Well, DOPS V, Psalmsinger, (or "D5", as I and fans-who-have-become-friends call it) has been released, and is out for review!
This book was a bit of an oddity to write, as I felt nearly detached from the process. I suppose this is in part because a lot of the material concerning Cass & Lawrie dates from about 2006 or so, and I was pulling in huge chunks of it, 25 pages at a time. Let me tell you, a lot of heavy editing was involved, mostly because when the material was written, there was no Mario, Gaston, Cap'n Cholley, Annie, Kevin--or Abel! So, those characters had to be worked into the storyline, and the season changed from mid-winter to summer.
Inserting older material can be a challenge for a writer, for a number of reasons; for one thing, it's an odd feeling to have started a story and written about people when they're at a certain stage in their lives and personal relationships, and to have to go back and write a prequel. With the exception of the dilemma concerning the Cato/Jon relationship back in D2, D5 contains by far the oldest existing DOPS material. I hope the insertion/transition was seamless, and that there weren't any "blips". But the sentiment of such a large text-insertion is odd--you're thundering along writing about everybody as usual, and suddenly, you come to a canyon you have to leap. Only, there's actually a bridge, and it's the material you've just inserted, which you've written so long ago that even though the editing has it fitting the rest of the book like a glove, you've become emotionally distanced from it.
I've been very much aware that Cass and Lawrie are the main reason most people keep up with the story, and D5 does deal with the next stage in their relationship. They're obviously very unique people, and therefore have a unique relationship which neither quite knows what to do with. Readers may get a bit annoyed with them in this book, as they do go back and forth exhaustively (pronounced, "Yeah, I'd like to smack 'em both about it.")...but as is generally known, Lawrie has to be absolutely certain about something before he takes a course of action, even while he's driving Cass, everyone else, and himself insane over it.