Firstly, Edge Lit was a great weekend, and particularly thanks to my full house of workshop-goers (workshoppers? workshoplifters?) and the people who came to hear me and MD Lachlan read. All credit to Alex Davis and his team for organizing the event.

Secondly, however, it's New Contract Time! Specifically, and thanks to the tireless efforts of my agent, I have sealed a deal with Tor for another three books after War Master's Gate.

Needless to say, book the first will be The Seal of the Worm, the last book of the Shadows of the Apt Series (1). I've wittered on about this at various points during the writing process, but yes, this is it. Not the last cicada of summer for the Insect-kinden themselves, as they will get another outing at a later date, but certainly the end of the plot that was kicked into motion back when Stenwold Maker was spying out the gates of Myna with his telescope, with the Wasp Empire camped outside.

The second book of the series is something a bit different, a stand-alone (2) fantasy with a more historical bent — touches of the Napoleonic, American wars (both independence and civil) and a bit of Austen, all set in an original secondary world. This book will not be a kinden novel, but it will certainly pick up some of the themes that Shadows of the Apt has played with.

Finally, the last book of the contract sequence should kick off a completely new fantasy series with its own weirdness, in a new setting that I am currently researching in great detail (3).

More details on these two will follow over time (the second one is mostly missing a title at the moment, so once I have a handy monicker for it, I will be able to start talking in more detail.)

Release schedules are needless to say all pie in the sky at the moment, but it's possible that War Master's Gate and Seal of the Worm will follow at shorter intervals than the full year after The Air War (4) given that they've been completed, and I'd personally be happy to see a rolling 9 month release date.

There is also Super Secret Project Zeta, also known as something of a personal Science Fiction project, which I am currently kicking around, but as it's somewhat outside my normal comfort zone, I can't really make any warranty as to when or even if that might see the light of day. Or the cold, hard light of the stars, I guess. That's the sort of thing SF writers say, isn't it? Before they get in their space elevators to go down to their space basements or… well, anyway.

Also, as some side news, some more short stories turning up in an anthology near you:

"The Mouse Ran Down" has been accepted by Siren's Call Publications' Carnage: After the End Volume 2 (5). This is a rather bleak (6) story about messing about with time, and the direful consequences thereof. This is my second sale to Siren's Call as the Now I Lay Me Down To Reap anthology on the same page also has one of mine in it.

"Bones" has been accepted by Alchemy for The Alchemy Press Book of Ancient Wonders. Now, this one is a bit special. This will be my first Shadows of the Apt short story to be published outside of this site. More, although I hadn't really intended to go quite that far, there's rather a lot of backstory in "Bones" concerning the kinden and their world. One of the passing references in the books I get quizzed on is a chance reference Teornis makes in The Sea Watch to a ruined city full of monstrous bones out in the desert. Suffice to say, if that always bugged you and you wanted to know more, this is the story for you! The Ancient Wonders book should be debuting at Fantasycon this year — I should be there to sign stuff if you like.

(1) and if it's slipped your mind what that is, Robert Grant is very kindly re-reading the series for Tor here.

(2) or, if it's wildly successful, Book One of the Epic Ten Volume Series by… I jest, but I never wrote anything that didn't have a back door for emergency sequel access. It's the advantage of the ongoing living world school.

(3) I've bought some books from Amazon.

(4) Author copies of which I received today. I have joked about books being big enough to stun a bear before. All I'll say is, that bear's gonna wish it'd never been born.

(5) The confirmation said volume 2 — only one volume appears on the web page for upcoming submissions.

(6) Well, bleak's kind of in the brief for that one.

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