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A Year of Endings & Decisions

Dearly Beloved You Guys,

It has been an embarrassingly long time since my last post. Since then I’ve finished medical school, the subsequent licensing exams, applied to residencies, watched some of the Spellwright books come out in more languages, and tried my best to make progress on Spellbreaker, however slowly.  It has been a hectic and rewarding time. The thing that has suffered the most has been my correspondence. (If one of your messages is languishing in my inbox, bless you for your patience and hold on; I’m working my way through it.) The academic medical year starts and ends and July, so as we near the halfway mark of my last year of medical school, I believe I have correctly recognized this year as one of endings and of choices about the next round of beginnings.

Regarding medicine, I am currently on the interview trail for residency. So far, I have met some inspiring people and toured some wonderful hospitals. In a few months, I’ll form my rank list of desired programs and cross all my fingers that the concerned hospitals place me highly on their rank list. Sometime in the spring a computer somewhere in Baltimore–or so I have been told–will grind through all the medical student and hospital rank lists and try to match each to each. On March 15th, at the same time all across the country, med students will gather together to be given their match letters. At the same time, we will all open our envelops to discover where we will restart our lives, this time as doctors…

Regarding writing, I am also facing an ending. Twelve years after penning the first line of Spellwright, I am ending the trilogy. It seems to me that each book in a series presents unique problems. A first book has to tell a complete story while at the same time sowing the seeds for more books. A second book continues the series but must tell a complete tale unto itself even though it lacks a definitive beginning or ending. A final book has to tie up all loose ends but cannot do so in any predictable way. I have known since I started Spellwright what will happen at the trilogy’s end; however, my ability to portray that ending and what that ending means to me has evolved. For those who have followed the series, I very much hope the completed book will be both satisfying and more than a little surprising.

Of course an ending requires a new beginning. As I wind this series down, I have put one or two things afoot for my fourth book. At this point, I can say only that it will be something different than the Spellwright Trilogy. I’ll be sure to report more details later…possible much later…

Comments

33 Responses to “A Year of Endings & Decisions”

  • huh… the match process for doctors sounds an awful lot like the way sororities run the recruitment (rush) process.

  • Did you look at any hospitals in Salt Lake?

  • Aw Blake, I was afraid you were going to say you are ending your writing career! Thank goodness you mentioned a fourth book.
    Did you try for any hospitals in Portland? 😉 Yeah, probably not…

    • In fact…I am going to PDX at the end of the month. I’ve heard very good things about OHSU. I haven’t set down the details yet, but I’ll be sure to let you know 😉

  • I hope game theory finds you a location that allows you to use your unique gifts!! Let me know if you interview in Minnesota (my home state)!

    • Thanks Matt! Yeah, I might have to be one of those med students who creates an excell spreadsheet to make his rank list. No plans for Minnesota as of yet, but I’ll keep you posted.

  • Fingers crossed you’ll get into the residency program of your dreams. Does that also mean you’ve already chosen your specialty?

    And yay on there being a fourth book somewhere along the line. More Charlton goodness to look forward to!

    • Yep, I’ve chosen the specialty of internal medicine, which is a very broad field and there are several different tracks and programs within it that I have applied to…so I have to choose among them…and hope they chose me 😉

  • Blake- Best of luck to you as you begin your residency program! You are truly an inspiration. I have a 15 year old son who has ADHD and dyslexia. He is currently being taught by one of your former high school English teachers who told us about you. If you have time to touch base by return email, we would appreciate it.

    • Hi Dayna, Thanks so much for this kind note! I’ll drop you an email but, as mentioned above, I don’t have a very good track record with email turn around times. Sign of the times, I’m much faster replying to things here or on facebook/twitter 😉

  • Welcome. I would like to know when it is scheduled to release 3 parts of spellwright.

  • Hey Blake, just wanted to say me too! Well ok, I’m a rocket scientist (no, really) not a doctor, but I’ve never come across another dyslexic/geek/writer before. That’s kind of cool 🙂 I know exactly what you mean, feeling like one mistake away from being exposed as a fraud 🙂 Would be great to geek about writing at some point?

    • Hi Sal! Thanks so much for stopping by, and yes it is wonderful to make a connection with another d/g/w. I think you should go with rocket scientist. Very impressive, would love to geek out whenever 😉

      • cool cool! Drop me an e-mail or something? anything at mupp.org.uk will reach me. Or if you’re really old school I hang out on a telnet talker snowplains.org

      • So I guess I wanted to ask… do you struggle with confidence at writing? How do you deal with that? What do you do/tell yourself, to keep going? I know I can write, because I’ve sold things, won prizes, etc, but I’m still plagued by self-doubt. Do you find you need a kind of constant reassurance that you’re doing it right while you’re writing a novel? And do people look at you funny for saying as much, as if being smart/articulate/successful means you can’t be anything but confident? (especially as a geek among English/Arts grads, who run screaming from talk of science ;-))

        • hi sal! i think confidence in writing is a pretty sticky wicket. as you mentioned, one has to have enough confidence to keep writing; however, too much confidence can be harmful. criticism can be very helpful, if you one can glean the useful comments from the non. yes, i do struggle with confidence. i know many many authors–many of whom are far far more talented that i am–who also struggle with confidence. doubt in one’s prose helps one to pour over it as many times as is needed to get it as good as is possible, but too much doubt will cause endless revisions. i think there’s a happy medium. once one’s career takes off, as you mention, there’s external validation (fan mail, though i am slow to respond, is what i find most rewarding). the hardest time to write is when one is just starting out and can and should expect not to have any externally validated success for a long long time. i think i might be rambling now, but hopefully there’s something in there that’s helpful. 😉

          • Next question! (You’ll get sick of me ;-)) Have you had any negative experiences in writing with being up front about dyslexia? and do you think publishers/editors/etc would react differently if you’d written about something less dyslexia-related? I can blag it without people noticing I’m dyslexic, and at work I’ve found people either dismiss it as an excuse because I don’t seem “dyslexic enough” to them, or don’t know what to make of it, so I tend not to say anything because it undermines my credibility. Is that the experience you’ve had in writing (or science)?

          • Hi Sal, sorry for the slow reply; holidays etc etc. In the publishing world, no one has ever expressed concern about my dyslexia. In fact, because I write about it, there are more enthusiastic about it (which makes a certain amount of sense). Earlier in my medical career, people would be uneasy if I told them. But, since I am, like you, no longer “dyslexic enough” for them to notice on their own, I stopped telling people. Now folks only notice when either a) I asked for help spelling some crazy word, or b) they google me 😉 In general, I find that as I get older dyslexia is more important to me than it is to other people. I wonder if you have the same experience .

          • V much so, except I write less explicitly about dyslexia, and for work-related reasons I’m not so easy to google 😉

  • When I found a reference to Spellwrite in a book about dyslexia, The Dyslexia Advantage, which I was reading to help my granddaughter. Like myself and my daughter, I believe my granddaughter is dyslexic. Although she is only 4 so has not been diagnosed or assessed, I can see many of the signs. Congratulations on completing your medical degree, and at the same time as you were writing so many amazing books. I was only half way through page 1, when I thought to myself, this author has read Tolkein but in some ways he is actually better.

    • hi jo, thank you so much for stopping by and for these kind words! the dyslexic advantage really is a wonderful book & i’m very proud to have been included in it! and bless you for reading up on your grand daughter. if she does turn out to be diagnosed with dyslexia (or any other learning disability, for that matter) i am glad you’ll be there to let her know that things get better!

  • Stephanie Chan

    9:51 pm Dec-5-2012

    Reply

    Hi Blake,
    Good luck on the interview trail. I am just now wrapping your first book to give to my nephew, who is turning 14 and finally ready to read it, so I decided to re-visit your website. Sorry to hear your series is coming to an end, but can’t wait to see what you write next!
    Best,
    Stephanie

    • Hi Stephanie, Sorry for the delay approving your post; I don’t check in on the blog when traveling. Thank you for the kind words! Sorry for ending the series, but I hope that the books I’m working on afterwards will also capture your interest 😉

  • Charles Bonds Jr

    11:43 am Dec-25-2012

    Reply

    As before Thank You!

    I would like to think our lives are made up of many books and as we pass through cycles we end trilogys and pioneer short stories inbetween and when we do reach the end some one may just put it all together for an epic saga. The story to some may be disintresting and for others it may capture our hearts minds and the essence of something far less easy to put in to words. You have provided a very needed essence if nothing more than a gripping read for some. Whatever part of yourself you choose to share I am shore this end is only a new beginning and if you choose not to pen another word your works will be in my librery for all my hopeful generations to read. You have made a difference!

    • Hi Charles, So sorry it took this long to reply. Holidays, family, birthday, etc etc. Thank you so very much for these kind words. They mean much more to me than I can every say, and they are the major reason why I can keep my hands on the key board and try to get better. Thank you again and may 2013 be full of prosperity and joy for you!

  • Greetings and my welcomes to 2013 from Ukraine! Can I share a bit of praises to you as a humble reader?
    It was your all-new magic system that drove me to Spellwright, but there was so much more in it… In fact, the Spellwright became the first book in my life that I fully read in English – a foreign language for me. I just couldn’t stop reading. Even going through wordplays and misspellings was a challenge, it was also a pleasure.
    And there’s deja vu. I just met New Year with your Spellbound in hands trembling with worries of Francesca’s and Nicodemus’ fate… As it’s always with great books, I just couldn’t think of anything other, and a total immersion…
    You’ve made an astounding work! So great to know that the next book is coming. I really can’t wait for it! Keep going, we fans are on your side!

    • Hi Max! Wow, what a wonderful New Year’s gift: to be someone one’s first novel in English. I’m very impressed that you managed to keep up with all my wordplay. My poor translators often write me long emails about the double meanings and wordplays I”m reaching for and what the analogous meanings might be in their own language. It slows things down, but I think we all enjoy it. And I’m so glad that Spellbound worked for you as well. I am (to ring in the New Year) working away at Spellbreaker right now and I hope that when it hits the shelves you’ll give it a try and find it a better book than the previous 😉

  • Greetings, Blake. I belong to a science fiction/fantasy book group that meets once a month at Barnes and Noble in Hadley, Massachusetts. We chose Spellwright as our book recently and enjoyed it so much that we chose Spellbound as our next book (or close to being our next book) … we read that one for our meeting in December, but there was a snow storm which made meeting impossible and so now we’ll be discussing it this month. So glad there will be a third book … I’m enjoying the interplay between the characters and don’t want the series to end …

    • Hi, Martha! Thank you so kindly for stopping by and for letting me know that you enjoyed the books! Really, there is no greater joy for an author then receiving notes like this; they are what help us keep our hands on the keyboard. I hope that the discussion this month is enjoyable, and I very much wish I could be a fly on the wall in that room 🙂 As it so happens, I might be visiting Boston again soon and would be very happy to sign any books if you’d like. I will keep you updated. Meantime, I had better get back to work on Spellbreaker and trying to make it the best in the series so far. Thanks again, and take care.

  • I loved Spellwright and will be picking up Spellbound as soon as possible. I’m a numerical dyslexic. I can’t read off a string of numbers or memorize numbers without screwing them up. By the way, I’m an accountant with 35 years in forecasting, statistics and financial analysis. Keep the books coming!

    • Hi John, Thank you for stopping by and for the kind words. So glade Spellwright and Spellbound are working for you. I’m cranking away at Spellbreaker as we speak…er…as we blog…or type…or something. Anyway, trying to wrap up the first draft in the next few months and then we’ll find out from the editor what kind of turn around time we’ll have. And good on you for getting over dyslexia to become an accountant! (Lord, knows I could use your skills 😉 )

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