Blog Without A Name

It has begun

So, Steve and I, and our agent, did the final walk-through of the new house this afternoon.  All the repairs we had requested have been done.  We’re still dithering over the relative uses of two rooms — which only matters because whichever room wins Master Bedroom, we need to buy a piece of furniture in order for it to function in its designated capacity.  The two spaces under dispute are very different in size and layout, so — first decision.

Anyway — the walk-through was the beginning of an event-filled weekend.

Tomorrow. . .is closing.  After that, we’ll entertain the locksmith, then more measuring,  discussion; paint chips and. . .yeah, all that stuff.

Saturday, the Hugo finalists will be announced.  And more boxes will be packed.

Then!  Hat Trick Sunday, which is not only Easter, and April Fool’s Day, but also! the fortieth anniversary of the day Steve and I moved in together.

Monday. . .an early visit to the vampyres for both of us, then more packing, I daresay, and a quiet day at home to prepare us for!

Tuesday.

Tuesday is when All The Pros have been summoned to the new house, where they will  Scrutinize the Situation specific to their skill-sets in order to produce estimates and set timetables.  At least one of those pros will fill the oil tank.

Wednesday, for a change of pace, there’s a doctor’s appointment inked in, but for the foreseeable while, packing will be our lives.

So!  What’s coming up across your weekend?

Inquiring Minds Want to Know

Many people across several venues want to know Things about the new digs, so rather than answer each of them individually (which, realistically, means that I won’t answer any of them — do you know how many books there are in this house?  That have to be packed?) — I’ll answer here.

First! The generator.  The generator may or may not move with us to the new place.  In theory, it increases the value of the house we’re moving from.  If the new buyers want the generator, we’ll work with them on that, and install a new generator at the new place.  If the new buyers don’t want the generator, then the people who installed it for us will move it to the new place, and we’ll get it hooked up.  Moving, as we are finding out, is Complicated, and there are things that have to be decided before things can be decided.

Second! Why now?  Um.  Because we found a house in an acceptable location that we can remotely afford to buy?  Also, because we happen to be at a point of synergy in regard to available funds, available brain power, energy, and emotional strength.  Now is just about the Most Perfect Time I can think of for this move, given the reasons why we’re moving.

Third!  Why are you putting Accepting the Lance aside in order to move? That’s not fair to readers!  Well. . .actually.  Fifth of Five curled up and died on us before we went to MidSouthCon (ref here).  Steve and I threw away 70,000 +/- of the Wrong Words, and we are in the process of re-visioning the narrative.  So, we haven’t put aside the book in order to concentrate on something else.  Happily for us, re-visioning is something that can easily be done while putting books in boxes.

Fourth!  Moving is hard; why not stay where you are?  Because where we are is no longer tenable, for us at this time.  It was a terrific place for 28ish years, and it’ll be a terrific place for some other young couple, sometime soon.  I’d also like to point out that writing is hard, and we keep doing that, so, clearly, we have rocks for brains.

. . .I think these are the most repeated questions.  Hope this information satisfies.  Thank you for all your support and concern.  We really are trying to go forward in a reasonable and rational manner.  Which is also hard.

Everybody have a good day.

 

Regarding upcoming changes at the Lee-Miller Cat Farm and Confusion Factory

Dear Friends of Liad and all the ships in space,

we here at the Cat Farm and Confusion Factory appreciate your friendship and support – over the years you’ve helped us through problems, enjoyed the cats, and met us at conventions. Most of you have come to expect news out of East Winslow (especially the “For the Record it is snowing in East Winslow” and the Day Lily Count …) and you’ve seen photos of the snow, the flowers, the snow, the roadside, the snow…. We’ve enjoyed sharing all of this with you.

However, as Jefferson Airplane told us, Life is Change. That’s what’s happening here. Change.

Change?

Change. The Cat Farm and Confusion Factory will shortly be shifting.

All of us – cats, books, people (and maybe some day lilies and daffodils!) – will be moving to a campus closer to the delightful amenities of Waterville, Maine, so close, in fact that we’ll eventually give up our Winslow address entirely.

This is not as sudden a thing as it might appear – we’ve been looking to do this for years, as many of you know. Now, after several disappointments along the house-hunting trail we’ve not only made an offer on a house across the river but had it accepted. A house within a mile or two of the local downtown, the local hospital, the local major grocery stores (the local Gifford’s ice cream stand!), the vet’s. . .with a much shorter hop to hit the interstate, and a shorter ride to Old Orchard Beach, too. Both of us will have larger offices, and the cats will have a larger and more up-to-date basement. Also, we’ll have a garage to put Skylark the Subaru in and to mount the famous high-tail cat wind vane on.

What’s this mean to you, our friends? Well. . .change.

To begin with we’ll be maintaining our Waterville PO Box as is, so if that’s the address you have for us, you’re good. We’ll be submitting change of address to the PO RSN. . .and that will go out to all those who have need of the home address. Since we’re doing hybrid moving – partly us and partly a moving company – the change will take a few weeks once we go to closing. We haven’t got an ironclad closing date yet, but it could well be before the 40th anniversary of our joining households back in 1978.

Also, we have yet to sell the house in East Winslow. We’ll be doing some clean up here, and then the pros will come in to make everything shipshape for sale. You’ll notice this takes time ….

In order to keep all things flowing smoothly we’ve petitioned Toni at Baen for an extension on the delivery date for book formerly known as Fifth of Five, which she was kind enough to agree to without question. Ah yes, while the book is slowly in progress it does appear to have a name now: Accepting the Lance.

Other things are still in flux – we’re not sure we’ll be able to afford the planned trip to WorldCon this year, for example – but we will keep you informed as things settle out.

Thanks for all you do.

Steve and Sharon

Books read in 2018

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)

Attention! Book People!

Attention convention organizers, fan charity organizers, traveling fans, librarians and friends of library folks …

From time to time we have to load balance the book shelves holding our “extra” author copies. We end up with a a few more of some, a few less of another, but too many to keep — and that’s where we are now.

If you are a con runner, charity organizer, or library-type who could use signed Lee & Miller books as prizes or giveaways for upcoming events, drop me a line at rolanniATkorvalDOTcom. Librarians — if you will use them in your collection or in science fiction oriented events, tell me that, and we’ll see how we can help there, too.

We will ask to be reimbursed for shipping.

We have some hardbacks, some trade papers, some mass markets, of many, but not all Lee-and-Miller, and Lee titles.  We cannot guarantee specific titles. Think of it as a grab-bag of goodies.

 

Books read in 2018

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)

When last we saw our Intrepid Heroes…

. . .they were fleeing Maine with a nor’easter nipping at their heels.

Since the Lakeshore Limited, aka Amtrak Train Number 49, leaves the Albany-Rensselaer train station at 7 pm, Steve and I decided to leave reasonably early (by which I mean, the sun was up by the time we were likewise), and take the Scenic Route.

This, we did, stopping in Keene, New Hampshire, for lunch, and wending our way gently through the warm and sunny day.  Shoppers in downtown Keene were wearing shorts and t-shirts, ignoring the predictions of Snowpocalypse for the morrow.

We arrived at the train station in time to wait two hours before boarding, and having dinner onboard (Steve had the chicken; I tried to have the butternut squash ravioli, but they were out.  Instead, they gave me (after due warning) mashed sweet potatoes formed with a melon ball and served under alfredo/spinach sauce.  It was. . .interesting.), returning to our room, and so to sleep.

Breakfast next morning was a “scrambled egg bowl,” and then we arrived at Chicago Union Station with a nine-hour layover before us, which we shall pass over lightly.

We boarded The City of New Orleans, aka Amtrak Train Number 59, at 8:30 pm, were served from the lunch menu (we each had a. . .muffaletta?), and so to our room, and sleep. . .

. . .until 6:30 am, when the car attendant woke us so that we could de-train at Memphis, where we were picked up by Sylvia Cox in her hat as Guest Liaison for MidSouthCon.

Sylvia was everything that was accommodating and good-natured, got us to an IHOP so we could grab breakfast, drove us up and down River Street, so we could observe the above-flood-stage Mississippi River at first hand, and so to the hotel, where there was no waiting to get into our room, despite it being Very Early in the Day.

We repaired to our room and unpacked, then it was time to meet Jane and Pat in the lobby.  Pat filled us in on the history of the Memphis neighborhoods Jane was driving us through, until we arrived at the Children’s Museum and!

The restored 1909 Dentzel Carousel which was for many years the centerpiece of Libertyland Amusement Park.

Here, have some carousel pictures:

 

After we finished with the carousel, we invaded the Children’s Museum, which was just. . .awesome.  So much interactive stuff — including an installation that taught you how to break into a safe; a real police car, and a FedEx jet.  Things to climb on, things to climb through, an air current raceway for balls and scarves, the ever-popular Legos, a grocery store, a discussion of the US Mint and how money is made. . .

Yeah, we spent some time there.  They ought to make these things adult-sized.

We departed the Children’s Museum, reluctantly, and — because there were flowers blooming in Memphis and Maine was by that point buried under a foot of new snow — Jane and Pat took us to a Botanical Garden to admire the pansies, the tulips and the early daffodils, as well as some flowering trees.

Eventually, we came back to rest at the Hilton, had lunch, a nap, and woke in time to get ready to share the pre-convention dinner of chicken spaghetti with con volunteers and those other Guests of Honor who had arrived.  We had a lovely chat with Ellen Datlow, Editor Guest of Honor, and a changing roster of volunteers, as people broke for supper and then went back to the important business of putting the con together.

Friday was the first day of the con.  We toured the Dealers Room, and the Art Show, talked with folks we met around and about, including Glennis of the Missing Volume, and the lady who was selling kaleidoscopes, and…and…and…

Then, it was time for our first professional obligation:  Signing on Pro Row.

At 7 pm, it was time for Opening Ceremonies.  Each of the Guests of Honor were escorted to their seats by Batman or Superman.  I was escorted by Superman, while Batman did the pretty for Steve.

Each of the Guests were introduced and given a gift box full of whimsical and useful goodies.  Mike Resnick, the Toastmaster, told us a couple stories, we heard a little history of the convention, and it was official!  MidSouthCon was On!

Next morning, first thing, was the Teddy Bear Tea.  Despite the early hour, it was well-attended by a variety of plushies, who socialized with each other while their human companions told the story of each one, and did some socializing of their own.  Steve and I enjoyed ourselves, as did Lemmy, Jingles, and Hassan the Assassin.

We then had the opportunity to talk to a ballroom full of attentive people about the history and times of the Liaden Universe®, attended the Baen Traveling Roadshow, and did a panel on characterization and social world building before it was time for the banquet and the presentation of the Darrell Awards.  All the guests were brought to the front to be re-introduced to the convention, and asked to say a few words.

After the banquet, it was the Epic Women in Epic Stories panel, ably moderated by Toni Weisskopf.

Sunday morning, we hosted a breakfast in the restaurant for eight folks who had signed up to observe us before we were caffeinated.  Topics ranged from cats, to writing, to the weather, to cats, and also — cats.

After, we read Select Portions of Agent of Change — in celebration of the Thirtieth Anniversary — to a small but appreciative audience and!

All too soon, it was Closing Ceremonies, and MidSouthCon was over for another year.  Except for the Dead Dog Party, where barbecue was had by all.

Because of how the trains run, we had most of Monday in Memphis.  We used our time wisely, playing tourist, visiting the Peabody Hotel in time to do a thorough tour before taking up a position on the mezzanine to see the ducks march out of their lobby fountain, down the red carpet and into the elevator that whisked them away to their rooftop penthouse.

After the ducks, it was a stroll down Beale Street, and a dinner, before moving on to the Memphis train station to wait for our ride.

MidSouthCon was a terrific con — everyone we met was friendly and helpful, and sincerely glad that we had come to celebrate with them.

I didn’t take any pictures at the convention, but here — have some more carousel pics:

Those of you who stayed with us this far will recall that, at the beginning of the story, we were fleeing a nor’easter.  We returned home in the aftermath of a second nor’easter, which dumped eighteen-plus inches of snow on the head of most of New England.  Happily, New England knows what to do about snow, and the roads had been plowed and cleared ahead of us.  Our own plowguy had been in to shove snow out of the driveway, and clear the steps.

Today, the snow is rolling off our new metal roof, and the plowguy came by with his front-loader to push the pile of plowed snow back, so he’ll have room to put the snow from the third March snowstorm, which is predicted for early next week.

And that?  Is all I’ve got at the moment.  Glad to have gone; glad to be home.

 

Books reads in 2018

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)