April 16th Update

Progress on books has been slow since my wife was let go from her job. I’ve been experimenting with different ways to keep focus, and it’s difficult. In the end, I’m planning to set up my new writing laptop in the other room and work from there. That being said, I have about 4k words on Halls of Power (5k if you include the ‘story so far’ section), and about 1,500 on one of my side stories about Sistina Constella. The first few thousand words are always the hardest for me, but I hope to be done with the story within about 2 weeks. Then I’ll work on Halls of Power in earnest.

So, yesterday Spells of Old was released. Technically, most of the world had it before it released in my region, so the pre-orders started showing up on my sales dashboard on Friday. I decided to show a picture of the graph that tracks sales over time, without any numbers. I will state that the chart is overall sales, and each dot is a day. The picture was taken on Saturday at about 10 AM local time.


Thank you, everyone, it helps a lot. Especially those of you who reviewed my book. Whether good or bad, I appreciate reviews.

13 thoughts on “April 16th Update

  1. Apparently so. For such a self-depreciating person as myself, it’s stunning. Gonna try to get the novella done as soon as I can. And with that said… off to write for most of the day.


  2. I just got Amazon telling me there’s an update to the Spells of Old on my kindle. Did you find some last-minute typos?

    And was one of them in Chapter 40 where the journal goes “the stone is oddly resilient even to the spells I would have sworn I’d cast correctly”? I could see the stone being resiliant, but I don’t see how it could be resilient to a spell, that seems like it’s resistant to the spells instead.


  3. I have not updated Spells of Old as of yet. While the wording in that particular spot is a little wonky, it is actually accurate (he tried blasting through the stone, actually, in addition to other attempts), but I may at some point rework it. There are a few other points that need to be edited, but I’d like to take a little time then read through it again to try to catch all of them and update it all at once this time around.


  4. I read Spells of Old in a day after preordering it and was very happy with my purchase. After thinking about it for a day I do have some questions about Beacon and wondering if you can clarify your thinking. I am okay with wait till the next book if your going address it there or not address it at all since it is your world.

    I will say that if your a fan and have not yet read the second book and would like to avoid some spoiler alerts new is a good time to stop reading. Now that the disclaimer is out of the way on to the question.

    Does is Sistena’s domain going to cover Beacon? I can see advantages and disadvantages to both. On the plus if it does the city is much more defensible(the city would be in Sistena’s direct field of influence if need be), all the residents that are freed slaves with brads would “feed” her, down side is any residents that are not freed slaves would “drain” her unless they agree to get branded. If her domain does cover Beacon what is the rule “welcome to Beacon if you want to be a citizen you need to be branded. Go get in line to see Sisten”? If her domain does not cover the city does that mean that she had basically lost all of her human mana sources since they have all moved to Beacon? Not a really good idea since I would think she really needs them at the moment. It is not like the residence of Beacon would be lacking advantages if Sistena’s domain did cover it. Maybe the domain covers the city and all the citizens get brads and she figures out a way to give all the visitors temporary jewelry(which I think you have already invented with the ruby jewelry) that does the same thing. Anyways, I was just interested to see what your thoughts were.


  5. I’ve been voraciously reading books for 30 years and benjamins are of the quality and substance that originally sucked me in and kept me coming back for more. keep up the great writing!


  6. I’m going to do my best! Biggest problem for me is narrowing down which idea to write next, which isn’t a bad problem. But since I want to finish a trilogy or such in a single go, it’s something I have to ponder carefully.


  7. Hello, Paul!

    So, the short answer is that I don’t mind answering the questions, as they’re going to be in the opening chapters of Halls of Power. That being said… if people don’t want to get some spoilers, Do not read the following!

    Everyone is ready? Good.

    Sistina mentioned that she somewhat retracted her domain. The domain is retracted from all living spaces in Beacon save for a ‘spike’ that extends from the palace to the air node above the palace. This is so she can stay near Phynis, mostly, but also to strengthen Phynis’ guards. The only places that people can access that are still her domain is the sewer system (she doesn’t want it getting blocked), and the dungeon entrance itself. Phynis would never agree to ‘branding’ every person who came into the city, and Sistina respects her too much to even ask… and while Sistina’s grasp of morals is somewhat shaky, seeing what Kelvanis has done with the brands has dissuaded her from using them more than she ‘has’ to.

    As to people moving up above the ground. Think of Sistina as a central solar panel and energy storage, and each person linked to her as a secondary solar panel. Each of them adds a small but significant amount of mana to her recovery. If they move more than a few miles from her domain, the link grows so tenuous she gains nothing from it, but living in the city is only a minor hit on her mana levels. The jewelry, in all honesty, actually produces more mana than all of the brands thus far combined. Because the priestesses ‘gift’ her mana that they’ve generated/collected themselves. It’s far more efficient for her, and less so for others. However, while I haven’t addressed it directly… remember, Ulvian Sorvos used sympathetic magic. They can be a weakness.

    I’ll wrap up my explanation there. If you have further questions, you can ask here or email me.


  8. You know for a fleeting moment, when I read “done with the story within about 2 weeks” I thought you were talking about Halls of Power. I got whiplash from the emotional spike and subsequent disappointment when I realized you where talking about the short story.

    You know the reward for a job well done no? More work! I hope we get Halls of Power this summer. I gotta know what happens next.


  9. Is it actually explained why normal people are an exception to the rule in the first place?
    Once they first figure out Sistina is a dungeon, Desa explains she draws energy from every living thing “inside her”. And when JoetheproofreadingCleric explains what dungeons do to my least-favorite-non-antagonist he says “All dungeons feed on deaths of those who delve into them, though, and they seem to somehow gain power from our mere presence inside them. It’s something of a mutually beneficial relationship.”

    Which seems to be the opposite of a drain on their mana.

    And I mean, it otherwise actually makes little sense for dungeons to be, err, dungeons. Adventurers absorb their mana, they take their mana-generated treasures, they kill their creatures they need to regrow, they destroy their traps they need to rebuild – what are dungeons getting out of it? The adventurers say that “killing” them is more like a happy accident for the dungeon, not something they deliberately do usually, as the guild kills those type of dungeons. So where’s the gain for them? And, most of all, why would Sistina agree to playing a dungeon if she doesn’t get anything out of it, seeing as she’s entirely sentient and could easily deliberately make “herself” unattractive to explore? Particularly as she’s extra careful about not killing anyone, so she’s unlikely to gain kill-mana out of the arrangement.


  10. The situation is complicated, further complicated by my ideas of the dungeons evolving as I wrote the first book.

    Essentially, non-sentient creatures, such as animals or the like, don’t have the sense of ‘self’ that a human might have, and as such they readily bond to a dungeon on an unconscious level, whereas sentient creatures are too ‘selfish’ as it were to do so. And since it’s a permanent thing, that makes it still more complex.

    However, dungeons feed on four things. 1) Ambient mana absorption. This is at a slightly higher rate than most mortals, but not enormously. 2) Non-sentients within them that have bonded to them. Other dungeons do this as well, but usually raise them for #3. 3) Creatures dying within the dungeon. When a creature dies, it ‘releases’ all of the mana bound up in its body in a single, massive spike, much like sacrificial magic. Unlike a dark mage, a dungeon can absorb almost all of this. Thus malevolent dungeons focus entirely on this aspect, as adventurers/sentients have more mana than animals or monsters. A dungeon can generally raise a monster for far less than this produces. 4) Conflict. As adventurers and monsters battle/strive against one another, their energies react and cause, well, turmoil in the aether. This causes more mana to emerge into the world around them, which both the adventurers and dungeon can absorb. This is what Joseph was talking about.

    Now, no, none of this has been explained. The problem is that the adventurers don’t know what the dungeon gets out of coming close to killing them, but not quite. Dungeons normally don’t talk to people. I could possibly put the explanation into Halls of Power, but I’m hesitant to do an info-dump. I don’t like doing them where it doesn’t make sense. However, there are bits that could convince me to do it… but yeah. It’s complicated.

    Finally, the reason Sistina does have the dungeon is twofold. One is a backup emergency army. The other is that she actively enjoys watching and experimenting. That part of her is Marin’s fault.


  11. *winces* Yeah, that’d suck to think. No, no, I’m not terribly far into Halls of Power. Hyper-optimistic guess? August. More realistic? September to October (I want it out by my birthday, October 3rd).

    More on that in a blog post a bit later.


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