Book Five is (almost) in the oven « Official Author Website of Melissa McPhail

Book Five is (almost) in the oven

Okay, I’m starting to feel the quarterly pressure. The questions are pouring in, asking in polite, dulcet tones, “Oh please, madam, might you tell us where stands the progress of booketh number five?

Progress is being made, people. Daily. Hourly. Minute by minute by sentence finished with a period to prove its completion. Lots of those are in the done pile. Pages of them, in fact. Miracle of miracles.

You know what else is done? CHAPTERS. Many of them. You can count them on fingers and toes, but you’d need more than just your two hands and feet. You’d need your neighbor’s hands, too. And his feet. That’s not chump digits.

You know what’s not done? The book. Yeah. Terribly sorry about that. To quote the immortal words of Lazar from that thrilling cinematic masterpiece, Your Highness: These are the harsh realities of the outside world. 

That’s the thing about this writing gig. It takes a mind-boggling lot of words, sentences, pages and chapters to make a book. Like if you were baking cakes. Seventy-plus cakes. But you’re not able to bake them all in one huge batch. You have to make each cake individually with your own two hands, measuring the batter, beating the eggs, waiting for the damned thing to bake and then cool before you can frost it…over and over and over again. Except, baking seventy-plus cakes is considerably faster than writing seventy-plus chapters in this story.

The stress is enormous, people.

To give you some perspective on where we stand in baking those chapters, let’s refer to that handy little progress chart from last year. It now looks like this:

                                    Part 1                        Part 2

Ean                                   √                           √                       

Tanis                                √                           √                       

Darshan                           √

Pelas                                 √                           √

Franco                              √

Isabel                                √                          √

Valentina                         √                           √

Nadia                                √                           √

Felix                                  √                           √

Sebastian                         √

Trell                                  √                           √           

Alyneri                             √

Carian                              √

Fynn                                 √

Viernan                            √                           √

Errodan                           √           

Gydryn                             √           

Morwyk                           √

Baelfeir                            √

Shail                                 √           

Niko                                 √           

You should not let this hearten you. I much prefer that all of you are wallowing in misery so I can swoop in suddenly to surprise you with, “Hey, what do you know? The book is done!” But also because there’s really still a lot to write.

The first half is probably more like the first thirty-eight percent. Loukas n’Abraxis would have a non-terminating decimal to describe the fraction.

I don’t think there will end up being an actual first and second part to this book; pacing-wise, it's likely to be more of overlapping thirds. I’m still not sure if I’ll have to publish the print editions in a part one and part two (which would be released together), or if it will all fit in one book.

This kind of stuff never troubles ebook or Audible listeners, who are happy as larks with their forty-plus hours and eight million kindle pages. But it’s something I have to think with for the .001% of people (like myself) who still read books made out of paper occasionally and need to be able to hold them without a bible stand.

Currently I’m agonizing over the plot threads of Gydryn, Errodan and Morwyk, with a little Dore thrown in to embitter the dish.

I have a vague, general idea of Darshan’s next chapter but no idea what he’ll be doing after that.

I know where Carian and Fynn are heading but can’t figure out how to give Alyneri more agency.

Franco is usually compliant once I find the time to give him my attention.

Sebastian is breaking my balls right now.

So, you know…that cake baking isn’t always super smooth. Sometimes you run out of vanilla and the stores are all closed. Sometimes the oven mysteriously turns itself off with a cake still inside it. Sometimes you find weevils in the flour, or discover that the gallon of butter you just bought is salted. Sometimes the Swiss meringue buttercream won’t achieve the right consistency no matter how long you whip it, and you have to toss it and start the whole thing over.

But eventually every cake is done to perfection. That’s all we’re aiming for here, people. Perfection. Nothing too difficult in the grand scheme of eternity.

With all that preamble, I can say my hope (intention? expectation?) is a mid 2019 release. I’ll know more by Christmas time (conveniently aligned to the current quarterly update model, where the pressure builds and builds for about three months and then I get a deluge of Where the hell is this book already? in those kind, sweet, grandmotherly tones that I mentioned above. You know, an all out clamor, but a really nice one).

So, look for more from me round about December. Until then, I’ll just be continuing with my obscenely large baking project…and doing a lot of praying to the oven gods. Feel free to send your prayers my way. I'll pass them along with my daily sacrifices.

And if I haven't said it clearly before, please don't stop asking where the book stands. It means the world to me to know you're all so excited for the next installment of this story. 







40 Responses to “Book Five is (almost) in the oven”

  1. Virgil and Grace Breeze says:

    Been waiting for this book it seems like a your work looking forward to listening to the book. We have all your books. Thank you so much for your talent.

  2. Peter Henriksen says:

    Thank you so much for the update! Although I’m dying to continue this awesome adventure, going back and rereading the novels always has a kernel or nugget I missed on previous reads.
    Thanks again for sharing your story with us! I can’t wait to find out where we go next

  3. Jo Smith says:

    Glad to hear that you are chipping away at this mammoth project. Love seeing updates from you. Although I’m eager for the next instalment, I’m enjoying my fourth re-read!

    Remember, the cooks perk is to finish the remainder of the sherry in the bottle and enjoy the icing on the cake before anyone else gets a taste. Keep enjoying Alorin and don’t stress about expectations from your readers. Your infectious passion is why so many of us fell in love with your books! Happy to wait (though secretly hoping it won’t be too long).

    • Melissa McPhail says:

      Wow, Jo! A 4th re-read is amazing!

      I love your perspective. I’m definitely enjoying the icing with each chapter finished. I never fail to say my blessings for the fact that I have this world and these characters in my head.

  4. David Cook says:

    Melissa, it’s refreshing to hear from an author that they are happy to answer questions on progress, rather than either ignoring or getting grumpy when asked such. Mid-2019, end of 2019, into 2020, doesn’t matter how long it takes, we all know it will be done when it is, and that you are working your hardest to get it finished. If this is the last book in the series, then so-be-it, but if it is not, then even better :-). One thing I am sure of, it will be a fantastic book and I will love reading it!

    • Melissa McPhail says:

      Thank you so very much, David. I sincerely appreciate your kind words. It will definitely be a 2019 release and definitely not be the last book in the series. That’s about all I can say for certain at this point. Thank you for reading!

  5. Don Stauffer says:

    Take your time, get it right in your mind. We’ll wait…….and bug you all the time about progress! LMAO

  6. Gregg says:

    Take your time. I can’t wait to find out what happens but I’d rather it be a complete story for book five. I feel like when Brent Weeks expanded The Lightbringer series into 5 books instead of four, the fourth book felt like he pushed it out just for fans who rushed him. His story in that one book didn’t feel complete to me, more like stalling until the fifth book comes out. Still love that series but I’d have been happier waiting for a complete story. I love APOSAL so please take your time. I’ll be here the day book 5 comes out with a happy grin.

    • Melissa McPhail says:

      Very good point, Gregg. I’m definitely trying to keep the integrity of the story. I want book five to be as entertaining as all the books before it, which is a continuing challenge. 😉

  7. Justin Collins says:

    I want cake now, almost as much as book five. Thanks. Also, thanks for the update.

    I’m going to buy a cake.

  8. Peter says:

    Keep going Melissa, it’ll be ready when it’s ready and I’m sure it will be baked to perfection, we appreciate you taking the time out for an update, now back to the baking with you!

  9. Victor Sanchez says:

    Thank you for the update! It’s exciting to see the progress thoug have made.

    I’ll share a story with you. One of my most memorable moments came while reading book 4. I sat in a new restaurant and while I waited I had a nice amber ale and read a recent chapter on Darshan. I always enjoy his chapters and must be exciting to write first person perspective of a deity. Needless to say the chapter was amazing. Even better yet the Rib Eye I had for dinner was one of the most amazing I ever had.

    I think back on that night every once in while how exciting that chapter was and how I had a top 5 meal in my lifetime. What a nice combo. XD


    • Melissa McPhail says:

      That’s amazing, Victor. I’m so glad I could contribute to one of your most memorable evenings. I love it when factors and events combine into those special moments. Thank you for sharing that with me.

      I always enjoy the Darshan chapters too, even back in book two when he was sooooo creepy. 😉

  10. Julie says:

    I CANT WAIT!!! I didn’t mean to fall for your story. I’m not sure how it even happened!! I guess I’ll just have to listen to the finished books all over again (and again) until you’re ready. Drat.

    • Melissa McPhail says:

      LOL, Julie. Well, secretly, I was enchanting you, so it’s really not your fault if you ended up liking the story. I’m SO glad my spell worked! 😉

  11. Dave says:

    This post itself is gold. Love when someone can take a stressful/less than ideal situation and still find time to make people happy. Thanks for the update, and the laugh!

  12. Bill says:


    Been a long, long time, thanks for th update. I always love how open an honest you are about the process and the challenges of writing. I hope you are doing well and am confident the story you share will be well worth the wait.


  13. Reen says:

    I love love love your series! It is so well developed. Ah, and the lore! The laws and patterning and the names. I listen on audible and I’m so glad Nick does the reading. He’s one of my favorites and he really brings it to life. I feel like I know the characters now. I am re-listening to the 3rd book because I am so enthralled with it. It’s so amazing that you’ve released the books in such a short period considering how in depth they are. So no complaints waiting on the next books. I think the lore rivals all the great fantasy/Sci fi series. It never seems like you are filling in the lore to make up for the characters action or intent. So many series…even beloved series…seem to have holes that need to be filled in and more lore is added. It’s seems like lore is the entire series and the characters themselves delvelop within it. Like you’re the Fifth Vestal, yourself, unfolding the game. I still feel like the series is a well kept secret that I’m honored to have found before the big boom of popularity. Not to say that it’s not popular, I just can’t believe everyone doesn’t know of it yet considering the popularity of fantasy series today and the quality of writing. I can’t wait to have an Alorin map on my wall and graphics of the Laws and the Esoterics one day. Thanks for your hard work and dedication in writing!

    • Melissa McPhail says:

      Reen, I’m honored by your kind words about my series. I’m very glad to hear that you’re finding the lore interesting. Since I write organically, I don’t have everything figured out ahead of time. My understanding of Alorin’s magic deepens with each book, along with my readers.’

      I am definitely working to help more readers find my series. That’s one of the challenges of being an independent publisher. I think it’s been a well kept secret long enough, myself. 😉

      Thank you for listening.

  14. Doug says:

    Checked your page for updates on a whim. Absolutely love your writing style, even in the updates.

    I’m not worried about how long it takes. Your books have been so amazing you have my complete trust. Take as long as you need to spin your tale. I’ll be here waiting to purchase on the release date.

    Out of curiosity, Jordan said he always new the ending of his story. Can we assume you know how your story will end?

    • Melissa McPhail says:

      Hi Doug,

      Thank you so much for your support and encouragement.

      I definitely have an idea in mind for some of the characters. I wouldn’t say I have everything figured out by any means. 🙂

  15. Alexander Taylor says:

    Thank you for your hard work! My wife bought me your first book in this series and its become one of my favorite! I am one of those reader that only reads print books, and I’m a little weird about it with those books having to be hardcover as well. I can not imagine weaving all those story arc bac together! I’ll probably fit in a re-read or two.

    • Melissa McPhail says:

      I’m so glad you’re enjoying my series, Alexander. Thank you for reading.

      I love having hardbacks also. I used to buy the trade paperback and if I liked the book I would buy it in hardback. Now more often I’m buying kindle and then hardbacks and paying far more than I used to be, but que sera sera. 😉

  16. Joel says:

    You can’t rush perfection! Once you publish a book, it stands through time so you might as well make sure it’s done right! Even someone like Brandon Sanderson who sneezes and a book comes out, took 3 years before putting out his most recent installation of The Stormlight Archives (and it was worth it). As this is my favorite series ive ever read (in my 3rd re-read currently), I know I appreciate the time you’re taking!

    • Melissa McPhail says:

      Thank you so much, Joel. It always makes me so happy to hear that my series in on a reader’s list of favorites, especially at #1. I’m thrilled you’re enjoying it again and again. Thank you for your support, and thank you for reading!

  17. Jesse says:

    So. Freaking. Excited.

    This has quickly become one of my favorite series. The world you’ve created is so unique and engages the imagination. I’m about to start my 3rd read-through in preparation for the 5th book!

    • Melissa McPhail says:

      I’m thrilled you’re enjoying my series, Jesse. Three times through it – wow! I’m honored. Thank you for reading.

  18. Slick says:

    Take your time 🙂
    I’m happy waiting and i’m sure it will be well worth it 🙂
    Good luck

  19. Don Taylor says:

    Melissa, thank you so much for the update. I am very excited for the next book. I appreciate all your hard work and i am more than happy to wait for the cake to bake to perfection!

  20. Ed Yost says:

    Yes. We don’t want another dark tower. My impression is that each of your books could easily have been twice as long but all extraneous content was removed, every word judged for its necessity. Thanks for the update. I think you need a crack PR and marketing team for merchandise. Comic books. Role playing game. T-shirts. Check out the merch at and they play D&D online.

    • Melissa McPhail says:

      I’m so glad to know you feel that way, Ed. It’s definitely an intention of mine to give a sense of purposeful motion to every page. My husband has been saying the same thing about RPG and merchandise for a long time now. You two would get along. 😉

      Thanks for the merchandising tip! They have really cool stuff there. Definitely something to aspire to.

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