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Alternatively, you can check back here every month or so for updates on James' current projects.


The Licanius Trilogy, Book 3
The Light of All That Falls

As at 10/2017

Much-as-expected progress for this month, with the current draft of TLoATF now up to 55k words – not as far along as I’d have liked, but still not too bad given the circumstances. I’m very close to being completely healthy again now, so expect the word count for November to increase as I get back to normal speed. If all goes well, I should finish next month around the 85k word mark.

Looking a little further ahead, my wife and I are expecting our second child in December, so there may be a brief slowdown in writing as we adjust to life with a newborn again(!) – and, of course, Christmas is a busy time of year in and of itself - but otherwise, there’s nothing on the horizon that would be a barrier to reaching my 30k words per month goal. That means an April or May submission is most likely, presumably for a late 2018 release.

Given the busy period coming up, I’ll do my best to post a final update for the year at the start of December, but don’t be too surprised if there are no further progress reports until the end of January. However, I will make it a point to post if there are any significant speed bumps - so if all's quiet here for a while, assume that no news is good news!

As at 09/2017

After seeing multiple doctors, the great news coming out of the last month is that I’m finally on the mend! I won’t go into the finer details, but what I had was causing chronic pain and making it difficult to focus on writing for any prolonged period of time – thus my slower-than-usual progress. However it appears the problem has now been properly identified, and it’s expected I’ll be back to 100% in about a month.

So – in terms of actual progress, the current draft of TLoATF is up to 40k words, and I expect that to be at about 55k-60k by the end of October. Thereafter, things should pick up again!

Happily, as far as the timeline to release goes, I suspect that nothing has changed a great deal. I might end up submitting to Orbit a few months later than I originally anticipated, but at worst I’d think that the release date would then be pushed back a comparative amount. Given that the currently projected release is around August 2018, I’m still expecting it to be in readers' hands sometime next year!

As at 08/2017

A slightly early update for August, as I'm hoping to take a few days off next week now that 'Echo' is finally out!

Progress for this month has been much slower than usual – the current draft of TLoATF is now sitting at 30k words - partly because the 'Echo' release has demanded quite a bit of my attention / energy, and partly because I've been dealing with persistent illness at the same time. I’m hopeful that some rest (and probably a few more doctor’s appointments) will see everything finally clear up and put me back on track for next month.

In much more positive (and only slightly tangential) news, I’m very pleased with how ‘Echo’ appears to have been received thus far. A huge thank-you to everyone who has picked it up, and I hope you’re all enjoying it!

As at 07/2017

July has been a fairly productive month, despite falling short of my initial target in terms of pure word count. The second draft is now at 20k words – while that’s not a lot compared to my normal output, I suspect that these first chapters will be among the most time-consuming to write in the entire book (especially given the changes I decided to make from the first draft). I’m certainly pleased with how they’ve turned out, anyway.

An Echo of Things to Come comes out in a few weeks(!), so progress for next month depend a little on how much of my focus the launch requires. It wouldn’t surprise me if the next 20k words of this draft take slightly longer than usual, too – that should complete the opening sequence for each POV character - but I also imagine that things will progress relatively quickly after that. I’m still aiming to submit this draft to Orbit early next year.

As at 06/2017

Progress in June, especially during the first half of the month, was pretty slow due to a much longer than expected struggle with the ‘flu – though I’m glad to say that I’m now (finally!) rid of it. Time this month was also taken up with switching my manuscript and notes from Microsoft Word to a new (to me) program called Scrivener, which took a while to figure out, but already feels like it will be well worth the effort.

In terms of actual writing, the rough draft of TLoATF reached 120k words toward the end of the month, at which point I made the call to reset and start on a more ‘readable’, polished draft. This will let me incorporate the changes I’ve decided upon over the last few months; as I mentioned in the last update, this is pretty standard for me, and is mostly to ensure that the tweaks I’ve made to the story work as intended before ploughing on.

So with only half of the year remaining now, it wouldn’t surprise me if I don’t submit TLoATF to Orbit until early 2018. The draft I’m now working on will be a lot closer to a ‘finished product’ than the previous one, so I’m expecting an output of closer to 30k words per month on average. If that holds true, I should be finishing up around January or February next year.

As at 05/2017

May was a bit of an off month due to a bad bout of the ‘flu that lasted for a couple of weeks, and which I’m unfortunately still shaking off. However, I did manage to make some progress - the rough draft of TLoATF is currently just over 100k words, so pretty close to half way – and I’m still generally feeling good about the book’s progress.

I’ve also made enough retroactive tweaks that I now have to decide whether it’s worth pressing on with this draft, or doing something of a reset and beginning a more ‘readable’ draft with my changes properly incorporated. This would be a pretty normal step for me; while I’m wary of wasting time by getting into revision loops, I did do something similar for both TSoWWL and AEoTTC, and it helped iron out some of the kinks sooner rather than later. I’m going to write a few more chapters for this draft before deciding in which direction to go, anyway.

The good news is that I wouldn’t expect this to greatly affect my schedule either way, as it’s mostly just about choosing in which order the work needs to be done – the changes need to be implemented at some point, so the overall time spent drafting / polishing should remain much the same. My ideal (though as I’ve said previously, probably ambitious) timeline is still to submit a polished draft to Orbit around the end of the year.

As at 04/2017

A productive month this month, with the rough draft up to 75k words and going fairly smoothly. It’s early, of course, but I’m really happy with how the various threads from previous books are looking like they’ll come together in this one.

As I’ve come to expect now, the story has already deviated from my original outline in several places, which always slows me down a little - but the changes haven’t forced any major reworkings of the plot, so I’ll tentatively say that this part of the process is still on track to finish up around the end of August.

As at 03/2017

A relatively slow start to the first draft of Book 3, which is now sitting at 30k words. My aim for any single month at this rough drafting stage wil usually be 40k-50k words, however March was busy with both travel and going through the final print proof of An Echo of Things To Come - so overall, I’m not too unhappy with my progress.

In terms of timeline to completion, my everything-goes-perfectly aim would be to have this very rough draft done by the time 'Echo' releases (August), and then something in good enough shape to submit to Orbit before the end of the year. That’s assuming that basically nothing else takes up my time during work hours for most of 2017, and also that everything in the book comes together more smoothly than it ever has before, so... realistically, it’ll be longer. Hopefully not significantly longer, but I’ll continue to reassess at the end of each month and post my updated expectations here.



The Licanius Trilogy, Book 2
An Echo of Things To Come

As at 03/2017

Complete! Due to be released August 22, 2017. Archived updates can be found here.


Untitled Side Project
As at 03/2017

A brief update after 2+ years(!): I continue to dabble with this on-and-off outside of work hours, and am increasingly confident it will be my next major project after the Licanius Trilogy. I'm still very enthusiastic about it, but I'm also aware that - completely understandably - the vast majority of people prefer that I focus on finishing the series that's already in print. So expect to see more information on this in 2018, once Licanius is complete.

As at 11/2014

Wrote two short scenes, more as a worldbuilding exercise than anything I intend to include in the final product. No news otherwise. I'm increasingly looking at this story as something I might tackle in more detail once AEOTTC has gone out to beta readers, so there may be no further updates on it for a while.

As at 10/2014

Streamlined the magic system, removing a series of overly complicated rules that weren't adding much to the story. Wrote a short scene to see how the revamped magic worked in action (pretty well, it turns out). For the most part, though, still focusing heavily on AEOTTC.

As at 09/2014

Aside from a few minor adjustments to the outline, there's nothing new to report on this project.

As at 08/2014

Away from AEOTTC, I'm working on a second, as-yet-untitled book. It's set in an entirely new world, is slightly different in style and - probably - will end up being shorter than the Licanius Trilogy books. I'm only working on this project when I need some space from AEOTTC (i.e. Licanius Book 2 is still getting the vast majority of my time and focus).

Currently, the full outline and prologue of this story are complete. I also have about 60k words of a now-abandoned experimental draft, which was written primarily to help me nail down the mechanics of the world and the magic system. The plot and concepts are shaping up well, but I don't expect this book to be out before AEOTTC.