Mailvox: Book II and other matters

CC is concerned I am pulling a GRR Martin with regards to the sequel to A THRONE OF BONES:

With all the projects you have going on, I’m worried that you won’t finish (or advance) the story you started in Throne of Bones. I’d like to find out what happens to Marcus, and learn more about the watchers. If you are in fact working on the next volume, when (approximately) do you expect to publish it? You can answer this on your Vox blog. I’m sure others want to know as well.

It’s certainly true that other projects, particularly the unexpected birth of Castalia House, have reduced the amount of time I have to work on the second book in THE ARTS OF DARK AND LIGHT. But it’s more than a fair trade, I think; multiple books from Tom, John, Rolf, and others in exchange for a delay in the return to Selenoth. For example, I recently finished editing a new novella by John, ONE BRIGHT STAR TO GUIDE THEM, that may be the best thing he’s ever written. It’s hard for me to place much import on my own work, or take it too seriously, when I’m so closely involved with the work of better writers. However, I am actively working on Book Two and it will be out in the first half of 2015.

Marcus and his legion are in Savondir, where they have been employed by the King to deal with the incursion of orcs on the eastern border. Marcus meets up again with the royal battlemage Theuderic de Merovech, although not necessarily in the manner one might assume. The elves find themselves facing the main body of the orcish forces, which causes the High King to turn in desperation to a certain magister who renounced magic long ago. The dwarves are facing their own problems, and in any event, they are little inclined to help either Man or Elf, and Skuli Skullbreaker embarks upon a saga worthy of the name in which he discovers the dark secret underlying the birth of the wolf-demons and their true objective.

It’s a bit more challenging in some ways than the first book, because in addition to keeping track of all the various storylines, I’m delving deeply into three cultures rather than one. And, of course, there are the other projects in the works, chief among them First Sword, about which EN inquired:

I recently read (and greatly enjoyed) A Throne of Bones, and through the wonders of internet ‘related to’ links, learned of First Sword. It sounded like something that I and a decent chunk of my friends would enjoy, so I searched for it in Google Play and the Apple App store, but so far have not been able to find it. Is First Sword live, and if not, is there a projected release date? Also, I greatly enjoy the blog – Intellectual integrity is such a rare commodity stateside these days. Compared to the usual tepid mental swamp of lukewarm ignorance dictating what ‘polite’ company is permitted to discuss, the actual heat and actual cold of both informed passion and ruthless logic is intensely refreshing. 

First Sword is not yet live, nor do we have a projected release date. We’re taking the id Software approach; it will be done when it is done. We are actively working on it and anticipate it will be out this year, although possibly only in beta. We will want several dozen volunteers to help playtest it, but don’t volunteer yet; I will post here a call for them when the time comes.

And since we’re talking about various projects here, I will go ahead and drop the first hint of a new one that will be formally announced in the next two months. I won’t say anything more about it, but will simply leave this out there for speculation. (If you’re involved, please keep your mouth shut and don’t provide any more hints.) I’m not the lead on it, but it’s something with which I’ve wanted to be involved for a while now and I think it is not only going to be entertaining in the short term, but of ongoing interest in certain circles for years to come.

Now to return to the subject of Castalia House: if you’re not making the Castalia blog a regular stop, then you are seriously missing out. Jeffro, Daniel, and Mascaro have been doing an excellent job turning it into one of the best places anyone interested in SF/F can go to read reviews of books published by independent and self-publishers and delve into retrospectives of obscure classics from the past. We’re looking for a few more contributors of a similar quality, particularly interviewers, so if you’re able to contribute on a weekly basis, let me know.