In which there is ketchup

So, we went to Boskone, and it was fun.

I had my doubts, as we drove out last Thursday morning, to catch the Downeaster to Boston.  It had snowed on the overnight, and the Amtrak lot at Brunswick is uncovered, as are most of the parking lots in Maine. Honestly, you’d think it never snowed here.

Still, it had snowed, and I had visions of us having to shovel out a parking space, if, in fact, the lot was open at all.

Now, this?  Is the upside of being a pessimist.  We get so many more nice surprises than optimists.  For instance — yes the lot was both full of snow and full of cars, but!  there were two spaces available, and a front-loader on the case clearing the snow.  The nice operator dug out one of the two available spots for us, leaving us fresh for a small tussle with the “automatic parking meter,”  which, given the snow and the temperature, and all, was a little less automatic than one might wish.  Eventually, however, Victory Was Ours, and we rolled our suitcases down to the actual train station, and boarded in good order.

We arrived in Boston to find that — surprise! — North Station was undergoing construction and the Taxi Feeding Grounds from which we have for many years claimed our ride across town was — unavailable.  In fact, there were no taxis to be seen.

Finally, we walked up Portland Street, to the Kimpton Onyx Hotel, which had done us a good turn once before, and asked the nice person on the front desk to call us a cab, which she very kindly did, and we were on our way.

Boskone was lovely.  We saw a lot of people we hadn’t seen in years, what with one thing and another; had a delightful Friends of Liad breakfast, and several stimulating panels.  We signed books; I lost my voice, and on Monday morning, in the teeth of a very pretty little snow that did very little violence to the Traffic of Boston, given that it was a holiday, we were returned to North Station, where a nice Transit Authority Person was able to give us succinct and accurate directions to Amtrak, and so to Brunswick, and thence to Waterville, where we were very glad to see the cats, and vice versa.

We had a celebratory Home Again pizza, as is our habit, and a good night’s sleep.  This morning, we slept in, and, now that my hair is dry, I will be going out to the grocery store.  After lunch, I will delve into The Taxes, and Steve will be hitting the galleys for Liaden Universe® Constellation Volume Four.

So, yanno:  Back to normal, until next Thursday, when Steve will be reporting to the Cardiac Unit at Eastern Maine Medical Center to have his generator replaced.

I would be remiss if I failed to mention that today is Belle’s ninth birthday, which she is celebrating by sleeping in the sun, stretched full length on the cedar chest.

. . .and that?  Catches us all up.

Here, have a picture from the con.

Questions Answered Here

So, there have been Questions.

Herewith Answers.

No, I don’t know when the eArc for Accepting the Lance will come out.  I really wish people would stop asking me this question, first thing after we’ve announced a manuscript has been turned in.  Or at all, really.  I usually know when an eARC has come out because a reader tells me.

No, it’s not likely that the publication date will be moved up from December.  Myself, I’m amazed that Baen is getting . . .Lance into print in 2019.

No, it is not a 200,000 +/- manuscript.  There’s a reason for that.  I’ll explain it later.  For right now, let’s just say that. . .

. . .yes, we are scheduled to deliver another book this year to Baen.  Its subject is the Dutiful Passage; and it does not yet have a title. About half of it is written, and, honestly?  I won’t even look at it until March.  No, I don’t know when this novel will be published, and don’t even start with me about the eArc.

Yes, Steve is writing a third book detailing the life and times of Jethri Gobelyn.  It, too, does not have a title.  Or a deadline.  We’re aiming for early 2020.

Yes, there is a brand! new! Liaden Universe® chapbook in your future.  Possibly, I will finish drafting it at Boskone.  I’m not particularly busy at Boskone, so that actually is a possibility.

No, the rest of my life has not, unfortunately, settled down.  My sister is still dead; my father is still in hospice dying of cancer, and I am still charged with making sense out of the dire mess of his paperwork, which also includes pushing and shoving and shouting at the universe until it forks over with Needful Things.  This is an exhausting procedure, as many of you know from your own experiences.  This is all, of course, in addition to catching up all the stuff I let slide while we were finishing the book, getting paperwork together for the accountant, and the rest of the things going on in our lives which include. . .

Boskone, as mentioned.  This is a good thing.  I’m looking forward to Boskone.  A couple weeks after we come home, Steve will be undergoing outpatient surgery to replace the “generator” that powers the I(mplanted) C(ardioverter) D(ebrillator) in his chest.  They tell us that this is a very simple procedure, requiring only a minor incision, the replacement of the battery, and some glue.  A couple weeks’ recuperation at home.  No biggie, they say.  Still worrisome as hell, if you ask me, and you did, so there you have it.

Yes, the cats are fine.  I have been overworking the coon cats, but they have risen nobly to the occasion.  Scrabble has even taken a couple shifts with me, to give the primary care workers some time to care for themselves.

I think this answers all of the current crop of questions.  Y’all stay well; thank you for care.

The Lee and Miller Boskone 56 Schedule

As mentioned elsewhere, Steve and I (that’s Steve Miller and Sharon Lee) will be attending Boskone 56  February 15 through 19, at the Westin Boston Waterfront.  This is what our Official Con Schedule looks like.  You’ll also likely see us in the art show, the dealers room, and in the hallways or the Big Living Room, reading (Sharon) or talking (Steve).

FRIDAY

The Hopeful Future in Science Fiction
15 Feb 2019, Friday 2:00 – 2:50, Harbor II (Westin)
Science fiction can tend toward grim futuristic realism that is either technology-based or post-apocalyptic. Are these the futures we want to write for ourselves? Or read? In light of all the possibilities, where can we find the bright and shining moments? What current fiction gives us hope for the future? And how can we stay positive while still being realistic?
James Patrick Kelly (writer) (M), Muriel Stockdale, Gene Doucette, Fonda Lee, Steve Miller

The Long View (of a Writing Career)
15 Feb 2019, Friday 5:00 – 5:50, Marina 3 (Westin)
How do you keep the fiction and art fresh after 10, 20, 30-plus years in the business? A few streaks of gray here; a few wrinkles there … but we’re still here, contributing to SF/F literature and art and the fandom that embraces them. Our panelists take a look down memory lane at their careers — and how things have changed since they were young, eager creatives, struggling to find their place in the field. Stories will be told, advice will be shared, and a few laughs (and tears?) will be shed over the good times and bad that come with walking the long road of writing.
Ginjer Buchanan (M), Sharon Lee, Jeffrey A. Carver, Steve Miller, Allen M. Steele

Shared-Universe Worldbuilding
15 Feb 2019, Friday 6:00 – 6:50, Marina 3 (Westin)
Authors can cooperate in a variety of ways: co-authoring, writing a sequel to another’s work, extending/finishing a series started by another, etc. Shared worlds are purpose-built for different authors to (more or less independently) set their own stories. How do you make a sandbox for multiple writers to play in? What are some pitfalls? What prevents the world from degenerating, or tying up its authors in knots while trying to maintain mutual consistency? Let’s look at successful shared universes, and what keeps them worlds ahead of the rest.
Steve Miller, Victoria Sandbrook (M), Lauren Roy, Barry Lee Dejasu, David Anthony Durham

SATURDAY

Friends of Liad Breakfast with Steve Miller and Sharon Lee
16 Feb 2019, Saturday 8:30 – 9:30, Sauciety, Westin
This is a family event for fans of the Liaden Universe®, the Cat Farm Cats, or, yanno, whatever.  This is not a convention event; it’s a group of friends getting together to catch up over breakfast.  You are expected to pay for your own breakfast.  Sharon and Steve will be paying for their breakfasts, too.  Hope to see you there.

Autographing: Jonathan Hunt, Sharon Lee, Dan Moren, Steve Miller, Rebecca Roanhorse
16 Feb 2019, Saturday 10:00 – 10:50, Galleria – Autographing (Westin)

The Great Escape
16 Feb 2019, Saturday 1:00 – 1:50, Burroughs (Westin)
How do you extricate your characters from sticky situations? Felix the Cat has his bag of tricks, Batman has his utility belt — but heavy-handed rabbit-pulling is passé these days. So what’s it take to orchestrate a believable, savvy escape? Or a whole series of them, when your plot keeps putting your protagonist in peril? Let’s consider some great SF/F/H escapes, and discuss how the writer pulled them off.
Sharon Lee, Brad Abraham, Brendan DuBois (M), Brenda W. Clough , Laurence Raphael Brothers

Economics in SF/F Worlds
16 Feb 2019, Saturday 2:00 – 2:50, Burroughs (Westin)
Whether you deal in coin, platinum, electronic credits, or chickens, all societies rest upon an agreed-upon economic foundation. However, fantastic fiction rarely features a reference to any body that establishes and monitors a financial system. How important is it to see a working (or failing) economy in an SF/F world? Can you realistically have a cashless society (Star Trek) or a civilization run by orcs (LOTR)? What are the economic drivers that keep these worlds turning? Fellowships that cross multiple borders to throw away precious metal objects so rarely pay well. How do our heroes and villains survive without visible incomes of any kind?
MR Richardson (M), Fonda Lee, Karl Schroeder, Steve Miller, Walter H. Hunt

The Middle Book Syndrome
16 Feb 2019, Saturday 4:00 – 4:50, Marina 4 (Westin)
The first book of your series was amazing: solid story; compelling characters; great reception by publisher, critics, and fans. Now, the hard part: living up to all the high expectations. Or maybe the first book had a less receptive reception, but you still need to produce that second volume? Plus there’s the rhythm problem — first book, thrilling beginnings; last book, satisfying conclusions; middle book, recaps and repetitions … How do you deal with the pressures of a multi-book contract and impatient fans?
Juliana Spink Mills, Fran Wilde (M), Kenneth Rogers Jr., Sarah Beth Durst , Sharon Lee

The (r)Evolution of Military SF
16 Feb 2019, Saturday 4:00 – 4:50, Burroughs (Westin)
The tools of war change: shouldn’t fiction about fighting also evolve? Even as weapons in the real world are approaching science fictional levels of lethality, the spirit of military SF hasn’t changed much since the age of swords. Let’s look at how technology, fiction, and the military intersect and interact.
Alan Brown, Vincent O’Neil (M), Paul Di Filippo, Steve Miller, Errick Nunnally

The Impact of Fandom
16 Feb 2019, Saturday 5:00 – 5:50, Marina 4 (Westin)
Fandom is a many-splendored (and terrifying?) thing. As fandom accompanies SF/F into the mainstream, what’s its impact on the genre’s creators? Do fans actually save shows? Influence creative directions? Drive innovation? Or demand more of the same? What about when fans become creators themselves? Looking ahead, what more might we fans do for our beloved genre?
Janice Gelb (M), Dave Weingart, Jim Mann, Steve Miller, Brad Abraham

SUNDAY

Kaffeeklatsch: Sharon Lee and Steve Miller
17 Feb 2019, Sunday 11:00 – 11:50, Galleria – Kaffeeklatsch 2 (Westin)

Reading by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller
17 Feb 2019, Sunday 1:00 – 1:25, Griffin (Westin)

And that’s a wrap

Accepting the Lance, by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, the twenty-second novel in our original Liaden Universe® series, our eighty-sixth collaborative effort, has been turned in to Baen.

Lance weighs in at just about 130,000 words.

It will be published in December 2019.  Cover art will be by David Mattingly.

It is now traditional for the writer to say:

THUD.

 

 

Coon Cat Logic

Those of you who have been following along for a while, hereanthere, will possibly recall that I amuse myself from time to time telling stories about the cats, their behavior, their possible motives, and their Catly Powers. Mostly, this is whimsy, but occasionally the cats step up and prove that Real Life is stranger than whimsy.

As for instance, last night/very early today.

I have not, for various reasons been sleeping particularly well. The cats have really been throwing their weight behind the whole night-time comfort thing; it’s been rare, indeed, lately to wake out of a bad dream to find that I have less than two Coon cats holding me down. Often, all three are present.

This morning/last night, I had been asleep, and I was having a very. . .tense. . .dream, from which I was roused when Belle, who had been sleeping on my feet, strolled up to my pillow and began to knead and purr.

Now. . .in the Normal Way of Things, Belle is my go-to put-me-to-sleep expert. She just has Awesome Skillz, which I attribute to her former career as Mom Cat and on-call Aunt.

This morning, however, she stopped in mid-knead, ceased purring, spoke to me rather peevishly (“Oh, for goodness’ sake; how did you get in there, you stupid kitten?”), and jumped down. I sighed, regretfully, turned over the pillow, and was just wondering if maybe I should get up when — Belle returned. With Trooper.

Belle went back down to the bottom of the bed and settled on my feet. Trooper stared into my face for a minute, sighed, and threw himself against my chest, tucked his head firmly under my chin, wriggled until he had gotten my hand to rest on his belly, and started to produce the deep, athletic, whole-body rumblings for which he is particularly known.

. . .and I went back to sleep, with no more dreams (that I remember, anyway.)

So, that.

And now to work.

Everybody stay comfy.

Housekeeping Note: In Which This Site Will Be Twilit

Because I know some of y’all worry when the blog doesn’t update regularly. . .

I will not be updating this blog — or any blog, actually — for. . .a while.

The reasons for this are several.  One is that, of course, we’re deep in the end game for Accepting the Lance, which is due, no excuses, by the end of January.  By itself, as you and I both know from experience, this would be enough to limit updates.  I’m lead on Lance, and being the end of several story arcs, as it is, it’s being, ahem, a little difficult to bring in.

In addition to this, a small mountain of family crises has landed in my lap.  As it turns out certain obligations fall to the last surviving child of a parent — and that would be me.  You will remember that my sister died earlier this month, very suddenly, leaving things with regard to our father’s care. . .a little awry, but recoverable, or so I imagine her thoughts went, had she recovered.  She did not, and in the aftermath of her departure, documents which really ought to have been kept. . .weren’t.

I have therefore inherited said small mountain, which includes people demanding payments, and other people denying me access to accounts, until I can prove X,Y,Z.  Needless to say, the folks who want their money are a lot less particular about what I can prove than the folks who are holding the checks.

To sum up: I am simultaneously embarked on two life-devouring projects, which means “extras,” like updating this blog, will have to go on hold.

Steve will be updating Welcome to Liad with writing, professional, and appearance news (yes, we do still plan — very much — on attending Boskone in February).  He also plans to resume the story hours on Patreon.  He has begun writing the next Liaden book, which he tells me will be a Jethri book, the sequel to Trade Secret.

. . .and here ends my tale.

Everybody stay safe, right?  And may the incoming year bring joy and success to us all.

 

Books Read in 2018

64. Lords and Ladies, Terry Pratchett (read aloud with Steve)
63. Airs Above the Ground, Mary Stewart (re-read) (e)
62. The Cat Who Talked to Ghosts, Lillian Jackson Braun (read aloud with Steve)
61. The Hollow of Fear, Sherry Thomas (e)
60. A Conspiracy in Belgravia, Sherry Thomas (e)
59. The Singing Sands, Josephine Tey (read aloud with Steve)
58. The Astonishing Excursions of Helen Narbon & Co., OR, A Voyage to the Moon, By the Author of “Narbonic” et. al. S. Garrity (re-read. sort of.)
57. Good Omens, Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett (read aloud with Steve; re-read for me; first time for him)
56.  Diamond Fire, Ilona Andrews (e)
55. The Reactorside Reader, Shaenon K. Garrity
54. Kings and Wizards, The Second Journey of Agatha Heterodyne, Book Four, Kaja and Phil Foglio
53. Travels with Myself and Another, Martha Gellhorn
52. A Night in the Lonesome October, Roger Zelazny (read aloud with Steve re-re-re-re-re-re-&c-read)
51. Bayou, Volume One, Jeremy Love (library book)
50. Bone: Out from Boneville, Jeff Smith (library book)
49. Saga, Volume One, Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples (library book)
48. This Rough Magic, Mary Stewart (re-read) (e)
47. Elizabeth and Her German Garden, Elizabeth von Arnim (read aloud with Steve)
46. Why Kill the Innocent, C.S. Harris
45. To Love and Be Wise, Josephine Tey (read aloud with Steve)
44. A Study in Scarlet Women, Sherry Thomas (e)
43. Shards of Hope, Nalini Singh (read aloud with Steve)
42. The Tightrope Walker, Dorothy Gilman
41. The Wisdom of the Beguines, Laura Swan
40. Miss Pym Disposes, Josephine Tey (read aloud with Steve)
39. Cinnamon Blade: A Knife in Shining Armor, Shira Glassman (e)
38. Hunter of Worlds, C.J. Cherryh (re-read; read aloud with Steve)
37. The Black Wolves of Boston, Wen Spencer (re-read) (e)
36. The Man in the Queue, Josephine Tey (read aloud with Steve)
35. Shield of Winter, Nalini Singh (read aloud with Steve)
34. Waiting on a Bright Moon, Jy Yang (e)
33.  The Amazing Mrs. Pollifax, Dorothy Gilman (e)
32. The Daughter of Time, Josephine Tey (re-read for me; read aloud w/Steve)
31. Eight Million Gods, Wen Spencer (re-read) (e)
30. These Old Shades, Georgette Heyer (re-re-re-read; read aloud with Steve)
29. The Prince and the Dressmaker, Jen Wang
28. The Talisman Ring, Georgette Heyer (re-re-re-read; read aloud with Steve)
27. The Moon-spinners, Mary Stewart (re-read) (e)
26. The Cat Who Went Underground, Lilian Jackson Braun (read aloud with Steve)
25. Winterglass, Benjanun Sriduangkaew (e)
24. The Cat Who Sniffed Glue, Lilian Jackson Braun (read aloud with Steve)
23. The Tea Master and the Detective, Aliette de Bodard (e)
22. The Persian Boy, Mary Renault
21. Heart of Obsidian, Nalini Singh (read aloud with Steve)
20. Brat Farrar, Josephine Tey
19. Woman Without a Past, Phyllis A. Whitney (e)
18. The Mermaid’s Sister, Carrie Anne Noble (e)
17. All Systems Red, Martha Wells (e)
16. Burn Bright, Patricia Briggs (e)
15. The Ivy Tree, Mary Stewart (re-read) (e)
14. Kiss of Snow, Nalini Singh (read aloud with Steve)
13. Throne of Jade, Naomi Novik (e)
12. His Majesty’s Dragon, Naomi Novik (e)
11. The Cat Who Played Post Office, Lilian Jackson Braun (read aloud with Steve)
10. The Faded Sun: Kutath, CJ Cherryh (e)
9.  Emergence, CJ Cherryh (read aloud with Steve)
8.  The Faded Sun: Shon’jir, CJ Cherryh (re-read) (e)
7.  The Faded Sun: Kesrith, CJ Cherryh (e)
6.  My Brother Michael, Mary Stewart (re-read) (e)
5.  The River Bank, Kij Johnson (read aloud with Steve)
4.  Still Life, Louise Penny
3.  Thick as Thieves, Megan Whalen Turner
2.  The Furthest Station, Ben Aaronovitch (e)
1.  Romancing the Werewolf, Gail Carriger (e)

Books read in 2018

63. Airs Above the Ground, Mary Stewart (re-read) (e)
62. The Cat Who Talked to Ghosts, Lillian Jackson Braun (read aloud with Steve)
61. The Hollow of Fear, Sherry Thomas (e)
60. A Conspiracy in Belgravia, Sherry Thomas (e)
59. The Singing Sands, Josephine Tey (read aloud with Steve)
58. The Astonishing Excursions of Helen Narbon & Co., OR, A Voyage to the Moon, By the Author of “Narbonic” et. al. S. Garrity (re-read. sort of.)
57. Good Omens, Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett (read aloud with Steve; re-read for me; first time for him)
56.  Diamond Fire, Ilona Andrews (e)
55. The Reactorside Reader, Shaenon K. Garrity
54. Kings and Wizards, The Second Journey of Agatha Heterodyne, Book Four, Kaja and Phil Foglio
53. Travels with Myself and Another, Martha Gellhorn
52. A Night in the Lonesome October, Roger Zelazny (read aloud with Steve re-re-re-re-re-re-&c-read)
51. Bayou, Volume One, Jeremy Love (library book)
50. Bone: Out from Boneville, Jeff Smith (library book)
49. Saga, Volume One, Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples (library book)
48. This Rough Magic, Mary Stewart (re-read) (e)
47. Elizabeth and Her German Garden, Elizabeth von Arnim (read aloud with Steve)
46. Why Kill the Innocent, C.S. Harris
45. To Love and Be Wise, Josephine Tey (read aloud with Steve)
44. A Study in Scarlet Women, Sherry Thomas (e)
43. Shards of Hope, Nalini Singh (read aloud with Steve)
42. The Tightrope Walker, Dorothy Gilman
41. The Wisdom of the Beguines, Laura Swan
40. Miss Pym Disposes, Josephine Tey (read aloud with Steve)
39. Cinnamon Blade: A Knife in Shining Armor, Shira Glassman (e)
38. Hunter of Worlds, C.J. Cherryh (re-read; read aloud with Steve)
37. The Black Wolves of Boston, Wen Spencer (re-read) (e)
36. The Man in the Queue, Josephine Tey (read aloud with Steve)
35. Shield of Winter, Nalini Singh (read aloud with Steve)
34. Waiting on a Bright Moon, Jy Yang (e)
33.  The Amazing Mrs. Pollifax, Dorothy Gilman (e)
32. The Daughter of Time, Josephine Tey (re-read for me; read aloud w/Steve)
31. Eight Million Gods, Wen Spencer (re-read) (e)
30. These Old Shades, Georgette Heyer (re-re-re-read; read aloud with Steve)
29. The Prince and the Dressmaker, Jen Wang
28. The Talisman Ring, Georgette Heyer (re-re-re-read; read aloud with Steve)
27. The Moon-spinners, Mary Stewart (re-read) (e)
26. The Cat Who Went Underground, Lilian Jackson Braun (read aloud with Steve)
25. Winterglass, Benjanun Sriduangkaew (e)
24. The Cat Who Sniffed Glue, Lilian Jackson Braun (read aloud with Steve)
23. The Tea Master and the Detective, Aliette de Bodard (e)
22. The Persian Boy, Mary Renault
21. Heart of Obsidian, Nalini Singh (read aloud with Steve)
20. Brat Farrar, Josephine Tey
19. Woman Without a Past, Phyllis A. Whitney (e)
18. The Mermaid’s Sister, Carrie Anne Noble (e)
17. All Systems Red, Martha Wells (e)
16. Burn Bright, Patricia Briggs (e)
15. The Ivy Tree, Mary Stewart (re-read) (e)
14. Kiss of Snow, Nalini Singh (read aloud with Steve)
13. Throne of Jade, Naomi Novik (e)
12. His Majesty’s Dragon, Naomi Novik (e)
11. The Cat Who Played Post Office, Lilian Jackson Braun (read aloud with Steve)
10. The Faded Sun: Kutath, CJ Cherryh (e)
9.  Emergence, CJ Cherryh (read aloud with Steve)
8.  The Faded Sun: Shon’jir, CJ Cherryh (re-read) (e)
7.  The Faded Sun: Kesrith, CJ Cherryh (e)
6.  My Brother Michael, Mary Stewart (re-read) (e)
5.  The River Bank, Kij Johnson (read aloud with Steve)
4.  Still Life, Louise Penny
3.  Thick as Thieves, Megan Whalen Turner
2.  The Furthest Station, Ben Aaronovitch (e)
1.  Romancing the Werewolf, Gail Carriger (e)