It’s Out! Five Odd Honors.

The other day, our friend Chip came over for dinner so we could celebrate his birthday. As we’re sitting chatting, Chip says: “So how are things going with your career?”

And I reply, “Well, I’m pretty excited. I’ve been working on something I call Sundial Ring. I wrote the last sentence today. It’s going to need a bunch of polishing, but it’s now a story with a beginning, a middle, and an end. I’m jazzed.”

I talk a little more about a few other things I’ve been noodling with, then a thought hits me.

“Oh, yeah. I have a book coming out in May. The eleventh, I think.”

And Jim says, very gently, but obviously amused, “That’s next week, dear.”

Does that seem impossible? That I could forget I have a book coming out?

Don’t get me wrong. I am completely pleased with Five Odd Honors. It’s the third volume in the “Breaking the Wall” series, which began with Thirteen Orphans and continued with Nine Gates. Writing it took the better part of a year of my life. Editorial duties associated with it occupied a chunk of another year.

But, the thing is, the minute I mailed the page proofs back to Tor – hang on while I check my notes – on November 11, 2009, the book was a finished project as far as my involvement is concerned.

I have nothing to do with the cover art, marketing, publicity or any of the other elements that happen after. That’s up to Tor, the reviewers, and, most importantly of all, to the readers.

Now, after not really thinking about the book for the last six months, it’s time to start thinking about it again. I have two book-related events this coming weekend here in New Mexico: one at Esther Bone Library, one at Page One Bookstore. In June I’ll be signing in San Diego and Washington, D.C. (Details are available at my website,, for those of you who might want to drop in).

Five Odd Honorsis a darker book than the preceding two in the series, as events reach a culminating pitch. Brenda Morris has some tough decisions to make, including addressing the very serious question of where her deepest loyalties lie. Pearl Bright has some ghosts from her past manifest quite literally. The other Orphans find themselves going places most of them never even imagined existed.

Don’t worry. I’m not going to provide spoilers. But, like I said, it’s time to start thinking about the book again. As I do… Well, all of a sudden, I’m really excited.

18 Responses to “It’s Out! Five Odd Honors.”

  1. Alan Robson Says:

    Charles Stross has a blog in which he sometimes discusses writerly things and recently he’s been talking about just how little control the author has over stuff like covers and publication details and layout and (yes) even the price that’s charged for the book! One of the things that started him on the topic was that he was sick of getting emails from fans who thought that the author had full control over all those things and so they blamed him when they disapproved of whatever the publisher had done to his books!

    Like you, he went to great pains to point out that once he sends the final copy off, everything else is out of his hands and so, generally, once it’s gone he stops thinking about it. Other projects take over.

    All of which makes perfect sense to me. I’ve never had a novel published, but I have had papers published in technical journals and much the same situation applies. Once the paper is accepted it vanishes into the ether and it can be a long time (sometimes years) before it finally appears in print. You forget…

    I find it hard to imagine the situation that Charles Stross reports. Is it really possible that any reader could be naive enough to so completely misunderstand the role that the publisher plays in getting the book to market? Obviously it is. Jane — do you get comments from your fans complaining about covers and layout etc; and blaming you for things over which you have no control?

    And, to change the subject a little — can we have some clues as to what “Sundial Ring” might be about? You’ve got me all excited at the thought of it now…

  2. heteromeles Says:

    Congrats on remembering Five Odd Honors! I was wondering why there was no sample chapter up on your website. Thanks for explaining that.

  3. Nicholas Says:

    I hope that never happens to me. I’ve poured myself into what little I’ve written. The idea of forgetting about it, it’s like forgetting your child.

    Then again, I am still seeking my first print, so maybe once I get really going on my work, that will change. Who knows.

    I’ll have to go get Five Odd Honors, which means I need to finish Nine Gates already. And maybe, if I can scrounge the time and gas money, I’ll see you in San Diego.

  4. Eric Says:

    Congratulations are in order, I think!

    Also, I’m once again reminded that I haven’t actually read the “Breaking the Wall” books yet. Blasphemous, I know! I must correct this…

  5. janelindskold Says:

    Quick note.

    There should be a sample chapter up on my website by now.

    Interesting comments, thus far… but must run.

  6. janelindskold Says:

    I’m back.

    Can I start by saying I really like the comments. And I appreciate the Congrats. This is a big deal for me.

    Nicholas: Your comment about forgetting a child is so “fraught” I want to give it some thought. I may make it the subject of next week’s blog.

    And I hope I do get to meet you in San Diego.

    Alan: Yes. I have gotten comments on my covers, jacket copy etc. I have met you, so I know you’re very involved in the writers/readers world. You actually know too much.

    At my very first signing, the very first question I was asked by a charming young man — I’d guess a freshman or so in college — was “I’ve written a book, but I can’t draw. Will it be okay to send it out without a cover?”

    What a relief to tell him that he wasn’t expected to provide a cover — in fact, publishers view such as a sign of inexperience.

    I’ve often wondered what happened.

  7. janelindskold Says:

    Oh… And as to “Sundial Ring” — I’m not ready to talk about it in detail, but a few things won’t hurt. Contemporary fantasy/SF. A park where time doesn’t seem to behave quite normally. Why? What will the consequences be? How does it touch those who encounter it?

    Foxes. Tall buildings. Old sins. Old loves. New rivalries…


  8. Alan Robson Says:

    Thank you — it’s nice to be told I know too much. Watch my head swelling as the knowledge pours in!

    I like the idea of “Sundial Ring”. It sounds like the kind of story that pushes all my buttons.

  9. Molly Says:

    I just finished reading Five Odd Honors about thirty minutes ago (loved it, a lot) and I’ve come looking for info in hopes of confirming that there will be more in the series. Please say there will be more? I enjoyed FOH very much, although you weren’t kidding when you said it was darker that the previous two. It was nice to see more development from several of the characters, and especially interesting to see some members of one of the indigenous traditions taking a more active role in things (I’m trying to avoid spoilers in my descriptions here. Don’t want to ruin the surprise for anyone.) I’ve really loved the magic systems you used for these books and it was a treat to finally get to explore the Lands a bit. But please say that I can look forward to more of this series. It’s become one of my favorites and I want to know what happens next!

  10. A. Nuran Says:

    I just finished FOO. It looks like it could have a sequel. Or if you decided to leave it more real-life and messy you could end it there. Which way are you leaning?

  11. Jim Zimmerman Says:

    Hi Jane! Great to find this page and see your weekly thoughts- reminds me of our days sharing letters. Congratulations on all your success, maybe I willpop up at a signing and say hello. 😉

  12. janelindskold Says:

    Thanks for the responses that some folks have read Five Odd Honors and enjoyed enough to hope for a sequel. (I’ve heard this via my website, too).

    Very, very polite not to post spoilers!

    That question of a sequel remains up in the air. I will say I have a dynamite idea for another book in the series, but right now the marketplace is very uncertain. I’m glad that A. Nuran thought the current ending worked. I tried very hard to make it have closure, if only in the “messy” real life way.

    Jim Z. Good to hear from you! I hope the family is well and you’re back to some drawing.

  13. James Says:

    I like FOH as well. but the ending has me a bit puzzled. With one side closed of, will Brenda be connected to it in other means or will she be needed by other groups? both maybe?

  14. janelindskold Says:


    Can you clarify “one side”? Then I can answer!


  15. Maria Says:

    Your “Breaking the Wall” series is terrific. Of the novels I’ve read of yours (my first was your Firekeeper series) I have to say I love the characters you create and the worlds. It’s refreshing to pick up a novel that is unique. Everything I’ve had the pleasure of reading of your stories has really been a treat – something I find rare at times with books.

    I do hope that there is a fourth novel coming out in your latest series after Five Odd Honors. There are certainly a few questions left unanswered in the romance department, lol. I know that this thread is kind of stagnant but I was hoping you might say if there is a possibility of a sequel coming out…if it would be in the near future or not for a year or two. I’m sure writing takes longer than most people imagine. I for one can’t stick with a solid idea long enough to write a two-page paper much less a novel, lol.

    Anyways, thank you for the stories and looking forward to future ones!

  16. janelindskold Says:

    Hi Maria,

    Never stagnant. I actually check older posts on a regular basis.

    At this point, for a variety of reasons, there is no set date for a new novel in this series.

    The reasons are varied, but similar to those I detail for my novel CHANGER in my more recent post, “Magic Circles in the Sidewalk” — that is, this publisher isn’t certain there is demand. I, however, would like to do another novel in the series and have notes in case the occassion arises.

    Thanks for asking.

    • Shane Says:

      I had been pouring through various sites, just catching up on “Breaking the wall” now (Like many, my reading list just keeps getting bigger, even as I keep pushing through books) and I’m about to transition from Nine gates to Five odd honors.

      I’ve really been enjoying the series and was wondering if the series was over or not. So I’m glad to have this answer! I don’t have to hunt quite as doggedly for the next book. Though you’d better believe that if you get a chance to revisit the series I’ll be tacking it onto my reading list yet again 😉

      • janelindskold Says:

        Thanks, Shane. It’s good to have the encouragement. I hope you like _Five Odd Honors_!

        And perhaps you’d enjoy my new release — _Artemis Awakening_.

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