Status Report: Lots going on!

Above His Proper Station in paperbackAbove His Proper Station is now out in paperback, from Tor — but I haven’t actually seen a copy yet. I’m supposed to get a box of ’em, but it hasn’t yet arrived.

The Lawrence Watt-Evans Fantasy MegapackThe Lawrence Watt-Evans Fantasy Megapack is scheduled for Monday, March 27.

I spent most of 2016 working on three different novels, and I’ve finished all three of them since New Year’s:

The novel I’ve always referred to by the name of the protagonist, Bravo Foxtrot, was delivered and paid for in January. I have no idea what the eventual title will be, or when (or if!) it will be published. It’s a game tie-in, so I don’t think it’ll be out until the game is, and last I heard that was still some time away.

Stone Unturned, referred to for years as “the Big Fat Ethshar novel,” is complete at 140,000 words and sold to Wildside. The contracts are signed and countersigned. The actual text hasn’t been delivered yet because Wildside was backlogged and asked me to hold off, but I’ll be sending it Monday or Tuesday.

Tom Derringer in the Tunnels of Terror, the second Tom Derringer novel, is finished at 72,000 words and has been sent to the editor, who says she should have her work on it done around the end of April. I’ll be self-publishing this one (and the entire Tom Derringer series) through Misenchanted Press.

My short story, “The Lady of Shadow Guard,” will be in the Roger Zelazny tribute anthology Shadows and Reflections, edited by Trent Zelazny & Warren Lapine; the book is tentatively scheduled for June of this year.

And “The Prisoner of Shalott” will be in By the Light of Camelot, an Arthurian anthology scheduled for August 2018.

The next Ethshar novel will probably be Charming Sharra (formerly Sharra the Petty); I’m several pages into writing it. I haven’t yet worked out the entire ending, so it’s possible it’ll bog down, or it may not reach novel length, but right now I expect it to be a short novel like The Sorcerer’s Widow.

Tom Derringer and the Steam-Powered SauriansThe third Tom Derringer novel will be Tom Derringer & the Steam-Powered Saurians; I’m fifty pages into writing it. My current plan is for at least three more after that: Tom Derringer & the Electric Empire, Tom Derringer & the Floating Fortress, and Tom Derringer & the Misplaced Metropolis. (That last title is subject to change.) I’ve also set things up so that I can insert some shorter stories in the summer of 1883, when Tom spent a couple of months visiting New England; that’s during Chapter Two of Tom Derringer in the Tunnels of Terror. Those would be solo; Betsy Vanderhart wouldn’t appear. The only one I’ve plotted is “Tom Derringer & the Monster of the Mills.”

I have two pending anthology invitations. I’m working on a story called “Double Agent” aimed at one with an April 30 deadline, and a story called “The Dancing Teacher” aimed at one with a June 1 deadline.

Since we’re planning to move in a couple of years, I’ve also been putting some effort into finding somewhere I could donate all my professional papers. I think I’ve found a suitable university library, but until it’s official I prefer not to be more specific than that.

And finally, my agent has a proposal of mine for a science fiction novel that we’re hoping will interest Tor.

So I’m keeping busy, and there’s definitely stuff on the way.

Work in Progress: Tom Derringer in the Tunnels of Terror

Progress report:cover

Last time looked at: 3/20/17

Last actual wordage added: 3/20/17

Pages added, 3/18-20/17: 3

Current page count: 270

Estimated final page count: 270

Current word count: 71,199

Deadline: None. Will be self-published.

Comments: Done! And I don’t see a need for a third draft.

I want every Tom Derringer book to have a double frontispiece, so I’ve sent the mss. to my daughter with a couple of options for illustrations. I’m trying to get hold of my preferred freelance editor — I probably shouldn’t have left that until the last minute like this.

So it’s pretty much done, unless either Kiri or my editor says otherwise. (Kiri is my beta reader, as well as my illustrator.)

Work in Progress: Tom Derringer in the Tunnels of Terror

Progress report:cover

Last time looked at: 3/17/17

Last actual wordage added: 3/17/17 (Well, changed, more than added)

Pages added, 3/15-17/17: 5

Current page count: 267

Estimated final page count: 265-290?

Current word count: 69,998

Deadline: None. Will be self-published.

Comments: Okay, I’m finally revising this. (I finished the first draft on August 1, 2016.) It’s coming along pretty quickly, actually; most of it was acceptable as it stood. I’m up to Chapter Twelve (of 26). I did change the chronology somewhat, and sent Tom on a side-trip in the summer of 1883 that I can use for short stories later if I want to. Betsy would not appear in any such short stories.

I also tied Betsy’s actions in to the eruption of Krakatoa, which moved part of the action from November-December 1883 to September-October 1883, which makes more sense in several respects. Those changes account for virtually all of the added wordage.

I also plan to add a sequence later on where Tom and Betsy undertake a risky swim, but I’m not up to that. That’s the only remaining significant change I expect to make.

Anyway, it’s coming along nicely.

Work in Progress: Stone Unturned

Progress report:

Last time looked at: 3/15/17

Last actual wordage added: 3/15/17

Pages added, 3/14-15/17: 8

Current page count: 556

Estimated final page count: 555-565?

Deadline: None, but Wildside and my agent are thrashing out contract details.

Comments: Finished the third draft, which turned out to involve adding yet another chapter, Chapter Forty-Nine, for a weird little coda. And yes, there’s still an epilogue after that.

It’s done, though, except for a little polishing.

Word-count is 138,334

Work in Progress: Stone Unturned

Progress report:

Last time looked at: 3/12/17

Last actual wordage added: 3/12/17

Pages added, 3/12/17: 5

Current page count: 543

Estimated final page count: 545-575?

Deadline: None, but Wildside and my agent are thrashing out contract details.

Comments: Finished Chapter Thirty-Three, which wound up full-length, and revised Chapter Thirty-Four. I’ll be inserting one more new chapter, Chapter Thirty-Nine, but right now I don’t know what will be in it, I just know I need it to fit the structure and pacing.

Still haven’t dealt with Evreth’s fate, or the ladders being removed. The soapstone cat still needs that one more mention. I should still double-check the state of Zerra’s bloodstone.

Word-count is 133,837

Work in Progress: Stone Unturned

Progress report:

Last time looked at: 3/10/17

Last actual wordage added: 3/10/17

Pages added, 3/10/17: 6

Current page count: 538

Estimated final page count: 540-575?

Deadline: None, but Wildside and my agent are thrashing out contract details.

Comments: I’ve written the first half of Chapter Thirty-Three, which is turning out to be longer and more interesting than I expected. Darissa and Merek are weighing their options. Having written fourteen chapters beyond this I know what they choose, but they don’t yet.

Still haven’t dealt with Evreth’s fate, or the ladders being removed. The soapstone cat still needs that one more mention. The clothing is taken care of. I should still double-check the state of Zerra’s bloodstone.

Word-count is 132,213

Work in Progress: Stone Unturned

Progress report:

Last time looked at: 3/9/17

Last actual wordage added: 3/9/17

Pages added, 3/8-3/9/17: 12

Current page count: 532

Estimated final page count: 535-575?

Deadline: None, but Wildside and my agent are thrashing out contract details.

Comments: I’ve added an entire new chapter, Chapter Thirty, about Darissa taking in her situation, and renumbered others. I’ll be adding a new Chapter Thirty-Three, too, also about Darissa. These added chapters will probably all be pretty short, though.

All in all, the current plan calls for forty-eight chapters.

Pretty much everything’s done up through Chapter Thirty-Two; I may need to go back to do some tweaking and polishing, but it’s basically finished to that point.

Once again, I still haven’t dealt with Evreth’s fate, or the ladders being removed. The soapstone cat is mostly done but needs one more mention later. Darissa’s clothing will be covered in Chapter Thirty-Three. Hakin checked on Inza and Reska a few chapters back; that’s done, and I doubt Inza or Reska will ever be mentioned again. I’ll want to double-check the state of Zerra’s bloodstone.

Word-count is 130,699

Work in Progress: Stone Unturned

Progress report:

Last time looked at: 3/7/17

Last actual wordage added: 3/7/17

Pages added, 2/28-3/7/17: 5

Current page count: 520

Estimated final page count: 525-575?

Deadline: None, but Wildside and my agent are thrashing out contract details.

Comments: I’ve been adding in details — explaining family connections, making sure Morvash does the proper research, etc. The third draft is up to Chapter Twenty-Three, which is not quite as far as the second got before I started rushing and then doubled back, but close.

I probably still want more sensory details, odors and background noises and weather and so on, which I’ll add in the fourth draft, which will probably be the final polish before submission.

And I think I want to insert at least one chapter on Darissa’s adjustment to her changed circumstances.

Still haven’t dealt with Evreth’s fate, or the soapstone cat, or Darissa’s clothing, or Hakin checking on Inza and Reska, or the ladders being removed. I need to verify the state of Zerra’s bloodstone, but that may be fine as it stands.

This is a long, complicated novel, so there are lots of details to get right. It is now the longest Ethshar novel to date, and it will get longer.

It is not, however, the most important; the events of Night of Madness and The Unwelcome Warlock have rather more widespread effects.

Word-count is 128,311

Work in Progress: Stone Unturned

Progress report:

Last time looked at: 2/28/17

Last actual wordage added: 2/28/17

Pages added, 2/21-28/17: 4

Current page count: 515

Estimated final page count: 520-575?

Deadline: None, but Wildside has sent my agent a contract and they’re thrashing out details.

Comments: The third draft (I never entirely finished the second, but I started from the beginning again) is up to the start of Chapter Thirteen. I’ve been adding details and cleaning up inconsistences — for example, there are now spriggans in the background, some places now have scents, and Hakin’s first scene is clearly and consistently in Southwark near the intersection of Wall Street and Widow Street. (Before it jumped from Camptown, or maybe the north end of Eastwark, to Southwark.) I’ve clarified that the rented house has cellars, added references to Empress Tabaea and to enchanted furniture trying to assassinate Wulran III. I’ve explained a little about Klathoa, which doesn’t really have anything to do with this story but it’s an exception to some blanket statements characters were making; if I ever do use it in a story I don’t want people telling me I contradicted myself.

I still have notes reminding me to clarify what happens to Evreth (but I’m not up to that yet), to mention the soapstone cat again, to make sure I’m consistent about what Darissa is wearing, etc.

I think I’ll be adding some short chapters later in the story.

Anyway, it’s making progress, despite distractions.

Word-count is now 126,442

Work in Progress: Earthright

Last time looked at: 2/26/17

Last actual wordage added: 7/30/14 (not counting minor revisions)

Pages added, 2/26/17: 0 (but see below)

Current page count: 53

Estimated final page count: 300-350.

Deadline: None. Purely speculative.

Comments: I got chatting with an editor on Facebook on Thursday night, and he said he’d love to see an SF novel proposal from me, so I suggested Earthright as a possibility, and he thought it sounded interesting.

So I pulled it out of mothballs, and over the weekend I wrote a ten-page outline of the whole thing, completing it about 3:00 Monday afternoon. The outline includes details I hadn’t worked out before that will require a few minor tweaks to the four and a half chapters I’ve written, but that’s not a big deal.

I never had a working outline before, not really; I had the story in my head, but not on paper or disk anywhere, not as Earthright. It was cobbled together from two other stories, “Legend” and Labyrinth. “Legend” was a complete story for Marvel’s Open Space #6 that was never used because the series got cancelled after #4. Labyrinth was intended to be an Amelia Hand novel, but all I ever wrote of it was a four-page opening scene that got incorporated into Chapter Three of Earthright. I knew the premise, but never wrote it down.

Oh, and the title concept of Earthright was originally a separate idea.

Anyway, I wound up merging the three into Amelia Hand’s origin story. I initially tried to use the comic book script as an outline but diverged from it so quickly it became useless even before I got to the Labyrinth part, and other than that, until now I never had an actual written outline.

Now to clean it up and send it to my agent.

13,207 words. (The difference from the last word-count I reported, back in 2014, is almost entirely because this is a WordPerfect word-count and the previous one was Neo Office — WordPerfect always runs lower.)