A little update:
The book (Animating with Blender: Creating a Short Animation from Start to Finish) is about half written. Also, I have time on a small render farm donated to The Beast, which exposed a bug in Blender’s strand distribution method. Child particles were generated differently on different processors, meaning that non-homogenous render farms couldn’t be used for animation with particles. Brecht just fixed it this morning (Thanks!) so rendering on the finished animation files can commence!