Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Stormlight 2 Writing Video, Hugo Nomination Deadline, DANGEROUS WOMEN & Updates

Michael Whelan has put up an awesome post on his process for painting the cover of A MEMORY OF LIGHT. Very, very cool. If you're at all interested in art or illustration you should check it out. You can also buy signed prints in his store.

If you want to be able to nominate works for the Hugo Awards this year (I talked about this a couple of weeks ago) you need to be a supporting or attending member of this year's Worldcon (or last year's or next year's Worldcons) by Thursday, January 31st. The actual nomination deadline is in March, but if you aren't a member and want to nominate, now's your last chance to become eligible.

Here's something cool: a fantasy calendar featuring fantasy writers. Lauren Zurchin of Lytherus is putting together this calendar featuring authors Holly Black, Gail Carriger, Cassandra Clare, Lauren Kate, Gregory Maguire, Tessa Gratton, Maggie Stiefvater, Brenna Yovanoff, Brandon Mull, Lauren Oliver, Chrisopher Paolini, Patrick Rothfuss, Tad Williams, and me. We will all be dressed in fantasy costumes of Lauren's design. Once the calendar is for sale, the proceeds from the calendar will go to the First Book and Worldbuilders charities. To fund the creation of the calendar, the costumes, and traveling to the authors to dress us up and take our pictures, Lauren is running a Kickstarter campaign. Just to be clear: Kickstarter doesn't allow charity campaigns, so the Kickstarter campaign itself is not a charitable endeavor, but it will go to fund creation of a calendar that when sold WILL have its proceeds donated to two charities. There are various things you can get for pledging various amounts, including a photo of me in my costume, signed by me, or a similar photo for each of the other authors. I think this is a cool idea, and I'm wondering what sort of costume Lauren will dress me up in. We'll never find out unless the Kickstarter campaign reaches its goal.

As many of you know, I adapted a large number of readers' names for use in TOWERS OF MIDNIGHT and A MEMORY OF LIGHT. Linda over at the 13th Depository has an article that lists all of the names that were chosen for characters and how they were adapted into the books, including some character names adapted by Robert Jordan in previous books. Note that I also adapted some people's names as place names and other non-character names, and the list doesn't include those. There will probably be another list later.

Last Wednesday I did a Tor chat on Twitter. All of the questions I answered (the questions and my answers include a lot of spoilers, especially for A MEMORY OF LIGHT, so be warned!) are now up in these two Twitter post archives: one, two.

This week's Writing Excuses podcast episode discusses side-character arcs. Mary, Howard, Dan, and I talk about which side characters might need an arc, which might not, and what you might take into consideration when writing these characters.

George R. R. Martin has announced the authors & stories for the DANGEROUS WOMEN anthology, including a novella from me. It's a spectacular group that I'm very honored to be included in. The table of contents will look like this:

INTRODUCTION, by Gardner Dozois
SOME DESPERADO, by Joe Abercrombie
NORA'S SONG, by Cecelia Holland
THE HANDS THAT ARE NOT THERE, by Melinda Snodgrass
BOMBSHELLS, by Jim Butcher
RAISA STEPANOVA, by Carrie Vaughn
WRESTLING JESUS, by Joe R. Lansdale
NEIGHBORS, by Megan Lindholm
I KNOW HOW TO PICK 'EM, by Lawrence Block
A QUEEN IN EXILE, by Sharon Kay Penman
CITY LAZARUS, by Diana Rowland
VIRGINS, by Diana Gabaldon
HELL HATH NO FURY, by Sherilynn Kenyon
NAME THE BEAST, by Sam Sykes
CARETAKERS, by Pat Cadigan
LIES MY MOTHER TOLD ME, by Caroline Spector

The book has been turned in to Tor as of last week, so Tor will now pick a more firm publication date. When I hear more I'll let you know. There are a few more details at the link.

I'm starting a new weekly bonus content feature for the next few months as a bit of an experiment. Right now I'm writing the sequel to THE WAY OF KINGS, and I've recorded my writing process for one chapter using Camtasia (which was provided to me by the folks at TechSmith). The chapter I've recorded is the new interlude featuring Rysn (who was in one of the interludes in the first book). I've split the recording up into multiple videos that I'm uploading to YouTube. The first one is up now, and it covers the prewriting/outlining for the chapter. For now, the videos are in real time, but once they're all uploaded I'll make a high-speed version of the whole chapter for those of you who don't want to sit and watch my normal typing speed.

Some of you are wondering if this video will have spoilers for STORMLIGHT 2. As an interlude, it takes place away from most of the action of the rest of the book, so you shouldn't see more than hints. This first video has the interlude's outline in it, so it will partially spoil the rest of the videos, but you'll find that the outline is very sparse. It's probably more likely to make you more interested to read more than to spoil you for the rest.

The main point of these videos is to show you my writing process, which is something I get a lot of questions about. Enjoy. STORMLIGHT 2 should come out before Christmas if I can get the first draft finished in April. I'm working hard on it right now, so we'll see if that happens.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Worldbuilders, Tour Dates & Updates

Pat Rothfuss's Worldbuilders charity drive runs until midnight tonight Central time. Today is the last chance to donate this year, with a good chance to win a cool donated book. The latest batch includes a signed leatherbound copy of my novella LEGION. By the way, last week's THE GATHERING STORM auction went for $300. This week's LEGION just goes into the general pool of prizes for people who donate $10 on the Heifer International page. (Each additional $10 donation gets you another ticket in the drawing.)

In this week's Writing Excuses podcast episode, Dan, Mary, Howard, and I talk about how to give your story's animals a personality. Give it a listen.

A MEMORY OF LIGHT did indeed hit #1 on the New York Times bestseller list for hardcover fiction. It also hit #1 on the USA Today list, which is much harder, since the USA Today list covers all print books, whatever the format, whether fiction or nonfiction. That's the sendoff we had hoped to be able to deliver for Robert Jordan's legacy. I'm honored to have been involved. Thank you to all the readers who made this a reality, and I hope you're enjoying the book.

I'm in the middle of the break in my book tour, but the following cities are yet to come. Details on my events page.

Fri Feb 1: Salt Lake City
Wed Feb 6: San Diego
Thu Feb 7: Los Angeles area
Fri Feb 8: Sacramento area
Sat Feb 9: San Francisco
Mon Feb 11: Portland area
Tue Feb 12: Seattle
Thu Feb 14: Vancouver, BC area
Fri Feb 15: Toronto
Sat Feb 16: Milford, NH
Mon Feb 18: Baltimore area
Tue Feb 19: Philadelphia
Wed Feb 20: Raleigh
Thu Feb 21: Atlanta area
Fri Feb 22: Birmingham, AL

I'll also go to various conventions this year, and there are two or three book tours later this year that aren't planned out yet. I'll try to stop somewhere in Texas for the THE RITHMATIST tour in May, and I'm thinking of going to the UK around November or so.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Spectre Kickstarter from Jason Denzel

Hey all, this is just a quick post to let you know about the Spectre Kickstarter from Jason Denzel. Remember this awesome Towers of Midnight trailer from a couple years ago?

Jason (founder of Dragonmount & all-around cool guy) was responsible for making that trailer. Well, he has also filmed a short epic fantasy called Spectre, and he's doing a kickstarter to raise enough money for postproduction. See the video below:

As with other Kickstarters, there are various pledge levels and cool things you can get for pledging. See the full details on the Kickstarter page. I've kicked in some money myself, so give it a look.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Photos & Updates

For those who missed the news and are wondering about the A MEMORY OF LIGHT ebook, I talked about it at the bottom of my blog post last week.

Patrick Rothfuss's Worldbuilders charity is auctioning off a signed first edition hardcover of THE GATHERING STORM. The auction includes dragon and sword pins from Badali Jewelry and a T-shirt of your choice from Ta'veren Tees that will be signed by the members of Team Jordan. Worldbuilders is a great charity and they also have lots of cool stuff you have a chance of getting by donating, so check out Pat's blog posts about it.

On this week's episode of the Writing Excuses podcast, Mary, Howard, Dan, and I discuss the Hero's Journey. This is an episode that we've talked about doing for years and have finally gotten around to. Enjoy!

For Mistborn fans, World of Warcraft is adding a "Survivor's Bag of Coins" to the 5.2.0 patch. See details here. I think this is awesome! (Also note that the Mistborn action RPG MISTBORN: BIRTHRIGHT is still in development, but right now it looks like the release might get pushed back to 2014 instead of this year. There hasn't been an official announcement though.)

On my tour I've been stopping to sign books in airport bookstores as usual. Years ago some of my fans nicknamed this "Brandalizing." Grammar Girl did a quick blog post about the term this week.

Here's a video of Harriet reading the wind scene from A MEMORY OF LIGHT at our signing this past weekend at the College of Charleston. Thanks, Jessica Crout! The Addlestone Library there is the home of Robert Jordan's papers. They had on display this very early draft of THE EYE OF THE WORLD with Jordan's handwritten edits on it. (Sorry my photo is so blurry.)

Last week I appeared on Wired's Geek's Guide to the Galaxy podcast talking about AMoL. And USA Today had a cool Robert Jordan sidebar in the paper. Here's a photo:

My assistant has also uploaded two more Twitter archive posts. [Assistant Peter's note: The first one is spoiler free, but there are plenty of spoilers for A MEMORY OF LIGHT in the second one. Brandon tries to keep spoilers out of his Twitter feed, but there are major spoilers in several of the questions that Brandon answered.]

We'll find out how A MEMORY OF LIGHT did on the New York Times bestseller list later today or tomorrow, but we already know it hit #1 on the Ingram and National Indie lists. (The USA Today listing above was for the week before the book came out.) We also made Shelf Awareness's Image of the Day for January 16th, which you can see here (taken at Joseph-Beth in Lexington):

Thanks for all of your support, and I hope you're enjoying the book! It has been an honor.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

It's finally out.

I'm sitting here on a plane, flying to Minneapolis after signing 1280(!) books last night at the midnight release of A Memory of Light. That marks it as my largest signing ever, though a whole lot of readers (understandably) grabbed their pre-signed books and ran off to read them, rather than waiting for a personalization.

Harriet did a reading, which my good friend Earl filmed (along with the Q&A). I'm sure he plans to post that as soon as the editing is done, and we'll get you a link. I'll be doing many more signings and readings in the coming weeks. (Of special note is the signing in Lexington, where the bookseller wanted me to let you know that he has been able to get Michael Whelan to send prints of the cover of A Memory of Light. See below this post for details.)

A lot of people are asking what it feels like to be done. That's an odd question to consider for a couple of reasons. In some ways, the Wheel of Time was "done" for me when I read Robert Jordan's last scene back in 2007. The work wasn't done, of course, and I had a very long road ahead of me. And yet, I'd read the ending. We managed to get it into the final book virtually unchanged, with only a few minor tweaks here and there. The sequence (it is more than one scene) that I am referring to most of the time when I talk about this encompasses the entire epilogue of A Memory of Light. Once you get there, you can know you're reading Robert Jordan's words, though of course there are other scenes scattered through the book that he worked on too.

So that was one ending, for me. Another came in January of last year, when I finished the rough draft of this book. Still, there was a great deal of work to do, but I was "done" after a fashion. From there, I transitioned from writing a new Wheel of Time book to doing revisions—and for the last time ever.

Another ending came for me when I handed the book over to Maria from Team Jordan to handle all of the final tweaks from the proofreads and copyedits. That happened late last summer, and with some regret, I stepped away from the Wheel of Time. Like a parent (though a step-parent in this case) waving farewell to a child as they leave the home, I no longer had responsibility for this book in the same way. I was done.

And yet, I wasn't. This month and next I'll be touring for the Wheel of Time. That will probably be the final ending, seeing all of you and sharing in your mixed joy and regret at the finale of this series. Over twenty-three years ago now, I picked up The Eye of the World for the first time, and my life changed. A lot of you have similar stories.

I know how you feel. I've been feeling it for five years now, ever since I read that last scene. There is no glossary in this last Wheel of Time book. We wanted to leave you with the memory of that scene, as Robert Jordan wrote it, for your final impression of the Wheel of Time.

I'm happy I can finally share that scene with you. After five years of waiting, I can talk about it with others and reminisce without having to worry about what I'm spoiling. I hope to chat with as many of you as possible in the upcoming months. For those who can't make it, I'll post some responses to frequently asked questions below.

May you always find water and shade.

Brandon Sanderson
January 8th, 2013

Question: Why aren't you coming to my city? And why do you so often go back to the same places?

Answer: I wish I could get everywhere, but I'm only one person, and touring is rough on the constitution and on the writing. I do try to go new places on every tour, but I also do visit some places repeatedly. This is because certain bookstores and booksellers have supported me since the beginning of my career, when others weren't interested in having me. I feel it important not to skip these stores now that I'm releasing what will likely be the bestselling book of my career.

Question: You said something about cover art prints of A Memory of Light?

Answer: Yes! Brian from Joseph-Beth is one of those booksellers mentioned above. From the start of my career, he's been in my corner, rooting for my books to do well. (And he has probably hand-sold more copies of my books than any person other than myself.) He tends to do awesome things for booksignings. This time, he called up Michael Whelan and asked if he could somehow get prints of the cover to sell.

The result is that we're going to be selling them at that signing, and ONLY that signing. In fact, so far as I know, this is the only place to get prints of the cover painting right now. Mr. Whelan has already signed each one, and I'll be signing them when in Lexington. [Assistant Peter's note: Michael Whelan will also sell them on his own website—we'll put up a link later—at the same price ($95), but getting it from Joseph-Beth will be faster. If you're not going to the signing you can order it here. There may also be a few prints of the The Way of Kings cover painting available at the signing itself.]

Question: Any news on the Wheel of Time Encyclopedia?

Answer: Harriet was asked about this at our signing, and she said that it was well on its way. This is not simply an update of the Guide released way back when, but is a comprehensive encyclopedia. It will contain art, and it will include things from Robert Jordan's notes that didn't make it into the series. (Note that the Waygate Foundation, a charity organization, is running a charity drive tied to the Encyclopedia right now.)

Question: What about the outriggers? (The sequel trilogy to the Wheel of Time series that Robert Jordan had planned to write.)

Answer: It's not going to happen. Harriet and I are both firm on this. Robert Jordan wouldn't have wanted it to happen. He said that he wanted the series to be finished, but he did not want anything more. (He was even uncomfortable with the idea of someone like myself finishing the series.)

Beyond this, at the Q&A on Monday, Harriet revealed something I previously haven't been able to tell you but that I've known for quite some time—that Robert Jordan didn't leave much of anything in the way of notes for the Outriggers. There are, quite literally, only two sentences of explanation from RJ telling us what the plot of the outriggers was to be about.

So no, no outriggers. I highly doubt you will see the prequels either, and for similar reasons. All good things must come to an ending. And this is ours.

Question: Why a delayed ebook release for A Memory of Light?

Answer: This is not my decision or Tor's decision, but Harriet's. She is uncomfortable with ebooks. Specifically, she worries about ebooks cutting into the hardcover sales. It isn't about money for her, as the monetary difference between the two is negligible here. It is about a worry that her husband's legacy will be undermined if sales are split between ebooks and hardcovers, preventing the last book of the Wheel of Time from hitting number one on either list. (Many of the bestseller lists are still handling ebooks in somewhat awkward ways.)

As the last books have all hit number one, she doesn't want to risk one of these not hitting number one, and therefore ending the series on a down note. (Even though each Wheel of Time book has sold more than its predecessor, including the ones I have worked on.) I personally feel her worries are unfounded, and have explained that to her, but it is not my choice and I respect her reasoning for the decision. She is just trying to safeguard Robert Jordan's legacy, and feels this is a very important way she needs to do so. After talking about the issue, we were able to move the ebook up from the originally planned one-year delay to instead come out this spring.

I'll try to update the blog with more questions and answers as I think of them during the tour, or as people ask them to me. [Note: This will only occur on Brandon's website.] Thank you all for reading, and enjoy the final book.

Monday, January 07, 2013

YA Novels + AMoL 8:00 Q&A Map + Updates

Entertainment Weekly has an exclusive cover reveal for my YA post-apocalyptic novel STEELHEART that's coming out from Delacorte in September. Check it out here.

Also, Tor.com put up the prologue and first chapter of my YA fantasy THE RITHMATIST that's coming out in May. Read them here. (Illustrations by Ben McSweeney, who also did the Shallan's Sketchbook illustrations in THE WAY OF KINGS.)

Right now Harriet and I are busily pre-signing copies of A MEMORY OF LIGHT at the BYU Bookstore for tonight's midnight release. There were about 150 people in line this morning at 7:30 when the bookstore started handing out numbers and letting people go home and rest until this evening. Harriet will be going back to her hotel before the midnight release, but she will be at the reading/Q&A that is scheduled to start at 8:00 p.m. (doors open at 7:00) at the Provo High School Auditorium (map below)—repeat, the Q&A is NOT at the bookstore itself! The bookstore will open its doors around 10:30 p.m. and books will be handed out at midnight, after which I will do personalizations by book number order. Complete details are here. Hope to see many of you tonight!

On Friday I posted about Hugo Nominations and offered to send THE EMPEROR'S SOUL to any Hugo voters. Writing Excuses has a list up of all the award-eligible works of the Writing Excuses team. And our first episode of the year is a microcasting episode on these topics:

  • Why do some authors only ever come out with one or two books?
  • What's your process for writing fast under artificial deadlines (NaNoWriMo)?
  • How do you avoid getting bogged down in explanation?
  • What happened to your Hero of a Thousand Faces episode? (Whoops! See below.)
  • Are there concerns or pitfalls regarding the use of metaphors and similes in genre fiction?
  • What are some pitfalls to writing short stories?
  • How do you write sex scenes? (Note: This particular question resulted in an entire episode back in Season 7. Shanna Germain to the rescue!)
  • Have any of you included original poems in your work?

Friday, January 04, 2013

Hugo Nomination Season

Hugo nomination season is upon us! If you are unaware, the Hugo Award is given by fans attending that year's Worldcon. (This year's convention will be held in San Antonio, Texas. I do plan to attend, as I went to Dragon*Con last year, and I try to vary which one I go to.) To nominate for the Hugo Awards, you have to be a member of this year's convention or the previous year's or following year's convention, and the nomination form is here.

By longstanding tradition, potential nominees avoid aggressive Hugo campaigning. Instead, we make a note of which of our works are eligible, so that they can be considered. In my case, I have Writing Excuses Season Seven eligible in the Best Related Work category.

I also have two stories that might be worth your time: The Emperor's Soul (Tachyon Publications, November 2012) and Legion (Subterranean Press, August 2012), both of which are novellas.

While I'm quite fond of both pieces, I think that The Emperor's Soul is more appropriate for award consideration. If you are interested in reading one of my works, I'd point you toward it—and I'd actually like to give you a free copy.

Therefore, if you are a valid member of this year's Worldcon or the 2012 or 2014 Worldcons, feel free to send me an email at ebooks@brandonsanderson.com requesting an ebook of The Emperor's Soul and saying which Worldcon you're a member of. No, you don't need to send me proof. I will trust your word on it. In this day and age, someone who really wanted to pirate a copy could do so at their leisure anyway.

Additionally, if you're a SFWA member considering nominations for the Nebula, you can find a link to download the story on the SFWA forums. A blurb for the story can be found below. Thanks for your consideration!


From the Back of the Book

When Shai is caught replacing the Moon Scepter with her nearly flawless forgery, she must bargain for her life. An assassin has left the Emperor Ashravan without consciousness, a circumstance concealed only by the death of his wife. If the emperor does not emerge after his hundred-day mourning period, the rule of the Heritage Faction will be forfeit and the empire will fall into chaos.

Shai is given an impossible task: to create—to Forge—a new soul for the emperor in less than one hundred days. But her soul-Forgery is considered an abomination by her captors. She is confined to a tiny, dirty chamber, guarded by a man who hates her, spied upon by politicians, and trapped behind a door sealed in her own blood. Shai's only possible ally is the emperor's most loyal councillor, Gaotona, who struggles to understand her true talent.

Time is running out for Shai. Forging, while deducing the motivations of her captors, she needs a perfect plan to escape . . .