. . .bearing in mind, as always, that, in my accent, "ketchup" rhymes with "catch-up".
So, let's see. . .
I finished the story I was working on, in first draft; it's resting at the moment, titleless, and with a page of notes. I'll get back to it, oh, early or mid-October; plenty of time for a mid-November hand-in. I'm anticipating that the finished story will be about 10,000 words. Including, yanno, the title.
On the mundane side of life, Steve came home from Maryland; I celebrated my 65th birthday quietly, and managed to miss yoga two weeks in a row because Reasons. I shall endeavor to do better this week.
Fifth of Five is moving along. . .slowly. Clean-up books are hard.
I've gotten in a couple more fountain pens -- demonstrator pens, so called, which take ink in right from the bottle via a piston mechanism -- and some fun colored ink: Noodler's Borealis Black; Noodler's Wampum Purple; Diamine Ancient Copper; Diamine Sherwood Green. The company I bought the demonstrators from, included a bonus eyedropper pen -- no piston, you fill the barrel via an eyedropper.
One of my new pens has a bold nib, which I'm tentatively preferring over what has been my go-to, the medium-nib Pilot Metropolitan. The ink flow seems smoother -- granted, this may be the difference in the inks; the Metropolitan uses a cartridge.
While I was ordering things in, I also committed a new coloring book: The Art of Cursive, which looks like a lot of fun.
Let's see. . .my new glasses arrived, so, yay! new glasses!
On Thursday, Steve and I drove three hours one way to the Burlington Mall in -- surprise! -- Burlington, Massachusetts, there to sign books at the BN (which is technically across from the Mall), and also to test drive a pair of Bose Hearphones. Frequent auditors of this journal will recall that I'm starting to lose my hearing, as one apparently does, especially if one spent a Large-ish Chunk of one's life, earphones in, typing copy from a Dictaphone. Anyway. . .hearing aids not required at this point, says the last person who evaluated my hearing, right before the insurance companies decided they weren't in the ear bidness. However! More than a few studies now have indicated that people who have uncorrected hearing loss are more likely to develop dementia; and! that for the best results from hearing aids, one ought to start using an assist before the loss is so significant as to be disabling.
Thus, the Hearphones, which Bose is very careful to say are not hearing aids; they merely assist in direction hearing, and in blocking out background noise.
I did a test drive at the store with the trainer. He asked me what I would be using them for, and we briefly discussed the fact that writers spend a lot of their time in bars, and I can no longer hear my tablemates in that setting. So we did that scenario first -- he pulled up a recording of a 250-people restaurant, and had me adjust the gain on the Hearphones, until I could hear him speaking directly to me. I could still hear the background noise, if I concentrated, but it was a whole lot easier just to listen to him.
One of the weird things is that you also hear yourself, sorta like using a microphone. . . which, actually, I guess you are.
The trainer then asked if there was anything else, and I said, yes -- movies, television. I can't hear dialog any more.
So, he pulled up a clip of The Theory of Everything, where Eddie Redmayne is explaining Life, the Universe, and Everything to the nice young lady, and I heard every word, clean and clear.
When the clip ended, the trainer asked how that had worked for me, and my answer was, "I watched Fantastic Beasts and I did not understand one word that man said during the whole movie! This -- I got everything."
So, I brought the Hearphones home. They are not cheap, and they are getting a rigorous field testing, because they can be taken back to a Bose with no penalty within 30 days. And the Extra Good News Is? We don't have to drive 6 hours round trip to take them back, if that proves necessary. They can be returned to the Bose store in Kittery (which doesn't sell the item, sigh), a mere hour-and-a-half down the road.
Today's test was to be Fantastic Beasts, but, when I put on the Hearphones, I was told that the charge was dangerously low; which is a little scary because I charged them yesterday. It's certainly possible that I forgot to turn them off after my tutorial session yesterday, but a device with a two hour charge isn't going to be as useful as it might be.
In any case, after the Hearphones are charged -- Fantastic Beasts. If we pass Mr. Redmayne, then Steve and I will take ourselves out to a noisy bar, and I'll see if I can hear him through the din.
. . .I think that about catches us up -- Oh. No. I am remiss in reporting that I purchased a blue Totoro at the BN. Yes, I am weak.
Everybody have a good weekend.
For those who were not, as we were not, present at the Baen Traveling Roadshow at DragonCon, reproduced below is our speech accepting the Readers Choice Award for "Wise Child." Jim Minz (pictured below) accepted on our behalf. That means he got to reach the speech, which he did with his usual good humor.
Herewith, The Speech:
Yes, you heard us.
We probably ought to be a little more formal than that, so let’s try this:
To DragonCon attendees, science fiction fans, and readers everywhere: Hello! from the wilds of Central Maine.
We’re pleased to be here, at least metaphorically, at this particular Baen Traveling Roadshow, to stand as the proud parents of "Wise Child," which readers have chosen – out of a very stiff field! -- as the Best Military and Adventure SF of 2016.
We must admit to being startled – we have a history of being startled when we win awards! – when Jim Minz asked if we could be with you this afternoon, either electronically or in spirit, to accept this award for our novelette, the seventy-first Sharon Lee and Steve Miller collaboration.
Well. . .yes.
We believe that the purpose of a story is to be an experience, a celebration, if you will, for readers – something that they'll hopefully enjoy on reading, and recall, later, with pleasure.
Us. . .We make our living by writing stories, long and short and in-between. Our method is to write the best story we can write, this time; collect our fee – and move on to write another story for readers to experience and enjoy, sometime down the road.
Most short fiction is like that, for most writers: a kind of a fire-and-forget situation, if you will.
In this case, though – we won’t forget that, when "Wise Child" hit the Baen.com website last year, we got a lot of positive feedback from readers via email and Facebook. Then, the story was chosen for inclusion in Volume Three of the Year’s Best Military and Adventure SF!
This particular “fire-and-forget” story not only hit the original target but had two secondary hits, as well.
So – Thanks!
Thank you, DragonCon, for hosting the award presentation!
Thank you, Baen, for publishing and supporting the book, and the award!
Thank you, David Afsharirad – our editor – for selecting our story for publication!
. . .And. . .
Thank you, readers, for reading, and for voting, and for naming "Wise Child" as one of the best!
Here you see Jim Minz accepting and David Afsharirad showing off the plaque.
Life is still happening; as ever, a two-edged knife. In the midst of it all, I have been doing. . .Stuff
Among the various stuff is Writing Stuff, naturally enough. I wrote a scene in which two characters I had despaired of getting together meet naturally and cleanly, and even for reasons Dictated By The Plot. This probably pleases me much more than it should, but writers are odd creatures, with strange pleasures.
I have started the short story commissioned by Baen.com in support of Neogenesis, and have figured out how to accommodate an editorial suggestion, which also pleases me, since, frankly, I didn't think there was any way in heck. . . But, there, writers are odd creatures, with sideways minds that occasionally work for the common good.
I converted one more eChapbook to a paper edition -- that would be Technical Details: Adventures in the Liaden Universe® Number 21, including "Landed Alien" and author-favorite "Eleutherios". Here's your link.
My standing desk conversion arrived, with the sooperdooper floor mat. I've been liking it in the standing position, but -- alas! -- my chair doesn't rise high enough to make it perfectly comfortable to engage with while seated. I shall seek out a cushion.
Also! I have been remiss in reporting here that "Wise Child," was chosen by readers -- out of a VERY stiff field! -- as the Best Military and Adventure SF of 2016.
The Readers Choice Award was presented at the Baen Traveling Roadshow at DragonCon over this past weekend, Jim Minz accepting for Lee and Miller. Photographs were allegedly taken, and will be forthcoming.
The prize is a plaque and $500.
Thanks to everyone who voted for Tolly and Disian. Steve and I are very proud authors, indeed.
I need to do some chores and go to town before the thunderstorms start again.
Everybody stay safe.