April 22

Next update May 15

Late again with the update… but you’d know that if you followed me on Twitter.

A lot has happened since my last update. I was honored to be a guest speaker at the 2012 Pixels, Panels and Prose colloquim at UT Tyler. The talk seemed to go well, and I got to meet a lot of the students and some of the faculty. Also had a chance to take in some interesting presentations covering everything from classic mythology to anime, video games, sci-fi/fantasy fandom and films like ET and the Hunger Games. Check out one student’s take over on reddit if you want to get a feel for how things went. I also spoke with Stewart Smith for an interview with the Tyler Paper while I was there – click that link if you want to hear my take on writing for games and the evolution of the industry.

But as fun as my trip to Tyler was, that’s not the big news this update. (No, it’s not the NBA playoffs… though I’m pumped for another Spurs championship run!) I can finally announce that my agent – Ginger Clark of Curtis Brown Ltd. – closed a deal with Del Rey to publish  my original fantasy trilogy! Here’s the official announcement in Publisher’s Weekly, though I should clarify that this is a fantasy series, not sci-fi. I’m really excited about this, and I’m ecstatic to be working with Del Rey and Tricia again. (I worked with her on some of my Mass Effect novels.)

The plan is to publish the first two books of the trilogy (Children of Fire and The Scorched Earth) in 2014, with the final installment (Chaos Unleashed) coming 9-12 months later. Some of you may remember that I’ve mentioned this series before – I’ve been working on it sporadically over several years… basically squeezing in time to write between my work-for-hire novels (SW and ME) and my work at BioWare. One of the main reasons I left BioWare was to finally focus full time on this series, so I’m thrilled to have a deal in place. It’s not even about the money (well, not totally); as an author, you want your work to reach as large an audience as possible, and having the support of Del Rey for my trilogy means I’ll be able to share this story with many, many fans.

The first book, Children of Fire, is basically done – I’m just making a few tweaks before I start on The Scorched Earth. But unlike many other endless fantasy series, this one is going to stay as a trilogy – I’ve already planned each book out in detail. (Of course that’s easy for me to say. If a dump truck full of money shows up at my door from the publisher, it might be hard to say no to stretching things out. Hopefully that’s a problem I’ll have to deal with someday.) FYI – I’m still working on a name to encompass all three books. For now, I’m just going to call it the “Children of Fire” trilogy.

I imagine many of you are curious to know more about Children of Fire. As I’ve already mentioned, it’s classic fantasy. I hate making comparisons to other authors, because I like to think my work has it’s own style and feel, but I don’t mind listing some of the major influences on my style. Of course you have Lord of the Rings, but I’ll be honest – it feels a bit “dated” to me. The pacing is a bit slow for my taste, and I think my writing more closely reflects the influence of Terry Brooks, David Eddings, George RR Martin and Guy Gavriel Kay.

Like most of my novels, Children of Fire has multiple POV characters, and the line between good and evil is frequently blurred. This isn’t a fairy tale with classic morality; things are messy and muddled. I also put a lot of emphasis on action and moving the plot along. My pet peeve with fantasy is chapter after chapter of wandering down the road, singing songs, looking at flowers and trees and describing every damn meal – I just want to get to the important stuff! (I’m an impatient reader, and I’ve been accused of being an impatient writer… but I am what I am.) I can promise you this – Children of Fire is never boring.

Great, you say, sounds awesome. Love your style. But what is the story actually about?

That’s a fair question, but I’ll answer with a caveat. I think most writers hate the “elevator pitch”. Taking an epic story and boiling it down to a few sentences always diminishes the details that make something memorable. Too often it makes things seem simplistic and derivative. But I understand that people want a brief summary to pique their interest. So, with the understanding that there is a lot more depth to both the story and the characters, here’s a brief “jacket blurb” for the first novel:

The Old Gods are dead, sacrificing themselves to create the Legacy: a magical barrier to protect the mortal world from the fires of Chaos and the legions of Slayer, the once mortal champion who dared to rebel against them. Now, after seven centuries, the Legacy is slowly crumbling. The Order, fanatically devoted servants of the Old Gods, seek to preserve the Legacy and thwart Slayer’s return by brutally stamping out the forces of magic and Chaos that seep into the mortal world. But Chaos cannot be controlled or contained. Across the scattered corners of the land four children are born of suffering and strife, each touched by one aspect of Slayer himself – wizard, warrior, prophet, king. Unaware of their true nature, the Children of Fire are hunted by both the religious zealots of the Order and the minions of Slayer. Cursed by their bloody, violent births, each must do whatever it takes to survive, unaware that one of them holds the key to restoring the Legacy… or to tearing it down.

So there it is. Children of Fire. Coming in 2014. I’m pumped, and I hope you are, too. Obviously as we move forward, I’ll continue to post stuff about the trilogy and I’ll keep pimping my books. But that’s not the only thing I’ve got coming out. Remember, Star Wars: Annihilation is being released in November, so for my next update I’m going to talk a little bit more about that.