Realms of Light: Progress Report Thirty-Five

Okay, if you donated $25 or more and e-mailed me to confirm your shipping address, your books are either in the mail, or in the last box on the dining room table that I’ll be taking to the post office Friday afternoon. Domestic shipments went out Media Mail; foreign ones went Airmail First Class. I hope I got everyone’s book choices right, and autographed everything that anyone wanted autographed. (In one case I had to re-open the package, sign stuff, and tape it closed again, when I realized I’d missed an autograph request. I hope I didn’t miss any others.)

Nineteen people have not confirmed their addresses. I’ve just sent another e-mail out to those nineteen. If you’re one of them, please respond ASAP.

Update, 5:00p, EST: Thirteen left unconfirmed. If I don’t hear from you by Monday, I’ll assume your address is still good and you want Option No. 2.

If you donated less than $25, thank you, but you don’t get any books. The window to upgrade has closed.

There will be a Kindle edition of Realms of Light. It’s not out yet because of a communication glitch between FoxAcre and myself, but it should be available by Christmas. FoxAcre is also acquiring the e-book rights to Nightside City, so there’ll soon be a Kindle edition of that, too, but I’ve had to remove it from Fictionwise.

Other e-book editions — well, we’ll see.

Oh, and if you asked to have your copy of Setting the Stage autographed — check page 26.

Realms of Light: Progress Report Thirty-Four

The finished book of Realms of Light is now available, and I have the donors’ copies piled up on our dining table. I’ll be sending them out in batches over the next week or two — they should all be on their way by Thanksgiving (that’s November 25th, for you non-Americans).

I should have had the first batch in the mail by now. I don’t. This is because I didn’t have the chapbook of Setting the Stage ready; I kept putting off finishing it because it didn’t seem urgent. Keeping up with The Final Calling and family matters seemed more immediately important. I had the text partially done for months, every so often getting a bit further, but it was always a low priority.

Then one day the books showed up, and it was suddenly very urgent, so I spent three days doing very little else, and got it all written and ready to go. (My printer ran out of toner while cranking out the first batch, which didn’t help with the timely completion.)

And of course, though I did try to edit and proofread it, I found a stupid typo after I’d printed them — there’s a missing “of.” There are probably others, as well. My apologies.

I sent out an e-mail asking donors to confirm their shipping addresses, and to tell me which of a couple of possible extras they wanted. More than half of the donors have responded, but there are still several I haven’t heard from, so I’ll be sending a follow-up. At least one response somehow wound up in my spam folder, so it may take a few rounds before I have everyone squared away.

Right now the major bottleneck is that I’ve run out of packing supplies — I hadn’t stocked up yet. See above about not thinking it was urgent, and then spending three days working on the chapbook and therefore not going to Staples or Office Depot. I’ll get more Monday, when I mail off the first batch.

Anyway, everything will be shipped out reasonably soon.

If you aren’t a donor, or want additional copies, you can always buy the book from FoxAcre Press — they have a package deal if you buy both Nightside City and Realms of Light. You can also get it from the usual online sources.

There’s no e-book yet, but FoxAcre does intend to release one in the near future.

So, with the book published, what happens to the serial? Not much. I’m no longer taking donations, and the remaining five chapters of the first draft will never be posted. I’ve removed the buttons and most of the “about” page.

I think the failure of this project has demonstrated why I stopped writing science fiction, and why I don’t plan to return to it. The publisher at FoxAcre has asked me to write a third Carlisle Hsing novel, and I’ve told him I have no intention of ever doing so. This novel delayed the serial of The Final Calling by about a year to no good purpose, and generated so little net income for me that I really shouldn’t have bothered. I am severely disappointed that nothing I said or did could convince more people to support it. I think it’s a good story, and I very much appreciate the support and enthusiasm of those who did donate money, but clearly, it wasn’t what most of my readers wanted from me.

I’ll know better in the future.

Meanwhile, thanks again to everyone who sent money. I’ll get those books shipped out as quickly as I can, and I hope you’ll enjoy them.

Realms of Light: Progress Report Thirty-Three

I told you it wasn’t dead — Chapter Fifteen of Realms of Light is finally online!

I maybe had to cheat a little — I’m actually still a couple of dollars short, but I decided it was close enough. Or if you count the advance from FoxAcre Press (which I don’t), then this chapter was paid for a couple of weeks ago.

The contracts with FoxAcre are signed, the token advance has been paid, cover art has been approved and the rights obtained. The editor has read the novel, and says there are a very few small changes wanted; I’m waiting for the file telling me what those are. None of them are potential deal-breakers, I’m assured, so everything’s on track. Due to unrelated family stuff taking up most of the publisher’s time right now, we don’t yet have a publication date, but it shouldn’t be too much longer.

Regarding the planned bonus chapbook, I lost the working file of Setting the Stage in a computer crash a few weeks ago, and will need to rewrite it from scratch; I do still have all the original materials, so it shouldn’t be difficult, but I haven’t yet found time to tackle it.

And I think that’s about everything; back to The Final Calling.

Realms of Light: Progress Report Thirty-Two

Alas, no new chapter yet, but I wanted to let readers know that the contracts with FoxAcre Press have been signed, and the token advance has been paid.

There’s no publication date yet, though; the publisher is in the midst of relocating because of his wife’s job, so everything’s at sixes and sevens. (I love strange old idioms like that.) It may, I regret to say, be awhile. Realms of Light is next in the editorial queue, but we don’t know when he’ll get to it. We do have cover art.

Further bad news: In a recent computer crash I lost the entire working file for the half-finished “Setting the Stage,” and no, I idiotically didn’t have back-ups. I’ll need to rewrite it from scratch. (I was able to recover the other two damaged files, but not that one.)

On the other hand, I wasn’t happy with how it was going, which was why it was only half-finished, and the delays at FoxAcre give me more time to get it right. I do still have the original letters.

As for the serial, I have $137 toward posting Chapter Fifteen, out of $250 needed. Inching forward very slowly…

Realms of Light: Progress Report Thirty-One

In case anyone was wondering: Yes, the serialization of Realms of Light will continue even after the serial of The Final Calling starts; there’s no reason I can’t run both at once. It will continue after the finished book is published, too, unless the fine folks at FoxAcre object. I see no reason to stop. And contributing to the serial will remain the only way to get the chapbook of “Setting the Stage.”

(The serial of The Final Calling starts on Wednesday, by the way.)

Realms of Light: Progress Report Thirty

Chapter Fourteen of Realms of Light has now been posted.

This is fourteenth out of twenty, but Chapter Twenty is so short that should the serialization get that far, it will be included free with Chapter Nineteen. That means a grand total of $1,248 more will get the entire first draft online.

Even though the novel has been revised, adding about 2,700 words in the process, and has been delivered to FoxAcre Press, this web serial will continue to be the first draft for as far as it goes.

Donors have the option of receiving the complete first draft in e-mail, in either RTF or PDF, but the final version will only be available through FoxAcre.

Realms of Light: Progress Report Twenty-Nine

I’ve just sent the final (I think) version of Realms of Light to FoxAcre Press. I’m hoping it’ll see print, both on paper and as a Kindle edition, some time this summer.

I’m still $23 short of posting Chapter Fourteen of the first draft. There are twenty chapters in all.

At this point you may be thinking you’ll just wait and buy the finished book, which is perfectly reasonable — it’ll almost certainly cost less than $25. However, anyone in the U.S. who donates $25 or more to the serial will receive a copy of the finished book, and, if they want one, a copy of Nightside City — I have about a dozen copies of the Del Rey edition that will be sent out on a first-come, first-served basis to those donors who request them, and others will get the FoxAcre reprint, which includes an “Afterword” the Del Rey paperback lacks.

Also, donors will receive a copy of a chapbook, tentatively entitled Setting the Stage: The Eta Cassiopeia System, by Lawrence Watt-Evans & Sheridan Simon, describing the two stars and four rocky planets of the star system where the two novels are set. (The system might also have a few gas giants; we never bothered about them, as they don’t appear in the stories.) Some of this will be drawn from Dr. Simon’s original letters describing the planets I’d commissioned him to create; the rest I’ll write. It will include a lot of background information that never found its way into the novels, and will also explain references in the text that may have been somewhat mysterious.

This chapbook will only be available to donors and to Dr. Simon’s heirs; it will not be offered for sale, and if and when the serial is complete, that’s it, there won’t be any more copies printed or distributed.

Thanks for your support.

The Final Calling: Progress Report Zero

Okay, here’s the situation:

I’m almost done writing a novel called One-Eyed Jack; it should be finished in a week or so. I have five other projects in the queue that I can tackle once it’s done, and I haven’t decided on what order I want to deal with them.

The five projects are:

  • Finishing Realms of Light for FoxAcre Press; I have a complete first draft. The online serial has seven chapters to go, but I don’t want to wait forever before finishing the book.
  • Finishing Vika’s Avenger. This is a novel I wrote on a whim a couple of years ago; I have a complete first draft, and would like to finish it up and see if I can find an interested publisher.
  • I’ve been offered work writing tie-in novels for a game company, and the contract terms are pretty good. Some of their properties are really interesting, too. Pursuing this is very tempting; I told them I’d get back to them in May, one way or another.
  • For years, my agent has been trying to talk me into writing a “young adult” novel. I think it’s a good idea, and I’ve started several, but none of them really caught fire. Recently, though, I plotted one with the working title Tom Derringer and the Aluminum Airship that my agent and I both like, so I was thinking I’d maybe do that next.
  • And then there’s The Final Calling.

The Final Calling was fifth and last on that list, despite fannish clamor for it, for two reasons.

First, these serials don’t pay all that well, and the poor performance of Realms of Light has not encouraged me to try again.

Second, while I’ve known very roughly what was going to happen in the novel for years and years — I mean, we’re talking more than twenty years, almost thirty — I didn’t actually have a detailed outline. I knew I could work one out if I had to, but it wasn’t something I was really enthusiastic about. I’d written the first chapter, which is also a stand-alone short story called “The Warlock’s Refuge,” but I was kinda vague about exactly where the story went from there.

But then this past Friday, while driving to Richmond, a remark my wife made got me thinking about it, and I now have maybe 80% of the story outlined in my head, complete with a romantic subplot or two, an extensive cast of characters, and so on.

So Reason #2 for not writing it has largely evaporated.

But there’s still Reason #1.

So my current plan is to post “The Warlock’s Refuge” a week from Friday for International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day, but I’m not officially starting the serial; I intend to undertake at least one of those four other projects before I write more of The Final Calling. I’m not sure yet which one, or how long it’ll take, or whether The Final Calling will be next after that.

Typically, turning a first draft into a finished book takes me a month or so; writing a YA or gaming novel is probably six months, give or take.

Working on two things at once is possible, but not necessarily easy.

So there’s the situation, and I’ll be happy to read any comments or advice you may have, but in the end I’ll be making the decision based on what I want to do.

Thanks for your patience.