Books read in 2018

37. The Black Wolves of Boston, Wen Spencer (re-read) (e)
36. The Man in the Queue, Josephine Tey (read aloud with Steve)
35. Shield of Winter, Nalini Singh (read aloud with Steve)
34. Waiting on a Bright Moon, Jy Yang (e)
33.  The Amazing Mrs. Pollifax, Dorothy Gilman (e)
32. The Daughter of Time, Josephine Tey (re-read for me; read aloud w/Steve)
31. Eight Million Gods, Wen Spencer (re-read) (e)
30. These Old Shades, Georgette Heyer (re-re-re-read; read aloud with Steve)
29. The Prince and the Dressmaker, Jen Wang
28. The Talisman Ring, Georgette Heyer (re-re-re-read; read aloud with Steve)
27. The Moon-spinners, Mary Stewart (re-read) (e)
26. The Cat Who Went Underground, Lilian Jackson Braun (read aloud with Steve)
25. Winterglass, Benjanun Sriduangkaew (e)
24. The Cat Who Sniffed Glue, Lilian Jackson Braun (read aloud with Steve)
23. The Tea Master and the Detective, Aliette de Bodard (e)
22. The Persian Boy, Mary Renault
21. Heart of Obsidian, Nalini Singh (read aloud with Steve)
20. Brat Farrar, Josephine Tey
19. Woman Without a Past, Phyllis A. Whitney (e)
18. The Mermaid’s Sister, Carrie Anne Noble (e)
17. All Systems Red, Martha Wells (e)
16. Burn Bright, Patricia Briggs (e)
15. The Ivy Tree, Mary Stewart (re-read) (e)
14. Kiss of Snow, Nalini Singh (read aloud with Steve)
13. Throne of Jade, Naomi Novik (e)
12. His Majesty’s Dragon, Naomi Novik (e)
11. The Cat Who Played Post Office, Lilian Jackson Braun (read aloud with Steve)
10. The Faded Sun: Kutath, CJ Cherryh (e)
9.  Emergence, CJ Cherryh (read aloud with Steve)
8.  The Faded Sun: Shon’jir, CJ Cherryh (re-read) (e)
7.  The Faded Sun: Kesrith, CJ Cherryh (e)
6.  My Brother Michael, Mary Stewart (re-read) (e)
5.  The River Bank, Kij Johnson (read aloud with Steve)
4.  Still Life, Louise Penny
3.  Thick as Thieves, Megan Whalen Turner
2.  The Furthest Station, Ben Aaronovitch (e)
1.  Romancing the Werewolf, Gail Carriger (e)

In Which the Author is a Ball o’Fire

Welp. I was gonna hit the ground running this morning, but — not so much.
 
I did brush Sprite, who has been avoiding me, and Belle, who hasn’t, but who still needed a stern brush-out, and Scrabble, who is a brush-hog this week. Trooper reminded me that I had brushed him yesterday and he’s fine, thanks.
 
I wrote some letters, and ate breakfast, and bought books. I was going to be cutting back on buying books. Sigh. For them what’s interested, there’s a Margery Sharp four-book electronic collection on sale for $2.99; also Trouble in Triplicate (can’t go wrong with Rex Stout on the ereader), $2.99. Also got interested in Margaret Gellhorn, and bought a (paper) biography (Gellhorn: A 20th Century Life, Caroline Moorehead); and a (paper) collection of Gellhorn’s own work (Travels With Myself and Another).
 
And that should do me for a bit in the book department.
 
*glares at self*
 
*self puts hands in pockets and wanders away, whistling*
 
So, now. I have four handwritten pages which represent the start of the next chapter of Accepting the Lance to transcribe and fill-out; and the outline of my story for Release the Virgins to stare at. Can’t quite start firming things until I know the name the person I’m Tuckerizing wants me to use. . .
 
I expect tomorrow might be a bit scattered, so I guess I’d best get to work.
No.  Really.

Books Read in 2018

36. The Man in the Queue, Josephine Tey (read aloud with Steve)
35. Shield of Winter, Nalini Singh (read aloud with Steve)
34. Waiting on a Bright Moon, Jy Yang (e)
33.  The Amazing Mrs. Pollifax, Dorothy Gilman (e)
32. The Daughter of Time, Josephine Tey (re-read for me; read aloud w/Steve)
31. Eight Million Gods, Wen Spencer (re-read) (e)
30. These Old Shades, Georgette Heyer (re-re-re-read; read aloud with Steve)
29. The Prince and the Dressmaker, Jen Wang
28. The Talisman Ring, Georgette Heyer (re-re-re-read; read aloud with Steve)
27. The Moon-spinners, Mary Stewart (re-read) (e)
26. The Cat Who Went Underground, Lilian Jackson Braun (read aloud with Steve)
25. Winterglass, Benjanun Sriduangkaew (e)
24. The Cat Who Sniffed Glue, Lilian Jackson Braun (read aloud with Steve)
23. The Tea Master and the Detective, Aliette de Bodard (e)
22. The Persian Boy, Mary Renault
21. Heart of Obsidian, Nalini Singh (read aloud with Steve)
20. Brat Farrar, Josephine Tey
19. Woman Without a Past, Phyllis A. Whitney (e)
18. The Mermaid’s Sister, Carrie Anne Noble (e)
17. All Systems Red, Martha Wells (e)
16. Burn Bright, Patricia Briggs (e)
15. The Ivy Tree, Mary Stewart (re-read) (e)
14. Kiss of Snow, Nalini Singh (read aloud with Steve)
13. Throne of Jade, Naomi Novik (e)
12. His Majesty’s Dragon, Naomi Novik (e)
11. The Cat Who Played Post Office, Lilian Jackson Braun (read aloud with Steve)
10. The Faded Sun: Kutath, CJ Cherryh (e)
9.  Emergence, CJ Cherryh (read aloud with Steve)
8.  The Faded Sun: Shon’jir, CJ Cherryh (re-read) (e)
7.  The Faded Sun: Kesrith, CJ Cherryh (e)
6.  My Brother Michael, Mary Stewart (re-read) (e)
5.  The River Bank, Kij Johnson (read aloud with Steve)
4.  Still Life, Louise Penny
3.  Thick as Thieves, Megan Whalen Turner
2.  The Furthest Station, Ben Aaronovitch (e)
1.  Romancing the Werewolf, Gail Carriger (e)

Weekend Ketchup

Where was I?

Ah.

Planted the rosebush (Blanc Double De Coubert Rugosa; call-name Colbert) on the afternoon of Friday the 13th.  It was supposed to have been first thing in the morning, but there were a Truly Stupid number of telephone calls to cope with.

After playing in the dirt, and showering, and sharing a leisurely lunch with Steve, I returned to entering corrections to the manuscript of Liaden Universe® Constellation Volume Four, and Steve took up reading the manuscript of Accepting the Lance (insofar as there is a manuscript, &c &c).

Yesterday, I had some errands to run in town.  Note to self:  No More Grocery Shopping on Saturday, especially in summer.  Ghod, what a zoo.  Also, you’d think cold cuts were nectar straight from the heavens.  Six deep at the deli section.  I am not making this up.

Also yesterday, I washed my hat, which seems to have come through the experience in perfect shape.  For values of shape including a wide-brimmed cotton hat specifically made to be rolled up and stuffed into a backpack.

Today, I need to do a Blankie Run; restock the Hummer Bar; get some business paperwork in order; enter the last 57 pages of correx into Constellation Four. . .and then it’s back to Accepting the Lance. After Constellation Four leaves for Baen this evening, I’ll only have two writing projects on my plate — Lance, and a short story for Release the Virgins.  It’ll be almost like a vacation. . .

And I’m guessing it’s now time to get on with that work.  I have four cats in my office, and they clearly expect something to get going pretty soon. . .

Hope everyone is having a pleasant weekend.

 

The writers, goofing off

So, after some few unrelenting days of Brutal Heat (for Maine values of “Brutal”) and Unavoidable Stress, yesterday was called for mid-to-high-70F/21C, and sunny.  Steve and I looked at each other and said, more or less in unison, “You wanna get out of the house?”

We determined to head for Old Orchard Beach and adjust course as seemed good.  We did arrive at Old Orchard, but it was one of those windless days when the sea was as exciting as water in a  bathtub, so we got back in the car and went to survey Camp Ellis, which, though still showing the considerable scars from the last storm has taken on the Mantle of Summer.  People were on the beach (such beach as Camp Ellis has ever lain claim to), people were sailing, and fishing and doing Normal Summer Things.  You’d almost come to believe that the Camp would survive the next storm, and the one after that, too.

On our way out of the Camp, we saw the sign for Seaside Pottery, and, being in need of pottery, we turned right.  The shop was closed, to open at 2 pm, so we got back in the car and headed for Wells.

The sea was much more satisfactory at Wells; there was a brisk breeze off the ocean and high tide was proceeding with vigor.  We stood on the seawall for a while, with about a hundred other people who had come from such far flung places as Massachusetts, New Jersey, Iowa, and Colorado, to overlook the ocean at Wells.  I took a small walk into town and did a Tourist Tour of the nearby gift shops.  We’ve been going to Wells for years and years, and I’ve never been inside one of those shops, though we have had lunch and ice cream at the town landing.

We headed back to Old Orchard Beach, keeping a sharp out eye for pottery shops.  We didn’t find any, though there are a lot of antique shops on Route One.  Holy cow, are there a lot of antique shops on Route One.

We stopped at the Maine Diner for lunch, and I continued the tourist theme by buying a t-shirt.  After, we continued up Route One and I. . .bought a white sea rose (rosa rugosa*, to you) at Wallingford Farm, and as soon as I finish this blog post, I’ll be taking myself to the back yard to dig a hole.

We came back to Camp Ellis to find Seaside Pottery open, and spent some time with Renie, the potter, and Cooper, her English spaniel.  Sadly, we were not able to do business, and continued back up-coast to Old Orchard Beach, where we fed a parking meter a handful of quarters and went to pay our respects to the sea, which had decided that bathwater wasn’t a good look on it, and brought in some wind and waves.  After our visit, we headed to Pine Point, and eventually to I95 toward home.

We did stop at the Maine Center for the Arts at the Gardiner exit, pottery still on our minds, and gathered the cards of several who had their wares on the shelves.  I bought an art tile coaster for my desk; Steve bought chive vinegar and blueberry gingerbread mix, and honey tea in a jar (not quite sure how that works).  There was very interesting Spanish-language music playing, and I tried to buy the CD, but was told by one of the counterfolk that they were listening to Cuban Radio Pandora, which I’m listening to as I write this.

So, that’s it!  Today, I dig a hole, and fill it halfway with water, according to the instructions received at Wallingford Farm.  When the water recedes, I put fertilizer mixed with sand in the bottom of the hole, then the rose bush.

I also need to make some phone calls, and possibly go into town  to the end of the road, to do some banking.  Oh, and also, write.

We really, really need to remember to take a day off to do silly, frivolous stuff every week.  *makes a note*

. . .and that’s all I’ve got.

Hope everyone’s having a good week.

_______________________
* Burpee Seeds on Rugosa Roses  I especially like:  “Rugosa roses require little care and thrive on neglect.”

Books read in 2018

35. Shield of Winter, Nalini Singh (read aloud with Steve)
34. Waiting on a Bright Moon, Jy Yang (e)
33.  The Amazing Mrs. Pollifax, Dorothy Gilman (e)
32. The Daughter of Time, Josephine Tey (re-read for me; read aloud w/Steve)
31. Eight Million Gods, Wen Spencer (re-read) (e)
30. These Old Shades, Georgette Heyer (re-re-re-read; read aloud with Steve)
29. The Prince and the Dressmaker, Jen Wang
28. The Talisman Ring, Georgette Heyer (re-re-re-read; read aloud with Steve)
27. The Moon-spinners, Mary Stewart (re-read) (e)
26. The Cat Who Went Underground, Lilian Jackson Braun (read aloud with Steve)
25. Winterglass, Benjanun Sriduangkaew (e)
24. The Cat Who Sniffed Glue, Lilian Jackson Braun (read aloud with Steve)
23. The Tea Master and the Detective, Aliette de Bodard (e)
22. The Persian Boy, Mary Renault
21. Heart of Obsidian, Nalini Singh (read aloud with Steve)
20. Brat Farrar, Josephine Tey
19. Woman Without a Past, Phyllis A. Whitney (e)
18. The Mermaid’s Sister, Carrie Anne Noble (e)
17. All Systems Red, Martha Wells (e)
16. Burn Bright, Patricia Briggs (e)
15. The Ivy Tree, Mary Stewart (re-read) (e)
14. Kiss of Snow, Nalini Singh (read aloud with Steve)
13. Throne of Jade, Naomi Novik (e)
12. His Majesty’s Dragon, Naomi Novik (e)
11. The Cat Who Played Post Office, Lilian Jackson Braun (read aloud with Steve)
10. The Faded Sun: Kutath, CJ Cherryh (e)
9.  Emergence, CJ Cherryh (read aloud with Steve)
8.  The Faded Sun: Shon’jir, CJ Cherryh (re-read) (e)
7.  The Faded Sun: Kesrith, CJ Cherryh (e)
6.  My Brother Michael, Mary Stewart (re-read) (e)
5.  The River Bank, Kij Johnson (read aloud with Steve)
4.  Still Life, Louise Penny
3.  Thick as Thieves, Megan Whalen Turner
2.  The Furthest Station, Ben Aaronovitch (e)
1.  Romancing the Werewolf, Gail Carriger (e)

Third before Fourth

So, let’s see.

Steve made pancakes for breakfast; we got out the trash and the recycling; I refreshed the Hummer Bar, and the water in the bird bath; Steve cut down the swinging tire, and added it to the Stuff behind the shed.  I called the lawyer’s office; washed pots and pans, unloaded the dishwasher and started filling it back up again. Also, I read my comics and as much of the news as I could stand.

Weatherbeans are calling for a high of 91F/33C today; currently 84F-feels-like-90F (29C-feels-like-32C).  Windows are open, and all available fans are ON.  Trooper has discovered that the ceramic tile in the “entry hall” (actually it’s a little smaller than your traditional sidewalk hopscotch pattern) is cool(er), and has established a Spot between the front door and the wall.  I need to be careful not to push the door wide open and smush him I believe the other cats may be down in the basement, which is not a bad idea.

*Glances at to-do list*

I think it might be time to go to work.

Books read in 2018

34. Waiting on a Bright Moon, Jy Yang (e)
33.  The Amazing Mrs. Pollifax, Dorothy Gilman (e)
32. The Daughter of Time, Josephine Tey (re-read for me; read aloud w/Steve)
31. Eight Million Gods, Wen Spencer (re-read) (e)
30. These Old Shades, Georgette Heyer (re-re-re-read; read aloud with Steve)
29. The Prince and the Dressmaker, Jen Wang
28. The Talisman Ring, Georgette Heyer (re-re-re-read; read aloud with Steve)
27. The Moon-spinners, Mary Stewart (re-read) (e)
26. The Cat Who Went Underground, Lilian Jackson Braun (read aloud with Steve)
25. Winterglass, Benjanun Sriduangkaew (e)
24. The Cat Who Sniffed Glue, Lilian Jackson Braun (read aloud with Steve)
23. The Tea Master and the Detective, Aliette de Bodard (e)
22. The Persian Boy, Mary Renault
21. Heart of Obsidian, Nalini Singh (read aloud with Steve)
20. Brat Farrar, Josephine Tey
19. Woman Without a Past, Phyllis A. Whitney (e)
18. The Mermaid’s Sister, Carrie Anne Noble (e)
17. All Systems Red, Martha Wells (e)
16. Burn Bright, Patricia Briggs (e)
15. The Ivy Tree, Mary Stewart (re-read) (e)
14. Kiss of Snow, Nalini Singh (read aloud with Steve)
13. Throne of Jade, Naomi Novik (e)
12. His Majesty’s Dragon, Naomi Novik (e)
11. The Cat Who Played Post Office, Lilian Jackson Braun (read aloud with Steve)
10. The Faded Sun: Kutath, CJ Cherryh (e)
9.  Emergence, CJ Cherryh (read aloud with Steve)
8.  The Faded Sun: Shon’jir, CJ Cherryh (re-read) (e)
7.  The Faded Sun: Kesrith, CJ Cherryh (e)
6.  My Brother Michael, Mary Stewart (re-read) (e)
5.  The River Bank, Kij Johnson (read aloud with Steve)
4.  Still Life, Louise Penny
3.  Thick as Thieves, Megan Whalen Turner
2.  The Furthest Station, Ben Aaronovitch (e)
1.  Romancing the Werewolf, Gail Carriger (e)

Friday Potpourri

In the spirit of getting bidness outta the way first:  Someone — maybe on this blog?  I’ve lost the note itself — asked me to “list” all of our work eligible for this year’s Dragon Awards.  Herewith! the list:

Neogenesis, Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, Baen Books, January 2018  Category: Best SF Novel

The Dragon Awards are apparently open to anyone who wishes to participate.  Here’s your link.

So, that.

One of my on-board tasks is to proofread the manuscript for Liaden Universe® Constellation, Volume Four, due at the publisher in August.  I just finished proofing “Street Cred,” and damn! that’s a good story.  I realize that it’s not cool to be pleased with your own work, but, hey, I’ve never been cool.

And, it really is a good story.

Let see, what else?

Ah.  June 27th marked our second month in the New Location.  Time flies and all like that.  I’ve made my peace with the dishwasher, more or less; and while I still don’t quite comprehend the new dryer, progress is being made on that road.

One of the many things that amuses me about this house is that, yesterday, I walked a mile and a half.  This was exclusively inside the house, going from my office at the top of the short arm of the U, around to the laundry room, in the middle of the long arm of the U (directly across from my office, as the crow flies, if crows could fly through windows), and back again.

Though the first mad flood has been stemmed, we still from time to time entertain contractors.  Tree Guy says he’s going to take down the two dead pines “next week” but hasn’t called to set, y’know, an actual day.  Also, it may have escaped his notice that Wednesday is the Fourth of July.  Cleaning Guy, who was supposed to have come by yesterday morning, cancelled because a tree had fallen on his mother’s house and he was needed to help with the clean-up.  So, we’re waiting for another call from him to reschedule.  And the War Engineer is supposed to drop by on his own schedule to finish getting rid of the useless bits of the fence.

Work continues to go forward on Accepting the Lance.  Mind you, it’s not going as quickly as I would wish, which was ever the case, but going forward is Good.  I’m perhaps being over-gentle with it, given how suddenly and completely its predecessor died the True Death.  We don’t want that to happen again; oh, no, we do not.

Reporting from the land of More Excitement Than You Can Possibly Stand, after I became unable to drink caffeinated coffee, I settled on Twining’s Irish Breakfast Tea as my caffeine delivery system.  It has a nice mouth feel, and has the darkish taste of coffee.  Sort of.

Steve recently got me a box of Twining’s Lapsang Souchong, and. . .man, that’s interesting.  I don’t know that I’m going to make it my Only Tea, but I’m definitely going to keep a box around.

And that?  Is all I’ve got.  Going to be a busy weekend, what with writing and proofing and all.  Also, by Maine standards, at least, a hot weekend, as I suppose is proper as we in the US run up to Independence Day, the quintessential summer holiday.  Which reminds me that I have to find where Waterville stages its fireworks. . .

Everybody stay cool.

There and back again

So.  A couple weeks ago, Steve and I became involved in a Plot.  It was a Very, Very Sekrit Plot of the most desperate sort.  Most of all, it needed to be kept Sekrit from the Intended Recipient, who not only reads our Facebook pages scrupulously, but is notoriously hard to fool.

We therefore stealthily announced a few days electron-free, and then we scurried out of Maine, down-down-down South, to Gloucester, Virginia, to participate in a Surprise Birthday Party for Aunt Edwina — 75 years!

The party was a massive success; the recipient was surprised; the food delicious, and the family-time priceless.

We left Maine on Wednesday afternoon, overnighted in Rutland, Vermont; charged down to Chambersburg, where we overnighted again, and thence to Gloucester, where we spent two nights, before turning around on Sunday, driving to Fishkill, New York; and, on Monday, driving the Strangely Unpopulated small and back-roads, starting with the Ticonic Parkway, and continuing the theme.

About those back roads. . .there’s a story, there.

We subscribe to what is in Maine called EZ-Pass, and is called other things in other states, but it involves putting your toll money in to an account with the Department of Transportation, and sticking a transponder on the windshield of your car.  You may then zoom through EZ-Pass only tollbooths, and entire EZ-Pass alleyways, never slackening your speed.  It’s a Very Great Convenience, and we have had our transponder since 2005.

. . .Which turned out to be a problem, that we discovered (naturally) at the tollbooth at Gray, Maine, where, instead of the automated system flashing THANK YOU when we passed through, flashed CALL DOT.

Um.  Oops?

Happily, the transponder had a phone number for DOT Customer Service printed  on it, and I, the passenger, had a cellphone.  After some initial confusion, we arrived at the conclusion that the transponder was, after 13 years in the sun, fried.  I mentioned that we were on our way to Virginia, and the young lady said that this was no problem, because there are back-up cameras at the EZ-Pass booths, which take a picture of your license plate.  Our license plate was correct in their files, so tolls would be automatically deducted from our account.

Then, she said, “I will activate a new transponder and send it to you, so it will be waiting for you when you get home.”

“Fine!” I said.  “Thank you very much.”  And gave her permission to deduct the amount for the new transponder from our account.

And so we went on our way, unmolested by the Toll Cops, all the way to Virginia.

It turns out that I should have paid more attention to that word, “activate.”

We were on our way home on. . .perhaps it was Route 88?  I have no brain for route numbers.  In any case, we came to a tollbooth in Southernmost New York state, one that had so recently been brought into the EZ-Pass system that the tollbooths still had gates that came down after Car One had paid its toll, to let it pass, and then came down an inch from the nose of Car Two.

And it was there, at this moderately busy and confused tollbooth, where the cameras had not yet been installed, that we learned the importance of that one word, “activate.”

Our transponder did not open the gate.  The toll worker who came by to see what the hold-up was (and it very quickly was a hold-up), took the transponder into the office, came out and said, “It’s inactive.  Can you just give me a dollar-fifty?”

We gave her a dollar-fifty.  The gate lifted.  We fled.  And we realized that, in order to minimize further aggravation on the rest of the way home, we ought — really ought — to avoid the toll roads.

And, the Back Road Plan was born.

It was an interesting ride, on roads we know pretty well; sparsely populated on a Monday in not-quite summer, and tolerably amusing.  Going over the mountain at Killington, we passed about a dozen cars engaged in The Great Race, going the other way.  We saw moderate amounts of wildlife, and green scenery and arrived home not very much later than we would have done, had we run the big roads (with a working transponder).

Arriving home, we found the new, activated transponder, which has been installed in the car.  The cats were initially Not Very Certain about us, but got over it quickly, sitting with us while we had pizza, a couple glasses of wine, and read our current book out loud.  Everybody piled into the bed for the Long Night Nap, and we got up in time to put out the trash this morning.  Groceries were, in good time, acquired, banking was done, and the Tree Guy contacted for a firm date for taking down the two dead pines.  Tomorrow will be a work-and-laundry day.  Thursday, the Cleaning Guy comes to give us an estimate on bi-weekly cleaning of the house, and, yanno, Life Goes On.

I did take a walk around the back yard today, being pleased with a high temp of 76F/24C as opposed to the 92F/33C we saw in More Southern Climes.  I do like this house, and am very glad we found it.

And that’s my tale for the day, the moral of which is:  Be very careful when activating your transponder.