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.

* * *

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

* * *

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.

* * *

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?

* * *

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.

* * *

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.”

In which the author plays in the dirt

Today, I schlepped dirt.  Dirt is heavy.  After a while, even shovel-fulls of dirt are heavy.  However!  I have finished now with the dirt, and with broadcasting the seeds mixed with purple sand, and with the raking.  All that remains is for the seeds to grow.

Grow, little seeds, grow!

After playing in the dirt, I cleaned the cat boxes and took a shower; ate the lovely lunch Steve prepared for us, and wrote some words.  In a few minutes, I’ll write some more words, and then I’ll break for supper and perhaps read (Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance) for a bit before going to bed.

I know.  I know.  You’re asking yourselves, How does she do it? How does she continue at this brutal pace which is the price of her fame?

Years of practice, children.

Years and years of practice.

In other news, Mozart wants me to come into the living room and play chess with him.  Or something.  I know this because he’s marching up and down the hall declaiming at the top of his teensy, tiny little Maine Coon cat voice.  Despite this, I believe that there will be no chess this evening.

So, what did you do today?

* * *

Progress on Carousel Seas

45,708/100,000 words OR 45.71% complete

“The elephants are definitely disquieting. In fact, I don’t think I’m going out on a limb if I say that they look downright drunk. Who wants to snuggle up with a bunch of inebriated flying elephants of a cold winter’s night? And it’s definitely not the kind of thing you want to put in the baby’s crib.”

“Never had much to do with elephants.”

“Me neither — and I’m here to tell you that blanket isn’t making me eager to seek them out.”



Boring old Saturday

For those keeping score, You’re All Just Jealous of my Jetpack did arrive in this morning’s mail.  Its arrival was the most exciting thing that happened today.

Which, after the week that just was?  Is not a Bad Thing.

Mostly what I did today was sit on the couch and write, ably assisted by Mozart, who took up his post on the floofy blanket beside me, and never wavered in his duty.  The sacrifices one makes for Art.

Three thousand eighty-eight words were forged upon the day, which I think is pretty exciting, though I’d hoped to crack forty grand, total, today.  Perhaps tomorrow, for which I also foresee the excitement! of!

Cleaning the bathroom.

Hope everyone had a satisfying Saturday, without alarums or excursions.

* * *

Progress on Carousel Seas

39,464/100,000 OR 39.46% complete

“The famous Archer wit. Well, I’ll tell you something – I ain’t laughing! As for even trying to talk to Jess Robald about anything sensible, I guess I know better’n that. Woman’s a fool, always been, an’ if there were still state sanitoriums, you’d’ve never had the chance to use her as a cat’s paw! Me, I know where the brains are in this. It’s you, just like it always was!

Today’s tempest in a teapot

Frequent readers of this blog will recall that yesterday, I posted a snippet from work-in-progress Carousel Seas; then deleted it when a complaint about the ungrammaticalness of the snippet was the first response to it.

Now, posting snippets is something I do because I want to; it’s fun in much the same way as eating cookies fresh out of the oven is fun.  Neither is meant to be nutritious, necessarily; just a little hit of pleasure to sweeten the day.

Snippets usually come directly out of the work I’ve done on the day of their posting; they are first draft material.  That means they may contain spelling errors, punctuation errors, errors in arithmetic, grammar errors, and all the other sorts of Soul-Destroying Horrors that attend first draft material.

The cry of “not grammatically correct” struck me exactly the same way as you would have been struck, had I walked into your kitchen and slapped the plate of warm cookies out of your hand.

Exactly that.

I mean, if I don’t want a warm cookie, all I have to say is, “No, thanks.”  Right?  No need to be rude about it.

If a snippet offends you, then don’t read any more snippets.  That’s easy, right?  I put them at the very bottom of the page for a reason, you know*.

I want to make it clear that I don’t think my work is perfect; and I certainly don’t think the snippets are perfect.  Some things I post as snippets don’t survive the final draft.  I am, at least a little bit, aware of the demands of my craft.  I do multiple read-throughs of my working manuscript, correcting, changing and shaping.

I also want to make clear that I do not reverence grammar above all things.  Grammar is a tool.  It is not the only tool.  Which is why my initial, but usually suppressed, response to those who need to explain to me that my grammar sucks is, “So. Fucking. What?”

For the folks who are asking that the snippet be re-instated, and that snippeting continue. . .give me a few days to think about this.  I don’t like having cookies slapped out of my hands; it’s upsetting.  This doesn’t mean that I need — or want — tons of praise for my powers as a baker; I mean, for ghod’s sake, they’re just cookies.  I just don’t want to be abused for having baked them.


*The Reason Being that I was taken to task (a couple years ago now) on Baen’s Bar for snipetting.  The objection there being to one’s unrelenting self-promotion.  That kerfuffle cost me three days’ work and a migraine, so you can see why I hide the snippets now, and also why I want to be very careful of my space on this.  If I can’t feel reasonably safe, and get some pleasure from the act of snipetting, then it’s clear, in order to protect my work, that I shouldn’t snippet.