Archive for the ‘Liaden Universe®’ Category

Say, there; wanna get mugged?

Some of you will remember those halcyon days of yesteryear, when, among the other Wild and Crazy Things that were coming out of the Cat Farm and Confusion Factory were — Tree-and-Dragon mugs, produced in support of the original publication of I Dare, in February 2002.

Thirteen years ago.  Wow.

We never did another run of mugs because, boy, were they breakable — and whimsical, too.  We’d ship four in a Special Mug Mailing Box; three would arrive in pristine condition, while the fourth was a little mound of cobalt blue rubble.  We replaced the broken mugs, of course, so the whole experiment was. . .somewhat more stressful than was useful for anyone.

In the interest of History!  Here is a picture, front and back, of one of those original mugs, still in use at the Confusion Factory as of. . .today, actually:

Old Mug TWO

Back of mug. You can see that the letters are chipping, though the mug itself has held up really well.

Front of mug, with my breakfast. The tree-and-dragon is chipping badly.

Front of mug, with my breakfast. The tree-and-dragon is chipping badly.

Well, after 13 years and many requests from mug owners, whose mugs are in similar straits, and from folks who never even got the chance to buy a mug — we’ve partnered with Offworld Designs, the same folks who brought you the Liaden Universe® tees, polos, and denims, to do a run of all new coffee mugs.

This is a mock-up of what the new mugs will look like:

Mock-up of new Liaden mugs

Mock-up of new Liaden mugs

NOTE:  The mugs are not yet ready for prime time.  You will be able to order them in time for Christmas.  As soon as the ordering page is live, we’ll let y’all know.



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Eye Candy: This Just In

An Alert Reader has discovered these amazing sketches, of interest to those who may be awaiting Alliance of Equals, the nineteenth novel set in the Liaden Universe® created by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, which is scheduled to be published July-ish 2016.

Alliance of Equals, sketch one by David Mattingly

Alliance of Equals, sketch two by David Mattingly


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In which it is Monday, but not quite the beginning of the work week

So we here in the US have an end-of-summer holiday which we call Labor Day, a day devoted to drinking beer, eating grilled food, ritually mowing the lawn, and in general striving to forget that tomorrow, Tuesday, will be the end of a nice three-day-weekend, that summer is, indeed, over, and the next work holiday is Thanksgiving Day.  Unless one works retail, of course.

Steve and I took a strange, fragmented little vacation at Old Orchard Beach — we went down together for a night, so we could both see the Thursday fireworks; I went home on Friday, returning on Monday, when Steve went home, returning on Thursday so we could both see the Thursday fireworks, and then removing the whole encampment back to Central Maine on Friday.  I read a lot, walked a lot, and in general vegged out.  It was great.

Real work will recommence on the morrow, with such things on the roster as a visit to the vampyres (to determine if the new dosage of my thyroid meds has done the trick); a call to the town to determine its interests and necessities in the matter of siting generators — and, depending on what we learn there, subsequent phone calls to various contractor-type persons.  We will also be taking up the writing reins again — at the moment, we have two short stories and a novel on our plates — and will be winding the week down with a small natal day celebration.

While we were away, Madame the Agent let us know that Dragon in Exile, the eighteenth novel set in the Liaden Universe® created by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, is Number 6 on the Locus Bestselling Hardcover List for June 2015 (reported in the September issue).  Number 1 is Seveneves, by Neal Stephenson, and the funny thing about that is that Neal was in Boston doing a tour in support of his book the day before we were in Boston, doing a tour in support of our book.

Small world.


While I was on vacation, Eset decided to Protect Me from posting to my own blog.  I am therefore reproducing here an account of one of my walks, which I would have posted here, but which instead went to Facebook (because Eset thinks Facebook is Totally Safe?).  Anyhow, here’s that entry, for those of you who don’t Facebook, and for me, so that I actually have some hope of finding it again.

September 2, 2015, reporting from New Temp Headquarters, Old Orchard Beach, Maine

So, this morning’s walk. . .

I left New Temp Headquarters and walked up East Grand to Old Orchard Street, took the left at 1st Street and walked through Veteran’s Square Memorial Garden, up Heath Street to see if the A-Z Market (in the Old Orchard Beach timeline) had ever really come back after their “temporary” closing, three years ago. The answer to that is…sorta. There’s a kind of lunch counter/video rental/wine shop in a much, much smaller space than the old IGA occupied. Happily, in Archers Beach, Ahzie’s IGA is doing fine.

Curiosity satisfied, I continued up Heath Street to Portland Avenue, to Walnut Street, took a left on Leavitt Street and walked to the end, to see how far I could walk along the old road to the ustabe Kite Track. Answer — about 500 feet before the trenvay who cares for that land noticed me and obscured the path with bushes and leaves. I can take a hint, so I turned around and headed back the way I’d come. Just before I hit the asphalt of Leavitt Street, an acorn flew out from one of the surrounding trees and struck the path at my feet. I know a gift when I see one, too. I murmured, “thank you,” put the acorn in my pocket and moved on.

Leavitt to Walnut, Walnut to Grande, and so again to New Temp Headquarters, 4,671 steps, or 1.7 miles on the odometer.

I do believe I’ll have that third cup of coffee.


Labor Day or no Labor Day, today is the beginning of Week Four in the Do It Like A Delm Challenge!  You can view the challengers — and the winners! — for the previous three weeks here (the drop-down link in the menu is your friend).

Want to join in the fun?  Of course you do!  Rules to enter the challenge may be found here.


Sprite being Quietly Pleased that we're home.

Sprite being Quietly Pleased that we’re home.


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Liaden Universe® Challenge!

Now that there’s new Liaden Universe® gear, not to mention two! new! books! out loose in the world causing who knows what havoc and consternation, Steve and I said, What the heck; let’s have a contest.

We are therefore announcing the DO IT LIKE A DELM contest. Here’s what you have to do to play:

Take a picture (a selfie, or ask a friend to help you out) of yourself, wearing your cool! new! Liaden gear, in. . .a bookstore. . .at WorldCon. . .in a hang-glider. . .at the top of Mount Washington. . .swimming with dolphins. . .at a family picnic — you see where we’re going with this, right? Right.

What’s that you say? You don’t have any cool! new! Liaden gear?

We got you covered.

You may also play by taking a picture of you and one of the two! new! books just out from Baen — those being Dragon in Exile, and Liaden Universe® Constellation, Volume 3 — in exciting situations similar but certainly not limited to those listed above.


If you are one of the few and the proud who still own your original green-and-gold Plan B tshirt, or the second-run navy-and-white I Dare tshirt — take a picture of yourself wearing this historic gear, and you will have a Bonus Point added to your entry.


Yes, entry!

You didn’t think we just wanted you to take photos to post to your Facebook Wall, did you?

Heck no! After you take that picture, we want you to send it to us! We’ll post it on, and every Sunday,  starting August 23, we will choose a winner from all entries.

Cool, huh?

OK, here’s the rules in 1-2-3 format.

1. Take a picture of yourself in your new or historic Liaden gear doing something interesting. ALTERNATIVELY, take a picture of yourself with one of the two new Liaden books doing something really interesting — but not dangerous! No, really. This isn’t worth getting killed.

2. Send that picture to, be sure to include an email address that you check regularly with your entry.

3. Multiple entries are allowed, but! No more than one picture per day may be submitted.

4. All submissions may be posted to a gallery on

5. On Sunday we will choose a winner, and the winning picture will be posted on in Isolated Glory.

6. In addition to Glory, the winner will receive a coupon for one free Baen ebook of their choice.

7. Contest starts Monday August 17 at 1:00 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time, and ends at noon EDT on Saturday, October 3, 2015.  Pictures received before Monday August 17 will not be admitted to the contest.  The last winner will be posted on on Sunday, October 4.

Want to play, but don’t have a shirt? Order one here: Offworld Designs

Want to play, but don’t have a book? Look to the Uncle. Uncle Hugo, that is.

To get y’all in the mood, here are a couple of sample shots:

Steve, doin' it like a delm

Steve, doin’ it like a delm.  A delm slightly in his cups, perhaps, but a delm, nonetheless.

Sharon doing it like a delm.

Sharon doin’ it like a delm.  Those kids just can’t keep outta trouble on the streets, can they?


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Tree-and-Dragon Denim and Polo Shirts, too!

Boy, the folks at Offworld Designs are cooking with gas today.

Now available for pre-order, the Whole Set:  t-shirt, polo shirt, denim shirt.

Here’s your link.

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Liaden T-shirts now available

The all-new Liaden Universe® t-shirt is now available from Offworld Designs, in sizes S-5X.

NOTE!  Because we insisted that the t-shirts be screen-printed the Old Fashioned Way, so that this run, too, has a chance of lasting better than a dozen years, a critical mass of orders must be reached before the company will do a shirt run.  You will not, therefore, receive your shirt at once! — but you should get it pretty quick.

Here’s your link.


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I’ve added a partial Liaden Universe® dictionary to  Here’s your link.

The time has probably come when what we Actually Need is a Liaden Universe® Concordance, but! until we can get someone to do that for us (see what I did there?), there is the Liaden Universe® Wiki, currently weighing in at 105 pages of Really Good Stuff, including the names of clans, the names of cats, the names of ships, and onward!

Here’s your link.


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Just the FAQs

People of the Internets, I need your help! has lost its FAQ.  We think it may have run off with the Highlander FAQ, but — whatever.

The problem before us, obviously, is producing another FAQ – which is where you come in!

What questions are Frequently Asked regarding the Liaden Universe®?  What questions would you like to see addressed?  What questions would be helpful to people trying to decide if this universe is worth their reading time?

All suggestions welcome!

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Mail Call, Link Salad, & Watch the Skies

There were gifts in today’s mail at the Cat Farm and Confusion Factory.

First, there was a check for the munificent sum of $29.77 from the Treasurer of the State of Maine, said sum representing a check sent to my attention at the Post Office Box in Unity, Maine, which has been closed for at least 12 years.  Somehow the Unclaimed Property Division got hold of it, and contacted me via my State Representative. I filled out a form, returned it, and lo! Money in the mail.

I’d like to have a little more detail in the Story of This Check, but the above is apparently all the State thinks I can handle.

So, that’s looking like lunch out.  Or maybe a viewing of Cinderella at the local theater.  I don’t want to make a hasty decision, here…

Also in the mail, a sample pen for Tree and Dragon Trading (except on the pen it says “Tree Dragon Trading”), and an offer to imprint many, many more pens, all I have to do is say the word, and send a check.

It is a classy pen, though it’s a ballpoint; Shan would be pleased to have it in his breast pocket, if Shan had a breast pocket, which, of course, he doesn’t.

In Other Exciting News, the Kickstarter campaign to fund the printing of the next Girl Genius graphic novel:  Girl Genius:  The Second Journey, Book One, has gone live.  Here’s your link.

Also, for those who share my interest in Heyer and in Austen, here’s Sherwood Smith talking in her usual cogent fashion about the differences between the two writers.  Here’s your link.

Also!  Monday will see the Prologue of Shan and Priscilla Ride Again go live on Splinter Universe!  Watch the Skies!

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Who’s that character? and! Hunting the elusive house

Several people have written to ask me this question; I am therefore posting the answer here in hopes that it will find others who are baffled by reading the sample chapters for Dragon in ExileWhich are here, free for the reading.

Rys Lin pen’Chala figures prominently in a novel entitled Necessity’s Child, published in February 2013 by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller.  This novel is currently available from Baen, as a hardcover, a paperback, and an ebook.  It is also available as an audiobook, from Audible.

If you gave Necessity’s Child a miss because it was only a side book, you will, yes, have missed Rys entirely.

* * *

So, yesterday, we ventured forth in the snow to do a spot of house-hunting with our agent.  We went armed with three houses, one at the lower edge of our price range, one in the middle range, and one at the top of our range.

I had thought, going in, that the middle house would prove to be an acceptable compromise, despite it was an older house (most of the houses in this part of Maine are older houses; they built ’em to last, back in The Day).  As described, it had much of what we’re looking for in a house, including a sun porch, two offices, a bedroom, and two baths.

Sadly, it quickly became clear that the middle house was. . .not for us.  So much for my powers of precognition.

The lowest priced house had plenty of space, was wired for a generator, and had a backup heat source (belt-and-braces, a Maine tradition!).  No sun porch, but a ginormous back yard, and what are reputed to be “extensive gardens,” which we couldn’t see, because — snow.  It needs what our agent refers to as “updating”, but we could move in without, and then “update” around ourselves.  The trouble with that being freelance income.  We’re really, really trying to come up with a house that can run what it brung.  This may not be realistic of us, but, really, trying to buy a new house isn’t particularly realistic of us, either, so why not shoot for the moon?

The high-priced spread was. . .very nice, indeed:  Sunroom, dual furnace (oil/wood), fireplace with a stove insert, nice, workable kitchen, plenty of good cat windows, half-finished basement — everything goomeki.  Except — at the top of what we can theoretically afford.

So. . .the hunt continues.

Today, I need to write one more scene for the as-yet titleless story, so it can sit for a couple days before we do a cold read.  I should also pack some more boxes for the archive, so we can get rid of the pile at the end of the hall before Sprite declares it her summer fortress.

In other news, BN tells me that our copy of Tracker will arrive via UPS tomorrow.

In the meantime, the experimental $500 Patreon goal has, as of this morning, hit $1,166, via the kind subscriptions of 149 Liaden readers.  Thank you all.  (Here’s the link, if anyone would like to stare in wonder at that number.)

And, so — to work.

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