Sunday, December 4, 2016

AudioFile Magazine's 2016 Best Audiobooks



Wow, Goodreads, Amazon, and now I learned that Age of Myth has hit another major best-of list.  This one comes from Audiofile Magazine and their editor's top 15 fantasy and science fiction picks of 2016.


I'm especially pleased about this pick because it also highlights the amazing work of Tim Gerard Reynolds (the narrator for The Riyria Revelations, The Riyria Chronicles, and The Legends of the First Empire books). Tim received his first Audie Award nomination for Theft of Swords, way back in the day, and several of my titles have earned him Earphone Awards. I'm always thrilled when Tim's career takes another notch up the ladder, and hopefully he'll keep dragging me along with him.

For those who prefer text rather than pictures, here are the books along with some data about their release date, rating, and number of reviews (rating information from Audible.com).

Title
Author
Narrator
Series
Release Date
 Rating 
 # of Reviews
Michael J.
Sullivan
 Tim Gerard
Reynolds
Book 1
Legends of the
First Empire
06/28/16 
 4.7 
3,508
Tim Lebbon
Dirk Maggs
Multiple
 Book 1
Canonical Alien
Trilogy
04/26/16
 4.5
3,318
Charlie Jane
Anders
Alyssa
Brenahan
-
01/26/16
 4.0
383
L. Ron
Hubbard
 Multiple
 -
06/06/16
 4.6
1,090
Greg
Cox
Robert
Petkoff
Book 1
Legacies
06/28/16
 4.4
387
Justin
Cronin
Scott
Brick
 Book 3
The Passage
05/24/16
 4.6
4,666
Harlan
Ellison
 Multiple
-
07/26/16
 3.4
23
Daredevil:
Guardian Devil 
Kevin Smith
Joe Quesada
 Multiple
-
10/26/15
-
-
Joe Hill
Kate
Mulgrew
-
05/17/16
 4.3
3,748
Mary Robinette Kowal
 Mary Robinette Kowal
 -
08/16/16
 4.4
154
Alan
Moore
 Simon
Vance
 -
09/13/16
 4.5
64
N.K. Jemisin
 Robin
Miles
Book 2
Broken
Earth
08/16/16
 4.6
552
J.B. Rockwell
 Elizabeth Wiley
 -
04/26/16
 4.0
124
Claire North
 Gail Burke
 -
05/17/16
 4.1
247
Dexter
Palmer
 January
LaVoy
 -
02/23/16
 4.0
179

For some reason, I couldn't find Daredevil on Audible.com so I have no rating/review data for it. What I did find were some titles I didn't know about,  and I'm looking forward to digging into them soon. I hope you find something that you'll like to listen to as well.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Things worth believing in


I'm not sure how many people saw the movie Second Hand Lions. It wasn't a blockbuster by any means but it's a favorite around the Sullivan household.  Today, I was speaking to someone in email about my books and why I write optimistic classic fantasy rather than the grimdark reads that are so popular right now.  The person writing the email said,

"Most people I see reviewing on the internet are always bashing books which deal with the dichotomy of good and evil.They keep saying that prefer morally gray/grey characters and would prefer if good didn't always win. That way of thinking tells you how messed up our society as a whole has become. We have enough moral ambiguity in the real world as it is and I'd rather read a story about good people overcoming bad things and have a happy ending."

Reading that reminded me of my favorite lines from Hub's what-every-boy-needs-to-become-a-man speech. It goes like this:

"Sometimes the things that may or may not be true are the things that a man needs to believe in the most: that people are basically good; that honor, courage, and virtue mean everything; that power and money, money and power mean nothing; that good always triumphs over evil; and I want you to remember this, that love, true love, never dies... No matter if they're true or not, a man should believe in those things because those are the things worth believing in."

Not sure what drove me to post about this...oh yeah, I just got done reading the news then reading/responding to email ;-)

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Release schedule announced


People often ask me why my Legends of the First Empire novels aren't being released quicker since the entire series is written. Well, the quick answer is there is a big difference between "written" and "done." The longer answer requires some knowledge on the steps required from the time I finish writing until it is released to the public.  Here's the condensed list:

  1. Alpha reading by my wife, Robin, who generally finds issues both large and small that have to be addressed,
  2. Editing based on #1 above.
  3. Copy and line editing in preparation for beta reading.
  4. Beta readers weigh in and more adjustments are implemented.
  5. Another round of copy edits for any thing added in #4 above.
  6. Book is sent to the publisher and my agent.
  7. Structural changes implemented from #6 implemented.
  8. Another round of copy and line editing in preparation for "final submission."
  9. Book is turned over to the publisher for their copy editors work to begin.
  10. Copy edit changes are accepted/rejected.
  11. A last read through of the book is given before submission for layout.
  12. Book is laid out, last proofing before printing.
  13. Book is read by publisher's proof-reader, only minor changes at this point.
  14. Reading and sign-off of print-ready version.
  15. ARC (Advanced Reading Copies) are produced and sent to reviewers and bloggers.
  16. One last check before mass press run.
  17. Book is printed.
Whew, that's a lot of steps. And each of the remaining books are at various points in that process. In fact, book #2 sat idle (until recently), while I worked on the conclusion of the series.  You see, after reading all the books, Robin had very few changes to book #1, #2, and #3. But she did have some important suggestions regarding how the series ended. One of her biggest problems was that it felt rushed, and she was right.

So, after getting Age of Myth ready for release, I spent about a year reworking the end of the series, and in the process it expanded from 5 books to 6.  There had been a natural stopping point in a particular area, and in many ways one of the books was actually two stories "smooshed" (a technical writing term) together. The rewriting proved my original instinct was correct, and now the series divides nicely between two major story arcs (books 1 - 3 & books 4 - 6). 

With that major rework completed (and deadlines easier to predict), I could give Del Rey a better feel for what to expect when. Because I write so quickly, a book a year was going to produce a tremendous backlog. So, over the last few weeks we've hammered out various options for release schedules. Complicating the issue was a non-compete clause in my contract. I wanted to continue to release Riyria books, but I was also respectful about not adversely effecting the sales and marketing of Del Rey's releases of the Legends series. Here is what we've come up with:

  • June 2017 - Age of Swords (book #2 of Legends of the First Empire)
  • Oct/Nov 2017 - Untitled (book #4 of the Riyria Chronicles)
  • Jan/Feb 2018 - Age of War (book #3 of Legends of the First Empire)
  • June/July 2018 - Age of Legends (book #4 of the Legends of the First Empire)

So, the books will be coming out more frequently -- three books over the span of about a year in fact! Plus there will be another Royce and Hadrian book thrown in as well.  Now, I should mention a few caveats to this schedule.

First off, the new Riyria book will NOT be available through the retail chain. You'll ONLY be able to get books through (a) the Kickstarter (b) buying directly from my site (c) audio versions on Audible.com and iBookstore. There are many reasons for this, which I will go into in a future post, but if you want to read the next Riyria book, be sure to sign-up here to be notified when and how you can get your copy. NOTE: After some period of time (at a minimum six months), the print and ebook WILL be available through on-line stores but we'll likely not have brick-and-mortar sales.

The other thing I should point out is that technically speaking book #4 of Legends isn't under contract. Because of how the storyline breaks I want to keep book 1 - 3 and 4 - 6 with a single publisher. My contract with Del Rey is for 4 books which are: the first 3 books of Legends, and "some" book based in Elan.  There are several possibilities for what that remaining book will be, and my hope is Del Rey will buy books #5 and #6. If that happens, then that 4th book will indeed be #4 of the series. Why don't we know right now? Well, it's just too soon for Del Rey to make a commitment to the rest of the series. If they don't pick up the ending, it won't be a problem. I'll self-produce those novels just like I have with The Death of Dulgath, Hollow World, and the first five books of the Riyria Revelations.

So there you have it. The books will be coming out faster now that I have the ending of the series fixed, and fans of Riyria won't have to wait until all of he Legends books are released in order to get their next Royce and Hadrian adventure. I hope you are excited as I am about the books that are coming soon.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Last Day: Epic Fantasy Audible Sale


Audible put more 470+ titles on sale for $4.95 - $6.95, including the first two books in my Riyria Chronicles (The Crown Tower & The Rose and Thorn). A few days ago I picked out some titles that I though my readers might enjoy, but since then they added 116 more! It's difficult to go through the whole list, so I set my search to the Epic Fantasy category and went through the first few hundred top-sellers. Here is what I found on sale. But if you want to get any of these titles. Act quickly, sale ends today at 11:59 PM PT.



Here's some information about the titles I'm highlighting to help you decide which ones to pickup. But you have to hurry. The sale ends 11/29 at 12:00 Pacific Time.

Title
Author
Series
 Sale Price
Release Date
 Rating 
# of Reviews
J.R.R. Tolkien
Book 1
Lord of the Rings
$4.95
10/9/12
4.7
14,470
Brandon Sanderson
N/A
$6.95
12/3/15
4.6
2,738
Patrick Rothfuss
Book 2
King Killer Chronicles
$6.95
3/3/11
4.7
26,601
Brandon Sanderson
N/A
$6.95
10/24/08
4.3
9,269
T. Ellery Hodges
Book 1
Chronicles of
Jonathan Tibbs
$4.95
5/20/15
4.3
2,632
Anne McCaffrey
Book 1
Dragonriders of Perl
$4.95
6/17/08
4.3
2,255
Michael J. Sullivan
Book 1
Riyria Chronicles
$4.95
8/6/13
4.7
6,474
J.R.R. Tolkien
Book 2
Lord of the Rings
$4.95
10/9/12
4.8
10,012
Terry Goodkind
Book 1
Sword of Truth
$6.95
10/15/08
4.3
7,364
R.A. Salvatore
Book 2
Icewind Dale
$4.95
5/7/13
4.5
2,717
Brian D. Anderson
Book 1
Dragonvein
$4.95
7/14/15
4.3
2,676
Ken Liu
Book 1
Dandelion Dynasty
$4.95
4/7/15
4.1
441
Jack Campbell
Book 1
Pillars of Reality
$4.95
2/10/15
4.5
3,877
Lois McMaster Bujold
Book 2
Sharing Knife
$4.95
9/10/07
4.3
832
Lois McMaster Bujold
Book 1
Sharing Knife
$4.95
7/19/07
4.1
1,097
Maria V. Snyder
Book 2
Study
$4.95
9/29/06
4.3
2,054
Michael J. Sullivan
Book 2
Riyria Chronicles
$4.95
9/17/13
4.7
5,262
Terry Goodkind
Book 2
Sword of Truth
$6.95
5/13/08
4.2
4,561
Terry Goodkind
Book 2
Sword of Truth
$6.95
5/13/08
4.4
3,547
Brian D. Anderson
Book 2
Dragonvein
$4.95
10/20/15
4.5
1,664

Monday, November 28, 2016

Multi-author Cyber Monday Book Sale



I'll admit, I'm not a "Black Friday" shopper. I certainly don't want to deal with traffic, parking, or fighting someone for limited quantities of deeply discounted merchandise. So I had a nice relaxing day after Thanksgiving staining doors for the cabin.

I am, however, a big fan of Cyber Monday, and almost all of my holiday shopping is performed from the comfort of my computer. For the second year in a row, I've joined with a group of fellow authors to offer some fantastic holiday deals. Discounted books are always a good thing, but we've gone a step further and are providing signed copies--something that can be really hard to get unless you travel to the various conventions where we hang out.

I should mention that because all of us are selling books (and for some, merchandise) directly from private websites, we're cutting out the middle men. Yes, our publishers will get their cut (we buy the books from them), but by eliminating the retailers, more of your generous support goes to us, the people who actually create the stories. So, not only do you get signed and discounted books, but we earn a bit more coin than if you purchase online or from brick-and-mortar stores.

The deals are set by each author, so they'll vary from site to site. Click on each author's name to see their discounts. 

  10% - 70% off
19 items
  Lays of Anuskaya Series  
 Song of the Shattered Sands
Assorted Short Stories
30% off 4 items
(use code:
 bythepowerofgrayskull) 
The Tao Trilogy
The Rise of IO
Time Salvager Books
20% off
8 item
 (use code: SHENANIGANS) 
Iron Druid Chronicles
 33% - 66% off
2 items 
Zero World
The Dire Earth Trilogy
 
10% - 40% off
7 items
Powder Mage Novels
Powder Mage Novellas
Unbound
Powder Keg Silver Pin
  20% - 60% off
12 items
Age of Myth
Riyria Revelations
Riyria Chronicles
Hollow World
 15% - 25% off
3 items
(use code: CYBER)
The Black Prism
T-shirts




For my part, I'm offering 20%- 50% savings on print editions and a 60% savings on ebooks. Click here to get your special savings. Whether you want to stock up on some great fantasy and science fiction for yourself or are looking for a special gift for your favorite avid reader, check out the savings and act quickly. The sale ends December 15th.

Book
Series
#Format Discount  Regular
Price
Sale
Price
 Legends
of the
 First Empire 
1Hard Cover 20%$26.00 $20.80 
Riyria
Chronicles
3 LIMITED EDITION
(Signed, Dated, &
Numbered)
25%$50.00$37.50
Riyria
Revelations
 1 & 2 Trade
Paperback

20%

 $16.00  $12.80 
Riyria
Revelations
3 & 4Trade
Paperback
20%$17.00$13.60
Riyria
Revelations
5 & 6Trade
Paperback
20%$17.00$13.60
Riyria
Chronicles
1Trade
Paperback
20%$16.00$12.80
Riyria
Chronicles
2Trade
Paperback
20%$16.00$12.80
Riyria
Chronicles
3Hard Cover
Paperback
ebook
50%
50%
60%
$25.00
$15.00
$7.99
$12.50
$7.50
$3.20
N/AN/ATrade Paperback
ebook
20%
60%
$15.00
$7.99
$12.00
$3.20

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Audible Black Friday Sale Ends 11/29 at 11:59 PM PT

With 472 discounted audiobooks, it'd be tough not to find something on your wishlist as part of Audible's Black Friday Sale. I'm so pleased that one of mine (The Crown Tower) is one of them. With so many for sale, it's hard to choose which ones to focus on, but here are the ones that caught my eye, and hopefully one or more of them will be books you've been considering.


Here's some information about the titles I'm highlighting to help you decide which ones to pickup. But you have to hurry. The sale ends 11/29 at 12:00 Pacific Time.

Title
Author
Series
 Sale Price
Release Date
 Rating 
Review
The Crown Tower
Michael J. Sullivan
Book 1
Riyria Chronicles
$4.95
8/6/13
4.7
6,452
Wise Man's Fear
Patrick Rothfuss
Book 2
King Killer Chronicles
$6.95
3/3/11
4.7
26,528
Fellowship of the Ring
J.R.R. Tolkien
Book 1
Lord of the Rings
$4.95
10/9/12
4.7
14,433
The Queen's Poisoner
Jeff Wheeler
Book 1
Kingfountain
$4.95
4/1/16
4.5
1,182
Dragonvein
Brian D. Anderson
Book 1
Dragonvein
$4.95
7/14/16
4.3
2,658
The Fifth Season
N.K. Jemisin
Book 1
Broken Earth 
$4.95
8/4/15
4.3
1,610
Calamity
Brandon Sanderson
Book 3
Reckoners
$4.95
2/16/16
4.7
14,312
Warbreaker
Brandon Sanderson
N/A
$6.95
12/3/15
4.6
2,728
Elantris
Brandon Sanderson
N/A
$6.95
10/24/08
4.3
9,265
The Crystal Shard
R.A. Salvatore
Book 1
Icewind Dale
$4.95
5/7/13
4.5
2,707
The Scottish Prisoner
Diana Gabaldon
Book 3:
Lord John Grey
$4.95
11/29/11
4.4
2,571
Hexed
Kevin Hearne
Book 2
Iron Druid Chronicles
$4.95
6/7/11
4.6
12,848
Hammered
Kevin Hearne
Book 3
Iron Druid Chronicles
$4.95
7/5/11
4.6
11,398
Grace of Kings
Ken Liu
Book 1
Dandelion Dynasty
$4.95
4/7/15
4.1
439
Dragonflight
Anne McCaffrey
Book 1
Dragonriders of Perl
$4.95
6/17/08
4.3
2,249
Neverwhere
Neil Gaiman
N/A
$4.95
10/23/07
4.4
12,077
Graveyard Book
Neil Gaiman
N/A
$4.95
9/30/14
4.7
4,561
Nice Dragons Finish Last
Rachel Aaron
Book 1
Heartstrikers
$4.95
11/18/14
4.4
3,316
Otherland
Tad Williams
Book 1
 Otherland
$5.95
10/30/14
4.4
544
Princess of Landover
Terry Brooks
Book 6
Magic Kingdom
of Landover
$4.95
8/18/09
4.1
499
Beguilement
Lois McMaster Bujold
Book 1
Sharing Knife
$4.95
7/19/07
4.1
1,097
Legacy
Lois McMaster Bujold
Book 2
Sharing Knife
$4.95
9/10/07
4.2
832
Wizard's First Rule
Terry Goodkind
Book 1
Sword of Truth
$6.95
10/15/08
4.3
7,355
Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe
C.S. Lewis
Book 1
Chronicles of Narnia
$4.95
5/10/05
4.5
5,315
The Magician's
Nephew
C.S. Lewis 
Book 6
Chronicles of Narnia
$4.95
5/10/05
4.5
2,888
Spell or High Water
Scott Meyer
Book 2
Magic 2.0
$4.95
6/17/14
4.5
9,997
Howl's Moving Castle
Diana Wynne Jones
N/A
$4.95
11/14/08
4.6
2,264
Master Magician
Charlie N. Holmberg
Book 3
Paper Magician
$4.95
6/2/15
4.4
1,194
Golden Son
Pierce Brown
Book 2
Red Rising
$4.95
1/6/15
4.7
12,932
Wool
Hugh Howey
Book 1-5
Wool 
$4.95
8/27/12
4.2
2,347

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Amazon editors pick the 20 best fantasy & sci-fi novels of 2016

It's that all important time of the year when the "best-of" or "most-anticipated" lists start popping up. I was honored that Age of Myth was nominated for a Goodreads Choice Award (my 5th), and today I learned of another list. I'm pleased to say Age of Myth was also picked by Amazon as one of the 20 best fantasy and science fiction novels of 2016. It's pretty amazing company to be in, and I'm both honored and humbled. Here are the books:


For those that prefer text rather than pictures, here are the books along with some data about their release date, rating, and number of reviews.

Title
Author
Series
 Book # 
Release Date
 Rating 
Review
Death's End
Cixin Liu
Remembrance of Earth's Past
#3
Sep 20, 2016
4.7
184
The Diabolic
S. J. Kincaid
-
-
Nov 1, 2016
4.2
42
The Hike: A Novel
Drew Magary
-
-
Aug 2, 2016
4.3
140
The Obelisk Gate
N. K. Jemisin
The Broken Earth
#2
Aug 16, 2016
4.6
114
The Wolf Road: A Novel
Beth Lewis
-
-
Jul 5, 2016
4.4
146
The Invisible Library
Genevieve Cogman
The Invisible Library
#1
Jun 14, 2016
4.2
141
Morning Star
Pierce Brown
Red Rising Trilogy
#3
Feb 9, 2016
4.8
1,705
All the Birds in the Sky
Charlie Jane Anders
-
-
Jan 26, 2016
3.8
194
Age of Myth
Michael J. Sullivan
The Legends of the First Empire
#1
Jun 28, 2016
4.6
232
Every Heart a Doorway
Seanan McGuire
Wayward Children
#1
Apr 5, 2016
4.3
235
The Burning Isle
Will Panzo
-
-
Nov 1, 2016
4.4
5
The Summer Dragon
Todd Lockwood
Evertide
#1
May 3, 2016
4.8
134
The Book of the Unnamed Midwife
Meg Elison
The Road to Nowhere
#1
Oct 11, 2016
4.4
112
Ninefox Gambit
Yoon Ha Lee
-
-
Jun 14, 2016
4.0
89
City of Blades
Robert Jackson Bennett
The Divine Cities
#2
Jan 26, 2016
4.6
131
Company Town
Madeline Ashby
-
-
May 17, 2016
4.2
51
The Dark Side
Anthony O'Neill
-
-
Jun 28, 2016
4.1
28
Skinner Luce
Patricia Ward
-
-
Jan 12, 2016
4.5
14
Star Nomad
Lindsay Buroker
Fallen Empire
#1
May 26, 2016
4.5
460
Machinations
Hayley Stone
-
-
Jul 26, 2016
4.2
59

If you're like me, these lists are great for growing the TBR lists.  And Christmas is just around the corner, so if you see something you like, tell Santa. Who knows, he might just stuff your stocking with some good reads.