It’s almost here. Just one more week.

For those of you who are interested and haven’t preordered yet, you can find the book here.

I’ll admit to being a little nervous.

Okay, more than a little nervous.

More than anything else, Arcane Ascension has defined my career as a writer. While the War of Broken Mirrors helped me get started, and I couldn’t have switched to being a full-time writer without the success of Sufficiently Advanced Magic. Beyond that, it’s really where I defined my own style as a writer. My War of Broken Mirrors books show the beginnings of that, mostly with Jonan and Lydia’s perspective chapters, but I think Arcane Ascension is a much clearer indication of what an “Andrew Rowe” novel looks like.

With success, however, comes expectations.

It’s been over two years since On the Shoulders of Titans came out. I know that’s a long time for a lot of you, and I’m aware that if this book doesn’t work for people, I’m likely to lose a lot of fans.

This is compounded by the nature of the book being unusual: it’s a winter vacation book, and thus doesn’t have quite the same structure as my previous books. That’s a bit of a risk, and one that I’m still not convinced was the right one.

Either way, I appreciate anyone who is willing to give the book a chance. And if you’ve already checked out, thank you for your support up to this point. My readers mean the world to me.

I’ll stop rambling.

I truly hope everyone who reads the book enjoys it.

Stay safe, everyone.

Hello, everyone.

Arcane Ascension 3 – The Torch that Ignites the Stars – is just over three weeks away from launching. Or, at least, the Kindle edition is. The other editions will, as usual, take a bit longer.

So, let’s talk about why things work that way, as well as estimated release dates.

I’m generally able to launch the paperback for any given book about two weeks after the Kindle edition.

The reason for the delay is because in order to create a paperback version of a book, my graphic designer (who handles the design of the paperback cover) needs to know the final page count of the book. This is because the page count is necessary in order to compute the width of the spine of the book, and the width of the spine influences the dimensions of the image file that is used for the cover.

This final page count cannot be determined until every change to the book has been made, since even changing a sentence or two can end up altering the page count. I tend to make changes to the book right up until before launch day, generally due to either late beta reader feedback or typos that I find toward the end of the process.

(Notably, I also fix typos post-launch. When I do this for a paperback, this means that I sometimes have to make format adjustments to make sure the page count remains the same, since the cover is already done. This can lead to things like weird spacing issues, so I try to keep post-launch changes to the paperbacks to a minimum.)

Audio takes even longer after the Kindle launch, for similar reasons: the audio book cannot be recorded until the book is final. Making changes post-launch to an audio book is even messier (to the extent that it usually isn’t done at all), and thus, my policy is to try to schedule audio recording with my publisher for a window a little bit after the Kindle launch, which gives us a small window for readers to find issues and for me to correct them before recording occurs.

In an ideal scenario, the recording would start just a few weeks after the Kindle launch in every case. In reality, audio book narrators have schedules of their own to worry about, and even when we schedule things far in advance, it’s often difficult to find a time slot at a perfect time. Someone as amazing as Nick Podehl is often booked a year or more in advance – meaning we have to guess at when the book is going to be done well ahead of time and hope we get it right. If I estimate too early and the book isn’t ready yet, that makes problems for both Nick and my publisher, and thus we tend to give “safe” estimates. If I happen to get a book done early, the publisher tries to get Nick to record the book earlier if a slot opens in his schedule, but that’s rare for someone of his talent.

Once the narrator begins recording, there’s still a considerable wait: narration takes time, especially for longer books like Arcane Ascension novels. (AA3 is thus far the shortest of the bunch, but the current draft is still around 180k words – about twice the “average” fantasy novel, which are about 80k-120k words.)

And then after that, there’s the necessary time for sound editing, production, and getting Audible’s approval.

As a result of all this, there’s usually a delay of at least a few months before the audio version is available. The average wait time for my own books seems to be around 6 months or so. My audio publisher (Podium) and I would love to cut this wait time down as much as possible – everyone benefits from the books being available faster – but it’s just a matter of scheduling.

In this particular book’s case, my understanding is that recording is set to begin sometime early next year, but I don’t have a hard date for that or a set release date. My best guess is sometime in the spring. Hopefully, as time goes on, we’ll be able to refine this process further and get the audio books to launch closer to the Kindle edition – but I wouldn’t expect any drastic changes.

There are authors that wait until all the versions of the book are ready to launch to put any of them online, and I think that’s a valid strategy – but I’d much rather get any edition out in the wild as quickly as possible for readers to enjoy.

I hope that this helps give a little bit of insight into the publishing process, as well as the reasons why there are longer wait times for some formats than others.

Now, if you aren’t completely bored by all my publishing talk, I’ve put together a couple more preview chapters for readers to enjoy.

The first is another preview for The Torch that Ignites the Stars. It’s the entirety of Chapter II. There’s a lot of content here (much more than I’d typically put in a preview), but I know people are excited about the book and I’d like to give everyone a little bit of a reward for waiting this long for the launch. Of course, you’ll want to read the first preview chapter before this one if you haven’t already done so.

Next, a preview chapter for Soulbrand, the third Weapons & Wielders book.

Don’t read this if you haven’t read Diamantine yet.

This one is a little bit strange: it’s not from right at the start of the book. The intro scenes for Soulbrand are more emotionally and politically focused as a result of how Diamantine ended.

I didn’t think that sort of content would make for a good preview, so this takes place a bit later in the book, and you’ll be missing a little bit of context. There are some minor spoilers in there as a result, but I don’t think they’re *too* serious. Mostly, this is the start of a fun, action-focused section, which I think serves as a better snippet than the book’s beginning.

And by the way, if you haven’t read Six Sacred Swords and Diamantine yet, this is a good time to do it if you need something to read before AA3 comes out. They’re not required reading, but there are elements from the two of them that play into some of the things in The Torch that Ignites the Stars.

Thanks for reading, everyone, and I hope you enjoy AA3 when it comes out!

-Andrew

Hey everyone,

Just a couple quick updates.

The paperback version of How to Defeat a Demon King in Ten Easy Steps is now available. You can find it here.

I hope everyone who is checking out the Kindle version is enjoying it! And as a reminder, the Audible version is already available, too. You can find that here.

For those of you who have already checked it out or aren’t interested, I have a couple other goodies today: preview chapters of a couple upcoming books. Bits of these have been posted before to Reddit or my mailing list, but I know many of you haven’t seen them yet. And for those of you hardcore fans who have already read these, I plan to put up some completely new samples soon.

First, the one most of you are probably interested in: a preview chapter of The Torch that Ignites the Stars.

And second, a preview chapter of Carefully Worded Wishes, Wrynn Jaden’s upcoming novel.

I hope you enjoy the previews, and I’m excited to see what people think when the books finally come out!

Best,

-Andrew

The Kindle edition of How to Defeat a Demon King in Ten Easy Steps is finally available!

This book is a little different from my usual fare. Like Six Sacred Swords, it’s a love letter to games like The Legend of Zelda, Dragon Quest, and Lufia. This one differs in a couple key ways, though.

Firstly, How to Defeat a Demon King in Ten Easy Steps is a LitRPG – it has actual game mechanics in the story, and said game mechanics are a major part of the narrative. I tried to incorporate them as organically as possible, but I know some readers don’t enjoy the gamey elements as much.

Second, it’s an affectionate parody. While my other books have some elements of comedy, make no mistake: this is mostly a comedy. As a result, there are a lot of elements that much more closely resemble the stories I’m making jokes about. I’ve seen a lot of comparisons to things like Galaxy Quest and Redshirts; I think those are good comparisons. Space Balls comes to mind, too, in terms of how on-the-nose some of the jokes are.

While those are all good references, I think the closest comparison is a Japanese show – Yuusha Yoshihiko and the Demon’s Castle. It’s a JR{G parody comedy show that strongly inspired the style of this book. You can get a glance at a scene on youtube here. I strongly recommend it if you’re a fellow JRPG fan.

I also have a lot of stylistic nods to other “Yuusha and Demon King” series, like Maoyu, Superior, and Endro! The names of the protagonists are very similar to that style.

Oh, finally, it’s much shorter than my usual stuff – this is about 49,000 words, putting it somewhere at the high end of the novella range or at the low end of what you’d call a novel in the western market. It’s closer to what they’d call a “light novel” in Japan. That word count translates to about 160 pages in the paperback, which should be out very soon as well.

Anyway, I hope people enjoy the book!

If you’re waiting for Arcane Ascension Book 3 – The Torch that Ignites the Stars – the release is on December 6th! Preorders are up now.

I’m planning to post more about AA3, as well as some of my other books, over the following weeks.

Thanks everyone, and stay safe out there!

And now for something completely different.

I should have mentioned this a long time ago. As an author, it’s difficult to balance the desire to avoid conflict and controversy with the need to make a positive difference in the world. There are a lot of people out there who believe that authors and other entertainment should remain entirely apolitical: I don’t think that’s even remotely realistic. Entertainment is inherently political, often in ways that the author may not necessarily even be aware of. We are all a product of our cultures and biases.

Anyone who has looked at my one-star reviews knows I’ve already made a statement simply by including LGBTQIA+ characters in my works. The simple existence of non-straight characters is such an affront to some readers that I’ve been given one-star reviews by people who have never even read the books.

That’s the state of the world we live in. And we stand at a precipice where the results of an election day could make this trend into a direction that’s significantly worse. A direction where, if the political climate grows more contentious, authors like myself may not be safe to continue writing about LGBTQIA+ people at all.

I’m not being hyperbolic when I say that.

There are powerful countries where fiction that includes elements the government deems undesirable, impure, or subversive is simply illegal. If I was writing the equivalent of Sufficiently Advanced Magic in China, there’s a chance I could be jailed for it.

But as much as I dislike the idea of being thrown in prison for writing about a gay character or two, there’s a great deal more at stake, and I’m frankly at much lower risk than a tremendous number of Americans.

This election won’t just decide the presidency itself: the winners in congress will be tremendously important, and the president will have a huge impact on what ends up panning out with things like the Supreme Court. Given that the Supreme Court is lifetime appointments, even the change of a single judge will substantially influence the legal system of the United States for many years.

Millions of people stand to lose the ability to get married, or have their marriages reversed, if the Supreme Court decides they’re not allowed to be married. Tens of millions of people stand to lose their medical insurance if the Affordable Care Act is deemed unconstitutional.

(Notably, I would be one of those people in the latter case: like many authors, I’m insured through the ACA.)

Beyond the Supreme Court, we’re also seeing absolute horrors going on all throughout the country. ICE detention centers. Unmarked federal agents pulling people off the streets. And, of course, literal hundreds of thousands of dead as the result of the pandemic.

I’m frankly horrified to see the state of the country I’ve lived in and loved since my birth. But I haven’t given up yet, and you shouldn’t, either.

Given the sheer number of voters, it’s easy to feel like your own vote is unimportant: don’t fall into that trap.

While it’s extremely unlikely for a single vote to influence something on the scale of a presidential election, small numbers of votes have decided other issues. Moreover, even if your own personal vote does not sway an election, collective voting momentum is important: by doing our part, we can inspire others to vote, and so on and so forth.

Please, please vote.

And if you’ve already voted: thank you, and I’m proud of you.

Stay safe, everyone.

Just a quick reminder that preorders are up for the Kindle edition of How to Defeat a Demon King in Ten Easy Steps, which is coming out on November 1st!

And, of course, if you’re waiting for Arcane Ascension Book 3 – The Torch that Ignites the Stars – that’s just a little ways off – the release is on December 6th!

Just a quick recommendation post.

The Brightest Shadow is among my favorite books in recent history, and it’s finally getting an audio edition!

The Brightest Shadow Audiobook By Sarah Lin cover art

Much like my own How to Defeat a Demon King in Ten Easy Steps, The Brightest Shadow is a deconstruction of the stories of heroes and dark lords – but The Brightest Shadow is a much darker take. It’s an incredible story, with engaging characters, a breathtaking world, and a fascinating unique take on a Cultivation-style magic system.

It’s also an absolute doorstopper, which is perfect for audio. I think it’s something like 400k words, or roughly 1000 pages in paperback form. Think one of Sanderson’s Stormlight Archives books – it’s massive. And much like Stormlight, it’s very, very epic.

I strongly recommend it.

If you’re interested, you can find it here.

Hello everyone, and I hope you’re having a good October so far.

I’ve spent most of the last month working on edits to Book 3 of Arcane Ascension. It’s out with my Alpha readers – the very first people who get a look at it – and I’ll be sending out the next revision to Beta readers shortly. After that, I’ll parse through the beta feedback and get to the professional editing stage in time for a release in December. It’s going to be difficult to get everything done in that time frame, but I don’t plan to delay the launch.

Speaking of launches, Will Wight’s Wintersteel is out today. If you’re not already following the Cradle series, it’s one of my own personal favorites, and I highly recommend it if you’re in the mood for some martial arts fantasy.

If you missed the previous updates, we have a release date for AA3 – December 6th – and the book is up for preorder. The book also finally has a title – The Torch that Ignites the Stars.

We’re also less than a month out from the Kindle release of How to Defeat a Demon King in Ten Easy Steps.

In terms of other things I’ve been working on, my next book release is going to be the third Weapons & Wielders book – Soulbrand. I’m a long way into that, but I barely touched it last month: edits have simply been taking up too much of my time.

I have several other projects slated for the next year or two that I’ve already started on in small ways. Arcane Ascension 4 is already in the planning stages, and I’ve written the first scene of it. (For those of you who don’t know already, Arcane Ascension isn’t a trilogy; it was planned for 6-7 books, although I may still end it on a different number, depending on what it takes for the story to feel complete.)

I’ve also been continuing to work on planning for Wrynn Jaden’s novel: Carefully Worded Wishes. I think a lot of people are going to enjoy this one.

I have a few other projects I’ve been dabbling with, including a LitRPG parody and a couple different xianxia-style novel experiments. I’m not sure when any of those will see the light of day.

I’m hoping to get back into blogging a little more frequently and posting things with more substance, such as preview chapters and deleted content, but we’ll have to see if time permits.

In the meantime, I hope everyone has a great October!

Hello, everyone!

It’s my birthday, and I’ve decided to celebrate this year with a few gifts for my readers.

Today, the first books for each of my book series are free on Kindle in most regions (Amazon controls the regions, unfortunately, so I don’t know which ones are affected).

For those of you who aren’t familiar with each series, some quick series descriptions:

  • Arcane Ascension has a heavy focus on learning and exploring how magic works and how it can be exploited. It follows Corin Cadence, the younger son of House Cadence, as he attempts to learn magic in an effort to follow the footsteps of his brother, Tristan, who disappeared into the colossal Serpent Spire five years before.
    • The first book is Sufficiently Advanced Magic.
    • This series is the most popular starting point, in spite of taking place last in the chronological order. Don’t worry – you can start here without any trouble understanding it if you want to.
    • This series has a mix of magical school content and dungeon crawling. If you like magical schools, read this one first. If you don’t, consider one of the other series.
    • This is a heavily JRPG and anime inspired narrative. Some inspirations for this series include Final Fantasy, Azure Dreams, Ys, Tower of Druaga, The Legend of Heroes, Tower of God, Bravely Default, Lufia and the Fortress of Doom, SaGa, and Hunter x Hunter.
  • The War of Broken Mirrors is the most serious, and it’s written from a third-person limited perspective with multiple perspective characters. It has more political intrigue and subterfuge than the other books.
    • The first book is Forging Divinity.
    • Some inspirations for this series include Brandon Sanderson’s Warbreaker and the many various Forgotten Realms and Dragonlance novels. It’s generally a very “D&Dish” book series.
    • The heroes are:
      • Lydia, a paladin of a goddess of magic who has infiltrated the government of Orlyn, a city that claims to be able to raise mortals into gods.
      • Taelien, a powerful young swordman who bears a legendary sword he cannot properly control.
      • Jonan, an agent of the legendary Lady of Thieves with a talent for illusions.
      • A fourth perspective is introduced in the second book, but telling you who they are would be a spoiler.
  • Weapons and Wielders is the most straightforward and lighthearted series, focusing on action, comedy, and adventure. It follows Keras Selyrian, a powerful swordsman, as he searches for the Six Sacred Swords – and gets a lot more than he bargained for in the process.
    • The first book is Six Sacred Swords.
    • Some of the main inspirations for this series are The Legend of Zelda, Dragon Quest, and Ys. Much like Arcane Ascension, this is JRPG inspired in general, but you can think of this as being more like my action RPG franchise. It’s lighter and faster paced.
    • This is the series go for if you’re looking for a character that’s powerful from the start of the story, and if you like things like tournament arcs.

I hope people enjoy the free books, but I also know what most people have been waiting for:

Arcane Ascension 3 has a title, a cover, a launch date, and it’s up for preorder.

The launch date is December 6th, 2020, so exactly three months from today. Note that this launch date is for the Kindle edition; other versions will be following later.

Thanks to Daniel Kamarudin for the fantastic cover art and Shawn T. King for the graphic design work. You’re both fantastic.

Thank you to all my fans for their patience with this book – I hope you love seeing the next stage in Corin’s adventures.

Quick book updates first. Arcane Ascension 3 is still in progress and I’m still hoping to get it done by the end of the year. It’s mostly caught up to Weapons & Wielders 3 now in terms of progress completed, since I’ve been focusing on it more. I’m hoping to get it done first, then finish W&W3 shortly thereafter (probably early 2021).

It’s hard to give it a progress percentage, since I’m still evaluating some of the content I may include. The original intent was to try to make AA3 similar in length to the previous books. I like that feeling of consistent length for each novel in a series, but that has major impacts on the pacing: this book really only covers the winter vacation between school years, so it’s much shorter in terms of in-world time. I don’t want the book to feel like it has padding or filler content, so if there’s a logical end point at a shorter word count than the previous books, it may end up being somewhat shorter. (Still not short by any means – “shorter” might mean more like Diamantine, which is 165k words. I still think it’ll be even longer than that, just maybe not quite as chunky as On the Shoulders of Titans was.)

Notably, this may also result in the book feeling like it has a faster pace than the previous books. I have mixed feelings on that; W&W is supposed to be more of my fast paced and action-oriented series, and I don’t want to move AA too far into that direction. I’m still tinkering, so we’ll see where things end up.

Given the current instability in the world, as well as the nature of my own writing, I can’t make any guarantees about a release date – but I’ll say that I’m still aiming for the November to December range and leave it at that.

Next, for those of you who enjoy the LitRPG genre, I have a quick recommendation: Cinnamon Bun.

Cinnamon Bun: A Wholesome LitRPG by [Ravens Dagger]

Cinnamon Bun stars an absolutely adorable young woman who, upon being dumped into a game-like universe, proceeds to mop floors and try to make friends with everyone and everything she comes across (with varying levels of success). It’s an absolutely beautiful subversion of the usual sociopathic style of character you often see in both actual RPGs and RPG-related fiction. Our hero not only recognizes the individuality and value of others, she actively seeks to find non-violent resolutions to conflicts.

In a way, you can think of this as being reminiscent of a game like Undertale, although I’d say the overall flavor of the story leans more heavily toward novels like Threadbare (which I also strongly recommend).

As a LitRPG, it’s a novel where RPG mechanics exist within the universe, which may not be everyone’s cut of tea. They’re pretty light as far as LitRPG mechanics go, though, and I personally found the class and skill advancement systems to be both engaging and thought provoking.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book, and I’d strongly recommend it.