Monday morning round-up

We’ve had something of a busy few days here at the Confusion Factory.

Last week, Steve graduated from cardio-gym and is now on the Third Phase, which is going to the cardio-gym early on Monday and Wednesdays and doing what he’s been doing, with the same personnel on-staff, but without the various measurements at the beginning, middle, and end of the session.  This means a change of schedule, including rising Much Earlier in the Day than I, personally, care to do, but that’s life.  I’ll be going to gym around Steve’s schedule — Tuesdays and Thursdays in the early hours, with refinement of the afternoon and evening hours as we go forward.  Since I have for all of my life been an evening/night writer, this may entail afternoon naps, which ought to please the cats.

In writing news, the page proofs for the Alliance of Equals mass market edition landed late last week, and have been added to the mix of Tasks to Be Done.  Also!  The first in a series of Lee-and-Miller Read Lee-and-Miller podcasts has been moved from Patreon to Splinter Universe LIVE.  You can listen to Steve read “A Night at the Opera” at this link.

We’ll be posting more of these to SULIVE, as they age off of our Patreon page, so remember to check back.

We are also, in light of the. . .substantial number of emails we’ve gotten from people who either want paper chapbooks, or the Excitement of the Annual Yule Chapbook, or want a return to Olden Times. . .

We cannot any of us return to Olden Times, so that’s right out.

But we can, perhaps, accommodate the wish for paper chapbooks, and even, maybe, for the Annual Yule Chapbook.

So, we’re running an experiment.  Amazon has a. . .program where those who have published ebooks with them may convert those ebooks into paper books.  This is an expensive process, as Amazon takes 40% off the top of cover price, and then charges printing costs from the author/publisher’s 60% royalty.  It’s also somewhat time-consuming, as is working with any template program that is based on Assumptions.  However!  With determination and enough wine, it can be done, as I proved this weekend by converting both Barnburner and Gunshy to paper books and putting them on sale.  The reason we chose these titles to experiment on first is that they convert into 5X8 paperbacks, which is an easy convert (part of the test was to see how “easy” easy was).  Based on my time and effort expended this weekend, we anticipate that converting to chapbook will be somewhat more time-consuming, though still doable.

We will, eventually, convert an actual Liaden chapbook, but that experiment has to wait in line behind work with a deadline attached.

For those interested, here’s the link to Barnburner.  (Which Amazon has decided to discount, so it will be interesting to see how that affects our royalty rates from them.)

Here’s the link to Gunshy.

The downside to this, besides the expense, is that these books would only be available through Amazon, which is whimsical at the best of times and downright malicious at the worst.

So, there’s that.

For those who have been asking anxiously about progress on Fifth of Five. . .progress progresses, more slowly than I had anticipated, but picking steam up as the new meds kick in.

. . .and I think that catches us all up.

Everybody do your best to enjoy Monday, OK?

Let the coon cats lead the way.

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In which the author is out of words

So, I haven’t done a catch-up post in a few days. That would be because — there’s nothing really to catch up on.

We took a drive down to Old Orchard Beach last weekend and had a nice, relaxing time walking the beach and the town, sitting in the sun on the mall, eating ice cream and people-watching.  Hard to get enough people-watching.  Or, yanno, ice cream.

Steve and I have been alternating reading stories aloud for bi-weekly posting on Patreon, where they’re available to patrons only for a month, before being moved to Splinter Universe, for the perusal of all.  Tomorrow, around noon, Eastern, “The Beggar King” will reveal itself, read by me, with a little help from Scrabble.  Previous readings have been, Steve reading “A Night at the Opera;” me reading “The Gift of Music;” and Steve reading “Charioteer.”  It’s about time for “Opera” to disappear from Patreon and re-appear on Splinter Universe.

For those coming in late, the Lee and Miller Patreon page is here.  Back in April, we introduced a new goal of $2,500/month.  As of this writing, we are a scant $96 from realizing that goal.

We’ve also been participating in #1stChapterFriday on Twitter, along with many of our colleagues.  Follow the hashtag for some provocative reading.  Or, here’s a link that may or may not work (the ways of Twitter remain a Mystery, I fear).

As some of you may know, the twentieth novel set in the Liaden Universe®, and the fifth detailing the on-going adventures of Theo Waitley, aka The Gathering Edge, was published earlier this month.  This is where I ask those who have read it to please take the time to leave a review on Amazon, BN, Goodreads, or other sites.  As last year, with Alliance of Equals, we’re hoping to hit the Magic Number of 100 Reader Reviews on Amazon.  Alliance wound up with 263 reviews, and TGE is well on her way, with 87 reviews already posted.

I find, in fact, that I am remiss in announcing here that The Gathering Edge hit Number Four on the Bookscan Bestseller list for the week of May 11.

And that?  Is all I’ve got, except a sincere Thank you! for everything you do, from reading our books, to recommending them to friends, to donating to our various causes, to writing encouraging letters.  We’d couldn’t have gotten so far on this long, strange, sometimes scary, artistic journey we set ourselves on, without you.  Every one of you.

So, give yourselves a pat on the back, and bask for a moment in the gratitude of authors (I naturally can’t promise you the gratitude of cats, though I’m sure they’d appreciate y’all too, if it happened to occur to them) — and enjoy the weekend.

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Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow

Y’all know what tomorrow is, right?

Right!

Tomorrow is Saturday, May 13, the day that Steve and I will be doing a meet ‘n greet, and signing books at Barnes and Noble, 9 Marketplace Drive, Augusta Maine, from 1 to 3 pm.  Stop by and say hi.  Here’s a link for further information.

Tomorrow is also the day that the next special goody for patrons only goes live on Patreon.  This week’s goody is Steve, reading his story “Charioteer.”  Here’s your link to the Lee and Miller Patreon page.

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Yesterday and (a few) tomorrows

So, yesterday, we goofed off, and went to see Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (2D).  I had a great time with it, though I didn’t come away with ribs sore from laughing, as reported by some.  Excellent gosh-wow space opera — and Rocket, of course.  Recommended.

I believe this completes my list of must-see movies for this year.

Local folks!  Steve and I will be signing books and talking (try to stop us!) at Barnes and Noble, 9 Marketplace Drive, Augusta, Maine, on SATURDAY, May 13, from 1-3 pm (that’s, like, the day after tomorrow!).  More information here.  (Yes, we know there’s an error in the names, but the rest of the info’s good.)

The B&N gig is our last pro appearance until we hit Pittsburgh for Confluence in August, which we’re really looking forward to.  Here’s your link to the Confluence website.

Those who have read The Gathering Edge — please consider leaving a review on Amazon, BN, Goodreads, &c.  We are once again trying to get one hundred! reviews on Amazon.com, and we’re already more than halfway there.  The more reviews a book has, the more attention Amazon pays to it in promotions and whatnot, so your help is really appreciated.

For those who have not heard the news, we have a new goal at Patreon, and! every other week (more or less), we’re posting a patron-exclusive audio file of Steve or me reading a story.  Steve kicked it off with “A Night at the Opera,” I read “Gift of Music,” and upcoming — this weekend! — will be Steve again, reading “Charioteer.”  Check it out, here.

. . .I think that catches us up. Thank you for all you do — and hope to see those who can make the journey at Barnes and Noble, on Saturday.

To get you warmed up, here’s a picture of Steve, assembling Photographic Evidence.

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Second Patreon Goody Now Live!

The second patron-only goody has been posted on Patreon.  That would be Sharon Lee reading “The Gift of Music,” by Sharon Lee.  The story is set in Archers Beach, the setting of the three Carousel books by Sharon Lee: Carousel Tides, Carousel Sun, Carousel Seas.

I’ll take this opportunity to mention that we are a mere $164 shy of our goal of $2,500 per month.  If you would like to become a patron, here’s your link.

I would also like to thank everyone who has given us support, in all its various guises, over the many, many years we’ve been writing.  We couldn’t have done it without you.

Now, here’s your link to the new goody.

And here’s a preview of what Belle and Sprite are going to be doing today:

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New Patreon Goal and Goodies

Those of you who have been with us for a while will recall that we maintain a Patreon account.  It was originally established when it became clear that, because medical bills had eaten our downpayment, the Cat Farm and Confusion Factory would not be relocating, and thus would need to Take Steps to upgrade the current arrangement.

The most important single thing that we felt needed to be done to make our house in the country safer as we got older was a whole-house generator.  We set a monthly goal of $2,000, and with the help of many, we were able to install the generator.

At that time, after taking advice, we did not offer goodies or other incentives, aside from our very sincere thanks (and the sincere thanks of the cats, naturally).

This time, we’re returning to the theme of medical bills.  Not only did Steve have a “heart event” in November, but he has had, since elementary school, an ongoing dental. . .issue (which very likely exacerbated his heart problems), which entered a new phase of expense.  In Maine — at least in our part of Maine — dental insurance is Very Thin On The Ground, so we’ve been doing the Insured by Visa thing.  We thought we could whack down the backlog reasonably, but the fine dental professionals keep front loading more stuff, and there’s only so much room on that Visa card.

In addition, my health insurance payments have been going onto that same Visa card, as well as some. . .unanticipated medical bills of my own (not wanting to be left out, or anything).

Anyway, long story short, we’ve “announced” a new Patreon goal of $2,500 per month, and! we’re offering an incentive for folks to sign up or increase their pledges.

So, here’s what we’re going to be doing:  Patrons will have special early access to one (or both) of us reading a chapter, a short story, a poem several times a month (right now, given doctor’s appointments, Random Is, but we’ll shoot for every other week). Ambient cat noises supplied at no extra charge. The reading will be posted first on Patreon, for the enjoyment of patrons only, and eventually – after a month or two – migrate to Splinter Universe, for the Edification of All.

We expect to post our first reading installment on April 15, 2017, to give USian patrons something to look forward to on Income Tax Day.

Fuller details are available at our Patreon page.  Here’s the link.

As before, and as always, donating is utterly and entirely voluntary.  Please do not stint yourself or your household, or deny yourself books!  (Especially do not deny yourself books!  This is about getting y’all new books on schedule, among other things.)  If you can help us out, and you want to help us out — thank you, very much.  We’re cool, whatever you decide to do.

And I’ll just take this little space that’s left down here at the bottom of the page to thank everyone who has given us support, including buying our books, sending cards, and random surprise gifts, PayPal donations, Patreon pledges, and kind letters.  It all helps.  Really.  You guys are awesome.

So, that’s what’s going on.  First reading goes live on Monday.  Steve’s picking out a story right now.

 

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