pameladean: (Libellula julia)
First! The ebook version of Points of Departure, Pat Wrede's and my collection of all our original Liavek stories plus a new story by Pat and a new collaboration by both of us, telling the often-crossing stories of Granny Carry and the Benedicti family, is on sale for $2.99 from the following vendors:




Paperback copies vary wildly in price, but I always encourage people to support their local independent bookstore if they are lucky enough to have one.


This is what actually impelled me to post. You may recall a cat-related saga earlier in the year when I lost most of our 2014 tax information and then rediscovered it. I'm afraid that I did not, in gratitude, immediately finish preparing the taxes. Sadly, I finished preparing the taxes the week before Thanksgiving, impelled by the realization that one is not eligible to apply for health insurance subsidies on the individual market if one has not filed one's taxes, but upheld by the knowledge that our accountants just last year went to all-electronic filing, so that once things were done the filing part would be instantaneous.

Well, it would have been, but, not really amazingly, there's a deadline for e-filing, and it's in October. So yesterday, after a horrified look at the calendar and a quick call to the accountant's office, I waylaid David as he was heading innocently out the door to take a thumb drive containing a concert video to friends. We went to the accountants' office and had a nice chat with the accountant while the taxes were being photocopied. Then we went to the nearest post office, helpfully pointed out by the accountant's getting me to stand behind a plant in a far corner of his office and peer out the window. We signed the taxes in the car and then, having stood in line for a while, I paid various amounts of money to get the tax forms to St. Paul and Fresno as quickly as possible.

I want to pause to extol the extreme kindness, sympathy, knowledegability, and helpfulness of the Post Office employees, not only to me, but to the many equally infuriating people ahead of me in line who didn't know what they wanted, complained when it cost money, had not packed up their boxes adequately or had forgotten the slips for the packages they wanted to pick up. Every single one of those Post Office employees deserves to be paid twice as much as they get, whatever it is.

Then we took the thumb drive along to our friends and had a lovely chat with them as well.

I was figuring that I would not be able to sign up for health insurance in time to get coverage by January 1, and would need to get some kind of interim coverage for that month. However, I got an email this morning saying that MNSure had extended the deadline to December 28th, which provides a much better chance that things will work out.


Thanksgiving went off pretty well, given how many people we had and the curious attrition that had occurred in our supply of dishes and flatware. David and I had Lund's sushi for lunch; the rice had suffered in storage, but it was still tasty and prevented sudden blood-sugar drops later on. I did not manage to make my small casserole, which is just as well, because the new-to-me mock cheese I'd been planning to use is really not up to snuff and would not have worked properly. I did make the roasted vegetables, and they were delicious. My youngest brother was a delight, and did cook the salmon for non-eaters of turkey. He called up recipes on his phone, and when informed sadly that no, we did not actually have any parsley or almonds, he just kept looking until he lit upon a reduction of mustard and balsamic vinegar with garlic and olive oil, which was so tasty that my other brother ate the extra salmon filet I'd had plans for. This continued a theme: [ profile] arkuat had brought vinho verde because he knows that I like it, but I was too busy running around during the appetizer phase, and everybody else drank it all. Next year I am going to manage better.

My mother brought mashed potatoes, including a non-dairy version just for me; she also brought braised celery and leeks, which is about a dozen times as delicious as you think it will be, even if you think highly of the idea. [ profile] fgh's cranberry sauce with ginger was excellent with salmon. Both her daughters came along this year, which was extremely pleasant, and they brought a very nice spread of appetizers. And my mother and local brother and I were very glad to see our youngest, even though he'd arrived at 2 am on Wednesday and was expecting the band's bus to collect him again around midnight on Thanksgiving. My family accordingly left around nine, and [ profile] lydy kindly gave Eric a ride home so he wouldn't have to cope with the holiday bus schedule; but Felicia, Rachel, and Judy stuck around to keep us company while David carved the rest of the turkey and reduced the carcass into a form suitable for soup. The house smelled of turkey soup for the next day or two. I can't eat it, but it still smells lovely to me.


International Bad Cat Day, pastry version. So I went to a monthly gathering of fellow writers at a bakery that sometimes has olive-oil pastries flavored with orange and fennel. I don't know if there is egg in them, but they don't do me any harm, so there can't be much. They had the pastries, so I got half a dozen and ate one while socializing and drinking tea with all the lovely people. Then I met Eric for a date and gave him one. Then I gave Raphael one. The following day, I ate the fourth, and reminded Raphael that there were two left. We had a late dinner that night. If it's just the two of us, we often eat dinner in Raphael's office, with the door shut. My office has no door. If you eat where the cats can see you there are various behaviors that make finishing your food difficult, let alone reading or watching TV or even conversing while consuming it. So we had our dinner and watched whatever we were watching at that point (Dr. Who or Parks and Rec, probably). When we came out, it was time for the cats' own supper. Ordinarily the two of them pour into the office with the appearance of about a dozen, tails upright, voices proclaiming starvation.


There was no depredation in the kitchen. In my office, however, the brown paper bag containing the last two pastries -- which I had carefully set on a tall filing cabinet that Cassie couldn't get onto in one jump, and that I believed Saffron could not, less because of the height than because she couldn't get a good run or a good view of the top first -- was on the office floor with the bottom torn out, and both cats were feasting on the pastries. Raphael took the bag away from them and then I cleaned up the crumbs, to much feline protest. They had had quite enough to be going on with. Next time I am just eating everything at once. Possibly with some nice vinho verde.

I wish I had five things, but I don't seem to.

I wish you light in this season of darkness.

pameladean: (Libellula julia)
Points of Departure, Pat Wrede's and my Liavek collection, comprising all of our original Liavek stories plus a new one from Pat and a new collaboration from both of us, is officially out! Or, as the kids apparently say these days, Live for Sale! If you have already pre-ordered, you should be seeing your book soon. If you haven't but want the book, here's the link to the Diversion Books page, which in turn contains links to other retailers:

If you want a paper book rather than an e-book, both Barnes and Noble and Amazon can oblige you with one.

I am seriously impressed and deeply pleased with Diversion Books, which did a stupendous job at every stage.

ETA: In comments, Brooks says that his local independent bookstore is able to order it for him, so if you prefer to support local independent stores, ask them about it.

This is my first publication since 2008, which should give me pause for serious reflection; but, on beginning to reflect, I think I'll go clean the bathroom instead.

pameladean: (Libellula julia)
A number of people have asked whether Points of Departure, the collection of my and Pat Wrede's Liavek stories forthcoming from Diversion Books, will be available only as an e-book, or also in paper form. I have been answering "only as an e-book," but this is wrong. There will also be a POD version available, so that people who want paper can have it.

This is particularly pleasing because the cover is profoundly gorgeous and deserves to be wrapped around a paper version of the collection.

Last time I checked, the book was supposed to come out in May. I'll keep you posted.

pameladean: (Libellula julia)
I don't always sleep very well. Last night was pretty good to start with. I went to bed around 1:30, petted the purring, kneading, face-patting, wrist-licking, belly-showing Saffron, and was asleep before I looked at the clock to see how long it was taking me to go to sleep. I woke up at six and used the bathroom and actually got back to sleep rather than lying awake worrying about things I can't do much about. Into this unusual sleep, after two and a half hours, came a strong sound of music. I sat up groggily. Saffron was sitting on a stack of storage tubs, swiveling her head around and looking inquisitive. Cassie was sitting in the middle of the bed with her ears back. It was a rather pleasant piece for violin and flute, and I thought that under other circumstances I might recognize it. I got up and went into Raphael's office, since that was, I believed, the closest possible source of music. All was dark and quiet there, however. Both cats followed me, campaigning for breakfast.

I went back into my room and there was the music. I finally remembered that the clock on top of the dresser, which Raphael and I got long ago either in Arizona or in Bemidji, I can't recall, because we needed better weather reports than the Weather Channel could provide when we were planning on being outside all day hiking, actually has a regular radio in it as well. The button that turns on the weather radio is on top, and Saffron has stepped on it before. But I did not awaken to the automated voice describing the weather. I hit the button, and there was the weather radio. When I hit it again there was supposed to be silence, but the music came back. I finally had to turn the volume down all the way because I could not figure out what Saffron had done. The time-setting controls and the weather radio button are on the top of the clock, but everything else is on the sides. She might have been sharpening her face on the sides, I suppose.

I didn't feed the cats, partly because it was only 8:30, but mostly because I didn't want to encourage whatever it was she had done. I wouldn't put it past her to remember what it was.

In other news, we got the final digital files for Points of Departure from the publisher, and I'm going over my stories looking for errors. There is an error spreadsheet one is supposed to use to locate and describe what should be corrected. I had to ask the nice person in Production how to use it, but it's simple enough.

By this time I am extremely tired of "The Green Cat." It being the oldest of the stories, the digital version had not survived translation from format to format and repeated backups, so I ended up typing it all in again not really that long ago. I was a little impatient with "Two Houses in Saltigos" too, but am both pleased and abashed to admit that "Paint the Meadows With Delight" still makes me laugh, even though I wrote it. Then again, Silvertop is not my character, but Emma's; so perhaps that explains it.

pameladean: (Libellula julia)
The copy-edit of the Liavek collection, which Pat and I decided (with the agreement of the publisher) to call Points of Departure, arrived a couple of weeks ago. Sunday evening I emailed my version of the file to Pat, who had agreed to merge the two and make sure that my unfamiliarity with Microsoft Word and, indeed, with any kind of electronic editing and copy-editing arrangement whatsoever, had not created any horrors that needed fixing.

There were some editorial remarks and changes as well, but very minor ones, the editor having thought that we had done a good job on the stories the first time around and knew how we wanted them to be.

I had forgotten the stages of dealing with a copy-edit, which, in my case, go approximately, NOOOOOOO, Are You Kidding Me, I Cannot Write For Toffee Not If It Was Ever So, Okay I Can Fix That If You Insist, Bored Now, Thank Goodness Somebody Noticed That, The Rest of This is Nonsense and I Will Not Do It, Really Bored Now, Really Why Did I Think I Could Write, Oh All RIGHT, This Is Very Annoying But You Have A Point, and I Am So Done Now.

I believe that copy-editors cannot catch everything that is actually wrong without also pointing out a certain percentage of things that are not wrong at all, and the writer just has to deal with it; but I had almost forgotten this, because it's been so long since I had anything published.

It was interesting to me that all the changes I balked at came down to either voice or viewpoint. The first and last of my Liavek stories are in the first person, and I was really not at all willing to change much of anything. The middle three stories and my sections of the new collaborative story are in third person, but there is in each one a particular viewpoint that dictates word choice and style generally. I was not altogether aware of this when I wrote them, but when I tried to make changes that on the surface seemed perfectly reasonable, it always came down to viewpoint.

On the whole I feel that all of the stories have held up remarkably well, and actually found myself becoming weepy both over the end of my last one, "A Necessary End," and Pat's last one, "The Levar's Night Out."

I am so pleased that this collection will be available as an e-book. I think the release date is in May, but I'll keep you apprised as things get closer.

pameladean: (Libellula julia)
But good news just the same. Patricia C. Wrede and I have sold a collection of all our Liavek stories plus a new one by Pat and a new one by Pat and me, to Diversion Books. I just got the signed contract back in the mail this week, so now they have 270 days to do their thing. The collection is presently called Granny and the Benedictis, though I think we are hoping for a better title to present itself.

We did this because when we were writing the Liavek stories originally, our stories kept intertwining and our characters kept running into one another. When Pat first proposed the collection, I did not plan to write anything new, being in a bad slump as far as writing went and struggling mightily with far too many stalled-out projects of my own. So Pat wrote the new story, a kind of overview (a kind of one, it's gorgeously strange) and gave it to her critique group. Then she came to me and told me that most of the questions they had were about my characters, and she could not answer them. She said she would write the necessary additional scenes if I would consult with her. The story is such that scenes can be written in a variety of times and places. They need to connect to one another, but not in the way of a usual narrative. So I told her I'd try to write a few, and went home and suddenly hammered out several in the course of a few days. Then I did some more, and then Pat did some more. Then I gave the story to my critique group, who had a number of pointed comments about muddy parts, which we have tried to clear up, at least to the extent that we did not want them to be muddy. It was all far more entertaining and pleasant than I'd expected. The scenes that I wrote were also germane to the Liavek novel I'm still plodding through, so they served as a kind of research into my own imagination.

Pat did most of the work of assembly, including becoming impatient with my slow pace and retyping one of the two stories whose files had gotten corrupted. I did the other, "The Green Cat." The form of corruption was weird and fascinating. Parts of the story were there, but parts had been replaced by sections of several of my novels. I have a very vague recollection that this happened because I had failed to remember the difference between double- and single-density disks while doing backups, but it's all a long time ago now.

The stories held up amazingly well. I did find a couple of instances of problematic language. In some cases I tweaked them a little. In others, the language was part of the relationship between two characters and is explicitly addressed by one of them in the novel, so I let it alone.

Our timing was not completely fortunate. Will Shetterly and Emma Bull had decided that they wanted to reissue the Liavek anthologies, but by the time they told us so and asked for permission to reprint our stories, we had already signed the contract with Diversion Books. Still, there are new stories, and I had a lovely time working with Pat again; so I can't at all regret the project.

I'll let you know when the book's available, and also when the other Liavek reissues are available, so you can have a complete set if you like -- or at least as complete a set as the vagaries of time and chance allow.



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