At this particular snapshot of time, I am really happy about the new book I'm working on with the working title of Finding Home, the fourth (or possible fifth, depending on whether or not the division of The Scarred King into two books stands) book in The Scarred King series, set in my son's universe.
I think I told you before, but I'm going to tell you again, that we started this years ago when Joshua Foreman handed me a name, Bomar, a picture, and the situation set on another planet where the hero had to kill his best friend in a fight on a bronze disc set over hot lava. I asked, "Why would anyone DO such a thing?" He shrugged his shoulders and said he didn't know, I was the writer. Then he gave me the list of aliens and their pictures. And I tried to figure out a world in which such a thing was logical. Along the way, I invented an alien I am inordinately fond of, for in all my decades of reading science fiction I have never seen a similar alien. Joshua let him stay in the universe. And I changed the hero's name from Bomar to Bowmark. About halfway through The Scarred King, my son said, "Oh, and all through the book Bowmark needs to be chased by a Warrior Woman. Oh, beat my head against the wall! Well, Josh got half his order. The Warrior Woman chases Bowmark through half the book.
So here is our present procedure: I think about the world of Talifar and the peoples in it until somebody's story becomes urgent to me. I tell Josh my idea, he gives the okay, and I take forever to write the novel because I am a slooow writer. I get the story critiqued, and the first draft goes from dreck to something at least readable, and then I hand the book back to Josh. He goes through the book and corrects my depictions of aliens. ("What? Did you forget that ( ) is like this?" Yeah, I did forget.) We argue over names a bit. He checks for continuity errors and tries to fix my mess of directions people have gone off to. He even made me a map but I keep forgetting to look at it, and I still can't tell left from right. He lengthens and intensifies the fights. Sometimes he adds a scene. Sometimes he adds a character. He reads the novel to his teenage son who has the intelligence to recognize my genius. Sometimes the teenage son has a suggestion.
Now the new novel, Finding Home. And now I'm going to say something I hesitate to say because I fear greatly taking God's Name in vain, which is not so much cursing as it is saying that God said, (something made up) that He never said. But at this moment this feels like something God laid on my heart. This is a story I have to tell. I don't know that the story will be publishable. I feel like the other novels are publishable, thought they have not yet been picked up by a house looking for YA sf adventure. This one, I just don't know. I also don't care because this is the story I must write. When I finish Finding Home, I think perhaps the next novel with be a Wizard's Apprentice story. And after that, one about the Ice Sailors?
This world Josh made with a handwavium anomaly that makes a variety of species crashland on the planet is so interesting that a hundred novels could be set within it. I like that the little bits of technology dug up are treated like magic, so that although the stories read like high fantasy, they really are science fiction. Oh-oh, I may have given away something there I wasn't supposed to.