In which life is interesting


Yes, yes, there will be another Liaden Universe® novel.  Actually, there will be. . . *looks at projects list*. . .six.  Six more Liaden Universe® novels.


Accepting the Lance is due to be turned in to Baen in January.  It is in the publishing schedule for the end of 2019. 

After Lance is submitted, Steve and I will be taking a couple months “off,” as the saying goes, and then starting the next book.  Which will be a Liaden Universe® novel.  No, we don’t know what it will be about.  No, we are not out of ideas for Liaden Universe® novels.  Thank you.

Work on Lance continues to go in a forwarder direction.  I am reading the manuscript now; should finish today.  Looks like I have some bridge-building in my immediate future, which wasn’t entirely unexpected.

In Real Life news, for those who follow along, on the day before Thanksgiving my sister went in to the hospital with what looked like a stroke.  Despite tests, medical science could not find what had caused this episode, so she was sent home. 

She was readmitted to the hospital less than a week later with a “massive infection,” was given every antibiotic known to science, and daily dialysis. She went into cardiac arrest late on December 7 and died in the early hours of December 8. 

I am behind on answering email.  I will, I promise, get to yours soon, but there are things in queue ahead.

I think that gets us caught up.  All of you who celebrate winter holidays — be joyous.  We here at the Cat Farm and Confusion Factory give a nod to Yule; and a modest nod at that, since we’re usually on deadline for a book in December.  This year, we achieved wreathes — one for the front door, one for the dining room, and a modest string of lights for each.  Serendipitously, a friend sent us a turtle ornament, so now we have a Great A’Tuin Wreath.  Which pleases me.



Observations on the retreating horizon of Success

So, a couple weeks ago, I read an article addressing the ever-fascinating topic of how to rise above the crowd of voices in SF/F, how to become  A Success, defined for the purposes of the article as an internationally recognized winner of awards and rich beyond your wildest dreams of avarice.

Followed a list of five-ish Things To Do, at least three of which we — by which I mean Steve Miller and Sharon Lee — had, so far as we know, invented.  At the very least, we were very early adopters.

I showed the article to Steve, and he nodded and said, “Yep, yeah; do all that.”

“I know we do all that,” I said.  “What I want to know is why we’re not A Success.”

And Steve lifted his index finger and pointed at the ceiling.

“Roof,” he said.  “Over head.”

Which, yanno, is fair enough, and a Good Reminder that Success is a moving target; it’s always ahead of you, and — pro tip! — you will never catch it.

Back when I was a baby writer, I thought success was selling a short story and seeing it published in a professional magazine.  And, in 1980, I hit Success dead-center.  I sold and saw published “A Matter of Ceremony,” to Amazing Stories.

Only. . .to really be A Success, I had to sell two more short stories to professional venues, so that I’d qualify for membership in the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, and be recognized as A Pro.

Well, I hit that Success, too, and then, it turned out that, to be a Solid Success and a Real Pro, one needed — absolutely needed — to write and sell a novel. Anyone can write short stories, after all.

. . .And we did that.  Then, we wrote and sold more novels, because anybody can write one novel, and to be A Success one needed a Body of Work.

And, then of course, to be A Real Success, instead of a tawdry wannabe success, one had to win awards!

. . .and. . .one had to teach!

. . .and. . .be important in the media!

. . .and. . .be Guests of Honor at science fiction conventions!  No, wait — at WorldCon!

. . .and. . .there’s Success, always ahead, dancing and laughing, and taunting.

So, the point of this — I really do have a point — is that Success — by which I mean Third-Party Success, envisioned by Someone Out There, and built according to their rules — is a mug’s game.  Worse, trying to catch Success opens you to the corrosive effects of envy, and self-dissatisfaction, which will leach happiness from your life, and joy from your relationships.

You’re better off — oh, so very much better off — setting your own goals, and celebrating each one that you achieve, without reference to what Other People are achieving, or what you “ought” to be achieving in order to be a “Real Success.”

This world is full of ways to make you unhappy and desperate (Once upon a time, an acquaintance said to me at a party, “So, I hear you have a new book out!”  “Yes,” I said excitedly.  “Have you read it?”  “No offense,” he answered, sipping his wine, “but I don’t have time to read good books.”).  Your job is to visualize your own happiness and success — and work toward those goals, joyously.

It’s not easy — nothing in this life is easy — but it’s worth the effort, in ways that chasing Success will never be.

. . .and now?

I need to clean the cat fountain — I keep cats because I enjoy the company of cats, and they make my life better, and they really prefer to have running water — and then I need to get to work.

See you on the flipside.