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)

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.

rolanni: (what it's like)

In this case, too much.

Having finally achieved mastery of my form in the Pullman Class, I decided, naturally, to vary.  I thought that it would do no harm, and possibly significant good, if I were to make the honey-oatmeal-wheat bread that I'm partial to, and bake it in the Pullman Pan, thus creating Square Sandwich Bread.

So, I did that.  The recipe for the honey-oat bread normally makes two one-pound loaves; the Pullman Pan accommodates one really big loaf.  Things went pretty much as I expected that they would to the point where I put the bread into the oven.

With a Pullman Pan, you cover the bread for the first 25ish minutes of cooking, to keep the bread square, taking the lid off in the last 10 minutes in order to brown the top of the loaf.

When I opened the oven to take the lid off, I noticed that the bread dough had overflowed and there were curlicues of bread on the oven rack.  Not good.  I took the pan out in order to remove the lid -- and it took Steve holding the pan and me pulling on the lid to finally get it off.  The bread crust, of course, was torn.

Back the pan went into the oven for the final 10 minute browning, came out,  thumped appropriately hollow, and went onto the cooling rack.

. . .and, as it began to cool, it began to. . .sag.

Experienced bread makers will know what this means.

Yeah, not done in the middle.

So, as an experiment, for Science!, we have a success, in that we tried.  Obviously, if I wish to continue on this course, Tweaking will be required.

For the moment, then, since we're writing a book and all like that, the honey-oat will go back to being baked in its two regular bread pans, whence it emerges tasty and, more importantly, cooked through.  And I will continue to bake Pullman Bread for Steve, so that sandwiches can happen.


Writing has been going forth, with about 14,000 more-or-less usable words written in the last four days, which is, Ladies and Beans, what can happen when the calendar is clear and you turn off Facebook and Twitter.

It also helps if you know where this bit goes, because it's one of the foundation shticks that convinced you to write this book in the first place.  Run while the route goes downhill, and all like that.

For those who dote upon numbers, Neogenesis -- by which I mean the melded Part One, and the still-under-construction Part Two -- now clocks in at plus-or-minus 82,400.  Which would be more exciting news if we were looking at a 100,000 word book, but at a projected length of 130/140,000 isn't, so much.

Given the structure, I briefly flirted with SFWA's lower limit for novels and an adding machine, but I'm not sure I can make it all come out even.  And 160,000 words is a LOT of words.


Today, for the first time in a couple weeks, I go back to the gym, and hope not to collapse into a hacking heap on the treadmill.  After, there are errands, while I'm in town and all, and then home, for the midday meal, and so to work.

Tomorrow, I get my hair cut, which is Long Overdue, and then things are pretty much clear on the calendar/writing front until November 6, which, in addition to being the Death of Daylight Savings Time, is our wedding anniversary.  Not sure what we'll do about that.  Possibly put off the celebration until Tuesday (since we Early Voted), and run away from the news, upcountry.

End of the week is Comic Con, which will be fun for All the Usual Reasons, and also because I've Completely Missed ever being in the state of Rhode Island before.

So that's today's episode in the Exciting Life of a Writer.

Hope y'all are doing well -- and welcome to November.


"Surely, you'll do better to appeal to Captain Waitley in this matter?"

"Possibly so, sir, but -- there's a. . .complication."

"Of course there is.  There can be nothing other than complications, in Captain Waitley's orbit."

rolanni: (Caution: Writing Ahead)

So, I'm trying something...newish with Neogenesis.  What I'm trying -- it isn't actually new, but it is stretching --  codifying -- something I naturally do in storytelling, mostly because of how I tend to think.  Anyone who has tried to hold a conversation with me will know that I skip from here to there to over there, and back again, all the threads related, however tenuously, and interspersed with mini-stories.  I'm told it's exhausting.


For this book, I'm trying to take control of that tendency to bounce around and use it, consciously, as a solid structure.  And, it's kinda kicking my butt.  I tell myself that at least it will be an unusual book.  Unusual's good, amirite?

In other news, annual medical exams have been take care of, car maintenance has been taken care of .  Steve and I have voted.  Sadly, this has not kept any political ads, or phone calls out of our sphere.  There really ought to be a filter you can apply to your phone and your computer once you've done your civic duty, so you don't have to be bombarded anymore.  Somebody get to work on that, will you?

Today, I really ought to vacuum, and make the bed, too; but everybody's sleeping so nicely. . .and it's not like I don't have anything else to keep me occupied.

Maybe later.

Oh.  And today's blog title is, of course, courtesy of Talking Heads; Once in a Lifetime.  Here's your link.


Life with cats

Saturday, October 22nd, 2016 02:26 pm
rolanni: (kitty!)

Faithful auditors of this blog will recall that Steve and I keep cats.  This is a long-standing habit.  When we moved in together, back in nineteen-aught-seventy-eight, Steve had a cat -- the regal and intelligent plush-gray-and-white Arwen, who always seemed to be wearing an invisible tiara -- and I had a cat -- the brash, street-smart, orange-and-white Archie, who always seemed to have a pack of invisible cigarettes rolled up in the sleeve of his invisible t-shirt.

We have never since, in the 38 years we've been together, had less than two cats, and once had as many as five.  Usually, we try to keep an inventory of four, finding that the ability to mount two shifts benefits all.

In a word, I like cats.

This does not mean that I understand cats.

Take Thursday night, for instance.  I had been working in my office much of the day.  Sprite was curled in the red basket on my desk; Belle had for many hours been giving it her All from atop the file cabinet (what a worker that girl is!).  Trooper had been elsewhere, taking some time to himself, which we all need to do, occasionally.

So, anyway.  I was working, assisted ably, as described.  Darkness fell outside, and Trooper came into my office from wherever he'd been, voiced the chirp I think of as, "I'm here," and proceeded to jump to the top of the printer. As he does.  The printer is behind me as I face the computer. Trooper and Sprite will often use it as an observation point from which to survey the pine trees and the birds who live in the pine trees.  Sometimes, they sit up there for hours.

Which is what I expected Trooper to do.  However, Trooper is an athlete, and he had previously discovered that he could leap from the top of the printer to the top of the file cabinet, and settle in on the comfy fleece blanket.

Recall that this had been Belle's position for some hours at this point.  In fact, she is perfectly visible, being a rather large cat herself, from the vantage of the printer.

Despite this, Trooper makes the leap.

Belle screams, and flings backward, feet up, out, and armed.

Trooper skids off the blanket onto the secondary file cabinet, where there is, yes, a pile of filing, waiting to be done.

Papers fly.

Trooper yells.  Belle keeps screaming.  The writer, who had been writing, and thus not really Paying Attention, is utterly taken by surprise, leaps to her feet, and adds her bit to the music.

Trooper flies off the top of the file cabinet, and tears off down the hall.

Belle leaps from the file cabinet to the bookcase, still screaming, and runs after him.

Sprite blinks up from the red basket and kind of mooches to the edge of the desk, peering sleepily out the office door, and down the hall.

The writer, who has by now realized that all of the filing is behind the file cabinets, leans her head on her arm and starts cussing, while Steve, who has heard all of this commotion without context,  comes in to find out what happened.

In the meantime, Trooper and Belle are in the hallway, wearing Very Big Eyes.  In a surprise turnabout, it is Sprite who some minutes later returns to the office, and takes the lazy route to the top of the file cabinet, sniffing carefully the entire time.  She finally leaves by the same route, and apparently reports to Belle and Trooper that the Monsters are no longer in residence.

Eventually, they return, and take up positions on the new rug, to bathe.

The writer saves her work, closes the file, and calls it a night.

This morning, I spent some time clearing out the bookcase next to the secondary file cabinet, so I could pull it out of the way, so I could move the secondary file cabinet out of the way (it's empty, mostly), and pull the filing out from behind the big file cabinet.

On that head, at least, my work here is done.

Morning after a hard night Belle Apr 8 2016

Saturday's tale

Sunday, October 9th, 2016 11:41 am
rolanni: (from LAG)

I believe that my topic is Yesterday.

Yesterday was Saturday.  It started annoyingly early, with a rustle-rustle-rustle so persistent that it woke me up.  The source was found to be Sprite, who, in a fit of boredom, one supposes, had knocked over the trashcan in my office, dragged out the packing balloons that had protected the light bulbs during their long journey from New Jersey to Maine, and was avidly licking them.  I don't know what it is with the coon cats and plastic, but they love to lick it, and, unless it's removed from their orbit, will do so until it shreds.

Stern Words were spoken.  The (shredded) balloons were removed.  The trashcan was righted, and I went into the kitchen to pour coffee.

Coffee in hand, I opened my mail and found myself on the receiving end of a download from a pirate site, which speaks to the advice that I shouldn't operate heavy machinery, including the internet, until after I've finished the first cup of coffee.

Anyhow, this incident meant that I needed to deep-scan my computer for a virus check, which I of course did with the best of grace.  Loudly.

Steve made a cheese-and-turkey omelette for breakfast; after, we went out, to (1) pick up a prescription at the drug store, (2) check the post office box, (3) pick up several necessary items at the grocery store.

*cue laugh track*

It came about that we needed a filleting knife to replace the one that came with me as part of my marriage portion, and which had achieved a separation from its handle.  So!  After stopping at the post office, and since we were on that side of town, it just made sense to zip over to KMart.

We arrived in the middle of someone loudly haranguing the person at the customer service station.  The first thing to greet my ears was, "You cannot lie to your customers.  One store says one thing, your store says something else.  One of you is lying.  In either case, you are in violation of contract law.  Do you want your company to be sued?  Or will you just DO YOUR JOB and. . ."

. . .you get the gist.  And!  He went on in this same vein, in a voice that could be heard to the far corners of the store, for the entire half-hour we were there.  Back in the sock section, I could barely think inside the racket.  God She knows how the poor woman trapped in customer managed to cope.

Anyhow, I managed to buy what I call "house socks" -- men's construction socks, with padded soles.  I wear them -- surprise! -- around the house in the winter time, since I prefer sock-foot to slipper-feet.

Since we were in KMart, and I had money in my pocket, I stopped by the jewelry counter to buy a silver chain, KMart having been, last I looked, a leading purveyor of cheap sterling silver chains.


A 28-inch silver chain at KMart had a list price of $149.95 (do what now?), but!  They were 70% off.  Which brought it all the way down to $45.  Which was a shade more than twice as much as I was willing to spend.  The saleswoman did her best, reminding me that I could put it on layaway, but I manged to leave the chain where it was, and got to the cash register to buy my socks just as the disgruntled gentleman left the store, phone glued to ear.

Steve did not find a filleting knife.

Back in the car we went to travel to the other side of town, where we picked up the winter extra cat food, and the prescription, and stopped at TJ Maxx, since it's in the same shopping center as the Hannaford, still in search of the filleting knife.

Steve went back to kitchenware, and I stopped at the jewelry counter to chat with my acquaintance there.  As it happened, she had a 28-inch silver chain in stock.  For $19.99, which was very much more like it.  So, I achieved my silver chain.  Yay.

Steve did not find a filleting knife in TJ Maxx, either.

Onward to the grocery store, where we took on same, and Steve found a pair of knives that each might do the job of a filleting blade, and home again, where we had a light lunch and a long nap, before arising to go to work.

Work went well, Steve and I met for the evening meal, a glass of wine, and a chapter of A Night in the Lonesome October.  So, though the day started in aggravation, it wound down peacefully.

And here ends Saturday's narrative.

Today's schedule includes answering a convention survey, the doing of laundry, and, naturally enough, more work on Neogenesis.  I have ahead of me a whole week with no lengthy real-world interruptions of any kind, so I hope to get a lot of words written in a forwarder direction.

# # #

Rough Approximate Word Count for Neogenesis
61,835/130,000 OR 48% complete

"I live to be of use to you, Theo," he said gently. "May one know the reason for these. . .arrangements?"

rolanni: (Alliance of Equals art by David Mattingl)

All the way back in May, Steve and I were interviewed by Jean Marie Ward on behalf of Zombies Need Brains, which brings you, among other fine anthologies, Alien Artifacts, in which we, among a glittering cast of our colleagues, have a story.

Here's your link to the interview.

Blue Monday

Monday, August 29th, 2016 11:00 am
rolanni: (bleedingheart from furriboots)

I'm rather despondent as I write this.  On-going this, that, and the other thing.  I can't quite get to and back from the ocean on my own at the moment, because Reasons, but if I could I'd definitely run away today.

Well.  Next week, maybe.  Or the week after.

In the meantime, Book the Next has exceeded 40,000 words for the fourth time since we began this journey, and -- has not only not (as yet, experience teaches me to say) been busted back to private, but has put on a little more weight.  (Yes, Mixed Metaphor is today's special.  Why do you ask?) We have also reached one of the pivot scenes, so -- yay, us.  I'm taking the fact that we have reached this scene to mean that we've finally gotten the set-up right.

Fingers crossed, going forward.

The title for Book the Next continues to elude us.  I'm thinking maybe we can do a Choose Your Own Title, sort of like Choose Your Own Ending, only you get all the fun upfront.

For those who have been playing Amazon Bingo at home -- The Crystal Variation, including novels Crystal Soldier, Crystal Dragon, and Balance of Trade, by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller is currently on-sale at the Kindle store.  Pretty good, for a book which shouldn't have been "suppressed" in the first place.

No, I'm not feeling charitable.

Well.  Snail mail has arrived while I was writing this.  I note a lack of promised checks.

And on that note, I'm for the gym.

Y'all have a nice day.

Are you taking pictures AGAIN August 7 2016

rolanni: (Calvin & Hobbes happy dance)

. . .and a marvelous thing has happened already.

As I sit here, drinking my first cup of coffee, and updating this blog. . .

Alliance of Equals has achieved. . .

201 reader reviews on Amazon (US)!

Thank you all so very, very much.

And, oh, hey -- you over in the corner, who hadn't gotten a chance to write a review yet?  Yeah, you.

Your review will be most welcome, too.  We don't have to stop at 201; though we can certainly take a well-deserved breather.

*everybody breathe*


So, OK.  Today is a hospital day, which means I need to move on to my second cup of coffee realsoonnow.  There's bidness to be done when I return, seeing as I finished writing a scene yesterday, instead of doing bidness.

Tomorrow is, so I say now, as full a writing day as I can manage  (note to Self:  put cell phones in freezer), and a screening of Kubo and the Two Strings (which, for a wonder, will be appearing at the Waterville Flagship Cinema) penciled in for Friday.

And that?  Is all I got.

No, wait; it's not.

I've got a snippet.  Here y'are:

Best to accomplish the task at once, while biology was ascendant.

There was no need for the mentor to suffer, after all.

rolanni: (Marvin's not happy)

So, the phone, she is ded.  A new phone is promised, though what kind and exactly when it will arrive have sorta been left up in the air.  I have made a note on the Calendar that Rules All to Call the Verizon store on Tuesday (sigh), if they don't call me on Monday to provide Solid Information, and, ideally, a pick-up time.

On the Silver Lining front -- had things fallen otherwise, this would have happened just as we were getting ready to leap onto a train to Kansas City.

So, that.

I dropped my broken necklace off at the jewelry store, and talked briefly with the jeweler, who says that, instead of soldering the break, and since there's such a tiny segment of chain involved, she would remove the broken bit and feed the new end into the clamp end of the clasp.  It will either be ready on Monday, or in two weeks, because she was going on vacation, and couldn't be sure she'd get to it before she left.

Dollar Store only had short spike solar lights in stock.  On the plus side, they cost just $1 apiece.

Kmart stocked solar lights which were more like what I'd had in mind -- but they want $25 for one, single light, so that's a non-starter.  Research continues.

We lost power last night, in solidarity with downtown (so to speak) Winslow, Benton, and a couple other towns I don't recall right now -- at about 9:00 pm.  The generator performed its function, and we here at the Cat Farm continued about our business, basically unimpeded.  Thanks to everyone who helped us make the generator a reality!

As of this morning, Alliance of Equals has received 169 reader reviews at Amazon!  Only 31 more until we reach our 200-reviews goal!  You guys rock!

Also, by way of a Watch the Skies:  Yesterday, we signed a contract with an ebook distributor, in order to widen the reach of Pinbeam Books.  We'll let you know when the books are available from the new distributor.

And that? Is all I've got.  Today has got to be a work day, given the hours lost to the Dying of the Phone, so I'll be shutting the internet down, directly I publish this blog entry.

Everybody stay cool.

rolanni: (Flying Monkey!)

So!  Today was a Wasted Day.

Oh, it fired a warning shot over the bows first, but there was really nothing I could've done to alter course.

The warning shot:  I opened Firebird this morning, to find letters in-queue, but! they were all empty.  Further investigation revealed an Urgent! message from Eset Security, counseling me to upgrade (for free) Right Now.  So I did that.

Or, at least, I tried to do that.

Eset reported that the install had failed. Panicked, I rebooted the machine.  The installation completed on reboot, and my mail automagically appeared in fullness.


Went out to the kitchen to get my coffee and to unplug my cellphone, which had been charging on the overnight.  Turned it on and -- No Sim Card -- read the message running along the top of the screen.  Turned the phone off.  Turned it back on.  Same result.  Took it back to my office, jacked it into the computer, turned it on. . .

No Sim Card.

Now, before anybody tells that All I Have To Have Done was open up the phone and reseat the SIM card -- I have a Droid Turbo.  If there's any way to open the case, it requires a specialized tool unavailable to the residents of the confusion factory.

Which is why I want into town, seeking the Verizon store and that specialized tool.

I had to wait about fifteen minutes for a tech, so I went to the back of the store and opened the book I had grabbed off the table on my way out the door -- Carousel Tides, by Sharon Lee.  Never heard of her, but it's a pretty good book. Which turned out to be a blessing.  While I was reading, a woman wandered by, looking at phones, as one does. She had a small, intelligent dog on a leash.  Dog saw me and thrust forward, tail wagging.  I said, "Hi, Dog," extended a hand. . .

"Don't touch him!" the woman snapped.  "He's a service dog!"

I blinked.  "He's not wearing his vest," I said, mildly.

"It's too hot for his vest," she said.  "He's all business when he has it on, and he just wants to talk to everybody when he doesn't -- but don't touch him.  He's working."

So, then.  Dog, who looked, as I say, like a fine, intelligent fellow, knows the Rules. Too bad his Boss doesn't.

Back to the book, ignoring Dog and owner.  Eventually, my name is called.  The tech -- Josh -- allows as how the phone is still under warranty, and it ought to be an easy fix, if I'd just sit back down, he'd be back in five minutes.

He was back sooner than that, saying that whatever had done the SIM card had wiped the phone's serial number on the way out, and he couldn't do the fix.  He was therefore going to have to get me a replacement phone.

Except -- you see where this is going, right?  Right.  My phone is Too Old to be stocked in the store.  Josh goes online to the Verizon Warehouse, finds one, orders it, comes back to tell me that it'll be seven days before it arrives.  I allow as how that's not exactly convenient, but a phone on the way is better than no phone at all.  He goes back to confirm the order --

And finds a message from the warehouse inventory system that -- the phone is out of stock.

He then calls Motorola.  I overheard the part of the conversation that went, "No, I am not going to tell my customer that I'll give her fifty bucks on her phone toward a new one.  Her phone is under warranty.  If you can't send her a replacement phone, I'll just give her one of the new Droids we have in stock -- I'm sorry?  OK, let's try that."

Apparently, Motorola did a remote reset, which reawakened the SIM card and re-established the serial number.  No, I don't know how that worked.  All I know is that my phone was back on-line, and All We Had To Do -- cough -- was for me to sign into Google and re-acquire my Stuff.

Except. . .Google wouldn't let me in -- I was stuck in an endless loop of "enter email/enter password" -- my email and password worked on Josh's phone, but not on mine.

Long story short, Josh called Google, which isn't as easy as you might think, and finally got through to a tech named Cora, who explained that because the phone had been reset, there was a 24-hour lockdown period before I could sign into my Google account.  Josh asked if there was any way around that, and she gave him Motorola's number.

He called Motorola, and talked to. . .somebody.  Again cutting corners -- Motorola assumes that any device that has been wiped and re-animated has been stolen -- yes, even if they have just done that Their Very Own Selves -- and no -- there is no way around the 24-hour lockdown.

So, what I have sitting on the kitchen table is currently a brick, and I won't know until tomorrow at about 1:30 in the afternoon, if it really does function now.


This whole operation consumed FIVE HOURS of my day.  I'm glad I had a good book with me, as I said.  As it was, I blew off the rest of my errands, save a quick stop at the grocery store in the same shopping center as the phone store, to pick up a quiche for lunch, and came home, where Steve said, "I wondered where you were all this time, so I sent you a text. . ."

Here's hoping that your day was considerably better than mine.

Also!  As of this writing, one month after its release date, Alliance of Equals has 163! reader reviews on, only 37 shy of our goal of 200 reviews!  That's. . .awesome.  Thank you.

Today's blog title is brought to you by the Waybacks, "Mind Your Own Business."  Here's your link.

Quick check-in

Sunday, July 31st, 2016 12:06 pm
rolanni: (Alliance of Equals art by David Mattingl)

I realize I haven't done this in a couple of days, so here's a quick numbers check:

As of right now, there are 137 reader reviews on Amazon.  That's only 63 short of the 200-review goal!

D'you think we can hit 200 by August 5, which would be one month from the July 5 publication date?

Thanks to everyone who has taken the time and thought to post a review!

rolanni: (the kids)

There has lately been a demand for pictures of us that are professional, high-rez, and current, so yesterday, we met man-about-Waterville and professional photographer Patrick Groleau on Main Street at 9 o'clock in the morning, and spent the next two-and-a-half hours walking around the city, with occasional stops by brick walls, old Studebakers-turned-beer-cellars, weed-choked hitching posts, the obligatory park-cannon, and the Two Cent (or Two Penny) Bridge.  At one point, Patrick was taken with the notion that we should have a picture on the tracks, which would have been OK, except that we had to mention to him that. . .there was a train coming.

Which!  Was an opportunity to scramble up a bank, and pose by a half-eroded retaining wall so that a picture could be taken with the engine over our shoulders.

We then walked some more, stepping lightly past the camps of the brotherhood of people with no fixed address; were educated on the "safe" and "unsafe" sides of the river, and entertained with tales of hobo camps of days gone by, and the fine art of freight car hopping.

Our last stop was Children's Book Cellar, for an Authors in Bookstore shot, after which we stopped by Framemakers to drop off the cover art for The Gathering Edge to be framed, thence to Gifford's for well-earned milkshakes (which Gifford's has now decided are "frappes" -- and we were corrected by the counterperson when we asked for "milkshakes") and out to Heartland Estates to view an open house at the "stand alone condominium" community.  It was a nice house, I guess; 'way too small for life as we live it (though it had radiant floors, which I confess to coveting), and 'way too rich for the blood of freelance writers.  We tried not to create too much consternation, but I'm not sure we succeeded.

Back into town we went, for to pick up groceries, and take-out, because it had suddenly become quite late.  Then, a nap, and when we woke, there were photographs in Steve's inbox, several of which we deployed to those awaiting them.

The photos are interesting -- for instance, they reveal that Steve lives in his face much more than I do -- and make Waterville look every inch an Urban Center.

We also learned, in the course of our walk about town that Toast Express, which had been a welcome addition to our breakfast choices, has closed.  We were last in a couple weeks ago, to find that the menu board had been removed (Oh, said the woman behind the counter, it's just being updated), and that the regulars were being pulled aside for whispered conversations, while the counter-boss assured another person -- Oh, no, I'm not leaving; I'm just going down to Kentucky for a couple weeks to watch my grandson...

We had hoped that the signs were not what we thought they were.  Silly us.

The theory I've heard is that things like Toast are too expensive for the area, which may well be true.  Prices of things, and food have gone up, but Waterville in specific, and Maine in general harbors an aging population of former blue collar workers, who have now slipped over the line from middle class to poor.

This weekend is a working weekend, with a small celebratory break on the morrow. We had thought that we might go to Toast Express for breakfast, but -- guess not.

Everybody have a great weekend!

Authors and Studebaker Patrick Groleau July 29 2016Authors and Studebaker
Patrick Groleau July 29 2016

Today's blog title is brought to you by Ringo Starr, "Photograph."  Here's your link.

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.

Way Station

Thursday, June 30th, 2016 09:10 am
rolanni: (Alliance of Equals art by David Mattingl)

So! For those who may have missed the news, yesterday saw the arrival of a check and 13 boxes (250 books) of Alliance of Equals.

Here's the plan re:  Alliance of Equals.

Steve and I have already signed six boxes of books, and done all of the personalizations.  Today, three of those boxes (including all the personalizations and such autographed editions as fill the shipment out) will board a FedEx truck.  They should arrive in Minneapolis tomorrow, Saturday, latest, which will give the Uncle and his crew time to start getting them in the mail.

In the meantime, we here at the Confusion Factory will finish signing the other seven boxes after breakfast, call UPS and get them outta here this afternoon.  In a just and merciful universe, they will arrive in Minneapolis on Tuesday or Wednesday next week.

This is not a perfect solution, but it's the best one we could come up with.  We again thank everyone for their patience. For more information regarding the need for patience, see this post.

No writing yesterday.  Very probably none today.

Tomorrow will be better, Mrs. Miller.

One size fits all June 22 2016
rolanni: (Marvin's not happy)

How to say this?

I'm very sorry, but the odds are good that, if you pre-ordered a copy of Alliance of Equals from Uncle Hugo's, you will not have them in hand before-or-on the official publication date of July 5.

This is not Uncle Hugo's fault

Simon and Schuster, which is Baen's distributor, has, for the entire month of June been assuring Baen, us, and Uncle Hugo that the books are on the truck, and should be arriving here at the Confusion Factory at any moment.

In fact. . .the books went onto the truck today, and (according to the tracking information from UPS) will arrive here in Maine tomorrow, Wednesday, June 29.  Even if Steve and I sign books like Mad, Signing Things (which I promise we will do), we're talking in excess of 200 books, many of them requiring personalization -- so, best case, we can get them on a truck to Minneapolis on Friday, July 1.  July 4 is, of course, Monday, so -- you see where I'm going with this.

To forestall -- No, I don't know why S&S behaved in this really frustrating manner, since I don't work at the S&S warehouse.

Again, apologies for the delay.  I promise it'll still be a good book, even it's mailed a couple days late.

I need a sign. . .

Tuesday, June 28th, 2016 10:53 am
rolanni: (Flying Monkey!)

Mail arrived; no check.  At this point, I'm expecting that it got on the bus to Massachusetts (Massachusetts being "MA" according to the Post Office and Maine being "ME"; many people unfamiliar with addressing envelopes Simply Assume that Maine is "MA") and will be returned as "addressee unknown" to the agency in ten days or a month.

The betting pool is still open on whether or not the books arrive today.

Let's see. . .

Answer to question from the Roll Call:  Yes, we will be visiting Annie's Bookstop in Worcester on Friday, July 8, at 7 pm.  I talked to Trisha last night; she's not sure what happened to the calendar listing, but states that It Shall Be Fixed.  In the meantime, she sent along this link.  Hope to see lots of you there!

Considering all the questions which have been asked in Roll Call, I have a Question of my own:  Is it easier to ask a question where you know it won't be seen by anyone except, in this case, me?

On the schedule today is a podcast interview, writing, and staring out the window.

Yesterday, I did not write, but opted to read and rest my fingers after paying the scariest of the bills on the desk.

They say partly cloudy today, here, with thunderstorms on the overnight.

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

Everybody stay cool.


Today's blog title is brought to you by Train, "Calling All Angels."  Here's your link.

If it's June 25. . .

Saturday, June 25th, 2016 10:32 am
rolanni: (Calvin & Hobbes happy dance)

. . .it must be the Belleversary!

Yes, as unbelievable as it may seem, one year ago today, we brought Kelimcoons Belle of the Ball to the Cat Farm and Confusion Factory.  She retired graciously to the chamber prepared for her, to rest from the rigors of her journey.  She had a mouthful of food, a visit to the necessary, and a brief bath before strolling out to Greet Her People, and conduct a survey of her new kingdom.

We were, of course, planning a Festivity to commemorate the day, complete with dancing and fireworks, but Belle has asked for a more restrained and dignified celebration. Therefore, we all plan on having a nap today, in honor of herself.  Belle is, as always, leading the way.

In other news!

I wrote yesterday.  Quite a lot, actually, for values of Quite a Lot that include 2,140 new words in Book the Next. After I ripped out the scene that didn't work, we had a net gain to the manuscript of!  76 words.

It was rather an exciting day, as writers count these things.  I had a Good Idea, then!  I had a Better Idea; the story is back on track with no violence done the characters, their relationship, and! without invoking the Gods of Plot.  Which is good.  I really don't like invoking the Gods of Plot.  Which reminds me to sweep the altar, which has gotten dusty.

In addition to the celebration of Belle's arrival among us, today's schedule includes deploying the vacuum cleaner, doing the dishes, and -- getting back to work on the WiP.  No, no, the excitement never does stop; but we're used to it.

For those keeping score at home, there were no checks in the mail today, and a bill arrived by email.

No questions to answer today, though people continue to find the Roll Call and check in.  Thank you!

. . .and I think that's catches us all up.  It's an absolutely gorgeous day here in the middle of Maine, perfect for all kinds of Summery Activities.  Hope it's the same, where you are.


Progress on Book the Next
35,765/100,000 OR 35.77% complete

Not truth. Something more primal than mere truth. Something from deep in the core of him, incontrovertible, beyond any argument or logic.

Belleversary June 25 2016 One
rolanni: (Patience)

All righty, then!  Want to see all the Baen Books July releases in one, dynamic environment?

*snaps fingers*

Your wish has been granted.  Here's your link -- and remember to leave a comment, if you can, so the Baen Video Elves don't think their work is in vain.

Also!  Check out the Baen front page for two! stories! ("Wise Child," by Lee and Miller; "Dear Ammi," by Aimee Ogden) and a science article ("Strange Sex," by Dave Freer).  Remember to click the Facebook button (you have to be logged into Facebook for it to show up), and/or the Twitter button, to let the authors know you appreciate their work.

What else?

The crows are having an extremely raucous party in the back woods.  How raucous, you ask?  They woke Trooper up from his mid-morning nap in the window.

The mailman has come and gone.  No bills.  Which is fine.  I already have a handful of bills, right here on the desk.

No check, either.  See "handful of bills," above.

Did some re-writing, and re-visioning on Book the Next last night.  I think I even made minor gains in wordage.  However!  Today's work includes ripping out a scene I labored over for two days, trying to get it right, only to realize that the failure to get it right was a Clue that I'd gone off track.

I think that's all the news at the moment.  Hope everyone has a lovely Friday.

Progress on Book the Next
36,439/100,000 OR 36.44% complete

And yet, he told himself kindly, she had known you for a lunatic when she married you.

Nap buddies June 23 2016

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