rolanni: (The Dragon in Exile)

...that this is going to be a very busy week.

Actually, today is rather laid-back (ignore the running around in circles and the declarations that this book will be the death of me; business as usual at this stage, and actually a positive sign), but things start to rev up tomorrow with a podcast interview, then two flavors of medical visits on Wednesday, and a end-of-week in-house interview with The Maine Edge.  We have also just been told that one of the old stone houses in Old Orchard Beach/Ocean Park is for sale at a price that is...above our touch, but not that much above our touch.  We need to think seriously about whether we can fit two writers and four cats in 1,036 square feet, with no basement.  And if we really want to add, "drive four hours round trip to look at a house" into this week's mix, especially because!

I really need to print out the penultimate draft of Alliance on Sunday and use next week to go through it for the final edit (The Final Edit).

So!  How's your week shaping up?

rolanni: (Marvin's not happy)

Visited the vampires early this morning; afterwards moved on to Starbucks for mocha and bagel.  They were out of multigrain bagels so I had to be content with an Everything Bagel.  O! woe is me.

Home to find bills in the mail, and that the UPS account number, possession of which will magically get one cool dozen boxes of books out of my living room and on the bus to Minneapolis, is apparently none so easy to acquire.  Two fiddles at the UPS online form, one email to those who had provided the pre-paid labels, which do NOT include the account number, a third fiddle at the online form, one phone call to UPS, one phone call to the label providers, one more go at the online form, and we have ignition!  Boxes to be picked up no later than 3:00 today.


I now await a call from yet another doctor's office, to let me know if the appointment set up for Wednesday is actually needed.  I'm not very much in charity with the doctor or her office at this particular moment, and if they fear being in my Black Book (as who would not?), they'll get cracking and give me a call-back.

Also, I am exhausted, which I blame on the vampires, and which is not useful at the moment, since I have work to do.  So!  I'll be arising from the comfy chair in just a moment to make a pot of coffee.

In other news, it's cloudy and cold in East Winslow, and, honestly, if it's going to be as cloudy and damp as all that, it might as well rain and have done.

And that?  Is all I got.

Everybody stay safe.

rolanni: (1995)

Oh, let's see. . .

On Friday, Steve took his car, Argent, the 2002 silver Forester, to the shop to "get a sticker" as we say here in Maine.  Except, Argent did not get a sticker this year, and the reason is two words: Salt Rot, which has eaten through the underside of the chassis and perhaps the gas tank itself.  Steve will be taking Argent for a second opinion next week, but right now it's looking like Argent's days are numbered, indeed.

Yesterday, we went down south to look at houses.  Six houses, three-and-a-half hours.  I was Completely Exhausted by the end of it, and in awe of our real estate agent's patience and fortitude.  Also, we did not find our dream house.

We did come home to find money in the mail:  royalty checks from our essay in Dragonwriter:  A Tribute to Anne McCaffrey and Pern. My half will cover the purchase of a new corn broom; Steve says he's using his to buy a lobster dinner.

I may have been remiss in mentioning that the galleys for A Liaden Universe® Constellation, Volume 3 arrived on Friday.  I proofed the first story this morning.

Tomorrow morning, Chapter Two of Shan and Priscilla Ride Again will be posted to Splinter Universe.  If you haven't been following along, two outtake chapters, the prologue, and Chapter One, are all awaiting you.  You can start here.

If you haven't seen this posted elsewhere:  Cheyenne Wright is the colorist for Girl Genius since Volume Five, and his work really brings the art to life.  Cheyenne and his family have also been mired in the Compleat Stupidity that has been 2015 thus far, and he is reaching out for help. If you're so motivated, and you're able, please do what you can.  Here's the link.

Tomorrow, I have an appointment with the radiology department of my local hospital, so I may be somewhat scarce.

Work is still going forth on Alliance of Equals.

. . .and that catches us all up.

Except for Trooper.

Here, have a picture of Trooper.

Isn't he elegant?

Isn't he elegant?

rolanni: (weather)

. . .I hate it when the mailman gives us a miss. Even when the mail is just catalogs, at least we've gotten something.  Not finding any mail in the box leaves me wrong-footed on the day, somehow.

So, a rambling kind of post while the backbrain gets on the case.  I need, let's see. . .six? seven? scenes, a climax, a denouement, and a wrap up.  Is that so hard?  Oh, and a cast of characters.  If the backbrain isn't forking over, yet, on the Actual Writing Front, I can edit the working lexicon down to a reasonable list.  Thirty-five hundred words is probably a little long in the dramatis personae business.  Do you guys like your Players List in the front of the book or the back?

I'd like to thank everyone who has helped in the various fundraising efforts we're presently undertaking, whether by subscribing to our Patreon account, supporting Splinter Universe, or directly supporting us, through PayPal, and by check.  You guys are amazingly kind and we are humbled by your generosity.  . . .Please note that I speak here for myself and for Steve.  The cats aren't really on top of the whole Where Crunchies Come From thing; they leave that sort of thing to Staff.

Weather-wise, we're into our second day of rain, here in Central Maine, and the snow is, for all useful purposes, gone.  As far as my eye can see, there is mud, and last year's brown grasses, and bare, grey trees.  We look to have lost three buffer evergreens over the winter.  Some of the maples are pushing out buds; can't really tell about the birches, or the ash.  Well.  A few weeks will tell.  Meanwhile, the daffodils are making a valiant effort to rise tall and get the trumpets out.  I fear me this will be one of those seasons when they give their all, but fall short of a win.  Hopefully, they'll prove me wrong.

Given that the snow is now gone, we can see, among the dead grass, the Trash of Winter, which means that, if it ever stops raining, we'll be able to go outside and stamp around the property, picking up soda/beer cans, shreds of blue tarp, old paper bags, the occasional whiskey bottle, and who knows what else.  The process by which trash gets under ten feet of snow is a mystery to me. A friend suggests that it's put there by snowmen, who are pissed off by humans sticking carrots  in the middle of their faces.

Makes as much sense as anything else.

One of the results of having been stupidly ill for 'way too long back around the winter holidays, was that I lost 10 pounds.  Now that it's been a number of months since I regained my health, and I haven't regained the weight, I've gotten ambitious.  I like being. . .less close to 200 pounds, and would like to widen the distance by another 10 pounds, if possible.  I can't say I much care for the method by which I shed the first 10, though, and, as someone who was very thin for most of her adult life (insert Ironic Theme here), I don't actually know how to go about dieting.  I would go to the gym and exercise and walk in order to keep flexible and strong, but as far as I've ever been told exercise isn't really an effective way to lose weight.  For now, I'm just making a conscious effort to Eat Less Food (which is tough, because, having also been, ah. . .cash challenged. . .for most of my adult life, "wasting" food is a big no-no).  Now that Winter is Out and Mud is In, I'll be able to get walking again, which will be a relief all around, and I guess if all I do is not backslide those 10 pounds, then I'm that much to the good.

And now?  Time to get back to the backbrain.

See you on the flipside.

Sprite, on Author Assist

Sprite, on Author Assist

rolanni: (Patience)

In which several points are addressed, in no particular order, and with no particular connection.

1.  Have you pre-ordered your signed/personalized copy of Dragon in Exile from Uncle Hugo's Science Fiction Bookstore yet?  Time's a-wastin'. Here's a link to background and instructions.

2.  Sharon Lee and Steve Miller are writers.  We are published by Baen Books. We are not horses, and we are not in "Baen's Stable."  You may think it means "all of the writers who are published by Baen" -- and you would be wrong.  A human stable is understood to mean a group of people who have been trained, or who work for, a particular team or organization. Writers are trained by many, and they are self-employed.

3.  Pursuant to 2, above, we have nothing to say (and have therefore said nothing) on the topics of sick and unhappy canines, as they have Nothing to do With Us.  Sadly, some. . .outraged persons who are unable to make fine distinctions, have decided to make Grand Gestures, such as refusing to review all Baen Books, because they feel that Baen Books is the architect of the present silly shenanigans of a few. . . very loud authors.  If you see fewer reviews of our work, this may be the reason why.

4.  There is apparently more than enough Stupid to go around.  This does not mean you have to take a handful of Stupid out of the box when it comes to you.

5.  Eric Flint has written a cogent and sane piece about awards, and, coincidentally, the history of the SF/F genre, and the SF community.  It is the long view from someone who has been in the field for longer than five years, and who has taken the time to understand the field, and the community.  Well worth a read.  It is a lengthy essay, but take it in shifts, if you need to.  Here's your link.

6.  Yes, Korval's Game has been out of print for about a year.  How clever of you to notice!  The good news is that it's being reprinted by Baen this month, and should be available soon.  Now!  It used to be that the distributors would let indie bookstores know when a backordered book was reprinted, but apparently they don't do that, anymore.  So -- if you would share this happy news with your favorite indie bookstore, the next time you're in, you'd be doing everyone a good turn.

7.  Today's blog title comes from "The Banks of Sicily."  Here's one link     AND!  Here's another

EDITED TO ADD:  8.  I will deleting replies which are, in my sole judgement, the work of trolls, and also banning said trolls from posting here.  Ref 4, above.

Sooper Trooper rockin' the red basket

Sooper Trooper rockin' the red basket

Adventures on the road

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014 10:54 am
rolanni: (Saving world)

So, yesterday I drove Kineo to Augusta, to, in fact, Charlie's Subaru, in order to have Routine Maintenance done.

This may not sound like much of an adventure.  To fully understand how very adventuresome it was as an undertaking, you need to recall -- or be told -- that All of Maine is tearing up the roads.  Not only is this the normal and usual Summer Road Construction, but various town are installing gas lines, so additional roads are being torn up for that purpose.  In Waterville on any given day, all of the East-West roads may be closed, forcing one to drive through the towns abutting in order to get from one side of the city to the other.  This meant, among other things, that I had to choose my route to I95 with care.  My information was that the town, or the gas company, had finished with tearing up River Road, so I went that way, and picked up the expressway in Sidney.

For a wonder, the segment of the expressway from Sidney to Augusta was not under construction, so I didn't get into real trouble until I reached Western Avenue, which is being Thoroughly Torn Up, and the turn into Charlie's service area.

This is an important turn on a busy road, and in Rational Times, commands its own turn lane, and its own light.  And a sign on the wire that supports the traffic control devices, which says:


Except, someone, in their infinite wisdom, had wrapped about four hundred yards of black construction plastic all around the Left Turn device, meaning that there was no legal way to get into the service area, except to drive down into Manchester, and turn around.

Ahead of me, the traffic coming from Manchester stretched for miles (it's a long hill; you can actually see for miles), packed like sardines.

I hesitated, wondering WTF?, and in my moment of hesitation an approaching truck stopped and flashed his headlights twice.  I seized the day, waved, and made the (illegal) left turn into Charlie's, where I left Kineo in care of the service manager and retired to the waiting room to read in the lovely air conditioning.

One good thing about the waiting room experience -- Charlie is remodeling his showroom, which the waiting room abuts, and the crew had moved the television Somewhere Else, leaving us four old women with our books in peace.

When it came time to leave, I had no fears of the light governing my turn onto Western Avenue; after all I would be turning right, and there was no law nor sign agin' it.

My light was red, as I approached.  I stopped the car, looked down to take the lid off of my water bottle, and looked up again to find that my light was green, the car to my right on Western Avenue had stopped in good order, and a jeep breaking from somewhere in the pack, roaring up the shoulder, slammed into the planet-sized pothole next to the stopped car, lofted completely off of the road, slammed back down onto the road halfway through the intersection and tore off down Western Avenue for the space of about eight car lengths, because did I mention that Western Avenue in that area is being Thoroughly Torn Up, with heavy equipment, and huge holes in the road, and all like that?

My light was still green, so I made the turn.

On the expressway on my way back to Waterville, I almost got pushed off the road by a Wide Load veering suddenly into my lane, but that's hardly worth mentioning.

Writing-wise, we're in the home stretch. WARNING: Authors at End-of-Book tend to be cranky.  This is due, in part, from having to hold the Whole Freaking Book In Your Head At Once.  You should notice no difference in my usual demeanor.

Also?  I'm posting a snippet below.  If the snippet or any word contained in the snippet offends you?  Please keep that information to yourself.  Thank you.

* * *

Progress on Dragon in Exile

102,000 out of 100,000 OR 102% complete

She had never seen that lamp before in her life.

rolanni: (Caution: Writing Ahead)

What on earth has the woman been doing? you ask.

Well, in-between getting thrown out of our house on a semi-regular basis in order to allow strangers to come through and upset the cats, and compiling a list of houses that we think might be possible to shift to, when the Time for Shifting is upon us. . .

Allow me to digress for a moment -- we have a list of houses from low-cost to what we consider to be the highest mortgage payment we can afford (which is still manymanyMANY dollar$ below what the bank, in its financial wisdom, says it believes we can afford).  Houses keep coming onto and being voted off of the island, with the exception of. . .two, I believe, which have been there from the beginning.  Sadly, both are at the top of what we can afford.

The low-cost houses are generally in edgy neighborhoods and tend, as a class, to be ugly.  The high-end houses sure are pretty, but there is perhaps something to be said for not buying a house that our furniture will embarrass.  One of the things in common with all the houses, however, is the presence, in the kitchen, of a dishwasher.   This is particularly poignant as one of my early morning tasks today was to wash the dishes I didn't do yesterday because I was writing.  I have never in my life owned, or used, a dishwasher, and I do wonder how I'll know that I'm working without the validation of that sink full of dishes.

Well. . .changes.

So -- back on topic -- mostly what I've been doing is writing.  Dragon in Exile is due at Baen on September 15.  We sent a partial -- about 71,000 words -- to the cover artist, and I'm pleased to let you know that David Mattingly will be doing the cover.  We're now up to, oh, 76-ish,000 words in the "final" pile.  I still have some stuff to write, in addition to having about 15,000 pre-written words in the bag, so we're on track, even though the hood's still up, there are pieces strewn all over the floor, and it all looks a fright.

I took a break yesterday to watch the stream of the Hugo Awards Ceremony from LonCon 3.  The stream was flawless (there was some crankiness because the film clips were not available to the stream, but, given last year's bot-driven fiasco, I think the LonCon committee made the right choice).  For those who did not attend, or watch the ceremony, the final Hugo Award List is here.  Congratulations to all the winners!

And, now, having caught y'all up; I need to go Serve Feline Kind by cleaning the cat fountain, and then?  I need to do some writing.

What've you been doing that's fun and interesting?

* * *

Progress on Dragon in Exile:  GOOD/Author satisfied

"I must sleep more often," Val Con said.  "Only see what prodigies I inspire."

rolanni: (Calvin & Hobbes happy dance)

. . .include the celebration of Jasmine Sprite's second full month as Warrior Princess of East Winslow, and! the publication of "The Gift of Music" on the Baen site.

Today's festivities. . .include cleaning the bathroom.

rolanni: (Illusionist)

Man, I really earned my pay today.

The day's to-do list included finishing with the damn' ACA application and enrollment, with a side order of calling Anthem Maine to ask how one cancels one's insurance (for the first time in many, many years, we have another choice of health insurers in Maine, and yeah, we're going with the new guys).

First thing after breakfast, I called Anthem, which was. . .amusing if you like black humor.  Bottom line was that I had to pay a $324 buy-out to Anthem if the new insurance coverage didn't start 'til January 15.  If I just didn't pay the January bill, which is on its way to me, even now, then our health insurance would be cancelled on January 1.

That chore done, I ventured out into the very, very, VERY cold morning to hit the post office, and the gym, and to accomplish a few minor errands in town.  The plan was then to return home, call the ACA about their requirements for proving my 2013 income, enroll for an insurance plan, and, well, write.

In fact, I was on my way home when my car started to backfire, shudder, and in general act like it was going to blow up.  Got home, found Steve still there, unloaded the stuff from my car, called the garage, slipped and fell on the ice in the driveway, had a minor freak-out, and went back into town to drop off my car.

We returned home, ate lunch; I went back to my office to start with the ACA, when -- the phone rang!  My car was repaired -- a sensor and a filter had needed replacing.

Back down to town we went, gave the garage two bills, and drove home, the car behaving beautifully. . .

. . .until I crossed the river and had to stop for a red light, whereupon the car commenced again with the shuddering and shaking, turning itself off and back-firing.

Despite which, I got it home, called in the unhappy news and have a date back at the garage on Monday.

MEANWHILE, there's a blizzard bearing down on Maine, due to land Saturday-night-into-Sunday, delivering anywhere from 3 to 5 to 8 to 14 inches of snow, depending on geography.  For fun, our house on the intersection of three boundaries:  3, 8, and 14.

Also?  I have an eye doctor's appointment very early on Monday morning, in Skowhegan -- about 27 miles up the road from the Confusion Factory, well into the 14-inch zone.

Given the car, the weather, and all, I decided to be proactive, and cancel my appointment.

Sadly, I took my decision too late, calling at one minute after four, when the office closes (promptly) at 4 p.m. on Friday.  And. . .the answering machine doesn't record messages.

All that taken care of -- or not taken care of, as may be -- I was finally free to call up the Healthcare Marketplace site, where our application for health insurance has been languishing this while, because of a requirement that I "prove" my 2013 income no later than March 5, 2014, or risk losing my new health insurance.  Appended to this note was a list of documents that would be accepted as "proof."

. . .none of which even come close to being something that a freelance writer has on their person.  Or in their files.

So, I called, and had a lovely chat with a young lady, who was, indeed, very helpful.  She brainstormed ideas, like -- would my publisher write me a note stating that I did indeed work for them ("But I don't work for them."  "Oh. Right.")  Well, then, W2s. . . ("Freelance.  No W2s."  "Oh. Right.")

We finally arrived at an Approach, because The Problem is that I expect to make much less money in 2014 than I did in 2013, for the very simple reason that I will not be receiving the upfront money on seven novels and the d&a money for three of them.

So, I need to provide copies of royalty checks, and this letter, with relevant Arithmetic, notarized, explaining why my income for 2014 is (best guess) going to be Significantly Less than it was in 2013.

And I have to do this, of course, As Soon as Possible, so that the poor child who is stuck with reviewing all this stuff has time to Lose It Completely, call me on the phone and ask if I'm crazy.  At that point, if I am True and Wise, I will be able to repeat what I wrote in the letter in a sincere enough voice that they will believe me and not cancel my health insurance.

This, she suggests, will be fun.

Or not.

While I had the helpful young lady on the phone, I asked if she could make recommendations to those who are responsible for the website, and the verification process.  She said she could, and we noted that I cannot be the only freelance novelist in America.  That, in fact, lots and lots of people are artists, musicians, writers, or otherwise self-employed in ways that mean their pay is extremely irregular, and that predicting any possible income a whole year ahead is an exercise in Wishful Precognition.

But, for the moment, we have health insurance; rational insurance at a rate that's more than $250 less per month than what we've been paying for insurance that covered nothing (which was due to go UP by $125/month, starting January 1), and a deductible that would have made us bankrupt before any co-payments kicked in.

And?  I guess we'll see What Happens Next.

And now, having earned my pay, I'm going to pour myself a glass of wine and recline with my book, and perhaps a cat or two, on the couch, because I'm exhausted, and now my knee hurts, and my ankle that I sprained two years ago hurts, and the wrist and hand that I caught myself with hurt.  Sigh.  Getting old sucks.  And ice is not your friend.

Hope everybody has a good weekend!

rolanni: (view from space by rainbow graphics)

Trooper has adopted my printer for Purposes of His Own.

A motion to take a bath is always in order. Photo by Sharon Lee
A motion to take a bath is always in order.
Photo by Sharon Lee

Lots of errands and stuff today.  Everybody stay warm or cool, according to preference.

rolanni: (tortoro)
Things have been happening. I shall sum up.

Celebrations first! I am slightly behind in congratulating my colleague Tim Akers on the tenth anniversary of his first professional sale. In celebration, he's giving away stories! And critiques! And -- but go on over and congratulate him yourself.
* * *

In the way of celebrations -- I am pleased to announce that Surfside and Moon's Honor are now available at Smashwords. Technical Details ought to be available by the end of next week.

Regarding the above, please note!

The only flavor of file available from Smashwords, for Surfside, Moon's Honor, and (coming soon) Technical Details is EPUB. This is because converting into All! The! Formats! requires a specially-tuned .doc file that I am incapable of producing. (As a further note, I am also incapable of producing the EPUB files; those conversions have happened through the goodwill and expertise of Roseanne Girton, who, in addition to being proficient in these matters, is a saint.)

I do apologize to those folks who want to read their books in their special format, but that's just not possible with these books, from where I'm sitting. All of our eChapbooks are DRM-free and can be read on a variety of ereading apps (and your Nook). Thank you for understanding.
* * *

Today's mail brought several pleasant surprises, including a new bag that is Significantly Smaller than the red backpack, and which will hopefully curb my tendency to carry All The Things, All The Time.

Also in today's mail was the last check from Audible Author Services. This was a nice little program where authors were paid one thin dollar for everyone of their audiobooks purchased from Audible, via quarterly checks. We've sold something over 7,000 audiobooks in the last year, which is nice to know for reasons other than those having to do with dollar bills, though of course dollar bills are very nice of themselves.

I'm going to miss this program.
* * *

On the outgoing side of the page, signed bookplates are speeding on the Wings of Eddie to Forbidden Planet in London. Which reminds me to say that we received bookplates to sign, yesterday.
* * *

That gets us more or less caught up, I think. I did spend a good chunk of the week changing out my head, which isn't really as much fun as you'd think. The time involved made me even happier that I didn't say, "Oh, sure, we'll just write a Liaden novel in-between the two Carousel books" -- because omighod, whiplash.

On the other hand, if I hadn't written two Carousel books back-to-back (and then two short stories based in the same universe), my head might not have gotten Quite. So. Stuck. I don't know how my colleagues who have several series going simultaneously do it, frankly.

All of which reminds me to say that...

I started writing a novel.

So! How was your week?
* * *
Progress on One of Five

2,398/100,000 OR 2.4% complete

"Is there some trouble?" Luken asked her, and almost she sighed again. Such a sweet man, he couldn't be any more attentive to her if she was paying him. The fact that she wasn't paying him had the power to surprise her, as did the notion she held of him, as a friend.

But, there, she'd left the man without his answer, and she'd already seen what he was capable of, when he decided that something needed fixing.

So, she smiled at him, and shook her head.

"No trouble. More like I haven't had enough breakfast to weigh me down to ground, yet." She broke a roll onto her plate, and reached for the jam pot.

"What were you dreaming, then?" he asked, spoon arrested over his cereal bowl, his eyes on her face.

rolanni: (flittermouse)

I am pleased to report that I continue to be a sad trial to the staff at the local jewelry store's repair counter.  Despite which, I now have a temporary magnetic clasp* on the full-moon necklace Steve gave me for my birthday and can therefore put it on and take it off my own self.

Today, I've made one needed phone call; have thus far successfully avoided making the second; printed out a contract, signed it and sealed it into its envelope, and taken a pair of jeans to the local seamstress to have them hemmed (I can't remember the last time I had to have a pair of pants taken up.  It may actually have been Never.)

Still to do:  that vexed phone call, and a few fixes to "The Gift of Music," so that it can be sent along to the editor.  Also, Steve and I worked out a short story over breakfast.  Mind you, we very much need to NOT be writing a short story at this particular moment in time, take your fun when it comes, I guess.

For those who indulge, I took the challenge and answered The Usual Questions at Festivale.

A reminder for folks local to Waterville, Maine: Steve and I will be giving a talk tomorrow (Saturday, September 14) at 9:30 a.m. at the Waterville Public Library as part of the festivities attending Cirque du Geek.

And now, I guess I'd better make that blasted phone call.


*Temporary because the goldsmith is on vacation and there is no one else in the store qualified to handle a soldering iron.  So the magnets are attached by rings, but the rings are only pinched shut, not soldered shut.  I'm directed to come back "in a week or two" to have the soldering done.

rolanni: (what it's like)

Let's see. . .

Last night, we finished signing the last of the tip-in sheets for Trade Secret; the box containing All Those signed sheets of paper was picked up by Eddie the FedEx guy not 15 minutes ago and is now on its way to the printer in Pennsylvania.

Yesterday, in-between Other Stuff, I scoped out how to adjust the new scanner so I could OCR one of the excavated scenes. It's now over on Splinter Universe, with an author's introduction.  For those interested, here's the link to the introduction     And!  here's the link to the first outline for Scout's Progress.

If there's any interest in seeing other old stuff like this, let me know.

So, that.

Today, Steve is in town, getting a flat tire fixed and doing errands.  I?  Am doing some vacuuming and dusting, and slaying a dish monster, which I feel is rather unfair, since I slew a dish monster yesterday.

Oh!  "Gift of Music," by Sharon Lee will be appearing on the Baen front page in January, 2014, in support of Carousel Sun, to be published in February.

. . .I think that's all the news that's fit to print.

How was your weekend?

rolanni: (i've often seen a cat without a smile)

1.  Carousel Sun, the sequel to Carousel Tides, is now available for pre-order from the bookstore of your choice (NOTE:  This refers to the trade paper edition, only -- which is to say:  you may not pre-order the ebook).

2.  Madame the Editor has stated that there will be an eArc edition of Sun. No, I don't know when, but figure four to six months out from the publication date in early February.

3.  I am behind in mentioning that Heart of Briar, the first book in Laura Anne Gilman's Portals duology, is now on the shelves of bookstores everywhere!  I read portions of this novel as it was being written and enjoyed the heck out of it.  I think you will, too, but judge for yourself!  There's an excerpt here.  Laura Anne will also be doing signings and readings -- and she Might Just Be! in your area.  Here's the full list of where-and-when.

4.  The new memorial bridge spanning the Piscataqua River to connect Kittery, Maine with Portsmouth, New Hampshire is now open -- and here are the pictures to prove it!

5.  I've been there and over there, too, but not so much here, lately.  I intend to do an overview post to catch y'all up -- but not this afternoon. This afternoon, I am calling the hospital billing office, coping with the Gigormous Pile of Dirty Dishes which has taken over the kitchen sink, and seeing if I can get a short story out of Andy LaPierre.  No.  No, the glamor never does diminish around these parts.


Essay Question

Friday, August 2nd, 2013 11:01 am
rolanni: (Exit Stage Left)

So, today is a day off.  My plan is to wrestle the kitchen counter into a semblance of order while listening to trashy rock 'n roll music.  Beat that, Bermuda!

But, before I retire into this day-dream of sybaritic delight, I have a question for y'all.  It's a serious question, and may eventually produce real-world events.  Or not.  Which pretty much sums up the freelance lifestyle.

What I'd like to know is this:

Which short Liaden work -- by which I mean, NOT a novel -- do you think would best translate to TV/cinema?  Note that I'm not asking for your "favorite" story, here, but the story-or-stories that would best translate.

For instance, I have a sneaking fondness for "The Space at Tinsori Light" -- but!  I'm well-known as someone who has not a clue regarding the demands of/what can be conveyed by visual media.

So!  Have at it, if you will; I look forward to seeing what y'all have to say.

And now?  The countertop calls.

rolanni: (moon & mountains)

So!  Saturday afternoon we had a thunderstorm, a really gully-washing thunder-cracker -- a weather-changer, too, thank goddess.  Knocked the temps down 12 degrees F, and cleaned out all the gunk.  Yesterday was in the mid-70sF/20sC and beautifully dry, and today,  we have more of the same.  So, yay! liveable weather.

Sadly, we did lose power during the storm -- lost it, in fact, in two stages. The first snap-off/snap-back took out my mouse, so I had to shut my computer down by pushing the button on the front of the case.  And, when the storm was over?  You know where this is going, right?  Right.  Exactly nothing happened when I pushed the 'on' button, and nothing continued to happen during a series of restorative techniques ably applied by Steve.

This morning we took ol' Jack into the shop, and have just now received a call from Stephanie-the-tech, who tells me, yep, it was the power supply gone south, all right, and the DVD player is toast (which it has been; I just didn't want to unplug and schlepp (actually, Steve does the schlepping) an old and Very! Heavy! box down to the shop just for a DVD player when we had a USB player that I could plug in.), and did I want her to go ahead and do the replacements for an estimated two bills, parts and labor?

I did, and said so, at which point she confessed that her hesitation had to do with the age of the harddrive, which she makes to be on the order of  five years.  How time flies.  I guess there's a new harddrive/data transfer in my future, sigh.

But, not today.  Today, we will have the new power supply and DVD player.  Then, after I make thorough back-ups, I'll take it down again for the new harddrive.  Or perhaps I'll think upon making Number Ten Ox the desktop, and live out of one, easy-to-transport, but hard to fix machine. This digital age we live in sure does make all the decisions nice and easy.

In the meanwhile, I did find Ox the laptop, which had become Lost To Me.  Turns out I'd set it (in its case) beside the couch and when Someone (looks at Trooper) initiated an indoor relay race from the top of the cat tree, over the couch and back again, knocking all the couch cushions and pillows to the floor in a glorious catsplosion, the sofa cover had also become disturbed and was half-covering the computer case and I did not recognize it for what it was, because heat rots my brain.  And, also, Coon cats assisting the search tend to like to take the lead.

So, that's all the news that was and is -- oh, wait.  I cleaned the bathroom yesterday.  The things we find time for when the computer doesn't work...

What writers do

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013 08:44 am
rolanni: (from LAG)

Last evening I finished what I'm calling the "last draft" of Carousel Seas.  It's a slightly more tentative last draft than my "last drafts" usually are, but! unless the beta readers (who now have the manuscript in hand) find something Irrevocably Broken, this is the draft that will go to Madame the Editor, who will, in the fullness of time, request such revisions and/or clarifications as seem Good to her.

For those playing along at home, the final score is 106,715 words.  This was more than I expected, but as explained elsewhere, the villain was chewing up the scenery and I let her have her head.

Or, yanno, she would've had mine.

So! What this writer is doing today, as a reward for having been a Good Writer and finished a book (the third book completed this year here at the Confusion Factory) is:

1.  A podcast interview (with Steve), rescheduled from yesterday
2.  Cleaning up All The Stuff Trooper threw down from those High Places that he has made his own, and deciding where in ghod's name to put it
3.  Doing the laundry
4. Waiting for the electrician to manifest, sometime after noon
5. Paying the bills and balancing the checkbook
6.  I'm also considering vacuuming the house -- but that might make for too heady a celebration

The next book (the first of the five interlaced Liaden books that will comprise the end of the Agent of Change/Theo Waitley story line) is due on May 15, 2014.  We have a short story due in September, and I ought to write an Archers Beach short story -- actually two, per character request -- but, in essence, for today at least. . .

I never have to write again!

. . .and that feels swell.


rolanni: (what it's like)

The Saturday morning cat census here in East Winslow is:
Mozart in his hammock overlooking the Cat Garden
Scrabble on the heffalumps in Steve's office
Trooper, chasing his Special Green Spring up and down the hallway

The Saturday morning author census:
Steve in his office, tweaking and updating webpages, among other things

Sharon, still down among the commas, and hoping to be done with this part realsoonnow.

What's doin' at your house?

rolanni: (what it's like)

So, I'm still down among the commas, going through what I'm optimistically calling the Final Draft of Carousel Seas.  I'm actually pretty pleased with it, in meta.  There are of course, fiddly bits to be fiddled, a couple of scenes to be expanded and/or sharpened, but it was ever thus.

In point of fact, I spent this morning with a scene that I hadn't red-lined as needing expansion; it was a pretty good scene and it did what it needed to do, which (so I thought when I was writing it) was to set up the next scene and the arrival on-screen of a character.

Now, we all know that it's good if a scene carries its weight and also does at least one thing to move the greater story along.  Right?

But, it's even better, if a scene can carry it's own weight, and move the big story along, and illuminate something new about the characters, and foreshadow an upcoming piece of business, and set up the next scene, with (now) an added twist of tension.  That's like -- Super Scene.

So, anyway, tinking with this middling important bit, the work of which  had been dealing with a necessary point of plot, and setting up The Arrival.  And --I'm watching myself start to dig into the sentences, sharpening this viewpoint, upping the stakes, adding a bit of by-play to show the relationship between the two characters confronting this situation -- and I'm not even thinking about what I'm doing, really, I'm just sort of doing some internal nodding, like I'm following along with whoever is actually doing the work, here:  "Yeah, that's good.  Oh-ho!  Why didn't I see that?  Nice, nice..." &c

I added maybe a hundred words to the scene, but it was enough to take it from a middling important scene that did its job, no muss, no fuss; to a scene that really rings some changes, and carries all that work I listed above.

And?  I can't tell you why I made the alterations that I did.  Often when I'm going in to rework/strengthen/expand a scene, I'm going in with a game plan; an idea of what needs to be punched up (or down).  This scene wasn't even tagged as a problem; I had no game plan.  I read the scene, my fingers rolled the screen back to the beginning and I started in, without any idea that anything was wrong, but a feeling that something could be better.

Which is why writing is an art, not a science.

Oh, and about Thomas Dolby?

The first time I heard "She Blinded Me With Science," my ear wouldn't make sense  of it -- there were too many "unnecessary" and "distracting" bits of business going on that had nothing to do -- in my opinion as a non-musician -- with the music.

And, yet -- try to take out the seeming side-bits, and you get something that's. . .flat, less diverse, and very much less joyously loony.

So now you know what it's like, down here among the commas, at least some of  the time.

I'm going to go get some lunch, and get back to it.


rolanni: (baby dragon from rainbowgraphics)

Frequent readers of this space will recall that Steve and I, among many others,  contributed an essay to Dragonwriter: A Tribute to Anne McCaffrey and Pern.  The table of contents, with links to samples from each essay are now available for you -- yes, you! -- to read.

Here's your link.

And it's back to the living room office and the final day of red-pen-editing of Carousel Seas.  Tomorrow, I'll be at the keyboard, inputting corrections, expanding zipped scenes, and straightening out one tiny little plot-kink.

No, the glamor never does stop. . .

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