While I’m Far Away

When you read this, I’ll be miles above you. Or at least I hope so because the alternative doesn’t bear thinking about, and you guys know I don’t like flying anyway. Not so much because of the flight as such, but because I can’t drive, nor can I make sure that the pilot is someone I trust. I have… issues leaving myself in the hands of strangers.

Anyway, for obvious reasons, no chapter tomorrow unless a miracle occurs and I have access from the hotel – I wouldn’t bank on it, though.

No chapter at MGC on Sunday either, and I hope someone will cover for me. Not Kate, though, because Kate will be with me this weekend, planning world domination at Ravencon, in Richmond, Virginia.  BUT there will be guest posts here, and they’re good ones.

Unless my Kindle Fire fails, I’ll be answering comments, but the auto-correct shall be with us.  OTOH maybe I’ll have connectivity.  I will have my laptop.

Right now you guys probably know more of my schedule there than I do, mostly because I’m having trouble holding anything not directly novel related in my head for more than ten seconds at a time.

PARTICULARLY since now, more than halfway through final pass on Through Fire, Zen finally condescended to tell me why she’d decided to run away to Earth. And, you know, it makes perfect sense and it solves one of the things about her that drove me nuts, because what kind of lunatic just ups and runs away from home to another world. To escape what? Notoriety? Turns out, no. And she does have a perfectly sane reason, but for the love of little fishes, couldn’t she have told me earlier? What do you mean figment of my imagination? Pfui. If she’s a figment she’s a badly behaved one. And I can’t hit her with fish. She’s inside my head.

What else?

The last week was truly appalling for my indie sales – not just Witchfinder but everything else – and if it weren’t for the fact everyone’s reports are universally the same and also that my selling of the excess books has come to a complete crawl, I’d think I was cursed or someone had managed to put a warning on my page “Warning, do not buy.”

I did not forget, BTW, I owe the rest of you an edited copy of Wtichfinder – and it will come. This week was just one of those where I had appointments, and repairmen coming over and… eh… just everytime I sat down something happened. I used to have a joke with my friend Rebecca Lickiss that she must have an alarm in her house that told her the minute I went into the bathroom, because that’s when she’d call. She was also particularly good at targeting mid-shower.

Now apparently there’s an ap for that and everyone in town has it.

But I made progress both on the book (not enough, d*mn it) and on the sorting/packing (also not enough, but better than nothing.) The hard part is for the neat freak to convince herself (myself) to live with the mess for two months or so.

As for the rest, everything is in the air, everything suspended. We’re not sure,, yet, what #1 son will be doing next year (it’s complicated) and that in turn affects our plans for staging the house, and what we’ll be doing till it sells. I hate this type of time, because I figure my life is complicated enough, thank you so much, and what’s going on inside my head unsettled enough without adding instability in Real Life. However, no one gave me a choice in this.

And under the counting of blessings, the girl cat is still with us, we all seem to be in decent health (which compared to last year is great) and I am making progress towards the goals. I just wish it were a little faster.

Okay – so I’ll stop whining here. If you come see me, I’ll whine at you in person! Okay, not really – but I WILL find a comfortable place and talk and/or read whether it’s my reading time or not. I shall have laptop with me.

Come on out. If you’re lucky, I’ll introduce you to Kate Paulk. (No word on whether Jim will be attending.)

And now I’m going to stop typing and go to bed.

152 responses to “While I’m Far Away

  1. Safe Travels. May no TSA Agents show in your path.

  2. Have fun in Richmond. Go tho Third Street and have coffee if you get the chance. Give John hell for me.

  3. Too bad I couldn’t get my work to send me to the corporate offices this weekend. I would have been in driving distance.

    I’m going to try hard to make it to Liberty Con this year, though.

  4. I happened to find out last night that Worldcon next year is in Spokane, I think the West Coast huns should plan on raiding it.

    • http://sasquan.org/

      Been a while since I lived there, but— EVERYTHING next to Riverfront Park is nightmarish for driving. I seem to remember that there’s a hotel and a Sheri’s that are at the far end of a bridge that’s at the top of the Riverfront Park, which would be in hiking distance.

      The convention site is in the heart of downtown Spokane, adjacent to the historic Centennial Trail and Riverfront Park, location of the 1974 World’s Fair.

    • “I think the West Coast huns should plan on raiding it.”

      Hmm… Larry Correia’s Monster Hunters are also talking about turning up in numbers at Sasquan…

    • Hmm. And I have family in Northern Idaho… ::wanders off muttering to self::


      • There is a surprising number of shooting ranges around Spokane. I’m surprised that I am surprised, but I am surprised.

  5. One alternative you may not have considered. Due to the non-flatness of the Earth and our relative positions on its surface (or above it) you are most likely below the horizon, not overhead

    • Even if we accept the relative starting point of “sea level” as a starting point, she’s usually quite far above us! (200ft over sea level, here)

      • No, Mr. Poling is correct. If any given point is not visible above the horizon from where you are, you have to tunnel through the earth to travel there in a straight line. Fortunately, my geography teachers always graded on the curve.

        • Only if you are trying to over-expand the idea that we stand on a flat surface; since I don’t plan on shooting at her, it doesn’t matter that she’s over the horizon, but since I wish her landing to be one that can be walked away from, it does matter that she’s at a higher elevation.

      • yeah, but at 5000 feet the horizon is only 93.5 miles away, That doesn’t even get you into Kansas from the Springs.

        • Since this is the first time in my life where my home doesn’t have mountains in the way of the theorized horizon– because there’s trees in the way– I don’t much care about the theory based horizion. Sea level is kind of helpful, though.

        • Only SF fans would debate things like horizon because of such an innocuous comment.

          This is why SF is what I call “home” 😀

          • Pfagh. These are obviously tools of the 3D Imperium, refusing to acknowledge that to the 5D mind the horizon is an illusion of the unintegrated eye. Such a derivative perspective makes fools of all who advocate it.

      • mikeweatherford

        Where Sarah lives, it’s about 6000 feet above sea level. Where I live is a bit higher – 6414′ ASL, according to Google Earth. The Air Force Academy is 7250′ ASL. The top of Pikes Peak, 25 miles west of where I live, is 14,116′ ASL. Not many of us worry about flooding. Everything here runs downhill to Pueblo (4415′ ASL).

  6. May you have safe travel, good times for all and no nasty surprises.

    The rest of everything presently on your plate? This too shall pass. Practice finding humor where you can. Don’t waste your time worrying about what trouble may come next — it will probably turn out to be something else anyway.

  7. Hmm, would it be redundant to ask if this will turn into an open thread?

  8. Fly safe and welcome to Virginia!

  9. Christopher M. Chupik

    An easy solution for Zen: use imaginary fishes. 😉

    Have fun at Ravencon.

  10. Heck, if it weren’t for the funeral, hospital, moving people, and various other promises to keep (let alone the instacrisis my family has a knack for springing at the last moment) I’d be there. Ravencon looks like loads of fun, and hopefully I can go next year when things settle down (hah!).

    Y’all take care up there in Richmond. Be safe, and have fun!

  11. Bye bye, and thanks for all the fishes!
    Do have fun.

    I love SF conventions. They are really the only place I feel — normal.

  12. Have fun– don’t get sick.

  13. Safe travels Sarah!

    The only Con I ever made was the Heinlein Centennial (how could I not attend?) Maybe sometime I will make one you are at :>)

    “unless a miracle occurs and I have access from the hotel – I wouldn’t bank on it, though.”

    In my experience most inexpensive hotels have free WiFi, while most expensive hotels charge you more for it.

    “If she’s a figment she’s a badly behaved one. And I can’t hit her with fish. She’s inside my head.”

    Carping about your problems again? :>)

    “Now apparently there’s an ap for that and everyone in town has it.”

    But who told my wife about it???

    “the counting of blessings”

    Among mine are you and the Huns.

    • {“the counting of blessings”
      Among mine are you and the Huns.}

      Seconded! Any disputants shall be frog-marched to the door and ejected violently, after their pockets have been turned out …

      No, really, honest and for true, it was a VERY good day that brought me into present company. I’ve needed this more than I fully realized until I was here, and interacting with you lot. Thank you, Our Hostess, and everyone else!

    • The Count of Many Blessings?
      Was he a singer?

  14. Good luck, safe travels. Try not to do anything that would require an alibi.

    • Or at least have an alibi prepared ahead of time.

      • Actually, just follow the two pieces of advice I give everyone:

        1.) Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.

        2.) If ya do, don’t get caught.

        • The alibi is the backup plan.

          So, you wouldn’t do anything that would require an alibi?

          • I would plan not to get caught.

            Yeah, right. Like that always works.


            • There are certain disadvantages to being distinctive.

              • Aren’t those at least partially offset by being below most people’s sightline?

                • It also works if you’re above most people’s eyeline. Many is the morning where I would be standing a foot in front of my Cheif (he’s a good foot and a half shorter than I am) and he’d look around and ask “Where’s Gauch?”

                  The key is to show people what they expect to see instead of what you don’t want them to see.

                • Hey, I resemble that statement! I prefer to think of it as being blessed with low wind resistance. 😉

                  • It means you’d fit better in a MiG. Or an A-4.

                    • mikeweatherford

                      Having seen both the inside of several MIG fighters AND the inside of several US military fighters, give me the second any day of the year! The Russian MiGs, especially the Mig-21, were death-traps if anything went wrong. Several of the earlier models would take your legs off at the knees if you had to eject. ((shudder))

                    • The Russian MiGs, especially the Mig-21, were death-traps if anything went wrong. Several of the earlier models would take your legs off at the knees if you had to eject. ((shudder))

                      Think about what this says about how their system viewed the value of human life.

                    • I seem to recall hearing some of the early US planes had similar issues with ejecting.

  15. Have fun at the con. Expecting a full report, take notes, consider photos.


  16. OT (I blame TXRed, she said open thread):

    Anybody around here familiar with Scrivener?

    Just stumbled across it, looking to see if it’s an effective organization tool or an effective method for eating time while you try to organize.

    • I’ve got a longer comment apparently on-hold (embedded link…).

      Short version: liked the preview I got with NaNoWriMo 2012 participation. Joel Friedlander is currently discussing in his blog. The 30-day trial is for 30 days actual usage, not simply elapsed time…

      • Hmm. That 30 days of usage might be enough to tempt me in the pool. My schedule at the moment is not filled with opportunities to learn the ins and outs of another program and test it in a month. But if I could have a month of days scattered out…


    • The first couple of tries might eat more time than whatever you’re doing now. But I didn’t find the learning curve so steep that you couldn’t pick up the good habits along the way as a matter of course. I recommend it. As robfornow says, 40 bucks is not trivial, but it’s doable for most of us. It’s my go-to right now. I’m wishing they did a mobile version so I could write on my tablet. But it’s easy enough to c’n’p notes from Evernote into Scrivener, so that works.


      • Has anyone compared Scrivner to yWriter? http://www.spacejock.com/yWriter5.html

        I’ve tried yWriter a few times and couldn’t get into it. But the price is right.

        On Fri, Apr 25, 2014 at 4:24 PM, According To Hoyt wrote:

        > Mark Alger commented: “The first couple of tries might eat more time > than whatever you’re doing now. But I didn’t find the learning curve so > steep that you couldn’t pick up the good habits along the way as a matter > of course. I recommend it. As robfornow says, 40 bucks is not t” >

  17. Scrivener looks good and at forty dollars, doable. They did mention that there were programs that only handled fiction, which is my preference. Other stuff seems to get in the way, even if it isn’t used. I’ll keep it in mind and if anyone tries it, would like a review.

    • I’m poking around the fringes of it, may jump. If I develop any meaningful intel, I’ll see about getting a review together.

      I’m holding out hope that somebody in this lot knows something.

      • I’ve got it for both Mac and PC but only now really using it. What I’ve found is that for my normal writing style, it’s too much. Too many bells and whistles. But, as I am now working on my third ongoing series, I find some of those bells and whistles nice, especially the cork board function where I can pin character sketches, info about previous books, etc. I’ll review how the process goes in a month or so.

      • I’ve also got it for both Mac and PC and have used it for years. It’s my go-to program whenever I’m writing fiction. I’m a huge fan of the export-to-ePub / .mobi functionality.
        Do you have a question about it? I have a coupon code (as a NaNoWriMo winner) but it may not work, as it’s supposed to be used before the end of January, but it might be worth a shot if you’re looking to pick it up.

        • Zachary, Amanda,

          Thanks for the overviews. I don’t know enough to have questions, yet. Literally just heard of it today and have scanned the web-page. I’m in the information gathering phase.

          Zachary, do you utilize the outlining and cork-board functions? Does it seem to help organizationally? I’ve done the large-pile-of-research-and-reference stack, which inevitably gets shifted around into multiple piles and shuffled and dumped and… Something that organizes and allows some sorting and shifting within the processor might be mighty handy.

          • I haven’t used them a lot – I’m usually a pantser, but more recently, I’ve been using the outliner more to get the structure and the beats right.

            I used it to kind of get a sense of how many words should go to which plot point sort of. After reading Swain’s Techniques of the Selling Writer, though, I can tell that I need to refine that if I’m going to be doing more planning writing, and that’s kind of the way I’m leaning.

            • Yeah, I’ve got Swain’s book sitting right here by the desk, waiting (begging, harassing, demanding) to be read. So far, I tend to be a scattered scene pantster, and then a plotter to pull things together into coherent story arcs. I suspect Techniques will reinforce some of the planning/plotter, but I just haven’t hacked out the spare bit to dig in.

              • Since he structures Techniques from the small to the big, reading the first third right now might suit you just fine. First, he talks about action and reaction, then scenes, then the big outline. This is a useful but aggravating approach. I kept recognizing techniques as a reader that I haven’t always employed as a writer, but now I know to do. For instance, announcing that the beginning of the novel ends with a decision would have been nice to know sooner in my own personal timeline.

      • I picked Scrivener up through NaNo a few years ago. It was kind of fun, but I found that footnoting my research and notions in Word was easier and accomplished much the same, so I went back to what I know.

        All that aside, someone over at MGC commented the other day that Scrivener converted beautifully into different files useful for publishing. I may have been foolish to abandon it. (And, at the end of my process, I have a bunch of footnotes to strip out.)

        • The conversion is one of the features that tempted me to take a closer look. And then the outlining/notecard/organizational ideas edged me a little closer.

          Hopefully, I’ll have a free minute to look it over in more detail this weekend, and maybe jump on the free trial.

  18. Have fun storming the castle!

    If it’s any help, business has been slow everywhere, seeing as it’s the week after Holy Week/Easter and taxes. People are out of money! But the tax refunds are coming, and things will get better.

    I’ve been reading my Kindle copy of Witchfinder, and it’s really nice to see how much the final draft added to the book, as well as what was filled out from the original postings. Good stuff.

  19. The sad thing is that my dad is such a Civil War buff that he’d INVADE MY HEAD if I ever went to Richmond. I’d be stuck in 1860 the whole freakin’ time, even if I wasn’t traveling with him physically along.

    Possibly this sheds light on my lack of Virginia con attendance, although the general inconvenience of Ohio travel to VA has a lot to do with it. I love historical travel sites, but it does kinda interfere with a skiffy state of mind.

    • Richmond is now a very modern city. You have to look for the reminders, like the old Tredagar Iron Works or the big hill the other side of the James River to be haunted. Fredericksburg (outside of John Ringo’s Posleen series, where it has been largely destroyed) has more of the old stuff still in town.

  20. mikeweatherford

    Have fun, Sarah, and let us know if you need to be sprung from anywhere.

    I don’t “do” public events. I’d have a massive migraine before I got through the doors. The only way I get to “visit” these places is through the people that don’t have problems going to them, and talk about them. I second (strongly) the idea of an after-action report!

    • We’ll pass the hat around for bail, just try not and get it set too high, remember what time of year it is.

      • Long ago and far away, there used to be some sf conventions that were essentially summer camp/”going to the lake” events, and more people held overgrown, extremely relaxed parties (sometimes at their houses, sometimes as relaxacons at hotels). If some people we’d like to see have problems going to public events, maybe we should hold more small parties and meetups?

        Obviously I live too far away from most Huns to be useful for this, but socialization with fun people is fun.

  21. How do you disable the alarm that lets everyone know that you just went into the bathroom?

  22. Soooo, since Sarah’s away, what can we do to help her prep the house for sale? Paint the entry hall, fumigate the crawlspace, finish burying the bodies in the backyard . . ?

    • While the cat’s away the mice will play ?

    • Wouldn’t we have to use dynamite to dig the holes to bury the bodies? (Based on things Sarah said about her yard.)

      On Fri, Apr 25, 2014 at 4:51 PM, According To Hoyt wrote:

      > TXRed commented: “Soooo, since Sarah’s away, what can we do to help > her prep the house for sale? Paint the entry hall, fumigate the crawlspace, > finish burying the bodies in the backyard . . ?” >

    • Anybody have a backhoe?

    • Last time I tried to help, I got thrown out.

    • You remember the LAST time she was away for a few days, right? (Shudder)

      • Did she ever get the smell of roasting Cthulhu out of the drapes?

        • Don’t ask about the drapes.

        • The smell’s gone, but the scorch marks are in one of those mind-bending geometries that drive you mad with a glance.

          Fortunately that’s not overly noticeable with this group.

          • I recall this girl from High School who could drive guys mad with a glance. One of the Jones girls, as I recall.

            I think she eventually shifted into being a cat.

    • Lime, don’t forget to use lime.

      • Quicklime. Ordinary slaked lime actually can act as a preservative or a sorts.

        • Besides, with Margarita Season almost upon us we can’t spare the limes.


          “Most people don’t really spend their time thinking about limes, the tangy green fruit we use in margaritas and as food garnishes. But across the country, people are starting to take notice as the price of limes skyrockets — $100 for a 40-pound box, from $25 a year ago. The reason? A Mexican cartel war.

          “Mother Nature had already been threatening Mexican limes for a while: A severe drought was followed by the spread of a bacterial disease (huanglongbing) that attacks citrus trees, then by a harsh winter that killed tree blossoms. As the lime supply grew more and more valuable, a Mexican gang saw an opening for an investment opportunity.

          “In the southwestern state of Michoácan, where most Mexican limes are grown, the notorious Knights Templar gang started hijacking lime trucks and demanding ransoms from farmers. Since the limes are so valuable — nearly $300,000 per truck — a farmer usually paid the extortion fee and moved along. But some were putting their lives on the line to protect their livelihood from the cartel.”

          • I worked on a truck farm a summer or two when I was in high school. The owners wife ran it, while the owner ran one they had in Arizona and another in Mexico. She stated that she was not comfortable down there. On the farm in Mexico when the price of the vegetables (I don’t recall which ones they were growing, now) went up they would hire guards (read mercenaries) with machine guns to man towers around the fields and protect the vegetables. Otherwise the gangs would clean out entire fields, usually at night, but occasionally coming in in broad daylight to unguarded or lightly guarded farms.

    • mikeweatherford

      I’ll gladly help her haul off the books she wants to get rid of. I live close enough to her to actually BE of help. At the same time, I’m kind of broken, physically, and can’t do much strenuous work without paying for it. Still, I’m available if she wants to ask.

  23. Hey … wait a minute … that’s it.

    The drapes.

  24. So, do we have a plan to get into the liquor cabinet yet?

    • Wellll, we have some leftover dynamite from digging holes.

      • The object of the exercise is to gain access to the cabinet so that we might partake of its contents. Not cause the Chernobyl of party fouls.

    • I am surprised. I would have thought that someone of us had already installed an on-site brewery and distillery by now.

      I am not sure Sarah should give up this property, outside of the practical issues. I have been forced to conclude that it must exist outside of normal space. From mammoth barbeques to landscaping through experiments in practical terra forming by the proper application of explosives where else could be do this?

      Does anyone want to reassure me that the otherworldliness is an effect of Sarah and Dan, and not of the specific geographical location? Having met them I could accept that with only mild encouragement. They are charming.

      • No, with the artifact she’s using, Sarah can retarget the otherspatial extensions to connect to any specific terrestrial terminus, so her “it’s too big to clean” story actually makes sense: The Fey Housekeeping Service that owes her that debt can only cover the otherspatial rooms and yard space, given extant treaty constraints. What she needs is a more compact terrestrial connection terminus.

  25. Ok, it’s time for an epic quest. According to Ravencon’s schedule, Sarah’s signing is at 2. Richmond is within two hours of me. It is 11:17 EDT. My chances of finding her, getting to say hi, and having my books signed seem very good. Wish me luck!

    • Good Luck!

      On Sat, Apr 26, 2014 at 10:18 AM, According To Hoyt wrote:

      > Laura M commented: “Ok, it’s time for an epic quest. According to > Ravencon’s schedule, Sarah’s signing is at 2. Richmond is within two hours > of me. It is 11:17 EDT. My chances of finding her, getting to say hi, and > having my books signed seem very good. Wish me luck!” >

    • She found me. She was assimilated into the Hoyt collective…

      • Find them, I did! As epic quests go it was pretty much glorious. Not only did I get to meet Sarah and Kate, but, for extra special, bonus celebrities, Dan, RES, and CACS (who are all charming and nice). I do believe I spotted Dave and Mrs. Dave (the kilt), but I didn’t get to talk to them.

        Sarah was awesome, and signed my stack of books with inspiring inscriptions. I’m very, very glad I went.

  26. Whoa, look what I found in the closet!

  27. Hey, who left these Gauloises butts in the ashtray?

  28. Wait, Sarah’s selling this place, right? So the emphasis should be out front! And nothing says Curb Appeal like reinforced concrete gun emplacements! I’ll make a couple calls…

    • Wait, did I say “reinforced concrete gun emplacements?” Hah! I meant…ummm…Planter Boxes! Heh, silly autocorrect. Those forms going up are for Planter Boxes! Right then.

      • I suggest that we consider a planter/emplacements, utilizing the vegetative growth to camouflage that which one might not want to draw immediate attention.

        • For the mine field bulb garden, does anybody have strong feelings on the annual vs perennials issue?

          Also, what shrubs work best to disguise the claymores emplacement invisible fence?

          Finally, what happened to those plans for the quartzite Hah-ha wall? Sarah desperately needs a glittery Hah-ha.

          • Perennials. Definitely. They don’t have to be replanted, and they grow more on their own while staying in the same area. Even if the house is gone….

            • Yes, I know I don’t want to be the one digging in the …bulb garden, to plant annuals again next spring.

          • Wasn’t the Ha-ha supposed to curve around between the flowerbeds by the back porch and the gazebo with the Unspeakable Patterns inlaid in the floor? IIRC there was a problem with the drainage district about having it between the house and the street in front.

            Desert rose would be my vote for the shrubs. Their scent covers up a lot. Unless you want the neighbors to think often of the Hoyts every spring and summer, in which case go with Texas cedar.

            • OK, the forms for the “Planter Beds” are dug down a full twelve feet in the front, and we added another one out back just for giggles as well. The rebar is all in and the concrete guys are here, and they used Col. Kratman’s special impact absorbing aggregate in the mix just like we asked. The zigzag communications trenc… err, the irrigation trenches are dug as well, but we need some more railroad ties for overhead cove…I mean, for decorative accent.

              Does anyone know who has the roll of ethernet cable for the remote firing machine gu… umm, for wiring the sprinklers?