Waiting for the Snowstorm

Before we get started today, Management has asked me to make four announcements. Here they are:

One!  If you have been planning on ordering a personalized copy of Liaden Universe® novel Neogenesis, by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, you have until tomorrow, Sunday, December 10 to make your order.  Here’s your link.

Two! “Block Party,” by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller will go live on Baen.com on Friday, December 15.  Mark your calendars.

Three!  You may now pre-order the ebook edition of Neogenesis from the Nook Store and the Kindle Store

Four!  You may now acquire from Baen ebooks the eARC of Star Destroyers, edited by Tony Daniel and Christopher Ruocchio, including all! new! stories by: David Drake, Michael Z. Williamson, Mark L. Van Name, Steve White, Jody Lynn Nye, Brendan DuBois, Sharon Lee & Steve Miller, Susan R. Matthews, Mike Kupari, J.R. Dunn, Robert Buettner, Christopher Ruocchio, Dave Bara, Joelle Presby, Gray Rinehart.  Here’s your link.

Adventures in Chemistry
We ran out of bread here at the Cat Farm and Confusion Factory, so this morning’s first priority was baking.  Sadly, it seems this batch ain’t gonna rise.  Not enough moisture, I think; I added more than called for in order to get the ingredients to the “sticky ball” stage of the thing, but it might not have been enough.

We shall see.

Snow Party
In other news, the roofers have finished doing their thing.  The house now has an awesome metal roof, and, in celebration, Central Maine is throwing a snowstorm this afternoon through tomorrow morning.

Do we know how to party or what?

Work Going Forward
Steve and I have three projects underway at the moment.

One is, of course, Fifth of Five aka Monkey Business.

The second is a short story destined for Insurgency, an anthology coming from ZNB in 2018.

The third project is editing Degrees of Separation: Adventures in the Liaden Universe® Number 27, an all-new, all-original novella (unless it hits the lower eaves of novel by the time the edits are done).  Degrees, it says here, is a story about Paris, about love, and about bread.  Our intention is to have it available as a widely-distributed echapbook,  and as a paper chapbook (though Amazon only) in mid to late January.

Now that the roofers are gone. . .
I can hang up my framed Letter of Nobility, certifying that Baroness Sharon Lee is a noble citizen of the sovereign micro-nation of Ladonia.  I had achieved my noble citizenship a few months back, to honor the memory of the late Dave Romm, himself a Baron of Ladonia, but had been behind in acquiring a proper frame.  Steve did this for me (you see how things work around here) and now the Letter may be put on display.

I think that catches us all up.

Speaking of catching up, here’s Scrabble, catching up on her comfy.

 

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So, about those chapbooks

Cultivar: Adventures in the Liaden Universe® Number 25 and Heirs to Trouble, Adventures in the Liaden Universe® Number 26 —  more information here — have been published to Apple, BN, Baen ebooks, Kobo.

They have not been published to Amazon, and, as this is the last day of Amazon’s demand period, Steve and I are not at all confident that they will ever be published to Amazon.  We will, of course, continue to monitor the situation, and will make an announcement if Amazon should at some later point discover in its heart that, indeed, it can publish these two titles.

We are not, however, optimistic.

The short form is that Amazon, having realized that the four stories contained in the two chapbooks listed above already exist in a collection published by Baen Books (A Liaden Universe® Constellation, Volume 3) — which we do not dispute; in fact, we state so in the sell copy — demanded that Steve and I “prove” we have the right to republish those stories.

They initially demanded a reversion letter, which does not exist, as the rights to the stories have not reverted; in fact, they were never sold.  We attempted to explain that we, the authors and copyright holders, had sold what is called “anthology rights” to Baen — they can only publish those stories in the form of A Liaden Universe® Constellation, Volume 3; they cannot repackage and republish particular stories out of the collection.  This is all handled in the contract between us and Baen.

This means that we, the authors and copyright holders, retained the rights to place individual stories with other publishers, for other collections, or to publish the stories ourselves.

We chose to publish the stories ourselves.  Which is our right, breaks no laws, and damages no one’s copyright, least of all ours, and  certainly does no damage to Amazon.

The last received demand — understand that we have been corresponding with someone who may only answer via scripted emails; this lends a certain surreal air to a situation already dripping in black comedy — however, the last email could be read — and we so read it — as a demand that we send a copy of our contract with Baen to Amazon.

Now, in the Normal World of Publishing (yes, yes, I know; but let it pass), if we were placing those four stories with another publisher for another anthology or collection, we would receive a contract from the new publisher, and one of the things that we would certify, by signing this new contract, is that we have the legal right to so place the stories.  If, after we sign the contract, it is found that we lied, or in some other way do not have the right to place the stories, the lawyers are loosed and everyone makes popcorn.

In no case does Publisher 2 demand that the authors provide them with a copy of their contract with Publisher 1.

Now, Amazon is in a strange situation; it cannot itself decide if it’s a publisher or a distributor, but in either case the demand for a copy of our contract with our publisher is out of line, and Steve and I will not comply.

What does this mean for you?

Well, if you have all of your Adventures in the Liaden Universe® echapbooks in Kindle format, and you don’t wish to break the shelf, so to speak, you can go to Baen Ebooks and download Numbers 25 and 26 from them in Kindle format (there are instructions on how to do this on the site).

Baen also offers these titles in other formats, for those who diversify.

Or, you can, of course, purchase the titles from one of the distributors who do carry them — BN, Kobo, Apple. . .

For the paper-book folks. . . Given the on-going circumstances here at the Cat Farm and Confusion Factory, we can no longer do the production and mailing of paper chapbooks from the house.  It seems as if the best (or only) way to produce paper chapbooks is through Amazon’s paperback program.  There will simply not be paper copies of 25 and 26, unless we can locate another source for taking care of all the administrative work involved in producing paper chapbooks.  Steve and I are very sorry about this, but — see above.

Right now, the paper chapbooks available from Amazon are:

Liaden Universe®:  Due Diligence #24, Change Management #23, Sleeping with the Enemy #22, Technical Details #21, Moon’s Honor #20

Lee and Miller:  The Tomorrow Log

Sharon Lee:  Barnburner, Gunshy, The Gift of Magic, Spell Bound

We will, eventually, convert all of the electronic backlist to paper, but as this is being done between Life and Pay Copy, it will take some time.

 

 

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Reminder Post

A.  You may now order a signed and/or personalized copy of the hardback edition of Neogenesis from Uncle Hugo’s SF Bookstore in Minneapolis.  Deadline for ordering personalizations (in which “personalization” means, You ask the author to write something on the half-title page in addition to signing their names*) is DECEMBER 10, which is not as far away as you might think.  Orders for signed copies (where “signed” means the authors wrote their names on the half-title) will be accepted until the Uncle runs out of signed books.

HERE’S YOUR LINK TO THE PRE-ORDER INFORMATION AT UNCLE HUGO’S

B.  Neogenesis will be published in hardcover, ebook, and audio editions on January 2, 2018.  Eileen Stevens will narrate the audiobook.

C.  “Block Party,” a novelette to help get you all warmed up for the release of Neogenesis, will be published, free! to! read! to Baen.com on December 15. Mark your calendars.

D.  The eArc of Neogenesis is still for sale at Baen.com.  Here’s your link.  You may also read the first seven chapters at this link.

E.  No, sadly, we will not be attending Boskone next year.  We will be at MidSouthCon, March 9-11, and hope to see many of you there.

F.  Yes, Steve and I will be attending WorldCon in San Jose, August 16-20.

G.  Yes, Baen will be publishing a mass market anniversary edition of Agent of Change — in November 2018.  I think I may have forgotten to include the date in the most recent InfoDump.

H.  Over the weekend, Steve and I discovered that Pinbeam Books (that’s us) had fallen behind, leaving four short stories un-chapbooked.  We are in the process of rectifying this, so — watch the skies.

Here’s the cover for Heirs to Trouble:

___________
*Lee and Miller, aka “the authors” reserve the right to refuse to inscribe a book with a personalization they deem, in their sole opinion, to be inappropriate.  The authors’ decision is final, there is no appeal.

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Ebook News You Can Use

Those of you who purchase ebooks from Amazon need to be aware of the following:

a.  The Kindle edition of omnibus The Crystal Variation, by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, including the novels Crystal Soldier, Crystal Dragon, and Balance of Trade — has been taken off-sale by Amazon pending correction of “serious quality issues.” These issues are “misspellings.”  Amazon forwarded the list of 144 instances of misspelled words to Baen, which forwarded it to us.  More than a dozen of those “misspelled” words are “cermacrete.”  We also have “ISBN” identified as a “misspelled” word. Also, cantra, kais, qwint, Iloheen, aetherium, autoshout — you get the idea.  Steve and I have each made a pass down the list and have so far identified three Actual Misspelled Words, and one that I need to research, but believe to be a spacing problem.  The process from here goes like this:  We tell Baen which words are Actually Misspelled.  A Baen editor will fix those errors.  The Baen Ebook Team will then recompile the omnibus and shuffle it into its various formats, including forwarding a “clean copy” to Amazon.  Amazon will then, at some point, put the book back on sale.

If you would like to purchase an electronic copy of The Crystal Variation in the immediate future, your best choice of vendor would be Baen Ebooks, which offers the book for sale in All Formats Known to Man or Clutch.  Here’s the link.

b.  Amazon has also stopped selling Courier Run, an echapbook containing two Liaden stories by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, for Serious Quality Issues.  In a Surprising Plot Twist, this title shows as being Live and On Sale from my publisher’s dashboard.  KDP support is Researching the Issue and promises an answer by August 18 — next Thursday.

If you would like to purchase this echapbook before next Thursday, please seek it elsewhere — BN, Kobo, iBooks still offer it for sale.

c. Sleeping with the Enemy was also briefly off-sale at Amazon, but its honor has been redeemed and it is now on-sale in the Kindle store, as well as at the rest of the Usual Suspects.

d. Spell Bound, an echapbook collecting “Will-o’-the-wisp” and “The Wolf’s Bride,” two Archers Beach stories previously published on Splinter Universe, is now for sale at the Amazon Kindle store (after a brief tussle in which Amazon insisted that the content was available “freely on the web” and therefore I had no right to publish the compilation), and! at Kobo, and iBooks.  BN will presumably get around to publishing sometime soon.

A related note: Since these stories have been collected, they have been removed from Splinter Universe.

Today, it is rainy and cool at the Cat Farm and Confusion Factory.  I plan a quiet, working day.  I realize that we are very fortunate in our weather.  All of you who labor under Dangerous Heat Advisories — please be alert and take good care of yourselves.

 

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Lee and Miller Boskone Schedule

As previously advertised, Steve and I will be at Boskone (February 19-21, 2016) in Boston, MA for New England’s longest running science fiction and fantasy convention. It’s going to be a fun weekend filled with books, film, art, music, gaming, and more, and we’d love to see you there! For more information about Boskone, check out The Boskone Blog, Twitter, and Facebook. Visit the Boskone website to register.  The Full Con Schedule may be found here.

Our schedule for the weekend is below.  Also look for us in the Art Show, the Dealer’s Room, and sitting around the lobby, chatting with friends.

We also try to host a Friends of Liad breakfast each year at Boskone.  Because this requires active collaboration with the hotel restaurant staff, we will not know time or day until we are on-site.  As soon as we know, we will Put the Word Out.

Boskone Schedule:

Sharon Lee and Steve Miller

FRIDAY

Collaboration: Writers, Artists, and More!
Friday 6:00 – 6:50, Harbor III (Westin)
Creative collaboration is an endurance event. Each experience is different, whether working in a shared universe, co-writing a story, or working word by word with another author. Whatever the scenario, it can be an immensely rewarding experience. However, personalities can clash and the final decision isn’t always mutual. If you’re curious about creative collaborations and want to find out where to start or how to avoid the most common missteps, this panel is for you.
Steve Miller (M), Julie C. Day, Teddy Harvia, Stephen Hickman, Sharon Lee

SATURDAY

Kaffeeklatsch 2: Sharon Lee, Steve Miller
Saturday 10:00 – 10:50, Harbor I-Kaffeeklatsch 2 (Westin)

Foppish Fiction: The Dandy in SF/F/H
Saturday 11:00 – 11:50, Harbor II (Westin)
The Scarlet Pimpernel and Zorro both hid their secret identities behind foppish appearances. We’ll explore their descendants, both male and female, in speculative fiction. Then there’s the effete ruler of a decadent empire as a trope (or is that a meme?) of our genres. And what about the sidekick with a flair for fashion? Why are our protagonists all Winters in jewel tones, and none of them Autumns in burnt umber?
Sharon Lee (M), Ellen Asher, Debra Doyle, Grady Hendrix, Walter Jon Williams

Reading: Steve Miller & Sharon Lee
Saturday 12:00 – 12:25, Griffin (Westin)

How You Get the Word Out: Starting and Running a Successful Podcast
Saturday 2:00 – 2:50, Harbor III (Westin)
Podcasting gives us an outlet to share our thoughts and ideas with the world, and everyone seems to have something (perhaps a lot) to say. But is podcasting right for everyone? How do you go about “bootstrapping” a podcast? What do you need and what do you need to know? How do you attract and keep an audience? Where do you find a place to host your site? Successful ‘casters pass on their secrets.
Steve Miller (M), Kate Baker, C.S.E. Cooney, Don Pizarro, Brianna Spacekat Wu

Romance Across Space and Time
Saturday 3:00 – 3:50, Marina 2 (Westin)
Romance shows up in the unlikeliest places: from prehistory to the far-flung future; from pole to pole; from fantasy and science fiction to horror. Must it be a guilty pleasure? Or should we proudly proclaim the heart of the matter: wherever they may find it, all the world loves a love story!
Darlene Marshall (M), D L Carter, Mary Kay Kare, Steve Miller, E.J. Stevens

Writing: Pinning Down Your Plot
Saturday 4:00 – 4:50, Marina 3 (Westin)
Complicated plots need proper handling. Writers who lose control of a twisty tale can confuse and/or alienate their readers. But just how do authors manage a complex story line? Come hear their tips for keeping track of the trickiest of plots.
Steven Popkes (M), Ken Altabef, Sharon Lee, Christie Meierz, Vincent O’Neil

Boskone Book Party
Saturday 6:00 – 7:20, Galleria-Stage (Westin)
Join us for Boskone’s Multi-Author Book Party, see what’s new from authors you love, and discover new favorites. Boskone is also launching three NESFA Press books tonight: The Collected Stories of Poul Anderson Vol 7, Conspiracy!, and The Grimm Future. (Authors and publishers with a new book and a current Boskone membership are welcome to take part; contact program@boskone.org for details.)
D L Carter, Tom Easton, Grady Hendrix, Carlos Hernandez, E. C. Ambrose, Judith K. Dial, Sharon Lee, Steve Miller, Cerece Rennie Murphy, N.A. Ratnayake, Erin Underwood

SUNDAY

NESFA Book Club: Conflict of Honors by Sharon Lee & Steve MIller
Sunday 11:00 – 11:50, Griffin (Westin)
This February, the NESFA Book Club hosts its monthly meeting at Boskone. Join us as we discuss Conflict of Honors by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller, who will join the group halfway through the discussion in order to lead a Q&A. All members are welcome and newcomers are encouraged to attend.
Michael Sharrow (M), Sharon Lee, Steve Miller

Autographing: James Cambias, Sharon Lee, Steve Miller
Sunday 12:00 – 12:50, Galleria-Autographing (Westin)

Take Me To Your Leader
Sunday 1:00 – 1:50, Harbor II (Westin)
Does SF/F get leaders all wrong? How do leaders in large organizations actually act? Are leaders creative? What motivates them? Let’s compare character archetypes from page and screen to real-world leaders.
Stephen P. Kelner Jr. (M), A.C.E. Bauer, Vincent Docherty, Sharon Lee, Teresa Nielsen Hayden

Exoplanets Are Out There
Sunday 1:00 – 1:50, Burroughs (Westin)
Did you ever expect to view exoplanets from Earth? SF writers since Doc Smith seemed to assume we’d discover planets only when we approached the stars they orbited. Now astronomers have confirmed 2,000 exoplanets and counting; they’re designing new devices to resolve their spectra and hint at their habitability. Was this a failure of imagination, a choice to build drama, or an unexpected success of astronomical instrumentation? Didn’t any writers get it right?
Charles Gannon (M), Jeff Hecht, Beth Meacham, Steve Miller, Mark L. Olson

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PSA: The next Theo novel

Theo Waitley has a lot of fans, and they write to us from time to time, politely pointing out that it’s been, like, forever (or 2012, whichever comes first) since the latest installment of her story, and they wonder when the next Theo book will finally gladden their lives.

Sadly, because of how we write (organically, say some; chaotically, say others), we have not been able to answer this seemingly simple question.

Until now!

Now, we can say, with authority, that Theo will play a large part in The Gathering Edge, the 20th novel in the Liaden Universe®.  We’ve known this for a number of months, and I apologize for not saying so sooner, but, um, I’d forgotten it was an issue until, providentially, someone wrote to me, wondering when we were going to get around to continuing Theo’s story, and I realized that this was a topic Of Interest to Many.

So, yes — The Gathering Edge.  Theo.  Also the Uncle, Miri and Val Con, and — oh, a number of folks, some of whom you won’t meet until Alliance of Equals, which is kind of the bad news here.

See, Alliance of Equals is the 19th novel in the Liaden Universe®, and it’s not a Theo novel.  It’s a Shan novel, sort of — possibly a Padi novel more than a Shan, but in that range.  It, too, features the Uncle, and those folks you haven’t met yet, and it?

Is scheduled to be published on July 5, 2016.

We’re writing The Gathering Edge now — in fact, we just cracked 50,000 words (or passed the Theoretical Halfway Point, which sounds a little more encouraging, though its unlikely to be True) of the first-draft-and-a-half yesterday.  The final manuscript is due on Madame the Editor’s desk in mid-February, 2016.

So, while there’s a Theo novel on the road to publication — yay! — you’ve gotta use binoculars to see it.

I am not going to predict when Edge will be published.  Every time I produce my best guess for a date, Madame surprises me, so we’ll  just say — publication is expected after July 2016.

Here ends the PSA.

For the FB peeps, a rare photo of Scrabble, who, unfortunately, had her forcefield engaged:

Blurry Scrabble Nov 15 2015

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Alliance of Equals, by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller

This is in the way of being a Public Service Announcement.

Alliance of Equals, the nineteenth novel in Sharon Lee and Steve Miller’s long-running space opera set in the  Liaden Universe®!

Alliance of Equals, I say, has a (hardcover) publication date of July 5, 2016.  Yes, that is nine months from now.  No, there’s not really anything we can do to “pressure” (cue laugh track) the publisher into releasing the novel earlier.  No, we will not sell you our final manuscript (to be fair, no one has asked to buy the Alliance manuscript, yet, but we’ve had such “offers” in the past, and, in the spirit of forestalling any more. . .).

And honestly, even if there was a way to “pressure” the publisher into releasing the book early?  We wouldn’t do it, because — we’d like our book to get a calm editorial reading and a thorough edit — and so would you.

Now, yes, Baen does often release eArcs of new novels ahead of the hardcover publication date, but they don’t release the eArcs six months ahead.  And what if they did, and you got the book now?  Have you really thought this out?  Because if you got Alliance of Equals, now?  You’d be in the same pickle, only worse, for The Gathering Edge, which we’re writing, now; and which is scheduled to be handed in on February 15, 2016.  Figure 11 months out for hardcover publication — that’s January 2017, at the earliest.  So, really, do you even want to go there?

Anyhow, we were given a general rule of thumb from the publisher, which is:  Expect the eArc (if any) to be released around the time you, the authors, receive your authors’ proofs.  We receive our authors’ proofs anywhere from two to three months ahead of the hardcover publication date, so, counting backward from July:  June. May. April. . . .with April being the soonest you might see an eArc and mid-May about the latest.

Now!  Baen does release sample chapters on the Baen website when a book becomes available for preorder.  I actually don’t know when books typically go up for preorder; historically, Amazon has been the driver, and Amazon used to put books up for preorder as soon as they heard a whisper of even a tentative pub date from a publisher, never mind a final schedule.

Steve and I are in something of an odd geography in this whole situation of release dates and reader demand.  On the one hand, it’s lovely that people are eager for our newest work.  Really, it is.  But, the wheels of publishing grind as they do.  Baen publishes authors other than Lee and Miller, who also deserve to have their books receive a calm editorial reading and a thorough edit. And even if we “quit trad publishing and go indie,” as has been suggested by some avid fans — we probably wouldn’t write any faster.  In fact, I’m betting our production would slow down, because we’d have to do all the stuff that the staff at Baen does for us, in addition to writing the novels.

While I accept that there are folks out there who can write a strong, salable book in an afternoon, and writers who consistently write and see published four or six books a year with no reduction of quality — Lee and Miller are not those authors.  We have never been those authors*.  A book a year is a comfortable writing pace for us; a pace that allows us to reflect, and to layer in the details and back-stories that readers have told us make the Liaden Universe® novels “special” and “very re-readable.”  We value these things about our work, as you do, and we don’t want to slight the characters, our readers, or ourselves.

So. . .thank you for reading our work; thank you for supporting our work; thank you for recommending our work to your friends and colleagues.  Thank you for treating the release of every new Liaden novel and story as a cause for celebration — we feel that way, too.

But, we really are writing as fast as we can; the publisher is publishing as fast as they can.  We’re all hostages to the constraints of linear time.
_____________
*Back in 2007, we were those writers, briefly.  We wrote six books in 18 months, while I was working a full-time job.  It was an insane, stressful time, when the only thing we did was write, eat cheese sandwiches at the computer, snatch three hours of sleep before going to the day-job — and at the end of it, neither one of us had an ounce of creative energy left.  I have no idea how people work to that level, constantly — all honor to them.  What we learned from that experience was — we can write books fast, briefly, or we can write books at a more leisurely pace, for years to come.  We chose the latter.

Placeholder picture of Belle, for the Facebook peeps:

Stop taking my picture hooman cats are trying to sleep here Oct 13 2015

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What on earth has the woman been doing?

. . .mostly, I’ve been going through the manuscript of The Gathering Edge, fixing sentences, doing continuity checks, breaking long chapters into short chapters, moving a chapter up, sharpening dialogue, and layering in details.  At the moment, the word count stands at 36,777, with a net gain of about 2,000 words.

“Net gain” is of course a moving target.  Whole paragraphs have been removed from the playing board — and replaced with other paragraphs.  I have wantonly removed maybe 300 total words of an explanation that will be needed later, but happened not to be in the right place.  Maybe a couple thousand “new” words have been written, but there’s really no way to quantify that.  “Word count” as an indicator of progress is really only (sort of) useful in the active drafting phase; there’s no good indicator of progress being made in the revision/squaring-up phases of the work, except maybe, “Yes; that’s better!”

At the moment, the manuscript is in the form of one Largish Lump of narrative, following one set of characters, and several Smaller Lumps of narrative, following other characters.  These will have to be woven together at some point, but, at just over a third of a book, word-count-wise, we don’t have enough material to begin that particular process.

So! That’s what I’ve been doing.  I’m a little over half-way through revising/sharpening/squaring-up the Largish Lump.  Today, after I get through Various Mundane Chores, I’ll sit down with my red pen and the other half of the LL and get to work.

In other news, the GoFundMe project for replacing Larry Smith’s van (for those coming in late, ref here and here), is $5,292 short of the $30,000 goal.  If you can, please donate; if you can’t donate, you can still help by spreading the word.  Thanks so much.

Here’s a picture of Sprite in one of her favorite places, overlooking the Cat Garden.

Sprite overlooking the cat garden Aug 26 2015

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Friday Morning Newszine

A*.  As many of you know, Larry Smith, known variously as Larry!; Larry Smith, Bookseller; and “the guy in the corner of the dealers room with allllllll the books” — Larry Smith was in an auto accident on his way home from DragonCon; the van rolled, and needs Major Repairs, or perhaps a replacement.  Larry, and Joni Dashoff, who was also in the van, were very lucky, due to a combination of seatbelts and canny packing of books and display shelves.  Larry did have to spend some time in the hospital, but he was eventually released, and went home to inventory, and take, stock.

The news now is that, while — again, due to canny packing — the loss of stock was minimal, Larry — is back in the hospital.  Con-going fans are aware that this is Archon weekend, and Sally — Larry’s wife, and businessmate — was, last heard, seriously wondering if she should even try to get to the con.

So, what we have here is:  A van to repair or replace; unexpected hospital bills; loss of expected income.  Not a good roll, on anybody’s dice.

Immediately after the accident, Marcia Kelly Illingsworth set up a GoFundMe page for Larry and Sally and the poor, abused van.  Here’s your link.  If you can donate, that’s super.  If you can spread the word, that will help immensely.

Thanks for listening.

B.  We are approaching the end of the seventh and last! week of the Do It Like A Delm Challenge.  Entries must be received by midnight, Eastern Daylight Time (aka New York Time), on Saturday (tomorrow!) October 3.  The last winner will be chosen and posted on korval.com Monday morning, October 5.  The winning challenger will also receive a coupon for a free Baen ebook of their choice.  Full rules here.

If you’ve been thinking about entering your challenge pic, you are right down to the wire.  Summon your inner delm — or always wonder if you could have.

C.  Submissions are now open for The Year’s Best Military and Adventure Science Fiction series from Baen Books.  Full guidelines here.

D.  I was going to write something about Writers Fugue, and Process and All.  Maybe later.  Right now, I have to balance the checkbook.

E.  Y’all have a nice weekend.  If you’re in the storm path, stay safe.  Even if you’re not in the storm path, stay safe.

F.  Here’s a picture of Sprite, resting after her labors**:

Sprite, resting from her latest nap.
Sprite, recuperating from her latest nap.

____________

*WordPress has decided to be helpful, and format every numbered list into a squinched-up, impossible to read, “standard” format.  Lists-by-letter don’t seem to be on its radar.  And, so. . .

**I often post pictures at the bottom of my blog posts to make the announcement of the post prettier for Facebook, which, left to its own devices, usually posts a GINORMOUS (and ugly) G+ graphic.  For those who dislike, or are tired of, photos of cats, spare a little empathy for the Facebook peeps, and avert your eyes.  Thank you.

 

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Cons, Coon Cats, and Boring Health Stuff

This is in the nature of a catch-up post.

For those who have been following along with the numbers game at home, the latest information garnered from the latest blood test is that the 1 mg dose of thyroid medicine is a winner.  The poor pituitary has stopped with overtime manufacturing of kick-me hormones for the thyroid, and the thyroid is producing numbers in the normal range without being kicked, and — this being the important part — I am fully awake and at optimum crankiness and sarcasm levels for the first time in. . .years.

Come to think of it, that should serve as a Public Service Announcement.

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Also — this repeats news shared on Facebook yesterday evening — I have successfully concluded a project years in the making — a ceiling fan in my office.  I’m so happy — I can’t tell you.  Here’s a picture:

After LIGHT. . .isn’t it BEAUtiful?

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I have been reminded to remind y’all that!  Registration for BaltiCon 50, held over Memorial Day Weekend, May 27-30, 2016, at the Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel, is now open.  Here’s the direct link.

In addition to Guests of Honor George RR Martin, John Picacio, Bill and Gretchen Roper, and Martin Deutsch and Shirley Avery, BaltiCon 50 aims to welcome back as many of the con’s previous Guests of Honors as are interested and able to come.  So far, 21 Alumni GoHs have agreed to return for BaltiCon’s 50th anniversary, including Steve and me (Writer GoHs, BaltiCon 37, 2003).

This is a big, big project, and BaltiCon is asking for your help in funding the travel for the returning GoHs.  There’s a donation page here, where you may donate to your favorite GoHs.  (Yes, I know that Steve and I are listed separately; I don’t know what’s up with that, but at the bottom line, I don’t think it actually matters.)

BaltiCon 50 is also selling a limited edition promotional tshirt in order to raise funds.  You can view and/or purchase a tshirt here.

Finally, for all the latest news about BaltiCon 50, you can sign up for the Twitter feed:  @balticon50

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This is a Hard Writing Weekend, which means I’ll be somewhat scarce on the web.  The beginning of next week includes an interview, and a visit from the generator guy, as well as Yet Another Phone Call to the health insurance company, which seems stuck in an Endless Loop of sending me a form I’ve now filled out and returned three times, while at the same time being unable to generate a monthly invoice.  Sigh.  Also, the Colby Art Museum is hosting an Open House on Thursday evening.  I always like to go to the Art Open House.  So, not an insanely busy week, but busy enough with mundane things — and writing, too.

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Extra credit paragraph:  From the Department of Anthropomorphism, Cats Are Not Social Committee, we have the following Observer Report.

This morning, I was sitting at the kitchen table finishing the wonderful tuna melt Steve had made for breakfast.  I have a direct line of sight into the living room from my place at the kitchen table, and was able to see Trooper in the cat hammock, Belle stretched out on the rug close to the kitchen, near, but not on, the cat scratchers.  Sprite walked into the living room, fell on Belle, cleaned her up, cleaned herself, up, cleaned Belle up and in due time, as frequently happens, the grooming morphed into a wrasslin’ match.

This morning’s match was. . .vigorous.  Sprite broke twice, but came back, and Belle, seeming slightly put-upon, finally threw her Whole Being into the thing, grabbing Sprite around the waist and kicking her in the stomach.  There were no growls, but Belle, at least, was clearly intent on teaching Sprite a lesson, rather than savoring the Joy of the Wrassle.

Sprite tried to break a third time — Belle wouldn’t let her.  Sprite renewed her efforts to get free, Belle held her closer.  I was on the edge of producing a loud, “Ahem!” when. . .

Trooper jumped down from the hammock and approached the melee.

Belle let go of Sprite and twisted to her feet to face him; Sprite escaped to the hall, where she sat down and began to groom her shoulder.  Trooper walked directly up to Belle, tail slightly higher than straight behind, but not a full upward sweep, and put his nose against hers.  She allowed this — then swatted him in the head.

Trooper went back a couple steps and walked carefully around her, as if he was going to go check on Sprite.  In fact, he paused by the television stand, where he could see her in the hall, cleaning up, stroked his cheek against the wood a couple times, turned, and went back to the cat hammock.

Belle began to bathe.

I stood up and got myself another cup of coffee.

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Everybody have a nice weekend.

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