So whatever happened to The Return of the Mages?

Posted February 6, 2022 by PaulineMRoss in Brightmoon world, Current writings, The Return of the Mages / 17 Comments

Good question! The 9th book in the Brightmoon series, The Dragon Caller, was published on 13th December 2017. And the 10th book, The Return of the Mages, is… still in my head.

I always intended to write it. I even had the cover made for it, as you can see. Pretty, isn’t it? Yes, that is a volcano erupting. So now you know what chapter 1 is about.

But books 7, 8 and 9 in the series didn’t sell very well, and in the meantime, I’d got distracted by a shiny new genre – Regency romance – which DID sell, and so gradually the impetus died away. Book 10 was always going to be the difficult, pulling-everything-together book, and it meant rereading all the previous 9 and somehow, I never quite worked up the energy. So here we are, several years later and still no book 10.

But every once in a while, someone prods me and asks: when is it coming? So, consider me prodded. And actually, I’d really like to know how it all ends myself (no, I don’t know!).

So, what do I have to do to get this book written, without abandoning my Regency romance readers along the way? I have to have a Plan, that’s what – a way of working on this book alongside the Regencies. And in order to keep me chugging along the Plan, there has to be Accountability. So that’s where you can help, the small number of you who are still waiting patiently for this book. Keep prodding. And in return, I’ll post my progress here, hopefully on a weekly basis.

Here’s the Plan:

Reread all 9 existing books, make notes (because everything was in my head before, and there’s no series bible, sadly). That will take me about 5 months.

Mull over some rough ideas for the plot. I’m not a detailed plotter, but I like to have the first few chapters in my head before I start, then I just see where that takes me. Maybe a month for that.

Writing. I reckon I can write maybe 10K words a month on this, without impingeing too much on the Regencies. So maybe 10-12 months.

Then editing, beta reading, more editing and… publish. 2-3 months for that.

Total 18-21 months, which means that The Return of the Mages should/could/might be published late in 2023, a mere 6 years after book 9. Wish me luck.


17 responses to “So whatever happened to The Return of the Mages?

  1. Joan Davies

    Personally I loved the bright moon and fire mages books, read the early dragon books then lost you, sorry but regencies are not my genre. As I writer though you are high up my list and I keep my eyes on your new books. Thank you for the effort you are putting in.

    • Thanks, Joan. Regencies are definitely not everyone’s cup of tea, nor are fantasies, so that’s part of why I kept the two pen names separate (and the shocking amounts of sex and swearing in the fantasies – the Regencies are the other end of the spectrum!). This is going to be an interesting process.

      • Maura Keating

        I have loved your Regencies and wondered at your ability to imagine so many characters and scenarios and link them together.. now I have just finished the Brightmoon series and am bereft! PLEASE turn your mind towards book 10, so that I and others can immerse ourselves once more in that world you have created, so different from the Regency world but with the same sympathetic real people to care about and follow…you can do it!!!

        • I would love to do it! The trouble is finding the time, because it would be a mammoth job to pick up all the threads of Brightmoon and create a coherent finale. And there may be (optimistically) a dozen people waiting for that finale. Whereas I have thousands of people waiting for the next Regency. It’s difficult.

  2. Jessica

    I am definitely looking forward to reading return of the mages when you are finished! I love your regency romance as well, each series gets better and better; mercer house series looks to be a great storyline, too! (Release date for the first marked in my calendar) Can you just write and release them both today? 😉 seriously though, thank you for all of your hard work and wonderful storytelling! It is truly appreciated.

  3. Barbara

    I first “met” you through this series. I so enjoyed it that I looked for anything else you wrote, and that led to my introduction to Regencies. Loved those too! I just really enjoy your work. I’m now rereading Brightmoon to fill in before your next Regency is released. I think I’m enjoying it even more the second time around. But I really would like to have the final story with Drina, Ly and Aaryn!

    • The final story is brewing in my mind. It’s going to take a while, because I have a lot of Regency readers who won’t be happy if their books get delayed, but all being well, it will be done.

  4. Joan

    I’ve read all your Regencies and thoroughly enjoyed them and I’ve just torn through the Brightmoon series in days and came to your website when Return of the Mages was not to be found. So consider this another prod and I’d love to read more in this world. I

  5. Andrea

    Well. I’m usually only a lurker on websites, but today’s disappointment inspires me to write – I came to your Brightmoon series via the regencies, on the basis that you tell a good tale, write interesting and usually sensible characters and I enjoy your work, so, despite not being a frequent reader of fantasies, I thought I’d give them a try. And lo, I enjoyed them very much, and settled down to read all ten (!) in very quick succession. Finished the Dragon Caller this morning, and made a mental note not to rush through The Return of the Mages but to savour it, went to download it and of course, it doesn’t exist… So I hope you’re enjoying re-reading your own work as much as I did in encountering it for the first time, and that it inspires you to weave together all the strands for the finale.

    If/when you do, can I make a plea for an overall map of the various areas – I think I have it in my head, sort of, but the location of the Tre-annatha Homeland is a bit hazy in my mind and the map in The Second God was v useful. I got confused in the Plains of Kallanash as they seemed to head in lots of contradictory directions…

    But thank you and full marks for fantasy with a sense of humour and fallible, conflicted characters. The Dragon’s Egg dragged a little in the middle, and then the ending knocked me for six..

    • I am so sorry you were disappointed in the lack of a tenth book in the series. I find myself in a very difficult position, because although I loved writing my fantasies, it was the Regencies which took off and provided me with a steady income. So although I would love to write the tenth fantasy (and the spin-off northern hemisphere series), it’s very, very hard to justify the expenditure of time and effort for the handful of people who are waiting patiently for The Return of the Mages. Bear in mind also that I never set out to write a series of any sort in the Brightmoon world. To start with, I simply wrote whatever came into my head, and it was only late on (post Dragon’s Egg, certainly) that I began to see the glimmerings of a series, and a possible finale. I haven’t entirely given up the idea of writing the tenth book, but (as they say) don’t hold your breath.

      • Andrea

        I totally get it, and, as I’m a big fan of your regencies, I’ll look forward to them as always. Thanks also for taking the time to reply.

  6. Camilla

    Here to prod. I discovered you through your regency books and read them all. I recently found out you also wrote under another name and had a series of fantasy books! I was so excited as this is my other favourite genre. I devoured the bright moon series in rapid succession.

    I loved every one of them. As someone who probably reads 3 books a week (mostly fantasy and historical fiction) I have to say these books are totally unique within the genre. The world you created, and the intriguing magic had me utterly beguiled. I do hope you finish book 10….you have a special talent and the world of bright moon deserves some kind of finale.

    Either way I will definitely return to this series as they were not only exciting and engaging, but also somehow comforting and inspiring. Thank you!

    • Thank you for the kind words. I would love to write book 10 and finish the series, and also go on from there to write about the northern hermisphere of the Brightmoon world, for which I have a lot of jumbled notes already, but the question is time. My Regency books, which bring in enough money to pay the bills and a bit more besides, take up almost all my available time. Also, I’ve recently had a number of medical issues, from trivial to worryingly non-trivial, that have led me to cut back on the amount I do, leaving even less spare time to revisit the Brightmoon series. Since only perhaps half a dozen people in the entire world care about book 10 of the series, you can appreciate why I’m reluctant to devote oodles of time to it. It’s a shame, but the book world is littered with unfinished series, so I’m not exactly unique in that respect. I’m glad you enjoyed the existing 9 books, though.

  7. Jill

    I just finished The Dragon Caller; you have created quite a world! BUT . . . I came to Brightmoon AFTER I had enjoyed all your regencies! I Love Your writing, and as much as I enjoyed the Brightmoon world, I am looking forward to your fantastic Regency story telling! You create characters with distinct personalities, in interesting situations, all within the strictures of the Regency theme. Great job!!! Keep on writing the Regencies! And Thank You, so much!! P.S. I listen whenever possible to the audiobooks. Your reader, Joanna Stephens, is excellent!

    • Thank you! There are a lot of similarities between Regency and epic fantasy – both involve world building. But it’s difficult to do both simultaneously, and at the moment my focus is on the Regencies. I will tell Joanna how much you enjoy her work (she’s in the studio at the moment recording the latest book).

Leave a Reply