So, I’m officially started on another book.   The next Vatta book having stalled in a way I just can’t seem to fix, my agent suggested doing something else, and what came to me was an idea from Paksworld.   Once I started it, it took off (as did the Vatta book for the first part) but it’s still going.  No title yet, and I don’t want to talk much about it lest I interfere with it, but…it’s behaving *normally*.   (Normally for me; not claiming I have an ordinary work process, because I’m pretty sure I don’t.)   By normally I mean it’s generating what appears (so far) to be actual plot, not just incidents.  Stuff that “happens” connects forward and back to plot elements in the other books, and reveals to me, as its writer, more about those events and those characters.   It arrived in my head with strong connections to the other Paksworld books, in several of the main characters, which were, in the other books secondaries-to-minor characters.   It feels like it’s going to shape normally, and enrich the other stories as well as making one of its own.   It’s over 26,000 words now.

For those who’ve read the Paladin’s Legacy volumes, it connects with the end of Paladin’s Legacy:  Camwyn, the prince who was so badly wounded and with Dragon’s help restored to many functions, but without any memory of his past, is now well enough to take on the task Dragon has for him.   Duke Arcolin is about to retire from his annual trips to Aarenis,  and Aesil M’Dierra, Golden Company’s commander, is summoned to her home city of Pliuni to settle an inheritance issue that could strip her of all her assets, including Golden Company.  And Horngard, the remote and mysterious mountain realm, has neither king nor king’s heir nor chancellor, and has diminished with bad guidance.

And since a plot-firecracker (tiny form of “plotbomb”) exploded an hour ago, the story’s now picked up another 1000 words, but I really need to get to bed at a decent hour and it’s almost midnight and Scorpion Season is underway (one night before last, small, on the bathroom wall, and one last night, large, in the bathroom basin.

36 thoughts on “Progress

  1. I’m excited! I love all of your world’s but Pak’s World is at the top of the list. I especially enjoy when a writer fills in the before and after of previous stories. I’m in Canada and the worst we see in pests are ticks and mosquitoes. Scorpions do not sound like they are good neighbors.

    1. Scorpions *could* be good neighbors if they’d just not sting, or if they’d agree not to be on the floor where we step and to stay off the furniture. As it is they are very annoying neighbors. I am fortunate in not having a severe allergy to most stinging things here (scorps hurt the “hottest”, the paper wasps hurt longest, honey bees are in between for me.) Nonetheless, if something tickle-crawls on my face in the middle of the night, and reacts to my brushing it off by stinging me with the power of a scorp sting…I WANT THEM ALL OUT OF THE HOUSE. They can live in the yard; they can live on the land. I know that if you turn a rock over there will be scorpions under it, and if you don’t look before putting your hand on a tree with some loose bark, there will be scorpions under it and they’ll come out loaded. But inside the house…should be a scorp-free zone. However as arachnids and not insects, they’re not as easy to kill as cockroaches, and since houses offer them habitat and cockroaches and other things are their prey…we have them. In the ground in the trees, in the walls sometimes, in the attic (from which they get into light fixtures and air vents and thence into rooms.)

  2. Wonderful for both you and us. I’m very glad!

    Your head must be a crowded place with Herris and Ky and Paks and so many others. Speaking of Ky, I sent my kid home with Trading in Danger at Christmas and four days ago he picked it up to try. He texted me this morning saying he’d raced through it in three days and lived it. I pulled the next four off my shelves to share with him when I see him next week. Thank you!

    1. Thank you, Caryn. I’m excited and happy and just…hoping it keeps going. So far it’s sort of writing itself, in terms of progressing–I still have to sit here and hit the keys, and pause and let it unroll another section of plot, but it’s doing that, and it feels like a plot–I know at least major chunks of what will be accomplished in the main characters’ lives, and how that’s going to affect their families, their society, etc. And it feels like there’s more coming–what I call the deep logic of the plot isn’t static, but–kinda like a lava lamp–is heaving and preparing to throw up another blob of “story-stuff.”

      And it feels familiar. Rather than trying to rationalize and think out everything, this feels like it used to. If I start with the right character in the right place at the right time, the character is “strong” enough and as they do things, the plot crystallizes around them, like ice on a tub crystallizing from one speck of dirt on the surface. Anyway, it’s flowing fast today and I’m trying to capture enough of it, and leave enough “pull” for tomorrow. There’s a trial in progress; not sure whether to write on through it today or leave the strong pull for getting through it in a whoosh tomorrow. Except I’d love to get to 30,000. I do love a row of zeroes.

  3. Wow – good for you. Take your time – you bring to life even the so called minor characters become real. I have started to listen to the entire cycle of Pass et al in my car.

    Stay safe and stay sane and don’t forget to ride.

    1. Thanks Jonathan. I’m not riding right now because HEAT and the fact that I’m a morning writer and want to hit the book early when the night’s sleep has digested what went yesterday. I am spending outside time every day working on/in the barn, feeding, keep the water tubs clean (oh, the wonders of algal proliferation in the heat and wet!!!) and filled, and taking a walk a day. Evenings don’t cool off until “snake time” at night, so mornings get stuffed with “Up, write until it’s light enough, hay the horses, clean tubs and water horses, breakfast, write a until the noon hay and water check, lunch, write until nap time, crash for a few hours, up, laundry & other house stuff…etc.

  4. Bouncing and squee-ing VERY LOUDLY INDEED at the thought of a new Paksworld story. Quite my favourite of your worlds. I do hope we’ll learn a bit more about Cracolyna’s background with the horse people, and am hoping Dorrin will have her part to play as a paladin of Falk! Beyond excited, especially as I have just re-read the whole Paladin’s Legacy series.

  5. How wonderful for you and for your readers (happy bouncing from this UK reader)! I hope the book continues to behave as it should.

  6. Exciting news. My trusty copy of Deed finally shed too many pages, so I ordered one from England because I thought the cover had a more “mature” look. It was rather like having gotten a few Harry Potter books with the adult covers when I was in the UK.

    Of course I had to start at the beginning again, and it is perfect for a hot and humid night with the fan blowing away the tiny “no see’ums”. As usual, every rereading brings to light new “bits” which may now be growing into plot twists for your current work in progress.

    Your books are perfect for relentless rereading and I hope your progress offsets your scorpions and the weather!

    1. Linda,
      Like you I’m excited and my original copies (I found them just BEFORE Oath of Gold was released so mine are the individual trilogy paperbacks) are also starting to unbind themselves. So having something new from Elizabeth–regardless of the setting–is wonderful news to me.
      Daniel Glover

  7. So exciting! just a tiny hint, please, did Jandelir and Calla have children other than Dorthan? That tiny bit about him in the story about the death of Beclan Verrakai just whetted the appetite for more!

      1. That’s “The Last Lesson” in Deeds of Honor, a collection of Paksworld stories published in 2014. Available as an e-book or POD on this page:

        It’s built on a likely-true story (in a completely different context) of an illegal duel in I believe Italy, early in the last century, between a famous fencer and critic of fencing competitions, and a young man who had won a fencing competition. It is startlingly real…it feels like someone telling the story he’s been part of, and the details ring true for time and place. I don’t usually follow “real” events that exactly, but this one made the goosebumps come up on my arms, and it fell into place in Paksworld in the new context, because…well, you’ll have to find and read it. I’ll see if I can find the original somewhere online and post that link, too.

    1. Yes, they do have other children. Three boys and two girls, toward the end of the story I’m writing, though they aren’t in this story even as cameos yet. Jamis, his adopted son (Calla’s by a previous marriage) is his heir. Jamis will likely talk to Arcolin and the king about moving inheritance of title into Arcolin’s bloodline and not his own, but that’s future-future and complicates the gnome situation. Jamis has a real talent for getting along with other cultures; he’s already well-liked by both the horse nomads and the gnomes. He learned both gnomish and the nomads’ language quicklyThe next two boys will both go military, one way or another, the elder girl may also go that way. The youngest two are still too young to know what they’ll become.

  8. That’s awesome to hear! Hope it continues to go well. I’m listening to Oath of Fealty – it’s been too long since I read it originally, but they all feel like old friends and I’d never tried any of the audiobooks for your series.
    I do miss the facebook updates on your horses, but it’s very exciting that you’re revisiting the land of Paksworld.
    Hope the scorpions don’t get you! Nasty little crawlers!

    1. I miss being on Facebook, especially the groups of older riders I was on, but right now I wouldn’t have time for another social media outlet…this book has me in its talons and is flying off to where it wants to go.

  9. Like the writers above, I am so delighted to learn that you are working on a new Paladin’s Legacy book. Much as I have enjoyed the Vatta series, and even more the Serrano adventures, Paksworld is my favourite. I’ve just finished reading the entire series for the umpteenth time, and still want to know so much more: the twists and turns of Arcolin’s life from his childhood in Horngard, Camwyn’s growth into young royal adulthood – and does Mikeli find an elfin or half-elfin wife? and if so, how? – not to mention the links between all those who still speak the old language of Aare, or the challenges facing the new leaders and members of the Girdish Fellowship.

    And ever since you mentioned the stink of the drains in Varella, I’ve been hoping someone will come and develop a proper sewer system! (That’s the result of living for years in African towns without proper sewerage. I want to grab all the practical knowledge from sustainable development programs, and get your entrepreneurial characters working on it – social upheaval and story tensions guaranteed. Would elves want constructed reedbeds and wetlands ??) You can see how your world has gripped my imagination!

    May you continue to enjoy writing and the excitement of discovering a whole story unfold – and may we be the beneficiaries of it in the future.

    1. Thank you! About sewage…in normal times, Verella is not that stinky. Like most places in older times, it depends on an adequate water supply: “The answer to pollution is dilution” was the word before reed-beds (wrong, but natural because it often *worked*.) Valdaire does have a fairly primitive sewer system, connected to city-approved private facilities. There are several streams that run to, or under, Valdaire and all it takes is normal snowfall in the mountains and in winter, and normal rainfall in a year, to take care of its human output. Like medieval London, it has regulations on what kinds of waste can enter its surface water where, with tanneries, dyers, and slaughter-waste disposal limited to outside the city and downstream (one reason for the extensive “outbounds” of the various cities is to manage this kind of thing. Violating the regulations results in fines, public physical punishment, and imprisonment. The Great Drought that preceded Dorrin’s returning the trapped water in the jewels was the cause of the increasing stink in Valdaire and other cities. Some cities, however, were always lax in their water quality management, and contaminated their own water supply. Population density in Paksworld is never as high as we have now, so natural processes had space to clean things up in the open spaces if medieval/early Renaissance tech was employed and actively managed and maintained…but siting a cesspit upstream of the water supply always led to disease. Cities often required a “septic” tank arrangement but with the later line feeding into the city’s sewer. Smarter cities, that is.

    1. More is on the way. Though considering that I’m surrounded by rabid right-wing secessionist types here in Texas, and not afraid to say what I think about that attitude, there’s always the chance of sudden demise. I feel about that the same was as Mikhail Baryshnikov in a recent interview, when he was asked if he was worried about Putin having him assassinated. “I’m almost 75,” he said, and shrugged. He’s had a good life, knows it, thinks saying what he thinks about Russia attacking Ukraine and possibly the Baltic nations is important enough for the risk. I feel the same way about the Texas GOP (and Russia, but I stomp on the nearest scorpions first. In the case of the human ones, verbally.)

  10. Very excited to hear that the writing brain is working again. I need to go back and reread all the Paks books in order to prepare for the WIP.

    1. My fingers are tangled with trying to type and also be crossed for luck that this doesn’t fizzle out like the previous attempts at full recovery. It feels different; I hope it holds together when someone other than me reads it.

  11. And now at 30,500. Productive morning. More to come today.

    Wheeeeeee! Road trip through Aarenis! Another (late in the book) into Tsaia! Need to stop now, exercise a bit, eat lunch, take a nap to rest hands, neck, shoulders, back.

  12. I’m just as excited about a new Paksworld book as the others.
    In addition to many rereads of the canon each year, I also like to read again and again the Paksworld short stories published in various anthologies. Specifically, “Mercenary’s Honor” [Aliam Halveric] in OPERATION ARCANA, and “First Blood” [Luden Fall] in SHATTERED SHIELDS. I’ve often wondered how Luden Fall’s life turned out.

  13. Excellent news! I agree that your agent gave a good suggestion. Your happiness is shining. It’s not only good news for Paksworld fans, but also for Ky fans.

    When you are happy, I think your super imagination is able to run wild and free, just like your horses. Before long, I believe that you may also overcome any obstacles in Ky’s universe, with minimum effort? Similar to Archimedes‘ Eureka moment, when he was happy and relaxed.

    1. When the writing goes well, I’m happier. It’s a balancer, in a way. For the years I was dealing with the most difficult developmental periods of an autistic kid, the writing kept me going, kept me able to come up with new ideas for him (as well as whatever book was current…

  14. sending wishes that today is a great day for you. Thanks for the info on the Arcolin family. I’m holding out hope that Dorrin and Paks show up for a visit to the North Marches. Be well, and keep stomping! I can’t even get my thoughts in good order to discuss all that is happening and keep on praying Revelation 22:20.

  15. I’m so glad to read that you are having productive writing again. Hopefully you will get a break in the weather to spend time with the horses that isn’t snake time. As for Scorps being harder to kill than roaches, that is terrifying. The roaches in a building I used to work in could just about carry a 220lb person (and survived multiple serious stomps by said 220lb person while I watched).

    Almost the entire Paks set is what kept me sane while bedridden a couple years ago.

  16. I just re-read all the Paks books, and had such a great longing to know how the story continued for all the characters that keeps touching me strongly. So I decided to check if there was anything happening, and landed in this thread! I am beyond happy to hear of the new stories coming Elizabeth, and to hear that the writing goes well. (I’m squealing as the fan-girl I am).
    My thoughts also goes to your country, I’m watching from Europe with mixed hope and fear.
    Love Jenny

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