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?
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
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.
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.
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.
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
A Dance of Blades
A Dance of Mirrors
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.
*Design by Kirk Benshoff. Photo-illustration by Michael Frost & Gene Mollica
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
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.
One of the requests I’ve often received is for a series of books detailing the original Gods’ War that took place during the creation of my world of Dezrel. It’s one of those events that influences many of my books, and the religions in particular. Now I’ve generally been hesitant for several reasons. The first being that it’s yet another prequel series to the Half-Orcs. Given how that would make it prequel series number four, I really, really wanted to try moving forward instead of backwards (hence my current writing of Half-Orcs number 6). The second reason was that I didn’t think I had that interesting a story to tell. Strange, I know, given it’s a giant war between deities, but it felt too distant, felt too predictable. I wasn’t sure how I’d tell it to give it the power it deserved.
And that’s where Robert Duperre comes in. I’ve known Rob for almost three years now. I first met him when he was writing reviews for his website, Journal of Always. He did a glowing review of Weight of Blood, and it started up a conversation between us. He was great for feedback, and it seemed everything I tried to do he picked up on, sometimes even if I wasn’t aware of it (to see a great example of this, read his review of Cost of Betrayal here.
After about a year, I started relying on him to help guide me along when I hit ruts in my stories, or felt lost (Dance of Death in particular; he was a massive help in guiding that one along through multiple talks on the phone). He also gave me confidence in where I took the later two Paladin novels, reading very early copies of the novels before I ever finished. So this is someone who knew my world in and out, what I liked to accomplish, how I grew my characters, etc.
And then I mentioned co-authoring a book with him, covering the Gods’ War. His response? “I thought you’d never ask.”
He had an outline of ideas ready for me within a week, and already I could see what he would bring to the table. He was able to analyze so many little things that would come about from such a young world, incorporate the deities and their conflict into a much larger story than I originally envisioned. Most of all, it was the human element he managed to bring out, the one aspect I really needed to be excited about the project. It was all there, and it was fantastic. The go-ahead given, we began writing The Mountain Crumbles, the first of what appears to be three novels set during the time period. We’re about halfway finished with TMC, and hope to have it out before Christmas.
For anyone worried about quality, just know that I would never release a product with my name on it that I’m not proud of. I’m heavily involved in all of this, and I assure you my writing style will still be very much present throughout. I’ve got final say in pretty much everything else as well, as rare as I’ve needed to use it. But Rob’s bringing a breath of fresh air to my world, and I think everyone who’s been looking forward to this particular conflict should be very pleased. There’s a lot of homages to the later books, a lot of little connections, and a few massive reveals that should make any longtime reader of mine very, very happy.
Rob should be lurking around, so any questions/worries feel free to ask and one of us should be able to answer to the best of our abilities. And if you want to check out any of Rob’s work beforehand, I’ve included his author page on Amazon below. If you need a start, I’d go with Silas.
This may or may not come as a surprise, depending on how closely you’ve followed the fanpage. But just in case, I figure I’d make this official, as well as explain my reasons.
Blood of the Father is getting put on hold.
There are several reasons for this, but first, by ‘put on hold’ I mean delayed for about nine months as I write two other books. So don’t panic if you’re really eager for it. Now, as to why. Usually with a book I have an overall plan for the novel, linked together with a few key scenes I know will need to transpire. Beyond that I keep things loose, allowing myself some leeway should characters decide to misbehave (which they often do). With Blood of the Father…I have no scenes. None at all. I know what I want to accomplish, but I haven’t the slightest how I’m going to do it. This goes for nearly every major player in the story, from Haern and Thren as they go west to the Stronghold, to Zusa and Alyssa struggling to maintain control over their household, to Deathmask and Victor doing their little dance in Veldaren. It’s rare for me to have a book project before me yet feel so empty about what to do with it. That’s bad.
What’s also bad is that I couldn’t muster up excitement for it. That’s death to a book, at least for me. I know I could force myself through, and a good story would eventually come out, but the passion would be lacking from it. Anyone who’s read Broken Pieces should know what I can and do accomplish when I’m fully invested, and the passion is truly there. That’s something I really noticed working on the final two paladin books. I felt like I was writing something important, something special. I felt like I was writing a Half-Orc book.
Meanwhile, when I’m daydreaming in the shower about key scenes to the upcoming book, my mind never stayed on Blood of the Father. No, even without me realizing it I was envisioning scenes in the sixth Half-Orc book. I’ve been itching to get back to it for a while now, and as I finished up Broken Pieces I knew what I truly wanted to do. I tossed up a poll on the fanpage, and right now the desire for a new Half-Orc book is beating out Blood of the Father by more than 2 to 1. So I want to write it next, and so do the majority of my (voting) fans. So what does that mean?
The Prison of Angels, Book Six of the Half-Orc Series, is my current project, to be followed up with Book Seven. I’m already a few chapters in, and I have to tell you, I’ve really missed these two silly Tun brothers. Meanwhile I’m going to let the Watcher’s Blade Trilogy bake a little in my mind. I’ll get back to it, I assure you, but for now it’s time to go where my heart truly is. It’s time for Harruq and Qurrah to find their place in a radically changed world. I mean, you didn’t really think there’d be peace on Dezrel after the angels arrived, did you?
Okay, so lately I’ve been getting a lot of requests for a timeline of my work. I’m planning on making a permanent link on the website for one, but right now I’m doing a quick and dirty version. So below is a list of my books coupled with dates. These correlate to when each individual book *starts*. I’ve also included several books that I haven’t even started yet, such as the new Half-Orc books or the last of the Watcher’s Blade Trilogy.
IA stands for Idhrin en Adan, which is elvish for Year of Man.
Arrival of Man: 1 IA
Gods War: 93 IA
(Shadowdance Trilogy) – Dance of Cloaks: 579 IA
(Shadowdance Trilogy) - Dance of Blades: 584 IA
(Shadowdance Trilogy) - Dance of Death: 586 IA
(The Paladins) – Night of Wolves: 587 IA
(The Paladins) - Clash of Faiths: 587 IA
(The Watcher’s Blade) – Blood of the Underworld: 588 IA
(The Paladins) - The Old Ways: 588 IA
(The Paladins) – The Broken Pieces: 589 IA
(The Watcher’s Blade) - Blood of the Father: 589 IA
(The Watcher’s Blade) - Blood of the Innocent: 589 IA
(The Half-Orcs) – Weight of Blood: 589 IA
(The Half-Orcs) - Cost of Betrayal: 590 IA
(The Half-Orcs) - Death of Promises: 593 IA
(The Half-Orcs) - Shadows of Grace: 594 IA
(The Half-Orcs) - Sliver of Redemption: 595 IA
(The Half-Orcs) – Untitled Book 6: 600 IA
(The Half-Orcs) – Untitled Book 7: 601 IA
Something I want to emphasize is that the books were not written to be read chronologically. I’ve always tried to have them stand on their own. But for those who want to, then as a series it goes Shadowdance, Paladins, Watcher’s Blade, and finally Half-Orcs.
So for anyone confused what is happening when, this should hopefully help clear things up, if only a tiny bit.