Quick Recommendation – Mage Errant

The 5th book in John Bierce’s Mage Errant series, the Siege of Skyhold, just came out a couple days ago. I meant to post on launch day, but I’ve been neck-deep in finishing up Soulbrand. Reading Mage Errant feels like his book descended from my series (and things like Will Wight’s Cradle) in a similar fashion to how my own books were inspired by JRPGs and stories like Mother of Learning. If you’re looking for something similar to Arcane Ascension, you’re not going to find anything much closer than Mage Errant.

The Siege of Skyhold: Mage Errant Book 5 by [John Bierce]

For those of you who haven’t seen the series before, I believe the first book is free right now. That can be found here.

April Updates and AA3 Hype

Hey everyone!

Hope you’re having a good month so far.

We’re less than one month out from the audio launch of Arcane Ascension Book 3: The Torch that Ignites the Stars! I’m extremely excited for people to hear Nick’s fantastic rendition of the story.

Preorders are already available, so click on the links above if you’d like to preorder a copy!

In terms of new books, I’ve got a few updates.

I was hoping to be able say “Soulbrand‘s first draft is done” when I wrote my April update, but it isn’t. Lots of reasons for that. A lot of that was (awesome) business stuff happening that I can’t talk about yet, but I hope to have more announcements on that front soon. Another factor is that I had to pause work on Soulbrand to write the charity anthology short story (which has a hard deadline, since I’m working with others). Most importantly, though, Soulbrand is just turning out to be really, really long and complicated. I’ve actually started trimming out some scenes, but it’s still going to be one of the longest books I’ve ever written, if not the longest.

With all that being said, I only have a few scenes left and the epilogue before I can call the first draft complete. After that, I’ll need a bit for self-editing, then it’ll go off to my beta readers. (I always get asked about this, but I’m not looking for more beta readers at this time. I’m more than capped – the more beta readers I have, the longer the process takes.)

My current aim is for a release in June. We’ll see if that actually happens.

In terms of other projects, I already mentioned that charity short story – the first draft of that is done. I still need to edit it before I send it off, but that won’t take long, since it’s only about the length of one chapter for one of my bigger books. It was a fun piece to write, and notably, it’s also the story that takes place earliest in the timeline of my currently published works. (Other future works like Carefully Worded Wishes will take place even earlier.)

Speaking of Carefully Worded Wishes, that’s completely paused, and probably will be for a while. My next major project is still planned to be AA4, after which I’m planning to take a significant break to finish up side projects like Carefully Worded Wishes, Sera’s Judgment story, and some of my secret projects. This is both to avoid burnout and because keeping several projects in a perpetually unfinished state makes it difficult for me to focus, so I’m planning to take some time to “clean up” these unfinished projects and get them launched so I can focus on the new ones more easily.

There’s still a chance I might finish one of those small ones before AA4 as well – AA4 is going to be another extremely long book, and doing those back-to-back is exhausting – but I’m currently feeling pretty good about my odds of tackling AA4 soon after Soulbrand is done. In terms of what that means for a release date…it’s still far too soon to say anything definitive. A lot of it depends on if I try to cover the whole year in one book, or if I have two books for the year like AA1&2. I haven’t made a firm decision on that yet – there’s a good end point toward the middle of the year, but I’m not sure if I’ll actually stop there.

Thanks for reading! I hope that people enjoy AA3’s audio book when it comes out…and for the rest of you, I hope to have more Soulbrand and AA4 news soon.

Will Wight’s Bloodline is Out

Hey everyone,

Just a micro update here – I wanted to mention that Will Wight’s Bloodline, the latest book in his Cradle series, is out today.

For those of you who aren’t already familiar, Cradle is one of my own favorite series. It’s a martial arts fantasy in a style similar to Chinese xianxia/cultivation novels. If you’ve never heard of anything in that style before, think movies like Crouching Tiger: Hidden Dragon (but with more magic) or something like Dragon Ball or Naruto in book form. That’s a bit of an oversimplification, and Will’s books borrow from both those styles of tropes and western ones.

Anyway, I strongly recommend it, and hope anyone who checks out the book – or the Cradle series as a whole – enjoys it!

An Exclusive Preview!

And now, an exclusive preview of my latest work – Stab 2: The Stabbening.

(Content warning: This story includes depictions of violence, as well as some sexuality. Viewer discretion is advised.)

***

Chapter XIX – Ultimate Stabbening

“Steel, come back to bed,” Steel’s harem purred provocatively.

“Sorry, ladies.” Steel strode away from the covers, never looking back. He sheathed on his three swords, seventeen knives, and his kvala’tetch, which is a foreign weapon that is like a sword but cooler. “Duty calls. Duty and blood.”

Steel had a mission, and he wouldn’t abandon that, even if it would have been easy. There was no one else that could hope to defeat the Ultimate Demon God Emperor, after all. Even Steel’s best friend slash rival, the Blackstone Assassin, had already been defeated and begged for Steel to help.

“Please, help,” the Blackstone Assassin had begged. He had been on his knees at the time. “Even I, the Blackstone Assassin, cannot hope to defeat the Ultimate Demon God Emperor. Even though I am famous, I am actually much weaker than you are.”

“I know,” Steel replied knowingly, knowing that he was superior in combat and battle.

“Mrrr,” Aayara purred, because she was also there, and much like Steel’s harem she liked talking in a way that sounded like purring. “I like strong men. Maybe if you win this fight, I could give you a proper reward.”

“Hmpf. Bold of you to think you’d be worth my effort, Aayara.” Steel laughed haughtily. Maybe he would deign to add the Lady of Thieves to his harem later, but right now, he had bigger concerns.

The final battle was calling, and only he — Steel — could answer.

***

Steel was a master of all forms of assassination techniques, but he didn’t need them now.

“Are you going to sneak in?” Waifu asked him, posing in a way that showed off all of her angles, curves, and radians.

“Hmpf,” Steel scoffed. “Like I need to resort to that like some amateur.” He drew two of his swords, Frostreaper and Deathmaul. He knew how to wield more than two swords at once, but he didn’t need to for this part.

“Oh, forgive me. You’re so much better at this than me, and also everyone else.” Waifu looked at him with wide eyes. “Just promise you’ll come back to me safely?”

“Of course. If there’s one thing I’ll never fail at, that’s coming back to you.”

Waifu swooned at his romanticness and attractiveness.

Steel headed to the Ultimate Demon God Emperor’s fortress. The rest of the harem would take care of Waifu later.

***

Steel used his Stab-Running Technique to run faster than normal running, quickly arriving at the fortress of the Ultimate Demon God Emperor.

There were many demons outside. Steel stabbed them. They exploded.

“Hmpf,” Steel said. “Not even worth my time.”

Then he stabbed the front door of the castle, which also exploded. Then he stab-ran inside.

***

I hope you’ve all enjoyed this preview of my upcoming sure-to-be-bestseller work, Stab 2. Stay tuned for more news on this and the rest of my upcoming Stab-related books, merchandise, etc.

EDIT: This was an April Fools joke. Thanks to everyone for reading regardless. Real book updates coming soonish. =D

March Updates

Hello all,

Not a whole lot to report beyond what I mentioned last month. I’m still grinding away at finishing Soulbrand, the third Weapons & Wielders book. This has proven to be much more challenging than I expected – as I mentioned previously, this is turning out to be one of the longest books I’ve ever written, as well as one of the most complicated. In spite of that, I’m making steady progress. I expect that I’ll probably have the first draft done by the end of this month, but I’ve underestimated this book before and I don’t want to give readers false expectations.

Assuming I finish the first draft by the end of the month, we’re looking at roughly a June release window for the Kindle version, with the paperback coming sometime shortly after. Audio will be much longer, as usual: probably near the end of the year.

In terms of other books, my plan is still to finish up some much smaller projects right after this – a short story for a charity anthology and a new novella. I expect that to take about a month or so. After that, my current plan is to focus on Arcane Ascension 4, although I may also tinker with some other small projects. Working on AA3 and Soulbrand back-to-back has been exhausting, and it’s good for me to take significant breaks after long books. On the positive side, I already have a significant head start on AA4: I’ve written a few entire chapters and some additional scenes, which will make the book go faster once I get around to working full-time on it.

One of the things slowing down my progress on Soulbrand has been a growing number of business and marketing interactions. Basically, this is a good thing for the long-term: I’ve been working on trying to get a publisher for an Arcane Ascension tabletop campaign setting book, for example, as well as several other side projects to help expand Arcane Ascension in other ways. I wish I could say more about this, but it’s too soon for formal announcements. There are a couple developments I’m extremely excited about, though, and I’m looking forward to sharing more details as soon as I possibly can.

Finally, I’d like to mention that voting is open for this year’s Booknest Fantasy Awards. Best of luck to all the authors and imprints nominated this year!

Take care and stay safe, everyone.

Adjustments and Anniversaries

Hey all,

For those of you looking forward to that panel that I mentioned, the time has been adjusted to 3PM Pacific Time on Monday, March 1st.

We’ve got a cool promo image now, too!

…I need to get a suit of armor like that.

Anyway, the panel will be on Felicia Day’s Twitch channel here.

Aside from that, some small things to talk about.

First off, I’d like to wish a Happy 35th Anniversary to The Legend of Zelda franchise. As many of you know, Zelda is one of my main inspirations as a writer.

The original Legend of Zelda for the NES was the first video game that hooked my interest. I was around three or four years old when my family got an NES, and while the combo cartridge for Super Mario Bros. and Duck Hunt was the first game we owned, I never developed a significant interest in it. It was a bit later, when I watched my older brother playing The Legend of Zelda with his friends, that I found myself enraptured. It probably helped that Link was strongly reminiscent of Peter Pan, who was already my childhood hero at that point.

I remember watching my brother and his friends playing through area after area immediately, defeating bosses and finding items and heart containers. And one day, I picked up the controller and did it myself – walking straight through the winding path of the Lost Woods, having memorized the route while watching others play. I went straight for the magic sword, but didn’t have enough hearts to actually obtain it. You can see that little snippet of my childhood reflected in both Yui’s experiences with the Hero’s Sword and Keras going after Dawnbringer.

I spent hours and hours in that game, sometimes just sitting next to the TV and listening to the amazing title screen music. That music still warms my heart, even now.

I remember being incredibly excited to pick up Zelda 2 when it was released – and while I know it wasn’t well-received compared to the original, I still loved it. It added in a number of RPG elements, bringing Hyrule to life with NPCs, spells for links to learn, and of course the palaces with their crystals. It was probably my first experience with level grinding, too, for better and for worse.

I remember eagerly awaiting A Link to the Past releasing in the United States, reading through the bits of lore in the strategy guide, and scribbling sketches of the Master Sword in my notebooks at school when I probably should have been listening to the teacher.

I even remember the Zelda cartoon, the short-lived comic book series, the cameos on Captain N: The Game Master, and the Zelda choose-your-own-adventure books. (I wish we still had more licensed media for Nintendo IPs like this. Maybe someday.)

Anyway, I’d like to thank everyone who contributed (and continues to contribute to) the Zelda franchise for many years of inspiration. I hope to continue playing the games for many years to come.

This seems like a good time to mention that I have another Zelda-inspired project in the works, although you shouldn’t expect to see it for a long time. It’s another story in the Arcane Ascension universe, tied closely to a character you already know. It’ll probably be a long time before this actually launches – my current plan is to still launch Soulbrand next, and probably AA4 right after that. I might try to squeeze this in after Soulbrand, but I think it’s likely this can wait a while. My hope is for this one to capture part a side of Zelda I haven’t touched on much – the dangerous wilderness, the presence of fae friends and foes, and the exploration of an unknown world. It also has elements that are reminiscent of some of my other favorite “green tunic” heroes, like Peter Pan, Robin Hood, and even Joe Dever’s Lone Wolf. I hope you’ll enjoy the story whenever I get it done – but it may be a while. I wasn’t planning to announce it, but the anniversary was just too appropriate to miss.

Anyway, Happy Anniversary, Zelda franchise! And thanks for reading, everyone.

PS: It’s about time we get a playable Zelda in a main line Zelda release. Crossing my fingers for BOTW2.

Upcoming GameLit/LitRPG Panel with Felicia Day

Hey everyone!

Just wanted to quickly announce that I’ll be participating on a GameLit/LitRPG panel hosted by the fabulous Felicia Day over on her Twitch channel. The panel is happening on March 1st at 3PM Pacific time and will be celebrating the Audible launch for Rule of Cool by Matthew Siege.

I still don’t know exactly what the panel will cover, but I’m excited about it!|
Edit: Panel time moved to 3pm.

Quick Recommendation – Blades Falling Softly

Just a quick recommendation for a novella that I loved: Blades Falling Softly. It takes place in the same setting as The Brightest Shadow, one of my recent favorite novels, but it’s written as a stand-alone piece. This is less action-focused (although there is some action) than most of the books that I recommend: it’s more about a personal journey and the relationships between two skilled fighters from different cultures, as well as their families. It’s a beautiful story and I strongly recommend it.

Blades Falling Softly (The Brightest Shadow) by [Sarah Lin]

February Updates and AA3 Audio Preorders!

Hello everyone!

I have some exciting news – preorders are up for the Audio Book for Arcane Ascension Book 3, The Torch that Ignites the Stars! You can find it here. The release date is May 11th, 2021!

I had a productive month. Most of my writing was focused on Soulbrand, the third Weapons & Wielders book. The first draft of that book is almost complete, although it will likely take at least two months to go from draft to release. (It’s usually more like 3-4 months, but I want to get this one out quickly – we’ll see if I succeed.)

Soulbrand is turning out to be a long book – much longer than the previous two W&W books, and likely longer than Sufficiently Advanced Magic. I think it’ll still be shorter than On the Shoulders of Titans, but I’m not certain yet.

Aside from W&W3, I’ve also worked on several other projects this month. I have a good head start on Arcane Ascension 4 now, and I plan to get started on it in earnest around the time W&W3 launches. I’m currently targeting a launch around December, but that’s very ambitious for the length of the book and there’s a good chance it’ll slip into next year.

I also spent some time on smaller projects, such as the AA tabletop game. I know some people are very excited about that, but it’s still likely a long way off. My agent is talking to a publisher about it, which might speed things up, but it’s tough to say.

Aside from that, my other projects are still secret stuff, so you’ll have to wait a little longer for more information on them. I’ll look forward to revealing more projects soon, likely later on in the year.

Thanks, and I hope everyone had a great month!