Hey everyone!

Just letting you know that Defying Destiny is finally out on audible! You can get it here.

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As I mentioned earlier, there’s a gigantic book sale going on for Coronavirus relief. The sales are up now, and you can find the main page listing the available books on Reddit here:https://www.reddit.com/r/Fantasy/comments/frp5dw/its_time_62_authors_144_books_all_at_099099_with/

Hey everyone,

I’d like to give everyone an update on my current situation.

First off, I’m safe and still writing. Isolation has been a little maddening, but I’ve been very productive. I’ll get into the details of that productivity in a bit, but I’d like to begin by talking about some sales and deals.

Six Sacred Swords goes on sale at 8AM today for 0.99 on the US and UK Kindle stores. This is my part of a much larger effort by a huge group of authors organized by Bryce O’ Connor. This week, something like a hundred authors are putting books on sale to raise money for Coronavirus relief, and I’ll be doing my part on that and donating a portion of the income from this sale to that cause. I would strongly encourage anyone who can afford to do so to check out the books that are on sale and pick some up – it’s for a good cause.

Next, the Kindle edition of Forging Divinity – the first book in my War of Broken Mirrors series – is free right now, for the first time ever.

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This is both to give some free reading to people dealing with the social isolation and as a way of getting people ready for the release of the audio book for Defying Destiny, which comes out tomorrow. I’m super excited it’s finally getting an audio release, and I can’t wait to hear what people think of Nick’s rendition of it.

Now, back to what I’ve been up to.

First off, Spider Climb. If any of you missed my previous announcements, I’m running a Quest right now, which is a type of web serial/forum RPG hybrid thing. I put in a huge amount of work on this for the first week and a half or so, but it was slowing down my other writing too much, so I’m easing up on my pace a little. (There’s already a full novella worth of content in there. Phew.)

In spite of spending a ton of time on Spider Climb, I’ve still made some steady progress on my other books.

Arcane Ascension 3 is at around 30% completed at this point. I’ve made some good progress, but the dark and interpersonal nature of some of the plot points have been difficult for me to write during this epidemic, and it’s been tricky getting in the right head space for it. I’ve finished the first major “act” of the story at this part, and now I’m getting into territory I’m hoping will be somewhat smoother to write – but we’ll see as the months progress.

Soulbrand, the third Weapons and Wielders book, is making steady progress as well. I still probably plan to release AA3 first, but this book is just so much easier to write that there’s a growing chance I might finish the first draft of it first. It’s not that I’m making it a higher priority; writing it just flows more easily, since it’s a more linear book with a lighter narrative voice and fewer things for me to worry about. I tried just focusing on AA3 for a while, but that just resulted in dead days where I wasn’t getting any work done – bouncing between projects is much better for staying productive and mentally healthy.

One of my secret projects (which was already finished being written last year) should be out soonish, but I’m not the one who gets to announce it. I can’t wait to hear what people think of it, though – and the cover. I absolutely love the cover for it.

Maybe by the end of next month, I’ll be able to show it to you.

Hey everyone,

Given the number of people who are currently in isolation, I thought it might be fun to do something with some interaction.

As such, I’ve started a “Quest” over on Sufficient Velocity.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the concept, Quests are a form of online fiction where the author gives readers a set of options at the end of each chapter. This is similar to a Choose Your Own Adventure book, but rather than all the options being written out, the reader base as a whole votes to determine what the character in the story does next – and that’s it. The other branches aren’t written out.

So, you can think of it as being something of a mix between a novel (or, really, a web serial) and a role-playing game.

This particular quest takes place in between Weapons and Wielders and Arcane Ascension. For the moment, readers will be reading and “playing” as Keras.

You can find the intro here: https://forums.sufficientvelocity.com/threads/spider-climb-a-jrpg-style-dungeon-crawl-in-the-arcane-ascension-weapons-and-wielders-universe.63681/

Before anyone asks, I’m still writing my other Books (AA3 and Weapons and Wielders 3) at the same time. They’re both still several months out, however.

Rather than using this as a substitute for my normal writing, I’m doing this in place of some of my usual social media time. It’s possible this will cut into my writing time a little, but I think it’s going to be worth the time investment, since user interaction tends to help motivate me to write more.

I hope anyone who decides to participate enjoys the quest!

Anyone who has read my works knows that I enjoy playing with classic tropes. Among my favorites is the classic story of the Hero and the Dark Lord, equal and opposite forces destined to clash and tear the world asunder.

Most of my favorite incarnations of this trope tend to be in the form of Japanese games and literature — things like Maoyuu, for example, which is a love story between the Yuusha (Hero) and Maou (Demon King) of that particular setting. I’ve seen a couple Western stories that tinker with this trope in interesting ways — Mistborn is “what if the Hero failed”, for example, and the Traveler’s Gate Trilogy is “what if someone else from the hero’s tragic backstory village decided to do something about the Demon King himself”.

I’ve written a few takes on this trope myself. An early short story sent to my mailing list was about a geriatric Dark Lord’s surprise birthday, and I wrote a “summoned hero” style story for the Art of War anthology. I’ve even got a secret project on the way along these lines, too.

But, in spite of my general love of – and familiarity with – these tropes, I wasn’t prepared for The Brightest Shadow.

The Brightest Shadow by Sarah Lin shows us a world where humanity co-exists with a different (and sometimes dominant) humanoid species called the mansthein, or, as humans often call them in traditionally derogatory fashion, “deathspawn”.

The “Hero” is a legend of a destined human who will rise to throw off the yoke of “deathspawn” oppression, obliterating the Dark Lord and his foul servants. For some, the Hero is a source of hope, inspiration, and joy.

But for the mansthein — and those humans who are seeking peace between the species — the Hero is something else entirely. They’re a horrifying force of nature, a whirlwind of death, destruction, and insanity that consumes all within its path.

Never before have I seen the legendary chosen Hero depicted so convincingly as a monster. Every hint of the Hero’s arrival filled me not with hope, but with dread.

Would our protagonists survive the Hero’s bloody rampage? Was peace possible in a world where the Hero threatens with every breath to tear it asunder?

That, my friends, is our story—

In The Brightest Shadow, our protagonists aren’t Heroes or Dark Lords.

They’re simply trying to find a way to endure the collateral damage between them — and perhaps find a way to give the world some hope of surviving their inevitable clash.

***

With that overview done, let’s get into some details.

The story is third-person, multi-perspective. There are a couple main perspectives, as well as several peripheral ones. The author does a fantastic job of making each perspective feel subtly (or, at times, not-so-subtly) distinct, so we get a better idea of what the head space of each character might feel like.

There are two people I’d consider to be the “main” characters. Both were excellent and easy to read.

Tani is a member of tribe called the Nelee and in the midst of a coming-of-age journey to learn about the world and return to her tribe. She’s a proactive and likable character right from the start of the story, and her comparatively isolated background makes her a great lens through which we can learn about the world.

Slaten is a former swordsman who is attempting to turn his life around by working as a medic…poorly. As the story progresses, he’ll have important choices to make in terms of the kind of life he wants to lead and the people he wants to choose to support.

The characters have interesting dynamics with several other cast members, both each other and including several major supporting protagonists (and antagonists). They both have interesting interactions with the central Hero legend, too, but I won’t get into that in too much detail. That would spoil the fun.

***

For those of you who read my own books for the progression mechanics involved, you’ll probably enjoy this book. Tani, Slaten, and many of the other characters go through training, learn new techniques, and progress in power just like you’d expect to see in my stories or other progression fantasies.

Style wise, the flavor here feels very Cultivation flavored, but with interesting and distinct cultural distinctions within the setting itself. Different cultures treat their training differently, learning different techniques and having different philosophies on how exactly power improvements should work. Reading those distinctions and people experimenting with learning new techniques was a delight to me, and I think anyone who enjoys Cultivation novels will feel similarly.

There aren’t quite as clear of power level tiers as you’d see in something like Cradle or Arcane Ascension, largely because of those aforementioned cultural distinctions. There are clear power differences between characters, and there are some ways to measure them, but it’s clear that those measurements only present one part of the picture. Something like Traveler’s Gate or my own War of Broken Mirrors would be a reasonable comparison.

Personally, I found this style extremely engaging, and I found the clear improvements throughout the story to be very satisfying. In particular, a couple specific techniques proved extremely relevant to the core narrative and immensely important for the development of one particular cast member.

***

I liked Street Cultivation, one of this author’s previous works.

I loved this book. I’m absolutely hooked. The ending was fantastic, and I can’t wait to see what the future brings for this new world.

In the meantime, I’ll just have to hope that the Hero doesn’t doom us all.

(The Brightest Shadow is available on Kindle now and you can find it here.)

Paperbacks for Diamantine are available now! Find them here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B084DD8XVR
 
And if you’re waiting for the audio book, you can preorder that here: https://www.audible.com/pd/Diamantine-Audiobook/1774243032
And check out the updated cover art for the audio edition below!
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I’ve submitted the files for the paperback version of Diamantine. It should be up within the next 72 hours or so.

Preorders are up for audio as well, with a release date of 7/7/2020! You can find the audio preorder page here.

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Hello everyone!

Preorders are up for the audio book version of Defying Destiny! You can find it here.

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In addition, Sufficiently Advanced Magic is currently on sale on the US and UK Kindle stores for 0.99!

Finally, in case you missed it, Diamantine is finally out on Kindle. If you’re a fan of Arcane Ascension and haven’t picked up this series yet, now is a great time – there are some crossover characters from Arcane Ascension in this one if you pay close enough attention. Paperbacks and audio will be a bit longer. Stay tuned!

Thanks, everyone, and I hope you enjoy the books!

-Andrew

With a number of people finishing Diamantine, there’s been a lot of talk about the books on Discord and Reddit.

You can find the discussions on Discord here and on Reddit here. You’ll need accounts for Discord and Reddit if you want to post on these sites.

If you want to post anything that involves the events of Diamantine, please make sure to mark your spoilers first. If you’re posting a new topic on the Reddit page, for example, put [Spoilers] in the topic heading and make sure to name the topic something innocuous that doesn’t include details about what happens in the book. Something like [Spoilers] – Diamantine’s Ending Discussion or [Spoilers] The Other Wielders would be good examples.

Diamantine, the second book in my Weapons and Wielders series, is available now on the US Kindle store!

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To celebrate, the first book in the series – Six Sacred Swords – is on sale for on the US Kindle store and UK Kindle store. (Unfortunately, those are the only regions covered by Kindle Countdown Deals. If you’re somewhere else, sorry. ;_;)

Six Sacred Swords follows Keras Selyrian, a talented swordsman who begins a journey to seek out the titular Six Sacred Swords. It’s a lighthearted adventure story, with a lot of nods to various classic games from the NES, SNES, and Playstation eras, especially The Legend of Zelda, Dragon Quest, Ys, and Final Fantasy. You might enjoy it if you’re in the mood for talking swords, bibliophile dragons, and a lot of accidentally breaking traps and puzzles. The audio book version can be found here, narrated by the fantastic Nick Podehl!

This series takes place in the same universe as my War of Broken Mirrors and Arcane Ascension books.

Chronologically, the books follow this order:

Notably, the frame story for this book (meaning the Prologue, Interlude, and Epilogue) takes place much later than the main story, and after the second book of Arcane Ascension. Reading those other books isn’t required to understand this one, but it may be beneficial to get everything possible out of the story.

Next, I’d like to mention something important about the style of this particular book.

Diamantine is designed to set the foundation for plot and character arcs and for several books to come, and this means that by necessity, there will be a number of elements introduced in this book that aren’t resolved by the end. This is intentional, but it may not work for all readers. If you prefer stories that feel self-contained, you may be best waiting for at least one more book to come out to read them back to back.

Thanks, everyone, and I hope you love the books!

Best,

-Andrew