I've been working hard on Book 2 of Merlin's Grove. I'm pretty excited about how it's shaping up. I'm currently about 75% of the way through the first draft. If I keep up this pace, my goal is to release it around June 1. I don't even have a working title yet.
It won't have as many of the surprises of Book 1, because those have already been revealed. One of the interesting things I've never had to work through in other things I've written is how to make a completely standalone novel that takes place in the same town as the first book.
It's tricky to strike a balance of not re-explaining things to people who know the world and getting enough information across so people new to the series aren't confused.
I'm far enough along that I feel comfortable revealing some teasers for the plot. There will still be the quirky, weird small-town characters and festivals. But this time we have an outsider come to Merlin's Grove for the first time. He's nerdy and shy.
Meanwhile, the Merlin's Grove local, who is friends with Ben from Book 1, is a muscular, cocky jock. Ben bets him he can't lay the nerdy guy within three dates. This sets up the classic "bet" trope. But this is Merlin's Grove, where nothing goes according to plan without some magical interference.
The jock accidentally summons a dryad (a type of faerie) to help him, and it ends up mucking the whole situation up. This adds a layer of the "be careful what you wish for" trope. It should be a funny and fun ride as secrets between the characters and about the town keep getting unintentionally revealed.
The sex scenes are a bit more intense than my previous books, too. In the past, with Uniform Fantasies and The Overlook, I've relied a bit on fetishes for the sex scenes. In Merlin's Grove Book 2, I'm relying on raw passion for the sex scenes.
I'll try to touch base in a few weeks to let everyone know how it's going.