Midsummer Update

We’re about halfway through July, so here’s a quick update on how things are going!

Inheritance of Magic #3 is now up to 75,000 words and pretty close to its end.  I’m currently expecting the full manuscript to come in between 80,000 and 90,000 words, meaning that I should only have two or three chapters to go.  I’m not sure exactly how long it’ll take to finish, but I’m pretty confident I’ll be able to hit my personal deadline of getting the book done some time in August.  Once that’s done I’ll send it off and finally take a break!

An Instruction in Shadow is now only three months from release.  As usual, I’ll release some extracts early – I’ll probably release Chapter 1 in early August and Chapter 2 in early September.  We’ve also got a finished version of the UK cover ready to go.

My next project for the Beginner’s Guide to Drucraft series will be a mini-series on the branches – Light, Matter, Motion, etc.  This isn’t very ‘mini’, though – it’s an absolutely huge subject, so it’ll probably take me a while to make any major progress on it.

And that’s it for now.  Priority #1 for the next few weeks is finishing the current book, so posting on this blog is likely to be light for the next month or so.

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Risen hits the Spiegel bestseller list

As some of you may remember, Alex Verus #12 (Risen in the UK, Der Retter von London in its translated version) was just released in Germany.  And it seems as though it’s done very well, as it’s debuted at Number 4 on the Spiegel bestseller list!

Thanks to all of my German readers who’ve stuck with the Alex Verus series for all this time and pushed its sales ranking so high – I hope you enjoy the Inheritance of Magic series too!

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DragonCon Online Interview

Inheritance of Magic 3 is coming along, and up to 70,000 words.  Still aiming to be done by the end of the summer.

In the meantime, I did an online interview with Carol Malcom, from DragonCon’s Urban Fantasy track.  You can watch it here!

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A Beginner’s Guide to Drucraft #21:  Sigl Creation (Tracing)

Tracing means creating a sigl with the aid of a limiter.  It was a niche and rarely-used technique through most of human history, but advances made in the 19th and 20th centuries caused its popularity to soar.  Nowadays, the vast majority of sigls are made via tracing.

Limiters

A limiter is a tool made to assist shapers in the creation of one particular model of sigl.  There are many different designs of limiter, with varying levels of size, cost, complexity, and portability, but the most common types, used by Houses and corporations for the mass-production of low- to medium-power sigls, are about the size of a small backpack.

Although limiters can be (and are) built so as to look quite different from one another, they all work in basically the same way.  A limiter uses low-grade aurum inlaid into a framework to create a warding field that shapes any essentia channelled into it, ‘limiting’ the possible configurations by forcing the essentia to take a specific form.  If manifestation is like drawing freehand, a limiter is like using a stencil – so long as the shaper uses the limiter correctly, the sigl should always form exactly the same pattern.  Using a limiter is thus much more consistent than free manifestation.  If the same shaper uses the same limiter at 10 different Wells, you can reasonably expect to get 10 almost-identical sigls.

Comparing a limiter to a stencil makes it sound easier than it actually is.  The shaper still has to gather the essentia from the Well and channel it into the limiter for the limiter to do its job.  Also, a limiter can’t help much with the final stage of the shaping progress, where the shaper condenses the essentia construct to form the actual sigl.  A limiter is thus a very useful tool, but still demands a certain minimum amount of shaping skill.

However, a limiter does make it much easier to shape and reinforce the initial essentia construct, and this is important since the construct is the most common place for things to go wrong.  Usually, if a sigl doesn’t work, it’s because the shaper made some sort of mistake at the construct stage – either they got the design wrong, or they got the design right but didn’t reproduce it correctly.  By guiding the shaper in such a way as to create exactly the same construct every time, limiters prevent this from happening.  As a result, the failure rate from traced sigls is vanishingly low – usually no more than 1 or 2 percent, which is vastly smaller than the failure rate of free manifestation.

Creating a Limiter

Limiters consist of three parts:  the frame, the receptacle, and the tracing.  The frame provides the structure of the limiter, and is typically made from metal or plastic (wood is sometimes used for some higher-quality designs).  The receptacle’s purpose is to hold the wielder’s sample (usually blood) – since limiters are intended for mass production, they’re almost always designed on the assumption that the shaper and wielder will be different people.

The tracing on a limiter is the most important part, as well as the most expensive.  It’s made out of low-grade aurum, shaped by the framework into a pattern of lines that direct essentia flows.  These lines are typically very thin, but even so, the amount of aurum required to make a full-sized limiter is significant.  It was for this reason that, for most of human history, limiters were seen as unviable.  Yes, they could make it easier to make a sigl, but if you had to drain two full-sized Wells (or a dozen smaller ones) to make the limiter, it was hardly worth it.  In the nineteenth century, however, new techniques were developed that changed the equation.  Drucraft researchers discovered ways to make a limiter without using Well-grade essentia – you could make one patchwork, out of lesser Wells and free essentia, and it could work just as well.

The amount of aurum that can be extracted from lesser Wells and from free essentia, though, is very small.  This makes limiters slow to create, which in turn makes them expensive – shapers aren’t as rare as manifesters, but they’re not common, either, and if you need a team of shapers to put in a collective 1,000 hours of work to make a limiter, there’s really no way to do that on the cheap.  In practice, the cost to create a limiter to make a particular sigl is usually quite a bit higher than the cost of just buying that sigl on the open market.  Limiters are thus only worth it if you’re planning to make a lot of copies of that particular sigl.  And, like all aurum, the tracing in limiters sublimates over time, meaning that once you’ve got your very expensive limiter, you’d better get going and start making use of it, because you’ve only got a certain number of years before it stops working.

Limiters in the Modern Day

Despite these drawbacks, limiters in the 20th century experienced a surge in popularity, eventually eclipsing manifestation.  Before, only manifesters could create sigls – now, anyone with enough skill to use a limiter could do it, and the second group was many times bigger than the first.  The result was a sharp growth in sigl production.  Instead of having to negotiate with a manifester to get a sigl custom-made, you could order one out of a catalogue and be confident in what you were getting.  Nowadays, bespoke products are often considered luxury items, but this is largely an artifact of mass production – ‘custom-made’ can also mean ‘made very badly’.  As it turned out, most people prefer the security of knowing for sure that their new, very expensive purchase is actually going to work.

Manifestation never completely went away, though, and almost certainly never will.  Some people still want custom-made sigls, either because the type of sigl they’re looking for is rare, or because they want every bit of performance they can get.  Mass production doesn’t make sense for all things.

Advantages of Tracing

  • Reliability:  Traced sigls almost always work.  Unless the shaper makes some catastrophic mistake at the final stage, there’s basically no way for a traced sigl to come out nonfunctional.
  • Consistency:  Traced sigls are very predictable, without the variation and quirks of manifested sigls.
  • Economies of scale:  It’s much cheaper to mass-produce traced sigls than manifested ones.
  • Ease of use:  A shaper doesn’t actually need to know how a limiter works to use it, meaning that it’s much, much quicker to train a shaper to the point where they can use a limiter than it is to train them up to the point where they can manifest a sigl on their own.

Disadvantages of Tracing

  • Inflexibility:  A traced sigl is always exactly the same.  If the customer wants something slightly different from the stock model, then they’re out of luck.
  • Lower average power:  Traced sigls are never quite as strong as they could be.  For example, if your limiter is designed to produce sigls with a carat weight of exactly 3.0, but the Well you’re using has enough essentia to make a sigl with a carat weight of 3.5, then those last 0.5 carats are getting wasted.  It’s possible to modify a traced sigl as you’re making it, altering its parameters to better suit the resources available to you, but this requires a level of skill not much below being a manifester.
  • Requires a limiter:  You can’t trace without a limiter, and making limiters is difficult and expensive.  In practice, this makes tracing out of reach for most private individuals – almost all limiters are owned by drucraft organisations that reserve them for their own exclusive use.  In addition, not all sigl designs have limiters in active circulation.  If you want a specific type of traced sigl that no-one’s currently making limiters for (probably because there’s not enough demand for it at the moment), or if the only people who happen to own those particular limiters aren’t willing to let you use them . . . then too bad.
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Risen in Germany, and DragonCon Interview

Several bits of news for this week!

First, as you may have already guessed from the image, the twelfth and final Alex Verus book is at last being released in its German translation this coming week (Monday 17th June for the audio edition, Wednesday 19th June for the print and ebook versions).  This marks the end of a long journey for the German edition – Blanvalet have been producing the translations for years now, and they’ve finally finished working their way through the backlog.  Thanks to all of my German readers who’ve been supporting the series, and I hope you enjoy the final volume!

I’m also doing an interview for DragonCon this summer – I won’t be able to make it to the convention itself (still trying to finish Inheritance of Magic #3) but I’m doing a virtual interview for the Dragon Con Urban Fantasy Track.  The interview itself is scheduled for next week – I don’t know when the video will be released, but I’ll post a link up once it is.

We’re also starting to get into the run-up to the release of Inheritance of Magic #2, An Instruction in Shadow.  My current plan is to release the first two chapters online prior to the book’s release in October – Chapter 1 will go up in August, and Chapter 2 in September.  I’ll put up exact dates closer to the time.

And that’s all for now!  Next week is another Beginner’s Guide to Drucraft post, this one on the subject of tracing and limiters.

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A Beginner’s Guide to Drucraft #20: Sigl Creation (Manifesting)

Sigls are created through the third of the drucraft disciplines – shaping.  Shaping is the art of manipulating free essentia (typically, though not always, in a Well) and causing it to crystallise into a piece of solid essentia, otherwise known as aurum.  If the shaping is successful, this piece of aurum is known as a sigl.

Shaping sigls nowadays is done in one of two ways:  tracing (i.e. shaping with a limiter) and manifesting.  This chapter will cover manifesting, while Chapter #21 will cover tracing.

Manifesting

Manifesting (otherwise known as free shaping) is the original and oldest method of shaping a sigl.  The shaper goes to a Well, draws out the essentia, and crystallises it into a sigl.  To anyone watching, it looks as though the shaper is ‘thinking’ the sigl into being.  They visualise the shape of the sigl, then use the essentia from the Well to make it manifest, hence the name.

Manifesting gives a shaper absolute freedom – they can quite literally shape the essentia into whatever they like.  This freedom, however, is a double-edged sword.  It gives the shaper infinite ways to design a sigl, but also gives them infinite ways to get it wrong, and there are many more ways to design a sigl that doesn’t work than there are to design one that does.

Manifesting can be best compared to freehand drawing or painting.  It’s very easy to do badly, and very hard to do well.  To get good at it, a shaper has to spend a lot of time practising and developing secondary skills, including, but not limited to:  the ability to shape lines of essentia neatly and precisely, the ability to keep essentia out of certain areas, the ability to stabilise the entirety of an essentia construct while focusing on a single part of it, and the ability to do all those things while still drawing in more essentia to build the sigl.  Most importantly of all, the would-be-manifester needs to have excellent sensing skills.  A basic ability to feel essentia is not enough – a manifester needs to be able to sense individual strands finely enough that they can tell when and where they’ve made a mistake.  Otherwise, it’s virtually guaranteed that they’ll end up with a nonfunctional sigl.

Achieving proficiency in all of these things is very difficult, and requires months or years of dedicated study.  Most who try to become manifesters fail, and even those who succeed invariably only do so after many botched attempts.  Essentia constructs help, but even so, there isn’t a manifester in the world who hasn’t got to where they are without at least a few total failures.

History of Manifesting

In the old days, all (or nearly all) sigls were created by manifesting.  It’s the default method used when people have nothing else to draw upon, and it’s still the fallback option today.

However, in the 20th century, the tracing approach saw a massive rise in popularity, overtaking and supplanting its rival.  Nowadays, manifesting is relatively rare, to the point that there are drucrafters (particularly ones in the corporate ecosystem) who’ve never set hands on a manifested sigl in their entire lives.

Nevertheless, manifesting still commands a certain prestige.  Calling yourself a manifester gets attention in the drucraft world – there’s a reason no-one ever calls themselves a ‘tracer’.  Even if isn’t the most cost-effective or practical way to shape a sigl, simply being able to manifest effectively announces that you’ve reached a very high level of shaping skill.  Also, the more powerful a sigl, the more likely that it was created via manifestation . . . and while powerful, custom-made sigls are rare, people are naturally going to find them a lot more impressive than mass-produced weaker ones.

Advantages of Manifesting

  • Flexibility:  Great scope for customisation and adjustment.  A sigl can be created at any level of strength, at any size, and with any essentia requirement or attunement ratio, and these can be adjusted on the fly to better match the Well that the manifester is using or the wielder that they’re shaping for.
  • No equipment required:  A manifester needs themselves, a Well, and enough time to work.  Nothing else.
  • Power:  A manifester is free to make a sigl as powerful as they possibly can, using all the essentia available.  As a result, manifested sigls are, on average, slightly stronger than traced ones.

Disadvantages of Manifesting

  • Unreliability:  The freedom of manifestation has major drawbacks, namely that if the manifester makes a big enough mistake, the sigl will fail completely, wasting some or all of the Well’s essentia.  This rarely happens if the manifester knows what he’s doing, but small quirks and weird unusual flaws are quite common.
  • High skill floor:  It takes years to train a manifester, and the supply of expert manifesters never meets the demand.  As a result, experienced manifesters usually charge very high prices for their services.
  • Burden on the manifester:  To make a sigl, a manifester must have a good understanding of how that sigl works.  Training and guidance can help, but a manifester can never just ‘follow the instructions’ and avoid doing the work entirely.
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Spring into Summer

Quick update on how things are going:

• First draft of Inheritance of Magic #3 is now 2/3rds finished.  I’m hoping to finish the last 1/3rd with about another 2 months of work, meaning that it’ll be done by the end of July.  A little past my deadline, but not too far.  In any case, barring any disasters it’ll definitely be done by the end of summer.

• Next on the to-do list for the Beginner’s Guide to Drucraft is (1) limiters and (2) a more detailed overview of the branches and the effects that can be produced with them.  Number (2) is a pretty huge topic, so I don’t know if I’ll do it all in one go – might do a couple of branches, then take a break and do something else.  Currently planning to do the limiters article for next week’s post.

• The UK cover for Inheritance of Magic #2, An Instruction in Shadow, is nearly ready for release!  I’ve looked at the early drafts and really like it – currently just waiting for Orbit UK to do their official cover launch, at which point I’ll post it up here.  Release date is about four months from now, in October 2024, and I’ll put up at least one extract in the summer.

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A Beginner’s Guide to Drucraft #19:  The Lesser Houses

An overview of some of the more notable Lesser Houses of the UK.  Due to how many Lesser Houses there are in the UK (they currently number over thirty) this list is deliberately incomplete.

Ashford

A relatively new player on the UK drucraft scene, House Ashford was an obscure minor house from Kent before rising to prominence in the aftermath of the Second World War.  The House acquired a small empire of Wells in postwar West Germany, proceeded to build a similar network of Wells across England, and finally became a Lesser House upon taking possession of an A+ Light Well in north London in 1998.  A specialist in Light essentia, they do not sell to the Exchange;  the majority of their wealth comes from supplying the militaries of NATO, and they have been extremely focused on acquiring Light Wells, to the point that their yearly production of Light sigls matches or exceeds the majority of the Great Houses.  Their sudden rise has earned them many enemies, and relationships between them and their House and corporate rivals are tense.

Blackheath

Another new arrival to the ranks of the Lesser Houses, founded by a London-born entrepreneur who started his first company at 16.  Supposedly, the House was born when its founder was was turned away at the door from a drucraft club on grounds that he wasn’t a member of a Drucraft House.  This incensed him so much that he restructured one of his property leasing companies into a Well leasing company, rechristened it ‘House Blackheath’ after his place of birth, and registered it as an official House with the Board.  According to the story, the day that the registration went through, the newly designated Head of House Blackheath marched back to the club in question to demand entry . . . only to discover that the members of the club in question had that very same morning changed the club rules such that only members of Drucraft House of a certain minimum age could enter.  This started a long-running feud that ended with House Blackheath achieving Lesser House status . . . whether the founder ever got to join his club, the story doesn’t say.

Egmont

The most recent Great House to slip down to Lesser status.  From the late 1990s onwards they were one of the leading Houses to financialise, replacing most of their Wells with stock portfolios and only keeping their family Light S Well to maintain the seat on the Board.  Unfortunately for them, they overreached, and their family companies went bankrupt in the 2008 financial crash.  House Egmont lost something in the region of 90% of its holdings and was forced to sell their Light S Well to avoid total liquidation (the Well is now held by the Asmart corporation).

The House continued to decline throughout the 2010s, shedding Wells and properties, and is currently clinging on to Lesser House status by its fingernails.  As of the early 2020s a new, younger Heir has taken over the House.  He seems to have stopped the bleeding for the moment, but the House is still believed to be heavily in debt and it’s anyone’s guess how much longer it’ll last.

Ingham

One of the oldest Lesser Houses, House Ingham has held Lesser House status for over two centuries.  The family has never shown any ambition towards Great House status, being seemingly quite content with their A+ Well in Norfolk and their modest but secure position in the House hierarchy.  The current Head of House Ingham can trace his lineage back through generations of Inghams, all of whom have presided over the same estate, the same holdings, and the same family tradition.

Raval

An Indian House, the Raval (originally Rawal) family operate the Raval Group, a multinational conglomerate active around the world in various sectors.  One of their companies is a drucraft holding and leasing one;  while relatively small compared to their other holdings, it was enough to enable them to reach Lesser House status in the mid-20th century.  The massive wealth of their parent company has effectively shielded House Raval from market fluctuations, making this a very stable House.  In the past they have tended to be relatively passive, content only to make money, but following the death of the family patriarch in the late 2010s and control of the House passing to a new Heir, they’ve started to exercise some influence on the Board.

Volkov

One of the youngest Lesser Houses, founded by a Russian-Ukranian businessman who became enormously wealthy in the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union.  Unlike most Great and Lesser Houses, House Volkov owns very few permanent Wells;  the majority of their income comes from the exploitation of temporary Wells in the UK and in Eastern Europe, with their sole A+ Well (acquired in the early 2000s) being more of a figurehead owned solely to give them a Board seat.  They acquired this Well only with difficulty;  by the time they made the bid, various parties had taken action against them, accusing the House of a variety of illegal activities.  The court cases and dispute proceedings dragged on for years until House Volkov finally settled out of court, paying undisclosed (but widely believed to be enormous) sums of money to establish themselves as the UK’s newest Lesser House.  Their dubious reputation hasn’t left them, and they’re still widely distrusted.  The current Head of House, Gregory Volkov, has no clearly established heir, and most believe that the House will pass away when he does.

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A Beginner’s Guide to Drucraft #18:  The Great Houses 

An overview of the current Great Houses of the UK.

Barrett-Lennard

House Barrett-Lennard is the only House in the UK to own title to an S+ Well, which is located in their family estate in Colchester, Essex.  It is the second-most powerful Light Well in the entire world, and the amount of wealth it represents is so enormous that it’s difficult to measure.

For House Barrett-Lennard, their fantastic wealth has proved more of a curse than a blessing.  Over the course of the 20th century, bitter rivalries sprung up within the family, eventually leading to a massive succession crisis.  The fighting dragged on for decades and could easily be the subject of an entire article in itself, involving as it did everything from financial manoeuvring, marriage alliances, and court cases to kidnapping, blackmail, and assassination attempts.  As of the 2020s the conflict has bogged down into a stalemate, with the two principal heir-claimants of the family both unable to oust the other.  In the meantime the House’s day-to-day affairs are run by a board of trustees, who have so far been able to keep the House just about functional despite the ongoing civil war amongst its owners.  House colours are red, black, and gold.

Cawley

House Cawley is both the newest Great House (they are currently the only Great House to have achieved that status this century) and also the youngest (dating their founding to some time in the 1920s).  Their roots are in Northern Ireland, around Belfast, and the majority of their Wells are still from there.  House Cawley have a somewhat turbulent history, due to having been caught up in the Troubles;  the political violence during this period frequently spilled over into the drucraft sphere, resulting in the House receiving more than their fair share of experience with raids.  House Cawley, however, seemed to thrive in this environment, to the extent that they were able to purchase one of the UK’s four S-class Matter Wells in 2003.

The symbol of House Cawley is a red lion rampant on a background of white, and their House colours are red and white.

Chetwynd

A moderately old House hailing from Shropshire and Wales.  House Chetwynd claims that their family Light S Well is the oldest S-class Well in the UK;  while this is disputed, it is certainly very, very old.  Renowned for their skill with Light essentia and for the beauty of their estates;  Chetwynd sigls are sold only to a very exclusive clientele, and command a premium price.  House colours are blue and gold.

De Haughton

House De Haughton is notable for being the only House in the UK to control not one, but two S-class Wells.  Like House Chetwynd their specialty is Light essentia, but they’re somewhat less exclusive and their sigls are featured prominently in the Exchange.  They sell very well to the tourist market, and the House is, unsurprisingly, enormously wealthy as a result;  they’re commonly believed to be the second- or third-richest House in the UK.  So far they’ve managed to avoid the devastating succession wars that crippled House Barrett-Lennard, though if rumours are to believed their internal politics can be somewhat rough-and-tumble;  one prospective De Haughton heir died under mysterious circumstances and another was ejected from the family with no official explanation.

A very old House, De Haughton’s ancestral holdings are in Lancashire.  Its symbol of a red rose has remained unchanged since the fifteenth century.

Hawker

House Hawker claims to be the oldest of all of the Great Houses, though for most of its history it was an obscure family of little note.  It rose abruptly in power and influence in the 20th century, attaining Great House status with its acquisition of one of the UK’s only two S-class Motion Wells.  For most of its time as a Great House, House Hawker has been primarily a military supplier;  nowadays it continues to do most of its business with the UK armed forces and other NATO militaries.  It does not sell its sigls openly on the Exchange.

Ancestral holdings are in Somerset, though many of the family emigrated to (and subsequently returned from) Australia.  House colours are silver with red trim.

Meath

House Meath takes their name from County Meath in the Republic of Ireland, though the family emigrated and settled in the London area in the early 1800s.  They hold a Light S Well but are more famous for their wealth, which is mostly derived from financial holdings, and they are commonly viewed as an investment banking family that just happens to manage a drucraft business on the side.  Known to lend out money to struggling drucraft families, to the point that some Houses make reference to the ‘Bank of Meath’.  Said loans often seem to be made on very generous terms, leading to various rumours about why the Meaths appear so casual about repayment.  Primary House colour is turquoise.

Reisinger

Full name is Prideaux-Reisinger, though Reisinger is the more commonly used version.  An ancient House originating from Cornwall whose history has been complicated by various marriages to French and German Houses over the centuries;  the full family tree of the House is exceedingly complex and they have relatives all over Europe.  House symbol and colours (black chevron on a white shield) are based on the Cornish location of Prideaux, but members of the House nowadays reside almost entirely around the capital and possess no significant holdings in their county of origin.  They hold a Light S Well in central London.

Winterton

Based in Lincolnshire and holders of a Light S Well.  Notable in the past for a long and bitter rivalry with House De Haughton;  the two Houses raided one another for decades, and at times the fighting escalated enough to require Board intervention.  This is now mostly ancient history, however, and the Houses have been (more or less) at peace for a full generation.  Insofar as the two Houses still compete, it’s on the pages of the Exchange catalogue, where they both try to displace the other as the dominant provider of Light sigls sold to private purchasers.  House De Haughton tends to outsell Winterton due to their larger reserve of Wells, but the market is big enough that both can exist comfortably.

Although their House Well and family estate is in Lincolnshire, Winterton is unusually widely spread for a House, and branches of the family can be found scattered around the UK and the world.  Principal House colour is green, with red, gold, and white trim.

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Halfway

Book #3 of the Inheritance of Magic series has reached its halfway mark.  Judging whether a book’s half done always involves a bit of guesswork since I’m never quite sure how long it’s going to be or how much time it’ll take to do the chapters that are left, but these days I tend to set 90,000 words as a target length.  My books usually come in at a little longer than this, but not too much longer, so once a book’s passed the 45,000 word mark, I feel like I can call it halfway done.

The downside of this is that there’s really no chance I’m going to hit my June deadline.  This isn’t really too much of a surprise, since I knew from the start that it was unrealistic.  Back when I was writing the early Alex Verus books, my target was to average 9 months for each book – 3 months planning and editing, 6 months writing.  But even back then I had trouble hitting that, and nowadays I’m not even close – my actual writing speed these days averages to about 12 months per book.  I’d prefer it to be faster, but doing so means rushing and skipping over a lot of planning and editorial work that makes a big difference to the overall result.  Given the choice between spending an extra few months and putting out a book I’m not happy with, I’d rather spend the extra months.  I’m still a relatively new-ish author, and I’m planning to keep writing for decades more, which means that these books are going to be a part of my author history for a long, long time.  I want them to be good enough that I don’t feel embarrassed to point people at them.

In other news, my US & Canada sales numbers for An Inheritance of Magic have finally come in, and they’re pretty good!  Royalties for the first 3 months come to around 75% of the book’s advance.  This doesn’t mean that I’ll get to 150% in 6 months (book sales are heavily frontloaded) but it does means that I can safely predict that the book’s going to earn out its advance.  So based on sales numbers alone, I don’t think I’m going to have any trouble selling future books in the series to my US publisher.  Which means you guys in the USA can expect my books to keep coming out where you can buy them for the next few years!

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