Changes, etc.

Posted: May 27th, 2018 under Blog-page Update, Life beyond writing, the writing life.
Tags: ,

You probably noticed the new page, the Privacy Policy notice required by the EU.  There’s one on all the blogsites now, but not on the websites, because my website guru is having trouble getting the hosting service’s server to do what she tells it.  She’ll get there.   On the 80 acres online blog, I had to stick it at the bottom of the Policies page because the bar for pages wouldn’t accommodate another button.

The original Paks books (three individual, not three in one) are about to come out in their 30th anniversary finery (which I haven’t seen yet, alas…unless my brain has wiped the cover art, which I wouldn’t think would happen.)

The derelict house next door, which we bought last year and had brought back up to code, is about to get renters into it finally.   They’d rather buy and I’ll probably sell to them in a year or so, if we get along as neighbors.  I’m not planning to move (though life is what happens while you’re making plans, or not making plans, as the case may be.)  I had the house cleaned before they were to start moving their stuff in, and it turns out the daughter of the lady who did the housecleaning (and boy is she good!  But she must never see the inside of MY house!)  is friends with the lady and her husband moving in.  They’ve worked in the same office, though now they’re in the same agency but not in the same office.   Small towns.   It makes me very happy to see that house looking as it does now, and I will be even happier to see it lived in.  It was so sad to watch it going to ruin.

Molly the horse and I have still not achieved cooperation (mostly my fault and due to my lack of energy and weakness and flabbiness) but still hoping that will come.  Mocha ( the taller and more skittish one) is still for sale at the trainer’s.

I’m working slowly on the Paksworld stories, as I said, but Cracolnya’s story still bothers me.  It’s…got a spot in it where I went off the trail, and I can’t spot that spot.  I’m going to consult two of my story-fixers and see if they can find it.

The great SF/F editor and writer Gardner Dozois died today and I’m just…whacked.   He lost his wife to cancer; everyone who knew him was worried about him but I thought (as did many others) he was doing a little better.  And then boom…he got sick, he got an infection, it took over, and…gone.

And that’s really all I have, for now.  Thank you all for your continuing support and kindness.



  • Comment by Jonathan Schor — May 28, 2018 @ 8:53 am


    Hi – take it easy with the horse. Sorry to hear about Gardner Dozois – while he was an author, we of the reading public do not really appreciate the editor.

    Have a good summer.

    Jonathan up here in rainy New Hampshire

  • Comment by Fred — May 28, 2018 @ 9:41 pm


    Editors – good editors – are among the least-sung heroes of the literary world. Underpaid, if paid at all these days, often seen as delayers and problem makers, and increasingly scarce, seems to be their fate.

    One hopes that the memory of Gardner Dozois does not fade too quickly.

  • Comment by Richard Simpkin — May 29, 2018 @ 3:47 am


    I still think Cracolyna’s story, the story of a boy and his grandfather, is essentially complete as you gave it to us here, with the issues between them resolved when the mare accepted the boy. “’She knows horse from ass,’ his grandfather said. ‘You are son’s son after all.’” Following them afterwards into the nimad camp, for example, would be diluting the story, after it is finished, for the sake of scenery.

  • Comment by elizabeth — May 29, 2018 @ 7:06 am


    The answer to this got long, so I composed it in email, not here. But for the general discussion, a recap. I had intended to do Cracolnya’s story to cover everything from the beginning of this to his arrival in the Duke’s Company. I’m particularly interested in how and why a person would choose to leave a culture they’re reconnected with–if it was his choice or he, like his grandfather, was exiled for some reason–and what strains this produced in him, his tribe, his birth family, and his adopted culture. However, the story may want to be told in discrete segments, and if so, you may well have chosen the perfect cut point for this one.

  • Comment by elizabeth — May 29, 2018 @ 7:08 am


    Agree on the effects of good ones, though not so sure they’re “unsung”–consider Gardner’s many awards for editing. He was widely known and very popular in the field. Not-so-talented editors may, however, be unsung for the same reason as unsung writers…less talented (or lucky.)

  • Comment by Sharidann — May 30, 2018 @ 12:28 am


    First things first.
    Take care of your health!
    Glad to read from you again on this part of the internet, as I was getting worried.

    Can’t wait to read the next stories!
    And yes, a shame with Gardner Dozois.


  • Comment by Richard Simpkin — June 1, 2018 @ 2:22 am


    Thak you Elizabeth. Such potential with Cracolyna – but if you have to come first this year, husband and son second, and (next year,perhaps) Ky third …

  • Comment by elizabeth — June 1, 2018 @ 9:32 am


    It’s a very interesting culture, the horse nomads. When I was in college I was fascinated by the Central Asian ones, because our history classes barely mentioned them–they were the barbarians on the fringes of several empires. And yet their art was gorgeous (to me, anyway), and since then the Altai excavations have found more and more complexity. One of my anthropology profs commented on “the great Central Asian people factory” (or, how did the the populations that kept moving west and southwest get so big?) but at that time we didn’t have the many images of what’s actually there, the land itself. I based the Paksworld horsefolk partly on the Central Asian Sarmatians and Scythians, modified by what archaeology had come up with since, but also taking some details from North American horse-using indigenous people, and what I could find (there’s more now, on the internet) of contemporary or recently “settled” steppe nomads.

    Genetically, Cracolnya is all horsefolk (his mother’s from a different tribe than his father), but culturally he’s an unusual mix because (as an adult) he’s fully competent in both cultures. He’s maintained his (sometimes covert) connection with his tribe, while dressing (for the most part) like an ordinary Tsaian mercenary officer. He does, however, retain at least one nomad-bred mount in his string at all times, wear a horsehair ring on his thumb and a hoof paring on a thong around his neck, and use the nomad short recurved bow. He has two horsefolk blades: one larger than most daggers, with a bronze horsehead pommel, and one smaller, carried in his boot. But riding into Verella or Valdaire, he will ride one of his taller horses, and seem merely shorter than the others, and more bowlegged when he walks.

  • Comment by Fred — June 2, 2018 @ 9:28 am


    I’d never heard the description of the Asian steppes as “the great Central Asian people factory”, but it seems to have been amazingly important to the development of European and Middle Eastern history and civilization.

    Recently, we’ve been watching the “Great Courses” lecture series entitled “The Barbarian Empires of the Steppes” by Kenneth Harl. Fascinating, and virtually none of the material was covered in any history class I had, at any level. You might be able to borrow it from a library (our local library has a spotty collection of Great Courses DVDs), and if you buy it when it’s on sale, very much worth it, IMHO.

    People with one foot in each of two very different cultures are intriguing and interesting – thank you for the story about the meeting of the horse nomads and Fox Company!

    All the best to you and yours,

  • Comment by elizabeth — June 2, 2018 @ 10:34 pm


    My prof was talking about the steady westward movement of one people after another…but more archaeology has given us more data on who moved where when. The people factory also produced tribe trying to invade China (and some succeeded.) What made population growth (that drove expansion/migration) even possible without agriculture…it was not an agricultural center. We still don’t have all the answers.

  • Comment by Rusty — June 14, 2018 @ 8:28 pm


    What happened to Paks? All we were told was that her sword was returned to her family

    Thank you


  • Comment by elizabeth — June 14, 2018 @ 10:59 pm


    If you mean “How and when did she die?” then I’m not sure. It’s not part of the story yet. The important part, to her, is how she became a paladin. From then on, she did what Gird and the High Lord wanted her to do, time after time, in small and large ways…being an influence. If you’ve read the Paladin’s Legacy series, her influence is all through those who came in contact with her. (And she’s there, but not as a point-of-view character.) She was the catalyst for change. But, of course, a mortal person who would die. At this time I don’t know exactly how. And then–after she died–her sword (whichever sword she had then) went to her family. Paladins generally don’t make it to old age. It’s not a safe life.

  • Comment by Jonathan Schor — June 15, 2018 @ 1:03 pm


    Are you going to comment on the yarn dealer who was turned back at the US Canadian border?

  • Comment by Moira — June 17, 2018 @ 7:32 am


    Presumably her tale unravelled…?!

    (j/k and I didn’t want to open that whole can of worms)

  • Comment by Richard Simpkin — June 17, 2018 @ 9:39 am


    Rusty, you know Paks’ family have a sword and an unfinished scroll that ends abruptly in the middle of a stanza.

    In Kings of the North, the M-G, talking with Dorrin about Paks, said “She asked that a sword be sent to her family if she died in Vérella. One will be, for her family deserves to know what she did.” So maybe the sword was sent anyway, even with Paks flourishing and showing up from time to time in Fin Panir itself.

  • Comment by Moira — June 17, 2018 @ 6:45 pm


    ^^ That’s how read it, too. ^^

    The scroll was unfinished because Paks’ tale was unfinished.

  • Comment by elizabeth — June 18, 2018 @ 6:38 am


    Jonathan: First, I would not comment on that here. This blog is for Paksworld stuff, or writing related stuff.

    Second, I’ve seen nothing about that situation here. My focus right now is on the kidnapping and trafficking of immigrant & asylum-seeking children from their parents into a profit stream for prominent members/supporters of this administration and also to use as hostages to force votes on unrelated issues. You can find my online comments on that situation elsewhere.

    My more political sites are not hard to find.

  • Comment by elizabeth — July 24, 2018 @ 11:26 am


    I’m not sure why Paks never makes it home again. Authorial guess is that she feels some danger will come to them if she goes there, but it might be simply that it’s been too long, too much has happened, and so on. Or maybe there’s a sudden death or injury that prevents her, but I haven’t “felt” it yet. I suspect that either the Marshal-General or Paks herself suggested sending the sword with whatever the M-G wanted to tell of the story, gathered from both Paks herself and witnesses like Kieri and his Squires, Arvid, and Selis (the boy who ended up in a grange and was fostered with the Marshal.) So the sword may be sent during the years that are covered in the Paladin’s Legacy books. M-G, who is getting older year by year, will be sure it’s sent before she dies.

  • Comment by Leslie — July 24, 2018 @ 11:13 pm


    Many years ago a friend told me to read The Deed of Paks. I was into Heinlein at the time and looking for hard sci/fi and not interested in fantasy. About a year ago I found a copy in a Friends of the Library sale, bought it, brought it home, and put it on a shelf. Last week, having nothing to read that I haven’t read dozens of times before, being stuck at home caring for my Mom who fell three weeks ago and is better but not able to be left for very long I pulled out the Deed and started reading. I truthfully cannot say I enjoyed it, but I was up till past 3:30 a.m. and I haven’t done that in many years either. I finally finished it and I must say, I think Paks has changed my life. The idea of the calling, finding strength in anger, then learning that doesn’t work, choosing to follow the call, learning to really listen, and then facing suffering and never losing her grip on whose she is. Amazing. Thank you. I’m not sure I was ready for this before, maybe why I didn’t read it all those years ago.

  • Comment by elizabeth — July 25, 2018 @ 7:16 am


    I think most of us read books differently at different ages, depending on where we are and what we need from a book at that reading. At least…I’ve always been a re-reader, and I know that re-reading a book first read as a chld or a teenager or a 20-something or 30-something, I am sometimes startled at what I missed the first time around. Or the flavor that I craved then is chopped cardboard now. It was easy to seduce my brain with a horse or a dog early on; I missed all the social commentary (good or bad). Later it was hard SF and spaceships, mysteries and spy stories. Which is a long-winded way of saying that when you’re ready for a book, it may grab you by surprise, as you describe. Thanks for telling me it was one of mine that grabbed you. The same thing has happened to me from time to time. Ambush by book.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment