The absence of pressure would indicate a lack of demand. So, bring it on.
I can't provide a release date for The Expendable Few or Spinward Fringe Broadcast 7: Framework, but I will do the next best thing.
I've set a deadline for the completion of the Expendable Few. I will finish writing this book by October 7, and attempt to get it to the formatters by the end of that month. Test readers will see chapters during October as well.
The Expendable Few has hit more creative roadblocks and faced more in-process revision than anything I've ever written. In an effort to present a full fledged science fiction novel with all the trappings that I want for this story and the characters, I've increased the book's size to about 80,000 words, and drawn ideas I had reserved for other books in. The book needed it, and as for size, it might become even longer.
There was a time when I just wasn't satisfied with how the second half of this book was turning out, and I didn't know how to fix it. I'm past that now, and am writing the chapters that bring it up to snuff. There are ideas in this book that span politics, technology, character development, and take the book straight into strange fiction. Now it's something I know I'd enjoy as a reader.
There are at least a dozen chapters left, and there could be more. Getting this done before or on October 7 will be an interesting challenge.
What about Spinward Fringe Broadcast 7? It's about to enter its third and final draft. The existing 120,000 words are mostly going to remain the same, with a few additions and slight modifications - but that's what you do when you draft a book you've mostly been away from for a couple months. The work I'm doing on the Expendable Few novel (formerly novella), has prompted me to up my game for Broadcast 7's last third. That's right, 120,000 words in I'm about two thirds done, so you can expect at least another forty thousand words in Broadcast 7.
Parts of Broadcast 8 may be pulled into 7 simply because there is no reason to keep a couple story lines in reserve. Without spoiling anything, there are whole sections of Broadcast 7 that introduce an entirely new side of the Spinward Fringe universe that I've been waiting to write about since The First Light Chronicles. Introducing that side of things is proving to be very important to the story, and to the development of several characters.
A few people have asked how tightly intertwined are the Expendable Few Novel and Broadcast 7 books? I can only say that you're going to want to read the Expendable Few before reading Broadcast 7. If you don't, you may not know you're missing something, but you will be. Since the Expendable Few is an unexpected novel, it'll be offered for free for all readers on Smashwords and for $0.99 on Amazon for the first month, possibly longer.
I'll be honest, I'm looking forward to finishing my work on the Expendable Few so I can get back to Broadcast 7. Everything is taking longer because I'm more interested in telling stories that best my previous work by far. The simple solutions, easy situations, vanilla characters and settings don't work for me regardless of how long or short they exist on the page. I'm also paying more attention to quality these days, in all aspects of what comes across my desk. So, sorry for the extended wait, I'll try to make it worth your while.
[Next on the blog: Cosmetic and systemic changes are coming.]