Home (with News & Questions)

Posted: September 3rd, 2013 under Conventions, Life beyond writing, Reader Help, the writing life.
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I’m back from WorldCon.  I do have an iPad now, although I never got a chance to sit around downstairs where the free wi-fi was to learn how best to use it, because I was raging busy and also my neck was giving me fits–so carrying any more weight in the tote bag was not going to happen.   I have the iPad, and a padded case with a keyboard for it.  Yay!  (Eventually, when I learn to use it, right?)

Very, very busy convention,  and tiring with the size of the convention center and the heat outside and my schedule.  However,  met a lot of neat people, plenty of people wanted me to sign their books (always an ego-boost) and all I lost on the trip was my really good Knit-Picks needle gauge, which I will have to replace pronto.

Item & Question #1:   I found a dealer who makes coins for fantasy worlds, at present mostly for George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones, but also for Pat Rothfuss and others.   I think it would be great to have some Paksworld coins.   I talked to Tom Maringer about that, and he seems somewhat interested, but he wasn’t familiar with me or with the Paksenarrion books.   So the question is:  would any of you actually buy such things if you found them at a convention? Do you collect items associated with your favorite books?

Item & Question #2:   After last year and this year searching for the right artist to do some artwork for the Paksworld website (and maybe also an SF website or the SF pages of my main website)  I found some pencil and pen & ink work I really liked, and talked to Richard Hescox.  Most of the work you find at his website is paintings, but there’s a little of his pen & ink work for GRRM’s “A Clash of Kings” under that heading.  I saw more, and pencil sketches, at the show.   We’re going to communicate about this now that WorldCon’s over.  Meanwhile…do you collect artwork associated with your favorite books?  I know a lot of people buy cover art, or prints of it, but would you want small prints of character sketches or action scenes?   Eventually I do plan to make prints of the master map, possibly after coloring it and adding other details (it would be sort of poster-sized.)

Item #3:   Editor gave a strong hint that they’d like me to go back to SF-military space adventure next.   How hungry are you for more Paksworld?   I know I have people begging for more Vatta’s War and even more of the Serrano/Suiza universe, but I also know you have been faithful followers of Paksworld through the long drought.   If it’s possible, how would you feel about alternating years, if that’s what needs to happen?    I’m not willing to stay away from Paksworld for another 20 years (for one thing, do I even have another 20 years??)   I may, however, need a break from the very long Paksworld books, and a single SF book (they’re shorter) might be that break.



  • Comment by Stephen Marsh (Ethesis) — September 7, 2013 @ 1:20 pm


    “If it’s possible, how would you feel about alternating years, if that’s what needs to happen?”

    More than supportive. Would wish you well.

    “Coins” — ok, I bought the Schlock Mercenary ones, especially the “not my monkey, not my circus” coin. Not sure I’d buy others.

    “Art” I have bought and framed some. Frames cost more than art, often. Not a general thing I purchase though.

  • Comment by greycats — September 7, 2013 @ 3:35 pm


    I read my first sci-fi novel around 1955 and I’ve never looked back. In all that time I’ve kept only one item that was not a book of some kind: a CD upon which the author records a whole series of maps (bunched together for easy comparison) along with lots of illustrations some of which included short bits of identifying information.

    Very little new information wound up on the CD. However, having all the maps along with lists of and descriptions of weapons in one place instead of scattered throughout a long series of books is very helpful to a dedicated reader.

    Having those maps on the CD or DVD as separate files would have been even better, however. One could open more than one map at a time or open a single map and expand it considerably. (Of course, paper maps on a table accomplish the same thing.)

    I’m not particularly fond of maps as objects. However, having a map at the beginning of a novel provides a fine and welcome introduction. A person is well into the tale before the first event occurs, the first word spoken. Collecting more of them as the writer illuminates more of the world about which she writes is even more fun.

    So I vote for maps, if we’re to have extras.

    As for which world, I’m happy with any of yours.


  • Comment by Jean Collins — September 7, 2013 @ 5:13 pm


    I’m unlikely to buy either coins or artworks and would love to see more Paksworld and Suiza/Serrano stories. — or something else entirely?
    I’ve bought the Vatta books but for some reason that universe appeals to me least — not sure why. But the others are in my keeper pile!

  • Comment by Katrina — September 7, 2013 @ 5:24 pm


    I don’t collect much of anything other than books but artwork might interest me.

    Pakworld is my favorite but I’ll read anything you choose to write. I think the best stories are usually the ones the author wants to write, not the ones the editor or the readers demand.

  • Comment by cgbookcat1 — September 7, 2013 @ 8:34 pm


    Like many above, I try not to collect anything besides books due to financial and space constraints. I would love to see coins and artwork, but am unlikely to buy them.

    I will buy and read anything you’ve written. What is your writer-brain pushing you toward?

  • Comment by Gretchen Semler — September 7, 2013 @ 9:17 pm


    1) I would buy Paksworld coinage. I expect I’d buy two sets – one for keeping on the shelf and one for making into an artfully arranged necklace.

    2) I would probably not buy poster art or other art bits. My wallspace already has to be de-cluttered from too many portraits and such.

    3) Write anything you wish! One book per year is a relatively prodigious rate of writing – and I love all your works. I have a preference for more Paksworld, but I will happily buy, read, and re-read (and recommend!) anything you write. 🙂

  • Comment by Sherri C — September 7, 2013 @ 11:47 pm


    1. Coins, yes, as long as they are quality – they are small and don’t take up much room. 2. A book of artwork, perhaps… 3. I like Heris, and Paks world… so both are acceptable, but I lean towards Paks’ world… but, if the price of more Paks is more sci-fi, fine.

  • Comment by Moira — September 8, 2013 @ 1:23 am


    I’m an idiot… Classic tyop in my previous post: I of course meant “horses & husband” not “horse & husbands.”

    Mea culpa. And ROFL at myself!

  • Comment by Roberta — September 8, 2013 @ 11:35 am


    To be honest,coins as collectibles are not something I personally am interested in.

    However, I would love the artwork. When Anne McCaffrey and Robin Wood got together and did the People of Pern and then her atlas with Ms Wynstad I bought both and treasure them. Doing that for Paksworld would be absolutely fantastic!!! I would also purchase artwork online or on T-shirts, or carry bags.

    Well, if your publisher wants a sci-fi book pick your favorite and work on that then rotate to paksworld when the muse drives you.

  • Comment by Nadine Barter Bowlus — September 8, 2013 @ 7:57 pm


    I’m at the point in my life where I’m stuffed with stuff.
    I bought a companion book for Pern, would likely do the same for Paksworld. (Books are by definition “not stuff”).
    By all means, alternate in a way that is comfortable for you, living your life first and feeding your fans after that.

  • Comment by Catmadknitter — September 8, 2013 @ 8:43 pm


    1&2 depends on the art. if its good enough I may send off for it.

    3 I have a history of gleefully reading all your work. I would far rather you write what you want with your wonderful characters and thought process than have you force something that could suffer due to the forcing process.

  • Comment by Kip Colegrove — September 9, 2013 @ 3:19 pm


    I might be persuaded to jingle a nas or a niti or two in my pocket.

    I’ve been rereading Once a Hero, which has made me appreciate all over again what a splendid piece of work it is. So no complaints from me if you want to bring the sf field back under cultivation; I think of it as fallow, not abandoned.

  • Comment by Catmadknitter — September 9, 2013 @ 6:29 pm


    Btw, you mentioned you lost your needle gauge. May I recommend these?


  • Comment by elizabeth — September 9, 2013 @ 7:57 pm


    Catmadknitter: Those are clever and attractive, but I really, really liked my Knitpicks one because of the magnifier for counting stitches and the ruler on one side–it means I didn’t need to carry a tape measure (and they always unroll and tangle just when I don’t want them to.) I used those functions much more than the needle gauge. I just need to get back down to the county seat where I know the store carries them.

  • Comment by Dawn Roseberry — September 10, 2013 @ 7:40 am


    The only thing I collect are the books. I have to buy a 3rd copy of The Deed of Paks because I’ve ruined the spines of the first two copies (I reread The Deed of Paks more often than I reread The Hobbit and LoTR). I am starved for more Paksworld, yet would really like to see you tackle a subject like a heroine who is not a heroine…a 40-something, overweight, book smart, clumsy, never-going-to-punch-someone’s-lights-out heroine. Place said heroine in her worst nightmare (surrounded by bohunks, guns, ammo, but a dearth of books) and have her save the universe without losing weight or brain cells. No romance required.

  • Comment by Kerry aka Trouble — September 10, 2013 @ 8:27 am


    Catching back up on blog reading (that’s my excuse for being late to the party, and I’m sticking to it) – it was wonderful seeing you again!

    I would collect artwork and/or maps; coins, not so much. Hescox is a very good artist, so I hope you two can agree on something for Paksworld (or any of your worlds, for that matter).

    I was thinking about your comment to me at the end of the con and I think I’m going to order some ribbons that say, “not JUST a minion” *grin*

  • Comment by Richard — September 10, 2013 @ 9:31 am


    Elizabeth, while you were at WorldCon getting your new iPad, I went away for a weekend (the one before last now) and came home to computer (desktop) with a sick hard drive, and very soon a deceased one. It would read, but not write – and the first failure was in writing away the Windows settings when I’d shut down, so I got home to a system with file, essential to start-up, “missing or corrupt”. I’m only now back online from a new machine and am learning the delights of Windows 7.

    (I could have walked into a store and bought one with Windows 8, but thought it better to find someone who’d give me the not quite so new version.)

    On to the topic at hand – I’d be unlikely to come across the coins even should some make it to the UK, and unlikely to buy any if I did. Artwork – again, I’ve never collected any; if both interesting in itself and a convincing interpretation I might just be tempted by a calendar.

    I hope editor isn’t hinting that the five Paladin’s Legacy books in five years was a bit too much of a scramble for comfort. If Kings were last year’s book, and Echoes going to be next year’s, with Crown not until 2018 – aargh!

  • Comment by elizabeth — September 10, 2013 @ 10:47 am


    Richard: ARGH on the computer problems. SO sorry.

    Kerry: Yes, do get those ribbons made, but also still use the ones that say “I found trouble.”

    Dawn: I have to write the books that demand to be be written by me. Agree that your suggestion might make a great book I’d want to read, but I don’t think I’m the right writer for it because it’s not talking to me. You might be. Give it a try.

    Catmadknitter: Guess what I found in the middle pocket of the red backpack. Yup, the needle gauge. I remember thinking at one point in the hotel room, “I’m not getting knitting done at this convention, as I did in Chicago, and the thing most likely to get lost is the needle gauge–I should put it somewhere it will come home with me. The tote wasn’t it–I was using my knitting tote as my carryall for things going back and forth between convention center and hotel. The project bags were obvious; I wouldn’t forget those. So apparently I decided to drop the needle gauge in the backpack, which I’ve now finally completely unpacked. I think.

  • Comment by Eowyn — September 10, 2013 @ 1:28 pm


    Coins – I like them and have collected them but probably won’t do a lot more of it (time/space/money). One or two if they are really nice maybe to accent other stuff I have around but iffy at best.

    Art – I would definitely look at any Paksworld art but it would have to be the art that appealed to me, not that it was Paksworld. Now, if you got a nice model of the Paladin’s horse, THAT I would buy in a heartbeat (my model horse collection is scary).

    Next books – yes, I would prefer more Paks stuff since it felt to me like the Vatta stuff was more tied up (and the Serrano). That said, I know there are hooks in both that could explode into new and interesting books. I will probably buy anything you publish (probably the first week it is out) but I find that I am more leaning towards the Fantasy than the SF right now. So, my preference would be Keep Elizabeth and the Plot Daeman and the Editor Happy. Within that structure: Paks, new SF area, Vatta, Serrano.

  • Comment by Eowyn — September 10, 2013 @ 1:30 pm


    Hopefully when you are up here for the National Book Festival you get some breathing time. Unfortunately, I am working that weekend and can’t make it to your panel.

  • Comment by Charles S — September 10, 2013 @ 9:25 pm


    Coins: not really interested, though I am sure I saw the dealer you mentioned
    Artwork:I find art shows very dangerous to my finances, but did not care for Richard Hescox style. Have you seen Julie Dillon’s work? I would buy Paksworld art…if I really liked it, but not just because it is Paksworld.

    My first choice is for Paksworld, but my wife still wants more on the Suiza/Serrano world. Isn’t it nice to be wanted?

    I think you resemble the quote from Josh Whedon: “I need spaceships or I get cranky” Gonna have to get a reprint on those ribbons….

    Do you take something on the train now to fish things out from under Amtrak seats?

  • Comment by Richard — September 11, 2013 @ 3:46 am


    Artwork would be hard to get right. “So THAT is what so-and-so looks like – why did I not realise that before” would be good. “No way does Ummph look like that” would be a killer. So would details like, “No, in that fight scene on the battlements, the gate tower should be on the other side”.

    Congrats on finding the needle gauge.

    My computer upgrade comes under the heading, in its small way, of Coping with Unexpected Change in Life. It would have nicer to have done it at a time of my own choosing, but my early impressions of Windows 7 are good (I was previously on XP). The new system is an OEM build with Open Office instead of Microsoft Word. I don’t depend on the computer for my living – unlike you, Elizabeth. Stuff I put on it myself – such as my Paksworld blog scrapbook – I had copies of safely on CD. E-mail address book and history weren’t on my hard drive to be lost but on my ISP’s servers. All I’ve lost is a few days’ “work” – or rather play – since my last back-up, and a lot of old software and other junk off the internet (but the new system will soon acquire new junk). Which just leaves some favourite old games with which the new Windows may be incompatible; but that shouldn’t be compared to losing friends. I’d sooner have Jenn back here, for example, than my old computer back.

  • Comment by GinnyW — September 11, 2013 @ 5:40 am


    Interesting take on the Windows systems. I have Windows 8 on the new laptop I bought to travel. I don’t like it, and wish I had stuck to Windows 7. Windows 8 is designed to act like a smart phone, which I have never had (or wanted).

    I miss Jenn too. The Verrakai children were asking when she would be back.

    If artwork is desired by the editors or their marketing edition, I would be interested in an illustrated edition of the Deed of Paksenarrion. Especially if it was scenes more than portraits: the child climbing up to touch the sword on the wall in the prologue; the troops at arms practice; scaling the wall at Sibili; stuff like that.

    Also, as far as new books go, I liked the scene with the guardians (discarded preface) that you put on the blog a couple of months ago. Maybe it is trying to emerge as a full blown novel (which may or may not occur in Paksworld as we know it).

  • Comment by Richard — September 11, 2013 @ 6:14 am


    I see from your comment a few days ago in http://www.paksworld.com/blog/?p=1889 (Background Assignment June 27th) that you are keeping an eye on the old topics, so you’ll have seen Elizabeth’s good news yesterday in On Being Needled – all clear on the biopsy!

  • Comment by Margaret A. Davis — September 11, 2013 @ 5:26 pm


    Sorry to see this particular set of Paksworld books end (the contract was for 5 books). But I would love for you to get back to Serrano/Suiza hard sf.

    I do enjoy anything you write.

    If Editor is suggesting more military sf would be welcome next, I liked the Vatta books but I liked the Serrano/Suiza books more & would love to read more in that hard sf universe. Then I would also enjoy reading more Paksworld books, too.

    You may have to write, say, a trilogy of hard SF then a fantasy trilogy then another hard sf trilogy, etc. I understand that you may not be able to switch off just every other year and I certainly can understand not being able to write fantasy & hard SF simultaneously. (I can’t see how ANYBODY could do that!!)

    Thanks for so many enjoyable books for lo these many years!! A grateful reader

  • Comment by pjm — September 11, 2013 @ 11:50 pm


    I hope you enjoy the iPad, then new toys are meant to be fun.

    As I have not been to any cons I would be unlikely to see coins, models, T-shirts etc, let alone buy them.

    Books of ancient history, background, etc can be interesting, but for me they need to be stories, not technical details. I do not find catalogues of space-ship sizes and armaments (to take a recent example) particularly interesting. Maps are good, but I would probably not buy a poster-sized one due to lack of wall space.

    Which world (or even a new one) – that’s up to you and Plot Daemon. Whateve grabs you is what is most likely to grab us a year or so later!

    Blessings on you whichever way you go.


  • Comment by Adam Baker — September 12, 2013 @ 6:40 am


    I dont know that I’d collect coins, or that kind of thing, like most others just got too much stuff as it is. But if I saw one that I thought looked cool, and I had the money to afford it, I’d definitely consider it.

    I’ve never collected artwork or cover art from any of the books I’ve ever ready, however, I do like maps & such. One of my favorite series related books I’ve ever found was the Atlas of Pern for the Dragonriders of Pern series. I absolutely love flipping through it and seeing the maps of the different weyrs and seeing the different holds & craft halls that were part of the series, it really helped to immerse me more into the series, since it felt like it gave me a more tangible feel of the world. If something like that were to be made, showing the different cities & towns that have played big parts in the series, and maps of the different regions, etc, I would absolutely get something like that to add to my collection.

    As for alternating years/series, I wouldn’t mind seeing that. Of your 3 series, Paksworld is by far my favorite, but the Vatta & Serrano series I like a lot too, and would absolutely read any of them w/ a great deal of pleasure. Definitely wouldnt mind seeing where Brun takes things in the Serrano galaxy.

  • Comment by Gareth — September 12, 2013 @ 7:14 am


    Whatever you write is good for me. I probably have a marginal preference for PAKS because the underlying world is deeper and more thought provoking but I have enjoyed all your books.

    Maybe a couple of SF (I think you said they come easier/quicker) to let the PAKS world mature – while you may not be actively thinking about it I’m sure the plot daemon will be running a few background tasks.

    I’m curious – is there another blog that covers the other series?

  • Comment by elizabeth — September 12, 2013 @ 8:08 am


    Gareth: No, there aren’t specific blogs for the other series, because a) when I was writing the Serrano/Suiza books, I had either no (until 1996) or limited (until I finally got a form of broadband) internet access. As soon as a local ISP appeared, I signed up (in ’96) and got my first website up at SFF.net, and began blogging on my SFF.net newsgroup. Back then, multiple blogs and project-specific blogs for writers were rare if they existed at all. Limited by dial-up to S…L…O…W upload and download (I had to break books into three or four chunks to email them to my editor when editors decided they liked email submissions) I had no time for more than newsgroup postings. I posted some things to my website directly, for awhile weekly sets of wildlife photos and more occasional essays, only some of them about writing. Facebook didn’t exist. LiveJournal had started sometime (don’t know) but I didn’t get on it until I had broadband. I used LiveJournal as a general blog, sometimes including photos, and in that venue posted about writing, including whatever I was working on at the time. However, when I started on the Paksworld books, I felt it would be wise to put up something online to let people know new Paksworld books were coming, and thus started the new Paksworld website and the blog, specifically for fans of that series. The idea was to let the existing fanbase know about what was coming, so the first book wouldn’t tank too badly. About the same time, I started two other blogs (in which I don’t post nearly often enough) with associated websites for The Speed of Dark (recommended by my agent, after I told him what I was doing with the Paks stuff) and the 80-Acres project (wildlife management.) As it turned out, despite some success the first year in keeping all three blogs, plus LJ and my SFFnet newsgroup up to reasonable speed, it just takes too much time, when I’m also writing long books, to manage all of them. It’s not just the blog posts–it’s the time taken to actively manage and interact with the communities that form. People want their comments commented on, at least sometimes. (And that’s not a complaint–NOT a complaint. It’s a reality, and an attitude I share. If you’re in a community, you want community interaction. Reasonable, desirable, and all that. I’m the same way.) And yet…I have thought of starting another blog, embedded in my main website (as the others are in theirs) to discuss the SF books (except Speed of Dark.) That would mean, of course, much less time to be present here. I don’t want to give up the community engagement here. (Anyone with a way to slip another 12-36 hours into my days without disrupting the space-time fabric of the universe is welcome to hand me the magic button!)

  • Comment by Daniel Glover — September 12, 2013 @ 2:34 pm



    I need to invest in one of them thar fancy magical/futuristic space/time continuum type thingys too. Walked in yesterday to 10+ additional hours that needed attention yesterday on top of what was already scheduled and today hasn’t been much better. It’s not just for writers. Now we just need the inventors and magicians out there to figure out how to actually do that and they’d be rich in a hurry.

  • Comment by ellen — September 13, 2013 @ 2:48 am


    @79. I was thrilled when you started the Paksworld blog and the news you were writing more Paks was exactly what I’d been waiting for. I recall I was Sleepless in the Netherlands at the time, roamng around the internet, and that news improved my mood immensely.

    And as for the time issue, my son is working on that sort of stuff.
    Whether any useful and implementable advances will be made in time to be of use for us remains to be seen, of course….heh heh heh

  • Comment by ellen — September 13, 2013 @ 2:53 am


    @80 Nah, Daniel, the inventors might be rich but we’d only fill the extra time with extra stuff so in no time at all ( pardon the pun) we’d be even busier! 😛

  • Comment by Tina Black — September 14, 2013 @ 1:05 pm


    More Paksworld books are definitely in order — as well as more Serrano-Suiza. That last book ended too abruptly — and it missed quite a lot of development.

    I think I saw you in the lobby of the hotel briefly at WorldCon. You were in a seating group with others, so I let you be.


  • Comment by Daniel Glover — September 14, 2013 @ 1:48 pm


    @Ellen (82),

    I know that–we’d be right back in the middle of a variation of the long life scenarios from Elizabeth Familias space, those that have the means to extend time vs. those that don’t. No, I really don’t want to go down that path.

  • Comment by Leo — September 14, 2013 @ 3:19 pm


    I do collect such artwork. In fact i contacted the original artist for Sheepfarmer’s Daughter and Oath of Gold and now have those two paintings hanging in my living room. Awesome paintings.

  • Comment by Caryn — September 19, 2013 @ 2:03 pm


    Alternating is good, even alternating a couple in one, a couple in the other.

    I would adore a good Paks where she’s looking at the viewer with a bit of a grin, looking encouraging as we attempt to be Paladin-ish. Horse included but not essential.

    I have embroidered patches from Barrayar and the Free Mercenaries, and various other bits of Bujold’s world, as well as from Liaden. Yes, there’s a market for things that mattered in the work. (I have Horus Eyes to wear on my collar when I’m feeling Simon-ish or (B5) Bester-ish, although that’s combining two fandoms.)

  • Comment by rkduk — September 26, 2013 @ 4:54 pm


    I don’t collect artwork, mainly because it seldom is close enough to what I see in my own head. A set of natas and nitis might warrant a casual glance-over, but not likely a purchase.

    Alternating universes sounds like a good idea; I certainly enjoy reading in all three.

  • Comment by Anna — October 7, 2013 @ 12:39 pm


    SerranoSerranoSerrano! For some reason that series pulled me in way more than the others do. And yeah, consider that the blog readership may have a slight Paks bias compared to the rest of us…

  • Comment by Bookwyrm — October 7, 2013 @ 8:02 pm


    The only thing I seriously collect is books. And if it isn’t worth re-reading, I don’t buy it — just borrow from the library.
    I first read Paks when she first appeared — umpty years ago. And loved her! I’ve re-read her many times since. (I am very character driven in my reading choices.) I have enjoyed the new Paksworld books, but they are not into my re-read territory, yet.
    I was in Half Price Books several weeks ago and found the 3 Heris books in pb and snapped them up. (For some reason, I hadn’t read them before.) Galloped through them in about 5 days and then scrounged out the Vatta’s War ones from my shelves and finished them today. I’d read the Suiza ones now, but someone (not me) packed them up about 4 months ago and I haven’t found them yet.
    I’m all for the alternating universes idea, if it works out. A favorite Aussie author of mine, Kerry Greenwood, is doing this with her two series — one set in 1920’s and one in modern days.
    Now all I have to do is be patient (Hah!) until David Weber’s next Safehold book comes out early next year.

  • Comment by Niffle — October 9, 2013 @ 8:48 pm


    Coins, art: nice to look at, but I don’t usually buy them.

    PLEASE keep writing!

    If you do go to an every other year scenario, please make some arrangement with the publisher, so that an entire set can be bought at once. I totally hate buying a trilogy, only to find out I really have books 1,3, and 4 of a quadrilogy, and nobody is selling book 2. (Yes, I’m one of those people who won’t start reading the series until they have the whole set.)

  • Comment by Andy — October 14, 2013 @ 7:25 am


    Follow the muse. Would likely buy companion volume. Coins are intriguing but too much like needle gauges.

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