Answers with coffee

Last evening’s post generated some questions, which I’ll try to deal with here, all in one lump, with the morning’s second cup of coffee.

Of particular concern was that I reported “scrubbling” the cats.  Some folks misread “scrubbled” as “scrubbed” and I want to assure you right now that the Cat Farm cats are, in the immortal words of my mother-in-law, “clean cats.”

“Scrubbling” in the vernacular of the Cat Farm is a two-handed, full body rough rub.  Mozart likes his back scrubbled.  He will lie belly flat on the floor, I’ll kneel next to him and rub both hands up and down, like I’m shampooing him.  He grabs on the rug with his front claws and squeaks.  Yes, he squeaks.  What can I say?  He’s a goof, but I love him.

Hexapuma likes to have his belly scrubbled.  The technique is roughly the same as above, except for watching out for the Sudden Grab(tm) when he’s had enough, and that Hex likes to enjoy himself in silence.

Scrabble prefers to let the whole scrubble thing pass her by, thanks.

* * *

Mozart and Hexapuma are Maine Coon Cats.

Mozart’s home cattery is the Kennebec Cattery in Pittsburgh, so his Full Formal Name is Kennebec Mozart; he is Officially a Blue Silver Tabby, and has just celebrated his twelfth birthday.

Hexapuma’s Official Moniker is Blue Blaze Sphinxian Hexapuma, from the Blue Blaze Cattery, now of Delaware.  He is a Black and Silver Classic Tabby and will this month celebrate his fourth birthday.  He is not, as many people assume, a polydactyl, though many Maine Coon cats are (it’s a feature, not a bug).  He was named, so I’m told, for a critter that appears in a series of novels by David Weber, the Sphinxian Hexapuma, which is, as I also understand it, far fiercer and more ambitious than Hex will ever be.

The Cat Farm’s cat-0f-all-work is Scrabble, a calico adopted from the local shelter.  Steve met her while she was interning at the local pet food store, realized her potential as an office manager and brought her home.  Scrabble will soon, so we believe, be eight years old.  We celebrate her birthday on September 1.

* * *

Reading order for the Liaden Universe® novels. . .

There’s a sort-of reading order over here, but honestly, there are apparently as many True Reading Orders as there are readers, so I’ve given up weighing in on the topic.  Read them how you like them; it’ll all make sense in the end.

* * *

There was a request for a description of the process of writing, but. . .I think I’d rather not talk about process while I’m actually writing, so maybe we’ll get to that one later.  I once heard an artist say that she could either draw or talk about drawing, but she couldn’t draw and talk about what she was doing at the same time.  If you start thinking too much about what you’re doing, the centipede gets all tangled up in her feet, poor thing, and goes crashing onto her nose.

* * *

Book length, and can’t Ghost Ship please be longer than 100,000 words.

I use 100,000 words as a target count for word meters and progress reports because (1) it’s handy, (2) we have a contract for a science novel in the Liaden Universe® of not less than 100,000 words, and (3) I don’t actually know how long the book is going to be until it’s done.  We write story, not words, but it’s hard to assure interested folk of the progress of the story in a nice little graphic.  Some days, there are no words; it’s all about staring at nothing.

But! To give those who are interested a range, here’s the word count on a couple of random submission manuscripts:

Agent of Change:  98,000

Duainfey:  101,000

Longeye: 101,000

Fledgling:  117,000

Saltation:  104,000

Mouse and Dragon: 115,000

Carousel Tides:  101,945

. . .so you’ll see we pretty often do go over, and hardly anything comes in right at 100,000 words.

And now my coffee’s done and it’s time to get on the road and run me some errands.

Everybody have a good Monday.

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