In case you need a laugh today

Something funny my clone-sibling just told me…

Scientists have decoded the signal from Alpha Centauri: “We’ve been trying to reach you about your extended auto warranty…”

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Announcement about “that novel” (*)

Friends, we have artwork:

If you’ve read Paul’s previous novels, you may recall the Amundsen being mentioned in The Madness Engine. Here are a couple of paragraphs from that portion of the novel:

One of the towers stood empty, but three had giant rockets standing ready for an order to launch that would never come. Those must be the colony ships, Drake thought to himself. Gerhardt had launched the Roald Amundson to Alpha Centauri in hopes of finding inhabitable worlds. It was an amazing feat, given the primitive technology of twenty-first century Earth.

Of course, the war had interrupted the whole mission. The explorers had launched in the Roald Amundson only months before the virus outbreak. They would be traveling for years to come. Drake had found a note that said Gerhardt had sent a message to them, telling them of the war, but they were in coldsleep. They wouldn’t know what had happened until they woke up at Centauri. It would be too late for them then. The trip had been one way. They were depending on the colony ships to bring the supplies needed to come back. They would die out there, never able to return home.

Anyway, I’m delighted to finally have a mission patch for the Amundsen. Now I just need to get this put on a coffee mug… 🙂

“Why a coffee mug, Weaver? Why not a t-shirt or something?” Because the captain of the Amundsen drank a lot of coffee, that’s why. I’ll probably also see about getting an actual patch like this at some point, but really, the coffee mug is more important to me.


*”That novel” is what I used to call this particular WIP; last year, Paul gave it the working title of Necessary Precautions. The Amundsen‘s mission to [redacted] isn’t the main focus of the novel, but it is very important backstory. (Also, when the first manned anything to go beyond the Sol system is assumed lost for more than a century, but then it comes back… Yeah. Scary times for all involved, I’m sure. Except that old guy at Jellico, who knows far more than he’s telling, and even he’s worried.)

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(office kitty)

Another old post, but everyone likes to see cute cat photos, right?

I also just realized that I never shared any of the photos Grace took of IttyBitty while all the cats were spending a few hours in Paul’s office at work (because we all had to evacuate the house due to a wildfire nearby).

So, without further ado, I present to you… Office Kitty:

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(plausible)

I typed most of this in May of 2019 — where does the time go? *shakes head*

I’m having more than a little bit of anxiety — okay, nearly panic at times — because of something Grace told me she’d said to one of her friends yesterday afternoon.

She was talking to her friend Sherri (?), who’s been reading Paul’s latest novel (which Sherri bought in paperback — yay!) and is almost finished with it. ‘Paul needs to write faster,’ Sherri said, ‘because I’m about to run out of book again.’ So Grace asked her if she’d read the short stories yet…

Turned out that Sherri didn’t even know there are short stories connected with this series of novels, so Grace told her that they’re still available for free on Paul’s author website, but, ‘He’s going to remove them sometime soon, so download ’em while you still can.’

So far, so good… except that one of those short stories has a co-author listed, and the co-author has an aversion to drawing attention to himself in “real life” (as opposed to just the internet), and it’s possible that Sherri will be curious about this co-author, and she may, y’know, do an internet search and end up here, reading my blog and seeing my bio and realizing, Hey, Paul has a twin! and then thinking, Why have we never met Thomas? Why is he such a recluse? What’s wrong with him?

And I don’t want to deal with it. Ever. I want Sherri to read Paul’s short stories, of course, but I don’t want her looking at me as a result. (If some of the things I’ve written about Jason Grey are any indication — and they probably are — I get mean when I feel cornered that way.)

Not everything that happened yesterday is bad news for me, though. Something else Grace told me suggests she’s still negotiating with the person who has an embroidery machine to get a “mission logo” patch made for the exploration vessel/starship Roald Amundsen. (I also want that logo on a coffee mug. Ideally, the ginormous mug I got a few years ago.) Grace would make it herself, except it really needs to be machine-embroidered, and Grace only does hand embroidery. (Real space mission patches, by the way, are printed on special fabric that won’t burn or melt; the embroidered versions are no longer made except to sell to collectors. I didn’t know that until I started doing research for character backstory…)

More than a year and a half later… Sherri ought to have another of Paul’s novels to read soon-ish: I’m around twenty chapters/thirty percent through the first round of copyedits on a novel titled (unless the author changes his mind, which he did at almost literally the last minute with the first book in the series) The Dark Plaza.

There seem to be a lot more short stories in the works, too… but it’s unlikely that Sherri will read any of those. Or so I tell myself.

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Sometimes, he takes a break from editing, and then something funny happens.

I suppose it’s good to know that “flash-precog” thing is still working…

There I was, copyediting Paul’s latest novel. Got to the very beginning of that scene, the one I’ve been waiting for since practically forever. Decided to take a break, however, because the author of the manuscript was nearby (staying home from day job today), and that meant I couldn’t listen to music as a way of, um… redirecting some of the emotions that keep surfacing due to thematic elements (fun fact: we started using that term after encountering it in an interview with Neil Gaiman — how appropriate, in a weird, three-universes-to-the-left sort of way) in this part of the story.

So I checked my email instead. Saw that there was something about the day’s “theme music,” from a blogger I follow… And I knew. Instantly, beyond the shadow of a doubt, I knew what the song would be: “I Ran (So Far Away),” by A Flock of Seagulls.

Seagulls. Yeah. Because I’d just started editing the scene in which Jon Livingston (a man, not a bird) first actually appears “on screen” in this story…

(Are you reading this blog post, Loyal Reader? Are you paying attention…?)

I also have fragments of a Peter Gabriel song running in the back of my brain, but that’s not my fault. “Waves of steel,” indeed. *shakes head* I should be glad that I’ve been such a “bad influence” on my dear clone-sibling that he made an allusion to song lyrics in something he wrote.

Could have been worse. Editing that scene yesterday would’ve probably made me angry, for reasons entirely in the backstory. (“The character’s backstory or yours, Weaver?” Yeah, good question. I’ll let you know when I find out.) As it is, I just have to ignore the turns of phrase the author chose deliberately to mess with the new character (and our “bestest beta reader,” obviously) while correcting a few comma splices and polishing the occasional awkward sentence structure.

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*drinks coffee… picks up red pen*

Monday afternoon, my clone-sibling (*wonders if this means Paul is also able to wield the Red Pen of Doom — y’know, just in case*) handed over the manuscript for the fifth book of The Awakening series. Notice that I’m not referring to it as “the last Tebrey novel.” That’s because it isn’t; it’s simply the last book in this series. (Paul mentioned today that he’s thinking of leaving a note at the end of this book: Tebrey will return in Stars’ End.) Anyway, I’ve started the copyediting, and we already contacted our Loyal Reader and offered him the chance to be the first human to read this story… 🙂

I don’t know if a publication date has been decided yet. July seems a bit late, but it’s somewhat appropriate: July 17 is Daeren Drake’s birthday (adjusted for local calendar, of course), and July 23, 1995 was when I met my brother… Apparently C. Grendel’s birthday is sometime in July, too. (I didn’t know; Paul just mentioned something over the weekend about wanting to ‘have a birthday party for Grendel’ in July if at all possible. It’s actually that Paul joined the Society for Creative Anachronism in July, 1991. So yeah, party like it’s the mid-1400s, or something… but don’t ask me how old Grendel is, because I’m not supposed to make jokes about that.)

Perfectly logical segue that only looks like a non sequitur: In addition to Necessary Precautions, Paul has also been making progress with Riders on the Storm, the sequel to Project Brimstone. (*mutters something about epigenetics*) Y’know what’s really inconvenient? Needing a character for a story, but not having them available because they’re busy in a different universe. (Even the character best suited to handle the problem when the first one isn’t around… is also busy elsewhere. Not that I’m complaining.)

I guess it’s not at all surprising, then, that he’s also been thinking about “Finder’s Fee” (Alandra makes passing reference to a song that we do not even think about when discussing Riders on the Storm — it would make Dr. Channing angry, and then he’d refuse to cooperate, and the other characters sorta need his good will right now), trying to figure out how to line up ducks — or whatever it is he’s going — so the different points in the overall chronology make sense when seen as a whole… *shrug* And he said something to me yesterday (as we were standing in line to get our first COVID-19 vaccines) about wanting to use some stuff I wrote years ago about Teige’s backstory… (*wonders whether it was a mistake to allow the clone to re-read the original version of “that novel” last autumn*)

I gotta get back to copyediting feline (neo-panther) snark now… Just wanted to give everyone an update on our writing-related stuff.

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New year, new look…

You’re not imagining things: I did change my avatar/profile photo. Temporarily, anyway.

The ginormous coffee mug seems appropriate, considering the novel my clone-sibling and I have been working on lately. (Shortest explanation: the person in charge of the Roald Amundsen‘s interstellar mission drinks a lot of coffee.) The red pen and the copy of The Chicago Manual of Style, on which the ginormous coffee mug rests, should be self-explanatory.

No doubt some people would tell me that even a temporary change in avatar/profile photo is a very bad idea: ‘It’s important to always use the same image because blah blah branding blah.’ Yeah, well, I don’t like that word. And under the circumstances, a term originating in the practice of deliberately marking something by burning it with iron… Thematic elements, kids: sometimes I prefer not to think about ’em unless I’m in the process of writing the story at that moment. (*wonders what his twin is writing at this moment*)

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…And then there was that time when his clone-sibling finished writing the final book in a series.

For reasons unknown to me, I’ve had strains of the Rush song “Bravado” running through my head. (Could be Jon’s fault, could be Jason’s fault… “Thematic elements” and all, y’know?)

Clearly, I thought, this is a sign from Murphy, god of strange coincidence and chaos-for-your-own-damn-good, that I should send an email to LR and tell him that the fifth “Tebrey-verse” novel is nearly ready for humans to read.

So I did. After all, LR stands for loyal reader. (Really, brain? A double-l at the beginning of a word? Okay, so I know whose fault it is that I’ve had that song stuck in my head… *throws something at the elusive Mr. Livingston*) He’s been a fan of Paul’s fiction since forever. He even knows our secrets about where we find some of the inspirations for our stories… *fake-ominous music* So I’m really looking forward to the sound of LR’s brain exploding when he reads this latest book.

I think Paul is not planning to seek beta readers for this novel, but if anyone wants an ARC and promises to read it and leave a review, I’m sure something can be arranged. (There are a handful of people following my blog whose opinions I’d love to have on this novel in particular. Some of the characters in the novel want to know what you think, too — they’re just hesitant to say so.)

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WRITING UPDATE: 12-11-2020

The clone is letting his latest completed manuscript sit until January before he goes back through it with a final round of revisions.

And… he has gone back to working on “that novel,” which has an actual working title now: Necessary Precautions. This has nothing to do with the story, though. Instead, it comes from a quote Paul found from the person one of the starships in the story is named for: Roald Amundsen. Something about, ‘With the necessary precautions taken, adventure may be completely avoided.’ Anyway, Paul says he’s using that working title because it gives him an excuse to call the file “the necessary manuscript,” the way he’d been calling this latest Tebrey novel “the dark manuscript.” (Now, aren’t you sorry you ever asked for some insights into the thought processes of fiction authors? Writers: what a bunch of weirdos!)

He still owes me a 3D CGI model of the Amundsen so Grace can have her friend Shannon make a 3D-printed version of it. And a mission patch from the Amundsen, too. Or a coffee mug with the mission logo from the Amundsen — that would be appropriate, considering the captain has a “worse” coffee habit than I do…

Yeah, I’m in the mood to work on fiction writing now, too. I love this feeling.

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Advice for the Day

Brought to you by unintentional contemplation of Backstory Revision syndrome and a hapless university student who ended up joining the military in a different universe:

Always keep good beer in your fridge, because you never know what sort of supernatural creature may show up to raid it.

To be fair, the “supernatural creature” in question didn’t show up for the express purpose of raiding the refrigerator; it was merely convenient to do so before leaving again. I don’t know if he liked the beer he stole, either; it never even occurred to me to ask. I’m just the uncredited-by-choice co-author, after all, so it’s probably none of my business. (Maybe I should ask, now that I think of it. Perhaps there is additional backstory detail in there somewhere… *shakes head*)

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