Jun 15 2019

Hunkering down before the summer gets crazy

Rosemary

Unexpectedly, my summer has filled itself up with back-to-back events, and I find myself about to start scrambling to keep up.

But not quite yet!  In fact, I’m first entering a period of quiet, solitude and Deep Creative Thinks.   My sister is off to house-sit/cat-sit for those pals in New Hampshire I’ve mentioned before.  You remember: the ones with the gorgeous house on the pond, with geese and a blue heron rookery, and starry skies all night, and reasonably friendly cat of great beauty.  So, I’ve got the condo all to myself!  For three solid weeks.  I need not be even marginally social, which is good, because I’ll get plenty of that during the deluge.

First up after my break: Readercon.

My schedule:

Reading: Rosemary Kirstein
Fri 6:30 PM, Salon C

Kaffeeklatsches: Liz Gorinsky, Rosemary Kirstein
Fri 9:00 PM, Concierge Lounge

Autographs: Rosemary Kirstein, Sarah Pinsker
Sun 1:00 PM, Autograph Table

Found Family in SF
Sun 2:00 PM, Salon B
Anatoly Belilovsky, Rosemary Kirstein, Bart Leib, Sarah Pinsker (mod), Catherynne M. Valente
Ideas of family are sensitive to societal conditions, so science fiction—a genre that frequently concerns itself with adjusted societal conditions—is a fruitful space for exploring the concept of found family. Panelists will discuss tropes and examples of familylike groups in SF (especially in confined situations such as starships, colonies, schools, and walled compounds) and the ways that these stories relate to the reality of found families for people isolated by present-day societal conditions.

Reading: I don’t yet know what I’ll be reading.  I feel that I’ve already read an awful lot of the early bits from Book 5, and the later bits that I do have would be too spoilery.  I’ll see if I can winkle out some unread-sections from the start, or possibly dig up something else entirely.  I’ve even read from the start of Book 6 before (although that was a while back).

Kaffeeklatsch: Kaffeeklatches are, I think, unique to SF/F conventions.  If you don’t know what it is: it’s you and people like you, just sitting around a table and shooting the breeze with an author.  There’s a sign-up sheet, first come first served, since space is limited.  I don’t know where they keep that sign-up sheet…  I’m sure you can ask at convention registration when you arrive.

Autographs: Most of my readers read my books as ebooks!  How does one autograph an ebook? Well, one doesn’t, but I will bring with me a stack of postcards I’d had made as promotional items, and there’s plenty of space on them for signing.  You can have one, free gratis and for nothing!

Found Family in SF: This will be interesting, and one of the things I’ll bring up is Laurie J. Marks’ family configurations in her Elemental Logic series.

Oh, and there’s also this panel, for which I am not a participant, but will definitely be in the audience:

Classic Fiction Book Club: Rosemary Kirstein’s Steerswomen Series
Saturday 12:00 PM Salon  A
Elaine Isaak, Victoria Janssen, Yves Meynard, Kate Nepveu (mod), Cecilia Tan
Since the publication of Rosemary Kirstein’s first novel, The Steerswoman, in 1989, the Steerswoman series has become a quiet classic for its powerful female friendships, slowly-revealed worldbuilding, and unique approach to genre paradigms. Over the last 30 years, four novels have been published, with another two intended in the future. We’ll look at the state of the series today, and speculate about where it might be going.

So… that’s a thing.

This is the second time a convention has had a panel on my books, the previous one being at Scintillation in Montreal last year.  I was actually on the panel myself that time. I did offer take part this time as well — but I also told the program people that if they felt it would be better for me to not be on stage as one of the panelists, I’d be fine with that.  And that’s the way they chose to do it.  But I did request that they not schedule me on some other panel at the same hour!   Because, seriously: if it’s happening, I’ve got to see it!  Also, I’m so pleased that the panelists are all people I like and admire.  It should be very interesting.

And speaking of Laurie J. Marks (as I did a few paragraphs ago):

 

The fourth and final volume of her Elemental Logic series, Air Logic is out!  As a fellow member of her writing group, The Fabulous Genrettes, I was witness to multiple iterations of these books as works-in-progress. I’m thrilled to bits at how they’ve turned out, and how they are gaining Laurie the recognition she deserves.

And meanwhile, over at Tor.com, Brit Mandelo has written a series of articles exploring the ideas and issues in the books — one article each for Fire Logic, Earth Logic, Water Logic, and finally Air Logic.  Now, as interesting as the articles are, you should be aware that they are analyses, and so contain reams and reams of spoilers.  So, simple solution: Read the books first!  And if you’ve read the first three already, they can serve to set you up for the ideas that continue in Air Logic.

After Readercon — that is, the very next weekend — I’ll be attending a multi-generational gathering and hike, on and/or near Mount Washington, in honor of the 75th birthday of one member gang (Hi Bob!) of my own “found family”.   Well, one of my found families.  I seem to have more than one….

And after that — immediately after that — its off to Canada with Laurie and her wife and dog, to see what we can see in New Brunswick, a place I’ve never been.   Must remember my passport.

When I get back I’ll have just enough time to catch my breath, and then — Cat-sitting!  New Hampshire!  Pond, birds.

And then, quite suddenly, It will be September.

It’s scary how fast time moves.  Look at that: I’m here in the middle of June, seeing the end of the summer right in front of me.

Well.  Must make good use of my pre-Readercon time.

In other news: saw a freakin’ bobcat in my back yard.  If you follow my Facebook page, you already know this, as I posted it the instant it happened, out of sheer astonishment.  Later, someone else in a nearby town also spotted a bobcat, possibly the same one.

I can’t help wondering: With Sleeping Giant State Park (less than a mile away) shut down for over a year now, due to those tornadoes that hit it — I wonder what the wildlife is doing in there, with no people to disturb them?

 

 

 

 


May 23 2019

Heard while walking

Rosemary Kirstein

Like apparently everyone else in the universe, I’m trying to walk more.

I prefer to walk in the woods, but when I do, I never listen to podcasts, or radio, or audiobooks.   I’m in the woods!  I want to either be there, present for the experience, or set my mind free to ramble, and possibly come up with tales or essays or explorations of ideas.

But that’s only when I’m able to walk alone.  If I’m on a trail where there are other people around —  I just can’t be that free.  There’s too much distraction.  Also, my face tends to mirror what I’m thinking — I just can’t help it.   So, I do prefer solitude for my walks.

Alas: with my beloved Sleeping Giant State Park still completely shut down a full year after the four surprise tornadoes that shredded it, all I’m left with are the smaller, more populated walking opportunities.

And that’s when I need something else to occupy my mind while walking.

There’s music, of course.  But also wonderful podcasts, great audiobooks, and even live radio.

I’ve kept up with Welcome to Night Vale, naturally — and I’m glad that it seems to be back on track after waffling around uncentered for most of the current season.

And lately I’ve been listening to Sam Harris’ Making Sense podcast, which really stretches my brain.  Currently, I’m in the middle of a two-hour episode where Harris interviews Daniel Kahneman, the psychologist and Nobel Prize winner, who wrote Thinking, Fast and Slow.  I have the book, but in many ways the interview is more interesting, a wide-ranging conversation between two pals who are also blazingly smart.

I’ve also been listening, for the second time, to Janis Ian’s autobiography Society’s Child. 

Society's Child: My Autobiography by [Ian, Janis]

As an old folkie myself, Ian’s autobiography is of particular interest to me.   She does the reading herself, and it’s so intimate, to hear her own voice, right in your ear, sharing her stories with you.   Also: each chapter begins with a quote from one of her songs, and in the print version, you just read the quoted lyrics; but in the audiobook, she picks up her guitar and sings and plays it for you.  Lovely.

And I’ve just finished listening to Charlie Jane Anders’ All the Birds in the Sky which was excellent, and thoroughly involving.  It’s a story one can get lost in — and that’s not something everyone can pull off.

All the Birds in the Sky by [Anders, Charlie Jane]

Anders has  a very good hand with prose, too, and her characters are clear and multi-layered.  She’s a writer whose star seems to be rising, as well, and good for her!  This is the only thing of hers I’ve read so far, and  I do wish I’d read it sooner — it’s been on my radar for a while, but so have so many other things.

Another of my go-to guys when I’m walking is Colin McEnroe.  He has a local radio show on WNPR, but of course everything is also a podcast these days, so one can listen to any of the episodes, at any time, anywhere.  The other day he had a show about Sol LeWitt, a very famous conceptual artist of whom I was only tangentally aware before hearing the show.  But during the course of the show, McEnroe played a short clip of Benedict Cumberbatch reading a letter that LeWitt wrote to another artist, Eva Hesse — and that sent me off to YouTube when I got to my office, to track down the full version.

(WARNING: contains salty language.   So what!  Get over it.)

I’m always fascinated by artists who are supremely devoted to their art — even if it’s art I don’t particularly like.  In fact, it’s easier to clearly see the beauty of that devotion, when you’re not swept away by how much you like the artwork itself.  Am I making sense?  Makes sense to me.

And I’m going to take LeWitt’s admonition to “stop thinking” to mean stop overthinking, a failing to which we writers are particularly prone.  Stop obsessing on all the peripheral aspects — and just think of the work!

In other news:

Of course you’ve heard that the Nebula Awards were handed out recently.  In case you haven’t, Tor.com is always a good source for SF/F news.     So is File 770 — and they have pictures of the ceremony and the winners.   I actually have a copy of Best Novel winner Mary Robinette Kowal’s The Calculating Stars on my To Read Real Soon Now stack.

The Calculating Stars: A Lady Astronaut Novel by [Kowal, Mary Robinette]

I’m definitely overloaded with Stuff to Read…

 


May 4 2019

What happens when someone you know seems to be able to write poems at the drop of a hat and you’re a little jealous, so you ask how they do it.

Rosemary

 

Oh, look.  I wrote a poem:

 

JO WALTON WRITES SONNETS

She tells me that it’s more or less a knack,
The pattern’s that familiar, and the pace.
She knows the beats, and how the rhymes will stack,
With every iamb solidly in place.

With that, she simply lives her life, with all
Its thoughts and feelings, plans and acts. Her days
Are given to her work — but should she call,
The words slip nimbly into their arrays.

But there’s a thing she doesn’t say. Perhaps
Forgotten, being learned so long ago
That years and dreams and decades that elapse
Have moved it from Surprise to Simply So.

It’s this: Delights, when loved and fully known
Will choose to serve — and name you as their own.

 

(You can subscribe to Jo Walton’s poetry Patreon right here.)


Apr 25 2019

Did I not mention?

Rosemary

Yes, the larger-sized edition of The Steerswoman is up and live!

 

https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51H9%2BSvuLdL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

It seemed to take an inordinately long time to show up, after I approved the final version.  Even after they told me it was live, all I could see on Amazon.com was the older, smaller version.  And then I started poking around Amazon, and discovered that the new book could only be found if you went first to the Kindle book, and from there selected “paperback.”  This seemed very odd to me…

And any search on my name or “The Steerswoman” preferentially led directly to the older edition.  Even though I had officially unpublished it — it was still on sale, and searches led you there instead of the new edition!  I was tearing my hair out!

Then I looked closer, and saw “ONLY ONE COPY LEFT IN STOCK — PURCHASE SOON!”

Aha.

Amazon had one copy of the smaller edition left, and until that one was gone, they were going to keep pushing it at you.   You would not automatically be led to the new edition until then.

Well, heck, I said.

So I bought it.

And everything fell right into line.  Lovely.

And the books are all of the same size now, the better to line up on your bookshelf.

 

Grey bar across the title is there because that’s a proof copy. It says “Not for resale.”

And here’s another advantage to the larger format: lower production cost.  Because it’s calculated by page-count, and bigger pages mean more words per page,  and fewer pages.

So, that could mean a bigger royalty for me.  Or…

What the heck:  I lowered the selling price.

The smaller edition was $13.50  USD;  the larger edition is $11.99.  Pretty much the same royalty on my end, but a more tempting price for the purchaser.  Why not?

Of course, now I have in my hands the very last copy of the smaller format.   Which I don’t actually need…

Anybody want it?

Free to a good home.

How about this?  The first person who posts, in the comments of this blog, an accurate physical description of the steerswoman Keridwen — I’ll send you the last small-format copy of The Steerswoman.

And it has to be in the comment section of this blog.  NOT a Facebook comment.  Right here.

Of course, you probably already have a copy.  At least an ebook copy.  But hey, you’ve friends, right?


Apr 17 2019

Losses…

Rosemary

Vonda McIntyre passed away two weeks ago.   I found that it hit me rather hard, and didn’t want to blog about it for a while.

Here’s the thing: I don’t think I ever got to meet her.   And that’s remarkable, because, she was sort of always there. We were in the same field, we moved among the same people, were at the same conventions, often.  On a panel opposite mine, perhaps, or on the other side of the room in a party; doing a reading at a time not convenient for me to come in and listen.

She was Guest of Honor at the 2015 Worldcon in Spokane; I was there, too, but did I paths ever actually cross?  I don’t know…

Our books appeared together in the Feminist Futures Story Bundle, and there was a certain amount of emails back and forth among the participants and packager.  But that’s not real contact.

I guess that’s the thing making me especially sad: that I never got the chance.  We were not close…  but might we have been?  I’ll never know.  But her books are still here.

 

And then, a few days ago, it was Gene Wolfe that we lost.

Shadow & Claw: The First Half of 'The Book of the New Sun' by [Wolfe, Gene]

Tor.com has the best tribute to him and his work.  I can’t really add to it.  And his books are also still here.

 

And then, of course, Notre Dame.  You’ve heard about the fire, I’m sure.

But the good news there is that it was not completely destroyed.  When I first heard about it, it looked like the entire cathedral was gone, and I was astonished at how devastated I was.

Yes, I am an atheist — but religion did not build Notre Dame; human beings did.   Human minds, human hands.   An as an atheist, it’s the human spirit that I find holy, and every object of beauty we create is sacred.

 

Posted by Sarah Smith on Tuesday, April 16, 2019

 

Human beings… well, we don’t last.   But the things we make — they go on after us.   That’s what they’re for, I think.

 

 

Image may contain: cloud, sky and water

 

(next post: non-sad things.  I promise.)


Apr 12 2019

Any minute now…

Rosemary

Well, any time in about the next 72 hours, that is.  I just okayed the larger-format version of The Steerswoman, and KDP is now doing its final review.

In the meantime, I’ve unpublished the small-format version.  Which means that for a few days,  you can’t buy any paperback version of The Steerswoman at all… except, I just checked, and it looks like the “unpublish” command hasn’t taken effect yet.  Well, it takes time to promulgate across the system, I suppose.

Passing review is pretty much a formality; I’ve already proofed and checked this thing in every way possible — and so has KDP.  Only major problems would cause the book to be unpublishable at this point, and we haven’t found anything that bad yet, so I’m sure it’s fine.  “In Review” is probably what they say instead of “Keep yer shirt on, we’re working on it.”

One thing I don’t know is how long it will take for the new edition to be available for bookstores to order.  I believe that’s going to be longer than 72 hours…

Oh, and Canada.  Inexplicably Amazon.ca takes a while to catch up.  Could be a couple of weeks.

In other news:

The list of Hugo Award nominees is out!  I’m sure you’ve already seen it.  But on the off-chance that you read no other blogs, no other SFF news, and don’t have a Facebook or Twitter account  — well, take a moment and click over to the official Hugo Award Website for the list.

And please notice that Jo Walton is on the list, for “Best Related Work,” An Informal History of the Hugos: A Personal Look Back at the Hugo Awards, 1953-2000.

This book is not only a great resource, it’s wonderfully entertaining, as Jo gives us her take on the previous Hugo winners (those that she has read), as well as an overview of what what else was available each year.  It’s eye-opening, and fun.

And Jo has a new book coming out on May 28th:

Lent by [Walton, Jo]

I got a chance to hear Jo read a chapter of Lent at the Scintillation convention in Montreal last year, and I loved it.  Can’t wait for it to show up on my Kindle (I’ve pre-ordered).

 

Also, let’s not forget that Laurie J. Marks’ final volume of her Elemental Logic series, Air Logic, will be out on June 4.

It just got a great review from Publisher’s Weekly, but you know what?  Don’t read that review! They give too much of the plot away in their reviews!  This is because Publishers Weekly is aimed at booksellers and libraries and people in the biz — that is, people who might not actually read the book, but want to know about it, and need to decide if they should to stock it to sell, or to make available to library patrons.

But you do want to read it, so — no spoilers, right?

Here’s the non-spoilery part of their review:

“Marks brings her much-loved, long-unavailable Elemental Logic series (most recently 2007’s Water Logic, and all recently republished by Small Beer) to a superb finale in this fourth novel set in the world of Shaftal, where the four primary elements determine allegiances among the people, inspire magic, and create turmoil when thrown into imbalance….. The fullness with which Marks has thought out the particulars of her world and its characters, and the logic by which her story’s events proceed, complete an extraordinary fantasy saga that’s well worth revisiting or exploring for the first time.”  — Publishers Weekly

In other other news:

Inexplicably, on April 10, forty-seven people bought copies of my ebooks.  Usually, a bump like that can be traced to a review or something, but all Google can find is one quick mention in a comment stream answering a question by someone on Reddit.  You wouldn’t think that would be enough for that big a bump. But I am not complaining, just reporting.


Apr 1 2019

Dingoes ate my italics.

Rosemary

So there I was, just doing a final proofreading of the full-sized edition of The Steerswoman–  sort of cruising along, since the text had been scrupulously proof-read so many times before. Even the few typos that slipped by in the previous edition had already been noted and expunged!

The cover came back looking really good, with just a couple of tiny adjustments needed (their barcode white area was differently-sized from the space I left for it; the black area of the spine needed to be just a hair wider).   All I needed was just this one last check before releasing the book into the wilds.

I was halfway through the book, when I found myself slowing down, pausing… and thinking back.  Hey, wasn’t that one word, there, originally said a bit more… emphatically?

Pulled out the previous edition, and: Yep.  Every one of my italics had vanished.

Not just words stated with vehemence, but the names of ships, and certain types of internal musings — all the italics, gone.

This was caused by the copy-and-paste process, when I took the text from the .doc version of the smaller-sized  edition and pasted it into a new document formatted to the larger size.  I strongly suspect that when I pasted, MSWord might have asked me a question like, “Hey, do you really want to do this?  Because, you know, you’re going to lose all your formatting.  You’re all right with that, right? Just sayin’.”  To which I likely blithely replied, “But of course!  This document is formatted to a larger size!  I would not want to keep the setup of the smaller size.  That would just be silly.”  And hit OK.

Reconstructing from supposition, there, but that’s probably what happened.

So, here I am looking at every page of the old edition, finding every instance of italics, finding the place in the current edition, and flagging it.  After which I’ll fix it in the document, reconvert to PDF for publication, upload it, get yet another proof copy,  and scrutinize it again.

On the up-side, the cover came out pretty darn good, and the ring, jewel, and chain show no sign of having been extracted and pasted cheesily onto the map.  I’m happy with that.

So, just do this, get it done, re-upload,  get a new proof copy.

After this: Time to do my taxes.

Which, after all this proofing and correcting… well, I’d almost prefer to be doing my taxes.  Not quite, but almost.


Mar 24 2019

Proof copies are on the way…

Rosemary

I finished the conversion of The Steerswoman to the larger paperback format, recreated the cover, and uploaded the whole shebang to KDP.  I’ve reviewed the result online… but you just can’t trust how things look on the screen, as I found to my chagrin on other books.  So, I’ve ordered some proof copies, to check how things look before I publish.  They should arrive any day now.

And the cover really does worry me… it’s not just an issue of making it bigger.  Since I’m going for a uniform appearance across all four volumes of the paperback, I thought it was worthwhile to try to fix some problems with the original cover.  And for that, I needed to redo it almost from scratch.

Here’s why:

The cover used on the smaller paperback was based on the cover image for the ebook — and that cover was created in something of a rush. I wanted at that point  (for various reasons) to get the ebook out as quickly as possible.  For the sake of speed, I simply took the actual physical version of the map that was used in the book, and plopped down a real gold chain, an actual example of the “jewel,” and a mobius band ring on top of it. Then I lit  everything as well as I could, and took a photograph.  The camera was just a  middling-quality digital camera, but amazingly, the resulting photo was not terrible.  With the help of the GIMP image-editing software I trimmed it to the right size, added a title and author name and voila!  Instant ebook cover.  On sale in time for Christmas.

 

Ebook cover completed in a flash.

Once I had that design, I did the covers for the other three ebooks using the same concept: Map showing where the action takes place; object from the storyline placed on top of the map.  I could not, however simply take another photograph for the other ebooks — mainly because things like redgrass and dragons do not exist in real life.  So I did the whole thing digitally, starting from a professionally-scanned version of the master-chart, and creating adding the elements as needed.

And as you can see, there’s a big color difference between the first book and the other three.  I discovered that it was impossible for me to reproduce the tone of the photographed map, and after much fuss, I finally settled on merely fading the map a bit, to keep it in the background so that it wouldn’t overpower the other cover elements. As ebook covers, they seemed to work okay…

When it came time to do the paperback of The Steerswoman, I went ahead and used the same photograph as the ebook as a base.  I added a black bar behind the title for better contrast — for a physical book, the cover looked too busy, and too bare with the letters sitting directly on the map.  And I removed the heavy shadows on the lettering.  Those shadows seemed to work for a strictly digital image seen on a screen — but on a real book, the effect just came across as sort of hokey.  It was much better without them. And once that was done, I did new covers with similar designs. I found that I didn’t need to fade the map into the background.  I like the result:

But what you can’t see clearly in the photo above (taken with a mere iPhone, after all), is the very real color difference that still remained, between the first book and the others.  It was still impossible to match the tone from the photo and reproduce the same color and tone onto the digital-image covers.  Because it’s a photograph.  I could not just select and block-change.  The color and shading alter, literally from pixel to pixel, in subtle and unique ways.  The best I could do for the other books was to get something close to the color of the top edge of the image, and have the image shade progressively darker toward the bottom.

But now, with a new edition — well, here’s my chance.  I figured I could recreate the cover of the first book digitally, and back-match the color to the covers of the other three.

Right? Problem: The ring, chain, and jewel are still a photograph.

I’m much more nimble with the GIMP software than I was when I first started using it.  I was able to remove the background entirely, leaving the ring, chain, and jewel.  It was insanely painstaking (pixel by pixel), but I got it done…

And then I used the digital version of the master-chart to create the a new background for the cover (with shading toward the bottom), and put the jewel there… add the bar, lettering, and back-cover blurbs,  and  —

 

Yeah, it looks okay on this screen.  But as I discovered with The Lost Steersman something that looks good on a screen can be very different when printed on an physical object.  When I have it in my hands, will the difference between the photographed element and the rest of the cover be noticeable?  Will it just look horrible in person?

And on top of that, the other books were made through CreateSpace, and this one was executed using the Kindle Direct Publishing’s paperback production process.  It’s possible that there are going to be slight differences between the quality of paper, the clarity of printing, even the feel of the book in one’s hand…

Yeah.  Gotta have that proof copy.

Oh, and guess what?

I literally just now realized that I selected the wrong cover finish.  I set it for matte instead of glossy. The other books are all glossy finish.

Damn.  Too late to cancel the proof order!  Pardon me while I go and reset that option to the correct one, and reorder a proof copy. And spring for two-day shipping.  Worth the cost.

 

 


Mar 20 2019

The equinox

Rosemary

Yep, it’s here.  Oops, there it goes.

Don’t worry.  Spring itself lasts for whole months!

 

Via Astronomy Picture of the Day, time-lapse courtesy of geosynchronous satellite Meteosat.   And a very nice view of what a geosynchronous satellite can actually see…


Mar 15 2019

Please don’t download from the pirates!

Rosemary

Periodically, people let me know about pirated copies of my ebooks being sighted in the wild.  Alas, it does happen, partly because I choose to not use Digital Rights Management restrictions on my books.  DRM-free is a moral stance, but you know: being good does not mean people won’t take advantage of you…

I have to send out takedown notices when I learn of pirate sites — so if you spot pirated versions, please do feel free to tell me about it!  (Thanks again, Barbara, for the latest heads-up!)   I have an automatic Google search set up  that often points me at the pirates as they pop up, but it’s not perfect.  It missed that last one in Canada.

And by the way — the most pirated version of my works is the omnibus edition of the first two books, that were combined into the volume called The Steerswoman’s Road.  And the interesting thing about that is that the only digital version that ever existed was one created for blind people using screen-reading software.  Yeah, think about that.    Stealing from authors is bad enough, but scamming blind people to do it?  That’s a new low.

As a general principle:  There are currently no free ebooks of the Steerswoman series available anywhere. If they tell you it’s free, they stole it from me.

In other news: Finally got free of that second bout of the same damn massive cold.  Living on DayQuil and NyQuil for days on end has little to recommend it.  Being weak and stupid gets old fast.

I’m still coughing, but not constantly, thank goodness.  And I made it back to my office  as of Monday, although I wasn’t much use until today, really. I actually wanted to go for a nice long walk on Tuesday, but when I arrived at the local linear trail (the only route I thought I could handle in my weakened state), I was hit with a massive coughing fit. Meanwhile, two women were loading a toddler into a stroller from the car next to me, and I realized that I’d be coughing my way down the trail more or less in tandem with them for the whole way.  I thought this would be unkind; even though I do believe I’m no longer contagious, they would not know that, and I’d inspire all sorts of worry on the child’s behalf and glances askance cast in my direction.  I didn’t want to just sit in the car until they were out of sight, so I gave up and went straight to the office instead.

Alas, my sister caught the cold, too, and has been miserable for the last few days.  I’m trying to be especially nice to her.  At least the pals who jetted to Florida one day after being exposed to me have managed to avoid the plague, and seem to be having a lovely time in the sunshine, according to their Facebook posts.

Meanwhile, I arrived back at the office, where I had left things over a week ago, thinking that I’d be gone just for the weekend.  Dead flowers!  Week-old trash not tossed out!  Piles of stuff everywhere — things I had assumed I’d deal with shortly, but I can now not remember what I intended to do with them.

I spent the last couple of days, as my brain slowly came back, dealing with all that.  Plus financial analyses and bills, before those get out of hand.

Happily, I find that the book cover for the full-size paperback of The Steerswoman was rather farther along than I had recalled, and I should be able to complete it in a couple of days.  And then the acid test of using KDP’s paperback generation software for the first time, which I am not looking forward to.

My next publishing task after that will be to finally update the ebooks with typo corrections!  I’ve been receiving notes from readers for the last few years, pointing out typos (and thank you all for that) and I’ve incorporated those corrections into the paperbacks (since that’s what I was working on at the time).  With that done, I’ll use the paperback files to create better versions of the ebooks —  exactly the reverse of how one usually does these things.  As is typical of me.

And looming: taxes.  Yow.  Multiple revenue streams equals high level of fuss and bother.  Well.  I’ll worry about that next week, when I hope my mental RAM and bandwidth will have recovered more.