A. The EBOOK edition of The Gathering Edge is now available for PREORDER from Amazon. Here's the link.
B. We have a new goal at Patreon, and a promise of goodies in the (very near) future. Check it out here.
C. Eagles Over the Kennebec is now completely installed in its new home at Dreamwidth, and the previous account at LiveJournal has been deleted. Here's the link to the new journal.
C1. Here's a link to an article explaining the mass exodus from LJ, for those who are interested.
D. As previously advertised, Year's Best Military and Adventure SF Volume 3 will be published in June. A Special Feature of this book is that it serves as a ballot for an award given at Dragoncon. Readers may vote for the best story in the volume; the winner of that vote will receive a plaque and a check for $500.
E. Steve and I will be doing a Pre-Release Party/AMA at Reddit on May 1. Why not stop by and see us? Bring a friend, in fact. There will be enough virtual brownies for everybody. Here's a link to more information.
F. Steve and I will be having a Real Life Meet and Greet/Book Signing at the Barnes and Noble at 9 Market Place Drive, Augusta, Maine, on Saturday, May 13, from 1 - 3pm. Hope to see you there.
G. I will be intermittently about this weekend. The pace of doctor/dentist appointments has taken its toll, and I've gotta take advantage of two days in a row to write.
Everybody have a great weekend.
In case you missed the news, earlier this week, the nice folks at Baen sent Belle a box:
After a little while, she let us open it. This is what was inside:
Alert readers will recall that Steve and I turned Neogenesis in to Madame the Publisher on January 28, thereby entering that magical and too-fleeting time known as, I Never Have to Write Again.
During that time, we went to Minneapolis as Writer Guests of Honor at MarsCon 2017, turned "Cutting Corners" in to Baen.com; reworked "Dawn's Early Light," for All Hail Our Robot Conquerors!; fixed up an outtake from Neogenesis into short story "Street Cred" (now available as eChapbook Change Management: Adventures in the Liaden Universe® Number 23). We also sold a reprint story, and have a big, crunchy interview to finish this week. I want to write one more short, for eChapbook Number 24, but I can't quite get a handle on it, and the window is getting narrower, as I start laying the groundwork (which involves a lot of staring at nothing, and flipping through the notes in the story file) for Fifth of Five.
In addition to Not Ever Writing Again, Life has continued to happen, including doctor appointments, and the coming home to roost of the bills from Steve's Marvelous Medical Adventure back in November. Bread has been baked, laundry washed, worn, and washed again; cats have been brushed; clocks -- most notably including the clock in the car, and the clock on the coffeemaker -- have been set one hour ahead.
We viewed two movies -- our first on the new television set -- "Arrival," and "The Fifth Element." I find myself a little. . .put off by the picture, which lacks what I think of as "movie texture," and feels very much like "soap opera texture." Well. I guess I'll get used to it.
Today. . .today, includes some Life: grocery shopping; a go at the gym, now that the knee's been cleared; and back home to do some laundry, which is getting done as can be this week; and getting down with the big, crunchy interview.
So! That's what's been going on, here. How's by you?
Yesterday, we had precipitation. There was some confusion amongst the Weatherbeans in their lofty towers of ice and sunshine regarding the form in which the precipitation would finally manifest. The Weather Wheel spun from snow, to sleet, to freezing rain, ice pellets, and the ever-popular wintry mix, until the Weatherbeans in their wise frustration threw their hands in the air and said, "It is on the back of the wind."
And so it was.
We here at the Cat Farm were blessed with snow. Quite a lot of snow, very wet and heavy, since the temperatures never really got much below 31F/0C. I had tried to do the Wise Thing and perform preliminary snow removal yesterday evening, before the skylight absolutely went. This resulted in me sliding on the ice beneath the snow and falling flat on my face. I therefore rethought the situation, with Steve's pointed input, and decided to do snow removal this morning, when there was more traction between boot soles and ice.
Today, it's quite pretty out, with sticky snow stuck to all the tree branches and Everything Else, and the sun beaming down from a blue and cloudless sky.
I have done two rounds of snow relocation, in prep for the plowguy. The first round was Before Coffee, to clear the steps and make a path in the direction of the cars. I came in to warm up -- actually, to cool down; it gets hot when you shovel snow under the smiling sun -- had a cup of chocolate coffee that Steve had ready for me, and an oatmeal cookie.
Round Two saw the cars cleared, for values of clear meaning that the driver can see out the front and back windows, after which I had Second Breakfast: coffee, cottage cheese, and leftover stuffing. The breakfast of champions.
We are now on Plowguy Watch, and my jeans are in the dryer.
For those who may have never done snow relocation on a bright and sunny day in Maine, a few notes.
The snow was so white and reflective under the sun that the only way I could find and follow the paths I had made was to look for the blue inside the outline of my footprints. I have a great fondness for blue snow, which I don't think I ever saw before we came to Maine.
Also, the trees are, as stated above, bearing a significant burden of snow on each and all of their branches. Yes, the smiling sun and the playful breeze are assisting in the removal of this burden, but it's a tricky process.
While I was outside on Round Two, the neighbor across the road lost a branch from the tree closest to his house. I heard a crrraaackkk and looked up in time to see the branch tumbling down in slo-mo, and a cloud of snow-dust dancing and twinkling against the perfect blue sky.
This is the time when we are at risk for losing power, because the lines are every bit as coated as the trees, and subject to the same forces. And once again, we are grateful for the generator.
For the moment, my snow worship is done. Sprite is already asleep in her basket on my desk, and I guess I'll take her hint and get to work.
Everybody have a safe, pleasant day.
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.
. . .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.
So! Things are starting to heat up, in A Night in the Lonesome October. Somebody'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."
Those of you who purchase ebooks from Amazon need to be aware of the following:
a. The Kindle edition of omnibus The Crystal Variation, by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, including the novels Crystal Soldier, Crystal Dragon, and Balance of Trade -- has been taken off-sale by Amazon pending correction of "serious quality issues." These issues are "misspellings." Amazon forwarded the list of 144 instances of misspelled words to Baen, which forwarded it to us. More than a dozen of those "misspelled" words are "cermacrete." We also have "ISBN" identified as a "misspelled" word. Also, cantra, kais, qwint, Iloheen, aetherium, autoshout -- you get the idea. Steve and I have each made a pass down the list and have so far identified three Actual Misspelled Words, and one that I need to research, but believe to be a spacing problem. The process from here goes like this: We tell Baen which words are Actually Misspelled. A Baen editor will fix those errors. The Baen Ebook Team will then recompile the omnibus and shuffle it into its various formats, including forwarding a "clean copy" to Amazon. Amazon will then, at some point, put the book back on sale.
If you would like to purchase an electronic copy of The Crystal Variation in the immediate future, your best choice of vendor would be Baen Ebooks, which offers the book for sale in All Formats Known to Man or Clutch. Here's the link.
b. Amazon has also stopped selling Courier Run, an echapbook containing two Liaden stories by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, for Serious Quality Issues. In a Surprising Plot Twist, this title shows as being Live and On Sale from my publisher's dashboard. KDP support is Researching the Issue and promises an answer by August 18 -- next Thursday.
If you would like to purchase this echapbook before next Thursday, please seek it elsewhere -- BN, Kobo, iBooks still offer it for sale.
c. Sleeping with the Enemy was also briefly off-sale at Amazon, but its honor has been redeemed and it is now on-sale in the Kindle store, as well as at the rest of the Usual Suspects.
d. Spell Bound, an echapbook collecting "Will-o'-the-wisp" and "The Wolf's Bride," two Archers Beach stories previously published on Splinter Universe, is now for sale at the Amazon Kindle store (after a brief tussle in which Amazon insisted that the content was available "freely on the web" and therefore I had no right to publish the compilation), and! at Kobo, and iBooks. BN will presumably get around to publishing sometime soon.
A related note: Since these stories have been collected, they have been removed from Splinter Universe.
Today, it is rainy and cool at the Cat Farm and Confusion Factory. I plan a quiet, working day. I realize that we are very fortunate in our weather. All of you who labor under Dangerous Heat Advisories -- please be alert and take good care of yourselves.
Well, we were going to go to the ocean today, but -- rain. Also, exhausted. Maybe Thursday.
In the meanwhile, I do believe that all the train tickets and motel rooms have been reserved for the Big Northern Kingdom Alliance of Equals Book Tour. Details here.
Steve is in the Comfy Chair, reading The Gathering Edge, ably assisted by Belle. I have Trooper and Scrabble assisting with travel arrangements in my office. Warrior Princess Jasmine Sprite, Scourge of Field Mice, Suzerain of Toys, and Mistress of the String is, I believe, downstairs in her Princess Tower.
After lunch I'll sit down with Book the Next (previously Fourth of Five), now that all of the various lines are sorted to my satisfaction. There's maybe 5,000-ish words that might belong in Five of Five, but I'm going to keep them, until I'm surer of directions. In Theory, Next is due to Madame on August 15, which means I have most of June, and most of July before me. August is pretty much cut up with traveling There and Back Again, with a WorldCon in the middle. Well. We'll see how matters progress over the next four weeks.
And, apropos of nothing other than my magpie mind, I need to find a ribbon or a piece of leather cord. At BaltiCon, a friend gave me a tile necklace that has a graphic of a dragon on one side, and, on the obverse, my favorite side, the Shakespeare quote, "Come not between the dragon and his wrath." However, it's only strung on a piece of green bakery twine, which you just know is gonna break, and I won't know it, and I'll lose the tile.
adds ribbon to list
So! back to the word factory.
Progress on Book the Next
37431 / 100000 (37.43%)
"So he's been downgraded from menace to joke?"
Today's blog post comes from one of songs that was the inspiration for Carousel Seas, "Captain Jack and the Mermaid." Here's your link.
So, the text of the talk I delivered at Ravencon is online, for your viewing pleasure. Here's your link.
Steve is shortly on his way to Portland to partake of the secret delights offered by the Maine State Democratic Convention; I will join him there tomorrow to do my duty as a delegate for Bernie Sanders. Today, with luck and tailwind, I will finish the first draft of the story that's due on May 15.
In the meantime, I am soliciting recommendations for novels that are. . .light-hearted. They don't have to be comedies, but they do have to be. . .soothing and generally uplifting -- along the lines of The Goblin King, or Uprooted. I foresee finishing Karen Memory (which I'm enjoying very much) this weekend, and the books remaining on my TBR pile lean somewhat toward the Grim and Improving, which is not what I need to read right now.
And, now? I am turning the internet off, in order to get with the as-yet nameless short story.
So, last night Steve and I went to the Waterville Opera House to view for our very first time, the Rocky Horror Show. This was, I'll stress, the play, not the film. Since we were Rocky Horror virgins -- to an extent; I don't think anyone could have existed in SF Fandom since the 1970's and remained Entirely Ignorant of the plot. Which actually served us well, otherwise, my enjoyment would have been. . . much less.
Since we had never seen the show before, we deliberately bought tickets to a show where the Opera House stated in its literature that props were not to be brought in. It turns out that many of the theater-going public in Waterville cannot read, or reasoned that there are no Opera House Cops and so they could safely ignore this plea for courtesy.
Steve had the worst of it; he was sitting next to a guy who apologized ahead of time for that fact that he was going to be Very Loud in his call-backs, this despite the rules, and he proceeded to enjoy himself hugely at the expense of our being able to, oh, actually hear what was going on. If I'd been sitting next to him, I'd've slugged him, reasoning that there are, after all, no Opera House Cops, and so I could do whatevertheheck I wanted to do in protection of my own experience of the play.
I'm told that we should have watched the movie first, rather than going to the play, but since we had, indeed, purchased tickets for the Rocky Virgin Show, I think we did due diligence.
In any case, because of prior exposure, I did, indeed enjoy myself, and very much pity the actors who have to put up with having things thrown at them, and call-backs and all the other. . .stupidities we observed (yes, yes, I know it's "fun"; I'm an old fuddy-duddy, is all). Had I known that the no-props rule would be so completely violated, however, I would have stayed home.
EDITED TO ADD: Steve reminds me that I have forgotten to report that he won a door prize at the show last night, which was sponsored in part by local radio station MIX (107.9) and adult emporium, Treasure Chest II.
Let me let Steve himself tell you about his prize basket: So, since Rocky Horror is a Halloween thing, and 13 is a Halloween number (It is?) I think they gave away 13 prizes all together. Our little package was a purple mini-milk-crate, brimming with stuff. Whips (very vanilla whips, really)..., no chains, Motion Lotion, Swiss Navy gels, a power stroker, yes, and enough vibrating power to open a paint-mixing shop. But you know how it is -- we really were front row center in the balcony ... I left the lid on the treasure chest we won and didn;t do more than peek at it. The next closest winner appeared to have a glow-in-the-dark rendintion of Dr. Frankenfurter's equipment, which she de-packaged and handed around to be handled by her friends ...
Someone over on LiveJournal (my blog posts first on Blog Without a Name on sharonleewriter.com and is mirrored at Eagles Over the Kennebec on LiveJournal) wanted to know The Rest of The Story, after we had moved to Maine and found all of our arrangements in shambles (for those who missed that post, here's your link).
The answer to that is. . .there was a Period of Confusion, in which we learned a lot in a very short time, and were helped out by some kind people.
First off, we pulled into the now-disappeared (there's a Wal*Mart on the site) Skowhegan Motor Lodge, where we rented a cabin for us and three cats. We unloaded the rental truck into a storage unit (happily, we had only just been managers of a storage unit facility, so had some expertise in packing the space efficiently), and returned it (the truck, not the storage unit) to Augusta, which was much further away than we had imagined. When we returned to the Motor Lodge, the live-in managers told us that they were starting to shut down for the winter -- which meant putting each cabin into mothballs, draining the pipes, and whatnot -- but that they would leave our cabin 'til last, to give us time to regroup.
This was fortunate, because I was nursing the Cold From Hell, and probably should have -- in retrospect -- gone to the hospital, but -- we had no money. We also walked All Over Skowhegan, Maine, looking for a place to live, and, as a by-product of that, introducing ourselves to the neighbors. It turned out that somebody knew somebody else, who knew that the accountant had just finished renovating a farmhouse-and-attached-barn (called in Maine, "a regular house") on Busy Route 2 into teensy, tiny little apartments, like Mainers like to do, and we went and talked to him, and we were personable and "older" (i.e. not 18), and so we found an apartment. Then Steve got a job at the local Cumberland Farms Store on the midnight shift, and somebody else had heard about a temp opening in the Number Two Paper Machine for day-work, and I got hired on there. And then the revisions came in for Carpe Diem, and a guy I had worked with at a game company in Maryland, who had moved on to a start-up in New Hampshire, remembered that I had been a science fiction writer, and we got a gig writing a narrative for a computer game, and eventually -- I don't quite remember how -- I got a job as a clerk at the daily newspaper in Waterville, and we eventually rented a house just a couple blocks away from that job, so I didn't have to drive 20 miles after midnight in the treacherous Maine winter, Steve got a job as the children's librarian at the Oakland Library, Del Rey turned down our option novel, we taught writing by mail with the British-American School of Writing. . .
. . .in other words, Life Happened.
As it still is.
Today! Bread is rising. I need to get with the manuscript and do some serious work, having goofed off so well these last couple days, and!
. . .that's all the news that's fit to print.
Here's a picture from this morning (a repeat for the FB peeps, but still better than big G+ graphic): Trooper and Sprite having a Saturday morning cuddle in the comfy, unmade bed:
So, rain here at the Cat Farm and Confusion Factory as Cat Chess continues. Belle appears to be jockeying for position; she is a mom cat of some seniority, and seems determined that she will not be Least Cat. This is admirable, but sadly leaves Princess Sprite -- two years Belle's junior, and not politically adroit -- at something of a disadvantage. Plus, before Belle's arrival, Sprite had Strangers in the House changing out her chimney -- an experience I will myself place at an 8 on a stress scale where 1 is not at all distressing, and 10 is so distressing I want to run away -- and thus began the game in a state of disarray.
So, Sprite is being a bit hang-cat, and somewhat skittish. Also, she seems to have caught a cold, and is taken with sneezing fits. Could be stress, but we're keeping a Close Eye.
Speaking of stress, last night Steve and I just hit a wall, threw up our hands, and dug out the DVD of The Music Man. By which I mean the Robert Preston Music Man. Yes, I know there's been a remake, but if it's not Robert Preston and Shirley Jones, it's not The Music Man. And it did the trick, silly movie that it is. The final scene, where the band marches out of Town Hall in all its splendor and sophistication, always tears me up.
This morning at the Confusion Factory, it's dishes, then back to laundry. I'll be spending a good portion of the day on the sofa, reading Dragon in Exile in prep for The Gathering Edge.
Speaking of prep, there was a call for a snippet from Alliance of Equals, which I will be reading directly after Dragon. We aim to please:
"Here we have a subject. I shall influence him to an action, while you will seek to influence him to a different action. Thus, we shall test your innate ability."
Today's blog post title is brought to you by Aerosmith, "Janie's Got a Gun." Here's your link.
Thank you, thank you, thank you! The postcards have all been spoken for, and will be making their appearances at cons and bookstores and book groups around the USA. We had one kind offer from Bury St Edmunds, which was very tempting, but I'm thinking the postage may be beyond us at the moment.
So, K. Tempest Bradford is writing today in IO9 in answer to an article in The Guardian defending "mega fantasy novels," with the statement that you need the room to do proper worldbuilding. That worldbuilding cannot be done inside the borders of a short story. Which is. . .somewhat fantastic of itself. Part of Tempest's response is a list of Really Good Short Stories that build worlds, too, with links (including "Eleutherios" by Lee and Miller). There's a buncha yummy reading on this list that y'all really ought to check out. Here's the link to Tempest's article -- and many thanks to Deborah Fisburn for pointing it out to me on Facebook.
There's a discussion building on Facebook regarding the original article and the suppositions of the author thereof (here's the link, though I'm not sure it will work for anyone who isn't on Facebook). I'm reproducing my part of the conversation below, but not the comments of other people, because I don't have their permission.
Sharon Lee Wow. Now I've seen/heard TWO professional authors, one an award-winning short story writer say: (1) There's no room for characterization in short fiction and (2) There's no room for worldbuilding in short fiction.
Clearly there's room for both and a pony, too, if the author is so minded.
Perhaps they're doing it wrong?
Sharon Lee Well, there's this Magic Thing in fiction called The Telling Detail. Which allows authors to do characterization/world-building even in Very Tiny Spaces by picking one (or two, but we really don't want to be wasteful) detail of the character/world that clues the reader into the fact that they're not in Kansas anymore, and/or what this person is *like*.
It is, yes, very much about knowing what to leave out, and We Here in the Liaden Universe, as in Archers Beach, and in the Barrens use it a lot. *We* learned it from Georgette Heyer, being self-taught writers, but *surely* they must teach this stuff in Creative Writing Classes.
I'll be over here keying in the changes I red-penned yesterday. We need to take a break in the early afternoon so I can get a (long, LONG overdue) haircut, and do the podcast interview that was cancelled last week.
Then back with the manuscript for another round of editing.
The penultimate draft of Alliance of Equals is printing out as I type this. After some very minor tweakage this morning, the draft now stands at 102,268 words/424 double-spaced pages. My project for the next couple of days will be to do a rolling edit, while Steve takes on the taming of the Cast of Characters. We are, yes, still in line to turn the script in before we leave on the book tour, though it may go into email next Monday, instead of Sunday.
Next subject is postcards, of which we have received many, from Simon and Schuster, for "our own use." Asyouknowbob, with the exception of the upcoming book tour, Steve and I are not traveling this year, which limits the ability of the postcards to go out into the world and do as ghod intended them to do.
Which is where you come in.
If you are willing to take a small pack of postcards to your local bookstore, your book discussion group, library, science fiction club, or local convention, please drop me a note at rolanniATkorvalDOTcom, with your name and address, and we will mail said postcards to you.
It goes without saying that local custom must be observed in the matter of placing the cards. Do ask the bookstore manager or the person who takes care of the SF section, or the librarian if you may leave the cards, and if they demur, please be gracious. Some folks don't like post cards cluttering up their counters; others adore post cards and can't get enough.
Oh! And lest I forget -- now that Dragon in Exile is hitting mailboxes everywhere, in multiple formats, and some folks really, really want to talk about it, but of course don't want to spoil the story for those who haven't yet gotten (or read) their book -- wow. Run-on sentence much? Anyway! If you want to talk about Dragon in Exile, a spoiler thread has been opened. Here's your link.
As I write this, the Patreon account has long passed its Exploratory Goal of $500, rocketing to $705.50 in 17 short hours. That's. . .pretty amazing. Steve and I thank everyone who has subscribed. We've had a couple people apologizing because their donation is so small. Please, there's nothing at all to apologize for. Your generosity and goodwill is very, very much appreciated.
Speaking of good news, we have some for you.
Madame the Editor has, with the agreement of ourselves, and the cooperation of Madame the Agent, written a contract for. . .
. . .two as yet titleless Liaden novels, to be consummated after we turn in the final novel in the Five Book Dash. We're calling these the Mask Books.
So, what that means is that we have work through 2019, and you have Liaden books coming through, oh, 2020? 2021?
We hope that makes y'all as happy as it makes us, and! If you happen to see Toni Weisskopf, yanno, at a con, or around the intertubes, or someplace, you might want to thank her.
Steve is making us soup to go with our salad, because, for a change, it's snowing. After lunch, it's back to work on Alliance of Equals.
Thank you all.
So! The old, un-updating Chrome has been excised from my hard-drive. Everything else seems to be functioning as it ought. I am, therefore, Officially Mighty, though what I mostly feel is exhausted. Not that the operation itself was all that difficult, once undertaken, but the adrenaline rush was draining.
In other news, the other day I realized that all of the silly little mock-turtlenecks which are a staple of what I'm pleased to call "my wardrobe" have gotten. . .rather frayed. And that there was a convention in my very near future. So I went over to JC Penney online to see if they have amended their ways since the Old Boss got himself fired. I had hopes that this was the case because I had, a couple of months ago, successfully purchased from them an pair of Saint John's Bay Jeans in TALL, just like in Olden Times.
To my great joy, it happened that Penney had restocked the mock-necks in size Tall, and I bought three of them -- red, grey, and blue-and-white stripe, because I like blue-and-white stripes, even if I am over 60 and no longer of a shape for stripes. So I'm told. I also bought -- because I could! -- a men's long-sleeve t-shirt with a tiger on it, because I also like tigers. Why nobody thinks to put tigers on women's clothing is one of the Mysteries of the Universe. They'd sell, like, a zillion of everything, if they did.
Anyhow, when the dust had settled (and I had talked myself out of buying two tiger t-shirts), the bill came to $59 (plus tax -- free shipping on all orders over $50, so yay! Again, I am Mighty).
The shirts came today. And they still had the tags on them.
The tiger t-shirt retailed at $40(!). Each of the mock-necks was marked at $22. In total, $106 in merchandise.
I saved $47.
I am not only Mighty, I am a Shopping Goddess.
And! Though I was expecting the shirts to arrive today via UPS, I was not at all expecting the arrival of the 2015 Moon Phase Calendar, so that was a pleasant little surprise on the day.
And now. . .the cat fountain has been cleaned, the house has been vacuumed. Steve is taking on the task of making dinner which will, I'm told, Involve Tomatoes.
Time to get to work, I guess.
So, today is chores and starting in to clean up the chapters-in-hand. Leftover avgolemeno is on-deck for the midday meal.
In the meantime, we have cat spam.
Lest anyone think that I labor alone, please be assured that I have help on-paw for the chores. Here's Trooper, helping me strip the bed:
In the meantime, Scrabble was observing Steve's progress in the kitchen:
. . .while Sprite counted her treasures:
. . .and Mozart did his imitation of a Shmoo*:
*For those young'uns among us, here is the history of ShmooKind, or, more correctly, Shmoon.
Thanks to everyone for their timely suggestions regarding timepieces! I have Ebayed, and a new watch will be with me next Tuesday (Monday being, of course, a bank-and-post-office holiday. Do you know where your Christopher Columbus costume is?)
A couple people asked if I just can't have the crystal replaced -- which was, in fact, my first thought, coming as I do from a generation where things that got broken were repaired. The local jewelry repair shop, however, threw up its hands and claimed there was nothing to be done; and the Dakota warranty only covers the watch's innards, not the band, clip, crystal, or stem. Something to bear in mind the next time you buy a Dakota watch.
In the meantime, I'm moving forward with an Archers Beach short story, and will likely be posting an outtake from Carousel TIDES (that's the first book in the trilogy) on Splinter Universe sometime later today, just to get us all in the mood for Carousel SEAS (that's the third book in the trilogy. For completists, Carousel SUN is the middle book.)
SPEAKING OF CAROUSEL SEAS: Time's running out to preorder your very own signed and/or personalized copy. Here's how to do that.
Everybody caught up?
I'm off to do some housekeeping, including the ever-popular left-handed vacuuming, since my right hand is still kicking up a fit.
What're you doing that's fun today?
So, this morning, we were
tossed out of the house asked to please vacate our dwelling for a 9 a.m. viewing. Y'all know what this meant, right?
Governor's for breakfast.
How much did we need coffee? We nearly left the house without unlocking the screen door in front of the door where the Secret Realtor Key Cache is located. That would have been fun, in its way, but we wouldn't have been home to see it.
In any case, much in need of caffeine, we motored out to Governors, got the cups on the table, ordered, and were waiting for our meal to arrive when an. . .angry looking man strode into the restaurant from the back door, trailing behind him by a considerable distance was one worried looking early teen boy. The boy caught up with the man at the front of the restaurant (where the hostess station is located), then came back down the aisle, went out the back door, and shortly returned, shaking his head.
PRO TIP: If you are in a reasonably full restaurant in a small city in a nation bedeviled by random shootings in public places, DO NOT do the following:
Charge into the middle of the restaurant and shout angrily at the top of your voice "CHRISTIAN!"
Do not then compound your error by WHISTLING, and yelling "CHRISTIAN!" again.
Three of the waitresses lost five years apiece. It's to their credit that no one actually dropped anything.
The angry man then shoved his way down the aisle, past two old fellas who had come up onto their back feet to see what the hell was going on here, past the hostess, who was trying to offer help, charged out the back door, reappeared fourteen seconds (subjective time) later, tore back to the auxiliary dining room, screamed "CHRISTIAN!" again (in, perhaps, a spirit of democracy; why, after all, should the front dining room have All The Fun?), stormed down the front stairs, out into the parking lot, where he was joined by the first boy. They got into a big, black SUV and roared away.
"Maybe," Steve suggested into the absolute silence in the dining room, "he was being so quiet, they left him in Connecticut."
People laughed, and settled back to their breakfasts. When our waitress brought our meal, her hands were still shaking.
For the record, my Greek omelet was very good, but I probably shouldn't have had that third cup of High Test.
Today's blog title is brought to you by Jimmy Soul: If you want to be happy
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Progress on Dragon in Exile: GOOD/Author satisfied
A star went out in the firmament.
. . .actually, that's history at the boat landing.
Yesterday afternoon, for reasons too convoluted to go into here in full, save they included an exploration of the town of Gardiner, and the local grocery facilities, as well as a lightning tour of downtown, where I am pleased to report the Blue Sky Bakery bakes on. Years ago, I thought they'd last five minutes. Shows what I know.
From Gardiner, it being a gorgeous day, we drove down to Bowdoin, and came to rest, as one does, at the public boat launch. There we found large placards on easels, and large swaths of grass and parking lot marked out in orange paint.
We got out to inspect one of the placards and found it be a history of a large sailing vessel, the name of which escapes me now, which was built at Bowdoin in the 1800s, when Bowdoin had been a notable ship-building town. About that time, a gentlemen came up to us and introduced himself as being from the Bowdoin History House, and explained that the display was to illustrate Bowdoin's history in the shipbuilding industry; the orange lines were there to demonstrate the size of each of the ships described on the placards. So, we spent a pleasant half-hour with the gentleman, learning about the ships, and how the need for ships knees had just about deforested Bowdoin and the surrounding countryside by the end of the 1800s. . .and how, yes, Maine has always survived by selling pieces of itself until there are no more pieces to sell -- forests grow back eventually, and the ice industry was perfectly sustainable, but they ain't growing any more granite on those islands we took down to the tideline. . .
Anyhow, a pleasant afternoon, and I'm glad we played hookey, even though that means doing some Serious Catch Up today.
On another topic: It transpires that we have Too Much Stuff. This isn't actually a surprise; writers as a breed tend to accumulate books and papers at a rate that regular people find. . .rather horrifying. But we also have things. Things that people gave us; things we brought for ourselves because Reasons; stones and shells and pinecones, because I'm One of Those People who pick up rocks and pinecones and seashells and then become attached to them, and. . .long story short, we're going to have to reduce the things.
Back in the Dark Ages, before I met Steve, I moved every year. Every. Year. And it transpires that may have been a Coping Mechanism, because you really don't tend to accumulate much when you know you're going to have to box it all up and shift it in 12 months. Living 23 years in one place gives one the illusion of permanence and we take on more than we need.
So, how-to questions:
I know some of my friends have had to weed their books -- and of you I ask: How did you go about it? Had you a system? I also know that some of my friends have had to cull their Stuff, in some cases very quickly. I'd be interested in hearing how you decided what to keep and what to let go.
And now, I'm off to play Catch-Up.
Catch y'all later.
I am remiss in announcing that Chaz Brenchley's guest story, "2 Pi to Live" is now available for your reading pleasure on Splinter Universe. Here's your link. Remember that the donation button at the bottom of the story goes direct to the author, if you wish to show your appreciation for their work.
Also, the three newest Liaden stories on Splinter Universe will be coming down sooner rather than later, as they will be among the sweet fruits collected in A Liaden Universe® Constellation, Volume 3. See this, in case you missed that. So! Read 'em while they're free.
Regarding Splinter Universe in general, and those stories in particular, I want to thank everyone for their generosity. Very much appreciated.
In other news, it's raining (boo! hiss!), so we have canceled the trip to Portland to tour the ferry, window-shop and generally goof off, and you know what that means, right?
Right. It means today is a working day.
Also? There was a Cooper's Hawk perched in the ravaged pine tree nearest the deck yesterday afternoon (and me without a camera!), obviously shopping the bird feeder for lunch. He flew off when he encountered my ill-bred stare, but I fear he will be back. Sigh. It's a jungle out there.
So, what're you doing today that's fun?
The vet tells us he's lost a considerable amount of weight -- a couple pounds since February -- despite the custom feedings -- she dispensed saline, and pain meds, and an anti-nausea shot (in with the drip, because apparently the shot burns and she didn't want to distress him any more than he was already distressed). There is some irritation in his mouth, not necessarily the ulcers that form in a cat in severe kidney failure. . .but, granting room for local custom and individual, not necessarily not ulceration.
So, the plan is to see if the saline and the various meds produce a happier cat who will eat some dern food. If it seems as if we haven't managed to get him relief and a little more stability, then we're going to have to Take Stock. At the moment, he's in the basement. Sprite's also in the basement, so I'm hoping he's let her clean his ears and settled down for a nap.
In other news, the guy next door, with whom we share a property line, saw -- as we did -- a lot of downed branches and broken trees over the winter. He and one of his crew spent the earlier part of the week chainsawing all the trees. Since the trees he has taken down are on the summer afternoon sun path, I have a feeling it may be a Hot Old Summer here at the Cat Farm.
Steve and I had been planning on going down to Portland tomorrow and taking the free tour of the new ferry, then walking around Old Port to window shop, but. . .the "light sprinkles" specified for Saturday at the beginning of the week have been upgraded to "rain", and window shopping's just no fun in the rain. *sigh*. Well. Maybe the weatherbeans will change their minds again on the overnight.
The rest of the day, after supper, will be spent by Your Humble Narrator on the couch, with manuscript, pens and yellow pad to hand, plotting. This process may or may not include a Coon Cat.
Oh! Someone very kindly sent me a $35 Amazon gift card, which is of course burning a hole in my metaphorical pocket. So -- what have you read lately that really blew you away?