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Brandon Sanderson Newsletter for May 2014


Hey, all! Brandon here. It’s been a few months since the release of Words of Radiance, and the book was a smash success. Thank you all for your continued support and enthusiasm.

I’m unlikely to tour again until early next year, so I wanted to drop you all a newsletter and let you know what I have going on in the next six months or so.

In This Newsletter

Convention Appearances

I’ll be attending a few conventions the remainder of this year, starting off with this weekend. I hope to see you at one of them! See my events calendar for details.

Baltimore: May 23–26, Balticon
I’m doing a blog post about my Balticon schedule on Thursday, so if you’re local, check it out!

Salt Lake City: July 3–6, Westercon
This convention will also feature the release of the Writing Excuses Anthology. See below.

Spain: July 30–August 2, Celsius 232 in Avilés
This is my one stop in continental Europe for the year.

London: August 4–6
Details of my UK appearances are still being worked out, but these are the dates I’ll be there. Check my calendar for the locations and times as August approaches.

Calgary: August 8–10, When Words Collide
I’ve almost gotten to Calgary once before, but this time you won’t be able to avoid me.

Salt Lake City: September 4–6, Salt Lake Comic Con
I’m not sure yet which days of the convention I’ll be there. Possibly just one day. Details are subject to change, and will firm up as the convention approaches.

Writing Excuses Anthology

I haven’t mentioned this anywhere else yet, but the newsletter gets a sneak peek. We’ll be debuting something cool at Westercon—an anthology collecting the stories we at Writing Excuses brainstormed on air a while back. My contribution to the anthology is a Cosmere novella titled “Sixth of the Dusk,” and you can read a preview here. Aside from being released in hardcover, the anthology will also be available as an ebook. More news on this is coming in June!

Legion 2

Revisions aren’t done yet, but Legion: Skin Deep is finished and I expect the book to come out later this year. (If you haven’t read the first Legion yet, you might want to hold off on grabbing a copy until June, as we should be running it as part of a StoryBundle where you can grab it and other books for a discount. Look for an announcement on my website on June 18th.)

Firefight

The release date for the Steelheart sequel is January 6th. I’ve finished the second draft and have feedback from my editor on the whole book. The book turned out really, really well, but there are some issues with the ending that still need to be fixed. I expect to be done with the next draft in June, and then it will start going into production. You can preorder Firefight here.

Stormlight Three

I know that the sequel to Words of Radiance is the book that many of you want most to hear about. I plan to start writing it late this summer, and you can watch the progress bars on my website as I do so! You shouldn’t have to wait nearly as long for book three as you did for book two.

Altered Perceptions Anthology

While you’re waiting for Stormlight Three, you’ll be able to read five chapters from the original version of The Way of Kings that I wrote back in 2003. They’re very different from the published novel. On tour, I mentioned that originally Kaladin made a very big decision in the first version of the book that took him in a completely different direction.

You also may want to in Stormlight Three yourself—to have your name used for a member of Bridge Four or someone else in another of my worlds. For three generous people, this will be possible. Read on.

What Is Altered Perceptions?

The Altered Perceptions anthology will collect “altered” versions of published stories—deleted scenes, alternate endings, original concept chapters, and that sort of thing. This anthology is where you’ll be able to find the five chapters of the original version of The Way of Kings. You can see a brief preview at the end of this newsletter.

These chapters are quite fun, as I consider what happened in The Way of Kings Prime (as I now call it) to be an “alternate reality” version of the events in the published books. The characters are almost all exactly the same people, but their backstories are different, and that has transformed who they are and how they react to the world around them. Roshar is similar, yet wildly different, as this was before I brought in the spren as a major world element.

If you’re a fan of the Stormlight Archive, I think you’ll find these chapters quite interesting. The anthology also includes a lot of very cool scenes, chapters, and stories from awesome authors, so please check it out.

Why Are We Doing It?

This anthology was my idea, conceived to benefit my friend Robison Wells, a writer who has nearly been crushed by the weight of severe and unexpected mental illness. The money will help him pay his debts, which came upon him as a result of losing his job following the advent of his difficulties. They came upon him quite unexpectedly, and his story serves as a reminder to all of us that mental illness—though something we speak about far less often—can come upon a person as unexpectedly as cancer or heart disease.

Rob is a great guy, and a great member of my local writing community. He has published several novels nationally, all of which are quite good, and was the primary force behind the founding of the Whitney Awards, created to honor LDS writers. He’s also the brother of Dan Wells, my podcasting buddy.

The anthology is being launched via an IndieGoGo campaign, which you can read more about here. There’s also a video with a bit more from Rob on his condition, and I talk about the idea for the anthology at around the 3:09 mark. As for what you get for contributing to the campaign, a simple ten bucks will get you the ebook of every contribution to the anthology, DRM-free, to be used on any platform you desire. However, there are also other cool things up for grabs. (Critiques, dinners, signed editions, and Larry Correia blowing things up with a big gun. Three truly generous donors will also be able to have their names appear in one of my future books. See here for details.)

Rob has been spectacular at getting a handle on his illness and learning to manage it. He has written new books and has them on submission. We’re confident that if we can help him dig out from underneath some of this debt, he will be able to cope long-term. We hope that you’ll be interested enough in this project to lend a hand and get something cool in return.

The IndieGoGo funding campaign ends in three days, and it’s still short of its goal. The anthology will be released and all perks will be delivered even if the goal isn’t met, but the funding goal is an accurate measure of what will dig Rob out of his current hole.

Local Utah television station KSL put an article about the anthology on their website today. Check it out.

And now, enjoy the following preview of the 27,000 words from the first version of The Way of Kings that will be included in the anthology.

Brandon


Elhokar cursed. “That move exposes our entire central line! Who is in charge back there?”

“My son,” Dalenar said.

“Renarin? The boy couldn’t duel a blind woman.”

“He’s well-practiced at tactics,” Dalenar said stiffly. “If you’d wanted to appoint someone else, you should have done it before you went dashing off to try and get yourself killed.”

Elhokar turned, his eyes dark at the lack of respect.

Be careful, Dalenar warned himself. This is not your brother. Elhokar is a different man. “We should return, your majesty,” Dalenar said, wrestling down his anger. “It is not safe.”

Elhokar waved his hand dismissively at the word ‘safe.’ His honor guard had finally managed to catch up, pushing through a widening gap that was dividing the Prallan army into two separate forces. In the distance, several more Prallan towers were rolling forward into the fray—a final, desperate attempt to turn the battle. However, with the Aleth central line threatened, they could actually make a difference.

Dalenar felt a sudden stab of worry. The battle had nearly been theirs. However, if the Prallans pressed the west, and if those towers held . . .

Renarin, what in the name of the Thoughtgiver are you doing?

The honor guard approached, accompanied by a large group of spearmen and one mounted man. Meridas regarded the corpses and fallen tower with his usual indifference. Dalenar, however, was impressed to see the man approach. Meridas was no Shardbearer—his armor was a simple breastplate of normal steel, and he wore a regular sword at his side. Venturing away from the relative safety of the tower was a brave feat, even if he was accompanied by several hundred soldiers.

“Meridas,” the king said as the councilor bowed differentially. “Good. I need your horse.”

“Your majesty?” the merchant asked with concern as Elhokar dismissed his Blade—the weapon disappearing back into smoke—and clinked forward, waving for the tall merchant to dismount.

“Elhokar . . .” Dalenar said warningly.

The king, however, simply raise a forestalling hand. “I’m just going back to the tower, uncle. I need to find out how much of a mess your son has made of our battle.”

“The scouts discovered an army of Prallans far to the west,” Meridas explained as he dismounted. “I told him to send a messenger for you, but he withdrew the line instead, fearing that we would be flanked.”

Dalenar frowned, finally understanding Meridas’s willingness to enter the field. This wasn’t the loyal vassal braving the battle to seek his king, it was the petulant underling seeking an ear to tell his tale.

“Your majesty,” Dalenar said, stepping forward. “Wait for Aredor to—”

The king mounted Meridas’ horse, then kicked it into a gallop without a word. Dalenar tried to summon his frustration, but it was growing increasingly difficult. He had sworn his life to defend the son of the brother he had loved. Spears he could block, Shardbearers he could duel, but the boy’s own stubbornness made for an impossible battle.

Behind him, several attendants stripped the Shardplate off of the young man Dalenar had killed. He had been no older than Renarin, a boy forced into the role of a man by circumstances and title. Once, hatred and fury had lent Dalenar their power. Now, pity was sapping his strength as steadily as age.

He was so distracted by his unpleasant emotions that it took him a moment to register Aredor’s yell. Dalenar’s head snapped up, turning toward his son, who was leaping atop his horse and summoning his Shardblade.

Dalenar followed his son’s gaze, looking past the frantic honor guard, past the confused Meridas. The king had been unhorsed somehow, and stood, looking dazed, his Shardblade still unsummoned. Above him a mounted figure raised its weapon to strike again. A fourth enemy Shardbearer. Where had he come from?

They were too far away. Aredor couldn’t get to him, and the honor guard had been left behind. Blue-uniformed corpses lay scattered around the two figures—men cut down while Dalenar hadn’t been looking. Other spearmen were running away, or standing stunned. The king . . .

One, solitary spearman in blue suddenly dashed across the rocks and jumped at the unnamed Shardbearer. Only one man.

But it was enough. The spearman jumped up with a heroic bound, tossing aside his spear and grabbing ahold of the enemy Shardbearer’s waist. The weight threw off the surprised Prallan’s strike, and he missed the king. Unbalanced, the Shardbearer reached desperately for his reins, but missed. He tumbled backward, the brave Aleth spearman hanging stubbornly to the man’s waist.

The king recovered his wits, summoning his Shardblade and backing away. Tensets of footmen, realizing their opportunity, jumped for the fallen Shardbearer, spears raised.


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