Nov 29 2016

Every year, John Scalzi does a very nice thing.


Actually, he does many nice things, all year ’round.  He’s just a nice guy!

But around this time of year, he also opens the comment stream of his blog to writers and artists of all sorts to promote their own works, with his Holiday Shopping Guide.

He breaks it out by type.  Yesterday (Monday,) was reserved for traditionally published books, ebooks, and audiobooks.  Today (Tuesday) is for non-traditionally published works (that would be me).  Wednesday is for other creators; Thursday is for fans to share their enthusiasm about any books or other art they want people to know about; and Friday is dedicated to promoting charites.

Last year, I got a good increase in sales from Mr. Scalzi’s blog.  He has lots of readers.   Another year-end boost would be very useful indeed.

And you might want to check in on his blog daily this week.   A lot of people, creators of all sorts (although mostly writers), will be plugging their work.  And Christmas is coming!  You don’t want to just buy the same old stuff for your friends & family, do you?

Meanwhile:  Yes, I am in Florida.  Here’s proof:


Yeah. I'm not going to be feeding any gators that show up...

Yeah. I’m not going to be feeding any gators that show up…

I am, however, allowed and even encouraged to feed the other wildlife.  Well, not in the park; in the yard of the place I’m staying.

Ibises, who also cannot read.



Egyptian goose.

Egyptian goose.  They will basically walk up to the screened porch and give me the side-eye until I come out and feed them.

And my pal Charlie:

Grub, skritches and cuddles dispensed on command.

Grub, skritches and cuddles dispensed on command.

Well.  Back to Book 5, which is sort of the whole point of being here, right?

More later.

LATER:  I posted the promo, but (Darn it!) I forgot that I had wanted to make it shorter first  — I think it’s too long.   But I just copy/pasted, and hit “post.”  I feel it was unkind of me to take up that much space.  That’s what happens when you post half-asleep — should have edited it down last night.

On the other hand, I managed to be the seventh person posting (out of what will be, trust me, hundreds).  So, yay.


Nov 16 2016

Hunkered down, digging in, clearing the decks, gearing up


Just so’s you know.

I’ll be treating that Florida house-sitting trip as a writing retreat… Traditionally I don’t post much during those, but you might hear from me now and then.

Right now I’m:

a) writing hard, so as not to lose momentum while I

b) figure out what I need to bring, and gather it all, including some documents required for more Chores of Officialdom, and

c) trying to take care of everything that needs to be taken care of here before going there, and

d) thinking ahead to the holidays for which I will not be actually at home, so plans must be managed remotely, and thank you Internet.

And some other plans that are afoot…

Well.  Much to do.

In other news, a  shout out to some people who wrote some rather nice reviews:

Christina Vasilevski reviews both books and tea, two things which I can vouch go together very well.  I think it’s a charming idea, and you should definitely pop over and see what’s new.   She has pledged to write thirty (short) reviews for November (in honor of National Novel Writing Month AKA NaNoWriMo), and there I am, on November 3rd. What’s more, Christina is herself a writer — She provides (and edits) content for the business world. 

More recently, Justin Howe has reviewed the series on his 10 Bad Habits blog; apparently he read the old paperback versions, with those overly-spoilerish covers. (Especially for The Outskirter’s Secret. Ouch. Del Rey called it a marketing decision, but Yikes!)  Justin is also a writer, and a frequent contributor to the online magazine Beneath Ceaseless Skies.

Well.  Back to my doings.

More later…

(PS: At some point I’ll say something about the election.  Not yet.  Can’t quite bring myself to, yet.)

Nov 7 2016

I love the 21st Century.


After a semi-downer of a blog post today, I had to do something uplifting immediately.

So, here’s this:


You definitely need to go full-screen for this.


Nov 7 2016

Three nice things and two crappy ones.


Nice thing #1:

I spent the last weekend of October hanging with some long-time friends at the home of one couple now living in Newport, Rhode Island. It was the annual Fall Hike gathering,  and I have to say it was just wonderful to see everyone.  Especially one couple in particular, who live much further away from me than the others, who I so rarely get to see.  And who also don’t participate in social media at all, so I have no easy way to keep up to date on their lives…

(For those of you not from the United States, Rhode Island is not actually an island.  They just call it that.  Why?  I have no idea.)

Newport is lovely, and the hosts’ house is gorgeous, and welcoming — and right near the water.


Right across the street. On the far side of that bit of water: Mansions of the rich and infamous!

Across the street. And, on the far side of that bit of water you see there: Mansions of the rich and infamous.


I didn’t take any useful pictures of the hike along the Cliff Walk, as they call it, because I was too busy chatting to pals.

Mansion to the right. Mansion to the left. What do I take a picture of? That tree.

Mansion to the right. Mansion to the left. What do I take a picture of? That tree.

It was great.  Lots of good food, excellent conversation, plenty of wine.

Crappy thing #1:

I came down with a horrendous cold on Saturday night, and spent the next day dosed up on Nyquil, while everyone else had fun.

And I’ve still got it.  The entire week was all Dayquil, Nyquil and occasional excursions into MucinexD.  I was functional in a low-level sort of way, thanks to modern cold meds, but I’m ready for this to be over, now.


Nice thing#2: Florida!

The sister of a friend needs a house-sitter in Florida, while she takes an extended visit with her daughter’s family in Oregon.  Sabine and I are splitting the duties.  I have six whole weeks starting just before Thanksgiving, and Sabine takes over after Christmas.  The house is lovely, on a lake with wonderful birds, plus resident cat to scritch and pet — and plenty of solitude, which I’ve been needing for a long time.   But I also have friends residing in Florida, so I can visit and socialize when I’m so inclined.  This is excellent!

Crappy thing #2: The Dreaded Chores of Officialdom.

If you have health insurance through the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), it’s time to renew.  So, I thought I’d do that.  Through the website.  Simple, right?

I won’t give you all the grim details… suffice to say that right now I’m waiting on a call from someone at AccessHealthCT, because the customer service rep I ended up speaking to on Friday had to escalate my perplexing problem to someone higher up, who did not manage get back to me on Friday.

I’m sure it will get sorted out… but it’s nerve-wracking and time-consuming until then, as I do not know what my coverage status is right now.

I basically spent all Friday night and Sunday afternoon gathering all my materials, printing out supporting documents, making extra copies, planning my explanation of what happened, and what we need to fix –  I’m tired of the whole thing, but I can’t quite let it go (in my head) until it’s resolved.

Fortunately, nice thing #3: Genrettes meeting yesterday.

It was Delia Sherman’s turn in the hot-seat, and we all had a great time discussing her work, sorting out some technological issues, plot points, etc.  And of course, just catching up on our lives.

This took a lot of the bad taste of Officaldom out of my mouth.  I love the Genrettes.   Delia Sherman and Laurie J. Marks are amazing friends to have.  (Have you read their books?  Well, you should get right on that.)

My day so far?  Well, here I am, waiting on hold with Access Health CT, coughing every few minutes with that same cold.

This is definitely not how I want to spend my day…


The mighty Quinnipiac River, not far from my office. Note traditional festive discarded tire.

The mighty Quinnipiac River, not far from my office. Note traditional festive discarded tire.