The Galactic Mage Series – Book 6 Progress Update

by | Apr 5, 2015 | Blog | 10 comments

For the short and most recent updates on the final book in the Galactic Mage Series (at least the last one in the main line), keep an eye on THIS PAGE. If you want an email when it comes out, sign up here: My Email List.

However, people are asking about progress and story and that sort of thing in more detail, so I realize it’s time to post at least something to explain process and plan. So here’s where I am and where I’m headed as far as I can tell.

This last book is the culmination of thousands of pages and years and years of work. Yes, I’ve had this whole thing worked out since the beginning, but, if I’m being honest, the vision you start with, the vision you outline for a story, all the theories and principles, the plots and subplots—religious, governmental, social, historical, romantic, philosophical, not to mention character development—all of that starts out so very clear and vital, but as you write, as you fill in the spaces on your outline between “he’s going to love her no matter what” and “she’s going to save the universe” and “the gods are real if divinity is …”things take on more context in a complex sort of way.

It is context you understood would happen when you start writing, in a macro sort of way, but that you didn’t know and couldn’t possibly know in the precise, minute detail. So much big stuff comes out of small stuff: who wore what, who breathed what, who had this emotional response to an unplanned stretch of dialogue. The accidents of writing shape the direction of a story in the same way the wind moves the bullet of a very carefully aimed rifle shot; the longer the shot, the less of a breeze it takes to move the projectile. This series is thousands of pages long. So, it’s been an adventure. It’s taken on its own life. There’s been many breezes and a few swift winds.

The outline of this series is the foundation that I always expected it to be. The course of the story is largely what I set out to do. The conversation about god, gods and religion, about technology and physics and dark matter, about human bodies and spore-spread as a “racial” basis … all of that is exactly as planned. Exactly. (And quite outside whether anyone else sees it or cares.)

But the characters themselves, Altin and Orli, Pernie and Roberto, them in particular, but also Queen Karroll and Kettle, Annison, even Jeremy … so many of them grew beyond what I could possibly understand in advance of experiencing the process of writing, the moment by moment experience of channeling these characters onto the page, in effect, channeling the muse. I don’t say that in some sort of cliché sort of thing. I mean it. Like, as in, the “muse” is this inexplicable thing that happens when you take what you know, what you are good at, what you have learned about writing (or painting or music or whatever) and then you combine it with the writing experience in this sort of fully-focused analog process. You just start doing what you do, the training, the reflex, the … whatever “being a writer” is; it just starts going. You don’t exactly control it when you are fully in it, like “the zone” to use another cliché. You kind of are guiding it, but really, at least for me, you aren’t even aware of it anymore. You essentially vanish from yourself and the story just is. Your fingers move on the keys without any awareness of the act of typing. You are sort of lost in this weird place between doing what you planned to do and doing what happens by the chance intersection of reason and the course of imagination unleashed, like improvisation with a 38-page outline as a prompt. Plan and accident together.

Somewhere between the plan and the random firing of imaginative neurons is a muse. Not always. Good God, not always. Almost never, really. Which is why it’s been said that a writer’s best friend is the garbage can. But, sometimes, the results of your best plan and your hard work comes together with the random favor of luck to manifest the muse. The muse is basically the divine creature that usually ignores you but sometimes doesn’t. When it doesn’t suck, when the thing is not crap but something … that’s the muse. Divine? Maybe. Luck, fine.

This last book is dedicated to that idea, to luck, to random fortune as a possibly intended thing (paradox or the active hand of mercy), the muse shows mercy, finally giving you something worthwhile after so much nothing … that thing, whatever it is, is what this story is in its way, working as the spiritual plotline of this whole series finally playing out.

And yes, I know. Whatever. Blah blah. Dumb artist too full of his own vision or whatever. So, that’s fine; I don’t even really disagree. But I just want it to be known to the three whole people who might actually care (hi Mom) what I’m trying to do, all of this matters. It matters to me.

Anyway, I am 80,000 words into this final, main-line series book (300 pages)—I say “main line” because I have other Prosperion books planned, but I see this first big, main story arc finishing as originally planned. To explain what the next books will be will give stuff away about this one. But I have a second Spadebreaker book outlined and ready, with a third in concept outline too. I have another series planned to follow, a continuation of this series but different enough that I debate whether I will still call it “The Galactic Mage Series.” I might; I certainly have the right, but we shall see. That is another trilogy at least, but more I will not say.

I expect to have this sixth book of the series out by the end of the year. I think I can have it done by September. However, releasing a book in September is like showing off your new bikini at the pool in February. Nobody is looking. So I might wait until December or maybe even January for release. I might. We’ll see.

However, I am considering—given the nature of the modern ebook marketplace—maybe giving out some ARC (advanced reader copy) files in exchange for honest reviews at the time of release. This is what the big-shot writers all do, which is how so many of the mega-star writers have 50 or a 100 reviews on Amazon in like the first six seconds after release.

I need some of that action. I kind of hate that I care about that stuff, but writing books is, sadly, a business as much as it is an art. Writers have to eat and pay bills too (and no-fucking-thanks to the people stealing books through torrent sites, telling themselves they’re still doing writers a favor because they talk about the work—really? How about you tell your boss he doesn’t have to pay you anymore at your job, and that he can just “tell people how great a worker you are” so that maybe some day, you know, in the future, that positive feedback will help you pay your bills?).

Anyway, yes, I do need to plan a release for the best time in terms of selling books, as my mortgage company keeps sending me demands for house payments every month, and my adult children haven’t quite finished with college yet or, erm, manifested an active desire to move out.

So, there you have it: the December/January release is just a thought, but the ARC reader thing might really help for any date I go live. I don’t even know how I would decide who to give the free copies too, and I totally feel like giving any copies away will just diminish how many people actually buy copies, which will in turn reduce the impact of my launch in terms of hitting best seller lists again. Every sale counts for the first week or two in particular. So losing even twenty eager-and-waiting readers who would have bought a copy is a tough decision to make … or at least, a scary one. They certainly deserve a free copy for having supported me this far.

So yeah, I might do the ARC copy thing. If you happen to be interested, send me an email via my CONTACT form and let me know what you think about the idea. Not promising to do it, but let me know if you’d be up for both reading it in a timely fashion AND promising to review.

That said, the story will be what it is, and it will be what it is, whatever that is, when it is done, whenever that is. No calendar on this one. I’ve given my targets above. I promise nothing. And thank you for reading.

If you want to be notified when it comes out by email, sign up for my newsletter and I’ll let you know. (I don’t spam, and I don’t sell your info.)


Want to be an early reviewer for the sixth book in The Galactic Mage Series?

(20 ARC copies only … and I am NOT promising that I will even do this at all … just gauging interest.)

  1. You must have read all five series books (The Galactic Mage; Rift in the Races; Hostiles; Alien Arrivals; and Dance of Destinies. Having read Ilbei Spadebreaker and the Harpy’s Wild is NOT required, but it will count as tie breaker if I get a lot of people applying for the 20 spots).
  2. You must be willing to work with the timing of my release and get your review up on Amazon in fairly short notice (you will have had time to read the book in advance of the release), meaning, you need to have your review written and ready to go, and be willing to post it in the weeks it might take after you have read it before the public version is live. My point being, I need the reviews to show up RIGHT AWAY after the book is live, like, in the first day or two is best if possible.
  3. You do NOT have to like the book or say it is awesome. Obviously I would prefer a good review, as bad reviews don’t really help me at all, but please understand that I am not requiring blind devotion. Kindness and forbearance if you’re not super stoked, sure, a little love and forgiveness, great, but mandatory adoration, no. I demand none of it. Say what you need to say, good, bad or indifferent.
  4. I will ONLY consider people who contact me through the CONTACT form at the bottom of the page (if for no other reason than it demonstrates the ability to pay attention to critical details—like review-by dates and other essential things).
  5. Please don’t volunteer if you can’t keep your promises. Like I said, I’m not telling you what to say. But please don’t take one of my 20 ARC spots and then not do what you said you would do. I guess if you hate it and are going to crap on it, I am okay with a broken promise, but, well, I’d really just rather we all do what we agreed on. I think I’m going to deliver something awesome, so I’m willing to take my chances on possible hate.


  1. Julie west

    i have read all the books so far, and as always anxiously await what comes next. I would be happy to write a review for you. I’ve encouraged all my nerdy sci-fi friends to read/purchase your books.

    Say the word, and I’m your gal. Will right a good review anyway. 🙂

    • John

      That’s very kind! And I appreciate the support for sure. For this ARC review, I don’t even want to suggest the review has to be good. Just posted, whatever it is. We’ll see how I am thinking when time comes. Thanks again so much for your awesome support. I matters more than you can possibly know. Writing is a lonely business, you know?

  2. Chris

    I’ve loved every page of this series so far! I would absolutely love to have a shot at an ARC and would be more than happy to post a review!

    • John

      Chris, send me your contact info via the Contact form at the bottom of the page, so I have it when I decide if I’m going to go with the ARC idea. And thanks for your support of the series. Means a lot.

      • Chris

        Meant to reply directly, but ended up putting it as a new message…apologies.

        • John

          I got your message with address. Added you to list, am deleting that post so info not out there. Thanks. 🙂

  3. Jeremy

    I have read “The Galactic Mage” series (5 books) in the last 4 days, and after letting the story settle for 1 day I have to say:

    The initial book sizes 1000+ pages, 1700+ pages, 1000+ pages within the first 3 books was impressive and far worth the NOOK listed Ebook cost of $4.99. The amount of detail poured into these 3 books had truly set a stage for an Epic. The character detail, world, creature, and magic/technology was magnificent into pulling a real Soft Sci-Fi Hardcore Fantasy reader in.

    I was a little saddened when I first purchased Alien Arrivals to a >500 page book, but it was an unfounded emotion for long. Action twists, betrayals, and villainy drove me directly into Dance of Destinies reading through it right after.

    Seeing a Book 6 possibility brought me here, but much to my dismay I read your planned ending of the Main Story. The 8 month wait was minimal cause for concern as I’m sure the book will be equally thrilling.

    I have read through the Crimson World series, Merikaari Wars, and freshly waiting book 2 of the Blackfleet Trilogy. I have to say that your name now sits fresh on my market watch for all new material released.

    Though I have to say I was hoping for an ongoing epic to rival The Wheel of Time, but if your next EU series is as enticing as your main line and side Ilbei Spadebreaker stories have been, I look forward to it.

    • John

      Yeah, Jermey, I think I know where you are coming from on that point about ending the main line of the series. I’ve gone back and forth a lot on it. And might still not put it down as the end. But I think it makes more sense for cohesion to compartmentalize. I actually drive my wife nuts with how much I go back and forth on making decisions (not just this, like anything, even what movie to watch or restaurant to go to), but it’s part of the process. I have to sort of talk things through outloud. I’m pretty sure I’m going to call it the end of this series and start the new one as it’s own, and I’ve started thinking of it more like a Sequel Series. I’d really don’t want to say more though, because to a degree, for the fresh readers like yourself who are getting the books as they come out–and given how much I detest spoilers of even the most insignificant kinds of things–I don’t want to take away anything from readers like you, not one inkling of what is to come. It’s like, I can’t control whether readers like my stories or not, but I can control my work and my discipline and my processes to make the experience of the story as good as I am capable of putting on paper (or e-paper). Thanks a ton for your support of my books. I love what I do, and I couldn’t possibly do it without you risking your time and money to give my stories a try. And thanks for your feedback too.

  4. Greg

    Well, I have to say I have zero problem with a September release. It would coincide perfectly with my end of year vacation.

    I’ll be happy whenever it comes out though, this has been an extremely fun series to read.

    • John

      Thanks, Greg! We’ll see how it goes. Sounds like no matter what, you got a sweet September lined up. Maybe if I get it done in time, I’ll grab some time off too. If we end up at the same beach bar somewhere, I’ll buy the first round.