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So we're back from our spring vacation, which was riding along with friends as they visited Tennessee.

To explain a bit: we've gotten in the habit of traveling with our friends Jim and Susan on our less-elaborate trips that don't have any special purpose beyond getting out of town for awhile. The mechanics vary, but in this case they made pretty much all the arrangements because they have a big ol' car they bought specifically for road trips (I'm not sure whether it's officially a truck, SUV, or station wagon, but it seats six adults comfortably and still has room for a cooler and some luggage) and an AirBnB account. Julie and Susan did most of the planning; Susan did most of the driving.

So last Saturday we got picked up disgustingly early and drove to Knoxville, where some of our former neighbors now live. (Jim and Susan, Sam and Sandy, and Julie and I, all lived in the same part of Gaithersburg, and our kids grew up together to some extent; Jim and Sam were leaders in Julian's Boy Scout troop. None of us live in Gaithersburg anymore.) We stayed with Sam and Sandy for two nights, driving around the Great Smoky Mountains in between. Visited Gatlinburg and Cherokee NC, saw the damage from the recent forest fire, visited the world's largest knife store.

Monday we moved on from Knoxville to Nashville, our final destination, where Sandy had booked a house overlooking the river a little northeast of the city, in Madison, TN. I'm not sure whether Madison is part of Nashville or a suburb, actually. Anyway, it was a great rental, with two comfy bedrooms (and a third we didn't use because it didn't look as comfy), a deck and balcony overlooking the Cumberland River, and lots of other amenities, including a cat named Bolt. Jim and Susan had never had a cat, so they weren't sure how to deal with him, but he was a pretty friendly and cooperative animal.

We didn't know until after we got there, but the house is apparently owned by a moderately successful singer/songwriter who rents it out when she's not in Nashville -- which is often, since she tours a lot. The day we arrived she was leaving for a festival in Mexico.

So we spent a few days in and around Nashville, seeing the sights and hearing the sounds. Toured the Ryman Auditorium and the Hermitage and the Country Music Hall of Fame, saw Studio B where all RCA's Nashville artists of the '50s and '60s recorded (e.g., Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, etc.), went honky-tonking on Lower Broadway, took a boat ride on the General Jackson, saw the Grand Ole Opry, visited the Johnny Cash Museum, etc.

The one thing we'd meant to do that we missed, due to sloppy scheduling, was eating at the Bluebird Cafe. Oh, well.

The weather in Knoxville was horrible, with rain that sometimes worked up to torrential; the weather in Nashville was mostly great, but that rain meant the Cumberland River was running very high -- by the time we left, it was twelve feet above flood stage. The downtown riverside promenade was under a foot or two of water. Fortunately, the area is accustomed to this -- no damage is going to occur until you get maybe 20 feet above flood stage. (In 2010 a flood crested at 42 feet. That was bad. Lots of places have stuff about how they rebuilt.) It did mean the General Jackson couldn't do their regular route because the water was too high to fit safely under some bridges, so we didn't see downtown from the water.

Our rented deck gave us a good view of the river, as I mentioned, and looking at the trees on the far bank we saw that the river rose a lot just while we were there.

And Saturday we left early and came home, where I'm trying to catch up on everything, and here we are.

All aboard!

Apr. 7th, 2017 11:36 am
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Hi, everyone.

I have not posted directly to Dreamwidth in years, but since there are a bunch of people moving over here from LJ and following me, I thought I should take a moment to say hello -- and to see whether I remember how this works, because I never did use DW much.

Maybe now, with SFF Net gone and LJ corrupted, I will.
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I have just launched the campaign to finance the publication of Tom Derringer and the Aluminum Airship!
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To my astonishment, Chapter Twenty-Two is now online.

I fudged a little, actually; it's really about $5 short, but come on, it's just five bucks. Close enough.

That leaves two chapters (and the free epilogue) to go.

Meanwhile, I've delivered the finished (I think) novel to Wildside and am awaiting the contract. One way or another, this one's almost done, and I have serious doubts about whether I'll bother with another serial.

Thanks to everyone who's donated!
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Look! Up in the sky!

It's a bird! It's a plane! It's Chapter Twenty-One!

Yes, Chapter Twenty-One -- strange visitor from another reality, gifted with powers and abilities beyond those of ordinary prose that it uses to wage a never-ending battle for truth, justice, and the Ethsharitic way!

It did get completely paid for, but there's only about a buck and a half over toward Chapter Twenty-Two.

Three chapters to go, but only if they're paid for before I sign the contract. Which I don't have yet, because I wanted to finish the second draft first, and I've only just started on it.
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Thanks to one very large donation and a few smaller ones, Chapter Nineteen is now posted for all to read, and Chapter Twenty is paid for but not posted yet. (I'm thinking I'll probably post it Tuesday.)

The serial might yet be finished. We'll see.

Not much else to say; I haven't started work on the second draft yet. Wildside says I can have a contract whenever I'm ready, but they aren't in a rush.

Oh, they also mentioned that the sell-through for The Sorcerer's Widow in bricks-&-mortar Barnes & Noble outlets has been disappointing; if you happen to see copies in your local B&N, do whatever you can to help them find homes. Returns won't help Wildside's bottom line or my prospects of getting future titles into real-world stores.

(Online sales have done just fine; it's only traditional bookstores where it hasn't moved.)

Thanks for your support!
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Chapter Eighteen of Relics of War, a.k.a. Ishta's Companion, has now been posted. I'm actually still $1.04 short, but there's no point in being obsessive about it.

I've also posted an announcement concerning the serial.

The first draft is completely written; it runs twenty-four chapters and a brief epilogue, totaling 73,115 words. I haven't started the second draft yet; been busy with non-writing stuff.

Can't think of anything else that needs mentioning. Thanks to everyone who's donated!
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Chapter Seventeen is posted, at long last.

I'm a couple of pages from finishing Chapter Twenty, and I estimate the novel will run about twenty-two chapters, give or take. I should be able to get the rest written in a few days if I stop letting myself get distracted.

Of course, then it will need to be revised and all the usual stuff.

You know, folks who donated $20 for the paper edition are getting something of a bargain -- it's running longer than I expected. I cut it from $25 to $20 because I thought it would only run about 50,000 words, and it's going to be well over 60,000. Absolutely not a problem, though; thanks for the support.

I think that's about it, really.
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I am pleased to report that Chapter Sixteen has finally been posted -- we hit the magic number at 10:15 last night. I hadn't been expecting it, so I didn't have the files ready to go, but they're up now.

(I had somehow recorded three donations in the wrong category in my records, which I caught last night when I realized the totals didn't match my memory, but it wouldn't have much affected when the chapter went up -- those three would not have put it over the top without yesterday's contributions. But if I'd had them right I might have realized how close it was and had the files ready.)

Chapter Eighteen isn't finished yet; we were on vacation last week, so I only got a single page written, and before that the holidays and illness were delaying things. I'm hoping that now all that stuff is out of the way I'll be more productive.

Meanwhile, Tor has been reissuing my books in trade paperback. The new edition of A Young Man Without Magic has been available for a month, and I've received my author copies of the new edition of Dragon Weather, which should be out next week.

Hope all of you who were in the area affected by last week's "polar vortex" are okay; we missed it. By pure luck, our Caribbean vacation took us away from all that record cold.

(For those of you overseas, or who live in the unaffected portions of the U.S. and somehow weren't paying attention, last week brought most of the U.S. and Canada several days of arctic conditions, with record low temperatures.)

Anyway. It's a new year, and it's started well for me; I hope it's as good for all of you.
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Chapter Fifteen has finally put in an appearance.

Chapter Sixteen is written, as donors should know -- I've been e-mailing chapters to donors as soon as they're ready, rather than making them wait for the postings. Chapter Seventeen ran into Thanksgiving and other delays, and is still less than half written. I'm now estimating that the novel will run about twenty chapters, but that could still be off a couple of chapters either way.

I'm going to finish the novel, and Wildside intends to publish it, regardless of what happens to the serialization.

Thanks to a "clever" spammer, as of last night no e-mail from my ISP is getting through to Hotmail addresses -- or certain other domains, but I'm not sure exactly which. At least one is in Australia. If you think you should have received a notice of some sort from me and you haven't, that's probably why. We're working on getting it fixed.

I think that's it for now. Happy holidays!
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Chapter Fourteen is finally posted. Money did continue to trickle in, and finally reached the necessary total. There's even already a small start on Chapter Fifteen, though it still has a goodly way to go.

Maybe everyone was busy with Hallowe'en before.

Anyway, there it is, and Chapter Fifteen is mostly written, with still probably a couple of pages to go. Chapter Fifteen will complete what I've been thinking of as the first part of the story -- or really, maybe the second, if you want to consider the trip to Varag as Part One, and from there to where we are now as Part Two.

In any case, there's one more chunk to the story, and I have no idea how long it will be; we'll have to see how it develops. It takes up a page and a half of the original seven-page outline, but that page and a half is a bit sketchy. It might be just a couple of chapters, or develop into half the story.

I'm not going to try to maintain a weekly schedule anymore; I'll post new chapters as fast as they're written and paid for. (Both are required.) We'll see how it goes.
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Chapter Thirteen of Ishta's Companion is now online, a few days late. The delay was because I hadn't received full payment yet. This serial is not, I fear, thriving.
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Chapter Twelve is posted. It was actually paid for a couple of days early, unlike the previous two chapters.

Chapter Thirteen is nowhere near paid for, but it has a small start. And Chapter Thirteen is nowhere near written, but it has a small start -- I only finished writing Chapter Twelve on Tuesday afternoon, as I'd spent the weekend at Capclave and have been horrendously busy dealing with Vika's Avenger, which is done, but I still need to send out a couple of hundred rewards. The first batch of finished books is sitting in a box, waiting to go to the post office.

I talked to John Betancourt, publisher of Wildside Press, at Capclave, and we settled on Relics of War as the eventual title, replacing Ishta's Companion. I'm not going to change anything in mid-serial, though.

Let's see, was there anything else? Nothing comes to mind. Hope you guys like the new chapter.
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Chapter Eleven is now posted; it wasn't paid for until about noon. I was dealing with my lunch and with computer problems, so it didn't get posted until forty minutes later.

A little more has come in since, but Chapter Twelve is still a long way from being paid for. It's also a long way from being written -- I'm only a page or two in. The next scene will be very easy to write, though, so I should be able to get it done in time with no problem.

In the past I've always maintained a margin of at least a couple of chapters, usually four or five, but this time I haven't managed that. I've been over-committed, what with wrapping up the Kickstarter campaign, and publishing Stuart Hopen's Warp Angel, and family trips to New England and Canada, and assorted other distractions. After Capclave this weekend, though, I should have everything except the holidays out of the way and be able to catch up on writing.
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Chapter Nine is now posted. That's the good news.

The bad news is that I still haven't finished writing Chapter Ten, and it's less than half paid for. Looks like this one may be running out of steam.

More bad news: I'm going to be traveling next week. I hope to post Chapter Ten anyway, if it's done and paid for, and I'll have a computer with me with all the necessary software for that, but I will not have my e-mail lists, and will probably not have access to this blog, so there won't be the usual wave of announcements.

Also: I've been mulling over possible titles, because Ishta's Companion is just not a grabber. My current favorite is A Relic of the War. Comments are welcome.
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The eighth chapter of Ishta's Companion has escaped custody. It was last seen on the web.

Chapter Nine is paid for and written and should appear next week.

Chapter Ten is neither written nor paid for, but I'm about halfway through writing it.

I'm going to be traveling later this month and into October, and if Chapter Ten is written and paid for, I can't guarantee it'll be posted as fast as usual, and there probably won't be the usual flood of announcements.
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I have unleashed Chapter Seven!

Chapter Eight is also paid for and written, and will therefore presumably appear next week.

Chapter Nine is written but not yet paid for.

Chapter Ten is partially written. It's lurking on my hard drive, and I should go beat it into submission.
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Chapter Six of Ishta's Companion is up.

Chapter Seven is not quite paid for as of this writing -- I have received $246.99 of the required $250.00. I expect it to be covered shortly, though one never knows.

I still have maybe four or five pages to go on writing Chapter Nine, but it's further along than it was a week ago.

The money is not exactly pouring in on this one; maybe starting so soon after the Kickstarter was a mistake.

Well, we'll see how it goes.
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I'm pleased to report that Chapter Five is now online.

Chapter Six is paid for; Chapter Seven still isn't. And I still haven't finished Chapter Nine, but I've got three other time-consuming projects squared away (at least for the moment) so I'm optimistic about getting back to it soon.

And this chapter reveals a few things that some of you had already guessed.
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Chapter Four of the current serial is now posted. Chapters Five and Six are paid for; Chapter Seven is almost halfway covered.

I haven't written any more this week, so I'm still midway through Chapter Nine. I've been too busy with family stuff, medical stuff, and trying to get Vika's Avenger finished up and out of the way.

And I can't think of anything else to say. Oh, yeah -- if you donated, you should be receiving e-mail notices about each new chapter. If you aren't, please let me know!