Recent entries

    Salt Lake City signing ()
    #4955 Copy

    Questioner

    In our universe, mass and energy curve space. I was wondering if Investiture does the same or something similar

    Brandon Sanderson

    It does something similar. It draws the three Realms together. So it's got like-- Imagine a gravitational pull piercing Realms. Right? Of kind of--

    Questioner

    And that's how a perpendicularity works?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's not the only way a perpendicularity works, but one surefire way to create a perpendicularity is a massive collection of Investiture in the Cognitive or mostly Physical realm. But Cognitive's weird, doesn't always work the right way. But there are ways to do it that way too.

    Salt Lake City signing ()
    #4957 Copy

    Questioner

    So Roshar is pretty small on the map. Are there other species on the planet that we don't know about?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Roshar is primarily the one continent. There are no other continents.

    Questioner

    No other continents?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No other continents... There are no other major landmasses on the planet.

    Salt Lake City signing ()
    #4959 Copy

    Questioner

    I was wondering, with resonance. Is that a sort of constructive interference?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Constructed? No. Resonance is more about the way-- It's more of a natural interference.

    Questioner

    So what I mean like, you have two waves, right? And if their troughs, you know--

    Brandon Sanderson

    Okay, is that the formal term? For the constructed.-- Oh constructive? I thought you had said-- yeah. So yes, I would say that that is an accurate phrase. I mean obviously it's not exactly the same thing. But yeah, that's what I was looking at when I was building it, was kinda things like this with waveform patterns and whatnot. So yes. At least, it was inspired by this kind of idea.

    Salt Lake City signing ()
    #4961 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    I once--don't do this--I once lit a book on fire. Because I was reading at night, and my mom kept turning my light off so I got out a candle and I was reading by candlelight. And the book started on fire. Yeah, so don't do that.

    Orem signing ()
    #4964 Copy

    Questioner

    What was your inspiration for Jasnah?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I had done several times, when I was designing characters in the cosmere, someone who kind of thought they were an awesome scholar but really wasn't. That's the kind of thing with Sarene and a little bit of the thing with Shallan. They're young people who haven't quite made it there yet, whose opinion of themselves is kind of beyond their actual skill level. Who would be, like, the scholar? Like, the ideal Rosharan societal scholar? And I built Jasnah out of that, and then took her in a way that would allow her to also be in conflict with that at the same time. Always a good source of writing a character.

    Orem signing ()
    #4966 Copy

    Questioner

    So Hoid, was he considered a Lightweaver pre-Shattering?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, that would be an appropriate term. There are lots of different terms that would also be appropriate.

    Questioner

    But was it basically the same thing?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well, no Stormlight. No spren. So, not a Knight Radiant. But, similar magic. But you've also seen Elantris magic do this. So there are-- there are certain things that-- I'll just stop there.

    Orem signing ()
    #4967 Copy

    Questioner

    My question is, if you had two nicrosil Mistings, who, feeling like breaking the universe, and they got together and they touched each other and advanced each other's magic power at the same time by flaring nicrosil, what would happen? Would it cause a feedback loop?

    Brandon Sanderson

    *hands RAFO card* Well I'll go ahead and give you one right there! You got one!

    Orem signing ()
    #4969 Copy

    JoyBlu

    The Patji lake, theoretically, could an Aviar fly into the lake on its own and enter the Cognitive Realm? Like, have a bird catcher on the other side waiting for the bird to fly in and catch it?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Theoretically... I'm going to RAFO that, but it's not a big RAFO. It's more along the lines of, I'm going to get into the mechanics of how things go through Shardpools in future books. Um, what you just described is not outside of reason.

    JoyBlue

    And could also, one of the grubs or one of the parasites or the rotten fruit, whatever, could that have fallen through the lake?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That is plausible. The question is, once it gets to be a non-sentient thing, how does going through the--- to the Realms work, and that's where it starts to get-- that's where you get your asterisk. Like, just a piece of fruit falling. I'm going to asterisk that one.

    Salt Lake City signing ()
    #4971 Copy

    Questioner

    So voidbinding is-- one part of voidbinding is seeing the future. And atium is also seeing the future. And I notice annotations for Elantris, you said something about seeing the future could go weird-- sends assassins. Is that a running--

    Brandon Sanderson

    It is a running theme in the cosmere. And it's-- Whatever path you take to do it is dangerous in the cosmere. It's kind of a sign of-- You are in dangerous territory, and drawing upon a Shard that is--

    Questioner

    Potentially...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Potentially-- Yes. I mean to say-- Dangerous territory.

    Salt Lake City signing ()
    #4972 Copy

    Chaos

    So, at the Forbidden Planet signing you said that when Adonalsium was Shattered, all Investiture in the cosmere was associated to one of the Shards... So, what happened with Adonalsium's spren on Roshar? Were those associated to Honor and Cultivation? What happened with them?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So they were very-- They were already associated to certain parts of Adonalsium and they went with those associations. There's a lot of Cultivation in all of the spren, particularly the natural spren.

    Orem signing ()
    #4974 Copy

    JoyBlu

    Evi, in Oathbringer, she uses strange idioms and you mentioned you wanna be on the lookout for people who use strange idioms... Is Evi native to Roshar?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes... Her people are related to the Iri, who are not native to Roshar. But she is not Iriali herself. And all the Iriali, they are native to Roshar, people who are born now, even if their people aren't. So Evi-- You can say, right, like, no humans are native to Roshar. But, yes, she was born on Roshar.

    JoyBlu

    ...Would she might have some of the same blood in her that Vivenna and Siri would have?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Viviena and Siri... Oh, from... Ah, I'll RAFO that.

    Brandon's Blog 2017 ()
    #4981 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    On tour, I did a reading from what up until now was listed as "Mystery Project" on my website. If you missed the newsletter explanation, I've pulled the book I was going to release next year (The Apocalypse Guard) because it needs more work. Instead, I've turned my attention to something else—and after a furious bout of writing, I'm confident in where it's going. So it's time to announce Skyward.

    Like Steelheart and its sequels, this is a kind of borderline YA/Adult project. In the US, it will be published by Delacorte Press (publisher of Steelheart) in the Young Adult section of bookstores, while in the UK it will be published by Gollancz (publisher of almost all my books) in my main line, shelved in the science fiction/fantasy section of bookstores.

    I've mentioned Skyward before in summaries of stories I'm working on, but haven't said much about it. I started noodling with the ideas in 2012, I believe. (The year that the Write About Dragons recordings of my lectures happened, where I mentioned it briefly—but not by name.) The first outline thoughts are dated summer 2013. It's a book I've been wanting to write for a long time, and it finally came together this year.

    It has its roots in some of the very first books I ever read as a young man getting into fantasy. Like many young readers, I was captured by books about dragons, specifically books about boys who find dragons and learn to fly them. These have been staples of the fantasy genre for some fifty years. For me, it was The White Dragon by Anne McCaffrey and Dragon's Blood by Jane Yolen. For others, the "boy and his dragon" story that captured them was Eragon, or How to Train Your Dragon.

    I've always loved this story archetype, but I've never written anything using it. This is in part because…well, it's a familiar story. Too familiar. I wasn't certain I could add anything new to it. So I left it alone, letting ideas simmer, until in 2012 something struck me. Could I mash this together with a flight school story like Top Gun or Ender's Game, and do something that wasn't "a boy and his dragon," but was instead "a girl and her starfighter"?

    Skyward was born, much like Mistborn, with me taking two ideas and mashing them together to see where they went. And they went someplace incredible—I grew increasingly excited about the project, as I saw in it a chance to both play in a space I loved, and do some very interesting things with story and theme. It wasn't until this year that I got the personalities of the characters right, but I really got excited when I found a place for this in the lore of stories I'd been creating.

    The official pitch is this: Defeated, crushed, and driven almost to extinction, the remnants of the human race are trapped on a planet that is constantly attacked by mysterious alien starfighters. Spensa, a teenage girl living among them, longs to be a pilot. When she discovers the wreckage of an ancient ship, she realizes this dream might be possible—assuming she can repair the ship, navigate flight school, and (perhaps most importantly) persuade the strange machine to help her. Because this ship, uniquely, appears to have a soul.

    As I've played with Skyward over the years, I tried to pull it into the Cosmere, then found it didn't work there. However, it is in the continuity of something I've written before. Something that isn't the Cosmere, and isn't the Reckoners. And no, I won't say anything more for now.

    The goal right now is to have Skyward done in time for a publication date of November 6, 2018. We'll see if I can meet that deadline! I'm optimistic. As always, you can follow along on the progress bar on my website. Look for a cover reveal and chance to pre-order soon!

    General Reddit 2017 ()
    #4982 Copy

    Phantine

    Would Lord Mastrell be a good name to disambiguate it [the original draft of White Sand] from the Graphic Novel and the Prime version?

    Peter Ahlstrom

    No, Lord Mastrell (actually spelled Lord Mastrel at the time) was the third book Brandon wrote, but it's essentially the second half of White Sand Prime. That book didn't finish, he just got to where he had written 243k words and said "guess that's the end of the book." Then Lord Mastrel was another 204k.

    Both together cover the same amount of story as the later version of White Sand. Glancing quickly at the end of Lord Mastrel, a big difference was that Kenton got 6 months to prove himself instead of two weeks. (Also, for some reason Lord Mastrel has all manual page breaks. The horror!) There are also some...interesting differences in how the final vote went.

    General Reddit 2017 ()
    #4983 Copy

    Lurcher

    Here are the lists of things that I've noticed could be reasons why certain Herald images get chosen. I also picked up on alot of this stuff because the folks over at Tor have done a WoR re-read and have a dedicated "Heraldic Symbolism" subsection they devote for each chapter. They speculate as to why the specific herald(s) were chosen. Specifically Alice Arneson (one of the re-readers) has seemingly done some good research into this, so I'll give her credit for a lot of this.

    I mostly listed these out for my own reference as I've been meaning to do so (since I usually keep them in my head when figuring this out when reading).

    1. Herald themselves (mentioned, talked about, or actually has an appearance)
    2. Some object associated with a herald (example: A specific herald's honorblade)
    3. Member of Order (ex: Kaladin=Windrunners=Jezrien)
    4. Characters portraying divine attribute behavior (example: Loving and Healing)
    5. Characters portraying the inverse of divine attribute behavior (example: Hating and Destroying)
    6. Herald of <concept> - things associated with that concept. Known examples: 1) Shalash: Herald of Beauty 2) Nalan: Herald of Justice 3) Jezrien: Herald of Kings 4) Taln: Herald of War 5) Ishar: Herald of Luck

    7. Roles associated with a herald Known Examples: 1)Chana: Guards 2)Taln: Soldiers/war 3)Ishar: Ardents/religion 4)Vedel: Physicians

    8. Essences (https://coppermind.net/wiki/Ten_Essences ): Essence, body focus, Soulcasting properties...(this one is a stretch as I've never really could pinpoint this well enough)

    9. Jester/Masked face (as mentioned in other posts on this thread). This can be tied to chapters with Wit them or tied to concepts related to him, the biggest one (I think) being storytelling.

    How'd I do? :)

    Note: I loved the "Four Lifetimes" chapter's heraldic symbolism in Oathbringer (I'm a little over halfway through the book), but I thought that was great showing the different roles/lives Kaladin has filled: Surgeon (Vedel), Soldier (Taln), Guard (Chana), and Leader/Windrunner (Jezrien). Bravo.

    Peter Ahlstrom

    How did you do? Pretty much a home run. There's only one thing you're missing, which you may have implied, and that's the gemstones. Also, there's a little bit more to #5 that will be explored further later in the series.

    Your "Four Lifetimes" analysis is spot-on. Congratulations.

    General Reddit 2017 ()
    #4984 Copy

    jamiedgreen

    In chapter 37 [of Oathbringer], as Rock is looking for his family after the Voidbringer attack, he notes an arrow fletched with goose feathers.

    Was this intentional? Should it be chicken?

    Peter Ahlstrom

    Horneater language has a word for goose, and they have them in the Peaks. I'm pretty sure geese used to be mentioned another time by Rock in an earlier draft, but that might have been cut.

    General Reddit 2017 ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    I don't even put spren in on the first draft, that's just too much to keep in my brain. Afterward, I do a draft where I just go in and add all that stuff. It's like adding the special effects to a movie.

    Peter Ahlstrom

    So, Brandon actually does put a number of spren in the first draft. But part of Karen's job as continuity editor is to find more places to add the spren and mark those in the document. Then on the next draft Brandon puts spren there if he judges them to be good places for spren.

    General Reddit 2017 ()
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    Peter Ahlstrom

    The labels on the [Oathbringer Oathgates] map are written by Nazh. Anytime you see this font used, it's Nazh writing it.

    Ray745

    I assume this means Nazh somehow got his hands on this ancient/priceless piece of art/map and had no compunction writing all over it? I'm honestly just a little surprised Nazh didn't write a note to Khriss somewhere on it.

    Peter Ahlstrom

    All his notes are written for Khriss.

    Probably this isn't the only copy of this page on Roshar. It's like the manuscripts copied over and over by monks in our world.

    General Reddit 2017 ()
    #4990 Copy

    airsicklowlanders

    If someone shaves with a shardrazor is that shave their last shave?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, not unless you cut down beneath the skin--so nicks maybe would be a problem...

    Jimbyl

    Would a living spren be able to choose whether or not they cut something? Like could Syl make herself cut nonliving objects without also harming living things? If that's possible, could that go even farther and make it so a radiant's blade could only harm specific targets?

    I'm starting to think up a ridiculous scenario where a radiant cuts through an ally without harming them to get to an enemy.

    Brandon Sanderson

    As it stands, no, this is not possible. (Sorry.) It's possible the spren could dismiss in time, then reappear on the other side, and FAKE that they'd done this--but couldn't simply choose not to do damage while cutting someone.

    General Reddit 2017 ()
    #4991 Copy

    Phantine

    What's up with Mare? Here's my Conspiracy Wall about her.

    TL;DR Paalm was Mare. She spent most of Shadows of Self trying to imitate Kelsier.

    Brandon Sanderson

    This one is a RAFO, I'm afraid. As I've said, there are things about Mare I haven't gone into.

    Phantine

    Putting aside whether this theory was accurate...

    Have you seeded anything else in the books that this level of newspaper-clippings-connected-with-string thinking would be necessary to figure out?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I have put things in like this, but generally I don't think I'm putting in enough foreshadowing for them to be recognized--I'm just working under an assumption on my part, which then reflects in the writing, which then people put together. (Which sometimes surprises me.)

    So, I don't generally put in puzzles this complex intentionally to make people figure them out. But the puzzles do end up in the stories, and can be figured out, nonetheless.

    General Reddit 2017 ()
    #4992 Copy

    [unknown]

    Rereading Words of Radiance... Are the Herdazians a caricature of Mexicans? Is that ok?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Parts of their culture are inspired by Mexican culture in the same way the Alethi are inspired by Mongolians, Lift's origins are indigenous Bolivians, and the Final Empire (Central Dominance) was 1800's France. Human beings need a launching-off point for creativity to work.

    I don't consider them a caricature. Lopen is extreme to say the least, but I made sure to include Palona, Huio, and others as a balancing factor. That said, I don't get to decide if what I did works--I get to try, and explain my motivations, but the decision on whether or not I succeed is not in my hands. Many a writer has had the best intentions, but has failed anyway.

    I think it's important to diversify my inspirations, and push myself. If I were going to say the true inspirations for Herdazians, it would be a Mexico mashup with Korea (where I lived for several years.) The smaller country that has long been overshadowed by a dominant neighbor is a very common thing in our world, and it really felt like Alethkar would have a similar effect on kingdoms around it.

    I will take a moment to note that chouta wasn't inspired by burritos, really, but more the "street food" explosion that accompanied the industrial revolution. I took what they had in the society (flatbread and Soulcast meat) and tried to build something that would replicate the things I've seen and read about in our world during that era, because it fascinates me.

    General Reddit 2017 ()
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    White_Sign_Soapstone

    If I were to guess: allo- would have its roots in the word allos (Greek for different, also the root of alloy), feru- would be ferrum (latin for iron), and hema- would be haima (Greek? for blood).

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, I could mix traditions and linguistics a little and pass it off based on my theory of translation for the books. The construct is that the person translating them for us is looking for words that evoke the right feel in English, not for exact 100% accuracy. So she can mix greek and latin roots, play a little loose and free, to give the right vibe to the reader--when in the world, they would have a single in-world linguistic tradition.

    Either way, you've popped out the right ones, though I want to say the last was hemat as a root.

    Aaronator17

    Hang on a moment.... I always assumed that the translation effect from in-world language to English (or other Earth languages that allowed us to read the books) was more of a passive thing, almost like we are 'Connecting' to the stories which enables us to read the words that make sense to us.

    Are you saying here that the process is actually by design? That someone (from the sounds of it Khriss) is somehow actively translating the events of the books and that's why we read them in our native language? Is this something that has been discussed before and I missed it?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I've always imagined a hypothetical translator into English, more as a writing construct (to explain certain things and the way I do things) than anything else. I wouldn't consider it canon, in that there is no Earth in the cosmere, but it's how I frame the process for myself. It's how I explain to myself that certain metaphors work and the like.

    General Reddit 2017 ()
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    ChaliceOfCalus

    After finishing Oathbringer I started a reread of Warbreaker and noticed something.

    Page 427 of Warbreaker:

    Susebron: "Didn't you eat before you came to my chambers?"

    Siri: "I did, but growing that much hair is draining. It always leaves me hungry."

    Sounds similar to our favorite Edgedancer, but I thought she was supposed to be one of a kind on the whole getting Investiture through food? I'm assuming the Royal Locks have something to do with Investiture.

    loegare

    FWIW, i asked this question in my Warbreaker book and got RAFO

    So in war beaker Siri is able to convert food directly into hair growth through the Royal Locks, we know that the Royal Locks are somehow related to investiture, so my question is, can Siri/Viv convert food into investiture to use in Awakening (or Surgebinding or any other uses of magic in the cosmere) similar to Lift and her awesomeness.

    Brandon Sanderson

    As far as I know, you were the first to catch on to this. (Or at least ask about it) so that should be a very proud RAFO. There is something here, but it's not as deep as you might assume.

    General Reddit 2017 ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    The book [Oathbringer] did great, and I'm doing just fine. US and UK publishers are both very happy. I achieved financial independence through my writing years ago at this point, and I have plenty of money. I have enough in investments that my passive income would be enough to live for the rest of my life at my current standard of living--I write purely for artistic satisfaction. (Which has kind of been the way it's always been, but it IS far less stressful now.)

    We're generally really coy about talking numbers in the book industry, perhaps because we don't want to brag. There are a ton of authors out there who sell less than 1k books on a new release, and so flaunting my numbers...well, I don't know. It makes me uncomfortable.

    That said, remember that books and records don't sell as much as people assume they do. Taylor Swift, one of the most popular singers of our time, sold...what, 1.5 million albums the first week of her last release? Granted, album sales aren't what they used to be (it's all about streaming now), but film numbers tend to make us inflate book and album numbers in our heads. 2k book sales is enough to get on the bestseller list, many weeks of the year.

    (As an aside, when Elantris sold 400 copies its first week, and I was devastated until my agent told me that was actually really good for a new author hardcover.)

    That said, we did WAY more than 400 copies, and Oathbringer is the bestselling book I've ever had out of the gate. It's probably more like double or 2.25 the opening of Words. (When I said 3X I was forgetting that my Words of Radiance figures didn't include audio, while my Oathbringer numbers did.)

    Oathbringer will likely crest a million copies across all formats--but it will take a number of years. I'm not sure if TWOK has hit a million yet, for example. (Though if it hasn't, it's in that neighborhood.) Very few books get to 10mil without some kind of film or television franchise to propel them. I'd guess that the only single sf/f book sitting at over 10mil copies without a major adaptation is Foundation.

    Anyway, Oathbringer's success won't stop the publishers from griping just a little that the books are too long. (Bookstores complain that they don't fit on shelves very well, and take up too much space, things like that.) But the book will still sell more copies than any other new release the publisher has this year, and if they do gripe, it's mostly just habit at this point. They're actually quite pleased. They just can't help imagining a world where they could split Oathbringer into three smaller books, and make the bookstores happy while making more money.

    (And note, you shouldn't be annoyed at them for this. The publisher's job is to point out financial realities, as authors tend to be very bad at such things. They didn't try to force me to cut or split the book. They just always ask, very nicely, "Is there a way the book could be shorter?" and I reply, "Sorry. But this is how it has to be." And then they go about making it work.)

    Be warned, though, we might have to go from hardcover straight to trade paperback (skipping the mass market paperback) because of printing realities.

    alexanderwales

    One thing I've long been curious about: how much does putting out a new book in a series increase sales of the first in the series? I would assume that Oathbringer caused a bump in sales for The Way of Kings, but I'm not sure to what extent, or if that assumption actually holds true.

    Brandon Sanderson

    The assumption holds true. Bookscan for last week proves it. This is only print books recorded by retail chains, so it's only a small glimpse, but it's most of the print numbers. (As it does include Amazon and B&N.) I'll put numbers from six months ago in () after, so you can see the growth.

    TWOK: 1500 copies (700)

    WOR: 800 copies (450)

    TWOK: Trade Paperback: 650 Copies (156)

    TWOK Hardcover: 454 (123)

    Mistborn 1: 450 Copies (350)

    Mistborn Trilogy Boxed Set: 450 Copies (350)

    Words of Radiance Trade paperback: 380 copies (Not out yet)

    Words of Radiance hardcover: 270 copies. (130)

    Steelheart: 325 copies (274) Arcanum hardcover: 280 Copies (180)

    Bands of Mourning, Shadows of Self, Warbreaker, Alloy of Law: All right around 230-260 (Maybe 10% different.)

    Elantris, Firefight, Calamity, Mistborn 2, Mistborn 3: 160-200 (Same.)

    Lowly Rithmatist at the bottom with 113. (85)

    Note that some things, like the hardcovers jumping up in sales, are because bookstores ordered them special for my signings.

    Innoculi

    What about digital copies?

    Brandon Sanderson

    They tend to run 2X the print, but I don't get an email with them every week like I do print--so I don't track them as closely.

    General Reddit 2017 ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    I don't like emailing out this book [Dragonsteel Prime] because of things /u/JawKneePawLick talks about. All the good things in it have been done better in later books--there isn't a single character attribute or theme by this point that hasn't been repurposed better in Stormlight.

    You can glean some little things about the cosmere, but not much. I didn't start canonizing real cosmere elements until Mistborn. The book just isn't great, and what it does contain in regards to the cosmere has either been changed or will be changed.

    State of the Sanderson 2017 ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Conclusion: Birthday!

    Last year, I tried out something where—in response to people asking me if they could send me birthday gifts—I suggested sending me a magic card from a specific set, with a signature and note on the back.

    This was a little experiment that people had a lot of fun with, and this year I want to post the results! That means a lot of photos, as I wanted to show the notes people wrote on the cards. Many of you included touching letters to me as well, which I read and appreciate—though those tended to be a little more personal in nature, so I'm not going to post them.

    Some of you will be completely uninterested in this, so we've collected the images in a gallery rather than posting them all here. Have fun browsing through them! And thank you so much to everyone. It was a lot of fun to see the little notes that you'd all sent in.

    I'm forty-two today, which is an auspicious number in science fiction fandom. It's going to be tough to top these last few months and the reception to Oathbringer.

    The fact that I get to do this crazy thing for a living continues to be the best gift of them all.

    State of the Sanderson 2017 ()
    #5000 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Projected Schedule

    My projected publication schedule looking forward swaps The Apocalypse Guard out for Skyward and moves the Legion collection into the place of Wax and Wayne 4, reflecting what I actually wrote this year. (Note, these are always very speculative. And Peter is probably already worried about Stormlight 4.)

    September 2018: Stephen Leeds/Legion Collection

    November 2018: Skyward

    Fall 2019: Wax and Wayne 4

    Sometime 2019: Skyward 2

    Sometime 2020: Stormlight 4

    Sometime 2020: Skyward 3