Warlord is the earliest of the Essalieyan short stories. Published in 1998, it was written in 1997. It is some (small) part of Avandar’s story, and had the distinction of being the longest short story I’d written to date in 1997. It is not the longest short piece I’ve written since, though. It was written for Larry Segriff of Tekno books, and both he and my editor were very patient with both the length and the timing of its delivery.

As usual, it’s up on Smashwords now, and is in the Amazon.com queue. The last two ebooks took five days to clear the Smashwords’ distribution queue, instead of the fifteen days the first book took, and the books went up slightly earlier than forecast at Barnes & Noble and Kobo. The first three are now available on iTunes, as well; the last two are waiting review.

I am working on proofing the final story, Memory of Stone, now. A word about that: Some of the Kindle versions of The Weapon contained a earlier proof version of Memory of Stone. The current version on Amazon no longer does. As it wasn’t proofed, there are errors; it’s the original manuscript-as-typed-from-book before any of the proofing rounds were done. Since it wasn’t supposed to be appended to The Weapon, those won’t be changed or fixed in The Weapon, but the story, with the various small typos/formatting difficulties, is essentially the same. So people who did pick up the earlier Kindle copies don’t need to pick up the actual version of Memory of Stone when it’s released.

When Memory of Stone is finished, everything will go to the typesetter, and from there, to Lulu, and at that point, all six stories & their introductions will then be available in print form.


ETA: mention of Barnes & Noble, iTunes and Kobo.

25 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Genna Warner
    Jul 28, 2011 @ 08:41:21

    This is the short story that I have been wanting to read for a while now. I will be looking for it on Amazon. Is there a reason why you decided to put these out in the order you did rather than following the order of original publication date?


    • Michelle Sagara
      Jul 28, 2011 @ 13:49:39

      This is probably not the perfect answer, but for reasons that aren’t clear to me, it’s how I Iaid out the collection (which had fewer West stories at the time), which was meant for Meisha Merlin. I started work from that manuscript.

      When I sent the table of contents to the designer, she (very logically) created the covers in that numbered order, and at that point it was either ask her to change all the numbers because I hadn’t thought things through in the first place — or release the stories in that order.

      I also thought that it would take less time to get them all in order >.>


      • Mark Galpin
        Jul 28, 2011 @ 14:40:02

        @Michelle: Since I’m getting them individually its not a big deal, but I figured I should mention that usually I’m personally a stickler for chronological order to the point of obsessiveness — although the West series has always given me headaches in that regard ;) (At some point I”m going to have to contemplate the best reading order . . . Hunter’s Oath, Sun Sword, the Short Stories, House Wars … and the series after that (I assume there’s at least one more to go, if not two or three) Laying out the whole grand epic in maximum pleasure reading order taking into account my OCD on chronology is getting harder every one released . . . but once all the DAW books are out, it will be time to put together a Calibre ‘play list’ for the series…


        • Michelle Sagara
          Jul 28, 2011 @ 14:43:25

          @Mark: As a reader, I’ve always read in order of publication. So, for instance, with Bujold’s Miles books, the chronology doesn’t match the publication order – and I prefer to read in publication order, in part because the world expands as an author writes it, sometimes in unpredictable ways.

          On the other hand, there are a lot of people who do want to read in chronological order in the store as well; it’s generally one or the other (there are people who will read second novels in trilogies if the first isn’t there, and that sort of breaks my brain).

  2. Mark Galpin
    Jul 28, 2011 @ 10:23:37

    Totally awesome. Of the Essalyien shorts, Warlord is the best so far. Some specific things I like:
    1.) Very well defined scenes without sacrificing a coherent and complete story (at least within the scope of the novels)
    2.) While it doesn’t reveal (at this point) any great mysteries, it fills in some good scenes that properly place Avandar in Essalieyen and in the Domicis guild . . . without really trying to go beyond the scope of a short story
    3.) its just really cool to get an Avandar POV so much earlier than we could have during the novels.


  3. Suzy
    Jul 28, 2011 @ 18:02:55

    Avandar is one of my absolute favorite characters of all time! I love this short story! I keep trying to convince my husband to let me name our first son Avandar (or Meralonne) and for some reason he keeps resisting… :) Thanks so much for getting these out! I’ve had a rough time trying to track down some of them.


  4. Hugh S. Myers
    Jul 28, 2011 @ 19:13:29

    @suzy—-what he might resist as first name might work as second name. Or you might start talking about names like ‘Moonbeam’ or similar and allow yourself to ‘settle’ for Avandar :)


  5. Hilda
    Jul 28, 2011 @ 22:30:23

    So far for me, Avandar is as strange as Nightshade. I love the characters, but they remain incomplete, misterious. There’s some written about them in the books, but not enough to really get to know them. The stories run around them, but there’s always more about other characters for a particular book. I’m always wondering who they really are, what do they feel, what do they like, but there’s never enough to understand them. Once I finish a book, I think a lot about them. It’s probably Michelle’s way to hold us in suspense and let those characters grow very slowly through a series, which is fine too. Keep the interest high. I thought that in the Warlord I would discover more about Avandar, but it seems by the comments that’s not the case. I’ll wonder more.


  6. Aaron
    Jul 29, 2011 @ 19:39:55

    The most telling bits for me:

    1. This was written right after the Hunter’s Death and sets the tone of the Jewel/Avandar relationship. And we get a third perspective in House Name! Now all we need is a short story from the viewpoint of The Book. ;)

    2. Ellerson’s comments at the beginning of Sea of Sorrows re: Avandar/Jewel’s survival seem a bit cryptic. However, they make total sense once you’ve read this story.


  7. Kurt Caesar
    Jul 29, 2011 @ 22:32:15

    Hello Michelle, I am a little bit confused. The memory of stone story was attached to the black ospreys not the weapon. On the matter of typos, I noticed one at the end when Galifas was talking to a female character. The line goes ‘”You promised!” He said’ when it was supposed to be she.


    • Aaron
      Jul 30, 2011 @ 00:01:33

      Attaching “The Memory of Stone” to the end of “The Black Ospreys” was a production error. It was not edited at the time (nor will it be). If you want a fully edited version with a proper cover, you will need to buy the separate story when it comes out in the next week or so.


      • Kurt Caesar
        Jul 30, 2011 @ 09:13:44

        Yeah I got all that. My point of confusion was where Michelle said it was appended to ‘the weapon’. I was wondering if they did it again. I do plan on getting the standalone version when its out.


        • Michelle Sagara
          Jul 30, 2011 @ 11:26:02

          Yeah I got all that. My point of confusion was where Michelle said it was appended to ‘the weapon’. I was wondering if they did it again. I do plan on getting the standalone version when its out.

          No, Michelle was suffering from title confusion >.<, for which I apologize.

  8. Aaron
    Jul 30, 2011 @ 04:34:44

    So, apparently amazon.com (I’m in the USA, so I can only see the USA version) is *not* updated with the corrected form of “The Black Ospreys”. I deleted the e-book and repurchased it only to get the same mash of both stories.

    (Yes, I understand the difference between deleting from a device and deleting entirely from my account and repurchasing.)

    I’m not sure what to do at this point… Is the new version delayed or is there still a problem with the upload?


    • Michelle Sagara
      Jul 30, 2011 @ 11:23:06

      So, apparently amazon.com (I’m in the USA, so I can only see the USA version) is *not* updated with the corrected form of “The Black Ospreys”. I deleted the e-book and repurchased it only to get the same mash of both stories.

      My husband just purchased the book (occasioning a discussion about whether or not I should temporarily raise the price, because at 2.99, it costs the household less than at 1.99 (70% royalty vs. 35%); given propagation rate of changes, we decided against), and we went through it from start to finish, and it is the corrected version. Just purchased = 11:18 Saturday morning.

      We had to download it from amazon.com – the way the kindle self-publishing works is that the book goes to 3 sites – amazon.com, amazon.co.uk and amazon.de. Anyone from Canada/other countries can buy the book from amazon.com because the rights are flagged to “world”, so it shows up for anyone.

      So we downloaded it at 11:18 this morning from amazon.com – and the version we received only has The Black Ospreys and not the proof version of Memory of Stone.

      I’m not saying that the version you have isn’t the wrong one, though.

      I find it slightly frustrating because there’s no way for me to download the story, as far as I can tell, without purchasing it. Smashwords allows me to download the story multiple times in all variants because I’m the publisher. Amazon doesn’t appear to do this, that I can tell – so I have to look at the preview of the book and page through it from start to finish. Since the preview worked, we decided to just pay for and download the book itself.

      But…the book, as purchased this morning, is correct =/.


  9. Auraya
    Jul 30, 2011 @ 06:50:01

    You could try bying it on Smashwords. Doesn’t the kindle read mobi format as well? I purchased my copy of the Black Ospreys there and it didn’t have Memory of Stone attached.


  10. Michelle Sagara
    Jul 30, 2011 @ 11:41:21

    You could try bying it on Smashwords. Doesn’t the kindle read mobi format as well? I purchased my copy of the Black Ospreys there and it didn’t have Memory of Stone attached.

    Well, he shouldn’t have to, though – in theory, he should be able to download the corrected version because he purchased the book >.<. As I mentioned in the thread above, when we bought it here, it was the correct version, so I'm not sure what's happening; but I've never tried to re-download a kindle book I've purchased — I'm not sure how it works. In theory it's supposed to download the updated version at that point – but it doesn't happen automatically.

    Clearly, in practice, there are some issues =/.

    Smashwords allows the reader to purchase both the version of the book they first purchased and the most recent version (if they're not the same). (Or at least that's what they say when you update there: they old version will be available to the readers who previously purchased it. If you choose to unpublish the book on Smashwords, they will take it down – but will, again, allow anyone who previously purchased it to continue to download it.)


  11. Kareena
    Jul 30, 2011 @ 11:57:32

    I just purchased, and read, both the Weapon and the Warlord, last night. I would like to point out that generally I don’t buy or read short stories because I don’t think that any writer can do justice to the character or the story in such a limited frame. However, I am so addicted to the worlds of the West series (and the Sagara novels as well) that when I saw these short stories available on Kindle I just couldn’t resist. And, I’m glad that I bought them for they are a gem, just like all of Michelle’s work. My only complaint is that they ended too soon! Yes, I understand that they are, after all, novellas and so must be short, but I really want to know more about Avandar and about Veralaan! Michelle, is there any chance we will get some more short novellas about these two? And please, take as much time as you want to relax because I don’t want you to overwork yourself. This is completely selfish on my part, as I hope to read more about the world of Cast and the Essalieyan empire in the future!


  12. Aaron
    Jul 30, 2011 @ 12:20:59

    I spent a little time on the phone with Amazon today and they concur that the new version of the story for sale is probably the correct one. I had them tell me how many “pages” it was and it was less than what was being reported on my Kindle.

    They couldn’t explain why even after repurchasing it still sends me the old version, but that it might be the way the books are referenced in their database w/re to purchase date. Apparently they keep all version of all books ever uploaded, but don’t make it clear to the reader which one you have. I dunno, I’ve never tried re-downloading a new version of a book either.

    In any case, they refunded me (no big deal) and thanks to Auraya’s advice, I just bought it on Smashwords. Thanks for checking though – and now I feel bad for you having to pay for your own book :/


    • Mark Galpin
      Jul 30, 2011 @ 14:15:11

      so usually when this happens, at some point Amazon will send you an e-mail telling you they’ve updated the book, and you have to respond to it to get the updated version…. re-buying the book probably won’t help.


  13. Michelle Sagara
    Jul 30, 2011 @ 12:26:10

    In any case, they refunded me (no big deal) and thanks to Auraya’s advice, I just bought it on Smashwords. Thanks for checking though – and now I feel bad for you having to pay for your own book :/

    Don’t – it was either that or give myself ulcers! I try not to do things like final check/uploads when it’s four in the morning anymore; I get too bleary, and a little mistake on this end is, clearly, a larger and continuing one in the real world. And if the book we downloaded was the wrong one on *this* end, then…yes, phone calls to Amazon to see what has to be done, because the theory in their FAQs would have been wrong.

    And it’s given me a greater appreciation for the very rigid rules about versioning that most programmers have. Also, more sympathy for publishers, because although they are large organizations, the person who is doing the work is still, well, a person – and it’s pretty easy to make one small mistake which is then multiplied and frequently harder to fix.


  14. DG
    Aug 25, 2011 @ 02:05:10

    I just finished “House Name” and though Avandar was just introduced I was immediately drawn to the character. Lo and behold here is a short story giving us a little more backstory on him. I actually dislike ebooks. I prefer good old fashioned paper books, but I had to read this one.

    Avandar, Nightshade, and Stefanos…I don’t know how you do it, but dammit you can write about some amazingly interesting men! Personally I’d kill for a complete series just about this character, but the short story was more than worth it. He’s just the proper mix of arrogant, powerful, tortured, and mysterious that I love. I really hope he plays a big part in the later House War books.

    Self-Proclaimed President of Team Nightshade


  15. Amy
    Jul 27, 2012 @ 21:25:49

    Is there any way to get all the short stories in Essalieyan Chronicles as a single volume/download?


  16. JanJan
    Dec 29, 2012 @ 21:23:23

    I also would be interested in a bundled Essalieyan Chronicles as a single download…


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