rolanni: (Default)

Got up early to make the trek to Skowhegan and Steve's eye doctor.  Matters have stabilized, on that front, so -- yay! stabilization!

Came home via the post office -- whereby hangs a tale, which I will now tell to you.

My Formal White Tiger pen was listed as Out for Delivery by the USPS on Saturday, but did not arrive.  It is not, I will note here, Completely Unusual for the Saturday delivery-person to fail deliver packages. She simply leaves them for the regular weekday guy, because -- I have no idea.  Packages hard, I guess.

So, this morning, I looked back to the site to see if indeed my pen was listed as "out for delivery" with the guy who actually does his job, but found instead a note that delivery had been attempted on Saturday, late afternoon, but nobody was home, so a note was left.

Which was...pure, unadulterated mud. First, we were home all day Saturday.  Second, we got our mail 'way early, as we tend to do on Saturday.  Three, nobody from the post office came by the house during the late afternoon.  Four, no note was left.  Five, it wouldn't have mattered if there was anyone at home anyway, because the package didn't require a signature.

I called the post office and explained the situation.  As it happened, the allegation that a note had been left meant that the package was not out for delivery, but was waiting at the post office, until I called with instructions.  Which I would have never known -- because no note -- if I hadn't looked at the website and discovered this, um, deceit.

So, anyway, Deirdre, who was on the desk when I called, was as helpful as one woman could possibly be.  She listened to the problem, said she would go find the package now, if I would let her put me on hold.  It took her twelve minutes to find it, but find it she did, and, at my instruction put it at the front desk so when I came to pick it up, it would be easy for whoever was then on to find.

That part went according to plan.

So!  Eye doctor, post office, grocery store, and so to home, eagerly anticipating the meal Steve had started in the slow cooker before we left home, except!

There had been a minor power outage while we were gone.  Too short for the generator to take note of and kick in, but more than long enough to reboot the slow cooker, which started a count-down-to-cooking, which meant that?

Yes -- you in the back?  Yes; thank you.  Exactly that.

Dinner wasn't ready when we got home, starving.

Today's dinner plans were therefore amended to hot dogs on French onion rolls, and leftover macaroni/veggie salad.  We'll have today's dinner tomorrow.

Speaking of the weather...today at the Cat Farm and Confusion Factory it is 64F and raining.  The plants I put in yesterday are significantly perkier than they were at planting, so I'd say that timing was just about right.

As I mentioned in another venue, yesterday's writing session produced! a True Epiphany (or as a friend says, with a bow in the direction of his spellchecker -- an Apostrophe).  Epiphanies often require a lot of frogging, rearranging of scenes, re-assessing motivations, and just what seems to be a whole lot of backward motion when all instincts are screaming, "I have to make words, dammit!"

Experience teaches us that True Epiphanies almost always deliver a stronger, better story, if the writer is willing to bite her tongue and do the work.  Also, if the writer decides not to do the work?  The Epiphany has a way of forcing its point, later, when the amount of necessary frogging leaps from a few pages to a hundred, and sleepless nights and alcohol abuse enter the equation.

So, I've got some unwriting to do today -- not much, happily, because we caught this in plenty too much time.  I may even get a start on rewriting.

And the roads, they roll.

Oh, and the new pen is gorgeous.  I'm really going to enjoy having it with me at Confluence.

Here, have a picture of both fountain pens, all snug in their traveling wallet:

rolanni: (Default)

So!  My new fountain pen arrived.  It's gorgeous, and! it writes sooooo smooth on the gritty old yellow so-called "legal pad" paper which is my preferred paper.  The pen came with a converter, which I hadn't realized, or I would've bought it a nice bottle of purple ink, instead of a box of black cartridges.  Maybe later.

What's that, you say?   Picture?  How about a link, instead?

I went shopping after doing the gym thing this morning.  Since I had been putting this off for a while, I had rather a Lengthy List and only accomplished about half.  I fear that I am no longer the Lean Mean Shopping Machine of yore. . .In any case, I'll try to finish up on Thursday.

One of the things I'll need is!  Bug repellent.  Bugs find me very tasty (it's like mosquitoes somehow know I have a lousy immune system) and I have it in my mind to be out in gardens and zoos and suchlike things, so bug repellent has moved to the top of the (remainder of) my list.  Can anyone recommend a good, not-hideously-poisonous-to-all-living-things-and-or-cancer-causing bug repellent that's easy to apply and doesn't smell bad? (not that I want the earth, or anything)

The other things I'll need on Thursday are replacement plants for the Cat Garden, which, under the combined efforts of the neighbor's chickens and the lawn guy's assistant, has mostly become a Weed Garden.  The dragon flowers are still doing well, but the bee balm was ruthlessly cut off last year by the LGA, and did not, as I had. . .kind of hoped. . .come back.  The garden is now well under the limbs of the red maple, so I'm thinking some hosta (called Jimmy here at the Cat Farm, because I can never remember what the damned thing is called, and Steve said that The Murdered Teamster sounded more like a rock band than a plant), or maybe some more bee balm, if the LGA can be educated not to cut off their heads, or some other shade-loving plants.  And there's one REALLY sunny corner where some day lilies might profit...

You see, I think, why I decided to Put Off Until Thursday what I did not finish today.

While I was shopping today, I must've seen about eight displays of those little three-sided spinner things, whatever they're called.  Not having kids, or grand-kids, either, I hadn't until recently realized that these were A Thing.  Back when I was a kid (and dinosaurs, &c), I used to have a continuous steel-link necklace that I used to spin while I was reading and/or studying, because -- though I couldn't've told you that at the time -- it helped me concentrate.  My mother took it away from me, of course, because back then such things were Weird and Not Normal and therefore Not Done.

What an age we live in.

I also learned, just today, that I live in a teensy-tiny-vanishingly-small-economically-unsupportable bubble with, like six other people (and Steve, and the coon cats.  And probably even Scrabble, who does not suffer fools, in case that's ever been in doubt) who believe in the social contract, the rule of law, repairing the infrastructure, and that a female Doctor Who is not the End of Civilization as we know it.  Who knew?

Anyway, home now to find that Steve had started the laundry, and is even now putting supper together.  After the meal, it's -- time to go to work, with a promise from the local weatherbeans of thunderstorms, maybe, this evening.

And on that note -- y'all have a fine afternoon, 'k?

Oh!  And here are Counting Crows, "Rain King."

 

 

 

rolanni: (Default)

Well, no.  Not quite mid-July, but we'll get there.  We'll get there.

Yesterday, was ant-murdering day.  Maybe every third summer one of the ant colonies will get the bright idea to expand supply lines and send a foraging force into the kitchen, whereupon we enter battle, and prevail, eventually.  It would be tempting to believe that, this year, we really did vanquish the foragers in our first, decisive, victory, but that's not really the way these things have worked in the past.  What will happen is that they'll withdraw, regroup and try again.  So, we await the dropping of the other shoe.

In the meantime, and in-between it all, we've been making plans for our pilgrimage West at the end of July.  As I may have mentioned once or twice, Steve and I will be Writer Guests of Honor at Confluence, in Pittsburgh during the first weekend in August. This will be our last convention appearance of 2017, so if you live near Pittsburgh, this is your call to seize the day.  Hope to see you there!

After the con, we are committed to coming home the long way, so that I might, at my advanced age, for the first time see Niagara Falls, and also so we might seek out and be pleased by the various carousels which can -- and will! -- be found along our route.

Among other things, of course this means buying clothes.  I have therefore purchased, on sale, one! more! pair! of Dry-on-the-fly cargo pants perfect for summer wear and travel.  I have also purchased the Russian sailor's shirt from Peterman's, which I have looked at with longing for years.  I'm calling it an early birthday present from me to me.

For those who were looking for an update to our Patreon page this weekend -- I do apologize.  Life, and words that must be written, derailed my good intentions.  Soon, I promise. . .

Today, I'm doing laundry.  The temperature is warm enough to melt coon cats, though with enough of a breeze that we have opted for fans rather than bring the A/C online.

And, that's all I've got, except that I'd better get back to work if I want to finish writing this section today.

Why, look!  Here are two melted coon cats, right here!


Melted Belle


Melted Sprite

Almost forgot:  Today's blog post title brought to you by Johnnie Cash, "A Boy Named Sue."  Here's your link.

All Summer in a Day

Thursday, April 13th, 2017 10:21 am
rolanni: (Default)

Late Spring has arrived here at the Cat Farm, which is a little surprising, given that, last week this time it was snowing.  Monday had been sunny and 70F/21C, and the weatherbeans were calling for more of the same for Tuesday.

So, Steve and I played hookey.  We left early, stopped in Lewiston to have breakfast at Fran's, and hit Old Orchard Beach just at high tide.  We walked the beach a little, I picked up a few empty shells, and tossed one snail back into the surf (the door was still on, and I supposed it was still alive).  We left the beach eventually and walked uptown to the Amtrak station, and Memorial Park.  While Steve waited for a train to photograph, I wandered over to the garden, and admired the places where flowers would be, in another six weeks.

When we finished with OOB, we went into Saco to scope out a townhouse/condo.  It was about as big as the first place we lived together, and not, perhaps, possible with three Very Large, and one Not Small cat in the household.

After our tour of Saco, we headed up to Freeport, and Shopped LLBean before continuing up-state.  We stopped in Augusta to have lunch at Lisa's, and so to home.

Nice day, and good to visit places that were neither doctor's offices nor grocery stores.

I must say, too, that we chose our day well.  Yesterday, it was sullen and cloudy all day until it finally rained like heck for an hour or two.  Today, it's partly cloudy, but the high temp will only be around 54F/12C.  We're under an active flood warning for the Kennebec River until Friday midday, which is always exciting.  Flood stage for the Kennebec at Augusta is 12 feet/3.5 meters, and the 'beans are expecting it to crest at 14 feet/4 meters.  There are a several miles and many hills between us and the Kennebec, and we have no business in Augusta for the next few days.  The local streams and wetlands are somewhat overfull, but nothing at all dangerous to us.


Steve at Old Orchard Beach April 11 2017

The Atlantic Ocean from the end of Brown Street at Old Orchard Beach April 11 2017

Memorial Park gazebo and Old Orchard Beach Library April 11 2017
rolanni: (Coffee with Rolanni)

So, yesterday's excitement included spilling a glass of ice tea across my desk.  Everything's mopped up now, thanks in great part to Steve's quick reactions, and no electronics died in the adventure.  We were inspired to explore a top shelf in the kitchen and have returned to use not one, but two sippy cups for grownups, so there's that benefit.

The other benefit of spilling liquid over a paper-strewn surface is that you get to look at all those pieces of paper as you're separating them and draping them about your office to dry.  Sometimes, this reveals treasure; sometimes only puzzles.

In the category of puzzle, I discovered a calendar page (we have a Non-Sequitur calendar on the kitchen table, and use the tear-off pages for scrap paper), with my writing in three different directions, elucidating the following:

PP (which I assume is Pemaquid Point; there's a lighthouse there): Rte 32 1:26 hr
Rock(land): Rte 32 1:10
O(ld) O(rchard) B(each): Rte 295 1:43
Coburn G(ore): 16/27 2:11
Portsmouth: 295 2:19
Houlton: 11 2:32
Jackman: 201 1:56

I'm not certain of the original reason for this piece of research (and I'm somewhat unsure of the apparent assumption that I can take Rte 11 all the way to Houlton; I think I have to cope with 95 at some point, but perhaps not.); possibly I was exploring my options, if a Flight to the Border became necessary.  However, it does nicely establish that we are, in fact, located in Central Maine.

And now, having shared this information, I can rid myself of at least one tea-stained scrap of paper.

Today, cardio-gym and the grocery store in the bright sunshine.  Tomorrow, there's snow in the forecast, maybe (we look to be on edge of a snowstorm, which may or may not honor county lines; you never know with snowstorms).  In the meanwhile, there's writing to be done.

Everybody stay well.

rolanni: (Coffee with Rolanni)

Remember!  The Uncle is now taking pre-orders for signed and/or personalized hardcover editions of The Gathering Edge, the twentieth novel in the Liaden Universe® created by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller; the fifth book in the Theo Waitley story arc.  Procrastinators Take Note: Orders for personalized copies must be made no later than April 1.  Here's your link.

Change Management:  Adventures in the Liaden Universe® Number 23, including two novelettes, brand-new "Street Cred," and reprint, "Wise Child," is now on sale at All the Usual Suspects, and will be coming to Baen ebooks realsoonnow.  This ebook has 15 5-star reviews on Amazon!

Those who can't wait until May 2 to find out what happens in The Gathering Edge, may purchase the eArc (with all its flaws and warts) directly from Baen ebooks.  (Yes, the authors receive royalties on eArc sales.)  Here's your link.

In other news, a Humongous Winter Storm is headed for the Cat Farm, with a predicted fall of heavy snow from 14-18 inches.  I will, therefore, be going into town to take on supplies just as soon as I finish this blog entry.

Everybody stay safe.

rolanni: (Coffee with Rolanni)

My thanks to everyone who put eyes on the Amazon situation.  Many noted that the links to Steve's author page are missing/broken/go somewhere else -- that will be my next Amazon-related project, whereupon I will once again ask for your assistance.  Thank you so very much being here, and being willing and able to assist us as we navigate the Silly Waters of Freelance.

This morning, lest I forget, there was a reprint contract in the mail.  Totally unexpected, but of course Delightful To Behold.

I am in the meantime, making a story from an outtake from Neogenesis.  The title is "Street Cred," and it is destined for a new eChapbook, which I hope to have on-sale before we leave for MarsCon.  This morning, it weighs in at about 7,500 words, out of what I estimate to be about 10,000 words, finished.  With luck I can finish the draft this evening.

Today, Steve is wanted at the dentist, and I'll do some errands in town while that work is being done.  Sunday is forecast to be sunny and warm; our goal at This Point in Time is to take a nice long drive on Sunday, partly in order to assuage cabin fever, and partly to see if I can do a nice long drive all in one go, in prep for driving to Albany, and getting on a train for Minneapolis.

Let's see, what else?  Oh, our mailbox here at the house fell victim to Winter, the first time in many winters, so All Mail must presently be picked up at the post office in Waterville.  Today, I expect to pick up a sweatshirt, and a DVD, along with the usual handful of bills and sales flyers.  I've really been looking forward to the sweatshirt, and honestly didn't expect the DVD to make it to us so quickly, which just goes to show that when you order something called "Arrival," it'll try to live up to its name.

. . .and I think that's all I've got.

Everybody stay safe, and warm.

rolanni: (Coffee with Rolanni)

So, let's see.  In our Last Thrilling Episode, the Writers were scrambling to get various projects done by deadlines/extended deadlines.

As of this morning, one of the overdue projects has been turned in; the other is in process.  The novel...is done in concept.  Which means that I have about thirty pages of dialog/rough story to expand and polish.  After all the cake has been iced, I'm guessing we'll come in about 130,000/132,000 finished words.  And, yes, I have written many more words for this book than made the final cut.  Might be time for a Blooper Track.

In terms of Mechanics, the book has been proofed, spell-checked, grammar-checked and continuity-checked through page 555 (remember -- these are manuscript pages, +/- 250 words/page in the Normal Way of things, and slightly less in This Way of doing things, because sub-chapters), and I'm actually feeling pretty good about it as a novel.

However, the next book will be about a person who sits in his chair and does nothing.  Fair warning.

I've been making a list of things To Do when the book is finished.  It looks something like this:


  1. Do income taxes

  2. Clean house

  3. Do Laundry

  4. Make blankie run

  5. Get haircut

  6. Prep for con

  7. Start next book

"Go to the Virgin Islands and sit around the pool drinking Adult Beverages" had been on the list, too, but the Coon Cat Consortium vetoed it.

. . .And I think that's all I got, except to note that Today the Weather Ghods of Central Maine have given us a nor'easter/ice storm.  It's a good thing I was planning to stay inside, anyway.

Y'all be careful out there.

Oh.  Today's blog title brought to you by the Steve Miller Band, "Motherless Children."  It's been on continuous loop in my head for a couple days now, and I thought I'd share the gift.  Here's your link.

Just checking in

Thursday, January 19th, 2017 08:37 am
rolanni: (Coffee with Rolanni)

Yes, yes, everyone's fine here at the Cat Farm and Confusion Factory.  We're simply in the midst of Deadline Heck for various projects, two of which are late, and one of which is coming due Right Soon.  I, personally, have been down deep in the guts of the novel, doing I can't even tell you, because to do so I would have to change brain trains, and I can't really do that right now.

On the Mundane Plane, it was snowing yesterday, so we put off going to town. Which of course meant that it snowed even more on the overnight, and is snowing as I type, so I guess we'll go to town in the snow.

I hear from Uncle Hugo that Mr. Blyly will soon have a page up for the pre-order of singed/personalized copies of The Gathering Edge, the. . .twentieth Liaden Universe® novel.  We'll let you know when that page is live.

For those of a Hugo nominating bent, the Liaden Universe® is eligible for the brand new Series Hugo, which is being test-driven at this year's WorldCon.

The cats are all fine, though of course they'd rather we'd do something a little more interesting than sitting in a chair and staring at the computer screens.  Belle has taken to jumping up in the bed in the early morning hours -- say around 4:00 am, to Discuss Weighty Matters with me.  Steve is of the opinion that she wants me to add a dining room, so she can have a dining room table to sleep on (we just finished reading The Cat Who Saw Red aloud, and I fear Koko is a bad influence.).  She would also like a Cat Porch to be installed.

. . .I think that's all I've got.  Writers lives are pretty boring, really, especially when we're working.

Everybody stay well and warm -- or cool, depending on your hemisphere.

rolanni: (Coffee with Rolanni)

Yesterday, we had precipitation.  There was some confusion amongst the Weatherbeans in their lofty towers of ice and sunshine regarding the form in which the precipitation would finally manifest.  The Weather Wheel spun from snow, to sleet, to freezing rain, ice pellets, and the ever-popular wintry mix, until the Weatherbeans in their wise frustration threw their hands in the air and said, "It is on the back of the wind."

And so it was.

We here at the Cat Farm were blessed with snow.  Quite a lot of snow, very wet and heavy, since the temperatures never really got much below 31F/0C.  I had tried to do the Wise Thing and perform preliminary snow removal yesterday evening, before the skylight absolutely went.  This resulted in me sliding on the ice beneath the snow and falling flat on my face.  I therefore rethought the situation, with Steve's pointed input, and decided to do snow removal this morning, when there was more traction between boot soles and ice.

Today, it's quite pretty out, with sticky snow stuck to all the tree branches and Everything Else, and the sun beaming down from a blue and cloudless sky.

I have done two rounds of snow relocation, in prep for the plowguy.  The first round was Before Coffee, to clear the steps and make a path in the direction of the cars.  I came in to warm up -- actually, to cool down; it gets hot when you shovel snow under the smiling sun -- had a cup of chocolate coffee that Steve had ready for me, and an oatmeal cookie.

Round Two saw the cars cleared, for values of clear meaning that the driver can see out the front and back windows, after which I had Second Breakfast: coffee, cottage cheese, and leftover stuffing.  The breakfast of champions.

We are now on Plowguy Watch, and my jeans are in the dryer.

For those who may have never done snow relocation on a bright and sunny day in Maine, a few notes.

The snow was so white and reflective under the sun that the only way I could find and follow the paths I had made was to look for the blue inside the outline of my footprints.  I have a great fondness for blue snow, which I don't think I ever saw before we came to Maine.

Also, the trees are, as stated above, bearing a significant burden of snow on each and all of their branches.  Yes, the smiling sun and the playful breeze are assisting in the removal of this burden, but it's a tricky process.

While I was outside on Round Two, the neighbor across the road lost a branch from the tree closest to his house.  I heard a crrraaackkk and looked up in time to see the branch tumbling down in slo-mo, and a cloud of snow-dust dancing and twinkling against the perfect blue sky.

This is the time when we are at risk for losing power, because the lines are every bit as coated as the trees, and subject to the same forces.  And once again, we are grateful for the generator.

For the moment, my snow worship is done.  Sprite is already asleep in her basket on my desk, and I guess I'll take her hint and get to work.

Everybody have a safe, pleasant day.

rolanni: (Coffee with Rolanni)

In our last Thrilling Installment, it was Trooper's Birthday, known in some less enlightened parts of the world as December 15.

On Thursday, as per The Plan, we did indeed motor into Waterville to pick up the mail, and also to view Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which I adored, despite not being able to hear much of the dialog*. This is possibly telling, but then, I don't expect much from movies except that they look pretty and hang together as a tale at least until the credits roll.

After the movie, we hit Governor's for breakfast (yes, breakfast; don't judge), and so to home.

Friday was a writing day.

Saturday, it snowed, thus becoming a writing day with interludes of snow removal.  In-between, I finished moving my files from the old computer to the new computer, and upgrading the OS on my Asus Android tablet from Lollipop to Marshmallow, which, because of Something Technical, had to be done manually.  This was a case of an operation sounding much scarier than it actually was.  The upgrade went beautifully, and now I have an up-to-date OS, just in time for Google to release the next in series.

Yesterday, also, Steve took point on hooking up my classy new 7-port USB hub and the new multi-size card reader, as both of these required climbing around under the desk, which I'm presently not up for because...

I borked my knee.  No, I don't know how I did it.  I tried ignoring it for a week, which worked about as well as you might think, and babying it with ice and elevation and all like that.  We've reached the point where I'm probably going to call the doctor, though part of me insists that if I don't hear words like "meniscus tear," all will be well.  More or less.

That brings us to what?  Today.  Sunday.

Yesterday, as reported it snowed, and the temps didn't get much higher than 15F/-9C.  Today! It's raining, and the high temp is predicted to be 44F/6C.  Right now, everything is encased in ice, which is my least-favorite winter scenario.

The Plan for the rest of the day is to retire to the comfy reclining chair with the laptop, and work from there.

I had briefly thought that we'd go see Arrival tomorrow before it leaves town, but I'm doubting that's going to be happening.

. . .and I think that catches us all up.

Everybody stay safe.

_________

*I am informed that there are such things as "caption glasses" available at some theaters. Sadly, they are not available at the Waterville Flagship Cinemas.  They are available at the Regal Cinemas, in Augusta, but that makes a 50-mile round trip to see a movie.

December 15

Thursday, December 15th, 2016 11:25 am
rolanni: (Calvin & Hobbes happy dance)

Today is of course, Trooper's seventh birthday.  As you can see, the celebrations are already underway.  We took on ice cream and cake yesterday, and will today toast the birthday appropriately.  Trooper has already opened and tried out his present -- a brand new laser pointer.

In other news, Steve is into the Meds and Blood Work Waltz, so -- new meds last week, blood work yesterday, med adjustment this week, blood work next week.  Hopefully, satisfactory levels will be achieved sooner, rather than later.

Tomorrow, we plan to see Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which is still -- astonishingly -- playing at the Waterville Flagship. The necessity of planning errands around daylight is, shall we say, not yet intuitive.  I need to remember that, "Steve will drive us home in the dark," is not in play at the moment.  And that the number of available daylight hours is still shrinking.

So, anyway, we'll catch the 12:50 show in Waterville, and have twilight to drive home in.  It's a plan.

Looking at long-range weather, Winter is blowing in from Canada.  We're looking at dangerous wind chills today and tomorrow.  Saturday will bring us 3-5 inches of snow and Sunday -- will turn warm in the daytime. . .

. . .and rain.

Whereupon the temps will plummet to 6F/-14C.

I am so very glad we have a generator.  Thank you again! to everyone who helped us make that happen.

. . .and now, I must to work.  At some point, this book has got to be done, amirite?

rolanni: (Coffee with Rolanni)

We have a winner for the Monday night drawing for a free MP3 edition of Dragon in Exile, the 18th novel-length Adventure in the Liaden Universe® created by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, and!

The winner is Number 55!

Congratulations Number 55, well done, indeed!

We will be releasing the winner's name on Welcome to Liad, as soon as we have verification and permission to do so.

And you!  Have you entered today's drawing?  What drawing you ask?  Here's the rules

We ask people to please read the rules and follow the directions.  "Entries" made at venues other than the venue stipulated will not be counted, plus you will make me cranky.  You don't want to make me cranky.  Also!  We ask that people enter from the email address that they check at least daily, and not to enter twice from two different email addresses.  This will also make me cranky, and worse -- I will mock you.

OK, then!

In other news, Steve had the first of an arranged two doctor appointments yesterday, in which most questions were deferred to the second doctor, who's up on Wednesday.  I guess that's a Watch the Skies.

Also, it snowed yesterday, and on the overnight, so first order of bidness this morning was sweeping snow, and have now moved on to coffee and answering my mail.  This will shortly be followed by more coffee, breakfast, and working on the Novel That Will Not End.

Everybody have a good day.

Here's a photo of Twig to help you get that going.

twig

Quick catch-up

Sunday, November 20th, 2016 09:35 pm
rolanni: (Coffee with Rolanni)

So, Friday.

Friday, I had planned to go to the movies with Steve to see "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them," after which we would go to dinner, or dunch, or whatever.

Instead, on Friday, since I had a fever, and a deep cough, and couldn't speak -- Steve drove me to the doctor, where I was assured that the stoopid illness I brought home from RICC was not pneumonia, but "only" a sinus infection.  Antibiotics were prescribed, and that other thing -- rest.

Since I was "resting," I decided to bang my head against Overdrive, and have succeeded in downloading, and consuming, three books from the library.

. . .and that's been about my greatest accomplishment over the weekend.  I took Number Ten Ox the laptop to the couch with me this morning, thinking that writing from the couch can still be argued to be "resting," but I fell asleep over the keyboard, and woke up to a long line of kkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkks across the page.

Tomorrow is the day that I am supposed to see a radical improvement in health matters.  If I do not arise, light as a leaf, and carefree as a chipmunk, I get to call the doctor for another antibiotic.

So, that.

In other news, I turned off my desktop on Friday, because the fan kept revving and revving and revving, and Windows Host Services (according to the resource meter), was running the CPU at 103% of maximum efficiency for reasons best known to itself.  I turned it back on this morning, and the nonsense started up again, and has continued, now, straight through for 13 hours.  I aborted Windows Host Services when I came back to my office to do this blog entry, so I could hear myself think.

I was waffling on getting the Linux machine, but, yanno?  Now may indeed be the hour.

Snow showers in the forecast tonight, but nothing at all serious here in Central Maine until maybe the weekend after Thanksgiving.

Oh, ghod.  Thursday's Thanksgiving.

Well.

I'll be better tomorrow.

Here, have a picture from a park/ice rink in downtown Providence, RI.  Photo by Sharon Lee.

go-fly-a-kite-providence-ri-nov-11-2016
rolanni: (Pilot Theo)

It's raining in East Winslow, and aims to do so all day.  So, fine.  I have a section, ahem, "outlined" and words to go before I sleep.

In the meantime, your Friday morning adverts.


  1. Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (and a Cast of Thousands) will be at the Rhode Island Comic Con in Providence, RI, November 11-13.  Look for us at the Wordfire Booth in the dealers room.  Here's your link

  2. "The Road to Pomona's," a new-old story, with author's commentary, has been posted to Splinter Universe.  Here's that link

  3. Lee and Miller and the Liaden Universe® were spotlighted in the October issue of Locus Magazine.  You can download a pdf of the article here.

  4. Speaking of the October issue of Locus, Alliance of Equals appeared in the Number 2 spot for bestselling hardcovers (in July).

  5. Alliance of Equals currently has 241 reviews on Amazon. Steve and I thank everyone who took the time to comment.  It's never too late to review a book on Amazon -- any book on Amazon, not just ours -- and by doing so you help the title, the writers, and other readers.

  6. The winter holidays will be here before you know it, and of course you want something Totally Cool to wear.  This is where the Liaden Universe® store at Offworld Designs comes in.  Polo shirts, long-sleeve denim shirts (in cool blue or formal black), the always--popular t-shirts, and! coffee mugs, which make a lovely gift for the hostess or host.  Here's your link.

  7. The Gathering Edge, the 20th novel-length Liaden Universe® adventure, will be published by Baen in May 2017.

  8. Neogenesis, the 21st novel-length Liaden Universe® adventure, has been scheduled for publication in January 2018.

  9. Steve Miller and Sharon Lee are currently scheduled to attend three science fiction conventions in 2017.  They are:  Boskone, February 17-19, 2017, Boston MA; Marscon (Lee and Miller, writer guests of honor), March 3-5, 2017, Bloomington MN; Confluence (Lee and Miller, writer guests of honor), August 4-6, 2017.

  10. Neogenesis, aka The Book Scheduled for January 2018 publication, now stands at 73,891 words, more or less.

As a reward for reading this far, here's a snippet:

"Only think! I may call upon soldiers and specialists. You may call upon -- forgive me -- a gaggle of pilots. While they are very fine pilots, they are of little use to us in the absence of --"

second-breakfast-oct-27-2016

From Facebook

Sunday, September 25th, 2016 11:49 am
rolanni: (booksflying1.1)

Usually, I write a blog post here, and give the folks on Twitter and Facebook a link.

Today -- just to keep y'all on your toes -- I'm doing it backwards.

Posted at Facebook at 11:00 am on Sunday, September 25, 2016:

So, yesterday was a work day, and today will be another like it. I have to pay bills first, and straighten out the mess that I have allowed the checkbook to become, then rewrite the scene I wrote last night, using the Proper Viewpoint (you'd think I'd get these things right the first time at this point in the game, wouldn't you?), and move on with the next scene.

Crisp and cool this morning; sunny, with a persistent breeze. Over breakfast, Steve and I discussed the Vital Matter of Turning On the Heat, and decided it's time to bring the basement thermostat on-line, to warm the floors, and calibrate as necessary from there.

This morning on Facebook, I unfriended someone for being so ill-advised as to "poke" me. This is policy, folks: "poke" me and be cast into the outer darkness.

I wrote a blog post yesterday -- here's the pointer, for them what's interested in the trials and tribulations of raisin bread.

Also, I am reading a book. I am not happy with this book, *at all* (no, I'm not going to tell you which book). The plot, at about 2/3s of the way through Makes No Sense; the "romance" is making me crazy (they hate each other, but they can't keep their hands off each other. Please. Just...please); another plot-point has Just Now been introduced that only promises to make things more confusing, rather than more exciting. . .but, worst of all, the heroine is Too Stupid to Live. Unfortunately, it looks like she's going to make it to the sequel. At this point, I'm reading on to see if the author can actually pull it out; if they do, I'll have learned something.

What else? Oh. Steve is making spaghetti and meat sauce for supper. It's a good day for spaghetti.

What're y'all doing today?

rolanni: (Red umbrella from rainbow graphics)

Those of you who purchase ebooks from Amazon need to be aware of the following:

a. The Kindle edition of omnibus The Crystal Variation, by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, including the novels Crystal Soldier, Crystal Dragon, and Balance of Trade -- has been taken off-sale by Amazon pending correction of "serious quality issues." These issues are "misspellings."  Amazon forwarded the list of 144 instances of misspelled words to Baen, which forwarded it to us.  More than a dozen of those "misspelled" words are "cermacrete."  We also have "ISBN" identified as a "misspelled" word. Also, cantra, kais, qwint, Iloheen, aetherium, autoshout -- you get the idea.  Steve and I have each made a pass down the list and have so far identified three Actual Misspelled Words, and one that I need to research, but believe to be a spacing problem.  The process from here goes like this:  We tell Baen which words are Actually Misspelled.  A Baen editor will fix those errors.  The Baen Ebook Team will then recompile the omnibus and shuffle it into its various formats, including forwarding a "clean copy" to Amazon.  Amazon will then, at some point, put the book back on sale.

If you would like to purchase an electronic copy of The Crystal Variation in the immediate future, your best choice of vendor would be Baen Ebooks, which offers the book for sale in All Formats Known to Man or Clutch.  Here's the link.

b.  Amazon has also stopped selling Courier Run, an echapbook containing two Liaden stories by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, for Serious Quality Issues.  In a Surprising Plot Twist, this title shows as being Live and On Sale from my publisher's dashboard.  KDP support is Researching the Issue and promises an answer by August 18 -- next Thursday.

If you would like to purchase this echapbook before next Thursday, please seek it elsewhere -- BN, Kobo, iBooks still offer it for sale.

c. Sleeping with the Enemy was also briefly off-sale at Amazon, but its honor has been redeemed and it is now on-sale in the Kindle store, as well as at the rest of the Usual Suspects.

d. Spell Bound, an echapbook collecting "Will-o'-the-wisp" and "The Wolf's Bride," two Archers Beach stories previously published on Splinter Universe, is now for sale at the Amazon Kindle store (after a brief tussle in which Amazon insisted that the content was available "freely on the web" and therefore I had no right to publish the compilation), and! at Kobo, and iBooks.  BN will presumably get around to publishing sometime soon.

A related note: Since these stories have been collected, they have been removed from Splinter Universe.

Today, it is rainy and cool at the Cat Farm and Confusion Factory.  I plan a quiet, working day.  I realize that we are very fortunate in our weather.  All of you who labor under Dangerous Heat Advisories -- please be alert and take good care of yourselves.

rolanni: (agatha primping)

As I write this, there are 132 reader reviews on Amazon for Alliance of Equals.  Only 68 more to hit our goal of 200!  You guys are awesome.

Also, I see that Dragon in Exile has picked up a few reviews, too, as a sort of overflow\proximity event. Thanks to everyone who took the time.

Here in Central Maine today, it was hot, for values of "hot" above 90F/33C.  Which is plenty hot enough.  I was on at the hospital, where the inside temp was nice and coolish; Steve turned on the A/C here at the house, and the cats have taken up strategic positions in puddles of coolth.

By virtue of arriving at the nice, cool hospital early today, I actually had ten minutes of peace and quiet in which I Realized several important things about the novel-in-progress.  It would perhaps have helped if I'd realized them earlier, but better late than never, I guess.

Maybe I need to go to the hospital at lunchtime every day, and just sit at a table for ten minutes, with my notebook open and pen in hand.  Or not.  It's possible that the various thought fragmentation nodules have at least been quietened, if not completely silenced.  We very much hope that this is the case.

Later this week, we're to meet with the photographer for to have our heads shot, and, while we're at it, have some PR shots taken that will reflect the reality of this century, purple hair and all.

Tomorrow, there is nothing scheduled (except, yanno, taking the trash out).  I believe that is my cue to take the laptop and lay claim to the couch in the living room, with my notes and new insights.  So that?  Is what I will do.

Everybody stay cool.  Here, let Belle show you how:

Belle staying cool July 25 2016

Today's blog title is brought to you by Talking Heads, "Girlfriend is Better." Here's your link.

rolanni: (Surprise!)

So, today, I took all of our titles on Smashwords off-sale.  They say it will take between one and three weeks for their various channels to catch up with this action.  In the meantime, all Lee-and-Miller, and Lee, self-pubbed titles remain available from BN and Amazon.

In the spirit of progress, I have converted three ebooks, so they'll be ready to go up into the sales channels through Draft2Digital when Time has Become.

Other than that, I went to the gym, and the grocery store, and was grumpy because outstanding checks have yet to arrive.  Yes, I know you're tired of hearing about outstanding checks not arriving.  I am, too.

Today, it was hot; tomorrow is going to be hot, too, which will be good for the beach, but perhaps not for the residents of the Cat Farm, who were rather melty today, even with the windows open and a nice breeze running through.  Tomorrow, we may have to condition the air.  *sigh*

And! Today's Off the Wall Question is:  Has anyone who reads here been to a performance by Hatsune Miku?  I'd like to hear about your experience and impressions.

Edited to Add:  I am remiss!  As of right now, Alliance of Equals has 98 reader reviews on Amazon!  Only 102 more to reach our goal of 200!  Thanks to everyone who has taken the time, and expended the energy!

. . .I fear that's all I have today.

Hope y'all are having positively brilliant days, wherever you are.


Belle and Trooper July 14 2016

Today's blog post is brought to you by Abney Park, "Breathe."  Here's your link.

rolanni: (storm at sea by rainbow graphics)

So, yesterday, Steve and I drove down to Old Orchard Beach, and took a walk through the shallows before the ozone levels (seen as a pink haze prowling in from beyond Wood Island Light, eating the shoreline as it came) got too high.  The beach was super crowded with people having a good time, which was nice to see. Also, I got sunburned, so it was all good.

In the way of such things, once we were out of the house, we had very little inclination to speed back to the house, so we turned left instead of right, taking Routes 9 and 1 down to Wells, which was likewise crowded, and eventually turned right on a road wending northward.  We did stop at Borealis Breads in Wells to take on, well -- bread; and at the Bull and Claw to partake of really excellent fish 'n chips, before getting serious about the trip back home.

While we were at the ocean, a Severe Thunderstorm Watch came across the phones (we live in Maine; we have Weather here, not climate, so you've gotta kind of keep an eye on it).  We debated staying down ocean-side a few hours longer to watch the storm in, but eventually decided against, and continued the northward journey.

One of the things that struck me forcibly downcoast was the number of businesses advertising for help.  Not just seasonal businesses -- though there were plenty of them needing help -- but grocery stores, and pharmacies, hardware stores, year-round bakeries, and such.  It's tempting to move south, just for the work.  Mind you, none of those jobs would cover the rent in-or-near a resort town, and you'd spend more in gas than the job's worth, if you came in from any distance.

Ah, well.  Guess I'll stay right here.

We arrived home, alert to the need to leap up at any moment to Batten the Hatches -- the Waterville-Winslow megapolis also being on the watch for Severe Thunderstorms, and possible tornadoes (!)  We heard thunder; we saw (a lot) of lightning; the wind came up in a satisfactory manner, but --

The storm passed us by.  A glance at the interactive weather map showed that it had dumped rain half-a-mile away, but our house had, like, a little weather-repellent dome over it, and we were dry.

Half-an-hour later another cell passed over, announcing its presence by striking and exploding a tree somewhere in the Very Near Vicinity of the Cat Farm.  The wind screamed, rain came down in sheets. . .

Five minutes later, it was all done, gone, and on its way to Skowhegan, where it apparently did wreak some mischief.  And, yes, there was at least one tornado briefly on the ground, in Caribou, 'way up in The County.

Today, it is much cooler, and the air is clean.  We're enjoying it while we can.  Tomorrow, they same, Summer's Back.

# # #

To the Very Best of My Knowledge, Sleeping with the Enemy, Adventures in the Liaden Universe Number 22, has now been published to all of the usual subjects, including BN, Kobo, the iStore, and Amazon.

No, I am afraid we will not be producing a paper chapbook, like in the "old days."  These days are demonstrably, and perhaps sadly, not the "old days;" postage rates have gone crazy, our very reliable printer of many years has retired, and his son has merged the business with another out of Portland, and closed the shop up here.  Also, Steve is not able anymore to do the physical lifting and schlepping and whatnot, and I never could.  So -- no paper edition.  Possibly, the stories in Sleeping will be collected in a Liaden Constellation sometime in the next couple years.

Thank you for your understanding.

# # #

As I type, Alliance of Equals rejoices in 90! reader reviews on Amazon.  That's. . .terrific.  Only 110 more to reach our 200-review milestone.  You guys rock.

# # #

I don't know if I reported here that, earlier in the season, the Cat Garden was the victim of an error produced by one of our lawn guy's guys.  The error took out one whole corner of flowers, with the exception of some coneflowers, which have valiantly bloomed over the killing field in memory of better days.  I was out inspecting just a little while ago and, honestly?  It looks like next year -- or the year after, at most -- the whole garden will be taken over by the dragon flowers (snapdragons to you folks down south).

Which is good.  Hummingbirds and butterflies both like the dragon flowers, though they bloom late in the season, rather than early.  So, if the garden is not now According to Plan, at least it is staying true to its raison de'etre.

Though I do kinda miss the yarrow and (most of) the coneflowers.

Well.  I think that catches us all up.

Everybody stay cool.

Today's blog title is courtesy of John Masefield, "Sea Fever," known to children everywhere as, "I must go down to the sea again."  Here's your link.

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