October 20

Next update moved to November 23

Big news – book 3 of the Chaos Born trilogy is written!

This weekend I finished writing the manuscript for Chaos Unleashed: the final volume in my Chaos Born trilogy. The manuscript is in the hands of my editors so, at least for now, my work is done! I’m going to talk about that for a while, but I also want to use this update to talk about my appearance at the Lucca Comics and Games festival in Italy. So let’s start there!

For those who don’t know, Lucca is the site of one of the biggest sci-fi/fantasy conventions in the world. Ever been to DragonCon? GenCon? New York Comic Con? San Diego Comic Con? Well, Lucca is WAY bigger than any of those. They’re expecting over 300,000 attendees this year, and I’m honored to be one of the featured guests.

If you click on the above link, you’ll see it’s all in Italian. Not surprising, considering the festival is in Italy. So here’s an English translation for any fans who happen to be in the area and want to see me. This is my first professional appearance in Europe, and hopefully it will give me a chance to meet some of my fans who haven’t had an opportunity to come to any of my North American events.

 Thursday 30th of October
h. 14.00 – 16.00 Workshop, “Writing for videogame, and writing novels from videogames”.
h. 18.00 – 19.00 Signing Session. Location: Multyplayer.it Edizioni Booth.

Friday 31st of October
h. 15.30 – 16.30 Q&A meeting. Location: Sala Ingellis
h. 16.30 – 17.15 Signing Session. Location: Multiplayer.it Edizioni Booth.h.
h. 18.00 – 19.00 Signing Session. Location: Multiplayer.it Edizioni Booth.
h. 19.30 – 21.00 Ceremony Night Awards, Guests Celebration
h. 21.00 Official Dinner, with Guests and Institution

Saturday 1st November
h. 14.00 – 16.00 Panel about 40th D&D anniversary. A talk to Frank Mentzer (D&D 1° Ed.), Monte Cook (D&D 3° ed.), Jeremy Crawford (D&D 5° Ed.), Robh Ruppel (Naughty Dog Art director, illustrator for Dragonlance, Forgotten Realms).
h. 18.00 – 19.00 Signing Session. Location: Multiplayer.it Edizioni Booth.

Sunday 2nd November
h. 17.00 – 18.00 Signing Session. Location: Multiplayer.it Edizioni Booth.

As you can see, it’s going to be a very busy time for me while I’m there. And after the festival is over, my wife and I are going to spend a couple weeks touring Italy and taking in the amazing culture (and lots and lots of food!). So if you’re wondering why I don’t have another update for a month, there’s your answer. But I don’t even feel guilty, because – as I mentioned earlier – I just finished the final book in my Chaos Born trilogy.

Of course, that doesn’t mean Chaos Unleashed will be hitting the shelves for a while; if you click the link  you’ll see a proposed publication date of July 15, 2015. That’s pretty normal for the industry. Typically, my editors will take a couple months to get me feedback on the book (they have multiple projects on the go!). There aren’t usually very many rewrites, but I may need to spend a week or two polishing a few things up based on their comments and suggestions. Then the book needs to be typeset, galleys come out, it gets a proofreading pass… hell, I’ve already explained this process in detail before. And there’s one extra step this time around – thanks to popular demand, we’re going to include a map in book 3.

But even though there is still work to do, I always consider the creative process of “writing a book” to be over once I submit my manuscript to the editors. That’s when I get a chance to kick back, relax and pat myself on the back for a job well done. Oh, yeah – and I go to Vegas to celebrate!

This is the (lucky?) thirteenth novel I’ve published, but there’s still a strong sense of satisfaction, accomplishment and even relief whenever I finish a book. But in this case, I’m not just completing a novel: I’m concluding an entire trilogy! The main idea for the story of the Chaos Born books has been kicking around in my head for almost 20 years, and over the last three and half years it’s been my primary creative focus. That’s a long time to spend on one project – longer than I’ve ever spent on anything else. Most games at BioWare had a twelve to thirty month development cycle, and for my Star Wars or Mass Effect books I typically finished them in six to nine months.

I could have tried to work on other projects over that time, jumping back and forth between the Chaos Born and a variety of different books or games. But I knew that would slow me down, and I can’t help but feel an obligation to my fans. I know what it’s like to wait for the next book in a series.

I realize my Mass Effect and Darth Bane books are often referred to as a trilogies, but those are really stand alone stories that happen to share characters, themes and the same universe. You can still read any one book by itself and get a complete story. The Chaos Born endings, on the other hand, were basically cliffhangers: they don’t wrap things up with a nice, neat bow – the trilogy is really one big story broken into three parts.

That’s why I didn’t want anything else to distract me. I appreciate all the support from fans who’ve taken the plunge and given my original fantasy books a chance. And I think it would be disrespectful to drag it out or take my time finishing the tale. (Plus, I know there are folks out there who won’t even start a series until all the books are published.) And even though it’s going to be almost another year before it hits the shelves, at least readers know the series is finished… and they know I’m not going to stretch it out into another book or two (or three or five!).  

Some of you may be wondering what’s next on my plate. Well, that’s a good question. And right now I don’t even know. I’ve got a few ideas and offers in the works, and when the time is right I’ll share them. But for now, I’m going to go to Vegas, then to Italy, and just enjoy myself.

Arrivederci – see you in a month!