Author Archives: Jonathan Moeller

how to measure progress

Finished the first chapter of the fourth book of my upcoming SF series.

So 1 chapter down, 9 to go.

But! I’m writing the four books of the series all at once and releasing them all at once (hopefully in October), so maybe I should view them as a totality.

In that case, 31 chapters down, 9 to go! That sounds much more impressive. I should totally frame it that way. 🙂


SEVENFOLD SWORD: a map of Owyllain?

This morning I got an email from a reader saying nice things about SEVENFOLD SWORD: CHAMPION, but asking if I intended to make a map of the realm of Owyllain, since I had previously made one of Andomhaim.

Yes. There will be a map of Owyllain. I didn’t put it out with SEVENFOLD SWORD: CHAMPION for two very good reasons.

1.) The confusion of the characters as they find themselves in a new and unfamiliar land.

2.) I hadn’t, er, actually finished it yet.

Because I do not care for drawing maps. It always feels so limiting!

Still, I’ve got a good system down, and if I need to add map elements later, I can always do so in GIMP. The map of Owyllain will be ready in time for SEVENFOLD SWORD: SWORDBEARER when it comes out in September, if all goes well.


CLOAK GAMES: HAMMER BREAK book description

What’s CLOAK GAMES: HAMMER BREAK going to be about? Let’s have the book description!

Nadia Moran is in serious trouble.

Bad enough that Lord Morvilind is forcing her to work with the Rebels. Even worse that the murderous Rebels want her dead.

But this time, the Rebels want her to rob a bank.

Specifically, the Royal Bank itself, the best-defended building in North America.

And unless Nadia uses all her magic and all her cleverness, she’s going to take the fall for the heist of the century…


Princess Mononoke

Before last year, I had never seen a Studio Ghibli movie, but I finally got around to seeing Princess Mononoke this week.

I quite liked it. Ashitaka made a good protagonist with the whole “cursed to wander the Earth” thing, and the demon-boars were downright creepy.

I have to admit I rolled my eyes a little when Irontown was introduced, since I expected the movie to get preachy at that point. I’m pleased to report that I was wrong. Lady Eboshi was an excellent antagonist for the movie, because she wasn’t entirely wrong, was she? She had built a thriving community for her town of lepers and former prostitutes, and thanks to her firearms, mankind wouldn’t be at the mercy of capricious nature spirits any longer. It’s all well and good to idealize Nature, but that overlooks that Nature is also red in tooth and claw.

I’m sure that the movie had some Japanese cultural subtexts that I missed entirely.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed it considerably, though Castle In The Sky is still my favorite of the Studio Ghibli movies that I’ve seen.



I finally had a chance to calculate June’s ebook sales.

I was curious how GHOST IN THE RING would do, since it had been nearly a year since GHOST IN THE WINDS. That’s a bit of a delay! So I was pleased to see that GHOST IN THE RING did just slightly better than GHOST IN THE WINDS did in the same time period.

Also! EXILE OF THE GHOSTS did really well. Like, I was so surprised I went back and double-checked the numbers to make sure there wasn’t a mistake. But, no, it did actually sell quite well for an anthology of short stories. I’ve read market research arguing that “binge reading” is the preferred method of reading nowadays, so I suppose that applies to short stories as well.

Or maybe it was my scintillating author commentary for each story. 🙂

Anyway, thank you all for GHOST IN THE RING’s strong month! Looking forward to starting GHOST IN THE GLASS later this year.



Nabakov’s Favorite Word Is Mauve, by Ben Blatt

I just finished reading Nabakov’s Favorite Word Is Mauve, by Ben Blatt, which uses statistics to analyze various popular and classic works of literature. For example, the book examines the favorite words of popular authors, whether it is possible to determine whether a man or a woman wrote a book through analysis, whether there is such a thing as an author “fingerprint,” and so forth.

It was a really interesting read, and one point caught in my mind. When discussing Suzanne Collins’ THE HUNGER GAMES, the author noted that all three HUNGER GAMES books are nearly the same length, and have very similar internal structures – number of chapters, length of chapters, and so forth.

I think this point caught in my mind because it wasn’t at all surprising to me. I write really long series, and to do really long series, the writer has to settle on a structure for the books. That makes it far easier to a series that can sustain itself over an extended length.

Like, the FROSTBORN series for example. The first thirteen FROSTBORN books are all 24 chapters long, and they all land between 90,000 and 105,000 words in length. The only exceptions are the second-to-last book FROSTBORN: THE DRAGON KNIGHT, which was 26 chapters long, and the final book FROSTBORN: THE SHADOW PRISON, which was 33 chapters long. The extra length was necessary to make sure that the series ended properly, since there is nothing that readers hate more than a long-running series that screws up the ending. (For example, see the ending of THE SOPRANOS.)

I did the same thing with the GHOST EXILE series, but less rigorously. The first 7 books were all between 21 and 24 chapters. Starting with the seventh book, GHOST IN THE THRONE, the length began creeping up, and the final book GHOST IN THE WINDS was the longest of all. Again, it was to make sure that the series hit the ending properly.

MASK OF THE DEMONSOULED was probably my most consistent series – all 3 books had exactly 20 chapters.

But I digress a bit. Nabakov’s Favorite Word Is Mauve was definitely an interesting read if you’re interesting in writing and publishing.



Editing CLOAK GAMES: HAMMER BREAK today. Let’s have a brief excerpt!

“Well,” said Nicholas. “They say the woman always knows.”

“She does.”

“I wonder what else she knows,” said Nicholas.

“That you don’t know? I’m going to run out of voice minutes before I can finish listing them.”


IRON IMAGE cover art

Here is the cover image for IRON IMAGE, the short story I’ll give away for free to newsletter subscribers (via Smashwords coupon code) once CLOAK GAMES: HAMMER BREAK comes out next month if all goes well.

Undoubtedly someone will point out that Nadia never dresses that way in the books. But if Nadia actually saw the cover, she wouldn’t care about that.

No, what would annoy her is that the woman on the cover is taller than she is.

And that would really annoy her. 🙂