Books read in 2017

39. The Rule of Luck, Catherine Cerveny (e) (arc)
38. The Cat Who Saw Red, Lillian Jackson Braun (read aloud w/Steve)
37. The Girl with Ghost Eyes, M.H. Boroson (e)
36. Raising Steam, Terry Pratchett (read aloud w/Steve)
35. White Hot, Ilona Andrews (e)
34.  The Orientalist: Solving the Mystery of a Strange and Dangerous Life, Tom Reiss (e)
33. Mouse and Dragon, Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (e)
32. Caszandra, Andrea K. Host (e)
31. Lab Rat One, Andrea K. Host (e)
30. Stray, Andrea K. Host (e)
29. The Cat Who Turned On and Off, Lillian Jackson Braun (read aloud w/Steve)
28. Apprentice in Death, J.D. Robb (e/l)
27. The Cat Who Ate Danish Modern, Lillian Jackson Braun (read aloud w/Steve)
26. The Face in the Frost, John Bellairs (e)
25. Hanged for a Sheep, Frances and Richard Lockridge (e)
24. Xamnesia, Lizzie Harwood (e)
23. Convergence, C. J. Cherryh, (read aloud with Steve)
22. Rock Addiction, Nalini Singh (e)
21. The Stranger in the Woods, Michael Finkel
20. Etched in Bone, Anne Bishop (e)
19. Rider at the Gate, CJ Cherryh (re-read)
18. Small Gods, Terry Pratchett (read aloud w/Steve)
17. Silence Fallen, Patricia Briggs (e)
16. The Cold Eye, Laura Anne Gilman
15. The Cat Who Could Read Backwards, Lillian Jackson Braun (read aloud w/Steve)
14. Memory, Linda Nagata (e)
13.  Bonita Faye, Margaret Moseley (e)
12.  Burn for Me, Ilona Andrews (e)
11. Snuff, Terry Pratchett (read aloud w/Steve)
10. A Taste of Honey, Kai Ashante Wilson (e)
9.  Some Danger Involved, Will Thomas
8.  Thud!, Terry Pratchett (read aloud w/Steve)
7.  White Tiger, Kylie Chan
6.  The Hanging Tree, Ben Aaronovitch
5.  Trading in Danger, Elizabeth Moon (e)
4.  The Wolf in the Attic, Paul Kearney (e)
3.  The Cat Who Saw Red, Lillian Jackson Braun (read aloud w/Steve)
2.  Inside the Texas Chicken Ranch: The Definitive Account of the Best Little Whorehouse, Jayme Lynn Blaschke (e)
1. Sand of Bone, Blair MacGregor (e)

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Beginning the week

So, the folks across the road from our back woods are building a house.  This is nothing new, they cleared the lot, oh, four years ago, and from time to time a truck and a couple guys would show up, perform Mystery Tasks and go away again.

Well, apparently they decided that This Summer is the Summer of the House, and they’ve been going at it, hammer, tongs, bulldozer, dump trucks, and electric drills from early to late.  Last night, the last dump truck delivery happened at 9:30, as I was reading a chapter from The Cat Who Saw Red (we alternate chapters), and the cats were in their places in the kitchen, listening avidly (big Koko fans in this house; though Trooper thinks Yum-Yum is just shy) — and we all jumped at least a foot when the gate slammed open.

It’s gotten to the point that I can’t really figure out what they can be building down there.  Based on the amount of activity, it may well be an apartment complex.  Or possibly a space elevator.

In other news, work goes forth.  For the record, writing the last book in a five-book arc, which is simultaneously the last book in a 21-book arc — is hard.

Who knew?

Today included baking another couple loaves of bread, which turned out well, and have been tucked into the freezer next to a half-loaf of last Friday’s Pullman bread.  I think we’re good for bread for the next week or so.  Which is a mixed blessing.  May have to switch to making cookies for displacement activity — which is a much more perilous undertaking.

I have, in between this and that, finished the first draft of “Due Diligence,” and have put it aside to rest while I pursue other work.  Such as choosing and reading the next story for our Patreon supporters*.

Speaking of which, I have one more bit of business to finish this evening, and then I’m done for the day.

Everybody stay cool.

*Not a Patreon supporter?  Check it out.

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Stepping up

So, today Steve and I went up to Bangor to attend the ACLU’s Active Bystander’s Intervention training session.

It was an interesting workshop, and worth doing, if the ACLU in your area is participating.  I learned some de-escalation tricks that are probably more appropriate for a purple-haired woman of a Certain Age, and was reminded to be mindful of what I bring to any situation — such as being a white woman of a Certain Age, and the fact that I often these days have my cellphone, with its camera, close at hand.

I also learned that remarkably little things can make a difference to someone who is being harassed.

One funny thing:  We were doing practice sessions in groups — each group given a situation that had occurred in Maine, and we would discuss how best to handle the situation.  One of the two scenarios given to my group was this:

A person is in the bathroom washing their hands.  Another user yells at them, “Hey, dude! this is the woman’s bathroom,” and follows up with, “You don’t belong in here!”

Now, because I was for most of my life “man-tall” (6 foot), and often wearing gender-free clothing, such as jeans and flannel shirt, and had short hair, I was — and am — very often mistaken for a man.  Especially in the ladies room.  And I have been yelled at any number of times for being in the wrong bathroom (yes, going back decades), and no one every intervened.  It didn’t occur to me that anyone should. I would say something along the lines of, “This is the woman’s bathroom, and I’m a woman,” and try not to laugh when their chin hit the floor.

In fact, it was only recently — I was in the ladies room in Lowe’s in Augusta, and another user told me to use my own bathroom.  A woman who was washing her hands near us finished up, but stayed in the room.  I gave my stock reply, and my critic quickly left the scene.

The woman who had waited said, “I can’t believe she said that.  Are you OK?”

I thanked her, said it happened all the time, and I was more or less used to it.  But it gave me a nice glow, just the same; knowing that someone had cared enough to wait what could have been A Scene out, and then to ask if I was OK.

So, that’s how I spent my Saturday, mostly.  After the training session, Steve and I went to Tesoro’s on Harlow Street in Bangor for a late lunch.  My lasagna was terrific, and Steve was very impressed with his veal.

On the way home, we stopped for ice cream at the Purple Cow, about which the less said, the better, and so eventually were received back into the care of cats, who wanted the windows opened NOW.

Tomorrow is a work day. . .and so it goes.

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Thus far…

So far this morning, have eaten excellent scrambled eggs and potatoes provided by Steve.

At breakfast, we figured out the ending of the cheater story, now titled “Due Diligence,” which also had the nice side-effect of straightening out the first scene, and providing a yummy scene in the middle (Lady yo’Lanna, For. The Win!).  So that can go forward and possibly be wrapped up today.

Have also started a loaf of Pullman bread.

Tomorrow, we’re due in Bangor for Active Bystander Intervention training, provided by the ACLU, and then the plan is to have lunch at the local family Italian restaurant.

So, what’re y’all doing that’s fun?

 

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Mental Health Day

People have been behaving badly on the internet.  What a surprise.

I’m reminded of a story I read once, true or not, who knows, which was to the effect that, when switchboards first became a Thing, the newly-organized phone company had initially hired boys as operators, because — cheap labor.  Unfortunately, it quickly became apparent that something about having all that access acted on boys like catnip on cats; they began pranking callers, and just in general behaving badly.  Couldn’t seem to help themselves, really, poor things.  So the phone companies fired the boy operators and hired women, because — cheap labor.  And that worked out much better for all concerned.

Personally, I think there’s a genetic disposition, a kind of allergy to electrons, so that when people with this allergy are exposed to this allergen, they behave as badly as possible.  Remove the electrons, and they revert to being perfectly innocuous and civilized members of society.

Well.

In other news, I’ve taken up meditation, as part of my project to avoid a Major Depressive Incident, such as I experienced last year.  As we all know, depression makes us stupid, and I’m still finding errors that I made during the last (really bad, by my standards; maybe one of the Biggest since records started to be kept, some 40 years ago) — some serious, but none, thank ghod, fatal, though one was particularly scary.  So, anyway, despite a lifetime of crash-burn-rise-up-eventually-slighty-sooty, I’m now trying to alter the pattern, and to be proactive.  Which means, yes, meditation, and also ruthlessly slashing toxic — and even perennially irritating — people out of my life.

If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, expect to see me less.  I’ll try to pick back up posting more regularly here (this blog is mirrored at Eagles Over the Kennebec).  I love you all, but — survival is important to the appearance of more stories.

So, that.

Yesterday, Steve and I took a mental health day.  We went down to Old Orchard Beach, where it was foggy and windy(!) and too chilly to sit on the beach and read, which had been my Plan A.  We did a short beach walk, then went down to Wells, where it was also foggy and windy(!), and stood around on the public landing, watching the kites, and Steve took pictures with his new camera.

After, we crossed over to Sanford, and stopped for lunch at the Cockpit Cafe at the airport.  And there we saw George W. Bush arrive, and board the (Embraer Legacy twin-jet) plane that had been waiting for him.

On the way home from Sanford, we made one more ocean stop — at Pine Point — and then came home, where I continued the electron-free theme (not totally true, since I’m reading an ebook), until it was time for the evening meal, a glass of wine and a chapter read outloud from The Cat Who Saw Red (yeah, it’s a re-read; we decided to do the Cat Who’s in order to follow Qwilleran’s arc).

This morning, I baked peasant olive bread while Steve went to cardio-gym, and also figured out the penultimate scene in the cheater story.

I may not have reported here that I bought myself a chair side table (a so-called C-table) for the reading corner.

Here are some pictures:

This first was taken when the table came home. At the time the photo was snapped, it had been in the house for less than five minutes:

This is what the table looks like, unadorned:

And here is Sprite, reasserting her claim:

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Friday afternoon ketchup

It’s damp and cold-ish and all my old war wounds ache. Did this stop me from opening the window next to my desk so I could hear the rain? What a silly question.
 
In other news, my loaf didn’t rise as high as one would personally prefer, but! we have proof of concept in that I Can Indeed bake a 9″ loaf of bread in the new toaster oven, which just impresses the heck outta me. Also, Steve made mushroom stock this morning, and this afternoon I heated it, with leftover jasmine rice, a cup full of red lentils, and some carrots, and called it Lunch.
 
Verizon wants me to know that I now have HD Voice for my phone and that I can now make phone calls through the web, which…is nice. I guess.
 
And! I have an idea for a story which is not the story I’m supposed to be working on. Of course.
 
There’s a coon cat snoring under my desk.
 
So, yanno. Bidness as usual here at the Confusion Factory.
 
And hoping you’re the same.
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Books read in 2017

37. The Girl with Ghost Eyes, M.H. Boroson (e)
36. Raising Steam, Terry Pratchett (read aloud w/Steve)
35. White Hot, Ilona Andrews (e)
34.  The Orientalist: Solving the Mystery of a Strange and Dangerous Life, Tom Reiss (e)
33. Mouse and Dragon, Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (e)
32. Caszandra, Andrea K. Host (e)
31. Lab Rat One, Andrea K. Host (e)
30. Stray, Andrea K. Host (e)
29. The Cat Who Turned On and Off, Lillian Jackson Braun (read aloud w/Steve)
28. Apprentice in Death, J.D. Robb (e/l)
27. The Cat Who Ate Danish Modern, Lillian Jackson Braun (read aloud w/Steve)
26. The Face in the Frost, John Bellairs (e)
25. Hanged for a Sheep, Frances and Richard Lockridge (e)
24. Xamnesia, Lizzie Harwood (e)
23. Convergence, C. J. Cherryh, (read aloud with Steve)
22. Rock Addiction, Nalini Singh (e)
21. The Stranger in the Woods, Michael Finkel
20. Etched in Bone, Anne Bishop (e)
19. Rider at the Gate, CJ Cherryh (re-read)
18. Small Gods, Terry Pratchett (read aloud w/Steve)
17. Silence Fallen, Patricia Briggs (e)
16. The Cold Eye, Laura Anne Gilman
15. The Cat Who Could Read Backwards, Lillian Jackson Braun (read aloud w/Steve)
14. Memory, Linda Nagata (e)
13.  Bonita Faye, Margaret Moseley (e)
12.  Burn for Me, Ilona Andrews (e)
11. Snuff, Terry Pratchett (read aloud w/Steve)
10. A Taste of Honey, Kai Ashante Wilson (e)
9.  Some Danger Involved, Will Thomas
8.  Thud!, Terry Pratchett (read aloud w/Steve)
7.  White Tiger, Kylie Chan
6.  The Hanging Tree, Ben Aaronovitch
5.  Trading in Danger, Elizabeth Moon (e)
4.  The Wolf in the Attic, Paul Kearney (e)
3.  The Cat Who Saw Red, Lillian Jackson Braun (read aloud w/Steve)
2.  Inside the Texas Chicken Ranch: The Definitive Account of the Best Little Whorehouse, Jayme Lynn Blaschke (e)
1. Sand of Bone, Blair MacGregor (e)

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Monday morning round-up

We’ve had something of a busy few days here at the Confusion Factory.

Last week, Steve graduated from cardio-gym and is now on the Third Phase, which is going to the cardio-gym early on Monday and Wednesdays and doing what he’s been doing, with the same personnel on-staff, but without the various measurements at the beginning, middle, and end of the session.  This means a change of schedule, including rising Much Earlier in the Day than I, personally, care to do, but that’s life.  I’ll be going to gym around Steve’s schedule — Tuesdays and Thursdays in the early hours, with refinement of the afternoon and evening hours as we go forward.  Since I have for all of my life been an evening/night writer, this may entail afternoon naps, which ought to please the cats.

In writing news, the page proofs for the Alliance of Equals mass market edition landed late last week, and have been added to the mix of Tasks to Be Done.  Also!  The first in a series of Lee-and-Miller Read Lee-and-Miller podcasts has been moved from Patreon to Splinter Universe LIVE.  You can listen to Steve read “A Night at the Opera” at this link.

We’ll be posting more of these to SULIVE, as they age off of our Patreon page, so remember to check back.

We are also, in light of the. . .substantial number of emails we’ve gotten from people who either want paper chapbooks, or the Excitement of the Annual Yule Chapbook, or want a return to Olden Times. . .

We cannot any of us return to Olden Times, so that’s right out.

But we can, perhaps, accommodate the wish for paper chapbooks, and even, maybe, for the Annual Yule Chapbook.

So, we’re running an experiment.  Amazon has a. . .program where those who have published ebooks with them may convert those ebooks into paper books.  This is an expensive process, as Amazon takes 40% off the top of cover price, and then charges printing costs from the author/publisher’s 60% royalty.  It’s also somewhat time-consuming, as is working with any template program that is based on Assumptions.  However!  With determination and enough wine, it can be done, as I proved this weekend by converting both Barnburner and Gunshy to paper books and putting them on sale.  The reason we chose these titles to experiment on first is that they convert into 5X8 paperbacks, which is an easy convert (part of the test was to see how “easy” easy was).  Based on my time and effort expended this weekend, we anticipate that converting to chapbook will be somewhat more time-consuming, though still doable.

We will, eventually, convert an actual Liaden chapbook, but that experiment has to wait in line behind work with a deadline attached.

For those interested, here’s the link to Barnburner.  (Which Amazon has decided to discount, so it will be interesting to see how that affects our royalty rates from them.)

Here’s the link to Gunshy.

The downside to this, besides the expense, is that these books would only be available through Amazon, which is whimsical at the best of times and downright malicious at the worst.

So, there’s that.

For those who have been asking anxiously about progress on Fifth of Five. . .progress progresses, more slowly than I had anticipated, but picking steam up as the new meds kick in.

. . .and I think that catches us all up.

Everybody do your best to enjoy Monday, OK?

Let the coon cats lead the way.

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Ghost in the machine

So, the adding machine woke me up at 5 a.m. by running crazily — kaCHUNGkaCHUNGkaCHUNG, lather, rinse, repeat, just like a cat was laying on the keyboard (or just playing with the sound.  Belle, in particular, likes to smack the + key just to set of a series of kaCHUNGS.  You can see her giggle when she does it, too.).

I got up — not easy, because Trooper was pushed against my stomach, and had allowed his personal gravity to bond with the earth’s core — went into my office (conveniently located right across the hall from the bedroom), and did, in fact, find Belle — asleep in Her Special Corner of my office (formerly Mozart’s Special Corner of my office).  In the meantime, the adding machine was going off like a shotgun, even though it was turned off.

I pulled the plug, not at all sure that would fix the problem, but it seems to have done, and now I’m trying to decide:  short circuit? (it’s quite an old adding machine, circa 1997); solar flare?  ghost trying to work out the monthly budget for ectoplasm*?

Got back to bed to find Trooper had vacated, and managed to go more or less back to sleep, so all’s well.  More or less.

Now to go find breakfast.  I’m thinking a toasted English muffin with cream cheese and a side of fresh fruit.  With coffee.  Perhaps even a lot of coffee.

And so to work.

Everybody have a good Saturday.

___
*the WordPress on-board dictionary does not recognize ectoplasm as a word.  For shame, WordPress dictionary.

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Books read in 2017

36. Raising Steam, Terry Pratchett (read aloud w/Steve)
35. White Hot, Ilona Andrews (e)
34.  The Orientalist: Solving the Mystery of a Strange and Dangerous Life, Tom Reiss (e)
33. Mouse and Dragon, Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (e)
32. Caszandra, Andrea K. Host (e)
31. Lab Rat One, Andrea K. Host (e)
30. Stray, Andrea K. Host (e)
29. The Cat Who Turned On and Off, Lillian Jackson Braun (read aloud w/Steve)
28. Apprentice in Death, J.D. Robb (e/l)
27. The Cat Who Ate Danish Modern, Lillian Jackson Braun (read aloud w/Steve)
26. The Face in the Frost, John Bellairs (e)
25. Hanged for a Sheep, Frances and Richard Lockridge (e)
24. Xamnesia, Lizzie Harwood (e)
23. Convergence, C. J. Cherryh, (read aloud with Steve)
22. Rock Addiction, Nalini Singh (e)
21. The Stranger in the Woods, Michael Finkel
20. Etched in Bone, Anne Bishop (e)
19. Rider at the Gate, CJ Cherryh (re-read)
18. Small Gods, Terry Pratchett (read aloud w/Steve)
17. Silence Fallen, Patricia Briggs (e)
16. The Cold Eye, Laura Anne Gilman
15. The Cat Who Could Read Backwards, Lillian Jackson Braun (read aloud w/Steve)
14. Memory, Linda Nagata (e)
13.  Bonita Faye, Margaret Moseley (e)
12.  Burn for Me, Ilona Andrews (e)
11. Snuff, Terry Pratchett (read aloud w/Steve)
10. A Taste of Honey, Kai Ashante Wilson (e)
9.  Some Danger Involved, Will Thomas
8.  Thud!, Terry Pratchett (read aloud w/Steve)
7.  White Tiger, Kylie Chan
6.  The Hanging Tree, Ben Aaronovitch
5.  Trading in Danger, Elizabeth Moon (e)
4.  The Wolf in the Attic, Paul Kearney (e)
3.  The Cat Who Saw Red, Lillian Jackson Braun (read aloud w/Steve)
2.  Inside the Texas Chicken Ranch: The Definitive Account of the Best Little Whorehouse, Jayme Lynn Blaschke (e)
1. Sand of Bone, Blair MacGregor (e)

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