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February 2014 Spellbreaker Progress Report

Few things are stranger than the flow of time for a newly minted physician. Individual hours unspool themselves, encompassing lifetimes of experience. Rare days off become epics of day-trip adventure or fuzzy pajama daysleeping decadence. And yet the months–strangely, paradoxically–are small feathered things; they flit by, almost uncounted.

It’s the sprawling hours I wish I could describe– the long conversations, someone dying quite literally in your arms, the sleep-deprived blurriness, the frustration and humiliation and hope, the small and large victories. But they are too big to describe. My hard drive houses a score of aborted vignettes and reflections. To someone outside medical training they would seem incomprehensible, to someone inside, quotidian.

The months, however, melt away. Somehow I’ve now been a practicing doctor for more than half a year. Somehow come July, I’ll be managing two other doctors and leading a hospital medicine team. It’s all rather mysterious.

My chosen method of dealing with it all is to write. I turned in a finished draft of Spellbreaker last May, and now I’m very happy to report that, after receiving some feedback from beta-readers, I’ve completed another revision.  It’s a sleeker book now, having lost 20,000 words. Still it will be punching away in the heavyweight epic fantasy class with a total of 180,000 words.

It’s a darker book than its predecessors, more focused on endings and difficult choices. It’s also–I believe and hope–better written with deeper character exploration, more intuitive incorporation of the complex magical system, and more consistent plot progression. Of course, I’m counting on the readers to let me know how close to the mark I am on all these counts.

As to why the book is taking so long to get to the shelves…and to when we might expect it to come out… Sadly, like many authors, I have to answer with apologizes about events out of my control. Last year my editor at Tor left the company unexpectedly.  The Spellwright Trilogy was orphaned; something that could have had dire consequences. But I was very fortunate that one of the company’s most senior editors, Patrick Neilson Hayden, was a fan of the series and picked me up. I’m thrilled to work with Patrick. Because he’s coming aboard on book three, he does need time to reread the first two books in the series before editing the third book. Hopefully I’ve made his job easier by landing a more polished manuscript on his desk. Even so, the absolute earliest I’d guess publication would be possible would be late 2014…and that might be too optimistic. When a publication schedule firms up, I’ll be sure to publish it here.

So…what’s next? Difficult to say. There’s a young adult novel idea I’ve been kicking around and a few medicine related stories I’m considering, but after a decade churning out a trilogy, I’m rather enjoying intellectual freedom  for a bit. There are a few things I do know for certain. The next book will not take place in the Spellwright universe. To grow as a writer, I need to try some else for a while. Perhaps I’ll come back to Nicodemus’s world; I think and hope I ended the series in a way that satisfies fans of the trilogy but leaves the door open, as it were. Another thing I know I won’t be doing is blogging all that often. This weekend is my last as an intern, which is to say that I won’t have another two days in a row off until the end of June. I haven’t very good about responding to messages. I’m sorry about that. I’ve continued to get inquires about the next book. Some are an impatient, but most are wonderfully supportive.  For that reason, I’m amazingly grateful. I could not do this without your support and patience.


20 Responses to “February 2014 Spellbreaker Progress Report”

  • I’m so glad to hear you’re doing well both on the ‘being a doctor’-front and with the third book. I know I’ve said this before but I think that writing a trilogy while becoming a doctor at the same time is an amazing accomplishment. Between those two things and, you know, having a social life and playing with the ‘cutest niece in the world’ no wonder that answering messages and everything else falls by the wayside. I loved being able to chat with you on Twitter and I’ve missed doing so in the past while. But living your life and filling your creative well is more important than answering messages and chatting on Twitter. I’ll be waiting to hit pre-order on Spellbreaker when I can and I’ll read wherever you travel next in your writing. Oh and occasionally randomly tweeting back at you 😉

    • Thank you kindly, Mieneke! I hope one day the winds of publishing blow me out your way for a book signing so I can properly thank you for the support 😉

  • Mieneke has said it all. I concur with every thing said.
    Congrats and come back to us when you can.
    Take care.

  • I’m really glad to hear that all your Doctorin’ is going well, sir – if a little bemused by the effect hospitals appear to have on space-time.

    I’m also glad that you’ve had time to distil a little more awesome into Spellbreaker; I’m even more excited for it than I was afore.

    I’m consistently impressed that someone with your job, your schedules, your life has the time and ability to write something so spectacular. I look forward to whenever we get our hands on Book Three and can’t wait for imagination to spring forth more fruit with which to tempt my friends.

    Never rush, enjoy the journey,

  • Geert van Gelder

    11:11 am Feb-21-2014


    Your first two books were literally so wonderful (i.e. full of wonders) that the third one will be worth waiting for. Thanks for the explanations (that you don’t really owe to the readers, but they are quite welcome anyway) and good luck, doctor. No matter when, I will be reading your third book someday.
    Geert van Gelder, 55 (yes, that’s my age), Brasschaat, Belgium

  • While I’m eagerly awaiting Spellbreaker (I wish I could have been one of those “beta readers”!), kudos for resisting the urge to rush it to publication. I’m especially glad to hear that you’ve got a good editor, because he’ll help you write a novel that people will still read long after its release date has passed.

  • Well, I picked up your first book before christmas just on a whim… And absolutely loved it. Read through both in a few days and am eagerly awaiting the third!

    I googled to find when the third was being released, and ended up here. I have to say that you sound incredible, juggling your life/job/writing. Your writing style is… is… My goodness, too good for words.

    Just wanted to say thanks for being awesome.
    Enjoy your weekend in June 🙂

  • I can’t wait for the Dutch translation! I’ve been hooked since book one. I absolutely love your writing style. I can imagine it has been a big challenge to close the saga in a way that will be satisfing for all the fans. Because the whole Spellwright concept is so unique we just can’t get enough of it!

    Thank you so much for the fantastic journey 🙂

    PS: The dutch cover-art is amazing, it really adorns our bookshelf!

  • I’m just glad to hear that there is progress. We all get busy, but we must never give up.

    Here’s to #3!

    Write on! Huzzah! (Too many exclamation points, right? I thought I was flirting with danger there, and look at what happened. Drat! Oh, no…)

  • I have just completed the second book. I am so taken at you ability to put into words what those who struggle with disabilities always think about.

    I myself share you struggle. To see it depicted as a strength has truly been inspiring.

    I look forward the last book in the set and hope that it’s the first of many.

  • Matthew Vincent Jacobson

    11:17 am Jun-2-2014


    I’m glad to read that you’ve been able to keep writing, even with the abundant tasks and vital chores your schedule entails. Cheers to future novels, Panama hats, and successful healing!


  • Any idea when iBooks will be showing Spellbreaker. I have been waiting for over a year now. I really want to finish the story, it’s realy close to my hart. Thanks. A

  • Your books are an absolute delight to read! I have waited on tenter hooks for news of the third release and am so excited for it to come out! And it’s always nice to hear that the author is happy!!

  • I had set today in my calendar as the release date… Looks like it is in 2015 now. Any ideas of an exact date?

  • Jerald Motyka

    10:49 am Nov-11-2014


    Amazon is saying that Spellbreaker will be released in 2019 – what gives?? Is it a typo on Amazon or are there problems? Say it ain’t so!!

  • i would love to get in touch with you as a fellow dyslexic. can you please email me?

  • As a teacher, using this book as an example for using your experience of dyslexia as a strength, I can’t wait for spellbreaker. Any chance of a recent update to a possible timeline? Regards.

  • […] last February, Spellbreaker has been revised and all but ready for publication. As before, we wait for my new […]

  • I, too look forward to ‘Spellbreaker’. I am a fan and also in the medical profession, so I am well aware of how busy you are. Not sure how you had time to write in the 1st place. I was wondering if when you publish, you will be including it on Audible which is how I get your books?

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