When last we saw our intrepid heroine. . .

. . .she was waiting for the delivery of her Command Chair.

The chair arrived just past 10 am on Wednesday, which you can’t get much more “between 8 am and noon” than that.  It was promptly tested by human and cat — Trooper taking the lead, as he so often does.  There’s a little futzing to be done with the computer table, pretty much we’re set there.

After the chair delivery on Wednesday, Steve and I went to Kennebec Pharmacy and Home Care in Augusta to view knee scooters and other necessary items. There were no scooters on the floor, nor could we view one.  We were told by the breezy clerk that scooters are very popular, that no, there wasn’t one on the floor, that all the scooters were all the same, and that, when someone came in who wanted to rent a scooter (at $120/month, charged by the full month), the guy in the warehouse would put one together and bring it over.  We were also told that Medicare would not cover the scooter rental — which was Actually Good to learn.

Speaking as someone who has managed to arrive at this point in her life without having to interact much with the medical service establishment, I wish that the customer service people would not Just Breeze Through Things, like we’ve all done this before, and not meet newbie questions with impatience or non-answers.  From my perspective, it would make a difficult situation a little less fraught.  I realize that it’s no one’s job to make my life easier or less fraught, but, still…

Anyhow, I was — how to say this gently? — NOT IMPRESSED with the cavalier supposed customer service, so Steve and I left.  On the way home, we stopped at BagelMainea for — bagels!  Fifteen bagels. I feel wealthy.  And very glad to have a freezer.

We also stopped at Home Depot and bought one of the two remaining canopies to install on our deck.  When our neighbors decided to build an addition to their house, they chopped down their Big Tree, which coincidentally shaded our deck. Without the tree, it was too hot to sit on the deck many days, and the canopy is the solution to that problem.

After we got home, and, since Medicare won’t pay to rent a knee scooter, I decided to please myself, and purchased a KneeRover Quad All-Terrain, which will be here at the middle of next week, giving me lots of time to become proficient in its use.

Yesterday, Steve and I (with Scrabble’s supervision) erected the canopy, tested it and found it good.  Today, it is of course, raining, but that’s OK, too.  After a ‘way too wet spring, we’ve been having a too-dry summer, so, Rain Good.

As reported elsewhere, I have been going through the manuscript line-by-line and as soon as I post this blog entry, I’ll get back with that.

Y’all have a good weekend.

 

 

Twixt and Tween

As reported elsewhere. . .

This morning, we await the arrival of the Command Chair, which will be delivered, so they say, between 8 am and noon.  I note that it was not delivered at 8 am.

This after, we have errands, and possibly a nap.

I have this morning filed for half an hour.  I figure half-an-hour a day for a couple weeks will see everything put away by the time I need to withdraw from the lists for 8 weeks.  Sprite came into the tech room to help; me (Sprite likes to file) — and I am just returned from another visit to the tech room, because she was shouting at me to come back here and file some more!  I had to tell her that I’m not going to file for eight hours straight; that I appreciate her help and hope to have her help again, tomorrow.

This is what you get when you have cats who want to be Involved in the Process.

So, anyway. . .somewhere in all this I need to print out the Nameless WIP and go through it line by line, as one does.  That’ll be fun.  Or not.  I’m past the point where I want to read this book ever again, but, yanno.  Part of the job.

Ocean and Ice

So!  Steve and I took a vacation.

I place all blame for this on the Cirque du Soleil, which, back in the waning winter, sent me notice that Crystal would be at the Cross Insurance Arena in our very own Portland, Maine, in August.  I, of course, immediately told asked Steve we were going if he and I could make a date for the show, and he agreed.

There remained the small difficulty of Portland being between 90 and 120 minutes from the New Cat Farm and Confusion Factory, and we kicked around the notion of taking a hotel room in Portland, which was not an. . .unattractive notion, Portland having more restaurants per square foot than any other city I’ve been in, plus, yanno, shopping.

However, it also, slowly, became obvious to us that Old Orchard Beach — which has the Atlantic Ocean, classic rock, an amusement park, ice cream, silly beach shops, the Atlantic Ocean — is only a fifteen minute drive from the Cross Arena in Portland, and so we cannily took a room at OOB, not for one night, but for four.

We drove down Tuesday for an afternoon check-in at a sorta newish place for us — The Waves (“sorta newish” because The Waves is the big sister property to the Sea View, where, back when my first Carousel* book released, I had rented a room block for the release party, so we knew management, but not the property).  Our room was second floor, ocean-side.  It was, in fact, 55 paces to the beach (according to Steve, who Measures Things). The porch overlooked everything — dunes, sea roses, surf, the Thursday night fireworks display.  I spent hours on the porch, breathing sea air, reading, playing with binoculars — just, yanno, doing nothing.  So very fine not to have to do anything.  For a few days, anyway.  By the time we were getting packed up, I was getting a little antsy with the whole “rest” thing.

I took my laptop, because — writer.  But I did not open my laptop.  I did not Facebook.  I did not Twitter.  I did not email.  I took no pictures.  I took no prisoners.  I think I told one guy, in response to a direct question, what it was I did for a living.  It was glorious.  I did, as above, sit on the porch and read; take naps; walk up and down the town and the beach; visited Googin Rock; ate every meal for four days out; also ‘way too much ice cream; played arcade games; talked to Steve about things that were not business or writing (well, OK, we did start to plot a short story, and — full disclosure — I started to play around with the idea for a new Carousel story, if I should manage to get time to write a new Carousel story).

Life at the ocean over our four-day stay was interesting.  We had a number of thunderstorms, including one that produced a horizontal rainbow about a foot off of the surface of the waves, which was really interesting.  Friday night’s storm caught us in the amusement park.  We retreated to the arcade before the heavy lightning and thunder hit, and had just taken up a position beside a row of games when — FLASH! BOOM! — and all the lights in the arcade went out.

There was time for a group intake of breath, and for one child to say, on a rising note “Mah-OHM?” — before the lights came back on and the young lady playing the Terminator machine across from us cussed because she’d lost her best score.

The park was closed for a little while until it was clear that the storm had moved on.  We walked among the rides, saying hello and good-bye, and retired to our room and the so-very-excellent porch.

Yesterday, we regretfully packed out, and drove home the long way, through Oxford, Paris, Milford, Mexico. . .stopping on the way through Waterville to pick up Chinese for lunch at home with the cats.

The cats, for those who are curious about how our cats “punish” us for abandoning them — the cats were all four waiting for us in the hall at the top of the stairs to the basement.  Trooper was a little forward of the ladies, and he greeted me first, to be sure I was who I said I was.  Then Belle stepped forward, then Scrabble, then Sprite.

The formalities attended to, they proceeded to beg for Chinese.

After lunch, we unpacked in a leisurely manner, and met for a glass of wine and to read out loud, in the living room, in the early evening.

We’re working our way through the Cat Who/Qwilleran cozies, the book we’re reading now is The Cat Who Went Into the Closet.

I sat down in my corner of the couch, and put the leg-rest out (the right and left seats of the couch recline).  We each had a glass of red wine to hand.  Belle came to sit on my lap; Sprite jumped up onto the Mencken table, where I had carelessly left the Scrabble set (in the box).

Everybody settled, Steve began to read.

Belle fell into a doze on my lap.  Steve leaned forward to pick up his wine, settled back, rustled the pages of the book, Sprite startled, kicked, knocked the Scrabble box off of the table to a crash landing on the floor, Sprite fled, Belle rocketed out of my lap, through Steve, knocking his arm up, so that he was showered in red wine.

There was a twenty-minute recess while clean-up happened, and Steve changed his clothes.

The book — a book club edition, with those thin, gritty pages, dried quickly enough for us to continue reading, Steve’s wine glass refilled.

We were lucky in the arc of wine:  Most of it went on Steve (granted, he doesn’t particularly think this was lucky); some landed on the stain-proofed, dark-brown-tweed sofa; a fair amount splashed one of the pillows, which I count a win, because I never liked those pillows and now I have an excuse to replace them.  A small amount of wine hit the floor, and was handily mopped up.  None touched what I like to call my Good Wool Rug.  The Scrabble set was in the box, the box was sealed with ribbon, thus no escaping tiles.

So, as catsasters go, it could have been much worse.  I have a bruise on my thigh where Belle took off, and Steve’s clothes may not be completely recoverable.  On the other hand, they were beach clothes, so a minor loss at worst.

Today, I’m clearly on the computer.  I’ve already ordered Earth Logic, Water Logic, and Air Logic (the follows to Fire Logic, which I finished reading at the ocean), and I’m shopping on Redbubble for some laptop stickers.  I also need to pull out information about a minor character appearing in . . .Lance, who will be the star of the story we need to write for Baen.com, and frowning at the notes I left for myself in re the WIP

Yes, and I’ve also opened my email; if I owe you an email — waiting is.

Lunch, I believe, will be leftover Chinese, and that will be the official end of the vacation.  It was terrific, and I’d do it again tomorrow, but — deadline.

And so it goes.

Speaking of deadlines, we still do have book deadlines in our future.  This is what our professional life looks like, as of right now:

Accepting the Lance finishes the contract we called here in-house The Five Book Dash.  It will be published in December.  Believe it or not, that’s Realsoonnow.

While we were working on The Five Book Dash, Baen offered us a contract for two additional Liaden books, the so-called Mask Books (because we had not made proposals, and knew nothing, other than we could write two more Liaden books, and thus Baen would be purchasing a couple of pigs in the poke, or — more elegantly — Liadens in masks.)

A little while after that, Baen offered another contract, for three Liaden books, the so-called Triple Threat.

We are, therefore, still under contract for five Liaden books.

The novel I am working on right now will fulfill the first half of the Mask contract.

Steve is working on a Jethri novel, which will fulfill the second half of the Mask contract.

That will leave the entire Triple Threat to be written.

So — yes there are Liaden books in your future.

No, there are no Carousel/Archers Beach books in your immediate future.

There are no Gem ser’Edreth books in your future.

There are no Jen Pierce mysteries in your future.

Everybody confused now?

Good.

Imma answering my email now.

__________
*Carousel novels by Sharon Lee:  Carousel Tides, Carousel Sun, Carousel Seas
Carousel short stories by Sharon Lee:  Surfside, The Gift of Magic, Spell Bound

Books read in 2019

34. Fire Logic, Laurie J. Marks
33. Cats in Cyberspace, Beth Hilgartner (read aloud with Steve; re-read for both)
32. Dread Nation, Justine Ireland (e)
31. Masque World, Alexei Panshin (read aloud with Steve; re-read for both)
30. The Girl in the Tower, Katherine Arden
29. The Thurb Revolution, Alexei Panshin (read aloud with Steve; re-read for both)
28. Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, Winifred Watson (re-re-re-read)
27. Star Well, Alexei Panshin (read aloud with Steve; re-read for both)
26. The Cat Who Wasn’t There, Lilian Jackson Braun (read aloud with Steve)
25. The King of Attolia, Megan Whalen Turner (re-read)
24. The Queen of Attolia, Megan Whalen Turner (re-read)
23. The Goblin Emperor, Katherine Addison (re-read)
22. Maiden of the Machine, Volume 1, Caitlin Like
21. The Sandman: Preludes & Nocturnes, Neil Gaiman
20. The Franchise Affair, Josephine Tey (read aloud with Steve)
19. City of Whispering Stone, George C. Chesbro (read aloud with Steve)
18. Allegiance of Honor, Nalini Singh (read aloud with Steve)
17. Storm Cursed, Patricia Briggs (e)
16. Who Slays the Wicked, C.S. Harris
15. The Warlock in Spite of Himself, Christopher Stasheff (re-read)
14. The Cat Who Knew a Cardinal, Lilian Jackson Braun (read aloud with Steve)
13. Wild Ride, Jennifer Crusie & Bob Mayer (read aloud with Steve; re-read for me; first read for him)
12. Shadow of a Broken Man, George C. Chesbro (read aloud with Steve)
11. How Much for Just the Planet?, John M. Ford
10. Brat Farrar, Josephine Tey (read aloud with Steve; re-read for me; first read for him)
9.  Spinning Silver, Naomi Novik
8.  Lies Sleeping, Ben Aaronovitch
7.  The Luckiest Lady in London, Sherry Thomas
6.  Release the Virgins, Michael A. Ventrella, editor (read aloud with Steve)
5.  Becoming, Michelle Obama
4.  Agnes and the Hitman, Jennifer Crusie & Bob Mayer (read aloud with Steve; re-read for me; first read for him)
3. the unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Ryan North, Erica Henderson
2.  Alliance Rising, CJ Cherryh & Jane S. Fancher (read out loud with Steve)
1.  A Shilling for Candles, Josephine Tey (read out loud with Steve)

Just wanna bang on the drum all day

So, mostly, Steve and I have been working, which is, as we all agree, boring to tell, no matter how exciting to do.

Since you and I spoke last, we proofread the galleys for Accepting the Lance, which actually was more exciting than it strictly needed to be, and have been working, variously, on a short story, and the (yes, still title-less) novel.

Last Wednesday, we took a day off to celebrate Steve’s birthday.  We had breakfast in town at Selah Tea, then to Lake Wesserunsett to view the water lilies, dragonflies, and of course the lake.  After that, we took a ride out toward Bangor, paused at Searsport, and so to home, with a fresh-made pizza from Rita’s.  A low-key celebration, but a pleasant change from the same-old, same-old.

The cats have been taking all this sitting-in-one-place and staring at pages/screens in stride.  They of course have a tremendous work ethic; they can watch us at it all day.

For those who have been out of the loop, we here at the Confusion Factory have a tightly-scheduled few months coming up.  This is what it looks like from here:

We will be taking a couple of days OFF for some too-long-deferred downtime.

The yet-titleless novel will be turned in before October 18. This is a firm date because!

On October 18, I will be having an operation on my foot, which will require me, in addition, to stay off of both! feet — for at least eight weeks.  In celebration of this event, I have purchased an actual laptop, to replace the Chromebook (geek note:  laptop is a System76 DarterPro, call-name Fezzik), and also a command chair, which really is a very nice chair, except we’ll need to rearrange the entire living room to accommodate it, and I didn’t want the house to be full of furniture, and fill in your favorite grumpy comment here.  I expect there will also be a knee-scooter in my life, since crutches and cats and unsteady user seem like a recipe for disaster.

Conflict of Honors (sorry, no link; I cannot find the 2019 edition on Amazon) thirtieth anniversary edition will be published by Baen in November; Infinite Stars: Dark Frontiers will be published in November, including brand-new Liaden story “Dark Secrets,” and stories by CJ Cherryh, Tanya Huff, Jack Campbell — and more!  Also in November, a new Liaden story for Baen.com in support of!

Accepting the Lance, the twenty-second Liaden Universe® novel, which will be published in December.

Uncle Hugo’s will be accepting pre-orders for signed copies of …Lance, beginning in September.  So, watch the skies.

. . .and that, I think, is all the news that’s fit — or unfit.

Here’s a picture of Steve at Searsport town pier on his birthday.

Today’s blog post brought to you by Todd Rundgren, “Bang the Drum All Day.”  Here’s your link.

Books read in 2019

33. Cats in Cyberspace, Beth Hilgartner (read aloud with Steve; re-read for both)
32. Dread Nation, Justine Ireland (e)
31. Masque World, Alexei Panshin (read aloud with Steve; re-read for both)
30. The Girl in the Tower, Katherine Arden
29. The Thurb Revolution, Alexei Panshin (read aloud with Steve; re-read for both)
28. Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, Winifred Watson (re-re-re-read)
27. Star Well, Alexei Panshin (read aloud with Steve; re-read for both)
26. The Cat Who Wasn’t There, Lilian Jackson Braun (read aloud with Steve)
25. The King of Attolia, Megan Whalen Turner (re-read)
24. The Queen of Attolia, Megan Whalen Turner (re-read)
23. The Goblin Emperor, Katherine Addison (re-read)
22. Maiden of the Machine, Volume 1, Caitlin Like
21. The Sandman: Preludes & Nocturnes, Neil Gaiman
20. The Franchise Affair, Josephine Tey (read aloud with Steve)
19. City of Whispering Stone, George C. Chesbro (read aloud with Steve)
18. Allegiance of Honor, Nalini Singh (read aloud with Steve)
17. Storm Cursed, Patricia Briggs (e)
16. Who Slays the Wicked, C.S. Harris
15. The Warlock in Spite of Himself, Christopher Stasheff (re-read)
14. The Cat Who Knew a Cardinal, Lilian Jackson Braun (read aloud with Steve)
13. Wild Ride, Jennifer Crusie & Bob Mayer (read aloud with Steve; re-read for me; first read for him)
12. Shadow of a Broken Man, George C. Chesbro (read aloud with Steve)
11. How Much for Just the Planet?, John M. Ford
10. Brat Farrar, Josephine Tey (read aloud with Steve; re-read for me; first read for him)
9.  Spinning Silver, Naomi Novik
8.  Lies Sleeping, Ben Aaronovitch
7.  The Luckiest Lady in London, Sherry Thomas
6.  Release the Virgins, Michael A. Ventrella, editor (read aloud with Steve)
5.  Becoming, Michelle Obama
4.  Agnes and the Hitman, Jennifer Crusie & Bob Mayer (read aloud with Steve; re-read for me; first read for him)
3. the unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Ryan North, Erica Henderson
2.  Alliance Rising, CJ Cherryh & Jane S. Fancher (read out loud with Steve)
1.  A Shilling for Candles, Josephine Tey (read out loud with Steve)

Wikipedia

So, I’m told that the Sharon Lee (writer) page on Wikipedia has been marked for death because the author does not meet “notability” requirements.  Steve Miller’s page appears to be in no danger, nor, due to the on-going efforts of interested and savvy fans, is the Liaden Universe® page.

I am also in receipt of a rumor, which is that some? many? most? Baen authors have recently been found not to meet “notability” requirements, and that Baen itself is reported to be a “vanity press.”

If someone with even a little bit more patience than I have, and Wiki-savvy, could at least look at Baen’s page and put the vanity press* thing to bed (if it’s actually there) I, and possibly others of Baen’s authors will be grateful.

Now, I need to go back to work.  Honestly, I envy those folks who have so much time on their hands.

I got no chance of making it working downtown

So, today is Sunday.

It is as I write this 85F/29C feels-like-93F/34C, calling for a high of 87F/31C. The weatherbeans are teasing us with the bare possibility of thunderstorms, which I shall believe in when they arrive to thunder down the rains.

Today’s Mission, besides tending to chores, is to finish this section of the manuscript here, which needs one more scene to round it out. Then I need to write another brief scene, location TBD, add all of it to the Complete Manuscript (going by the call-name Jigsaw Puzzle), and! Read it. This will be hard, as there are portions of this book that I’ve read at least twenty times — and no, that is not an exaggeration.

I expect that I will also today crack the Elusive 90,000 word barrier, that milepost being a mere 700 words in the distance.

Back to weather, yesterday it hit 100F/38C here in beautiful Central Maine.  Today is as reported above.  Tomorrow?  The temperatures dip back in the high 70s/low 20s, slowly creeping back up into the mid-80s/high-20s by the end of the week.  Possibly, summer is over.

I also have here sitting on my desk an iteration of Accepting the Lance*, which I am assured is the typeset manuscript with the copy editor’s notes included.  Steve and I need to work out when and how to read it.  At the moment, it looks like getting up an hour earlier, brewing a pot of coffee, and Getting On With It may be the most workable plan.  This all in service of not having to read proofs during the week we have marked out as one of those things that people have — ah.  Vacation.

So, that’s the news hereabouts.  Everybody have fun.  If you’re in a hot zone, keep cool, stay hydrated, check up on vulnerable friends and family.

Today’s blog title brought to you by Jude Cole, “Start the Car.”  Here’s your link.

__________
*Accepting the Lance, by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, the twenty-second novel set in their Liaden Universe®, will be published by Baen Books in December 2019.  Earc will happen when it does.  Don’t start with me.

Books read in 2019

32. Dread Nation, Justine Ireland (e)
31. Masque World, Alexei Panshin (read aloud with Steve; re-read for both)
30. The Girl in the Tower, Katherine Arden
29. The Thurb Revolution, Alexei Panshin (read aloud with Steve; re-read for both)
28. Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, Winifred Watson (re-re-re-read)
27. Star Well, Alexei Panshin (read aloud with Steve; re-read for both)
26. The Cat Who Wasn’t There, Lilian Jackson Braun (read aloud with Steve)
25. The King of Attolia, Megan Whalen Turner (re-read)
24. The Queen of Attolia, Megan Whalen Turner (re-read)
23. The Goblin Emperor, Katherine Addison (re-read)
22. Maiden of the Machine, Volume 1, Caitlin Like
21. The Sandman: Preludes & Nocturnes, Neil Gaiman
20. The Franchise Affair, Josephine Tey (read aloud with Steve)
19. City of Whispering Stone, George C. Chesbro (read aloud with Steve)
18. Allegiance of Honor, Nalini Singh (read aloud with Steve)
17. Storm Cursed, Patricia Briggs (e)
16. Who Slays the Wicked, C.S. Harris
15. The Warlock in Spite of Himself, Christopher Stasheff (re-read)
14. The Cat Who Knew a Cardinal, Lilian Jackson Braun (read aloud with Steve)
13. Wild Ride, Jennifer Crusie & Bob Mayer (read aloud with Steve; re-read for me; first read for him)
12. Shadow of a Broken Man, George C. Chesbro (read aloud with Steve)
11. How Much for Just the Planet?, John M. Ford
10. Brat Farrar, Josephine Tey (read aloud with Steve; re-read for me; first read for him)
9.  Spinning Silver, Naomi Novik
8.  Lies Sleeping, Ben Aaronovitch
7.  The Luckiest Lady in London, Sherry Thomas
6.  Release the Virgins, Michael A. Ventrella, editor (read aloud with Steve)
5.  Becoming, Michelle Obama
4.  Agnes and the Hitman, Jennifer Crusie & Bob Mayer (read aloud with Steve; re-read for me; first read for him)
3. the unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Ryan North, Erica Henderson
2.  Alliance Rising, CJ Cherryh & Jane S. Fancher (read out loud with Steve)
1.  A Shilling for Candles, Josephine Tey (read out loud with Steve)

Went to a garden party

So, the Authors have been extroverting.  We bought Full Festival Passes for the Twenty-Second Maine International Film Festival, which included a t-shirt, naturally, the sponsorship of one movie, and access to all the rest of the films (10 days! 100 films! eek!), as well as a slew of special events, receptions, and parties.

The film we chose to sponsor is The Fate of Lee Khan, one of the five opening night films.  I do not repent our choice.  We had a great time with this film, picking out similarities to Star Wars, tracing the lines to Crouching Tiger…, and trying to keep track of the double-crosses.  I think we ended up with a quadruple-cross, but somebody might want to view the film and check me on that.

Here’s a link to the trailer.

We also attended a couple of the special events, including a Garden Party, with Brief Remarks, and are planning on attending the reception, concert, and World Movie Premier of The Gathering celebrating the work of Horace Tapscott.

In between all this, Life, and writing, has been going on.  The Nameless WIP  stands at about 81,000 words.  If I get a Turn of Speed, I should be out of this scene today, in draft.  Which will leave The Thrilling Conclusion to be written, and the subplots to be filled in.

Easy-peasy, amirite?

Yeah, right.

Here have a couple of pictures of us at the Garden Party.

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s blog post title is brought to you by Ricky Nelson, “Garden Party.”  Here’s your link.