Exile of the Ghosts

As long-term readers know, I often give away a free short story to my newsletter subscribers when I release a new book. This time with GHOST IN THE RING, I’m trying something new.

The bonus item included with GHOST IN THE RING will be EXILE OF THE GHOSTS, a collection of all twelve GHOST EXILE short stories. Each story will have an introduction and author commentary explaining some background about the story.

Newsletter subscribers will get a coupon code allowing them to get EXILE OF THE GHOSTS free off Smashwords, so be sure to sign up for my new-release newsletter!

-JM

GHOST IN THE RING rough draft finished!

My writing goal for this week was to get to 90,000 words of GHOST IN THE RING by Saturday morning.

I am pleased to report that I actually got to 98,000, and the rough draft of GHOST IN THE RING is finished!

Editing is now underway. If all goes well the book should be out sometime in June.

Also! I have a really neat bonus for newsletter subscribers when GHOST IN THE RING comes out, so tune in tomorrow to see what that will be. 🙂

-JM

Reader Question – are DEMONSOULED and THE GHOSTS set in the same world?

Michael emails to ask if DEMONSOULED and THE GHOSTS are set in the same world:

I have a few questions about the demonsouled books, are they set in the same world as the ghost series? They both mention malrags and seem to have similar world rules.

They are not. I started writing DEMONSOULED in 2001, the GHOSTS in 2006, and back then the only way to publish anything was through traditional publishing. Because I never managed to sell SOUL OF TYRANTS to a traditional publisher, I figured that the series was dead and forgotten and I could safely reuse some of the concepts in THE GHOSTS. I did have this vague idea that Mazael and Caina were on different continents on the same world.

But! Jump ahead to 2011, and I discovered self-publishing. I decided then that DEMONSOULED and THE GHOSTS would be in different worlds. In hindsight, it might have been good for marketing to have the series take place in the same world, but that would have been hard, because Mazael and Caina come from very different kinds of civilizations.

Mazael’s world is more medieval, while Caina’s is more Early Modern than anything else. There’s nothing on the scale of political organization like the Empire or the Magisterium in Mazael’s world, and while Barellion is the largest city Mazael visits in DEMONSOULED, it would be at best a mid-sized provincial city in Caina’s Empire. Also, the way the world works is different – I don’t think I’ve ever actually used the word “magic” in the GHOSTS. Mazael’s world also has many different non-human races – Elderborn and San-keth and soliphages and dragons and so on, while Caina’s world has only humans (albeit some humans have been mutated or altered through sorcery).

But the early books in THE GHOSTS series do share some ideas with DEMONSOULED, since when I wrote those books I figured that DEMONSOULED was out of print and SOUL OF TYRANTS would never be published, so I could safely recycle some ideas.

Michael also asks if we will see more DEMONSOULED books:

Final question, Will we see more of the demonsouled world or is that group of books done?

Yes. Eventually. I think maybe after CLOAK GAMES is done in 2018? I definitely have lots of ideas for new DEMONSOULED books, but the trick is to find the time to write them. So many ideas, to little time! 🙂

FROSTBORN retrospective #2

Note that this post has !!!SPOILERS!!! for the first fourteen books in FROSTBORN.

For the last FROSTBORN retrospective I talked about things I improvised, but today I’m going to reminisce about all the things I planned in the series.

There were a lot of them. 🙂

FROSTBORN was the first series that I planned to be self-published from the beginning. At various times from 2005 to 2010 I tried to get SOUL OF TYRANTS, GHOST IN THE FLAMES, GHOST IN THE BLOOD, and THE THIRD SOUL published traditionally. Because of that, those series tended to develop rather organically after I self-published them, since when I originally wrote the books I didn’t have a long-term plan other than “try to get these books published”.

But I always planned for FROSTBORN to be self-published, so I was able to outline it from beginning to end with confidence that I would be able to do what I wanted. This let me build in a lot of foreshadowing. Many people have commented favorably on all the foreshadowing in FROSTBORN, and most of it was on purpose.

Some things changed during the writing, of course, but I had always planned out the entire series from the beginning. That made it possible to work in a great deal of foreshadowing, since I always knew certain events were going to happen. The Dragon Knight, the Keeper, the Frostborn, the Eternalists, the Warden’s ultimate plan, the taalkrazdors, the nature of Shadowbearer, Imaria Licinius, Truthseeker & Gavin, the Enlightened, and a whole bunch of other things were foreshadowed in the earlier books.

I think this shows it’s definitely better to plan out a series rather than let it happen organically. There’s always room for improvisation, of course (hence Mara and Third and the Anathgrimm), but it’s also good to have a plan.

That said, I think this excerpt from FROSTBORN: THE GRAY KNIGHT was the single funniest bit of foreshadowing in the series:

Then Caius joined Ridmark.

“Anything?” he said in a low voice.

“Nothing,” said Ridmark. “If anyone is watching us, they are skilled at stealth.”

Caius nodded. “Calliande is…rather comely, is she not?”

“God, the archangels, and all his saints!” said Ridmark. “The tales claim that all friars are meddling matchmakers, but I had not thought that impulse would extend to a member of the dwarven kindred.”

-JM

 

Frostborn Retrospective #1

Note that this post has !!!SPOILERS!!! for the first fourteen books in FROSTBORN.

I have to admit that finishing the FROSTBORN series made me nostalgic. After all, it was fifteen novels and a whole lot of short stories in four years. Also, I re-read a bunch of the previous books while writing FROSTBORN: THE SHADOW PRISON, and I listened to the first two audiobooks, so it was a bit of a trip down memory lane.

I really liked this scene in FROSTBORN: THE IRON TOWER:

“We won,” said Mara. She sounded stunned.

“We did,” said Ridmark.

“Was this…was this your plan?” said Mara.

“Not at all,” said Ridmark.

“Then…then you really are just a madman with a stick, aren’t you?” said Mara. She began to laugh, and then covered her face.

I always liked Ridmark’s and Mara’s interactions. They sort of take turns playing the protective older brother or the wiser older sister as the situation demands.

But! In the original outline for the FROSTBORN series, Mara wasn’t supposed to appear again after THE IRON TOWER. I had planned her as Jager’s vaguely good-natured girlfriend, and she would stay behind when Jager accompanied Ridmark and the others to Urd Morlemoch.

But when I got to her first scene in THE MASTER THIEF, I was bored with her character, so I threw in the detail that she was half dark elf without thinking it through. Because of that, the path of the whole rest of the story changed – the Traveler, Nightmane Forest, the Anathgrimm, and the character of Third all came from that snap decision.

-JM