Weather, weather, everywhere. . .

31F/0C this morning and raining.  We shall leave early for the cardio gym.

Yesterday, chores were done, and a Beginning was Made, including teasing a name out of a somewhat reluctant character, naming hours, and considering motivations.  Five hundred sixteen words for the win.

Fifth of Five is on the move.

Today, as above, the cardio gym, and perhaps a minor errand, then back home to finish the Fine Laundry, and do a blankie run.  And write.

Everybody stay safe.

 

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Writing from the month of the Staggering Behemoths

My thanks to everyone who put eyes on the Amazon situation.  Many noted that the links to Steve’s author page are missing/broken/go somewhere else — that will be my next Amazon-related project, whereupon I will once again ask for your assistance.  Thank you so very much being here, and being willing and able to assist us as we navigate the Silly Waters of Freelance.

This morning, lest I forget, there was a reprint contract in the mail.  Totally unexpected, but of course Delightful To Behold.

I am in the meantime, making a story from an outtake from Neogenesis.  The title is “Street Cred,” and it is destined for a new eChapbook, which I hope to have on-sale before we leave for MarsCon.  This morning, it weighs in at about 7,500 words, out of what I estimate to be about 10,000 words, finished.  With luck I can finish the draft this evening.

Today, Steve is wanted at the dentist, and I’ll do some errands in town while that work is being done.  Sunday is forecast to be sunny and warm; our goal at This Point in Time is to take a nice long drive on Sunday, partly in order to assuage cabin fever, and partly to see if I can do a nice long drive all in one go, in prep for driving to Albany, and getting on a train for Minneapolis.

Let’s see, what else?  Oh, our mailbox here at the house fell victim to Winter, the first time in many winters, so All Mail must presently be picked up at the post office in Waterville.  Today, I expect to pick up a sweatshirt, and a DVD, along with the usual handful of bills and sales flyers.  I’ve really been looking forward to the sweatshirt, and honestly didn’t expect the DVD to make it to us so quickly, which just goes to show that when you order something called “Arrival,” it’ll try to live up to its name.

. . .and I think that’s all I’ve got.

Everybody stay safe, and warm.

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And that’s a wrap

Neogenesis, the twenty-first novel in the Liaden Universe®, the 75th Lee and Miller collaboration,  has been submitted to Madame the Editor.

The manuscript weighs in at approximately 142,000 words/601 manuscript pages.

From the reader perspective, this is the book after the next book, the next book being The Gathering Edge, which is to be published in May.   Neogenesis is currently scheduled for January 2018 publication.

So.  I’m thinking risotto for dinner, with maybe a glass of wine.

How about you?

 

 

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There’s so many things he just don’t understand

So, let’s see.  In our Last Thrilling Episode, the Writers were scrambling to get various projects done by deadlines/extended deadlines.

As of this morning, one of the overdue projects has been turned in; the other is in process.  The novel…is done in concept.  Which means that I have about thirty pages of dialog/rough story to expand and polish.  After all the cake has been iced, I’m guessing we’ll come in about 130,000/132,000 finished words.  And, yes, I have written many more words for this book than made the final cut.  Might be time for a Blooper Track.

In terms of Mechanics, the book has been proofed, spell-checked, grammar-checked and continuity-checked through page 555 (remember — these are manuscript pages, +/- 250 words/page in the Normal Way of things, and slightly less in This Way of doing things, because sub-chapters), and I’m actually feeling pretty good about it as a novel.

However, the next book will be about a person who sits in his chair and does nothing.  Fair warning.

I’ve been making a list of things To Do when the book is finished.  It looks something like this:

  1. Do income taxes
  2. Clean house
  3. Do Laundry
  4. Make blankie run
  5. Get haircut
  6. Prep for con
  7. Start next book

“Go to the Virgin Islands and sit around the pool drinking Adult Beverages” had been on the list, too, but the Coon Cat Consortium vetoed it.

. . .And I think that’s all I got, except to note that Today the Weather Ghods of Central Maine have given us a nor’easter/ice storm.  It’s a good thing I was planning to stay inside, anyway.

Y’all be careful out there.

Oh.  Today’s blog title brought to you by the Steve Miller Band, “Motherless Children.”  It’s been on continuous loop in my head for a couple days now, and I thought I’d share the gift.  Here’s your link.

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Just checking in

Yes, yes, everyone’s fine here at the Cat Farm and Confusion Factory.  We’re simply in the midst of Deadline Heck for various projects, two of which are late, and one of which is coming due Right Soon.  I, personally, have been down deep in the guts of the novel, doing I can’t even tell you, because to do so I would have to change brain trains, and I can’t really do that right now.

On the Mundane Plane, it was snowing yesterday, so we put off going to town. Which of course meant that it snowed even more on the overnight, and is snowing as I type, so I guess we’ll go to town in the snow.

I hear from Uncle Hugo that Mr. Blyly will soon have a page up for the pre-order of singed/personalized copies of The Gathering Edge, the. . .twentieth Liaden Universe® novel.  We’ll let you know when that page is live.

For those of a Hugo nominating bent, the Liaden Universe® is eligible for the brand new Series Hugo, which is being test-driven at this year’s WorldCon.

The cats are all fine, though of course they’d rather we’d do something a little more interesting than sitting in a chair and staring at the computer screens.  Belle has taken to jumping up in the bed in the early morning hours — say around 4:00 am, to Discuss Weighty Matters with me.  Steve is of the opinion that she wants me to add a dining room, so she can have a dining room table to sleep on (we just finished reading The Cat Who Saw Red aloud, and I fear Koko is a bad influence.).  She would also like a Cat Porch to be installed.

. . .I think that’s all I’ve got.  Writers lives are pretty boring, really, especially when we’re working.

Everybody stay well and warm — or cool, depending on your hemisphere.

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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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What in Ghod’s Name has the Woman Been DOing, Short Form

In our last Thrilling Installment, it was Trooper’s Birthday, known in some less enlightened parts of the world as December 15.

On Thursday, as per The Plan, we did indeed motor into Waterville to pick up the mail, and also to view Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which I adored, despite not being able to hear much of the dialog*. This is possibly telling, but then, I don’t expect much from movies except that they look pretty and hang together as a tale at least until the credits roll.

After the movie, we hit Governor’s for breakfast (yes, breakfast; don’t judge), and so to home.

Friday was a writing day.

Saturday, it snowed, thus becoming a writing day with interludes of snow removal.  In-between, I finished moving my files from the old computer to the new computer, and upgrading the OS on my Asus Android tablet from Lollipop to Marshmallow, which, because of Something Technical, had to be done manually.  This was a case of an operation sounding much scarier than it actually was.  The upgrade went beautifully, and now I have an up-to-date OS, just in time for Google to release the next in series.

Yesterday, also, Steve took point on hooking up my classy new 7-port USB hub and the new multi-size card reader, as both of these required climbing around under the desk, which I’m presently not up for because…

I borked my knee.  No, I don’t know how I did it.  I tried ignoring it for a week, which worked about as well as you might think, and babying it with ice and elevation and all like that.  We’ve reached the point where I’m probably going to call the doctor, though part of me insists that if I don’t hear words like “meniscus tear,” all will be well.  More or less.

That brings us to what?  Today.  Sunday.

Yesterday, as reported it snowed, and the temps didn’t get much higher than 15F/-9C.  Today! It’s raining, and the high temp is predicted to be 44F/6C.  Right now, everything is encased in ice, which is my least-favorite winter scenario.

The Plan for the rest of the day is to retire to the comfy reclining chair with the laptop, and work from there.

I had briefly thought that we’d go see Arrival tomorrow before it leaves town, but I’m doubting that’s going to be happening.

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

Everybody stay safe.

_________

*I am informed that there are such things as “caption glasses” available at some theaters. Sadly, they are not available at the Waterville Flagship Cinemas.  They are available at the Regal Cinemas, in Augusta, but that makes a 50-mile round trip to see a movie.

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Neckties, Contracts, High Mountains!

Audible lets us know that!

There’s a free excerpt available of the audiobook edition of Alliance of EqualsHere’s your link.  Enjoy — and tell your friends!

I had planned to go to the ocean today, but that wasn’t possible, because Reasons.  Steve and I did go cat-shopping (as opposed to shopping for cats), because one of the sisal-bound (you notice I say “one of”) scratchers has gone to that great sisal forest in the sky. So, naturally we need to replace it.

We knew what we wanted, we had found what we wanted on the web last night, but — we wanted to take a look at it before committing.  According to the web, the item was available at PetSmart, so off to Augusta we went, to discover that —

You see where this is going, right?

Right.  Plenty of devices made for the grooming of cat claws, but of the perfect scratcher there was no sign.

Since we were in Augusta, where there are two pet supply emporiums, we went down to the other one, but — no luck.

So, after stopping for lunch, we came home and ordered the dern thing off of the internet, anyway.

Neogenesis. . .stands at about 85,000ish words.  Maybe.  You know what I’m going to wind up doing, and so do I, and I might as well just make my bow, and Do It, instead of wasting energy trying to do it the other, more comfortable, way.  But — old habits.  Anyway.  Back to writing scenes with an eye toward building bridges after I’ve written enough to know where everybody is, and when.

Next book — one character who sits in a room and pets his cat for 100,000 words.

Oh, no. . .wait.

About today’s blog title:  AC/DC’s “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” has long occupied a Special Place in my Heart, which pretty much proves that I am Not a Nice Person.  And the rendition that I know best includes, at the end of the third stanza, where our narrator is listing the services offered, he says:

Concrete shoes, cyanide, TNT
Done dirt cheap
Neckties, contracts, high mountains!
Done dirt cheap

Google Lyrics renders “high mountains” as “high voltage,” which just isn’t the same.  And what does Google know, anyway?

So, I have used that line as I know it, for the blog title. And now?  I’m going to send you to Joan Jett’s cover, which she ends at the bottom of the third stanza.  Here’s your link.

#

“Indeed not!” Bechimo sounded scandalized. “It is the captain’s place to order for ship and crew.”

family-shot-november-3-2016

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The bread also rises

In this case, too much.

Having finally achieved mastery of my form in the Pullman Class, I decided, naturally, to vary.  I thought that it would do no harm, and possibly significant good, if I were to make the honey-oatmeal-wheat bread that I’m partial to, and bake it in the Pullman Pan, thus creating Square Sandwich Bread.

So, I did that.  The recipe for the honey-oat bread normally makes two one-pound loaves; the Pullman Pan accommodates one really big loaf.  Things went pretty much as I expected that they would to the point where I put the bread into the oven.

With a Pullman Pan, you cover the bread for the first 25ish minutes of cooking, to keep the bread square, taking the lid off in the last 10 minutes in order to brown the top of the loaf.

When I opened the oven to take the lid off, I noticed that the bread dough had overflowed and there were curlicues of bread on the oven rack.  Not good.  I took the pan out in order to remove the lid — and it took Steve holding the pan and me pulling on the lid to finally get it off.  The bread crust, of course, was torn.

Back the pan went into the oven for the final 10 minute browning, came out,  thumped appropriately hollow, and went onto the cooling rack.

. . .and, as it began to cool, it began to. . .sag.

Experienced bread makers will know what this means.

Yeah, not done in the middle.

So, as an experiment, for Science!, we have a success, in that we tried.  Obviously, if I wish to continue on this course, Tweaking will be required.

For the moment, then, since we’re writing a book and all like that, the honey-oat will go back to being baked in its two regular bread pans, whence it emerges tasty and, more importantly, cooked through.  And I will continue to bake Pullman Bread for Steve, so that sandwiches can happen.

#

Writing has been going forth, with about 14,000 more-or-less usable words written in the last four days, which is, Ladies and Beans, what can happen when the calendar is clear and you turn off Facebook and Twitter.

It also helps if you know where this bit goes, because it’s one of the foundation shticks that convinced you to write this book in the first place.  Run while the route goes downhill, and all like that.

For those who dote upon numbers, Neogenesis — by which I mean the melded Part One, and the still-under-construction Part Two — now clocks in at plus-or-minus 82,400.  Which would be more exciting news if we were looking at a 100,000 word book, but at a projected length of 130/140,000 isn’t, so much.

Given the structure, I briefly flirted with SFWA’s lower limit for novels and an adding machine, but I’m not sure I can make it all come out even.  And 160,000 words is a LOT of words.

#

Today, for the first time in a couple weeks, I go back to the gym, and hope not to collapse into a hacking heap on the treadmill.  After, there are errands, while I’m in town and all, and then home, for the midday meal, and so to work.

Tomorrow, I get my hair cut, which is Long Overdue, and then things are pretty much clear on the calendar/writing front until November 6, which, in addition to being the Death of Daylight Savings Time, is our wedding anniversary.  Not sure what we’ll do about that.  Possibly put off the celebration until Tuesday (since we Early Voted), and run away from the news, upcountry.

End of the week is Comic Con, which will be fun for All the Usual Reasons, and also because I’ve Completely Missed ever being in the state of Rhode Island before.

So that’s today’s episode in the Exciting Life of a Writer.

Hope y’all are doing well — and welcome to November.

#

“Surely, you’ll do better to appeal to Captain Waitley in this matter?”

“Possibly so, sir, but — there’s a. . .complication.”

“Of course there is.  There can be nothing other than complications, in Captain Waitley’s orbit.”

joining-dad-in-the-basket-oct-25-2016

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Friday morning advert

It’s raining in East Winslow, and aims to do so all day.  So, fine.  I have a section, ahem, “outlined” and words to go before I sleep.

In the meantime, your Friday morning adverts.

  1.  Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (and a Cast of Thousands) will be at the Rhode Island Comic Con in Providence, RI, November 11-13.  Look for us at the Wordfire Booth in the dealers room.  Here’s your link
  2. “The Road to Pomona’s,” a new-old story, with author’s commentary, has been posted to Splinter Universe.  Here’s that link
  3. Lee and Miller and the Liaden Universe® were spotlighted in the October issue of Locus Magazine.  You can download a pdf of the article here.
  4. Speaking of the October issue of Locus, Alliance of Equals appeared in the Number 2 spot for bestselling hardcovers (in July).
  5. Alliance of Equals currently has 241 reviews on Amazon. Steve and I thank everyone who took the time to comment.  It’s never too late to review a book on Amazon — any book on Amazon, not just ours — and by doing so you help the title, the writers, and other readers.
  6. The winter holidays will be here before you know it, and of course you want something Totally Cool to wear.  This is where the Liaden Universe® store at Offworld Designs comes in.  Polo shirts, long-sleeve denim shirts (in cool blue or formal black), the always–popular t-shirts, and! coffee mugs, which make a lovely gift for the hostess or host.  Here’s your link.
  7. The Gathering Edge, the 20th novel-length Liaden Universe® adventure, will be published by Baen in May 2017.
  8. Neogenesis, the 21st novel-length Liaden Universe® adventure, has been scheduled for publication in January 2018.
  9. Steve Miller and Sharon Lee are currently scheduled to attend three science fiction conventions in 2017.  They are:  Boskone, February 17-19, 2017, Boston MA; Marscon (Lee and Miller, writer guests of honor), March 3-5, 2017, Bloomington MN; Confluence  (Lee and Miller, writer guests of honor), August 4-6, 2017.
  10.   Neogenesis, aka The Book Scheduled for January 2018 publication, now stands at 73,891 words, more or less.

As a reward for reading this far, here’s a snippet:

“Only think! I may call upon soldiers and specialists. You may call upon — forgive me — a gaggle of pilots. While they are very fine pilots, they are of little use to us in the absence of –“

second-breakfast-oct-27-2016

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