I have another question

I’ve been writing (Peril & War at the moment) and revising (Silence), and in between, when the creative impulse is at its lowest, I’ve been proof-reading and formatting.

All six of the stories related to the West novels are now on-line (six are available in the iBooks store, four at Barnes & Noble, one at Kobo, six at Diesel, one at Sony. I do not know what happened to Echoes at B&N, and I’m trying to have it redistributed, but so far that hasn’t worked). My typesetter is halfway through the book, but has gone to Alaska for two weeks.

ETA: All six of the stories are now available, as of this morning, at B&N. A new page has been added to the sidebar – Short Stories – which has links to all of the etailers that currently have the available ebook.

All of the stories that now remain are stories that stand alone (with the exception of The Augustine Painters and The Colors of Augustine, which are set in the same universe, but are not connected to any of the novels). I intend to continue to post them, and to announce them in much the same way the six Essalieyan shorts have been announced here.

One of the things that makes short stories interesting is the ability to experiment with different moods, tones, tenses; to shift gears and write something that wouldn’t necessarily sustain a novel (or at last, not a novel I could finish). What this means, however, is that some of the stories are distinctly different in mood or tone than anything one would find in the novels. Some, however, are not.

Authors are not entirely objective about their own work (yes, this is an understatement). Being the author, I’m not therefore objective about my own work, but when I look at the list of stories, there are some I think would work for my novel readers (the Augustine stories, which apparently also work for people who don’t), and some I’m far less certain about.

In my long and winding way, I am getting to the question, honest!

Would people appreciate it if I indicated, when posting about the stories here, which ones I feel will work, and which I’m far less certain about? I don’t consider any of the stories bad, but years of working behind a bookstore counter make it second nature to try to recommend books to customers who will like them. (Except my own, because – again – objectivity issues.)

30 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. technomom
    Aug 16, 2011 @ 01:49:15

    My two cents, or twenty-five cents, or whatever is required considering inflation and exchange rates: I prefer that you let us come to them fresh, with no preconceptions. I’ve enjoyed all of your work that I’ve gotten my greedy eyeballs on, in all of its delightful variety.



  2. Joey
    Aug 16, 2011 @ 02:00:47

    Do you like writing about such things? For short fiction not related to any other work I think it’s fine to put them out there without additional commentary and get back to writing more Augustine stories. Hee.

    I think interested parties would comment/discuss via your Yahoo group, perhaps giving others a sense of what worked for whom. I’m quite fond of several of your short stories. Really like short fiction in general, and I’m sure I’ve packed at least twenty anthologies to take with me to Reno (yay for autographs, sez the fanboy!), along with at least that many novels. (Will miss you this weekend.)

    However, if you need more distractions from fiction writing and proofreading, by all means write novels describing your short stories. Hee hee.


  3. DeDe
    Aug 16, 2011 @ 02:35:22

    Hmmm – Well I wouldn’t be worried about whether people will like them or not…maybe just a brief warning for some of the shorts that have a completely different ‘feel’. I can think of one off the bat – that was much darker than I was prepared for.

    I would however enjoy reading about YOUR perception of how the stories come across…You write – I read… :-)


  4. Genna Warner
    Aug 16, 2011 @ 08:30:33

    Personally I enjoy hearing what you have to say about your work.


  5. Mary Allen
    Aug 16, 2011 @ 09:37:30

    I too enjoy your perception of your stories and appreciate a heads up if the story is going to be dark.. I just finished the Black Ospreys and was only disappointed that it ended. I like long books – more to read. I discovered you with The Hidden City, then went back to read everything else you wrote that I could get my hands on. I was busy trying to track down the anthologies when you announced you were putting them out as e stories. I was thrilled as I hadn’t looked forward to trying to get each individual anthology. I am hoping you write more about Kiriel and Anya.


    • Michelle Sagara
      Aug 17, 2011 @ 18:48:01

      @Mary Allen: Kiriel and Anya are in the the future – in some ways, I consider Sun Sword to be the midpoint of the Kiriel arc.

      But neither will appear in House War =/.


  6. Ann Kopchik (amergina)
    Aug 16, 2011 @ 10:11:55

    Hmm. I like hearing your impressions of your work and writing process, but I’m not sure if telling us here which ones you feel may not work for us… will work, since we all have different tastes. :) I like short stories where authors stretch themselves and play, but I’m not coming entirely from a reader’s perspective…

    I suppose the correlating question is this: Do you want to hear people either agree or disagree when you tell us that you’re less certain about a story?


    • Michelle Sagara
      Aug 17, 2011 @ 18:50:21

      @Ann: Yes, actually :). If I’m uncertain and readers feel that my uncertainty is, or was, wrong, I’d like to hear that. I did once say “Readers of military SF will not be the readers for these books” (referring to the West novels, I think) as an example of the ways in which books never reach all readers, and someone gentle made fun of this statement, as he is a West reader…and a Weber reader.

      I have a much better radar for these things when I’m speaking about anyone else’s books/writing, because it’s one of the things I’ve done in the bookstore for decades.


  7. Hugh S. Myers
    Aug 16, 2011 @ 10:33:40

    Since I enjoy your writing and also you writing about writing, I’m forced to say ‘go for it’. I’ll still read whatever the work might be, but reading your thoughts about it just add to my enjoyment.


  8. Hilda
    Aug 16, 2011 @ 18:59:47

    I like reading everything you write here. The information is straight to the point, interesting and usually shows a nice sense of humor. If you write short stories, I will try reading all of them. Like “technomom”, I prefer to have no preconception. I know I will enjoy most of them (your style). I absolutely love the Cast series and the Sun Sword books, including the Sacred Hunt. Some of those books have the covers taped, loose pages inside, marked and underlined, and the appearance of very old books. On the other hand, I stil can’t sink into the Sundered Series.


    • Michelle Sagara
      Aug 17, 2011 @ 18:52:44

      @Hilda: Some of the shorts have a very distinctly different style than either the CAST or the West novels, though – it’s in style, more than actual subject, that I’d be iffy. Whereas some, I’m certain will work. (And, given writing and reading, I could be wrong about those too.)


  9. Aaron
    Aug 17, 2011 @ 13:10:38

    I find your introductions to the short stories more telling of their style and tone than any notion of whether they relate to a particular set of novels. Perhaps, instead of trying to categorize them as such, just announce them here by posting the introduction. That should give them enough context to let the readers decide on their own if something sounds interesting or not. And it’s also what would be available as a sample on Smashwords or Kindle, anyways.


  10. Paloma Doveny
    Aug 17, 2011 @ 17:58:44

    I think you’re thinking too much. You are such a great writer and everyone is going to read everything of yours anyway! Like the comments above, it’s nice to be warned if something is really dark (not always fun to read) and it would be interesting if you posted on what you were going for in a story or experimenting with etc. but like other commenters said, just go ahead and write and we’ll be lapping it up, while we wonder how you ever manage to invent all these characters and stories in the first place! I find a great preference for the House and Sun Sword series over Cast. So hope there will be more of House and Jewel, and more of the Sun Sword, Valedan and Diora. So many dangling plot lines and burning questions of what Happens NEXT????????? and will the wait be very long?

    I remain a devoted fan.


  11. Michelle Sagara
    Aug 17, 2011 @ 18:55:19

    @Paloma: Yes, there will be more. In January of 2012, Skirmish arrives, and it starts directly after the last of the Jewel parts of The Sun Sword. Diora and Valedan, on the other hand, aren’t in these books. I am, at the moment, on schedule for War and January 2013 — but that presupposes that War doesn’t get too long. About which, given my past record, I attempt to say no more.


  12. Sharon M
    Aug 28, 2011 @ 22:45:04

    Please, can you tell me when there will be a new printing of The Riven Shield? I’ve been hanging for months – it’s not available anywhere, electronic or paper, not even at used book stores or my local library. Well, there are some intrepid resellers offering it for more than $100, but as much as I really want to know what happens next, I’d rather you profit. Please urge your publisher to print more, or offer it on Kindle/Nook!


    • lyssabits (@lyssabits)
      Aug 29, 2011 @ 18:01:05

      Michelle mentioned a few posts back that all of the Sun Sword books are in the queue now for e-book production, and it sounded like that was fairly eminent, like maybe next year?


    • Hilda
      Sep 01, 2011 @ 21:48:39

      Sharon, like you, I was desperate for Riven Shield (it’s amazing, feels like the best of the series), and I followed up some information a while back. If you don’t want to wait for the electronic, try the following.I obtained it from the Bakka-Phoenix Bookstore in Canada. It costs a little bit more than here but I found it very worthwhile (reading it 2nd time). Send an e-mail to Chris Szego at chris@bakkaphoenixbooks.com. They may have one or two more; it’s much in demand. It costs $10.99 in Canada, plus $10.00 for shipping. It beats any price I found here, and I’m very grateful for having it. They have a safe system for paying and options. Their fax # is 416-963-9994. The store # is 416-963-9993. Good luck!!!


    • Michelle Sagara
      Sep 01, 2011 @ 22:15:43

      I know all of the books are in the queue for kindle versions, because I know the woman who is proofreading them. They had to be OCR/scanned, so the files that result require proof-reading before they can be converted — and I have no firm ETA for their actual availability, but I do know they definitely will.


  13. Joey
    Aug 29, 2011 @ 02:43:09

    Sharon M.: If you wish, I’d be happy to check bookstores in my area (three are genre!) and if The Riven Shield is available I can let you know. You could then work it out with the store … or with me.


  14. Elisheba Keturrah Russell
    Sep 05, 2011 @ 01:28:35

    The ONLY issue I’ve ever found with your books is you tend to leave us with a cliff hanger at the end of a series!!! Your Sun Sword series has so many loose ends every time I reread that series I’m hoping and PRAYING you’ll have another series that ties them all up or more preferably :D have SEVERAL series which ties them up :D Your form of writing and lack of the “fashion statement creatures” (ie. warewolves, vampires, etc) is a fresh full breath after having drowned in stereo types!
    Please let me/us know if you have any plans to continue or expand on your Sun Sword series so I can either break my heart now or wait in baited anticipation for the first release ;)


    • Michelle Sagara
      Sep 05, 2011 @ 01:52:37

      The first three books of the House War series are about Jewel & the Den in their formative years.

      But book four, Skirmish, starts the day that Jewel arrives back in the Terafin manse. So, yes, I am. I realize that it is not the brightest thing in the world to start a new series and then pick up after an entire other series in the middle, and I kick myself for it every hundred words or so at the moment. But, the novel that is coming in January 2012 picks up where Sun Sword left off, at least for Jewel and the den.


    • Michelle Sagara
      Sep 05, 2011 @ 01:53:32

      Actually, it occurs to me that I should say two things: Characters that were introduced in the first three books of the series are also important in Skirmish.


  15. sascha
    Sep 05, 2011 @ 09:27:15

    I feel an epic re-read coming on sometime in December.


  16. Elisheba Keturrah Russell
    Sep 14, 2011 @ 22:56:47

    Even if it wasn’t the best thing to do another series in the middle of another I personally have no complaints about your Cast series… another VERY good series and the one that I’m pushing on my friends and family even more than the Sun Sword and its relative stories ;)


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