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Feb. 17th, 2017

Coffee with Rolanni

Writing from the month of the Staggering Behemoths

My thanks to everyone who put eyes on the Amazon situation.  Many noted that the links to Steve's author page are missing/broken/go somewhere else -- that will be my next Amazon-related project, whereupon I will once again ask for your assistance.  Thank you so very much being here, and being willing and able to assist us as we navigate the Silly Waters of Freelance.

This morning, lest I forget, there was a reprint contract in the mail.  Totally unexpected, but of course Delightful To Behold.

I am in the meantime, making a story from an outtake from Neogenesis.  The title is "Street Cred," and it is destined for a new eChapbook, which I hope to have on-sale before we leave for MarsCon.  This morning, it weighs in at about 7,500 words, out of what I estimate to be about 10,000 words, finished.  With luck I can finish the draft this evening.

Today, Steve is wanted at the dentist, and I'll do some errands in town while that work is being done.  Sunday is forecast to be sunny and warm; our goal at This Point in Time is to take a nice long drive on Sunday, partly in order to assuage cabin fever, and partly to see if I can do a nice long drive all in one go, in prep for driving to Albany, and getting on a train for Minneapolis.

Let's see, what else?  Oh, our mailbox here at the house fell victim to Winter, the first time in many winters, so All Mail must presently be picked up at the post office in Waterville.  Today, I expect to pick up a sweatshirt, and a DVD, along with the usual handful of bills and sales flyers.  I've really been looking forward to the sweatshirt, and honestly didn't expect the DVD to make it to us so quickly, which just goes to show that when you order something called "Arrival," it'll try to live up to its name.

. . .and I think that's all I've got.

Everybody stay safe, and warm.

Feb. 12th, 2017

Coffee with Rolanni

Talking about the Black Dog

Today, I'm going to be talking about depression. Which counts as fair warning: Those who have no interest in this topic may wish to move on, now.

Long-time readers of this blog will recall that I do indeed "have" depression.  I also "have" hypothyroidism, another chronic illness.  I'm lucky in that these are the sum of my health afflictions, given All, and in balance neither really gives me. . .much problem.

Except, yanno, when they do.

The most recent depressive incident. . .which started to cloud in sometime, oh, around mid-2015. . . It wasn't too bad at first -- this is a chronic illness, which I've had for my entire life.  After you've lived with something for upwards of half-a-century, you develop coping strategies and rating systems, among other tools for getting through the day.

Anyway, the clouds started forming in mid-2015.  I did those things I knew to do -- made sure I was getting enough (but not too much) sleep, and exercise, and interacting with people in Real Life, persisting at doing things that would normally give me pleasure. . .and, as sometimes happens, nothing much worked.  The clouds got blacker, and thicker.  I got duller, and forgetful, and even more inarticulate than usual.

Everything hurt, by which I mean it hurt to think, it hurt to have to cope with anything; personal interactions felt like a series of paper cuts -- not stab wounds, because frankly I couldn't work up enough energy to feel stabbed.  Life was a burden, and thinking was exhausting.

I drew hard on the cats, but even such cats as ours can only do so much, and belatedly I realized that white-knuckles, and waiting it out wasn't getting me anything but duller, darker, and more exhausted.  My writing was suffering, and everything else, too.  So, I went to the doctor, reviewed the situation, and received a prescription for antidepressants.

I don't like to take antidepressants, personally, so the 'script was low-dose, just enough to take the edge of the pain, and make it possible to write, and more or less get through the day.

Things were still dreadful, naturally -- the Black Dog had not left the room, he was just curled up on the rug, watching. Everything was still too hard, there was no joy, no humor, every one of my accomplishments was a failure in my mind.

And, all that changed, about a month ago.

No, it wasn't the drugs; the drugs were only to help me continue coping.  And it wasn't an Awesome Change in my General Situation.  Mark this, now, because it is key -- nothing had changed.

Except that the Black Dog had left the building, and I was no longer depressed.

My accomplishments were once again victories; the fact that I'm old is a victory, because I really never expected to make it out of my thirties; I'm married to my best friend; I have energy; my vocabulary has leveled up; I can say what I mean to say -- and I want to say it.

Like flipping on a light -- trite, but true.

Since the last dark episode was so very long, I'm hoping to be Black Dog-free for quite some time.  I do so much enjoy being able to think clearly, and not have to fight for every concept -- I can't even tell you.  I enjoy being able to have ideas for stories*.  I enjoy -- well.  Everything.

So, that's all; no life-changing insights here.  Except that it always does amaze me -- the change from dark to light, when it happens.  And the worst thing that depression does, among a dark legion of bad things -- is withhold the hope of light.

________
*The moment I knew I had to do something other than Just Wait It Out was the moment when Steve and I were, supposedly, brainstorming a story, and I looked at him, said, "I don't know, and I don't care!" -- and burst into tears.

Feb. 11th, 2017

Surprise!

Saturday morning book talk

ONE

For those who missed the earlier announcement:  The eArc of The Gathering Edge, the twentieth novel set in the Liaden Universe® created by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, is now available from Baen.

EArcs are only available from Baen; they are a specialty item that arose from the Baen Barfly community many years ago. EArcs contain errors in sentence structure, spelling, grammar. However, in our case at least, The Story is the exact same story that will be finally published in hardcover and in ebook.  EArcs cost more than the regular ebook edition because you are getting The Story approximately three months' ahead of final publication.

Belle and Sprite have entered the Betting Pool again for this release.  Details of the wager are included in this blog post.

TWO

For those who have downloaded the eArc of The Gathering Edge, read it, and now want to Talk About It, there is a spoiler discussion here.

THREE

Yes, the Uncle, aka Mr. Blyly at Uncle Hugo's Science Fiction and Fantasy Bookstore, will once again be offering signed and/or personalized copies of the new hardcover.  We'll let you know when the pre-order page for The Gathering Edge goes live.  In the meantime, there are still some signed copies of previously-published Lee and Miller titles here.

FOUR

Neogenesis, formerly Fourth of Five, has been turned in to Baen. Yes, Theo does make an appearance in this book.  It is not, however, a "Theo book."  Neogenesis is currently scheduled for hardcover/ebook publication in January 2018.

FIVE

Fifth of Five, which doesn't yet have a Public Title, is due at Baen on January 15, 2018.

SIX

We have five books scheduled for delivery after Fifth, so we continue to run the Red Queen's Race here at the Cat Farm and Confusion Factory.  This is, as you know, All Your Fault -- yes, you over there, it's your fault, too!  -- and we thank you very much for your continued support.

The books come in two contractual packages, to wit: the Masks (2 books); and the Triple Threat (3 books).  They will be set in the Liaden Universe®; beyond that -- no, we don't know, and it's no sense asking.  It really doesn't do much good to  talk about deadline dates this far out, but we're looking at having work into the next decade.

SEVEN

Here, have a picture of Belle on my printer:

Feb. 10th, 2017

readbooks from furriboots

Books read in 2017

8.  Thud!, Terry Pratchett (read aloud w/Steve)
7.  White Tiger, Kylie Chan
6.  The Hanging Tree, Ben Aaronovitch
5.  Trading in Danger, Elizabeth Moon (e)
4.  The Wolf in the Attic, Paul Kearney (e)
3.  The Cat Who Saw Red, Lillian Jackson Braun (read aloud w/Steve)
2.  Inside the Texas Chicken Ranch: The Definitive Account of the Best Little Whorehouse, Jayme Lynn Blaschke (e)
1. Sand of Bone, Blair MacGregor (e)

Feb. 7th, 2017

Coffee with Rolanni

LINK TO Gathering Edge Spoiler Discussion

If you've read the eArc of The Gathering Edge, and you want to talk about it, there is a spoiler discussion topic on sharonleewriter.  This a moderated venue, so it will take some time for your comment to appear.  Do Not Despair if it does not show up immediately.  All will be well in the fullness of time.

Feb. 6th, 2017

Coffee with Rolanni

Gathering Edge eArc now available for download

The Gathering Edge, the twentieth novel-length Adventure in the Liaden Universe®, and! the direct sequel to Dragon Ship, which makes it the fifth book in the Theo Waitley arc --

Is now available as an eArc, directly from Baen.

Here's your link

Feb. 5th, 2017

Coffee with Rolanni

Today, we do page proofs

Page proofs for The Gathering Edge hit the mailbox yesterday.  This means that, today, I will set up station here on the desk, with our submission copy up on the screen, and the proofs in paper, compare one against the other, and mark any errors on the paper copy.

At the very least, this is a tedious process, and I enter into it with a strong sense of trepidation.

Most of you who read here are aware that the arrival of page proofs in our mailbox means that the release of the Baen eArc is not far away.  We, personally, do not know the name of that happy hour, 'k? So it's no use asking us.  Usually, we find out that the eArc has gone live because an alert reader drops us a note, which we do appreciate. So, if you notice that the eARC is up for download, do let us know, and we'll help spread the word.

You will perhaps recall that, last year, Belle and I had a wager about how many Alliance of Equals eArcs we could sell.  At that point, Belle was of the opinion that we wouldn't sell more than 500 (which would have been about 150 more than the total eArc sales of Dragon in Exile).  Sprite, who last year was too young to wager, had it as her Strong Opinion that we would earn out our advance on eArc sales.

Neither was right, though Sprite came closer to the truth.  We exceeded Belle's high figure by a factor of twelve, indicating that a lot of Liadens were into eArcs last year, but we did not earn out the entire advance.

This year, Belle is taking the position that last year was a fluke, and that no one wants to read a Whole Book about a Tiresome Kitten, anyway.  Sprite, who this year can place a formal wager, has modified her position to Edge sales equaling sales of Alliance.

My position is that, with All the Uncertainty in the air, it could go either way.  People could hunker down, and hold their purses tight, hoping that the storm passes them by, or they could figure wotthehell; a short life but a merry one.

And now, it's time for coffee and the first shift of proofing.

Everybody stay safe.

Feb. 4th, 2017

Coffee with Rolanni

Saturday dreaming

So, last night, or early this morning, I dreamed that the Master Harper had died, and in fulfillment of his last duty to the Hall and the Craft, his spirit had spanned the world, looking for the one who would come after.  He found her soul in Dreamland, and revealed himself. When he was certain that she had seen, he turned, for the last time, toward the Hall, showing her the way.

The spirit of the new Master Harper turned into a hart -- by which we learn that she is a traditionalist -- and followed.

A nice story, really, and about then I realized that I was one of several persons auditing this event, and my companions were Not Best Pleased.

"A motorcycle!" said one.  "One does not Seek Through Dreamland on a motorcycle!"

"Why not?" I asked.  "The steed we ride in Dreamland is that which is chosen by our soul."

"It's not traditional!" said another one.

"Well, he wasn't traditional, was he?" said a third.  "That's not exactly a surprise, after all these years, is it?  Gods know, we all came against his Ideas, down the years."

"You want traditional?" I said, turning back to the screen, or the window, in time to see the hart leap from Dreamland into the cluttered room at the top of the tower, skidding slightly on the old pages underfoot.

The shape went misty for a moment, reforming into a ragged young woman, her hair tangled with brambles, her face dirty, clutching a leather bag to her meager chest.  She gazed around the room, face dawning awe and then delight as she discovered each instrument beneath its piles of books, scribbled notes, and gee-gaws.

"It looks like you've got traditional," I said, waving my comrades over to watch the new Master Harper start her tentative tour of the tower.

In the distance, a motorcycle roared, wound out, and faded. . .

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Feb. 2nd, 2017

Coffee with Rolanni

Post-book non-news

Well, let's see. . .

I was going to get down to finishing the post-book office clean-up, the taxes, gearing up the files for 2017, and All The Other Stuff that I ignored during the last month of writing Neogenesis, but!

Monday, The Hanging Tree arrived in the mail, so I read it instead of doing any adulting.  Tuesday I had a doctor's appointment, in which several plans were made for health monitoring, including the borked knee.  I'm back to gym, but this time on the recumbent bike, which is apparently less stressful on knee-joints than the treadmill.  Hopefully, I'll be able to strengthen the knee enough that I'll actually be able to walk around Niagara Falls in August.  If it's not significantly better, there's a cortisone shot in my future, so here's hoping bike therapy works.

Yesterday, was Steve's first appointment at the rehab gym, where goal-setting and measurements and other cool things were done.  A three-day-a-week schedule has been put together, which will start next week and continue 'til we leave for MarsCon.  After we come back, re-evaluation will happen.

Today in the mundane world, I'll get back on putting my office back together, and all the other catch-up.  I'm sure there are people out there who manage to keep all of the chores done and the house clean while on deadline, but it's a trick I've never managed.

I think this catches us up. What're y'all doing that's fun?

Jan. 31st, 2017

readbooks from furriboots

Books read in 2017

6.  The Hanging Tree, Ben Aaronovitch
5.  Trading in Danger, Elizabeth Moon (e)
4.  The Wolf in the Attic, Paul Kearney (e)
3.  The Cat Who Saw Red, Lillian Jackson Braun (read aloud w/Steve)
2.  Inside the Texas Chicken Ranch: The Definitive Account of the Best Little Whorehouse, Jayme Lynn Blaschke (e)
1. Sand of Bone, Blair MacGregor (e)

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