Tuesday, August 31, 2010


It's out.

It's finally out.

I hadn't expected this day to come for years yet. I had a careful path set up to doing the Stormlight Archive. Writing standalone novels and trilogies for a few more years yet, until I had the reputation both with fans and the publisher to persuade them to take a chance on an ambitious series like the Stormlight Archive.

Then, two years ago, I saw a chance for doing it earlier—and doing it the right way. So I seized it. Getting both this book and Towers of Midnight ready without dropping quality on either has been one of the most demanding long-haul experiences of my life. (One I hope to never have to repeat.) But it's FINALLY OUT.

Folks, this is the book of my heart, the series I've been plotting, planning, scheming over for decades. If you get a chance to hit a bookstore this week, might I suggest you go in and pick it up, heft it, look through some of the beautiful interior art?

I'm not sure what to say other than that. I don't know yet how it will be received. We'll know better next Wednesday, when sales figures are released. But for right now . . . it's out. Whew! For more on the topic, I did a blog post over at Tor.com speaking a little of the history of the book. You can find it here.

And, in case you missed it, here are links to the sample chapters: Prelude through chapter 3, chapters 4 through 6 (audio), chapters 9 and 11, chapters 12 and 13.

Here are reviews of the book: Grasping for the Wind, The Wertzone, OF Blog of the Fallen, The Book Smugglers, Unshelved, Blógünder Schlock, Elitist Book Reviews . . . (There are so many reviews out there now, if you've written one and I didn't put it on this list, please don't read anything into it! Almost all the reviews I've seen do a great job discussing the book without spoiling it, so if you're hungry for reviews, you can't go wrong with a Google search.)

And here are other things I've written on it: Another Long-Winded Explanation of Various Things, Done, Thoughts, Introduction, Michael Whelan, an appreciation.

As always, thank you all for your support. And thank you, Wheel of Time fans, for allowing me this deviation in the middle of working on your books. I promise to get your ending to you quickly.



p.s. Newsletter about KINGS going out in the next 24 hours. If you read this, then get practically the same thing in email form, I apologize for spamming you. :)

Monday, August 30, 2010

Play Magic with Brandon at Dragon*Con Updates

Guys, THE WAY OF KINGS comes out tomorrow! Wow. So long spent waiting. Look on Tor.com tomorrow for a cool post about my history working on the book, with pictures of a very early Brandon Sanderson manuscript.

Before we do that, though, I want to do some updates to my Magic with Brandon post. Late last week, I got a package in the mail from Wizards of the Coast including a large bunch of mystery prizes to be given out at Dragon*Con to anyone who can defeat me at Magic. This makes me even more excited to play there, and so, know that I am bringing prizes for you. The rules remain the same: Defeat me as the Archenemy in a game of multiplayer Magic. If you don't know how to play Archenemy, don't worry. It's easy to explain. (Basically, I get a stack of super cards I can use every turn, and you team up with others to try to beat me.)

It's going to be lots of fun, and is open to players of all skill levels. If you're new or rusty, I'll just put you in a larger team to make it more balanced. I also wanted to give two quick notes: first, the Magic draft is on Friday night (instead of Saturday). We changed this quickly on the previous blog post, but some may have missed it. We'll do it that evening after dinner, but not too late. As soon as the room is open. It looks like Darkfriend games start at 8:30, so that seems a safe bet. Meet in the Kennesaw. There are still three spots left. Email me if you want one.

Also, I wanted to mention. Bring your trade binders. I totally want to do some trading. It feels like forever since I've been able to sit down with someone new and trade cards. Note: I will be bringing some of these decks on tour, and might be able to find a time to play at some of my tour stops. We'll see. It will depend on how my flights pan out.

Anyway, there is something else cool to report. Included in the package from Wizards were two boxes of cards just for me. (I was even told that I was to open them and play with them myself, rather than feeling I needed to give them away as prizes.) One box of Rise of the Eldrazi and some Phyrexia vs. The Coalition Duel Decks. I opened the box of Eldrazi to build my Archenemy deck, and I'll post pictures below of what I got. I'll also be bringing the Duel decks to lend to anyone who didn't bring a deck, but wants to play against me in Archenemy.

Eldrazi really is one of my favorite sets in a long time. I love the level-up mechanic, and the Eldrazi both as cards and as villains. I like how so many of the cards in this set can be put into so many other types of decks from other sets, and work just fine. And I love how much this set seems to be targeted at casual players. (Note, when I say "casual" in Magic terms, I mean people who like to play multiplayer games or screwy, non-tournament decks. People laugh when I say I'm a casual player, but what I mean is that I'm not a tournament player. Decks built by other people online hold no interest for me.)

Big creatures, others that grow cooler the longer you keep them out...yeah, this is a set built right for me. There were two rares from the set I'd wanted, but had never managed to find. Awakening Zone and Training Grounds. Both seemed like great rares for this set, but both also seemed like they could be put to a lot of use in all kinds of random decks. So that's what I went into cracking open these packs hoping to get. And the results in several pictures...

I ended up getting one of each! Which made me very happy. Also a Lighthouse Chronologist and Linvala, Keeper of Silence, two very awesome cards. The other two mythics were Sarkhan the Mad and Nirkana Revenant. (Which was amusing as I'd just traded my only Nirkana Revenant away a few days before.) All four mythics are solid, though there are only a couple in this set that I don't care for.

I had to be amused at getting both a foil and non foil Sphinx-Bone Wand. It seems like every second pack of Eldrazi I open has one of these. Maybe I should make a deck based on them. I've seriously got like 50. (Okay, not that many, but at least four.)

Anyway, I'm going to take that Lighthouse Chronologist and Linvala and build a deck with them, maybe the Training Grounds too. Beware my schemes, folks, and I'll see you at Dragon*Con where you can check out the cards I got, and perhaps die to the decks I built from them. :) A big thanks to Marcella and Wizards of the Coast, who totally didn't need to do this.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

THE WAY OF KINGS Midnight Release Numbering Policy Change

Hi everyone, Brandon's assistant Peter here, popping in to let you know of a procedural change at the BYU Bookstore for next week's release of THE WAY OF KINGS. We had some reports from last year's release party of people who had stood in line for hours only to get pushed back in the queue at the last minute by others who had spots in line saved for them. That's not what Brandon wants to see happen, so for this release the bookstore is trying something new. See below for info from Tami at the bookstore.

  • We will give out numbers at 8:00 a.m. on Monday, August 30st.
  • Numbered tickets will be given out in the ORDER YOU ARRIVE TO WAIT IN LINE.
  • You may hold a place in line for NO MORE THAN ONE PERSON for NO MORE THAN ONE HOUR.
  • Each person in line will only receive ONE ticket for ONE numbered book.
  • You will be asked to pre-pay for your book before you receive your numbered ticket. [Peter interjects: If you have already prepaid, bring your receipt or confirmation number to claim your number, but that doesn't affect which number you receive.]
  • Individuals receiving a numbered ticket MUST BE BACK IN LINE, in their numbered location, BY NO LATER THAN 9:00 p.m. on Monday, August 30, 2010 or they FORFEIT their number and numbers will be reassigned.
  • You may not pick up a numbered book for someone else. ONE numbered book per ONE numbered ticket per person. Books will be distributed at 12:00 a.m. on August 31, 2010.
  • Once you have received your numbered book you are free to get into a separate line to have it personalized by Brandon.
  • Brandon will personalize up to 3 books per trip through the line. If you would like to have him personalize more than 3, you are free to get back in line.

The BYU Bookstore will continue to give out numbers through the rest of the day (August 30, 2010), through the General Book Office, on a first come, first serve basis. Again, fans will only be allow ONE ticket per person for ONE numbered book and they will be advised that they will FORFEIT their number and will be asked to get in the back of the line if they are not in their numbered location in the line by 9:00 p.m. on Monday, August 30, 2010.

Peter again with some final comments. It's going to be difficult to make everyone happy in a situation like this, but I hope this will fix some of the problems that cropped up last year. And if you didn't plan to show up before 9:00 p.m. anyway, this won't change anything for you—due to the way the numbers are allocated to the release day events, if you arrive after person number 100, you get number 300 and above. And whether you get number 300 or 399 (or 600 or 699) doesn't matter so much as the people trying to get in the top 100, right? At least that's the theory here. All Brandon really cares about is people being able to read his book and enjoy it. I hope we can remember that, and I hope you enjoy the book as much as I do.

If things turn out not to work well this way, then I expect they'll try something else for the next midnight release in November.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Play Magic with Brandon at Dragon*Con

I’ll be hitting Dragon*Con this year near the beginning of my tour, and I’m looking forward to finding some time to hang with readers and relax and play some Magic: The Gathering. As always, I play casual—meaning that I do it more for the fun and interaction than the victories. So if you’re new to the game, or haven’t played in years, don’t worry. We try to keep it low-stress.

I’ve got three different types of Magic-related events I’m planning, listed below.

At Jordancon, I had an absolute blast doing a draft from Rise of the Eldrazi. I love this set, and would like to get another draft in before the new set launches this fall. So, I’ll be buying a few boxes of ROE boosters for us to play with. I’d ideally like to do what we did at Jordancon—have sixteen players, and split them into two groups of eight: a "pro" group and an "amateur" group. We’ll draft in two rings and have a tournament. I figure we’ll do what we did last time: $15 buy-in, which gets you three boosters to draft with, at least one booster as a prize, and further boosters as prizes for the higher winners. Maybe some foil cards if I can swing it.

We need to keep this to sixteen people to prevent chaos. Since this isn’t a formal event, I’ll be playing judge and player at the same time, and any more than sixteen would be a little rough for me to handle. One warning: We’re going to have to play on the floor. Jen said that getting us tables through Dragon*Con is all kinds of crazy, but said we could use the WoT track rooms one evening, so long as we play nicely with the “Are you a Darkfriend” games going on at the same time. This will likely be SaturdayFRIDAY night, and if you want one of the fifteen other draft slots, drop me an email through the website here or grab me early on at Dragon*Con. I’ll keep a list of players and a standby list.

I’m really excited about this. Some readers sent me some packs of Archenemy off my Amazon wishlist, and I figure that the best thing to do with these is to bring them to Dragon*Con and destroy all who oppose me. If you’re not familiar with Archenemy, it’s a new Magic format where one player takes on a group of other players. One player (me) plays the role of an evil overlord with a super-deck, while the other players take the roles of planeswalkers trying to stop him from destroying the world.

This really plays into my sense of narrative. (If you didn’t know, my nickname over on my forums—which was inherited from my days working as an editor at the BYU science fiction magazine—is EUOL. Which stands for Evil Undead OverLord.) For many years, I’ve longed for a Magic format where I could show off my true majesty and crush fleets of peons who come to try to defeat me and stop my evil machinations. :)

All you have to do is bring one of your favorite Magic decks. I’ll be toting my awesome Archenemy deck around with me—I’ve affectionately named it “Cthulhu to the Face!” Whenever there’s a spare moment after a panel or signing, I’d be happy to take on two or three fans at once in epic battle.

Archenemy is a casual format, so this will work best if—rather than designing some new deck for it—you just bring one of your favorite casual decks, and then join with other random players to team up against me. I’m really not sure how Archenemy will play yet, but I’ll bet it will be more fun for all involved if we randomly assign groups of three or so, rather than allowing a team to perfectly design three tournament-caliber decks that play off one another. If you have two friends that you really want to join and team-up against me, I’ll probably be willing to play, but I strongly suggest that you each pick a flavorful, fun deck, rather than conspiring on the perfect work-together decks built to disassemble an Archenemy.

I’m hoping to have prizes for beating me, which may be something as simple as a sticker or the like, and perhaps something more impressive. There are no restrictions on cards, set, or format—though as I said, I’m probably more likely to give the better rewards to cool/interesting/new decks as opposed to the person who brings in a replica of last year’s pro-tour victory deck. But do what you want—it doesn’t matter. I WILL DEFEAT YOU ALL! (Insert Evil Laughter here.)

I’ll also be bringing a pauper deck (meaning a deck with only commons in it), a few random block decks (built with cards only from one expansion or one block) and one Elder Dragon Highlander deck. I don’t know if I’ll have time for any of these, with the draft and the uber-fun Archenemy multi-duels, but I’ll have these just in case. I thought I’d give warning for anyone who wants to be ready.

Monday, August 23, 2010


First let me get to some quick updates. I've put up a few WARBREAKER annotations: two on chapter five and one on chapter six. Two new podcast episodes of Writing Excuses have also gone up, recorded live at Dragons & Fairy Tales bookstore. In the first one Dan, Howard, and I offer constructive criticism on several listeners' submitted first paragraphs. In the second episode, we discuss what to do with old material that you've set aside.

Now to the main announcement, which appeared on my Twitter/Facebook feeds last week: TOWERS OF MIDNIGHT, book 13 of the Wheel of Time, is finished. All of the drafts are done, the final revisions made, the book turned in. (And for those who don’t watch Twitter/Facebook, we’re hoping to eventually post a weekly “best of” or something here on the website for you to read through.)

Getting the book done on time (or, well, close to it) took a lot out of me. I was basically worthless Wednesday and Thursday of last week recuperating. And I’m not a guy who often needs to do things like that. However, I feel that the book turned out very well. The publication date is set for November 2nd, and at this point, there’s basically no chance we’ll miss that. So go ahead and preorder and make your plans to come see me on one of my upcoming tours. Things look good.

Now that it’s done, I can sit back and look at the book as a whole. As I said, I’m very pleased with it. For months I’ve been telling people that I feel that in many ways, it’s even more true to the Wheel of Time than THE GATHERING STORM was. I hope to maintain the pacing that made people enjoy TGS, but at the same time TOWERS OF MIDNIGHT has a much expanded scope than the previous novel, showing a larger picture and getting back to many characters who were ignored or had reduced parts in TGS. Though we are jumping back in time for a few viewpoints to catch them up, it does also continue Rand/Egwene and other characters who had a large focus in TGS.

I hope that you enjoy it. There are some scenes in it we’ve been waiting to read for a long, long time. Scenes that made my heart break to write, and others that bring a smile to my face every time I look through them again.

Now that it’s done, it is time for me to take a break. I’ve been going full steam on the Wheel of Time and the Stormlight Archive now for about three years. These last eighteen months were particularly demanding, filled with seventy-hour weeks. I don’t regret it, and I’m certainly not complaining. I agree to deadlines when I make contracts, and I love my job. I will gladly work twelve- and fourteen-hour days six days a week at something I love if it means I don’t have to work eight hours a day five days a week at something I hate. (Which would be pretty much anything other than writing.)

But I have to take care not to burn myself out either. And so, as I did last summer, I’m going to take some time off and work on side projects. These are very relaxing to me—books that have no deadline and that no editor is waiting for or expecting to see. I’ll probably only have time to write one, and I’m not sure what it will be yet, but it won’t be an epic fantasy. (They take far too long for the time I’m giving myself.) Probably a YA novel or maybe even something wild, such as an urban fantasy or the like. Perhaps some short stories.

I’ll post about what I’m doing, when I’m doing it. I’ll also be taking some time to read, play some video games, and build Magic decks. I do want to give a special thank you to those who sent me cards during the last few weeks. I tried to thank everyone, and there are still a few I intend to post about, but some of the items that arrived from my wishlist didn’t include a name telling me who originally bought them for me.

I’m intending to bring these cards specifically to Dragon*Con and do some fun things with them. I’ll post later in the week about it, but if you like Magic and are going to Dragon*Con, we should be able to find some time to play. (I’m thinking of bringing an Archenemy deck and trying to take on multiple fans at once in epic, large-scale games.)

Anyway, be sure to check back during this week, as I intend to make up for missed blog posts (sorry about the lack of those these last few months) by posting frequently this week. I’ll probably do a few posts about THE WAY OF KINGS, which is only about a week away now, and maybe talk about the projects I’ve got planned for the free months.

Right now, my plan is to start on A MEMORY OF LIGHT on January first.

Thank you all for being awesome.


Friday, August 20, 2010

Last Chance for THE WAY OF KINGS Numbered Copies

[UPDATE: Sam Weller's is reportedly sold out already. If we make other arrangements, I'll mention it on Twitter and Facebook. Original post follows.]

THE WAY OF KINGS comes out in less than 11 days, about 246 hours from now. At the release day events—the midnight BYU Bookstore event and the evening Jordan Landing Barnes & Noble event—I will be numbering all of the copies I sign. For anyone who can't attend the signings but wants a numbered copy, tomorrow morning I'll be driving up to Sam Weller's Bookstore and signing and numbering 300 copies there. The bookstore will then start shipping them out next week, to arrive on August 31st (or maybe a day or two after that, since they have to err on the side of caution—Tor doesn't want any copy arriving before that date). They'll send out the international orders first, then the domestic U.S. ones, and then any orders going within Utah.

Since I'm signing at Sam Weller's on Saturday morning, now is the last chance to order a book and get it personalized (have me write your name, add a pithy message—one person has requested a limerick, I hear). Sam Weller's closes at 7:00 PM Friday night and opens 10:00 Saturday morning. If you call before I start signing, or even before I leave the building, it's not too late to get your request in. If you order later than that, you might be able to get a numbered copy (if there are any left) but it would just have the number and my signature, with no personalization.

You can reach Sam Weller's at (801) 328-2586 or (800) 333-7269. For more details, see here; for details on all of the release day signings see here. If there's a signing closer to you, consider getting your book there instead, though I won't be numbering any copies beyond August 31st.

And on an unrelated topic, tomorrow night I'll be appearing at the Rock Canyon Writing for Charity event. More details in the previous blog post.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Writing for Charity + Updates

On August 21st there will be a writing workshop in South Sandy, Utah whose purpose is to raise money to donate to schoolchildren. Specifically, they hope to donate a book to every child "in at least ten of the lowest socioeconomic populated schools in the state"—at least 6,000 books total. Author Shannon Hale told me about the program, and I'm going to be attending the evening extravaganza. As this is a charity event, there is a registration fee both for the writing workshop during the day and the extravaganza in the evening. For more information, please see the website.

Before the 21st I'll have turned in the final revision of TOWERS OF MIDNIGHT, which I'm currently working on. You can follow my progress on Twitter or Facebook; the deadline is August 16th and I need to finish over 10% of the book each day until then. I did the first 12% yesterday. This final draft mostly focuses on issues the beta readers noticed.

A couple of weeks ago on Writing Excuses, Dan, Howard, and I did some example line editing on the beginning of the first novel I wrote. It went over very well, so in this week's episode we return to WHITE SAND and line edit the dialogue. You want to listen to it, right?

In the most recent WARBREAKER annotations I talk about chapter four. First I discuss the name system used in the book, and then I cover Hawaii and the undead.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Signed Book Shipping Delays

This post isn't about the signed & numbered copies of THE WAY OF KINGS from Sam Weller's, which will go out on schedule. Not surprisingly the demand is not quite as high as it was for THE GATHERING STORM, so if you haven't ordered yet, you still have a good chance of getting a relatively low number.

However, if you've ordered any of my other signed books from my store in the last couple of weeks and haven't heard anything yet about your order, here's what's up.

All the signed book orders are taken care of by my assistant Becky, who prints out the signing and personalization instructions on slips of paper. Then every couple of Saturdays she goes to my garage and pulls out all the books to be signed, inserting the paper slips. Then I sit down and sign book after book, and Becky packages them up and drives them to the post office (or sometimes a mail truck comes and takes them away instead, if there are a lot of packages).

The upshot of this is that even if your book is due to be sent priority mail, it may be a couple of weeks before it leaves my garage. But Becky usually contacts you within a couple of days to confirm your order. That's under normal circumstances—which we're not under right now, since two weeks ago Becky had a baby.

Now, Becky does plan on getting back to work on the signed books relatively soon, but if you submitted an order in the last couple of weeks and haven't heard from her, that's why!

Don't worry about your order being lost. The way PayPal keeps track of things, that's not possible. Becky will be getting back to you and all the books will go out. Or if it does turn out that Becky needs more time away, we'll make other arrangements and someone else will take care of things until she does get back. There are various family members we can rope in to doing this if necessary.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

THE WAY OF KINGS Preview Chapters & Contests + Updates

THE WAY OF KINGS will be released in less than one month. So it's time for some more preview chapters, right? As of today, you can read chapters nine and eleven over at Tor.com (registration required). "Wait!" you may say. "What happened to chapters seven, eight, and ten?" Well, there are only so many chapters they'll let you preview, and I thought this part of Kaladin's storyline was more important to show you than Shallan's. Don't worry; you won't be lost if you read these chapters. (Unless, of course, you didn't listen to the audiobook chapters four and six, which you can find here, or the earlier chapters here.)

There are also some more advance reading copy giveaways for the book. The Goodreads giveaway has expanded to 200 copies from 40 (as of this moment, though, over 3200 readers have entered). That one is limited to US residents only and ends at midnight tonight. But here are some contests you can enter from anywhere on the planet! Pat's Fantasy Hotlist is giving away three signed copies here. Tor.com is giving away one copy here along with hardcovers of the Mistborn trilogy and a glow-in-the-dark THE WAY OF KINGS bracelet (currently nearly 900 people have entered...). And their Twitter account is holding a separate giveaway of one copy; to enter just @reply to this post on Twitter by Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. EST. I must assume these will not be the final opportunities to win a copy of the ARC.

This week on our Writing Excuses podcast, Howard, Dan, and I talk about extrapolating a future setting from what we know about the present, i.e. worldbuilding the future. Check it out.

The most recent WARBREAKER annotations talk about my favorite character in the book: Lightsong the Bold, the god who doesn't believe in his own religion. I also talk about his high priest, Llarimar.