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Friday, August 5, 2016

Just Sent Court Wizard In.

I'd like to say it's the Final Edition, but the fact of the matter is that after a marathon rewrite, and careful scrutiny, I probably missed a few things.  Do me a favor and email me at tmancour@gmail.com if you spot something.

Now . . . I'm done with Court Wizard.  It was a problematic book for several reasons.  Let me go through them here, instead of making you suffer with an Author's Afterword in the book (note: I withhold the right to include this as an Author's Afterword in some future edition of the book.)

First, the questions:

1. Why was the book late?

A couple of reasons.  First, I was recovering from the hospitalization and other medical issues associated with the publication of Enchanter (purely coincidental, for those shaking their heads).  We have since discovered that my condition is triggered by diet, and theorized that by avoiding certain foods I can avoid an attack.  I've been able to avoid a hospitalization for ten months, now.  I've even been able to avoid an episode.  After 13 hospitalizations in 3 years, that's a BIG DEAL.

Secondly, this was a Very. Big. Book.  Originally planned for a mere 40 chapters, once I tried to do it justice it blossomed by 10 chapters.

Thirdly, This was inherently difficult book to do from the start.  I intended to write it from a female perspective - the third time I've tried to do that, but the first from a mature woman's perspective.

That's a big deal, too.  There is a lot of angst happening on social media about The Deplorable State of Female Characters In Fantasy Fiction.  From the differing armor standards between male and female action heroes to the lack of good liberal fantasy societies . . . so I wrote Court Wizard.

Here we have a strong, fully-developed female character.  A professional woman in her own right who married out of choice and for love in a society that values neither.  She has challenges, quests. adversaries, and enemies.  A woman powerful in her own right, at the pinnacle of her feudal society.

One might think that would automatically make her a Feminist Icon.  But she really isn't.  Not as the feminist movement understands it.

You see, what most advocates from the feminist movement want, when they want more "feminist" fantasy stories, seem to be characters torn from modern times in medieval dress.  They don't understand some things about the fantasy genre, particularly the Medieval Fantasy genre.

The modern feminist movement is largely a product of post-industrial civilization.  Before the Industrial Revolution (Ye Olde Medieval Tymes, in which most high fantasy is set) the dominant form of civilization and culture is agricultural.  The things that were in women's self-interest during agricultural times are exactly the things that the modern feminist movement fights against today.  In agricultural societies a woman's greatest security came from aligning with a powerful family, the strongest institution available to her.  Imagining a realistic feudal, agricultural society that doesn't put a premium on the lives of young men as labor and defense is almost impossible.  One that doesn't put a premium on women who have a lot of babies and can keep an orderly house, likewise.

The point is, imagining a strong, resilient woman having adventures in a feudal society is not hard; we have been given ample historical precedent and plenty of mythological precedent.  But to do so she must exist within that society, not outside of it.

Further, women are different than men.  There, I said it.

In this context, it means that that there is a lot more focus, internally, on the importance of relationships to women, and to truthfully relate that requires a lot more words.  Men and women, as a rule, approach things differently, and I wanted to convey that.  Women live constantly in a world of context that men, in general, simply don't understand or perceive.  I did my best to do that, and that meant going into a lot more depth into Pentandra's relationships as she strives to solve problems.

So for everyone who complains that there are no realistic female characters in fantasy novels: here you go.


2.  Why was the book released early?

It wasn't raw greed.  While I'm as susceptible to that as anyone - heck, more than most - it wasn't my intention to release the book before I was ready.  But there were extenuating circumstances.

If you look at the dedication to Court Wizard, you'll see the name Toni.  That's my wife's Aunt Toni, a beloved figure in her youth.  Toni developed cancer, a particularly brutal form, and after her diagnosis her son-in-law passed away due to complications before a heart transplant.  I won't go into further details, but you can imagine how difficult that was for an old Southern family.

I can't do a lot in this world, but the one thing I can do is dedicate my books.  Before she passed away, two weeks after Court Wizard was published, she got to see her dedication, her name, at the head of a long list of strong, intelligent, valiant women.

It was a little thing, but it was what I could do.  And it was totally worth all the negative reviews I got for releasing the book early.

The second reason it was messed up was that I had originally a much different - and complex - structure for it, with Antimei framing the entire story by telling Alurra the story as it will happen - and with her death at the end.

Only I didn't like that.  Too complicated, and too fatalistic.  Along the way I thought of a reason to keep Antimei alive, so I did it that way.  So I reshuffled a lot of chapters around, wrote a new ending, and righteously fucked up the continuity of the story.

All of that should be fixed, now.  If you run across further errors, please email me.

Oh, and I included the first chapters of both Hawklady and Shadowmage at the end.  And yes, I will push them out to people as soon as they are up so everyone has the edited copy.

But I'm beat, now.  I'm going to have an Adult Beverage and celebrate.

I just wrote a book again.


49 comments:

  1. Awesome news, good to hear about your current health.

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  2. Respect!

    Knights!

    All kneel to Sir Terry!

    Thanks for all the hard work, looking forward to reading the new version. Cheers!

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    1. KNEEL BEFORE THE MOST HONORABLE SIRE TERRY OF MANCOUR

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  3. I really enjoy your books. That being said I wonder if you could tell us the names and hoped for scheduling of the upcoming novels, you said that the series would be 30 books?

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  4. I really enjoy your books. That being said I wonder if you could tell us the names and hoped for scheduling of the upcoming novels, you said that the series would be 30 books?

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  5. Hey Terry, can you push the update? Thanks.

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  6. Anyone know if the new version is up yet?

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  7. The new update hasn't been sent through my kindle yet any idea on how long it will take?

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    1. It's out, though it doesn't automatically update. I had to call Amazon to get it updated.

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    2. You can trigger the update manually by going to amazon.com, then manage content & devices, then there should be an "Update Available" button beside the book.

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  8. Hey guys, the updated version looks good with the first chapters of the next two books. I did have to 'Contact us' with Amazon, as the update didn't automatically show up in "Manage my content and device" Amazon sent through the updated version in a few seconds
    Thank you so much Terry, the length of this book is perfect! I'm all for longer books from you!!

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  9. Thanks Terry. I just had my edition updated and of course I read the 1st chapters of Hawklady and Shadow Mage first. I just couldn't be patient and reread the finalized version and then the new chapters for the upcoming books. SM drew me in. Dang it!

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  10. Thanks Terry. I just had my edition updated and of course I read the 1st chapters of Hawklady and Shadow Mage first. I just couldn't be patient and reread the finalized version and then the new chapters for the upcoming books. SM drew me in. Dang it!

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    1. The first chapter in Shadowmage had me saying a 4 letter word when I read the final page. What a great start! I'm glad you brought up Iyugi. It's been awhile since we've heard anything about him. I always like the banter between tyn and ron. Can't wait for the havoc they are about to cause.

      Hawklady looks good. Is it a YA novel? It seemed tame. I am looking forward to Dara's thoughts about Min and crew.

      As always I find the story you tell truly enjoyable. I might go so far to say that you are my favorite fantasy writer. (I've always liked Terry Pratchett's stories too)

      Please stay healthy and continue to write. May I suggest writing g at least 8 hours a day 5 days a week. Only a 30 minute lunch and short potty breaks. You'll roll out the books quicker that way!

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    2. The first chapter in Shadowmage had me saying a 4 letter word when I read the final page. What a great start! I'm glad you brought up Iyugi. It's been awhile since we've heard anything about him. I always like the banter between tyn and ron. Can't wait for the havoc they are about to cause.

      Hawklady looks good. Is it a YA novel? It seemed tame. I am looking forward to Dara's thoughts about Min and crew.

      As always I find the story you tell truly enjoyable. I might go so far to say that you are my favorite fantasy writer. (I've always liked Terry Pratchett's stories too)

      Please stay healthy and continue to write. May I suggest writing g at least 8 hours a day 5 days a week. Only a 30 minute lunch and short potty breaks. You'll roll out the books quicker that way!

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    3. I for one am interested more in when they take place than what is in them....
      Hawklady clearly begins and ends inside the bounds of events we have already seen, but how far? The battle of the Frozen Lake? The Great Kasari Trek?? most of the books following magelord all the way through enchanter do not have much to do with Sevendor... so are you going to focus on her character in more detail inside a shorter time window, or give a highlights reel of the series from her perspective over a longer period, skipping over the boring parts when Min was off somewhere else.

      As for Shadowmage? While it is true that I very definitely want to see more of the Terrible Twosome's terrible trials in 'Tramar.... (I know that was awful and I don't care.) it too seems to be going over events that we have already been made aware of in other works. I am certain that SM will be far more entertaining than the short summary we are given of the events we are given at the end of CW, the truth is that I want to know what happens after CW... So will SM just be the tale of the great raid on the Rat treasury and the thing with the spider, or will it go further than that?

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  11. Really enjoyed the first chapters of the new books, quite sure u made a spelling mistake on the knight that used to run sevendor before min in hawklady part tho.

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  12. WOW - that chapter of Shadowmage was impressive!
    Firstly I liked the chapter of Hawkmaiden, as a lighter young adult based book, it had loads of interesting nuggets about magical theory and the different types of runes, that fulfilled the nerdy side of my nature. It's nice to see an outsiders view of Min and Penny.

    But Shadowmage! oh my, I was left breathless wanting more. The horrific fate of the old seadog, Tyndal showing massive growth as a character, by showing his maturity and willingness to learn fro Iyurgi and Ron (although I think we'll have to judge him by his actions rather than intensions!!)

    Sounds like Rondal has some growing to do. He seems so far out of his element, that the task is overwhelming him, can't wait to see how the story pans out.

    Will there be another book about the mission with the Kasari to the shrine, or does that come in a later chapter?

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    1. I believe Terry said somewhere that the story of Smokey the bear was going to be published as a short story.....eventually.

      As for Rondal.... Try to remember, this story (or at least some of it) takes place inside an already established timeline. Chapter 1 is the start of the adventure that leads to them returning to Sevendor during enchanter and building the Rat Trap, so we already know some of what will happen there. Im particularly looking forward to the story behind what Tyndal called "A very understated Ruin"

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  13. Oh and one other thing.... One more item on the list of "Things I want to hear more about in Future books" right behind the Celestial Snowflake. When are we gonna hear more about the effects of the Bluestone created by Dunselen at the end of Enchanter? We all know how important snowstone was, so Bluestone might be just as big a deal.

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    1. They talk a little bit about it at the end of this book.

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    2. yes... like 3 sentences about how creepy it is. After the end of Enchanter I already knew it was creepy shit, but I want more. Honestly, Bluestone or no I wouldn't mind a book from Taren's Perspective. hes actually one of my favorite characters

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  14. Anyone having issues with getting the update? I waited until today to order the book from Amazon so that I could avoid the beta. I'm seeing the same issues noted about repeating chapters. And the added chapters of Hawklady and Shadowmage would be separated at the end correct? I have nothing after chapter 50 and I am assume that it is part of Court Mage. Spent 35 minutes on the phone with Amazon and they didn't show there was any update available. Not sure how the previous posts got it from Amazon but the folks I spoke with were clueless.

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    1. Sounds like you have the beta version. Go to the very beginning of the book. Right after the book cover is displayed it should say "Court Wizard Book 8 Of The Spellmonger Series Kindle Edition By Terry Mancour"

      Does it say that or does it say Beta Version?

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    2. just go to support contact them and tell them you want all your kindle ebooks on the newest versions and they will patch it thorough

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  15. I just can't get enough of the Spellmonger series, Terry.

    Having said that, may I take this opportunity to have a little moan - about the maps and diagrams. I love looking at them, generally, but I find that: on my Paperwhite, the colour variations translate to minor variations of grey and they cant be enlarged because they become too pixelated and the annotations cannot be read; on Kindle for PC, the pictures cannot be enlarged at all.

    If anybody can offer a solution for my tired, old eyes, please reply.

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  16. So I have been re reading the series from the start, and I just finished Magelord again. And I just realized something relevant to Shadowmage. At the end of ML, Rard makes Sir Gimbal the keeper of the royal lands within the rebellious zones! There is a decent chance that Tyn and Ron might actually run into The Fool Of Fleria in the next book! Im so excited! Humiliating him accounts for some of the funniest episodes in the whole series!!!

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  17. Terry I think u should have killed Antimani. I think lot of fantasy books are suffering from issue of characters not dying and being kept alive as plot armour. Sometimes death can be very good for story, it creates an emotional impact, it frees up space for new characters. Obviously one shouldnt got the GOT way of killing characters. I think at the end of Enchanter, Alaya should have died. It would have freed up a love interest for Min and introduce a new character.

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    1. Arthur, your point is well-taken, but there is method in my madness. The fact that you feel this way kinda lets me know that I'm having the intended effect on my readers. The temptation to Martin-off a couple of popular characters is strong . . . but then I'd sound like Martin. Alya was kept alive because she's key to the long-term plot.

      As far as Antimei is concerned, you may be correct. However, when I saw a future plot point I could make in a dramatic fashion, and I went there instead.

      Don't worry. The bloodbath is coming. I just want you to really love the characters before I start killing them off. Its more satisfying that way.

      Min is a little off women, at the moment, thanks to Ishi/Isily. That doesn't mean he won't have love interests, or at least women who are attracted to him, but he has bigger issues on the horizon.

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    2. "I just want you to really love the characters before I start killing them off. Its more satisfying that way. "

      I am not sure I would like that :)
      For me its better if B or C level characters are offed, before they become A level characters- who I am emotionally invested in. Antimei was definitely a B character, who's death would not shake me, but it would be good for the story. Not killing her was like pulling a Nolan (in Interstellar).

      Also, I have noticed that you (to be fair, most western Fantasy books) have unsatisfying action sequences. For eg: sword fights or magic duels, or unarmed combat.

      I am saying this based on comparison to xianxia/wuxia webnovels, which although have weak plot, generally have very thrilling action scenes.

      As your devoted reader, I would love if you can incorporate some of these elements and bring Spellmonger to next level.

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  18. Don't listen to Arthur! Min doesn't need another live interest. He has enough women throwing themselves at him. Alya as a mother and wife is a solid character. Killing off characters just to add other characters is short sighted. Besides I really like Alya. She is a steady supporting character.

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    1. As you said, "she is a steady supporting character", not someone exciting who can be a main character in herself.

      If you have read a Wheel of Time series, you will get what I am referring to.

      Alya was OK for the Min's humble beginning, but at this stage when he is empire building, we should have a more exciting character as wife.

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    2. No! This is going to be one of those agree to disagree situations. Wheel of Time suffered from having too many main characters/plot lines - it dragged everything out and made it more difficult to really engage with a single person. Alya doesn't need to be a main character, likewise for Sire Cei.

      Alya is great as Min's wife - while she is incapacitated it gives him plenty of angst and hopefully a bit of ruthlessness (he has been way too nice to people that have tried to kill/harm him). If she recovers she is the type of person so slap him up the side of the head to keep him grounded

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    3. Please Terry do not use wheel of time as the basis for story building over the long run. You had to keep a score card to follow it. Too many new characters all over the place

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  19. Don't listen to Arthur! Min doesn't need another live interest. He has enough women throwing themselves at him. Alya as a mother and wife is a solid character. Killing off characters just to add other characters is short sighted. Besides I really like Alya. She is a steady supporting character.

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  20. Hey Terry just an FYI. Amazon are having difficulty recognising the update to Court Wizard. I just tried to get the updated non-beta version and they couldn't find it. They automatically updated all your books but Court Wizard still came through as a beta. I ended up "returning" the book and will repurchase it, but talk about a hassle. Just thought to let you know in case others are having the same problem

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    1. (Sigh) On it. Thanks for the head's up. You see why it can take me up to six months to get a new book out? Just imagine how hard it must be for George RR Martin, with his staff of marketing and production assistants, publicity people, and such.

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  21. confess it! you wrote those books to 50% just because you always wanted to have Ishi swear "my tits!"!

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  22. Hi Terry,

    Thanks for the books as always, a couple of questions and a suggestion:

    1) could you upload the maps from court mage so that we could see them here in good quality?

    2) one of the themes from Enchanter was this transition from rural to more magical "industrial" society, especially in Minalans Barony, my question is this:

    If you are deprived of work (plowing, tilling and such) wouldn't things progress along the same lines as in England where people more away from the small villages and estates to the established towns and working with producing something (luxury or other stuff)?

    Wouldn't this transition happen more or less by it self? Or does the respective lords have to do something first like releasing the serfs like Minalan did in Gurisham?

    If You look at all the goods that they need for their enchanting needs in Sevendor, I mean they are mass producing magical things that need >normal< processing also by smithing, carpentry and such, so shouldn't a lot of the villains be working with this instead?

    Also unless Sevendor's got a secret iron mine/smeltery they'll have a huge import of raw material to make all their weapons and golems from? Iron ore/raw iron/steel is a very heavy cargo that especially in old times was hard to transport for long distances increasing the amount of people engaged with the Barony's need for transporting?

    I guess what i'm getting at is that to me it seems that the industry of Minalan's enchanting workshop would require a lot of people supporting with carrying, handling, producing and refining creating a lot of new types of work in the barony the villains could work on. (i work with shipping as a broker on a daily basis and even today there is a ton of people engaged with moving stuff around.)

    A third question along these lines, earlier it's been discussed that alongside the mirror towers, there would be established supply towers. So that you will move cargo to these hubs and then from hub to hub with the supply wands? Pentandra is using this to smuggle cargo in Court mage, but shouldn't it really be a more established system?

    I would love a short story/cadet novelle of Gareth working on the logistical nightmare in the Barony with the local lords and how he's structuring the Enchanting workshop, sourcing raw material, perhaps presenting the solution to Minalan and Banamor - Gareth needs some glory for all his excellence instead of the "Sword Swinging Monkeys - Tyndal and Rondal".

    Thank you in advance :)

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  23. Swing and a miss.

    First let me say, I almost never go in for side novels, and that is exactly what this is. This is not new content, this is a tedious revisiting of events that have already been described.

    I've read each of the Spellmonger books multiple times, and enjoyed the world that you've built thoroughly. I skipped the YA/cadet novel (why write a kids book in a series that is filled with mature content? There is no context without reading the other books, which aren't appropriate for YA readers....so what's the point?)

    I was overjoyed to see that the next book had been published, bought it immediately, and within the hour was shaking my head and wondering what the heck happened. I actually set my kindle down a few times to take a break, not because I had something to do, but because I was so annoyed at the almost total lack of new content. For the first time while reading your work, I started to skim instead of read, waiting for anything interesting or new to happen. And was disappointed.

    In my opinion, if you felt that the action in Court Wiz and Shadow Mage were so interesting, you should have broken Enchanter into thirds, likewise with both other books, weaved it together, and released them in chronological order. To finish a story arc, then say 'hey, I think I can milk those same events for a couple more books,' well, its just tiresome.

    As it appears that your next novel will be more of the same, I expect I'll skip it. I'll check back in a year or two and see if you ever decide to get back to the main story line.

    Sincerely,

    ~Disappointed

    P.S.

    Really hope your health continues to improve. Glad to hear that the Doc's have gotten a handle on whats going on, and I wish you only the best. I may not like your latest effort, but that's no reason to be a jerk, right? O.o

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    1. If you merely skimmed Court Wizard, then you missed the new content. Penny's role might not be as world-shaking as Min's right now, but her different perspective provides some dramatic contrast and subtle counterpoints, including major plot points that will be incredibly important in the future. Your call, but you missed out.

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  24. Just picked up shadowmage and realised I completely missed Court Wizard! Amazon says they can't sell it to me either! Oh the torture! Where else can I pick up court wizard so I don't just have this amazing book staring at me that I can't read yet?

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    1. Just re-submitted it today, should be up tomorrow.

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    2. Awesome! I need by fix man! Been on that spellmounger withdrawal syndrome.

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    3. Court wizard still is not available for sale on Amazon, anywhere else it is published?

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    4. Ya, I am also waiting (really impatiently) for it because I didn't realize I was now over 2 books behind on the series - gonna have to go reread the whole thing while I wait (for my sanity please fix it soon :D)

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    5. Amazon is still reviewing it... I'm going to have to start asking around to see if anyone I know owns it XD

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