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Episode 22 Published!

And it’s a big’n! For those who started reading when this story was still known as The Fantasy Novel I’ll Likely Never Publish, this passage into the unknown carries extra symbolism.

While rain falls only to be turned to steam, Martin is the first witness to the slaughter at Brewer’s Ford. Nothing remains above ground; any answers that may still exist lie below. When he reaches the bottom, Martin makes a promise. The sort of promise that Martin generally scoffs at.

I delayed publishing this episode a little extra to make sure that commitments I make now will work going forward. Episode 24 is kind of a tipping point, plot-wise, and I need to be careful running up to that. Or maybe I’m just thinking too hard.

Anyway, please enjoy Episode 22: Into the Darkness.

Episode 21 is Real

Martin at last gets a little time alone, although cooking to death might be the cost. His first look at what once was the fortress at Brewer’s Ford is sobering. But maybe he has friends he didn’t know about before. And Elena says something that you should pay attention to.

What is moving Martin now?

It’s an odd double life, writing Episode 23 while trying to move Episode 21 to “ready”. Knowing that as soon as I send this installment into the world I’ll find a fatal flaw. But I’ve gone over Episode 21 enough times to know it’s pretty damn tight. As tight as I’m going to make it anyway.

Meanwhile, for the patrons, the rest of Bags’ backstory is coming real soon, I promise. We just have to cross a certain spoiler line in the main narrative first.

Episode 21: Ruin

Episode 20 Released!

This is a significant milestone in the story and in the history of the Soul Thieves. We don’t know anybody who sits at the big table where decisions are made, but something has gotten the wizards worked up enough to make a big move. If this were chess, the Soul Thieves just moved their queen. That’s a bad strategy early in the game, but who knows how long this contest has been going on?

Behind the scenes things are proceeding apace, but I did realize while working on episode 21 that I had messed up an important detail back in episode 17 or so. I went back and made some changes to those episodes, but nothing Earth-shattering. Ah, the joys and pitfalls of serial fiction. Good thing I don’t have very many readers yet.

Thanks, as always, to my patrons. Some of the beer I drink writing each episode is funded by you, and it makes me proud and grateful to have your support.

Episode 20: Conflagration

A bit of a retrofit underway

Ah, the trap of serial fiction. I’m still building on a version 1 of the story published elsewhere. I made one seemingly insignificant change to that narrative and now I’m regretting it. Martin has to be in a certain state when he gets to a certain place, and I broke that. So I have to go back and adjust things.

If you don’t feel inclined to reread four mostly-similar episodes, just move forward with this simple adjustment: As of episode 20 Martin is unarmed, and Martin really hates being unarmed.

Episode 19 Released

It seems like someone or something trying to prevent our friends from reaching the fortress at Brewer’s Ford. The fort means different things to each of the companions; to Elena it represents safety; Katherine may be walking to a dungeon cell and the gallows. Martin is not a big fan of walls, but considering what’s out here trying to kill them, he’s willing to chance it for a while.

In a way this episode is its own biography, as it has seen its share of resistance as well. Chapter 19 has gone through several metamorphoses as it has moved closer to the big time, with whole sections inserted only to be removed again. Until a very short time ago I had moved much of what I planned to put into chapter 20 into this chapter as well, but this chapter was getting huge and I don’t want to hold back on the descriptions of what happens next. (As I’ve hinted before, episode 20 is a biggie.) So ultimately this episode is a little underweight, but has plenty going on to make it worthwhile. I hope I haven’t overworked the chapter, but it reads pretty well to me.

Thanks once more to all the patrons!

19: The Crossing

Let’s Make Episode 18 Official

So here’s the thing. I actually hit the “publish” button on episode 18 a few days ago. And immediately had second thoughts. I was confident in the story, but not so much in the mechanics. So I didn’t tell anyone.

At least one faithful reader found the chapter anyway, and I’m flattered by the enthusiasm. But over the last few days I’ve been subtly betterizing the episode. Hat tip here to my proofreader for this episode, who didn’t sign up for the job but still accepted the role gracefully.

In revisionist history news, I added two words to episode 13. “Trust me.” The aforementioned proofreader might better be dubbed “editor”.

Looking toward the future, episode 19 is having an identity crisis. There are the simple things that must happen, and there’s the who-knows-what-when question. I just wrote an exchange that I’ll probably delete tomorrow. I have to remind myself that everything that happens in episode 19 is in service of episode 20. Because in 20, shit gets real.

Read episode 18

Episode 17 Live!

Episode 17 is ready to read! Martin may not be at his most lyrical, but you have to cut a guy some slack when his intestines have been rearranged. Kat makes a decision that catches everyone by surprise, with the possible exception of Bags, and Baldwin tries to convince me that he has a place in the larger narrative.

Behind the scenes, there were a couple of links that weren’t working, but everything should be hunky-dory now. Let me know if you have problems. This theme isn’t working quite as awesomely with iPad as it was alleged to; I’m still poking at that.

And, as always, a big thank-you to my patrons. This wouldn’t be happening without you.

Episode 17: The Cost of a Small Victory

Episode 16 Released!

Yep, that’s right, Episode 16 is out, and it’s a big one! We meet the Soul Thieves, and no one is ready for the confrontation that follows. Fun question: did Elena get her wish?

From a writer’s standpoint, I made some promises in this episode. After today, Martin will be angry one more time, and it will be cataclysmic. But until then we can count on him keeping a level head and killing people only for entirely rational reasons.

Thanks as always to my supporters; you guys rock.

The episode

Episode 15 Live!

Just when you think you might have a little time to teach a profane young woman the subtleties of slicing people up, along comes the army. I like this episode, both for the quiet time that allows us to learn a little more about Martin as he introduces Elena to her new knife, and for her reaction. It is a time of bonding between the two. But even if they are friends, they may not always agree.

Not a lot of news to share about the ongoing construction of this site, so let’s just move on to the link:

Elena’s Knife

Episode 14 Released!

Episode 14 turned out to be massive, so I chopped off the last third, both to get a release out sooner, and to make the size of the episode less of a commitment to readers. In the process I realized I had sent Martin and Elena out into the world without an object I had taken great care to create, so I tweaked episode 13 a bit to move Elena’s knife along.

The split means Episode 15 is already warming up on the tarmac, but needs a bit more TLC before it’s cleared for takeoff.

I also made some changes behind the scenes that don’t really matter to you much, except that now links between episodes are done automatically and the Table of Contents will always be correct without my manual intervention. More important, it’s the first step toward a feature to the table of contents that will let patrons see whether they have already read an episode.

Episode 14: Leaving Mountain Hole