Blog Without A Name

I can’t go outside, I’m scared I might not make it home

Today, it Rained Like Hell™.  It was also Unseasonably Warm.  The snow is gone.  When I left for work this morning, the surface of our crushed gravel driveway was the consistency of wet beach sand.  There were branches down, and though I took the high road, through Benton and Fairfield, there were many deep and treacherous puddles between me and the day-job.

Happily, I arrived safely, if soaked to the knees, and put in a light day of work, it being study/exam week.

After work, we took Hexampuma to the vet, as previously arranged.  He weighs more or less the same, which is at least not going backward.  We shall have to feed him more wet food, but are apparently on the right track.  Steve, in a Bold Experiment this evening, found that Hex will happily consume his vitamins as part of his Extra! Special! Gooshy! Food!  — which is good.

I got to spend a little time with George this evening and now it’s time to call it a day.

G’night.

Progress on The Book Presently Known as George:
5,836 words/100,000 OR 5.84% complete


Grand-Uncle Daav nodded gravely, which Grand-Aunt would scold him for, were she present.

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The Writing To-Do List

No words on George today; instead I wrote proposals for two books.  Yes, I have lost my mind, why do you ask?

In and around doing the proposals and dishes and laundry, I took some time to consider what’s coming down the line for us, writing-wise.  As near as I can make it, this is the Writing To-Do List for the next 18 months :

1.  One (1) commissioned short story, due May 15, 2011

2.  One (1) novel, due September 15, 2011

3.  Eight (8) novels to read/correct in galleys (Plan B, I Dare, Longeye, Saltation, Crystal Soldier, Crystal Dragon, Balance of Trade, Ghost Ship)

4. One (1) short story due for Yule chapbook, October 2011

5.  One (1) novel due, January 15, 2012

6.  One (1) novel due, May 15, 2012

There’s also at least one, and possibly two, convention appearances in there somewhere, one involving a lengthy train trip.

Busy is good, right?

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Saturday at the word farm

Thanks to everyone who has let me know, in LJ and in email, about the Imminent Arrival of a Girl Genius text novel. It looks very exciting!

Also, thanks to everyone who voted in the Goodreads poll. Remember that voting continues through the end of December. Tell your friends, so that they can vote for their favorite works, too!

This morning I slept in, which was unexpected, but apparently needed. Still working on the “rest” concept.  The rest of the day was taken up with such frivolities as cleaning and laundry and banking and catching up business correspondence.  More of the same tomorrow, I fear.

Despite the above, I did sit down a few minutes with George today, to what I flatter myself  is good effect.

Progress on The Book Presently Known as George:
5,000 words/100,000 OR 5% complete

“We have been twice fortunate,” he continued, when the pipe was going to his satisfaction.  “Will we be three times unfortunate?”

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PSA: What Authors Do

It seems that it’s time for a refresher course on who does what to whom in the world of publishing.

So!  What do authors do?

Authors write books.

Pretty much, that’s it, with the following clarifications-or-conditions:

If we happen to perform the Primary Function under contract, we write books and hand them in (more or less) to deadline.

We may also write on spec first, and sell later.

If we do the selling thing at all, then we also may read and correct galleys.  Some authors skip this, usually for lack of time; most try to go over their galleys, if only to annihilate that one wayward “not” in dialog, the existence of which changes the meaning of the last third of the novel*.

Occasionally, authors may be asked to write cover copy.  Occasionally, authors are asked to write forewords to novels.  Doesn’t always happen; sometimes, the requested copy isn’t used.  That’s life.

Some authors choose to do some promotion and/or mingling with their readers.  Some authors choose to do lots of promotion and mingling; some authors choose to do none.  These choices are author-specific and personal.

* * *

Astute readers will see that the above list leaves a Whole Buncha Stuff having to do with producing and selling books that the author of same has nothing to do with.

These things include, but are not limited to:

1.  Cover art**

1a.  Cover and/or internal typeface(s)

2.  The physical dimensions of the book

2A.  The medium of the book — i.e., hardcover, trade paper, mass market, electronic, audio

3.  The quality of the binding and/or the quality of the paper

4.  The price of the book

5.  The language(s) into which the book is translated

6.  The vendors who carry, or who do not carry, the book in a specific medium

6a.  The individual libraries and/or library systems that have, or have not, acquired our novels

6a1.  Whether or not the acquiring library, if any, has acquired all of our books, or only random titles

7.  The price charged by those vendors who do carry the book in whatever medium

8.  The speed at which a certain printing sells out

8a.  The speed at which (and whether) a sold-out book is reprinted

—-

*True story

**Sometimes, authors do get to consult with cover artists; we’ve personally been very pleased in being able to work with David Mattingly on several of our Liaden Universe® covers, now.  Ultimately, though, it is not the author, but the publisher, who OKs the art.

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The week, on the way out

I woke up this morning, washed my face, picked up my glasses, and —

…a lens fell out.

And that’s mostly what the last couple days have been like — a series of minor, unexpected disasters — tinyastrophes — that take more time to fix than one imagines they ever could, and suck down too much energy.

This evening, we have a Thing in town, and tomorrow is Friday. Only ten more days until winter break. Yes.

Oh! The authors’ copies of  The Agent Gambit arrived today on the wings of Eddie, the FedEx guy. That would be — TAG, not Eddie — the omnibus edition included Agent of Change and Carpe Diem.

It’s a book!

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Books read in 2010

Black Ships, Jo Graham
Get Real, Donald E. Westlake
The Messenger, Jan Burke
Rumpole Misbehaves, John Mortimer
Strange Bedpersons, Jennifer Crusie
Shinju, Laura Joh Rowland
A Matter of Class, Mary Balogh
Chill, Elizabeth Bear
The Replacement, Brenna Yovanoff
Ghost Ship, Sharon Lee and Steve Miller
Merchanter’s Luck, C.J. Cherryh (reread)
Mr. Monster, Dan Wells
Mockingjay, Suzanne Collins
I Am Not a Serial Killer, Dan Wells
Deceiver, C.J.Cherryh
Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand, Helen Simonson
Half Magic, Edward Eager
Unknown, Rachel Caine
The Devil in the White City, Erik Larson
Sunshine, Robin McKinley
Bone Crossed, Patricia Briggs
‘Till We Have Faces, C.S. Lewis
The Thirteenth Tale, Diane Setterfield
The Ten-Cent Plague, David Hajdu
Bridge of Birds, Barry Hughart (reread)

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The day after the day that was

The book signing at Barnes and Noble was fun, though the copies of Mouse and Dragon and Saltation that had been ordered in special sold out before the party started.  That’s called your mixed blessing.  Steve had a copies of Saltation and Liaden Universe® Companion in the car, and brought them in for show-n-tell.  We did sign a mmp copy of Fledgling, a couple Dragon Variations, a Meisha Merlin era Plan B brought in by a reader who had come down from Bangor to see us, and a bazillion — or at least a dozen — Carousel Tides.

We saw some familiar faces — including a coworker from a job I’d had. . . 18 years ago?, who was pleased to find that we were still writing — and some folks we’d seen at previous signings.  We met some new people, which was cool, and were only called upon to demonstrate our knowledge of BN’s internal geography once, to direct a gentleman in need of a cat calendar to the proper portion of the store.

We were up at the front of the store, between the wrapping station and the Nook counter.  Based on the action on that side, there are gonna be some ebooks sold next year.

Just to prove we were there, two pictures:

Picture One, of the authors being Auctorial:

Authors being good
Authors, being good

And, Picture Two, of the authors being Distracted:

Did you see that?
Authors, being perhaps not so good

Today, I’ve been catching up bookkeeping, laundry, dishes, and whatnot.  “Write” is on the to-do list.  I do believe I’ll do some.

Everybody having a good weekend?

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Friday mixed grill

Only fourteen more workdays until Winter Break.

I can do this.

Cool Things I Forgot to Mention:

Wednesday, I missed my turn when taking the Second Alternate Route to work, and took thereby the Third, which involves going first to China, and then coming back in several miles to Waterville.  Not optimum, though a pretty drive of itself, and a pretty day for it.

While I was mooching along the wrong road, heading in A Direction Oblique to Where I Needed to Be by Eight O’Clock, thinking about George, and being Not Nearly as Panicked As Was Proper, a pileated woodpecker flew across the road at windshield-on-a-Legacy-height barely two feet ahead of me, and attached itself to a big old maple tree.  I adore pileated woodpeckers — the battle cruisers of the woodpecker world — so that made the morning right there.

* * *

Today

Today, there were only six applications to input, which made my hands grateful.  Due to having stayed caught up, though, I did have a period of a couple hours where I had no work to do — I had emails and calls out to people, but could not go forward until I heard back from them.  So, I read a book.  The trouble is, I’m getting paranoid about reading when I ‘m in Wait Mode, since this apparently feeds into the perception that Rolanni Never Has Any Work To Do.

Sigh.  Maybe I should play chess on the internet; at least then I’d look busy.

* * *

Fans of Hexapuma:

Yep, we have a cat fountain, and Hex is its biggest fan.  We’re going to try the wet food and vitamins, and have another vet visit on the 13th to see how that’s working for him.  Giving subcutaneous fluids was mentioned as a therapy — I’d need a refresher in how to administer, but Patia required that intervention in her later years, and we handled it.  I’ll have to look into the kidney function cat food.  The problem, of course, being that we have two other cats and all of them are used to browsing.

I’m am sad because it looks pretty certain that Hex isn’t going to be with us for the years and years we had supposed that he would be (we tend to keep our cats around for a long time, here at the Cat Farm), but I’m trying to focus on the fact that we have him with us now.

* * *

Carousel Tides

There’s a review of Carousel Tides at SFRevu

Someone had mentioned the Open Promotion Thread at Whatever today — yes, I did participate.

For those who did not know about this — go here.  Lots and lots of good readin’ being recommended.

* * *

Couple Hours of Fame:

Don’t forget!  Lee and Miller will be signing atthe Barnes and Noble in the Augusta Marketplace tomorrow, Saturday, December 4, starting at 1 p.m.  Be there, or be somewhere else!

* * *

George:

Lots of thinking, but no actual Words on the Page for George today — which is just about right for this stage in the proceedings.

* * *

Cat Porn:

Mozart is asleep in my the his rocking chair.

He’s snoring.

* * *

G’night.

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Anything-can-happen Day

Oh, let’s see. . .the day-job. The less said on that head, I think, the better. On to pleasanter things, like —

The arrival of a royalty check! Yes! Royalty check! Not, I’m sorry to say, for Duianfey, nor for Longeye, neither of which has earned out — but Fledgling has.

Honestly, that kid. . .

What else? Did the dishes, took out the trash, opened up George’s file, meaning to write “a page” — that’s about 250 words, for those who count.

Wound up with a little more than five pages, finishing up a scene and a chapter. Not too bad on the day.

Tomorrow, alas, it’s back to the day-job and the damned data entry. A colleague suggested that I take a picture of the fruits of my labors, to include in my self-evaluation at merit report time. I can take the picture, but I’m pretty sure that no one who is actually in a position to do something about merit raises is going to understand what the picture means in terms of pure, physical labor.

. . .I once — no, I’m wrong — I twice left jobs where the ex-boss had to hire two women to replace me.

You take your black humor where you find it.

Progress on The Book Presently Known as George:
3,528 words/100,000 OR 3.53% complete

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