Tuesday, September 28, 2021

On the naming of things

We had an old floor vacuum, a knock-off version I named Not-A-Roomba. Calmer Half noted that it was getting older and more worn out, and the operational noise level and rattling was getting bad enough it was driving me spare. So, he unilaterally declared we were using the proceeds of my latest book release and getting a replacement. (He does this: he checks the budget, evaluates the options, and then takes command and declares we're getting/fixing/replacing things where I've been pinching pennies and waiting until the old one was completely broken down/ worn out/ used to the last dregs. He's almost always right, too.)

Thanks to a sale at Big Box Store, we have an actual roomba now. Though I looked at it and went "Model e5? It's a sergeant?" Calmer Half gave me the sort of grin that tells you he just might have picked that one just to see if he'd get that reaction. 

"The last one was definitely a miscreant E-4!"

Well, this one is much quieter, much faster, and it works. Everyone (except the cats) is happy. 

However, when it came time to refer to it while chatting with friends, I started typing Actually-A-Roomba. That lasted about two mentions, and then I gave in. "Dear, mind if we name this one Roomba-Actual?"

"I was going to name it Roomba-Six, but that's fine, Love."

Normal in this household might only exist as a setting on the washing machine, but it works for us. 

Friday, September 24, 2021

Where ideas come from

 I was grocery shopping after going to the gym today, which was first of all, a mistake in and of itself. Today I went up 3 pounds to a rack pull of 145, and this means I was starving and exhausted. Even with a list, I was, ah, quite distractible. 

Hey, I did have the chocolate on the list! Though not the German hot potato salad, or the Irish cheddar, or the... anyway. So, no sh-t, there I was, walking down the aisle minding my own business when I saw a box with a scattered remnants of paste squeeze tubes. You know, like you get for garlic, and ginger paste, and basil... but these were the wrong colour. 

So I stopped and took a closer look, and then asked the blameless Lord "Why??!?!"

Not pictured: the tube of harissa paste. Look who I married and who I hang out with. It's worth trying... once. But not those. No, I left the other tubes alone. 

Although I did take a picture to share the boggled mind that they exist. I sent it to Alma Boykin, who replied, "Blue Oyster Cult never met the Carolina reapers."

Now, I happen to like Blue Oyster Cult. And I giggled. But my brain has a plenty of images of North Carolina, mostly centered around waterfalls, amazing geology, awesome honey, lovely triple-canopy forest, and good friends. But did my brain pull that up? No! It instead went for the story relayed with a lot of laughter of "that one time I got shot on the Q course." Which involves a wonderful gent I know, a confusion with maps, a decision to hop a fence, and a chance encounter with a moonshiner defending his still. 

So I send back to Alma a notice that my brain is now picturing The Grim Reapers, Cletus and Judson, hanging out in the backwoods at the ruin of the moonshine still from back when their families owned the land, and here comes some poor souls from the Q course, unaware that they're following the old 'shine trail.... 

And it's All Her Fault. 

She giggled at me. So I tried to give it to her muse instead, even as she was laughing and going "I sense a Halloween story!" 

So, where do ideas come from? Apparently, the answer is: "Questionable foodstuffs, poor life decisions, and good music, shared with good friends."

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Guess what just came out?


Funny story on the title: The working title was Like Blood for Oil, because one of the what-ifs that started my brain coming up for the story was "What if oil really was scarce enough that large countries would go to war over the ability to control a new field?"

You can't get that here on earth, but you definitely can when you're terraforming a new world. And I had a new world that already had resource issues thanks to a rushed terraforming, just waiting to be explored a little more...

Calmer Half objected to the working title, and I understand: there are a lot of people who are quite bitter about the idiocy of the slogan it was gently mocking. Rather than annoy potential readers, I changed it. 

But I changed it to Blood, Oil, and Love. There's a comma after Oil, darnit. 

So where did it go? Well, living with Calmer Half means that a lot of his Britishisms work their way into my speech. Writing an Empire based on 1800's Britain doesn't help. When I'm tired, I spell phonetically, and a lot of extra u's creep into words like colour and honour, and spellcheck most emphatically does not like that. So Calmer Half cleans it up in copyedit and "Americanizes" the manuscript. (This cuts down on the number of people complaining about my spelling to Amazon.) So, he took out the second comma because "It's Oxford, not American."

I happen to be a believer in the Oxford comma. I was long before I met him!

I already paid for the art with the comma, but he uploaded the book. Publisher wins!

Unless I can't stand it and re-upload with a title changed by one comma in the middle of the night. 

In the meantime, have a crispy hot edge of a cold war, and eco-terrorists too indoctrinated to think about the stupidity of being anti-terraforming. Have a geophysicist who's in over her head, and a Recon who's finally caught the perfect woman, and is now wondering how the hell you keep one once you finally catch 'em. And a fairy God-Gunny Sgt, who would never be caught doing something as silly as waving a wand. Nah, he just knows a guy who knows a guy...

For your reading pleasure: Blood, Oil, and Love 

Wednesday, September 15, 2021


Milestones make much more pleasing noises than deadlines when they pass by.

1. Going Ballistic is now live in paperback! 

This has been an interesting process. Fortunately, now that we've gotten through uploading edits (fixed the blonde/blond confusion spellcheck didn't catch, and a few other typos), and learning all the little quirks of getting a paperback uploaded for sale...

2. Next week, all going well, Blood, Oil & Love will be released!

Monday, September 13, 2021

Ah, Monday

 Mondays are made for the two steps forward, one step back progression through life. 

1.) Shattered Under Midnight is now live in Paperback!


2.) Somewhere in the publishing process, it stripped all the formatting out of the blurb. So, republishing. 


3.) The check engine light in the car is on. 

Okay, maybe this Monday is more on the one step forward, two steps back side of the ledger. 

Here's to a better week ahead for all of us!