Another Quick Update

5 Dec

It’s been a rather frustrating week, all things considered. Having a cold threw my planned schedule right out of tune <grin>.

The good news is that I’ve completed the first set of edits for The Sergeant’s Apprentice and the manuscript is now in the hands of the publishers. The cover is nearly completed, so the only thing delaying publication are the second and third sets of edits. Hopefully, they won’t take very long.

The better news is that I’m planning to start writing We Lead on Wednesday, which will be the third and last of the Vanguard books. Hopefully, I’ll have the first draft finished by the end of the month, but … we will see.

The slightly less good news is that I’m having problems deciding on the shape of the next few Ark Royal books. I’m planning a stand-alone – The Longest Day – covering the battle of Earth (running in line with The Nelson Touch), then perhaps another stand-alone following a makeshift escort carrier with a ragtag crew. (Civilian spacers and the dregs of the RN.) After that … I’m not sure. Any suggestions would be warmly welcomed.

The somewhat worse news is that I’m behind on answering emails and PMs. I’ll try and answer everyone tomorrow morning.

Anyway, this is my planned schedule for the next few months:

December – We Lead (Ark 9)

January – The Zero Blessing

February – The Long Road Home (ALE 4)

March – The Fists of Justice (SIM 12)

April – Wolf’s Bane (TEC14)

May – Becalmed (Angel spin-off).

June – Cat’s Paw (The Unwritten Words I – Bookworm sequel.)


61 Responses to “Another Quick Update”

  1. Glen Romero December 5, 2016 at 6:34 pm #

    I’ve always liked the idea of a story line around the support people. Like the support carrier, or destroy crews that get glossed over in the history. Their stories are sometimes more interesting than the people that history remembers. You could even explore a different set of crew members from the same ship to get the wars point of view from the techs that are risking their lives to keep the ship running. The Captains story is not the only story. You could even go with what happened to the POWs from the first interstellar war.

  2. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard December 5, 2016 at 6:43 pm #

    The Zero Blessing?

    Can’t remember you talking about that one.

    • Drowe December 6, 2016 at 1:14 am #

      He did, it’s going to be a YA novel. He mentioned it in some update shortly before or after the release of culture shock.

      • chrishanger December 6, 2016 at 9:49 am #

        That’s it, yep.


  3. Wayne Dismukes December 5, 2016 at 9:01 pm #

    I don’t see any planned time off to recharge.

  4. Jensebaum December 5, 2016 at 9:12 pm #

    March is depressingly far away *sighs* 😉
    However, I’m rather happy to hear that TSA can be expected soon now, looking really forward to this!

    Also, “Cat’s Paw” sounds interesting. Bookworm was a series I very much enjoyed, and I’d like to read more in it’s style.

    All in all, very good news!

  5. Andy December 5, 2016 at 9:31 pm #

    Ever thought of a book from the point of view of the Tadpoles? Perhaps something about the Heinlein colony and their reasoning/discussions behind starting the war?

  6. Mike Garst December 5, 2016 at 9:32 pm #

    what has happened to the Marines from Slaughterhouse? Are they still out there in the TEC series

  7. G December 5, 2016 at 9:35 pm #

    Awesome Cover for Sergeant’s Apprentice!!

  8. Darren cobb December 5, 2016 at 10:05 pm #

    As an Antipodean I would love to see some of our forces entering into the Ark Royal universe. Both Australia and New Zealand have a proud naval tradition supporting the RN and I am sure continued that into space..

  9. Cassie James December 5, 2016 at 10:53 pm #

    As happy as I am about The Sergeant’s Apprentice, The Fists of Justice is FAR!

  10. areialace December 5, 2016 at 11:07 pm #

    Yay for SA, crying about march for FoJ

  11. Sergiu Moscovici December 6, 2016 at 1:21 am #

    January – The Zero Blessing

    February – The Long Road Home (ALE 4)

    Can you explain please?

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard December 6, 2016 at 1:40 am #

      Zero Blessing is about a young person born into a magical family who lacks any magical talent (a spin off of Schooled In Magic).

      I’m assuming The Long Road Home is the fourth book of the “A Learning Experience” series.

      • chrishanger December 6, 2016 at 9:49 am #

        It is – A Learning Experience 4.


      • Sergiu Moscovici December 6, 2016 at 9:30 pm #

        Thank you, then i am waiting for February.

      • Mip December 7, 2016 at 9:05 pm #

        Then I’m curious about the Zero Blessing book. I only read the fantasy series so far. So waiting for this and Fists of Justice and the bookworm sequel.

  12. William Ameling December 6, 2016 at 4:56 am #

    It will be interesting to learn what she (I assume it is Emily) is holding under arm for the cover picture for TSA.

    I wonder why she is carrying a sword rather than a staff?

    Interesting question: could a sword be used as a staff (of the magical variety)? Maybe Emily might figure a way to do it, if it is not already known to be possible. That could explain stories/legends about magical swords in the past of the Nameless World.

    I am not expecting any answers (to the first two questions/comments from Chris) until we read the book, but we can speculate all we want in the mean time.

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard December 6, 2016 at 5:18 am #

      There’s a major rule of thumb about Book Covers.

      They exist to Sell The Book (or at least to get the reader to pick up the book) not to show a scene in the Book.

      Now, having seen a larger image of the cover, I’d say that the “thing she’s holding under arm” is the artist’s impression of Emily getting reading to launch a magical attack.

      It appears to be a “ball of light made up of threads of light” and is near her left hand.

      Now, Emily is holding a sword to show us that she’s involved in a war not just a “magical battle”.

      By the way, I have read the completed “beta copy” and it’s a good read. 😀

    • G December 6, 2016 at 6:44 am #

      Given Emily’s poor sword-fighting ability, and her role in creating firearms, she would be better off carrying 2 flintlock pistols into combat as close combat weapons–her magic will always be primary (and the knife in her sleeve as fallback)…even with primitive weapons, a pistol discharge into the face or body at close range is deadly…

    • chrishanger December 6, 2016 at 9:50 am #

      It could, but it would need to be made out of wood.


      • William Ameling December 6, 2016 at 8:36 pm #

        Basicly, you are saying that wands and combat staffs have to be made of a formerly living material, i,e, wood.

        So either find stronger (in a material sense) forms of wood or find ways to strengthen the wood after it becomes a wand or a staff.

        The alternative is to find different materials than wood that can still function as wands and staffs.

        Keep in mind that even a staff or a quarterstaff, can still be a very effective weapon even though it is made out of wood. That could be an interesting suggestion for training Emily and other magicians for combat while they are carrying a combat staff.

        Returning to cover of TSA, I know how inaccurate or misleading many covers are, and that they exist to make potential buyers pick up the book, then read the blurb (more enticement), and hopefully buy the book, and then buy and read more books by that author, if they liked the first one.

        I would say that needs and forms of force, either magical or non magical, are quite different from a duel which is with a single person, to a battle where you will be fighting many foes. The question about firearms, in their present state of development on the Nameless World, is how many times can they be used in a close (or distant) combat situation and how quickly they can be reloaded, and how many can she carry. Maybe a pocket dimension that she is carrying with her might help in that regard for many firearms for her to use. I am not saying that the object she is carrying HAS to be a pocket dimension (but it is a possibility). Although she has used pocket dimensions before, most notably to protect her and Lady Bard when she used the Nuke Spell on Mother Holly, as well as to defeat the Cockatrice.

        Maybe the item under her arm is something related to her magical battery attempts, which are derived from pocket dimensions. (I can’t wait to find out the answer).

        Emily’s problem with a sword will be how effective will a sword be for her in defending against physical creatures (monsters) that are either larger, stronger, or faster than her. I realize that skill is also important and that she is probably (hopefully) more skilled with a sword than them, but there are limits on how much skill can do when you are exhausted from previous fights.

        Even, if she is relying on magic in combat, she can still be worn down, i.e. run out of mana, or be overcome by multiple attacks from different directions at the same time that need different spells to defend against.

        An interesting question is how useful will her Death Viper be in a combat situation/battle.

      • kell December 7, 2016 at 1:52 am #

        What about Chrystal? Is Emily every going to learn about working with Chrystal’s? Cause the nexus used Chrystal. I wonder if they might be useful with the batteries.

      • chrishanger December 11, 2016 at 8:51 am #

        She’s done some of that already and she will do more


      • Jared December 7, 2016 at 4:06 am #

        How would magic behave with carbon nanotubes? Lol

  13. Martin Conway December 6, 2016 at 9:26 pm #

    How about you base the next Ark Royal series on colonies starting to demand independence? I would love to see how the Americans would take having their colonies turn and leg it. You could model it on India’s Independence.

    • chrishanger December 11, 2016 at 8:49 am #

      It would be careless for them to make the same mistake as King George .

      Still, there are possibilities.


  14. Don Yu December 7, 2016 at 9:38 am #

    I would love it if January – The Zero Blessing is about the person going towards and genius in Science thus going together with Emily later on to lead the scientific revolution in the Nameless world. As non-magician coming into contract with and developing relationship with Emily enough to share in what was achieved in science on Earth would be very hard as Nuke spell etc willing come into it at some point but if the person don’t have magic then possible.

    • chrishanger December 11, 2016 at 8:52 am #

      They’re in separate universes. (I did originally intend ZB to be a spin-off, but the great idea came after SIM had 4 books out.)


  15. Fatty December 10, 2016 at 5:28 am #

    I was wondering if you ever were going to release some of the “behind the scenes conversations” that have happened regarding Emily. You did something similar when Lady Barb came to Whitehall the first time (Book 3) and a few other times in between. But I would like to know the conversations Void had with the Grandmaster regarding Emily and a few others or would those conversation ruin future story lines?

    Also, Emily had a battery fully charged up at the beginning of Trial by Fire, but she didn’t use it in the duel. Is their a reason for that? Would it have been rejected like her bracelet?

    • William Ameling December 10, 2016 at 9:10 am #

      I am sure it would have been not allowed. They did not even carry wands or staffs for the duel

      • Jared December 10, 2016 at 8:09 pm #

        It probably wouldn’t have been allowed. However she did use a staff.

    • chrishanger December 11, 2016 at 9:01 am #

      I may release them, eventually. Right now, they are a little bit sensitive .

      The battery would have been considered cheating.


  16. Cam December 12, 2016 at 8:47 pm #

    Any update on The Sergeants Apprentice?

  17. William Ameling December 14, 2016 at 7:16 am #

    I hope we will get it (TSA) before Christmas!

    • Kell Harris December 16, 2016 at 6:35 am #

      I’m so impatient. I kind if regret being a beta reader. I want to see what is changed how it developed. I’m like that kind of person who reads one chapter and then has to read the next lol. Chris produces the story so fast and oit all follows so I feel like I’m reading a chapter rather then a series. So sense I’m bored waiting thing I wonder about and want to see.

      Falavia has disappeared. Are we hoping to here about the feud again. I can’t shack the feeling that if fulavia would talk a things happened perhaps she could end the feud.

      Emily’s apprenticeship… I think she should study from either voad or maybe fatty someone really strong. But what would Emily be a master in? I feel like she almost needs a dual mastery. Charms and combat sorcery. I also feel she should learn enchanting so she doesn’t need to depend on yodal. Hmm maybe she can take a temporary apprenticeship with an enchanter ?

      I feel like the battery would be more powerful with a staff rather then a wand I wonder if Emily will think of that or maybe she will find that hard to hide?

      And who do you all think Emily should be with? I’m not a big fan of Caleb he is boyfriend material but not yet marriage material but he is growing on me. I just don’t think he can keep up with her we will c
      Then there’s Freida. Emily can be in denial all she wants but she is really possessive of Freida. Emily is so oblivious to her feelings I can’t discard if she might have feelings for her. The big conflict I c with these to is the age difference. Emily at least still treats her like her little sister. Freda seems to be struggling to get Emily to c her as on her level. The good news with that is that Frieda works really hard in her magic I think in time when Freda has gotten older or maybe if they spend some time apart that Frieda can learn to stand on her own and be her equal. Hay maybe Freida can go to strong hold while Emily is doing an apprenticeship. Maybe Emily can visit her there while she is on break or something?

      Then there is the boy in the vision with the demon. Good or bad? I worry about anybody trying to approach Emily. And now that Emily has let down her gaued romantically she might be more vulnerable to men trying to get close to her in that way.
      Also when will Emily enter magical society more or meet somemorw of the white council? Anybody else wondering about anything while we wait for sergeants apprentice?

      • Kell Harris December 16, 2016 at 6:38 am #

        Oh wow lots of spelling errors studied auto correct😜

      • William Ameling December 17, 2016 at 2:47 am #

        I think if you look at Past Tense, there was a scene where Emily found herself kissing one of the other apprentices, I think something happened (probably magical) to cause it, but I do not remember the details without go back and reading it myself. I think it might have been just before they meet the Manavore/Spider.

        So I think that particular demon vision/view of what might happen in her future (one of many in Book 5) has already been taken care of, without her having to breakup (from either side) with Caleb or betray their relationship/Courtship.

      • Kell Harris December 17, 2016 at 9:34 am #

        I remember the kiss in past tense it seems different to me maybe Chris can confirm?

  18. G December 16, 2016 at 6:52 pm #

    It will be interesting to see how people respond as Emily increases in fame and power–King Randor may not like her, but he should still want her associated with Zangaria as Emily’s friendship with Alassa increases the power and prestige of his house, powerful sorcerers should be approaching her for apprenticeships, and heirs of magical families and even some princes/high aristocrats should be pursuing her–for her power and potential children, if nothing else…Gordian and Whitehall can no longer pretend she’s a normal student either…

    • William Ameling December 17, 2016 at 3:00 am #

      Quite frankly, I am expecting that King Randor is not going to last much longer as King, with Alassa becoming Queen. Possibly, as soon as Fists of Justice. Nanette’s new master, the bad guy behind the scenes magician, has been trying to cause trouble in Zangaria for several years, if not longer, and he likes to stir up rebellions, etc. and he almost got Alassa and King Randor in Book 8. Sooner or later his trouble making will cause King Randor’s death, and someone, probably Jade and/or Emily, will save Alassa’s life.

      • Jared December 17, 2016 at 3:09 am #

        I agree that king Randor will not last much longer. But to say that Cloak has been causing trouble for a few years is a bit of a stretch. he isn’t mentioned until school of hard knocks. And I think it’s clear that his real interest is Emily her self. And it’s not exactly clear that he is a bad guy. Although, he does seem sketchy.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard December 17, 2016 at 3:12 am #

        Assuming that Cloak is the unnamed Sorcerer that we met at the end of Wedding Hells, I’d call Cloak a “Bad Guy”.

      • William Ameling December 17, 2016 at 4:03 am #

        I think that Cloak is Void, and I do not consider Void as hostile to Zangaria. I think that he is indifferent to it’s fate, mostly he does not want Emily being tied up in its affairs rather than studying magic. Void’s only concern would be how events in Zangaria affect the War against the Necromancers.

        I think that the behind the scene bad guy magician is the one that kidnapped Emily back in book 1 while she was visiting Dragon’s Den, took a blood sample from Emily which was probably passed on to Shadye, and then let her and Alasssa escape.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard December 17, 2016 at 4:35 am #

        IIRC that bad guy magician did pass the blood sample to Shadye and was with Shadye during the invasion of Whitehall.

        I think Emily killed that magician in Book 1.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard December 17, 2016 at 4:47 am #

        That was Malefic and the last we saw of him some of Shadye’s orcs were taking him away after Emily had beaten him during the invasion of Whitehall.

        I suspect that after Shadye’s invasion failed, he was either already dead or taken into custody and likely executed.

        Shadye had done something to Malefic after Emily beat him so I doubt that he escaped.

      • Jared December 17, 2016 at 5:23 am #

        Exactly William!!

      • Kell Harris December 17, 2016 at 9:42 am #

        I think the bad guy is not void but the old grandmasters half brother. I think if void wanted to control Emily he would have. Fact is Emily always wanted a father figure even now she could easily be manipulated by void but he has tried to be hands off he gave her magic to protect her mind and secrets and he sent her to school to grow. I don’t think Its him specially when he told Emily to help keep zangria stable in the second one. The grands master said his brothers soil was scared by demons who knows what that could mean?

  19. William Ameling December 17, 2016 at 12:56 pm #

    I will have to go back and do some rereading about Malefic and the Grandmaster’s half brothers. I did reread the beginning of Book 2, the bad guy was the hidden master of the Crow Sorceror who got killed near the end of Book 2. He was almost certainly behind the miseducation and bad training in magic of Alassa as a child before she was sent to Whitehall. He also ordered the death of Emily if she got in the way of his plans for Zangaria. He has to be Nanette’s new hidden master as well. I doubt very much that he is Void.

    • Jared December 17, 2016 at 4:47 pm #

      I’m fairly certain that crows master was the duchess of iron.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard December 17, 2016 at 5:08 pm #

        That was my assumption but when I reread the Prologue to Book 2, the Crow Sorcerer recognizes the person he met as a powerful sorcerer but the Duchess was not a sorcerer.

        Remember that the Duchess had the “drop” on Alassa and Emily, so if the Duchess had enough power/skill to impress Crow, then she won’t have needed a sword at Alassa’s throat.

        For that matter, Crow didn’t know who he was meeting in the Tower but was working with the Duchess.

      • Jared December 17, 2016 at 9:38 pm #

        I just reread the prologue to book2, and I’m forced to change my mind. There is the location of their meeting, the glamour woven into the cloak, and Crows own thoughts that suggest perhaps it is this elusive bad guy named cloak. After the duel with Master Grey Emily notices the cloak that void is wearing, which is covered in glamour runes.

  20. robinsaw December 18, 2016 at 10:57 pm #

    dont think Void would be a bad guy, but I do think his main focus is beating the necromancers. And that he would do everything to achive that. One of the first things Emily notices about Void is that he have lots of small cuts on his hands, as if he has been cutting himself over and over. So its very likely that Void have summoned a lot of demons. Then there is the dragons warning that Emilys master (Void) is playing a dangerous game. And everyone in the series seems to agree that Void is slightly crazy.

    I played around with the idea that Void might be part of helping Shadeeye summon Emily. Would a necromancer be sane and collected enough to summon a demon safely? And while i think Void spends a lot of time in the Blighted lands, he did arrive to safe Emily really fast. And if anyone could countrol a necromancers actions, i think it would be Void, Its impossible to argue that he is a genius.

    This character Cloak has been a big part of the plot in several books i think. From the meeting with Crow and in The School of Hard Knocks. But i also think its possible that Clock was the one that gave the Skull of Memories and made the necromancer. From the interactions in the prolouge it didnt seem like it was a necromancer.
    I think Clock is Void and he have been pulling the strings all along, manupilating everything around Emily, to make her as strong and capable as possible. He is crazy and arrogant enough that he would risk making a necromancer and risking emilys life, if he belived that it would help her fight the necromancers.

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard December 18, 2016 at 11:16 pm #

      Chris has said that Void had been keeping a close eye on Shayde and other Necromancers so he was aware that Shayde was up to something which is why he was “in time” to rescue Emily.

      I suspect that Shayde’s summoning of the beings that brought Emily to the Nameless World was fairly obvious to Void (or anybody else keeping an eye on the Necromancers).

      Void was just the one close enough to take action.

      • William Ameling December 19, 2016 at 6:09 am #

        I tried to find the discussion about the Grandmaster (the original one) and his brothers to reread it. I thought it was in the first part of book 7 Trial BY Fire but did not see it. Does anyone remember where it is located?

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard December 19, 2016 at 2:02 pm #

        It’s in Chapter 34 of Trial By Fire.

  21. William Ameling December 19, 2016 at 2:31 pm #

    Thank you, Paul.

  22. Mike December 23, 2016 at 3:19 am #

    I love the Ark series. My though is about a problem that makes the former colonies want to join back with GB to form some kind of new empire say for safety. That could then lead back to the tension that caused us, I am an American, and the rest to break.

    I have this thought of like the smaller nationsize duking it out while the big boys sit it out, and then some of your old colonies screaming uncle. India in your timagine could be a candidate

    • Mike December 23, 2016 at 3:20 am #

      I had a few typos in that post duemail to my phone’s autocorrect, and me not paying attention to it. Still, I think my idea is clear.

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