If it’s raining, it must be Thursday

So, the Monday house hunt was kind of a bust.  The house I was pretty sure we were going to make an offer on revealed a Fatal Flaw; the second-most-likely house has now fallen under contract.  Of the remaining three houses on our carefully curated list, one needed a bulldozer, one needed a match, and one had lied in order to get a date.

There is one more house we had identified as possible, if not probable, and it’s on the calendar for our* inspection today.  . . .Actually, that’s a misleading statement.  There are several houses in the Waterville/Winslow megaplex that are (or say they are) one-floor, and/or have a master suite on the first floor. These houses are all priced in excess of $190,000 and — no.

*It may be that Steve will be performing this afternoon’s house inspection solo, as I have been and continue to be stupidly ill.  Tuesday I finally caved and went to the doctor, who sent me to the lab, and here I am, awaiting the results of cultures and whatnot, so that a treatment plan can be made.  Apparently, it’s hard to treat something if you don’t know what it is.

In Fountain Pen News, the Jaipur medium nip demonstrator pen and I have failed to reach An Accommodation, and it will be seeking a new position.  The Jaipur bold nib is a perfectly convenable pen, though the bold nib may be a Bit Much.  And the nameless little eyedropper pen that came with the two Jaipurs to keep them calm during shipping is undemanding, and quite pleasing to write with.  It’s currently filled with red ink because I was going to be doing some editing (see “stupidly ill” above), which, um, hasn’t quite happened yet.

Now, the pens I really REALLY like are the Pilot Metropolitans (I have two — purple leopard and white tiger.  A Theme!), but they take cartridges or a convertor, but the convertor that came with is, for this hopeful user, Impossible.  In a word, what I want are Pilot Metropolitans that I can fill with All The Colors of Ink!

So, last night, I ordered in my third Metropolitan (bronze lizard; we depart from the Theme) and a C-40 piston convertor, to be my Test Pen.  If all goes well, then I can order in a couple more convertors for the pens I already have and free myself from the tyranny of the plastic ink cartridge.

What with one thing and another (see “stupidly ill” above), progress has not been progressing on Fifth of Five.  Yesterday, I did sit in the comfy office chair with a pen and a pad of paper and wrote out some future scenes, so there’s at least some motion, even if it’s not exactly forward.

Oh!  I don’t believe I mentioned here that there is a new reading posted on Patreon, for subscribers only.  Here’s the link.

And, I think that’s all I’ve got, aside the news that it’s still raining.  The weatherbeans are claiming that we’ll get a couple day respite before the nor’easter hits, this weekend.

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Monday…

Today is Steve’s birthday, the celebrating of which we are deferring to the trip to Niagara/Binghamton.  The trip is also my birthday celebration, and! last year’s anniversary-of-the-legal-marriage and this year’s anniversary-of-the-legal-marriage.

Today, there is vacuuming and vacation packing.  This is a Trip in Three Parts, so packing is. . .interesting in its way.  Usually, we throw the things we’ll need at the convention in suitcases, pack a train case, hand over the suitcases to the nice baggage experts at Amtrak and worry no more.

Since we’ll be driving to Pittsburgh and overnighting on the road, I have packed an overnight bag, and will today be packing the purple duffle with the items that will be required on the vacation and homecoming leg of the trip.

Tomorrow, I will pack con clothes, since they are more susceptible to wrinkles than cargo pants, polo and denim shirts.

And so it goes.

I need to check my tablet to make sure that I’ll have enough to read.  Fifty books on the to-be-read shelf.  Is that enough?  Maybe I should take a couple paper books to be sure I don’t run out?  No, wait!  We’ll be at a convention.  If I need books, I’ll be able to stock up there.  Phew.

I’m really looking forward to this trip:  the convention, of course, and then the meandering road home.  I’m especially pleased to be approaching this whole segment in a state of not being depressed.

On that front, I have backed out of the last application of antidepressants, and am continuing with meditation, which has been helping decrease the noise in my head, even though I’m probably the world’s worst meditator.  I’m using the guided meditation at Headspace, which I like very much, even though the occasional assertion that “thoughts are just thoughts” baffles me.  I mean, yes, thoughts are just thoughts, but I’m in the business of turning thoughts into stories, so I’m accustomed to giving thought some weight, so to speak, in my life.

I’m continuing to cut down my exposure to toxic persons, which is, sadly, an on-going task. I’ve cut back my presence on Facebook and on Twitter, which also helps decrease the noise in my head. . .which is not nearly as frightening as I thought it would be, having lived my whole life with a noisy head.  Maybe that’s what’s meant by “thoughts are just thoughts.”

So, that.

For those who missed the initial announcement — there is a new patron-only podcast up on the Lee-and-Miller Patreon page — here’s your link.

Also!  Steve and I have unlocked three earlier podcasts so that they can now be enjoyed by everyone.  Go to this link, and scroll down.

And that, I think, catches us all up.  Time to get out the vacuum cleaner and wake up all the cats.

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Patreon news

There is a new podcast up on Patreon.  Here’s your link.

Note that the new podcast is locked to Lee and Miller patrons only.   We have, however, unlocked several previous podcasts, so that anyone may listen.  Those podcasts are:

Sharon reads “The Gift of Music,” by Sharon Lee.  Here’s the link.

Steve reads “Charioteer,” by Steve Miller.  Here’s the link.

Sharon reads “The Beggar King,” by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller.  Here’s the link.

Enjoy!

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Still not king

. . .nor dead yet, either, to the apparent disappointment of some.  I don’t suppose this is the only career in which we eat our elders, still. . .

So, let’s see. . .

First, thank you so much to all of the supporters of our Patreon fund, particularly today, because — you made the funding goal this month.  Give yourselves a big hand and, for those who are limber, a pat on the back.  Steve and I really appreciate your generosity.*

On the writing front, I have decided to indeed to push on to the end of the scene, rather than hold back and hope that being in media res would make re-immersion after the projected break easier.  ‘Twas the tea tin that did it, and you all now know what to blame.

On the all-important clothes front, I see that my problem of having too many t-shirts is solving itself, and the timing couldn’t be better, what with a convention and a time among the tourist attractions coming right up.  rubs hands in anticipation

Y’all do know that Steve and I will be writer Guests of Honor at Confluence next weekend, right?  (Here’s the link.)  Among the other festivities, Steve will be doing a reading from a work not yet announced.  I will be reading “Emancipated Child,” which I’ve never had a chance to read to a live audience, so I’m very excited, and!  I will also be. . .giving? my rant regarding the writing of “believable female characters,” which is something I thought I’d never do again, but — never say never.

Steve and I will also be doing a GOH presentation, a kaffeeklatsch, a Friends of Liad breakfast (not a con-event; every attendee pays for their own breakfast), and lots and lots of stuff — and that’s just us!  Honest, you’ve gotta come to Confluence, if you possibly can; it’s going to be a great weekend.

Here’s your link to the main program schedule.

Steve’s schedule is here.

And, here’s my schedule.

Looking to see you — yes, you! — there!

And now. . .to work, with a side order of prelim packing.


*This does not mean that we are not appreciative of the generosity of All The Rest of You — we are very grateful for all and everything you do.  Thank you!

 

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It was Gatlinburg, in mid-July…

Well, no.  Not quite mid-July, but we’ll get there.  We’ll get there.

Yesterday, was ant-murdering day.  Maybe every third summer one of the ant colonies will get the bright idea to expand supply lines and send a foraging force into the kitchen, whereupon we enter battle, and prevail, eventually.  It would be tempting to believe that, this year, we really did vanquish the foragers in our first, decisive, victory, but that’s not really the way these things have worked in the past.  What will happen is that they’ll withdraw, regroup and try again.  So, we await the dropping of the other shoe.

In the meantime, and in-between it all, we’ve been making plans for our pilgrimage West at the end of July.  As I may have mentioned once or twice, Steve and I will be Writer Guests of Honor at Confluence, in Pittsburgh during the first weekend in August. This will be our last convention appearance of 2017, so if you live near Pittsburgh, this is your call to seize the day.  Hope to see you there!

After the con, we are committed to coming home the long way, so that I might, at my advanced age, for the first time see Niagara Falls, and also so we might seek out and be pleased by the various carousels which can — and will! — be found along our route.

Among other things, of course this means buying clothes.  I have therefore purchased, on sale, one! more! pair! of Dry-on-the-fly cargo pants perfect for summer wear and travel.  I have also purchased the Russian sailor’s shirt from Peterman’s, which I have looked at with longing for years.  I’m calling it an early birthday present from me to me.

For those who were looking for an update to our Patreon page this weekend — I do apologize.  Life, and words that must be written, derailed my good intentions.  Soon, I promise. . .

Today, I’m doing laundry.  The temperature is warm enough to melt coon cats, though with enough of a breeze that we have opted for fans rather than bring the A/C online.

And, that’s all I’ve got, except that I’d better get back to work if I want to finish writing this section today.

Why, look!  Here are two melted coon cats, right here!

Melted Belle

Melted Sprite

Almost forgot:  Today’s blog post title brought to you by Johnnie Cash, “A Boy Named Sue.”  Here’s your link.

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Monday morning round-up

We’ve had something of a busy few days here at the Confusion Factory.

Last week, Steve graduated from cardio-gym and is now on the Third Phase, which is going to the cardio-gym early on Monday and Wednesdays and doing what he’s been doing, with the same personnel on-staff, but without the various measurements at the beginning, middle, and end of the session.  This means a change of schedule, including rising Much Earlier in the Day than I, personally, care to do, but that’s life.  I’ll be going to gym around Steve’s schedule — Tuesdays and Thursdays in the early hours, with refinement of the afternoon and evening hours as we go forward.  Since I have for all of my life been an evening/night writer, this may entail afternoon naps, which ought to please the cats.

In writing news, the page proofs for the Alliance of Equals mass market edition landed late last week, and have been added to the mix of Tasks to Be Done.  Also!  The first in a series of Lee-and-Miller Read Lee-and-Miller podcasts has been moved from Patreon to Splinter Universe LIVE.  You can listen to Steve read “A Night at the Opera” at this link.

We’ll be posting more of these to SULIVE, as they age off of our Patreon page, so remember to check back.

We are also, in light of the. . .substantial number of emails we’ve gotten from people who either want paper chapbooks, or the Excitement of the Annual Yule Chapbook, or want a return to Olden Times. . .

We cannot any of us return to Olden Times, so that’s right out.

But we can, perhaps, accommodate the wish for paper chapbooks, and even, maybe, for the Annual Yule Chapbook.

So, we’re running an experiment.  Amazon has a. . .program where those who have published ebooks with them may convert those ebooks into paper books.  This is an expensive process, as Amazon takes 40% off the top of cover price, and then charges printing costs from the author/publisher’s 60% royalty.  It’s also somewhat time-consuming, as is working with any template program that is based on Assumptions.  However!  With determination and enough wine, it can be done, as I proved this weekend by converting both Barnburner and Gunshy to paper books and putting them on sale.  The reason we chose these titles to experiment on first is that they convert into 5X8 paperbacks, which is an easy convert (part of the test was to see how “easy” easy was).  Based on my time and effort expended this weekend, we anticipate that converting to chapbook will be somewhat more time-consuming, though still doable.

We will, eventually, convert an actual Liaden chapbook, but that experiment has to wait in line behind work with a deadline attached.

For those interested, here’s the link to Barnburner.  (Which Amazon has decided to discount, so it will be interesting to see how that affects our royalty rates from them.)

Here’s the link to Gunshy.

The downside to this, besides the expense, is that these books would only be available through Amazon, which is whimsical at the best of times and downright malicious at the worst.

So, there’s that.

For those who have been asking anxiously about progress on Fifth of Five. . .progress progresses, more slowly than I had anticipated, but picking steam up as the new meds kick in.

. . .and I think that catches us all up.

Everybody do your best to enjoy Monday, OK?

Let the coon cats lead the way.

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In which the author is out of words

So, I haven’t done a catch-up post in a few days. That would be because — there’s nothing really to catch up on.

We took a drive down to Old Orchard Beach last weekend and had a nice, relaxing time walking the beach and the town, sitting in the sun on the mall, eating ice cream and people-watching.  Hard to get enough people-watching.  Or, yanno, ice cream.

Steve and I have been alternating reading stories aloud for bi-weekly posting on Patreon, where they’re available to patrons only for a month, before being moved to Splinter Universe, for the perusal of all.  Tomorrow, around noon, Eastern, “The Beggar King” will reveal itself, read by me, with a little help from Scrabble.  Previous readings have been, Steve reading “A Night at the Opera;” me reading “The Gift of Music;” and Steve reading “Charioteer.”  It’s about time for “Opera” to disappear from Patreon and re-appear on Splinter Universe.

For those coming in late, the Lee and Miller Patreon page is here.  Back in April, we introduced a new goal of $2,500/month.  As of this writing, we are a scant $96 from realizing that goal.

We’ve also been participating in #1stChapterFriday on Twitter, along with many of our colleagues.  Follow the hashtag for some provocative reading.  Or, here’s a link that may or may not work (the ways of Twitter remain a Mystery, I fear).

As some of you may know, the twentieth novel set in the Liaden Universe®, and the fifth detailing the on-going adventures of Theo Waitley, aka The Gathering Edge, was published earlier this month.  This is where I ask those who have read it to please take the time to leave a review on Amazon, BN, Goodreads, or other sites.  As last year, with Alliance of Equals, we’re hoping to hit the Magic Number of 100 Reader Reviews on Amazon.  Alliance wound up with 263 reviews, and TGE is well on her way, with 87 reviews already posted.

I find, in fact, that I am remiss in announcing here that The Gathering Edge hit Number Four on the Bookscan Bestseller list for the week of May 11.

And that?  Is all I’ve got, except a sincere Thank you! for everything you do, from reading our books, to recommending them to friends, to donating to our various causes, to writing encouraging letters.  We’d couldn’t have gotten so far on this long, strange, sometimes scary, artistic journey we set ourselves on, without you.  Every one of you.

So, give yourselves a pat on the back, and bask for a moment in the gratitude of authors (I naturally can’t promise you the gratitude of cats, though I’m sure they’d appreciate y’all too, if it happened to occur to them) — and enjoy the weekend.

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Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow

Y’all know what tomorrow is, right?

Right!

Tomorrow is Saturday, May 13, the day that Steve and I will be doing a meet ‘n greet, and signing books at Barnes and Noble, 9 Marketplace Drive, Augusta Maine, from 1 to 3 pm.  Stop by and say hi.  Here’s a link for further information.

Tomorrow is also the day that the next special goody for patrons only goes live on Patreon.  This week’s goody is Steve, reading his story “Charioteer.”  Here’s your link to the Lee and Miller Patreon page.

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Yesterday and (a few) tomorrows

So, yesterday, we goofed off, and went to see Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (2D).  I had a great time with it, though I didn’t come away with ribs sore from laughing, as reported by some.  Excellent gosh-wow space opera — and Rocket, of course.  Recommended.

I believe this completes my list of must-see movies for this year.

Local folks!  Steve and I will be signing books and talking (try to stop us!) at Barnes and Noble, 9 Marketplace Drive, Augusta, Maine, on SATURDAY, May 13, from 1-3 pm (that’s, like, the day after tomorrow!).  More information here.  (Yes, we know there’s an error in the names, but the rest of the info’s good.)

The B&N gig is our last pro appearance until we hit Pittsburgh for Confluence in August, which we’re really looking forward to.  Here’s your link to the Confluence website.

Those who have read The Gathering Edge — please consider leaving a review on Amazon, BN, Goodreads, &c.  We are once again trying to get one hundred! reviews on Amazon.com, and we’re already more than halfway there.  The more reviews a book has, the more attention Amazon pays to it in promotions and whatnot, so your help is really appreciated.

For those who have not heard the news, we have a new goal at Patreon, and! every other week (more or less), we’re posting a patron-exclusive audio file of Steve or me reading a story.  Steve kicked it off with “A Night at the Opera,” I read “Gift of Music,” and upcoming — this weekend! — will be Steve again, reading “Charioteer.”  Check it out, here.

. . .I think that catches us up. Thank you for all you do — and hope to see those who can make the journey at Barnes and Noble, on Saturday.

To get you warmed up, here’s a picture of Steve, assembling Photographic Evidence.

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