So! Steve and I took a vacation.
I place all blame for this on the Cirque du Soleil, which, back in the waning winter, sent me notice that Crystal would be at the Cross Insurance Arena in our very own Portland, Maine, in August. I, of course, immediately
told asked Steve we were going if he and I could make a date for the show, and he agreed.
There remained the small difficulty of Portland being between 90 and 120 minutes from the New Cat Farm and Confusion Factory, and we kicked around the notion of taking a hotel room in Portland, which was not an. . .unattractive notion, Portland having more restaurants per square foot than any other city I’ve been in, plus, yanno, shopping.
However, it also, slowly, became obvious to us that Old Orchard Beach — which has the Atlantic Ocean, classic rock, an amusement park, ice cream, silly beach shops, the Atlantic Ocean — is only a fifteen minute drive from the Cross Arena in Portland, and so we cannily took a room at OOB, not for one night, but for four.
We drove down Tuesday for an afternoon check-in at a sorta newish place for us — The Waves (“sorta newish” because The Waves is the big sister property to the Sea View, where, back when my first Carousel* book released, I had rented a room block for the release party, so we knew management, but not the property). Our room was second floor, ocean-side. It was, in fact, 55 paces to the beach (according to Steve, who Measures Things). The porch overlooked everything — dunes, sea roses, surf, the Thursday night fireworks display. I spent hours on the porch, breathing sea air, reading, playing with binoculars — just, yanno, doing nothing. So very fine not to have to do anything. For a few days, anyway. By the time we were getting packed up, I was getting a little antsy with the whole “rest” thing.
I took my laptop, because — writer. But I did not open my laptop. I did not Facebook. I did not Twitter. I did not email. I took no pictures. I took no prisoners. I think I told one guy, in response to a direct question, what it was I did for a living. It was glorious. I did, as above, sit on the porch and read; take naps; walk up and down the town and the beach; visited Googin Rock; ate every meal for four days out; also ‘way too much ice cream; played arcade games; talked to Steve about things that were not business or writing (well, OK, we did start to plot a short story, and — full disclosure — I started to play around with the idea for a new Carousel story, if I should manage to get time to write a new Carousel story).
Life at the ocean over our four-day stay was interesting. We had a number of thunderstorms, including one that produced a horizontal rainbow about a foot off of the surface of the waves, which was really interesting. Friday night’s storm caught us in the amusement park. We retreated to the arcade before the heavy lightning and thunder hit, and had just taken up a position beside a row of games when — FLASH! BOOM! — and all the lights in the arcade went out.
There was time for a group intake of breath, and for one child to say, on a rising note “Mah-OHM?” — before the lights came back on and the young lady playing the Terminator machine across from us cussed because she’d lost her best score.
The park was closed for a little while until it was clear that the storm had moved on. We walked among the rides, saying hello and good-bye, and retired to our room and the so-very-excellent porch.
Yesterday, we regretfully packed out, and drove home the long way, through Oxford, Paris, Milford, Mexico. . .stopping on the way through Waterville to pick up Chinese for lunch at home with the cats.
The cats, for those who are curious about how our cats “punish” us for abandoning them — the cats were all four waiting for us in the hall at the top of the stairs to the basement. Trooper was a little forward of the ladies, and he greeted me first, to be sure I was who I said I was. Then Belle stepped forward, then Scrabble, then Sprite.
The formalities attended to, they proceeded to beg for Chinese.
After lunch, we unpacked in a leisurely manner, and met for a glass of wine and to read out loud, in the living room, in the early evening.
We’re working our way through the Cat Who/Qwilleran cozies, the book we’re reading now is The Cat Who Went Into the Closet.
I sat down in my corner of the couch, and put the leg-rest out (the right and left seats of the couch recline). We each had a glass of red wine to hand. Belle came to sit on my lap; Sprite jumped up onto the Mencken table, where I had carelessly left the Scrabble set (in the box).
Everybody settled, Steve began to read.
Belle fell into a doze on my lap. Steve leaned forward to pick up his wine, settled back, rustled the pages of the book, Sprite startled, kicked, knocked the Scrabble box off of the table to a crash landing on the floor, Sprite fled, Belle rocketed out of my lap, through Steve, knocking his arm up, so that he was showered in red wine.
There was a twenty-minute recess while clean-up happened, and Steve changed his clothes.
The book — a book club edition, with those thin, gritty pages, dried quickly enough for us to continue reading, Steve’s wine glass refilled.
We were lucky in the arc of wine: Most of it went on Steve (granted, he doesn’t particularly think this was lucky); some landed on the stain-proofed, dark-brown-tweed sofa; a fair amount splashed one of the pillows, which I count a win, because I never liked those pillows and now I have an excuse to replace them. A small amount of wine hit the floor, and was handily mopped up. None touched what I like to call my Good Wool Rug. The Scrabble set was in the box, the box was sealed with ribbon, thus no escaping tiles.
So, as catsasters go, it could have been much worse. I have a bruise on my thigh where Belle took off, and Steve’s clothes may not be completely recoverable. On the other hand, they were beach clothes, so a minor loss at worst.
Today, I’m clearly on the computer. I’ve already ordered Earth Logic, Water Logic, and Air Logic (the follows to Fire Logic, which I finished reading at the ocean), and I’m shopping on Redbubble for some laptop stickers. I also need to pull out information about a minor character appearing in . . .Lance, who will be the star of the story we need to write for Baen.com, and frowning at the notes I left for myself in re the WIP
Yes, and I’ve also opened my email; if I owe you an email — waiting is.
Lunch, I believe, will be leftover Chinese, and that will be the official end of the vacation. It was terrific, and I’d do it again tomorrow, but — deadline.
And so it goes.
Speaking of deadlines, we still do have book deadlines in our future. This is what our professional life looks like, as of right now:
Accepting the Lance finishes the contract we called here in-house The Five Book Dash. It will be published in December. Believe it or not, that’s Realsoonnow.
While we were working on The Five Book Dash, Baen offered us a contract for two additional Liaden books, the so-called Mask Books (because we had not made proposals, and knew nothing, other than we could write two more Liaden books, and thus Baen would be purchasing a couple of pigs in the poke, or — more elegantly — Liadens in masks.)
A little while after that, Baen offered another contract, for three Liaden books, the so-called Triple Threat.
We are, therefore, still under contract for five Liaden books.
The novel I am working on right now will fulfill the first half of the Mask contract.
Steve is working on a Jethri novel, which will fulfill the second half of the Mask contract.
That will leave the entire Triple Threat to be written.
So — yes there are Liaden books in your future.
No, there are no Carousel/Archers Beach books in your immediate future.
There are no Gem ser’Edreth books in your future.
There are no Jen Pierce mysteries in your future.
Everybody confused now?
Imma answering my email now.
*Carousel novels by Sharon Lee: Carousel Tides, Carousel Sun, Carousel Seas
Carousel short stories by Sharon Lee: Surfside, The Gift of Magic, Spell Bound