This section provides details of Lois's latest English Language publications. Note Lois often posts book related material on her blog at Goodreads.
I am pleased to report that a new Chalion/World of the Five Gods novella is done, edited, and in for e-processing (which is still going to take a bit more time.) Now that the geographic scope of the tales is widening, I don't think I can go on calling it "the Chalion series", and the fannish acronym "5GU" (Five Gods Universe) takes too much explaining. "World of the Five Gods" covers more ground and seems reasonably self-explanatory.
Title is "Penric's Demon", length is 35,000 words, which makes it my longest novella so far. My prior novellas ran from 23k - 31k words. Having just looked them up to check, they may be of interest -- rounded,
The new tale has all-new characters in a new setting -- same gods, though. It was such fun to do something fresh!
- "Winterfair Gifts" -- 23,500
- "The Borders of Infinity" -- 26,750
- "The Mountains of Mourning" -- 26,800
- "Weatherman" -- 27,000
- "Labyrinth" -- 31,000
- "Penric's Demon" -- 35,000
Closer to the story going "live" on the Amazon Kindle, Barnes and Noble/Nook and iTunes/iPad e-book stores, I plan to post the first scene. As soon as the links go live, I will post them.
As for the story itself, ah, well. More on that later. (Though the title is not one of those thematically obscure ones.)
I am pleased to report that a new Cordelia Vorkosigan novel has been sold to Baen Books for publication, tentatively, in February of 2016.
The title is Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen.
It is not a war story. It is about grownups.
And that is probably all I ought to say right now in a venue read by the spoiler-sensitive. It is, after all, a long haul till next February.
2016 will also mark the 30th anniversary of my first publication by Baen, which ought to be good for a little PR fun.
This has been an exciting experiment.
Being an experiment, I have no idea how it will pan out. If anyone has a go at it, I would be very interested in a report here on your buying experience.
Besides Amazon and B&N, if you are armed with the ISBN the book may be ordered through any bookstore from the distributor Ingram's, Ingram having apparently bought out the print-on-demand company Lightning Source and redubbed the amalgam Ingram Spark. A test through my local SF store Uncle Hugo's revealed that the wholesale discount is not as favorable as indie stores are used to, so they may want to add a surcharge for handling, which may or may not be more or less than the shipping charges from the big online stores. Anyway, the book is out there and, in theory, obtainable.
The ISBN is: 978-1-62578-150-5
I cannot very well review this e-book, since I wrote it, but through it I discovered how to add a book to the Goodreads data base, another small step for technology as I am slowly dragged, backwards and protesting, into the 21st Century. Let me know if I have made any errors, though I must say the GR process seems very helpful in preventing such.
I'm told that the "blue lines" for Captain Vorpatril's Alliance, the last chance to check anything before the file goes off to the printing plant, left the Baen offices today. Whatever could be done, has been done; for anything else, it is officially Too Late.
Among other things at the last minute: the new one-line entry in the timeline for the back of the book, placing and describing it. It reads (the spoiler-phobic may wish to avert their eyes):
"Ivan turns 35. ImpSec Headquarters suffers a problem with moles."
It is interesting, by the way, how many terms from earlier technologies linger on in publishing production. "Blue lines" is one of these; I'm not sure of its history or current (or former) actual incarnation, not ever having seen a set on the hoof.
The next thing I see should be a box of author's copies shipped directly from the printer, turning up on my doorstep sometime in early- or mid-October.
Down to the home stretch...!
Aha, I've been waiting for this...
A number of my older backlist titles are going up as e-books on American Kindle, Nook, and iPad sites. (Actually, iPad will be somewhat delayed, as their processing takes a few weeks longer, but they are in the pipeline there, too. I'll post a link when I get one.)
Barnes and Noble
(The "publication date" listed for the Amazon e-versions seems to be that of our UK e-editions from last year. Do not confuse same with original publication/copyright date, although I'm sure some careless reviewers will, sometime.)
The number of titles will eventually be 14. Cetaganda is delayed due to me losing it in the shuffle last year when we were first getting the big batch of VK e-books up in the British/European e-book market. (Making the premise of Home Alone seem even more realistic to me than it already did.) Oopsie. I think I had set it aside in the queue due to some capitalization issue I'd wanted to cogitate on, and then it was overrun by whatever else was going on in my life at that moment (major surgery, Hugo nomination, Ivan's book coming back to life, whatever.) Fortunately, my agent noticed its absence when we were going over this lot. So that's what I spent the first half of this week doing. But it will be along in a few more days, in the UK/Europe as well.
The time spent on file preparation/quality control is nontrivial; I see for Cetaganda, for example, that I spent about 30 hours, the better part of a working week, going over it, proofreading, and combing out formatting and typographical (and the occasional grammatical and spelling) problems and glitches. And that was one of my shorter books. And even then I'm sure I still didn't get them all.
Yes, Baen will still be publishing them all as well. No changes there. (Speaking of which, the current Amazon sales ranking for Captain Vorpatril's Alliance is ridiculously good, for a book that won't be out for 7 more months. Why, yes, I do go look, far too frequently. Because I had my son take computer solitaire off my system, and now I have to do something with those idle moments...)
Aha. My little collection is now up in some e-venues -- Amazon is a bit laggard this time around, but they will catch up next week or so. So I can still call it a New Year's present. Or mathom, as the case may be.
What it says on the tin. The cover art has a tale behind it as well, described within.
The contents, besides a short intro and a note about the cover, include three early Twilight-Zone-ish short stories, "Barter", "Garage Sale" and "The Hole Truth", which I think of as "The Putnam Triptych", the novelette "Dreamweaver's Dilemma", which was that first thing I wrote back in 1982 just before I embarked on what was to become Shards of Honor -- all of which were previously collected in the NESFA Press/Boskone souvenir book Dreamweaver's Dilemma -- and the short piece "Aftermaths", which also appears at the end of Shards. So if you have those two volumes already, you have all this. (But not in handy e-format.) And if you don't, well, here you go.
The novelette may be especially interesting to Bujold completists because it has the first preview of the Vorkosiverse, wherein I come up with Beta Colony -- but not yet Barrayar.
Added on January 4, 2012
This, like The Spirit Ring and the five separate Vorkosigan novellas, is self-e-published. The collection is much too short for a commercial publication -- hence the novella e-price -- and publishers don't love short story collections anyway, because they never sell well enough. This way, nobody has to be embarrassed or apologize for miniscule sales, and what little money I expect to make from it will, for a change, be a majority or at least a plurality mine. This is an experiment I'd been meaning to try out for a while, but I didn't have the attention to spare till Ivan's book was bagged and delivered. There is a great deal of debate about the new e-markets at present; time to collect some actual data.
I just sent the finished file of the revised Ivan, His Booke (almost certainly to be finally titled Captain Vorpatril's Alliance) off to Baen.
I was just reflecting what a change this is from the old days of manuscript submission. (Though especially from the earliest days, when my manuscripts were created on a typewriter.) At the equivalent point, I would still have a three-day slog ahead of me of printing chapter by chapter, tearing off the perforated edges, and sitting down with ruler and pen to do all the underlining by hand, because my first printer, a daisy-wheel, could only underline by traveling back over the line for another pass, at which point it would half the time jam, destroying the chapter in progress. (This led to my using fewer italics in my earlier work than I wanted, or would use nowadays.)
Then packing it up with paranoid care, taking it to the post office, having a moral dilemma whether to send it the more expensive first class, or parcel post, and driving home. I admit the euphoria of the drive home was something special. But I'll gladly trade it for the chance to do a lot more last-minute tidying and polishing.
I also do not miss carbon copies (no, I could not have afforded photocopying a whole manuscript, back then.) However, a single carbon copy was all I had left of the part I'd cut off the tail end of my first novel, Shards of Honor, which subsequently (retyped by hand and edited onto my first computer) became the first third of Barrayar several years later.
I do like living in this future. So much nicer than the scrambling in the radioactive ruins fighting the mutants for the canned goods that we pictured in my youth.
...I rather like Captain Vorpatril's Alliance. It has the same rhythm as Captain Corelli's Mandolin, I realize in hindsight, and that did well for its author, iirc. The one other viable candidate was Entangling Alliance, which I think is less interesting. Captains are always a good sell.
As Lady Sybil Ramkin says (in Terry Pratchett's Guards! Guards! -- which, come to think, could be a soothing weekend reread):
"Captain is such as dashing title, I've always thought. ... I mean, colonels and so on are always stuffy, majors are pompous, but one always feels somehow that there is something delightfully dangerous about a captain."
(...Hm. Checking on the spelling, I discover that the book title was just Corelli's Mandolin. The title acquired its rank when translated to the movie. Which more proves my point than anything else.)
...In bus draft, that is.
"Bus draft" is my personal shorthand for "If I got run over by a bus, you could print this." I try to hand in submission drafts as clean as I can make them, to save work later. (I'm always in favor of saving work later -- it's like time in the bank.)
The next step is editorial or "line edit" revisions, directed by the actual editor -- which I already have in hand, and am mulling over. My first gut-response to editorial suggestions is not always, um, useful, so it normally pays to let them cook for a bit. Nevertheless, this is the stage where I have to essentially boot up the entire novel and hold it in my mind -- as opposed to the less brain-bursting one scene at a time that I entertain, or that entertains me, during the initial composition -- so it tends to be an intense, cranky period where the writer does not welcome interruptions. I will be blocking out time for this stage pretty soon, as holding a whole book in my head leaves no room whatsoever for anything new to emerge, or even for any new input/ reading/watching/doing, which my psyche interprets as unwelcome jostling. So I don't like to spin this phase out too long. Also, barn-door syndrome.
Current front-running candidate for the final title is Captain Vorpatril's Alliance. (It went through its entire stretched-out period of composition with the file name of Ivan, His Booke, or just Ivan for short.) The mode is romantic comedy with added caper. 150,000 words, 25 chapters and an epilogue.
I started this book in November of 2009. Two years ago, now, instead of my usual one year (well, 14 months on average.) The actual writing didn't take more time than my average, but it was much interrupted by health issues, now resolved. So I shouldn't blame Ivan himself -- it really isn't his fault!
Baen is tentatively (note that this can shift around for various reasons) thinking of publication next November. Which is a pretty good turn-around, by publishing standards. Some of that time goes into production issues, but most of it goes into getting marketing ducks in a row.
So this is the hobbit's birthday present to y'all. Or virtual birthday present. Or an IOU for a birthday present, at present.
(My oldest friend, writer Lillian Stewart Carl, just sent me an e-card noting that this is the 50th time she's wished me a happy birthday -- we first met in 7th grade, at age 12. To which I said, more-or-less, "Yeep!")
Hi all --
The new Vorkosiverse book, henceforth to be titled CryoBurn, is finished and turned in to Baen.
To recap information mentioned previously, the story is an Auditorial investigation that takes place on a planet new to readers, called New Hope II or Kibou-daini. Miles is 39, to go by the very Miles-centered series chronology we've been using. The story uses three viewpoints: Miles, Roic, and a local lad named Jin. The general mode is mystery/thriller/technological-social exploration. About 103,000 words, in twenty chapters and an epilogue.
The book is, tentatively, on the Baen publication schedule for late 2010, probably November.
bests, Lois. (drained but pleased.)
(And my I recommend, again, Edward Gorey's timeless little classic about the writing life, The Unstrung Harp, or, Mr Earbrass Writes a Novel. I nearly always pull it out to re-read toward the end of a book project. It gets funnier every year.)
It has been brought to my attention that some people would like an update on the progress of the new Miles book. Now, to my way of thinking, a book has only two states, not finished and finished; it's like a bridge that way; if it's not all the way done it has the same utility as if not done at all. But anyway.
As of the tail end of April, here, the new Miles book -- still no title, note -- is now up to Chapter 16. I'm thinking I may cross the border out of the miserable middle and into the endward slide fairly soon, within the next few chapters. Which puts me maybe two-thirds done with the story, but I caution that does not have a very direct relationship with the page or chapter count. Production time is also malleable; I can have one-chapter months or four-chapter months, or things in between, or months where nothing gets written at all.
For those who haven't heard earlier comments or net gossip from my public readings from the first few chapters: the tale is of an Auditorial investigation, on a new world we haven't seen before. Miles is 39. There are three alternating viewpoints: Miles, Armsman Roic, and a local boy named Jin. The general mode is mystery.
I was looking back over some of my old e-mail last night, where I found I was whining in the exact same tone of voice in December about only being up to Chapter 9, so I guess things are progressing more steadily than it feels like. For curiosity, I just looked up the start date of Chapter One, which to my surprise was April 18, 2008; it felt longer ago than that, but there were several months of pre-writing and idea development (and de-selection) before the first scene formed up and made ready to march.
I saw a great icon somewhere on the net a few days ago: "Gone to play poker. Back when I run out of clothes. -- Your Muse."
Hi all --
I am pleased to report I have concluded a deal with HarperCollins/Eos for the two sequels to The Sharing Knife duology, possibly not to be called The Wide Green World as my purchasing editor was dubious about that title. The decision on the final title/s will not be made for a while, however, so I'm going to continue calling them WGW1 and WGW2 till then.
The first book of the new pair is completed in first draft. 24 chapters at present. The second is not yet started.
From this halfway point, it looks as though the new duology will feel more like a book and its sequel and less like one book cut in half than its predecessor The Sharing Knife, probably because I'm doing duology on purpose instead of by accident this time. (But I've been wrong about such guesses before.) Nevertheless, the two new volumes will be very closely connected, in a sort of braided way. In other words, some story-arc-concerns will be concluded before the natural break-point that falls at the end of the first volume, and some intertwined arcs will span the whole pair. It does have more backfill embedded during early chapters (smoothly, I hope), as the concerns of WGW1 flow pretty directly out of TSK2. At least one reader who hadn't yet read TSK on whom I tested the first four chapters said she experienced no undue disorientation or difficulty following the story, so the interesting balance problem between "valuable orientation/reminder" and "clogging with recap" seems to be on target for at least one part of the book's future audience.
I was trying to avoid committing trilogy with the double-duology structure, but I'm not at all sure I've succeeded. Squinting, it may just turn out to be three books of very uneven lengths. I have no idea yet how long WGW2 will top out at, besides "long enough to reach the end".
And that's about all I can say about it without getting into major spoilers for TSK2: Legacy, due out next July. But I would expect WGW1 to see hardcover publication sometime in 2008 (before the Denver Worldcon, I hope, which is in fact why I submitted the books now instead of waiting till both were complete in first draft, my original plan). WGW2 will presumably follow sometime in 2009.
I finished the first draft of The Wide Green World, Vol. 1 this past weekend.
24 chapters, either 128K or 133k words depending on how the computer counts them; a full book, though still half a tale.
I have no idea why Word claims the book is 128k when I add the chapter counts separately, but reports 133k when the very same chapters are all in a linked file. Either the ways of computers are mysterious, or my arithemetic was off. Ah, well. It was enough words to reach the end, with possibly a few to spare.
This is the first of many "finishes" that a book of mine goes through. There will be revision passes on several levels -- on this one in particular, I expect to delay the last revision pass till after the second volume is complete in first draft, for obvious reasons of continuity checks. Things planted early on may not bear plot fruit, and need pruned out; late developments may require earlier set-ups. Pacing may turn out to be awry in relation to the as-yet-dimly-seen whole. And so on. Nevertheless, it's a lovely sensation to be this far along.
Better still, for a change, the timing came out even. I now have a nice between-books break falling atop my book-launch distraction phase, good multi-tasking. And I have a time window, before it becomes impossible to open windows for ventilation, to do some much-needed home maintenance things like painting walls with ten years of grime on 'em, replace worn carpeting, and other good things that will make this house a more heartening place to be shut up in, come what I hope will be a productive winter.
I am pleased to report that I have recently signed my first contract with Baen Books acting publisher Toni Weisskopf for a future book in the Miles Vorkosigan series. I have been working cordially with Toni for nearly as many years as I worked with the late Jim Baen, and I look forward to continuing a fruitful relationship.
The new book will not be started until mid-2007, as I have first to complete (as of this writing) about a book and a third in The Sharing Knife series for my other fine publisher, Eos/HarperCollins -- working title The Wide Green World. My present belief is that WGW will be a duology like its predecessor, making the series as a whole either a double-duology or a tetrology, for now. I don't have a publication schedule for WGW yet; my current plan, or at least hope, is to finish both volumes in first draft before doing final revisions on the first book.
My lifetime average for writing speed is a book every 14 months, I once calculated (I haven't rerun the stats lately, but I don't think they've shifted much.) Depending on a host of variables, if I started the new Miles book in mid-2007, it would likely be turned in late in 2008 for publication sometime in 2009. So breath-holding is contra-indicated for all concerned. No, I don't know what it will be about yet. (No, this does not mean I want you all to tell me, variously and contradictorily -- talk amongst yourselves, have fun...) That part will come in due course.
Meanwhile, I am very much looking forward to the publication of The Sharing Knife, vol. 1: Beguilement, due for hardcover release from Eos on October 10, 2006. The first trickle of reader-response from folks who've managed to obtain an ARC (advanced reader copy) has been most heartening, but they are of course self-selected enthusiasts; it'll be interesting to see how this rather different (for me) fantasy hits a broader audience. I think the duology as a whole may be the freshest thing I've done since The Curse of Chalion. The second half, Legacy, is planned for publication around June 2007
I liked Julie Bell's cover art so much (we worked as closely on it as two people a thousand miles apart could), I bought the original. Getting it a worthy frame will be my next task, one for which I fortunately will have some local help more artistic than myself.
The next thing after The Sharing Knife
Names, argh. (Need two more this morning, sigh. The characters can't go on being "x", even in first draft.)
A few hints, anyway. It does have a title: The Wide Green World. It's the direct sequel to The Sharing Knife. It's early days, material very much still under development, much impeded by the interminable screwed-up bathroom project, still not complete (the full tale of which I've mostly spun out over on Baen's Bar.) I've probably lost half my writing time since early January, which does not make me happy to dwell upon, so I try not to. WGW does not have a contract or a deadline -- I'm intensely grateful for the lack of deadline, just now -- or even, at this point, a projected length or any certainty of how many volumes it will be; it might be one fat book, or it might undergo mitosis again into another duology. It will not be a trilogy.
It will not exactly be up for bid, as there's only one place it can go, a fact that gives my agent some disappointment; she really likes exciting book auctions. In theory, it could be offered at any time, but for my own peace of mind I'd prefer to be farther along first.
But it's giving me pleasure to write -- in the peculiar irregular way that writing is a pleasure -- which is its main purpose in life at the moment. I'll be able to talk a little more about with without spoilers for TSK after TSK is out. To say much more about the content at this point would be very spoilerific indeed.
The first ideas for this book surfaced in June, 2004, when I was out on my back deck trying to soak up some Minnesota sunshine for the long winter ahead. (In other words, I made it up, in a welcome idle moment.) I began writing in August, quite soon after I'd turned in the final manuscript for The Hallowed Hunt. This was to be a book written for my own pleasure, at my own pace, without the constraints of a contract or pressure of a deadline. The duology length came as a bit of a surprise to me, but it was precisely what the story, as it developed, needed. Also a surprise was how fast the writing went; I finished the first draft in August 2006, a mere year after I'd started, the time it would usually take me to write a single much shorter book. It was fun!
I always have the greatest difficulty describing my own books, partly because of not wanting to drop spoilers, partly because I don't think about them in the same terms most readers describe them in. But I can say The Sharing Knife is a romance-fantasy-action/adventure-social-drama-psychological study. (Or you could just call it a Bujold book.) But the two main characters and their relationship and how it changes each of their lives is the core of the story, so if you had to pick only one element by which to label the book, it's a romance. (Except on the spine, where it will be labeled "fantasy".) The landscape, ecology, and history are not, for a change, any analogue from medieval Europe, but are more inspired by the countrysides of my own childhood. No kings, no castles, no state religions. (No gods! After 3 Chalion books close together, I needed a break from theology.) The results came out rather different than my other high fantasy, more so than I really expected, while at the same time giving me a chance to play with -- or argue with -- a lot of my favorite fantasy (and other) tropes. Really, there's no excuse for this book; I just wrote what I liked. At this point I have no idea what readers are going to make of it, but I can hope that enough of them will share my tastes.
As the story opens, Fawn Bluefield is a young farmer girl running away from home for some very traditional reasons. On the road, she encounters Dag Redwing Hickory, a rather weary patroller from a race of mages called Lakewalkers, who are engaged in a generations-long war and hunt against a peculiar and recurring supernatural menace called by the farmers, "blight bogles", and by the Lakewalkers, "malices". The history and mystery of the Lakewalkers' magical "technology" for dealing with this threat -- the "sharing knives." -- drives much of their culture and hence this tale. Lakewalker traditions surrounding the making, priming, ownership and use of these knives are naturally complex and fraught.
Because Lakewalkers' magical abilities are inherited, their culture is set up to preserve pure bloodlines, and actively discourages liaisons between Lakewalkers-born and "farmers," i.e., anybody who isn't a Lakewalker. These urgent cultural constraints drive the main opposition to the romance between Dag and Fawn; their dodgy situation in turn gives me a vehicle to explore both of their cultures, their underlying world, and its history. The first volume, Beguilement, concentrates on Fawn and her farmer culture and family; the second volume, Legacy, focuses more on Dag and his Lakewalker heritage, and goes on to examine the tensions between the two cultures and their fragile hopes for a less divided future. (And, of course, we find out what happens to the knife.)
As of Friday August 12th: 38 chapters, 217,000 words, one year and two days from first sentence to last in first draft (I began last Aug. 10), no contract no deadline no problem.
After the falling face first into my keyboard phase, there will next be a long, quiet, private phase, likely several months, while people other than me do their jobs, starting with the postal service. At some point in the future there will no doubt be publication information, but I cannot answer questions about that now. Note that "finishing the first draft" does not eqate to "finishing the submission draft"; there is still my least-favorite part of novel writing to get through, namely, the revision pass, when I become most reclusive and cranky.
It is highly probable that since this book is not pre-contracted, there will be a longer than usual time between finishing and publication, so breath-holding is contraindicated. However, I figure I wrote a double-length book, so I'm due a double-length break, for starters. The New Bathroom Project beckons at of the corner of my eye, after the annual office cleaning. Alas, not all my neglected paper correspondence has aged past the point of my being obliged to make some reply. Tho' I was able to get rid of about half the stack that way, yesterday. A sort of false progress.
As ever, The Unstrung Harp by Edward Gorey strikes the keynote:
"The next day Mr Earbrass is conscious but very little more. He wanders through the house, leaving doors open and empty tea-cups on the floor.
From time to time the thought occurs to him that he really ought to go and dress, and he gets up several minutes later, only to sit down again in the first chair he comes to. The better part of a week will have elapsed before he has recovered enough to do anything more helpful."
I do love that brilliant little classic.
What a long, strange trip this one has been. The worldbuilding is different from anything I've done. I had several experiments going at once with it (multiple variables -- bad scientific design, that). One was to see if I was a happier camper and more productive writer without the outside pressure of contractual obligations, to which the answer seems to be a notable yes. Making that one stick is going to be the hard part: all publishers want multi-book contracts these days, it seems. Another was to see if I could write a romance-fantasy-adventure that kept the relationship stuff central, without the romance being crowded off the stage by more urgent concerns; the answer will have to wait on the book being read by many, but I suspect it may be "Kinda". Or "Well..." Another was to fight my backbrain less, see "camper", above. This has certainly made the writing more fun, although aided by the book's episodic structure, which I have likened to a python that has swallowed a litter of pigs, one after another. Not sure if it would work in something more tightly plotted.
The Sharing Knife does seem to be digging in its claws as the title. I'm growing quite used to it."
Lessee, brief progress report. The official street date for The Hallowed Hunt is 5/24/05, which mostly gets rounded up to June 1. There will be a 9-day book tour hitting stores in 6 cities starting June 6th; I'll also have signings at Dreamhaven and Uncle Hugo's here in the Twin Cities fore and aft of the tour. This book is all over but the selling, from my point of view. I'm starting to keep an eye out for reviews and such, but not too many have surfaced yet.
The cities currently on the tour schedule are Seattle, Portland OR, San Diego, San Francisco, Dayton OH, and Chicago. I'll post more detailed information as it gets finalized.
I've been working since last fall on a new fantasy unrelated to any prior book of mine; it's about three-fourths done just now. 29 chapters so far; it'll top out around 40, I think, plus or minus. I'm not sure how long it will take to finish in the first draft. I have not yet submitted it for publication anywhere, because I didn't want to yet; I'll announce it when that changes. I've been enjoying the decrease in background stress from not having a deadline. I haven't started reading from it at cons and such yet, because it's still time to promote The Hallowed Hunt, but as soon as HH hits the bookstores, it'll be time to switch over: I prefer to read from unpublished works in any venue where I can count on most readers being familiar with my work, which includes conventions and bookstores.
I do not know when or if I will write another Vorkosigan story. I do not rule it out, but I don't have a new novel in mind at this time. Nor a short story notion either. I won't decide on the next project till I'm done with the new fantasy, probably toward the end of this summer or early fall, depending.
137,000 words, 24 chapters and an epilogue, fully revised and delivered in content and form acceptable. Don't have to look at it again till the copy edit wafts through. I can release these obstreperous people and their problems from my brain and purge the buffers at last. Core dump, core dump, yay!
And the first person who chirps brightly, "So, what's next?", I'm hitting in the knees with a virtual sledgehammer. (Well... no, probably not. I'll just push the button and roll the tape loop about "I contract my books one at a time &etc." I really ought to keep that paragraph on file somewhere, so I can just cut and paste it.) But I am, finally, on break. At least till Worldcon...
Projected hardcover pub date: May 2005. Cover artist/art not yet chosen but in process. Will not find out if there is to be a book tour till late winter sometime.
In other, related but less happy news, HarperCollins UK has declined to purchase The Hallowed Hunt because their sales figures for Paladin of Souls were so very poor there. You know, that New York Times Extended list bestseller, multiple award-nominated and, already, couple of awards-winning fantasy novel? I was afraid that Pillsbury Nazgul cover they slapped on it was going to be the kiss of death, sigh. Sometimes, it's no fun to be proved right.
This does not necessarily mean that The Hallowed Hunt will not see British publication; it will be shopped around. But it does mean publication will be delayed, and so American publication will be first, undercutting British sales numbers still further as usual. I really do not know how those people stay in business; clearly, it's not by selling books.
Current project, The Hallowed Hunt, but it's only a working title so far. I am pleased to note that I am no longer stuck in the interminable Chapter 6, but have advanced to being stuck halfway through Chapter 7. (Well, not really stuck. The first half flew. But there will be another water jump at the end of it.) I have, be it noted, only reached the beginning of the middle of the book, aka the point where it turns into hard work. It will stay a slog till the beginning of the end, which is usually felt as a downward slide.
Middles, by this functional definition, can often occupy a lot more than one-third of a book.
The Weald is far more loosely inspired by its historical sources that was Chalion, I might add in passing. I also haven't decided how this book relates to the others time-wise; could be contemporary, could be as much as a couple of centuries earlier. Ingrey, the POV character, has a voice that's coming through rather better now than at the beginning of 6. I had lost his signal in the interim of the spring travel, etc. On the re-match it had at first a distressing tendency to default to the style of another twenty-something male with whom I am all too familiar. But that's been rolled back out on the first, or was it second or third, revision pass.
I set the book's due date for next Feb. 14th, not quite at random. I have now burned up half the time alotted for it, and written maybe one-fourth of the book. You do the math, sigh... No guesses yet on the real completion date, nor the real publication date. My muse punches no clock.
Back to work, if not on this; HarperCollins is going to do a limited signed first hardcover of Paladin of Souls, and have sent me 700 tip sheets to autograph. I did one CD's worth last night (old Dire Straits); time for another. Cannot decide between Melissa Etheridge and Loreena McKennitt, but either is likely to be punctuated with sudden loud noises from outside. Just back from a walk; my neighborhood smells deliciously of black powder tonight. Ta, Lois.
The latest word, directly from Catherine Asaro, is that the anthology Irresistible Forces containing, among other things, my novella Winterfair Gifts has been delayed in publication until February 2004 by the publisher, in theory so as to give the volume bigger and better promotion. This is not something under my control; my apologies to all the folks I told it was coming out in 2003.
On the brighter side, the sequel to The Curse of Chalion, provisionally titled Paladin of Souls was finished and turned in to my editor at Eos/HarperCollins at the beginning of October. There will be one more pass for editorial revisions; my editor is already working on selecting a cover artist and other preliminary steps toward publication, which is planned for the fall of 2003. The exact month has not yet been determined.
Miles Errant will contain, the novella The Borders of Infinity, Brothers in Arms, and Mirror Dance. I haven't written an afterword for this one yet.
Winterfair Gifts is a 23,000 word novella set against the backdrop of Miles's and Ekaterin's wedding. It was written explicitly to be a romance/science fiction cross-over for an anthology edited by Catherine Asaro, to be titled Irresistible Forces and to be published in 2003 by NAL/Roc. The volume will include half a dozen pieces by writers both primarily SF and primarily Romance, including Catherine and me, plus such Romance heavy-hitters as Jo Beverley and Mary Jo Putney (both regulars on the NYTimes lists) and we're hoping for a large cross-over audience to introduce readers from both sides of the genre divide to the nice green grass on the other side of the fence.
I am at work on the new Chalion book for Eos/HarperCollins, off to a much later start than I would have preferred, but the tale is definitely up and running. I am interrupting it yet again this weekend, however, to do a light copy-edit of the files of The Spirit Ring before sending them off to Fictionwise for the book's first e-publication. I expect Fictionwise will probably have The Spirit Ring up sometime in March.
Hi folks --
A quick update on the present status of upcoming books. The new Miles novel that I have been working on for the past year was finished and turned it to my editors at Baen Books a few weeks ago. The title is going to be Diplomatic Immunity. Plans are to publish it in hardcover next May (2002); Baen already has an entry and ISBN (0743-43533-8) for it with my books list up on their website at www.baen.com. (The real cover art has not yet been posted as of this date. The manga figure you might see by the book's title on this page is a placeholder picture.)
Here is the preliminary draft of jacket copy for Diplomatic Immunity:
"The Lord Auditor's honeymoon -- interrupted.
A rich Komarran merchant fleet has been impounded at Graf Station, in distant Quaddiespace, after a bloody incident on the station docks involving a security officer from the convoy's Barrayaran military escort. Lord Miles Vorkosigan of Barrayar and his wife, Lady Ekaterin, have other things on their minds, such as getting home in time to attend the long-awaited births of their first children. But when duty calls in the voice of Barrayar's Emperor Gregor, Miles, Gregor's youngest Imperial Auditor (a special high-level troubleshooter) has no choice but to answer.
Waiting on Graf Station are diplomatic snarls, tangled loyalties, old friends, new enemies, racial tensions, lies and deceptions, mysterious disappearances, and a lethal secret with wider consequences than even Miles anticipates: a race with time for life against death in horrifying new forms.
The downside of being a troubleshooter comes when trouble starts shooting back."
Meanwhile, while you wait for next May, Baen is publishing an omnibus volume of some of my old work in a nice new hardcover format. Miles, Mystery and Mayhem consists of the novels Cetaganda and Ethan of Athos and the novella "Labyrinth", plus a short new afterword by me. This is scheduled to be released December 2001. Again, this is an omnibus reprint, not the new book.
And here is the jacket copy for it...
"Diplomat, Soldier, Spy.
Lieutenant Lord Miles Naismith Vorkosigan of the Barrayaran Empire, a.k.a. Admiral Naismith of the Dendarii Free Mercenaries, is a young man of many parts.
Miles and his handsome cousin Ivan are called upon to play a simple diplomatic role on the capital world of Barrayar's old enemy. until murder and deceit thrust them into Cetagandan internal politics at the highest levels, and Miles discovers the secrets of the haut women's biological domain to be very complicated indeed.
Commander Elli Quinn, sent by Miles on the trail of those secrets, meets a man who marches to the beat of a very different drummer. Dr. Ethan Urquhart, obstetrician from a planet forbidden to women, is on a quest at cross-purposes to Elli's mission -- or is it?
Consequences of Cetagandan bioengineering continue to play out, this time on a Dendarii sortie to the crime planet of Jackson's Whole. When he encounters a genetically altered super-soldier, Miles's routine rescue strike takes a sudden hard turn for the unanticipated.
[Publisher's Note: Miles, Mystery and Mayhem was previously published in parts as Cetaganda, Ethan of Athos, and "Labyrinth".]"
Best regards, Lois Bujold.
Lois has just auctioned her latest book and it has been bought by Avon/Eos. It will be published in hardcover from 31 July 2001. The title is The Curse of Chalion, and it is a fantasy novel unrelated to any prior book of hers. Lois has also contracted for a sequel to Chalion. Futher details are available in Lois's own words.
A Civil Campaign was published in September 1999. The first chapters can be found on Baen's website. The following is her jacket copy:-
It's spring in Vorbarr Sultana, and a young person's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love...
...money... biogenetics... love... lack of money... incompatible planetary sexual mores... love... District succession scandals... the Emperor's wedding.. and, of course, love.
Lord Miles Vorkosigan, youngest Imperial Auditor to be appointed by the Emperor since the Time of Isolation, has a problem all his new power can't solve: unrequited love for the beautiful Vor widow Ekaterin Vorsoisson. Ekaterin is violently allergic to marriage as a result of her first exposure. But as Miles learned from his late career in galactic covert ops, if a frontal assault won't do, go to subterfuge. He has a cunning plan...
Lord Mark Vorkosigan has a problem: his love for the sunny Kareen, daughter of Commodore Koudelka, has just become unrequited again. But if all his new money can't solve their dilemma, perhaps a judicious blending of science and entrepreneurial scheming might. He has a cunning plan...
Lord Ivan Vorpatril has a problem: unrequited love in general. True, with the men on Barrayar outnumbering the women five to four, his odds aren't good. But Ivan had never thought the odds applied to him. He too has a cunning plan...
If no battle plan survives first contact with the enemy, just imagine what all Miles's closest friends and relatives can do to his romantic strategy!
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