The Dragon in Exile


Eagles Over the Kennebec

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The Dragon in Exile

Friends and Readers of Liad! Your Opinion Please!

I found something on my computer today, tucked down in the directory marked "Short Stories," which is only, yanno, supposed to contain completed short stories. The title of the file was "DaavandAelliana." I thought to myself, "Self, I don't remember writing a Daav and Aelliana short story, much less a Daav and Aelliana short story with a lame title." So I opened it, to find that, in fact -- not a short story. It's about 1500 words (which is to say, Not Very Much) of what appears to be a follow-on book to Scout's Progress.

Now, I have always said that I was not going to write a follow-on to Scout's Progress, because I have a Thing about not writing books that End Badly. End Ambiguously? I'm there. Badly? Nope.

What this means in terms of Aelliana and Daav is that there is a lot of backstory that Steve and I know, which readers don't (nyah-nyah), some of which is going to play into the book-after-I-Dare-if-ever-&c.

The poll below is to help me clarify my thinking. If you have thoughts, insights, or comments, please put them in comments.


EDITED TO ADD: There are spoilers for Scout's Progress by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller in comments. You have been warned!

Poll #1116157 Would you or wouldn't you?

Would you read a follow-on book to Scout's Progress

Hell yes!
Hell no!
You killed my favorite character; I'm never reading anything you write Ever Again
Ticky Box!
Scout's Progress?

Oh dear god please please please write a follow-on to Scout's Progress. Please. This is me on my knees. Aelliana is my FAVORITE character, I would so love to read more about her. I almost changed the plan for my youngest daughter's name from Alanna to Aelliana, but my spouse talked me out of it.

Oh please. Ideally via Baen. Ooooh story.

I voted both "Yes" and "Hell yes!" because you didn't have a tickybox for "OMGYESYESYESHOWSOONCANIBUYIT?"

I second Dave on this one!

Both dh and I would be definitely be interested in reading this story. Definitely. I hope you're not just teasing us.

I think we'd pretty much read anything you wrote. Got copy for ads? Let us know where to find it:)

I like the no bad ending rule


2008-01-05 07:08 pm (UTC)

and seeing as we know that Aelliana doesn't quite die maybe you could end it at the point where Daav realizes he hasn't lost his lifemate really?

Re: I like the no bad ending rule


2008-01-05 07:19 pm (UTC)

I'll second this. If it does bend or break the no bad ending rule then it might end up in the read once or twice category as opposed to over and over. I am definitely interested in the story there.

Re: I like the no bad ending rule


2008-01-06 07:00 am (UTC)

I like this idea. In fact, I've been curious about that moment myself for some time. Although I'd phrase it "hasn't lost her entirely".

Sharon, if you and Steve haven't noticed--Most of us would read anything, yes ANYTHING, the two of you write. If it's a Liaden book, even better.

I found out about the series after I kept getting comments asking if my lj name was from there. Finally, I had to see what these people were gushing about when I was at Dreamhaven. At this point I've not had my loaner copy of Agent of Change in my hands for more than a week in over a year, and I'm only mostly sure where my copy of Partners is. Hopefully it'll show up soon so it can go onward.

Ace annoyed me horribly by putting the Liad books back out of print. Totally scuttled my plans to buy Agent or Local Custom for Christmas for *everyone*. Have you seen what "acceptable" used copies are going for, let alone new? My house owns four sets of the trilogy, and as with Silverlock, we pick up every copy of anything you wrote we see in the wild to loan out and never expect back.

This is a long winded way to say that yes, I want the next book, any book, please a book! in the Liaden series. Or anything else. I want to bridge that gap between Scouts Progress and Fledgling.

I know how much decent used copies are going for. Even the recently OOP books like Plan B and I Dare start at over the original preice for "reading only" copies, Good+ ones are 4 times the price and more. The early ones are even more.

Yay, another Silverlock fan! I lent out my 'lending' copy before Christmas.

And yes, I want to read that book!

What, only ONE lending copy of Silverlock?

We buy them in bulk and hand them out.

They have been hard to find in the UK, both of mine came to me 'used' and are the only ones I've seen here. I see that Amazon have it, though, so I'll be ordering some new copies.

When we go to Uncle Hugos, we buy out their stock of Silverlock, and hand them out to people, never expecting to get them back.

The shortest lifespan of Silverlock in our hands was 3.5 minutes. I was checking out when a friend walked in behind me and said hi. She'd never read it--so I gave her one of the four copies I had just purchased.

Yes, I would absolutely buy it and read it. It wouldn't be the first thing I handed to new addicts readers, but it's certainly an obvious hole in the story.

Mostly, I'm amused to have confirmation that the book doesn't exist because we know how it ends and it is Not Happy.

sequel to Scout's Progress


2008-01-05 07:54 pm (UTC)

I voted yes rather than 'hell yes' because I don't like reading books with bad endings any more than you like writing them. But I love Scout's Progress, and Daav may be my favorite Liaden character, so I'm likely to make an exception. I agree with the others who said that if you end it where Daav realizes that Aelliana isn't completely lost, that it shades from awful ending to ambiguous.

You didn't ask, but I still think that Balance of Trade is the most sequel-needing book. But author's choice - you write it, I'll buy it.

Re: sequel to Scout's Progress


2008-01-05 10:54 pm (UTC)

Really? I voted "Hello, no" because I hate Daav with a flaming passion.

Re: sequel to Scout's Progress


2008-01-06 03:12 pm (UTC)

because I hate Daav with a flaming passion.

I imagine he inspires this in many acquaintances. Can you say why, particularly?

Just to add my two cents worth ... and yes, I did vote. :)

Anything you write, I'm pretty much buying a minimum of 5 copies... and trying to increase the list to 8... or as many as I can get to.

So, yes please. May I have some more?

I don't have a problem with bad endings... as long as I know in advance that some good comes out of it. In this case, knowing that Aelliana doesn't quite die serves just as well.

The thing that pushed it from "yes: to "hell yes" for me is that I WANT to read more about Aelliana. She isn't my favorite character, but I really like her and she's the only one that I can think of for whom we don't see the person they grow into. Scouts progress has her growing out of who she isn't, and then ends. WANT MOAR, as the saying goes :)

Does it have to end badly?


2008-01-05 09:03 pm (UTC)

Not that I'd argue with the author (except in the privacy of my own home) but does this book have to end badly? Are you sure that the story you have started there covers the time when Aelliana is killed? I'd love to see more about Aelliana and Daav, and I'll buy it either way, but I just thought I'd ask.

I'll read anything you write, even if it is just your grocery list. I'm in the Hell YES category.

*makes big puppy eyes*

Hell Yes!

Another book with Aelliana? Where? When? PLEASEPLEASEPLEASE!!!!

I don't even mind tragedies, and this really wouldn't quite count as one, for reasons given by others.

Followon to Scout's Progress


2008-01-05 09:51 pm (UTC)

You cannot imagine you are going to get less than a resounding vote in favor of such a book. I will commit to buying a copy. Hardback, trade paper, ebook, whatever.

Seems you also have some back story for Er Thom too... hint hint.

Besides, I always felt that those two fine ladies deserved to have stories written about how they were whacked. They are your characters, and you have every right to whack them, but it's not fair to just whack them in the background.

Another in the Hell Yes! category -- More Aelliana? More Daav? My two very favorite characters of yours? I'll read any word at all about them.

Plus, I'm with the camp that considers that the ending would be at worst ambiguous -- especially if the story continues to the point where the reader (if not Daav himself) are given to understand that Aelliana is still with him.

Where do I sign up for the pre-order?


Please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please write a follow up book. Barring that, expand the story "bones" that you have and publish into a chapbook!?!?! I'll buy it. TWICE!

PLEASE, please, write a follow up to Scout's Progress. We already know that Aelliana gets whacked by the Enemies of Korval [the Department of the Interior??], so it won't be such a shock to us. [although there WAS the time that a friend of mine read Moreta Dragonlady of Pern before reading the rest of the Pern series and therefore did not realize that Moreta is doomed...but don't let that stop you from writing SP sequel!!!]

Scout's Progress was the book that hooked me on Liaden. Every time I get sad or sick or just want a companionable book for a two or three hour read, I pick Scout's Progress back up. It's getting a little ratty, so I think it would appreciate a sequel to balance the duty of being comfort-book....

(In other words, HELLS yes. I will buy multiple copies, if I can.)

Would you mind telling us where you recycle you paper?
Some of us might like to rummage for that grocery list (and other things.) No fair shredding either! :)

Maybe a silly question...


2008-01-06 02:02 pm (UTC)

I'll expose my ignorance here, but what does Ticky Box mean?

Baffledly yours,

Re: Maybe a silly question...


2008-01-06 03:16 pm (UTC)

Hi, Growly.

"Ticky Box" is just a game. Some people may not have an opinion on a particular poll question, but they want to participate, or let the poll-taker know that their question has been seen -- so there's a ticky box for them.

Others -- ahem -- just like to click on boxes, so the more the merrier.

Re: Maybe a silly question...


2008-01-06 04:43 pm (UTC)

Thanks for clearing that up. I hate feeling like the only one outside the 'inner circle'. grin

I voted yes. I love Aelliana and always felt there ought to have been more told of her, and Anne and Er Thom for that matter.

Local Custom is my favorite of all the Liaden books (followed closely by Scout's Progress) and since it's also the first one I read, I was in for a rude awakening when I got to the 'main arc' of the story line to find out they had all been killed off.

I'm still holding that against Val Con and he just doesn't float my boat at all. In fact, Local Custom and Scout's Progress are much more interesting to me than the 3 following books, which most likely has to do with the fact that Agent of Change, Conflict of Honors and Carpe Diem seem more adventure than relationship stories albeit they have relationship stories in them.

Adventure stories don't do much for me (which doesn't mean that a, to me, satisfying relationship story can't be full of action. I came to Liad as a romance reader following the recommendation of fellow RRA-l readers and love Local Custom because it's focus on the relationship.

I'd love to see a follow-up to Balance of Trade as well and can't wait for Theo's finished first and second books!

I just hope Daav morphs into a more likable character in the re-write of Fledgling and beyond. I have to admit, I have a hard time warming up to him in Fledgling. While some mysteriousness can be a good thing, he's a bit too into being mysterious for my taste.

There I said it... let's hope I don't get my head ripped off! :)


Re: Maybe a silly question...


2008-01-06 05:43 pm (UTC)

I came to Liad as a romance reader following the recommendation of fellow RRA-l readers and love Local Custom because it's focus on the relationship.

...and then there are the sf readers who came to Local Custom and Scout's Progress and accuse us of "selling out" to Mills and Boone. *g*

The "three following books" came first, and were supposed to be seven books in series. We had some ...interesting times, and couldn't get anything published for about ten years. It was during that time that we wrote LC and SP because I had always wanted to write a Regency romance, without, yanno, actually having to do the Work. Since nobody was buying what we were writing, we could afford to please ourselves.

It does make for a wide range of differing reader expectations for the series, however.

I just hope Daav morphs into a more likable character in the re-write of Fledgling and beyond. I have to admit, I have a hard time warming up to him in Fledgling.

Now, see, I've never thought Daav was a likable fellow. I adore him, but even I killed him off once, just to get him out of my head and have some peace for a few days...

Re: Maybe a silly question...


2008-01-08 02:02 am (UTC)

Now, see, I've never thought Daav was a likable fellow. I adore him, but even I killed him off once, just to get him out of my head and have some peace for a few days...

What? When? Now that would make a chapbook or short story of a different color! Poor Daav is dead? Tell us more . . .

Oh, my, yes! Not to mention the chance at seeing Aelliana and Anne Davis getting to know each other--I've always wanted to know how she got along with her terran sister-in-law. (Because, of course, she's open-minded, but doesn't have much experience with them.) I'd love to see her as Aunt Aelli, too.... So, yes, yes, yes!

Daav and Aelliana are my favorites. I will read stories about them having breakfast on an uneventful day, were such a thing to occur in their household.

Yes she said yes she said yes!


2008-01-07 04:04 am (UTC)

With apologies to James Joyce. ;)

Wallet opens, more money put aside until it can be spent on this.


I want to see more of Aelliana, and to see Daav's going eleckti [spelling], and to see the process of Daav finding out/realizing that the wizard's bond that he's had with his life partner, goes past her physical death. I also want to see his arrival on Delgado,. how/why he decided to go there, and how he insinuates himself into into the fabric of that culture and gets tenures (and for that matter, Aelliana as the "silent partner" in the Kamele-Daav courtship.... Aelliana hadn't apparently had involvements and that sort of involvement with another woman back on Liad).

Hmm, for that matter, that ship while part of the Korval complement of ships, as Aelliana's lifemating to Daav meant that the ship came with her Korval...., the ship was still Aelliana's emotional property, and I wonder if she came out sometimes when Daav visited it.

For that matter, I wonder about her paternal genetic donor ancestry, if "wizard bond" involved descendance from Clan Tiazan....

These are all great points. We raised a number of these questions in the early Fledgling discussions. The Daav/Aelliana story could answer them...

B. O'Brien

I voted "hell yes". As others have said, the timeline maes it clear that the ending would be more ambiguous than beyond hope.

So, I guess I missed the poll, but...


2008-01-09 02:56 am (UTC)

I too would like to read anything and everything you have written in the Liaden Universe. Particularly, I've always been curious about Val Con's childhood. And Pat Rin's, for that matter. (I personally feel that Pat Rin deserves a whole lot more backstory than he currently has, and Luken bel Tarda could do with some love as well.) But Shan gets to have his early childhood explained, and we hardly ever hear about Val Con's, which I think is a shame.

Plus, I love Daav--he's much more interesting than Er Thom, fond as I am of him.

I support a new book about Daav and Aelliana, and agree that ending with Daav, or at least the reader, realising Aelliana is still with him would be a happy ending. But I really commented to ask about your icon, does it show Daav and Aelliana, or is it some other pair?

That's Daav and Aelliana, from the Russian edition of I Dare.

I thought it would be. I recognised Aelliana's shirt, but they don't really fit my mental picture of them.

Oh, PLEASE!!!!
My sister and I have been chanting
"more Daav more Daav more Daav more Daav more Daav more Daav" [repeat]
since we finished Scout's Progress. As has my old boss. And my current boss. And my friend Luisa. And everyone else I've ever pimped your books to.
More Aelliana would be good too.
We would buy multiple multiple copies.
Regardless of how it ends.

Put me in with all the others who'll answer yes to any question from you that starts with "Would you read" and is referring to a potential book by you & Steve.


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