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Mistborn
Weblog for Writer Brandon Sanderson
The Calamity release is just two weeks away! Check my events calendar for full details on the Calamity tour. I hope to see many of you at the signings. Here's a quick summary of the tour:

Tuesday, February 16: Orem
Wednesday, February 17: Seattle
Friday, February 19: Denver
Saturday, February 20: Philadelphia
Monday, February 22: Chicago
Tuesday, February 23: Milwaukee
Wednesday, February 24: Houston
Thursday, February 25: Austin
Friday, February 26: San Antonio

I also had the privilege to be a guest on the Functional Nerds Podcast a few days ago. You can give it a listen here.

In this week’s new Writing Excuses episode, Writing and World Building for Role Playing Games, where Dan and Howard were joined for the day by Michelle Lyons-McFarland, Monica Valentinelli, and Shanna Germain. Their discussion centers around how worldbuilding for roleplaying games, and especially the manner in which the world is presented, differs from worldbuilding for novels. We don’t talk about rule sets or physics simulations. We’re after the things that players want and need to read in order to immerse themselves in the setting, and get “in fiction.”

Last week, in Tor.com’s continuing reread posts for Words of Radiance, a tentative expedition to observe a chasmfiend chrysalis and gather information ended in an unexpected Parshendi sighting and a collapsing bridge. This week, in Chapter 69, there's one day to make it back through the chasms to the warcamp before the next highstorm hits.

My assistant Adam is working on updating the Twitter posts archive for February.

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On Monday night we had a very successful release party for the newest Mistborn novel, The Bands of Mourning. It's now available worldwide in print, audio, and ebook, and you can find links to where to get it in the tabs at the upper right of the post. If you have already read Shadows of Self</i> (which came out in October), then check out the sample chapters of the new book. (They do have spoilers for the previous books!)

There's also a surprise novella that came out at the same time, ebook-only for now. If you haven't finished The Bands of Mourning yet, it's best to pretend the new novella doesn't exist until you finish Bands. But it's something I've been hoping for years to be able to share with you, and I'm very pleased that now is the right time.

I talked about both of those, plus a Stormlight 3 update and something about what my writing space is like, in the January 2016 Brandon Sanderson Newsletter. If you don't want to miss a newsletter in the future, sign up here.

On a different topic, it's time again to consider your nominations for awards in the genre.

Nominating for the Nebula Awards is the privilege of active members of SFWA, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. (To join SFWA, you need to be a qualifying professional.) To nominate for the Hugo Awards this year, you need to be a member of the 2016 World Science Fiction Convention in Kansas City, or be a member of the 2017 Worldcon in Helsinki, Finland, or have been a member of the 2015 Worldcon in Spokane. (Anyone can join Worldcon; see the bottom of this post.)

It has become traditional in the field for writers like myself to provide a list of which works of theirs are eligible, so that people who are interested in nominating can look into them and give them consideration. As always, it is better to nominate a work because you love it in particular, rather than because of your general preference for a specific author. (Except in certain cases where the creator is instead the focus of the award, such as is the case with the Campbell Award.) The Hugo Awards have only the strength, and prestige, we give them. Please consider my works below, but nominate them only if you sincerely think they are among the best works you read last year.

Brandon Sanderson’s Award-Eligible Works for the 2015–2016 Season



Best Related Work (Hugo Only)




Best Novel (Hugo or Nebula)




Best Novella (Hugo or Nebula)




As I’ve done the past few years, where I send out a review copy of one work to eligible nominators, this year I'll be doing the same for Perfect State. So if you have a membership for the 2015, 2016, or 2017 Worldcon, feel free to drop me an email through my website requesting an ebook of Perfect State and saying which Worldcon you’re a member of (or saying you’re an active SFWA member), and we’ll respond with a copy of the novella.

If you don’t have at least a supporting membership for Worldcon, you should totally consider getting one (currently $50). With a supporting membership, you get voting rights on the Hugo Awards, and will be sent ebook copies of most (if not all) of the nominated books and stories (last year, the publisher of several of the novels decided not to include them in the packet). To nominate, you must have your membership by January 31st (or be a member of the 2015 or 2017 Worldcons by that date). Nominations close on March 31st. To vote on the final ballot, you must be a member of the 2016 Worldcon specifically, by the voting deadline (sometime in July).

Worldcon is one of the most chill ways I know of to hang out with authors. It's not like a comic con; there’s no frantic air of merchandising or enormous crowds. (Though I do enjoy comic cons.) Worldcon is about interacting with fellow fans and with writers. You can nominate and vote on the Hugo Awards with just a supporting membership, but to attend the convention requires an attending membership.

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Tonight is the night! The official launch party for The Bands of Mourning starts tonight at 10:00 pm at the BYU Bookstore. Don't forget to swing by and get your number before 8:00 so you don't lose your place in line (bring an ID and your proof of purchase). Just to give you another quick breakdown of the schedule (for full details, check out this blog post):
  • 10:00 p.m. Monday, January 25th (doors open). I will be getting there a bit early to pre-sign and number all the books. Then I'll mingle with the crowd for a while, followed by my reading and Q&A session downstairs.

  • 12:00 a.m. January 26th Monday night/Tuesday morning (book released). You can pick up your book and go, or get in line for personalizations, which could take until 3:00 a.m.


Both Calamity and The Bands of Mourning are being featured in Audible's Winter Preview—books that the editors at Audible are most excited for. You can check out the complete list here.

In this week’s new Writing Excuses episode, Newton’s Laws of Writing, we decide to play around with the idea of mapping Newton's Laws onto the process of writing.

Last week, in Tor.com’s continuing reread posts for Words of Radiance, Kaladin was released from prison. This week, in Chapter 67, Dalinar faces an unsubtle attempt to make him look foolish, and turns the tables to render the attack powerless.

My assistant Adam is has updated the twitter posts archive for January.

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At 12:00 a.m. on January 26th, I will be doing the world’s first and only signing for The Bands of Mourning. In past years some readers have enjoyed camping out at the bookstore to get a low-numbered copy. But at the Shadows of Self release for various reasons, we tried something new: a digital line. The experiment worked well, so for this release we're using a variation on that. Numbers will be assigned by the order you enter the digital line. Further details from the BYU Store and my signing assistant Kara are below. The entry form will become available on January 25th at 10:00 a.m., and closes on January 21st at 11:59 p.m.

As I mentioned yesterday, because of the extensive tour I did for Shadows of Self (and because I’ll be going out on tour again in February for Calamity), I’m not planning to tour for this book. That's why the midnight release is the only signing. But don't worry, if you're unable to get a signed copy at the midnight release or from Weller Book Works, I will always be happy to sign your book in the future. We will do what we can to make sure that my Calamity tour stops also have copies of The Bands of Mourning (as well as the new illustrated editions of Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians and The Shattered Lens).

Only one submission per person. This is a line! (Duplicates will be deleted.)
You will be required to preorder The Bands of Mourning by January 21st in order to be assigned a number and guarantee that a book will be there for you to pick up on January 25th. Books can be ordered online at byubookstore.com (choose the shipping option “Service Desk Pickup” to get your book at the midnight release party), or order in the store. Books ordered through byubookstore.com will not be charged to your credit card until January 22.

You must pick up your number in person from the BYU Store on Monday, January 25, between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. Bring a photo ID and your receipt or proof of purchase.

The BYU Store will reopen at 10:00 p.m. to host the book release party with some fun activities as well as prizes to be given out throughout the evening.

Around 10:45 p.m. Brandon will hold a reading and Q&A downstairs.

At 11:45 p.m., guests will be asked to begin lining up in numerical order in preparation for the distribution of books at midnight.

Once guests have picked up their signed & numbered book, they are free to leave or to get into a separate line to have their books personalized by Brandon.

If you do not pick up your number before 8:00 p.m., your number will be given to someone else. If you show up after this point to pick up your book, you will be given a different number or a refund.

Cash registers will close at 1:00 a.m. All purchases must be made by this time.

Can’t attend? See the previous post about ordering from Weller Book Works, or you can preorder a book from the BYU Store and they will send you a signed and numbered copy of The Bands of Mourning after the Midnight Release Party. You must purchase your copy by January 21st, and the numbers for these copies will be assigned after the event. Please do not sign up for the Digital Line if you're not attending.

The bookstore has asked me to get there a bit early so I can be finished signing and numbering all the books by 10:00 or so. Once I am done, they will let everyone in and we’ll have a meet & greet where you can talk to me, ask me your burning questions, take pictures, etc. (The idea is that this will help the personalization line move more quickly after midnight.) There will also be things like trivia contests going on during this time.

Based on past events, I should be able to personalize everyone’s books, even if it takes until 3:00 a.m. Since all of the books will be pre-signed and numbered, everyone will get a numbered edition if they come. As I’m local, you can always just come, pick up a book, and leave—then get it personalized at some other signing when things aren’t so crazy. This will probably be a busy event, but it should be very easy to just come, get a pre-signed/numbered book, then buy it and take off without waiting in any lines after midnight.

Now, here’s the important part. It’s hard for stores to judge how many copies to order for this sort of event, and I’m worried that BYU might not order enough. They might run out. Therefore, they are letting you preorder to be assured you get a book. If you preorder, you are guaranteed a book. If you don’t preorder, it’s first come first served. If a lot of people preorder, they will get in more books to make sure everyone who ordered early is covered.

So, for this event, I strongly encourage you go to the website and order your book ahead of time. It will save you money and will make things easier for us. Let me say one more time, however, that you do not get your number based on when you preorder, though you do have to have paid for the book before you can get your number. You get the number based on when you signed up for the digital line. Preordering just guarantees that you get a copy, not that you get a low number. Still—please, please preorder soon so they can be sure to have enough books for the event. They have ordered a ton of copies, but it’s always possible they could underestimate and some readers could go home empty-handed. At the midnight release of A Memory of Light they were able to get a book to everyone only after a dozen people who had reserved more than one copy agreed to put off picking up their second copy until the next shipment came in!

Details:
BYU Store, Provo, UT
10:00 a.m. Friday, January 15th (digital line signups begin at this link)
8:00 a.m.–8:00 p.m. Monday, January 25th (numbers distributed at the BYU Store)
10:00 p.m. Monday, January 25th (doors open)
12:00 a.m. January 26th Monday night/Tuesday morning (book released)
Preorder by going to the BYU Store website. (For the shipping option, choose “Service Desk Pickup.”) You’ll need to bring your receipt or proof of purchase as well as your photo ID to the BYU Store before 8:00 p.m. in order to get your book number.

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It’s quickly approaching book release time again! The Bands of Mourning, the new Mistborn book, comes out in roughly two weeks on January 26th. (January 28th in the UK/Ireland/Australia/New Zealand.) Sample chapters can be read on Tor’s site. Be aware, they contain spoilers for the previous books!

Because of the extensive tour I did for Shadows of Self (and because I’ll be going out on tour again in February for Calamity), I’m not planning to tour for this book. We’ll be doing our normal release party. (Midnight at the BYU Bookstore.) And I’ll blog about that tomorrow. Today’s post is for those of you who want to get a signed and numbered copy shipped to your door by Weller Book Works.

We’ve done this with most of my books so far, and it’s been very well received. I like having a way for people who can’t reach a signing to get a signed copy. However, as my popularity has grown, doing all of these signatures has become increasingly difficult—in part because of the extravagant requests that people sometimes have for the personalizations in their books.

I have been tempted a number of times to stop personalizing for these signings, but I’ve resisted. I like the (ahem) personal connection this allows me to have with my readers. And I know that for some, these little flourishes have become very special to them. At the same time, the more word spreads, the more often I’m asked to write a limerick, quote an entire paragraph of the book, or draw a doodle while signing. And so the period I spend working on all of these signatures stretches for hours and hours.

I think we’ve finally hit on a solution. I’m still willing to do personalizations, and even the more extravagant requests, but I’m going to ask for something in exchange: a small donation to charity. To facilitate this, we’re going to have the form for selling these books on my website—but to make a point that’s probably irrelevant to you, but important to me, these books are not being sold by me. They’re being sold and shipped by Weller Book Works.

I prefer not to sell my new hardcovers on my website, as I don’t want to compete with the bookstores around the world. As always, I suggest that you support your local booksellers for my new releases.

In this case, everything worked out better for me to organize the sale. But once the orders are in, we’ll pass most of the money to Weller and let them handle getting the books and shipping them. The money that is left over goes directly to Waygate Foundation, the charity established in Robert Jordan’s honor. You can find out more about them, and the charity work they do, here.

Anyway, on to the nuts and bolts of this. We’re going to offer three tiers for getting your book.

Tier One, $28: Just the book, Signed and Numbered

This is exactly what it seems. The book itself with a signature and a number. These, like all books in this offering, will be fulfilled by Weller Book Works. They’ve decided to charge $28 for this book, plus shipping.

Tier Two, $33: Signed, Numbered, and Personalized

For this tier, you can list a name you want written in the book, and I’ll dedicate the book to that person. I also will pick a quote from the book, usually a short three-to-five-word phrase, and write it in the book. (Unless you don’t want it.)

Here, you don’t get to choose the quote. You can, however, ask for a brief “Happy Birthday” or “Congratulations” instead. Or you could request a written date.

So, the rundown for this tier:
  1. You just give us a name (exactly as you want it written), and I’ll write that name and a quote.

  2. OR: Mention “Happy Birthday” or a similar very, very short request and a name. I’ll write the exact name you say, along with the specific greeting.

  3. OR: Say “Signed, Lined, Dated.” I’ll write no name in this, but will still write the quote, and will date it.


The $33 price of this tier includes a $28 book and a $5 donation to Waygate. The $5 portion is tax deductible.

Tier Three, $48: More Extravagant Requests

The first two tiers should cover almost everyone who wants a book. Honestly, it’s my hope that putting a higher donation requirement on it will push more people away from this last tier. However, I am willing to do your more extravagant requests here.

Please note that I’m not offering to do anything you wish. In fact, you’re still rather limited in this tier. This is essentially restricted to a few interactions:
  1. You can request a specific quote, of your choosing. This shouldn’t be longer than a short paragraph, maybe 30 or so words in length. It doesn’t have to be a quote from one of my books—it can basically be anything you wish. (I do ask that you avoid profanity or vulgarities.)

  2. You can request a specific personalization beyond a simple greeting. “Happy Birthday Jim, may you have many more years of enjoying books!” or “Mary says thank you so much for the cheesecake” or “May you enjoy your new snowmobile.”

  3. You can request a small doodle. Note, I’m terrible at drawing. Seriously. We’re talking stick figures here. But some people really like them, so if you want an awful stick figure doodle, knock yourself out.

  4. A limerick or haiku. Someone is going to request one of these; they always do. So I’ll have to write it out anyway. If you want a copy of the one I compose for this book, you can request it. Note—it’s going to be rather bad, because I’ll think it up in a hurry. Also, my handwriting is not good. But again, if you want this, then go ahead and request it.

  5. Ask me a question, which—if I can respond briefly—I will answer. Please note that if you ask a detailed question about the Cosmere, you might very well just get a RAFO. (Read and find out.) This is a risk you take upon yourself. You could end up paying $20 extra to get no answer, so I’d suggest that you save those questions for when you meet me in person. But if you really want to ask, you can do it here. Your question should be short and specific. Not “Tell me something new about the Cosmere!” or “Tell me something we don’t know about Hoid!” I ran out of answers to questions like those years ago.


If you want something that’s not on that list, then it’s possible I’ll still do it—but I can’t promise it. The price tag includes a $20 donation to Waygate, and that portion is tax deductible.

That should cover everything! If you’ve got questions, feel free to send an inquiry to the store through my webmail form. I hope this isn’t too confusing or too annoying for you. My goal has been to find a way to continue to get signatures to people, while allowing those who really need something specific to get it—all while donating some money to charity.

To order your signed and numbered copy of The Bands of Mourning shipped by Weller Book Works, click here. Deadline: January 20th at 11:59pm, or sooner than that if Weller Book Works sells out quickly.

Thanks, as always, for reading. More information is coming tomorrow about the release party.

Brandon

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It's 2016 and time for Writing Excuses to embark on a new season. This year we are going to explore what we write and why we write, but our guidepost will be the concept of Elemental Genres. In January we’ll stay high-level and firm up the framework. Starting in February we’ll drill down on each of the Elemental Genres and explore the writing process.

We understand that the word "genre" has a lot of weight to it, and arguments can ensue because of it. In the season's first episode, Introduction to Elemental Genre, we bypass all the long, tedious, and overwhelming arguments by adding an adjective and defining a new term: Elemental Genre.

Here is a preview of what the 2016 season of Writing Excuses will look like:
  • January: Introduction

  • February: Wonder

  • March: Idea

  • April: Adventure

  • May: Horror

  • June: Mystery

  • July: Thriller

  • August: Humor

  • September: Relationship

  • October: Drama

  • November: Issue

  • December: Ensemble

In this week's new Writing Excuses episode, How to get the Most Out of a Conference, we sit down with Kathy Chung, who runs the Surry International Writing Conference (a professional development event, rather than a fan-run convention). So naturally, we invited her to talk with us about conferences and conventions so she could share her expertise with us firsthand.

I have some more exciting news for Writing Excuses: the 2016 Writing Excuses Retreat is fast approaching (register here, and a scholarship is explained here), and we have all the guest instructors lined up. I have listed some pretty basic information about them below, and hopefully it will help you determine which courses you want to focus on while on the retreat.


Steven Barnes The novelist, screenwriter, writing instructor and life coach has published more than 25 science fiction, fantasy and horror novels, written New York Times bestsellers and won an NAACP Image Award. He has been nominated for Hugo, Nebula and Cable Ace Awards. His modern classic A Stitch in Time episode of Showtime’s The Outer Limits won an Emmy. He has also has written for The New Twilight Zone, StarGate, Andromeda, Ben 10, The Wizard and The Real Ghost Busters. His solo novels include Streetlethal, The Kundalini Equation, Gorgon Child, Firedance, Blood Brothers, Far Beyond the Stars, Charisma and his highly acclaimed and his highly acclaimed Lion’s Blood and Zulu Heart.
Once a nationally ranked karate competitor, he now makes his home in Southern California with his wife, American Book Award winner Tananarive Due, and his son, Jason. His daughter Nicki graduated from UC Irvine in 2009 and is currently doing theater in Central California.

Desiree BurchDesiree Burch is a writer, comedian actress and New York to London transplant. Her full-length solo shows, 52 Man Pickup and Tar Baby have toured NY, L.A., San Francisco, Seattle, New Orleans, London, Amsterdam and Edinburgh. Tar Baby received a Fringe First Award for new writing at the 2015 Edinburgh Festival Fringe and was shortlisted for an Amnesty International Freedom of Expression award. Desiree is also the 2015 Funny Women Awards Stage Award Winner, and her stand-up and solo work have been featured at places like Carolines, Joe’s Pub, P.S. 122, 59E59, LaMama, the New Museum and WNYC’s The Greene Space, as well as on VH1, MTV and E4. She was a founding member of the New York Neo-Futurists and her work has been profoundly influenced by her experiences as a creator/performer in their long-running show Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind. She is also a performer in Young Jean Lee’s Untitled Feminist Show and is the voice of former Mayor Pamela Winchell on the top-five podcast Welcome to Night Vale. She has worked regionally and nationally as an arts educator (American Place Theater, Perry-Mansfield) and speaker (TEDx), and was an Artist-in-Residence of Galapagos Art Space in Brooklyn where she hosted the cult storytelling and performance show SMUT. Desiree received her B.A. in Theater Studies from Yale University.

Tananrive DueTananarive Due is an author, screenwriter and educator who is a leading voice in black speculative fiction. Her short fiction has appeared in best-of-the-year anthologies of science fiction and fantasy. She is the former Chair in the Humanities at Spelman College (2012-2014) and teaches Afrofuturism at UCLA. She also teaches in the creative writing MFA program at Antioch University Los Angeles. Due has a B.S. in journalism from Northwestern University and an M.A. in English literature from the University of Leeds, England. The American Book Award winner and NAACP Image Award recipient is the author of twelve novels and a civil rights memoir. In 2010, she was inducted into the Medill School of Journalism’s Hall of Achievement at Northwestern University. She also received a Lifetime Achievement Award in the Fine Arts from the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation.
Due collaborates on the Tennyson Hardwick mystery series with her husband, author Steven Barnes, in partnership with actor Blair Underwood. Due and Barnes also collaborate on a young adult horror/science fiction series including the novels Devil’s Wake and Domino Falls.
She and her husband live in Southern California with their son, Jason.

DongWon Song is an agent at Howard Morhaim Literary Agency representing science fiction, fantasy, YA, science, food, and pop-culture. Previously, he was an editor with Orbit where he launched multiple New York Times bestselling series including FEED by Mira Grant and THE EXPANSE by James S.A. Corey. He has also worked as a digital bookseller for ebook startup Zola Books where he was the head of product for the ecommerce and ebook apps. He lives in Portland, Oregon where it does not rain nearly as much as people say.

Lynne m. ThomasLynne M. Thomas Three-time Hugo Award-winner Lynne M. Thomas is the Co-Editor-in-Chief and Co-Publisher of Uncanny Magazine with her husband, Michael Damian Thomas. She was the co-editor of the Hugo Award-winning Chicks Dig Time Lords with Tara O’Shea, Whedonistas with Deborah Stanish, the Hugo Award-finalist Chicks Dig Comics with Sigrid Ellis, and the anthology Glitter & Mayhem with Michael Damian Thomas and John Klima. Lynne is the former Editor-in-Chief of the Hugo Award-finalist Apex Magazine. She moderates the Hugo Award-winning SF Squeecast, a monthly podcast (with Elizabeth Bear, Paul Cornell, Seanan McGuire, Michael Damian Thomas and Catherynne M. Valente) in which a group of SF/F professionals get excited about stuff they like, and contributes to the Verity! Podcast (with Erika Ensign, L.M. Myles, Katrina Griffiths, Tansy Rayner Roberts and Deborah Stanish), where a bunch of smart women talk about Doctor Who.
Lynne is also the Curator of Rare Books and Special Collections at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, IL, where she is responsible for the literary papers of over 70 SF/F authors and the official archives of SFWA.

Machael Damian ThomasMichael Damian Thomas is the Co-Publisher and Co-Editor-in-Chief of Uncanny Magazine with his wife, Lynne M. Thomas. He was a two-time Hugo Award finalist as the former Managing Editor of Apex Magazine, co-edited the Hugo-nominated Queers Dig Time Lords with Sigrid Ellis, and co-edited Glitter & Mayhem with John Klima and Lynne M. Thomas. Michael is a member of the Down and Safe Blake's 7 podcast with Amal El-Mohtar, L.M. Myles, and Scott Lynch.
Michael lives in DeKalb with his wife Lynne, their daughter Caitlin, and a cat named Marie. Caitlin has a rare congenital disorder called Aicardi syndrome, and Michael works as her primary caregiver.

Navah WolfeNavah Wolfe is an editor at Saga Press, Simon & Schuster's science fiction and fantasy imprint, where she has edited critically-acclaimed novels such as Our Lady of the Ice by Cassandra Rose Clarke and Persona by Genevieve Valentine. She is also the co-editor, along with Dominik Parisien, of The Starlit Wood, an anthology of cross-genre fairy tale retellings, coming next year from Saga Press. She was previously an editor at Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, where she worked on many bestselling books, including some that have won awards such as the Printz Honor, the Pura Belpré Award, the Pen/Faulkner Award, the Stonewall Award, the Lambda Literary Award, and the Schneider Family Award. She has previously worked as a bookseller, a rock climbing wall manager, and a veterinary intern at a zoo. She lives in Connecticut with her husband and two young children.

Claudia GrayClaudia Gray is the pseudonym or pen name of a bestselling, Chicago-based novelist. She is perhaps best known for her four-book Evernight series, which follows a girl named Bianca, who is sent to Evernight Academy, a boarding school for vampires. Not knowing the school’s true nature, Bianca is subsequently thrust into the middle of a conflict between supernatural forces beyond her understanding.

Gray has also published Balthazar, a spin-off of the Evernight series about Bianca’s vampire friend, and a stand-alone novel entitled Fateful, the tale of a young serving woman aboard the doomed ship Titanic, and a dark stranger who is pursued by werewolves. Gray’s short stories have been featured in anthologies such as Immortal, Enthralled, and Vacations from Hell.

Before working as a full-time novelist, Gray worked as a lawyer, a disc jockey, a journalist, and a waitress (a terrible one by her reckoning). She enjoys hiking, traveling, reading, and listening to music, but says she loves writing best of all.


Last week, in Tor.com’s continuing reread posts for Words of Radiance, Kaladin seemed to be fighting depression, Shallan hid in the darkness while Amaram attempted to interview Talenel, and as a result of her work she was welcomed into the Ghostbloods. This week, in Chapter 64, we go back in time again, as Shallan tries to make a difference for her family.

My assistant Adam is has updated the twitter blog for December and January.

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So I have some bad news and some good news: We have officially sold out of the first printing of the Elantris leatherbound edition. But don't lose hope; we should have a second printing shipped early in the new year. I will announce any updates as they come.

I heard some more good news this morning: The Calamity audiobook is now available for preorder via Audible in the US and also Audible UK. The book comes out in February in all formats! Check the regional tabs in the upper right of my blog post for your local links.

While perusing reddit, I found out one of my readers, speeddemon974, had developed a pretty cool Twitter bot to automatically post whenever a change is made to percentage bar that you can see in the upper-right corner of my website. Check it out here.

For those who didn't see my tweet last week, Tor.com released the preview of Chapter Three for The Bands of Mourning. These chapters do include spoilers for Shadows of Self, so be warned.

There are a few Writing Excuses episodes to talk about this week, starting with the episode from a few weeks ago: How to Hand-Sell Your Manuscript to Agents and Editors, with Michael Underwood and Marco Palmieri. The two of them took the stage with Howard and Dan at GenCon Indy 2015 to discuss this topic. Marco Palmieri is a senior editor at Tor, and Michael Underwood is an author and also the North American sales and marketing manager for Angry Robot Books. We begin with a list of the things to avoid doing, including the classic mistakes like chasing editors into restrooms, but we quickly move on to where you get started, and what your task list is going to look like. We cover resources like Literary Marketplace, Locus, and Publishers Lunch, and the not-so-secret-anymore #MSWL hashtag.

In last week's episode of Writing Excuses, Q&A on Showing Your Work, with Daniel José Older, he joined us for a Q&A on showing your work around. Here are the questions, which were submitted by attendees at the Out of Excuses workshop:

  • What’s the best way to meet editors and agents at conventions?

  • How do you write a good query letter?

  • What do you mention as credentials in your query letter?

  • You didn’t cover self publishing at all this month. Self publishing is legit, right?

  • Can you submit the same work to more than one agent or editor at a time?

  • Can you re-submit a revised work to an agent who previously rejected the piece?


In this week's episode of Writing Excuses, Moving On, with Ellen Kushner, she joins us for the final episode of Season 10. Per the title, it’s time to be done; but what does “done” mean? How do you go about declaring a project finished when you know there are still things wrong with it? How do you clear your head, your workspace, and your life for the next thing you need to do?

Last week, in Tor.com’s continuing reread posts for Words of Radiance, we rejoined Shallan as she attempted to outwit the Ghostbloods, and had an unnerving encounter with a (presumed) Herald. This week, in Chapter 64, she hides from Amaram while Kaladin hides from depression. It’s a cheerful sort of chapter.

My assistant Adam is working on updating the Twitter post archive for December.

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Introduction



We are approaching Koloss Head-Munching Day—the day of the year that happens, by utter coincidence, to coincide with my birthday. (December 19th.) I’m turning forty this year, which isn’t as dramatic for me as it might be for some others. From the way I act, people have been joking for the last twenty years that I was “born forty.” I guess I’m finally just catching up.

It’s been almost twenty years since I finished my first book. I can remember joking with my friends in college (whom you might know as Lieutenant Conrad from Mistborn and Drehy from Bridge Four) that by forty, we were all going to be rich and famous.

The thing is, I always intended to make that dream happen. Not necessarily for the “rich” part or the “famous” part, neither of which interested me a great deal. I just knew that without a solid, stable writing career, I’d never be able to make the Cosmere happen.

Perhaps that’s where this whole “born forty” thing came from in the first place. I basically spent my twenties writing, slavishly trying to figure out how to craft stories. Friends would tell me to relax, but I couldn’t, not when these dreams of mine were so big. It should be mentioned that despite what our society would like to believe, hard work doesn’t always equate with success. For me, luck played a huge part in my being able to sit here and type this out for you.

Still, here I am, and I honestly can’t imagine things having gone better. People often seem bemused by my productivity; when I get together with fellow authors, they sometimes jokingly refer to me as “the adult” in our group. I get this—for a lot of them, writing is more of an instinctual process. Sitting and talking about the business side of things, or their goals for writing, flies in the face of the almost accidental way they’ve approached their careers. And it works for them; they create great books I'm always excited to read.

However, sometimes there's also this sense—from fans, from the community, from us authors in general—that whispers that being productive isn't a good thing. It's like society feels artists should naturally try to hide from deadlines, structure, or being aware of what we do and why we do it. As if, because art is supposed to be painful, we shouldn't enjoy doing our work—and should need to be forced into it.

If there's one thing that has surprised me over the last ten years, it's this strangeness that surrounds my enjoyment of my job, and the way my own psychology interfaces with storytelling. People thank me for being productive, when I don't consider myself particularly fast as a writer—I'm just consistent. Fans worry that I will burn out, or that secretly I'm some kind of cabal of writers working together. I enjoy the jokes, but there's really no secret. I just get excited by all of this. I have a chance to create something incredible, something that will touch people’s lives. In some cases, that touch is light—I just give a person a few moments to relax amid the tempest of life. In other cases, stories touch people on a deep and meaningful level. I’ll happily take either scenario.

Almost thirty years ago now, I encountered something remarkable in the books I read. Something meaningful that I couldn’t describe, a new perspective, new emotions. I knew then that I had to learn to do what those writers were doing. Now that I have the chance to reach people the same way, I’m not going to squander it.

I guess this is all a prelude to a warning. I'm working on a lot of projects. Many of these tie together in this epic master plan of mine, the thirty-six-(or more)-book cycle that will be the Cosmere. Even those books that aren’t part of the Cosmere are here to challenge me in some way, to push me and my stories, to explore concepts that have fascinated me for years.

These last ten years have been incredible. I thank you, and I thank God, for this crazy opportunity I’ve been given. I don’t intend to slow down.

I’m not embarrassed to be “the adult.” Even if I've only just hit the right age for it officially.

My Year



2015 was a bit slower than last year was, as I spent a lot of time editing.

January–May: Calamity

The bulk of my writing time this year was spent on Calamity, which I’d been putting off last year in order to write the two new Mistborn novels. Looking back at my records, I finished the last chapters in early May.

This was interrupted, on occasion, for revisions of various books—and for the Firefight tour, along with a trip to Sharjah in the UAE. Busy times. So busy, in fact, that it’s taken me all the rest of the year to give full feedback to the writers who took my class. I managed to grade their papers in May, somehow, but promised them each a personalized look at their final story submissions, which I’m only now finishing up.

June–August: Stormlight Three

I did squeeze in some writing time for Stormlight in here, though not a whole ton of it got done. I had to stop for revisions, touring, and travel through most of September and October.

September–October: Revisions and a Secret Project

Traveling so much made it difficult to do Stormlight 3 writing, which requires a lot of time investment. So between revisions, I managed to finish a project I’ve been working on for about a decade now. (Yes, a decade.) You’ll see this soon. It’s a novella.

November–December: Stormlight Three Again

I plan to keep on this one until I finish it, as I’ll talk about below. However, if you want to read a little about my writing time in November, you can read this other blog post.

Big List of Things I’m Working On



Now, let’s get to it. Each year around this time, I take stock of my many projects. You can read last year’s post here, to compare and see how things have been progressing. (And to see how well I did in my plans for 2015.)

Thank you in advance for continuing to give me the freedom I feel I need to jump between different worlds. While I know it’s frustrating sometimes that I’m not working on your world, the greater plans I have for all this require me to approach things in a certain way. Both for my health as a writer, and to bring about some large-scale awesomeness.

I’m going to go down the list of projects I’m working on, starting with what I consider my “main” projects. These are getting the focus of my time right now. From there, I’ll move on to things that I’m still toying with doing sometime soon.

Then it gets a little more speculative.

Enjoy!

Main Book Projects



The Stormlight Archive



Stormlight is going very well. I’m working on Book Three, which I’m calling Oathbringer. (That is likely at this point to be the final title.) This is my main project, and I won’t be writing any new prose on other stories until it is done. You can follow the progress bars!

Release dates for this book are still in flux. Even if I finish it early next year, it could be a year or more until you see the book. The amount of editing, continuity, and art that these books require creates a need for a long lead time. I’ve told people that Fall 2016 is the earliest they’d see it, but my team has been warning me that’s not realistic. We’ll see, but for now you should assume on a 2017 release.

What does this mean for my once optimistic “one Stormlight book every eighteen months” goal? The more I work on these books, the more uncertain I am about that. The outline for Oathbringer, for example, took about a year for me to nail down. Considering how many moving pieces there are in these books, it’s tough to judge how long they will take to write. And while there are books I can force through if some things aren’t right, I can’t afford to do that on this series.

I’ll continue to write Stormlight books at as quick a pace as is reasonable. I consider this my main project for the next decade or two, and am dedicated to it. But each book, as I’ve said before, is plotted as four books in one. So even if I release them once every three years, you’re getting four “books” in three years.

We’ll see. I’ll try to pick up the pace. In the meantime, I’ll try to get some short stories in the world out for you. (More on this later.)

Status: Book Three in Progress

The Reckoners



The last book of the trilogy is complete, revised, and turned in. It’s coming out in February, and is—indeed—the ending.

I have not closed the door on doing more in the world, but it will not be for a while. If I do return, it will be like a Mistborn return, where the focus of the books shifts in some way and I create a new series. I like leaving endings as endings, even if the world and some of the characters do progress.

I’m extremely pleased with the last book. I look forward to having you all read it, and I am grateful to you all for supporting this series. There were voices that told me something outside the Cosmere would never sell as well as something inside—but this series is neck-and-neck in popularity with Stormlight and Mistborn. It’s a relief, and very gratifying, to see that people are willing to follow me on different kinds of journeys.

Status: Completed!

Mistborn



And speaking of Mistborn, how is Scadrial doing? My current plan is still to have the Mistborn books stretch throughout my career, establishing stories in different eras of time with different sets of characters.

The original pitch was for three trilogies. The Wax and Wayne books expanded this to four series. (You can imagine Wax and Wayne as series 1.5, if you want.) This means there will still be a contemporary trilogy, and a science fiction trilogy, in the future.

I have one more book to do in the Wax and Wayne series, and I’m planning to write it sometime between Stormlight books three and four. Until then, Wax and Wayne three—The Bands of Mourning—comes out in January!

Status: Era 1.5 book three done; book four coming soonish

Secondary Book Projects



Elantris



I do still intend Elantris sequels. (And the enthusiasm for the leatherbound edition proves that people are still interested in the world.) Right now, I have them scheduled to be slotted in once Wax and Wayne is done. We’ll take a break from Scadrial at that point, go back to Sel and do some Elantris books, then hop back to the 1980s era Mistborn series.

This slots an Elantris sequel into the spot between Stormlight books 4 & 5. It is coming, just more slowly than I’d once hoped.

Status: Delayed, but coming before too long

The Rithmatist



Book two of The Rithmatist (called The Aztlanian) is another thing on my schedule that I need to get to soon. If you didn’t read last year’s update on the book, I tried writing this—and found I didn’t have a strong enough grasp on the historical period and culture to do it justice. So I stopped and did a bunch of research, but by the time I finished, I needed to be back to work on my main projects.

Therefore, I’ve slotted this in after Stormlight 3 as well. Hopefully it won’t get pushed back again. Usually I try to do about equal in pages to a Stormlight book between Stormlight books. That gives me room for three smaller books. Right now plans are for these three books to be The Lost Metal (Wax and Wayne 4), The Atzlanian, and a new project. (See below.)

Status: Delayed, but maybe coming soon

Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians



Here’s another one we’ve been able to clear off my list. With Tor republishing the first four books of this series throughout the spring next year (starting in February), I am at last able to get the fifth book (and the final one Alcatraz will write) out to you fans.

The new art for these editions has me very excited. For once I think we have covers that indicate to readers the tone of the books. Book Five should be out in the summer, though I believe Tor is scheduling it for August instead of June. It is written, and I’m doing final edits on it right now. (In the evenings after I feel I’ve hit my wordcount goal for Stormlight.)

If you haven’t read these books, give them a browse once they come out again in the spring. They’re very fun, but very different from my other books. They’re insane, fourth-wall-breaking comedies, so they’re certainly not for everyone. They have been an excellent way for me to blow off steam and refresh myself between longer, more ponderous books.

Status: Book Five Completed!

White Sand



For those who don’t know, this is a book I wrote around the same time as Elantris—but which I didn’t ever sell. Once I was published, I considered releasing it, but felt it needed a solid revision before I could do so.

Well, that revision was delayed time and time again, until the point where I decided I probably would need to just rewrite the book from scratch if I ever did release it. An interesting opportunity came along a few years later, however, and that changed my perspective. You see, the comic book company Dynamite Entertainment had come asking if I had anything, perhaps an unpublished novel, that would make a good graphic novel.

This seemed the perfect opportunity to make use of White Sand. I didn’t have time to do revisions, but another writer could take my words and adapt them (really, what the book needed was a trim anyway) into a graphic edition. We said yes, and started into the process.

I’ve said before, Dynamite has been excellent to work with. Rik Hoskin, the person hired to do the adaptation, is a fantastic writer—and he really managed to preserve the core of my story, using my own dialogue and descriptions, while cutting out all the chaff. The artist Julius Gopez, the colorist Ross Campbell, the letterer Marshall Dillon, and the editor Rich Young have all done a fabulous great job.

The novel is big (no surprise), so it’s going to be released as three graphic novels. The first of these is almost ready, and we’re expecting a release sometime next year. The fine folks at Dynamite have given me permission to post some teaser pages here, so here you go! The first look at White Sand, the graphic novel:

whitesand_sample_pg12whitesand_sample_pg13whitesand_sample_pg14


Tertiary Book Projects



Now we move on to some of the projects that are itching at me, and I do intend to do someday—but which are delayed indefinitely until I figure out the right time to do them.

Warbreaker



While some characters from Nalthis have made appearances in other books, I still don’t have a specific timeframe for when I’ll go back and write the second Warbreaker book. (Titled Nightblood for the time being.)

I know a lot of people really want this book, and I intend to do it, but I have to find time for the Elantris sequels first. So you’re unlikely to see it until Elantris is finished. (Sorry.)

Status: On Hiatus

Legion



I owe people another (and final) Legion novella, and I plan to do this as well. Novellas aren’t as big a commitment as novels, obviously—that’s part of why I do them. But I don’t know when I’ll squeeze this in, with all the things I’m doing right now. It could happen literally at any time—but I don’t expect it in 2017, to be honest.

Status: On Short Hiatus

Cosmere Short Fiction Collection



For a while I’ve been thinking that I need to collect all the various pieces of Cosmere short fiction and put them into a single collection, for those who don’t like hunting around for them.

This might be the year to do that. If Stormlight doesn’t make it into 2016, we might be able to get a collection (with a Stormlight novella) out by the end of the year instead. Something to tide you over, at least, until book three comes out.

If we do this, my goal will be to have it include every piece of short fiction from every source up until now and bind it together in a handsome hardcover that will look nice on the shelf next to your other books.

This will give you multiple options for the short fiction, if you want to collect it. We will continue to do our little two-novella collections (like the Perfect State and Shadows for Silence double that we just released.) So if you’d prefer to collect those in the smaller size, I anticipate everything eventually being released in that format too. However, if you’d like one thick tome, every ten years or so you should see a bigger collection.

More on this as it develops. Right now I’m toying with the title Arcanum Unbound, and would love to include a star chart of all the cosmere worlds in it.

Projects in Development



These are projects you might have heard of, but for which no solid evidence of them ever being released is out there. On occasion I might do readings from them, and I might tinker with them—but I don’t have much specific to tell you about release dates.

New YA Series



I am developing a new YA series to be released after the Reckoners with the same publisher. I can’t say much about it right now, though we will probably do some announcements regarding it during the Calamity tour. If all goes well, the first book of this trilogy will be the third shorter novel I write between Stormlight 3 and 4.

I always need to have something new to be working on, if only in the back of my mind, to help prevent burnout. I’m excited about this series right now, and actively working on the outline. But I won’t be digging into writing it until next summer or fall, depending on when Stormlight Three is done. So I don’t expect a release for a while yet.

Status: Outlining

Adamant



Some of you have heard readings from, or seen excerpts of, this epic science fiction series that I’ve been working on. I finished one novella in the world, and am pleased with it, but I have no immediate plans for writing the rest. Perhaps I’ll feel different once Stormlight is done and I’m satisfied with it. (It’s always possible I’ll need a break between projects where I can do something very different.) We shall see. I have no plans to release this in 2016.

Status: On Hiatus

Dark One



A perennial favorite on the State of the Sanderson is this YA series about a boy who discovers he’s the Dark One, a figure from prophecy fated to destroy the world. My outlines are looking okay for this one, but it doesn’t feel like the right time to do it. I pitched it to my editors at Random House along with the new YA series above, and we all agreed the other project was a better follow-up to the Reckoners.

Dark One is bound to get done someday. That day isn’t now.

Status: No Projected Start Date


Death by Pizza



I had a nice breakthrough on this book recently, making the main character far more interesting. (For those who don’t know, this is about a necromancer who owns a pizza joint.) However, this remains a very out-of-left-field project for me, and something I did mostly for fun. (I have a nearly complete draft of the entire book.)

I don’t anticipate doing this anytime soon, though I did briefly consider it as an alternative to the new YA series listed above. It’s still just too strange for me to want to do right now. Perhaps eventually.

Status: On Hiatus

Dragonsteel/Liar of Partinel



This is Hoid’s origin story, a prequel to the entire Cosmere. The time is not right. It’s going to happen eventually, but I feel that I shouldn’t dig into this until Stormlight is completely done. (All ten books.) So don’t hold your breath on this one.

Status: Loooong way off

Silence Divine



This story (which is the one about a world where catching a disease grants you magical talents) is another perennial State of the Sanderson participant.

I did some work on a short story in this world a while back, and liked it, but didn’t have time to finish. (This is the thing I did readings from during the Words of Radiance tour, I believe.) It’s set in the cosmere, and I have plans to someday write this—but I’m not sure when I’ll do it. Could be a long way off still.

Status: On Hiatus

Soulburner



This is an outline I developed last year during a lull—a kind of space-opera-fantasy-hybrid like Dune or Star Wars. The setting is awesome, one of my favorites. Very distinctive.

I don’t have a story for it yet though. I’m just putting it on here so that you know that wacky things are still bouncing around in my head, looking for a way out. It’s not something I’m going to release anytime soon, but if I ever do, you can point here and say, “Hey, I saw this first!”

Status: No Projected Start Date

Aether of Night



Another of the books I wrote around the time of Elantris, and another one that’s not half bad—but still in need of a solid revision.

I’ll likely do something with it someday. In the meantime, if you want to read it, you can send us an email to ask for a copy. (Consider it a thank you for getting this far in this huge post.) I’d ask that you’d consider signing up for my mailing list when you do email me, as that’s how I get the word out on when I’m doing signings and when I have cool new things to release. But that’s not required in order to get the book.

Projected Novel Release Schedule



There’s a good chance I won’t hold to this, but just so you know, here’s how I view my upcoming novel release schedule (not including any novellas or short stories that may or may not appear during moments when I need to do something new):

January 2016: Wax and Wayne 3
February 2016: Reckoners 3 (final book)
June 2016: Alcatraz 5
Sometime 2017: Stormlight 3
Sometime 2017: Rithmatist 2
Spring 2018: New YA project 1
Fall 2018: Wax and Wayne 4 (final book)
Sometime 2019: Stormlight 4
Sometime 2019: New YA project 2
Sometime 2020: Elantris 2
Sometime 2020 New YA project 3 (final book)
Sometime 2021: Stormlight 5 (ending of first arc)
Sometime 2022: Elantris 3 (final book)

Conclusion



Well, don’t say I didn’t warn you that the list was big.

It’s been quite the year. Lots of travel, lots of meeting people and signing books. My tenth year doing this. I’ve spent the last decade kind of looking at myself as one of the new kids in the fantasy market, but I suppose it’s time to admit that I’ve become—albeit not a member of the old guard—one of the genre's more established names.

As always, you make this possible. Here’s looking to another excellent year. Merry Christmas, and a Happy Koloss Head-Munching Day, to you all.

Brandon Sanderson
December 2015

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It’s here, and it’s beautiful! This is the official launch, so feel free to retweet, blog, or otherwise share this post with people you know who are fans of Elantris!

I made a little preview post last week, because of shipping deadlines, but here is the official (with pictures) post about the Elantris Leatherbound edition! Below you’ll find shots of what makes this book so great.

[caption id="attachment_9018" align="aligncenter" width="900"]Colored endpapers. Colored endpapers.[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_9017" align="aligncenter" width="900"]Full color inserts showing off some of my favorite covers from around the world. Full color inserts showing off some of my favorite covers from around the world.[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_9024" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]New maps. New maps.[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_9019" align="aligncenter" width="900"]Beautiful leather binding with an Aon stamped in silver on the cover. Beautiful leather binding with an Aon stamped in silver on the cover.[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_9023" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]The entire book is two-tone, with a soft blue highlights for things like the Aons and chapter headings. The entire book is two-tone, with a soft blue highlights for things like the Aons and chapter headings.
[/caption]

All the content of the Tenth Anniversary Edition is included in this book, and each book will be signed and numbered! (As long as they’re ordered before the end of the year. After that, if supplies last, we’ll sell the book signed without numbers.)

In addition, Michael Whelan let us include the painting of his, Passage: Verge, that inspired me to start working on Elantris many, many years ago. (And prints are available in his store, which you should totally buy. This is my all-time favorite of his paintings.)

So, where can you get this? Glad you asked! It’s available on my store and in select, awesome bookstores around the country. Please note that in my store, we also have plenty of cool things for the holidays. Most of my books signed in hardcover, this year’s con exclusive being sold for the first time to the general public, jewelry, T-shirts, stickers, a new Stormlight map poster, etc. So check it out!

For my store, we have the following order deadlines.


Note that these are the deadlines given us by the shipping companies; it’s on them to actually get you the books on time. But do let us know if you order before the deadline, but then something happens and it looks like yours isn’t going to make it on time. (I don’t think this happened a single time last year, so we should be okay.)

You can absolutely order the Elantris leatherbound (personalized or not) after the deadlines above, and we’ll do what we can to get it to you on time. We just want you to know the cutoffs the shipping companies gave us.

Now, you all should know by now that I love bookstores. Particularly the stores that invited me in to do signings early in my career, when certain other stores weren’t interested in having me. These are stores with excellent staff who work hard and are passionate about books. That’s why I sent them something special to sell. They have the low numbers. A lot of people like getting numbers under 100, and so I sent numbers 1–50 to these stores, split among them.

Please consider supporting these stores, especially if you live near them or have ever gone to a signing at their location. They are awesome! Some might even have the books going on the shelves today. (If not, they should be there very soon.)

University Book Store, Seattle

One of my favorite stores ever, the person to talk to is Duane Wilkins (though he should have prepped everyone for this). He can be found in the Children’s Department or the Science Fiction department.


Mysterious Galaxy, San Diego

No need to have a specific contact here—they’ll be on the ball and know what’s up. They also tend to carry a lot of first editions of my books, many signed, so you might want to ask them for anything else they might have in stock of mine. (Or from other writers you love.)


Borderlands Books, San Francisco

This was actually the first store outside of Utah to invite me specifically to do a signing for them. They are incredible, and will take good care of you if you go in or call wanting one of these. Note that for sponsors of the store, I’ve sent two leatherbound copies for them to give away free at an upcoming sponsor party.


Powell’s Books, Portland area

I’m not as sure for this one how you get the books, as they took a large order to be split among their several locations. I’m sure you’ll be able to find them, as Powell’s is great—but if you have trouble, you can have them look up the book by its ISBN, which is 978-0-7653-8807-0 (a different book ID number from the regular 10th anniversary).


Murder by the Book, Houston

They ordered the most copies of anyone on this list, so you should be able to find them here! In addition, they have a web form where you can order the book. Be sure to give them so love. They’re an excellent community store who has invited me in to sign time and time again.



BYU Store, Provo

My alma mater. If you can’t find the books, talk to Tammy. She’s the one who ordered them from us, and is really on the ball. But they should be right in the SF section, I would bet. I’ll also make sure they have some in stock for my release party for The Bands of Mourning next month.</i>


Okay, now for a quick FAQ.

Q: Will these sell out?
A: The first printing looks likely to sell out fairly soon. We sold about a quarter of our stock last week, and will probably sell another quarter of it this week. We will reprint this (I plan to keep it in the store for at least a year, maybe forever, if it is popular enough), but shipping takes a good month or so to get new stock to us. You shouldn’t have trouble getting one later—but if you do want one for the holidays, you might want to jump on it soon.

Q: What about your other books?
A: If this is popular (and it looks like it will be), then we will do the other books. Our goal will be to have them sell at around the same price, and to make them match on the bookshelf, so you can have an entire Cosmere sequence of leatherbound books.

The goal will be to proceed with the 10th anniversary idea, doing Mistborn: The Final Empire next year, The Well of Ascension the year after, and The Hero of Ages the year after that. From there, Warbreaker would be next. That’s all I’m willing to commit to now, but we would eventually like to do Stormlight in this treatment. (Assuming people like these editions we’re doing.)

Q: Will you do your short stories in leatherbound?
A: The awesome Subterranean Press has done leatherbounds of some. (And is doing one for Perfect State and Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell, the two novellas from this year.) So I have no plans to do other leatherbound editions. However, do be aware that it’s likely I’ll do an anthology of all the Cosmere shorts in the near future. We might end up doing that too.

Q: Ah! I can’t afford $100! What do I do?
A: Don’t worry. The tenth anniversary edition is available in regular hardcover, in trade paperback, or in ebook (with the color maps!) right now. If an expensive collector’s edition isn’t something that interests you, you can get all of the same material that way.

As always, thanks for reading. Happy holidays! May you spend some vacation time spent curled up with a good book.

Brandon

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Hey, all! I’ve got some interesting tidbits about Stormlight Three to share, relating to what I’ve been writing this month.

Before we get to that, though, I do want to draw your attention to the items we have in the store. In addition to the Elantris leatherbound, as usual we’ve got most of my books for sale, signed and personalized, shipped to your door. This includes the brand new hardcover double of the novellas Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell and Perfect State, which we just put up. (We also have both Legion books, with new covers.) We also have a couple of new T-shirts, Mistborn and Stormlight lanyards, a new Roshar map poster, Bridge 4 jewelry, and all the usual fun stuff. Have a look! And do please note the holiday shipping deadlines!

It’s rare that I get to fully participate in National Novel Writing Month. (The month of November, for the uninitiated, is a kind of challenge month for writers. During November, participants try to complete fifty thousand words of material, which is roughly 200 pages.)

The true spirit of NaNoWriMo is to start a brand new story on the first of November, and write on it all month. The life of a professional novelist doesn’t lend itself well to this kind of schedule—you often have revisions due at inopportune times, or have to be on tour in November, etc. However, when I can, I like to participate in spirit by trying to write the 50k words—even if I don’t begin a new project at the start of the month.

This was a year where I was able to do this, as I had minimal touring this month (only two events) and no big revisions due. (Though my editor is still waiting on Alcatraz 5, which I’ll need to get to ASAP, now that the month is over.) It was a fun year to do NaNo though, as it was very nostalgic for me.

You see, thirteen years ago in 2002, I was doing NaNo as an unpublished author with many of my writer friends. We posted our wordcounts on a forum we all frequented, making a friendly competition of it. The book I was writing? The original draft of The Way of Kings.

One of the images from that time, burned into the back of my brain, is sitting in the guest room at my mother’s house on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, which fell very late in the month that year. That Saturday was the last day of NaNo—and I hit a frenzy of activity. While I hadn’t started a new project during the month (even then, I didn’t really need challenges like NaNo to get me moving on my writing) I was near the end of one.

I finished The Way of Kings that night, writing more in one day by far than I’d ever written up to that point—and more than I’ve ever written since. My wordcount ended up being so high that I severely underreported it on the forums, to not make others feel bad. (Which reminds me of the time when in high school, during the very early days of image manipulation before most people knew it was possible, I edited my report card to wipe away all my A grades and make them much lower—all to trick my mother.)

That time in 2002 was a special time for me, one I’ve talked about before. Writing The Way of Kings was a relieving experience for me, as I was writing exactly what I wanted rather than worrying about what the market wanted to read. I still feel it’s no coincidence that a year later I got my first book deal. After writing Kings, I was ready.

Well, this year I’ve been working on Oathbringer, the third volume of the Stormlight Archive. It was both nostalgic and exciting to be at my mother’s house again, thirteen years later, working with the same characters as a much more mature writer (and in a much more mature version of the world).

This month, I posted my wordcounts on Twitter and Facebook, rather than on a forum with my friends. I managed to get the 50,000 words done, though I didn’t have any crazy wordcount days. This may come as a surprise to some of you, but I’m actually much slower now than I was all those years ago. There is a lot more to watch for in these books now, a lot more continuity now that I’m actually releasing them for the public. The writing just doesn’t go as fast as it did when I was more carefree. That said, here are some quick facts about NaNo this year for me:
  1. Writing 50k words in a month is still hard (in fact, it’s harder) as a professional. There are a lot of demands on my time these days aside from writing. Having a family is certainly one—but so is touring, answering emails, doing marketing meetings, talking to my agent, and signing huge stacks of books to fill orders from the store. (Not that I mind.)
  2. Quality doesn’t suffer from adding a few extra hours of writing a day. I’d already known this, as there are times in the past when I’ve written longer than I do now. But it’s still nice to know. In fact, I’m more fond of many of the scenes I wrote this month than I am of many I wrote earlier. Which leads me to my next point.
  3. Being very focused on one project, eliminating distractions, can really help me figure out tough scenes. This month reminded me of the days when I was first working on the Wheel of Time books—where I had a single-minded focus, and was determined to nail the project and do right by the fans. There’s a certain excitement to times like this, and I fully intend to keep this focus on Stormlight 3 as I roll forward. (I don’t have anything else I have to do, other than the revisions on Alcatraz, until Stormlight 3 is done.)
  4. I really love these characters. There’s a reason I have been writing about Dalinar since I was fifteen—there’s something about him, a voice I need to share. It’s great to be back on Roshar, and I’m having a blast.
So where do we stand as this month ends? Well, I got my 50k, but the book is still sitting at only 137k words. That’s roughly 1/3 of the way completed—assuming it’s around the length of Words of Radiance, which I’m hoping will be the case. (I’m not sure how much longer Tor will let me go.) There’s still a great deal of work to do on this book.

I can’t really project a release date. Peter and Isaac have been very clear with me that we need more time for editing, revision, continuity, and art than we had on Words of Radiance. We’ll make a call on release dates sometime around when I turn the book in next spring or summer. It could be out next year, but Peter and Isaac want you all to be ready for a 2017 release instead. We’ll know more once I actually finish.

As for other projects, I’ll do my yearly State of the Sanderson post sometime around my birthday (otherwise known as Koloss Head-Munching Day) late December. That will catch you up on everything I’m doing.

Either way, I hope that those of you doing NaNo benefited from seeing my daily wordcount posts. Writers make up a grand (if somewhat neurotic) community, and I’m proud to be a card-carrying member.

Brandon

BONUS: I recently dug up the notes I took when submitting the first chapters of The Way of Kings to my graduate writing class while getting my Master's. I'll transcribe them here, though be warned, they were reading an earlier version of the book from the one that got released. In this draft, the opening chapter was a battlefield seen through Dalinar's eyes, showing him and Adolin using their shards to defeat an enemy army.

CHAPTER ONE

  • Compound words. They complained that there are a lot of them. (NOTE: Yup, I still use a lot of these! I think all the talk of Shardblades and Shardplate overwhelmed them.)
  • They had a major gripe with the fact that there were a ton of characters to keep track of. It got really hard to keep track of who was who. They complained that I would introduce a character for a paragraph, then he would drop out. (NOTE: They weren't ready for the "epic" part of "epic fantasy" I guess. To be fair, this original draft of KINGS did have too many viewpoint characters—but that was a problem for later in the book. These early scenes weren't nearly as bad as the published version for keeping track of names. I'd love to see what the class would say about THIS version, with four different main characters in the first four scenes.)
  • They liked it when I gave give a character a philosophy. Wanted to see that a little more. Also, they wanted more physical descriptions—they wanted to reconnect with characters through their physical characteristics. Wanted a physical quirk for everyone.
  • They suggested I consider writing a piece with an adviser to the king. They think that the way I write would work well with a character like that. (NOTE: I have no idea what's going on here. I'm assuming they were confused, and were suggesting a new character to be viewpoint to the sequence. This is why it's best not to offer solutions to writers, only outline problems. I suspect that adding a new character, one who is not participating in the action but standing around describing everything, would not improve the book in the way the class thought.)
  • They would like more of the big monsters. Chulls. (NOTE: Chulls were much larger in this draft, capable of pulling huge siege equipment. And really, who wouldn't want to see more of that?)


CHAPTER TWO

  • They liked this better, because I didn’t summarize as much and it had more action. They still wanted more visual details.
  • Steve wanted to know more about the ‘nifty gadgets.’ Wanted me to flesh the ideas out. (NOTE: I think this references Shardblades and Shardplate, like the next note.)
  • They ask: Where did the armor and swords come from? (NOTE: This is a good sign. It doesn't mean I should answer it here; it just means they were curious, which is what I want.)
  • Fighting styles were very cool—wondered if I could do more with it. They wonder if I could spent more time on the battle—a couple more chapters.
  • Horse stuff. Hair on the hooves, black, stout forehead.
    1. Give physical characteristics.
    2. Use more senses.
    3. More graspable feel of the world’s battle tactics and philosophies.
  • Blood in mouth from biting tongue.


There you go! A glimpse back in time to before I'd sold any books. It was always an interesting experience submitting my work to these graduate courses, as nobody really knew what to do with me. Professors would tell me not to write fantasy, and I would anyway, telling them to fail me if they thought it was bad. Students would have critique sessions where for one piece, they'd discuss some short and obtuse poem—then move on to this enormous (and maybe obtuse) epic fantasy novel.

Don't get me wrong—I loved being in the program, and felt it was well worth my time. But the critique sessions could sometimes go interesting places.

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