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Apr. 25th, 2016

Tea and dragon

Your periodic reminder advert

A.  Order your signed and/or personalized copy of Alliance of Equals:  Uncle Hugo’s Science Fiction Bookstore in Minneapolis is now accepting pre-orders for signed and/or personalized copies of Lee and Miller’s 19th Liaden Universe® novel, Alliance of Equals, which will be published in July.  There is a deadline for pre-ordering personalized books (where “personalized” means the authors, in addition to their signatures, write something specifically requested by the person buying the book).  That deadline is June 1Here’s your link.

B. Liaden Universe® Store at OffWorld Design: Coffee mugs, denim shirts, t-shirts, polos!  New colors and items have been added, just in time for spring!  Here’s your link.

C. The eARC of Alliance of Equals is now on sale at Baen.com.  Here’s your link.

D. For those who have read Alliance and want to talk about it, there’s a spoiler discussion here.

Apr. 24th, 2016

Reading is sexy

Books read in 2016

. . .in which being sick is at least good for the Books Read list.

17. When Falcons Fall, C.S. Harris
16.  Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, Winifred Watson (re-re-re-&c-read)
15.  Uprooted, Naomi Novik
14.  Strong Poison, Dorothy L. Sayers
13.  Written in Red, Anne Bishop
12.  Andy & Don, Daniel de Visé
11.  The Thief of Time, Terry Pratchett (read aloud with Steve)
10.  Foxglove Summer, Ben Aaronovitch
9.   Broken Homes, Ben Aaronovitch
8.   Soul Music, Terry Pratchett (read aloud with Steve)
7.   Whispers Underground, Ben Aaronovitch
6.   Moon Over Soho, Ben Aaronovitch
5.   Reaper Man, Terry Pratchett (read aloud with Steve)
4.   Conflict of Honors, Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (e) (re-read)
3.   Mort, Terry Pratchett (read aloud with Steve)
2.   The Sculptor, Scott McCloud
1.   A Short History of a Small Place, T.R. Pearson

Apr. 23rd, 2016

Reading is sexy

Books read in 2016

16.  Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, Winifred Watson (re-re-re-&c-read)
15.  Uprooted, Naomi Novik
14.  Strong Poison, Dorothy L. Sayers
13.  Written in Red, Anne Bishop
12.  Andy & Don, Daniel de Visé
11.  The Thief of Time, Terry Pratchett (read aloud with Steve)
10.  Foxglove Summer, Ben Aaronovitch
9.   Broken Homes, Ben Aaronovitch
8.   Soul Music, Terry Pratchett (read aloud with Steve)
7.   Whispers Underground, Ben Aaronovitch
6.   Moon Over Soho, Ben Aaronovitch
5.   Reaper Man, Terry Pratchett (read aloud with Steve)
4.   Conflict of Honors, Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (e) (re-read)
3.   Mort, Terry Pratchett (read aloud with Steve)
2.   The Sculptor, Scott McCloud
1.   A Short History of a Small Place, T.R. Pearson

Apr. 22nd, 2016

Reading is sexy

Books read in 2016

15.  Uprooted, Naomi Novik
14.  Strong Poison, Dorothy L. Sayers
13.  Written in Red, Anne Bishop
12.  Andy & Don, Daniel de Visé
11.  The Thief of Time, Terry Pratchett (read aloud with Steve)
10.  Foxglove Summer, Ben Aaronovitch
9.   Broken Homes, Ben Aaronovitch
8.   Soul Music, Terry Pratchett (read aloud with Steve)
7.   Whispers Underground, Ben Aaronovitch
6.   Moon Over Soho, Ben Aaronovitch
5.   Reaper Man, Terry Pratchett (read aloud with Steve)
4.   Conflict of Honors, Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (e) (re-read)
3.   Mort, Terry Pratchett (read aloud with Steve)
2.   The Sculptor, Scott McCloud
1.   A Short History of a Small Place, T.R. Pearson

Surprise!

Two views of Mount Washington

So this morning, Madame Belle went to the vet for her three-year rabies shot and her chip.  She has gained about a pound since last year; retirement agrees with her.  The mail was in the box when we came home, and I regret to report that the check still wanders the postal pathways between New York and Maine.  *pats checkbook reassuringly*

In other news, I seem to have caught a cold, which is. . .not perfect timing.  Am drinking tea with honey and will shortly take a nap, following Belle's example.  She's currently resting her nerves on the bookshelf next to my desk.

In other news, below are two shots of Mount Washington from the parking lot at Pine Point, yesterday, right around one o'clock.

Mount Washington from Pine Point 1 Apr 21 2016

Mount Washington from Pine Point 2 Close up Apr 21 2016

Apr. 21st, 2016

moon & mountains

The moon at night is big and bright

So we had a nice day.  Steve had an appointment with the eye specialist down Portland in the afternoon, so we took off after the mail arrived (the check is, as of this writing, still in the mail), and went down to Old Orchard Beach.  The sea was turquoise, the tide was high, it was windy on the beach and warm in the town.

Really, it was a Perfect Day.  The air was clear, the sun was bright, the sky was blue with only a very few wispy white clouds, for effect.  There were a hundred  people on the beach, and more buying pizza and French fries.  I dunno how many were in the arcade, which was open.  It was like being at Archers Beach during the Early Season, except for the fact that the amusement park wasn't open.

We drove down to Pine Point, as is our habit, and!  you might ask how clear the air was today.  And I might answer, we could see Mount Washington from Pine Point.  I have pictures, but I'm not digging them out of the camera tonight.

In good time, we motored on up to Portland, where we paused in the parking lot to absorb the news of Prince's death.

Considerably shaken, we went into the gigormous eye clinic, where Steve did business with the eye specialist.

We then drove to South Portland, the doctor's appointment having been set at an awkward hour, in search of the midday (now late afternoon) meal.  We decided to try 5 Guys, since we were both 5 Guys virgins.  I had the grilled veggies with cheese; Steve had the small cheeseburger.  We both declared ourselves satisfied with the meal, but dissatisfied with the level of the music.  It was like being in a club.  Good music, but it could've stood going down a couple of decibels.

Our business finished in the South, we headed north via the back roads, and so saw the very enormous full moon rise over the hills.

We're home now, the windows are open; I have reversed the polarity on the ceiling fan in my office and turned it on.

And now it's time to have a glass of wine and a light meal.  And so, to bed.

Everybody be good.

Tioga Ave Bell Tree Sept 27 2012

Apr. 19th, 2016

Reading is sexy

Books read in 2016

14.  Strong Poison, Dorothy L. Sayers (accidental re-read of a 1987 paperback, the binding actually giving up its glue as I turned the pages)
13.  Written in Red, Anne Bishop
12.  Andy & Don, Daniel de Visé
11.  The Thief of Time, Terry Pratchett (read aloud with Steve)
10.  Foxglove Summer, Ben Aaronovitch
9.   Broken Homes, Ben Aaronovitch
8.   Soul Music, Terry Pratchett (read aloud with Steve)
7.   Whispers Underground, Ben Aaronovitch
6.   Moon Over Soho, Ben Aaronovitch
5.   Reaper Man, Terry Pratchett (read aloud with Steve)
4.   Conflict of Honors, Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (e) (re-read)
3.   Mort, Terry Pratchett (read aloud with Steve)
2.   The Sculptor, Scott McCloud
1.   A Short History of a Small Place, T.R. Pearson

Apr. 18th, 2016

Alliance of Equals art by David Mattingl

Lee and Miller RavenCon Schedule

RavenCon, held in Williamsburg, Virginia, at the Doubletree Hilton, starts on Friday, April 29 and runs until Sunday after, May 1.  Everything you need to know about the convention is right here.

Steve and I will be Writer Guests of Honor at RavenCon.  Reproduced below, for your listening pleasure, is our schedule.

Friday

5 pm (FHC) Six Decades of Electing Elsewhere / Room L Steve Miller
7 pm (Opening Ceremony) Large Auditorium Steve Miller, Sharon Lee, and a Cast of Dozens
8 pm (Panel) The Magic of Collaboration / Room 8 Sharon Lee, Steve Miller, Peter Prellwitz (M), Joelle Presby

Saturday

11 am (Reading) Lee and Miller / Room 8
Noon (Signing) Lee and Miller / Room 8
3 pm (Interview) Mike Pederson interviews Lee and Miller / Room 8
4:30 pm - 6 pm (Presentation/Workshop) Baen Traveling Roadshow / Room 8

Sunday

8:30 am Friends of Liad breakfast in the Hilton restaurant (NOTE:  This is what we called in my youth "Dutch Treat." That means that everyone who attends pays for their own breakfast.  Including Sharon and Steve.)
Noon (Talk) Learning to Write: Recommended Workshops, Books and Classes Steve Miller
1 pm (Soapbox) Believable Characters / Room F Sharon Lee

Also look for us at the art show, in the dealers room, and sitting in a lobby, talking with other fans, or even reading a book.

Looking forward to seeing you -- yes, you! -- there!

Do so fit Mar 29 2016

Alliance of Equals art by David Mattingl

Strap them kids in, give 'em a little bit of vodka in a cherry coke

Things I learned today.

Having your tits smashed in a vise hurts.  Oh, wait.  I knew that.

There is a thing called "pink silver."  Pink silver is (to my eye anyway) brown.  A lot like Joyita's rings, in fact.  *pout* And here I thought we'd made that up.

That there are things called "worry rings," and I bought one.  No, I don't need another ring.  But I like it.

Dorothy Sayers actually breaks the fourth wall a number of times in Strong Poison, which I'm kind of accidentally re-reading.  I had never noticed this before.

Toast Express *is* open on Mondays, even though the sign wasn't lit.  Also, Steve and I will apparently be in an "internet commercial", whatever that means, for Toast Express.

At Day's Jewelers it costs as much for a clasp to replace the clasp that was broken than the entire necklace cost -- OK, Some Years Back.

This week needs more hours in it.  Just sayin'.

We got our schedules for RavenCon.  I'll post that realsoonow.

Today's blog title comes to you from Jame McMurtry, "Chocktaw Bingo."

Still life with unicorn

Apr. 14th, 2016

Alliance of Equals art by David Mattingl

Herring boxes without topses sandals were for Clementine

So, this morning was the hospital's breakfast and gala celebration of their volunteer workers.  It is, I'm told, National Volunteer Month, so if you know someone who volunteers at a hospital, or the library, or the church, or at school -- it is appropriate to thank them for their service.

Inland Hospital's thank-you was very pleasant.  There were about seventy of us present, and each had a made-to-order omelette, home fries, danish, and fruit salad, with beverages of our choice.  We had the Kennebec Chordsmen for entertainment while we ate, and I had occasion once again to be grateful to my grandmothers for taking me to All Of Those Concerts in the Parks when I was just a chitlin, so that I had more than a passing acquaintance with the Songs of My People.

After breakfast and entertainment, there was speechifying by the president, who honored our Volunteer of the Year. Then the volunteer coordinators were up, to give out certificates and service stars (I was there as a guest, having only served a few months so far).  Throughout it all was the drawing for and bestowing of door prizes.  All in all, as I said, a very pleasant affair, and also useful, as I got to put the names and faces of my colleagues together.

I want to talk a little bit about clothes.

Yeah, clothes.

And, also, height.

And expectations.

And fear.

Because, see, when I was dressing for the nice affair described above, I naturally reached for respectful clothes.  I therefore put on a yellow oxford cloth shirt (men's tall medium, LL Bean); a pair of khakis (women's tall 18, Eddie Bauer); a black leather vest (Penney's, I think, back a hundred years ago); striped socks, naturally, and a pair of Dansko lace-up oxfords (which I just found out they don't make anymore, dammit).  And, no -- this is not a story about how I was vilified at the affair for wearing inappropriate clothes.  No one said anything about my clothes, though a couple of people admired my hair.

See. . .

People who have been following along here for a while, and those of you who have seen me in person will have noted A Thing about me.  Most people, in fact, notice this Thing about me immediately, and often comment upon it, far predating the purple hair, and with...significantly less enthusiasm.  In fact, most people, when commenting on my Thing...sound a little accusatory.

I'm six foot tall (just under 2 meters, for those who measure by tens).  Perhaps not quite so tall anymore (doctors differ), but still -- tall for a woman.  And most especially tall for an Older Woman in Maine.

Now, the thing about the Thing?  Is that I've been damn' near six foot tall since I was twelve.  I came from a family of tall people and I am, irony being what it is, the shortest person in my family group.  I remember shopping for clothes with my mother -- proper girl clothes, you understand, this was the 1960s.  The sleeves would be short -- "Roll them up," said my mother -- the skirts were too short -- "Bend your knees," said my mother -- the shirt tails too short -- "Don't lift your arms," said my mother.  Most of my clothes were, yes, home-made, and for a long while after I grew up and moved out, I made my own clothes.  Which solved that problem, sort of.

The thing about the Thing, though?  Is that I liked wearing jeans, and invariably did so on my own time.  On one occasion -- I was 14 and had walked up to the local shopping center and was browsing the women's section in the local, I dunno, was it Kmart, then, or still Kresge's?  Anyhow, a saleswoman approached me -- I was wearing jeans and a flannel shirt -- and told me that I was in the wrong section, and I needed to leave.  The one thing that does give me away, if that's even the phrase I want, is my voice, and she knew she'd made a mistake when I asked her for a date, but that didn't stop her from calling the security guard.

Who didn't throw me out, but who did give me a lecture about not being flip to my elders.

When it became possible for women to be seen in the workplace wearing pants, I enthusiastically adopted the practice and never looked back.

And there's when the trouble really started.

I was tall.  At that point in my life, I was slender.  I wore my hair shortish.  I favored tailored suits and what are these days called "boyfriend" jeans.  I also wore makeup and earrings.

And, nine times out of ten, twenty times out of twenty-one, fifty out of fifty-one, I was addressed as "sir," by almost everyone who stood behind any kind of counter, or who had to do with putting gas in my car, or almost anything else.  At one point -- this was in the late 1970s, now -- Steve and I walked, hand-in-hand, into a mall jewelry store.  One clerk turned away from us.  Another -- possibly the manager -- bravely stepped up to ask if he could help, "you gentlemen."

Some years later, when we had moved to Maine -- and I had long realized that wearing men's clothes meant I could find sleeves that were long enough, and jeans that were long enough, and skirts were no longer an issue -- I worked the night shift at the daily paper.  My shift ended at midnight.  Steve would often meet me after work, and we'd walk the long way home, across the Concourse, so called, which, at that time of night was the territory of drunks and bikers -- not necessarily the same population, but there was an overlap.

One night, we were walking by a group of night-time livers, hand in hand, as we usually go, and someone in the shadows spat, and someone else said, "Fags."

Steve turned around, still holding my hand, and said, "Hey, man, you insulted my wife."

"Wife?" said one guy, maybe a little truculent, while his buddy put a hand on his shoulder and said, "Sorry, man.  Nice lookin' woman."

And so we passed on.

Always -- and I mean, To This Day -- when I walk into a public ladies room, and there is someone there before me -- they do a double-take.  Always.  Nowadays, the purple hair sometimes smooths the alarm away into a smile, "I love your hair..."  But I gotta tell you, I just love that start of fear that I generate, just by being who I am.

But here's the thing about my Thing -- obviously people are not very observant.  Certainly, the normal joe or joan on the street can't be trusted to correctly identify any random passer-by by their gender.

And, even if they could -- so what?

People are people, people.  Just...sorta bear that in mind, 'k?  It'll make everybody's life a whole lot easier.

Belle being elegant

Today's blog title brought to you by, "My Darlin' Clementine," which is one of the Songs of My People.

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Alliance of Equals art by David Mattingl

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