Shifting gears

. . .printing out Trade Secret as I type, today will be spent immersed in the Jethri-verse.  The interwebs seem to be carrying on as usual without my participation.  Carry on, interwebs, carry on.

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Progress on Carousel Seas

77,938/100,000 words OR 78% complete

“I’m afraid that you’ll have nightmares, even if I do finish it,” she said. “I’ve had my share of them, since we started down this path. But, even so — even now — I can’t see what else we could have done; and it was certain that we had to do something.”

“Now you’re just having fun with me,” I said.

Gran glared — then laughed.

“You’re right. If I’m going to tell it, I ought to tell it properly, from the beginning.”

Now I know you’re not the only starfish in the sea

So, let’s see…Day before yesterday — that would have been Wednesday — I needed to describe Carousel Sun (by which I mean to say, the book I submitted in February, and God, She Knows what it’s about because I’m three-quarters of the way through the sequel, and I surely don’t) in a couple paragraphs (aka 150-300 words) so that the spring sales tip sheet will have something on it that will make book buyers eager to stock the book.

This is one of those things that writers do which are double-edged, to say the least.  On the slicing edge, you’re glad the publisher has asked you for this input because they’ve got dozens of books on their plate, and you-the-author have only the one, and, presumably, you know your own work best (insert laugh track here).

On the thrusting edge, though, there’s the sad truth that I, at least, am a Lazy Writer and by gum if I could’ve told Carousel Sun in 300 words, I certainly wouldn’t have used 104,000 of the little beasts.  I’d’ve knocked the book out in an afternoon and then played for four months, until it was time to start the next book.  Trust me, at this point in the proceedings, I know myself.

So, it took a ridiculously long time to craft those words (this despite the fact that I had asked a long-suffering beta reader to help me define the principle storyline), but by the end of Wednesday, I had something I thought would work, sent it off, and got ready to do, yanno, work.

Except that the next section of story stalled, and no amount of pointing at the outline to show the characters what they were supposed to do next elicited anything more than yawns and a conversation among themselves about whose turn it was to send out for pizza — which long-time readers of this blog will recognize as a sure sign that — yes, you in the corner wearing the pink flamingo t-shirt. . .

Yes, exactly that.

It means that The Author Screwed Up.

So instead of writing any words, I went back over the last 75 pages of manuscript, looking for the place where I turned left when I should’ve turned right.

Fortunately, it was easy to spot — a case of the sub-plot moving along quicker than the main plot.  It’s also fairly easy to fix, if frustrating for a writer who is trying to make words and have a complete draft done in twelve days.

Yesterday, then, I pulled 2,490 words of sub-plot out of the book, and carefully saved them for later use; then I wrote 2,252 brand new words.  Today, I hope to write very many more words than this because I have news of two things that will be landing on my desk in the next couple days which will have precedence over this book.

So! another chapter in the exciting life of a writer.  I know, I know. . .not for the fainthearted.

And now?  I’m going back to work.

Everybody take care.

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Progress on Carousel Seas

73,706/100,000 words OR 74% complete

I looked up.  “My point is that any sentence that starts off with, No, but Bel — really needs to be finished, so I don’t have nightmares.”

Oh, the buzzin’ of the bees in the peppermint trees ’round the soda water fountains

So, I think I failed to mention here that, after research and consultation with the resident cats, and some really hard shopping, we ordered in a cat tree, which arrived today.  I have already declared it a success, as Mozart immediately jumped onto the box and declared himself the King of the Cats.  I will note that the cat tree is still in the box, because I need to do stuff like move the sofa and take down some pictures before I can actually build the tree.  This may happen tomorrow.  Or it may not.  Pictures will be posted, when and if.

Mostly though, I’ve been writing.  I really, really want to finish this draft before we head off to BEA, and, barring something Tragic, it looks like I’ll be able to do that.  Phew.

Sometime in the last. . .month or so, I received a mailing from Planned Parenthood that included a “membership card” — has anyone else gotten one of these things?  It has my name on it, and an ID number and states that I’ve been a “member” since 2001, which is apparently as far back as their database goes.

Here’s the thing, though.  I don’t consider myself a “member” of Planned Parenthood.  I support their work, but I didn’t join; I wasn’t aware that Planned Parenthood was a club.

Am I alone in being annoyed by this?

To top it off, Planned Parenthood has been calling (and calling and calling) for the last few weeks, because they have this matching grant thing they’re trying very hard to qualify for.  I wish them well, but I really resent it when they tell me that my “usual” donation amount is $150 and can they put me down for $300 this time?  All said in the perkiest voice imaginable.

First of all, my “usual” amount is more like $25; the $150 was the result of the fundraiser Pinbeam Books did for Planned Parenthood when they were hosed by the Pink Ribbon People.  We donated the proceeds of all sales of The Cat’s Job, for a month, I think it was, to Planned Parenthood.

Also?  Here at the Cat Farm and Confusion Factory, three hundred dollars is Serious Money.

So, yeah, I’m annoyed on a couple of fronts, here.  And I’m also saddened that they feel they have to adopt hard-sell tactics, which are going to lose them donors like me, who don’t want to be manipulated, and who have limited funds, and more than one charity worthy of those funds.


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Progress on Carousel Seas

73,968/100,000 words OR 74% complete

“This just come in — express, Kate.  Ain’t nothin’ comes in express.”

Well, I tell ya, I’ve fought tougher men, but I really can’t remember when

Physical therapy continues.  It would appear that the heart of the problem is my left shoulder, which got messed up in a car accident back in the day, when a guy in a hurry to get to a party ran a red light, broadsided my little green Maverick, and I shot cross-car, striking my head on the windshield on the passenger’s side, shattering the safety glass (insert hard-headed woman joke here), and lost consciousness.

It’s been quite the epic, this shoulder.  At first, I was told that I would never use my arm again.  That was a non-starter, given that I typed for a living.  So the doctor and I went ’round a couple times and he finally buckled and gave me a reference to Kernan Hospital’s Sports Medicine Unit, which at that time did all the therapy for injured Colts and Orioles and other Baltimore-area wildlife, with the dire prediction that therapy was going to hurt.

Which, to be fair, it did.  The guy who was my therapist did brutal things to me, including hanging me by my neck to stretch the locked muscles.  “I will hurt you and you will hate me,” he told me during our first meeting.  “But then I’ll give you heat, and we’ll be friends again.”

And that’s pretty much how it went.  I got the use of my arm back, the shoulder never really stopped hurting, but I’d been primed to expect that outcome, and with familiarity, I was able to largely ignore it and get on with things that mattered.

Except that, like many folks I’ve talked to, all my stress from those days to this goes to live in the most vulnerable place — the shoulder that never really healed.

Thirty-four years of compensating takes its toll on the whole body — that old ankle bone connected to the leg bone thing — and this is what I’ve brought to the physical therapy table.

The presenting problem — the hip pain — has been addressed, but my body’s out of true, and it feels like my left shoulder (by which I, neither a doctor or a scientist, mean the area bounded by the occipital bone and the trapezius and down to places I don’t know the names of) is made of cement.  It really seems as if getting in a street drill would be a good thing, here.  Failing that, it looks like lots of work ahead to get things properly aligned, and hopefully to prevent any more new problems caused by this old problem.

So, what I’m saying here, long-windedly, and not very elegantly is — if you have a health issue that you’ve been…oh, just putting up with, say, either because it’s been with you so long it’s familiar, or because you don’t think you can afford to get it fixed — and believe me, I know all about not being to afford to get something fixed, but?

That’s one of those false economies.  Because whatever isn’t right isn’t only going to continue in its not-rightness, it’s going to take other, perfectly healthy, bits with it into not-rightness.  And eventually, it will all have to be looked at, anyway, when it’s become a large, entangled problem.

So, take care of yourselves, right?  You really are worth it.

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Progress on Carousel Seas

70,044/100,000 words OR 70% complete

“It’s a strong curse, Kate; it will not fail.”


Still life with Mozart

As I mentioned elsewhere, yesterday, I need to write eight scenes (now seven-and-a-half) and a wrap-up in order to finish a Compleat Draft of Carousel Seas.  I spent some time yesterday mapping out those scenes (which is how I know that the number is eight), and everything seems solid, all the way to the finish line.

In other news, we need to go to town today, to take on groceries.  We had been going to go to breakfast, but suddenly! realized! that?  Today is Mother’s Day.  So, Steve is prepping for Omelets at Home, which will be very pleasant, and then we’ll go grocery shopping.

Fans of Mozart will be pleased to know that he’s back on the case.  Here he is, already at work on the pages I wrote yesterday:

Mozart is on the job May 12 2013
Mozart is on the job
May 12 2013

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Progress on Carousel Seas

67,842/100,000 words OR 67.84% complete

I felt it then, the weight on the land.  The same weight, I was certain, that I’d felt before.  Slowly, I turned toward it.  As before he-or-she was located in the blackness of the alley between the Sun Wheel and the carousel’s storm wall.

“I’m glad you came back,” I said softly, while I sent warm tidings and promises of safety through the land.  “Please don’t run away.  I’m Kate Archer, the guardian.  I’d like to see you, and to get to know you; to serve you, if I may.”

As on the previous occasion, the weight shifted on the land.  I had the impression that whoever it was had come one or even two cautious steps in my direction.

Which was approximately when all hell broke loose.

Internet ON

So, 3501 not-anywhere-near-perfect words written today on Carousel Seas.  Amazing what you can do when you turn the internet OFF.

Tomorrow, we have an early business phone call, then I will once again turn the internet OFF and see what happens.

I did skip over a scene because I need to think about where and how it supports the rest of the narrative.  God, She knows, I already have too many extraneous scenes in this book.  Or maybe not.  A cold read of a complete draft will tell me for sure.

Hope everyone had a good and productive day.

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Progress on Carousel Seas

64,279/100,000 OR 64.28% complete

“And just who the hell are you?”

Of jewels rare and old, and coaches filled with gold

I’m afraid there’s not much to see here, as I make a dash for the end of the book. Insert Snapshot of The Author tipped forward in her chair, fingers on the keyboard, glaring at the screen

(It’s funny, Agent of Change was written very much at a dash, and so was Conflict of HonorsCarpe Diem wanted to dash — indeed, we did dash, and wrote a whole wrong book.  So, then we had to write the correct book, but at a slower pace, and paying close attention to the rules we’d laid down in the previous two books.   Continuity is hard.  It was then, I think, that we got into the habit of thinking things out in-between the writing, and things went from dash to dogged.)

So!  What’re y’all doing or thinking about or reading that’s fun and interesting?

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Progress on Carousel Seas

57,347/100,000 OR 57.35% complete

“The customs of a strange land are often confusing, I am told.  One may make errors of naivety, and be forgiven.  Other errors, I fear, Daughter, are not so easily forgiven.”

Kaw-liga was a wooden Indian standing by the door. He fell in love with an Indian maiden over in the antique store

I was out early (for values of early that include “before noon”) today in the garden, doing what I could for the roses and the hosta and the day lilies.  The bugs finally drove me inside.  I hate me some bugs, I do.

Yesterday was mostly about the writing and today will be, too.  The Plan had been to turn this book in before August 15, if at all possible, so I could get some down-time between Archers Beach Thought and Liaden Universe® Thought.

I just realized, though, that we’ll be traveling at the end of May/beginning of June (by which I mean, I knew that, but I didn’t KNOW it) so, argh. In theory, if I write just 2,000 words every day (which we know is more than possible, if Things will just stop Happening.  *glares at Things and dares them to Happen*) I have available to me before we leave for BEA, then I’ll have a complete draft done.  It can then sit and percolate for a week while we glam around New York, and I can come home ready to slash and burn edit and revise.  Get the book outta here by the end of June.  Have July to lie on the couch sipping wine and reading trashy novels move on the various tasks necessary to get the house ready for sale…


It hangs together as a plan, anyhow.  Let’s see how it implements.  *Pulls on typing gloves and settles her glasses*


From The Internet Is Endlessly Fascinating folder, we have the following:

How our brains process language

What the statues of ancient Greece looked like with their paint on

Harper Lee alleges former agent tricked her into assigning her copyright to him

And, a daughter’s tribute to her deceased mother, a photo-tour of Wonderland


Progress on Carousel Seas

53,006/100,000  OR 53% complete

“Not a glamor-user, yourself?” Felsic inquired.

“What you see is what you get,” I answered, just as the light snapped out in the back room.


Whenever the trees are crying aloud, and ships are tossed at sea

Slow-moving morning, here at the Cat Farm.

Mozart is dozing on the blanket-covered box at the kitchen-end of the hall.  Scrabble has mounted a watch in the window, and she’s keeping a Very Close Eye on the bird feeders.  Especially the woodpecker block, which has been the center of a number of antics this morning.

Bird discursion:

I mean, I know woodpeckers aren’t terribly bright.  By my observation, this usually works for them, because they don’t tend to notice scary stuff.  But this morning, we have a visitor who can’t figure out the chain from which the woodpecker feeder is suspended, and it’s distracting him something terrible.  He’d come in, start whacking at the seeds, see the chain, and forget to eat, as he looked at This Strange (and Shiny) Device, first from one eye, then from the other.  It was sad, in an amusing sort of way.

He has finally seemed to have figured out that, if he hangs upside down from the bottom of the feeder-cage, he doesn’t have to see the chain, and he can eat in peace.  Which is what he’s doing now.

In publishing news. . .

For those who do not tweet, last evening it was Revealed that Carousel Sun (the sequel to Carousel Tides) will be published in early-ish 2014.

So!  This is what we now know about the Lee/Miller and Lee publication schedules for the next little while:

Liaden Universe® Constellation Volume I:  July 2013
Dragon Ship mass market: August 2013
Dragonwriter: A Tribute to Anne McCaffrey & Pern: August 2013
Trade Secret: November 2013
Liaden Universe® Constellation Volume II: January 2014
Carousel Sun: Early-ish 2014

From the hey, that’s cool pile. . .

We hear from Madame the Agent, who gets her Locus before we get ours, that Necessity’s Child has hit the Locus Bestselling Hardcover list at Number Two.  Not too shabby — and you did it yourselves!  Well done, and thank you.

And! Under the topic Discussions Worth Having:

Kyle Cassidy, photographer extraordinaire, muses on pockets and women’s clothes, here

. . .and there’s a follow-up, here

This is a useful and thought-provoking discussion about what pockets (or the lack of pockets) says about autonomy.  Really worth a read.

Eye Candy:

Really interesting series of pictures of the remains of plane wrecks (all wrecks depicted are non-fatal) in remote places, right here.

In writing news:

Today! Is the day! That I will break 50K.  I know this because I’m only 172 words short of the goal as I start my work day.  It’s nice to occasionally have some certainty in life.

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Progress on Carousel Seas

49,828/100,000 words OR 49.83% complete

“You kill that shark?”

She raised disdainful eyebrows.  “Must you ask?”

“In fact, I don’t have to ask.  I’m curious about your motivation.”