Realms of Light: Progress Report One

Chapters written: Five out of an estimated twenty-five to thirty.

Chapters posted: None.

Anticipated start date: After Hallowe’en but before New Year’s.

I have things pretty much ready to start the serial of Realms of Light, but I’m holding off for a couple of reasons.

First and most importantly, I’m waiting to hear back from my editor at Tor regarding A Young Man Without Magic. If that needs revisions, those take priority; I don’t want to start the serial and then suddenly stop because I need to rewrite a chapter of A Young Man Without Magic.

Why does it get first priority? Because it pays a lot better than a serial.

Second, I’m hoping to coordinate this serial with some other authors, such as Sharon Lee and Steve Miller. We’re planning to establish a central site for online serials on this model at I’d like to have that up and running when I launch.

Besides, I have a speaking engagement in Kansas next week, and there are other distractions I’d like to get out of the way before I start. I also wouldn’t mind having Chapter Six written, maybe even Seven, just to have a buffer.

Which brings me to another issue I want to discuss, just to keep everyone’s expectations realistic. Realms of Light is a science-fictional detective story. Both previous serials were Ethshar stories. I’ve had a lot more practice writing light fantasy of the Ethshar sort, and I think it’s generally easier to write straight through in the first place; I haven’t written anything about Carlisle Hsing and her world in close to twenty years. It’s entirely possible that despite my best efforts and a reasonably complete outline, Realms of Light will hit snags along the way that will necessitate backtracking, revising, and so on before I can continue.

If that happens, I may not be able to stick to a strictly weekly schedule, even if the money’s there. I may also need to delete, insert, or rearrange pieces.

Any such changes will be included free, and I’ll let you know they’ve been made — that is, if I decide Chapter Thirteen isn’t working and throw it out, the new Chapter Thirteen, when I get it written, is already paid for. If I decide, in the middle of writing Chapter Twenty-Three, that it won’t work unless I go back and change something in Chapter Eight, then I’ll make that change, and it won’t be counted as something that needs to be paid for. Revisions will be announced here, and marked — that is, the corrected Chapter Eight would be headed “Chapter Eight (Revised).”

I’m working up a page that will explain how everything works, same as I have before, and I may post that a couple of weeks before actually starting the story.

So — any questions?

Realms of Light: Progress Report Zero

Well, folks, I’m starting to set up for my next serial.

It won’t be an Ethshar story — I do plan to write more of those, but not yet. Instead I want to tackle a science fiction story, a sequel to Nightside City.

The working title is Realms of Light, I’ve written four and a half chapters so far, and I’m hoping to launch it either late in 2008 or early in 2009.

So I’m getting this blog ready — why wait until the last minute? Better to take my time and get everything set up well in advance.

I welcome comments and questions.


At last!

I believe that every book I owed any donor is now on its way, though how I’m defining that gets a bit tricky.

There are seven sitting in a box in the dining room waiting to be taken to the post office. There’s one on my desk waiting for an e-mail confirming how the donor wanted it personalized.

All the others have been mailed.

Most packages included The Vondish Ambassador, a chapbook of “The God in Red,” and an insert map of the Empire of Vond. I signed or personalized The Vondish Ambassador as requested.

However, I know that in at least one case I sent a signed book to someone who hadn’t wanted it signed, and sent an unsigned copy to someone who had requested a signature. I’m fairly sure that I forgot at least one map. It’s possible I also messed up in other ways. My apologies, but packing and mailing hundreds of books is one heck of a job. I got most of them right.

There were also a few people who I could never get a response from, so those books may have gone to incorrect addresses. I tried, honest.

If you did not receive the map (it should be just inside the front cover), let me know, and we’ll see what we can do about it.

Two people who are entitled to a copy of the book declined — one prefers an e-book and the other is waiting for a mass-market edition.

If your copy of the book hasn’t arrived yet at all — especially if you’re outside the U.S. — give it a few days, but if it hasn’t shown up by Candlemas, drop me a line.

As of right now, there’s still nothing definite about a mass-market edition.

Several people have asked me when I’ll be starting the next serial, and what it’s going to be, so let me once again say, “I don’t know.” It depends on when I get other projects done, what sort of offer Tor makes (if any) for the Fall of the Sorcerers, and various other factors, some of them beyond my control.

My best guess is that I’ll start a third serial late this year — maybe as a Christmas present for my readers. Whether it’s Ethshar or science fiction — well, we’ll see.

Thanks to everyone for your continued support!

Department of Lost Souls

Half a dozen of the address-verification e-mails bounced, and I don’t have alternate addresses.

I don’t want to post full names here, to respect donors’ privacy, but I’m looking for:

Steve S.

Stephen G.

Matt W.

Emmeline S.

Shawn R.

Peter R.-S.

If one of those is you, please e-mail me at


Note to Donors

If you contributed $25 or more to The Vondish Ambassador, you should have received an e-mail from me today, asking you to verify your address and a couple of other details.

If you didn’t, these are the most likely explanations:

It got caught in your spam filters; you might want to check that and see if it’s in the junk folder, assuming you have one. If it’s gone forever, drop me a line and I’ll send a fresh copy with your name in the “To:” line, which usually gets it past filters.

You made partial payments from two different e-mail addresses, and I failed to notice and add them together. If that’s the case, please e-mail me and let me know.

You made multiple payments and I screwed up and didn’t record one of them.

You’re one of the two people (hi, Josh and Richard!) who paid by check and never, so far as I can determine, gave me an e-mail address. If you’re one of those two, I have your addresses here and will assume they’re still good, and that you don’t care about having your book autographed, unless you tell me otherwise.

If you made a donation of less than $25 and would like to add to it to bring the total up and get a copy of the first edition, you have until Friday, December 14th.

The first edition will be limited to 400 copies. It will be the only edition for at least the next six months, and quite possibly a year or more. It’s even possible there will never be another edition, though that seems unlikely.

I’m hoping to ship it out by the end of the year, but can’t promise I’ll make it.

Latest Word…

The Vondish Ambassador goes to the printer tomorrow.

I don’t know when I’ll have finished copies in hand, but it shouldn’t be all that long.

This is the Misenchanted Press trade paperback edition, with cover art by Kiri Evans. It’s a limited edition — there will only ever be the one printing. I don’t know yet about any future mass-market edition; I’ll be talking to the publisher from Wildside on Friday, and may have news after that.

Once I have a delivery date I’ll be e-mailing all donors to (a) verify that they want a copy of this edition, (b) make sure I have a current shipping address, and (c) ask whether they want it signed.

There exists a short Ethshar story, “The God in Red,” that could accompany this edition in chapbook form, the way “Sirinita’s Dragon” accompanied The Spriggan Mirror, but frankly, producing the chapbooks is a pain in the butt, so I’m not sure whether I’ll be doing that. I’ll see how the finances look, and the time constraints.

Sorry this has taken so long. Happy holidays!

As It Stands Now…

Here’s the situation:

Wildside is interested in doing a mass-market paperback edition of The Vondish Ambassador through their Cosmos Books imprint. However, they aren’t interested in doing a trade edition — the trade edition of The Spriggan Mirror didn’t make them any money.

I don’t expect anyone to accept a mere mass-market paperback as adequate compensation for a $25 donation.

Therefore, Wildside and I are creating a joint venture called The Misenchanted Press which will produce a trade paperback edition of The Vondish Ambassador. It’ll probably (but not definitely) be limited to no more than 500 copies, most of which will go to contributors; I do expect to have a few left over.

The Misenchanted Press edition is edited and typeset; right now we’re working on cover design and discussing whether or not to include an “Author’s Note” at the back. Once everything’s done it’ll be off to the printer, and I should have copies in hand in a couple of months.

The paperback, if all goes well, will be published by Cosmos Books in 2008 or early 2009, but as yet there are no contracts and it’s not definite. Lots of things could still go wrong.

Assuming this works out, though, and the paperback sells decently, I hope to follow this same model for any subsequent Ethshar novels.

The Next Step

I mailed the manuscript of The Vondish Ambassador to the editor yesterday.

No contract as yet, though — Wildside was not happy with sales of the trade paperback of The Spriggan Mirror, which complicates matters.  (None of the big chains wanted to carry it.)

The regular-sized paperback from Cosmos Books is just now shipping, and we’ll see if that helps.

We’re Getting There…

I’m sure many of you are wondering what’s happening as far as getting the finished novel done and delivered into your eager hands. Well, I’m working on it.

I had two other books under contract, which took priority. One of those, The Summer Palace, has now been completed, delivered, and accepted and will be published in 2008. The other, a non-fiction project, is written, but it still needs some updating — but for technical reasons I can’t do that updating until September.

Which means I’m midway through the second draft of The Vondish Ambassador. I should have it done in a couple of weeks, whereupon I will send it to my chosen editor and negotiate a contract with Wildside Press. (Yes, I’m using my own editor, as well as theirs.)

I’m sorry it’s taken so long.

Incidentally, there have been a few latecomers donating money toward The Vondish Ambassador, as recently as this past Saturday. I’ll probably send them copies of the finished book, but if you give me money at this point there is no guarantee you’ll get anything for it. All further donations are entirely at your own risk.

And donations directed to The Spriggan Mirror at this point receive nothing but a thank-you e-mail and my sincere gratitude.

In other Ethshar news, The Spriggan Mirror is still available in trade paperback and e-book editions, and the limited hardcover edition wasn’t yet sold out last I checked. The rack-sized paperback from Cosmos Books is scheduled for September.

The new Cosmos Books paperback of The Misenchanted Sword is scheduled for January 2008. No dates yet on any other Ethshar books.

The next Ethshar serial — and I may do a non-Ethshar one first — will probably be The Final Calling, just to get it over with. I’ve recently worked out a lot of plot details on it. I have no idea at all when I’ll get to it, though.

Thanks again for all your support!