Blog Without A Name

Update: Signed Constellation IVs from Uncle Hugo

News for those who pre-ordered signed and/or personalized copies of Liaden Universe® Constellation Volume Four from Uncle Hugo’s.

UPS tells us that five cases of this title will land on our doorstep tomorrow, Wednesday, May 29, sometime before 8 pm.

Steve and I will sign and/or personalize these books as quickly as we can without breaking a leg, or a wrist.

When we have finished signing the books, we will put them on a UPS truck to Minneapolis, so the Uncle can take care of the hard part of this transaction:  charging credit cards, and packing and shipping books.

We are at this point shooting for Friday as the day we will place the five cases of books on the UPS truck.  We would like that; it’s our goal.  But it may come about that the books will not leave us until Monday.  No later than Monday, though, we promise.

Here ends your news update.

Yet Another Writers’ Day Off

So!  Yesterday, Steve and I took off in the rain to see the Very First Waterville Showing of Aladdin.  I had such a good time.  Yes, I know there’s Controversy.  Yes, I’m aware that Will Smith is not Robin Williams*.  I still had a great time; I have no fault to find and, yeah, Imma order the DVD.  Also, Rajah the Tiger was terrific.

After the movie, we went into Waterville proper and had our first meal at the new Greek restaurant, Opa.  Steve had the crabcakes, which he pronounced very good; I had the lamb kokkinsto (pulled lamb in a red sauce seasoned with garlic and cinnamon on a bed of orzo), which was excellent.

Replete, we wandered down Main Street, stopping to talk with our friend Ellen at Children’s Book Cellar and review the plans for the Drag Queen Story Hour next Saturday, and sought her advice regarding the upcoming International Film Festival (held in Waterville annually).

Then, we wandered back up the street, got the car, hit the grocery story for weekend supplies and came home, where we hung pictures in the dining room.  Yes, yes; it’s taking us awhile to hang the pictures, but we’re getting there.

Today is gloriously sunny, and the weatherbeans are calling for a high of 74F/23C.  I have all the windows open in my office.  Have I mentioned lately how much I love my office?

Lest you think that the only thing we’re doing around here is taking day’s off, I report today’s to-do list, which includes!

  1.  One hour proofing Conflict of  Honors mass market anniversary edition.  Which is not as easy as you might think.  Our experience proofing Agent of Change for it’s anniversary edition revealed, um, Some Number of Errors which had come through from the time, long ago, when We gave the electronic files from Embiid to Arnold of Fond Memory, who then stripped out the existing coding, and recoded, automagically.  So!  We’re proofing Conflict against the Meisha Merlin and the Del Rey editions.  Which means I (1) read the chapter in the MM edition; (2) go through that chapter in the pages provided by Baen, correcting any errors, and (3) if there’s a conflict, the Del Rey edition is the tie-breaker.  Yeah, it’s taking some time.  But the corrections aren’t due until July, so we have time.
  2. Figure out where the pieces Steve has given me back actually go in the current novel WIP, and putting them there.
  3. Writing the next scene in said novel WIP.
  4. Deadhead the geranium.
  5. Try on corset to test The Look for next week’s story hour.

Also!  For those who missed the news, you may now purchase Fortune’s Favors:  Adventures in the Liaden Universe® Number 28 AND Shout of Honor: Adventures in the Liaden Universe® Number 29 in ebook format from your favorite online vendors including Baen, Kobo, BN, Amazon; and in paper format from Amazon only.

. . . and I think that gets us all caught up again.

Everybody have a good weekend!

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*I was 40 when the animated Disney Aladdin came out, so I did not fixate on Robin Williams as the One True Genie before whom all others must be inadequate.  Truth told, he was a little too too for me, but that was often my experience of Robin Williams.

Books Read in 2019

19. City of Whispering Stone, George C. Ghesbro (read aloud with Steve)
18. Allegiance of Honor, Nalini Singh (read aloud with Steve)
17. Storm Cursed, Patricia Briggs (e)
16. Who Slays the Wicked, C.S. Harris
15. The Warlock in Spite of Himself, Christopher Stasheff (re-read)
14. The Cat Who Knew a Cardinal, Lilian Jackson Braun (read aloud with Steve)
13. Wild Ride, Jennifer Crusie & Bob Mayer (read aloud with Steve; re-read for me; first read for him)
12. Shadow of a Broken Man, George C. Chesbro (read aloud with Steve)
11. How Much for Just the Planet?, John M. Ford
10. Brat Farrar, Josephine Tey (read aloud with Steve; re-read for me; first read for him)
9.  Spinning Silver, Naomi Novik
8.  Lies Sleeping, Ben Aaronovitch
7.  The Luckiest Lady in London, Sherry Thomas
6.  Release the Virgins, Michael A. Ventrella, editor (read aloud with Steve)
5.  Becoming, Michelle Obama
4.  Agnes and the Hitman, Jennifer Crusie & Bob Mayer (read aloud with Steve; re-read for me; first read for him)
3. the unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Ryan North, Erica Henderson
2.  Alliance Rising, CJ Cherryh & Jane S. Fancher (read out loud with Steve)
1.  A Shilling for Candles, Josephine Tey (read out loud with Steve)

Writers’ Day Off Thursday Edition

So, yesterday, the sun was out, and was predicted to stay out all day.

We therefore packed up some drinks, threw ice and yeti freeze-blocks into the big ice chest, made sure we had our cameras in our bags, and escaped into the day.

We stopped for breakfast at IHOP in Augusta, then headed south.  We hit Old Orchard Beach at the peak of high tide; walked the beach, took some pictures, and were very comfortable in our winter jackets and woolly hats.

Though the Original Plan had not been to spend the whole day away, that pretty much went out the window before we’d even finished breakfast.  A whole day of sunshine ahead of us, with no emails to answer, or work to do?  Far too alluring to put aside.

We therefore drove souther, to York Beach, where we stopped short of Long Sands Beach to take pictures of the two lighthouses we could see in the distance, and a pod of ducks playing in the breakers.

The ducks were hard to get a good picture of (yeah, no kidding), but they were hysterical to watch.  The whole pod of them would be bobbing along, and then one would look over its head, discover a breaker, and apparently yell, in Duck, “Oh, no!  We’re gonna get wet!” whereupon the entire pod would dive beneath the wave and resurface — one, two-three, four, five….six-seven-eight — and bob along happily until the next breaker started to foam, and they’d do their thing again.

So, ducks are hard — everybody knows that.  What was surprising is that the lighthouses were hard to photograph.  While the sun was busily beating down on us on the sidewalk by Route 1, out there in the ocean, it was seriously misty.

Eventually, after having a nice chat about the glorious day with a couple who were walking their dogs — and making friends with said dogs — we got back in the car, headed for Long Sands Beach (this being, as I’ve always thought, having been early spoilt by the beaches of Maryland and New Jersey, an Exercise in Irony), but!  I saw a sign by the side of the road, and the sign said:

TO THE NUBBLE
————————->

“Quick!” I said to Steve, “turn right!”

Turn right he did and we followed a road lined on both sides by, ahem, Seaside Cottages, until the road ran out at Sohier Park, and there, in all its beautiousness, was Cape Neddick Lighthouse, which everyone calls The Nubble, to the point that people have forgotten its proper name entirely.

Here, have a picture of The Nubble.

We spent a loooong time at Sohier Park, taking pictures, sitting on the benches and soaking up the rays (warm and sunny in the park; no need for winter coats, at all).

After awhile, I said to Steve that I was going to walk to the other side of the park to see if the gift shop had lighthouse stamps.  I happened to have my Lighthouse Passport with me (don’t leave home without it!), and, after a moment’s rummaging about, Steve found his in his camera bag.

So, we both got our passports stamped for The Nubble and! for Boon Island Light, which you can sorta see from York Beach.  Sorta.  That’s pretty good, given the Season hasn’t opened yet.

We bought souvenirs (a Nubble Light lapel pin to join my collection of lapel pins; Steve got a Nubble Light ball cap), and eventually went out again into the day, to mooch around the park a little more, and finally drive back down into town.

From York, we went to Ogunquit, and stopped at the Maine Diner in Wells for supper.  Steve had the not-Maryland-style-crabcake; I had the chicken pot pie.  It was all good, though I found myself kind faunching after the lunch being consumed at the table next to us, which consisted of: a rootbeer float, a bowl of split pea and ham soup, and a slice of apple pie with ice cream.  I *really* want a rootbeer float now, but all we have in-house is “hard” rootbeer, which, yanno?  It could work.

Anyhow, we eventually wound up at Trader Joe’s (yes, again); took on supplies, including some frozen things (see ice chest and yeti cooler-blocks, above), and came home the fast way, insofar as there is a fast way, there to unpack, and view our photos on the day, then to the evening meal, a glass of wine and bed.

Today, it is raining.  I’m doing the laundry, after this blog post is finished, I’ll be opening up the WIP.  We also have in house the galleys for the new mass market edition of Conflict of Honors, to be published by Baen in October and!  the list of people who pre-ordered a signed copy of Liaden Universe® Constellation Volume Four from Uncle Hugo’s SF Bookstore.  We don’t have the books yet, but as soon as they get here, we will leap — yes, leap! — into action!

For our next Writers’ Day Off, I’m thinking of viewing Aladdin next Friday at the local theater.  That might be pleasant.

In the meantime, as above, it’s back to work.

Here, have another picture of The Nubble to warm you up.

Shout of Honor Release Day!

Today is the day!  For those who resisted the Lure of the Pre-Order, you may now purchase Shout of Honor: Adventures in the Liaden Universe® Number 29, by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller from your favorite online vendors.

Below is a partial list of links:
Baen eBooks
Universal Link to online stores
Amazon

Paper edition available only from Amazon

Steve and I hope you enjoy this newest installment in our thirty-one year labor of love.

New Liaden Universe® Chapbook

Shout of Honor: Adventures in the Liaden Universe® Number 29 will be published on May 15.  Hey, that’s WEDNESDAY!

On Wednesday, you will find the ebook at Baen.com, Kobo, BN, Amazon, and other online vendors.  You will also find a paper edition, available from Amazon only, available for purchase, starting, I hope, on Wednesday, but, yanno, maybe sooner, maybe later.  But eventually.

If you are the impatient sort, you may preorder Shout. . . right now from your favorite online vendor and have it delivered to your ereader first thing Wednesday morning.

For preorders:  BN, Kobo, Amazon, Apple*

If you missed it, there is a substantial snippet at the bottom of this blog entry

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*Unless we have mentioned another store in the text of the book somewhere, in which case, no, Apple will not be selling it and you’ll have to find another vendor.  Also, it looks like Apple is charging $4.99 for Shout. . .  Everybody else is charging retail:  $4.25

Books read in 2019

18. Allegiance of Honor, Nalini Singh (read aloud with Steve)
17. Storm Cursed, Patricia Briggs (e)
16. Who Slays the Wicked, C.S. Harris
15. The Warlock in Spite of Himself, Christopher Stasheff (re-read)
14. The Cat Who Knew a Cardinal, Lilian Jackson Braun (read aloud with Steve)
13. Wild Ride, Jennifer Crusie & Bob Mayer (read aloud with Steve; re-read for me; first read for him)
12. Shadow of a Broken Man, George C. Chesbro (read aloud with Steve)
11. How Much for Just the Planet?, John M. Ford
10. Brat Farrar, Josephine Tey (read aloud with Steve; re-read for me; first read for him)
9.  Spinning Silver, Naomi Novik
8.  Lies Sleeping, Ben Aaronovitch
7.  The Luckiest Lady in London, Sherry Thomas
6.  Release the Virgins, Michael A. Ventrella, editor (read aloud with Steve)
5.  Becoming, Michelle Obama
4.  Agnes and the Hitman, Jennifer Crusie & Bob Mayer (read aloud with Steve; re-read for me; first read for him)
3. the unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Ryan North, Erica Henderson
2.  Alliance Rising, CJ Cherryh & Jane S. Fancher (read out loud with Steve)
1.  A Shilling for Candles, Josephine Tey (read out loud with Steve)

Books Read in 2019

17. Storm Cursed, Patricia Briggs (e)
16. Who Slays the Wicked, C.S. Harris
15. The Warlock in Spite of Himself, Christopher Stasheff (re-read)
14. The Cat Who Knew a Cardinal, Lilian Jackson Braun (read aloud with Steve)
13. Wild Ride, Jennifer Crusie & Bob Mayer (read aloud with Steve; re-read for me; first read for him)
12. Shadow of a Broken Man, George C. Chesbro (read aloud with Steve)
11. How Much for Just the Planet?, John M. Ford
10. Brat Farrar, Josephine Tey (read aloud with Steve; re-read for me; first read for him)
9.  Spinning Silver, Naomi Novik
8.  Lies Sleeping, Ben Aaronovitch
7.  The Luckiest Lady in London, Sherry Thomas
6.  Release the Virgins, Michael A. Ventrella, editor (read aloud with Steve)
5.  Becoming, Michelle Obama
4.  Agnes and the Hitman, Jennifer Crusie & Bob Mayer (read aloud with Steve; re-read for me; first read for him)
3. the unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Ryan North, Erica Henderson
2.  Alliance Rising, CJ Cherryh & Jane S. Fancher (read out loud with Steve)
1.  A Shilling for Candles, Josephine Tey (read out loud with Steve)

New Liaden Universe® Chapbook available for preorder

Shout of Honor:  Adventures in the Liaden Universe® Number 29 is now available for pre-order from Amazon, BN, Kobo, Apple Books. Eventually, it will be available at Baen.com, Tolino, Baker & Taylor, Scribd, Google Books, and all the others that I’m forgetting right now.

Publication date is May 15.

Things you should know about this book!

  1.  The chapbook contains one novella, “Shout of Honor,”  which is a brand new story, never before published.
  2. In order to offset the rising costs of production, fees, and cat food, Steve and I have taken the painful step of increasing the cover price of our Pinbeam Books ebooks, to $4.25, starting with this title.  The price of our backlist books will remain the same, going forward, Pinbeam Books eChapbooks will be priced at $4.25.
  3. As has become our custom, this title will also be for sale as a paper book from Amazon only.  We cannot place paper books on preorder, because Amazon, so that edition will go on sale, hopefully, on May 15.
  4. Except for Amazon and Baen.com, Pinbeam Books are distributed through Draft2Digital.  D2D has been distributing to library distributors, who have, as is their custom, been charging libraries in excess of three dollars over cover to add our books to their collections.  This meant that Pinbeam Books received a Very Respectable “royalty” from library sales, but the idea of making libraries pay so very much more than everybody else on the planet offended us.  Therefore, as of last night, we have adjusted the price the library distributors may charge libraries for our books to cover price.  We make less, the libraries can afford to buy more.

You may read a snippet from “Shout of Honor” below:

SHOUT OF HONOR: ADVENTURES IN THE LIADEN UNIVERSE® NUMBER 29
SHARON LEE AND STEVE MILLER
 

CHAPTER ONE

They came into Inago for news, and supplies, and other such items of interest that a way station might be expected to offer. Vepal had chosen this particular way station because it was in a more populated sector and enjoyed a level of traffic that the ports they usually chose did not.

Traffic, then, he had expected.

He had simply not expected so much traffic.

Nor that so much of it would be . . .martial . . .in nature.

Some might have leapt to the conclusion that Inago was under attack. Commander Vepal’s trained eye immediately discerned the lack of lines, the lack of order in committed approaches. Oh, there was station order, this ship to such berth on that heading – but nothing like military discipline, or thinking, here.

But if not an attack, then – what brought so many soldiers and fighting ships to Inago Prime, surely among the least warlike location in this section of space?

His board pinged receipt of a communication originating at the station. Not, according to the wrapper, from station admin – they were too far out, yet, for the station master’s attention. No, this message originated inside the station; sent from a private source.

Intrigued, Vepal opened the packet.

Perdition Enterprises is hiring soldiers, pilots, techs, and specialists for assignments starting immediately! All may apply – papers or paper-free; lone guns to entire units. Soldiers and specialists must have own kit. Working units will be retained intact, if possible. All contracts with Perdition Enterprises. PE provides transportation, target, mission goals, and timeline. Generous bonuses for early completion! NDA required. Come to Core Conference, station center, any hour, any day. Recruiters standing by.

The message began to repeat, and Vepal killed it.

“Are we looking for employment?” Pilot Erthax asked, and waited just a breath too long before adding, “Sir.”

Vepal considered him.

“I’ve been going over the mission’s funding. Temp Headquarters used to omit only one of our five stipends per Cycle. Of the last five due, we have received . . .three.

“This lack of funding decreases our efficiency and our scope,” Vepal went on, talking quietly, gaze on his screen. “It might be . . .to the benefit of the mission to find what this Perdition Enterprises considers reasonable recompense for the skills of a pilot. If there is a signing bonus, as well . . .”

Though he kept his eyes scrupulously on his screen, Vepal’s peripheral vision was good enough that he saw Erthax’s hard, dark face flush, and his mouth tighten.

“Yes,” he continued. “You make a good point, Pilot. We should definitely find what assignments are on offer, and of what duration. It seems to me that we have become soft in our small unit here. A stint in the field might be what is required.”

He was. . .not joking. Jokes were made between comrades. No, he was deliberately egging Erthax on, out of temper and dislike.

Which, he thought, with some chagrin, proved his point. They had become soft of discipline. He had become soft, for it was true that the troop was the reflection of command. And a commander who would taunt one of his own soldiers . . .ought to offer himself to the High Command for a field tour at reduced rank.

Which, interestingly enough, was what Perdition Enterprises offered.

Vepal frowned at his screen. It was outside of his authority to enlist in a military action, even if Perdition Enterprises included Yxtrang among those it found acceptable. Papers or paper-free, was it? Legitimate, licensed soldiers fighting beside pirates, renegades – and Yxtrang?

Still, there was opportunity here. The point of his mission was to discover, per the continuing orders from Headquarters, the proper entity for those of the Troop who had survived the collapse of the old universe to offer their allegiance, and their skills.

It seemed. . .unlikely that Perdition Enterprises was that entity, but it was not. . .entirely unlikely that they might have information about such an entity.

For almost the first time since he had re-discovered their continuing orders, lost for hundreds of Cycles, Vepal felt a stirring of hope, that this was not entirely the mission of a fool.

#

The answer to his request for an interview with a recruiter upon their arrival on Inago, was – an application.

A form letter asked that he complete the application and send it ahead so that an appointment with an appropriate recruiter could be made. There was also a brief and uninformative blurb, from which he learned that Perdition Enterprises was in the business of brokering military and quasi-military assignments. There was no information about those in command, the owners or directors. The planet upon which Perdition Enterprises was registered was – not Waymart. Not quite Waymart.

It was, however, registered, licensed, and approved by the Better Business Bureau of Gilstommer, which, as Vepal understood it, was to corporate entities precisely what Waymart was to ships.

So, the application.

He applied as “Vepal Small Troop,” listing their personnel as one senior officer with advanced piloting and command skills, one line pilot, and one line soldier, detailing the skills shared among the troop, save those specific to Explorers. In a section headed “Other Assets,” he noted that the troop maintained its own vessel, lightly armed and armored, suitable for reconnaissance or courier. He admitted that their treasury was small, and added that each member carried a complete and well-maintained kit.

Put thus, they looked a sad case, indeed, and he hesitated overlong, wondering if he ought to expand their worth. It was his purpose to gain an interview to learn about these immediate assignments, and to put particular questions of his own.

In the end, however, he sent in the nearly-truthful application.

And, to his very great surprise, a communication from Perdition Enterprises met them at the dock, naming an hour not too far distant for Commander Vepal to meet with Recruiter pen’Chouka, in the Core Conference Center, Room 9A.

Vepal considered the name, which suggested that the recruiting agent was . . .Liaden. It was well to consider beforehand, how a Liaden might react, confronted with an Yxtrang, even a certified and guaranteed safe Yxtrang.

Still – Perdition Enterprises encouraged all to apply – papers or paper-free, eh? Surely Recruiting Agent pen’Chouka had seen worse than a well-behaved Yxtrang commander, respectfully reporting for his interview in dress uniform, with only small arm and grace blade on the belt; his honor-marks old and faded, and grey showing in his hair.

He had been instructed to appear unaccompanied before Recruiting Agent pen’Chouka, which Ochin would not like. The central belief of the Rifle’s life was that Commander Vepal ought always to be accompanied by an escort appropriate to his rank – an honor guard at least! – or by the escort available, which would be Ochin Rifle.

Spring is sprung; the grass is riz*

So, Steve and I have been out and about and in and around, we took a drive up into the Western Mountains on Saturday, I’ve been working steadily on the next novel (still lacking a title), Steve has finished up “Shout of Honor,” and now I’m moving on to making that into Adventures in the Liaden Universe® Number 29, with a planned release date of May 15, while he reads the new beginning of said titleless book.

All of this is enough to keep us busy, but it makes dull blogging.

I can give you a little excitement today, so hold onto your hats.

Here’s the cover for the upcoming chapbook.

 

*Full verse:
Spring is sprung; the grass is riz
I wonder where the birdie is.
They say the bird is on the wing,
But that’s absurd.  The wing is on the bird.
–Spike Jones**

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**There’s some dispute about the author.  Some folks say Ogden Nash, but I had always heard it was Spike Jones, and that’s what I’m going with.