2018 Is Drawing to a Close

And my annual holiday edit-and-critique sale has five more days to run.  From now through Twelfth Night (5 January 2019) , my usual rate for a standard-sized novel goes down from $1500 to $1000, and my $2000 rate for 100,000-words-plus doorstops goes down to $1500.

Twelfth Night around our house is also the official date on which the Christmas tree comes down — a rule I instituted after one year a couple of decades back when (for reasons that I no longer remember, except that it had been a particularly grey and dreary winter), the tree didn’t get hauled outside until almost Easter.

Questions I Have Asked My Cats, to No Avail

Me: Why, O Cat, when I have gone to the trouble of providing you with a perfectly cromulent catbox and high-quality kitty litter, do you nevertheless persist in using, instead, the floor directly adjacent to same?

Cat: Meow. (If you really understood me, you wouldn’t have to ask.)

Me: Why, O Cat, when I have gone to the trouble of acquiring for you a warm, high-sided, fleece-lined cat bed, which last winter pleased you entirely, do you this winter insist on once again ignoring it in favor of sleeping draped across my forearms while I’m trying to type?

Cat: Meow. (That was last year. Now it’s this year. Get with the program, human.)

Me: Why, O Cat, do you complain vociferously if you do not get your daily ration of wet cat food along with your dry, and then ignore it until it dries out from the winter cold?

Cat: Meow. (Have you considered microwaving it? You don’t eat your food cold, do you?)

And so it goes. I tell myself that they are transitioning from middle-aged cats to older cats, and getting crotchety in their later years.

(Seasonal) Thought for the Day

A word of warning to anybody contemplating the acquisition of offspring: Be aware that anything you do for Christmas just once instantly becomes a Hallowed Holiday Tradition, and you fail to do it again every year thereafter at your peril. By the time all your kids are teenagers heading for college, you will inevitably be dragging a whole sled-load of Tradition behind you as you head into the joyous season.

And a further, happier thought:  If you’re still stumped over what to give as a holiday present to the writer in your life (even if that writer is you), remember that my seasonal sale of editorial and critique services is ongoing through Twelfth Night (5 January 2019.)

In Honor of the Holiday Season

Xmas Promo

Because storytelling is a good thing to do at the turning of the year, whatever the tradition:

It’s time for my annual holiday gift sale!  From now through Twelfth Night, my usual rate of $1500 for a standard-sized novel drops down to $1000, and my rate of $2000 for a 100,000-word-plus door-stopper drops to $1500.

If you’re a writer, you can buy a gift certificate for yourself and redeem it when you’re ready; if you have a writer in your life you’d like to support and surprise, you can buy one for them.  (It comes with a personalized .pdf certificate, suitable for printing out and putting into an envelope and hanging from the tree/slipping into a stocking/presenting in your favored manner to your favored person.)

More info on formats, payment, and the like can be found on my about page.

Reposting for a Friend

Old-timers who remember SFF-Net may remember Robert W. Glaub, who was a regular poster there and later on Making Light.  He was also a long-time worker for the Federal government, which has — in accordance with unhallowed tradition — repaid him in his recent retirement by shafting him big-time.  The following message is reposted from his Facebook group at his request:

I need help. The government says they overpaid me and emptied out my bank account. I have no money for food or insulin. Plus since I declared bankruptcy my credit union will close down my account on Friday. So if you can send me what you can to my PayPal account by Thursday, that would be a big help. rwglaub@yahoo.com.

November Is National Novel Writing Month.

Which means that it’s once again time for me to point discreetly at the Editorial and Critique Services link in my blog header (and right here in this post, as well) and observe that finishing your first draft is only the start of the novel-writing process, and that if you’re looking for some professional assistance of the line-edit and critique variety, I’m here to help.

Civic Duty, Accomplished

Jim Macdonald and my brother and I went out at 9:30 this morning and voted. (Pencil and paper ballots, marked in curtained booths and stuffed into a big wooden box. We’re a small, small town.) The folks at the polling place said there had been a high turnout so far.

The only hard decision on the ballot was for our district’s state senator. The incumbent, a Democrat, has been accused of domestic violence; the challenger, a Republican, is . . . well, is a Republican; and not voting at all might as well be voting for the Republican. So no matter which way a non-Republican of conscience votes, at least one set of personal principles is going to get outraged.

This is why secret ballots are a good thing.

An Unsolicited Endorsement

Breathe easy . . . it’s not political.

We live in an old house, by American standards; the core of it — the part where the basement has a dirt floor and the basement walls are granite rocks that probably came out of the ground the basement was dug in, and the support beams are essentially whole logs — was built sometime around 1850, and is, ah, somewhat more permeable to the world outside than your standard suburban no-basement house set on a concrete pad. This means that over the years we’ve played temporary hosts to a variety of local wildlife, including squirrels, chipmunks, and — one memorable winter — an ermine.†

And of course, we always have mice. Most of the time, our cats keep the local rodent population within acceptable limits, but this year, between the long winter and the wet summer and — for all I know — the Trump administration (because lord knows, the orange-haired vulgarian is responsible for most of the rest of this year’s horrors), the numbers have gone beyond what two hard-working cats could be expected to handle.

This isn’t just a problem, we said to ourselves; this is an infestation. Time to call in reinforcements.
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So we’ve gone high-tech. Not for us the cheapie spring traps, or the glue traps . . . we’ve laid out serious money for a Victor Multi-Kill Electronic Mouse Trap. Because damn, this thing works. We’ve had it in place for around a week now, and the score currently stands at Victor Multi-Kill 21, Mice 0.

Highly recommended.


We only saw him once, heading across the kitchen floor at speed and disappearing under the closed basement door, but our house was remarkably free of other vermin while he was in residence.

Where We’ll Be This Weekend

We’re going to be at Scintillation, a science fiction convention in Montreal. Except for being in a different country and all that, Montreal is actually more local to us than Boston, or even Manchester. (Reminder to self: Must go to Montreal more often.)

Scintillation is more or less a successor-state to Farthing Party, the convention that Jo Walton ran for eight years from 2006 to 2013. Jim Macdonald and I made all of them — even the year when we had to do the con as a Saturday day trip because we were moving our younger daughter into Simmons College in Boston on the following Sunday — and we were sad to see it go. When we saw that Jo was running a Kickstarter to bring a convention back to Montreal, we jumped onto the bandwagon right away.

(If you’re going to be at the con, don’t miss Jim’s presentation on A Century of Dead Magicians, which looks at the history of modern stage magic through the lens of a succession of magicians who had some really bad days.)