Writing Our Lady of Blades

Our Lady of Blades is the first book in the Duellist Series.

Story Journals are where I talk about the writing of the books I’m working on. I update these with the latest content at the top, so start from the bottom if this is new to you.

January 7th – An incomparable work of unimaginable genius . . . or a mess, I’m not sure which.

This is by far the most complicated novel I’ve ever written from a structural perspective. It’s turning into The Count of Monte Cristo meets The Sixth Sense. May need to u-turn here somewhere . . .

December – Oh, hell, what am I doing?

Wrote myself not so much into a corner as a long, dark, and very deep hole in the ground. Now attempting to dig myself out.

November 21st – First 19K words meet with Jo’s approval

One of my favourite things about writing Greatcoats novels is working with editor-to-the-stars Jo Fletcher. In addition to being monumentally experienced and skilled in this arena, she’s also incredibly patient with me, and frequently agrees to read things that are nowhere near finished. Long story short, we’re in agreement now that this new opening is headed in the right direction.

One interesting note: so far Our Lady of Blades has more resonances with Traitor’s Blade in terms of approach than any of my other novels. I kind of like the idea of a return to that style.

November 1st – A new opening . . . and new problems.

There’s a strong Count of Monte Cristo vibe in my new opening, which I love, but by starting the novel the way I am, with the main character as a mysterious stranger who comes to town with their own devious plan, I’m going against a ton of modern narrative conventions. “Save The Cat” this ain’t.

October 15th – An excellent false start

Wrote the opening to the book and it had all the flair and style I was aiming for: swashbuckly, quirky, and full of intrigue. There’s just one teensy-weensy problem: it doesn’t work. I have this entire outline which makes perfect sense and has all the right dramatic beats but I’m realizing now that if I go ahead this way I’m going to end up writing an unintentional YA novel. Don’t get me wrong, I love a great coming of age story, but that’s what Spellslinger is for and I don’t want to dilute that series or this one.

So . . . back to the drawing board.

October 1st, 2018 – Duels, duels, and more duels.

This book is in many ways the biggest challenge for me since I first wrote Traitor’s Blade. The Duellist is meant to be a new series but set in the world of the Greatcoats, but I don’t want to repeat myself, so that means navigating new territory without any assurance that fans of the original Greatcoats series will want to come along.

Recent Comments

  • Sandy Yusman
    January 21, 2019 - 3:59 pm · Reply

    I’m a fan of the original Greatcoats series, of all your books, oh hell I’ll read your grocery lists, just let me at them. And I’m coming along on this ride, just try and stop me. Can’t wait!

    • decastell
      January 21, 2019 - 4:11 pm · Reply

      Aw, thanks, Sandy!

      Here you go:

      1. Milk
      2. Bread
      3. Eggs

      Wait . . . that doesn’t sound very swashbuckling, does it? Um . . . let me try again:

      1. Dashingly daring dairy
      2. Broadsword-beaten bread and buns
      3. Excitingly expelled eggs

      Hmm . . . I might need to work on my grocery lists before they’ll be publishable.

  • Sandy Yusman
    January 30, 2019 - 7:07 pm · Reply

    I’m setting a separate bank account for your books/grocery lists. I hope a book tour to Australia is prophesied in your future because I have a shrine dedicated for your books, only they’re all unsigned.

    • decastell
      February 2, 2019 - 6:13 pm · Reply

      I’d absolutely love to come do a book tour in Australia. I’ve only been once, and that was years ago when I was playing in a rock band. Now you just have to convince my Australian publishers to bring me over!

  • Allie
    March 9, 2019 - 1:23 pm · Reply

    This sounds super cool! I just wanted to say that I’m reading the Greatcoats series right now and it’s one of the best series I’ve ever read. I’m super excited for any future books and book series that you might write, including Our Lady of Blades! 🙂

  • Kezree
    May 17, 2019 - 5:26 pm · Reply

    I’m 42, I’m in London in the UK and I met Falcio, Kest and Brasti thanks to a recommendation on Audible – praise all the Saints what adventures! Once they were done with their often ill conceived but always noble shenanigans I was introduced to Kellen and Reichis. I am on Book 2 (I snort-laughed like a loon at the image of that Squirrel-cat taking a bath and demanding butter biscuits!) and am loving being swept along their journey. Joe Jameson is a superb narrator, I wanted to thank you and him for the hours of immersive happitude (during my commute…during my ironing!) your stories bring.

  • Ben
    June 12, 2019 - 6:55 am · Reply

    Loved the Greatcoats the final books was one of the ones where it had a very satisfying ending though i was expecting monster to make an appearance during the big fight against Avares Hahaha. Anyways Love the series hope there will be more.

    • decastell
      June 12, 2019 - 7:09 am · Reply

      Thanks Ben! Yes, there will definitely be more books in the Greatcoats world. First one will be out next year.

  • Kayla
    August 19, 2019 - 7:10 pm · Reply

    I started with the audiobooks of the Greatcoats. It was a recommended book on my list so i thought, why not? Little did i know i would get wrapped up in such an amazing world! I can’t get enough. I’ve listened to them over and over and now I’m learning to be a Spellslinger. I cannot thank you enough for the worlds you’ve created that are allowing me to escape from my boring desk job to an adventure with some amazing characters. Please keep creating and writing (no pressure lol) I’ll follow you on whatever adventure you set us out on 👍

    • decastell
      August 21, 2019 - 9:46 am · Reply

      Thank you so much, Kayla! I’m delighted that you enjoyed the Greatcoats in audio (of course, who could help but adore anything narrated by that uncannily talented Joe Jameson?)

      Loads more books to come, starting with Crownbreaker in October, then the first new Greatcoats book next year.

  • Linda H.
    October 16, 2019 - 4:30 pm · Reply

    Love, love, love your books! I’m currently waiting for Crownbreaker (Book 6 of Spellslinger) to come out, and am currently starting Saint’s Blood (Book 3 of Greatcoats). Can’t wait for your Duellist series; I hope to compare it to the short-lived TV series, Queen of Swords! Thank you for being a writer!

    • decastell
      October 17, 2019 - 7:18 am · Reply

      Thanks so much, Linda! Hope you enjoy Crownbreaker ans Saint’s Blood. I’m still hard at work on Lady of Blades, though I’ve had to take a break to finish another book in the Greatcoats world which will be announced shortly.

      • Colin
        November 29, 2019 - 4:50 pm · Reply

        The concept of an audiobook was heresy to me. After reading the Greatcoats back to back I thought I’d try a little experiment with audio to prove myself right regarding the unnatural notion of a book being read to me. That experiment was Spellslinger. I got sucked right in! You and Joe have put me on a path where my ears have managed more stories than my eyes would have coped with this year.
        Now that Crownbreaker is done, my brain has picked up on a few words in, and about, your work – Duellist, Greatcoats, Ferious mentioning Tristia, Kellen and Reichis last seen on a riverboat. I can only prey that one day Brasti and Reichis will cross paths!

        • decastell
          November 30, 2019 - 8:57 am · Reply

          Joe Jameson could read the weather report and it would be gripping. He did a fantastic job with the Greatcoats, too.

          You’re right to notice the hints here and there that there are connections between Eldrasia, the continent on which the Spellslinger stories are mostly set, and Tristia, home of the Greatcoats. One day . . .

  • Sharanya
    April 3, 2020 - 8:40 am · Reply

    Absolutely loved the Greatcoats series. Loved the characters (especially Brasti) and the relationship between them. The last book absolutely wrecked me. But it was such a great experience. Can’t wait to start the Spellslinger series!

  • Abdul Basit
    May 3, 2020 - 3:49 pm · Reply

    Your books are absolutely magnificent! I loved the Greatcoat series to the point that people don’t let me participate in argumentative discussions about it, just because I am so biased in loving it! I am gearing up to start the Spellslinger series very soon!!

    • decastell
      May 5, 2020 - 7:09 am · Reply

      Thanks so much, Abdul! I’m just working on the final draft of Play of Shadows, so lots more Greatcoats and Bardatti books to come starting in January, 2021.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks

Leave a Comment