November 15

Next update December 7

You like me! You really like me!

I don’t write to get awards or recognition – that’s a path that can lead you down a road of dissatisfaction, frustration and, most likely, failure. The same can be said about writing for money. Even writing for you – my fans – is a fool’s game, because if I don’t make you happy then I’ve failed. As an author, you have to write for yourself. There has to be a story you want to tell, and you have to put blood, sweat and tears into getting that story out there. If you do it right, you create something you’re proud of. If you’re lucky, someone will pay you for that thing you’re proud of. If you’re really lucky, other people will like that thing you created, too. But that can’t be the reason you write it.

However, when you do create something you are proud of and someone does recognize you for it, it’s a great feeling. That’s why I’m ecstatic to report that Children of Fire has been nominated by Romantic Times Book Reviews as one of the top Epic Fantasy novels of 2013. This is very exciting to me, and I’m honored to be recognized alongside the other talented authors in my category, including Robin Hobb - a legend in the fantasy field.

Recognition from others is a funny thing – as an author you can’t control it. But, thanks to the internet, it’s very easy to be aware of it if you want. Some writers refuse to read their reviews, especially the ones from fans. Not me. I’m addicted to seeing what readers think of my work. But it’s a dangerous game: criticism is painful in every form and it’s incredibly hard to just brush it off. You can get ten good reviews and one bad one, and it’s the bad one that lingers in your head. I know this. I fully recognize the impact anonymous online reviews can have on me, yet I still seek them out. Maybe I’m a masochist.

Fortunately, in the grand scheme of things there tend to be more good reviews than bad. On Amazon UK, Children of Fire is a glittering 5 star product as of this writing. (Admittedly, we only have a handful of reviews.) On the US Amazon, I’m hovering around 4 stars: still pretty good, but not nearly as impressive. I doubt this means anything significant – I’m not planning on moving to the UK to be surrounded by adoring fans, for example - but it’s the kind of thing I tend to think about and even obsess over. Is this a statistical anamoly? Or is there something in my Canadian/Commonwealth background that has influenced my style in a way that makes it more appealing to the British? Or do the Brits just have better taste? (Based on my culinary experiences while visiting the UK, I’m going to say that’s not it.)

Knowing the impact of bad reviews, I don’t tend to publicly share my opinion of things I don’t like. (Also, it could be bad for business down the road – you never know who you’re going to work with later on.) Instead, I like to promote things I enjoy or am impressed by. There’s enough negativity on the internet already, so there’s no point in me adding to the pile. (But my friends all know that in person I’m not afraid to say something sucks. And I will explain in great detail why it sucks, and how they could have made it better. That’s the curse of being blessed with all this creative genius.)

Okay, this is getting a bit ramble-riffic. Unfortunately, I don’t have any great revelation that I can wrap this up with, so let me just share a few small bits of news. I did an interview with Bombad Radio recently; it should be going up next week. We chat about Star Wars, Mass Effect, my time at BioWare and Children of Fire and my Chaos Born trilogy. Good stuff. I’ll be sure to update my Twitter account when it goes live. (If you haven’t signed up to follow me, do it! I’m slowly creeping towards 10,000 followers. When I get there, something fun could happen.)

Okay, that’s all I’ve got. Heading to Vegas next week for a final 2013 fling, then I jump into book 3 of the Chaos Born. It’s called Chaos Unleashed, and we are already working on the cover art. So far we’ve just been kicking ideas around, but it sounds AWESOME.

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