In which the day off is worth the price

Yesterday, we finally, finally achieved the correct alignment of Good Weather, Clear Calendar, and Good Health, so Steve and I lit out for the coast in the still-new Subaru.

It was snowing very lightly as we headed down Route 201 toward Augusta, and we had Classic Rewind cranked on Sirius, which turned out to be brilliant, as we were able to sing along, loudly, with Blue Oyster Cult through “Godzilla.”

In Augusta, we stopped to take on breakfast the IHOP, Which. Was. Packed.  I can testify that the German lemon crepes are to die for, in case, yanno, you’re near an IHOP and in the mood for German lemon crepes.

After breakfast, we motored across the street to the BN, signed books and got the contact information for the new Events Manager (note to self: get card out of wallet).  Then, we hit the road in earnest, heading straight for Belfast.  It was, I will repeat, a fine day, partly cloudy, temps a thread about 40F/4C, but very windy on the water, even the nice enclosed water of Belfast Bay.  I stood out and breathed in as much salt air as I could before the wind pushed me back into the car, and off we went down Route 1 through Lincolnville, and Rockport, and Camden, and Rockland, Damariscotta, Nobleboro, Waldoboro. . .

In Waldoboro, we stopped at Spacestation Circle K to use the services, and take on coffee.  While we were there a young man came in, looked around and said to the clerk behind the counter, jerking his thumb over his shoulder, “Are they are the gloves you have?”

The clerk gave him a Look, and said, “Clamming gloves over there.”  and pointed with her chin.

You know you live in Maine, I guess, when the gas station on the main road carries clamming gloves.

So, anyway, we turned off Route 1 to 27 and headed back to Augusta eventually, and as Fate would Have It, wound up at the IHOP again for a late lunch.  (I had the Senior Tilapia-on-a-bed-of-spinach-with-a-stoopy-white-bread-garlic-slice.  It was good.  Except for the white bread part, which could’ve used more garlic.)

We then wended our way home via Sidney and Oakland, stopping once more to take on pizza for dinner.  I read for a couple hours while Steve puttered and it was very nice and relaxing, and I. Regret. Nothing.  Nothing.

Today, of course, there’s the rest of the laundry to finish, the dishes to wash, the cat bowl to clean, vacuuming to be done, and the prologue of Fifth of Five to write.

I suppose, therefore, that I’d better get busy.

Hope your weekend is going well.

Here’s your link to “Godzilla,” Blue Oyster Cult.  Sing LOUD.

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In Which the Pace Picks Up

Alert readers will recall that Steve and I turned Neogenesis in to Madame the Publisher on January 28, thereby entering that magical and too-fleeting time known as, I Never Have to Write Again.

During that time, we went to Minneapolis as Writer Guests of Honor at MarsCon 2017, turned “Cutting Corners” in to Baen.com; reworked “Dawn’s Early Light,” for All Hail Our Robot Conquerors!; fixed up an outtake from Neogenesis into short story “Street Cred” (now available as eChapbook Change Management: Adventures in the Liaden Universe® Number 23).  We also sold a reprint story, and have a big, crunchy interview to finish this week. I want to write one more short, for eChapbook Number 24, but I can’t quite get a handle on it, and the window is getting narrower, as I start laying the groundwork (which involves a lot of staring at nothing, and flipping through the notes in the story file) for Fifth of Five.

In addition to Not Ever Writing Again, Life has continued to happen, including doctor appointments, and the coming home to roost of the bills from Steve’s Marvelous Medical Adventure back in November. Bread has been baked, laundry washed, worn, and washed again; cats have been brushed; clocks — most notably including the clock in the car, and the clock on the coffeemaker — have been set one hour ahead.

We viewed two movies — our first on the new television set — “Arrival,” and “The Fifth Element.”  I find myself a little. . .put off by the picture, which lacks what I think of as “movie texture,”  and feels very much like “soap opera texture.”  Well.  I guess I’ll get used to it.

Today. . .today, includes some Life:  grocery shopping; a go at the gym, now that the knee’s been cleared; and back home to do some laundry, which is getting done as can be this week; and getting down with the big, crunchy interview.

So!  That’s what’s been going on, here.  How’s by you?

This is what my office looked like in the aftermath of Neogenesis.

 

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The way life should be

Yesterday, we had precipitation.  There was some confusion amongst the Weatherbeans in their lofty towers of ice and sunshine regarding the form in which the precipitation would finally manifest.  The Weather Wheel spun from snow, to sleet, to freezing rain, ice pellets, and the ever-popular wintry mix, until the Weatherbeans in their wise frustration threw their hands in the air and said, “It is on the back of the wind.”

And so it was.

We here at the Cat Farm were blessed with snow.  Quite a lot of snow, very wet and heavy, since the temperatures never really got much below 31F/0C.  I had tried to do the Wise Thing and perform preliminary snow removal yesterday evening, before the skylight absolutely went.  This resulted in me sliding on the ice beneath the snow and falling flat on my face.  I therefore rethought the situation, with Steve’s pointed input, and decided to do snow removal this morning, when there was more traction between boot soles and ice.

Today, it’s quite pretty out, with sticky snow stuck to all the tree branches and Everything Else, and the sun beaming down from a blue and cloudless sky.

I have done two rounds of snow relocation, in prep for the plowguy.  The first round was Before Coffee, to clear the steps and make a path in the direction of the cars.  I came in to warm up — actually, to cool down; it gets hot when you shovel snow under the smiling sun — had a cup of chocolate coffee that Steve had ready for me, and an oatmeal cookie.

Round Two saw the cars cleared, for values of clear meaning that the driver can see out the front and back windows, after which I had Second Breakfast: coffee, cottage cheese, and leftover stuffing.  The breakfast of champions.

We are now on Plowguy Watch, and my jeans are in the dryer.

For those who may have never done snow relocation on a bright and sunny day in Maine, a few notes.

The snow was so white and reflective under the sun that the only way I could find and follow the paths I had made was to look for the blue inside the outline of my footprints.  I have a great fondness for blue snow, which I don’t think I ever saw before we came to Maine.

Also, the trees are, as stated above, bearing a significant burden of snow on each and all of their branches.  Yes, the smiling sun and the playful breeze are assisting in the removal of this burden, but it’s a tricky process.

While I was outside on Round Two, the neighbor across the road lost a branch from the tree closest to his house.  I heard a crrraaackkk and looked up in time to see the branch tumbling down in slo-mo, and a cloud of snow-dust dancing and twinkling against the perfect blue sky.

This is the time when we are at risk for losing power, because the lines are every bit as coated as the trees, and subject to the same forces.  And once again, we are grateful for the generator.

For the moment, my snow worship is done.  Sprite is already asleep in her basket on my desk, and I guess I’ll take her hint and get to work.

Everybody have a safe, pleasant day.

 

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Take me down to Paradise City. . .

Have I mentioned here that I Had A Better Idea re: Neogenesis?

Well, I did.  And for a brief, halcyon moment, I was relieved, because it only meant I would have to add words! (yay! adding words!), and maybe shift a scene from Here to There.

This is how writers fool themselves into doing crazy difficult things, like, oh, writing novels.  They say to themselves, “Oh, it won’t be so bad!  In fact, it’ll be fun!  And know That Scene you’ve been wanting to write?  It’ll fit inside of this project just as slick as…”

You get the idea.  But what we say to convince ourselves to do these crazy things?  That’s not the worst part.

The worst part is that we believe it!  Over and over and over again.  And we never, ever learn.

Which brings us back to Neogenesis: the Adding of One Scene and the Moving of Another.

If I had been honest with myself, I would have said something like, “This is going to be a massive pain in the hat; you’re going to have to take the book apart by narrative lines, reshuffle the scenes so that the action in That Line doesn’t all happen on Tuesday afternoon, which is another thing you’d think I’d learn, but. . .no — and also! write bridge scenes so that the new order will Make Sense.

So, that’s what I’ve been doing.  With luck and a tailwind, I’ll finish that nonsense tonight, and get with advancing the storylines tomorrow.

In other news. . .Since both WorldCon and NASFiC are out of our reach next year, being held respectively in Finland and Puerto Rico — and! since Steve and I will be Guests of Honor at Confluence, in Pittsburgh in August, and! since my 65th birthday is in September (hey, proximity is where you declare it), I have formed a Plan, which is that we will visit Niagara Falls for one of those whatchamacallits — vacations — on our way home (geography being also subject to declaration).

Now, because we take so few vacations, and mostly travel when there’s a scifi convention in it for us, I’m asking you world travelers — yes, you! — for suggestions on what (besides the Falls, natch) we should absolutely not miss doing in Niagara Falls.  Best place to stay, best restaurants, tourist traps, walks, excursions — the sky’s the limit (well, not literally, because I don’t do airplanes, though I might do a hot air balloon).

Thanks very much for your consideration and help, and now?

I gotta go build some more bridges.

mozart-june-25-2012Today’s blog post brought to you by Guns ‘N Roses, provided courtesy of the gym, which apparently has located the “All 1980s MTV All The Time” station on their satellite service.

“Paradise City” — here’s your link.

 

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Sweet

So, y’all are probably anxious for news of the raisin bread.

The bread came out pretty well, though, next time I’m going to put in more raisins.  The recipe I had was light on raisins, and couldn’t seem to be able to decide if it wanted to be cinnamon swirl or raisin bread.  Because the recipe made two loaves, I did the cinnamon filling for one, and just baked the other free-form, so to speak.  Both sorts baked and tasted just fine, except, like I said, they needed more raisins.

Where it went off the rails was at the icing stage.  The recipe for the icing told me to use two cups of confectioner’s sugar, one teaspoon of vanilla extract, and “enough milk to make a thick paste.”  I did not understand this to mean, “start with a half-teaspoon of milk, and if that’s not enough, go for another half-teaspoon,” so what I got was sugar glaze.  Which is fine.  But next time I’ll know.

Many thanks to everyone who sent me a recipe, or a link to a recipe, for smearcase!  I’ll be trying that some while down the road.

In other news, a kind friend gave me a Scott eVest jacket for a belated birthday present.  I’m still studying on how it works, but, wow, isn’t it just like a pilot’s jacket, with public pockets, and hidden pockets, and a special place for your license, and a pocket that holds a water bottle?  I’m impressed; and I’m going to get a lot of use out it, too.

Work on Book the Next goes forth, for those of you who are of a nervous disposition.  Also coon cats are being brushed and cuddled, though not as often as they would like.  Last night, the low temperature here at the Confusion Factory was 33F/0C, and the high temp today is set to top out at 61F/16C.

And that?  Catches us up.

Hope everybody has a lovely weekend.

# # #

“Glorious its deeds,” Nelirikk added.

road-block-sept-22-2016

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I wish I had a chance here holding your hand

So, today, I took all of our titles on Smashwords off-sale.  They say it will take between one and three weeks for their various channels to catch up with this action.  In the meantime, all Lee-and-Miller, and Lee, self-pubbed titles remain available from BN and Amazon.

In the spirit of progress, I have converted three ebooks, so they’ll be ready to go up into the sales channels through Draft2Digital when Time has Become.

Other than that, I went to the gym, and the grocery store, and was grumpy because outstanding checks have yet to arrive.  Yes, I know you’re tired of hearing about outstanding checks not arriving.  I am, too.

Today, it was hot; tomorrow is going to be hot, too, which will be good for the beach, but perhaps not for the residents of the Cat Farm, who were rather melty today, even with the windows open and a nice breeze running through.  Tomorrow, we may have to condition the air.  *sigh*

And! Today’s Off the Wall Question is:  Has anyone who reads here been to a performance by Hatsune Miku?  I’d like to hear about your experience and impressions.

Edited to Add:  I am remiss!  As of right now, Alliance of Equals has 98 reader reviews on Amazon!  Only 102 more to reach our goal of 200!  Thanks to everyone who has taken the time, and expended the energy!

. . .I fear that’s all I have today.

Hope y’all are having positively brilliant days, wherever you are.Belle and Trooper July 14 2016Today’s blog post is brought to you by Abney Park, “Breathe.”  Here’s your link.

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Where the wind’s like a whetted knife

So, yesterday, Steve and I drove down to Old Orchard Beach, and took a walk through the shallows before the ozone levels (seen as a pink haze prowling in from beyond Wood Island Light, eating the shoreline as it came) got too high.  The beach was super crowded with people having a good time, which was nice to see. Also, I got sunburned, so it was all good.

In the way of such things, once we were out of the house, we had very little inclination to speed back to the house, so we turned left instead of right, taking Routes 9 and 1 down to Wells, which was likewise crowded, and eventually turned right on a road wending northward.  We did stop at Borealis Breads in Wells to take on, well — bread; and at the Bull and Claw to partake of really excellent fish ‘n chips, before getting serious about the trip back home.

While we were at the ocean, a Severe Thunderstorm Watch came across the phones (we live in Maine; we have Weather here, not climate, so you’ve gotta kind of keep an eye on it).  We debated staying down ocean-side a few hours longer to watch the storm in, but eventually decided against, and continued the northward journey.

One of the things that struck me forcibly downcoast was the number of businesses advertising for help.  Not just seasonal businesses — though there were plenty of them needing help — but grocery stores, and pharmacies, hardware stores, year-round bakeries, and such.  It’s tempting to move south, just for the work.  Mind you, none of those jobs would cover the rent in-or-near a resort town, and you’d spend more in gas than the job’s worth, if you came in from any distance.

Ah, well.  Guess I’ll stay right here.

We arrived home, alert to the need to leap up at any moment to Batten the Hatches — the Waterville-Winslow megapolis also being on the watch for Severe Thunderstorms, and possible tornadoes (!)  We heard thunder; we saw (a lot) of lightning; the wind came up in a satisfactory manner, but —

The storm passed us by.  A glance at the interactive weather map showed that it had dumped rain half-a-mile away, but our house had, like, a little weather-repellent dome over it, and we were dry.

Half-an-hour later another cell passed over, announcing its presence by striking and exploding a tree somewhere in the Very Near Vicinity of the Cat Farm.  The wind screamed, rain came down in sheets. . .

Five minutes later, it was all done, gone, and on its way to Skowhegan, where it apparently did wreak some mischief.  And, yes, there was at least one tornado briefly on the ground, in Caribou, ‘way up in The County.

Today, it is much cooler, and the air is clean.  We’re enjoying it while we can.  Tomorrow, they same, Summer’s Back.

# # #

To the Very Best of My Knowledge, Sleeping with the Enemy, Adventures in the Liaden Universe Number 22, has now been published to all of the usual subjects, including BN, Kobo, the iStore, and Amazon.

No, I am afraid we will not be producing a paper chapbook, like in the “old days.”  These days are demonstrably, and perhaps sadly, not the “old days;” postage rates have gone crazy, our very reliable printer of many years has retired, and his son has merged the business with another out of Portland, and closed the shop up here.  Also, Steve is not able anymore to do the physical lifting and schlepping and whatnot, and I never could.  So — no paper edition.  Possibly, the stories in Sleeping will be collected in a Liaden Constellation sometime in the next couple years.

Thank you for your understanding.

# # #

As I type, Alliance of Equals rejoices in 90! reader reviews on Amazon.  That’s. . .terrific.  Only 110 more to reach our 200-review milestone.  You guys rock.

# # #

I don’t know if I reported here that, earlier in the season, the Cat Garden was the victim of an error produced by one of our lawn guy’s guys.  The error took out one whole corner of flowers, with the exception of some coneflowers, which have valiantly bloomed over the killing field in memory of better days.  I was out inspecting just a little while ago and, honestly?  It looks like next year — or the year after, at most — the whole garden will be taken over by the dragon flowers (snapdragons to you folks down south).

Which is good.  Hummingbirds and butterflies both like the dragon flowers, though they bloom late in the season, rather than early.  So, if the garden is not now According to Plan, at least it is staying true to its raison de’etre.

Though I do kinda miss the yarrow and (most of) the coneflowers.

Well.  I think that catches us all up.

Everybody stay cool.

Today’s blog title is courtesy of John Masefield, “Sea Fever,” known to children everywhere as, “I must go down to the sea again.”  Here’s your link.

 

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Why the sea is boiling hot, and whether pigs have wings

Yesterday, the weather was. . .amazingly beautiful, and, as my right hand was more or less useless (I had a migraine in my wrist; my fingers were stiff — but not to worry, it’s all good now), and otherwise my day would have consisted of Sulking Around the House, I asked Steve to take me for a ride.  Which he willingly did.

Realizing that it was, after all, the Saturday of a three-day weekend, and a particularly raucous three-day-weekend at that, we drove in the direction opposite the ocean, toward Fairfield, Skowhegan by way of the Eaton Mountain Road, which I, personally, haven’t been on since we moved away from Skowhegan, and boy, couldn’t you see just forever.  Athens, Canaan, the Ridge Road to Madison to look at the mountains (stop laughing; we call them mountains) Anson, Starks (where Steve stopped to take a picture of Chicken Street for some friends), Industry, Farmington, Farmington Falls, New Sharon, Mercer, Norridgewock, back to Skowhegan, and thence home.  Pretty day, pretty ride with windows down and the wind in our hair.   Aaaaah.

Access was sort-of yesterday’s theme.  Early in the day, my Plan had been to re-read Swordspoint, by Ellen Kushner (which, if you haven’t read it, go now and do so.  Yes, now.  I’ll be here when you get back), and while you’re at it, get The Privilege of the Sword, same author.  There’s a third to make the set — The Fall of Kings, which I haven’t read, myself — but I’m getting ahead of my story.

So, the Plan — to re-read Swordspoint, followed by Privilege, as I realized that I’d never read them back-to-back, though I’ve read each many times — and I really needed to read something that was well-written, well-plotted, and characterized to an inch.

I therefore dug out my 1989 Tor paperback of Swordspoint, opened it up. . .

. . .and couldn’t read the type.  No, not even with my glasses off, my preferred mode of reading, since I’ve been nearsighted all my life.

That was a shock, to say the least.  Never mind that my copy is over-inked 8-pt type on yellowing paperback paper.  I’d read this damn’ book — this exact damn’ book. . .often.

But apparently, I wasn’t going to read it again.

Well, long story short, I had credit at BN, and was very soon in possession of electronic copies of Swordspoint, Privilege, and Fall, which simultaneously killed the credit, and made me very happy.

My search for a device to help me turn pages has so far not been as successful as locating readable copies of favorite books.  (I have lots of paper logs to flip through at the volunteer gig, and my fingers aren’t so fine-tuned anymore, so it sometimes takes me A While, and people are in a hurry, and well…)  I was thinking on the order of a stick (as in, Give A Monkey A…) with a slightly grabby tip, but I’m not finding anything like, so I may have hallucinated this particular  device.  However!  Rubber fingers still exist and will do the job just fine.  (Note to self:  buy rubber fingers next time at Staples.)

The search for the hallucinated device, however, did turn up this lovely article about the difference between paper knives and letter openers.

Because — hands, headache, see above — I did very little writing last night, though I did sit with the manuscript for an hour, and layered in some details in the scene I wrote on Friday.

Today, We Do Plotting (yes,  yes, it is About Time; do I tell you how to write?), around the laundry (Steve has already seen to cleaning the rugs).  It’s another gorgeous day, so I will conspire with Trooper to sit in a open window, and we will take in the sun and the breeze while Work goes forth.

We hear, by the way, Through the Grapevine, that Amazon is shipping Alliance of Equals, as of yesterday. Also, several BNs across the country have the book available for in-store pickup.

Today’s breakfast was leftover risotto-and-carrots; lunch will be quiche and salad.  Dinner — prolly a late-night sammich.  Yes, it’s Wild and Crazy; but it’s July 4th, all weekend long!  If you can’t cut loose and boogie now, when can you?

I hope everyone’s having a delightful weekend, with or without a holiday.

#
Progress on Book the Next
38,671/100,000 OR 38.7% complete

“That,” he said austerely, “is between brothers.”

Midday at the Oasis Trooper May 23 2016

Today’s blog title is brought to you by Lewis Carroll, “The Walrus and the Carpenter.”  Here’s your link.

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In which the writers goof off

So, yesterday. . .was too nice a day to stay inside and adult, so we decided to play hookey.  It was, mind you, a brisk and breezy day, with Interesting Clouds against an azure sky.  It was, in fact, much too breezy to go to the ocean and be in any way comfortable, so we cleverly went to Greenville.

Which is situated on the banks of an inland sea known as Moosehead Lake.

Duh.

It was 60F/16C when we left home, with a pleasant breeze, the aforementioned Interesting, and blue! sky.

At Greenville, it was 46F/8C with a strong breeze whipping directly off the water and into your face — yeah, yours, too.

Also?  The town was, for our intent, at least, Not Open.  Tomorrow, said the guy at the outfitter/internet cafe we stopped at, hoping for, yanno, a cafe — tomorrow, the place would be hoppin’.  Well, one hopes so, for the sake of the town.

For our ownselves, We’d missed Auntie M’s, where we had more-or-less planned to lunch, by 20 minutes, the shoreside restaurant had, by the looks of it burned out over the winter, we did not wish to feast upon Chester-fried chicken in the car, so lunch was tuna salad in those weird little squishy white-bread finger rolls that Mainers do so love out of the Indian Hill Hannaford, which, alone in all of Greenville, was doing a booming business.

Allow me just to say here that fleece is a marvelous invention, and I don’t know what we ever did without it.

We decided against shopping at the Indian Hill Trading post, adjacent to the Hannaford, and, after our sandwiches were done, motored on home through Shirley, and Monson, and Guilford, and all, returning at last to the Metropolis of Waterville, where we took on groceries and stopped at the post office.

Speaking of the post office!  If Candace reads here (and evidence indicates that she must), In the Teeth of Evidence, and Hangman’s Holiday arrived yesterday. Thank you very much.

We finished up the day of non-adulting by (me) reading for a couple hours, and (Steve) watching the ball game on the computer, after which we dined on grilled cheese and minute steak sandwiches, and read Chapter 12 of Visitor to each other (Chapter 12’s kinda long, so I read +/- half and Steve read the rest).

This morning, we went to gym, and I made pork-and-rice casserole for lunch, improvising! cream-of-something soup, of which we had none, by stirring some warm broth into about a cup of sour cream and pouring that over the pork chops. Worked fine.

Now, it’s time to get to work, by which I mean getting Hazenthull into trouble.  When I mentioned to Steve that this was today’s goal, he said, “Well, that should be easy,” so, yanno, time to find out if it is.

Hope everyone is having a lovely Friday and that there’s a day — or at least an hour or two — of not-adulting scheduled for the coming weekend.

Sprite Jun 10 16

 

 

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Strap them kids in, give ’em a little bit of vodka in a cherry coke

Things I learned today.

Having your tits smashed in a vise hurts.  Oh, wait.  I knew that.

There is a thing called “pink silver.”  Pink silver is (to my eye anyway) brown.  A lot like Joyita’s rings, in fact.  *pout* And here I thought we’d made that up.

That there are things called “worry rings,” and I bought one.  No, I don’t need another ring.  But I like it.

Dorothy Sayers actually breaks the fourth wall a number of times in Strong Poison, which I’m kind of accidentally re-reading.  I had never noticed this before.

Toast Express *is* open on Mondays, even though the sign wasn’t lit.  Also, Steve and I will apparently be in an “internet commercial”, whatever that means, for Toast Express.

At Day’s Jewelers it costs as much for a clasp to replace the clasp that was broken than the entire necklace cost — OK, Some Years Back.

This week needs more hours in it.  Just sayin’.

We got our schedules for RavenCon.  I’ll post that realsoonow.

Today’s blog title comes to you from Jame McMurtry, “Chocktaw Bingo.”

Still life with unicorn

 

 

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