Suddenly, it’s busy

Well, it looks like May is going to be some busier than originally anticipated, and it was already busier than April, what with the trip to Oasis at the end of it.

But!  It turns out that Steve and I have a speaking gig on Monday, May 10 — that’s next Monday — to talk about science fiction in general, our books in particular and writing as a career, run away!

The next Tuesday, while Steve does his duty as a Trustee of the Winslow Public Library, I’ll be at the Fairfield Library, talking about how a novel goes from Crazy Idea to an Actual, I-can-hold-it-in-my-hand Book.

The Tuesday after that, Steve will pick me up from work at the end of the day and we’ll get on the way to Florida, while the cats have their good friend Mary over to keep them company.

Mouse and Dragon and The Dragon Variation will hit the street while we’re in Florida, unless they ship early, which is certainly possible.  Unless, yanno, they sell out before they leave the warehouse.  Work on that for me, willya?

Just a week after we come back from Florida, we’ll be leaving Maine again, this time for Duckon.

Somewhere between Orlando and Naperville is the Staff Retreat at the day-job, then summer hours go into force.  Not, may I just say, a Moment Too Soon.

Oh, and yeah — we’re supposed to be writing a novel.

Oh!  And Saltation will someday arrive in Maine, so that we can sign, seal and ship them.  That’ll take care of  the latter part of June, I guess.

July seems to be pretty calm at the moment.  August. . .

I’ve got ReConStruction on the calendar, but finances may not support it.  We’ll know better when we get back from Illinois.

August 15, the day-job goes back to full-time, and a week or two after that the professors arrive, Insanity happens, and I won’t be able to hear myself think.

Shuffles through calendar.  A movie deal in July?  Yeah, that’ll fit the schedule. . .

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Sick Day

Not much to report today.  Mostly, I slept.  The result of all this effort being that I feel somewhat better — better being defined as “I can breathe, there does not at the moment seem to be a hot poker jammed into my temple, and I have no fever.”

If this situation stabilizes, I will be able to go to the day-job tomorrow, assuming that, if I was contagious, I’m not now.

In other news, for those who may be interested,  I’ve updated the Carousel Tides site with two new geographies.

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Well. . .

. . .I was going to tell y’all about our lovely excursion to Kennebunkport yesterday, where we visited a bookstore and told the nice lady why she needed both Fledgling and Saltation in stock, leaving a mass market of the former and an ARC of the latter with her so she didn’t have to take our word for it.  And how, after that, we went to Bartley’s Dockside for a lovely lunch, before strolling through town, admiring dozens of dogs who were likewise engaged in window shopping, had ice cream, explored the second-floor shops and their wooden walks overhanging the tidal canals, and, too soon, drove home in the clear silver evening.

However, I’m sick, so you’ll just to imagine it all for yourselves.

It’s possible that my head will explode tonight.

. . .that would be an improvement, ackshually. . .

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Sure, I wasn’t there; I swear I have an alibi

Yeah, I’ve been listening to a lot of Gaelic Storm this week.  Whatever gets you through, says I.

It was a long week.  How long, you ask?  So long that Friday came twice; once, yesterday, for a few fickle hours, then again, for keeps, today.  The problem of whether the weekend will be similarly long, I leave as an exercise for the student.

Steve and I are tentatively scheduled to use at least part of the weekend in a drive southward.  I will take the new camera and practice view-finder-less photography, which ought to be exciting.

Our trip to Florida in May is starting to look scarily close.  With the help of our intrepid, not to say fearless, con liaison, we’ve confirmed our hotel room, nailed down a car rental, perused the information she sent us and now have a loose idea of what sites we’ll be looking to see.  Pirate Dinner Theater reservations are in hand (yes!).  I’ve started to make a list of things that must go south with us, including my floppy hat, sunscreen, The Leewit, Haysus, various charging cords, Oglethorpe…

[Ooh!  Steve just came in and showed me a slide of the spaceship on the dunes that he took during our honeytrip to Hatteras Village, back in…1977?  That sounds like it was so long ago.  Very cool house, though.  I wonder if it survived the several Bad Storms that have been through the area since. ]

So! Who’s going on vacation this year?  Where?  Can summer come soon enough?

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Because we never, ever do anything nice and easy

As reported in these pages yesterday, we had received word that an  “inventory transfer order” had been sent to the Simon and Schuster warehouse, which was the first step in the journey of 1200 subscriber-sponsored Saltations to Maine.
Today, the warehouse called Baen with the information that there are not enough — not nearly enough — books in the warehouse to cover that transfer of inventory.

In fact, the first hardcover run of Saltation appears to have sold out — in just two weeks.

Baen is immediately going back to print.  But!  That means we need to ask those who pre-ordered to be patient. . .some while longer.  We apologize, but this is something that is completely out of our control — mid-list genre books just don’t sell out in two weeks.

There are a few — a very few books that were in the pipeline when the transfer order went out, and which are coming to Maine.  They count in dozens; not nearly enough to fill the orders outstanding.

We will keep you informed, as we’re informed.

In the meantime — thank you for your patience and for your on-going support.

We love you guys.

Sharon and Steve

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She is handsome, she is pretty

Oh, let’s see.

Woke up this morning with a stiff neck, which was later in the day  joined by aching wrists, aching head — pretty much aching everything — and that was the theme of the day, despite swallowing my Daily Limit of aspirin.

Fortunately, there was very little of a keyboard nature to do at work, so I got to rest my wrists, anyway, and passed the afternoon reading the New Yorker that had arrived on Saturday.  Of particular note is the article about S.A. Andree’s arctic expedition in 1897, undertaken via hot air balloon, as well as the article about chef in Turkey who is devoting his life to ferreting out the old, each-slightly-different regional recipes for standard foods that are being displaced by the Turkish equivalents of Starbucks.  I’m in the middle of reading the article about George Steinmetz — tomorrow!

Or not, depending on workload.

Today, I had thrust upon me by the story-brain, which was apparently avoiding the Ghost Ship scene it was supposed to be thinking about — the name and history of a goddess attached to Cheobaug, the Land of Wave and Water.  Mind you, I wasn’t going to be writing a story about Cheobaug, but does the story-brain care what I want?

This has been reported elsewhere, but bears repeating — an Inventory Transfer Order has been — repeat has been — issued, and the pre-ordered Saltations have begun their journey Maine-ward.  Best estimate as to when they might arrive is “next week sometime.”  Please be assured that we’ll tell you when they land.

…that’s pretty much all I’ve got.

Hope everyone has a pleasant and relaxing evening.

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Five things make a post, Saturday a.m. edition

  1. Snowing here
  2. Printing out Ghost Ship again.  If this continues, it will break the record all-time high of Most Printed Out Manuscript in the Liaden Universe©, currently held by Balance of Trade.
  3. Catching up SRM end-of-year bookkeeping while the manuscript prints.
  4. Theo’s father is not the Delm of Korval.  No, really.
  5. Print job’s done.  Heading for the couch with it, and The Leewit, in hand.  The Coon Cat Collaborators have been hard at work this while, warming the room up for me.  See y’all later.
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I know there’s a place you walk where love falls from the trees

I have discovered that this week has a Theme.  And if it has a Theme, you wonder, can a Plot be far behind?

Leaving that for the moment, the Theme is Identity, or, more plainly put, Who am I?

You’d think, at this stage in my life, that I’d know the answer to that question, but several events that week have thrown what I thought I knew into sharp relief.

Y’all know, for instance, that my day-job is as a secretary administrative professional.  It’s coming up hard on The Day when Hallmark decreed that all bosses must Publicly Appreciate their clerical assistants.  Says something about Hallmark that almost all bosses everywhere feel that they have to go along with this — or maybe they justly fear what might happen to their expense reimbursements if they don’t toe the line.

In any case, my employer as all others celebrates the Joyous Event.  Before the days of budget crunches, Admin would invite each of the about a dozen administrative secretaries in personal email to share lunch with the couple folks from Admin to whom we all in theory report.

Nowadays, instead of the served lunch, there’s a social hour, which is of course also very nice.  But with the change of event came a change of invitation.  Instead of a personal email, there’s now an anonymous shout-out in the general email list that goes out to the entire college community, stating that the event will take place and providing a link to an RSVP page for anyone who would like to attend.

The “invitation” went out that way last year, and it annoyed me so much that I sent regrets.

It went out exactly the same way this year and it annoyed me again, but! I told myself, learning cannot happen without teaching.   I therefore decided to teach, and wrote a polite email to the person doing the inviting explaining why the shout-out was rude and cheapened the day’s supposed message of We Know Who You Are and We SOOOO Appreciate What You Do, Even if We Forget to Say It Most of the Time.

Received back an answer explaining that “administrative professional” was not an easily defined area, and that some folks considered themselves of the administrative professional pool who had different job titles.  Therefore, the general open call, rather than the personal invitation — so that everyone who “self-identified” as an administrative professional could come to the party.

I thought about that, and decided that this was both fair and inclusive.  Then, I examined my conscience and found that, no, I  don‘t “self-identify” as an administrative professional* — and sent my regrets.

*The stuff I do at the day-job?  The keeping of lists and files and calenders,  and the making of order out of chaos?  That’s what I do, part of it.  It has to do with being Sharon Lee, or possibly with being a Virgo, more than it has to do with my self-identification as a secretary.

OK, so that.

To recap:  Who I am is not a secretary, though it is someone who values and has some skill in maintaining order.

I can live with this.

Now, last night.  We went to talk to a local writing class about freelance writing.  It happens that I do self-identify as a writer, very strongly.  Steve and I were talking about our collaborative process and how we role-play scenes, and take on the aspect of our characters.  The class listened patiently until we had finished, then one student raised her hand and said, “So, after you’re done with that part, then you go back to being who you really are, right?”

This is something of a head-scratcher.

Who I really am is a person who writes — fiction, non-fiction, blog entries. . .  I am a writer.  Being a writer isn’t a flat job; it has a lot of dimensions, including the above-mentioned role-playing, some performance art, and the facility to step away from yourself, there inside your head, and let the characters have center stage.

People who have called me on the phone when I was in the midst of writing inevitably ask, “Did I wake you up?” because I sound really dopey when I’m scrambling to reconnect to non-story-world.  The reason I often can’t remember what “I” wrote today is because I had stepped back and made room for the story.

So the question of who I really am, the person that I return to being after I’m done doing the most important thing that I do. . . Wow.  How do you even begin to start thinking about that, much less answering it?

. . .It occurs to me that we partly deal with this question during our sometimes Guest of Honor presentation, when we allow the audience to invoke and ask questions of our characters.  That gig started because almost every single person we meet (who has read our stuff, let me add) almost immediately says, “I love your characters.”  Well, sure they do, our characters are much more interesting than we are — they have adventures while we sit at home and type.

Maybe that’s it?  I’m a woman who keeps order and who types.  Or, I’m a woman who encompasses dozens and every single one of my characters and my stories is who I really am. . .

So — who are you, really?

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