In which the author checks in

What on earth has the woman been doing? you ask.

Well, in-between getting thrown out of our house on a semi-regular basis in order to allow strangers to come through and upset the cats, and compiling a list of houses that we think might be possible to shift to, when the Time for Shifting is upon us. . .

Allow me to digress for a moment — we have a list of houses from low-cost to what we consider to be the highest mortgage payment we can afford (which is still manymanyMANY dollar$ below what the bank, in its financial wisdom, says it believes we can afford).  Houses keep coming onto and being voted off of the island, with the exception of. . .two, I believe, which have been there from the beginning.  Sadly, both are at the top of what we can afford.

The low-cost houses are generally in edgy neighborhoods and tend, as a class, to be ugly.  The high-end houses sure are pretty, but there is perhaps something to be said for not buying a house that our furniture will embarrass.  One of the things in common with all the houses, however, is the presence, in the kitchen, of a dishwasher.   This is particularly poignant as one of my early morning tasks today was to wash the dishes I didn’t do yesterday because I was writing.  I have never in my life owned, or used, a dishwasher, and I do wonder how I’ll know that I’m working without the validation of that sink full of dishes.

Well. . .changes.

So — back on topic — mostly what I’ve been doing is writing.  Dragon in Exile is due at Baen on September 15.  We sent a partial — about 71,000 words — to the cover artist, and I’m pleased to let you know that David Mattingly will be doing the cover.  We’re now up to, oh, 76-ish,000 words in the “final” pile.  I still have some stuff to write, in addition to having about 15,000 pre-written words in the bag, so we’re on track, even though the hood’s still up, there are pieces strewn all over the floor, and it all looks a fright.

I took a break yesterday to watch the stream of the Hugo Awards Ceremony from LonCon 3.  The stream was flawless (there was some crankiness because the film clips were not available to the stream, but, given last year’s bot-driven fiasco, I think the LonCon committee made the right choice).  For those who did not attend, or watch the ceremony, the final Hugo Award List is here.  Congratulations to all the winners!

And, now, having caught y’all up; I need to go Serve Feline Kind by cleaning the cat fountain, and then?  I need to do some writing.

What’ve you been doing that’s fun and interesting?

* * *

Progress on Dragon in Exile:  GOOD/Author satisfied

“I must sleep more often,” Val Con said.  “Only see what prodigies I inspire.”

12 thoughts on “In which the author checks in”

  1. Sharon: You can open the dishwasher and see dirty dishes to validate you are working. Once you run it, you can look at the clean, but unloaded dishes, to validate you still are working. If you see a house you like, but it doesn’t have a dishwasher, I recommend the Maytag Convertible Dishwasher. This is (stage 1) a portable dishwasher you roll over to the sink to use; (stage 2) a dishwasher you ask the plumber to run a water supply to and a drain pipe (for the hose) in a corner; and (stage 3) with a kit you can purchase, this can become a full built-in dishwasher when you renovate the kitchen. I bought this a few years ago, and bought the kit so I’d have it when I finally get to renovate (dream, dream). I hope the machine is still available, as it is a great option. Actually, you can do stage 2 with any portable dishwasher.

  2. In all my life, I have exactly once lived in a home featuring a kitchen with a dishwasher, for a period of one year.

    It was marvelous.

    Then we moved to our present location, which lacks one.

    The next time we move, I’m not backing down on the dishwasher. Nope nope.

  3. After 20 years I finally got a dishwasher and I am tickled every single time I use it. I can sterilize the cat bowls regularly! One kitty has FIV and although they have separate bowls I like to keep them sterilized just in case the others try to sneak a sup. Oh, and it is nice for human dishes also.

  4. I put in a dishwasher when I remodeled the kitchen. It is wonderful but you still have the ritual of loading and unloading. It is simply a different kind of work that doesn’t turn your hands wrinkly.

  5. Another vote for the dishwasher. We first had a portable (which is okay as long as you’ve got a corner to push it into when it’s not in use) but the house we’ve been in since 1970 has a built-in. It’s a blessing, and with two of us it only needs to be run about twice a week, so it’s not a huge energy hog.

  6. I would not be without a dishwasher given a choice. I do mine every day, hanging a sign on the outside to let people know if it is dirty or clean. If dirty, the dishes go in there instead of on the sink. Keeps my counters much cleaner, as someone mentioned it can sterilize the dishes and certainly saves time. For those of us in drought ridden states dishwashers also use less water according to those who study such things.
    My unasked for advice is go for the best house you feel you can safely afford. It will probably cost you less in the long run due to fewer maintenance costs and the benefit of feeling (and being) safer. If you did need to move again (hopefully never since moving can be traumatic)you would also get a higher resale price.

  7. Always buy for the neighborhood amenities as much as the house’s amenities. People laugh when I tell them I’m in the old lady neighborhood but I’m in walking (or scooter) distance of a grocery, pharmacy, bank, post office, dollar store, pizzeria, and Chinese restaurant. Fixing a sad house is easier than fixing a sad neighborhood.

  8. I second Kathy’s comments! Nothing particularly unsanitary about leaving (rinsed) dishes in the dishwasher, as long as you don’t succumb to the temptation to take them out and use them again. And for those of us in the category that Social Security charmingly calls “closely approaching old age” (which starts in your 50s!), maintenance-free is a big deal. Forget about what’s possible today; think of the things you won’t be able to do 20 years from now, when you’ll still want to be in your home rather than someone else’s! Dodgy wiring, aging plumbing, and steep stairs, to say nothing of substandard insulation, can eat up the equivalent of many a mortgage payment. And while I realize the temptation of “New England charm,” I’m sure you, Steve, and the cats can supply all the charm necessary without any assistance from the architecture 🙂 As for what I’ve been doing for fun? It’s ranged from the sublime to the ridiculous. To wit: Attending four ourdoor plays in three days! Attending a knitting convention! And, the piece de resistence, preparing to attend the one-and-only FermentationFest!!

  9. Really, I want to actually write a letter to you both! Having a (now that I’ve read your stories) stupid objection to dual writers, I was unfamiliar with your work. But I am BIG TIME into SciFi, preferably hard SciFi, and I’d just reread all of C.J.Cherryh, Lois Bujold and David Weber. And some others. David Feintuch. Anne McCaffrey. Georgette Heyer. I was bored. But I have this neat Kindle and it’s just so easy to get books on it! I went for ‘Free Science Fiction’ and there found “Agent of Change”. But there were 2 writers so I put it off for awhile. When I finally read it (this is only a matter of maybe 2 months ago), I immediately purchased every single thing you guys wrote that I could find. You know Georgette Heyer! ‘Rusticated’ ‘in your cups’ ‘megrims’ all scattered around and well done too. And you honor cats! Of which I currently have 7 3/4 (one is 3 legged). It is clearly an extremely good match for me. And so late in life (in my 60’s) to have found NEW PROLIFIC AUTHORS, why, I’m so delighted, my family can hardly stand me. And all I’ve done in my free time since has been to read your books. THANK GOODNESS there are a LOT of them! And naturally I want more. Did I miss a book about what happened to Anne? That was so sad, I thought. At any rate, I’m at the end of “Dragon Ship” with but “Necessitys Child” to read. Only thing is, I’d really rather get paperbacks. I prefer to read that way, go back, go forward, less weight, whatever. However, and I wish SOMEBODY would mention this to publishers, THE BOOKS NEED TO BE THE SAME SIZE as they have always been. If you have floor to ceiling bookshelves, all sized to fit paperbacks, and they start making them a different size, well… And while my Georgette Heyer books are pretty ancient, I can’t get the new series ’cause they are all larger. Frustrating. So I’ll continue to get stuff for my Kindle but now I’m haunting bookstores to find your books in a size I can keep.

    I know I’m pretty wordy but I HAD to take the time to write! You have given me a wonderful new universe and creative, imaginative, thoughtful characters that already I adore.

    Thank YOU!

  10. I had a dishwasher. It leaked. I never used it for the purpose intended. It was where the brown rice bin and all the canning jars lived. When I did the kitchen reno I knew that contemporary kitchens require dishwashers; resale value and all that. So I bought a very nice new one, too good to use as a glorified rice-keeper. It’s been several months now and the dishwasher still hasn’t been used for anything. Single person just doesn’t generate enough dishes, and when I have a dinner party the company dishes aren’t dishwasher safe. If the hordes descend for brunch though, I’ll be ready.
    Fun stuff? Last weekend I went up to the Princeton Traditional Music Festival. That’s Princeton, BC, a small, rather quaint mining town in the Rockies. The festival is free and all volunteer, and musicians and singers come from as far as New Zealand and New Hampshire (usually not just for the festival) The open stage was in the local ice cream parlor (air conditioning, 28 flavours, not counting soft-serve) Life doesn’t get much better than that.
    Nice to hear about the book. The waiting will be interminable.

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