Since I’m being asked this question many times a day in tones varying from polite interest to downright exasperation, I’m getting the idea that people might appreciate knowing where Kingdom Blades stands in the lengthy process that begins with my transcribing the activities these characters are carrying on in my head and ends with you reading about them in the fourth book in A Pattern of Shadow & Light.
Upon first glance, you could look at this process and say, “Now, Melissa, theoretically this really should not be very complicated.”
And I would say, “Theoretically, I agree with you.”
Then you could say, “You wrote and published the other three books within two years of each other.”
To which I would have to reply, “That’s true.”
So then you’d ask, “What’s taking so bloody long?” which would be a fair question and certainly within your rights of irritation.
So, let me tell you. The good news is book four is nearly finished. The bad news is book four is nearly finished, which is the same as saying not finished in the black and white land of is-book-four-out-and-when-can-I-buy-it?
I can assure you, nearly finished, when my nose is already mashed against the door of a looming deadline, is not a comfortable place to be. It’s even less comfortable knowing you’re all anticipating its release with the hungry eyes of predators at the end of a long, dry summer. Now, don’t get me wrong—I’m positively thrilled that so many of you are looking forward to this book. It makes my own dry spells both more endurable and more guilt-ridden, because the urgency to get it out to you weighs on me.
As of this moment, nearly means somewhere on the order of twenty chapters yet to write.
“That’s nothing!” you could say. “You’ve already written, like, eighty!” And if you said this, you’d hit somewhere in the ballpark of truth. But as an organic writer (or a pantser in writer’s vernacular) it means I have only the faintest idea what’s going to happen in most of those chapters. Something could still occur that changes everything. I never really know until I get there.
You might be surprised at how much you and I have in common, dear reader.
Kingdom Blades is also going to be a longer book than the other three by at least 300 manuscript pages, which means probably somewhere around 1000-1200 pages or so in print.
But look, we’re following around seventeen viewpoint characters—Ean, Sebastian, Trell, Alyneri, Gydryn, Viernan, Isabel, Darshan, Pelas, Shail, Tanis, Nadia, Felix, Marius, Franco, Alshiba and Bjorn—and while some of these guys only have a few chapters in the book, and some are really only filling the role of viewpoint character in order to offer a different perspective on the activities of another more primary character, nevertheless, it’s a lot of characters to interweave with each other, and it’s made this a complicated book to write. I’m working very hard to make it not nearly so complicated for you to read.
All of this is to say that it’s taking me longer than I’d hoped (anticipated, made sacrifices to the Muse to gain), and far more chocolate and caffeine than can possibly be healthy, to get this book finished and off to my editors.
I can tell you that I’m truly excited about the territory we’re exploring. Some of it is entirely new territory—dare I say, even perhaps to fantasy as a genre. And that’s very exciting to me.
So all of the preamble leads us to the only question you care about. When is the book going to be out?
My answer: It’s slated for October 2016 publication, and I’m doing everything in my power to make that happen.
That’s about as much as I can say on that front. But I can promise you that this book will not be abridged because of the cost of paper; it won’t be censored by insecurities, sensitivities or prejudices; it won’t be changed to conform to anyone’s expectations, and it will absolutely be as entertaining as I can possibly make it.
My thanks to all of you for your patience, impatience and excitement to read the next installment in A Pattern of Shadow & Light. It really does keep me going through even the darkest moments of “Oh my god, what am I going to do now?” And of course, as soon as I have an exact release date, I’ll post it here.
Leave a comment if you have further questions. I’ll answer as best I can.
P.S. If you’d like to be notified via email of the release date as well as any available advance review copies, sign up for my mailing list. I only email about new releases in the series, never spam.
I’m not leaving a comment to ask “where is book number 4?” but I am leaving a comment to stay..HANG IN THERE, WE’RE ROOTING FOR YOU!! I love your books and am always thoroughly drawn into the story/characters and will happily read whatever you throw our way. So if you need more chocolate/caffeine to keep you going…I can start a relief fund to sponsor you more so you can just keep on keeping on 🙂 Just say when and where and I’ll get that sh*t cracka-lacking!
LOL, Jess, I feel better just knowing I have your support (and a potential unlimited supply of chocolate – who wouldn’t rest more easily in that knowledge?). But truly, thank you for flow of the encouragement. It’s never wasted on me.
Take all the time you need. I’m incredibly eager to read the next volume, but am content to wait until you’ve put your best work forward. I’ve even held off on reading the advance chapters because I’d rather experience it all at once! (Ok, I lied, I read the first few pages, but got sucked in immediately and decided to cut myself off.)
You have the luxury (?) of writing at your own pace, as opposed to film or television writers who usually have much tighter deadlines to map out a season-long script. Sometimes that script suffers due to time constraints. Nic Pizzolatto admitted having this problem when writing the second season of True Detective, and the quality of the story took a hit due to demands and deadlines. (His words!) So, don’t feel pressured – easier said than done, I’m sure – but even if it takes longer than October to publish, I think the readers will be pleased with the extra effort.
P.S. WHEN IS BOOK FIVE COMING OUT? (jk)
LOL, Adam – well, as much as I understand not wanting to read the sample chapters, I’m glad to know they sucked you in all the same. 🙂
You’re absolutely right about the pressure of time constraints. And while I feel them primarily because I’ve promised something to the world at large and my readers in specific, I do have the luxury, ultimately, of determining when the manuscript is actually ready to go. Contracted writers just don’t have that freedom. It makes me continuously grateful for the benefits I’m afforded as an independent author.
Glad to hear it is nearly finished!! Take your time and make sure everything is the way you want it Melissa! It is better to take longer and hold the integrity of your characters than to rush the last part simply to ‘get it out’! Keep up the good work and your fans will be waiting to pre-purchase as soon as we can!! Respectfully, Laurie B.
I totally agree, Laurie. There’s really no way I could do otherwise, so it’s heartening to see that so many of my readers agree with me. Thank you for your encouragement and support, and thank you for reading!
Glad to hear you are almost finished Melissa! Take your time to get everything exactly as you want it. I know you’re working hard to hold the integrity of all these beloved characters. Your fans will be waiting to pre-purchase as soon as you announce it! Good Luck!
Respectfully, Laurie B
Thank you so much, Laurie. It means a lot knowing everyone is so excited and yet generally so patient with my delays. I definitely want to give all of you the best story I can possibly create.
Keep up the good work. It is always more difficult to keep the story going straight than to start it! We will love it when it’s here. We appreciate how involved you’ve kept us even knowing it makes it a bit more stressful for you.
Thank you, Laura. I’m making a game out of it rather than stressing over it, but it did seem like I was getting enough questions on a daily basis that *maybe* people would appreciate a formal update. Thanks for the encouragement!
You’re doing awesome Melissa! The pressure must be extreme for you to have written this update for us all. One of the things I really love about you as an author is that you make the effort to let your readers know what’s going on. You care a lot about your craft and your fans!
I appreciate that, Darlene. I do care. Without readers, I would just be communicating into a void. You’re all important to me – your viewpoints and perspectives are important to me – so I’m glad to know that’s coming across. I would never want any of my readers to think I took their goodwill for granted. Thanks for your support!
Thank you for the update Melissa; I can only echo the previous replies and add that I’m sure the final product will be of the same excellent quality I’ve come to expect from my new favourite fantasy author!
That’s so kind of you to say, Kevin. I appreciate you vote of confidence very much!
I am waiting patiently. I’m just finishing the Harry Potter series (I’ve been avoiding it for years) and I’m gonna reread your series. I was wondering where i was going to go from The Deathly Hallows and now you’ve just got my mind drifting back to your world and all of its amazing characters. Keep writing and don’t be pressured from us….well at least not me. I’m positive you will deliver another unique and thrilling book in what I’ve come to feel is the best series in the Fantasy World!! It is a very complex and diverse epic tale and it can only be done right, by an author with the immense talent and imagination of someone like you. It’ll be done when it’s done…and I am so excited that that day is coming. You’re the best Melisa!!!
Thank you so much, Bill. I’m honored by your kind words. It’s definitely a different world, moving from Harry Potter to Alorin. That should be a fun transition. I’m glad my series is there to fill the void. 🙂
My readers are so supportive, I honestly don’t feel rushed. The pressure is all my own – because I’m committed to getting the next book out to everyone this year and I really want that to be before December 31st! Thank you so much for your words of encouragement, and thank you for reading.
I just want to say first that I believe it extraordinary and to your credit and respect that you have answered all the comments left personally. I have enjoyed your books, and while I am certainly waiting with baited breath to read the next installment, I believe I have come to appreciate you (not your material) and your your willingness to be so transparent with your feelings and nervousness even more. I applaud you for your character. Have a wonderful evening and good luck on your journey to complete this novel.
Eric, I’m truly honored by your thoughtful words. It is really such a pleasure to interact with everyone that I’m a little embarrassed to be complimented on it, but I appreciate the compliment very much all the same.
I read somewhere once (I wish I could remember who wrote it) something along the lines of authors should be living as fearlessly as our characters. It really struck me, this idea; so much so that I would feel a bit of a hypocrite if my characters are espousing some ideal that I’m not trying to achieve in my own life, in my own interactions, in the way I view the great game of existence. They’re a lot to live up to – in some cases even a lot to aspire to – but that’s why I write them that way. There may be no shortage of people in the world who are worthy of our admiration, but sometimes it’s certainly easy to wonder where they are all hiding – that elusive night club for the uber-crowd of noble, self-sacrificing, high-integrity over-achievers, and what would we have to do to gain admittance? 😉
Thank you so much for your kindness and encouragement.
Dear Lady…take as long as you need to finish the book, and not one second less. Yours are some of the best books I’ve ever read(and I read a LOT)…they are right up there with the very best…Brandon Sanderson…Robert Jordan….Lisanne Norman…Ann McAffery…Orson Scott Card…George R.R. Martin…and I have waited patiently for each of these to finished the next book in a series (I AM a bit frustrated with Mr. Martin, though), and I have learned that it always takes longer than you expect, but it is ALWAYS worth the wait. Thank you for an excellent story !!
Thank you so much, Garry. I very much hope to make the book worth the wait – AND make my target. If everyone’s well-wishes could translate into extra minutes of the day, I’d have this whipped.
I’m with the “take your time” crowd. And like others, I’m more concerned with you getting it right than getting it out quick. 🙂
Suggestion: To help stave off future questions about progress, I suggest taking a page outta Brandon Sanderson’s book (pin absolutely intended!) and just have a progress or percentage bar/tracker on your page and be diligent about updating it (weekly maybe?). Doesnt need to be anything fancy, just something you can quickly update in 5 minutes and maybe time stamp it with a “last updated”. If you wanna be extra, you can provide info like you did in this post and say how many chapter are left, or that it’s being edited, or sent to publishers, etc etc. But again nothing fancy. This way your fans can get updates without hounding ya, allowing you to focus on the book and earn some time back with this minor time investment! Woot!
Can you tell I do project/progtam management and process control? LoL.
Good luck! Absolutely excellent books thus far!
OMG, Miko, I LOVE your idea. Project/program managers (and apparently Brandon Sanderson) have true genius to share with the world. 😉 Whether or not I’ll actually get something like that up before the book is done is another matter…
Good for you. Good luck. Quite excited. One of the better series of books I’ve read in the last ten years. I am eagerly awaiting the next installment
Thank you for your support, Andy!
Take the time you need. I have started a re-read of the Malazan Book of the Fallen so I will be busy for a while 🙂 Daughter has planned to re-read yours in the summer to b ready for book 4. I will keep an eye out if she needs to postpone a bit. Take the time, enjoy your work and we will all be happy with the finished article.
Those decologies are great for planning purposes, Jessica. Thank you so much for your support and encouragement, and thank you for reading!
My dearest Melissa, Just want you to know how much I’ve enjoyed your previous books and am looking forward to the next. October you say? Well, I have been reading fantasy novels since the early seventies when as a young sailor picked up a copy of the Hobbit. Although I have read many other books the fantasy genre has always captivated me. But the problem I face now is I’m 65. If you happen to look at the obits in your local paper you’ll notice that people my age are dropping like flies. So for me, October may never come. No pressure or anything right? But really, I’d much rather wait for your final version as I am certain it will be just as satisfying and exciting as your first three. So, I’ll try to hold on until October (cough…cough…wheeze) or shortly there after. 😉
Oh goodness, Robert! Well, I hear sixty is the new forty and forty is the new twenty. Surely you have some good years left in you. 😉 I will certainly have the book out before sixty becomes the new twenty, so…that should be encouraging. And I’ll definitely have it out before GRRM or Pat Rothfuss get around to writing the next book in their series, so there is that to hearten you.
I not only speak for others but reiterate the words of many when I say that we are honored and thrilled to be the happy recipients of your toils to capture and communicate the grandeur, excitement, humor, travail and joy of such captivating characters on such a grand and epic adventure. You are gracious and brilliant and you have our love and support! Thank you so much for the update.
Thank you, Heidi. XO
I recommend William Horwood’s Hyddenworld quartet of books or anyone needing some quality reading material between now and October. Like your work Melissa it is something different from the traditional swords and sorcery fantasy. http://www.williamhorwood.co.uk/hyddenworld/
Thanks for the recommendation, Darrell. 🙂
Ah, Melissa. As someone writing a thesis I can empathize entirely. Writing for fun–cake. Writing lengthy essays–cake. Writing my thesis? Dragging on and on and I don’t really know why it isn’t done, (it is NEARLY done, like yours), but it magically keeps getting bigger somehow. Hopefully this year will spell the end of it. I am on book 2 of A Pattern of Shadow and Light, I adore these books. I’ve raced through them and will re-read them until the fourth is out. It is a stunning series, the cast is on point, you’ve created so many wonderful characters, both good, evil and in between. Your novels came as a recommendation on my kobo e-reader and I am so glad they did!
Thank you so much, Trella. It’s encouraging to know others are experiencing the same sense of sprawl. 😉 I’m honored by your kind words about my series and so happy to know you’re enjoying it. We’ll both keep plugging along on our writing adventures and I’m sure we’ll end up at the finish line and very happy with the final outcome. I’ll send well wishes your way.
Hi Melissa! I have to say there are few authors with the ability to snare me into their world as you have. You are way up there with Terry Brooks and Robert Jordan! I love your characters and the blending of them. I only just read the first book about a month ago. I bought it with the idea that it would be a “filler” until something else came out… Shameful, that because I was hooked with the first paragraph. Your writing gets better and better with each book so yeah, I too am awaiting book 4 with bated breath! Fair play to ya Melissa and I look forward to losing myself in your imagination for a very long time!
Thank you so much, Terilee. It’s an honor to be included on your list alongside such talented authors. I’m thrilled you’re enjoying the series so far. It’s been a real ride for me also – you might be surprised how often I’m surprised by what the characters do. Kingdom Blades is going to be another great ride. I can’t wait to share it with everyone. Thank you for reading. 🙂
How many chapters is book four likely to have?
Right now it’s looking like somewhere in the vicinity of 80-90 chapters, Darrell. It’s a substantial book. 🙂
Off topic question. If you were to cast actors as your main characters what actors would you cast for some of the main characters? Sorry to be so off topic but I think all your fans would want to hear your thoughts on it. Thank you. 🙂
That’s a great suggestion, Steven. I’ve been thinking about doing some casting in another blog post. If you’re interest in how I “see” the characters though, you could check out my Pinterest board. The overall board for A Pattern of Shadow & Light has images of places that inspired locations in the book. The board entitled Character Inspiration has pictures of people. They’re not all perfectly cast, but some of them are pretty close to how I see the characters in my head.
I just finished book one so you won’t see any pushing from me…yet. 😉 I completely empathize with you, Melissa. I’m trying to finish a short story for a horror anthology and every few days I come up with a different idea. So now, I have about a half dozen half finished stories and not quite sure which to pick. It’s not easy having a talent for vision and being faced with the responsibility of choosing just one out of many. I’m sure you’ve come to a crossroads many times during the writing of your epic story and went back and forth numerous times before painstakingly making a choice. You have my empathy.
Thank you, John. It definitely feels a perilous road sometimes, picking your way through ideas to find the one that resonates. You have my empathy as well. Good luck with finishing your short story – and thank you for reading! 🙂
I check regularly to see when the 4th book is going to be released but I never get mad or irritated. It will be released when you are finished and happy with it. I appreciate you taking the time to make it the best book possible. I’ve loved the series so far and I know I’ll love this book too. Hang in there and know you have tons of fans and supporters.
Thank you so much, Kile. I’m still pushing for that October release. It’s certainly real for the ebook, but I’m hoping to have the print editions ready also and that’s where I’m still a little uncertain. I appreciate your encouragement very much.
Just checking in to say hello, and to see if October was still within the target range of publication? I’d like to do a re-read of the first three books, and time it so that I can launch directly into book 4 after finishing the first three.
Also, it’s a shame that these books don’t have more of a buzz on places like Reddit, Suvudu, Fantasy Faction, or Fantasy Book Review. I guess that’s our fault for not posting more about it! These books need a larger audience — they’re too good to be flying under the radar for so long. Of course, I don’t know what kind of sales numbers they have, but I’ve been browsing fantasy book review sites & r/fantasy for a couple of months and this series is rarely mentioned. Perhaps that can be remedied…
Yes for sure the Kingdom Blades ebooks will be available in October. I’m still trying to get the print editions ready for the same release date. Worst case the print versions come out in November, but ideally they all release at the same time.
We need Fantasy Faction, Suvudu and FBR to review indie books. They don’t as of the last time I checked. I really appreciate your concern and well-wishes, though. It’s interesting, but do you know that most first books from new authors don’t even sell 5000 copies? And that’s working through a traditional publisher. I’m far past that number in sales, but it’s still hard to get noticed when sites like Suvudu aren’t even interested in looking at your work. There are definitely still odd prejudices that need to be overcome in the publishing world. Every bit of promotion from fans helps immensely. That’s the true story of how bestsellers are made, so thank you for everything you do to share my series with others!
Just wanted to stop by and say thank you for the amazing series. I buy a truly unhealthy amount of books from indie authors as “between books” while I’m waiting for the next installment of Sanderson/Rothfuss/etc. At this point there are more indie authors on my “read this 5 times a year” list than bigger names. Of course the terror of every frequent indie reader is that they’ll fall in love with a series and the book(s) won’t do well enough for the author to finish (Zero Sight…*tears*). In that regard I say congratulations and also thank you for continuing with a series that is now on my “read 5 times a year list”.
Thank you for your kind words, Casey. I’m blessed to have so many devoted readers who’ve helped the series become prosperous and established. I’m honored to know my series regularly finds its way onto your TBR. It’s one of the highest compliments you can pay an author, I think. So thank you for that. I’m also really interested in any other indie series you’ve enjoyed (especially ones that look like they’ll be sticking around). 😉 Do you have any recommendations you could share with me?
My dear that is a tall order indeed. I started reading indie books when I was first stationed (navy) in Hawaii and discovered the Kindle app. It was the most amazing thing. I could carry a book (read as thousands) in my pocket wherever I went. Never again would I be trapped in a waiting room with naught but a Home and Garden or daytime soap opera! Needless to say this led to an Amazon addiction and the consumption of ~200 books a year. So, to finally answer your question, yes I do but there are quite of few of them to go through first so I’m going to need a day or two (I’m definitely going to get distracted and re-read some of these). I looked at your nightstand and have read about half of those so you will have already read some of them I suspect. Some of them have also been picked up by publishers in the last seven years so they aren’t quite as indie anymore. With that I shall bid you a fond TTFN and set my nose to the grindstone.
Wow, Casey, I wasn’t thinking to give you a homework assignment. Just a few of your top series that you enjoyed and love to share with others – that’s all I’m looking for here. 😉
I had fun going back through them anyway. Here’s my list in no particular order:
Demon Accords Series – John Conroe
The Never Hero – T Ellery Hodges
Call of the Wolf – J P Nelson, this one is a bit dark in places. Not Martin or Abercrombie dark though.
Contractor – Andrew Ball
The Reminiscent Exile series – Joe Ducie
Blood Song – Anthony Ryan, I’m not a fan of the rest of the series which was written after he became published.
Zero Sight Series – Justin B. Shier, I’m pretty sure this guy had to give up writing to finish medical school but the MC is one of my favorites.
Enjoy my friends.
Thank you so much, Casey. I love having new books to add to my TBR.
Hey Melissa, like every other person in the comments section here, I also wanted to stop by and express my gratitude for your excellent book series. I have been an avid reader since I was about six years old and was handed my very first copy of Harry Potter (of course, haha). Since that time I have actively searched for the next big thing, and to this day nothing has thrilled me or given me the chills and excitement that Harry Potter gave me as a child. That is, until now. I’m incredibly eager to see where you are going to take us, your readers, next. The world you’ve built, the characters you’ve created, the unending sense of adventure that fills every page of your novels, and so much more makes your books a joy to read.
Secondly, I wanted to thank you for being so responsive and respectful of your fans. I love how you take the time to respond in a well thought out way to every comment on here. I deeply respect you as an author and as a person. I can’t wait to see where you take us next. Thanks Melissa!
P.S. – I’ve been wondering how many books you are planning to write for “A Patter of Shadow and Light”? I initially thought it was a trilogy when I first started reading them, so you can imagine my excitement when I found myself at the end of book 3 and I realized that the tale was far from over.
Thank you so much for your kind words, Britton. I’m elated to know that my series had roused your excitement. It’s such a pleasure for me to share this world with others; getting to interact about my series (or most any imaginative endeavor) is one of my greatest joys. I’m planning to write five books in A Pattern of Shadow & Light. That’s a tall order, trying to finish this series with only one more book to go (Kingdom Blades is already finished and releases in October), but I’m looking forward to the challenge. Thank you for reading. 🙂
I am so glad I saw your ad on Facebook, otherwise it could have quite easily been a lot longer before I discovered these books. They are without a doubt the best fiction I have read in a very long time – keep up the good work, Melissa.
I honored by your kind words, Jason, and thrilled that you’re enjoying the series so far. I keep those facebook ads running for this very reason. I’m so glad you clicked on the link! Thank you for reading.
Facebook ads was exactly how I discovered your work Melissa. Definitely keep them going.
I love these books and I’m really looking forward to reading the next one. You stated back in April you were trying to release it in October. October is coming up quickly and I haven’t seen an update either on your site here or via the mailing list. So is the date still in October or has that been pushed back? I’m really looking forward to reading it as soon as it’s released and want to re-read the other the first.
If I recall correctly Melissa was very confident for the ebook version to be out in October and optimistic for the hard copy. Depends on how quickly the printers and distributors can get the physical books out.
Darrell is correct, Ken. We’ll have the ebook out without fail. Worst case, the print editions will become available in early November. I’m so glad you’re enjoying the series. Thank you for reading!
That’s great news. What is the date for the ebook release? Keep up the great work and I look forward to reading future writings.
After visiting my local B&N bookstore today I was distressed to find your latest was only coming out in ebook and anxiously returned home to visit this site. Now, thankfully, I’m relieved to find the hardcopy will be released in November. I really detest readers and prefer a book in my hand. A book is something that I’m not afraid to leave in my car and worry about it getting fried from the heat or stolen ( I mean, really, who’s going to steal a book). Also I like to add really good works to my small library. Though space is becoming a premium, I’ll make sure there’s room for your latest. Absolutely love your work!
Hi melissa hope all is well. I have looked on amazon for kingdom blades and it there in book form but I can’t seemake to find it in kindle store is there a different release date for it?
Hi Anthony, you’ll be able to purchase the kindle edition on October 28th. It’s just not available for presale. 🙂
Thanks can’t wait
I can’t see Kingdom Blades as available in eBook format on my Kindle app. I thought I would be able to download today
Victor, you’re quite right. It should’ve been available but Amazon hasn’t finished processing it for some reason. I’m sorry for the inconvenience. It WILL be available – hopefully before the end of today. Thank you for reading!
Thanks for the info! I swear I saw the pre-order the other day on my Kindle, but didn’t get it when I should have. Thanks for the fast response!! I enjoyed the first three books in the series and can’t wait to read this one!
Kingdom Blades is now available on Kindle. Find it here.
Do you have any idea of what the release date for the Audible version of Kingdom Blades will be? My long drive to work isn’t the same without your writing and Nick’s voices.
Most recent report from my publisher is that Kingdom Blades should be released for Audible in early 2017. I’m hearing late February or early March. As soon as I get a definitive release date I’ll post it to my blog. Thank you for listening!