New Foreigner Book!


a few hardcovers and pbs available from Closed Circle, signed. Latest: Moonlover and the Fountain of Blood, Jane Fancher short story. Chernevog, part 2 of the Rusalka trilogy co-written by CJ and Jane; and Orion's Children, a tetralogy from Lynn.



Miscon in Missoula MT in May or June, often Radcon in the Tricities of WA. Spocon in Spokane WA,
November 2015
« Oct    

Bit the bullet and ordered a generator.

The thought of what it would have been had this happened on the tail end of Convergence is pretty persuasive. I turned that book in literally on the deadline, with a lot riding on that date: miss your publishing ‘slot’ and a whole series can lose out, bigtime.

So…Black Friday sales, Home Depot…and a deal of fast research on generators.
I settled on Honda, who makes a motor many of the best ‘others’ buy to use their own product.
I settled on lightweight, because Jane and I together can’t get a 170 lb ‘whole house’ generator out of the Prius’ back end.
I settled on a generator-inverter, because it produces what the sales folk call a ‘pure sine wave’, aka power without the wobble produced by a generator alone. It converts AC to DC and then converts the DC to a ‘tamed’ AC that is pretty well as steady as what your house wall sockets offer from the electric company. If you’re running computer equipment or devices that use an internal microchip (and what doesn’t, nowadays) the ‘pure sine wave’ stuff matters. You can also connect two of these fellows together, if you turn out to need more power.

So Home Depot offered a Honda 2000 inverter generator, 45 pounds approx., runs 3-8 hrs on a gallon of gas, and produces 1500 watts of steady running power. We’ve got the propane for heat, we can use an ice chest for perishables, and that 1500 watts would let us charge the laptops, charge the phones, and then unplug and plug in the fish tanks for a number of hours, and by juggling plug-ins, keep the whole house going. The deal was 899 for the thing, which is 100 to 200 off the normal price. You can run the thing day and night for a couple of days for about the amount of gas you’d have on hand for a lawnmower, so you don’t have to store a mega-tank of fuel in anticipation. Honda engines also have a rep for starting, no matter the condition of the gas. I think it’s a good deal. Sure better than what we just went through, and losing over a week out of our productive year.

Aaannnnnnnd…the kitchen faucet seems to have clogged on the hot water side…

Attempts just to clear the obvious filter have succeeded. But there seems to be another filter inside, inaccessible without special tools, and that is clogged. We are not pleased. It’s a pain to service, Jane has had it, and I am putting my foot down. We are getting a faucet AFTER the Black Friday sales, and we are getting it installed by a plumber, and we are getting a Delta brand faucet, very likely, which has service instructions that involve simple unscrews.

All this followed our attempt to flush the hot water heater in the basement, so maybe we just succeeded in stirring up some calcium deposit, which went upstairs. But inaccessible filters inside the faucet—? That’s not good engineering. Planned obsolescence. This faucet was such a bear to install (Jane did it) that we had to do it before actually settling the stainless sink into its clips. It has a garbage disposal attached, which weighs a ton, and we are not anxious to try to heft that to change faucets, so we are going either get a nice faucet we’ll install in a new sink when we get it, or we’re going to go for cheap and functional stopgap until we get the new kitchen sink.

Back on after 7 days, 12 hours with no electricity or hot water.

More later.
Nastional news seems to have reported this as a 20,000 household power outage.
We were hit with near hurricane force winds (71 mph) and trees went down on the power lines. ours stood, but the news services forgot a zero. It’s 200,000 people in Spokane, a city of 500,000, including police, fire, and hospitals with no power, and a total of 300,000 out of power including widespread damage to trees, houses, roofs, and cars.
We just got power back on.
We’re surviving, but now our basement drain quit working.

The pond is shivering this morning…

Strong wind from the east, unusual, on a very cold morning, makes the water surface shiver all up and down. It looks cold out there. The lotus pond had frozen yesterday morning. The large pond will lose heat fast with this wind blowing.

We have, several weeks ago, pulled the beautiful viewing bubble we were gifted. It amused the fish greatly. They’d get up in the bubble—koi are curious—and their tails, projecting below it, would steer it about. Foot plus long Ari would get in it from time to time, and the magnification would show this one great, curious eye looking at the world above.

It’ll be safely and warmly stowed in the basement.

We’re trying a new thing on the flooring—online carpenters say to spray the bowed side of the plywood with water —the concave side—and put a weight on it, since the two sides of the plywood tend to dry differently, and if they do, a bow results. So we will see.

I’m off to the opthamology people this morning for a consult.

Floor leveling 101

I swear there is nothing Jane can’t do.
In this case, we decided the carpet had to go—allergies. So we took it up. The hardwood floor in Jane’s room —stopped—in favor of plywood about 10′ feet in.

But not just stopped. The plywood took a 3/4″ dip toward the closets. Think of a skateboard ramp. One that had been masked by carpet and padding.

So…before putting down laminate—our present to ourselves for having finished Convergence—Jane figured out how to level the thing. We just finished creating a jigsaw of 3/4″ plywood that fills the closets, and the lower part of the floor. Next comes the liquid leveler that will give us a level surface.

Fitting three sheets of 3/4 inch plywood into a Prius started the jigsaw puzzle. But thanks to our trusty table saw—love that thing!—we have it—literally—covered and level. We screw the bits to the plywood floor, add the leveler to the sloping part, and by George! I think we’ve got it.

3 am wakeup call…

So here I am dozing peacefully with the window open, 3 am, and Sei jumps up and runs to the window, tail bushed.

Now Shu, the Night Fury, our fierce black Bengal that no stranger should try to touch, is great at attacking people IN the house, and will defend a hotel room against all comers, is ok with most anything going on OUTSIDE.

Sei, our marshmallow, never bites, never hisses, gentle-natured Scottish Fold, is the one that will alert on anybody approaching the house in the dark. Sei was the one who caught the thief trying to make off with the snowblower. He bushed up, flicking his ear at the front window (hey! there! there! there!) and I got up from my easy chair and scared the blighter out of a few years of life. I did get a look at his face before he ran like a rabbit.

So I take it seriously when Sei alerts. And he was telling me there was something wrong in the garden. But I’m not the spring chicken who’d go on burglar patrol with a firearm back when I lived on the undeveloped edge of town in Oklahoma. I just turned on lights that shine into that space, and alerted Jane, who turned on the front lights. But I wasn’t going out there in the cold dark, hunting for a prowler.

Neither was I getting much sleep, because Seishi wasn’t giving up his watch on that window. By now I figured it wasn’t a human intruder, who’d, unless he was stoned out of his mind, not likely hang about when the lights went on—but I didn’t want a raccoon taking after the koi, either.

So I watched a number of hours of How the Universe Works, wide awake, with a very jazzed cat, until the first of daylight, at which point Sei wanted out of the room and I finally tried to get some sleep.

Went out this morning to do a tour and figure out what was going on…and the only thing amiss was the tarp blown off the fridge and range we have sitting out on the patio waiting for Habitat for Humanity to come get them. We presented ourselves with a nice new set, but could not stand reasonably ok appliances being carted off to recycling. So we called Habitat, and yes, they’d take them. So there they’ve stood through several rains, with another possible, and they should get them this week.

I think that made a noise Sei didn’t like, though he couldn’t see it from my window. At any rate I feel as if I’ve been run over by a truck and hope that as the day progresses I’ll wake up and function.

Sei still gets credit. He’s a good watchcat.

The absolute kicker? We think we know what it may be.

We hate doing in mice, but we have to defend our stuff in the garage.

Jane ordered some flatpack anti-mouse stuff that should have arrived by now.

We think it is now mouseproofing the underside of our porch.

What else could possibly go wrong?

The postman left a large padded letter/envelope as well as a box leaning against our porch wall. Put the envelope behind the box.

Picking up the box caused the envelope to drop through a crack between our concrete porch and the brickwork, clear to the ground, because our porch is a massive, we think, hollow, block of concrete with steps, of a type common in this area of the city. It must have been set in place with a forklift, and it does not wholly touch the house on either of two sides.

Jane saw the envelope go, but did not get who it was from or what it was. It could be a check, it could be an advert, it could be a legal document, a contract, no knowing what.

It is now in there, possibly fallen over underneath the porch, since we think that area may be hollow.

Jane called the post office to complain and a postal official-person is coming by sometime today to survey the situation and see if he can think of a way to access the lost letter. We don’t think so. We tried a long engineering-type T square, we tried a hand-and-a-half sword, we tried a horse training whip, and no joy: due to irregularities in the brickwork meeting the foundation, it’s hard even to get these items down to the ground in the crack, let alone find anything. We have contemplated digging a hole next to the porch to see if it is hollow, and if we could possibly fish it out sideways.

I contacted people I could think of who might send us such envelopes, but they say nothing recent. Sigh. If it were ONLY a check from my agent, we could get it replaced. But not knowing what it is—leaves a lot of room for who-from.

The server changed stuff, my password got blitzed, but we got it working—and the book—is in!

It is in New York. I do not even want to tell you all that happened trying to get this file to New York, usually a matter of seconds. But it is done, it is in! And we did it! With Jane’s suggestions, input, spellchecking, grammar-checking, reading, critiquing, agreeing and disagreeing and providing some brilliant what-ifs and brilliant suggestions on scenes—it is done. A whole book. 1/4 of the usual alloted time.

I have no brain now. Jane is going to transport me to the pub and we are going to have a late lunch or early dinner, and I am going to fall on my face.

It’s finished!

And I honestly don’t know what to do with myself. I found myself walking around and around the triangular loop between hall, kitchen and living room, without the least notion what I’m to do now…the concentration’s been so absolute, so long, waking to sleeping, that I really can’t think what to do now.

Winterize the pond, take a hike, go out to lunch, futz with the marine chemistry, I dunno—there’s plenty around here that wants doing.

But now Jane’s reading the bits she hasn’t read, and I’m not finished until Jane’s caught all my mistakes and asked all her questions, so I can’t quite go ape. I just have to wait.