Posted: March 29th, 2012 under Limits of Power, Marketing.
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Book IV now has a title:  Limits of Power.    That’s the US title; I’m hoping that my UK Editor will go with that as well, since books with different titles in the two markets cause problems…no matter how often I say that N1 is the same book as N2, someone will buy the other one thinking they’re getting a different book and then be angry.

In other news, there’s some disturbing stuff going on that we’re not ready to talk about, but which will result in gaps in posting.   Sometimes life just sucks in various ways, several of them simultaneous.


  • Comment by Naomi — March 29, 2012 @ 7:00 am


    Know what you mean, am fed up with reaching bottom only to find out it’s a false floor… courage, Elizabeth, and like the new title!

  • Comment by Dave Ring — March 29, 2012 @ 10:16 am


    Sorry to hear you have troubles. I’ll be praying for you and your family.

    Unsure as I am about matters of faith, I continue to do well (with my Parkinson’s) since I asked for prayers from this community last spring. Shortly thereafter, I tried an additional medication (amantadine) that has been (in my case) highly effective and well-tolerated. Thanks once more to those who prayed for me. You’ve made a dent in my skepticism. Let’s hope our prayers and good wishes will help Elizabeth.

    I also like the new title.

  • Comment by Karen H — March 29, 2012 @ 10:44 am


    My good wishes and prayers to you, also.
    I like the title, too.

  • Comment by Jenn — March 29, 2012 @ 10:48 am


    I love the title and how apropos for both the story and life! After all only one wields unlimited cosmic power and the rest of us are just pretenders to the throne. (as life’s suckiness tends to remind us) I add my prayers and blessings to you and am thankful that after 3 1/2 years my own life’s suckiness seems to be resolving for a time.

    Don’t worry about the gaps in blogs. We have Richard and Iphinome to keep us entertained with “Paks the Musical” (found in various places through out the blog most recently in the spoiler space). And if we’re good Daniel Glover (like clover) will keep us intrigued with bits of interesting speculations.

  • Comment by Annabel (Mrs Redboots) — March 29, 2012 @ 1:25 pm


    Limits of Power sounds good, but I’m really sorry to learn that there is Narsty Stuff going on for you. Hope it is less nasty than feared, and that it clears up soon.

    Fairly bad stuff going on here, too – I will remember you in my prayers, and trust you will return the compliment!

  • Comment by Wickersham's Conscience — March 29, 2012 @ 10:04 pm


    Sorry about the troubles, Elizabeth. Sometimes the karma wheel goes where you want, with just a touch of the hand; other times it rolls over you no matter what you do. Good luck. And good title.

  • Comment by Moira — March 29, 2012 @ 11:10 pm


    Elizabeth, sorry to hear about scorpions and other woes. Keep yer chin up, and as always, nil illegitimus carborundum.

    Great title!

    And as said above, for goodness sake don’t worry about us – look after you & yours.

  • Comment by ellen — March 30, 2012 @ 1:14 am


    We’ll also keep you in our prayers, hope things will get better soon

  • Comment by Sharidann — March 30, 2012 @ 1:49 am


    Limits of power sounds good,

    I hope the other issues will get better soon.

    I am not someone who prays, but you and yours shall be in my thoughts.

  • Comment by Richard — March 30, 2012 @ 3:17 am


    Elizabeth, take all the time you need.

    Thank you Jenn. Anyone else who’d like to join in, it doesn’t have to be G&S if you’ve your own favorite.

  • Comment by Iphinome — March 30, 2012 @ 4:44 am


    Lady, may whatever is wrong be made well soon.

  • Comment by Gareth — March 30, 2012 @ 5:48 am


    Like the title – really hope the UK editor agrees. I’ve been bitten by changed titles several times – (live in UK but travel to US a lot) and it has always seemed unnecessary.

    Hope and pray your issues are quickly resolved. Sometimes life isn’t smooth sailing and you have to weather a storm or two.


  • Comment by SnowGator — March 30, 2012 @ 6:04 am


    There once was a writer of Paks,
    Who found it hard to relax.
    Despite scorpion stings
    And “Other Things”
    Book V must stay on the tracks!

  • Comment by Daniel Glover — March 30, 2012 @ 6:52 am



    Thanks for the title update. It fits the series and sounds intriguing for where things have been held in suspension for the moment. I’ll start hounding my local B&N to get them thinking about carrying it.

    Sorry to hear about “things”. Had been wondering since we hadn’t heard much lately. It’s Easter (for those not on the Gregorian calendar) next week so let’s hope for quick rebirth for all the ills going around.

    Write (book first, here second (third?)) when you have opportunity. We’ll keep ourselves amused somehow with pithy verses and stuff.

  • Comment by Jenn — March 30, 2012 @ 7:30 am


    OOh! Let the limericks begin!
    (but don’t stop the musical!)

    A nasty spider happened to fall
    Down Kieri’s back it did crawl
    in a dark nasty space
    with a skull out of place
    But Kieri made it back through the wall

  • Comment by MaryElmore — March 30, 2012 @ 11:57 am


    Will be praying for you and yours.
    Prayer is a powerful thing and will help you through your trials and tribulations.

  • Comment by Kip Colegrove — March 30, 2012 @ 6:29 pm


    May the “disturbing stuff” ease soon. Prayers for you and your household.

    Yes, a good title.

  • Comment by Joan Hardy — March 30, 2012 @ 7:11 pm


    Elizabeth, Every day, we have to play the best game with the hand we have been dealt. I have confidence in you and your family. Best wishes.

  • Comment by Linda — March 30, 2012 @ 8:19 pm


    Your books get me through hard times because I am heartened by characters who are committed to “good”, who cherish wisdom, and who face life’s difficulties squarely. Their stories and your blog(s) make clear that their author is as worthy as her creations.

    I will pray for the best of outcomes, strength, and peace for you and those you hold dear.

  • Comment by Mollie Marshall — March 31, 2012 @ 4:00 am


    Good title.
    I hope that by the time I get back after a fortnight away from civilization you will have better news for us all.
    And I’ll look forward to catching up on all the G&S take-offs from Richard et al.
    Best wishes for Easter.

  • Comment by din — March 31, 2012 @ 6:00 am


    different titles are a hassle. I remember asking for ‘moving target’, but they passed over ‘marque and reprisal’.

    ‘limits of power’ isnt a happy title. It sounds as if kings (and their kingdoms) are going to suffer a terrible disaster which they can see coming, but cannot avoid. So they want to do down path A, but they end up on path B. Path B isnt a path that was unexpected (like knowing what would happens when Paks visits), but its a path they knew was possible, recoiled in fear at whats involved, and desperately wanted to go down path A. But they failed.

    It doesnt sound like a happy book at all.

  • Comment by Jenn — March 31, 2012 @ 7:38 am


    Congrats on the socks! Have you thought about colour changes next?

  • Comment by Jonathan Schor — March 31, 2012 @ 9:55 am


    We will be thinking of you – hope your situation improves.

    Limits of Power – you just have to put in a bigger fuse box if the lights keep blinking.

  • Comment by Kathleen — March 31, 2012 @ 9:55 am


    I’ll ditto the comments on the title. Seems like a good fit all around.

    Good look with the other troubles.

  • Comment by Elizabeth D. — March 31, 2012 @ 8:25 pm


    I pray that things improve for you. I’ll be thinking of you.

    In Lent, after avoiding meat, some people start acting bloodthirsty, and love to start arguments, which are silly because they know better, that the whole point is that there is grace beyond the void; not necessarily that things are completely better, but a little less stressful.

    I hope the difficulties are more on the order of getting choir music ready than anything else. (My sister, who is a choir director, returned from a gig and realized that she hadn’t double-checked all the Paschal music, and needed an immediate meeting with clergy and others.)

    I hope the title sticks, so much better than “unlimited power” for all concerned. Sure it’s a scary title, but I can remember lectures about Paladins in the Deed that they have limits too, and if everybody is going to work together, they must realize this. I hope Book V gives no more snags, and is as easy as hanging out the clothes (as long as a black bird doesn’t come down and bite off a character’s nose).

  • Comment by pjm — March 31, 2012 @ 11:34 pm


    din –

    “See how the fates their gifts allot
    A is happy, B is not”

  • Comment by pjm — April 1, 2012 @ 6:12 am


    Elizabeth, I am sorry to learn of your problems, and will hold you in my prayers.


  • Comment by Jenn — April 1, 2012 @ 10:51 am


    Elizabeth D,

    I sympathize with your sister. I completely forgot that the new translations would effect the Exultet! Thank God for nice pdf in public domain to get it in a pinch!

  • Comment by Daniel Glover — April 1, 2012 @ 1:03 pm


    I guess I’m reading it as limits to the “bad guys” powers. It could be a title for “good”. It all depends.

  • Comment by Karen H. — April 1, 2012 @ 1:42 pm


    Elizabeth, I’m new here. My son had me read The Deed, and I was hooked. I want to let you know that I hope that the stuff that you are dealing with gets better soon.

    Thanks for all the good reads. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  • Comment by Richard — April 1, 2012 @ 2:45 pm


    #26: nice one Peter. Really neat comment on #21

  • Comment by Jenn — April 3, 2012 @ 7:24 am


    Hiaku anyone?

    The birthright restored
    to a child disinherited
    its work just begun.

    or if your so inclined the older tanka (5,7,5,7,7)

    Set upon her brow
    The High Lord’s Silver Circle
    She follows his will

    Sheepfarmer’s Daughter without
    Her sword overcomes Darkness.

  • Comment by elizabeth — April 3, 2012 @ 8:27 am


    Jenn: I didn’t know about the tanka. Haven’t written haiku in years but I like yours. (Isn’t there supposed to be a word or phrase to name the season in there too? Or is that now optional?)

  • Comment by Genko — April 3, 2012 @ 9:15 am


    Haiku appears in many different forms these days. Traditionally there was indeed something about a season or time of day to make it immediate. These days, many people think of it as simply a 3-line poem. And some do the number of syllables, and there are a few variations on that.

  • Comment by Moira — April 3, 2012 @ 1:38 pm


    I thought the haiku was strictly 5-7-5 syllables? But I didn’t know about the season / time bit – good to know! Nor did I know about the tanka.

    Western ignorance,
    transformed today to knowledge –
    Happy day, indeed!


    Not that I suddenly think I know all there is to know about haiku, but at least I know more than 5 minutes ago. It’s all good.

  • Comment by Rolv — April 4, 2012 @ 4:30 am


    you are in our thoughts and prayers.
    Wishing you and your famliy a blessed Slinet week and Easter.

  • Comment by Ginny W. — April 4, 2012 @ 5:17 am


    “Limits of Power” seems to break the symmetry of the sequence? Oath of Fealty and Echos of Betrayal have a mirror relationship (also present in the books) that help tie the series together. I would expect something more along the lines of “Rulers/Merchants/?? of the South” that would reflect “Kings of the North”. (Of course you know the story, and I can only guess).

    I am looking forward to the book, whatever the title.

  • Comment by Jenn — April 4, 2012 @ 6:51 am


    Thanks for lesson in Haiku. I confess my knowledge came from 6th grade social studies class on Japan and the only thing I retained was the syllabic count. Time will certainly add a challenge. Of course I could always claim my haiku to be timeless.

  • Comment by elizabeth — April 4, 2012 @ 6:52 am


    I submitted a number of titles, some of which I thought were more resonant with the book, but this is what the publisher’s team chose for the usual reasons–not too close to another title they’d already selected, or a well-known book it might be confused with, and their feeling that it was a strong, salable title.

  • Comment by Nigel — April 4, 2012 @ 10:17 am


    Hope that its not anything serious that your keeping to yourself.

    As to the book – Amazon UK is letting people now sign up to it and will let you know when its available. Claims to be 512 pages so will be another great read.


  • Comment by elizabeth — April 4, 2012 @ 11:20 am


    Nigel: Amazon UK is nuts. The ms. is still with US editor, hasn’t had revisions or copy-editing yet…so how do they know how long it is? (In its present form–a Word document formatted for submission–it’s 859 pages and 170,830 words. What that means in published terms depends on things like book design, format, font size, margins, etc. More importantly, Editor may insist on cuts or additions, and book design may vary.)

  • Comment by SnowGator — April 4, 2012 @ 3:38 pm


    170,830 words — isn’t that longer than the previous ones, or am I misremembering?

    I was almost through withdrawal from Echoes (read Sassinak for first time and then another trilogy)… only 10 months to go /sigh

    I should probably go re-read Surrender None, and maybe Liar’s Oath, it has been 15+ years and I probably don’t remember them as clearly as I should.

  • Comment by Genko — April 4, 2012 @ 7:14 pm


    Yes, I was surprised about Amazon.uk — maybe that’s good news — they think it will sell and want to get in their bid early. But from what you said, I had the same reaction. Way too soon to tell number of pages.

    @SnowGator — yes I recently reread SN and LO, and it was pretty interesting. Lots that I had forgotten, and quite a bit that is helpful for understanding what’s going on “now.”

  • Comment by elizabeth — April 4, 2012 @ 10:58 pm


    This is the before-Editor’s edits version. I think Oath was a little longer, and either Kings or Echoes was shorter. None of them are what you would call short novels. I can write shorter in SF than in fantasy, because fantasy has other layers to build in.

  • Comment by Ed Schoenfeld — April 4, 2012 @ 11:57 pm


    Sorry to hear you are encountering vicissitudes. My thoughts are with you.

    I think ‘Limits of Power’ is a fine title, and the pattern from the previous books can still work — If volumes 1 and 3 reverse keywords (Oath to Betrayal) it seems more than ok for volumes 2 and 4 to maintain the same theme (Kings and Power). Volume 5 could bring the two patterns together, like the final movement of a symphony: something like ‘Promise of Royalty’ (Promise reversing from ‘betrayal’ and Royalty maintaining the theme of ‘power’).


  • Comment by Jon Smock — April 6, 2012 @ 3:41 pm


    I guess I will be the crass one and ask, will it be another 10 months before release date? I am already going through withdrawels bad. I always re-read the entire series from begining to end, and time the completion to the release date of the new one.
    I actually just discovered the “Those who walk in darkness” short story and devoured it.
    Anyway, cant wait, Looking for the original Paks books in hard bound, I wear them out pretty fast.
    Hope all is well with you and your family, i check your blog daily to see if your OK.

    Thanks for the best series i have read to date.

  • Comment by elizabeth — April 6, 2012 @ 6:42 pm


    Jon: I do not yet have a release date for the next book because the editor has not yet read the next book, so I don’t know when it will go to production. I cannot write any faster than I’m writing now, and that means one book a year. So no matter how long it is after I turn it in before they release it, you would still have to wait a year for me to finish another one. I realize this is tough when you want it right this minute, but…impossible. There are faster writers. There are slower writers. My speed is one per year and I’m pushing hard to get that done.

    The original Paks books were never published in hardcover except very briefly by Baen as a promotional thing years after the big trade paperback omnibus came out. Oh, and the first volume (but none others) had an Easton Press leatherbound edition, also years after the books first came out. I;d love to see them published as a boxed set in hardcover, but I don’t see that happening. Alas.

  • Comment by susan — April 7, 2012 @ 5:43 am


    keep writing, revising and editing until you’re happy. yes i want the new book yesterday,but i also want it to be brill. not an overlong, flabby one, like some established authors produce.

  • Comment by Iphinome — April 7, 2012 @ 5:49 am


    I always thought that was odd. Can get a hardcover Once a Hero but not Sheepfarmer’s Daughter even though Baen prints both.

  • Comment by elizabeth — April 7, 2012 @ 8:12 am


    Iphinome: Timing is everything. Sheepfarmer’s Daughter was the first book published by an unknown writer, first of three sold in one fell swoop. So all three came out in mass-market pb format. Cheaper to produce, common for first books (and first several books.) At that time, even Baen’s bestsellers were coming out in mmpb–they weren’t doing hardcovers at all. Baen put out the trade pb omnibus after my second McCaffrey collaboration (Generation Warriors, the one misprinted initially on the title page as being by Anne with Jody) when my other books had done well–it was one of their first trade-paper format books, IIRC, and proved very successful.

    Once a Hero was 4th in an increasingly successful series, after Baen had begun doing some hardcovers for successful writers. So it got a hardcover version–the difference between being someone’s first book, and someone’s more-than-tenth book, as well as a change in Baen’s publishing methods. For a publisher, moving from all mmpb to trade or hardcover (or both, as Baen now handles them) is a financial risk. I used to know some of the actual numbers involved; now I don’t, but I do know that moving from mmpb to larger format means more cost and (often) less sell-through. Trade and hardcovers are more expensive to make, and more expensive to ship (weigh more, need bigger boxes for same number of copies.) My last five books with Baen all came out in hardcover first (the four, starting with Once a Hero in the Serrano/Suiza group, and Remnant Population…which pretty much tanked in hardcover.

    Baen didn’t see a reason to go back and publish the first three Paks books separately in hardcover, as a) they were still selling moderately in mmpb, and b) they had offered the public the trade paper omnibus, which sold very well. The middle book had never sold as well as the first and third, but in the omnibus it wasn’t a problem. They tried a hardcover of that, but it didn’t do well enough to keep going.

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