What’s Happening Now

I haven’t done an update for a while, and I apologize!

What’s happening with me is as follows:

Currently–I’m working on the second of the three books planned for my historical fantasy adventure series The High Pamir. The first novel, The Wild High Places, has been out for a little bit now, and I thought I had my hands around the second novel (The Leh Lines of Kashgar) except that then, after I’d turned in the first draft of the second novel to my editor at Forest Path Books, it turned out that I didn’t have my arms around the second novel after all. After many months of struggling with structural framework and all, I ended up where I’d suspected I would, with “no help for it, got to write the durned thing all over again from scratch.” I still hope to save at least a few scenes from the original draft, but it’s not looking good. It could make for some nice material for Scenes from the Cutting Room Floor, however.

Since it’s going to be so long between novels, I’ve been writing myself a novella to provide a way back in to the story. The novella (novelette?) covers the period of time just before The Leh Lines of Kashgar commences: spring of the year following The Wild High Places. There are two new characters to deploy: Corbeck Willoughby and Lieutentant Disco Fontenoy. Disco is a young cousin of Captain Fontenoy, come out from England on the Queen’s business; he and Captain Fontenoy are several times removed–Captain Fontenoy’s great-grandfather and Disco’s great-great-grandfather were brothers. Something like that. For Cora’s part, she had a major role in the story the first time I wrote it, and I know she’s an important part of the story going forward even if I don’t know exactly what it is right now.

The final novel in the series will be The Great Wheel of the Spirit Mountain . . . until I can come up with a pithier title (grin).

After The High Pamir is finished I’m on to U-Boats Versus the Flying Dutchman, or my “Ghost Flotilla” project. Right now there’s no news to share about a next Jurisdiction novel, because I’ve sort of kind of said everything I had to say about Jurisdiction. There is a novel lurking, however, since Crimes Against Humanity raised some interesting unanswered questions. The next Jurisdiction novel would be/will be titled Diaspora and concern developments in Gonebeyond space such as the growth of an apparatus to cope with the re-integration of people no longer under Bond into something as close to “normal life” as possible. I’m looking forward to confronting Jennet ap Rhiannon with what little is left of her birth community, but don”t be expecting any major changes in her life. That’s just not who she is. There will also be the opportunity for Andrej’s security teams from the Ragnarok to encounter people (apart from Robert St. Clare) who were Andrej’s security on Scylla. I think that’ll be fun.

I’ll put that novella up on this site when it’s ready to go. If you’ve read The Wild High Places, I’d love to hear your thoughts, because it’s pretty much been crickets, to be honest.

So there you have it. I’m sorry I haven’t updated for a while. I solemnly pledge to do better!



News from Susan . . . New Series! Minicon 55!

Hello Beloveds,

Gosh, 2020.  How did that happen??!!

Okay.  I’ll be going to Minicon 55, and hope to see you there.  (I’m looking at YOU, Bill Thomasson.)

I’m also attending the Rainforest Writers Retreat this weekend.  It’s a =sort= of a local thing, there are usually less than 40 people total, so, I’m just telling you (grin).  It’s at Lake Quinault in Quinault, WA, and the limit on attendees is a function of the fact that the resort just plain doesn’t have much room.  http://rainforestwriters.com/index.html  Yes, it’s hard to get in, but there’s a FREE “sponsored writer” membership available with a cash stipend attached, and the “wait list” has NEVER not been fully worked off before the retreat happens (they’re up to three sessions, now).  It’s open to basically any writer in any genre without reference to publication history, but Patrick Swenson, the coordinator, has the details. Again:  Wait List!  Wait List!  Wait List!!

But, in News From Susan:  I have a story in a new anthology that may/may not be of interest.  If you read my story in the Baen anthology “Star Destroyers” you may have read my story, “Skipjack,” about Captain Belknap “Finnie” Fenroth and his intrepid crew.  One never expects to fall in love but I love Finnie Fenroth with a passion . . . so I’m delighted to be able to tell you that he is the protagonist of a prequel “Skipjack:  The Devil in the Details” in the Bryan Schmidt anthology “Infinite Stars II.”  (I’m beyond chuffed to be placed directly following George R. R. Martin in that volume, thank you Bryan!!.)  Since everybody dies (spoiler alert!) in the Baen anthology, everything is necessarily going to be a prequel.  But this has worked for me before ::cough Joslire Curran cough cough::.

(I took the opportunity to dedicate the lastest “Under Jurisdiction” novel, “Crimes Against Humanity,” to Finnie Fenroth:  “Fictional smictional, I love you, Captain.”  -And I do.)

Finnie Fenroth is not a player in my new “Ghost Flotilla:  U-Boats” series (first seen on the Baen web site as a free short story in https://www.baen.com/free-stories-2018.html, Ghost Flotilla:  Embarkation).  But my affection for him may be reflected in the characterization of some U-boat captain or another.  I just can’t tell you yet which of them because I don’t know.

So, at the Rainforest Writers Retreat this weekend, I’ll be working on (a) an outline for the series “Ghost Flotilla: U-Boats;” for the next and I always expect them to be the last with the publication of “Blood Enemies” “Under Jurisdiction” novel, “Diaspora”; and for a brand-new (you should pardon the possibly pertinent description) historical fantasy series with Forest Path Press, “The High Pamir.”  You can look for the novel “The Wild High Places” in the historical fantasy series by the end of the year.  Probably.

I’ll keep you posted.  Thank you for following/reading!



Bubonicon 2019, a week from now!

I’m coming to Bubonicon in Albuquerque next weekend, August 23 – 25.  I have a reading/presentation slot early Saturday afternoon and intend on talking about how Medith Riggs came into the story, maybe read the “Into Gonebeyond” short story from the Baen web site, maybe read other related short pieces, using the material I prepared for the “extras” between the novel pages for “Blood Enemies” and that for “Crimes Against Humanity.”  Maybe talk about the next Jurisdiction novel “Diaspora,” which will involve one of the Bonds from =Scylla= and a refugee community with some people who look a LOT like Jennet ap Rhiannon (but it that doesn’t mean anything to Toska until some of the wolf-pack turn up, because he’s never met her).

There’s no contract for that novel at this time, partially because I haven’t, er, written it yet . . .

I’m looking forward to being there in Albuquerque for Bubonicon and singing my song (er, pitching my pitch).  Hope to maybe see some of you-all there!

Completed loading “extras” for Blood Enemies, Crimes Against Humanity

It takes 95% of the effort to finish the final 5% of any given project, right?  Or at least that’s what happened this time.

But I’ve loaded the final “extras” for Blood Enemies:  the alternate Chapter One (with that crucial initial contact between Leo Koscuisko and Gonebeyond Space, and the “Robert arrives in Safehaven to see Andrej Koscuisko” scene from Robert’s POV); a scene-and-a-half called “Family Matters,” from the end of the novel, that includes a conversation between Andrej and his brother with one of my favorite lines; and one of those scenes that seems like it had to have happened so it needed a resolution, but it didn’t quite fit in to the novel once I got to the end of it.

Now that I’ve got my extras loaded for those novels I hope you enjoy reading them!



Scenes from the Cutting Room Floor

I’ve been packing stuff up to send to the Iowa University Special Collections people, which reminded me that I never circled back to identify “scenes from the cutting room floor” and other extras related to “Blood Enemies” and “Crimes Against Humanity.”

Within these last two novels I fielded a new character, the cargo handler Medith Riggs.  She’s a second- or third-generation Gonebeyond Nurail (meaning that her people got out while the getting was good, before things started getting really ferocious for Nurail under Jurisdiction) from a matrilineal/matrifocal cultural tradition who happens across Stildyne, the thula, and the “wolf pack” shortly after their arrival in Gonebeyond.  Since I could identify a clear narrative thread in the growth/definition of who she is, what her voice sounds like, and what she has to contribute to the story I thought it would be fun to present the process of character definition as it pertained to Medith (as messy and organic as that can be, at least when it’s me writing it).

So I’ve made an essay, “Medith Riggs:  The Evolution of a Character” to explain where she “started” and how she’s developed/where she’s had her part to play in the over-all story.  As with so many of the people who are important to me in my story, I started towards the end with her, and have been working backwards.  There’s still a ways to go between where we are in “Crimes Against Humanity” and where we dove-tail back to her first appearance, but it’s early yet.

In the “extras” under “Blood Enemies,” you’ll find a copy of the essay; a copy of the little vignette in which she made her debut as a voice on the other side of the door to Stildyne’s office; a “first contact” story for her and the Kospodar thula which I’ve always enjoyed; and a link to her first formal/official appearance in the short story “Into Gonebeyond,” available in the Baen Free Library.

There’ll be more extras coming for Blood Enemies in addition to the first chapter and a little thing I’m calling “When Autocrats (attempt to) Escape!”.  More on that, though, when I’ve got that material licked into shape.

I’ve got the first chapter posted for “Crimes Against Humanity.”  In addition:

In the editorial revision process for CAH a goodly chunk of “eh, interesting, but not really required to drive the plot engine and slows the opening of the novel significantly” material dropped out.  About half of that material appears on the Baen Free Library as “Chancellor Witt;” a short-story’s worth of action leading up to Chapter One is here, repurposed as “Extraordinary Rendition.”  In addition, there’s a novella that was originally written as the separable second half of  “Stalking Horse” (Baen omnibus “Fleet Insurgent”) included here as “Stalking Horse:  Mutation.”

If you check out this just-added material I hope you find something that piques your interest or tickles your fancy.  Let me know!

Off to finish working up that “Blood Enemies” material,


New “Skipjack” story coming in November

Non-Jurisdiction writing news:

It was a story for a Baen anthology called “Star Destroyers” that really set me off on U-boats (in a good way). That story had kind of a cataclysmic ending, but that’s never stopped me from playing in the fields of the back-story before, though knowing the ultimate ending can interfere with a person’s willingness to engage with the text.

When I was offered the opportunity to submit a story to a new anthology, I had my chance to start building the backstory for my “Skipjack” narrative. I was lucky enough to be accepted, and into a community of contributors the likes of which I haven’t had the skwee-ing privilege of being associated since Janis Ian’s “Stars.”

I loved the story “Skipjack.” I find I love the story “The Devil and the Details” even more.  (Is that okay to say about something one has written?  Gosh knows I have plenty of ego already, but there are probably limits.)

The anthology, “Infinite Stars: Dark Frontiers,” will be released in November. Meantime, here are some links so everybody can go out and (a) pre-order it or (b) ask their library to pre-order it just as soon as ever they can.

First:  at Amazon.com, Kindle and hardcover, due to drop on November 9th 2019:

Next, the write-up at Barnes & Noble:


Okay, I hope these links come through, and, if you read the story when it comes out, I hope you enjoy “The Devil and the Details.”  I’m still working on the plot skeleton for my “Ghost Flotilla” novel/series about U-boats unmoored in space and time, but it’s coming right along.  I’ll post when I have news.

And, last but not least (you’re almost to the end of this post!  Whew!) I have a new idea in my mind for a Jurisdiction novel that would follow “Crimes Against Humanity.”  It’ll be called something like “Weft Made Warp” but not as obscure as that title might be, and focuses to a significant extent on Garrity and Miss Crowned.

See you at Bubonicon, if you’re going to be at Bubonicon, because I am (grin)!

See you at Bubonicon in August!

I’ll be coming to Bubonicon in Albuquerque in August this year, after having skipped it year last year to go to the Worldcon in San Jose.  I’m looking forward to it:  I had such a truly nice time year-before-last.  I wonder if there will be any panels about science fiction u-boats?  I can talk about three story-lines now!

Er, um, maybe not, but I’m looking forward to Bubonicon in August.  Maybe see you there!

U-boats! U-boats!! U-boats!!!

Recently I made a sort of a pilgrimage to see U-boats.  I went to Oslo first, to visit the ship museums and say hello again to Fram, Kon-Tiki, and the Viking ships (Gokstad and Tune and Oseberg) before taking an overnight ferry from Oslo to Kiel, Germany (I’ve seen Sweden!  only as a line on the horizon, but still . . . and Denmark, same story).  I’d timed the visit for the full moon over the Baltic and we had great weather.

In Kiel there’s a VIIC u-boat on the beach, U-995, who spent several years as the Norwegian ship Kaura before being returned to West Germany as a war memorial.  It has been minimally altered from its postwar state for tourists by cutting entry portals fore and aft; two interior round hatches between sections are still there, so I was relieved to find out that a woman of my size and general creakiness was able to get through (the people ahead of me first time through weren’t so lucky, I’m sorry to say, they were older and creakier and had to turn around).  My friend Steve and I (Maggie, my wife, stayed home, she’s unaccountably not that interested in u-boats) went through three times (I think) on Day One, then again twice on Day Two.  If a person stood there and concentrated hard during times where there were fewer people in the boat a person could imagine that she got a good sense of living aboard.

The bridge and conning tower were locked off . . . you could look, but you couldn’t climb.  I can’t say I was surprised.  Access is by ladder, first of all; second of all, imagine the liability issues of letting people climb up and out on top of the u-boat at will.

I stopped by in Chicago on the way home to visit U-505, a IX model.  After U-995, the model IX is huge (one of the primary reasons for my trip was to see for myself and get a grip on the size and scale of things).  U-505 had been much more extensively remodeled for tourism, but with that and the tour guides it was much more accessible for the general public, all to the good.  Bridge and conning tower, again, locked off, but since it’s its own exhibit there was space for hands-on interactive fun stuff, attack periscope, torpedo simulator, front dive plane operator, etc.

All in all it was a great trip, I’d like to go back and see them both again and maybe I will, and I’d better get busy on my Ghost Flotilla U-boat project now, hadn’t I?

Ghost Flotilla U-Boats: Embarkation!

Available now on-line is my new novella, Ghost Flotilla U-Boats:  Embarkation (free).

You can find it on www.baen.com/ghostflotilla.

This is a departure for me.  It’s a story about a German WWII U-boat whose prior exposure to the famous ghost ship, the Flying Dutchman, seems to have sent it — when it sank in the Arctic Ocean in 1945 — through a “Bermuda Triangle” sort of experience so that it surfaces in Lake Superior in 2005.

I have Plans for my Ghost Flotilla, but this is where they all begin, so please do go check it out!

More later,


Bubonicon this weekend!

I’m very much looking forward to attending Bubonicon in Albuquerque this weekend — I’m going down Thursday evening to get rested (grin).  I’ll be reading a scene from the early pages of the next Jurisdiction novel, Crimes Against Humanity, featuring Karol Vogel and someone who’d been important in Joslire Curran’s life just prior to the opening pages of An Exchange of Hostages but not in a good way.  The convention has also generously afforded me time on Sunday morning for my “Twenty Years Under Jurisdiction” presentation  in which I like to natter on about how long I’ve been working with this story versus how long Uncle Andrej’s career in print has extended so far, and related topics . . . and confidently anticipating just plain having a lovely time!  See you soon, Bubonicon!