May 04

Aten’t Dead Yet (in fact, doing OK)

Posted: under Audiobooks, Collections, Deeds of Honor, Life beyond writing.
Tags: , ,  May 4th, 2019

We’ve had fifteen inches of rain in the last 30 days.  More than half an average year’s rainfall.  Five and a half of it in the previous 48 hours, running through the barn aisle into the dirt-floored horse stalls and loafing area.   Extraordinary rain starting last fall with a deluge and flash flood…so we have gorgeous wildflowers  and water running for weeks at a time across the near meadow.   My new horse is great except for the continuing physical problems; she spent a month at the vet’s getting started on fixing one of them, a deep-seated chronic hoof infection causing repeated abscesses.  The vet tells me the X-ray evidence and what he saw cutting on the sole of her hoof is that it’s been going on for years.   We won’t know if she can possibly recover until her hoof grows out completely, which may be in September, but maybe not since she can’t go out to be worked on wet ground–and working a horse is what stimulates hoof growth. However,  her abscess hasn’t recurred since March 25, when she came home from the vet clinic, and it’s been 4 full weeks since she came off the antibiotic.   After she came home, I was told I could ride her–should ride her–every day if possible, but most days it hasn’t been.  So almost every time I get on her is a re-start.  She’s got a great feel, when she calms down from “You’re going to get on me AGAIN?  I thought you gave that up forever!” and jigging a lot.   But we make progress in other ways.   I do what I can in the barn, though today…what a mess.  And it’s cloudy and there’s not a drying wind.   If not for the need to keep her bad hoof dry and clean (it’s always in a medicated wrap, inside a hoof boot, but water and mud can go over the top of the hoof boot if deep enough–hence restrictions)  I could be out shlooping through the mud with her.

And meanwhile, some Paksworld news.  The audio book of DEEDS OF HONOR will be starting production soon; I’m at the stage of communicating with the voice actor about pronunciations and such.    I’ll be working on that today….and  until it’s done.

I went to my first HS reunion ever (56th for those who’ve been going regularly) and that was very interesting.  I’m glad I went, though I was sick (caught a cold probably Easter Sunday, and was still in medias res on the Saturday after) and recognized only two people right off the bat.    Both I’d known in elementary school, and one before that.  It’s unusual for me to recognize people after a break–my lousy face recognition processor–so a relief to instantly know *that* had to be who it was.

It’s become obvious in the last year and almost-three-months since the concussion that it’s going to take a lot longer for some of the symptoms to resolve, if they do.  The remaining difficulties are typical of post-concussion problems–but overlap with typical age-related problems.   All very depressing, if you dwell on them, and I’m trying not to, though a writer having difficulties with language *at all* raises the anxiety level.  When typing, I make mistakes of a type I never used to make, thinking one word and typing another.  Plain typos I’ve always made–reversing letters, leaving one out.  But these are true cognitive (not fingering) mistakes.  Grrr.  I see them when I re-read a Facebook post or a tweet, but it’s annoying and scary both.   Fiction doesn’t hold together yet–the plot-daemon, that faithful assistant, seems to wake up only in spurts, and since I’ve never outlined  (teachers TOLD me I should always outline)  when I lose the scent or the tracks or whatever it is that has always led me onward…I sit there staring at the page with no idea at all what to do.  Yet in reading fiction, I’m back to my old speed and analytical ability (I’m plowing through Cherryh’s Foreigner series again, in which I’d missed a few books over the years, and holding the first sixteen books (so far) in my head and finding the connections, the foreshadowing, the ways she’s held this huge and complex and multi-layered series together.)  But I’m more easily distracted by real-world things, both good and not-so, when I try to forge ahead on either of the two projects begun and not really advancing.

But I intend to keep trying, while also working on general health issues (now better, not done yet, though) and pushing the envelope as much as possible.   The stories are in there somewhere.

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Aug 21

30th Anniversary Edition

Posted: under Good News, Sheepfarmer's Daughter.
Tags: ,  August 21st, 2018

The new 30th anniversary edition of Sheepfarmer’s Daughter is now out and about.   Hard to believe it’s been that long (though some days I feel more than 30 years older, but that’s another issue.  You will laugh–the other night I was awake and picked up a copy of it just to glance at…and two hours later I was hooked by my own book *even though* I knew what was coming.   Thanks to all of you–and all my other readers–who kept it in print and made celebration of its 30th birthday possible.

The year of fixing things is proceeding, with a consult on eye surgery coming up the first week of September, and renewed work on “What to do about the fact we aren’t getting younger and our wills have aged out and the guardianship on our son needs adjustment…”   Then I need a consult on the concussion aftermath, because we’re over six months and some things have bounced back to normal-for-me-before-this-concussion and some haven’t.   Reading speed picked up markedly in July and is now below what it was in my 20s  but way above where it was after the concussion.   (Honestly, nobody *needs* do read Dick Francis mysteries and other fiction of that length in an hour and a half.)   I can gulp an entire new book in one sitting again….no problem at all with holding concentration.  I’m also reading solid nonfiction as I had been doing (science and medical journals.)  But there are some things still not “there” yet, including balance.   OTOH, the teeth–wow, I did not realize how much they’d been hurting until (past the rather solid and definite pain of serious dental surgery over many weeks)  until after the final stuff healed…they didn’t.   At any rate progress has been made, and more will be made.

On the writing side, the very dry well is now wet at the bottom and Sunday, chatting on the phone with a writing friend, suddenly a plot fragment showed up in my head.  Not connected to anything I’d been doing, but in response to a joke my friend made.  And so…I think the writing of fiction may come back if I don’t strain it while it’s so small and fragile.  The fun of writing (nonfiction, about horses or knitting) is definitely coming back.  So there’s life in the old girl yet, and I’m looking forward to next steps.

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Sep 07

The Good News & The Good News

Posted: under Conventions, Editing, Good News, Life beyond writing.
Tags: , ,  September 7th, 2017

Editor has accepted the manuscript of INTO THE FIRE (after the second rewrite) and it’s now in production.  Once the copy edits have come and gone, I’m off the contractual hook, so to speak, with the time to arrange for the medical and dental procedures I need.   Whew!   Because an eye with a cataract in it does not get better on its own, nor does a dental situation.

DragonCon was fun but challenging, as the throat injury was still causing discomfort and some loss of voice strength, and the knee injury didn’t allow the kind of fast, steady walking that going from hotel to hotel makes much easier.  OTOH, I made it, so there.

Renovation on the house next door that we bought to rent has gone well, and it’s now time for the flooring crew to put in the new floors.  Then installation of appliances, final plumber visits and electrical visits, and it’ll be about ready to go.  In the meantime I need to have a talk with our lawyer about “being a landlord of residential property.”  The basics; I’ve never done this before.

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Aug 11

Finally? Maybe?

Posted: under Good News, Life beyond writing.
Tags: ,  August 11th, 2017

Yesterday I finished the second rewrite requested by Editor.  Summer has been full of long, long days at the computer and short-short nights of too little sleep.  (In between the two rewrites was something else that came up and required the same crunch approach.)

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Mar 23

A New Old Thing

Posted: under Good News, the writing life.
Tags: , ,  March 23rd, 2017

As those of you with tattered old mass-market paperbacks with the woman on the black horse on the cover know,   Sheepfarmer’s Daughter came out in 1988, as did Divided Allegiance, and Oath of Gold came out in 1989.   To celebrate 30 years in print, Baen Books is going to put out an Annversary Edition of them next year, and asked if I would write an introduction to each volume.  Of course I said yes, and I’ve roughed out the first one and sent it on to Toni Weisskopf at Baen.

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Mar 09

Done (at least for now)

Posted: under Life beyond writing, the writing life.
Tags: , ,  March 9th, 2017

So INTO THE FIRE reached its appointed end yesterday–today has been filled with other chores–and now I’m going to comb the burs out of its mane, curry the mud-clumps off its back and belly where it rolled and wallowed, and present it to Editor with (I hope) nothing much for her to do but work her magic with the clippers to make it still prettier.

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Aug 04

Cold Welcome Cover

Posted: under artwork, Cold Welcome, the writing life.
Tags: , ,  August 4th, 2016

Cold-Welcome-coverComing in March 2017 Read the rest of this entry »

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Apr 23

Still Alive & Kicking

Posted: under Life beyond writing, the writing life.
Tags: , ,  April 23rd, 2016

March and most of April were eaten up by illness, aftermath of illness, another illness, and attempting to get the rewrites done on Cold Welcome and catch up on things left undone while sick.   Including church music.   I am well again (fingers crossed) though far, far behind in physical fitness, housekeeping, and progress on the book after Cold Welcome.    Energy level is slowly coming back.  The rewrite has been delivered to Editor (April 15), and her remaining comments, if any, will be dealt with in the copy edits.

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Dec 23

New Website & Blog Announcement

Posted: under Life beyond writing, the writing life.
Tags: , , ,  December 23rd, 2015

It’s not here yet, because my web designer is over in London having Christmas with her family (her son married an Australian living in London–they got married in Denmark and are now living in London.)   And she’s retiring in March (this is Not Fair: she’s younger than I am and I’m not retiring yet!!)   But there will be a new website and blog specifically for the SF side of my writing.   You are the first outside the business to know (my Editor thought this was a great idea, as some of my SF fans are adamant about not sticking a toe into the Fantasy area, lest they be sucked into the swamp)  but never fear–if you’d rather hang out here,  I plan to mirror some of the content there over here (possibly not some of the straight science links I’m planning to include–your opinion on that is welcome.)   And this area will not go away.   There will be more short fiction coming out if things go as planned, and perhaps more long stuff later.

That  blog will be called “Universes” and, like this one, embedded in its site.  In this case, that site will be encapsulated in my main site, thanks to the ingenuity and cooperation of the site host and my web designer.  The Vatta books will be one “universe.”

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Oct 11

GRRR Google

Posted: under Life beyond writing.
Tags: ,  October 11th, 2015

The local PBS station carries as their secondary station something called worldchannel.org, and it had an interview with Eric Schmidt of Google; I saw the last part of it.   Right toward the end, he started bragging on how wonderful Google Books Project was, and how they’d been “litigated to death” (not with their money they weren’t) and how that settlement had been overturned (no doubt with the application of money) and they’d get it all done in time and it was a great service to society.
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