In which the authors know the words to far too many classic rock songs

So, the melancholy truth found yesterday was that — though I was cleared for shoes, my beloved Dansko oxfords did not fit me.  Well.  The right foot fit just as always, but the reconstructed left foot — did not.  This was lowering, to say the least, and I was cast into Deep Despair until Steve came home from running errands with a pair of oversized fleece-lined men’s slippers that the surgeon’s preferred insoles fit, so I was able to lose the surgical shoe which was Just. So. Wonderful.

This morning, deciding that solving the shoe problem was Priority One, we took ourselves to Laney Wellehan in Augusta, where the manager and podiatry specialist took me in hand, and speedily found me a pair of Clark women’s pull ons, in wide, with a nice broad toe box. The manager also gave me tongue pads and heel pads for the right shoe, which is, as you’d imagine, a little large.

Shoes achieved, we went up the hill to Pier One, where I wandered about and stared at All The Stuff.  I have loved Pier One since a young girl, and Pier One in All its Potlatch Finery is not to be missed; it’s better than the Macy’s parade.  After about 45 minutes of wandering the store in amaze, my foot started to ache, so back we went to the car, and Steve took us for a drive out through Monmouth, up Mount Pisgah Road, through Wayne, Jay, Wilton, Farmington, Norridgewock, and so to home, and lunch, and catching up on work and correspondence.  During our ride, the predictive mileage meter went from predicting that we would need gas in 310 miles to needing gas in 380 miles.  The predictive mileage meter probably amuses me more than it should.

While we drove, we sang along with whatever was on Sirius Vinyl and/or Cassette.  Very probably we heard songs to which we did not know all the words, but there were far more to which we knew every word.  Yes, yes, I hear you, there in the back — if only we would use our power for good.

One thing became apparent as we traveled up and down the world, and that is — I’m going to have to have a refresher course in driving. Sitting in a stable chair for eight weeks has given me a Whole New, and not entirely useful, reading on how close other vehicles are, and our relative speeds.  Well.  Something to do.

…and that’s what we’ve been up to.  Hope your day was as pleasant.


In which Rolanni is cleared to walk

So, today was the 7.5 week checkup since my foot operation, and the news is better than I had dared hope.

I can start walking again, easing into my good Dansko oxfords (though I can’t (for a year!) go barefoot), and losing (at last!) the surgical shoe.  The scooter is now a back-up tool, for use when my foot achy, and tomorrow?

I can actually go sit at my desk and work.

Well.  After I get all the Stuff that got piled on it while I was occupying the Command Chair sorted and put away.  The Command Chair will still be part of my routine, because the foot will swell, and ache, just given the normal wear and tear put on it by gravity.  My Plan at this point is to sit at the desk and enter corrections to the WIP, retreating to the Command Chair to mark up pages.

Tomorrow, I will be able to fix my own breakfast and carry it to the dining room table, and eat at the dining room table!

Hold on just a second; I’m feeling a little giddy.

I can go back to gym after Christmas, for weight bearing exercise; I may also use the treadmill — as long as I don’t run, and  we’re safe there, because?

I don’t run anywhere.

The swelling, which is not actually swelling, but rather scar tissue and affronted muscles, can take up to a year to subside, from which springs the prohibition on barefootin’ it.  Wearing shoes all the time will take some getting used to, since I’m a dedicated sock-footer, but honestly? at the moment that seems like a First World Problem.

Steve and I will have to make a Plan, so I don’t push on too quickly, but I expect we’re up to the challenge.

After we saw the surgeon, we celebrated the good news by stopping at Dairy Queen for milkshakes.  Then, Steve drove us to the Barnes and Noble in Augusta, where we both walked in and signed copies of Accepting the Lance and Conflict of Honors.

. . .and that’s the news as we know it.


Update the Sixth

So, yesterday, Steve and I took our planned excursion to the Festival of Trees, me on my shiny blue scooter and Steve doing the driving and the heavy lifting.  The entrance to ELM (formerly the VFW Hall), site of the Festival, has a lovely, lovely ramp, and I scooted right on up to the doors, which!

. . .open out, and no push-button in sight.  Oops.

Steve had gone to park the car, and I was considering turning the scooter around to meet him at the end of the ramp (thereby clearing the entrance door for the able-bodied) when a very nice lady, who was exiting the facility by the other door, saw and instantly understood my problem, said, “Let me open that for you!” and did, so that got worked out.

I scooted into the lobby and the ticket seller called out, “Hey, nice rig!” and we talked scooters vs wheelchairs, and one hand brake vs two until Steve arrived, paid our way in, and we went into the big room.

There were two ticket-takers at station.  One said, “I know you didn’t do this to get attention, but that’s a really nice scooter.”  The other asked me to ring the scooter’s bell for him, which I did, explaining about the cats, who no longer really regard the scooter, or the bell, as having anything to do with them — and then we were in!

I bought my tickets and scooted off to consider decorated trees and the gifts under each.  I try not to bid on tree-packages that were clearly put together with children in mind, though I was very, very tempted by the unicorn/mermaid package, which included a wooden rocking unicorn, a fairy tent, and unicorn/mermaid ornaments on the tree.  Sprite would’ve loved it.

Anyhow, most of my tickets went to packages offering three days at this or that lodge, or cooking utensils, electric “wood stoves,” season tickets to the Opera House, and like that.

When I was done, I sat myself down in one of the chairs up front, people-watched, and talked with the neighbors as they came by.  One lady let me know that she had used to play “Beano” (the Maine equivalent of Bingo, and they let people who aren’t Catholic play), when the building was the VFW Hall, and years ago.  “People still smoked inside then,” she said, “and there was this blue haze, and the caller’s voice coming out of it.  There was a guy who sold ham sandwiches — they were very plain; just butter on bread, and a piece of ham, and they tasted so good!”

I love talking to the neighbors.

Anyway, Steve having finished his communing with the trees, we got back in the car and headed out for a ride.  I had in mind a long, looooooonnnnnnggggg ride, because I’ve been stuck in the house since the rocks cooled.  Unfortunately, that turned out to be a case of the brain being willing, but the body saying, You Have GOT To Be Kidding Me, and we wandered home after a shortish ride, having taken on-board a Subway flatbread sammich for lunch.

Back home, we each ate our half-sammich, and then finished reading Welcome to Temptation (Jennifer Crusie) to each other, and then, what the heck, we said, and watched “Kinky Boots” (again).

Truly, it was a Very Fine Writers’ Day Off.

Today, I have work to do — no really.  I finished reading Trader’s Leap.  I am therefore on-deck to take my swing at a blurb (Steve has taken his swing and a very fine effort it is. Usually, these things wind up being part of this one, part of that one, and part of what the House has to say, so once again we see that writing is a Science.  Ahem.)

After the blurb, since I did just finish reading Trader’s Leap, Steve and I need to talk about the difficulties with the script mentioned by Madame the Publisher, so — revisions in future!  What fun.

In the meantime, I’m a little wrung out from all of yesterday’s excitement, and a nap has been penciled into the afternoon schedule.

For those who come here for publication news:  Accepting the Lance, the 22nd novel of the Liaden Universe®, Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, owner-operators, will be published on December 3.  That’s, like, ten days from now.

There is a short story, “A Visit to the Galaxy Ballroom,” posted on to tide you over.  The story is free for everyone to read, but!  It will be taken down in mid-December when another story, by another Baen author will be posted.  The story is on the front page, but you need to scroll down to find it*.

Also, the new mass market edition of Carpe Diem — the third Liaden book ever written — will be released  on February 25, 2020.

Trader’s Leap is, I believe, scheduled for publication around this time, next year.

One more thing, and I’ll let y’all go:  I had been going to title this blog post “My Ramblin’ Boy,” for obvious reasons.  I had always thought this song was old, old, really old, because I can’t remember a time when I didn’t know the words.  But!  Peter Seeger lets us know that it was written by Tom Paxton (who subsequently recorded in on the album “Ramblin’ Boy,” in 1964). So!  This song was written in my lifetime; simple math tells us that I was twelve the first time I heard it.

Here’s your link.

*For those who are tired of hearing me say this:  there are many people who miss this point, about scrolling down, and for some reason they write to us to complain that the story isn’t there, after all.  My patience is a Very Limited Commodity, therefore the oft-repeated instruction.

Update the Fifth

Since our last episode, the proofs for the new Baen mass market edition of Carpe Diem landed here at the Cat Farm and Confusion Factory.  We turned in the correx for that yesterday, and then commenced in to reading Trader’s Leap, which we turned in on October 1, because our input is needed for sell copy.

Today, UPS tells us that they will be delivering nine cases of Accepting the Lance.  Steve and I will be signing and/or personalizing them as quick as we can, and putting them on the bus to Minneapolis, where Mr. Blyly at Uncle Hugo’s SF Bookstore will do the hard part — that being invoicing and mailing.

The local Festival of Trees will open at the end of the week, and the Plan at this moment is that Steve and me and the knee scooter will View the Trees on Friday.  This depends somewhat on the weather, which has been rainy/icy/snowy by turns.  Friday is supposed to be warm and sunny, so fingers crossed.

In between correcting proofs and reading Trader’s Leap for the first time, I have been working at making friends with my foot.

Yesterday was one month since I had surgery, so recuperation is at more or less the halfway point, and my foot — poor thing.  It is well and truly a Frankenstein Foot, and will not, as I understand it, ever be a Thing of Beauty, except insofar as a Fully Functioning Foot can be said to be Beautiful.  It doesn’t hurt — though it still looks as if it should hurt.  It’s been through a lot, really, and I’ve been taking time to talk to it, and massage it, and reassure it that it will be back at work realsoonnow, better than before!   The swelling’s going down — I can see the shadow of an ankle bone! — so I’m hinting at maybe buying it, and it’s partner, a new pair of shoes for Christmas.  Or even — let’s get crazy!  — boots.

. . .and that’s about all I have to report.

Everybody stay well.

Update the Fourth

It did, indeed, snow overnight on Monday.  The tarps Steve had laid on the ramp worked as intended, and we arrived a little early for my appointment at the surgeon’s office, to find that he was running “about an hour” late.  I had a book, of course, and Steve had his phone, and we were both able to Mostly Ignore the home renovation show on the waiting room television.  Much better than the “news,” though I am occasionally bemused by what people believe is essential in a living space — and how many of them don’t have offices.  What’s with that?

Anyhow — long story short — the pins were eventually extracted.  The first was relatively painless.  The second…the bones in my toe had decided to embrace the second pin as a sister, so that was, um, exciting.  Yeah.  I swear I did try to remember to breathe, but when the surgeon had finished with the second pin, and breathing rather heavily himself, he looked at my face, and said, “A little lightheaded?  Here — I’ll just recline the chair for you, OK?”

Having the pins out is such a relief, I can’t even begin to tell you.  I no longer have to worry that I’m going to snag on something or dislodge or bend the pins.  Ahhhh, freedom.  Plus, yanno, Friday I can take a shower.  Have ordered in marching band for the event.

I now have exercises for moderate-weight-bearing in the center of my foot (not the toes!) to be performed 15 minutes every hour, so that’s fun.

Hopefully, the serious challenges are now behind me; I need to do my exercises, and keep off my foot when not exercising.  Next doctor’s appointment is December 4 (December!), and things ought to be back to what passes for normal around here by the end of the year.

In other news, we received royalties for the German editions of our novels, which was unexpected, but welcome.  I think the total payout covers the cost of the knee scooter.

We have also heard from the Uncle with a list of personalizations for Accepting the Lance.  We’ll get right on that just as soon as the books arrive.

And that’s really all the news that’s fit to print.

Everybody stay happy.

Update the Third

Still not king.

Not running any marathons, either.

Tomorrow, I have an appointment to get the pins out of my toes (yes, those are metal pins, with cheery yellow heads that have been inserted into my toes, and tomorrow they will be drawn.), which I’m both looking forward to and dreading, as you might imagine.

Happily, if that’s the word I want, I have been presented with something other than pin-removal to stress about for tomorrow.

It’s going to snow.

I’m mean, it’s going to really snow, starting about 4 pm today and carrying on until 7 pm on Tuesday.  The knee scooter has so-called “all-terrain” tires, but I’m not sure about grip on a snowy metal ramp.  Steve is going to lay tarp over the ramp to keep it dry, and we will doubtless Contrive.  Still, I’m feeling Somewhat Ill-Used.  While snow is an Allowed Move nine months out of twelve, we usually don’t have Serious Weather in mid-November.

Faithful auditors of this blog will recall that I spent a lot of time planning and preparing for this event, despite which, some things still caught me — and us — off-guard.

One of the most glaring planning…errors was the time I took to write out a list of food I would definitely eat, even if I was “too sick” to want to eat.  The problem?  Well, I’ve only ever been — sick. And not even seriously sick, at that.  A bad case of the flu is maybe the worst I’ve ever had to cope with, and except for that time when I sprained my ankle and had to hang around on the couch — during which I was on deadline and barely noticed the slight inconveniences — I have not been…er…wounded.

So, I planned for being sick.  And having your foot broken and reassembled is not in any way like being sick.  It’s like you’re Perfectly Fine — except for the part where your foot won’t bear your weight, and you’re constantly frustrated by not being able to do Very Simple, Everyday things, and have to ask for help.

I hadn’t planned on being mildly allergic to the various “no-wash” and dry shampoos, which meant Steve needed to step up and help me wash my hair, which he has done, and problem solved, but — not something I had expected.

I also hadn’t planned on my posterior being unequal to the task of sitting for days in a firmly upholstered Command Chair.  After two weeks, it hurt to sit.  Steve found me a sheepskin-covered, three-layer gel pillow of varying densities, and that?  Has done the trick.

I had worried about post-operative depression, which I did, vaguely, know was A Thing.  I have had some Blue Days, but staying in touch with Steve, and the attention of the cats — not to mention that I’m really enjoying having time to read, has helped to keep these events from joining hands and forming an unending black hole.

I also think that, as a person who customarily keeps time by how many words I’ve written, I didn’t have a Solid Grasp on just how long eight weeks is.

So, that.

In other news, I’ve been carrying on with reading stuff written by other people, which has been pleasant.  At some fast-approaching point, I will need to Actually Read Trader’s Leap, with comments from Madame the Publisher in mind. That point is not yet arrived, however.

I also have a couple of story ideas in mind, but they’re still perking along in the back of my mind, and will dutifully present themselves as Ready to Write when they’ve perked long enough.

And that?  Is the State of the Command Chair.

I hope everybody’s doing well.

Week Two

I am still confined to the Command Chair, so, I’ve been reading a lot, per The Plan.

The cats are still in attendance, though they no longer feel compelled to sit on me to the exclusion of all other furniture, and seem pleased enough to nap on the couch beside me, or in the rocking chair, or in the cat tree.

On Wednesday, the stitches were removed from my foot and lighter dressing applied.  The pins are to come out on November 12, after which one devoutly hopes to be allowed to shower.  I have been cleared to use my cane for short (short, short) walks, but the knee scooter remains my main ride for long distances, like, say, from the bedroom to the kitchen.

This afternoon, Steve and I had a lovely chat and work session with Eileen Stevens, who is the narrator for Accepting the Lance. She plans to go into the studio on Monday.

Sometime last week, I bought a pen.  A Moonman C1 fine point demonstrator.  I regret nothing.  I also bought some stickers from Redbubble for the Story Box.  Steve is nonplussed, but they’re nice stickers, and I think he may have forgotten that the Story Box once had a unicorn decal on it, the art have long ago faded away.

(The Story Box is the wooden file box in which we keep all the cards for the stories we’ve written.  It was given me a Long Time Ago by a colleague who was cleaning out her office, and who hated it; I don’t know what’s to hate in a pretty blonde wood file box.  Maybe the idea that it had been made by the guys in the maintenance department, and wasn’t really a “professional” file box aggravated her, but anyway, that’s the Story Box, and it’s been around since the early 1970s.)

Today is of course Halloween.  In a few hours, we’ll know whether the Openers or the Closers have had their way.  I’m rooting for the Closers, myself, but then — I would.

. . .and I think that’s all the news that’s fit to print.

Everybody take care.

Sprite observes the situation


Week One

So, since People Have Been Asking. . .

Yes, last Friday, I did have an operation on my left foot.  All went well, though the repair fell on the More Complex side of the board.  The surgeon and I had discussed this possibility, but it was still a bit of shock to wake up and find cheery yellow-headed pins in two of my toes.  The pins are soft-tissue pins and will be removed, eventually, in the comfort of the surgeon’s office.  This, therefore, is the Penultimate Complexity; the Ultimate Package having to do with screws set into the bones of all the toes, instead of the single, tasteful bit of hardwarde that is now permanently a part of my big toe.

I visited the surgeon’s office last Wednesday, for an inspection and a dressing change.  There’s bruising, but nothing unexpected or untoward, and the swelling has gone down nicely.

Next Wednesday, we do a return visit to have what Steve estimates to be a neat hundred stitches removed, but not, I think the pins.

. . .and so it goes.

I’m in no amount of pain that an ibuprofen can’t handle, and mostly don’t need even that, though I can — and do! — fall asleep at the drop of. . .almost anything, really.  The coon cats, as you may imagine, are Totally On Board with this agenda, and I have been well-attended by furry nurses.  They have given up all three piling on my at once, and have even over the last couple days left me unsupervised for a couple hours together, which I gather means I’m healing right along.

After a week of non-stop occupation of the Command Chair, I have graduated to sleeping overnight in the bed, which is splendid beyond my ability to express.  I look forward to my eventual graduation to taking a real shower.  The camping supply cleaning cloths and the no-water shampoo are godsends, but there’s something about standing — or even sitting — under a deluge of warm water. . .

When not napping, I’ve been reading stuff written by other people, which treat hasn’t palled yet, though the book I started this morning may be one of those chapter-a-day reads. This, I hasten to say, speaks more to the state of my concentration than to the book’s material, which is genuinely fascinating.

In between reading, I’ve been amusing myself by planning a two-week vacation in Lubec-and-environs in late May/early June, which will probably not come to pass, but which is interesting, anyway; and trying not to Get On Myself for having failed to whip out four short stories this week.

So, that.

While I’ve been lazing around in the Command Chair, Steve has been in charge of cooking, provisioning, chauffeuring, errand-running, cat maintenance, business (house and professional), and ohbytheway, writing.  At the very least, he needs a Time Turner, and his very own Cabana Boy wouldn’t be amiss.

Since business has been mentioned, I’m told that we’re scheduled to talk to Eileen Stevens during the week ahead, regarding her narration of the Audible edition of Accepting the Lance.

Also, the reprint edition of Carpe Diem — the third ever Liaden Universe® novel — is being set as I type, and will be in-house for proofreading in November.  This edition of Carpe Diem will be available in mass market in March 2020, cover art by David Mattingly.

Steve has updated our Patreon welcome page.  Here’s the link.

We are thus far scheduled to be at two science fiction conventions in 2020:

Boskone 57, February 14-16, in Boston, where we will be panelists

AlbaCon 2020, September 11-13, in Albany NY, where we will be Writer Guests of Honor

. . .and that’s how I am.

I have received several get-well cards, which I appreciate very much, and, well — working on it.

Y’all take care.

State of the Command Chair October 25

What to expect hereabouts for the next while

Asyouknowbob, I will be having my left foot surgically repaired on Friday, October 18.  This has been in the works for some time.  Per the surgeon, I will be off my feet for eight to ten weeks following this event.

I have a Command Chair and a laptop, so theoretically, I should just be able to continue on with Facebook, and Twitter, and updating this blog.

Notice the use of the word “theoretically.”

I believe that, instead of leaping right! back! in! to the online action, I will be taking those eight to ten weeks off.

But, why? you say.

But don’t you love us? you say.

Well. . .

Frequent auditors of this blog will perhaps recall that my younger sister died last December, whereupon I was tapped to take up the affairs of our father, in hospice and dying of cancer, said affairs being in a great state of muddlement due to the unexpected death of my sister and its immediate aftermath.  My father died in March, whereupon two surprise! stepsisters arose, brandishing paperwork, and throwing my, ah…legitimacy…under a bus of their own connivance.  This — all of this — was disturbing.  Yes.  Disturbing.

Also in March, Steve had his I(mplantable) C(ardioverter) D(efribrillator), the machine that keeps his heart beating, replaced.  This, though sworn by the doctors to be routine, was also disturbing.

In, among, and during all of this, I was lead on a book — Accepting the Lance — which we submitted in February.  Because of how …Lance had gone together, another book — its mirror-twin, Trader’s Leap — was due on the publisher’s desk in September, and I was also the lead on it.  So, I have basically had my head in a novel constantly for the last 18 months, except when I was dealing with deaths, and major medical events, in my family.  Not to mention the stepsisters.

Now, though it’s fun, for definitions of fun, to write a novel, it doesn’t necessarily follow that it’s twice as much fun to write two novels back-to-back.  IMHO.  It’s helpful to rest your brain and your nervous system, occasionally, and while Steve and I did manage a couple days at the ocean, and a couple more at Lubec, those were stop-gaps.  I know that some people run on adrenaline; I had used to run on adrenaline.  Those days are not these days, and I am, frankly, exhausted.

Steve is lead on the next two books — the first of those is the direct sequel to Trade Secret.  It’s due sometime next year — I’m not sure we’ve worked out a date with the publisher, yet.

So, this seems like the best chance I’m going to have to rest, as rest is being enforced.

I may poke my head in occasionally; certainly, I’ll be updating my books-read list, but don’t expect to see me largely around hereabouts for the next while.  Rest and recuperation comes first, now, after having being last too long.

Thank you all for your support over the years that we’ve been together — and for your understanding.

See you on the flipside.