Here ends book 7.

It was my least favorite script when I wrote it, frightfully overlong and representing a tonal jaggle in the overall arc of the comic, and so far it was my least favorite chapter to illustrate, too; shortcuts abounded as I rushed to communicate all the visual excess it called for.

But it's done with, now, and in fact it's all downhill from here: NTO is 13 books long, and while some of the future books may also be 36+ page behemoths this over-halfway point still feels significant to me. I think this is largely because, when I wrote NTO I didn't have a child and intended to cut through this a lot faster. Telling this story a page a week was never my intention, so quite honestly a lot of these early books are unnecessarily padded with stuff I thought was fun or would be a neat homage to this or that. Reading my brief scripts back in 2010 all this dancing around the core conflict that's gone on seemed like necessary buildup; reading it, as you have, one agonizing page at a time for over four years, it must seem teasing, plodding, and needlessly coy. If it hasn't, well, awesome. If it has, then apologies, and thanks for sticking it out. The real Next Town Over starts in Book 8: Diamondback Ridge.

... when, though, I'm not sure. The customary break 'twixt chapters starts now. What'll you be reading next week, in the meantime? I'm not sure about that, either. 

Let's wait and see, I guess.