In which busy writers are busy

Woke up early because the power went out (and came back on before the generator could engage).  Guess everybody was running their A/C and fans against yesterday’s heat wave.

Steve made omelettes for breakfast, after which we moved on to working on the chapbook until it was time to head out to Children’s Book Cellar and our signing.

Driving in, we realized that the event could very easily go until 4:00 and we had neglected to eat lunch, which was — as nearly everything can be made to be — an excuse to stop at Dairy Queen on the way in to Waterville, in order to purchase milkshakes to sustain us in our Time of Fame.

This involved some unanticipated delay, since there appeared to be a hazing going on at the College Avenue Dairy Queen, which left one newbie on duty at a very busy counter, while four of his colleagues lounged in the back room.

Still, milkshakes were achieved, and we arrived Exactly on Time at Children’s Book Cellar, to find a Mighty Crowd awaiting us, including Carolyn Smith and her husband, from Stoneham, Massachusetts, and our own James Hetley, down from Bangor, as well as some local folk.  We had a blast, and hoping our audience had the same.  Thanks to everyone who came to see us, and for Ellen Richmond and the Children’s Book Cellar for hosting us!

After our event, we hit the grocery store, returned home, and got with the ebook one! more! time!

On that front, I am pleased to report that Sleeping with the Enemy is now “publishing” at Amazon, and BN.  Expect to see the title on sale somewhere in the next 24 to 48 hours.

EDITED TO ADD:  The book is on sale NOW at Amazon.  Here’s your link.

Draft2Digital will be uploading the book to its vendors (Kobo, iBooks, Inktera, Scribd, 24Symbols, and Tolino) on its usual schedule.  Remember!  You will not be able to purchase this title through Smashwords.

Tomorrow, it’s back to the manuscript.  Monday may possibly be an Ocean Day.  We shall see.

In the meanwhile, it’s still hot, though not so much as yesterday.  We hold out some hope of rain tomorrow, which will be, so they (They) say, cooler than today.  Monday, however, we’re right back into the frying pan, and looking to stay there awhile.

As of this writing, there are 77 reader reviews of Alliance of Equals on Amazon!  Go, you guys!  Only 123 ’til we hit 200!

Speaking of Alliance — if you’ve read the book and want to talk about it, there is a spoiler thread here.  Please do feel free to make use of it.

And now?  I believe I see the cabana boy in the distance, bearing a bottle and a corkscrew.

Everybody stay happy.

Sleeping cover

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Even more eye candy!

A couple days ago, we were pleased to show you David Mattingly’s painting that would become the cover for The Gathering Edge.

Today, we are pleased to share the comp cover, still smokin’ hot from the Baen Art Department.

Layout 1

Also!  If viewing the art above has made you a little peckish, Cedar Sanderson has featured Daav yos’Phelium’s Extra Special Grilled Cheese Sandwiches in today’s Eat This While You Read That column.  Here’s your link.

Also, also!  Alliance of Equals has 40 reader reviews on Amazon!  Only 160 to go!  You guys are doing great.

And! (given “also” a rest, you see)  Steve and I will be signing Alliance of Equals at Children’s Book Cellar, 52 Main Street, Waterville, Maine (our local indie bookstore) on Saturday, July 16 (that’s this Saturday!) at 2 p.m.  If you’re in the area, come on by and say, “hi!”

The weatherbeans are calling for A Warm One, as Maine counts these things.  I, of course, will be at the nice, air conditioned, hospital doing the volunteer gig.  Steve and the cats will likely need to put the portable A/C unit in to play.  Ah, summer. . .And, as Mainers say earnestly to each other, under just these sorts of conditions: “At least it ain’t snowin’.”

Hope you have a good day, wherever you are.


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Soliciting statements of interest

An Alert Reader has noticed that February 2018 marks the 30th Anniversary of the Liaden Universe® in print.  This is derived from the fact that Agent of Change was published as a paperback original by Del Rey, in February 1988.

Said Alert Reader has put out a call for celebratory Limited Edition Hardcovers in honor of this anniversary.  Clearly, this is not something that we, the authors, can do.  We can, however, take the idea to Madame the Publisher, if there seems to be sufficient interest.

This is where you come in.

If Limited Edition Liaden Universe® Hardcovers were published, would you purchase it/them?

I realize that price is very often an object for you, as it is for me, so if you have a price in mind, let me know that, too.

Thanks for your help.

. . .Sprite also thanks you for your help.

Sprite Feb 26 2016


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Who’s going to a con, or to a bookstore?

I have here in my hand a small supply of postcards and bookmarks promoting Alliance of Equals by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller.

If you’re going to a convention, or to your local bookstore, or book fair, book club, or any place where readers gather, and you would like to help us out by placing a few of these on the freebie table, or at the front counter (with permission, of course), or hand them out — please drop me a note at rolanniATkorvalDOTcom with your mailing address, and I’ll pop a few in the mail to you.



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Conflict of Honors re-read

So, we heard from Boskone that the NESFA* Book Club is currently reading Conflict of Honors and will be discussing it at the con (time and day will be listed in the final schedule posts).  They ask that we be present at the end of the discussion in order to answer questions.

Now, it’s been a long time since I read Conflict of Honors (as opposed to, say, reading galleys of Conflict of Honors, which is a whole ‘nother process), and while I sort of have it as a gestalt in my head, at this distance I’m certainly not clear on the simple basics of How The Story Goes.  Obviously, then, I need to reread.

I began this project yesterday afternoon, and because I’m a slow reader, I made it all the way to Shipyear 65/Tripday 130/Fouth Shift/18.00 Hours, in which Pilot Dyson wakes Priscilla up.

Narratively speaking, things are going well, so far.  Not so well for Priscilla, of course, and I wish I could have another go at Dagmar, who’s a little too…too.  On the other hand, there’s this —

Conflict of Honors was published when I was 36.  I stand before you today, 63.  Palindromes aside, it’s worth noting that Conflict was the second novel we finished**, and it was originally thought to be a short story***, to give us a better handle on Val Con’s brother Shan.  We wrote it while Agent of Change was under submission at Del Rey, and submitted it while Agent was under submission at Del Rey — in September 1986.  It was accepted for publication in September 1987.

Agent of Change was published in February 1988; Conflict of Honors was published in June 1988, to hold the pocket left empty by the non-delivery of a contracted book by another author.  Because it was not published for Itself Alone, it kind of got short shrift, though Romantic Times picked it up and gave it a glowing review, SFR/RSF being thin on the ground at the time.  So thin, in fact, that we hadn’t yet invented the names Science Fiction Romance or Romantic Science Fiction, and were still formulating what “this” was, why it appealed, and why we wanted more, please.

Agent, Conflict and Carpe Diem (published in November 1989), were all paperback originals.  Paperback originals were not. . .considered to be Timeless Classics.  They were considered to be cheap entertainment, to be read once, or maybe twice, and then given — or thrown — away.  The original Liaden “trilogy” has been republished now three times since the 1980s, and are, as I type this, available in print, as ebooks, and as audiobooks.

That’s an astonishing amount of staying power, and I sometimes wish that we could have known, ‘way back that the books would survive to be studied or scrutinized by readers 30 years down the timeline with values and experiences of which we wot not — though what we might have done differently, I can’t say.


In other news, it snowed yesterday — not much, but still, it snowed.  The plowman arrived this morning — early as we count the day, damn’ near lunch-time as the plowguy figures.  Now that breakfast is done, and this blog post about ready to go up, I’ll be donning coat and gloves and boots and widening the path from the driveway around the house to the generator, and digging our mailbox out of the pile of snow the across-the-street neighbor thoughtfully placed over it, to keep it from drying out.

After that, I believe I may make another pot of coffee and settle in to read.

Tomorrow, we celebrate Martin Luther King’s birthday which, among other things, means no mail, no bills, no checks.  Baji-naji, I suppose, or at least good enough for rock and roll.

MLK Day also means that schools are closed, and Pickleball is nudged up and shortened from  9am-noon to 8am-10am.  I am actually considering getting up in time to attend Pickleball tomorrow, assuming that I can keep dodging Steve’s cold, so that I can try out my brand! new! paddle.

What’re y’all doing that’s fun or exciting?


*The New England Science Fiction Association, which sponsors Boskone.

**Actually, it is the third novel we completed.  We lately uncovered a draft of a Kinzel novel that was never published; the original lost at the publisher, and very likely a good thing.

***And is, in fact, a very short novel by today’s standards. The Card says it was submitted at 82,000 words; the electronic copy from Baen says 86,345 — but the front matter is included in that count.

Scrabble inna basket Jan 10 2016


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It doesn’t matter what you wear, just as long as you are there

Business first!  If, for some reason, you should happen to need, or want, a “press kit” regarding upcoming Liaden Universe® novel Alliance of Equals, you may find it here.

You will note that the information states that Uncle Hugo’s Science Fiction Bookstore will once again be the sole source for signed and/or personalized copies.  You will also note that Uncle Hugo’s has not yet opened pre-orders for this title.

Uncle Hugo’s is an independent bookstore with limited resources and staff.  Right now, they’re very busy (as you might imagine) coping with the orders for signed copies of Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen (go here, if you want one of those, too).  They would rather not get mixed up — and you — and we! — would rather they didn’t get mixed up.

Since we don’t want to break the staff, and the staff wants to give good customer service, and also bearing in mind that Alliance. . . has a publication date of July 5, we consulted with Mr. Blyly, who consulted with staff, and!

Uncle Hugo will open pre-orders for signed and/or personalized editions of Alliance of Equals by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, on March 1.

So, hold onto your horses, and your credit cards.  Mark your calendars.  We will, of course, shout it from the rooftops, when the pre-orders open.

Thank you for your patience, and your enthusiasm.  Steve and I appreciate it immensely.

* * *

 In other news, Steve and I have started to read Terry Pratchett’s Mort to each other in the evening.

Also, I discovered yesterday that the piercing in my left ear had closed up, and I had to break a thin layer of skin in order to insert an earring.  I’ve gotten out of the habit of wearing earrings — actually have lost my taste for long, dangling earrings, but I don’t want to give up the option of wearing studs — or, yanno, even return to long, dangles of a day or evening.  So!  I guess I’d better remember to put in earrings — I have a pair of pearl studs that are the most comfortable earrings I’ve ever had, and a pair of aquamarine studs that Steve gave me.  Other than that, I would appear to be studless.


Oh, wait!  I’m going to Boskone next month!  Perhaps I will be able to solve this tragic wardrobe deficiency.

I think that’s it — well, no.  We here at the Cat Farm currently abide under a Winter Storm Watch, until 10 am tomorrow.  Predictions are for snowfall from four to twelve inches, depending on where we exist in Mid-Maine’s ever-shifting geography.  I’m hoping to see four inches, which might not cause a cancellation of Tai Chi and pickleball, but will not be surprised to see eight inches, which might make it more problematical for the Y to open.

And that?  really is all I’ve got.

Here, have a picture of Belle, being awake:

Belles awake no really Jan 10 2016

Today’s blog title brought to you by David Bowie and Mick Jagger:  Dancing in the Street.  Here’s your link.

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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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