2023 The Year According to Cahill

2023 The Year According to Cahill

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and enjoy the Blood Moon!

The Year so Far

The Bound and the Broken Books

Here we are, sauntering towards the end of 2023, ham, turkey, and cookies in sight. Well, sauntering might not be the correct word for most of us. I’m pretty sure what I’m doing would be more accurately described as ‘scrambling manically’. He is beauty, he is grace, he has a psychotic look on his face (wow, I’m a poet).

My bad jokes aside, it has officially been 2 years and 9 months since I first launch Of Blood and Fire. 2 years and 9 months since I started this journey and my life changed in its entirety. In that space of time I have written over 1 million words, published ~966k words, and officially passed 200,000 books sold. That last one is something I only realised recently and I quite literally did a double take. That’s a pretty amazing thing to reflect on, and I have to say it has me very thankful.

2023 itself has been both an amazing and hectic year from start to finish.

In January (has it really been that long?), I publised the third book in The Bound and The Broken – Of War and Ruin – which was by far the longest book I’ve ever written, beating Of Darkness and Light by a whopping 187k words. To say I was nervous about this release would be one hell of an understatement. I was absolutely terrified. What if it flopped? What if I’d just written a 437k word pile of steaming turd? What if my dreams just fell apart?

All you have to do is talk to my wife to find out how I was nothing but a ball of nerves. But then something magical happened: January 19th rolled around and I was flooded with the most overhwhelmingly incredible wave of support. Of War and Ruin was recieved better than my wildest dreams could have conjured, and I was a little bit shellshocked.

It’s all but impossible to describe how special it is to put literal blood (papercut), sweat, and tears into a book and then see it resonate with readers. All I can say is thank you.

Fast forward to September, and after a horribly cruel (and spectacularly hilarious) April Fools’ prank, The Ice finally entered the world.

That’s one (massive) novel and one (not really a novella) novella out in the world in 2023. And not only that, but in a day or so my first short story – The Blood That Burns the Winter Snow – will hit kindles as part of the Advent of Winter Anthology.

That’ll do pig, that’ll do.

(For those of you who didn’t back the Advent of Winter Kickstarter, and want to read The Blood That Burns the Winter snow, I do believe the ebook will be available as soon as possible in the new year.)

Projects and Special Editions

Aside from these releases, what else have I been upto this year?

Well as many of you will know, The Broken Binding special editions of The Fall went on sale at the end of Novemeber and sold out straight away. That was pretty incredible. Add that to the fact that the leftover copies of Of Blood and Fire sold out in precisely 3 seconds, and it’s all a bit surreal.

To put it into perspective for you, when I first launched the series I created 50 numbered copies of each hardback. Just 50. It took me probably two months to sell those 50 copies for Of Blood and Fire (And many of them were bought by family and friends). Fast forward to when I released the 50 numbered copies of The Fall and I distinctily remember sitting in Amy’s parents spare room with my legs folded beneath me, hand painting the page edges with metallic gold paint. You have no idea how long that took me.

Now, not only have we sold 1,500 special editions of both Of Blood and Fire and The Fall (3,000 total – quick maths), but those editions sold out at insane speeds. We never could have anticipated how quickly they would sell or how many people would want them. And do you know a small thing that really blew me away? Thinking of how I hand painted gold paint onto the edges of the first copies of The Fall and these editions have actual gold leaf and silver gilded edges. It’s crazy to see how far everything has come from where we started.

Conventions

I had the immense pleasure of going on my first ever mini tour this year which took me from New Zealand, to the US, and to the UK. I was given the opportunity to sit on panels with incredible authors at DragonCon, FantasyCon, and Featherston Booktown. What was more, I got to meet so many amazing readers and people I’d chatted to online for so long but never had the chance to meet in person. It was a special experience and one I don’t intend on being my last.

 

What to expect from 2024?

I’m expecting 2024 to be no less hectic than 2023. Who’d have figured?

From a series perspective Of Empires and Dust, Book Four in The Bound and The Broken, is going to be my primary focus for 2024. The draft is currently sitting at about 65k words and I’m exepcting the final count to fall in a pretty similar range to Of War and Ruin. So only about 372k words left to go. *cracks neck and rolls up socks*

With that in mind I am aiming to have the book out in the world in the latter half of the year, so that’s going to be a lot of writing on my part. If all goes to plan, the draft will be finished by April/May, then I will be moving onto the Beta Reading, revisions, line editing, and proofreading.

I’m very excited about this book. There has been a lot building throughout the series, so many threads being weaved, seeds being sown, and this is where everything starts to come full circle. I have some major reveals lined up for you, some epic scenes, and dragons – a lot of motherfucking dragons.

My writing has been slower than I’d wished towards the latter half of this year (there’s been a lot going on), but I’m pretty certain that will change as we enter 2024. It’s been nice to ease off the throttle a little bit, but I’m more than ready to sink my teeth back into the world and charge forward like a dwarven Bersekeer. 

Other things to get excited about

So there are actually quite a few special little projects brewing for 2024. Unfortunately, I actually can’t tell you much about some of them yet! I know, I know, I’m a tease.

For now what I can say is I will be part of a very special anthology that I am genuinely still not sure I belong in, and I will also be a part of a pretty damn cool Kickstarter (oh yes) that is going to bring you something beautiful! I also have a potentially MASSIVE project that I’m hoping to hear more about in the early new year.

Something I can tell you? I will be starting the art briefs for the special edition of Of Darkness and Light very soon. Just like with Of Blood and Fire and The Fall we will be expecting to see this go on sale around November. And I’ve been given a long leash for packing it full of amazing art!

Conventions and appearances

As of right now the only convention I’m more or less confirmed for is WorldCon 2024 in Glasgow. I will be doing more planning and seeing what is feasible for me in what is going to be a very busy year – hoping to visit the US and Australia. But if there is a convention near you that you’d love me to appear it, please let me know! Comment below or send me an email!

Plans for The Bound and The Broken going forward – is this the end?

Of Empires and Dust is the fourth and penultimate book in The Bound and The Broken series. After that comes the fourth novella, and then after that comes the fifth and final book. Oh, and did I mention, the fifth book has a title?

I know I’m biased but I think Of Gods and Ashes is a pretty badass title. I revealed this title on social media recently as an apology for being so busy recently and the reaction I got was both incredible and heartbreaking.

What was the most frequent comment?

“I can’t believe it’s all coming to an end.”

Damn, that got me. I’ve been writing this story for almost three years now, and with Of Empires and Dust releasing in late 2024, the liklihood is that the fifth and final book won’t hit shelves until late 2025 or perhaps 2026. So we do have some time before the series comes to a close, but it’s still a bit devestating, isn’t it?

The first thing I will say is I absolutely have plans to write some short stories about these characters. So, breathe.

Secondly, I’ve said this before in an unoffical capacity, but now I’m setting it in stone: this will not be the last series I write in the world of The Bound and The Broken.

Once this story is told, it is told. I’m not a fan of dragging stories out. But I do have some tales I’m very excited to tell – some that are thousands of years in the past, some that are much more recent.

To continue being the tease that I am, I will give you three tentative titles for some of those stories with no context. I’m looking forward to watching you guess what these might be about!

  • The Age of Honour
  • The Exile and The Huntress
  • The Chainbreaker Saga

So I think I can firmly say, this is not the end.

The inevitable question after this is, “Are you ever going to write books outside the world of The Bound and The Broken?” And the answer is yes.

Aside from these new series I plan to write within the world, I also have a list of series I’d love to try that are completely unrelated to TBATB. I have concepts for a Sci-Fantasy and a fantasy-horror blend. So, long story short, you’re stuck with me for a little while yet!

(Sappy) Conclusion

Okay, you’ve read through all the updates and now you’re here. This is where I open up a little bit and let you into my brain before I turn the lights off and go enjoy my Christmas.

This year has really felt like the year my author career became something tangible, and it will be a year I’ll remember for the rest of my life. Saying that, as an author it’s difficult to not always be thinking about the next book, to not always be feeling like you’re chasing your own tail. Even with a novel, a novella, and a short story this year, my brain has already turned to panic mode over “how quickly can I write Book 4 so people don’t forget about me?”

I’ve also been in a weird headspace where I was worried that The Bound and The Broken had reached a blurry place where maybe it was popular enough that people would feel it no longer needed their support, but not popular enough to survive without that support. That’s a scary place for a series. I’ve seen many series reach that place and then slowly fade into obscurity. This inevitably feeds into my last point, where I feel a crushing need to get the fourth book written as quickly as possibly to make sure my dream doesn’t die. (If my projections are correct, by the time Book 5 is written, that will be about 1.8-2 million published words in four-and-a-half-to-five years)

Why am I telling you all this? Because I think it’s good to show both sides of the coin, to show you the human element behind all the writing. I may be doing what I love, but that doesn’t mean its not the hardest work I’ve ever done in my life. And also, I’m telling you because time and time again, you – my readers and my friends – have shown me that you have my back. We’re on this journey together, just as we always have been.

I can say with my hand on my heart that the community that has been built around The Bound and The Broken books is a special one and I’m very lucky to have it. When I get worried or scared about what the future holds for the series all I have to do is drop into my discord server for five minutes to see how passionate everyone is.

I know I’m behind on answering my emails this year. Life has been non-stop and more than a little overwhelming. But I do my absolute best to read through every single one I get and reply to as many as I possibly can. I love getting emails. I love hearing how these books have affected people, how they’ve helped people. It really does make everything so worth it.

So to my readers, with 2023 coming to a close, what I want to say is thank you for your kindness, your patience, your generosity, and your time. Thank you to everyone who has sent a message or an email. Thank you to everyone who has travelled far and wide to meet me at conventions. Thank you to everyone who has told a friend about the books. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

You have given me the ability to live my dream and for that I promise you I will never stop doing all I can to share that dream with you.

There are also a few people in particular who have given me a truly surreal amount of support this year and I wanted to acknowledge that here. The Booktubing community, Instagram community, and (a small part of ) the TikTok community have really gotten behind the series this year, and in particular Petrik Leo, Mike (from Mike’s Books), Johan (from Library of a Viking), and Zoranne have been instrumental in helping The Bound and The Broken go from strength to strength this year.

I honestly cannot count the amount of emails and messages I’ve recieved quoting those names to me as the reason they’ve started the series. So for that, I just want to say an extra special thank you. And I want you to know that all those videos you make, all that content you create, it really does make a difference. I know because it made a difference to me.

Speaking of support, I don’t think I could close out the year without saying thank you to Matt and the team at The Broken Binding. At every turn, they have been pushing me forward. The faith they have shown in both myself and in the series has been an integral part of everything this year and I don’t want to imagine where I’d be without them.

I could go on naming people until my website runs out of bandwidth (is that how the internet works?), but eventually this would just turn into the acknowledgement sections of my books.

So I’ll do two more.

This year I spent time with some amazing colleagues (face-to-face) and it really lit a fire under me. Seeing your passion in person, getting to talk craft with you, it was something I hadn’t gotten to do at this point in my career. I couldn’t possibly name you all, but Ronnie Virdi, Taya Latham, Justin-Lee Anderson, Stephen Aryan, Dave Wragg, Zack Argyle, Tao Wong, Janice Andrews, Dyrk Ashton, Davis Ashura… thank you for keeping me inspired this year, thank you for allowing me to use your fire to keep mine blazing.

Lastly, something else happened this year that moved the centre of my world. I got married to my Ayar Elwyn. I have nothing to say, because I’ve said it all a thousand times. And I know I shouldn’t admit this as an author, but there are some things that words just cannot capture (at least not in the english language). Amy, Myia elwyn er unira diar, I denír viël ar altinua.

Now, we’ve reached the end of 2023’s The Year According to Cahill (I’m trying to find something catchy, bear with me. I’m open to suggestions).

So I’ll leave you with this.

If you love someone, tell them. If you have a dream, chase it. If you want another slice of ham, eat it.

This life is far too short for regrets.

As always, you keep reading, I’ll keep writing.

Thank you for a year I will never forget. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and enjoy the Blood Moon!

Your biggest fan,

Ryan