If you’re reading this on the blog, you’ll notice that snow has started falling. That means it’s December, the last month of the year. As is the tradition around here, this month tends to be a reflection on the past year. Over the next few weeks, I’ll share the novels I’ve read, I’ll wrap up the Friday Link Packs (more on that later), and we’ll pass from 2015 to 2016 and move into the heart of winter here in the Pacific Northwest.

A few weeks back, after I was dealing with some serious creative malaise, my wife suggested me to read the book Art and Fear. It’s an excellent little book, and if you’re a creator, especially one struggling with your work, I urge you to read it. I wrote a post about it here. It’s poignant and encouraging, and it lifted my spirits. Some of the things it said gave me pause and those moments of reflections have lead to some decisions. So, I present to you The State of the Cycle, a look at the future of The Bell Forging Cycle, where things stand, where we’re going, and what other projects I’m working on.

1.) Where Do Things Stand?

Red Litten World is out, which means the series is currently a trilogy. After some hiccups in the initial print run and some other issues, I am pleased with where things are at currently. (Not that both didn’t come with obnoxious amounts of stress.) Some great reviews rolling in on both Amazon and Goodreads and it seems everyone is enjoying being back in Lovat, which makes me pretty dang happy.

To date, I have sold several thousand copies from the series and continue to see people starting their journey with Waldo Emerson Bell and his crew. A lot of that is thanks to you, my readers. Your reviews help. You blog posts help. Your fan art helps. Your general encouragement helps. All of it goes a long way towards getting others interest in the series. Thank you so much, and please keep it up. I can shout this from the mountaintop all I want, but it’s readers who influence other readers.

I have a few people email me about this, and I know a few people thought this series would be wrapped up in a trilogy, but that was never the plan. The Bell Forging Cycle was always intended to be a hexology. There are at least three more books to write in Waldo’s tale, and things are going to get turbulent before we finish.

I should also mention; there are now a lot of interesting little tidbits scattered around the internet these days. Stuff that reveals more and offers glimpses into other aspects of the world of the Territories. If you’re so inclined, poke around, share what you find, secrets await for those willing to search.

2.) When Is the Next Bell Forging Cycle Novel Coming?

That is the question I get asked the most. (Usually, after someone finished the latest book.) The honest answer is: I am not sure, but probably not in 2016.

I realize that’s not the most precise of answers, and please don’t think I am going to Geroge R. R. Martin you, you’re not going to have to wait eleven years between novels. I want to do this right, and I am adjusting my production to allow that. I am going to take time and refine my process. I’m also hunkering down on two other projects before I dive into book four. There is the possibility of a Bell Forging Cycle novella next year, but I’d much rather release it properly than rush it to the market and have it be something unsatisfying.

3.) Okay, What Are These Other Projects?

I’m mentioned both of them before, and I am still hard at work on each. In the past, I started talking about books way before they were ready. I’m trying hard not to do that again, so pardon the vagueness.


This is a standalone non-traditional fantasy and I playing my cards close for now. I might reveal the name, continuing to referring to it as my “standalone non-traditional fantasy” is getting tiresome. The manuscript is complete. I am revising it; it ended up being a much bigger project than I expected. Needless to say, I am excited about it’s prospects, and if you like weird fantasy novels you’ll, probably really enjoy this.

I’d love to see this released in 2016, but I am considering taking this manuscript and pursuing traditional publishing, and that could slow things down. We’ll see how that goes.


It’s called Coal Belly, a manuscript I have written, rewritten, tried to shop, and then eventually scrapped in favor of working on The Stars Were Right. It’s not uncommon for me. I’ve done it before. (I have many finished and half-finished manuscripts behind me) But, unlike the other dead manuscripts, this one haunted me. I love its characters; I love its strange world and its odd magic. I want to tell its story.

All that said, the former manuscript was old, and in the last five years I have matured a lot in my writing. So, recently, I decided the best way to tell this story was to strip it down to its bones and rewrite it.

If you like swashbuckling action, riverboats, political intrigue, civil war, and magic, then this will be a story for you. As of right now, there are no plans for a release date.

4.) Wait, Backup a Sec, What’s This Novella?

Ah, good question. It’s told from Wensem’s perspective and takes place during the events of Red Litten World. I won’t say more on here since I don’t want to spoil anything for those who haven’t read book three. The events in RLW were the perfect catalyst for this story. It’s in the tracker on the right, and I’m enjoying expanding the world of the Bell Forging Cycle in a new direction. If you’re a fan, I think you’ll enjoy this.

5.) So, 2016 Plans?

Right now: writings and cons and writings and cons and over and over and over. I’m still sorting out my travel schedule, but I will be attending NorWesCon in the spring, and I’m also hoping to expand into Portland a few times as well as head over to the Spokane area. I had some great experiences in both locations last year. As always I will be making announcements here as that happens.

As I mentioned above, if time allows I would love to release my new standalone non-traditional fantasy novel, but I’m focused on taking my time with it. So it’ll be finished when it is finished. So far, that’s my 2016 plans.

So, there is the State of the Cycle, 2015. It’s likely that next year is going to be an exciting year for me, and I hope you’ll continue to follow along. As always I will keep updating I Make Stories and my project tracker as I move forward. I have quite a few more Wild Territories to write, and some other exciting stuff is coming as well.

If you want detailed info ahead of time, make sure to sign up for my newsletter. Subscribers get news on releases before anyone else. I don’t send many, maybe four or five a year. Sign up today →