The State of The State of The Writer

Looking at that title, I want to emphasize that this is NOT  a post on Colorado which, in this fine morning, seems to be warm (yesterday we got to 70 though that might be urban isle effect, since it was not supposed to get that hot) and rather rosy.  Or at least the sky is rosy.

At six am I got up too late to see the city lights outside my sunroom as I had breakfast.  Or at least they were rather pale and wan.  It’s the beginning of summer, and in a way the beginning of a new phase in my life, though, as such things go, the change will be gradual and with turn backs for about two years.

As some of you know — at least those who offered him material support should I kick him out when he did a facebook post pretending my writing novels was a delusion and that I was a mental patient (it ended with “She really thinks she makes a living from her novels.  As if anyone did that.”) — younger son moved out at the end of November.  I wasn’t ready for it, but to ask a young man to go to school in the Springs from Denver is cruel and unusual.  Not unheard of, mind, some do it regularly.  But Marshall has “highway curse”TM and three out of four times he gets on the highway, he ends up behind a massive traffic jam. Beyond that, in addition to an overloaded and often eccentric schedule (the penalty of doing multiple engineer degrees at once) he runs a fencing club, is a member of a very active young engineers’ society and has a gaggle of friends, all of which meant mostly he made it home to sleep — maybe.

Anyway, I’m mostly accustomed to his not living here.  If by accustomed you include “not at all.”  He thinks I’m sappy and strange for going all the way to the springs for a hug.  Eh.  He’ll learn.

His older brother has been occupying our basement, in starving student fashion, but if everything goes well he starts doing clinical rotations in a couple of months, which mean that at least for portions of it (for other portions they’ll ship him across the state) he’ll need a pied a terre minutes from the school (which we aren’t, particularly not in city traffic.)

So it’s rather likely that in a couple of months older son will only be coming back for infrequent visits.  And then next year he’ll again be living here more or less full time, with periodic trips to the airport for — hopefully — interviews for internship.

All of which should leave me more time to write.  Maybe.  I rather enjoyed my month or so of empty nestdom (totally a word), before boys relocated here last summer.  However I suspect there will be a period of adjustment.

Among other things, I MUST get back to driving, an activity interrupted by “vision going awry” about five years ago.  Not quite sure how to get back on the road, as instruction — and being told I’m fine, except at parking, which frankly I knew — hasn’t helped conquer the subconscious fear shading to panic.  It’s not rational.  I’m hoping now it’s lighter I can hit the roads at six or before that and conquer the fear by sheer habit.  We’ll see. The reason I must do it is that right now I count on tyrannizing one or the other of the sons (one of them is susceptible to ambushing on FB pm and I know his afternoon off) and getting them to drive me to a museum or a lecture or wherever I want to go.  But in two years, everything going well, they probably won’t even be in-state, and it’s not fair to Dan for me to demand he take time off for my whims (even when he works from home.)  So in two years I either must be driving without fear (because otherwise I make excuses not to drive) OR we must have a lot of money for Uber.

Re: pursuit of the later: I had intended to put out a book a month starting last September.  Life intervened, as it has a tendency to.  The most disruptive intervention was collapsing in the shower early December, though the flu in January was a doozy in that for the first time in years it left me severely compromised enough to catch serial secondary infections, including the last one that gave me a week and a half severe headaches (only two days without them since, yesterday and the day before) and which attacks only severely immune-compromised patients.

So, yesterday being the first time I COULD clean in about a month, I’ve changed sheets, towels and wiped down every surface that COULD be wiped with bleach.  I also cleaned those that couldn’t, including deploying the dreaded carpet cleaner.  Hopefully this will keep us well enough to recover and resist the next infection.

All of this has affected my work, of course.  I delivered Darkship Revenge in late January (Now available in e-arc, come and get it while it’s e-arcky) and should have been done with the next book on my schedule — a collaboration with Kevin J. Anderson, taking place in a shared world and called Uncharted: Lewis and Clark in the Arcane Territories — a week or two later.  I had, as I thought, done all the research and was prepared.

The problem is that it’s a shared world and one that splits off earlier, and in which the American Revolution never happened.  This means many tiny things could not be the same, besides the main premiss (that magic returned.)  I keep running into things I need to check like “When was north America circumnavigated, and were they sure it went all the way to the pacific?”  (Kind of.) And other such issues.  And they’re not the type of issues where I can insert “research later here” because it affects major parts of the motivation.

Anyway, the headaches didn’t help either.  Turns out writing through a headache is extremely difficult. So February is done and I’m maybe halfway done with this.  It shall be done.  Should be today, but I’m shooting for this week.

Part of the reason it’s taking so long is that I’m very impatient to get to Guardian.  As a fan who writes fanfic in the MHI world, I’m having trouble staying out of it to fulfill my other obligations. I’m really hoping to start sending a chapter a day to Larry starting next week.  Which means this thing has to be put to bed.

I’ll also confess I’m having flashbacks to writing the Magical British Empire (Heart of light, etc) which are Magical travelogues, but I’m no longer that writer, so it’s a bit of a struggle to get back in that mind set. Which of course is why I’ve not edited or released those two books yet, under my own imprimatur.  That and because they were so tampered with it’s an intensive editing job.  Hopefully they’ll be up before summer.

Also up, the second one probably this next week, will be the Furniture Refinishing Mysteries.  Dipped, Stripped and Dead is already out, and A French Polished Murder is actually ready to go.  It’s just that I’d like to pace it, so that when I bring out the third it will only be a couple of weeks till I bring out A Well-Inlaid Death, the fourth, at present only half written.  (But these are short books.)

And then, once the collaborations are in, (or Guardian in the process of going in) I hope to start going through the many drawer-books (those that for some reason didn’t sell to traditional publishing, which for the space operas often included “space opera doesn’t sell.”  Ah.) and finishing/editing releasing them at as great a pace as I can manage, since the indie game is a game of volume.

I still intend to write a couple more books for Baen this year, maybe three, if it looks like they’ll be amenable to the Magical Legion (the foreign legion but extending through time and with magic.)   The couple of books, not under contract but continuation of a series, are Hacking the Storm, third book in the Earth Revolution subseries and Bowl of Red the fourth in the Shifter’s series.  Also for Baen and penciled in for late August this year is a book in the Black Tide universe but that will be a collaboration, so actually bringing it out depends on a lot of things.

All of this should be facilitated by its being just two of us int he house.  And the income should help with paying the final expenses for the boys’ schooling before they fly solo and (hopefully) laying in enough money we can fly to visit them when they move out of state.  We’ve agreed there’s absolutely no point us trying to move near them for ten years or so, when they’ll be of necessity somewhat mobile.  In ten years we’ll evaluate where they are and hopefully figure out how to be near them (which could be hard if they go to extreme ends of the country, but what’s life without a little challenge?)

Until then, the order of the day is to work as hard as I can, while the sun shines, or rather while health allows.

On the health it would really help if we didn’t catch stupid cr*p.  Oh, sure, it’s not as bad as it was before we moved here, but it’s still pretty idiotic to lose two months because of flu.  Of course, the fact older son wishes to decamp during his clinical rotations should help my health also, since he’s a good, sharing son and brings home the most interesting parts of his work, even now when his clinical work is only a day a week.  Without Victor the Vector here, it should be easier.

I will be doing a follow up on both the tumor in the brain, to determine whether mass effect requires rapid removal, and the demelination (sp) event, aka “the thingy int he brainy” which is the more worrisome of the two, but not unduly so given that I was hypothyroidal and untreated for 20 years give or take, resulting in the onset of hypothyroidal dementia (which is weirdly actually what stopped me almost completely for about 4 to 5 years.  Though the moving didn’t help.)  It is likely the demilianated areas are the result of that, and judging from improved memory and verbal facility, that they are also reversible.  We shall see.  I should have an MRI this month.

Among the welter of projects started, planned and waiting revision (seriously, this covers around 35 projects that will be done AT SOME TIME, some more pressing than others) should I write a fantasy version of the American revolution, you guys should remember it’s all Amanda Green’s fault, who insinuated the idea into my brain in a conversation yesterday, a feat in which she was aided by my stupid brain having been chain-reading the lives of the founders.

And now I’m going to stop wasting time and go work.

The state of the writer is guardedly optimistic but buried in a mountain of work, and with the sort of major life-changes ahead that are always a bit rocky to navigate.  Prayers, well wishes and crossed fingers appreciated.  I really don’t like having lost four to five years to my body not cooperating, and would like to get things done now.

Oh, suggestions for topics, both here and at Mad Genius Club (i.e. topics of a writerly and often instructional nature) much appreciated.







132 thoughts on “The State of The State of The Writer

  1. Oh good. I have a whole bunch of new stuff to look forward to as the finances allow. 🙂

  2. As to your “Victor Vector” statement, I am not happy to hear that my little plague vector will continue being the gift that keeps sharing well into my retirement. :p

    1. Oh, yes. PARTICULARLY if he pursues a career in medicine. We’ve gotten to the point that “cough and stomach upset is our NORMAL baseline.” In his gap year he worked as an ER scribe at two urban hospitals, which was arguably worse.

      1. Bleurgh. I am prematurely Concerned about my baby’s fascination with listening to doctors talk. 😛

        1. Oh it’s not the talk, it’s all the shiny’s that the doctor has around him. 🙂

          1. She stops paying attention to the shinies to listen, and watched with interest when they were taking blood samples from her toe.

              1. After 20+ years married to a military guy, I’ve concluded that while in the real world doctors’ abilities are on the standard bell curve, most decent and a few outliers on the right (awesome!) and left (don’t let him/her near me with anything more dangerous than a cotton ball), in the military the bell curve is inverted with very few decent, rather mostly awesome or deadly, and far, far too many of the latter.

                  1. Portsmouth Naval nearly killed my eldest. When she was 5 1/2 months old she got Rota virus, and was admitted on a Thursday evening from King’s Daughters ER. Even though she was still throwing up absolutely everything she took in by mouth the resident insisted on changing her IV to TKO, and then on Sunday, even though nothing was staying down yet, they insisted on discharging us (because I’m married to an E-6, I’m obviously stupid and don’t know anything about medicine. Grrrr.) We were back the next morning with a more severely dehydrated baby than we’d showed up at KD with four days earlier. This time the much more intelligent resident kept her hydrated until she hadn’t thown up for 12 hours and we got to go home on Wednesday. If they’d hydrated properly the first time, she’d probably have been able to go home, healthy, on Monday.

                    I was sent home from the PNH ER with worse walking pneumonia than a friend who was hospitalized for three days by her HMO. Another friend showed up with pre-eclampsia at 8 and a bit months and spent several hours with idiot residents quizzing her on her salt intake over the last few days; the 10 pounds she’d suddenly put on along with the massive edema was obviously caused by just that, right? Her mother was with her, and finally went and yelled at an attending. They were inducing labor within a few hours of that. They wouldn’t Champus me out with my second pregnancy because I was “high risk” (over 35) but I didn’t need to see a board certified OB until my fourth month. I never had sugar checks in 7 months, other than the nasty glucose tolerance test, but they did insist that I have a blood test to make sure I didn’t have sickle cell. My parents Ancestory DNA stuff says we’re almost entirely northern/western european and boy do I look it! Even if I was of the appropriate ethnic background for this to be a risk, don’t you think at 36 with a previous full term pregnancy, if I was going to have a crisis, I would have already had it? I had several acquaintances who were nurses at PNH who quite bluntly told us that unless we knew there was going to be a problem, such as the baby hadn’t turned, we were better of buying an emergency OB kit and doing it ourselves at home. Thankfully my husband was able to get an early transfer before No2 was due and I got to go to a real hospital instead of building A (dubious distinction of being the hospital building in longest continuous use in the US, since before the Civil War, with the attendant lack of upkeep), and had a real doctor instead of 15 residents with nothing else to do.

                    Bitter, who, me?

                    1. We had a case where the admiral that rode around on our ship had to go to the hospital and inform the doctor that he wasn’t allowed to write up an E-4 for “disobeying orders” when he brought his (Japanese) wife in with a tubal pregnancy, the dishonor of monkeys and asses insisted that it was just bad menstral cramps, and the guy took her to a Japanese hospital instead. (where they were able to save her life, and avoid a hysterectomy so they could have kids later on)

                    2. @Foxfier: Wait–the blithering moron tried to write the kid up for disobeying orders because he went and got a second opinion? How could he possibly justify that to himself?

                    3. I never heard whether there was a lawsuit, but back when my husband was still active duty we heard about the kid on a boat which had pulled into La Madd who wasn’t feeling well at breakfast one morning. He put his head down on the table and the other guys realized he wasn’t breathing. They got his heart started and transferred him over to the tender where he was put into a single room with no monitors and visually checked every 15 minutes.

                      It doesn’t take a genius to see what that led to. Healthy 21yos don’t just have their hearts stop, and unless it’s an electrocution or something else interestingly traumatic, you can’t assume that once it starts again it will just keep on going.

                      I hope his family was able to sue for wrongful death, and that a few folks on the tender lost careers (or more) over that one.

                      If we’d ended up in La Madd I always figured if I’d gotten pregnant I’d have fought being sent over to Naples tooth and nail. I’m sure the Sardinian docs are just as good overall, and unlike the Navy they actually understand the concept of someone over 30 being pregnant and healthy.

                    4. It wasn’t so much the second opinion as the “made it obvious he was incompetent.”

                      That it was an unlawful order didn’t help, but they were scared the kid would kill the SOB, which while not much of a loss would hurt the kid.

  3. And I presume guest posts (and perhaps suggestions for subjects for such) are also welcome, as that would free up a bit of time here and there. Why, yes, I do have something in mind, but… ox slow. And so it’s just not ready quite yet.

          1. Prayers for your health. I was reading “The Damned Die Hard” by Hugh McLeave yesterday, a great book to give you the feel of the French Foreign Legion. And besides “Beau Geste” and the other works of fiction, I mean to get hold of “Tomorrow to be Brave,” the autobiography of Susan Travers, the only woman to fight as a member of the Legion Etrangere. Looking forward to reading you doing the Legion with magic.

          1. ??? Second initial? Does that indicate a false start?

            As for “mail service of thermal abundance” … I didn’t know they got mail in Hades. Advertising circulars, sure, and solicitations for charitable donations, offers of free dinners/weekend resort trips in exchange for just a little of your time listening to a discussion of planning for retirement/the benefits of time share vacations …

      1. I now take a chance and suggest followup replies to this comment be suggestions for me to consider rambling on about. No promises of anything great resulting, mind. Or anything at all, really. Anyway… have at it:

    1. I’ve got one mostly written about “is it moral to steal to feed your family,” I just can’t tie it together in a way I like yet…

      (Short answer: it’s more moral than letting them starve, less moral than the eighteen million other things you could have done, and the whole reason that you asked the question at all was to destroy the idea that some things are always wrong, bite me.”)

      1. A lot of contemporary moral arguments are based on utilitarianism, which basically states that the good for larger groups of people outweighs the good for small groups. If you haven’t taken enough philosophy to be aware of other methods of reasoning, that can trip you up when formulating arguments.

        Even knowing that you *can* reject utilitarianism is a leg up.

        There’s also a side thought that you can do an immoral thing and gladly suffer the consequences if you think it is necessary—in your example, the person doing the stealing would know that sentencing and jail time is the required outcome.

        P.S. The trolley morality questions are messed up.

        1. I have a lot more respect for accepting something is immoral and doing it anyway than tying your reasoning in knots to come up with reasons why it wasn’t bad in the first place. (I also tend to find utilitarian ethics frightening as hell…)

  4. …so that when I bring out the third it will only be a couple of weeks till I bring out A Well-Inlaid Death, the fourth, at present only half written.

    Yippee! I will keep an eye on the horizon.

  5. …a feat in which she was aided by my stupid brain having been chain-reading the lives of the founders.

    ! oh ! oh ! oh! How delicious! How fun! Would you have any recommendations for my reading list?

    This morning I re-discovered that it was John Dickinson who wrote the final draft of Declaration of the Causes and the Necessity of Taking Up Arms (based in part on Thomas Jefferson’s first draft). The thing was passed by the Second Continental Congress the day after the Congress had passed The Olive Branch Petition.

    Is it any wonder that John Adams believed that Congress was created to drive him mad…

  6. He thinks I’m sappy and strange for going all the way to the springs for a hug.

    He is right.

    The world seems divided into dog people and cat people those who need to hug and those who … don’t. Lord knows how the two tribes came to intermingle.

    The proclivity does not seem to be genetic, as I have three adult siblings, all of whom seem eager to embrace on meeting and departing while I try my best to suppress the look of puzzlement over “when did my family start doing <I<this” from my face. Unless, of course, I’ve shifted from an alternate reality, one in which my family don’t hug; tell me, is it Bearenstain or Berenstein Bears?

    1. I seem to be the kind of person who really needs hugs, but is highly embarrassed to get them from anyone other than spouse and maybe children.

      (Of course, in addition to cat people and dog people, there are also ferret people…)

      (Of course, there’s also 10 kinds of people in the world: people who don’t give any thought to what base numbers should be in, and those who prefer binary, and those who prefer ternary, and those who prefer quaternary, and those who prefer…)

  7. empty nestdom (totally a word)

    I can confirm this. Nestdom derives from the same Old Norse root, domr, as Kingdomr, Earldomr and Dukedomr* — which root is also found in domain, dominatrix, and domkopf.

    I thought everybody knew that?

    *Unrelated to Chapelhilldom

    1. MomRed bleeds Duke blue. She had the shutters at Redquarters painted the exact Pantone shade as Duke’s blue. This time of year is a little fraught.

      1. I like Duke Blue because it is such a great shade of blue, and once had a house which sat in the middle of a UNC campus (not Chapel Hill) with the trim painted that color — I was an outsider and didn’t know, I hadn’t even thought … hey, I grew up in Philadelphia during one of the great dynasties of the ’76ers. What did I know of college basketball?

      2. Be very thankful it’s only the shutters.

        Auburn Blue for the house, Auburn Orange for the trim.

        At least the emergency vehicles always found it…..

          1. What I recall was closer to secondary, but that was before computers had graphics cards…..

        1. Seahawks blue and green for EVERYTHING.

          Cars, houses, every tree in Seattle…
          Although that had the amusing side-effect of making my daughters absolutely delighted– they decorated the city for Anna and Elsa, mommy!

      3. My hometown town of residence has, more years than not, played host to the ACC tournament as our local arena is both unaffiliated and conveniently located centrally to Duke, Chapel Hill, Wake Forest, NC State, Clemson, UVA, Georgetown & U of Md — the traditional core schools of the conference. This time of year would typically see hotels full, restaurants and bars jammed and traffic around the “Coliseum” impassable.

        This year (possibly because of HB2) the tournament appears to be in Brooklyn, meaning the only local disruption is on the CBS TV affiliate which has the rights to broadcast the tournament and ALL local radio stations except the public broadcasting affiliates and for all I know they may be carrying the games. too. As a result, such CBS television shows (Blue Bloods, Elementary) as our household attends are delayed until the middle of the night, shown at times unpredictable should any game run long and confound the DVR. Sigh. If worse comes to worst, there is always On Demand.

        Such a long way from the 2.5 channels of my childhood early adulthood.

        1. Something to be said for growing up in the largest media market in the country. I had 7 TV channels. They were the last place in the country to get cable however.

          1. Oh, yeah. The first twelve years of my life I was smack dab between NYC and Philly, in range of all the NYC stations and most of the Philly ones. Cable added a few channels with things I’d not have seen otherwise, but mostly it meant not having to futz with the antenna. Then I moved a mere 14 miles to a new subdivision, reception was spotty on the stations we could still pick up, and the cable company refused to run cable until construction was completed in the subdivision – and then delayed a long while beyond that.

          2. I remember someone being snotty about my college town in terms of media—since it wasn’t a big market, they reasoned, it would be the last to get everything. In fact it was first, because it was what is called a media island: a place where competing radio and television signals couldn’t compete. AKA “perfect test market.”

            It was the first city where they rolled out Jello Pudding Pops. It was the first city to broadcast HDTV (and in fact I was working for the radio station connected to the television station as they made the switch for the evening news. Huge set issues.) My husband and I had one of the first fifty cable modems in the country. Many years and moves later, the cable tech was shocked to find out that we owned the sucker, because that’s how you got them then.

    2. I have to deny it. The word Sarah is looking for is “emptinester”. Words generally don’t have spaces in them. While there are exceptions, they should be kept to a minimum.

  8. Topics: shopping list. (The last one was great.) Deep history, as in the history people (grandmothers) pass along that everyone just “knows” even if it is wrong and may be closer to folklore {Dr Jung, paging Dr. Jung, please pick up the white courtesy phone}. Things for introverts to do in Denver metro area. The delights of diners vs. other places to eat. Things to keep in mind if writing a shape shifter character (like, oh, ways to cope with the problem of mass and volume.)

  9. it’s not fair to Dan for me to demand he take time off for my whims (even when he works from home.)

    Nonsense. It is a truth universally acknowledged that a husband is to indulge wifely whims. Setting aside a half-day every week (compensated by an extra hour on the other days) should not prove difficult.

    I leave it as an exercise for the compliant couple as to how wife should communicate appreciation for husbandly* indulgences.

    *Shut Up, WP — it is a word else I would not have written it, and all your efforts to persuade me the proper spelling is “husbandry” will not deter me.

    1. Being a single guy I don’t know for sure, but I suspects that it works best when the wife doesn’t abuse such a “power”. 😉

    2. I’ve always maintained that in English, if you say/write it and your listener/reader understands it as you meant it, it is a legal word. We don’t cotton to all that officiality. (See what I mean?)

      1. I suspect this was intended as a response to the dom comment I made elsewhere.

        I understand all we wallabies look alike.

        1. I thought it was all wallabies walk alike.

          Hmph. You learn something new every day.

      2. “English is the result of Norman knights trying to get dates with Saxon barmaids and is as legitimate as any other fruits of those unions.”

  10. [I]t would really help if we didn’t catch stupid cr*p.

    I regret to advise you that “stupid cr*p” is currently epidemic in the American polity, although many venues (particularly colleges and universities) seem to be catching “crazy sh*t” — which is indubitably worse.

    Be appreciative of your highly developed immune system’s antibody response and accept the attendant inflammation as a minor price to pay.

  11. I thank you for finding out the history before speculating. I am enjoying Witchy Eye, but some of the minor side details are driving me nuts.

    (If it is the mid-1800’s, you cannot have a bishop of Miami unless you are talking about the tribe! Without the American Revolution, Cincinnati Is Losantiville! Eleventy more comments!)

    1. I think the major problem is that the author of Witchy Eye is ignoring the effects of canals and trains on the economic destinies of American cities. He is not using said technologies or any magical analogues, and yet he is keeping the Johnny come lately cities as important and big.

      So yeah, I keep suspending my disbelief just fine for the plot, while dropping it over the details and back history (which are pretty much from the school of ninja Jane Austen, frankly).

      Fun book, though. A lesser writer would have far less interesting errors. And he has a really great feel for historical atmosphere and ways of life. The character details are really good.

      1. It might not be a fair criticism, though. He could have good explanations. (But in that case, the explanations need to be a little closer to the things raising the questions. You can do all kinds of crazy things if you pace the info correctly.)

        And Joan of Arc was not canonized until the twentieth century, guys. Argh argh argh.

    2. I had a friend, a re-enactor, who could make it very difficult to relax when we were watching films with historical settings. As a whole BBC clothes porn generally passed but Hollywood productions would produce genuine willies.

      1. Do not watch crime shows with a LEO, or medical (or any show with injuries), shows with a doctor, Hollywood is notorious for its inaccuracies!

        1. Or WWII aviation films with an aircraft restoration nerd and pilot. *waves paw* Or “Master and Commander” with a PhD candidate who was writing his dissertation of commercial shipping in the Age of Sail.

          At least the Mexican History prof (specialty the Yucatan, speaks Mayan and one other indigenous language) snarled under his breath during “Apocalypto.”

          1. Some years back the History Channel had a nice series on Hollywood History versus the true history. Very entertaining.

            The sad thing about this is that in many instances Hollywood could, with very little additional effort, get the History right. Their excuse that “this is the type of armor the audience expects to see in King Arthur” doesn’t really wash, as the audience expectation is shaped by Hollywood.

            Some revisions are acceptable, such as combining three historical personages into one to avoid confusing the audience or having too much screen time (and actor salaries) given to unimportant characters*, but in many cases adhering to accuracy would improve the drama.

            The obvious conclusion is that Hollywood simply doesn’t give a cr*p about historical accuracy, but I think that explanation gives Hollywood too much credit. There are too many instances where it is clear an effort was made, but only made half-arsed**.

            *e.g., we do not need to see all of the senators stabbing Julius. Brutus, Cassius and a few more are sufficient; the rest can be expressed through anonymous hands wielding knives.

            **e.g., my oft-cited episode of M*A*S*H in which we see Radar reading a comic book recognizable as from the Sixties. Somebody made the effort to get a non-current comic book but couldn’t be bothered to get one of proper vintage.

            1. A word about props of the proper vintage:

              The Hateful Eight has a scene where Kurt Russell smashes an authentic period guitar. It was authentic, all right. A museum had lent it for the film, and the very rare and expensive guitar was supposed to be exchanged for a prop before Russell grabs and smashes it. Someone forgot, Very unhappy museum.

              1. >_<#.

                Yeah, I bet no one in valves in that film is ever going to get any help from that museum, ever again, and rightfully so.

            2. > Some years back the History Channel had a nice series on Hollywood History versus the true history. Very entertaining.

              I’ve never seen *any* show on that channel that didn’t raise my hackles due to outright misinformation, misleading-by-omission, or spin.

              A History Channel show on inaccurate history might make my head explode.

              1. Note the “Some years back”.

                IIRC the History Channel was better about history in its early years.

                Now, it contains “junk history”.

            3. I tend to cut a movie director some slack when it’s just obvious that the authentic item would not be available. In “The Wind and the Lion” director John Milius, who’s an NRA officer and knows his guns, has the Marines carrying .30.40 Krag-Jorgensen when they would have been carrying 6 mm Winchester Lee Navy rifles. He has explained that the 6mm’s are hopelessly rare. In the decades since, they have proved dangerous to shoot, someone was actually killed recently shooting the wrong reproduction cartridge out of an original Winchester Navy.

              1. The wrong cartridge only in the sense that it was made from .30-.40, which was previously thought safe.

            4. RES: “The obvious conclusion is that Hollywood simply doesn’t give a cr*p about historical accuracy, ”
              You have an extra word in there: ‘historical’. You would do better to save it for your next scrabble game.
              A word of advice, do not, under any circumstances, accompany a paleontologist to any movie involving anything paleontological. It’s not advisable to accompany his daughter, either, because I’ve picked up enough to know when to complain. This is, incidentally, why I hope they never make Boundary into a movie.

              1. I still remember the dinner table where four of the people eating had different interests but had all read a certain book.

                One objected to the way that the military portions never showed anyone worrying about running out of ammunition.

                One objected to the way that early modern women were instantly willing to adopt modern blue jeans, instead of thinking them stunningly immodest.

                One objected to the way that people living in an absolute monarchy instantly converted to belief in democracy by hearing about it.

                One objected to the way that people fighting religious wars instantly converted to belief in religious tolerance by hearing about it.

                1. Ah, 1632. Good times, good times.
                  Although at least Flint tried to provide explanations for most of that (well, aside from the clothes).

                  1. For the ammunition, I’m pretty sure he mentions that the town has some degree of reloading and machining capability, and it is a concern that gets brought up.

                    As to the absolute monarchy vs. democracy thing–it’s not like the concept of a republic was unheard of (something else that gets brought up) and if there was an area in Europe ready to get out from under the aristocracy, it was Central Germany. And there’s also an element there of “These people are nuts, but they’re providing us with food, shelter, work, and protection. We’ll do things their way.”

                    See also: religious toleration vs .religious wars.

                    Although I might be reading some of the later books into 1632, given that a lot of those go into the…complications that result from the Grantvillers’ arrival.

                    1. It was heard of — and regarded as totally obsolete and in fact debunked by its history. They actually believed in absolute monarchy at the time.

                    2. Yes, but many of them had read Plato; few today have read even the Cliff’s Notes for The Republic.

            5. That’s because M*A*S*H took place in an alternate timeline where the Korean War lasted into the ’60s. 😉

              1. Perhaps it was simply a clue supporting the theory that the TV series was actually about the Vietnam war.

              1. I saw about five minutes on TV once, and walked out of the room. That was NOT Jack Aubrey.

        2. How many TV-trained wannabe gun ninjas still go around clearing a room with the muzzle of their pistol pointed at the ceiling because the studio safety officer wasn’t going to allow anyone on set to be muzzle swept? Then they dramatically jump around a corner and offer their entire body as a target to the bad guy because it looks so much cooler than pieing the corner?

          1. There are other ways to avoid lasering the whole soundstage, but they don’t allow the camera to linger lovingly on the gun and the star’s face at the same time.

            I have heard that “guard position” referred to as “Sabrina-ready.” Kate Jackson did make it look good…

        3. Went to school for paralegal. Legal stories are… fun? (You say “surprise witness,” I say “Aaaaaagh!”)

          My main professor highly recommended My Cousin Vinny, though, and I have to agree: that one was good.

          1. Funny you should mention …

            Federal court cites ‘My Cousin Vinny’ in case against left-wing Supreme Court hecklers
            Left-wing hecklers who disrupted Supreme Court oral arguments in 2015 were just handed a defeat in court, and will now face two separate federal charges, thanks to a new ruling from the Federal D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

            A three-judge panel that included Judge Sri Srinivasan, President Obama’s former Deputy Solicitor General, upheld the constitutionality of the law that forbids heckling the justices during oral arguments.


            The federal district court wanted to give these and perhaps future disruptors more lenient treatment by invalidating one of the two charges against them — the one against making “harangues,” “orations,” or “threatening or abusive language” in the Supreme Court building. (The charge for disrupting oral arguments would have still stood either way.) The judges on the circuit court were having none of it, though, and upheld its constitutionality. In doing so, they quoted from a famous movie about criminal litigation:

            Their coordinated standing, facing the bench, and messaging indicate the Appellees were addressing the Court and gallery. Cf. MY COUSIN VINNY (20th Century Fox 1992) (Judge Chamberlain Haller: “Don’t talk to me sitting in that chair! . . . When you’re addressing this court, you’ll rise and speak to me in a clear, intelligible voice.”). Viewed objectively, these alleged acts could easily be considered speeches to a public assembly that tended to disrupt the Court’s operations—conduct covered by § 6134’s prohibition of “make a harangue or oration.”

            [END EXCERPT]

            This prompted a household discussion speculating about people motivated to attend law school and become judges by that movie, twenty-five years ago.

            I gather the automotive information is as true as the courtroom procedures.

          2. I live in Georgia. I had a lawyer friend (from New York, as it happens) who said “I’ve pleaded before that judge!”

          3. I did Mock Trial once and my only real contribution was realizing that a witness testimony was different than the written statement, so I got to impeach the witness.

            They don’t like surprises in the courtroom. Most of the work comes before the trial.

        4. Half the reason NCIS is so popular is that they’re fairly accurate. Only military series I’ve even HEARD of being popular for the pass-the-DVDs-around circles on ship.

            1. I could be wrong, but my impression is that Ducky and Abbie basically worked for Gibbs and his team. Other teams presumably had someone else.

            2. Oh there are a lot of “because it’s a TV show” type things, it’s just that they don’t have the “we wanted to tell this story but couldn’t be bothered to do two minutes worth of research about the entire freaking subject of the series.” Well, not very often, at least, and that’s made up for by how when you figure out who the villain is, it’s not by going “Who’s got the most points on the white, conservative, religious, productive chart?”

      2. My frequent wail when watching historical movies is: “Your armor is WRRRONNNNG!”

        1. Braveheart.

          Hollywood made a major movie that included a major battle but “forgot” that the major battle was fought on a bridge. 👿

          1. Braveheart was one of those films that would bring out the re-enactor’s clothing complaints.

        2. There is one coming out about linemen. I have seen the trailer, but cannot recall the name, which is just as well as, from the trailer, I can’t recommend it. Crews supposedly doing line work while breaking umpteen safety regs, including wearing personal protective gear. And from the trailer, a big moment is they have to get power restored to a hospital where someone they know is undergoing surgery. Ahem: Hospitals have backup generators.

          1. I thought they made a lineman movie already. It was called “Close Encounters of the Third Kind…”

            Not only do hospitals have generators, so do most nursing homes. And Wal-Marts. Some Wal-Marts are also FEMA staging centers.

          2. My thoughts about the Army National Guard commercial where they are hooking generators up to a hospital. 1) What happened to the hospital’s back up generators? 2) [as entire floors of lights go on] You idiots probably just overloaded the generators, 3) because somebody didn’t follow power triage and slowly turn on the critical stuff, wait, then do the nice-to-have-if-possible stuff.

            I am NOT an electricity person and I did not stay at Holiday Inn Express, but even I know what not to do when restarting life from a back-up power source.

            1. But the DRAYMA!

              The Army Guard doesn’t do it that way, either, and are thinking up ways to thank the director who has guaranteed complaints when someone is having to wait for power for his gadget: “BUT THEY SHOWED INSTANT POWER ON TEEVEE!!!!”

              Said ways probably involve honey and an anthill….

            2. Somewhere (might have even been an old Reader’s Digest filler bit) I saw a bit of where $BIGBOSS was coming to $PLANT. So at 08:00 sharp, sixteen hands went to sixteen start buttons to start all the machinery and… nothing happened as the inrush current all happened at once and a breaker popped.

          3. Crews supposedly doing line work while breaking umpteen safety regs, including wearing personal protective gear.

            The stuff that gets to me is when not only are they breaking really obvious safety measures– BUT IT’S A PLOT POINT THAT THOSE SAFETY MEASURES DON’T EXIST!

        3. In The Actors Life: Journals 1956–1976, Charlton Heston wrote about trying to get The War Lord filmed and fighting over the armor, since someone higher up in production (and probably trying to cut costs: “But we already have all this plate armor!”) was trying to insist that chain mail didn’t exist in the period of the movie (11th century).

      3. One of the many things I liked about the indie fantasy movie Arthur and Merlin is that the director used Dark Age re-enactors for his battle near the beginning and a recreated Iron Age village for several scenes.

        1. There are a couple of geek-fantasy series that appear to be “Dude! We have all the costumes we need, let’s GO FOR IT!”

        2. When Ted Turner’s company was producing Gettysburg, based on Michael Shaara’s novel Killer Angles, Civil War Re-enactors from across the country volunteered to help. I later met one who told me how exciting it was to experience being in an actual gun powder cloud for the first time.

          1. In elementary school, one of our teachers was an extra in Heaven and Earth, filmed in Alberta. She even brought in her armor (because it covered the wearer completely, they could get away with having females among the extras).

    3. I started reading At the Mountains of Madness. Bounced off the Pabodie drill section of the introduction. I really owe the story another go, maybe the bits that seemed off are justified by the plot.

      I’m not saying I have the expertise to know whether the description was improbable or not.

  12. > having flashbacks to writing the Magical British Empire (Heart of light, etc) which are Magical travelogues, but I’m no longer that writer,

    Some series happen because a story is big enough it takes more than one book to tell. Far too many seem to happen because once the scutwork is done, cranking out another story on the same framework is less work than starting from scratch.

    And sometimes… every decision you take shuts off others, and the story you tell aborts all the other possible stories. And sometimes it’s worth exploring those routes-not-taken.

    As far as not being the same writer… you don’t have to be that writer. If the story is any good, it’ll survive being filtered through the writer you are today.

    1. Far too many seem to happen because once the scutwork is done, cranking out another story on the same framework is less work than starting from scratch.

      Always interesting to contemplate how other writers write.

      Me, I’ve found that my stories are like oysters: they each need their own shell. Writing even in my own prior universe is too confining.

  13. Glad to hear stuff is working out. We’re selfish and mostly just enjoy reading your writing. Sure, many would be actual friends if time, distance, and other parts of reality were as easy to change as socks; but we already know life is simple and complicated at the same time.

    Please get/stay well and be a prolific, successful, healthy, and blessed writer of many, many more great books.

  14. Re the Magical British Empire series: The One and Only Sarah Hoyt novel my local library had before I got involved in the request department was from that series.
    Will you bring them out in paperback when you get to that stage, and if so, would you like me to figure out with my librarians how to swap it out for the ‘Author’s Cut’ version? The library copy falls in the category of paperback that circulates enough to keep in circulation but not enough to need replacing though looking a bit worse for wear around the edges, so I’m sure they’ll be persuadable.

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