Sneak Preview #1

originally posted by Laurie Baldwin

Please, Please, Please make ‘The Stormed Fortress’ the LAST BOOK IN THE SERIES with some closure to your increasingly convoluted and hard to follow story lines.

I have just finished Traitor’s Knot, and found it a most UNSATISFYING read, however since I have already got so much time invested in reading this series, I will give the next book ‘Stormed Fortress’ a chance. I want to know what happens to the main characters, and how the issues raised in your previous books are resolved:

Will the sorcerer’s be re-united as 7?

Will the Desh-thiere geas be defeated so that Lysaer and Arithorn can be reconciled as brothers?

How will the Koriathian be finally humbled?

When will the Parathians finally show up?

It is MOST DISSAPOINTING that book after book, there is no closure, to ANYTHING, just more unanswered questions.

This constant conflict and war-mongering as the main storyline in this series is getting tiresome. You raise too many un-answered questions and presume too much on my patience as a reader to expect book after book to be read with no essential change to the storylines.

So much of each subsequent book is taken up with explanations of the storyline ALREADY COVERED in previous books, that it seems in fact that little happens to move the plot lines forward. Peril’s Gate was really no more than a summary of the previous books, cumbersomely re-told through Arithorn’s journey through Kewar Tunnel. Traitor’s Knot gave us a little more insight into Davien the Betrayer but little else in the essential story line, with hints and foreshadowing of wonders to come. If the Stormed Fortress doesn’t bring some of the plot to closure, I’m sorry, you have lost me as a reader.

Surely a little less verbose prose and a little more conflict resolution is in order. One gets the feeling that you have lost sight of where the story is going, and are lost in the minute details, and emotional byplays of this world you have created. Let’s SEE what Arithorn’s newly rekindled mage talents can accomplish.

I only want to visit this world, learn a story, and find a life lesson or analogy. I do not want to live in this world un-endingly, with increasingly unsatisfying brief visits to each sub-plot line. You have reduced your characters to two dimensional bit players, with no real depth.

Tell the story, and please FINISH the story!

originally posted by JR415


originally posted by Hannah

"Parathians?" I, er, don’t think they’ll be making an appearance.


Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, of course. But I feel that one should try to be as well-informed about their opinion, before voicing it to the world–or in this case, on the ‘doorstep’ of the author who has offended you so.

I read your post and think that there’s a lack of knowledge at the root of it.

Janny has already said, and any good fan KNOWS, that Stormed Fortress is not the last book.

Janny’s books are not an FAQ. It’s not:

Question: Will the F7 be fully reunited in power and friendship.
Answer: Yes.

Janny writes books that force people to think, to put two and two together. There’s no grand reveal, an answer served on a silver platter. She respects the fact that we have minds, and I for one (and I know many people in this forum will agree) welcome the opportunity to use it. There’s precious few media outlets that make people think. It’s all fluff, italicized and underscored so we Get The Point.

The answers you’re looking for may be to simpler questions than the story asks. For instance, you say “Let’s SEE what Arithorn’s newly rekindled mage talents can accomplish”. Well, that’s one small aspect of a bigger question. What would Arithon use his talent for? What aim does he work towards now? What new scope of talent has he achieved, and how far can he take it? Or “Will the sorcerer’s be re-united as 7?” We realize now that it’s not a simple matter of getting ‘the guys’ together in one room to hug and make friends. There are bigger issues between them, base differences of opinions on huge issues. Lots of road blocks in the way. Davien is/was not stubbornly hiding away in his cave sulking. He has very deep, subtle motives. Etc. etc.

Answers to questions are there, if we don’t rush through the chapter to get to the part where Arithon is using his talent to hoodwink some Sunwheel priests.

These days, it’s hard to have faith in an author, that they have the story in control, with no stray subplot gone awry, and no purposeless characterization. Sometimes money or fame gets in the way of telling a story in one book, or two, instead of stretching out a series endlessly. But I trust Janny 100%, and that she knows precisely what she’s doing.

You have reduced your characters to two dimensional bit players, with no real depth. Couldn’t disagree more. But that’s all subjective, isn’t it.


originally posted by Trys


Thank you so very, very much for your post. I believe that you have hit the nail on the head. WoLaS is NOT fluff and is NOT formulaic. The gods know there ARE lots of books out there that do fit that bill. I'm just glad there are authors, like Janny, who are willing to stay the course of their vision and produce books that are more.


originally posted by el

i couldn't have said it better myself Hannah…

Laurie and Jr i am sorry that you have been unable to get as much out of the WoLas series as i and many others have…constructive critism is always a good thing, however when it borders on just plain rudeness it is no longer constructive.

Janny, keep up the good work:smiley:you are without a doubt in the top 5 of my favorite authors.

also Trys and crew, thankyou for all the hard work it takes in keeping this wonderful website active.

originally posted by Trys


You are very welcome.


originally posted by Iris

Ah yes, everyone is entitled to their opinion (however informed or un-informed…) and when I go to the book store, I see shelf after shelf of books and authors who might suit your taste better Laurie and JR…go for it. Exercise your opinion.

Here's my opinion…I love the way Janny writes in all its intricate beauty, love the challenge of thinking through the various sub-plots (which are the sub-plots really??) and thoroughly enjoy the characters in this tremendously engaging series. I have a dictionary and I am not afraid to use it, am glad that this series challenges me to do so!

With a great sense of anticipation (savoring) I will happily wait and wait and wait for the next book and the next and so on. How long it takes to bring the story to its conclusion - it really is irrelevant to me. There is no doubt that Janny knows what she is doing. And yes, it is different. Ahem, THAT difference (which some will squeak about) is truly delightful to me! When a story or plot or character can be a surprise, it's quite refreshing.

Thank you Janny - from the bottom of my heart.


originally posted by Iris

Oh - yeah, I want to second el's thoughts, thanks Trys for all you do with this site. Truly enjoy coming in here for an update and love the newer features!


originally posted by susan stevens

Hi laurie, i was suprised to see your post and a quite saddened that you found so little to instruct. May i suggest the language is superior to almost anything in print, you could learn english and its usage in the books alone…theres lessons on nature and human nature…and on the deep and meaningful subjects that define the noble qualities in man…too heavy!!! Sailing, heres a topic covered by a professional,ranging from how to build a ship to blue water sailing…the mechanics of war and weaponry are extremely well researched…the seemingly magical subjects likewise can be found to have a parallel in solid parapsychological research and the few that don't look to mans mythology (its all documented if your interested enough to read)… the variety of KNOWLEDGE in w.o.l.s is huge, it would take many years for an individual to embrace all of these subjects…be gratefull someone else has done the slog so that you can sit back and enjoy…

originally posted by Mary

One of the great things about this time in history is that we have access to so many authors, books, types of storylines and they are often available in print and audio so that we can even "listen" to our favourite book as we drive to work!

We all have our preferences, and I know that mine can change depending upon work pressures, etc. Sometimes I want an easy, quick read for pure escape - especially if I have something else that I should be doing. Sometimes I want that escape to be more distracting so that I can lose myself in a different world, one such as Janny creates. I know which type of book I truly value!

The authors that take the time to plan, research and write books that truly create a believable, detailed world and bring life and character and emotion to the occupants of that world are the ones that I ultimately prefer. I make sure to add those books to my bookshelves (or stacks of books on the floor when I run out of room) and read and re-read the books, finding new details each time to surprise and please me.

It is a bonus to then find a forum such as this where we can get to know the author and other fans and ask questions and expand our knowledge of the world and the characters. (And have fun speculating on the why's and what happens next!)

One other author spoke of her forum as people dropping in around the kitchen table to chat. We'll not always have the same point of view, but can learn from each other. I like that analogy.

originally posted by Susan Canterbury

I, for one, don't want the series to end [Yes, Janny I know it has to end :smiley:.] I love living in the world of Athera. I, too, want the answers to my questions, but what I love about this series is that Janny believes I'm intelligent enough to seek the answers myself. I spend time thinking through what I have read and learned and speculating on things to come. Janny's research is superb from ships and sailing, war, music and magic to harmony and balance. I love books that I can read again and again and discover new things each time. I have worn out the first three books and had to buy them again from multiple readings. I need to get them in hard covers.

I know not everyone will have the same experience as I have had, but I know my enjoyment of reading has increased a hundred-fold because of Janny (and I already was a bookworm).

Janny: Thank-you for such a tremendous reading experience.

Trys: I want to add my thanks to everyone's for your work on the website.

I need to say that I admire Laurie Baldwin's courage. She sent me the same e mail, in private. And she also felt strongly enough to post how she felt before everyone. And this is the appropriate place for it, because all of us can respond.

Anybody can be disappointed in a book, for any number of reasons. And the disappointment is not wrong! It's all in how it's handled, and what can be learned by all the participants.

Yes, not everyone has to like the same cuppa tea, and not everyone is comfortable exploring EVERY issue.

It isn't "wrong" to dislike a book for any reason…for example:

Some like books that are ACTION driven.
Some like books that are EMOTIONALLY driven.

Others like books that do both, and are not satisfied unless both issues are present.

I have found that not every reader is comfortable with both! Reason/action or Emotional intensity that drives FEELING response - the first, our Western society values above the other. (doers over nurturers) And because the Value has been placed, right handed, the leftie view is disparaged as Less Than.

So, the knee jerk societal attitude "might be," devalue what's not approved as Better by the mass standard.

So often there's a 'reject' factor when any book takes the road that any one particular reader chose not to prefer. I am not presuming OR implying this is the case with Laurie - just taking this quite common "split point" as an example of what CAN happen to provoke a frustrated response.

I get letters from feeling driven readers AND action driven ones - both chewing up half the experience with disparagement…why not go "one-sided," why bother with the otherbits? "You are wasting my time with them!" they say. "Get to the point that interests ME. Or I won't waste my money!"

Point taken. Don't.

As Author, with choice as to how I express what I choose to write - I have to go on without you. Because to me, the creator inspired to produce this tale, BOTH issues are equally, even Essentially valid! Feelings give rise to thought, thought examines feeling (even if those feelings become boxed, ignored and solidified into the Dogma of Don't Go There.Wrong Turn.Because!Period.Forget further exploration!!) and at the base of that dynamic pendulum is something we know as human BELIEF. That drives they dynamo to motion. They drive us to define our world and what can and can't happen.

What happens, then, if belief shifts, changes, evolves? Story! Now, how far do you run that posited question…how much STORY do you dare to tell? How many beliefs do you dare to challenge and shatter? How far, how deep, how wide? how delicately, quintessentially carefully do you DARE to examine as you progress???

And I have long valued the idea that varied viewpoints - even ones diametrically opposed - are valid Equally in human expression - logic and reason cannot function in any sort of harmony without emotion and feeling. How long will we stumble over the stones of our fixed beliefs???

There is more - much more - to this story than the simplistic dynamic above! I will not defend Any of it, except to encourage any reader to voice their true feelings, exercise free choice, and pursue what they truly love.

This book is not one faceted - "what happens" is JUST as important as "how it happens"…through that, it explores differing systems of Valuation (moral, philosophical, logic bearing, emotion bearing) all represented by different characters, whose views grow and shift, and do not stay static! That's alotta territory. Not the sort of story that runs linear: "What do you want, you hit a few snags, bingo, one epiphany/triumphant fight - you win it!" - but "Why do you want it in the first place, and How did you get there to claim it…how did you CHANGE as you reached and strove - and how did you feel when you got there and Why" sort of journey…

The bearing dynamics (plural!) of this story are very much going in the direction they were designed to - and not a few gulfs of contrasting concepts will be crossed, and many angles will be presented and examined in the course of its journey. It is a dimensional story. Not a linear one!

So understandably, the linear reader in any one line of causational direction is bound to be frustrated to screaming!

WHEN the dynamic pictures are completed enough to create the foundational thrust to resolve the big issues - across a very broad range of foundational beliefs - THEN you will see the results! Powerfully. Not simplistically.

They will be intense and satisfying and complete, to my eye, and I have chosen to view and experience a very broad landscape.

Anyone else's vantage is quite welcome to be different. The "popular" vantage is quite welcome to be different. We have a very diverse world - a very complex and sometimes contentious world - because we are all incredible individuals rooted in widely different beliefs.

There is no reason, to my mind, that such differences need to be 'threatening' - we can all be free to value what's important to US. And we can respect that and learn to communicate. Or we can walk out, or in, in a huff.

Or we can all listen to each other -in particular ones whose opinions strongly differ from our own - and try to understand and maybe, learn - not necessarily to agree! - but learn to appreciate in understanding.

All of you have responded in beautiful ways.

Nobody likes or dislikes something for an empty reason. Why it matters to them creates understanding.

I am glad that those of you who spoke out did so in response - beyond the immediate "nice" for me, that somebody else understands something of what I've striven to do in this story - but what I Really hope for - that Laurie is also welcome to stick around and explore her differences in value with all of us.

Books are never condemned automatically.

I've said why I wrote.

The question I fire back - why do you read? What did you expect this book to "deliver" in the first place and where, in particular did you sting where it "fell short?" Not the surface reason…where did it disappoint your belief?

originally posted by Trys



One other author spoke of her forum as people dropping in around the kitchen table to chat.

I once pointed out that this board is an extension of my living room, all our welcome here so long as they behave like they are in my living room. :smiley: And just as Laurie did above, nearly all visitors do use good manners.


originally posted by Susan Canterbury

Why do I read? I read for many reasons-to escape, to find pleasure, to think, to feel, to learn, to exlore other realities and find out what it would be like to be someone else, etc. I discovered this series in the public library. I enjoy epic fantasy and the cover art intrigued me, and I confess the length was enticing. I love big books. My first reading of the COTM was difficult. I quickly found out if I let myself skim what I "thought" was just filler I was lost. There was not one wasted word, phrase, or scene. Everything must be read. I read it three times in a row to make sure I understood who the characters were, where they were at, and trying to understand the Curse-the geas laid upon both princes and how it transmitted to Arithon.

I expected this series to deliver enjoyment, adventure, and great character development-which is very important to me. I like characters that develop and you can see and follow that development. I don't like quick jumps where I don't understand the motivations or mechanism behind a character's growth. This series surpassed my expectations with the plot and character development.

I don't know where it "fell short". I know that there is so much more I want to know about characters. I'd love to know more about Dakar, the history of the F-7-the details. Each character draws me and I want to know more and more. I will have to think about this question to get beneath the surface.

originally posted by Hannah

I'm glad that there were no "laurie u sux get a life!!1!!one!" responses as well.

Janny, I'll have to think on your question this afternoon before I can reply.

(distracted by "Go Seahawks!"ness)

originally posted by Blue

I don't know if I can add to the ongoing discussion with the same eloquence as Hannah, Trys, Mary and the Susans have.

I will second Hannah, that I am glad we are mature enough to recognize that someone has a differing opinion, and not go for any "loreyy sux!" style flame posts. If we did have any such immature types, a certain Gryphon would issue a warning, and then ban that immature type if they didn't shape up for doing just that.

Laurie, perhaps the most pressing question is, "What are you looking for when you read?"

Obviously, resolution is important, and I can certainly understand that viewpoint. I, myself, was always driven to distraction with Sherlock Holmes, because all of those stories were told from Dr. Watson's viewpoint, and the guy didn't have a clue. In addition, Holmes would solve the mystery from somewhere out of left field, leaving me, the reader, with a "What the hell was THAT?" feeling.

Speaking sympathetically as an impatient person - though perhaps that is NOT your motivation (I'm equally guilty of being poorly perceptive) - I can see where frustration would set in. Yes, the WoLaS storylines are convoluted, unpredictable and complex.

But, in stories with the pat, happy ending, how realistic do you find them? How satisfying? I am speaking, perhaps from an erroneous assumption, that you are American. I read that back in the 1950s there was someone high up in the studios that decided that ALL movies and TV shows would have happy endings, and that no "villain" would go unpunished. How true that is, I don't know, but notice in many American movies, TV shows and other popular media, there are full resolutions of plots and conflicts.

How true are these to real life? How satisfying are these "resolutions"? At nearly 40, I have seen things "resolve" in my life that were quite unhappy, despite what I grew up believing. There are friends with whom I no longer speak after estrangements for one reason or another; and there is not only anger at the estrangement, but also regret that we couldn't somehow magically resolve it, since 'friendship conquers all.'

Sure, in terms of the believer in "happily ever after" endings I used to be, it would be so "satisfying" for Arithon to find something to FORCE Morriel/Selidie to release Elaira; and for he and Elaira to have a dozen or more kids. Lysaer would be humbled, and realize that everything he had known, learned and done was WRONG, and he and Arithon would live happily ever after as brothers. Davien would get together with the other members of the Fellowship, they'd share a beer and get over the awkwardness of a 500 + year estrangement and immediately work together again, just like the good old days, and agree on everything.

So perhaps another pertinent question would be, "How satisfying is a pat ending like the one described above?"

originally posted by beth

I can't add much to this, other than to say I can understand Laurie being frustrated. There is an author I read (not Janny) who I've decided I won't be buying her books anymore. I might still borrow them from the library but I won't buy them. She has switched from a plot to just bad sex and that isn't why I read her books.

As for Janny's books, I love them and can't wait for the day I can buy TK and read it. (Sorry, I don't buy hardcover books and our library has yet to get the book instock) We've known from the start that this was a long storyline. Granted with a 5 arc storyline I initially assumed that there would be 5 books. But hey, Janny's written the arcs as she sees them and I'll read all the books I can get.

I like Janny's books because there are sooo many plotlines and it isn't pat and falls out as expected. I think Janny will tie everything up and have brought new stuff in before the end. I still believe there will have to be some time jumps since the brothers are 'cursed' with 500 years and we've only seen 50 to 75 so far.


originally posted by David Gardner


So perhaps another pertinent question would be, "How satisfying is a pat ending like the one described above?"

Well, honestly? I would love to read that book. I read (and purchase, I am a good little consumer-bot) lots of books like that, good books with happy endings and bad books with happy endings. Reading is recreation/escapism for me, and while I also like to think and muse about the twists and turns of a plot (eg I really love Steven Erikson atm), I also like there to be a definite conclusion to the central issues.

Of course though I would be disappointed if Janny added an extra page to the end of Traitor's Knot that went something like this:

"Arithon was very angry. Curse those meddling old Korani fools! Bold as brass, he ran all the way to Seldie Prime, wrestled the Waystone and the Skyron from the burnt stubs of her fingers and threw them into a bucket of seawater. Take that, fools! Freedom for all!

He grabbed Elaira, kissed her passionately, hopped upon a sloop and sailed off to find the Paravians. He does. The next day Arithon had tea and scones with the restored Fellowship of the Seven at Ithamon, all seven of them awake and in human form. (Davian having shared his Eagle Shifting Powers). Lysaer, having left the Mistwraith on the back seat of the bus, would be over tomorrow with a nice fruit flan that he'd baked the day before".

I don't think having a "happy ending" is mutually exclusive with having an interesting and innovating book series that unfolds over many books/arcs. And I don't think there's anything wrong with wanting a happy ending, no matter how unrealistic it is. Wanting this doesn't meant that I would "require" or "demand" an instant conclusion to all plot lines.

originally posted by Iris

Hi David,
Gotta say thanks for making me laugh like a fool on a Monday morning! I can truly appreciate your sentiments. I like happy endings. I particularly like closure, happy or not. And,as a writer, I find that endings can be tough. As a reader, I've read a few books that seem as if the author rushed the ending - leaving me feeling like they had someone else more important waiting on the other line. Your clever musings reminded me (unfortunately) so much of some of these experiences. It's easy to laugh now, but it wasn't fun at the time…after an experience like that, I am almost tempted to become one of those people who read the ending first to see if the book might be worth it (you know who you are!)but naw…


originally posted by juliana

The fact that the two readers who would like to see some resolution have read all the WOLS books speaks to their appreciation of the series. I do not think their frustration comes from Janny's writing style or vocabulary but the seeming lack of closure anytime in the next few years. I enjoy this series for many reasons but mainly because I have to think.However I too would like to see the story lines move on.
For those of you who like a challenge and need a dictionary to read WOLS, you may also enjoy Chaucer, Shakespeare, Jane Austin, the Bronte sisters etc…
AND I sincerely hope that all those who have come to Janny's defense are as well informed and passionate about events occuring in the real world- especially those readers living in America.