Dog Days Of Summer

August just sort of happened. I must have blinked. Sorry about that.

So, news:

1. If you follow my podcast, you know I’ve been dealing with some medical issues. Again. I think I’ve got the meds sorted out now and I’ve been walking again. This is a Good Thing.

2. In addition to walking, I’ve also been writing.

I started Cape Grace some time ago and have about 30,000 words in. I need to go back and revisit that because – so far – it’s just Otto’s story. That’s wrong. I need to add Sarah in there, but I need to cogitate a bit on that before I dig in.

I also took a swing at the first Smuggler’s Tale. That’s the Solar Clipper series that’s _not_ about Ishmael Wang. It’ll be a trilogy (I think) about Natalya Regyri and her wingman, Zoya Usoko, as they navigate the Dark Side of the Deep Dark. I had to put that one down, too.

I found I missed Ishmael too much. I’ve started the first of the Seeker’s Tales. I’m sitting at 11,000 words right now and the story is beginning to take on a life of its own. I’m not sure how long this book will be, when I’ll finish it, or even what the story is. I’ve got some ideas, but these things don’t really like to pay attention to what I think the story is.

I can tell you this much. Theme: “It’s not how hard you’re hit. It’s what you do after that matters.” With everybody still reeling from Owner’s Share, that seemed the most likely place to pick up the action as Ishmael picks himself up and … well, we’ll see if he moves on with his life or let’s the past become an insurmountable load of baggage.

Oh, and he teams up with Pip again.

3. You might find clues about where the stories are going if you play Eve Online. In a recent change to their policy, they removed a lot of unused names which allowed me to get Ishmael Horatio Wang, Phillip Carstairs, and Alys Giggone as avatars in game. You’ll also find Natalya Regyri and Zoya Usoko there. As the stories develop, I’ll have more stuff that Eve players can find. If you don’t play Eve, don’t worry. The story will be the story. Game stuff won’t make any difference – other than I won’t log in and find that fans are already playing my characters. 🙂

Late  summer and fall have – historically – been very productive times for me.

Fingers crossed that the trend continues.

Thanks for hanging in with me. We’ll get there.


  1. Hope these long supper days before school starts help to ease the derpression. Just thought I’d let you know that I spend time with the Solar Clipper when depression lays into me. Your writing is, for me, a clean, fresh safe space. It’s the sanest, healthiest writing I know, and I’m an English professor (medievalist, really). So, thank you, Nathan.

  2. i can really understand your med prob. I suffer from heat failure and have had terrible med reactions.
    thanks for new books i hope to have time to read them.

  3. Nathan thanks for all the great stories. Really looking forward to the next Ishmael books. Hope you’re feeling better soon.

  4. Thanks for the update. My sympathies to you for the medical issues. I’m looking forward to reading your new books when they are available.

  5. I can’t tell you how excited I am to hear that Ishmael will be making his return. It’s odd that I happen to be here just days after you made this post as I just finished listening to the Trader series for the third time. I am glad to hear you are feeling better and hope you are writing and releasing audiobooks for a long time to come.

  6. Nathan hope your feeling better! I have to say your books are some of my favorite! Love the audio format. I walk also and I keep finding myself going back and listening to your books as I walk. In the last year and a half since I found them I think I have listen to them at least 3 times… Really looking forward to your new stuff. Keep up the great work please!!!

  7. Ishmael yay! Hope you continue to feel better.

  8. Sarasti Watts says:

    I saw your “Ishmael” character in EVE but before I had a chance to say hello and start a conversation you were gone. All this time I thought that I would have been striking up a conversation with a fellow fan; never in my wildest dreams would I have thought I would have had the opportunity to speak with one of my favorite authors.

  9. Andy Dillbeck says:

    These are all happy things!
    Glad you’re feeling better.

    Super excited for Seeker’s Tales! I hope your autumn is really productive!

  10. Robert Meyer says:

    Nathan, so glad your feeling better, and really, really glad your bringing Ishmael and Pip back together. While I love all your books except for maybe owners share, I missed the relationships that Ishmael had with all the crew and indeed with the Lois McKendrick in quarter share. I’m sending good thoughts your way for a full recovery. Take care.


  11. Richard Lawrence says:

    have i told you lately that i love you….

    I check back here from time to time, and seeing your post made my day. I’m so very glad to know your writing. Im also glad to know that my favorite stories continue. The next smile is on me….

    a deep bow to you captain, carry on.

  12. Karen Phelps says:

    I pray your recovery is a speedy one. I look forward to hearing more about Ishmael. I will be re-listening to them all. Thank you so much for sharing your imagination and talent with us


  13. blinky001 says:

    I’m also glad to hear that your medical issues are no longer kicking your posterior.

    I cannot wait to see what your keyboard and keen mind produces next. Keep us posted please.

  14. Glad to hear about both the seeker and the smugglers tale. It is particularly comforting to here that the story is “beginning to take on a life of its own”. Some of the best stories of read had that comment attached to them. Looking forward eagerly to spending some more time in the Solar Clipper universe.

  15. Hi,

    Great news on Ishmael, im looking forward to getting lost in the new stories. Do you plan to read and release them as audio books like the first ones?

  16. I’m glad to hear that your meds are getting straightened out, and I loved hearing that Seekers Tale was taking on a life of it’s own. That usually means that the story is becoming easier to write. Hopefully, this is the case. I look forward to reading anything new that you write. I haven’t found any of your stories to be disappointing yet and really don’t see that changing.

    Take care of yourself.

  17. I have a very strong intuition that when you help Ishmael out of his hole, that will make a profound change in your own emotional situation.

  18. I am so glad for all the news. You are doing well and Ishmael is speaking to you. I cant wait to see where he goes.
    And I want to agree with Bruce Perens, but hey I just want you better!

  19. Glad to hear you are making progress on several fronts. I like so many others eagerly await the first installment of the Seeker’s Tales. I’ve missed Ishmael. I’m also looking forward to seeing other old friends again too—Pip, Bev, Brill (I know you haven’t mentioned anybody but Pip thus far, it’s just wishful thinking on my part). I hope your Smuggler’s Tales series comes along quickly as well. I was intrigued by the original novella. I’m sure the series has interesting possibilities, especially since the assassin from the last Trader’s Tales book apparently slipped away via Odin’s Outpost.

    Be well, Captain.

  20. I am pleased to hear your righting again but sorry to hear of your health issues I hope you get better and wright a lot more books so far I follow all your books especially Ishmael storys. take care get beter soon I hope

  21. Dave Fugazzotto says:

    Just started the yearly Solar Clipper binge, and thought I’d pop over here to see what’s new. Thrilled to hear that you’re working on the next set of tales. Keep it up, and keep in good health!

  22. I have stumbled upon your blog as a wonderful happenstance of a desperate Internet search for more Ishmael. I have, in an unbelievably short time, discovered and then devoured the podiobooks versions of the entire Trader’s Tales series…
    I am now into Owner’s Share and find myself getting a little choked up at the thought that Ishmael won’t be there to tell me the next tale just yet.
    Your stories are a wonderful gift to me. I wish that I could offer you a hand up out of the shadows in return.

  23. Wayne Byerly says:

    Mr Lowell

    First, I would like to say that I am delighted to hear that you’re returning to Ishmael Whang and the clipper tales. I will be absolutely delighted to pay whatever price you deem necessary for an additional episode of this series.

    But that is not the reason for this comment. I have left this message with your webmaster, hoping it would be passed on to you. But in case it is not, here it is in its entirety. I will apologize for in advance.

    !!!LOVED!!! the Traders Tales books. So I downloaded the podcasts. I am only on the third “chapter/segment” of Quarter Share … and am already SO tired of that screeching violin that I am ready to abandon the rest of the series. LOVE the violin …it is favorite instrument … but a minute and a half at the beginning of each segment??? Wouldn’t ten of fifteen seconds have been enough?… and THEN, at the end it starts quietly TWO AND A HALF MINUTES before the end of the segment, rising in volume … and several short times in the middle … the same screeching, nerve rasping, repetitive dozen or so notes, over, and over, and over, and over, and over … what was ANYBODY thinking? If this can’t be fixed then I’m just going to throw the rest of these away and give up on them. I really hate to be critical… I really hate it … I could count the number of times I have done this on one hand and still have fingers left over … but this is just ridiculous. The sheer number of these irritating passages …and the QUANTITY of them!!! … is more than I can bear. Please pass this message on to whoever is most appropriate. And please except my apologies for the (ranting?) criticism.

    • The leader for all the Quarter Share books is almost exactly 30 seconds. The outtro is just under 55. I was very careful to keep them short because I find long intros and outros irritating myself. You’ll find all my podcast novels have very nearly the same 30 second intro and 50 second outro with only minor variations in timing because of the music.

      Please, toss them.

      There’s no reason for you to suffer in a story you find so unpleasant to listen to.

      ETA: Wayne wrote back to me and I’m embarrassed to find that I’d forgotten about that stupid “Previously On Quarter Share” segment that has the music running under it all the way. In the interest of completeness, I’ll post the meat of my response to his email below:

      I couldn’t imagine what you were talking about. I had to go back and pull up my archives.

      It’s that darned “Previously on Quarter Share” bit. I stopped doing that after Quarter Share because it was dumb. I’ll claim failing brain cells for not remembering that from 2007. All the rest of the books have 30 second intros and 1 minute outtros, I THINK. 🙂

      As for the outro on 02 — that’s odd because my archived source file shows only 50 seconds from the end of the narration to the end of the file on episode 2. it starts at 19:18 and ends by 20:07 at the end of the file. Episode 3 has more of that silly “Previously” on at the beginning and the music mix bled in a little earlier on the outro — but it’s still 50 seconds from the end of the story to the end of the file. I’m not sure where you got two and a half minutes from that.

      I stopped doing the “Previously on” thing at the end of Quarter Share and

      […personal comment redacted…] The reality is that I can’t do anything about those old files now. I’d have to re-record those books because I don’t have the narration saved separately from the music. I’m serious when I suggest that you should stop listening and enjoy the books in text form alone. It doesn’t hurt my feelings and you really shouldn’t have to put up with an unpleasant experience.

  24. Love your written and audio books, both, and I have collected both series. However, I must agree with the poster above that the intro/exit music for each audiofile quickly becomes tedious when one is listening to the books in big chunks. I found an easy work-around that might appeal to others. There are readily available programs that allow you to ‘build’ an audiobook from individual files. (For those of us who use Macs, I can endorse Audiobook Builder.) I simply set the beginning and end time for each file to cut all but a few measures of music, then merged them. I now have six wonderful 10+ hour long audiobooks I enjoy every summer as I’m working in the yard. Looking forward to the next Ishmael Wang book, whenever it arrives! Also… here’s wishing you ongoing improvement in your health concerns.

    • Yeah. The audio was never intended to be an audiobook, hence the intro/outro pieces.

      When I started this back in 2007, audiobooks were an oddity that had very little uptake compared to where they are today. Any new books will have audiobook versions as well as podcast versions, but I don’t have the narration tracks from the first three books to be able to do that without re-recording. I figure most people would prefer *new* books rather than repackaged (again) old ones. 🙂