rolanni: (Default)

No, we are NOT "ending the Liaden series" (or "killing the series" or "abandoning our readers" or "selling out"* or whatever other variation you like).

What We Are Doing Is This:

  1.  We are finishing the five-book arc which begins with Dragon in Exile (aka Dragon in Exile, Alliance of Equals, The Gathering Edge, Neogenesis, Fifth of Five (working title))
  2. We are also finishing the 20-book arc** which begins with Agent of Change (aka Crystal Soldier, Crystal Dragon, Local Custom, Scout's Progress, Mouse and Dragon, Agent of Change, Conflict of Honors, Carpe Diem, Plan B, I Dare, Fledgling, Saltation, Ghost Ship, Dragon Ship, Necessity's Child, Dragon in Exile, Alliance of Equals, The Gathering Edge, Neogenesis, Fifth of Five (working title))
  3. After Fifth of Five (working title) has been completed, Steve and I are under contract for five more Liaden novels in two chunks.
    1. Chunk One, consisting of two novels bearing the working titles of Liaden Mask Book One, and Liaden Mask Book Two
    2. Chunk Two, consisting of three novels bearing the working titles of Liaden Triple Threat Book One, Liaden Triple Threat Book Two, Liaden Triple Threat Book Three
    3. No, we don't know what any of those titles will be "about".  They will be Liaden Universe® novels, because the contracts so stipulate
  4. It remains hard to write the last book in two arcs at once.  Just so that's clear.

I hope everyone is reassured now.  Thank you for reading, and for being so invested in our work. . .

______
*This one is really hard to figure out.  I thought that "selling out" means, um, taking a lot of money to do something questionable that would compromise one's morals or good name.  I could be wrong, here, but I think the key to "selling out" is, well, SELLING, not just. . .stopping.

**or the 22-book arc, if you're of the opinion that the Jethri Gobelyn books are in the main arc.  Not a 21-book arc.  Innumerate writer is innumerate.

rolanni: (Alliance of Equals art by David Mattingl)

So, we heard from Boskone that the NESFA* Book Club is currently reading Conflict of Honors and will be discussing it at the con (time and day will be listed in the final schedule posts).  They ask that we be present at the end of the discussion in order to answer questions.

Now, it's been a long time since I read Conflict of Honors (as opposed to, say, reading galleys of Conflict of Honors, which is a whole 'nother process), and while I sort of have it as a gestalt in my head, at this distance I'm certainly not clear on the simple basics of How The Story Goes.  Obviously, then, I need to reread.

I began this project yesterday afternoon, and because I'm a slow reader, I made it all the way to Shipyear 65/Tripday 130/Fouth Shift/18.00 Hours, in which Pilot Dyson wakes Priscilla up.

Narratively speaking, things are going well, so far.  Not so well for Priscilla, of course, and I wish I could have another go at Dagmar, who's a little too...too.  On the other hand, there's this --

Conflict of Honors was published when I was 36.  I stand before you today, 63.  Palindromes aside, it's worth noting that Conflict was the second novel we finished**, and it was originally thought to be a short story***, to give us a better handle on Val Con's brother Shan.  We wrote it while Agent of Change was under submission at Del Rey, and submitted it while Agent was under submission at Del Rey -- in September 1986.  It was accepted for publication in September 1987.

Agent of Change was published in February 1988; Conflict of Honors was published in June 1988, to hold the pocket left empty by the non-delivery of a contracted book by another author.  Because it was not published for Itself Alone, it kind of got short shrift, though Romantic Times picked it up and gave it a glowing review, SFR/RSF being thin on the ground at the time.  So thin, in fact, that we hadn't yet invented the names Science Fiction Romance or Romantic Science Fiction, and were still formulating what "this" was, why it appealed, and why we wanted more, please.

Agent, Conflict and Carpe Diem (published in November 1989), were all paperback originals.  Paperback originals were not. . .considered to be Timeless Classics.  They were considered to be cheap entertainment, to be read once, or maybe twice, and then given -- or thrown -- away.  The original Liaden "trilogy" has been republished now three times since the 1980s, and are, as I type this, available in print, as ebooks, and as audiobooks.

That's an astonishing amount of staying power, and I sometimes wish that we could have known, 'way back that the books would survive to be studied or scrutinized by readers 30 years down the timeline with values and experiences of which we wot not -- though what we might have done differently, I can't say.

#

In other news, it snowed yesterday -- not much, but still, it snowed.  The plowman arrived this morning -- early as we count the day, damn' near lunch-time as the plowguy figures.  Now that breakfast is done, and this blog post about ready to go up, I'll be donning coat and gloves and boots and widening the path from the driveway around the house to the generator, and digging our mailbox out of the pile of snow the across-the-street neighbor thoughtfully placed over it, to keep it from drying out.

After that, I believe I may make another pot of coffee and settle in to read.

Tomorrow, we celebrate Martin Luther King's birthday which, among other things, means no mail, no bills, no checks.  Baji-naji, I suppose, or at least good enough for rock and roll.

MLK Day also means that schools are closed, and Pickleball is nudged up and shortened from  9am-noon to 8am-10am.  I am actually considering getting up in time to attend Pickleball tomorrow, assuming that I can keep dodging Steve's cold, so that I can try out my brand! new! paddle.

What're y'all doing that's fun or exciting?

______________

*The New England Science Fiction Association, which sponsors Boskone.

**Actually, it is the third novel we completed.  We lately uncovered a draft of a Kinzel novel that was never published; the original lost at the publisher, and very likely a good thing.

***And is, in fact, a very short novel by today's standards. The Card says it was submitted at 82,000 words; the electronic copy from Baen says 86,345 -- but the front matter is included in that count.

Scrabble inna basket Jan 10 2016

rolanni: (Clan Korval's Tree and Dragon)

So, there are all these "Ten Reasons to. . ." articles going around the barn, again.  You've seen them:  TEN REASONS to visit Acapulco.  TEN REASONS to skip high school.  TEN REASONS to eat ice cream for breakfast.  TEN REASONS not to read TEN REASONS articles.

. . .anyway, I'm feeling a bit beleaguered by all of these reasons to do things I wouldn't even have thought of except that I saw the headline of a TEN REASONS article, and!  I think it's time to fight back.

I mean, why shouldn't we compiled a list of TEN REASONS to read the Liaden Universe® -- and then release it into the wild?

I'm going to need your help, of course.  So! You don't have to hold it inside any longer!  Give me your Very Best Reason for Reading the Liaden Universe®  in comments -- no more than three per respondent, please -- and we'll compile a list of the ten best.   If we get more than ten, well. . .why shouldn't we escalate?

TWENTY REASONS to read the Liaden Universe® has a nice ring to it.

Everybody ready?

Go!

Contest Over!

Saturday, December 7th, 2013 09:41 am
rolanni: (Clan Korval's Tree and Dragon)

Thanks to everyone who told the story of their First Contact with the Liaden Universe®. The topic -- HERE -- is still open to those who want to tell their stories, but the contest is now closed.

The recipients of the five free Trade Secret audiobooks graciously supplied by Audible, will be chosen from among those who commented before the midnight, Friday, December 6, deadline.

Watch Welcome to Liad to find out if you’re one of the lucky winners, and for instructions on how to claim your prize.

Steve and Sharon

rolanni: (Clan Korval's Tree and Dragon)

Nearly 100 intrepid explorers of time and space have already told us how and when they first contacted the Liaden Universe®.  It makes for fascinating reading, so go over here and read!  And while you're there?  Why not add your own story, for a chance to read one of five! free! audiobook editions of the latest Liaden novel, Trade Secret, courtesy of Audible.

Entries are open until midnight Eastern Time, Friday, December 6, 2013 (that's this Friday!), so put on your raconteur hat and tell us a story!

rolanni: (Tea and dragon)

Many thanks to everyone who sent Hevelin cites!  We have them all now, and Madame the Editor sends her gratitude!  You guys are great.

* * *

Advertent readers will have noticed that Dragon Ship bore a dual dedication -- to Anne McCaffrey and to Rusty Hevelin.

While many, many readers knew Anne and/or her work, fewer people knew Rusty, who was an active and impish presence in the science fiction community for 70 years.  Yes, you read that right.  Seventy years.

I met Rusty when his hair was still red (here's a picture from that era), at. . .CONfusion, I guess it was, in the late 1970s, and we'd run into him, in the way of con-going fandom, off and on over the years.  I think I last saw him to speak to at the Denver WorldCon in 2008, where he greeted me with, "Good to see you here!  Denvention THREE.  Who would have thought?"  (Here's what he looked like, then.)

By reason of having been a member of the community for so many years, Rusty, of course, knew everybody.  And it was this aspect of him that Steve and I chose to celebrate when we created Hevelin the norbear for the Liaden Universe®.

Now, for the last several years of his life, Rusty made his home with Joe and Gay Haldeman, who are Personages in the sf community -- and very nice people.  It is on behalf of the Haldemans that Madame the Editor asks her boon.

Madame would like to locate all of the sections in the Liaden books that feature Hevelin the norbear, in order to send them to the Haldemans.  I think this is lovely; I think they'll be amused.  Hell, I think Rusty would have been amused.

I will appoint myself as gathering-point.  What I would like to ask, adding my plea to Madame's is this:

If those who have the time would send to me, at rolanniATkorvalDOTcom, scenes in which Hevelin appears, I would very much appreciate it.

I will need the following information:

Title of Book (and if included in a omnibus edition)

Pages on which scene starts and ends (if paper) with a search phrase from the scene

Cut 'n paste of the scene itself (if electronic)

. . .I'm thinking that Hevelin first appears in Mouse and Dragon, and has parts in Saltation, (possibly) Ghost Ship, and Dragon Ship.  Please note that we are at this time only interested in Hevelin; other norbears need not apply.

Thanks in advance for your help!

Pop quiz!

Sunday, July 28th, 2013 06:12 pm
rolanni: (the kids)

All righty, then!  Settle your thinking caps and riddle me this:

What are the five main Liaden Universe® story threads?  Please show your work.

rolanni: (Mouse and Dragon)

Spent the morning thus far snuggling with Steve and updating various pages on this website (not at the same time).  You should see new content on the Welcome page, the Upcoming in 2013 page and the Publications page.

Which brings me around, not too subtly, to a conversation I had recently with an earnest young thing who wished to express to me a number of  the things that the Liaden Universe® has gotten wrong over the years.  (No, no, I don't know why (some) people feel compelled to do this.  Perhaps so I can do better in future?  Certainly, I can't do better retroactively; the books that were written in the late 1980's remain having been written in the late 1980's.)

In any case, this earnest young person chiefly wished to express that it was Very Wrong of the Liaden Universe® to constantly perpetuate the outdated and harmful notion that women must leave their lives in order to follow their male partners*.

Now, this is an interesting observation, but I'm not sure how or why it's a constant Wrong in terms of the structure of the Liaden Universe®.  I understand that my auditor believes that the continuing cultural insistence in the US that women put aside their lives, interests and careers in order to serve man and raise children is potentially harmful, to the woman and to society at large.  I even agree with her.  But, in terms of the Liadenverse, this is what I see:

Past this line there are potential spoilers for Liaden Universe® novels.  If you haven't read the novels, you might consider stopping here.






Miri Robertson left her life as a hunted woman in order to follow Val Con yos'Phelium and become even more hunted.  When we meet her, Miri's one biggest concern is staying alive.  She's cashed out of the mercs; her legit job went badly sour and she doesn't really seem to have any plans or aspirations aside from living to eat breakfast tomorrow morning.

Priscilla Mendoza had been cast out from her religion, her family, and her ship by the time she met Shan yos'Galan.  Her decision to relocate on Liad has much to do with the feeling that one must live somewhere, and that she wanted to be near her new, and true, friends.  At the end of Conflict of Honors, it's not at all decided that they will prosper in a partnership, though later it appears, yes, as if things have worked out for them.

When first we meet Aelliana Caylon -- indeed, within the first two dozen pages of Scout's Progress -- she has independently made the determination that, if she wishes to survive to pursue her art, she must leave her clan.  The rest of Progress and all of Mouse and Dragon is  the story of how she does that, and the compromises she makes -- and forces Daav yos'Phelium to make -- in order to arrive at a life that is acceptable to her.

I will allow that Anne Davis could easily have returned to University and taken up her former life.  Without her child, certainly.  And I do blame Daav for manipulating her in order to keep his brother and his brother's heir on Liad.  But I do also recall that Er Thom had booked passage on a spaceliner for all three of them and had steeled himself to follow her.

I don't believe that Natesa the Assassin has left her employ as a Juntavas Judge, despite having cast her lot in with Pat Rin yos'Phelium.  Her initial decision to accompany him was, in my mind, professionally motivated.

Cantra yos'Phelium's life was falling apart when she met Jela, but far from following him, she spends the first book trying to ditch him; then realizes that maybe he has an idea or two, after all, and if she wants to survive, which she does. . .

Anthora yos'Galan, of course, simply acquires Ren Zel, poor man, for which we may -- and do -- blame the Tree.

Kamele Waitley does leave the Wall in order to live in her onagrata's establishment, something she apparently takes herself to task for during the course of their relationship, so it doesn't sit easy with her.  She then mounts a rescue mission, meaning to bring the father of her daughter out of what she thinks is a wrongful imprisonment so that he can continue his life.

Theo. . .to the best of my knowledge, Theo isn't following anybody anywhere. . .

So, what I'm saying is that, as one of the fond authors, I'm not seeing in the Liadenverse the mindless casting aside of a woman's whole life "for love."  I'm seeing women who have real problems, and their problems are in part mitigated by association with a man of Korval, whereupon they are empowered to be themselves more fully.

Perhaps that was the young person's problem?  That the women are in trouble and the men fix it?  I suppose we could have been even more forward-thinking, there in 1984, and made certain that the "current" mature members of Korval were more female than male, and then had the folks in trouble be male.

But, yanno?  We didn't.  And what is written is written; and everything that is based on what has been written must build on that past logically and consistently.  Also, we don't believe in ret-conning**.  That means -- we (us and you) are stuck with it.

So -- that's my rant on the topic.  Who has thoughts?

______________

*Before anyone's head explodes, this was actually a relief.  The last earnest reader who wanted to engage me in this vein wished to open my eyes to the way in which our stories put real women into real danger by perpetuating the dangerous, mind-controlling myth of True Love. I was, as I understood it, to consider myself a murderer.

**ret-con = retroactive continuity changes (as often seen in comics and occasionally in movies)

rolanni: (Clan Korval's Tree and Dragon)

One of the interesting things about writing in a large-ish universe for, oh, a quarter-century, is that you're pretty often meeting people who have read your work (or, even more interestingly, haven't read your work), and who have formed opinions about the plot-line, the characters, the theme, the authors' childhoods, and adult proclivities. .
.

That being so, and because  people will say things either to me or within my hearing, I find myself with a question, which I will now throw out to you, the readers of the Liaden Universe®:

What is, in your opinion, the Big Story (also known as the Real Story) of the Liaden Universe® novels?

There are no right answers, or wrong answers.  Curious author is, as advertised above, curious.

rolanni: (Default)

Sigh.  Every so often, someone will ask me how many books we've published -- or even, how many Liaden books we've published.  And when that happens, I usually gabble out a number that's more or less in the ballpark, I think, because who the heck knows how many books we've seen published?  Certainly not me.

Well, today, because I was writing a press release, I definitively needed to know for myself how the heck many books are out there with a Lee-and-Miller byline on the cover, so I made a list.

And I still got it wrong.

So, I'm going to ask you all to help me out.  Here's the list:

1. Agent of Change (1988)
2. Conflict of Honors (1988)
3. Carpe Diem (1989)
4. Plan B (1998)
5. Local Custom (2001)
6. Scout's Progress (2001)
7. I Dare (2002)
8. The Tomorrow Log (2003)
9. Balance of Trade (2004)
10. Crystal Soldier (2005)
11. Crystal Dragon (2006)
12. Sword of Orion (2006)
13. Duainfey (2008)
14. Longeye (2009)
15. Fledgling (2009)
16. Saltation (2010)
17. Mouse and Dragon (2010)
18. Ghost Ship (2011)
19. Dragon Ship (2012)
20. Necessity's Child (2013)
21. Trade Secret (under contract)

22. Barnburner (2002)
23. Gunshy (2006)
24. Carousel Tides (2010)
25. Carousel Sun (under contract)
26. Carousel Seas (under contract)

Check me now:

I make this (now) to be:
20 Lee-and-Miller novels turned in and scheduled/published
16 Liaden novels turned in and scheduled/published
19 Lee-and-Miller novels published by the end of 2012
15 Liaden books published by the end of 2012
4 collaborative non-Liaden novels
1 Liaden book under contract

Sharon has:
3 books published under her byline:
2 mysteries
1 contemporary fantasy
and:
2 contemporary fantasy books under contract

Is this correct?

This is a relatively modest list of publications.  I am a relatively bright woman.  You'd think I could keep this straight. . .

In other news, and as reported above, I spent today writing press releases and doing some other bidness-of-writing stuff.  Shortly, I will declare quitting time and go read.

Yesterday?  I packed t-shirts.  All of the US orders will go into the mail tomorrow morning.  While I'm at the post office, I will pick up the various customs forms for mailing the overseas orders, which I hope to mail on Tuesday.

Also?  Here's a picture of Socks:

Silversocks at home, July 22, 2012
rolanni: (i've often seen a cat without a smile)
Down in the comments of the last post, [livejournal.com profile] autopope asks the musical question:

Speaking of the Liaden books, is there any chance you can do a blog post with a suggested reading order?

There's a list of suggested reading orders here. Yes, that's right -- plural orders. And it's worth noting that some readers have made their own determination of which order the books are best read in, for them.

There are a couple of reasons why there isn't One True Reading Order.

The first is that we're telling a really long, braided story as the plot-lines occur to us. I speak for Steve here as well as myself when I say we are not tidy writers. We get a lot of props for doing long-arc plotting, which are quite possibly not at all deserved. Of course, there's also the possibility that the back-brain knows exactly what it's doing and just hasn't bothered to tell the hired help.

The second reason is that we deliberately tried to make doors into the Universe at various points, so new readers didn't necessarily have to read umpty-leven books in order to find out if they liked what we were doing. "Doors" include Balance of Trade, Local Custom, Fledgling, Agent of Change, naturally. I'm aiming George to be another door -- aka a "side book" -- but we won't know if I've hit the mark until it's done.

I hear from readers that the Crystal books (Crystal Soldier and Crystal Dragon) take "a lot of dedication" and are not a good place to start. Some it seems, would like to expel them from the canon entirely. Baji-naji -- I've also heard from readers whose first exposure to the Liaden Universe(R) were the Crystal books and not only weren't harmed in the least, but went on to read the rest of the books with gusto.

I've also lately heard that it's. . .difficult for old fans to recommend that new fans start with Agent of Change because AoC is "too embarrassing." It is, I'll note, more than 20 years old, and doubtless showing its years. However, it is the Very First Book Ever Written in the Universe and if you are a reader who prefers to follow a series along as it was written, you sorta have to start there.

...I think that's probably sufficient confusion for one post.

Question? Ask and I'll do my humble best.
rolanni: (Mouse and Dragon)
Seems some people are confused about which titles belong to which novels -- and reasonably so, since some of the novels have been in multiple omnibus editions, each with its own title. Therefore! a breakdown. In bold, the title of the novel, followed by any omnibi editions it has graced.

Agent of Change -- has appeared in Partners in Necessity and as part of Korval's Legacy from Webscriptions; will appear in the upcoming The Agent Gambit, from Baen

Conflict of Honors -- has appeared in Partners in Necessity and as part of Korval's Legacy from Webscriptions; will appear in the upcoming The Dragon Variation, from Baen

Carpe Diem -- has appeared in Partners in Necessity and as part of Korval's Legacy from Webscriptions; will appear in the upcoming The Agent Gambit, from Baen

Plan B -- has appeared as part of Korval's Legacy from Webscriptions;will appear in the upcoming Korval's Game, from Baen

I Dare -- has appeared as part of Phase Change from Webscriptions; will appear in the upcoming Korval's Game, from Baen

Local Custom -- has appeared in the original omnibus Pilots Choice and as part of Korval's Legacy from Webscriptions; will appear in the upcoming The Dragon Variation, from Baen

Scout's Progress -- has appeared in the original omnibus Pilots Choice and has appeared as part of Phase Change from Webscriptions; will appear in the upcoming The Dragon Variation, from Baen

Crystal Soldier -- has appeared as part of Phase Change from Webscriptions; will appear in the upcoming The Crystal Variation, from Baen

Crystal Dragon -- has appeared as part of Phase Change from Webscriptions; will appear in the upcoming The Crystal Variation, from Baen

Balance of Trade -- has appeared as part of Phase Change from Webscriptions; will appear in the upcoming The Crystal Variation, from Baen

Fledgling -- single novel, from Baen

Saltation -- single novel, sequel to Fledgling, upcoming from Baen

Mouse and Dragon -- single novel, sequel to Scout's Progress, upcoming from Baen

Ghost Ship -- single novel, sequel to I Dare and Saltation
rolanni: (Val Con and Miri)
February 2008 marks the 20th anniversary of the publication of a quirky little space opera titled Agent of Change written by a pair of quirky authors named Steve Miller [livejournal.com profile] kinzel and Sharon Lee [livejournal.com profile] rolanni.

To celebrate this event, there will be a Liaden Universe® suite at Boskone and we look forward to seeing you -- yes, you! -- there to raise a cookie and toast the Clan.

Note: We're also looking for help running the suite, so if you're going to be going to Boskone and would like to help, please drop a note to Steve at srmATkorval.com.

We'd like to take the opportunity of this Auspicious Event to thank all of our readers and Friends of Liad for their interest, support, encouragement and friendship over the years and across the galaxy.

You guys rock.

Sharon and Steve

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