Still not king

. . .nor dead yet, either, to the apparent disappointment of some.  I don’t suppose this is the only career in which we eat our elders, still. . .

So, let’s see. . .

First, thank you so much to all of the supporters of our Patreon fund, particularly today, because — you made the funding goal this month.  Give yourselves a big hand and, for those who are limber, a pat on the back.  Steve and I really appreciate your generosity.*

On the writing front, I have decided to indeed to push on to the end of the scene, rather than hold back and hope that being in media res would make re-immersion after the projected break easier.  ‘Twas the tea tin that did it, and you all now know what to blame.

On the all-important clothes front, I see that my problem of having too many t-shirts is solving itself, and the timing couldn’t be better, what with a convention and a time among the tourist attractions coming right up.  rubs hands in anticipation

Y’all do know that Steve and I will be writer Guests of Honor at Confluence next weekend, right?  (Here’s the link.)  Among the other festivities, Steve will be doing a reading from a work not yet announced.  I will be reading “Emancipated Child,” which I’ve never had a chance to read to a live audience, so I’m very excited, and!  I will also be. . .giving? my rant regarding the writing of “believable female characters,” which is something I thought I’d never do again, but — never say never.

Steve and I will also be doing a GOH presentation, a kaffeeklatsch, a Friends of Liad breakfast (not a con-event; every attendee pays for their own breakfast), and lots and lots of stuff — and that’s just us!  Honest, you’ve gotta come to Confluence, if you possibly can; it’s going to be a great weekend.

Here’s your link to the main program schedule.

Steve’s schedule is here.

And, here’s my schedule.

Looking to see you — yes, you! — there!

And now. . .to work, with a side order of prelim packing.


*This does not mean that we are not appreciative of the generosity of All The Rest of You — we are very grateful for all and everything you do.  Thank you!

 

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Errands done; and so to work

Got up early to make the trek to Skowhegan and Steve’s eye doctor.  Matters have stabilized, on that front, so — yay! stabilization!

Came home via the post office — whereby hangs a tale, which I will now tell to you.

My Formal White Tiger pen was listed as Out for Delivery by the USPS on Saturday, but did not arrive.  It is not, I will note here, Completely Unusual for the Saturday delivery-person to fail deliver packages. She simply leaves them for the regular weekday guy, because — I have no idea.  Packages hard, I guess.

So, this morning, I looked back to the site to see if indeed my pen was listed as “out for delivery” with the guy who actually does his job, but found instead a note that delivery had been attempted on Saturday, late afternoon, but nobody was home, so a note was left.

Which was…pure, unadulterated mud. First, we were home all day Saturday.  Second, we got our mail ‘way early, as we tend to do on Saturday.  Three, nobody from the post office came by the house during the late afternoon.  Four, no note was left.  Five, it wouldn’t have mattered if there was anyone at home anyway, because the package didn’t require a signature.

I called the post office and explained the situation.  As it happened, the allegation that a note had been left meant that the package was not out for delivery, but was waiting at the post office, until I called with instructions.  Which I would have never known — because no note — if I hadn’t looked at the website and discovered this, um, deceit.

So, anyway, Deirdre, who was on the desk when I called, was as helpful as one woman could possibly be.  She listened to the problem, said she would go find the package now, if I would let her put me on hold.  It took her twelve minutes to find it, but find it she did, and, at my instruction put it at the front desk so when I came to pick it up, it would be easy for whoever was then on to find.

That part went according to plan.

So!  Eye doctor, post office, grocery store, and so to home, eagerly anticipating the meal Steve had started in the slow cooker before we left home, except!

There had been a minor power outage while we were gone.  Too short for the generator to take note of and kick in, but more than long enough to reboot the slow cooker, which started a count-down-to-cooking, which meant that?

Yes — you in the back?  Yes; thank you.  Exactly that.

Dinner wasn’t ready when we got home, starving.

Today’s dinner plans were therefore amended to hot dogs on French onion rolls, and leftover macaroni/veggie salad.  We’ll have today’s dinner tomorrow.

Speaking of the weather…today at the Cat Farm and Confusion Factory it is 64F and raining.  The plants I put in yesterday are significantly perkier than they were at planting, so I’d say that timing was just about right.

As I mentioned in another venue, yesterday’s writing session produced! a True Epiphany (or as a friend says, with a bow in the direction of his spellchecker — an Apostrophe).  Epiphanies often require a lot of frogging, rearranging of scenes, re-assessing motivations, and just what seems to be a whole lot of backward motion when all instincts are screaming, “I have to make words, dammit!”

Experience teaches us that True Epiphanies almost always deliver a stronger, better story, if the writer is willing to bite her tongue and do the work.  Also, if the writer decides not to do the work?  The Epiphany has a way of forcing its point, later, when the amount of necessary frogging leaps from a few pages to a hundred, and sleepless nights and alcohol abuse enter the equation.

So, I’ve got some unwriting to do today — not much, happily, because we caught this in plenty too much time.  I may even get a start on rewriting.

And the roads, they roll.

Oh, and the new pen is gorgeous.  I’m really going to enjoy having it with me at Confluence.

Here, have a picture of both fountain pens, all snug in their traveling wallet:

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If it’s Sunday…

…Steve must’ve made blueberry pancakes for breakfast.  Aaaaaah.  I do so love blueberry pancakes and so seldom have them.  Can’t order them when we’re having breakfast out, because I go right to sleep, after.  Too many carbs-and-sugars, and not enough coffee and protein in the universe to balance it out, and, since we’re usually On The Road when we eat breakfast out…not a good combo.

So, anyway — blueberry pancakes at home to start the day, then some on-line ordering — I have committed to a so-called “beginner’s” fountain pen, on the theory that it will be easier on my wrists, and more forgiving of the Obscenely Uneven Pressure which is my best effort at writing with a pen nowadays.

Why do I want a pen that’s easy on the wrists?  Well. . .it’s come to my attention that this book wants to be written first-draft-by-hand.  I can either sit at my desk and stare at the screen for hours at a time, sweating blood for five hundred grudging words, or!  I can sit in my nice chair over there in the reading corner, with a yellow pad and a pen and zip out 2,000 words in an hour.

Even I can understand a message that clear.  The various daily pens — Sarsa gel-clicks, and a nice Levenger’s rollerball — are good in rotation, but I’m thinking one more would be a nice increase in my range, so to speak, and so the Pilot Metropolitan Animal (oooh) will be with me on Tuesday.

In other news, I’m going to try to publish Change Management: Adventures in the Liaden Universe® No. 23 as a paper edition today, in between the Rest of It, and then — we’ll see what we see.  This is, as I’ve probably already mentioned, very much an experiment.

I am aware that we have fallen behind in updating our Patreon page.  There are Reasons, mostly having to do with that army of ducks I mentioned the other day, but I won’t bore you with them, and in fact, the reasons don’t matter, except insofar as they demonstrate that we’re apparently trying to eat something very much bigger than our heads.  We hope to resume the readings, on a less-ambitious schedule, soon, and we thank you for your patience.

I think that’s all the news from the Cat Farm today.  I hope everyone has a pleasant day.

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Moving right along

OK!  Due Diligence: Adventures in the Liaden Universe® Number 24 by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller is available from most on-line retailers, and is publishing to the rest.  It was, for a couple days, a Number One Amazon Bestseller, and has fallen today to Number Three.  It has also garnered a surprising number of reviews —  thanks to everyone who has taken the time!

Those who are just arriving at the party — there’s room for your review, too; if you are so moved.

Because there were So Very Many requests, Due Diligence will also, soon now, be available in paper, from Amazon.  The reason it will not be available REALsoonnow, is that I made an error and have to fix it, as soon as Amazon stops doing something else that Amazon is doing with the file.  O! Brave New World, that hath such golems in it!

In other news, there’s a small army of ducks between me and the work I really need to be doing, here, and the coon cats are not really much into duck hunting.  Their advice is to curl up on the couch with a book and let the coon cats camouflage me as a Big Pile of Coon Cats.  This is, I note, often their advice.

And that?  Is all the news that’s fit to print.

. . .I do believe that I need more coffee. . .

 

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Low rider don’t use no gas, now Low rider don’t drive too fast

Unrestful sleep full of the horrors of free hotel breakfasts (is it me or is there less and less food at free hotel breakfasts?  Some of them have a big crockpot of oatmeal, and that’s fine; I can get by on a bowl of oatmeal.  But others. . .Gah.  Picky eater is picky.), interleaved with a roll call of absent friends.  Not sure who elected these the topics of the evening, but the result is a head full of sticky thoughts this morning.

Well.  There’s more coffee where this cup came from.

So, today’s to-do list:

  1.  Drink more coffee
  2. Edit last night’s pages
  3. Edit Due Diligence
  4. Write teaser copy for Due Diligence
  5. Write more words for Fifth of Five
  6. Consider questions to put to the panelists of Writing the Series (How do you plan out a multi-books series?  Well, there’s one question right there — free from Programming.).
  7. Print out Characterization Rant and practice on Belle (don’t laugh; Belle’s a tough audience.  For one thing, she doesn’t care about writing or characters.).  Belle’s busy right now; she’ll get back to me when her schedule’s clear.
  8. Enpurple hair
  9. Meditate

. . .that’s enough.

Today’s blog post brought to you by War, “Low Rider.”  Here’s your link.

Oh.  Yesterday, I did build a cover for Due Diligence.  Have a look:

“That’s an extra-size lot of respectability you’re wanting,” he pointed out.  “I did say we’re a House full of scoundrels.”

“You did.  But I’ve no objection to scoundrels, being one myself.”

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Well we laid a strip for the Jersey shore, and prepared to cross the line

So this is Rockin’ Chair Day for those of us here in the US; the “regular day” sandwiched between a Sunday and a Major Holiday.  Rockin’ Chair Day is difficult for those of us who as a rule work on most Sundays and Major Holidays, because we are Free From the Constraints of a Day-Job. (And to tell you the truth, I wouldn’t have most of the things they’re calling “day-jobs” nowadays, since they mostly seem to embrace all of the working on Sundays and Major Holidays of the freelance life without the freedom to tell your boss what you think of them.  But I digress.)

So, anyway, here we are, on the one day with mail delivery out of three, and we’re waiting for two checks. Spoiler: neither one arrived.  However, we did receive, by way of a pleasant surprise, our authors’ copies of The Year’s Best Military and Adventure SF, Volume 3.

In other news, Liaden Universe® short “Due Diligence” is completed in, um, fourth draft and has passed from being a long novelette (at 17,400 words) to a mid-weight novella (at 22,000 words)*.  It will now sit for a week to cool before the last pass.  If all goes well, it will be published as an eChapbook before Steve and I head out to Confluence at the end of July.

The story being off my case means I can return my whole attention to Fifth of Five, and —

What’s that?  Why did I stop to write a short story (well, it was supposed to have been a short story) when I should have been writing a novel?

Short answer:  It was in the way.

Slightly longer answer: Sometimes writers forget how to write, and they need to take up a short — note that I do not say easy — project in order to relearn the skill.

The ants made a follow-up excursion into the kitchen this afternoon, but their  hearts weren’t really in it.  It was a short, victorious battle for our side.  We remain vigilant.

And I think that’s it for the day.

If you celebrate Independence Day, enjoy!

______
The progression of works, according to SFWA is this:
Novel: 40,000 words +
Novella: 17,500 – 39,999 words
Novelette: 7,500 – 17,499 words
Short Story: less than 7,500 words

Today’s blog post title brought to you by CW McCall, “Convoy.”  Here’s your link.

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Everybody take a deep breath

No, we are NOT “ending the Liaden series” (or “killing the series” or “abandoning our readers” or “selling out”* or whatever other variation you like).

What We Are Doing Is This:

  1.  We are finishing the five-book arc which begins with Dragon in Exile (aka Dragon in Exile, Alliance of Equals, The Gathering Edge, Neogenesis, Fifth of Five (working title))
  2. We are also finishing the 20-book arc** which begins with Agent of Change (aka Crystal Soldier, Crystal Dragon, Local Custom, Scout’s Progress, Mouse and Dragon, Agent of Change, Conflict of Honors, Carpe Diem, Plan B, I Dare, Fledgling, Saltation, Ghost Ship, Dragon Ship, Necessity’s Child, Dragon in Exile, Alliance of Equals, The Gathering Edge, Neogenesis, Fifth of Five (working title))
  3. After Fifth of Five (working title) has been completed, Steve and I are under contract for five more Liaden novels in two chunks.
    1. Chunk One, consisting of two novels bearing the working titles of Liaden Mask Book One, and Liaden Mask Book Two
    2. Chunk Two, consisting of three novels bearing the working titles of Liaden Triple Threat Book One, Liaden Triple Threat Book Two, Liaden Triple Threat Book Three
    3. No, we don’t know what any of those titles will be “about”.  They will be Liaden Universe® novels, because the contracts so stipulate
  4. It remains hard to write the last book in two arcs at once.  Just so that’s clear.

I hope everyone is reassured now.  Thank you for reading, and for being so invested in our work. . .

______
*This one is really hard to figure out.  I thought that “selling out” means, um, taking a lot of money to do something questionable that would compromise one’s morals or good name.  I could be wrong, here, but I think the key to “selling out” is, well, SELLING, not just. . .stopping.

**or the 22-book arc, if you’re of the opinion that the Jethri Gobelyn books are in the main arc.  Not a 21-book arc.  Innumerate writer is innumerate.

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Beginning the week

So, the folks across the road from our back woods are building a house.  This is nothing new, they cleared the lot, oh, four years ago, and from time to time a truck and a couple guys would show up, perform Mystery Tasks and go away again.

Well, apparently they decided that This Summer is the Summer of the House, and they’ve been going at it, hammer, tongs, bulldozer, dump trucks, and electric drills from early to late.  Last night, the last dump truck delivery happened at 9:30, as I was reading a chapter from The Cat Who Saw Red (we alternate chapters), and the cats were in their places in the kitchen, listening avidly (big Koko fans in this house; though Trooper thinks Yum-Yum is just shy) — and we all jumped at least a foot when the gate slammed open.

It’s gotten to the point that I can’t really figure out what they can be building down there.  Based on the amount of activity, it may well be an apartment complex.  Or possibly a space elevator.

In other news, work goes forth.  For the record, writing the last book in a five-book arc, which is simultaneously the last book in a 21-book arc — is hard.

Who knew?

Today included baking another couple loaves of bread, which turned out well, and have been tucked into the freezer next to a half-loaf of last Friday’s Pullman bread.  I think we’re good for bread for the next week or so.  Which is a mixed blessing.  May have to switch to making cookies for displacement activity — which is a much more perilous undertaking.

I have, in between this and that, finished the first draft of “Due Diligence,” and have put it aside to rest while I pursue other work.  Such as choosing and reading the next story for our Patreon supporters*.

Speaking of which, I have one more bit of business to finish this evening, and then I’m done for the day.

Everybody stay cool.

*Not a Patreon supporter?  Check it out.

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Thus far…

So far this morning, have eaten excellent scrambled eggs and potatoes provided by Steve.

At breakfast, we figured out the ending of the cheater story, now titled “Due Diligence,” which also had the nice side-effect of straightening out the first scene, and providing a yummy scene in the middle (Lady yo’Lanna, For. The Win!).  So that can go forward and possibly be wrapped up today.

Have also started a loaf of Pullman bread.

Tomorrow, we’re due in Bangor for Active Bystander Intervention training, provided by the ACLU, and then the plan is to have lunch at the local family Italian restaurant.

So, what’re y’all doing that’s fun?

 

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Mental Health Day

People have been behaving badly on the internet.  What a surprise.

I’m reminded of a story I read once, true or not, who knows, which was to the effect that, when switchboards first became a Thing, the newly-organized phone company had initially hired boys as operators, because — cheap labor.  Unfortunately, it quickly became apparent that something about having all that access acted on boys like catnip on cats; they began pranking callers, and just in general behaving badly.  Couldn’t seem to help themselves, really, poor things.  So the phone companies fired the boy operators and hired women, because — cheap labor.  And that worked out much better for all concerned.

Personally, I think there’s a genetic disposition, a kind of allergy to electrons, so that when people with this allergy are exposed to this allergen, they behave as badly as possible.  Remove the electrons, and they revert to being perfectly innocuous and civilized members of society.

Well.

In other news, I’ve taken up meditation, as part of my project to avoid a Major Depressive Incident, such as I experienced last year.  As we all know, depression makes us stupid, and I’m still finding errors that I made during the last (really bad, by my standards; maybe one of the Biggest since records started to be kept, some 40 years ago) — some serious, but none, thank ghod, fatal, though one was particularly scary.  So, anyway, despite a lifetime of crash-burn-rise-up-eventually-slighty-sooty, I’m now trying to alter the pattern, and to be proactive.  Which means, yes, meditation, and also ruthlessly slashing toxic — and even perennially irritating — people out of my life.

If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, expect to see me less.  I’ll try to pick back up posting more regularly here (this blog is mirrored at Eagles Over the Kennebec).  I love you all, but — survival is important to the appearance of more stories.

So, that.

Yesterday, Steve and I took a mental health day.  We went down to Old Orchard Beach, where it was foggy and windy(!) and too chilly to sit on the beach and read, which had been my Plan A.  We did a short beach walk, then went down to Wells, where it was also foggy and windy(!), and stood around on the public landing, watching the kites, and Steve took pictures with his new camera.

After, we crossed over to Sanford, and stopped for lunch at the Cockpit Cafe at the airport.  And there we saw George W. Bush arrive, and board the (Embraer Legacy twin-jet) plane that had been waiting for him.

On the way home from Sanford, we made one more ocean stop — at Pine Point — and then came home, where I continued the electron-free theme (not totally true, since I’m reading an ebook), until it was time for the evening meal, a glass of wine and a chapter read outloud from The Cat Who Saw Red (yeah, it’s a re-read; we decided to do the Cat Who’s in order to follow Qwilleran’s arc).

This morning, I baked peasant olive bread while Steve went to cardio-gym, and also figured out the penultimate scene in the cheater story.

I may not have reported here that I bought myself a chair side table (a so-called C-table) for the reading corner.

Here are some pictures:

This first was taken when the table came home. At the time the photo was snapped, it had been in the house for less than five minutes:

This is what the table looks like, unadorned:

And here is Sprite, reasserting her claim:

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