With these re-releases, I jumped at the chance.

4: The Watcher’s Blade books are being merged with the earlier Shadowdance Trilogy, effectively becoming the Shadowdance Series. So Blood of the Underworld, when it goes back on sale, will now be A Dance of Shadows. This is also why the book is currently being removed from sale. Also, of all the books, that book in particular has been thoroughly overhauled, with some dramatic story changes. Again, I’ll explain more as we get closer to its release.

5: When are these going on sale? Glad you asked!

A Dance of Cloaks: October 8th

A Dance of Blades: November 5th

A Dance of Mirrors: December 3rd

6: Preorders you say? Why yes, they are up for preorder! Below is a smorgasbord of links to all the various websites and their preorder pages (which as I find more, I’ll try to update them here as much as possible – as for you Apple people, you’ll need to just search on iTunes).

A Dance of Cloaks

Amazon –  B&N

A Dance of Blades

Amazon –  B&N

A Dance of Mirrors

Amazon –  B&N

7: Last, if you’re one of my longtime readers, I want to thank you for being patient with me during this little hiccup in my usually speedy publishing schedule. I believe these books will be much improved over the old ones, and hopefully now stand a little bit taller among the other amazing fantasy books out there. Once the three book blitz in Oct-Nov is done, and the newer books can start coming out (plus a Thren Felhorn novella sometime in December, I believe), I think you all will get to see just how much better a writer the people at Orbit are helping me become.

Thanks everyone. The fun times are coming, and I can’t freaking wait.

David Dalglish

*Design by Kirk Benshoff. Photo-illustration by Michael Frost & Gene Mollica
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Old Stuff Coming Down

Okay guys, consider this the big WARNING:

The Shadowdance Trilogy, plus the Watcher’s Blade, will be going off sale come July 1st from all venues. This is to pave way for the Orbit re-releases, which so far will be hitting:

Dance of Cloaks: October
Dance of Blades: November
Dance of Mirrors (formerly Death): December

So if you haven’t finished it yet, and have no desire to wait, then please make sure to buy it before then. In case anyone was wondering, you will not lose these old versions from your Kindles/iPads and whatnot, they won’t be deleted secretly in the night, etc. New readers simply won’t be able to buy the old versions.

Now, all that being said, I should have some good news to post fairly recently, including a new short story collection focused on Thren Felhorn, as well as a look at the new Orbit covers (which are freaking awesome).

So yeah, that’s it. I’m really excited about this, and come October when I can start blitzing you guys with sales and reviews and covers, well, I hope you will be too 

David

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Free Stuff!

So while goofing around making mouse pads and phone skins, I’ve grabbed a few extras, and now I’d like to give some away. So in anticipation for the upcoming release of the sixth Half-Orc book, The Prison of Angels, I’m giving away two mouse pads featuring the cover art, plus another featuring Darius from Clash of Faiths (see the above pic, and my apologies for shoddy quality of said pic).

So what do you do to enter? Two things. One, go here to sign up for my mailing list. I use this only for announcing new releases, so don’t fear any spam. After that, just post a comment on Facebook in thread saying, well, anything. Tell me I’m awesome, say you want a mouse pad, insult my grandma, whatever. On the November 9th I will be randomizing the three winners, and sending messages via Facebook to confirm the email address is indeed in the mailing list.

Oh, and if the winners would prefer, I can sign the mouse pad before shipping. Just to, you know, up the sexy factor.

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