Friday Wrap-Up

Busy week here in the north country.  Highlights include:

1.  Steve and I spent Sunday at BangPop! as vendors and panelists.  I had a wonderful time, and got a couple dozen Carousel Tides samplers into the hands of innocent people potential readers.  One nice lady even came back to thank me for the sampler, told me she was going to pre-order the book at her favorite store, was a little impatient that November was so far away, and asked what was wrong with Kate’s health.  Score!  We also got to be on TV.  Keep a sharp lookout about 38 seconds in.

2.  The page proofs for The Agent Gambit landed on Steve’s desk.   I know what he’ll be doing this weekend, while I’m sitting with Ghost Ship, laying in those suplots.  Psst!  Working weekend at the Cat Farm!  Pass it on!

3.  Last night was our gig at the Lithgow Library in Augusta.  Steve read from Mouse and Dragon, I read from Carousel Tides; we talked about the vagaries of the writing life, answered questions, and signed books.  We had a group of about nine interested folk, including two students who had driven up from Bowdoin College, so it was more like a gathering of friends than an Official Presentation — an illusion that was given more substance by the Lithgow Reading Room, which includes an Oriental rug, a grandfather’s clock and wing chairs so comfy I was prepared to sign a lease.  Many thanks for Robin for inviting us!

4.  On the way home — or possibly on the way to — the library, we stopped at Barnes and Noble so I could deliver an invitation to the Carousel Tides book launch to Stew, who’s been taking care of the Science Fiction section for a number of years now.  While we were there, I talked to Stacy, the community relations manager.  We’ve still got some details to work out, but it looks like Steve and I will be doing a signing either the last Saturday in November or first Saturday in December.  Watch this space for details!

5.  When we got home last night, there was an email waiting from Toni Weisskopf, our editor at Baen, attaching a very nice review of Carousel Tides that will-or-has appeared in the September 27 issue of Publishers WeeklyMoney quote: Lee brings these disparate subplots together in a pyrotechnic finale that plays out magically behind the ordinary facade of smalltown Maine life, evoking much of the romance and magic of her popular Liaden series.

6.  Today is Friday.  My weekend is totally committed to Ghost Ship.  Psst!  Working weekend at the Cat Farm!  Oh, wait; I said that.

So, what’re your plans for the weekend?

Carousel Tides Book Launch Progress Report One

AsyouknowBob, I’ll be sending Carousel Tides off in fine form from the town of its birth, Old Orchard Beach, Maine, on Saturday, October 30, from 7 – 9 p.m.

Jeanne Peterson Kamfonik, captain-owner of Beggars Ride Studio and Gallery, at 39 Old Orchard Street, will be hosting the book launch.  There will be readings, raffles, good stuff to eat, beautiful things to look at, and convivial company.  Really, this is going to be splendid!  Y’all should definitely plan on coming by.

But, wait, there’s more!

I’m just got off the phone with Becky, the manager at the Seaview Inn, 65 East Grand — for those who aren’t familiar with Old Orchard Beach, yes, that is on the beach — and she’s so excited, she’s offering 20 percent off rack for any room at the Seaview to book launch goers who mention the Secret Word “carousel” when making their reservation.  If you want to come in a day early or stay a couple days late to, yanno, enjoy the ocean or peep some leaves, the discount will apply for the length of your stay.  This discount offer is good for phone reservations and reservations made off the Seaview website, but you must remember to include the Secret Word.

Steve and I stayed at the Seaview last year, and had a wonderful time.

*happy sigh*

I’m so pleased with how well this is coming together, and how delightfully helpful people in Old Orchard, and elsewhere, are.

For those who are still not sure they want to come All The Way to Maine to be part of this Happening, I’ll throw out one more incentive:

The last time I threw a party was when Steve and I moved into the present iteration of the Cat Farm and Confusion Factory, 18 years ago.  Who knows when I’ll throw another one?

Seriously, you don’t want to miss this.

Here ends Carousel Tides Book Launch Progress Report One.

Bloodletting and other auctorial pastimes

The day-job lives in a pleasant, if intermittently too-damn-hot, office on what you, being unInitiated, would call the third floor of an old brick building.  In order to get to the door of the office, one needs to climb a rather steep set of stairs, turn a corner on the landing at the library level (the “first floor”), and climb another set of stairs, equally as steep.

Students like to arrive at the library early, which is commendable of them, and loiter on the landing, often in packs, sometimes in little drifts of one, wilting against the rail.

There’s usually at least one student sitting on, or sprawled over, the first set of four stairs of the second staircase.

Often, they kinda skooch over an inch, to “give (me) room to pass”.  Just as often, they stick their finger in their off ear and continue talking on the cell, pretending they’re on Mars — or I am.  Some actually do get up and smile and say, “Sorry,” but those are rare.

This morning brought me three boys on the landing, talking and cutting  jokes as they waited for it to Be Time — and a fourth boy sitting all over the first four stairs, his cellphone laid handily by, his calculator ditto, a pack on the stair under his lap — really, he was awfully comfy.

And there wasn’t an inch for me to skooch by in.

I stopped, planted the point of my umbrella on the rug and contemplated him.

His buddies stopped talking.

The boy on the stairs kind of blinked at me, and tried a smile.  “Am I in the way?”

“Indeed you are,” I assured him.

To his credit, he got up, shifted his stuff and moved down to the landing to let me by.

. . .and had completely re-established his stairway office by the time I’d reached the top of the flight.

This evening, as I was leaving work, three young lads were walking toward me, taking up all available sidewalk room, none of them giving the least indication that they’d seen me.  I stopped where I was, blocking one young man, who stopped, blinked, and said, “UmAh?”

“The words you are looking for,” I said, “are excuse me.”

He blinked again.  “Excuse me,” he said, and dropped back to let me by.

. . .So that was my day before I got to the vampires, to find out that my records suddenly showed me living at a house in a location I’d never heard of.  The clerk fixed that, amid much wonderment and confusion from her and her supervisor (“It shouldn’t do that” may be the most comical phrase in English), and set me loose in the waiting area.

I was eventually called by the vampire, whose job it was to draw blood for another thyroid test.  The endocrinologist in Augusta “doesn’t see people with thyroid problems” (um, what?), and the next nearest, in Lewiston, called my primary care doctor to ask why I was being referred since my readings were — wait for it — “normal.”  Which is fairly discouraging.  Hence, the new blood test.

Steve, in the meantime, has written and posted the synopsis for Ghost Ship, by request of the good folk at Baen.  You can read it here, if you’re curious.  Warning!  May contain spoilers.

Ghost Ship is scheduled to be published in August 2011, roughly in time for the Reno WorldCon.

And now, having had Adventures, if not precisely Alarums and Excursions, I’m going to try to do some work.

Hope everybody has a splendid weekend!

Quick Updatery

I think I forgot to report here that I did speak to the actor who will be reading the audiobook edition of Carousel Tides.  We went over pronunciations, and talked about accents (I found out that Ramen Noodles is RAYmin Noodles in NYC, whereas downcoast only a couple hundred miles, in the beautiful city of Baltimore, we tried to avoid eating RAHmin Noodles).  The narrator’s name is Elisabeth S. Rodgers; I like her voice for Kate — which is very important, since Carousel Tides is told in first person.

Steve and I will be at BangPop! in Bangor on Sunday-coming, September 19.  SRM will have a table in the dealer’s room, and we’re scheduled as panelists.  If you’re in the neighborhood, come on by!

I’m very much looking forward to seeing Great Big Sea this evening at the Waterville Opera House, the moreso because they look to be the icing on the cake of a Rather Trying day.

Yes, I’m still working on Ghost Ship.  No, it’s not finished yet.  Nope, sorry, no snippets.  Yes, sorry, I have been and will be scarce in the blogoverse for definitions of “scarce” that include “not posting every day”; and, as is too often the case, I am behind on answering email.

. . .I think that sums up.

Everybody have a great week!

What I did on my fifty-eighth birthday

. . .I got up early.

Steve made us toasted English muffins with cheese for breakfast; packed lunch and traveling beverages, handed me the keys to the Argent the Subaru Forester, climbed into the passenger’s seat and said, “Follow the GPS.”

It was a gorgeous morning for a drive, and the GPS led me down pretty country roads, past ponds and lakes, into Maine’s Western Mountains coming at last to the metropolis of Woodstock, part of the Norway-Paris-South Paris metroplex, some heady 700-odd feet above sea level,  down a precipitous driveway into the parking lot of Maine Mineral Adventures.

We arrived at about ten after nine (for those who didn’t learn to tell time on an analog clock, that would be 9:10), and were greeted by Zoltan Matolcsy, who, upon learning that we knew nothing about the fine art of screening and picking gems and minerals, gave us an exhaustive and informative tour of the premises, explained where to dig among the tailing dumps in order to increase our chances of finding “a nice specimen,” screened and dipped the first batch for us, showed us what to look for, and left us to it.

We spent the next three hours sorting through rough rock, picking out anything that looked pretty or interesting.  (If you follow the the link above and look at the top photograph, our table was the second from the umbrella, which was half in the sun — sunlight is very important in sorting, and really picks out the greens, reds, purples…)  Steve said he was going to tell people that he’d given me a box of rocks for my birthday; I said I was going to tell people that he’d given me a box of tourmaline — which isn’t exactly true.  We got a good many garnets, too.

The tailings we worked were from Mount Mica.  Weird things that you know but don’t think about — Mount Mica?  Really is — or was, actually — a mica mine.  And there’s still plenty of the stuff there, even though the present mines are being worked for other minerals, notably tourmaline.  There’s no escaping the mica, from sheets as big as my hand floating like dead leaves in the rinse water, to tiny, glittery chips that cling to everything, like fish scales.

Also, there’s so much iron underlying Maine, that the rocks come out of the ground rusty.  We’re going to have to soak the ones we brought home in Rust Out! before we can truly see what we have.

And!  Black tourmaline, we were told, was pretty common and usually not worth picking up.  About then I came up with a black tourmaline crystal about the size of my fist.

That one’s  a keeper,” said the young lady passing our table.

Actually, I kept a good bit of black tourmaline.  I like it, common or not.  Figures; as a kid I used to collect garnets — another common stone “not worth picking up.”

From the mineral adventure, we motored into Norway, Steve driving now, stopping at the edge of Lake Pennesseewassee to eat lunch, drink lemonade, and observe the ducks, and pleasure boats.

Lunch done, we decided we wanted ice cream to continue with the day’s birthday theme, so we drove down 26 and eventually arrived in Old Ochard Beach, which the GPS insisted is not, quite, at sea level, paid our respects to the sea, had our ice cream, toured the town, checked in with Jeanne at Beggars Ride about the Carousel Tides book launch — watch this space for more information! — then back home via 95, stopping at Shaw’s to take on a California Kitchen garlic chicken pizza and thence to home.

It was, in all, a very pleasant and enjoyable birthday.

Second verse, same as the first

Today, I slept in until the time I would be eating breakfast on a day-job kinda day, which was something, but was not 10 a.m.  Steve made us coffee with egg-cheese-and-tomato sandwiches on toast for breakfast, which did a pretty good job of reconciling me to the fact of being awake.

After breakfast, it was a trip into town to sign Saltations for the folks whose books have gone wandering, then a wander through Marden’s, and the long way home, via China, to a Labor Day picnic lunch of hot dogs and potato salad.

And then to work.

The second, recompiled, but still not complete draft of Ghost Ship has been printed out, my red pens are sharpened and my sticky tags in bright! neon! colors are to hand.  I actually need a solid week of peace and quiet to do the deep edit, but I’m not gonna get it.  *makes note to self to make notes to self*  Editing in two or three hour lumps after coming home from the screaming insanity that is the first week of school is not, I feel, optimum, but it’s what I’ve got.

For those who have been following along at home, the Carousel Tides page has been updated with Chapters Six, Seven, Eight, and Nine, in celebration of Labor Day.

And!  Mozart reminds me that I need to sort through the Saltation letters that have come in over the weekend, then do the dishes and get some lunch on the table.  For tomorrow?

Is a day-job kinda day.

Hope all who celebrate had a grand holiday!

Laying in the lines

Spent much of the day cutting-moving-and-pasting blocks of text, writing some new scenes, chopping up other scenes, switching out chapters.  In essence, this requires holding the Entire Book As It Exists in your head at once, along with the Entire Book As It Should Be — and rectifying them.


Is nerve-wracking.  I just hope to ghod I’m not busting the furniture.

For what it’s worth — which at this stage, isn’t much — the word count on Ghost Ship stands right now at 86,485 for a net gain of 933 words.

I’ll start up again tomorrow, after I rest my brain.

In which Yr Hmbl Narrator goes to the craft store

I’m putting together an author press kit for the Carousel Tides book launch — have I mentioned that here?

Anyhow, yesterday I went to Staples in pursuit of Pretty Ivory Paper and presentation folders.  The PIP was easy to find; the presentation folders remarkably difficult, mostly because the whole store was full of “school supplies” including report covers, which are almost, but not quite, what I wanted.

The thing with a presentation folder is that you want it to be Dignified but Personable, a little quirky, maybe.  It should, above all, not be boring.

For one halcyon moment, I thought I’d found the perfect cover — white coated stock with a single black tree along the right edge.  (It’s OK; trees figure fairly prominently in Carousel Tides, along with, oh, carousels, selkies, Abenaki legend, Subarus. . .it’s a strange book; you’re gonna love it.)

Except — when I yanked this wonderful folder out from its place among its fellows, it was found to also have all kinds of words on it — Think Green!  Go Eco!


I finally brought home a pack of Actual business presentation covers, in plain dark blue, but I did not Love them.

Last night, I put together my first kit, which was mailed this morning and will (that is an order) arrive in Saco in time for a Tuesday evening meeting.  It went in the plain blue folder and it was Dignified, I guess, but it was also boring.

Today, I motored out early to post said package, pick up the new eyeglasses and stop at Joanne’s Fabric to get a fabric pen.

I don’t get out much.  I mean, really, I don’t get out much.  I spent more than an hour in Joanne’s, and in the end, I scored a little over two yards of gorgeous sheer swirly green fabric with glitter bits woven through so that the whole thing looks like stars reflected in dark moving water.  A table cover for the launch.  I also got two spools of ribbon, one dark green and one black, for another, related, project, not one but two, fabric pens, and — my piece de resistence — a silver glitter stamp pad and a flourished fall tree stamp.

Came home and stamped me some blue folders.  *happy sigh*  Now, that’s not only Dignified and Personable; it’s Classy.

And now?  To work.

One of those days

Before I forget — Mouse and Dragon debuts at Number 10 on Locus Magazine’s Bestsellers for July, appearing in the September issue.

And there was much rejoicing!

* * *

It was still hot in the day-job’s attic office today.  I don’t mean to complain, but 89F/32C and not a breath of air, despite the best efforts of the poor little desk fan?  Is too hot to work.  I did try to stay all day, but — no go.  At least the work’s all caught up.

On the way home from the day-job, I stopped at the ticketing office of the Waterville Opera House, which is bewilderingly not in the Opera House at all, but ‘way, ‘way up in the eaves of the Sterns Center, to pick up our tickets for Great Big Sea on September 14.  Now that I have them safely in hand, I feel a good deal better, and really looking forward to the show.

That mission accomplished, I motored out to the eyeglass place to pick up my eyeglasses — which still weren’t in.  The first time they came in, they failed the quality check, but they were Absolutely due in today.  Argh*.

On my way home, the sign at the CVS caught my eye:  FLU SHOTS NOW!  I figured I could get that out of the way, at least, and pulled in.  Inside, there are signs all over the place telling me that there are FLU SHOTS NOW, but nothing telling me which department to go to.

Assuming the pharmacy was my destination, I arrived to find even more signs declaring FLU SHOTS NOW, but no sign that said, oh, Register Here.  So I went to the cashier, who looked at me crankily and said that I had to register at the drop-off window.  Fair enough.  I took myself over to the drop-off window and when my turn came said to the young woman behind the counter that they needed a sign, so people would know where to register.  She smiled, like one smiles at dotty old ladies, and pulled up her computer.

“Now!” she said brightly, “When would you like to schedule your appointment?”

“I’m a walk-in.”  I point to the paper taped to her counter, promising that I could either make an appointment or walk-in.  “I’d like my shot now.”

“Today isn’t a walk-in day,” she told me.

I took a deep breath.  “I have,” I said, “a besetting sin.  I read signs. Worse, I believe them.  And so, when I saw the sign out in front of your store that said FLU SHOTS NOW, I somehow assumed that meant that there were flu shots available in this store NOW.”

“No, you have to make an appointment.  Or, if you prefer to walk-in,” she said helpfully, “I can look up the next walk-in date for you.”

“Or,” I said, finding yet another sign, this one half hidden behind a display of traveling pill bottles, “I see here that I can schedule myself online.  Which, now that I know about it, I’m perfectly happy to do.”

Whereupon, I turned around and left.

I fear that I am becoming a termagant.


*And!  They did arrive today, did the eyeglasses — at 5:30.  A trip into town is on tomorrow’s schedule.