Honey, would you eat that snack cracker in your special outfit for me?

Lately here at the Cat Farm and Confusion Factory, we’ve been doing a lot of waiting for phone calls of all sorts, and trying to fit cat physicals and shots in-between trips to Bangor.

Yesterday, I took a break from waiting for phone calls (have I mentioned recently How Very Much I hate phones, talking on phones, and waiting for someone to call me so I can talk to them on the phone?), to do errands in town, and to drive  out to Skowhegan to the Maine Grain Alliance, aka, the Grist Mill, to pick up some flour.  It was a nice drive, in that it was a sunny, warm day, and Route 201 is in pretty good shape, surface-wise.  I had Sirius XM Classic Vinyl station on, and had a fine run of music as I zipped up the road.

Unfortunately, it’s either Mud Season or Pre-Mud and Maine is as ugly as it ever is, with black snow melting into black dirt, dead grass and broken trees all too easy to see, so I can’t say it was  a scenic drive, but, still, very nice to get out of the house.

At the Grist Mill I bought a sack of sifted wheat flour and another of Red Fife.  I’d hoped for white whole wheat, forgetting that the mill prides itself on its heritage flours.  I’m told that Red Fife is an excellent bread flour, and the sifted whole wheat the closest they had to white.  Since I was out of flour entirely (which Will Not Do), I took my sacks away with me, picked up a Maine Root root beer at the cafe next door, and drove back to Waterville, much refreshed in spirit, and singing along with the radio.

This morning, we have contractors coming to look at the deck.  Indeed, one has already been and gone, and we await — ahem — a phone call from a second, letting us know that he’s incoming.

The cats have settled down after the excitement of Contractor One’s visit.  Trooper is in his box on the edge of my desk, Sprite is lounging in the open area between my office and the dining room, and I believe Belle may be supervising Steve.

Steve continues his labors on the next Liaden book, featuring the on-going adventures of Jethri Gobelyn.  I’m working on more mundane projects — like having to make a phone call to the plumber about his overdue quote — while the back brain chews over some story stuff I need answers to. . .

. . .and that’s kinda what’s going on, hereabouts.

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Today’s headline brought to you by Southern Culture on the Skids: “Camel Walk.”  Here’s your link.

Carpe Diem Book Day!

Y’all know what today is, right?

Right!

It’s Book Day! Carpe Diem by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller in an all-new paperback edition, with brand-new cover art by David Mattingly!

Carpe Diem was the third Liaden Universe® novel EVER published, appearing. . .

First! as a Del Rey mass market original in October 1989, cover art by Stephen Hickman.

Second! as part of the three-novel compilation, Partners in Necessity, in February 2000, cover art by Michael Herring.

Third! as a mass market from Ace Books, in February 2003, cover art by Michael Herring.

Fourth! as part of two-novel compilation, The Agent Gambit, from Baen Books, in January 2011, cover art by Alan Pollack.

Fifth! as a mass market paperback from Baen Books, today, February 25 2020, cover art by David Mattingly.

That’s 31 years of active publishing life, which is pretty dern amazing.

So! Let’s raise a glass to Carpe Diem!

On a related note — today’s publication of Carpe Diem means that the First Three Books, which is All The Liaden there was for seven-or-ten years (depending on if Steve’s counting or I am) are all in print in the same format, and in stores, now. So this is the perfect time to do needy friends a favor and introduce them to Val Con, Miri, Edger, Shan, Priscilla, Mrs. Trelu, Hakan, Kem, and all the rest of the people who live in: Agent of Change, Conflict of Honors, and Carpe Diem.

Eeeh-HAH, Book Day! Always exciting. Even after so many years.

I was raised in the canebreak by an ol’ momma lion

So, suddenly and with only a little bit of warning — we’re busy.

Well.  I’m busy.

Steve was already busy.  Being lead on a novel comes with an “I’m busy” card.  Plus, he’s already recorded a short story for Patreon.  Here’s the link.

Me, though, I had a couple things on my plate — getting the taxes ready for the accountant, a short story that may come under contract a little further down the line, that Archers Beach universe story I’ve been thinking about, the next novel after Steve’s got done with his two.  Also, I’d been thinking about another Liaden story or two, for inclusion in a new chapbook.  So — work, but not a lot of work.

And then?  I started going through the “cope with this after you’ve healed” folder on my desk, and I discovered that I had some splinters for eventual posting on Splinter Universe (there’s one up now, with author commentary, at this link).

The rest of the splinters in hand are Liaden in nature, and the plan is to get them up in a more-or-less leisurely manner.  First, I have to do something about the color scheme at Splinter Universe.

Then, Steve had finished drafting a story that Would Not Be Quiet just before my foot got rebuilt, and I put it aside to read until I was back on both feet.  That story — “The Gate that Locks the Tree In: A Minor Melant’i Play for Snow Season” — is destined to become a chapbook, Adventures in the Liaden Universe® Number 30.

So, this is what’s lined up, so far:

1  Do the taxes
2  Edit, format, put on sale “The Gate That Locks the Tree In”
3  Write short story
4  Fix Splinter Universe template
5  Plot  and write Archers Beach story
6  Type in Liaden snippets/write author commentary for each
7 Plot and write story(ies) for Adventures in the Liaden Universe® Number 31
8  Post Liaden snippets
9  Plot and write Liaden novel
10 Confer with Steve over producing possible “outtake” chapbook

So, that’ll keep me busy for a while, I guess.

And now you’re up to date.

Today’s blog title brought to you by Tennessee Ernie Ford, “Sixteen Tons.”

The Thursday blog post, with footnotes

So, recovery is a strange country.  I’m not in the habit of thinking that I actually do very much of an ordinary day, so it’s a little — no, make that considerably — annoying when I can’t complete what I consider to be a normal day’s to-do list.

Yesterday being a case in point.  I went to the gym, did my strength training, pushing a little, because you’re supposed to challenge yourself, amirite? — walked 1.11 miles in 21 minutes (this includes the cool down), and tried to feel that this was a success*.  Then I went to the grocery store, came home, and — smashed right into a wall. I was exhausted.  Steve made lunch, and after I still couldn’t keep my head up, so I jettisoned the rest of the to-do list and spent the afternoon under a shifting blanket of cats, reading.

Man, I hate hitting walls.

Today, it’s snowing (the Weatherbeans are calling 4-9 inches), and is any way a non-gym day, and here we have the to-do list:

1  Keep front steps accessible

2  Make refrigerator soup for lunch

3  Get with the accountant’s tax packet: at least print it out and get the letter in the mail

4  Strip bed and wash sheets — already in process

5  Hit the Command Chair with the Mead 5-star notebook** and a pen and organize the short story I’ve been working up scenes for while I should be thinking about something else

. . .It seems a very slight list, but the idea is to Hit No Walls, and if that means vacuuming tomorrow, then — the cats get an extra day of peace and quiet.

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*(This was after the first treadmill I was on spontaneously leapt from 3 mpg to 14 — I hit the STOP realfast, youbetcha, but wow, what a rush.  The scary part being that the Planet Fitness associate on the spot couldn’t figure out Why It Had Done That.  I hope it doesn’t catch somebody else.)

**Apropos of Nothing Much, I’ve been chewing through the Mead notebook, which is lovely to write on with the fountain pens. Anticipating its final page, I bought a six-pack of Smart Campus “subject notebooks” by Kokuyo, offered by JetPens, which are supposed to be the bee’s knees for fountain pen use. We’ll see, eventually, I guess. Maybe even soon, given the fact that there’s this OTHER short story I really want to write, too, and have been putting it off because its a Maine Coast story, in the Archers Beach universe, but not set in Archers Beach, which no one will want to read, but sometimes you gotta just get stuff out of the way.

In which the trolls go a bridge too far

This message is for those of you who primarily connect with me through Goodreads.  I am, in the face of the ongoing carnage and lack of oversight demonstrated on Goodreads*, removing my account — in fact, I would have already removed it, save that the instructions provided on-site for deleting an account are, um — inaccurate.  It will take Goodreads 5 days to get back to me on this.

Apparently, authors can not leave the system entirely — Goodreads will still record new books and publish reviews — like Amazon.  But I will not be directly involved even in the small way that I did participate.

Those who wish, can bookmark and follow this blog.

Thank you for your understanding and patience.

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*For those who have not been following the story of carnage and lack of oversight, I offer this synopsis of events, compiled by Jason Sanford.

And she is moving very slowly, rising up above the earth

So, here we are in 2020.  I’ve been warned not to date checks with just /20, because some Bad People could just add, oh “19” to that and steal my check.  I’m sure that’s good advice, but, really I hardly write checks anymore, and when I do, I always date them fully, to wit:  “January 4, 2020,” because old habits die hard, if they die at all.

In related news, many-to-all (depending on your news source) of the credit unions in Maine are off-line as the result of mysterious “connectivity problem.”  This is not as much fun as it may at first seem.

We here at the Cat Farm and Confusion Factory are clinging to our last few precious Not-Sundays.  There’s writing to do and writing being done, as well as chores, of a sort, but it’s all being done in a soft bubble, almost a “deadline free zone,” which we all know there’s no such thing, but — it’s been pleasant to pretend for a week or two.

Deadlines and doctors appointments return Monday morning, quite early, so we’ll be getting back into the Daily Push realsoonnow.

My first-in task today is to clean the so-called Boy’s Bathroom, and to steam clean the kitchen floor.  After that, there’s the final sweep at the WIP.  After much banging my head against various metaphorical, logical, and fictional walls, I have figured out how to straighten the last kink in the last scene.  Go me.  The entire corrected manuscript ought, I think, be on its way to Madame by the end of the week, and then?  I won’t have anything to do.  [Cue laugh track]

Looking ahead, Steve and I will be attending Boskone in mid-February, and!  We will be Guests of Honor at NarniaCon, aka the Coat Check Con.  NarniaCon hosts a scavenger hunt within Boskone entire; this year’s hunt will be based on the game of Clue.

. . .and that’s where we stand at the moment, still inside the bubble, with the cats napping inside, and the sky grey with snow clouds, outside.

Today’s blog title brought to you by one of my hometown bands, Talking Heads:  And She Was.

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.

 

Book Day: ACCEPTING THE LANCE

Today is the day!  The day that Accepting the Lance, the 22nd novel in the Liaden Universe® created by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller is officially released*!

We here at the Confusion Factory are of course very excited, and grateful that Baen was able to get the book — submitted in January — out this year.

We do know that there are a number of you who purchased the eARC, and therefore are finding the Book Day festivities a little flat.  If you wish, you may celebrate by leaving a review for LANCE on the venue of your choice.

The authors are celebrating each in our own way.  First, by announcing Book Day as far and as wide as we may.  Secondly, Steve is celebrating by working on the next book detailing the adventures of Jethri Gobelyn, which is due on Madame’s desk in May 2020.  And, thirdly, I am celebrating by editing Trader’s Leap, scheduled for publication in November/December 2020.

The chickadees, titmice, nuthatchen, goldfinches, sparrows, and cardinals are celebrating by mobbing the bird feeders, because it’s snowing up a Real Storm here in Central Maine.

In other news, I am due at the surgeon’s office tomorrow at 2 pm, by which time the snow will have stopped and the driveway cleared.  This visit will determine if my time in the Command Chair is about to end or if it will be another four weeks until I see my shadow.

Fingers crossed.

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*Yes, there is supposed to be an Audible edition.  No, I don’t know why it’s not available.  No, I don’t know when it will be available.  Authors are always the last to know these things.  Naturally, I deplore my ignorance, and the distress of those who had hoped to listen to the book today, but, really, the non-appearance of the Audible edition is not my fault.