NaNoWriMo Is Upon Us

01-In_Ashes_BornB_ebookIt’s just past midnight and National Novel Writing Month is here again. Last year I didn’t play because I was busily editing paperbacks, but this year I’m raring to go.

In Ashes Born has been an incredible success thanks to all of you fans inhaling it and telling everybody about it. Between Ashes and putting all the books into Kindle Unlimited at once, the page-reads for the month might be enough for me to get a Kindle All-Star bonus. I’m not sure when Amazon notifies people, but I’m cautiously optimistic.

The new book has been so successful that it’s attracted outside attention from agents and publishers — most notably an audiobook publisher with a track record of producing excellent audiobooks. They’ve won several awards already and are in the running for many, many more. They convinced me to sign up Ishmael Wang for audiobook production. That’s a good news/bad news thing because it’s an exclusive contract and they don’t really understand the difference between serialized audio fiction and an audiobook. So while those of you who’ve been looking for an audiobook version of the Shares will be able to get it, the podcasts will have to come down. From a business standpoint, I needed to do it in order to clear the way to write more books without feeling the burden of having to get back into the booth. Yes, that also means somebody else will be the voice of Ishmael Wang. Podium – the company producing the works – wasn’t interested in having me read. On balance, it’s probably for the best because audiofiles follow favorite narrators and – with any luck – Ishmael will be introduced to a whole new audience. It’s also one less thing between me and my keyboard.

Speaking of keyboard…

Book one of the Smuggler’s Tales (Milk Run) is up for NaNoWriMo and Book two of Seeker’s (To Fire Called) is right behind it. My goal is to see if I can get them both done this month. I’ve got an editor waiting in the wings for December, January, and February, so there’s a bit of incentive there to move things along.

Yes, if you’re watching, the book I was supposed to write in October didn’t happen, which means the December release of Milk Run is unlikely right now. I have to finish that book before I can get into Darkness, but once I’ve got it behind me, I think Seeker’s book 2 should potter along fairly well.

Thanks for all your support and understanding. The Podium news is bittersweet, even for me, but it’s a step I needed to take in order to focus on what’s most important right now — getting more stories written for you all to read. It’s been too long and I owe ya.

Safe voyage.

About The Captain

The Captain is Nathan Lowell -- Author and narrator of these Tales from the Golden Age. You can find out more about him at his main website.
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41 Responses to NaNoWriMo Is Upon Us

  1. randy d. hunt says:

    Capt., As it has been said before. . . ‘You write ’em, I’ll read ’em.’ This is by far my favorite series in books. Thank You.

  2. classicw says:


    It is good to hear that your work is grabbing outside attention, and while it is a bit sad to not have your voice anymore for Ishmael, I totally understand how the economic and time management reasons to move these books to an audiobook publisher.

    One question I do have for you though, does this deal impact your Tanyth Fairport stories too? If those are not affected by this deal, do you still plan on recording and releasing those as a podcast?

    Thanks for your great stories, and if you write it, I’ll read it!

  3. The Captain says:

    Tanyth is currently not included in the deal. They’ve left the door open to it, but honestly I’d like to see if they can deliver on their promises before I sign over any more properties.

    I *will* make audio available – eventually. At this point, I just don’t know when or how.

    My sole focus is “new books in the pipeline.”

  4. Terri says:

    I have no idea what NaNoWriMo is, but if I can vote (or stuff the box!) for you, please send me the link! You have become my all time favorite and (sorry David Weber) the author I recommend to anyone who express an interest in “light” Science Fiction reading. Because you leave out the details like 10 pages of how many inches an imaginary gun can shoot and the graphic (repetitive) sex scenes, I can gladly recommend you to all age groups and genders and know that they will enjoy your books!

  5. The Captain says:

    NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month. It happens every November and this year over 300,000 people around the world are trying to write at least 50,000 words in 30 days.

    My goal is slightly higher. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Lance says:

    Sorry to hear that you won’t be reading the audiobooks. If you were I would have purchased them, but since not I will almost certainly skip them, and I was really looking forward to them. I do wish you good luck on that endeavor though.

  7. The Captain says:

    I understand, Lance.

    It’s a response I expect many of my existing fans. I’m a little disappointed myself, but this could open the door to a whole new group of fans who just can’t stand (or don’t know about) the podcast format – or my voice.

    We make the best choices we can and adjust as we go. ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Bob Kawaratani says:

    I’m also sorry that you won’t be reading In Ashes Born. Following Ishmael’s progress by listening to your reading was a great pleasure. Anyway, I bought the book today and its a great read as always.

  9. Sean says:


    I fully support you needing to make the difficult business decisions to keep writing. These stories are fantastic. My wife and I listen to your stories every single night as we drift off to sleep. We quite literally start the cycle over again with Quarter Share the moment Owner’s wraps up. (Who knew adults liked bed time stories too?) So there’s a bit of sadness in knowing we won’t be able to hear your voice for the “Seeker’s Tale”.

    “In Ashes Born” has been such a pleasure to read. It has been a joy to see the healing process in Ishmael as he comes full circle with some of the most poignant relationships from his past. I’ve read it thrice through now, and am impatiently waiting the next.
    (Please tell me we get to see Stacey again…)

    Your stories take me back to my days at sea in the Coast Guard, and fill me with a profound sense deja vue. We’ve purchased all of your books on Kindle, and even the paperbacks that are available. Which brings me to my two questions:

    – Will you be making hardback versions available in the future?
    (Realizing that this is probably not as easy as it sounds.)
    – Will you be able make a purchasable version of your -original- podcasts available? (Sadly we won’t be purchasing the new ones, as your voice -IS- Ishmael for us.)

    Thank you for the journey you’ve provided us.

  10. The Captain says:

    Thanks, Sean.

    Hardbacks, a cautious yes. I know there are collectors who want them. Getting South Coast and Ashes into paperback will be a priority.

    Purchase the original podcasts? I don’t understand. You already have them.

  11. Sean says:

    I suppose I was slightly worried that pulling them from iTunes would cause them to expire/deprecate and delete from devices? I’ll have to figure out how to convert them into another audio format just in case.

  12. The Captain says:

    If you’ve subscribed on iTunes, you should already have the mp3s on a computer somewhere.

  13. Don says:

    So very happy to have In Ashes Born. Thank you for continuing the Solar Clipper series. Glad that Ishmael and Pip have more to be told about them, but extremely grateful for the continuance of the whole. Hope that there are many books there waiting to be born.

  14. Joe says:


    I discovered your podcast novels a few months ago and binge listened to them all and was ready to shell out some money on your new stuff but I don’t think I will be purchasing them in the new format.

    I do understand your business decision but I think it may alienate some of your fan base. I also don’t think it will be the same with a new voice, I really enjoyed your reading.

    I may purchase the print version but for now I am just very disappointed.

    Thank you for the original podcasts.

  15. The Captain says:

    Thanks, Joe.

    I fully expect it will alienate some fans.

    The choice is between alienating a few by off loading the audio or not doing audio in favor of writing new stories.

    Neither was appealing.

  16. John says:

    Bbbbbuut…I don’t want anyone else narrating….I remember when The Dark Tower series had to switch right in the middle of the saga and it ruined the whole flavor. Of course, replacing voice artist Frank Muller with narrator George Guidall was the stupidest decision ever. No…I take it back…replacing Muller’s renditions with Guidall’s made it tragic. I have to wonder what halfwitt made THAT decision….

    In later years the record company who owned the rights to John Fogerty’s music sued Fogerty for sounding to much like John Fogerty………….

  17. John says:

    I sound like a rants but I remember when you got the new mic and when you sawed the plywood for the new booth…the passion for the solar clipper came across and I thought how neet. After over 50 years in the music industry I’ve seen a lot of artists get chopped up… just remember 3 things:
    They don’t care about you.
    They don’t care about your art.
    They just care about the $$.
    I’m a loyal fan so I’m wishing you the best of luck….

  18. The Captain says:

    Thanks, John.

    The mitigating factors — I’ll still be doing some of my own work. Just not Ishmael Wang until I write off the end of the contract with “In Darkness Forged.” That’s where the boundary line is. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I’ll be able to do Tanyth and the Smuggler’s Tales myself. They aren’t in the contract at all.

    So if things get ugly, I’ve got a fall back.

  19. William says:

    Totally understand why you had to make the decision. I think people fail to appreciate how much time is invested in writing the original story, getting it published in the various formats, and then recording the audio. When you toss trying to keep new material in the pipeline into the mix, it quickly becomes a depressive quagmire.

    The good news is that since I don’t do audiobooks (I’m much to visual to get absorbed in a recorded narration), I don’t particularly care who does Ish’s voice! I’ll remain a staunch and loyal fan of your work.

  20. Marius Lubbe says:

    Hi Nathan,

    You are the creator. You need to create. I support your decision to leave delivey to someone else. You cannot outsource creative talent like yours, and we are here because you create. Keep up the wonderful yourney we all are on with you.


  21. Brian Gegenheimer says:

    Crap and crap again. You will always be the voice I hear for Ish. That being said if this is what has to be in order to enjoy the universe in which you have enthralled so many of us so be it. I don’t know if you get any say in the choice of the talent but if you do might I recommend R.C. Bray? I have just finished his reading of The Martian and he ranks up there for me now. No matter what I look forward to your continued works and eagerly await the next in the series. Steady on!

  22. Jeffrey F. Smith says:

    Mr Lowell aka Captain,

    I just finished a reread of the entire Solar Clipper books plus South Coast and a first read of In Ashes Born and have a question. Did I miss Cape Grace somewhere or did you have to drop it at this time for some reason?

  23. The Captain says:

    I’ve got no say on the narrator. They’ll let me suggest pronunciations. I suspect that’ll be the limit of my involvement.

  24. The Captain says:

    Cape Grace got tabled when I got hung up on doing the next Ishmael book. I’m about 30k into it and I know what needs to happen next. I just haven’t had the push to get into it yet.

  25. Jeffrey F. Smith says:


    Thank-you for the answer. At least I now know enough to quit going crazy trying to find it and that it will eventually show up. This is a very good series and one I recommend to people I think will enjoy it on a regular basis.

  26. David says:

    Into Darkness? Where have I heard that before? ๐Ÿ™‚

    Looking forward to anything you write, sar! I’ve also expanded your fanbase by at least 2 – a coworker and my BIL. Safe voyage.

  27. Bluesman says:

    I just finished the Shares series and In Darkness Born. I didn’t know a “down easterner” could yarn like you do. Like you, I started out “down east” on the banks of the Kenebec. I migrated to the banks of the Brazos. I’m trying to decide which book I should read next. I want to progress linearly. So which should be my next book to read. I read the series in five days. I love the way your characters interact. My wife shakes her head every time I laugh while reading. She didn’t see me when I cried. You have gift and I am glad I got to experience it.

  28. The Captain says:

    The only other book in the Solar Clipper universe is South Coast atm.

    You could start Ravenwood. It’s a different series about a different kind of hero.

  29. Ari B. says:

    So, how’d NaNoWriMo treat you? ๐Ÿ™‚

  30. The Captain says:

    45k and I stalled.

    I’m still trying to regain control. :/

  31. Anita says:

    45k sounds like it could be a good start on a book. Is it for the new series?

  32. The Captain says:

    It is.

    Now that NaNo is out of the way, I might actually finish it. ๐Ÿ™‚

  33. Ari B. says:

    Keep a steady hand on the rudder. ๐Ÿ™‚

  34. James says:

    I just want to let you know that I’m thrilled you’ve gotten an audio deal. You did a great job reading the books, but I honestly have a hard time listening to them because they aren’t as high of quality as a professional studio can produce. I’ll buy every book the moment they’re released.

  35. janet says:

    I liked your voice. I would play podcast over and over just to listen to your voice. I will miss it.

  36. Triss says:

    Just finished reading In Ashes Born, what a great book, well worth the cost. Looking forward to when/if you do a podio version. Glad to see that Ish is getting back on his feet with the help of old friends, but not too fast as that would have been disrespectful to Greta. Will wait patiently (or not) for the next book.

  37. Lars E Duryee says:

    Well good thing i have all the original stored on both my externe hardrive(s) and main pc then (i like to have a back up of a back up of a back up etc).That the newest books (in ashes borne) will be read by some other guy wont bother me TO much.Ofcourse i would have liked it a whole lot better if it was you but i cant complain.Its a great serie with a very good story so why should i stop buying or listening to it? i am not sure how many times i have been going through the books by now but i am still not tired of it.I just wish that the books was in hardcover by now (So far i only have the signed “special edition” hardcover book you sold waaaaay back and would like to have the rest also in hardcover but ohh well….cant demand to much.I am sure they will come out one day).Ohh and how is your walking coming around? a healthy body creates a creative mind or so i have heard ๐Ÿ˜€

  38. The Captain says:

    The weather and my health haven’t contributed very much to the walking.

    I’m trying to keep up with the treadmill, but it’s just not the same.

  39. Trish Henry says:

    Well. Treadmills are unfortunately boring. Here’s something goofy I tried on a boring commute going home the other day. I liked the Doctor Who episode where there are flying sharks. So I decided to imagine all the cars as flying sharks. Which was interesting. It was raining, so they could breathe. But stop and go traffic maybe not so great for sharks who have to swim to live. And there were different kinds of cars doing different things as people do during a commute. Some are neatly lined up, others cut one another off, get over at the last minute, etc. but they were all sharks. Then I noticed some cyclists. They became a different kind of shark avoiding the bigger sharks and slipping in and around and past the bigger, slower sharks. Anyway, a boring commute became hilarious and interesting. What could you do on a tredmill?

  40. Mike Ober says:

    I have a single problem with all your books – you write them while under sail and I read and complete them during the jump.

    As for Ashes – definitely the best book in the Ishmael Wang series. I didn’t like the end of Owners Share but you made an excellent transition/follow on into Ashes.

    Keep ’em coming.

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