Lazarus 5 came out over the last twelve hours. Hopefully y’all have downloaded it and it’s high on your TBR file. I had a lot of fun with this series. Originally, it was supposed to run six novels, but as I got down to the end of five, I realized that it would be seven, just because I had so much ground to cover. Hell, it could have been ten easily, had I really wanted to wallow in certain aspects of the universe that didn’t get as much coverage as they might have otherwise.

I won’t call it short shrift, because they weren’t the key elements.

The Lazarus Alliance is about found family. That’s a fairly common theme in my work, because that’s the sort of life I’ve chosen to lead. I am not entirely estranged from my family, but close enough. Mostly, we just live such radically different lives that all we really have in common is the weather and gossip, little of which I’m interested in pursuing.

Because I have a found family. Fabulous Publisher Babe™ has a fantastic extended clan. Two brothers, one of whom is an ass but the other is wonderful. Eight nieces and nephews, plus some of them have spouses. A dozen grands so far, aged 4-14 and all great kids. We’ve had a Sunday Dinner Zoom call all through the lockdown, and will continue it, because that clan is in Washington State (us), Minnesota, Indiana, Oklahoma, and Los Angeles.

They just adopted me immediately, and keep me around, whereas my own family seems happier not to have to deal with me. Sad, but we’re all adults.

This was my first Mother’s Day after mom died, and she was kind of the last link I had to large chunks of my own family in Kansas and Missouri. I have mostly ridden off into the sunset, now I might simply fade away.

Not that I’m going anywhere, mind you. My mom was 79 and died of brain cancer. My dad just turned 81. Both sides of my family live a long time, and I’m in better shape and healthier than any of the older generations of relatives I ever met. One great-grandfather lived to be 96, dying in 1980. After smoking his whole life. He used to take the bus down to the Masonic Lodge every day to hang out with his fellow masons. In his nineties.

But at the same time, I’m the youngest of my generation on either side, save for one distant cousin two years my junior. The older group of Publisher Babe’s nieces and nephews are on either side of forty now, so just a decade or so younger than me, with another set around 20 (long story). I’ll hang out with them and theirs.

This is on my mind because I know a lot of writers who don’t have kids. (I have steps and extended, but none by blood that I am aware of at the present time.) I was mildly arguing with a couple of other writers over the weekend. They have books, novels, whatever.

Intellectual Property. When they die, it will vanish, because they have made no plans for their estate. I’m tempted to tell them to write a simple will assigning me all their publication rights on death, just because I plan on training up some of the kids to handle things.

My novels will remain under copyright for 70 years after I’m gone, at least under current law. Disney might extend that before I need it. I have a twelve-year-old grand niece who is a budding business tycoon. Her great-grandkids will be dealing with my estate, if I do it right, earning monthly income.

Think about that. Her great-grandkids. She’s just a kid now. But I plan to be around and writing for at least another forty years. Call it 90 even for sake of discussion. I was born in 1969, so that’s 2059. My copyright would expire in 2129. 2129. Hell, let’s say she has kids starting at 25. And they do the same. And they do the same. Her first might be born in 2032. Jump out twenty-five years to 2057. Jump out twenty-five more to 2082. Her great-grandkids might be forty-something when Blaze Ward finally stops generating them exclusive copyright income.

Kinda mind-boggling, when you think about it. Most writers do not prepare their legacy worth a shit. Publishers like Wordfire Press frequently come in and just buy a full literary estate, because they know how to handle it. My heirs might do that. I hope they get good money for it. That’s what this is all about.

What kind of legacy I am leaving for them? And mind you, they are all found family.

I occasionally chat with a young woman we’ll call R. She is my second wife’s oldest brother’s second wife’s ex-husband’s daughter from his second family.

And she’s family.

If you are a writer, what are you doing to make sure your kids, heirs, and found family are ready to keep making money from your books, after you are gone?

Matt Buchman is a good friend of mine. When he was putting together his book on estate planning, I handed him a copy of my will, because it has some weird and complicated bits dealing with my first wife’s art. (Donna was a fantastic artist and I have some, but most of it is finally in her daughter’s hands, save for a few pieces I kept. They still get to claim them when I’m gone.)

If you are a writer, you have a literary estate. Plan and organize your shit, so people know how to exploit it.


2129 CE.

How far out are you planning?