Tag Archive: Rescue Operation

Quotes from Mercedes Lackey

All of the quotes tweeted from @sueannbowling last week (except the one this morning) were from The Fairy Godmother, by Mercedes Lackey.

Cover, The Fairy Godmother“Being angry now would be like being angry at a thunderstorm because it happened to rain on you.” Elena, suddenly realizing that the Fairy Godmother who she thought neglected her was Fairy Godmother to the entire kingdom.

“It was as if wholesome bread were being taken, and a tastier bread made of sawdust used to replace it.” Refers to the actions of the more far-seeing of the evil magicians, gradually limiting “rights” and replacing them with meaningless privileges.

“With familiarity came, if not contempt, certainly a loss of urgency.” In Elena’s first successful use of magic her concentration was driven by fear, but in future me must learn to concentrate without that goad.

“Men. You never can depend on them not to play the fool when there’s a lot of them together.” The women of the village, speaking of their menfolk’s probable behavior during harvest.

“Only love could have turned rut into passion.” Elena is being jealous of Arachnia and her poet.

“You’re as ready as I was.” Madame Bella, as she hands over the job of Fairy Godmother to Elena and drives off with the Little Humpback Horse.

“People—and societies—don’t make decisions on logic.” Bowling, Rescue Operation. This is a work in progress, so I hardly expect anyone to identify the context of the quote. The speaker is Roi, arguing to the Council that slaving will not be accepted by Horizon.


I finally figured out that the deadlines given to get entries in for the GUTGAA (Gearing Up to Get An Agent) contests, while given as EST, were really EDT. Since the windows fill pretty fast, this meant I was missing them regularly, including the pitch polish which I really wanted to enter. Well, I did get in to the Small Agent Pitch Contest, with the following pitch for the first book of the trilogy that starts about 250 years after the close of Tourist Trap. The contest called for a pitch (mine is probably a little short) and the first 150 words of your manuscript. Here’s what I have for Rescue Operation on the GUTGAA site:


Roi Laian is stuck with the job of being regent for an interstellar confederation. A half-brother he, but no one else, remembers as a monster has started a war behind his back, slaving to collect taxes—and Roi, himself strongly against the legality of slavery, can’t get the votes to reverse this policy. Even his closest ally thinks he’s being paranoid.

Rescue Operation deals with Roi’s attempts to resolve the war, with little help from the Council, and his efforts to salve his own conscience by rescuing a few of the young people being enslaved. The deeper theme of the book is that individuals may react very differently what appear superficially to be the same circumstances.


Roi Laian stretched, feeling the interface lounge accommodate to his motion and massage his body as he shifted position. He opened his eyes, briefly interrupting the computer’s download to his brain as he absorbed what he’d already received. Plenty of decisions he wouldn’t have made if he had been here, but nothing really disastrous. Still, it was good to be back.

He glanced out the window wall of his office, taking in the rolling pastureland dotted with grazing horses. Swim, ride, or work out in the controlled-gravity gym? After he’d checked out the situations Zhaim had indicated were resolved, Roi decided, and reactivated the full computer connection.

The Horizon situation first, he decided, but he was only a few minutes into that when he jerked upright on the lounge. “Oh, no,” he gasped aloud. “He can’t be that stupid. The Council can’t be. Is he trying to start a revolution?”

I need to do a better job on the pitch, but it will be interesting to see what kind of responses I get. Meanwhile, I hope to get the editing done in the next couple of months.

Any suggestions are welcome.

The Next Big Thing: Week 11

If you’re looking for GUTGAA, it’s here–but this post is about the book I’m trying to get an agent for.

This post has been created as part of the author event ‘The Next Big Thing’. Fiona Philips halfway around the world in the UK was the one who tagged me so thank you, Fiona. The Next Big Thing is an ongoing process, hence the ‘Week 11′ in the title.  I am not going to pass it on, simply because I understand how exponentials work, and I’ve already blogged on how passing something on to 5, 7, and 11 people would work. Within the rules of this blogging event is the requirement to answer ten questions about your current work in progress, and that I’ll do. So, here goes.

What is the working title of your book?

Rescue Operation.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

It’s grown over at least thirty years, and parts go back a lot father than that. The insight that allowed me to put the bits into a single story line is less than 10 years old—I needed to change the sex of one character.

What genre does your book fall under?

Science fiction.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I have a problem here – I don’t know one actor from another! And I have two sets of characters. The R’il’nian-human hybrids vary in appearance, but the R’il’nai had somewhat smaller faces set lower on the heads, and were built relatively lightly. They also had metallic veining in their eyes. Those most important are:

Roi. He looks very human, except for coloring—bronze skin, white hair, and golden eyes flecked with metallic gold. Athletic, but in the sense of a dancer rather than strength. Maybe Fred Astaire /Gene Kelley in motion.
Derik. More R’il’nian looking, golden brown hair, skin and eyes, with gold veining in eyes.
Zhaim. Bronze skin, black hair, eyes ice-colored with silver veining. Looks very R’il’nian. Very handsome and vain of it, a clothes horse.

The second group is the Horizon slaves Roi adopts partly to salve his conscience at being unable to stop the slaving on Horizon. Horizon is a low-UV planet, and was preferentially settled by light-skinned people. The major problem with casting these characters is that they grow up and change during the six years of the book. They were originally imported as pleasure slaves, and the two younger boys were very “pretty” as children. All are attractive.

Tod: Blue-eyed blond with a devil behind the angelic façade, 11 initially and small for his age, but a genius with horses. He will never grow much beyond 5 ½ feet.
Crystal: Also a blue-eyed blond, crazy about horses at 11, but discovers boys. She is blind from a riding accident when Roi gets her.
Merle: She has a gene well known in other mammals that dilutes hair, eye, and skin color, so her hair is blue-gray and her eyes fawn. Very body-shy initially, wanting to cover all skin, and goes catatonic at the slave market.
Szhandi: Dark by Horizon standards and older than the others, about 16 initially. Secondary in this book, but plays an important role in the third book.
Timi: 2 years younger than Tod, copper-red hair, large hands and feet (which he grows into by the second book of the trilogy.) Good rider but lacks Tod’s ability to understand horses.
Maureen. Black, curly hair, more into dogs than horses. A young Elizabeth Taylor.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Roi Laian, the unwilling regent of the Confederation, is unable to get the Council votes he needs to reverse a decision on slaving that has led to an interplanetary war.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I’d like to go down the route of traditional publishing, hence with representation by an agency. I went the assisted self-publishing route with both my previous books and while they’ve won contests and excellent reviews, I’d like to go more traditional – possibly small press – with this trilogy.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

I’m still editing. Some segments were taken over from things written 15 years or more ago. Actually about 3 months for the first draft once I decided how to put it together.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Story? None. The writers I most admire are Andre Norton, Anne McCaffrey and Mercedes Lackey, and their story-telling ability is what I aim for.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

The daily news, with events transferred to other planets. Not to mention dogs (especially my first dog, Derry, who inspired the telepathic pocket herders) and horses.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

This book is actually the first third of a trilogy, all of which is written and now being polished. The whole trilogy deals with the war, slavery, and its eventual resolution. Parts of the third book are being blogged on Six Sentence Sunday. Snippets from Rescue Operation have also been posted on Six Sentence Sunday.


As I said above, if this had really been passed on 10 times, with each passage being to 5 people, close to 2 million people would be blogging this by now. I’m not going to try to find the blogs that haven’t had it yet, but if you feel inspired to use this blog as a template, do so. Comment that you’re doing so, and I’ll add a link (at least for the first five.)

Rules of The Next Big Thing

  • Use this format for your post.
  • Answer the ten questions about your current work in progress.
  • Tag five other writers/bloggers and add their links so we can hop over and meet them.

http://hubblesite.org/gallery/album/nebula/pr2005012b/As I said last week, the Jarnian Confederation acts only to prevent Human-occupied planets from preying on each other or on other sentient species, or to provide emergency aid. But it needs some structure to do this. The interaction of my characters with this structure provides much of the plot of my fiction.

Originally (and still to a large extent in Homecoming and Tourist Trap) the Confederation as a whole was ruled by the R’il’nai. As their numbers dwindled, the Councils were developed to provide the remaining R’il’nai with information and a part-Human sounding board. Membership was originally determined by tests to determine the fraction of traits R’il’nian-Human hybrids showed that were clearly of R’il’nian origin. Those with over seven-eighths R’il’nian traits were considered part of the Inner Council.

The Outer Council was composed of High R’il’noids, those with more than three-fourths R’il’nian traits, and was primarily an advisory, fact-finding and enforcement body subject to the Inner Council. Those with more than half R’il’nian traits were considered R’il’noid. R’il’noids were essential to the running of the Confederation and were subject to Confederation law but not to planetary law. This was primarily because of problems that had arisen in the past because of planetary laws (such as a ban on travel at the new moon, punishable by death) which prevented R’il’noids from carrying out their professional duties. At that time virtually all adult R’il’noids had the R’il’nian empathy at least to the extent that they could be trusted not to take advantage of their immunity to planetary law.

R’il’nian-human hybrids were rare, is spite of official encouragement for R’il’nian males to father offspring from Human or R’il’noid women. Such matings were often sterile. A R’il’nian scientist, Çeren, developed an in vitro fertilization method that greatly increased the production of crossbreds, and also developed a more objective method of ranking R’il’noids by the fraction of active R’il’nian-derived genes. The unintended consequences of both these developments (which were desperately needed at the time) set up the problems in my science fiction.

By the time of Homecoming the Inner Council was actually making most of the decisions to run the Confederation, though the only surviving R’il’nian, Lai, had absolute veto power at least in theory, though he rarely if ever used it. Barring that veto power, the Inner Council was ruled by a majority vote providing at least 5/6 of the Inner Council members were present and voting. Reconsideration of a vote already taken required a 2/3 plus majority. By the time of the trilogy veto power no longer exists, and this is how the Confederation is ruled and the Horizon War was started.

Quite a few comments last Sunday expressed confusion over Zhaim. I thought I’d explain something and give a snippet from Tourist Trap, my now-published book and winner of the Garcia Award for best fiction book of the year.

The R’il’nai and some of the R’il’noids in my fiction are able to strip memories from their minds into computer storage. All but Roi have done this in fairness to the “new” Zhaim, so Roi alone has the memory of Zhaim before Marna imposed an artificial conscience on him. He also seems to be the only one who has retained the memory that Marna said the treatment should be repeated every quarter century. The snippet below was well over 200 years before Rescue Operation in story time, when Roi was only 18.

The woods lightened ahead of them, and the mist lifted as they entered a clearing. Roi glanced around quickly, looking for something they could use as shelter. Nothing but grass and sodden wildflowers. He checked the compass and headed straight across, hoping the Mastodon River wasn’t too far away.

He heard a thunderclap behind him when he was halfway across the clearing and spun to face it, fearful he knew what it was. Zhaim stood before him, a triumphant leer on his handsome face and a beamer swinging toward the party.

If you want to see other bits from both Tourist Trap and Rescue Operation, click Index above and then Six Sentence Sunday.

There are lots of other great authors on Six Sentence Sunday. Click on the logo to find them. They’d all love your comments.

This is the end of the first chapter of my current WIP (at the editing stage) Rescue Operation, continuing on from last week. It’s the first book of a trilogy, starting a couple of hundred years after the end of Tourist Trap.

He [Roi] leaned back, closing his eyes, and the pair took the hint and left. Dad, Roi thought miserably, Marna, why did you have to die and leave me with this? It’s more than I can handle. I’m doing my best, but I don’t think my best is good enough. And Zhaim’s not helping. At worst, if he’s escaped the bonds you put on him–Roi didn’t even want to think about that.

Be sure to visit the other Six Sentence Sunday authors.

Another snippet, continued from last week, from the end of the first chapter of Rescue Operation.

“It won’t happen again,” Roi said, “but I couldn’t do anything for Horizon.” He lifted his head, blinking wet eyes at Mark. The next time he had to reinforce Marna’s bindings, he swore to himself, he would insist that the part of the Inner Council he trusted back him up.

“Maybe,” he continued softly, as much to himself as to Mark, “I can get enough change in the situation to force reconsideration. But I don’t think I can do it by a Council vote. Meanwhile, I’ll have to do what I can with the other situations.”

Be sure to visit the other Six Sentence Sunday authors.

Kathy Collier-Miehl tagged me for the Fourth Writer’s Campaign Lucky 7 meme. The Rules are:

1. Go to page 77 of your current MS/WIP
2. Go to line 7
3. Copy down the next 7 lines – sentences or paragraphs – and post them as they’re written. No cheating
4. Tag 7 authors
5. Let them know

I’m not going to do numbers 4 and 5, because I understand how exponentials work and I’m not sure there’s anyone left who hasn’t been tagged. If you haven’t been and want to do this, consider yourself tagged. And I have a little problem with 1, because my files are by chapters, with no consecutive multi-chapter page numbering. So I went to line 7 of page 7 of chapter 7 instead. (Which leads me to wonder what one does if one’s WIP is less than 77 pages long.)

I interpreted the start as the paragraph in which the 7th line fell, and then copied that and the following 6 paragraphs. The WIP in question is science fiction, with a working title of Rescue Operation.

Well, the horses hadn’t been that dirty to start with.  Each had free access to a generous grassy paddock, and a daily session with the autogroomer.  Their stalls and paddocks were likewise kept clean by robot extensions of the Big’Un.  The dirt Rabbit had managed to accumulate, however, was mostly now on Crys, who was continuing to brush as high as she could reach on the mare’s hindquarters.

“Is she clean enough?” the child asked, turning as she heard Dusk’s hoofbeats.  “I couldn’t quite reach the middle of her back.”

“Clean enough to ride,” Roi chuckled, and gave Dusk a firm mental order to stand still.  “Here, hold Dusk for me a minute, will you, while I get a saddle on Rabbit?  Dusk needs to be cooler before I put him up, and you might as well ride along while I’m getting him walked dry.”

The sheer bliss on Crys’s dirt-smudged face told him that he was finally getting to understand her.  I think, he thought at Emeraude, that you’ve just lost your horse.


“You really don’t mind?” Roi asked that evening, watching Emeraude brush her hair before bed.

“Of course not.  I like being with you, and you like company when you ride.  I’m not all that fond of horses and riding, but I know you are.  If Crystal is, wonderful.  With a little practice, and you contacting Rabbit’s mind, she’ll probably keep up with you better than I do.  You need children, Roi.  She’s already done a lot to relax you.  I don’t know why the Genetics Board doesn’t want you to foster R’il’noids that need parenting any more.”

“They figure I’m too busy trying to run the Confederation.  Young R’il’noids take a lot of attention.”  Roi lay back on Emeraude’s bed, letting his eyes roam over the rather spare room.  Like his other two wives, Audi had her own building, opening off the series of jump-gated rooms loosely called the corridor system.  As a general rule she preferred Roi’s oversized bedroom to her own, and she’d put most of her energies here into facilities for her sociological research.  The bedroom was adequate for sleeping and had a bed large enough for two, but that was about all.

Today’s snippet is from near the end of the first chapter of Rescue Operation, my current WIP. Zhaim has been arguing that he’s done the right thing in imposing slaving on Horizon, a recently colonized planet, as they refuse to pay their dues and are breeding people faster than their economy is growing.

Right if he wanted to make the Confederation into a military dictatorship rather than something that allowed over a hundred human-occupied planets to live in peace, if not harmony, Roi thought as he returned home. Not that there weren’t times he would have liked more power over individual planets, especially those that abused their own people. For that matter, he’d like more power over Central, to eliminate slavery there, but not at the cost of turning the Confederation into something people feared, instead of a protection.

Mark and Ginger, the latest of the slaves he’d rescued, adopted and educated for freedom, found him sitting in his office with his face in his hands. “Audi told me,” the young man said awkwardly. “Were you able to do anything?”

Be sure to visit the other Six Sentence Sunday authors.

Six Sentence Sunday

Six sentences from Rescue Operation, following directly from the six I had last week.

But he had another heritage as well, one that he was even less comfortable with. His father had left him in charge of the Inner Council of R’il’noids that effectively ruled the Confederation. Not the planets that made up the Confederation; in fact he as the regent of the Confederation had no voice at all in the laws of Central, where the Councils met and he lived. Now and then Council duties included fieldwork when the specialties of individual Council members were needed, and in truth he’d been eager to get away when the government of a distant planet thought (wrongly) that others were making it the target of biological warfare. Wif, the other medical expert, had already been away from Central, and Derry’s specialty of xenotelepathy and Kaia’s of communications had been needed in the field while Roi was gone, leaving Roi’s older brother Zhaim in charge without the steadying influence of the other two.

Roi had never expected a disaster like this.

Again, I know this is more telling than showing, and this, with the last week, makes up a section separated from the action. Suggestions for improvements are welcome!

Visit the other Six Sentence Sunday Authors.


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