Progress updates for James' books can be found below, which are updated approximately once per month. To be e-mailed about release information for upcoming books, please click here.

Hierarchy, Book 1 - The Will of the Many

As at 03/2021

Draft 2 is now up to 230,000 words – it’s been a solid run since Christmas! For reference, that’s already a touch longer than The Shadow of What Was Lost.

Unfortunately, I still have 20k-30k words to go on this draft... despite originally thinking that 230k words would comfortably be the size of the entire novel. I haven’t added anything extra beyond what was planned: I just misestimated how my outline would translate to word count, pure and simple. Everything still feels like it earns its place, though, so I’m confident the final length will be justified.

The down side of this is really only that ‘longer’ means ‘more time to complete’. As well as the extra initial writing, it’s effectively adding more work than expected to every editing pass I do from here on out. Editing itself is also shaping up to be a more significant process than I’d hoped – no major story beats need to change, but there’s a lot of fine-tuning to do. That’s mostly come about because I’m introducing a new world for this book, as opposed to working within the already heavily defined one of Licanius.

So my original hope of being finished by June is, I think at this stage, unlikely – it may only take me a month or two longer, but all things considered, September feels like a safer bet. Either way, my next update will be in June, so I expect the end will at least be in sight by then!

As at 12/2020

As the year comes to a close, I’m continuing to feel fairly upbeat about my progress on the second draft of The Will of the Many, which is now up to 120k words (in my estimation at, or maybe a bit over, half way to complete). While – as always! – things are not quite as far along as my ideal projections, this is still progress at what I’d consider a very respectable pace.

The good news is that this draft continues to shape up well, too. In the past, my second drafts have required substantial story adjustments and rewrites. There’s still a long way to go in this one, but I’m increasingly confident that there will only be polishing and minor tweaks remaining for Draft 3 (which would be a significantly shorter and easier process).

So what does my timeline look like, given that? After taking a few weeks off over Christmas to spend with family, I have a clear schedule in 2021 to get everything finished. If I can have this draft complete by April - a realistic goal, I think – then the aim would be to submit to my publisher around June. Especially given the external distractions of this year, two years all up to write what is going to be a large epic fantasy novel – particularly one that introduces an entirely new world – is a result I’d be very pleased with.

That’s about all there is to tell, for now: long story short, things are still moving along well. Wishing everyone a great Christmas, and I’ll aim to post another update around March 2021!

As at 09/2020

The main news first: I’m now 40k words (~15%-20%) into the second draft of The Will of the Many. That’s not quite where I’d hoped to be at this point in time, but I’m delighted at the progress given everything else that’s been going on. For reference, the first draft - which will have major additions and cuts, so its size could change significantly in either direction – came out at 215k words.

Outside factors have played a big part in slowing things down over the past few months: living under ‘Stage 4’ lockdown here in Victoria has certainly been disruptive, and in the midst of it all, my family and I also had to move house. We’ve finally settled in, though, and the lockdown - as of right now, at least - appears set to ease in the next few weeks. So while there’s still a lot to do, I’m optimistic that the months between now and Christmas will see some solid headway.

I’m also very happy with the state of this draft: there should only be one more major pass after this one, and I don’t expect that to take anywhere near as long. So while I’m no longer hoping to submit by the end of this year, finishing up in early 2021 is definitely not out of the question. I'll have a much firmer idea of a timeline by my next update, which should be shortly before Christmas!

As at 06/2020

Apologies once again for the long wait in between updates! It’s of course been a strange few months and I’ve been putting this off somewhat, as everyone will no doubt have had more important things to focus on.

Progress on the first draft of The Will of the Many is moving along reasonably well, with the word count up to 140k. The final word count will probably be closer to 200k now, so there’s still some way to go. Second and third (major) drafts should be progressively easier to complete, and I’m hoping to avoid the need for a fourth altogether.

On the more subjective side of things, I’m very happy with where everything’s at currently. It’s been challenging writing a story set in a new world—a big adjustment after writing Licanius for so long—but things have started to feel like they’ve really come together over the past month or so.

Currently, my best case scenario for finishing this book (submitting to publisher, not including edits) is the end of this year, which means it could be possible for it to see publication sometime in late 2021. It’s also fair to say that even if I hit my personal targets, I have no idea whether there will be delays related to the pandemic. So while everything’s definitely still coming along, don’t expect to see the book scheduled for release in the very near future.

Anyway, I’ll update here sooner if anything significant happens, otherwise I’ll aim to post again in a few months!

As at 02/2020

Sorry to all those who have been waiting on this update—it’s come a little later than anticipated!

I’m now 70,000 words into my first draft of The Will of the Many (Hierarchy #1), with the target being somewhere between 150,000 and 200,000. My aim with this book is to write fewer but higher-quality drafts; this means the word count will generally go up slower than it did with Licanius, but the overall process should be completed quicker. It’s an experiment that I’ve been wanting to try for a while, but I think only makes sense to attempt for the first book in a series—if it turns out that this method actually slows me down, at least nobody’s left stuck waiting for sequels as a result. I feel like it’s proceeding well at this point, regardless, but we’ll see how it goes over the course of this year.

Otherwise, there’s still not a lot else I want to reveal about this new series yet, I’m afraid. As I’ve said previously, it will be set in an entirely new world from Licanius, and (to my mind, at least) is already feeling quite distinct from that trilogy. I’ll rush to assure everyone that it’s also still very much epic fantasy, though, and I completely expect it to appeal to anyone who enjoyed the Licanius books.

When there’s an official announcement regarding Hierarchy from my publisher, I’ll update this page with the appropriate link. In the meantime, at this very early stage, I would say you can expect to see The Will of the Many published late next year (2021) or early the following. While I know that’s quite a while away, the plan is for me to make a solid start on book two before book one is released, which in turn should allow us to publish without a multiple-year wait between instalments. So hopefully, the initial wait for book one will pay off in less time waiting for sequels.

That’s about it for now. I’ll attempt to post updates here once every month or two from now on!

As at 10/2019

My new project! Beyond the title, and the fact I'm now working on it, there's not much I want to say at this point. It's set in a new world, and will very likely be another trilogy (but I'm being smarter this time and not locking myself in by putting that in the name, just in case). Once Licanius #3 is out, I'll start updating in more detail with word count progress, estimated time to completion, etc. So look for more information here in January!

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

As at 09/2019

Complete! Due to be released December 10, 2019. Archived updates can be found here.

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

As at 03/2017

Complete! Released August 22, 2017. Archived updates can be found here.

Untitled Side Project

As at 09/2019

Is now my main project, 'Hierarchy' - look for any significant updates under that heading. Archived this section for posterity here.

Other Projects

As at 10/2019

I have two (currently) smaller projects that I'm occasionally working on in my spare time - one in the world of Licanius, the other in an entirely new setting. The Hierarchy series is now my main focus, though. I'll update here if/when any of these shorter stories reach a publishable state.