I’ve spent a fair amount of time in the past week just enjoying life. How so, you ask? I’ve handed out a few copies of Destiny’s Heir to people for feedback, and what’s coming back has all been positive. (Scarily so, in some cases!) My wife, who in addition to her primary and most important job as my editor and cook, does some silly English teaching thing for high schoolers and is talking to a few of them about reading it as well to get feedback from the group I’m really trying to target.

What I haven’t been doing is writing heavily. Not that I’m not motivated to write, mind you; I’ve found sometimes it’s better to take a break so I don’t burn myself out.

Naturally, that doesn’t mean I’ve been unable to stop myself from thinking about the sequel to Destiny’s Heir.

This may sound odd, but until I have a proper title for a story–even if it’s a title that may wind up changed partway through the process–the story doesn’t gel in my head. I need a convenient way to “label” a collection of ideas and tales for it to really start coming together.

I tried to short-circuit that usual problem by nicknaming the new story Destiny’s Sequel, but my mind wouldn’t let me get away with that. “It’s not a real title!” that stupid little voice keeps hissing in my ear. “You need a real title!”

On Saturday night, as I was running through storylines in my head and figuring out just how much I can adequately cover in one book, it finally clicked: Destiny’s Mantle.

In common parlance, a “mantle” is usually clothing worn as the outer layer. Biblically (and I was raised in a strong Christian home, so quite often that’s the perspective that I’ll take first), the mantle was the clothing of choice for a prophet. It was the sign of a man who had a destiny and authority under God.

Without spoiling too much of Destiny’s Heir, there are two characters who must take up their mantles–one a mantle of royalty, the other a mantle of guardianship. But are the characters both worthy and ready to wear these mantles? It’s a running question in Destiny’s Mantle, and as such, it’s not easily answered.

Of course, for those of you looking forward to Thirteen Swords, this post is probably a bad omen. Destiny’s Mantle is starting to gel so fast I may delay Thirteen Swords again to pursue the sequel…even though I haven’t sold Destiny’s Heir yet.

As my wife would say, emphasis on “yet.”

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