Travel & Time & Books

Posted: May 9th, 2015 under Life beyond writing, the writing life.
Tags: , ,

Tuesday morning I head off for the first convention of the season, Keycon in Winnipeg.  My convention seasons have shortened, due to age and LifeStuff, so I’m especially happy this year to be able to make an international trip after having to cancel plans for LonCon.

I won’t be back until the following Wednesday.  I am going computer-free this time, due to other LifeStuff involving electronics and lack of time to deal with complications.  An old-fashioned notebook will go with me–it often sparks my writing anyway–and so will yarn and knitting needles.  

Where NewBook is now…well, Editor likes my working title (Cold Welcome) but it has to pass various committees to be accepted.  So don’t fall in love with it, but I’ll be using it in talking about it, probably.   At the moment, since this is the relevant spot in the story, I’m writing on two fronts, both related to book-history.   One is Vatta-related, and the other is villain-related.  We’ve always known–it’s certainly been hinted–that the Vattas were not always squeaky-clean, straight-arrow, upright citizens of wherever they came from.   It’s now clear that they were not a Founder family on Slotter Key, nor were they in the earlier waves of colonization.  They were somewhere else, doing other things, some of them…well…illegal.   As in “We need that spaceship more than you do and we’re taking it” illegal.

Why this matters a hundred or two-hundred years later is that the now-respectable Vattas of Slotter Key have history in other areas that they’d like to keep hidden, and their past may be less locked up and thrown away than they think.  It’s possible, that Osman–the black sheep Vatta of the earlier books–may have gone to find great-grandpa’s former associates (from whom a ship was stolen) and offered them revenge.  Or not.  It’s not clear yet.   But there’s a bigger secret on Slotter Key, from the early days of its human settlement, and a huge, vast, monster of a secret as well that has implications for many more terraformed planets.

Despite all Grace has done, she has not found what she’s sure exists–a conspiracy on Slotter Key, probably centered in a particular political group, to both eliminate Vatta and take over Slotter Key entirely, collaborating with “something” from outside.  She is convinced that Gammis Turek, powerful as he was, was not the brains behind that war.

I will be spending part of a day at the Field Museum in Chicago on the way to Winnipeg, looking for some stuff that will fit in with the rest of the book.



  • Comment by Genko — May 9, 2015 @ 6:07 pm


    Intriguing. Looks like lots of interesting stuff to mine there.

  • Comment by Iphinome — May 9, 2015 @ 6:46 pm


    Enjoy the Field Museum. Would you be so kind as to remember me to Sue while you’re there.

  • Comment by elizabeth — May 9, 2015 @ 7:44 pm


    Iphinome: If I can keep my brain together until Thursday, yes I will do that. If this migraine doesn’t let up, I may not know my own name by then.

  • Comment by Nadine Barter Bowlus — May 11, 2015 @ 11:32 am


    Healing thoughts going out to do battle with the migraine.

  • Comment by elizabeth — May 11, 2015 @ 6:04 pm


    As Monday evening ages…being a wimpy hot-climate person who had already put away all the warm stuff…I’m realizing the smaller roller-bag isn’t enough and I need to haul out the larger suitcase, which will be either too big or too heavy. But…going into temps 30-40F degrees lower than what we’ve had for the past several weeks without some bulky/warm layers is foolish. Despite having the kind of padding that keeps seals warm in cold water…I chill easily and then go into short-term hibernation under as many covers as I can find.

    Better a 1/3 empty bigger suitcase than an overstuffed-and-coming-apart smaller one. The smaller one is brimful now (it has an expansion section, but I know how much fits in it, and it’s not enough.

    Today was complicated by my forgetting to turn the dryer on (with wet clothes in it) and forgetting to turn the washer on (with clothes and detergent in it) so the whole laundry thing that could have been finished 3-4 hours ago…isn’t. Last load’s drying. Need to pack the suitcase, put the clean sheets on the bed, shower, wash hair, lay out clothes for tomorrow, get to bed, and eat supper somewhere in there.

  • Comment by Tuppenny — May 11, 2015 @ 7:55 pm


    The larger suitcase might have room for some nice yarn on the return trip ….(not that much excess weight to lug around)

  • Comment by Kathleen — May 12, 2015 @ 6:56 am


    Enjoy the con and the trip.

  • Comment by Jan — May 21, 2015 @ 10:29 pm


    I’m new to the blog but a long-time reader.

    I’m very excited to know you are reviisiting Slotter Key and the Vattas! I’ve read that series many times, and it’s one of my favorite universes to live in. I’m also pleased to discover we have knitting and the Episcopal church in common.

    I was wondering if you were ever planning on telling the story if how Altiplano’s founders and the Serranos cake to be sundered from one another. It seemed to me that that was a story that was just aching to be told.

  • Comment by Jan — May 21, 2015 @ 10:30 pm


    *came to be…duh!

  • Comment by elizabeth — May 22, 2015 @ 12:04 am


    Jan: I thought I had, though indirectly, when Vida–on forced leave–found that book stuck in a bookcase. The Regular Space Service is an amalgamation of former private guard services of various Families holding Seats in Council. The Serrano family served the Family that once ruled Altiplano–they were that family’s military. The Suizas were part of the rebellion against that family which drove it off-planet and into the welcoming arms (so to speak) of the Familias Regnant. The founders had been negotiating to gain one or more Seats in Council when they brought Altiplano in, but the rebellion and subsequent ouster of the founders ended that. In time (this was deep history) the founding families of Altiplano died off or were so absorbed into Familias society that they ceased having a separate identity, and never gained a Seat. The Serranos were accepted into the Regular Space Service, where they quickly began to accumulate rank and respect. Meanwhile, Altiplano (which is in a favorable location) reapplied for a sort of “associate” membership in the Familias, without a Seat–so they have no direct representation. By then the rebellion had settled down into a fairly stable situation and until the advent of rejuvenation and concern about Ageists, they were regarded as a safe, but rather dull, addition to the association. And meanwhile the actual events of the rebellion and who did what were put out of mind–with the Family to which they had originally given allegiance now gone, the Serranos transferred their attention to their current seniors, and only a very few obscure sources mentioned it. The Suizas, back on Altiplano, though they had been active in opposition to that Family, held no particular rancor for the Serranos and likewise didn’t dwell on that part of their past. They had other, more urgent matters to deal with. By the time of Esmay’s grandparents, it was all old, old history.

  • Comment by elizabeth — May 22, 2015 @ 10:04 am


    Iphinome: Sue says Hi. I have a T-shirt now. Kris and I had a great time at the museum. When I get some time (one never has it on coming home) I will contact the guys who run the lichen exhibit because I have pictures they might be able to ID for me. Notes of date, substrate, etc.

    All: Socks were knit. One pair completed on the trip, another well along. Red and red. Next must be turquoise & purple pairs, because that’s what I’m lowest on, followed by blue and then green. And then Herdwick. Or Herdwick sometime in there. Knitting on the plane is possible even when in the middle seat of a row. Knitting on the train is easy except on the roughest track (too easy to catch a wrong loop) and lots of the sock knitting was done on the train rides.

    Keycon is a great convention–good-humored people make it so, and having it snowing the morning I left was icing on the cake as well as roofs and tops of cars and roadsides…

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment