Well, I'm not as far as I'd like to be on this one, but I've got a ton of notes and ideas drawn out which will make the writing that much smoother and faster. However, I have the preface completed, which not only ties it into the CoM world, but eludes to some upcoming concepts in the main series. Does this affect the book as a standalone? Absolutely not. A preface just serves to explain how the author came to write the book, it just so happens to be written by Uhler.
As I have stated before, all the standalones will be in different styles and genres (somewhat) from the main series. Partially, so that I can step away from the series and take a slight breather and partially because it's always good to try new things. Where Hitori is a historical, Japanese fantasy piece, this one is almost a historical documentary about dwarven society. If I had to compare it to something, I would go with Band of Brothers, or even World War Z. That's the book, not the movie.
The idea is to share a bit of background on dwarves: how they were ran out of their lands by Germanic tribes, forced into the Scottish mountains, their struggles there, their meet/greet with the Lord residing over that territory and their willingness to help the Lord defend the land, in the form of a 5 (wo)man team. So, lots of background information that I'll splice up with stories about their greatest squad: The Five Man Midget Death Squad. The Death Squad happens to be the group who play a large role in the next few books, so that should all tie together nicely without killing the standalone concept.
Sometime in the days ahead I'll write up a piece on the death squad members. It's not exactly a spoiler and the idea of describing a group of steampunk dwarves from Scotland makes me giggle a little.