Chapter Twenty-Two has been posted

Chapter Twenty-Two is up.

I have a few dollars toward Chapter Twenty-Three, but it’s got a long way to go.

Chapters Twenty-Three and Twenty-Four are written; most of Chapter Twenty-Five is.

There will be at least twenty-seven chapters, though the last one may be so short I won’t charge for it; that’s the minimum. There could also be more than that, but I’d say there’s no way it’ll run more than thirty-two in all. At present I have no plans for an epilogue or endnotes, but I may eventually see about drawing up a couple of rough maps.

If there is a full-length Chapter Twenty-Seven, it may be delayed; that would be due on March 14th, assuming no missed dates, and I’m probably going to be away from my computer for much of that week.

41 thoughts on “Chapter Twenty-Two has been posted

  1. I’m not entirely sure just how that would go, but yeah, ick. I actually hadn’t originally planned events that way, but when I got to it that was the only thing that made sense, so that’s how the story went.

  2. I liked the latest chapter – it added a nice grim note to the story. I kept reading “Arnen” as “Amen” though, and it was awfully close to “Ahan” a paragraph later.

  3. Yes, the scenes where Emmis has to carry Zhol’s corpse are very effectively creepy.

    For a minute there I thought the guard was going to be delayed so long chasing Kelder that Emmis would get in trouble with other guards for being found with Zhol’s corpse. Another good chapter.

  4. Maybe I am not in the majority, but I feel like there is way too much story left to tell for this book to possibly be resolved in only 5 chapters. Maybe a lot of the non-Emmis threads have to be resolved in The Final Calling, but it just seems like there is too much left to be seen in this tale. Maybe I am spoiled by the rest of the Ethshar series, where the rest of the books essentially stand on their own.

    Maybe I should just shut up and wait and see.

  5. Well I guess it would depend on where you see the story ending, it’s “The Vondish Ambassador” so despite more of Emmis’s story being left to tell this story would seem to end whenever Lars goes home. Seeing as he’s now in contact with the correct authority figures he could make whatever deals he’s going to on this trip in a day or so and then head home. End of story.

  6. Well, it would make a wonderful multi-part story. Personally, now I’m interested in the Demarchian guild (sorry for the spelling), the towers in Lumeth etc. And we still don’t know what the ‘alternative power source’ for the warlocks is.

    And I’m not so sure we’ve seen the last of Zhol. Isn’t there a wizardry spell for restoring people to life who haven’t been dead too long?

  7. Um, no.

    Well, sort of there is; the Spell of Reversal can bring them back to life under certain circumstances if they’ve been dead less than half an hour, but Zhol’s well outside that window.

    And as I recall, the spell takes more than half an hour to prepare, which severely limits its usefulness in any case. You generally use it to reverse things you know are going to happen, but which haven’t yet.

    There are ways to talk to the dead, but they don’t always work.

  8. We know you can powder the Spell of Reversal, I’d expect that many guildmasters keep a bit of powdered reversal handy just in case. But it’s still been too long.

    I doubt Emmis will burn the clothes, pre-modern machinery clothes were EXPENSIVE and we haven’t seen any spinning, weaving, or sewing spells. He may sell the clothes at a big discount though.

  9. I am greatly enjoying this story! I was pleased to donate to the Spriggin Mirror project when you were writing that story, and I just donated my $25 for this novel. I encourage everyone to donate and support this style of online content marketing.

    I found a minor math error:

    “Nothing is three hundred feet high,” Emmis protested.
    “The towers of Lumeth are.”
    Emmis had trouble comprehending that. He knew that the big towers in Westgate were no more than sixty feet…
    And the Lumeth towers were three times that height?

    If the towers of Lumeth are 300ft, and the towers of Westgate are 60ft, then the Lumeth towers are *five* times that height…

    Thanks again for sharing your wonderful storytelling with all of us!

  10. Oddly, the ending of this chapter leaves me anticipating the next one more than any previous chapters, even those chapters that ended with the mention of or arrival of assassins. I’m very eager to see how the various dignitaries respond to Zhol’s death and his killer.

  11. Good catch on the arithmetic; I was originally planning to say something about the highest building he ever heard of being 100 feet, and the towers are three times that.

    But that wasn’t what I actually wrote.

  12. Is there any way you could keep a countdown of how much money you need for the next chapter, so that we could know that it needs that last little nudge?

  13. Sure, I could post notices along the way. I’d sort of meant to, but never really got a system set up.

    Let’s see what I can do about that.

  14. Hmm. Not sure where’s the best place to put notices.

    Well, right now I’ve got $157.35 toward Chapter Twenty-Three.

  15. Has Spriggan Mirror been selling at all? I wonder if the last few chapters could be paid for by “pre-ordering” which could just be a fancy name for a $20 donation….?

  16. I know the advance orders for The Spriggan Mirror were reasonably healthy, even though the big chains didn’t carry it.

    As for “pre-ordering,” I don’t understand what you mean.

  17. I don’t think the question is how everything can be wrapped up in only 5-10 chapters. The question is why it won’t be wrapped up in *two* chapters. The ambassadorial position is in the bag, the would-be assassins have pissed off Lord Ildrin himself, and Emmis knows of a theurgical trick to find them quickly (they should start running NOW).

    It looks like everything’s downhill from here, and there’s at least 5 chapters to go. Which means our heroes had better duck. *Something’s* about to blindside them, IMHO.

    I doubt it’ll be another assassination attempt; there’s only so many times that card can be played before it starts looking repetitive. It *could* just be the establishment of the new status quo, and how Emmis fits into it (if at all). But my guess is that there’ll be something more than that.

    BTW, I don’t expect to see a bunch of explanations about the Demarchian Guild, the Lumeth Towers, warlocky, etc etc etc. We’ve learned a fair amount about Ethshar over the course of the series, but there are questions that go all the way back to Misenchanted Sword that have never been answered. I don’t know everything about *this* world, and LWE’s characters don’t know everything about theirs.

  18. Well I would hope that we could at least get clues to the answers to some of those questions. It would be nice to know. It wouldn’t need to be wrapped up in a pretty little package, but it would just be nice to know.

  19. I guess pre-ordering is the same as advance orders. I was thinking you could throw up a link that says “Buy Now” and package it as a pre-order instead of just a donation to pay for the chapters. You could count that money towards the chapters, too.

  20. Oh. I haven’t been making that distinction this time, but I’d been thinking of doing something along those lines for any future serials.

    I’ve finished Chapter Twenty-Six, by the way, and I’m not sure whether I have one chapter left to go, or two. There will definitely be an epilogue.

  21. Greatly enjoying the unfolding of the “Vondish Ambassador”, and being able to support.

    At the second attempt Amazon UK delivered me a copy of “The Spriggan Mirror” which I’m looking forward to reading.

  22. Rather then a post stating where you are moeny wise I think a count down of some sort on the Vondish home page would make the most sense.

  23. Okay, that’s taken care of; Chapter Twenty-Three will be posted shortly after midnight, barring disaster. (It’s snowing here, so I can’t rule out disaster in the form of, say, a power failure.)

    And thank you! I’m glad to be rid of that odd 35 cents. At least for now.

  24. I’d be interested in a subscription sort of plan also. Say, if I could automagically be debited a buck per chapter, I’d be fine with that. $27-30 per book is fine by me, but I’d feel less than happy if I gave my $27-30 in the beginning and then the book drizzled away. Subscriptions could solve that.

    If I could subscribe by chapter I would gladly give a dollar (or possibly two) per chapter so long as the chapters kept coming. I could almost envision an omnibus work, encompassing several interrelated stories published by weekly chapters over several years, but that would be unlikely to be as commercially viable once finished, I would guess.

  25. One option would be to say that you will give a refund if the chapters stop coming (and the person asks for the system). A donor could then paypal $10 with a paypal comment saying that it is $1 for 10 chapters rather than $10 for the current chapter.

    Unless the project is cancelled, it would be little different to a person just donating $10. You would have to count it as $1 for the next 10 chapters instead of $10 for the current chapter, which would make it slightly more difficult to track the money. This might delay a few chapters as there is money donated but ear-marked for later chapters.

    Also, since you said that if the rate of money starts to drop off, you will just reduce the chapter rate, the project would never actually be cancelled, so you wouldn’t need to do a refund. The subscriptions might be made conditional on at least 1 chapter every 4 weeks or something.

  26. Is there really anything wrong with the current model? Now that I know there is likely to be a notice in the comments if things are falling behind on Monday or Tuesday, I will be checking.

  27. I wouldn’t say that there is anything WRONG with the current model per se. I gave fairly early this time, certainly earlier than I did last time. I also gave more than once this time, since I wanted to help make sure that forward motion was maintained. I was simply thinking about that and trying to propose another option.

    Subscriptions would help keep the flow of contributions a bit less unpredictable and sporadic, something I thought Lawrence might favor. I’m confident he would rather spend his time writing than badgering us for contributions, all thing being equal, and if he had 250 subscribers at a buck a week, he could forget about soliciting contributions entirely. Everything that came in outside the subscriptions would be gravy.

    It also would help alleviate my own concern that the current system’s sporadic nature makes it hard to tell when or where a given book might stall or die off. If that happens early on (10th chapter or so) and I am subscribing, then I have only given $10, not the entire donation I tend to give per book. If the book never gets finished, it’s less money I have to worry about wanting a refund for or feeling as though I didn’t get my money’s worth.

    All that being said, if the model never changes, I will still happily participate.

  28. One issue with the subscription model would be that it may stall near the beginning. The first chapter would not be published until 250 subscribers have subscribed and once that happens, the book would be completely paid for. In effect, it would be a pay in advance system.

    That would not likely work as well as having the payment and the publishing happening at the same time.

  29. Btw, Paypal has a Subscriptions and Recurring Payments system in merchants’ tools.

    Presumably it is charged as lots of $1 payments.

    Assuming a min payment of $3 is required so that fees are not massive, you could offer some options (as you have to set up each subscription separately) like

    $3 every 10 weeks (3 payments) – $0.30 per chapter

    $3 every 6 weeks (5 payments) – $0.50 per chapter

    $3 every 4 weeks (7 payments) – $0.70 per chapter

    $3 every 3 weeks (10 payments) – $1.00 per chapter

    $3 every 2 weeks (15 payments) – $1.50 per chapter

    $6 every 2 weeks (15 payments) – $3.00 per chapter

    Obviously, there would need to be an automated process for handling the payments or that just adds to the administrative load massively.

  30. For small donations or payments, on the order of $1, PayPal’s transaction fees are a disproportionately large fraction of the payment. I’m not sure if that applies to subscription payments, but I think it probably does.

  31. Hey, I hadn’t ever noticed PayPal’s subscription thing; I’ll have to check that out. Thanks for mentioning it!

  32. For small donations or payments, on the order of $1, PayPal’s transaction fees are a disproportionately large fraction of the payment. I’m not sure if that applies to subscription payments, but I think it probably does.

    Yeah, that’s why I suggested using $3 as the minimum payment at any one time. If you want to pay less than that per chapter, you pay for multiple chapters at once.

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