The gorgeous but unpredictable little mare who bucked me off and kicked my husband (same maneuver; she probably didn’t intend to hit him) in mid-February finally sold to someone in California, hurray, hurray.  Until she’s transported, she’ll be out of that barn and into another site to gain weight for the trip (she’s not bony, but she’s thinned down with the heat and some very assertive paddock mates.  The buyer asked for her to be fattened up if possible.)

The horse I bought too fast after that concussion, though she doesn’t buck, is a bit of a PITA in some ways, so she’s headed for the trainer to see if Trainer Laci can convince her to cooperate with a rider rather than do everything BUT buck or bolt to make a rider decide to quit.   (For those unfamiliar with horses, a horse with no desire to work with you has many options besides bucking and running away.  Beind hard to catch and halter, being hard to lead.  Refusing to take the bit or allow itself to be tacked up by constantly moving around even while tied.  “Puffing up” while being saddled, so you can’t get the girth/cinch tight enough for safety.  (There are ways to force the air out, but they’re rough.)  Refusing to stand still for mounting.   Backing up, going sideways crookedly into things, turning in a circle at dizzying rate *while* backing up or going sideways.  Both Trainer and Farrier agree Miss Molly has a genetic reason for part of this behavior, through her sire line.  So, since my methods haven’t worked to convince her that a partnership is to her advantage, she’s going in for training at the barn First Horse is leaving.  This will save my energy for actual good exercise (bicycling) instead of non-effective attempts to work with Second Horse.

Some hints here for anyone contemplating horse ownership.  If the horse has papers, get the papers (or enough info to look the horse’s breeding up online)  *before* the purchase, and inquire (discreetly) among horsey friends about said bloodlines.  Every breed has “families” known to be easy to train and work with, OK to train and work with, and difficult to train and work with.  Save yourself trouble and obtain one of the easy ones.   If you’re horse-hunting and had a concussion within the past six months, *do not buy a horse in that period.*  (Longer, if  your friends/relatives can tell you’re not back to normal.  You won’t know; your brain’s not working right.  Impulse control, among other things, is impaired.  Did I remember that?  Obviously not.)    A cheap wrong horse will cost you more than the right reasonably good horse.  Two cheap wrong horses will cost you more than that.   And even if, like me, you’ve had horses before…but it’s been years since you had a rideable one…your skills have decayed, not only from the time, but from the aging process.   That quick recovery you had up through early sixties…vanishes quickly in the 70s, I discovered.   But I’m not giving up, she said, persisting.

I’m singing in the church choir again and we have a choir concert (augmented with people on summer leave from *their* church choirs…we don’t get  break)  a week from today.  For the choral-musical among you, we’re doing worked by Benjamin Britten, Gerald Finzi, Ralph Vaughn Williams, and Herbert Howells, all 20th century stuff full of difficulty.   (No, composers, you do NOT need to change the key and the tempo markings every measure or so.  And add all those accidentals.  And have a love affair with dissonance.)  (Needless to say, I am not a composer, and this complaint is made by a singer who is very far from a good sight-reader, and has trouble remembering whether the accidental means going up a half step or down a half step w/o looking at the key signature, for which there is no time in the middle of most of them.  And it makes my head buzz and hurt,  hard to hold the pitch I’m supposed to sing when a harsh dissonance of half-step intervals crammed together come along,)  Not my favorite composers, but on Sundays we’re doing Mozart pieces (last Sunday, this Sunday…I don’t know if we’re going to work all through the summer that way.  Hope so.  I love singing Mozart.  Mozart is often difficult, “too many notes” as they say, but my brain seems to have some intuitive knowledge of where he’s going, while with the modernists….there are these random leaps in every direction.)

So next week will be interesting, in terms of extra rehearsals and the concert itself, and it’s just as well I won’t have Miss Molly to worry about.   (The rehearsals & concert call times would throw her evening feed time way off.  One night a week I can manage–extra hay, plus a late light feed when I get home–but three in a row, in this weather, is asking for possible gut trouble.  Hers and mine both.  Better she’s in a boarding stable, under the watchful eye of Trainer and others.

On the writing end, I’m doing mostly nonfiction stuff, including political snarls.  Not bringing them here.   Sometimes the citizen has to take the time to BE a citizen.   I am picking through notions (not even ideas yet, just notions)  of where the SF might go, trying hard not to be seduced by the very dystopic trilogy I thought of a few years ago…it would be extremely depressing to write (particularly the first book and probably also the second and no notion yet how it would avoid total disaster in the third.  I really don’t want to spend years in depression with these people and neither do you.   But…politics.)   So I’m looking at other notions.  Maybe do a non-fiction or two, just to clear my head.  Maybe let this concussion get fully healed (good idea, says husband.)   But there are two nonfiction books I’d like to take a whack at.  Only problem is since they’ve been put off and put off, I need to do current research for them, not the stuff I had together before.  Meanwhile I have a few months of Ky’s story extended from the end of INTO THE FIRE…I  know about the graduation ceremony, which is where I want to start it, I think, and what happens between the end of ITF and the beginning of unnamed book three.   But not sure which of the bits of unfinished business to use.   Editor wanted to go straight to unanswered questions from Cold Welcome, but that’s too abrupt.  Even if Ky & Rafe went back to the mysteries she found, they couldn’t do it until it’s summer down there, and it’s summer in the north at the Academy graduation.  So at least a quarter year, actually more, before they can leave.

So here’s a snippet of what *MAY* be the start of the next Ky Vatta book.  May.  Not necessarily will be.  It’s still too nebulous.   There’s several more pages, but that would be too much spoilerage.


Commandant Vatta escaped the reception after graduation as soon as she could, and changed quickly out of her white uniform in the guest suite of the Commandant’s residence.  Commandant Corsey’s luggage had already been moved into the Commandant’s suite; Ky had wanted the transition to be as easy for him as possible.  Rafe, stretched out in one of the club chairs, said, “You’re in a hurry; I didn’t expect you back for another hour at least.  Don’t you want to shower before you leave?  It must’ve been steamy up on that platform.”

“I want to leave before someone asks me another question that rightfully belongs to Commandant Corsey.”  Ky pulled on the slacks she’d left out.  “Is everything else in the car?”

“I think so.  No–wait–I put some things in the bathroom for you, thinking you’d shower. I’ll get them.”

Ky pulled on the top she’d planned to wear, then rolled her now-useless Commandant’s uniform and tucked it into the open case, followed by the things Rafe brought out.  She’d done the final check of drawers and shelves that morning, but she did it again.  She wanted to get downstairs and away before–

A knock on the door.  “Commandan–er–Admiral–”

“Just leaving,” Ky said.  She sealed the duffle and went to the door.

The very farewell committee she’d hoped to escape, including Commandant Corsey, newly commissioned Ensign Biester, the top ranking cadet of each class below, and the officer-sponsors of each class.  And they had a wrapped package.  No, several wrapped packages.




16 thoughts on “Updates

  1. Glad to hear ideas are bubbling away again.

    Wonder what plot-bombs are in those packages …

    By the way did I miss anything or did we leave the youngsters from both Palladin’s and Vatta slipping away together in the writers common room. I may have missed the conclusion…

    1. I haven’t finished that bit of “green room story” yet. I will get back to it in time, promise. We can’t have them running round loose like that…the even Waystation Huygens could be undone by inventive, creative, active youngsters who have trouble distinguishing their inventions from reality.

  2. It feels like much of Ky Vatta’s story is still waiting to be told. “It ends abruptly in the middle of a stanza.” And there is a big Chekov’s gun in the form of the world builders just lying there…

    1. While I agree that Vatta’s Peace needs another book, it’s important to remember that there’s always something beyond the written story…stories do not promise or intend to tell everything all the way to the death of the characters. That’s history, not storytelling. Deciding what part of the history to extract for a story is part of the writer’s skillset. If the readers really like the story, they do want more, and hope the story continues as the story they know and like. Problem is, writers always know more about a story than they tell (or books would be really boring) and some of those things necessarily interfere in “But then what happens.” And over time (the time it takes to write a multi-volume story) both the writer and the story may change direction. What seemed like a good idea for the last book when working on the first book can turn out to not work at all. Or require another two books in between, which a publisher isn’t happy to take on. So the writer has to stop and reconsider, redesign, and then try to construct something that works with both the beginning and the new ending.

  3. Thank you for the Vatta snippet. I’m with Garrett in thinking that “several packages” provide plenty of room for all kinds of Plot Daemon mischief.

    Keep working toward full recovery. Good thoughts going your way to aid in that endeavor.

  4. I’m happy to see a peek at a possible start to Ky’s next adventures; thanks! Do you think she might have a recalcitrant horse of her own? LOL Have you noticed any change to your sock knitting post concussion?

  5. Very glad you are back to singing and that the horses are sorted, at least for now, so that you can concentrate on enjoying the singing. I am agree with you on dissonance, it’s occasional use can be very powerful, but overused it becomes distinctly unpleasant to sing or to hear.

    Where ever you go with Ky will be interesting, so thank you for the snippet whether it ends up in the book or not.

  6. Have you registered with the Women in Military Service Memorial? I am an Army WAC Vet and I would like to thank you for putting up with those ornery Marines.

  7. Just wanted to say that I just got the chance to read Into the Fire (I had somehow not realized when it was coming out and then Life), and loved it. I am now exhausted, having gotten only 4 hours of sleep last night (and still didn’t finish it; the bad thing about leaving my 20s was losing the ability for occasional reading all-nighters without severe consequences), but it was definitely worth it! Thank you so much for your books (everything in the Paks world is on my list of favorites, and I enjoy these ones a lot too), and please keep recovering! (Not just so you can write; I have had a concussion before and they are No Fun.)

    1. Agree on the concussions being no fun. I hope I don’t get another one any time soon. Thanks for the kind words. I have just acquired another horse who has a great disposition but (why do these go together so often???) problems in the front hooves. Disposition matters as much as soundness and sometimes more if your soundness needs aren’t high-level. Vet says she’ll be fine for light pleasure riding, once she’s got shoes on her front feet where the mild clubfoot on one and navicular issues on both have produce a grade 2 (on the worse side) and grade 1 (on the other) lameness. The vet who did the pre-purchase exam says she needs shoes and should not be used for “hard” work (barrel racing, roping, jumping) but when she’s got a proper trim and shoes should be fine at walk, trot, and moderate cantering. Which is my main interest.

  8. Big news from Down Under:

    Our boat, Marellen, which we have been building for 16 YEARS has finally hit the water, WOOOHOOOOO!!!!!!
    (Or should that be YEEEEEE HAAAAAAAHHH)

  9. Congrats Ellen, does that mean you can go sailing, or are there a few little details still to finish? – the rudder for example, or the mast and rigging?

    1. Thanks Richard. We’ve got rudders and two motors, which will do us til we get the mast and rigging, the inside still needs lots of work, but we’ve spent the last two weekends on board.

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