Sometimes it just doesn't come together. And that's okay.
I'm in a strange position, writing-wise. Three novels are out there, shopping at various publishing houses. Any or all could hit tomorrow, or in a month or six months or never.* If and when that happens, I need to be ready to shift focus to the Needs of Publication-- including and not limited to starting the Book II of whatever series hits.
But until that happens, it behooves me to continue to produce more first-of-a-series novels, which is where Way of the Shield comes in. It ties to the other three novels, in that they are all set in the same city at around the same time**, but it is not necessary to the other novels (as they aren't necessary to each other). While it would be ideal for me to have Way of the Shield done, and get a deal in which all four books are published in rapid succession, that's not necessary either.***
This is all a rather long-winded way of me saying that no one, with the possible exception of my agent, is really asking for Way of the Shield to be written right now. And I'd be willing to bet if I sent him something else, say something space-opera, my agent wouldn't complain.
Which is good, because The Muse, as it were, has been muttering Space Opera and aliens and interstellar politics and how Lt. Samantha Kengle of the Terran Stellar Fleet wants people to know that the hairless monkeys from Sol III are not to be trifled with.****
And that's what you have to do sometimes: listen to the Muse, and figure out where it's taking you. Ignoring it, frankly, just makes everything work slower. And that doesn't mean one project is dead because focus is shifted onto another. Quite the opposite. It's getting a chance to breathe.
*- Personally, I'm hoping more in the tomorrow-to-a-month range, myself.
**- Strictly speaking, Way of the Shield takes place about a week after the end of Holver Alley Crew, which itself starts about a week after Maradaine Constabulary, which starts three days after the events of Thorn of Dentonhill. Yes, I have a whole calendar. Yes, I am that obsessively detail oriented about these things.
***- In fact, that's pretty damn pie-in-the-sky.
****- Her language is a bit coarser on the subject. Sailor's mouth on that one.