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06 September 2016 @ 10:17 am
Settling into the "new normal" after a difficult and tiring summer which has left me - among other things - grossly behind in my work. I am teaching two classes this semester, working on the next Ben January novel (the first of a two-book contract which was one of the positive things about the summer), and trying to find time to do the next Further Adventures tales. I'm still also trying to finish a fantasy novel, and am shuffling around with two Further Adventures serialized novels, which, as I recall, Further Adventures fans said they'd be open to, even though they WOULD be serialized. (And there's always those seven or eight historical romance mysteries floating in the background, that I've been trying to get to for YEARS).

I will be Guest of Honor at Con-Dor in San Diego, March 3-5, and will also be a minor, local-talent guest at Gallifrey One 17-19 Feb (and am trying to get into the Art Show again).

I had my birthday and used part of my birthday money to get a new crop of weird t-shirts to wear to teach in. I have finally been able to steal a couple of hours here and there to get back to painting. I did sleep a lot.
09 August 2016 @ 10:45 am
MANY thanks, by the way, to all who assisted with information on the whole "What was the rank of the Quartermaster-Sergeant's store assistant?" issue. It was most helpful! Bless you all!
09 August 2016 @ 10:43 am
Well, the bad news was that the alternator, battery, and belt were all bad and need replacing.
The good news is that the car didn't quit on me until I pulled into my driveway last night.
So, I'm as happy as I can be under the circumstances. It should be done by the time I need to leave to meet friends for a twilight picnic at the Hollywood Bowl to listen to an all-Mozart concert under the stars. If one is scheduled by Fate for Car Trouble, this is a fairly painless way to get it checked off.
Still working on the revisions of Pale Guardian - and the online certification class that the community college district (or possibly the State - I'm not sure where these orders come from) is requiring me to take - and prepping for classes which start in less than three weeks (and so far the adjuncts - of whom I am one - don't have either offices or telephones on campus) - and trying to work my way back to the next Benjamin January AND the next couple of Further Adventures.
It has been a massively difficult summer.
04 August 2016 @ 11:54 am
First, my apologies for not posting in awhile. My father passed away on the 22nd of July - it's been a difficult time.

Second, I am finally able to start the editorial-notes revision of Pale Guardian (Asher/Ysidro # 7), though it's still a bit hard to concentrate. (I am also taking a certification course for my teaching, NOT what I'd rather be doing at this point, but necessary to earning a living).

Third - Does anybody know what the rank of a Quartermaster's Clerk in the British Army would be, in 1915? I'd guessed a Corporal (since the guy who did the actual Quartermaster job in a regiment was a Sergeant), but the editor is asking, "Could you confirm that?" Anybody know where I could look for the answer?

MANY thanks!
13 July 2016 @ 04:16 pm
A day of first draft. Any historical is research-heavy, which means first draft is very slow: 4th of July Parade in New Orleans, 1839 (did they have 4th of July parades? Look up). From where to where? (Jackson Square to Lee Circle, which was Tivoli Circle in 1839, and what did it look like? Where there trees there?) Picnic later... Where would the free colored burial society have their picnic? (Congo Square, probably...) What did Congo Square look like in 1839? (More look up. Dig out maps) When did they tear down the city walls? (More maps. More look up). How has Ben January's neighborhood changed in the 7 years he's been back from France? (More look up). How has the massive economic depression affected black neighborhoods?

And we're only a paragraph in.

AND half the story takes place in France nine years previously, so the whole process has to be repeated with Paris (how far had the Rue de Rivoli extended into the old medieval neighborhood along the river by 1830? What was the Pont au Change called back then? The French have a nasty habit of a) cutting new streets through Paris and b) changing the names of existing streets). And where was the guillotine set up at that time? (I now know a LOT about the care and operation of guillotines).

And I need to get as far into the first draft as I can by August 29th, which is when the semester starts and I will be doing this in between teaching and some truly exhausting driving, not to speak of my father's illness which is absorbing a great deal of time and energy from everyone in the family. No wonder I want to sleep all the time.
05 July 2016 @ 06:47 pm
Many thanks all!
Finally, in disgust and frustration (after looking a LOT on Google when I should have been writing) I e-mailed my Computer Guy, and his wife eventually had to write a macro to turn the damn Autofill or Autocomplete or whatever they are calling it now - because Word changes what they call that annoying little feature, so I don't know what toggle to turn off. And in fact, she couldn't find the turn-on/turn-off feature for it, either.
But, problem taken care of. Thank you all!
05 July 2016 @ 11:19 am
A question for the group mind:

I have just gotten a new computer, and of course I need to tweak Word so it is less irritating to use.
When I start to type a name which is also a month (as in, January, or March) Word helpfully pops up an annoying box asking, do I want to click the box for the whole word to appear? How do I make it stop doing this? Any help would be much appreciated. I don't know what these things are called (are these Smart Tags?) so cannot un-check them in the "Options" box. Hunting on the Internet for "What is a Smart Tag?" doesn't yield conclusive information.

Many thanks,
05 July 2016 @ 08:20 am
Apologies for a long gap between posts.

My father is very ill - I've been trying to a) have a new computer installed and b) finish Pale Guardian, (Asher/Ysidro #7, the World War One Zombie Apocalypse) in between staying with my mother and writing bulletins for the family. Dad's condition has temporarily stabilized, and I need to get the next Ben January book started because Fall Semester is going to be a horror, and I HAVE to get as much done as I can before it starts (which will be the day after my birthday at the end of August). God bless my brother and sister for taking the heavy part of the burden. It's a difficult time.

4th of July here last night: a constant, rolling thunder of ground-fire, like the descriptions of the Western Front I've been reading, broken now and then by fireworks above the level of the houses to the east. Now and then a whistling rocket would spook the cats. Made me glad I'd come home from the family early, and wasn't on the roads.

Gray morning here, and looking forward to a quiet day of work.
15 June 2016 @ 10:15 pm
Any advice about Facebook would be appreciated here.

FB has taken it upon themselves not to recognize my password. Every time I try to re-set, the only "Security Question" they'll accept is a scan of either my passport or my driver's license, something I am totally not willing to send out. (When I signed up I put in several actual Security Questions). Does anybody know how to change the setting so they'll accept one of my security questions, instead of a government document (helpfully scanned into a Photoshoppable jpg that could go pretty much anywhere)?

Has anyone else had a similar problem? Any suggestions or solutions?

Any alternative system or site to use instead of Facebook?
20 April 2016 @ 07:09 pm
At last, I have finished - and had formatted, and put up on line - two new Further Adventures!

"Castle of Horror" is the cast of Bride of the Rat-God, filming in Reno where Christine's latest boyfriend (film-star Tor Westlake) is getting a divorce. The castle, on the outskirts of town, was built by an eccentric gold-miner millionaire and is supposed to be haunted, so of course Tor Westlake wants to hold a seance there to find out who's going to win the Belmont Stakes, much to the annoyance of the film-crew from the OTHER film company that's shooting there, a black film company from Chicago. (They're filming on the same sets by night, something that was commonly done). (THEIR female star is ALSO in Reno getting a divorce). Norah doesn't think holding a seance in a haunted castle is such a good idea, and the behavior of Christine's three magical Pekingese is causing her to suspect that something is very wrong with the whole setup.

"Death on the Moon" (and I screwed up the "What is this story about?" section on Amazon, so I have to go back in and repair that) is Rose Janvier sleuthing again, assisted by Hannibal because Ben is off helping a friend of theirs with a difficult pregnancy out of town. Professor Tixall has come to New Orleans with a telescope so powerful that it can see life on the Moon (exactly as, at the same time, Sir John Herschel was supposed to have discovered it). Rose is pretty sure this is a hoax, but a harmless one. When her housekeeper's daughter sneaks in after hours and looks through the telescope, the girl sees one of the "Moon people" kill another. Rose knows murder has been done, but how to prove it when it's supposed to have taken place on another planet?

These are both on both Amazon (for $4.99) and Smashwords (for $5.00) (about the cost of a fancy latte at Starbucks, I'm told...).

In addition I put up a collection of George Alec Effinger's haiku, written (as far as I can tell) back when he was living in the East Village in the '70s. The collection is called "Bliss-Bestowing Hands," and I'm still wrangling around with Smashwords, whose automatic algorithims have choked on the concept of Barbara Hambly putting up a book by George Alec Effinger. (They told me to take out an account as a pseudonym, but when I asked them, "Isn't it going to give me trouble about there being other George Alec Effinger books out on line?" they hemmed and hawed and haven't yet gotten back to me.) I will keep everyone posted.

The poems are sweet and funny and sad and very typical of George, and I'd be happy to see them out there, finally. I'm a bit vexed because Amazon won't let me charge LESS than $2.99, and I'd put them up on Smashwords for $1.99... and now of course Smashwords is giving me problems) (completely aside from the fact that Smashwords will publish in a whole bunch of different formats).

AND my condensed-format class is over, so I'm only teaching Monday nights and can FINALLY concentrate on Ashers/Ysidro #7 - on which I'm WAY behind.