Blog Without A Name

Commercial break

This is a combination holiday! gift! post and an author! pimping! for! votes! post. Those who are not interested in these activities should certainly feel free to move on.

Books make wonderful presents
…this is true the year round, of course, for all occasions or for no reason at all. Nothing says I Love You More Than a Clean Living Room like the gift of a book.

For those who are giving (or receiving) a Kindle, Nook, Sony, Ipad, Android or any other of a head-swimming number of devices capable of reading ebooks, remember that an ebook reader is only half the present. The other half is: Something Excellent to read — and this is where I am uniquely placed to help you.

All published Lee and Miller, and Lee, novels, as well as some number of the short stories, are available for your ebook-reading device from Baen Webscriptions. Here’s your link. If you’d like a taste, first, sample chapters are posted for each book. While you’re over there at Webscriptions, take a look at the other titles on offer — lots of stuff to read there, and very reasonably priced, too!

Also! Sharon Lee’s first two Jenn Pierce mysteries, set in Wimsy, Maine are available electronically from Fictionwise. You can shop for them here.

But wait, there’s more!
Does someone on your list dote on audiobooks? Carousel Tides and Local Custom are available from Audible.com. You may listen to a sample of each on the page before you commit to a purchase.

Signed paper books
Probably too late to order from these wonderful vendors for a Christmas Day bestowing, but perfect for January birthdays — signed Lee and Miller, and Lee, novels and short story collections.

Ellen Richmond, Children’s Book Cellar, 207.872.4543 kidsbookscellarATmyfairpointDOTnet (where AT and DOT replace The Usual) — Lee and Miller titles, and Carousel Tides.

Jeanne Peterson Kamfonik, Beggar’s Ride Studio and Gallery, 207.937.2673, or request on www.facebook.com/beggarsrideart — Carousel Tides only

Also!
Remember to check out the book lists at “Whatever, and But Enough About Me!

…here ends the gift-giving portion of our Commercial Break.  Everybody take a deep breath.  Ready?  Here we go on to the next bit!

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Awards!
As mentioned earlier in the month, Saltation is a finalist for a 2010 Goodreads Choice Award in the category of Science Fiction. You must be a member of Goodreads to vote (I am assured that this is a relatively painless operation). If you would like to vote for Theo, who is up against some Very Tough Competition, Indeed, here’s your link

There are also a good many other worthy books nominated in other categories, so you might want to take a look around, while you’re over at Goodreads. Voting continues until the end of December; winners in all categories announced on Janaury 5, 2011.

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That’s it; commercial’s over. Thank you for your patience and support.

The revenge of the errands

We were going to stay in today, straighten the house, bake cookies, put up the tree*. But we were out of Important Liquids and I wanted to check the post office box, and it was a sunny day, if a thought nippy, and Steve said he’d come with me, and so. . .

First stop, Agway, to take on Necessary Cat Items, and a mouse with a Certified Mouse Squeak, and! (this is the kicker) its eyes light up.  Perfect for the cat on your holiday shopping list.

That done, we went across the river, and the real fun began.

At the post office was the cover art for Carousel Tides, straight from artist Eric L. Williams** (yes, it says Dominic Harman on the inside of the book — printer’s error). It’s an absolutely gorgeous print on canvas — you’d swear it was an oil painting — and Amy will be seeing me on Monday so we can discuss frames.

From the post office to the redemption center, where we off-loaded twelve bucks’ worth of returnables; and thence to the shopping mecca that is Elm Plaza.

We lucked into a parking space, failed to find cookie cutters in Kmart, signed stock at Mr. Paperback where — surprise! — there actually was stock — then leapt into the fray at Hannaford.

An hour and a half later, we were loading Argent the Forester with a most impressive array of bags.  Steve cleverly got us out of the parking lot by the back door; avoided a traffic jam by making turn into Arby’s, where we  on-loaded a pair of Reuben sandwiches (mmmm Reuben), which we took home.  After the groceries were put away and the sandwiches consumed, we found ourselves exhausted by our efforts, and succumbed to a Nap Attack, ably spotted by Mozart.

Cookies are on the bake as I type and I’ve straightened the living room.  The tree will wait until tomorrow, as will the laundry, and (sigh) the dishes.

In its way, a festive and unexpected day.

And hoping yours was the same.
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*This would be the ceramic tree that Steve’s mother gave us 30 years or so ago.

**Eric has said that he will happily fill orders for Carousel Tides prints. Contact him from his webpage (there’s a button under the eyeball.

Books read in 2010

Murder on the Ballarat Train, Kerry Greenwood
Flying too High, Kerry Greenwood
Cocaine Blues, Kerry Greenwood
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)

FIVE more days. . .

. . .until winter break.

Been doing a lot of necessary things that aren’t writing on my off time — sewing on buttons is notable. Man, what a hoot. You’d never believe I used to make all my own clothes.

. . .which reminds me that I wanted to do a post about Before and After — but not tonight.

Tonight, I wrote some requested copy, then sat down for a few minutes with George.

Progress on The Book Presently Known as George:
7,584 words/100,000 OR 7.58% complete

What I know is what my gran told me, one night when she was out as shouldn’t’ve been, and her no more’n knee-high to a snowflake.

Book read in 2010

Flying too High, Kerry Greenwood
Cocaine Blues, Kerry Greenwood
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)

Books read in 2010

Cocaine Blues, Kerry Greenwood
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)

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.

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?

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?”

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.

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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

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*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.