Sorry I've been quiet: blogging took a back seat last week because I needed time to recover after Satellite 4, the Eastercon, and had some additional travel—family time—and then a different writing project bit me hard and wouldn't let go.
There is, in this field, a rarely sighted beast known as an "attack novel". An attack novel is one that jumps you from behind and won't let go until you've written it. Sometimes that's a really useful thing; but at other times, it's a nightmare. Now, for instance. I'm working on book 3 of a trilogy with a deadline of September 1st, so now is absolutely not the time to go haring off on a side-project. Anyway, I did that last year—while blocked on book 1 of this self-same trilogy I was mugged by a Laundry Files novel and wrote the first draft of "The Armageddon Score" in a frenzy of hypergraphia: 109,000 words in 18 days, of which the first 50,000 words came out in two hours less than a wall-clock week. (I now consider myself to be disqualified from NaNoWriMo in perpetuity.)
To be mugged by one attack novel during a trilogy is an accident, but to have the same problem twice bespeaks an underlying problem. In my case, the problem is that everything I've written since "Palimpsest" in 2007 (that's when I wrote it, not when it was published) has been a sequel to, or in series with, something I began in 2007 or earlier.
This isn't to say that there's no originality in anything I've done since then. But to be so fettered by prior art imposes limits on creativity. So when I realized this, a couple of weeks ago, I was just laying myself wide open to an attack novel.
Good news for my editors: there is no attack novel. What there is, is a Scrivener project with copious notes, a detailed scene-by-scene outline, a bunch of characters, a setting, the first chapter, and a detailed book proposal ... for a gothic haunted house fantasy about mortgage anxiety among the Millennials. And now it's back to work on "Invisible Sun", which is either book 3 of "Merchant Princes: The Next Generation" or book 9 of "Merchant Princes" the original series, unless you're British in which case it's book 6. Sigh.
I anticipate that as soon as I've got the trilogy out of the way this one's going to catch fire, unless I'm bitten by another left-field attack novel in the meantime. And this is why I have not had time to blog since Tuesday.