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)
Yes, yes, everyone's fine here at the Cat Farm and Confusion Factory. We're simply in the midst of Deadline Heck for various projects, two of which are late, and one of which is coming due Right Soon. I, personally, have been down deep in the guts of the novel, doing I can't even tell you, because to do so I would have to change brain trains, and I can't really do that right now.
On the Mundane Plane, it was snowing yesterday, so we put off going to town. Which of course meant that it snowed even more on the overnight, and is snowing as I type, so I guess we'll go to town in the snow.
I hear from Uncle Hugo that Mr. Blyly will soon have a page up for the pre-order of singed/personalized copies of The Gathering Edge, the. . .twentieth Liaden Universe® novel. We'll let you know when that page is live.
For those of a Hugo nominating bent, the Liaden Universe® is eligible for the brand new Series Hugo, which is being test-driven at this year's WorldCon.
The cats are all fine, though of course they'd rather we'd do something a little more interesting than sitting in a chair and staring at the computer screens. Belle has taken to jumping up in the bed in the early morning hours -- say around 4:00 am, to Discuss Weighty Matters with me. Steve is of the opinion that she wants me to add a dining room, so she can have a dining room table to sleep on (we just finished reading The Cat Who Saw Red aloud, and I fear Koko is a bad influence.). She would also like a Cat Porch to be installed.
. . .I think that's all I've got. Writers lives are pretty boring, really, especially when we're working.
Everybody stay well and warm -- or cool, depending on your hemisphere.
I see by my inbox that we have now entered SciFi Silly Season. Here, in one handy list, are all eligible Lee and Miller, and Lee, works, published in 2016.
Alliance of Equals, Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, novel, Baen Books, July 2016
"Wise Child," Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, novelette, Baen.com, June 2016
"Friend of a Friend," Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, novelette, Sleeping with the Enemy, Pinbeam Books, July 2016
"Shame the Devil," Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, short story, Alien Artifacts, Zombies Need Brains, August 2016
"The Wolf's Bride," Sharon Lee, novelette, Splinter Universe, January 2016
"Will-o'-the-wisp," Sharon Lee, short story, Splinter Universe, January 2016
And! Lest I forget -- which I almost did: Lee and Miller's long-running Liaden Universe® is eligible for the Best Series category in the Hugo Awards.
Yesterday, we had precipitation. There was some confusion amongst the Weatherbeans in their lofty towers of ice and sunshine regarding the form in which the precipitation would finally manifest. The Weather Wheel spun from snow, to sleet, to freezing rain, ice pellets, and the ever-popular wintry mix, until the Weatherbeans in their wise frustration threw their hands in the air and said, "It is on the back of the wind."
And so it was.
We here at the Cat Farm were blessed with snow. Quite a lot of snow, very wet and heavy, since the temperatures never really got much below 31F/0C. I had tried to do the Wise Thing and perform preliminary snow removal yesterday evening, before the skylight absolutely went. This resulted in me sliding on the ice beneath the snow and falling flat on my face. I therefore rethought the situation, with Steve's pointed input, and decided to do snow removal this morning, when there was more traction between boot soles and ice.
Today, it's quite pretty out, with sticky snow stuck to all the tree branches and Everything Else, and the sun beaming down from a blue and cloudless sky.
I have done two rounds of snow relocation, in prep for the plowguy. The first round was Before Coffee, to clear the steps and make a path in the direction of the cars. I came in to warm up -- actually, to cool down; it gets hot when you shovel snow under the smiling sun -- had a cup of chocolate coffee that Steve had ready for me, and an oatmeal cookie.
Round Two saw the cars cleared, for values of clear meaning that the driver can see out the front and back windows, after which I had Second Breakfast: coffee, cottage cheese, and leftover stuffing. The breakfast of champions.
We are now on Plowguy Watch, and my jeans are in the dryer.
For those who may have never done snow relocation on a bright and sunny day in Maine, a few notes.
The snow was so white and reflective under the sun that the only way I could find and follow the paths I had made was to look for the blue inside the outline of my footprints. I have a great fondness for blue snow, which I don't think I ever saw before we came to Maine.
Also, the trees are, as stated above, bearing a significant burden of snow on each and all of their branches. Yes, the smiling sun and the playful breeze are assisting in the removal of this burden, but it's a tricky process.
While I was outside on Round Two, the neighbor across the road lost a branch from the tree closest to his house. I heard a crrraaackkk and looked up in time to see the branch tumbling down in slo-mo, and a cloud of snow-dust dancing and twinkling against the perfect blue sky.
This is the time when we are at risk for losing power, because the lines are every bit as coated as the trees, and subject to the same forces. And once again, we are grateful for the generator.
For the moment, my snow worship is done. Sprite is already asleep in her basket on my desk, and I guess I'll take her hint and get to work.
Everybody have a safe, pleasant day.
After assessing the situation (The Situation) with Steve's health, new med mix, upcoming dental surgery, and the cardio doc's rather pointed, "Do you understand what I mean when I say don't push?" we've decided not (that is NOT) to attend Boskone in February.
We'll miss seeing our various friends and colleagues, but -- necessity is.
Thank you for your understanding.
So, the Compleat Combined Manuscript of Neogenesis now stands at 105,647 words, more-or-less. I need to write two more scenes and build a buncha bridges, which is not quite the same as writing a scene, even though some bridges pack more wordage than a scene.
It's an art. Yeah.
There may still be a minor timing problem lurking in the depths, and I have to go back and find the perfect place to put a sentence to explain That Thing, but there's nothing so seriously askew that I can't go forward comfortably and finish the damn' thing.
I think that yesterday, when I stitched together the front half with the back half and could finally, finally, see the book as One Whole Thing, instead of a bunch of Random Chunks, was the first time I felt certain in my bones that I could actually finish the damn' thing, so progress, if not yet victory, is mine.
On the not-book side of things -- does anybody here wear bifocal contact lenses? The last time I tried them, the approved method was to over-correct one eye and under-correct the other, in order to give the wearer "bi-focal vision," but all it ever gave me is a headache. I understand that there have been Advances since then, including soft contacts built in rings of varying powers, so your eye can choose which ring it needs to see through for a certain task. Much more like my glasses, in fact.
. . .and I think that's all the news I have at the moment. Hope everyone who celebrated had a happy holiday of their choice.
# # #
105,647/120,000 OR 88% complete
"It is possible, after all, to have too many enemies."
We here at the Cat Farm and Confusion Factory celebrate Yule as our Winter Holiday, but, in order to keep peace in the family, most of whom celebrate the Commercial Christmas*, we traditionally raise a glass, and give and open presents, if any, on Christmas Eve.
We are this year, including you -- yes, you! -- in our hybrid holiday, and giving you a Yule present, which you may open on Christmas Eve.
Sometime between 10:30 pm and 11:59 pm on Christmas Eve, Maine time, if you click on the link below, you will be able to read the first few pages of The Gathering Edge, which is, it says here, the twentieth novel-length adventure in the Liaden Universe®, scheduled to be published by Baen in May 2017. It is the direct sequel to Dragon Ship, and the action happens concurrently with the action in Alliance of Equals.
Everybody confused now?
EDITED TO ADD: Once the excerpt goes live, it will remain live, until routine housekeeping takes it down, which means you have months to read it.
*Which is to say, they do not attend services or mass. The last time anyone in my family went to midnight mass on Christmas Eve was 'way back in 1978, when I drove my grandmother and aunt, as had become my habit, and attended mass, too, since I was there, and midnight mass is kinda pretty, really.