The Dragon in Exile


Eagles Over the Kennebec

Carousel Seas

Tea for the tillerman, steak for the sun, wine for the woman who made the rain come

Shameless self-promotion first!  The interview we did with John Mierau is now Live! On the Internet!  The first segment is Greg Miller talking about his adventures with Kinda Funny, then Lee and Miller describing our adventures in crowdfunding across the centuries.  Here's your link.

As I probably failed to mention here, I spent a good portion of last Saturday digging in the dirt.  We did at last bury Mozart's ashes in the Cat Garden, where he joins Socks and Hexapuma, Max!, Patia, Kodi, and Nicky.

After a brief Ceremony of Remembrance, and seeing as I had the shovel and the rake out in the middle of a sunny, if slightly chilly October day, I took it upon myself to thin the daffodils, which had been needing attention.  Boy, had they.  I transplanted some of the gathered bulbs into the cat garden, but still had over three pounds of bulbs left.  I put out a call on Facebook, and a kind friend down-coast claimed all three pounds.  Which of course meant that Steve and I had to drive to the beach yesterday, in order to hand over the goods.

It was a fine day for a drive.  We made the delivery, then hit the beach, where it was. . .a little chilly. We took a walk, went out to Saco to have lunch at Salt Bay, and went back down to the beach for another walk, and to say hello to Googin's Rock.  On the way home, we stopped The Dairy Corner for ice cream -- Steve had pumpkin ice cream in a cone; I had mint chocolate chip in a cup.

Today, having spoken yet again to the insurance company, I need to get to work.


Today's blog title brought to you by Cat Stevens, "Tea for the Tillerman."  Here's your link.

Here, have a picture of me, standing outside of Myst (which was closed), looking across the circle to the carousel.

Sharon at Old Orchard Beach, October 5 2015. Photo by Steve MillerSharon at Old Orchard Beach, October 5 2015. Photo by Steve Miller

readbooks from furriboots

Books read in 2015

36.  The Paper Doll Museum, Abigail Padgett (e)
35.  The Princess Bride, William Goldman (re-re-read; and--it's official--I definitely prefer the movie)
34.  The Goblin Emperor, Katherine Addison
33.  Cooking the Books, Kerry Greenwood (e)
32.  Forbidden Fruit, Kerry Greenwood (e)
31.  Maisie Dobbs, Jacqueline Winspear
30. Trick or Treat, Kerry Greenwood (e)
29.  The Golden Hawk, Frank Yerby (reread; six pages fell out at various spots during this reading; it was reread many times, when I was 14)
28. The Wave in the Mind, Ursula K. Le Guin
27.  The Boy from the Burren, Sheila Gilluly (e)
26.  Dead Heat, Patricia Briggs (e)
25.  Girl Genius: The Beast of the Rails, Kaja and Phil Foglio
24.  A Bollywood Affair, Sonali Dev
23.  Who Buries the Dead, C.S. Harris
22. Killer Instinct, Zoe Sharpe (e)
21. Devil's Food, Kerry Greenwood (e)
20. The Making of a Marchioness, Frances Hodgson Burnett (e)
19.  A Little Princess, Frances Hodgson Burnett (e)
18. Geekomancy, Michael R. Underwood (e)
17.  The Perfect Rake, Anne Gracie
16.  The Martian, Andy Weir
15.  Blaze of Memory, Nalini Singh
14. Tracker, C.J. Cherryh (read out loud with Steve)
13.  Chanur's Legacy, C.J. Cherryh (re-read, read out loud with Steve)
12.  Chanur's Homecoming, C.J. Cherryh  (re-read, read out loud with Steve)
11.  The Kif Strike Back, C.J. Cherryh (re-read, read out loud with Steve)
10.  Why Kings Confess, C.S. Harris
9.  Chanur's Venture, C.J. Cherryh (re-read, read out loud with Steve) (Note:  the publisher's note at the end of the book states that the next-in-series is Chanur's Revenge. This is false. The next-in-series is The Kif Strike Back.)
8.  Angels' Blood, Nalini Singh (read out loud with Steve)
7.  The Pride of Chanur, C.J. Cherryh (re-read, read out loud with Steve)
6.  What Darkness Brings, C.S. Harris
5. When Maidens Mourn, C.S. Harris
4.  Where Shadows Dance, C.S. Harris
3.  What Remains of Heaven, C.S. Harris
2.  Where Serpents Sleep, C.S. Harris
1.  When Gods Die, C.S. Harris

great horned owl

Friday Morning Newszine

A*. As many of you know, Larry Smith, known variously as Larry!; Larry Smith, Bookseller; and "the guy in the corner of the dealers room with allllllll the books" -- Larry Smith was in an auto accident on his way home from DragonCon; the van rolled, and needs Major Repairs, or perhaps a replacement.  Larry, and Joni Dashoff, who was also in the van, were very lucky, due to a combination of seatbelts and canny packing of books and display shelves.  Larry did have to spend some time in the hospital, but he was eventually released, and went home to inventory, and take, stock.

The news now is that, while -- again, due to canny packing -- the loss of stock was minimal, Larry -- is back in the hospital.  Con-going fans are aware that this is Archon weekend, and Sally -- Larry's wife, and businessmate -- was, last heard, seriously wondering if she should even try to get to the con.

So, what we have here is:  A van to repair or replace; unexpected hospital bills; loss of expected income.  Not a good roll, on anybody's dice.

Immediately after the accident, Marcia Kelly Illingsworth set up a GoFundMe page for Larry and Sally and the poor, abused van.  Here's your link.  If you can donate, that's super.  If you can spread the word, that will help immensely.

Thanks for listening.

B.  We are approaching the end of the seventh and last! week of the Do It Like A Delm Challenge.  Entries must be received by midnight, Eastern Daylight Time (aka New York Time), on Saturday (tomorrow!) October 3.  The last winner will be chosen and posted on Monday morning, October 5.  The winning challenger will also receive a coupon for a free Baen ebook of their choice.  Full rules here.

If you've been thinking about entering your challenge pic, you are right down to the wire.  Summon your inner delm -- or always wonder if you could have.

C. Submissions are now open for The Year’s Best Military and Adventure Science Fiction series from Baen Books.  Full guidelines here.

D. I was going to write something about Writers Fugue, and Process and All.  Maybe later.  Right now, I have to balance the checkbook.

E. Y'all have a nice weekend.  If you're in the storm path, stay safe.  Even if you're not in the storm path, stay safe.

F. Here's a picture of Sprite, resting after her labors**:

Sprite, resting from her latest nap.Sprite, recuperating from her latest nap.


*WordPress has decided to be helpful, and format every numbered list into a squinched-up, impossible to read, "standard" format.  Lists-by-letter don't seem to be on its radar.  And, so. . .

**I often post pictures at the bottom of my blog posts to make the announcement of the post prettier for Facebook, which, left to its own devices, usually posts a GINORMOUS (and ugly) G+ graphic.  For those who dislike, or are tired of, photos of cats, spare a little empathy for the Facebook peeps, and avert your eyes.  Thank you.

The Dragon in Exile

In which progress progresses

So, yesterday. . .

I had some bagels from the bakery down on Bay Street.  Let me just say. . .Worst. Bagel. EVER.  Steve asked me what was wrong with it.  I said, "Christian bagel."  Seriously, bagels shouldn't crumb like bread.  Also? Ideally, they should taste like. . .bagels.

Anyhow, I gave Steve a ten dollar bill and asked him to please stop at Bagel Mania on his way home from getting his car's oil changed and tires rotated to buy me some REAL bagels.

Ten bucks buys 15 bagels from Bagel Mania, most of which are now residing in the freezer, but of course I held some out for Immediate Consumption, and had one for breakfast this morning.  Mmmmm, bagel.

After the Great Bagel Influx, and lunch, we went down to the contractor's office, credit card in hand, and put half down on the generator.  It has to be ordered in, so the installation date at this point is the ever-popular "couple of weeks."  Part of today's excitement will be to call the propane company and get ourselves on their radar.

Then we went for a Plot Drive, up and aroundish, through Athens, Harmony, Canaan, and suchlike.  Back home, I discovered Yet Another communication from the ACA, instructing me to immediately do something that it was impossible to do, even though meticulous following of their directions did not produce the described result (Honest to ghu, the ACA has gotten me to the point that I doubt my own sanity.  I had Steve come into my office to read and follow the instructions, and -- they didn't work for him, either.  What a relief.)

After that, we threw in the towel and watched Big Hero 6.  The coon cats are big Baymax fans, while Scrabble's hero is GoGo.

Today started with a phone call to the ACA to be Perfectly Sure that the urgent email could be ignored.  Then, I called the local health insurance provider and had them go through my regular meds, and. . .today I will regretfully be moving my prescriptions to Hannaford, where the cost for all three will be $0, as opposed to $110.

I'm really ambivalent about this; I've been with CVS since we moved to Waterville -- twenty years and counting -- but money talks.

And I'm really ambivalent about that.

For those who may have an interest, the Seventh and Last Week of the Do It Like A Delm Challenge began yesterday!  We have three entrants so far, but we're waiting to see yours!

Here's a link to the rules.

Here's a link to this week's entries thus far.

Speaking of Doing It Like A Delm, Offworld Designs is (again) taking orders for Liaden Universe® t-shirts, polos, and long-sleeve denim.  In addition to looking positively delm-like on you, these shirts make fine presents.  I hear there's a Big, Present-Giving Holiday coming up in a few months -- and here's the thing you need to pay attention to:  OffWorld Designs makes embroiders and screenprint these to order.  That means that they wait until they have a Big Pile of orders before doing the printing and embroidery.  So you want to order early (and often) if you want to be sure to have gifts for Christmas.

Here's your link to Offworld Designs Liaden Universe® infopage.  NOTE:  you need to click the thumbnails for pricing and product details.

In Weather News, we here at the Cat Farm and Confusion Factory are at about a week of rain, starting this afternoon, so if I want to go into town, I'd better get moving.

Here, have a picture of Trooper waiting for the rain.

Trooper"s not worried about no stinkin" rain.Trooper's not worried about no stinkin' rain.

The Dragon in Exile

In which Rolanni ruminates while the laundry runs

As most of you know, Steve and I started a Patreon account back in the early part of the year (it's here, if you'd like to take a look), and we've slowly been slipping a little into the community over there.  As mentioned elsewhere, we did an interview with John Mierau for Patreon, and on Friday, we participated in a "Hang Time" in which the CEO of Patreon, Jack Conte, Happiness Team member Taryn Arnold, and creator Shayla Maddox discussed innovations, plans, and the whole idea of patronage as a income stream for artists.

Regarding the patron model -- Shayla mentioned that she had "lost friends" when she set up her Patreon account, because some felt that it was unseemly for a creator to "beg" for money.  Jack responded that, if the patronage model was good enough for Mozart, it was good enough for him, and launched into a riff regarding How It Had Been (a rich person would find an artist/creator, like what he was doing, and give him money to continue doing it), to how it is now (an artist/creator sells their work to a middleman, who then tidies it up, distributes it, and splits the take, with the artist/creator getting the lesser split, even though without the artist/creator the middleman would have nothing to distribute, and therefore no profit.  Which is kind of a Yeah, But. . .).

They also touched on the phenomenon of artists feeling that they always need to "give" in order to receive -- we talked about this in our interview, too.  It was a fascinating discussion, and I'm glad we took the time to participate.

In line with that, Steve and I are thinking about something we might do, first for Patreon subscribers, and then into general circulation, so to be speak.  We need to figure out if We Have The Technology, and/or Can We Easily Acquire and Learn to Use The Technology.  Watch the skies.

In the Real World, and still on the general subject of Patreon, the contractor's estimate for installing the generator has arrived.  It's looking like right around $6,000 to purchase and install the generator itself, including the pad, and the wiring, and the switch, and etcetera.  Now that we have this in-hand, along with an estimated date of installation, we can call Dead River and find out how much it will cost to install the propane tanks, and fill them.

At This Point In Time, given the Total Craziness and Complete Uncertainty surrounding my health insurance costs and what will have to be "paid back" to the Federal Government with our 2015 taxes, we are putting 50% of all income received into the tax account.  Hopefully, this will prove to be an over-reaction, but we really, really don't want to be caught short of tax money, given the depleted condition of the general treasury.

We do again want to thank everyone who pitched in to help get us through this (hopefully brief) period of financial disarray, and give us the freedom to move forward with the installation of the generator.  PayPal, Patreon, checks in the mail, cheerleading -- it all helps immensely and is very much appreciated.

In other news -- InstaGram tells me that there is a way for me to convert my WordPress blog into a "beautiful and compliant" epub or mobi file. While I'm willing to believe that of course any such conversion will be beautiful, I'm pretty sure that it won't be compliant. Just a feeling. . .

In Exciting News, we have a winner for Week Six of the Do It Like A Delm Challenge -- Elaine Walker!  See the winning photograph, with links to All the Challengers, from Week One forward, right here.

Tomorrow, Monday, September 28, starts the Final Challenge Week.  If you were thinking about enlisting in the Challenge -- this is your last chance!

Also!  Wednesday is September 30.  Do you know where your copy of A Night In The Lonesome October is?

And, for the curious, a cameo shot of the Pink Robe:

The pink robe, modeled by Sharon Lee. Photo by Steve MillerThe pink robe, modeled by Sharon Lee.
Photo by Steve Miller

readbooks from furriboots

Ghost Stories. . .

Back -- 'way, 'way back, when I was a kid and the great sabertooth stalked its prey up and down the trolley-car lines in the darkling city of Baltimore. . .

Yeah, 'waaaaaay back there.

. . .I used to read ghost stories -- which I was able to do not only because there was a backlist of really great, old ghost stories to provide me with nourishment, but because contemporary publishers were not shy about publishing new ones.

Sometime between Then and Now, though, publishers stopped publishing -- and writers therefore stopped writing -- ghost stories.

I noticed it, and was a sad, because, in my not very humble at all opinion, nothing beats a good ghost story.

Which is why, when I first heard of Delia's Shadow, by Jaime Lee Moyers, I immediately got myself a copy.  Not only is it a good historical novel -- set in San Francisco in the early 1900s -- with strong characters, and a fine mystery, but also?

It's a ghost story.

I really liked this novel, just so you know, and if you like ghost stories, or mysteries, or period novels -- I recommend this book to you.

Now, Delia's Shadow came out in 2013, and I know that a lot of y'all read it then, and the second book in the trilogy, A Barricade in Hell, which came out the following year.

What you might not know is that the third book in the trilogy, Against a Brightening Sky, is coming out in October.

If you're familiar with the first two books, I've said enough; you're already on the way to your favorite bookstore to pre-order this.

But! If you missed these quiet gems in the monthly rush of Hot! New! Books!, I commend them now to your attention.

The Dragon in Exile

I'm in love with Josephine Baker; there's a problem, she's twenty years dead

Where was I?

Ah, yes, the ACA/CHO nexus of confusion.

I spoke to CHO yesterday, only to learn that the latest determination they had from the ACA was only the next-to-latest determination.  The rep at CHO recommended that I call back on Monday (sigh), when they should have the Best and Latest Intel on-hand.  In the meantime, and on the subject of Small Blessings, the rep was able to tell me my maximum monthly payment, should I, indeed, have no government subsidies.  That amount would be just a smidge under $700/month, for insurance for myself alone, which is. . .ghastly, but not nearly as terrible as I had feared.

So, that.

In other news, Winter is coming and I ordered in a winter robe to replace the one that is worn out.  The new robe is pink.  I believe that this may be the first time in my adult life that I have purchased an article of clothing that is pink.  Nothing against pink, necessarily, it's just that I prefer red, and purple, and green, and blue, and black.  In the genre of robes, I fixated on blue as the Only Proper Color for a bathrobe back when I was a pre-teen and got my first floor-length chenille robe.  For many years thereafter, I was of the belief that chenille was the Only Proper Material for a robe, as blue was the Only Proper Color.  Poverty and availability forced me into flexibility on both counts, though I think I only descended to plaid once, when, the need being acute, I bought a men's flannel robe at a flea market for fifty cents.  Nowadays, I find fleece a far better choice for a winter robe, and the new robe is that, and floor length, too, as well as having been on sale, so I'm calling a Shopping Win.

Also -- Josephine Baker.  Here's a short bio.

Here's a longer bio, with video.

And here's a link to the song, "I'm in love with Josephine Baker," which is not on youtube, Fossil having apparently been insufficiently beloved in their day.  The song is embedded in the blog On the Radio, in which it is also discussed, I think unfairly; but read it yourself and decide.

Tomorrow morning, I need to go into town to the grocery and to the REstore, since I didn't do that today.  Then, home again and to work.  Maybe we'll knock off early on Sunday and watch a movie.  That could work.

What do y'all have planned for the weekend?

The Dragon in Exile

In which there is dismay and confusion

It's being something of a zoo this week here at the Cat Farm and Confusion Factory.

On Monday, we did a lovely Skype interview with John Mierau at Patreon, which will be going up on youtube, in the fullness of time.  We'll let y'all know when it's available.

Today, the generator guy came and scoped out The Situation.  He was supposed to have come by on Tuesday, but. . .didn't.  I'm not sure what's with that, but I remember a wise man once told me that contractors run on their own time.  Anyhow, he promises an estimate this week, so that's in process.

In and around these generally benign events, I have been having. . .discussions, as in multiple hour-long phone calls with the ACA and the local health insurer, Community Health Options. Which has officially been No Fun At All.

First, I got a phone call from the ACA on Monday morning, wherein I was informed that, since I had submitted a Change of Income, the person making my new eligibility determination noticed that I had not "attested to" last year's income.  I needed to call a representative, she said, and do that.  Any rep who answered the phone would be able to do that.

. . .Now, I actually know better than this, because I had been for many years a secretary, and I am Very Aware that, when the instructions include a variation of, "Call this person, say this, and they will know exactly what you mean" -- they won't.  No one will know anything even approaching what I mean, and if I have not elicited Actual Hard Facts that bear directly on What This is Actually About from the person for whom I am making the call,  it will end up taking days to resolve this One Really Simple Thing.

With that said -- no, the rep who answered the phone on Tuesday at the ACA had no idea what "attesting" to last year's income was, nor did her supervisor.  Her supervisor, however, recalculated my eligibility, which was not what I wanted, at all.  I wrote a letter, explaining what had happened, and why, and logged into the ACA website to upload it -- only to find that, if the ACA isn't expecting to receive documentation from you?  There is no option to upload documents.

Unwisely, then, I tried to go into my (new) application and see if there wasn't something there. . .got twisted around and called the ACA back, hoping they'd bail me out.

The rep I spoke to this time also didn't know what "attesting" income was, and said that 2014's income was completely beside the point, this being 2015.  She also told me that the ACA representative who had handled my first policy change, back in July, when Steve went on Medicare, had just cut my Best Guess at Income for both of us in half, and had figured my monthly payment/subsidies from there, and that this was Utterly Wrong.

Apparently, we still count Steve's income, even though he's on Medicare and I'm only looking for a policy for myself, and that! amount! put me over all the subsidy limits, and -- long story short -- it appears that, because of this, my insurance has been canceled.  If it hasn't been canceled, I'll be in the happy position of having to pay something on the order of $2,000/month for health insurance, but I can't find the amount for certain, because Community Health Options only allows access to its plan descriptions and prices during Open Enrollment, which this is not.

Today, I was supposed to call CHO to find out if, in fact, my insurance is canceled, and -- if it has been, what do I do now? if it hasn't, how much will it cost to maintain the policy?

I did not make that phone call today; since I had lots of leftover frustration from yesterday to work with.  Today, I refined a scene that I'd written over the weekend, and then wrote a few more words in a forwarder direction.

Tomorrow, I will have to call CHO, and try to straighten this out, and, man, am I looking forward to that.  Not.

In the meantime, the nights are getting seriously chilly and the day-temps aren't really exerting themselves above the middish 70sF, so, yes, winter is coming.  And very possibly with bells on.

And, to pay you for your patience in allowing me to vent, have a look at this place -- a college of fools, just outside of Paris.  Here's the link.

Nap attack!

Nap attack!

Clan Korval's Tree and Dragon

We Have A Winner!

Bruce Glassford won a coupon for a free Baen ebook of his choice for his winning entry in the Week Five Do It Like a Delm Challenge!

You can see the winning entry here; and all of the entries here.

Challenge Week Six starts tomorrow, Monday, September 21.  Only two more weeks to enter and show the world that, whatever you do, and wherever you do it, you always do it like a delm!

The Dragon in Exile

Cons, Coon Cats, and Boring Health Stuff

This is in the nature of a catch-up post.

For those who have been following along with the numbers game at home, the latest information garnered from the latest blood test is that the 1 mg dose of thyroid medicine is a winner.  The poor pituitary has stopped with overtime manufacturing of kick-me hormones for the thyroid, and the thyroid is producing numbers in the normal range without being kicked, and -- this being the important part -- I am fully awake and at optimum crankiness and sarcasm levels for the first time in. . .years.

Come to think of it, that should serve as a Public Service Announcement.


Also -- this repeats news shared on Facebook yesterday evening -- I have successfully concluded a project years in the making -- a ceiling fan in my office.  I'm so happy -- I can't tell you.  Here's a picture:


. . .isn't it BEAUtiful?


I have been reminded to remind y'all that!  Registration for BaltiCon 50, held over Memorial Day Weekend, May 27-30, 2016, at the Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel, is now open.  Here's the direct link.

In addition to Guests of Honor George RR Martin, John Picacio, Bill and Gretchen Roper, and Martin Deutsch and Shirley Avery, BaltiCon 50 aims to welcome back as many of the con's previous Guests of Honors as are interested and able to come.  So far, 21 Alumni GoHs have agreed to return for BaltiCon's 50th anniversary, including Steve and me (Writer GoHs, BaltiCon 37, 2003).

This is a big, big project, and BaltiCon is asking for your help in funding the travel for the returning GoHs.  There's a donation page here, where you may donate to your favorite GoHs.  (Yes, I know that Steve and I are listed separately; I don't know what's up with that, but at the bottom line, I don't think it actually matters.)

BaltiCon 50 is also selling a limited edition promotional tshirt in order to raise funds.  You can view and/or purchase a tshirt here.

Finally, for all the latest news about BaltiCon 50, you can sign up for the Twitter feed:  @balticon50


This is a Hard Writing Weekend, which means I'll be somewhat scarce on the web.  The beginning of next week includes an interview, and a visit from the generator guy, as well as Yet Another Phone Call to the health insurance company, which seems stuck in an Endless Loop of sending me a form I've now filled out and returned three times, while at the same time being unable to generate a monthly invoice.  Sigh.  Also, the Colby Art Museum is hosting an Open House on Thursday evening.  I always like to go to the Art Open House.  So, not an insanely busy week, but busy enough with mundane things -- and writing, too.


Extra credit paragraph:  From the Department of Anthropomorphism, Cats Are Not Social Committee, we have the following Observer Report.

This morning, I was sitting at the kitchen table finishing the wonderful tuna melt Steve had made for breakfast.  I have a direct line of sight into the living room from my place at the kitchen table, and was able to see Trooper in the cat hammock, Belle stretched out on the rug close to the kitchen, near, but not on, the cat scratchers.  Sprite walked into the living room, fell on Belle, cleaned her up, cleaned herself, up, cleaned Belle up and in due time, as frequently happens, the grooming morphed into a wrasslin' match.

This morning's match was. . .vigorous.  Sprite broke twice, but came back, and Belle, seeming slightly put-upon, finally threw her Whole Being into the thing, grabbing Sprite around the waist and kicking her in the stomach.  There were no growls, but Belle, at least, was clearly intent on teaching Sprite a lesson, rather than savoring the Joy of the Wrassle.

Sprite tried to break a third time -- Belle wouldn't let her.  Sprite renewed her efforts to get free, Belle held her closer.  I was on the edge of producing a loud, "Ahem!" when. . .

Trooper jumped down from the hammock and approached the melee.

Belle let go of Sprite and twisted to her feet to face him; Sprite escaped to the hall, where she sat down and began to groom her shoulder.  Trooper walked directly up to Belle, tail slightly higher than straight behind, but not a full upward sweep, and put his nose against hers.  She allowed this -- then swatted him in the head.

Trooper went back a couple steps and walked carefully around her, as if he was going to go check on Sprite.  In fact, he paused by the television stand, where he could see her in the hall, cleaning up, stroked his cheek against the wood a couple times, turned, and went back to the cat hammock.

Belle began to bathe.

I stood up and got myself another cup of coffee.


Everybody have a nice weekend.


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