She is handsome, she is pretty

Oh, let’s see.

Woke up this morning with a stiff neck, which was later in the day  joined by aching wrists, aching head — pretty much aching everything — and that was the theme of the day, despite swallowing my Daily Limit of aspirin.

Fortunately, there was very little of a keyboard nature to do at work, so I got to rest my wrists, anyway, and passed the afternoon reading the New Yorker that had arrived on Saturday.  Of particular note is the article about S.A. Andree’s arctic expedition in 1897, undertaken via hot air balloon, as well as the article about chef in Turkey who is devoting his life to ferreting out the old, each-slightly-different regional recipes for standard foods that are being displaced by the Turkish equivalents of Starbucks.  I’m in the middle of reading the article about George Steinmetz — tomorrow!

Or not, depending on workload.

Today, I had thrust upon me by the story-brain, which was apparently avoiding the Ghost Ship scene it was supposed to be thinking about — the name and history of a goddess attached to Cheobaug, the Land of Wave and Water.  Mind you, I wasn’t going to be writing a story about Cheobaug, but does the story-brain care what I want?

This has been reported elsewhere, but bears repeating — an Inventory Transfer Order has been — repeat has been — issued, and the pre-ordered Saltations have begun their journey Maine-ward.  Best estimate as to when they might arrive is “next week sometime.”  Please be assured that we’ll tell you when they land.

…that’s pretty much all I’ve got.

Hope everyone has a pleasant and relaxing evening.

Five things make a post, Saturday a.m. edition

  1. Snowing here
  2. Printing out Ghost Ship again.  If this continues, it will break the record all-time high of Most Printed Out Manuscript in the Liaden Universe©, currently held by Balance of Trade.
  3. Catching up SRM end-of-year bookkeeping while the manuscript prints.
  4. Theo’s father is not the Delm of Korval.  No, really.
  5. Print job’s done.  Heading for the couch with it, and The Leewit, in hand.  The Coon Cat Collaborators have been hard at work this while, warming the room up for me.  See y’all later.

I know there’s a place you walk where love falls from the trees

I have discovered that this week has a Theme.  And if it has a Theme, you wonder, can a Plot be far behind?

Leaving that for the moment, the Theme is Identity, or, more plainly put, Who am I?

You’d think, at this stage in my life, that I’d know the answer to that question, but several events that week have thrown what I thought I knew into sharp relief.

Y’all know, for instance, that my day-job is as a secretary administrative professional.  It’s coming up hard on The Day when Hallmark decreed that all bosses must Publicly Appreciate their clerical assistants.  Says something about Hallmark that almost all bosses everywhere feel that they have to go along with this — or maybe they justly fear what might happen to their expense reimbursements if they don’t toe the line.

In any case, my employer as all others celebrates the Joyous Event.  Before the days of budget crunches, Admin would invite each of the about a dozen administrative secretaries in personal email to share lunch with the couple folks from Admin to whom we all in theory report.

Nowadays, instead of the served lunch, there’s a social hour, which is of course also very nice.  But with the change of event came a change of invitation.  Instead of a personal email, there’s now an anonymous shout-out in the general email list that goes out to the entire college community, stating that the event will take place and providing a link to an RSVP page for anyone who would like to attend.

The “invitation” went out that way last year, and it annoyed me so much that I sent regrets.

It went out exactly the same way this year and it annoyed me again, but! I told myself, learning cannot happen without teaching.   I therefore decided to teach, and wrote a polite email to the person doing the inviting explaining why the shout-out was rude and cheapened the day’s supposed message of We Know Who You Are and We SOOOO Appreciate What You Do, Even if We Forget to Say It Most of the Time.

Received back an answer explaining that “administrative professional” was not an easily defined area, and that some folks considered themselves of the administrative professional pool who had different job titles.  Therefore, the general open call, rather than the personal invitation — so that everyone who “self-identified” as an administrative professional could come to the party.

I thought about that, and decided that this was both fair and inclusive.  Then, I examined my conscience and found that, no, I  don‘t “self-identify” as an administrative professional* — and sent my regrets.

*The stuff I do at the day-job?  The keeping of lists and files and calenders,  and the making of order out of chaos?  That’s what I do, part of it.  It has to do with being Sharon Lee, or possibly with being a Virgo, more than it has to do with my self-identification as a secretary.

OK, so that.

To recap:  Who I am is not a secretary, though it is someone who values and has some skill in maintaining order.

I can live with this.

Now, last night.  We went to talk to a local writing class about freelance writing.  It happens that I do self-identify as a writer, very strongly.  Steve and I were talking about our collaborative process and how we role-play scenes, and take on the aspect of our characters.  The class listened patiently until we had finished, then one student raised her hand and said, “So, after you’re done with that part, then you go back to being who you really are, right?”

This is something of a head-scratcher.

Who I really am is a person who writes — fiction, non-fiction, blog entries. . .  I am a writer.  Being a writer isn’t a flat job; it has a lot of dimensions, including the above-mentioned role-playing, some performance art, and the facility to step away from yourself, there inside your head, and let the characters have center stage.

People who have called me on the phone when I was in the midst of writing inevitably ask, “Did I wake you up?” because I sound really dopey when I’m scrambling to reconnect to non-story-world.  The reason I often can’t remember what “I” wrote today is because I had stepped back and made room for the story.

So the question of who I really am, the person that I return to being after I’m done doing the most important thing that I do. . . Wow.  How do you even begin to start thinking about that, much less answering it?

. . .It occurs to me that we partly deal with this question during our sometimes Guest of Honor presentation, when we allow the audience to invoke and ask questions of our characters.  That gig started because almost every single person we meet (who has read our stuff, let me add) almost immediately says, “I love your characters.”  Well, sure they do, our characters are much more interesting than we are — they have adventures while we sit at home and type.

Maybe that’s it?  I’m a woman who keeps order and who types.  Or, I’m a woman who encompasses dozens and every single one of my characters and my stories is who I really am. . .

So — who are you, really?

Um, Wednesday?

Last night I came home and unshipped the vacuum cleaner for some Serious Rug Cleaning, after which I Fully Intended to Write.


I wound up taking the Dyson apart three times before I got all the clogged up stuff unclogged and the rugs passably clean, by which time Steve had come home, fried, I was a nervous wreck, and we looked at each other and said at exactly the same time, “Glass of wine and some Paladin?”

So, that’s what we did.

Today, the day-job was slightly less frenetic than it has been.  I think I’m getting to the end of the fiddly little bits, thank ghod.

Unfortunately, just when I was ready to label it a Good Enough Day, one of my bosses decided she wanted to host a reception and called to dictate the list of food and drink she wanted served.  I read the list back to her, got an ack,  reserved the room and made the arrangements with Catering.  After which, my boss revised the list, not once, but twice.

I think I’m gonna institute a minimum three-hour cooling off period for this particular boss before I do anything she tells me to do, so she has time to dither, second-guess, and renege, and I don’t have to make extra work for myself and other folks on campus.

Steve and I have a speaking gig tonight; leaving in about an hour.

I’m seeing some reports of Saltation sightings, deliveries, reads, and in one case at least, a re-read!  Wow, you guys are fast.

We haven’t yet received our shipment of pre-orders, but — soon.


A day of parts

Slept in, did some brainstorming with Steve, and worked some more on the Carousel Tides site, which  has had a very short character list and a sample chapter added to its charms, as well as a countdown-to-publication meter.  Feel free to go over and take a look, but do remember that it’s a work in progress.

I’m getting ready to knock off for the evening, feeling very much as if I’ve had a lovely, productive weekend, where I learned some new things and wasn’t rushed or harried, so — a success.

Tomorrow, so I hear, is Monday.  Too bad about that.

What I did on my day off

As threatened, I worked with my spiffy new layout program, which was remarkably soothing.  I’ve also made a start on a Carousel Tides website.  It’s not by any means done yet; I want to add a cast of characters, and some sample chapters and a post about why I wrote this book — to, yanno, defuse those folks who will ask Why On Earth I wasted my time writing urban fantasy.

If you have a couple moments, do you mind going over and taking a look at the place?  Let me know what you think, and what you might find useful in such a site.

Thanks — and I hope everyone had as relaxing a day as I did.

Cranky Writer is Cranky and! Saltation sightings?

. . .consider the above fair warning, and Do Not Try Me(tm).  Thank you.

As reported earlier in the week, B&N and Amazon are now shipping Saltation; both are accepting customer reviews, if you’re of a reviewing bent.

I’m now looking for reports of Saltation spotted in the wild, as well as any other Lee and Miller books that might be nearby.  As you’re out and about town, keep your eyes peeled, please!

No, we have not yet received our Big Shipment of Saltation subscriber copies.  We’ll tell you when.?

My plans for the day include cleaning out my closet and making up a box of stuff to go to Goodwill, brainstorming, and perhaps goofing off with my spiffy! new! layout program.

What’re you doing that’s fun?