How would I know; why should I care?

The Box from LL Bean arrived.  The slippers are already on my feet, and the fleece-lined flannel shirt?  Baby, this garment is never coming off of my body.

Today’s regular mail brought royalties — that’s statements and checks — for electronic sales made through Baen.com.  So, yay! money in the mail.

Yesterday, we turned in “Block Party,” the requested seasonal story in support of Neogenesis.  This one was something of a challenge, because the request was for “seasonal,” and one naturally doesn’t like to disappoint one’s editor.  However, neither Liadens nor Surebleakeans can possibly celebrate “Christmas;” nor were we persuaded that they would celebrate any of the other winter holidays native to our own Earth.  What that meant was that we had to figure out the “notes” for a seasonal story, and try to construct an in-world story that hit those notesNot really sure we did it right, but our editor promises a quick reading.

Today, it’s back to the salt mines Fifth of Five.  But first?  Lunch, and perhaps even a nap.

Everybody have a good day.

Today’s blog post brought to you by two bands:  The Zombies, who did the original in 1965; and Santana, who covered it in 1977:  “She’s Not There.”

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Friday the Thirteenth

Excellent day; sunny and crisp.

I seem to have caught a cold; or a cold has caught me, so, in celebration, I’ve ordered in a pair of Mr. Bean’s Wicked Good Slippers and a flannel jacket-shirt lined with fleece, in orange plaid.  Because orange plaid was on sale, and brought the price down from Ruinous to Merely Outrageous.

What else?  I’ve meditated for two days in a row, been to the gym, and managed to get to bed at a reasonable hour.  I did sleep in this morning, but it wasn’t my fault!  Three coon cats ganged up on me and held me under the covers.

I have been remiss in mentioning here that Pinbeam Books has committed The Tomorrow Log to paper.  Here’s your link.  I note that it is also and has since 2011 been constantly available as an ebook from all the Usual Suspects, though Amazon seems unwilling to associate the two editions in its catalog.

I’ve been slowly slipping back into Fifth of Five, which does indeed seem to be aspiring to the working title Monkey Business.  We shall see.  In the meanwhile, I’m glad Neogenesis gave me all that practice in writing in chunks, ’cause that’s how this one wants to be written, too.  Yes, yes, I said never again.  The author is always the last to know.

Today, in honor of the cold, and despite sleeping in, I have placed NAP on the to-do list, along with the other glamorous tasks that fall to a working writer, such as cleaning the cat fountain, straightening away at least some of this stuff, doing the dishes, oh, and actually working on the manuscript.

I’ll try to get back to reporting progress, though a total word count isn’t really going to be possible — see writing in chunks, above.

Yesterday, then, I added 850 new words to the WIP and cleaned up some really rugged sentences.  The manuscript, in, I hesitate to say total, weighs in at something more-or-less close to 35,000 words.  This counts. . .cohesive chunks.

Everybody confused now?  Good.  Have a snippet:

The little Healer was not a monster, though he had wielded necessity like a surgeon’s knife, terrifying in his virtue.

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Well the man out to end us had a hurricane business; he’d raise them from babies all by himself

We, by which I of course mean Steve, have seen the laundry done.  Next up is a blankie run, which is surely needed, but which may not happen today.

We, by which I mean I, have gone as far as I can with the story commissioned for Baen.com, which is today entitled “Block Party.”  This means that it now goes to Steve for his review and modifications.

Today’s to-do list includes catching up with some more of my backlogged email, and opening up the working file for Fifth of Five, which continues to refuse a title, and re-acquaint myself.

Of possible interest to those reading here is the fact that the turn-in deadline for Fifth of Five has been shifted to March 31.  Wrap-up books are hard.

Let’s see. . .in case you missed it, the eArc for Neogenesis is now available in every electronic format known to Man or Clutch, from Baen:  here’s your link.  You may also use the link to read the first seven chapters of the book, for free.

To the best of my knowledge — and Trooper’s, too! — we will be stay-at-home writers for the rest of the year.  This is a good thing, because, frankly, we’re exhausted, and also we have Deadlines, which, inexplicably, did not get any further away while we were rusticating in Real Life.

Weatherwise, we seem to be under hurricane weather, again; at the moment the air is sodden and still.  The Weatherbeans are calling with one voice for rain, all day.

. . .and that’s all the news that’s fit, today.

Today’s blog post title comes from Tom Petty, “A Mind with a Heart of it’s Own.”  Here’s your link.

 

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What in Ghu’s name has the woman been DOING?

Life is still happening; as ever, a two-edged knife.  In the midst of it all, I have been doing. . .Stuff

Among the various stuff is Writing Stuff, naturally enough.  I wrote a scene in which two characters I had despaired of getting together meet naturally and cleanly, and even for reasons Dictated By The Plot.  This probably pleases me much more than it should, but writers are odd creatures, with strange pleasures.

I have started the short story commissioned by Baen.com in support of Neogenesis, and have figured out how to accommodate an editorial suggestion, which also pleases me, since, frankly, I didn’t think there was any way in heck. . .  But, there, writers are odd creatures, with sideways minds that occasionally work for the common good.

I converted one more eChapbook to a paper edition — that would be Technical Details: Adventures in the Liaden Universe® Number 21, including “Landed Alien” and author-favorite “Eleutherios”. Here’s your link.

My standing desk conversion arrived, with the sooperdooper floor mat.  I’ve been liking it in the standing position, but — alas! — my chair doesn’t rise high enough to make it perfectly comfortable to engage with while seated.  I shall seek out a cushion.

Also!  I have been remiss in reporting here that “Wise Child,” was chosen by readers — out of a VERY stiff field! — as the Best Military and Adventure SF of 2016.

The Readers Choice Award was presented at the Baen Traveling Roadshow at DragonCon over this past weekend, Jim Minz accepting for Lee and Miller.  Photographs were allegedly taken, and will be forthcoming.

The prize is a plaque and $500.

Thanks to everyone who voted for Tolly and Disian.  Steve and I are very proud authors, indeed.

And, now!

I need to do some chores and go to town before the thunderstorms start again.

Everybody stay safe.

 

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What Readers Want, Number Whoknows in a Continuing Series

Thinking about what readers what in books, as one does. . .

When we were at Confluence, I said on a panel (which panel, I no longer recall, but it was late in the con. Very possibly it was the last panel, at which, yanno, I’m liable to say anything…) that we were writing books that had to do, not only with Actions, but with the Consequences of Actions.

And a person in the audience said, But what if you don’t want to read about the consequences of actions? What if you only want to read about the actions, the excitement, the adventure?

And I said — last panel, remember — that, as far as I was concerned, it was perfectly fine to read Pure Action Books, there were a lot of them out there, many of them are fun, and far be it from me to tell anyone what they ought to read.

However, I could speak authoritatively in terms of writing, and, specifically, in terms of writing the Liaden Universe® (though this is also, and is possibly more, applicable in the Carousel/Archers Beach universe):  In our work, there are Consequences to Actions. Yes, people have to Act, and often messily, because, well, space opera. And also because the people who Act shape the future.

But!  The important takeaway here is this:

The universe Steve and I write in is a Universe of Moms; there are consequences to actions; and somebody has to clean up the mess.

I also said that what readers need to remember is that — speaking again for myself at the last panel of a convention — I am not writing for them.  I have never written for them.  I am writing for me.  It’s nice that other people like to read what I write, but I’m not writing for All of Them Out There.  I can’t write for Them, as any number of internet articles will tell you.  I don’t have the tools to write for Them.

So, that leaves me.  And you, if you find that I speak your language, or near enough.

And now it’s time for coffee.

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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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