The Lee and Miller Boskone 56 Schedule

As mentioned elsewhere, Steve and I (that’s Steve Miller and Sharon Lee) will be attending Boskone 56  February 15 through 19, at the Westin Boston Waterfront.  This is what our Official Con Schedule looks like.  You’ll also likely see us in the art show, the dealers room, and in the hallways or the Big Living Room, reading (Sharon) or talking (Steve).

FRIDAY

The Hopeful Future in Science Fiction
15 Feb 2019, Friday 2:00 – 2:50, Harbor II (Westin)
Science fiction can tend toward grim futuristic realism that is either technology-based or post-apocalyptic. Are these the futures we want to write for ourselves? Or read? In light of all the possibilities, where can we find the bright and shining moments? What current fiction gives us hope for the future? And how can we stay positive while still being realistic?
James Patrick Kelly (writer) (M), Muriel Stockdale, Gene Doucette, Fonda Lee, Steve Miller

The Long View (of a Writing Career)
15 Feb 2019, Friday 5:00 – 5:50, Marina 3 (Westin)
How do you keep the fiction and art fresh after 10, 20, 30-plus years in the business? A few streaks of gray here; a few wrinkles there … but we’re still here, contributing to SF/F literature and art and the fandom that embraces them. Our panelists take a look down memory lane at their careers — and how things have changed since they were young, eager creatives, struggling to find their place in the field. Stories will be told, advice will be shared, and a few laughs (and tears?) will be shed over the good times and bad that come with walking the long road of writing.
Ginjer Buchanan (M), Sharon Lee, Jeffrey A. Carver, Steve Miller, Allen M. Steele

Shared-Universe Worldbuilding
15 Feb 2019, Friday 6:00 – 6:50, Marina 3 (Westin)
Authors can cooperate in a variety of ways: co-authoring, writing a sequel to another’s work, extending/finishing a series started by another, etc. Shared worlds are purpose-built for different authors to (more or less independently) set their own stories. How do you make a sandbox for multiple writers to play in? What are some pitfalls? What prevents the world from degenerating, or tying up its authors in knots while trying to maintain mutual consistency? Let’s look at successful shared universes, and what keeps them worlds ahead of the rest.
Steve Miller, Victoria Sandbrook (M), Lauren Roy, Barry Lee Dejasu, David Anthony Durham

SATURDAY

Friends of Liad Breakfast with Steve Miller and Sharon Lee
16 Feb 2019, Saturday 8:30 – 9:30, Sauciety, Westin
This is a family event for fans of the Liaden Universe®, the Cat Farm Cats, or, yanno, whatever.  This is not a convention event; it’s a group of friends getting together to catch up over breakfast.  You are expected to pay for your own breakfast.  Sharon and Steve will be paying for their breakfasts, too.  Hope to see you there.

Autographing: Jonathan Hunt, Sharon Lee, Dan Moren, Steve Miller, Rebecca Roanhorse
16 Feb 2019, Saturday 10:00 – 10:50, Galleria – Autographing (Westin)

The Great Escape
16 Feb 2019, Saturday 1:00 – 1:50, Burroughs (Westin)
How do you extricate your characters from sticky situations? Felix the Cat has his bag of tricks, Batman has his utility belt — but heavy-handed rabbit-pulling is passé these days. So what’s it take to orchestrate a believable, savvy escape? Or a whole series of them, when your plot keeps putting your protagonist in peril? Let’s consider some great SF/F/H escapes, and discuss how the writer pulled them off.
Sharon Lee, Brad Abraham, Brendan DuBois (M), Brenda W. Clough , Laurence Raphael Brothers

Economics in SF/F Worlds
16 Feb 2019, Saturday 2:00 – 2:50, Burroughs (Westin)
Whether you deal in coin, platinum, electronic credits, or chickens, all societies rest upon an agreed-upon economic foundation. However, fantastic fiction rarely features a reference to any body that establishes and monitors a financial system. How important is it to see a working (or failing) economy in an SF/F world? Can you realistically have a cashless society (Star Trek) or a civilization run by orcs (LOTR)? What are the economic drivers that keep these worlds turning? Fellowships that cross multiple borders to throw away precious metal objects so rarely pay well. How do our heroes and villains survive without visible incomes of any kind?
MR Richardson (M), Fonda Lee, Karl Schroeder, Steve Miller, Walter H. Hunt

The Middle Book Syndrome
16 Feb 2019, Saturday 4:00 – 4:50, Marina 4 (Westin)
The first book of your series was amazing: solid story; compelling characters; great reception by publisher, critics, and fans. Now, the hard part: living up to all the high expectations. Or maybe the first book had a less receptive reception, but you still need to produce that second volume? Plus there’s the rhythm problem — first book, thrilling beginnings; last book, satisfying conclusions; middle book, recaps and repetitions … How do you deal with the pressures of a multi-book contract and impatient fans?
Juliana Spink Mills, Fran Wilde (M), Kenneth Rogers Jr., Sarah Beth Durst , Sharon Lee

The (r)Evolution of Military SF
16 Feb 2019, Saturday 4:00 – 4:50, Burroughs (Westin)
The tools of war change: shouldn’t fiction about fighting also evolve? Even as weapons in the real world are approaching science fictional levels of lethality, the spirit of military SF hasn’t changed much since the age of swords. Let’s look at how technology, fiction, and the military intersect and interact.
Alan Brown, Vincent O’Neil (M), Paul Di Filippo, Steve Miller, Errick Nunnally

The Impact of Fandom
16 Feb 2019, Saturday 5:00 – 5:50, Marina 4 (Westin)
Fandom is a many-splendored (and terrifying?) thing. As fandom accompanies SF/F into the mainstream, what’s its impact on the genre’s creators? Do fans actually save shows? Influence creative directions? Drive innovation? Or demand more of the same? What about when fans become creators themselves? Looking ahead, what more might we fans do for our beloved genre?
Janice Gelb (M), Dave Weingart, Jim Mann, Steve Miller, Brad Abraham

SUNDAY

Kaffeeklatsch: Sharon Lee and Steve Miller
17 Feb 2019, Sunday 11:00 – 11:50, Galleria – Kaffeeklatsch 2 (Westin)

Reading by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller
17 Feb 2019, Sunday 1:00 – 1:25, Griffin (Westin)

Sunny Sunday

Today dawned bright and blue and sunny after a subjective quarter-century of rain, which Trooper celebrated by running up and down the house shouting, “Whoa! Whoa! Whoa!” and jumping over any cat who got in his path.

He’s resting in a sun-puddle now, along with the rest of the feline household.

We humans, having breakfasted and taken on caffeine, are perhaps less wise.  I, obviously, am updating my blog; Steve is building bookshelves.  Yes, yes, you knew we’d figure out that we needed more bookshelves, despite the wealth of shelves built into the living room.

In fact, one of four we purchased has already gone into service as the Cookbook Bookshelf, sitting under the clock at the intersection of the living room and dining room.  The ginormous kitchen at the Old Digs had room for its own bookshelf; there is no such “extra” space in the current galley kitchen.

Two of the remaining bookshelves will replace one of the two bookshelves that my father built for my sixteenth birthday.  They were long and low, meant to fit under the eaves, and they were never meant to travel nearly so far, nor so long, as they have done.  The shelf that came to rest in my office is. . .’way too unsteady, given that its duty-list includes not only holding books but standing steady when a coon cat (or two) leaps to the top.

So! two nice folding bookshelves, to match the bookshelves that used to be under the windows in my office at the Old Digs will be replacing the old, unsteady bookshelf, which will find renewed purpose in the basement, where it will have a nice concrete wall to lean against.

Last week’s Writers’ Day Off was, of course, Friday, when we put on our Author Clothes and went downtown to the Children’s Book Cellar, to talk, and read, and sign books.  We had a nice turnout of about 10 people on what was a rainy, cold, occasionally thunder-y evening — included in the crowd were two women who’d driven up from Mount Holyoke (no mean feat in good weather) to attend.

As advertised, we talked:  about how we met, our first writing projects, how writing for newspapers ties in with what we do now, a bunch of other stuff, spinning off into the side-alleys and rejoining the main road down there — as one does.

We also read — switching off — the opening five pages and several other sections of Agent of Change, including the parts where Miri meets Val Con, and the part where Miri meets Edger.

We had fun; and I hope that was true for everyone who attended.

A note for those who ordered signed books:  We await the delivery of a case of books, which had not arrived by Friday night.  When that case arrives, we will sign and personalize books, and they will be cast onto the back of the wind.  Or the Postal System, whichever bids low.

This week’s Writers’ Day Off will be Tuesday.  The first item on the agenda is to vote, after which we will have breakfast out, and consider what else the weather will allow us to do on the thirty-eighth anniversary of Doing the Legal.

In writing news, I have deconstructed the manuscript into major narrative lines, in order to see the natural breaks more clearly.  This is service of weaving those lines together smoothly.  And also, yanno, finishing each line appropriately.  I’m not sure if we’ll have cascading dénouements or just go for one big BANG! across all storylines.  And they say writing a novel isn’t technical.

So, I think that’s it.  After I hit send, I’ll be removing the books from the old bookshelf, and shifting it elsewhere so the new bookshelves can be placed.  This will give the backbrain plenty of time — ahem! — to consider Weighty Matters of Fiction.

Everybody be good.

Reading and Book Signing Tonight!

Tonight, Friday, November 2, from 7 to 10 pm! Sharon Lee and Steve Miller will be reading from and signing copies of the thirtieth anniversary edition of our very first novel; space opera classic AGENT OF CHANGE, at the Children’s Book Cellar in Waterville. Looking forward to seeing you there!

Val Con and Miri’s 30th Anniversary News!

Sharon Lee and Steve Miller will be signing, reading, and talking (you just try to stop us from talking) about the Thirtieth Anniversary Edition of Agent of Change, at the Children’s Book Cellar, 52 Main Street, Waterville, Maine from 7-10 pm on Friday, November 2 — Hey!  That’s this Friday!

Everybody — that means you in the back, there, too! — Everybody is invited to this gala event.  It’s free — so, come help us, Miri, Val Con, Edger, and the entire cast of characters from the Very First Liaden Universe® novel ever published — celebrate this important science fictional anniversary!

Procrastinators Take Note!
If you are unable to attend the November 2 event, but you want a signed copy of the anniversary edition of Agent of Change, with the awesome Sam Kennedy cover, you may send an email before November 2  (that is BEFORE this Friday) to Ellen Richmond at kidsbookscellarATmyfairpointDOTnet, with “Lee and Miller” in the subject line. In the body of the letter let Ellen know how many books you want, your snail address, and any personalization request you may have. She will contact you for further necessary information.

So, everybody has this important date inked-in on the calendar, right?  Right!

See you soon.

Sunday morning round-up

All righty, then!

First up, a reminder:  Sharon Lee and Steve Miller will be reading from and signing copies of the Thirtieth Anniversary Edition of Agent of Change at Children’s Book Cellar, 52 Main Street, Waterville, Maine 04901, on Friday, November 2, from 7:30-9 pm.  Looking forward to seeing you — yes, you! — there.

If you are unable to attend the November 2 event, and you want a signed copy of the anniversary Agent of Change, with the awesome Sam Kennedy cover, you may send an email before November 2 to Ellen Richmond at kidsbookscellarATmyfairpointDOTnet, with “Lee and Miller” in the subject line. In the body of the letter let Ellen know how many books you want, your snail address, and any personalization request you may have. She will contact you for further necessary information.

So, we attended the Community Health Needs Assessment as our Floating Day Off, on Thursday.  It was interesting, and even informative.  I had been under the impression that the event was hosted by one of the area hospitals; in fact it is an on-going collaborative effort of about eight different hospitals, clinics and health associations.  The meant that there were a lot of professionals present, which was fine; one of the problems identified by our table (all civilians, saving the facilitator and the note-taker) was a lack of access to care, including a lack of doctors, a lack of transportation to get to doctors, and a lack of those activities supportive of good health.

Unfortunately, the lack of access which was so obvious to the public eye was invisible to the professional eye, as we found when it came time to rank the most pressing needs in our community.  The vote went along, dare I say, party lines, with the professionals pushing for programmatic solutions to things like the opoid crisis and self-harm.  That was a little disappointing.  Our facilitator thanked our table for our real-world perspective, but I’m not completely certain that she has any high-level ears available to her.

One of the things that seems obvious to me (warning) is that, if this is about COMMUNITY Health Needs, then the COMMUNITY needs to get involved.  The city needs to get on-board with providing, say, a real bus service, so people can get to their appointments on time.  The clinics need to coordinate; health and exercise classes in the city need to be expanded, supported, and advertised.

The whole community aspect was pointed up when the meeting was breaking up and one of our table’s participants handed the facilitator a card.  She shook her head, and said, “The hospital does all its printing in house.”  “That’s right,” came the answer, “and they put the guy who used to do their printing out of business.”

If we’re all in this together, we can’t solve our problems by working separately.

So, that.

We haven’t quite settled on the upcoming week’s Floating Day Off; much depends on the outcome of phone calls that need to be made tomorrow.  For today, I need to vacuum the house, and then get to work.

Oh!  I keep meaning to show y’all this. . .The Carousel Corner in my bookshelf.

Wednesday morning adverts

A.  If you are going to a convention, belong to a reading group, or patronize a library or bookstore open to taking promotional items, and! you would like to help promote Agent of Change and/or the Carousel series, please drop me a note at sharonleeATkorvalDOTcom, and I’ll be happy to send you some postcards or bookmarks for distribution.

B.  Sharon Lee and Steve Miller will be reading from and signing copies of the Thirtieth Anniversary Edition of Agent of Change at Children’s Book Cellar, 52 Main Street, Waterville, Maine 04901, on Friday, November 2, from 7:30-9 pm.  Looking forward to seeing you — yes, you! — there.

C. If, after all, my blandishments have failed and you are unable to attend the November 2 event, and you still want a signed copy of the anniversary Agent of Change, with the awesome Sam Kennedy cover, you may send an email before November 2 to Ellen Richmond at kidsbookscellarATmyfairpointDOTnet, with “Lee and Miller” in the subject line. In the body of the letter let Ellen know how many books you want, your snail address, and any personalization request you may have. She will contact you for further necessary information.

Here endeth the Wednesday morning adverts.

A short photographic history of a novel

From left to right:
Agent of Change (as by Steve Miller and Sharon Lee), February 1988, artist Stephen Hickman, Del Rey Books mass market original

Agent of Change (as by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller), November 2002, artist Michael Herring, Ace Books mass market reprint of Meisha Merlin edition*

Agent of Change 30th Anniversary Edition,(as by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller), November 2018, artist Sam Kennedy, Baen Books mass market

_____________
*Many readers were introduced to the Liaden Universe® via the Meisha Merlin omnibus Partners in Necessity, which reprinted the first three novels, Agent of Change, Conflict of Honors, and Carpe Diem.  Publication date February 2000, Artist Michael Herring,

Signed copies of Agent of Change

This is an Actual Professional Announcement, for those who want to acquire a signed copy of the 30th Anniversary Edition of Agent of Change.

Steve and I will be signing at Childrens Book Cellar in Waterville on November 2 (from 7:30-9 pm, or until the crowd is satisfied, whichever comes first).

If you would like a signed book, but cannot attend the booksigning, you may send an email before November 2 to Ellen Richmond at kidsbookscellarATmyfairpointDOTnet, with “Lee and Miller” in the subject line. In the body of the letter let Ellen know how many books you want, your snail address, and any personalization request you may have. She will contact you for further necessary information.

Here ends the Actual Professional Announcement.

Friday Potpourri

In the spirit of getting bidness outta the way first:  Someone — maybe on this blog?  I’ve lost the note itself — asked me to “list” all of our work eligible for this year’s Dragon Awards.  Herewith! the list:

Neogenesis, Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, Baen Books, January 2018  Category: Best SF Novel

The Dragon Awards are apparently open to anyone who wishes to participate.  Here’s your link.

So, that.

One of my on-board tasks is to proofread the manuscript for Liaden Universe® Constellation, Volume Four, due at the publisher in August.  I just finished proofing “Street Cred,” and damn! that’s a good story.  I realize that it’s not cool to be pleased with your own work, but, hey, I’ve never been cool.

And, it really is a good story.

Let see, what else?

Ah.  June 27th marked our second month in the New Location.  Time flies and all like that.  I’ve made my peace with the dishwasher, more or less; and while I still don’t quite comprehend the new dryer, progress is being made on that road.

One of the many things that amuses me about this house is that, yesterday, I walked a mile and a half.  This was exclusively inside the house, going from my office at the top of the short arm of the U, around to the laundry room, in the middle of the long arm of the U (directly across from my office, as the crow flies, if crows could fly through windows), and back again.

Though the first mad flood has been stemmed, we still from time to time entertain contractors.  Tree Guy says he’s going to take down the two dead pines “next week” but hasn’t called to set, y’know, an actual day.  Also, it may have escaped his notice that Wednesday is the Fourth of July.  Cleaning Guy, who was supposed to have come by yesterday morning, cancelled because a tree had fallen on his mother’s house and he was needed to help with the clean-up.  So, we’re waiting for another call from him to reschedule.  And the War Engineer is supposed to drop by on his own schedule to finish getting rid of the useless bits of the fence.

Work continues to go forward on Accepting the Lance.  Mind you, it’s not going as quickly as I would wish, which was ever the case, but going forward is Good.  I’m perhaps being over-gentle with it, given how suddenly and completely its predecessor died the True Death.  We don’t want that to happen again; oh, no, we do not.

Reporting from the land of More Excitement Than You Can Possibly Stand, after I became unable to drink caffeinated coffee, I settled on Twining’s Irish Breakfast Tea as my caffeine delivery system.  It has a nice mouth feel, and has the darkish taste of coffee.  Sort of.

Steve recently got me a box of Twining’s Lapsang Souchong, and. . .man, that’s interesting.  I don’t know that I’m going to make it my Only Tea, but I’m definitely going to keep a box around.

And that?  Is all I’ve got.  Going to be a busy weekend, what with writing and proofing and all.  Also, by Maine standards, at least, a hot weekend, as I suppose is proper as we in the US run up to Independence Day, the quintessential summer holiday.  Which reminds me that I have to find where Waterville stages its fireworks. . .

Everybody stay cool.

Shameless Self Promotion and the Saga of the Pantry

Asyouknowbob, the SFWA Big Bundle of Space Opera vanishes into hyperspace in 9 days, 14 hours, and yada-yada minutes.  This bundle includes books by Mike Shepherd, Stephanie Bedwell-Grimes, Terry Mixon, Vera Nazarian, Lee and Miller, and so! many! more!  You want this bundle, you know you want it!  Satisfy your craving now!  Here’s your link.

Also!  There’s a kickstarter running for the publication of original anthology Release the Virgins!  Lots of swell authors on board for this one, if it’s funded, among them Jody Nye, Keith R.A. deCandido, Lawrence Watt-Evans, Gail Z. Martin, Shariann Lewitt, Sharon Lee, Steve Miller — and more!  Here’s your link.

Here at the Cat Farm and Confusion Factory’s new location, proofreading of the 30th Anniversary Edition of Agent of Change continues to go forth.  Given the sorts of errors that have been identified — dropped words and paragraphs — this one may warrant a third pass.  Happily, we have until August to return it to Baen.

Work also goes forth on a Liaden short story commissioned for a space opera anthology; which has an August delivery.  And of course planning continues on Accepting the Lance.

We have also been continuing with Necessary Adjustments to the house.  This week’s triumph was the installation of the pantry, which was completed yesterday.  Today, April will stop by to measure for the countertop, and I need to ask her about the microwave shelf, which needs some adjustment, but, for all intents and purposes, we have pantry!  And now I get these stupid boxes out of my living room.

. . .which will then, of course, be replaced with whole other stupid boxes, as we get the Tech Room sorted out.

Sooner or later, we’ll achieve a State of No Boxes and no contractors/installers, but I fear it will not be soon.  And I do have to keep reminding myself that we haven’t even been living here for a full month.

*deep breaths*

For those interested, here’s the Before and Afters of the dining room/pantry situation.

. . .and now, to work.