And I’m not askin’ to be loved, or forgiven

Here we are in the aftermath of the snowstorm — Saturday, which has been sunny, warm and relatively still. The snow melted with quiet seemliness from the trees — we lost some low to the ground branches on a few of the pines, but otherwise no aboreal tragedies on Cat Farm lands. Phew.

Also? The electricity stayed on, which means no down wires. At least, not in this part of the Enchanted Forest. And phew, again.

Today saw the writing of checks — notably those owed to our Gracious Overlord the Internal Revenue Service. Ow, says the Tax Account. On the other hand, this is why we have a Tax Account — The writing of checks, I say, and the Reading of George.

I see by my records that I put George down on January 21st to work on Other Things. Nine weeks was rather longer than I wanted to be away; but! on the bright side — time does provide distance. In all, I like what’s here, though I have to straighten a minor time-kink — an easy fix, as such things go, consisting of moving chapter and adding two lines — and write a character out of a scene where they really shine because said character can’t — really just can’t — be in two places at the same time.

My intentions for tomorrow are to stick with George, go through and tidy up the minor manuscript housekeeping, move the chapter, add the lines and rewrite that scene. Then, I should be back on track to start laying down new material, which is something I’m very much looking forward to doing.

Of course, the SRM fiscal year just ended — or started, if you’re of an optimistic turn of mind — and the end of year totals aren’t going to tot up themselves. On the other hand, the books are up-to-date, so I can total a few columns every day for a week, as a warm-up exercise. That’s the ticket.

For those playing along at home — the pledge period for signed copies of Ghost Ship has of course closed, and The Number has been forwarded to Mr. Blyly at Uncle Hugo’s.

You’ll recall that we were initially aiming to gather pledges for 100 books. I’m pleased to say that, when the dust settled, we had received pledges for 525 books.

You guys? Rock.

The next step is pre-order. As soon as Mr. Blyly completes the necessary negotiations with Baen and provides us with the URL for the pre-order website, we will do our part by shouting it from the rooftops.

Watch, as they say, the skies.

What I’m reading

In another venue, I mentioned that, thanks to Project Gutenberg, I am at the moment reading Treasure Island.

For the first time.

And loving it.

…which is something of a surprise.

See, I downloaded Treasure Island because I figured it would be an easy book to put down. Which is to say, the perfect book to be “reading” while I’m actually supposed to be writing.

I had a reason for this opinion.

Sometime back pre-teen, I was given a copy of Treasure Island in a box-full of books handed down from my cousin, Davey Crockett (Well. From my cousin David. Who dressed like Davey Crockett whenever possible and once even managed to wear a coonskin cap and Indian moccasins into church.). Besides Treasure Island, there was Kim and Kidnapped and Robinson Crusoe and The Prince and the Pauper, Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, The Last of the Mohicans, and who knows what all else.

I was quite a reader as a kid, and I dove right in. Tom Sawyer was…ok, and I had similar feelings for Huck Finn. The Last of the Mohicans didn’t make much sense, but I read it anyway.

Then, I picked up Treasure Island — and bounced.

Hard.

I tried to keep going, but my reading soul rebelled. I put Treasure Island aside for later and dove back into the box.

And in quick succession bounced equally hard off of Robinson Crusoe, Kim, and Kidnapped.

Happily for me, The Prince and the Pauper was still in the box waiting to be discovered, like Hope. That book, I read until I could recite whole passages. Until the binding broke and I nagged my grandmother to glue it back together for me. I read it more often than I read Jane Eyre, another favorite of about that time, along with The Three Musketeers and The Count of Monte Cristo.

I did, finally, many, many years later read Robinson Crusoe. If it hadn’t been required for a class, I wouldn’t have finished it that time, either. Silly sort of book. And that experience confirmed me in my opinion of Kim and Kidnapped, by association. And Treasure Island, too.

Reading it now, I can’t spot the reason why I bounced so hard. It gets on its bike from the very first word and just keeps riding. There are some words that I certainly wouldn’t have known, but there were certainly strange and unknown words in The Prince and the Pauper, so that wasn’t the problem. It may simply have been that I found the narrator’s voice dull, or — well, who knows, at this point.

But, I wonder, you know, if I ought to go on over to Project Gutenberg and download, oh — Kim, and maybe Kidnapped, too.

The Ultimate

Reminder, that is.

Today, which is in the Northern Hemisphere, April 1, colloquially designated April Fools/All Fools Day, at midnight Eastern Daylight Time, the windows for pledges to purchase one or more signed first-run hardcovers of Ghost Ship, by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, which is scheduled to be released by Baen Books in early August, will close.

I append to this reminder the directions for making a pledge. Following the directions counts. Shout-outs and emails (panicked or otherwise) to addresses other than those listed in the directions will not be included in the final count. Yes, it’s hard. That’s life.

Just a word about what comes after the pledge period closes. We will tomorrow pass The Number of Pledges to Mr. Blyly at Uncle Hugo’s Science Fiction Bookstore in Minneapolis. Mr. Blyly will enter into negotiations with Baen Books and place an order. After that — we don’t know when — we — that’s Steve and Sharon — will receive a Big Pile of pages of sign. We will do our thing and return the pages, which will be bound into the books pre-ordered by Mr. Blyly.

Somewhat before the above — we don’t know exactly when — Mr. Blyly will put up an ordering page so that you may actually place an order for your book(s). When that page goes up, we will shout its URL from the rooftops. Watch this space. Watch your email for another InfoDumpling. Watch Facebook, Twitter and LJ.

And, now, the directions:

*If you will buy a signed copy of GHOST SHIP by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (no fibbing, now), write to ghost_shipATkorvalDOTcom and *say so* BEFORE APRIL 1, 2011

*If you have questions about this Crazy Idea, write to fledglingATkorvalDOTcom

*This is a preliminary count only. Do not sent shipping info to this address. See next point.

*Once we have a count, and assuming that count equals or exceeds 100 books, Uncle Hugo’s will set up a pre-order webpage. We will publish the URL of this webpage in all venues available to us, just like we’ve posted this InfoDumpling. You will have to go to this page and ACTUALLY ORDER your book(s). Your credit card will not be charged until your book has actually shipped.

*If the initial promise does not meet the 100 book mark, there will be no signed copies available.

*Signed copies of GHOST SHIP will not (that’s NOT) be available directly from Lee and Miller.
Thank you for your patience and support.

 

PSA: Signed Copies of Ghost Ship

This is your penultimate — or, if I forget to do another one between Now and Then, your ultimate — reminder that April 1,this Friday, at midnight Eastern Daylight Time, we will stop accepting pledges for signed copies of Ghost Ship. On Saturday we will transmit The Number to Mr. Blyly at Uncle Hugo’s Science Fiction Bookstore in Minneapolis and he can make the necessary arrangements with Baen Books.

If you have been meaning to bespeak a signed copy of Ghost Ship, but haven’t yet gotten around to it yet — now is the hour. For the curious, we have at this moment, pledges for 460 books.

Follows the directions for making a pledge that will be counted. Note that your ability to follow directions will be graded. Shout-outs in the comments and personal emails to an address not listed below will not be counted in the final pledge number that we send to Uncle Hugos. Only pledges sent to the pledge address, below, will be counted.

OK, here’re those instructions:

*If you will buy a signed copy of GHOST SHIP by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (no fibbing, now), write to ghost_shipATkorvalDOTcom and *say so* BEFORE APRIL 1, 2011

*If you have questions about this Crazy Idea, write to fledglingATkorvalDOTcom

*This is a preliminary count only. Do not sent shipping info to this address. See next point.

*Once we have a count, and assuming that count equals or exceeds 100 books, Uncle Hugo’s will set up a pre-order webpage. We will publish the URL of this webpage in all venues available to us, just like we’ve posted this InfoDumpling. You will have to go to this page and ACTUALLY ORDER your book(s). Your credit card will not be charged until your book has actually shipped.

*If the initial promise does not meet the 100 book mark, there will be no signed copies available.

*Signed copies of GHOST SHIP will not (that’s NOT) be available directly from Lee and Miller.

Thank you all for your enthusiasm for, interest in, and support of our work over the years.

Two Reminders

Reminder the First: There is still time to pledge for a signed first edition hardcover of Ghost Ship by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, the sequel to both I Dare and Saltation, to be published by Baen Books in August of This! Very! Year! Instructions are here. Posting “I Want One” in comments is not a pledge. We’re writers and we’re being asked to count. That means we need to have all of the things we’re counting in one place. So! Follow the directions please. As of this writing, we have approximately 425 books pledged, and the sky’s the limit, so if you want one, sing out!

Reminder the Second: There’s still time to vote in the Locus Poll for Best Works of science fiction and fantasy of 2010. This is a readers’ poll; anyone may vote until closing on April 15. If you don’t find the work(s) you most favor in the drop-down menus, spaces have thoughtfully been provided for write-in votes. You will be asked for your gender — please be truthful. And please — only vote once.

Five Things Make a Post, Tuesday Edition

1. Spent last night in the Sleep Lab, getting fitted for a mask and then being experimented upon to find the optimum flow of air to keep the passages open. Not as easy as I expected. My body considers forced air an intruder at best; an enemy to be actively beat off at worst. Also, panic attacks in the Sleep Lab? Not recommended.

2. It snowed last night. And today.

3. The mass market edition of Mouse and Dragon has been added to the Big Pile of Lee and Miller books coming out this year — October.

4. The proofs for the mass market edition of Saltation have landed.

5. But before I do them, I do the last pass through “Intelligent Design,” which has only now come back to me from Steve.

This is where I came in, sorta

So everybody knows the story, how ‘way back in twenty-aught-oh-six our publisher of dern near a decade stopped paying us and we were Forced to Improvise like mad, improvisational things. It is well here to pause and recall that writers are people who live by their wits. For good or ill.

So, the combined wits of Steve and myself revealed that Maine gets damned cold in the winter and that we would object to living under a bridge in Maine winter conditions almost as strenuously as the cats would object to the loss of their floofy blankets and penthouse catboxes. This meant that we needed — anyone?

Right.

We needed A Plan.

In fact, we needed A Two-Pronged Plan, and Four would be better.

The prongs we came up with were: (1) Write a Liaden story and give it away on the web for free, while asking those who had a little change jingling in their pockets to donate, and (2) Get a day-job to keep the cash flowing and the health insurance covered.

That met the minimum, Prong-wise, and so we started.

A couple months into 2007, Madame the Agent produced Prong the Third — a contract for two dark fantasy novels, Duainfeyand its sequel, Longeye, to be written on really short deadline.

Nothing we had discussed between us said that the Plan had to be easy, and, we knew that, if we were going to rescue our careers as writers, we had to start building a new backlist right now, so we took the contract, and we wrote the books, which made three in 2007 — insanely quick for us.

Baen did its part by editing, promoting, publishing — all those things that publishers do, and in September 2008 Duainfey hit bookstores in hardcover, followed by Longeye, in April 2009.

The mass market edition of Duainfeywas published in February 2009, and today I see that Amazon is shipping the mass market of Longeye.

And there we are. This is the backlist that we started growing anew, right now in 2007.

Raises a glass to Becca and to Meripen Longeye.

Fair seeing, the both of you.

The code at Continental casinos is notoriously lax, sir

Yes, I’m reading the Chronicles of Wooster. Rereading, actually, thanks to Project Gutenberg. I first read them out of the public library when I was no doubt “too young” to do so. However, I was more than tall enough to get them down from the shelves, I could fit my entire given name, in cursive, on a library card, and my mother was on record with the librarian as stating that she didn’t give a damn’ what books the kid checked out, as long as she didn’t incur any late fees.

One of those rare and blessed cases in which everyone wins.

So, anyway, on the Nook — hight Paladin, which I think I forgot to report; who can pin down the reference for that? — is Right Ho, Jeeves, which I’m reading now (and from which I gain the Interesting Information that Bertie’s school friend Sipperly had at one time been trying to get himself engaged to Elizabeth Moon), and, in reserve, a collection of short stories, My Man Jeeves. I will, as time permits, peruse the lists to see if any more of the novels have been converted; I can see where they’re going to come in Very Handy in the coming months.

I think I may have also forgotten to report that I got my hair cut at the local posh salon, mostly to trim off the more egregious points and angles, and get the bangs out of the eyes so I’m not a danger on the roads. While I was there, I had a bottle of purple ink up-ended over my head. I’m not entirely purple, which I think would be a bit much, but I do have definite purple stripes. Which pleases me.

The young woman who took me in hand at the salon — and who was enthusiastically in favor of the purple — interestingly said, “Your haircut is too simple for who you are,” which may be so, but, given my Utter Lack of Talent in the fixing of my own hair may also be wise. Anyhow, interesting, as was the venue — a big open room with large windows and skylights, a few artfully worn oriental carpets scattered about a hardwood floor. Full length mirrors enclosed in wide floral antiqued frames, leaning casually against the wall. It looked nice, but was noisy as heck. They need draperies, or pennants or something to muffle the racket of hairdryers and voices.

In other Interesting News, Steve lets me know that we have this moment in time 333 pledges for signed copies of Ghost Ship. This means we have surpassed the lower limit, and that there Will Be Signed Books. As there is no upper limit, we are continuing to take pledges (not orders — orders come later; we’ll tell you when) until April 1. At that time, we will send The Number to Uncle Hugo’s. Uncle Hugo’s will speak with Baen and a print-run for signed books will be set.

People have asked when Ghost Ship will be published — that would be August first-ish.

People have asked what Ghost Ship is about — it is the sequel to I Dare in the Agent of Change Sequence and the sequel to Saltation in the Theo Waitley Sequence.

People have worried that non-US residents will not be able to order books. Non-US residents may of course order books, when the time comes to order. Uncle Hugo’s ships worldwide. When the order webpage goes live, it will have a postage component. I cannot tell you what the postage will be at this time (and neither can Uncle Hugo’s) because. . .wait for it. . .Ghost Ship hasn’t been printed yet and therefore no one knows how much it weighs.

If you’re coming late to the party, and want to pledge for a first-run hardcover copy of Ghost Ship signed by both authors, instructions for doing so are here

And, now, “Intelligent Design” having passed out of my hands and into Steve’s, it’s time for me to do some chores.

It’s a marvelous night for a moondance

This weekend has got to be a working weekend. But I’m telling you — the pull of that triple-full-moon? Attracts the Rolanni every bit as much as the tides.

At the moment, up here in the mid-country, we have wind — gusts up to 53 miles per hour. That’s some Serious dust in the air. Not to mention the widow-makers that are getting shaken out of the trees. Oh, look, the wind is combing the forest’s hair…

For the coming week — I have a rematch scheduled at the sleep lab on Monday night, this time to fit a mask and ascertain the proper and necessary air pressure. What fun. That means I’ll be late to work on Tuesday, but, happily, Spring Break starts tomorrow. Not, yanno, that I get time off, but the students will be off-campus, and the faculty will scatter like mice. Good time to catch up the work that I had to let slide through at the beginning of the semester.

Hmmm. I wonder if there’s enough time to take a nap before bedtime…