Story update: The outline takes shape. Running into issues in the second act; focusing effort on fixing those. I've had to de-emphasize Homsar from Deuteragonist to Sidekick, but that's an overall benefit to the story; Lacann needs a more wordy companion to play off of when he's not dealing with an antagonist. Act 3 has some issues I need to sort, but that part is in better shape; it's a matter of what elements to put where rather than what elements to use at all.
Business update: The Big 5 look like they're about to have another massive shake-out, with Scalzi's new book already failing to meet expectations and that's likely going to result in Tor's midlist roster getting slashed severely to cover that gap. Amazon's finally telling the romance zombies to stay in their fucking lane, something pissing off the posers in SF/F writing romance in SF/F drag (GOOD!), and the retail scene for Barnes & Noble looks more like Borders did before they collapsed.
I'm sketching out a plan to take some of the better posts at my political philosophy blog and expand them into a book. Cleaned up, properly-edited, and independently pushed. Also, short and written for laymen; SJWs Always Lie and Gorilla Mindset is the model I'm looking to follow and make my own.
Finally, something from the story draft. This isn't getting cut, but it's not the final version either:
"My lord," Homsar said, "Lacann's our best chance to break the enemy that we've ever had. If we can take just enough of those towers, then his allies can get through to us. At the very least, that means we can take to the skies. Maybe we can even strike from the heavens!"
"If what our alien friend said is correct, then we need to remove five of them from specific places. Places far, far distant from here- too far for us to reach by hoof or sail in seven days." The old warlord looked at Lacann, who held up a hand, and nodded.
"Not hoof. Bike." Lacann said, weakly, pointing back towards his wrecked shuttle, "Two bikes. Aft hold. Plenty fast."
The old warlord smiled. "Machines, yes? Capable of great speed?
"Indeed." Lacann made a swooping motion with his hand. "Direct and cover me."
Homsar beamed. "That's where I am most useful!" He turned to the old warlord. "If my lord permits, of course."
"We keep them busy here, while you two slip past and strike at the towers. That's your plan?" The warlord eyed Lacann curiously.
"Yes" Lacann said, "Seen their like before. Know how to deal with them."
"Can you fight?"
"Yes." Lacann said, and then he pointed at Homsar. "With me."
"I'm not certain how you'll do it," the old warlord said, "but I know why you're willing to risk your life trying, and Homsar's good enough for what you need from us. Go, both of you. We'll keep them held down here as long as we can."