We're down to our last 100 numbered, customer-choice sketch editions for Schlock Mercenary: Emperor Pius Dei. Ordinarily this final block takes a couple of weeks to trickle out, but this year we've shortened the pre-order window a lot.
So... today's your last day to pre-order a sketch edition, or to get a sketch as part of the Madly Pius Pair or Emperor's Bundle. You'll still be able to pre-order non-sketched books and bundles for the next couple of weeks, but the sketched versions are going away.
If you get left out in the cold by virtue of having missed this blog entry it's remotely possible that you can sneak a pre-order under the wire by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and begging, but know that every time that happens you're making extra work. Not for me -- for Sandra and for Janci, Sandra's Trusted Lieutenant #1. Tuesday they're sorting all the sketch edition orders, so that the moment the books arrive they can start inserting labeled blotter sheets in books, and boxing them up for me. My sketching can then begin in earnest.
Which brings me to the "last day of vacation" bit. I've enjoyed this weekend. Sure, I spent Friday night and half of Saturday adding a week to the buffer, but the rest of Saturday, all of Sunday, and most of today (July 4th, Happy Birthday America, I love you very much!) are vacation time for me.
I need them. For the rest of July I need to be working. Y'all have paid me (handsomely, thank you!) to deface nigh upon a thousand books. I have from July 8th through the 23rd to accomplish this. July 25th is our shipping party, and those books need to go into parcels to be mailed to you.
I also have this ongoing contract with you in which you keep reading comics here on the site and I keep making them. As of this writing the buffer stands at 40. That's not bad, but forty days from now I'll be at the World Science Fiction Convention. Thirty days from now I'll be at GenCon Indy. Sixty days from now I'll be at Dragon*Con. And sixty-seven days from now I'll be at a writers' retreat in the hills of Tennessee.
Six weeks of buffer isn't bad, but it's certainly not enough that I can afford to shed two weeks while sketching in books. Not if I might be shedding six weeks while traveling and recovering. I wish I'd gotten an additional four weeks in the hopper during June, but that didn't happen. Now I'm just going to have to cowboy up, knuckle down, and see about adding two weeks during July.
The good news? We're approaching the flamey, foamy, fun-filled climax of the Force Multiplication storyline. These strips practically write themselves when the only dialog I need to dream up is "THOOOM." The bad news? The drawing gets more difficult. So... cowboy up, knuckle down.