I crossed the 30,000 word mark yesterday with still a good chunk of story left to go, so I raised my word count target to 35,000, just to keep it interesting. After today's writing, I'm at 31,902/35,000 words.
Like I keep saying, this series has been incredibly fun to write. Silas and Lainie are probably my favorite characters ever - I love all my characters, but there's something special about them. And I never thought that writing about a cattle drive could be so much fun, either, but it is, especially when you throw in a little magic and a little romance. So I'm coming up to the end of Book 4 and starting to plan Book 5, and feeling both a little excited and a little sad because I don't want to be done with Silas and Lainie. And then while I'm figuring out the central conflict for Book 5, which is the main conflict that the whole series has been driving towards, I get an idea for a follow-up book, or maybe even a series! I don't want to make any promises right now; the idea will need some story development to see if it really has the potential to go anywhere, but the central story question of Book 5 brings up some interesting issues involving the larger world that the series is set in. It would also veer somewhat into steampunk-ish territory, which is a genre I haven't read a lot, except for the Emperor's Edge series by Lindsay Buroker (which I highly recommend!), so I'll need to add some to my ever-growing reading list.
I'm also getting near the end of the analysis phase of the first major revision of Sarya's Song. After some close plot and world-building analysis, I'm pleased to say that the Plot Hole of Doom, which kept this story in limbo for 18 or 19 years, has indeed been successfully eradicated :-D In the words of another one of my favorite writers, Scott Lynch (author of the Gentlemen Bastards series):
"Some errors can be rectified with the Painless Scalpel of Minor Adjustment. Others require the Burning Sword of Righteous Rearrangement. This particular knot in the story will have to be handled by the Sherman Tank of Paradox Eradication."