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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Everything Upcoming!

We’ve had some queries about upcoming publications, and upcoming appearances, and, and — herewith an attempt to get them all in one place, for you, and for us.  Please note that the list is probably not complete; it’s only as complete as far as we know, as of Right Now.

Upcoming Appearances
May 1Ask Me Anything, Reddit, starting 12 noon
May 13: Meet ‘n Greet and book signing, Barnes and Noble, at 9 Market Place Drive, Augusta, Maine, from 1 – 3pm
August 4-6Confluence, in Pittsburgh, Lee and Miller will be writer Guests of Honor
March 9-11, 2018: MidSouthCon, in Memphis, Lee and Miller, writer Guests of Honor

Upcoming Interviews
April edition of The Intergalactic Medicine Show: Lee and Miller interview, reprint story, and! sample chapter

Upcoming Publications
April 15 +/-: “Cutting Corners,”
May 2: The Gathering Edge, hardcover, ebook, audiobook, Baen & Audible
June 6: “Wise Child,” in Year’s Best Military and Adventure SF, Volume 3, Baen
August:  “Dawn’s Early Light,” in All Hail Our Robot Conquerors, Zombies Need Brains
December 15 +/-: Short Story,
January 2, 2018Neogenesis
TBA: “Excerpts from Two Lives,” in Ships of the Line, Baen

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Adventures in the Liaden Universe® Number 23

Change Management:  Adventures in the Liaden Universe® Number 23, has been uploaded and is publishing (in the case of Amazon, has published) to Amazon, Baen ebooks, BN/Nook, Kobo, iBooks, 24Symbols, Page Foundry, Scribd, and Tolino, so expect to be able to purchase it from those vendors within the next 72 hours or so.

Here’s the blurb for the book:

Times are perilous, violence rife, and the future uncertain. Success and the survival of all you hold dear may hinge on how you manage change.

Some people advise that we “Embrace Change!” Other people realize that change has edges, and if you embrace it the wrong way, it may feel a lot more like a knife than a bromide when it touches your guts.

Here are two Lee and Miller stories set in the Liaden Universe®, “Street Cred,” original to this chapbook; and “Wise Child,” reprinted from Both stories deal with the complications arising from decisive change, and decisive Change Management at the point of peril.

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Pinbeam Books on Sale at Baen

The last bundle of five Pinbeam Books titles has gone up for sale today at Baen ebooks.  Here’s your link.

The November bundle includes:
Master Walk, by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller
Surfside, Archers Beach #4, by Sharon Lee
The Gift of Magic, Archers Beach #5, by Sharon Lee
Spell Bound, Archers Beach #6, by Sharon Lee
TimeRags, by Steve Miller

You may also buy each title separately, if you prefer.

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No mail today…

Where I live, today is Columbus Day (observed).  Which means there’s no mail delivery.  Two Sundays in one week is kinda harsh. . .

Today’s big news!

The second of three Pinbeam Book bundles is now available for purchase at Baen ebooks.  The titles included in the October Bundle are:  Endeavors of Will, Sharon Lee; Gunshy (the sequel to Barnburner), Sharon Lee; The Naming of Kinzel, Sharon Lee and Steve Miller; The Cat’s Job, Sharon Lee and Steve Miller; The Day They Brought the Bears to Belfast, Sharon Lee.

Here’s your link

. . .you may also buy each title separately from that link.

In other news, I seem to have caught Steve’s cold, so no gym for me today.  Better luck tomorrow.

Today will be a writing day, commencing, as soon as I post this blog entry, with a session of sitting-on-the-couch-staring-at-nothing.  I’m always amazed when people treat the “creative process” like some kind of cognitive mystery.  All you have to do is stare at nothing, hard, until the bead of blood form on your forehead, and the backbrain has pity and forks over.

See?  Easy.

So!  Things are starting to heat up, in A Night in the Lonesome OctoberSomebody’s shown Bad Form, and somebody else is offended.  The Things are getting restive, and the lines are confused.  Not only that, but there’s a new fellow in the neighborhood, who is strangely determined to befriend Jack and Snuff; and the Great Detective is afoot.

# # #

“Yes, I am familiar with your candor, and the limits placed upon it. I will ask carefully, Translator. I would not unwittingly cause you pain.”


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Cold hearted orb that rules the night. . .

Amazonian updates at half-past Rolanni’s first cup of coffee. . .

The kindle edition of The Crystal Variation is this morning not for sale at Amazon.  If you, as another Friend of Liad did, need to read the Crystal books right now on your kindle, please purchase the omnibus from Baen.  Here’s your link.

Courier Run, Adventures in the Liaden Universe® Number 18 is on sale in the Kindle Store, but God She knows which edition it is they’re selling (the Warning Triangle is still present on the page, warning the unwary of TYPOS), or if they’ll continue selling the book in any edition at all in five days.  At this point, I have so many multiple, and confusing emails from Amazon that I’m forced to believe that one tributary of the Big River doesn’t know what the other tributaries are doing.

The Hugo Awards were presented last night in Kansas City.  Congratulations to all the winners! Here’s the list of finalists and winners.

Yesterday was a lovely, full working day — and the laundry’s almost done, too!  Today is breezy and sunny and oh, so tempting to go to the ocean, or at least the shore — however!  It is a Sunday in August.  I will, therefore, stay home and?  Work.

On the subject of Housekeeping:  WordPress helpfully closed comments in the Spoiler Thread for Alliance of Equals.  They have been re-opened, and (unless there’s a sudden massive upsweep in comments, in which case the moderator will withhold her hand) will be closed by the moderator on August 31.

I think that’s it for Sunday morning — except, yanno, more coffee! and more laundry!  and more words!

Everybody be good.

Here, have a nice, long snippet for Sunday:

That being the case, he was merely Theo’s brother — an unhappy circumstance, given that Theo’s home culture held that the proper duty of women was to protect and care for the lesser sex. Even his position as her elder did not weigh nearly so much as the fact that he was male. His necessities must naturally wait upon his sister’s.

Still, he had played the kin card cannily, hoping that the joyous occasion of a niece might tempt her where a brother did not. It appeared, however, that he had miscalculated.

Today’s blog post is brought to you by The Moody Blues, “Day Begins,” from the album Days of Future Passed, which I adored, back in the day, and which I don’t even own anymore.  Ah, Life.  Here’s your link.

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The Action in the Amazon Continues

Those following along at home will recall that, last week, it was discovered by an Alert Reader that Amazon had taken The Crystal Variation, an omnibus of novels Crystal Soldier, Crystal Dragon, and Balance of Trade, by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, published by Baen Books off sale.  We alerted Baen.  Baen’s Speaker To Amazon found that Amazon had identified 144 “spelling errors.”  Until those “spelling errors” were corrected the book could not be sold.

Baen forwarded the list to us, and we identified — wait for it — THREE incidences of Actual Misspelled Words (the rest were made-up scifi words, and most of them were “cermacrete”), four instances of missing commas (which Amazon had not pinpointed as errors), and one instance of two words that were smushed together.

Yeah, that’s it.  Amazon pulled our omnibus, without notice, for containing three spelling errors across a 1200-page book.

The Crystal Variation is now back on sale at Amazon, thanks to speedy work on Baen’s part, for getting those errors fixed, and the book re-up-loaded in record time.

So, that.

Meanwhile, in another part of the forest, Amazon had likewise taken Courier Run, Adventures in the Liaden Universe® Number 18,  by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, published by Pinbeam Books (aka Sharon Lee and Steve Miller) off-sale, without warning, for four spelling errors and two bad line breaks. These errors were represented as having been reported by a reader who found them “distracting.”

Yesterday, I fixed the two misspellings, recompiled the book and re-uploaded it to Amazon.

This morning, I have in my mailbox a communication from Amazon, stating that copyright is important to them, and that I must, in five days, provide proof that I have the right to publish Courier Run, Adventures in the Liaden Universe® Number 18.  The acceptable proofs are:

Acceptable documentation includes:

- A contract or statement from the author or publisher verifying you retain publishing rights
- An e-mail from the address listed on the official author or agent’s website
- For authors using a pseudonym, copyright registration or statement of pseudonym use
If you publish books for which you do not hold the publishing rights, your account may be terminated.

So, a letter has been written to Amazon, explaining the situation to them for at least the second, and possibly the third, time since we’ve been doing business — in the five years during which we’ve been doing business — together.  Though “together” may not exactly be the word I want, here.

As of this writing, I believe that Amazon will sell you a copy of Courier Run, Adventures in the Liaden Universe® Number 18.  There is a Quality Issues Reported Hazard Triangle just below the title.  The drop-down for that reads:

Customers reported Quality Issues with this eBook.  This eBook has
The publisher has been notified to correct these issues.

. . .so I’m guessing it’s not the amended file they’re selling.

# # #

In less-fraught news, Steve and I took yesterday off to travel into Waterville to attend the Very First Screening of “Kubo and the Two Strings.”  This is a very beautiful movie (we saw the 2-D version); the animation was amazing. The story itself is short on plot, though the writers/directors have an Absolute Mastery of Emotional Manipulation.  I recommend it for the animation alone, and for the overall sweetness of tone.  I came away from the movie feeling (briefly) peaceful and content.  So — C+.

# # #

For those who have been following the New Box Project.  I offer the following short photo essay:

Trooper still prefers the red basket:

Trooper still prefers the old Aug 18 2016

Sprite is thinking about the new box:

Sprite tries the new box Aug 18 2016

. . .which has already received the Belle Seal of Approval:

The Belle Seal of Approval Aug 18 2016

Observant readers will note that the floofy towel has been removed from the New Box. The floofy towel was Not a Proper Use.  So I was told.

# # #

Today, I work.  And probably do the laundry, because the life of a writer is unremittingly glamorous.

Everybody have a good weekend!

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Ebook News You Can Use

Those of you who purchase ebooks from Amazon need to be aware of the following:

a.  The Kindle edition of omnibus The Crystal Variation, by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, including the novels Crystal Soldier, Crystal Dragon, and Balance of Trade — has been taken off-sale by Amazon pending correction of “serious quality issues.” These issues are “misspellings.”  Amazon forwarded the list of 144 instances of misspelled words to Baen, which forwarded it to us.  More than a dozen of those “misspelled” words are “cermacrete.”  We also have “ISBN” identified as a “misspelled” word. Also, cantra, kais, qwint, Iloheen, aetherium, autoshout — you get the idea.  Steve and I have each made a pass down the list and have so far identified three Actual Misspelled Words, and one that I need to research, but believe to be a spacing problem.  The process from here goes like this:  We tell Baen which words are Actually Misspelled.  A Baen editor will fix those errors.  The Baen Ebook Team will then recompile the omnibus and shuffle it into its various formats, including forwarding a “clean copy” to Amazon.  Amazon will then, at some point, put the book back on sale.

If you would like to purchase an electronic copy of The Crystal Variation in the immediate future, your best choice of vendor would be Baen Ebooks, which offers the book for sale in All Formats Known to Man or Clutch.  Here’s the link.

b.  Amazon has also stopped selling Courier Run, an echapbook containing two Liaden stories by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, for Serious Quality Issues.  In a Surprising Plot Twist, this title shows as being Live and On Sale from my publisher’s dashboard.  KDP support is Researching the Issue and promises an answer by August 18 — next Thursday.

If you would like to purchase this echapbook before next Thursday, please seek it elsewhere — BN, Kobo, iBooks still offer it for sale.

c. Sleeping with the Enemy was also briefly off-sale at Amazon, but its honor has been redeemed and it is now on-sale in the Kindle store, as well as at the rest of the Usual Suspects.

d. Spell Bound, an echapbook collecting “Will-o’-the-wisp” and “The Wolf’s Bride,” two Archers Beach stories previously published on Splinter Universe, is now for sale at the Amazon Kindle store (after a brief tussle in which Amazon insisted that the content was available “freely on the web” and therefore I had no right to publish the compilation), and! at Kobo, and iBooks.  BN will presumably get around to publishing sometime soon.

A related note: Since these stories have been collected, they have been removed from Splinter Universe.

Today, it is rainy and cool at the Cat Farm and Confusion Factory.  I plan a quiet, working day.  I realize that we are very fortunate in our weather.  All of you who labor under Dangerous Heat Advisories — please be alert and take good care of yourselves.


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In which it has been a day of parts

. . .too many parts, in fact, running in all directions at once.

Those who do not partake of the joys of Facebook may have missed the announcement that Sleeping with the Enemy, Adventures in the Liaden Universe® Number 22, is now on sale (as an ebook only) at Amazon, Kobo, ibooks, Page Foundry, and Tolino.  We are told that it will be published RealSoonNow at BN/Noon, Scribd, and 24Symbols.

As I write this, Alliance of Equals has garnered 86! reader reviews on Amazon.  Only 114 short of 200!  You guys are going gang-busters!

. . .as we used to say.

Steve and I have declared tomorrow an electron-free day, so we will be scarce-to-invisible.  If you have an urgent matter to resolve, you can try emailing the cats, but, well — good luck with that.

# # #

Progress on Book the Next
40,459/100,000 OR 40.46% complete

“Ah, but any system is subject to manipulation. For instance, one who stands in a position of strength may decide that one whose position is. . .less strong has not paid fully enough, and demand additional consideration.” She paused, head to one side. “It is rarely said, I think, that one has paid too fully, but we must be alert to the possibility.”

Childrens Book Cellar Steve and Sharon photo by Ellen Richmond

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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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