Inquiring minds want to know

So, here’s the thing.

I have An Idea, and I need your — yes, all of you! — help.

As writers, Steve and I are fairly frequently called upon to read from our own work in front of an audience.  This is fairly often an enjoyable thing to do, and, when we have a new book out, we just start from the first page and read for our allotted time, feeling that this is Fairest.

However!  Sometimes we are called upon to read from our own work in front of an audience, and — we have no new book or story to read from.

And it has been in my mind for a while now that we should read the — or at least some of the — Favorite Passages of members of the audience.

This, however, has never proved practicable, since we don’t always have all of our books with us at conventions or on book tour.  With the advent of tablets and ereaders and other technologies, though, the thing perhaps becomes doable.

And here’s the part where I need your help.

If you could ask Steve, or me, or us to read ONE favorite scene from one of our novels or stories. . .

What would it be?

Be as specific as possible — page numbers and edition with a short description of the scene will be best, I think — and remember!  Only ONE.

Choose well.

Let the games begin.

22 thoughts on “Inquiring minds want to know”

  1. Plan B,where the Scout and Explorer meet again, and explain what happened after they met. Or in I Dare, when Pat Rin jumps his ship back into Surebleak space, and pulls the Ace out before dropping the Korval Motto and killing his first ship. Oh man, there are so many moments. Should i keep going?

  2. I use the scene to teach beginnings. It’s the first scene in Agent of Change…and the best first line I’ve ever read: “The man who was not Terrence O’Grady came quietly.”

  3. From “I Dare,” the sequence at the top of p. 354 of the Ace Books MMPB published in 2003. Miri is in Solcintra and looks out over Dragon’s Valley from the last hill:

    Funny, how familiar it was: the gravity, the taste of the air, the smell of the grass, the green-tinged sky, the warmth of the sunlight against her hair — all of it said, “Welcome home.”

    Of course, this wasn’t her home — not even close.The feeling of welcoming familiarity came straight from Val Con, just like the “memory” of the path she was walking to Jelaza Kazone, and the access codes tingling in the tips of her fingers.

  4. what about one of the collected short stories.
    You could perhaps read a complete story in one presentation.
    Tinsori Lights would be perfect for a Halloween reading.

  5. Carpe Diem,O_o my First Edition, October ’89. Page 189, chapter heading “Vandar” through page 197, “Dutiful Passage”.

    What will you give for the establishment and explanation of the Lifemate Bond, and the delivery to Priscilla?

  6. I have several favorite passages in each of the 18 published novels, Sharon! I guess I need to reread them (again) with that in mind and take notes for you. That will be my very next task, looks like.

  7. I think a short story is a good idea. My favorite non Liaden story is The Cat’s Job. I would have to do some re-read all the Liaden stories to pick one of them.

  8. I, too, like the idea of hearing a complete short story read. It’s a special treat to have that completeness of The End. As to which one… how much time do you have? -is surely a consideration. But time considerations aside, Phoenix, from Loose Cannon / Liaden Unibus II, particularly the part from the receptionist on. One of the nicest things about digital texts is how they’re *searchable.*

  9. In Agent of Change, where Val Con and Miri set fire to the apartment and meet Edger for the first time.

  10. I’m rather fond of the meeting of Shan and Priscilla – where she was left behind by her ship and wanting a job on the Dutiful Passage – it’s an interesting conversation that leaves Priscilla a bit bewildered – but Shan does have that effect.

  11. Such a difficult question! My very favorite bits tend to be the significant Daav and Aelliana scenes–but then again, I will never, ever forget that first academic duel witnessed by Cantra and Jela on Landomist. That scene was quite the jaw-dropper.

  12. Well, if you’re going with a short story, I’d recommend the “Lord of the Dance.” If that’s too long, just the bit describing the dance itself.

    **OR** (this is what I went to look up)

    Now, for excerpts you cannot beat the Clan and its allies showing up in Liad orbit to call the Dept of the Interior to account.
    I DARE, Trade Paper edition:
    Top of pg 405 to end of (short) chapter at 407, then
    Bottom of pg 424 (‘”Dutiful Passage, seal your weapons.”…’) to ‘Repeat, repeat: This is a Captain’s Emergency.’ on pg 427
    Pg 428, Starting with ‘”Boss?” Cheever…’ and ending with ‘Tree-and-Dragon’ at the top pf 429.
    Pg 429, ‘The scout ships had settled…’to about 2/3rd of the way down pg 430: ‘”We subordinate our claim to Tree-and-Dragon.”‘

    It seems long but it isn’t really.

  13. Good Gawd. So many to choose from.

    1) In “Conflict of Honors”, the final confrontation between Priscilla and the second mate of her former ship (completely blanking on the name) through the trial where Gordy testifies and to the scene where there is the final balance (DeaGauss, Mina, Shan, Gordy, and Priscilla confronting the Liaden trader and his father).

    2) “Scout’s Progress” – Towards the end of the book where Aelianna is locked into the learning module by Ran Eld, escapes, is sought by Daav, and then the scene where they meet at Healer’s Hall. Gets me every damn time.

    3) “Balance of Trade” – The start of the book where Jethri is apprenticed into Clan Ixin.

  14. There are so many wonderful suggestions –
    Personally, some of the short stories would make great public readings. If that is the case, I love “Intelligent Design”, and second the motion for “Lord of the Dance.”
    I also love the party scene in “I Dare” – from Day 376 – from “They received twenty, in the final count” til the end of the chapter, as I perceived that as when the other bosses took ownership of the possibility for a unified planet These all might be a bit long, though.

  15. First off, forgive me that I only have the Kindle version of the book. That said, one of my favorite passages is in Scout’s Progress chapter 29. It is when Aelliana and Daav take the med tech and his equipment to Outyard five and uses the tidal effect to shave seven point three minutes off of the lift.

  16. I have all your books loaded on my phone, so this is not an issue for me. While I have hardcopy and ebook versions of most, the thing I like best about ebooks is never being trapped in a situation where I don’t have a book I like to read (I’m thinking of one trans-country flight with no good book which was hell).

    Besides, ebooks are searchable – to find your readers favorite bits.

    Okay – I admit it – I have all of Wen Spencer’s books on my phone too.

  17. Seriously, too many to mention, but the Shan conversations, one with Val con and his aunt. An explanation of necessity. Val con and miri meeting her team. The subtleties, the language, the wit. Overload. Maybe randomly spin through the kindle and have at it? For those of us playing at home, I’d love to see video!

  18. Oh, so many choices! I do favor the short stories for audiences who may not be well acquainted with the Liadens. In a way, I fear, the same problem occurs with “Lord of the Dance” – truly one of my favorites, but only because I already know all the people involved. As a more self-contained short story, how about “Balance of Trade” from the first Constellation, or from the novel?

  19. Don’t know how long a reading usually is. I find the Prologue (first chapter) to Dragon in Exile an exquisite miniature example of your writing … building suspense, revealing characters, and summarizing events (Val Con sneaking his daughter from the nursery when he can’t sleep, referencing out of the ordinary family sense of humor in response to Lizzie’s sleeping chuckle, apologizing for heritage being passed to her) and think it works for both long time fans and potential new readers.

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