Gang aft a-gley

Thursday, July 20th, 2017 07:57 pm
rolanni: (Default)

Ah, my dear friends, I have a terrible dilemma before me.  Both Olga and Natalia wish to be my wife; each has written several times to me of their passion. They are equally attractive; both are looking for love, but neither appears to be able to do laundry.

Well.  That's really not a dilemma at all, is it?

So, today was an odd day.  One of those days where Things Got Done, but they were Entirely the Wrong Things.  On the other hand, a day that includes a milkshake and an unexpected ride in the country can't be too far awry.

At least, that's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

I did make it to gym and waked for miles.  My "gym book" this go is a Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle, winner of the 1963 Newbery Medal, and a buncha other awards, soon, I'm told to be  Major Motion Picture.  Again.

AWIT was published when I was 10 years old.  Despite this, I didn't read it (the first time) until I was an adult.  It was sitting on a table in EJ Korvette's in...damned if I remember -- Towson, probably.  Anyhow, remainder table, one among many of its own kind, and many others, not necessary of its kind.  I was waiting for my then-boyfriend to finish up doing something or another, and started to read AWIT, as the most interesting looking book on the table, and by the time he re-appeared, I'd tessered once already and wasn't about to miss the rest of the story.  It was a buck I never regretted spending.

I read AWIT a couple times since then, but not for 20 years or so -- found the sequels, but none of them held my interest beyond the first two pages. . .  So, yanno, life goes on; so many books, so little time; and all like that.

But AWIT is going to be coming out as a movie next year; this time, so the hype goes, done right, which means that lots of people who read it as kids, and who imprinted on it, are re-reading.  And some are being disappointed, and blogging about their disappointment (one more time from the choir: What an age we live in).  Now, by the time I'd read AWIT, I'd read. . .a buncha books, many of them science fiction/fantasy (Back when I started reading sf/f, you could easily read the monthly titles, and still have room left over for others kinds of books.  It just wasn't possible, if you were any shakes of a reader at all, to read only science fiction.).  I thought AWIT was a good enough book.  Certainly, the Mrs. Whatsit, Who, and Which have pleasantly improved my inner life.  Meg irritated me -- but Meg was supposed to irritate me.  Partly, after all, this was a story about Meg coming to terms with Meg, and if she could stand it, so could I.

I did have some reservations about the sudden appearance and utter acceptance of Calvin, especially the part where he liked Meg straight off.  Otherwise, he seemed like good enough kid.

Charles Wallace was being set up either as John the Baptist, or the new Christ figure, but I'd already read Perelandra, and Out of the Silent Planet and whassis -- That Hideous Strength.  Plus, I'd been raised Roman Catholic.  All of which meant I was pretty good at ignoring the God-stuff and following the story along.

So, anyhow.  I read it back then; liked it well enough.  Read it a couple times more and liked it on rereads.

This time, I'm still liking it.  Meg perhaps annoys me less, but, then I know how the story goes, more or less.  I find that I misplaced a couple things on the timeline, but no big surprises so far. . .The Happy Medium, surprisingly or not, irritates me more than Meg does this time.  Hmm.

One of the reviewers I read was saddened by the fact that AWIT didn't sing for them anymore, and blamed -- the 60s (given a 1962 pub date, and its long history of rejection, AWIT was probably written in the late 50s).  The 60s, said the reviewer are just too unbelievable to a person of modern sensibility, and the story therefore suffers from its setting.

I will go on record here as saying that the 60s setting doesn't detract from the story  at all, for this reviewer.  OTOH, I lived through the 60s.

So, that.

After gym, I ran the rest of the errands on my list -- sadly, neither CVS nor Agway had any of the bug repellents I had pinned my hopes upon, so I wound up ordering from the internet, rather than shopping locally.

Agway did provide me with a ginormous lacy yellow day lily, a hug pot of bee balm and a Jimmy hosta with white bells (the hosta on the other end of the property have blue/purple bells).  I have probably under-bought, but the wallet gets a vote, and this will at least start a Cat Garden Renaissance.

For those keeping score at home, I remain Utterly Delighted with my new fountain pen, which has scarcely been out of my hand since I bought it.  So delighted am I, that I have purchased another Pilot Metropolitan, this is the formal White Tiger color scheme, and blue ink, so I will have a fine signing pen at Confluence.

And that?  Really is all the news that's fit to print.

Everybody stay cool, or warm, as appropriate.

No mail today...

Monday, October 10th, 2016 11:59 am
rolanni: (booksflying1.1)

Where I live, today is Columbus Day (observed).  Which means there's no mail delivery.  Two Sundays in one week is kinda harsh. . .

Today's big news!

The second of three Pinbeam Book bundles is now available for purchase at Baen ebooks.  The titles included in the October Bundle are:  Endeavors of Will, Sharon Lee; Gunshy (the sequel to Barnburner), Sharon Lee; The Naming of Kinzel, Sharon Lee and Steve Miller; The Cat's Job, Sharon Lee and Steve Miller; The Day They Brought the Bears to Belfast, Sharon Lee.

Here's your link

. . .you may also buy each title separately from that link.

In other news, I seem to have caught Steve's cold, so no gym for me today.  Better luck tomorrow.

Today will be a writing day, commencing, as soon as I post this blog entry, with a session of sitting-on-the-couch-staring-at-nothing.  I'm always amazed when people treat the "creative process" like some kind of cognitive mystery.  All you have to do is stare at nothing, hard, until the bead of blood form on your forehead, and the backbrain has pity and forks over.

See?  Easy.

So!  Things are starting to heat up, in A Night in the Lonesome OctoberSomebody's shown Bad Form, and somebody else is offended.  The Things are getting restive, and the lines are confused.  Not only that, but there's a new fellow in the neighborhood, who is strangely determined to befriend Jack and Snuff; and the Great Detective is afoot.

# # #

"Yes, I am familiar with your candor, and the limits placed upon it. I will ask carefully, Translator. I would not unwittingly cause you pain."

rolanni: (Carousel Sun)

As advertised, Steve and I are reading A Night in the Lonesome October by Roger Zelazny one chapter a night, starting on September 30, and ending on Halloween (some folks have reported being able to download this as an ebook; I can't find it myself, so if anyone can give a tip to those still looking, it would be appreciated).

So far, on our journey, we've met Snuff, our narrator; Jack; the graveyard dog; Greymalk; Cheeter; Needle -- and heard news of Nightwind; Morris and McCab; the Great Detective and his companion; Crazy Jill; the Mad Monk Rastoff; Quicklime; the Count; and the kindly Druid.  And let us not forget that curious  paw print in the yard...

Mysteries are starting to pile up, and there turns up a curious question -- Are you an opener?  or a closer?#

# # #

Yesterday, the coon cats and I spent many hours on the sofa, mapping out the Rest of the Story.  We decided to cut out one narrative line for lack of space, and package it as a short story; and I think have a working strategy for getting everyone at the corner of Elm and 10th Street at the same hour on the date appointed.  I have pointed the Auctorial Finger of Doom at several characters.  We'll see how well I do this time.

The whole stream of consciousness doc has gone to Steve for review.  There is a brainstorming session in our very near future.

# # #

Let's see, what else?

Steve and I have been making an effort to bring more light into the house -- this is in literal, rather than the metaphorical, sense.  To that end, we have acquired an LED arc lamp to illuminate the living room.  Steve has replaced his ancient (WWII vintage) desk lamp with a jazzy new LED lamp; I have a reading lamp in my upgraded reading corner, and we have placed a torche-thingy in the bedroom, which we've angle at the ceiling, and which illuminates the whole room.

What a difference a few lamps makes.

On that theme, my desk lamp (with full spectrum light tubes) blew out on Saturday.  I've ordered in a replacement bulb, which will be here, it says here, on Friday.  And not a moment too soon.

We still need to do something better about illuminating the bathroom and the kitchen.  I'm thinking we should look into LED bulbs to replace the big globe- lights-onna-bar that were fashionable a while back, since we're working with what we've got as much as possible. The kitchen. . .

The kitchen will require Creative Thinking.

# # #

So, it's Wednesday, and I'm for the volunteer gig in a little while.  While I'm gone, you can read the Spotlight interview from Locus, here (please note that this is a pdf file):    lee-miller-locus-oct-2016

I hope everybody has a pleasant day.

rolanni: (moon & mountains)

Yes, that's right!  Tonight, Steve and I begin our annual, chapter-a-night read of Roger Zelazny's A Night in the Lonesome October.

For those who are not familiar, the book is sort of an advent calendar for Halloween, with each chapter reporting on the events of a single day in the month of October, until we reach The Biggest Day of All.

Because this is not the story of just any Halloween.  No, the book describes the days leading up to one of the Halloweens, when there is a full moon on the night itself.  On this rare night, real danger arises, and the fate of the world is decided by a handful of odd people, and their companion animals.  Will the way be opened for change?  Or will it remain closed, and the world as we know it remain the same?

No, I'm not going to tell you.

People have told me that it's impossible to read the book one chapter a day.  Steve and I have never had any problem doing so, across the decade or so since we've adopted the tradition -- which was first brought to our attention by Vicky Brown of fond memory,  and other denizens of the Friends of Liad mailing list.  We alternate reading a chapter aloud each night, after flipping a dollar coin for the privilege of reading the introductory chapter, which takes place on September 30.

A Night in the Lonesome October was out of print for a number of years (our preferred copy is a slightly decrepit hardcover, published by AvoNova in 1993).  A couple years ago, it was reprinted in trade paperback by the Chicago Review Press, as part of its Rediscovered Classics series, so you can have your own copy, or, in our case, a back-up copy, for the sad day when the hardcover becomes too frail to read.

So!  Who's with us this October?


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)

Yesterday was a half-holiday.  Steve made His Own Sort of Gourmet Mac-n-Cheese for our supper, then we -- with the coon cats, who were very interested, indeed -- viewed The Book of Life, and assorted short features.  We also finished reading aloud Feet of Clay, the. . .third? Night Watch novel.  Next up is Peter Pan.

Why Peter Pan, you ask?  Well, when we were down south, sitting vigil for Steve's step-father, I was at one point the only one in the room, aside Pete.  I figured he might miss all the noise and voices, being so very used to living in hubbub.  I'm not much of an extemporaneous chatterer, but I can certainly read out loud.  So I started reading Peter Pan, since I don't seem to have The Prince and the Pauper on my tablet at the moment.  Steve came in at some point, and when I would have stopped, asked me to go on.  Turns out, he doesn't remember reading Peter Pan, so we'll finish it up properly.

After Peter -- or, at least, starting on September 30 -- we will of course begin reading A Night in the Lonesome October one chapter a night 'til Halloween, as has been our custom for some years now.  After that, perhaps it will be time again for the Watch, and Jingo.

In possibly more relevant news, readers are already writing to me in various states from mild curiosity to barely-restrained panic, wondering why it is that they cannot yet! pre-order the electronic edition of The Gathering Edge from Amazon (and I assume the other on-line bookstores).  The fear is that ...Edge will only be available in hardcover, and be released in electronic at some later date, after Demand Has Built.  Or something.

Now, if y'all will cast your minds back, you will recall that Amazon has not, at least for the last four Liaden titles, opened pre-orders for the electronic edition this early.  Yes, I say early.  ...Edge is scheduled to be released in hardcover on May 2, 2017 -- more than eight months from now.  Regardless of what may be done for other titles by other authors, for Liaden titles -- and the Carousel titles, too -- Amazon opens pre-orders for electronic editions somewhere between one month and three days before the hardcover release date.

So, there's no need to panic, honest.

Related to this -- yes, work is going forward on Book the Next, still without a proper title, poor tyke.  Before our unfortunate break, I had said that I would post snippets, but not word count, because of the Very Odd Way in which this book is going together.  That is still in force.

So!  Today's blog post title is brought to you by Foul Ole Ron, from Feet of Clay by Terry Pratchett.  Because it amuses me.

# # #

"Don't you get attitudinal with me! Won't hurt you to show a little respect – and a lotta restraint! What if he'd been driving? Or flying? You might've killed him, is what -- and I ain't having it! Acazzi?"


New Liaden novelette

Thursday, June 16th, 2016 10:13 am
rolanni: (Alliance of Equals art by David Mattingl)

"Wise Child," a Liaden novelette by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, is now live. It starts on the front page, or you can read the whole thing here:

Please take a moment to like it on FB or tweet about it (buttons at the bottom of the story) so the boss knows people care. Thanks.

rolanni: (Alliance of Equals art by David Mattingl)

Business first!  If, for some reason, you should happen to need, or want, a "press kit" regarding upcoming Liaden Universe® novel Alliance of Equals, you may find it here.

You will note that the information states that Uncle Hugo's Science Fiction Bookstore will once again be the sole source for signed and/or personalized copies.  You will also note that Uncle Hugo's has not yet opened pre-orders for this title.

Uncle Hugo's is an independent bookstore with limited resources and staff.  Right now, they're very busy (as you might imagine) coping with the orders for signed copies of Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen (go here, if you want one of those, too).  They would rather not get mixed up -- and you -- and we! -- would rather they didn't get mixed up.

Since we don't want to break the staff, and the staff wants to give good customer service, and also bearing in mind that Alliance. . . has a publication date of July 5, we consulted with Mr. Blyly, who consulted with staff, and!

Uncle Hugo will open pre-orders for signed and/or personalized editions of Alliance of Equals by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, on March 1.

So, hold onto your horses, and your credit cards.  Mark your calendars.  We will, of course, shout it from the rooftops, when the pre-orders open.

Thank you for your patience, and your enthusiasm.  Steve and I appreciate it immensely.

* * *

In other news, Steve and I have started to read Terry Pratchett's Mort to each other in the evening.

Also, I discovered yesterday that the piercing in my left ear had closed up, and I had to break a thin layer of skin in order to insert an earring.  I've gotten out of the habit of wearing earrings -- actually have lost my taste for long, dangling earrings, but I don't want to give up the option of wearing studs -- or, yanno, even return to long, dangles of a day or evening.  So!  I guess I'd better remember to put in earrings -- I have a pair of pearl studs that are the most comfortable earrings I've ever had, and a pair of aquamarine studs that Steve gave me.  Other than that, I would appear to be studless.


Oh, wait!  I'm going to Boskone next month!  Perhaps I will be able to solve this tragic wardrobe deficiency.

I think that's it -- well, no.  We here at the Cat Farm currently abide under a Winter Storm Watch, until 10 am tomorrow.  Predictions are for snowfall from four to twelve inches, depending on where we exist in Mid-Maine's ever-shifting geography.  I'm hoping to see four inches, which might not cause a cancellation of Tai Chi and pickleball, but will not be surprised to see eight inches, which might make it more problematical for the Y to open.

And that?  really is all I've got.

Here, have a picture of Belle, being awake:

Belles awake no really Jan 10 2016

Today's blog title brought to you by David Bowie and Mick Jagger:  Dancing in the Street.  Here's your link.

rolanni: (Alliance of Equals art by David Mattingl)

The Big News from Cat Farm and Confusion Factory Management on this January Saturday is the fact that the power went out at 5:01 am, waking Management from a sound sleep.  The house makes several Complaining Noises when the power goes, which are quite plaintive in the Overall Unnatural Silence, thus, Management was awakened.

At 5:02 am, the generator rumbled to life, and moments after, the house came back on-line.

What an incredible feeling of relief.

Management would like to thank everyone who participated in the Great Generator Caper of 2015.  Without your encouragement and active support, we would not have taken on the expense of installation.  You made us believe that it was not only possible, but that we would be able to pay off the debt.

So, yes -- thank you! For that feeling of relief, for the warmth and the food that wasn't lost, and for those extra three hours of sleep, after the house cried out in its distress.

. . .In other news, I own a skirt -- an ankle-length black skirt that I've had for a while now, and which I on several occasions wished to wear, except that?  I couldn't find a slip.  It's been. . .Rather a While since I've owned a skirt, or a dress, and the slips that went with them were long-ago donated to Goodwill.

Do you know how hard it is to find slips, anymore?  I finally bought one at Amazon, having exhausted all my other, usual vendors.  I mean, c'mon, KMart used to sell slips!  But not anymore.  Or, at least, not anymore in my part of Maine.

So, that mission accomplished, and I also bought a couple books, while I was there and all.  Note to self:  stop buying books.  No, really.

Yeah, that's gonna work.

But!  What's notable about these expenditures is that, having purchased, let it be clear, an ankle-length slip, and two books -- a biography of Andy Griffith and Don Knotts, and a graphic novel entitled The Sculptor -- I received in my inbox, a Special! One! Time! Offer! of a Free Gift! from Amazon, which was --

A digital copy of Kung Fu Panda.

Seriously, Amazon?

I mean, my deeply negative feelings for Jack Black aside, what, exactly, in that purchase persuaded your algorithms that I would in any way be receptive to receiving a copy of Kung Fu Panda?

I respectfully submit that you need to do a little work behind the nose.

And don't you dare send a copy of Kung Fu Panda to any of my devices.  Things will get Very Ugly if you try.  Thank you.

And, now, having washed the dishes and doodled around on the web, it's time to deploy the Cat Eating Machine.  Poor cats; they were being so comfy together in the living room.


Needs must.

Hope your Saturday is both comfortable and productive.

Here, have a picture of the Lights in early evening at the Maine Botanical Gardens:

early lights dec 19 2015
rolanni: (Surprise!)

So, today.

Appointments were kept, groceries were taken on, wreathes also; vegetables were chopped and put into the freezer; cats were beguiled with the flying mouse; bills were paid, and banking was done.

Had a dash of Incredible Luck at the grocery store's book bin.  Somebody had thrown in six brand-new Peter Wimsey novels (Clouds of Witnesses, Unnatural Death, the Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club, Strong Poison, Five Red Herrings, Gaudy Night, for those keeping score at home), which I snatched up for a buck-a-book donation.  These will replace the Wimsey books winnowed from Baltimore-area used bookstores back in the mid-and-late-1980s, which are pretty much falling apart.  In fact, I believe that one title -- Have His Carcasse -- may have already met that fate, falling apart in a time where Sayers was out of print.

Now, of course, I have a Problem Before Me.  Do I buy brand-new replacement copies of the other books in the set (and replace ...Carcasse)?  Or is that just too. . .too?

First World Problems.

In other news, we receive advance word that OVO will be at the Bangor Cross Center June 2-5, 2016.  I was rushing off to buy tickets when Steve mentioned that we not be home from BaltiCon yet.  Right.  Next year, we have some traveling inked in.  Must remember that.

No words today, what with one thing and another thing.  Tomorrow, I have an early appointment with the HR Nurse for the hospital, and possibly a visit to the vampyres, after which I have nothing but writing on the calendar for the rest of the week.

Hope everyone has had a pleasant beginning to the week.

Writer at work, with attendant muses:

Writer and attendant muses Dec 6 2015

rolanni: (readbooks from furriboots)

Back -- 'way, 'way back, when I was a kid and the great sabertooth stalked its prey up and down the trolley-car lines in the darkling city of Baltimore. . .

Yeah, 'waaaaaay back there.

. . .I used to read ghost stories -- which I was able to do not only because there was a backlist of really great, old ghost stories to provide me with nourishment, but because contemporary publishers were not shy about publishing new ones.

Sometime between Then and Now, though, publishers stopped publishing -- and writers therefore stopped writing -- ghost stories.

I noticed it, and was a sad, because, in my not very humble at all opinion, nothing beats a good ghost story.

Which is why, when I first heard of Delia's Shadow, by Jaime Lee Moyers, I immediately got myself a copy.  Not only is it a good historical novel -- set in San Francisco in the early 1900s -- with strong characters, and a fine mystery, but also?

It's a ghost story.

I really liked this novel, just so you know, and if you like ghost stories, or mysteries, or period novels -- I recommend this book to you.

Now, Delia's Shadow came out in 2013, and I know that a lot of y'all read it then, and the second book in the trilogy, A Barricade in Hell, which came out the following year.

What you might not know is that the third book in the trilogy, Against a Brightening Sky, is coming out in October.

If you're familiar with the first two books, I've said enough; you're already on the way to your favorite bookstore to pre-order this.

But! If you missed these quiet gems in the monthly rush of Hot! New! Books!, I commend them now to your attention.

rolanni: (The Dragon in Exile)

Slept late, had a leisurely breakfast with my lovely and talented spouse of many years, finished up such raking as I can do of the pine chips under the deck, sat for a while in the Cat Garden, which came All Over dandelions while we were away and is pretty much going to be Jungle this year, and considered the notion that I need to bury Mozart's ashes.   Came inside and brushed two coon cats, also giving one a front-paws manicure.  Sat down at the computer to see what I might like to write next -- Steve is lead on The Gathering Edge, since -- solely my own fault! -- I was lead on Dragon and Alliance.  Been thinking about indulging myself with another Archers Beach novel, or maybe finishing up the third book in the mystery trilogy, or, yanno, writing another story about Tommy Lee, since he has at least one, and possibly two, more owed him.

My brain, however, informs me that it's forgotten how to write.


This is always a scary event, though it happens -- or least, has happened -- to me frequently.  I've always had to have time to recharge after finishing a novel, and both Dragon and Alliance were very difficult books to write, in life situations that were unique, but similarly challenging.  Still, yes, scary, because, though my brain has, historically, and eventually, remembered how to write -- what if, this time, it doesn't?

What?  I'm a writer; I can find angst in a bowl of corn flakes.

So!  Today's schedule, seeing as there's no writing getting done at this desk, save a blog post and a couple of outstanding emails, today's schedule includes going into town to deposit a reimbursement check and pick up whatever the heck prescription CVS is on about, researching local builders of garages, and also home improvement loans.  That'll be fun.  For recharge, I'll spend some time with my current book -- A Little Princess, which I somehow have never read, though I've probably re-read The Secret Garden at least 50 times.  Lovely sentences.  Need to figure out how to see some stories, too -- so! also today need to research internet streaming services and costs.

That looks like a full day, right there.

What're you doing that's fun?

rolanni: (The Dragon in Exile)

This is a longish post mostly about (my) health, which I concede is a fairly boring topic.  There is, however, something of Actual Interest starting about half-way down.  Your search-phrase is Speaking of wicked.

So, just about caught up with housekeeping, bill-paying, and laundry.  The cats are being a little clingy still, despite having had Mary's undivided attention.  Next time we go on tour, I guess we'll just have to bring them along.

Or not.

Frequent auditors of this blog will recall that, right before we went on tour, I had a visit with the vampires.  The panel of tests came back with good results, except that pituitary function was up, which was considered a sign that it was pushing the thyroid to work harder, which meant that (maybe) the dosage of my meds needed to be increased.  The bitter irony here being that, though I had been pulling the falling-asleep-between-sentences thing throughout the writing of Alliance of Equals, I didn't even mention it during the annual examination immediately prior to the blood test, because it seemed pointless.  Not that my doctor doesn't listen to me, but she listens to the test results harder, and we've been down that road too many times.

Happily, this time the test results took up the slack.

Long story short, we're three weeks into the slightly higher dose of meds, with a book tour taking up a week of that (maybe not the best timing, there), and I'm noticing a definite decrease in the fall-asleep-snap-awake thing (which is actually A Rather Unpleasant Sensation, not to mention the hash it makes of productivity, and the potential for producing Real Mayhem, should I fall asleep while driving), so, hoping the six-week blood test will be such that I'm allowed to keep the higher dosage.

But!  This little skit demonstrates a flaw in my otherwise perfectly agreeable personality (ahem), which I'm going to have to address.

I'm going to go out on a limb, here, and make the crazy assumption that health professionals are going to be playing a larger role in my life as I meander down my timeline.  Health professionals being human, they come with their own set of assumptions and experiences, particularly with regard to grey-haired women.  That's fine, but here's the thing.  I get bored.  Particularly, I get bored when I have stated a fact regarding my health which the tests then fail to support -- or don't support definitively.  After the third time, I figure there's no point to repeating myself, and I stop, even if I feel that there's still a problem.

Clearly, I'm going to have to Get Tough about repeating myself and pushing for solutions.

I'm also going to have to get back with doing yoga, which got kicked off-track after PhilCon, and, with one thing and another, never got back into the schedule.

Boy, that's a lot of virtue in my future.  I'll have to adopt a wicked new hobby somewhere along the way, so as not to become unbalanced.

Speaking of wicked -- While we were on-tour, we received a head's up from Bookseller Kate Reynolds that A Night in the Lonesome October (written by Roger Zelazny; illustrated by Gahan Wilson) has been reprinted in trade paper by the Chicago Review Press, in their Rediscovered Classics line (which seems to also include Mary Stewart's Entire Ouvre; as well as Gwen Bistrow, Anya Seton, Rosemary Sutcliff, and, like, a dozen other authors/books I read in my now far-distant youth.  BN will give you a list of the titles in the Rediscovered Classics line; Amazon is not so courteous).

For those who may be new reading here, A Night in the Lonesome October is. . .it's an advent calendar for Halloween.  Each of the chapters is dated, starting on September 30, and it is meant to be read one chapter a night, through Halloween.  Steve and I read it to each other every year, and our copy is starting to show the results of our dedication, so we're happy to be able to purchase a back-up copy.

And that?  Is all I've got.

No, wait; it's not.

I also have a picture of Trooper:

Trooper at work

Trooper at work

Today's blog title brought to you by Kid Creole and the Coconuts, "Endicott."  Here's your link.

rolanni: (lit'rary moon)

So, things have been happening.

I shall sum up.

1.  The contract for A Liaden Universe® Constellation, Volume Three arrived, was read, signed and put on the bus to Madame the Agent's office in New York.

2.  Last night, we turned in the manuscript for A Liaden Universe® Constellation, Volume Three (I adore email submissions).  Here is the table of contents, as turned in and bearing in mind that the order may change:

Authors' Foreword
Code of Honor
Guaranteed Delivery
Intelligent Design
Out of True
Roving Gambler
King of the Cats
Kin Ties
The Rifle's First Wife
The Space at Tinsori Light
Landed Alien
Moon's Honor
Quick Working Glossary

3.  Return word from Madame the Editor is that the book may be available as soon as Summer 2015.

4.  Because of the events above, "Code of Honor," "Roving Gambler," and "The Rifle's First Wife" will be vanishing from Splinter Universe realsoonnow.

5.  But! There's still plenty to read on Splinter Universe, including Steve's new novel project, Quicksliver, and several guest stories, including:  "Leaving Via Callia" by Alma Alexander; "2 Pi to Live," and "Riverweave," by EC Ambrose.

5a.  The first three chapters of Quicksliver are up now, for your reading pleasure:

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

6.  This morning, we have entertained the contractor, who was very taken with Trooper (Sprite hid; Scrabble hid; Mozart was napping in my his rocker and didn't even wake up).  This afternoon, Mozart has an appointment with the hairdresser, for a modified lion cut, which he will hate, but for which he has only himself to blame.

7.  This evening, I'll return to working on the novel.  Nope, no title yet.  When one breaks, you'll hear about it here.

Today's blog title comes to you from Tracy Chapman, "Mountains of Things."  Here's your link.


rolanni: (Saving world)

AsyouknowBob, Steve and I write Space Opera, starting when it was neither popular nor profitable, and continuing to, oh, Right Now.  Along the way, we've heard our novels described as "Military SF*," which is where Space Opera goes to take cover when it's out of fashion; "Adventure SF;" "Romantic SF;" "SF Romance;" "SF Lite;" and "What Do You Call This, Because it's Not SF, Really, Is It?"

Happily, Space Opera has come 'round again on the guitar as being a recognized, if not exactly lauded, sub-genre of SF.  Unhappily, there are a lot of odd ideas about what Space Opera is, which do seem to arise whenever it surfaces again as a sub-genre.

I recall, for instance, when Mr. Feintuch was still with us and writing his version of Space Opera, which was Very Bleak, and some readers (and editors, too) wouldn't touch any thing calling itself Space Opera, because Enough With the Bleak, Already.

My personal definition of Space Opera has always been that, on some level -- though, yes, we are Saving the Universe and All Like That -- at some level, I say, Space Opera needs to be fun.

And, yanno, just like Real Operas, Space Opera is a place where any old unlikely thing can happen (so long as the authors make it believable, which, to be fair, isn't always the case with Real Opera), including telepathy and all the other Psi skills, if you want them; Giant Turtles; FTL drives; Deathless Wanderers of the Star Lanes; True Love, and whatever yer havin' yerself.

So, anyway. . .in another part of the InterTubes, someone has put forth the observation that Space Opera has drifted away from including aliens, in order to focus of the diversity of human cultures.  It's an interesting observation, and certainly we here in the Liaden Universe® celebrate the richness of human cultures.  But we also celebrate the strangeness of Clutch Turtles, and of Korval's Damned Meddling Tree.  And while we didn't exactly celebrate them, the Iloheen were certainly aliens.

However, as mentioned above, we started down this path more than a quarter-century ago.

What about newer Space Operas?  Have we moved away from aliens, in favor of more human-centric stories?  Or is it all in what you're reading?  And, if that's the case, what are you reading?

Have at it.


*I had the. . .surreal. . .experience of standing in an elevator with two young men at the Chicago WorldCon-but-one.  And the first young man was describing this Really Cool Military SF Book he had just read.  The plot, as he short-formed it, sounded Awfully Familiar, and just before they got off at their floor, the second young man asked after the title, and the first young man said, "Conflict of Honors."

Bustling Monday

Monday, October 28th, 2013 07:48 am
rolanni: (baby dragon from rainbowgraphics)

So, today we need to be in town early-ish in order to speak with the Spirit Guide from the Health Marketplace.  That will be Interesting.  For values of Interesting including low comedy when we try to get the concept of "freelance writers" across.  Perhaps I'll treat Steve to a pumpkin latte, after.

After, we each have errands in diverse parts of town, and then Before Tour Chores here at home.  I'll commit to answering such questions as have short answers attached to them, then we'll put paid to this Open Q&A Session.  Let me know what you thought, and if we should do it again sometime.

* * *

In other news, there is a wealth of free reading from Lee and Miller, and Miller available right! now!

1.  "Out of True" is available on the Baen website

2.  Steve has added two pieces to Splinter Universe:  the Author's Introduction to Quicksliver  and the first three chapters of Quicksliver

* * *

Progress on One of Five (restart)

7,559/100,000 OR 7.56%

Her father had told her that she would be running double-time, in effect taking two lines of training simultaneously: cabin-girl and novice trader.

She had chosen to, well. . .not discount his words, no. She had merely chosen to see them as a challenge.

rolanni: (tortoro)

Thanks to everyone who took the time to answer yesterday's Idle Question.

From the Idle Question came two Rebound Questions, one having to do with the importance of blogging to a writer's career (this was more of an assumption than a question, but I'm making it a question because I want to Say Something About That), and one asking what the blogger gets from blogging.

So, the assumption that one must blog or do some other sort of social media in order to be a writer is...a perception born of the frenetic age we live in, and the lack of willingness to accept that, in O So Very Many Ways, success as a writer is a crap shoot.

The Number One Thing that you need to do if you want to be in future, or are now, a writer is -- WRITE.  Write, send out what you write, pay attention to your craft, write, study the markets sufficiently to insure that you don't get cheated, write, and, ohbytheway, WRITE.

Everything else -- everything else -- is an extra.  You do not have to have -- what was the magic number? -- 1500? Facebook friends before you start in writing your novel.  You don't need to set up Whatever or Boing-Boing and tend it for a decade before you write your novel.  All you  have to do is open up your word processor, turn to a clean sheet in your notebook, go outside with a nice thick chunk of tailor's chalk in hand,  find a clean place on the sidewalk, or whatever else rings your bell -- and start writing.

That's it.  Personally, I think that starting a writing career by writing seriously (by which I mean with serious purpose and a goal) every day is hard enough without putting the burden of an active blog on the list, too.

Now, if you're a sociable sort of person and you like to blog -- then by all means go for it.  In fact, if you're the sort of person who likes to blog, you're probably doing it already.

Pro Tip: People can tell if you like doing something.  If you like to blog -- if it's fun for you, regardless of any other input -- then folks will read your blog and they'll comment and feel comfy with you, and cheer you on in your endeavors.

Conversely, if you hate blogging and only force yourself to do in order to Build Your Brand?  People will pick up on that, too.

The same principle applies to doing book signings and going to conventions; tweeting and facebooking.  Do what you like, and what makes you happy; don't do what you don't like.  And for ghod's sake, don't just do things in order to Sell Books; that's lame.  And pretty often it doesn't work.

Second question!  Why do I blog; aka What's In It For Me?

That's easy; I'm a writer, and I like to tell stories.  I'm an introvert, but I like to interact with people.  Blogging lets me do both things -- tell stories, and benefit from human interactions -- without exhausting myself by having to physically be in a roomful of people, read all that body language, and protect myself.  Blogging lets me limit interaction, when I need to focus elsewhere; I can read and answer comments in my own good time.  For me, blogging is dern near the perfect medium of communication.

* * *

In other news -- this is a long blog because you're going to have to do without for a couple days; we have a buncha stuff on this week's schedule -- a while ago, I got interested in Doc Holliday, and ordered in a well-regarded biography (Doc Holliday, by Gary L. Roberts).  Now, I like biographies -- they're my Reading Matter of Choice when I'm actively writing fiction -- and I've read a bunch of them, but I've gotta tell you -- I'm going to give up on Doc's book, here.

See, the primary reason I read biographies is to learn about people; their motivations; their movements; how they conformed to, or failed to conform to, the mores of their time -- and I'm getting none of that with this book.  What I'm getting is the author's speculation, a bunch of facts supported by newspaper reports and filed legal papers, and a review of the Civil War, as seen from Georgia and the Deep South.

Now, the author does say in his introduction that Doc left virtually no papers.  He had a lifelong correspondence with his first cousin, who had entered a convent, apparently because her religion had led her to refuse Doc's hand in marriage (they were first cousins).  The cousin had saved the letters, but upon her death, a family member took it upon himself (I assume the masculine pronoun here) to burn them (pause for a group banging of heads on desks).  I can understand that it would therefore be difficult to piece together much about Doc's private life.

While I applaud the author for getting a 400-plus-page book out of such flimsy stuff, that isn't what I read biography for; if I want speculation, I read fiction.  So, Doc's book goes back on the shelf.  Maybe I'll find more patience with it, later.

* * *

Frequent readers of this blog will recall that I have some. . .Interesting Cognitive Quirks apparently brought into my life when the Good Sisters switched my primary hand from Left to Right.  In order, so my grandmother told me, to make my life easier.

I've been living with the effects of this for quite a number of years, naturally, and I thought I knew all the Funny Places, but yesterday I discovered another one.


Have you ever seen one of these things?  A dial marked N-E-S-W with degrees between, and a needle in the middle, the red end magnetized so it will always point more-or-less North, no matter how you turn the dial?  Yes?  Holy bananas, what a brain-bender!

No, seriously.  You hold the thing in your hand so that the red pointer points North, and then, if you want to go, say, East, you squint along the dial and pick out a tree or a mailbox or something along that line and you walk to it?  This is how its supposed to work?  Phew.  Steve spent an hour, maybe more, but it's not looking like a skill I'll be -- forget mastering -- understanding any time soon.  I hope to Ghu I'm never lost on a mountain in Maine.

Or anywhere else where there aren't street signs.

* * *

Y'all have a good Beginning Of A New Week.

* * *

Progress on One of Five
8,062/100,000 OR .81% complete

"Have I finally reached the captain of the pirate vessel Dutiful Passage?" The voice was high-pitched and clealy angry. Priscilla felt a jolt of her own anger.

"This is Captain Mendoza of the trade ship Dutiful Passage out of Surebleak," she said coolly. "To whom am I speaking?"

"Retribution Officer Blix," the angry voice snapped; "Law and Decency. In accordance with Chesselport Regulations 928A through 977M, pertaining to known pirates on-port, your vessel and its cargo are forfeit to this office; your officers and crew will be interrogated by this office, and those who are found guilty of piracy and related crimes will be placed in appropriate labor programs."


rolanni: (Caution: Writing Ahead)

The on-signing check for the Audible edition of The Tomorrow Log arrived in the mail, and, between agency fees and taxes, we get to keep (just barely) more than half of it!  Go, us!

"The Wolf's Bride" currently stands at 6,239 words.  Possibly, I can bring it in under 10,000 words -- a novelette rather than a novella.  It's possible that I may finish it today.  I would really like to finish it today, especially considering that it's an extra, a favor to the character, and can't be turned loose to be read anywhere until after Carousel Seas is published (nope, no pub date yet; watch the skies).

It was cool enough this morning that Mozart sought out his floofiest blanket, under my desk, and is presently snoring like a German Shepard.  Fall could start now, for all of me, but I see that we're in for a couple days of warmish weather in the near future.  *sighs*

I've ordered in paper books -- a collection of some of Bat Masterson's columns about local colorful folk, all of them gunfighters; a biography of Doc Holliday, and another, of Billy the Kid.

I'm also looking to download some fiction to my tablet, since Steve and I will be on the road for a few days.  So!  Who's read a good book lately?

rolanni: (moon & mountains)

Yeah, I'm rereading Creatures of Light and Darkness (by Roger Zelazny, for the six people on the planet who have never heard of the novel), and finding it Even Better than I recall.  Which is tough, because I already thought it was a masterwork.*

I very much fear that this will lead to a reread of Lord of Light (also by Roger Zelazny, which ought to go without saying).

Well.  It could be worse.

I may have neglected to report the arrival of a Rather Large box filled with paper.  We're to sign the papers, which will then be bound into the signed editions of Trade Secret.  I'm a little anxious about this box.  We were only to receive, according to our last communication with the Baen Managing Editor, 1,000 pages.  This looks to be. . .Rather More. . .than 1,000 sheets, and of course the cover letter, telling us where to FedEx them when signed, makes no mention of how many pages are under cover.

I guess I'll spend part of my day counting pages.  It's not that I grudge the work; but I am protective of my hands.

Edited to add:  That would be 6,500 sheets of paper.  No wonder it looked like a lot.

Also on today's duty roster is laundry, which I seem to have missed doing last week, in-between Whiskers and putting together various chapbooks; and "The Wolf's Bride," which is coming along nicely, if I do say myself.

* * *

Progress on "The Wolf's Bride"

713/5000 OR 14.26% complete

The dogs of the village knew him; and he passed without challenge from forest edge to market street, walking with a predator's sure, silent tread down the moss-lined way.

Above, the night-time sky was a velvet stole, across which a handful of jewels had been scattered, winking in bright hues of gold, and green, and blue. It was silent in the darkness, as it never was in the day, when the merrybells sang the sun's praises. His bones told him that it was mid-night, and he lengthened his stride, then breathed a laugh at his own foolishness.


*the title is the beginning of a poem included in Creatures of Light and Darkness purportedly written by the mad poet Vramin.  The entire poem is thus (with apologies to the spacing):

Oh the moon comes like a genie
from the Negro lamp of night,
and the tunnel of my seeing is her roadway.
She raises up the carpet of the days
I've walked upon,
and through caverns of the sky we make  our pathway


rolanni: (what it's like)

As Shoe told us, many years ago, "Typists type; writers stare out windows."

True to my job description, I spent the last howevermany hours staring out the window, and pushing my backbrain for the Thrilling Conclusion to Carousel Seas, in order, if it would be soverykind.

The result of all this window-staring is two typed pages outlining the final action, with heroics befitting the end of the book and the end of the series, in, as far as I can tell, the correct order.  Yay.  All I have to do now is write it.

...which will not be happening today because I managed to overclock my brain just a teensy bit, so today is a Day Off.

I dawdled over my breakfast and coffee, reading something that's not written by me.  Sandman Slim, in fact.  I'm not precisely sure why I'm reading it; possibly I'm waiting for the main character to grow a brain.

This afternoon, as advertised elsewhere, I will be viewing the classic drama, "Now You See Me" at the local cinema.  This evening?  The possibilities are endless.  Maybe I'll finish reading my book.

Tomorrow, I will have Mike the electrician in early, so that he can Survey the Situation with regard to the possible installation of ceiling fans.  It comes about that ceiling fan installation may not be as simple as the young man at Lowe's would have had us believe (quelle surprise!).  Apparently, due to the age of the house, Mike the electrician has some doubts regarding the existence of the proper box to hold the fan into the ceiling.  The box, he tells me, may be installed by himself, but will add cost.  So!  Excitement already on tomorrow's calendar.

Tomorrow afternoon, I'll get with the Thrilling Conclusion and see how fast I can type.

As some of you may know, Steve is down South, visiting the Old Country.  Mozart and Scrabble wish it to go on record that this is not acceptable and that they will be filing the report with the Committeecat.  So far, I've managed to short-circuit this intention by hiding all the pencils.

I hope your weekend is being exciting/relaxing/busy -- whichever you prefer.

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