To send a wagon for thy minstrel

So, it’s been a while since we’ve chatted.  My excuse is — page proofs arrived for the mass market edition of Accepting the Lance (to be published on October 27), and needed to be proofread.  No sooner than had we sent them back, then the copy edits for Trader’s Leap (to be published on December 1) landed, and that’s what I’m occupying myself with at the moment.

In-between All That, Steve and I have had several, err, creative meetings — to dignify a process that involves a lot of hand-waving, staring out of windows, pitching random scenes and sentences, and refilling the wine glasses — regarding the next book under contract.

Those of you who have been following along will perhaps recall that The Original Plan had Steve as lead on the next book, while I had needed surgery on my left foot, and held myself ready to consult, taking up the duties of Staff once I was fit, and also working on a side book.  I may not have said that outloud, about the side book, but that was part of The Original Plan.

It is here that we insert:  The best laid schemes o’mice an’ men gang aft agley.

We started well enough.  Then, in January, there was a funky mammogram, which meant biopsies of both breasts, only one of which had been invaded by cancer; followed by a mastectomy in mid-March, and a course of radiation therapy, which ended in mid-June, when I started taking a prescribed aromatase inhibitor, which produced crippling side effects. We’re now in the phase of letting that med leave my system before we try another one.

Otherwise, I’m pretty much recovered, absent the fact that I’m having some memory and cognitive issues, which I’m told will improve, in good time.

And then of course, there are the on-going shared threats to health, liberty, and life that we are all dealing with.

During all of this, Steve was Front, whose expanded duties included driving me to radiation therapy — a 266 mile round trip — every weekday, making sure we were fed, laundered, and up-to-date.

The book languished.  We missed one deadline, and were on track to missing the second, extended, deadline.

Thus, the creative meeting.  Which led to the realization that we needed to start again.

We spoke to Madame the Agent, who spoke to Madame the Publisher.  Between us all, we worked out a new delivery date, in 2021.  So, this is your Distant Early Warning: There will likely not be a new Liaden book published in 2021.  A Miracle may occur — it would not be the first time that Madame the Publisher has pulled a rabbit out of her hat, but that’s not the way the smart money ought to bet.

Today’s blog title is brought to you by Hildegard von Blingen, covering Gotye’s “Somebody that I Used to Know.”  Here’s your link.

New Liaden chapbook in the works

Today is entering the corrections into the manuscript of The Gate that Locks the Tree, destined to become Adventures in the Liaden Universe® Number 30. As I open the manuscript, it is 16,200 words thick — that is, according to SFWA, a novelette.
The cover price for our last chapbook, Shout of Honor, Adventures in the Liaden Universe® Number 29 was (and is) $4.25 for ebook; $8.00 for paper. We anticipate no increases in cover prices at this time.
There is a better than 50% chance that this title will be collected at some point, into Liaden Universe® Constellation, Volume Five, if  Baen is willing.
There has lately been some confusion about the honor of authors and the requirements of readers.
I will attempt to clarify.
There is no dishonor in publishing our own stories independently; we’ve been doing it since 1997 (this time).
There is no dishonor in our charging such cover price as we find good.
There is no dishonor in selling reprint rights so that a publisher may bring X-number of indie-pubbed stories into a “collected works” edition.
There is, in fact, no dishonor in trading the products of our skill for money. That’s what authors do.
There is no dishonor in purchasing books, for whatever reasons seem good to you.
There is no dishonor in declining to purchase a book for whatever reasons seem good to you.
There is no dishonor in waiting for the collection.
There is no dishonor in not caring to read shorter works.
The authors put the stories out there, as an opportunity to readers.
Readers decide whether and when they wish to take advantage of this opportunity.
I hope this helps.
And now — to work!  See y’all on the flipside.

I was raised in the canebreak by an ol’ momma lion

So, suddenly and with only a little bit of warning — we’re busy.

Well.  I’m busy.

Steve was already busy.  Being lead on a novel comes with an “I’m busy” card.  Plus, he’s already recorded a short story for Patreon.  Here’s the link.

Me, though, I had a couple things on my plate — getting the taxes ready for the accountant, a short story that may come under contract a little further down the line, that Archers Beach universe story I’ve been thinking about, the next novel after Steve’s got done with his two.  Also, I’d been thinking about another Liaden story or two, for inclusion in a new chapbook.  So — work, but not a lot of work.

And then?  I started going through the “cope with this after you’ve healed” folder on my desk, and I discovered that I had some splinters for eventual posting on Splinter Universe (there’s one up now, with author commentary, at this link).

The rest of the splinters in hand are Liaden in nature, and the plan is to get them up in a more-or-less leisurely manner.  First, I have to do something about the color scheme at Splinter Universe.

Then, Steve had finished drafting a story that Would Not Be Quiet just before my foot got rebuilt, and I put it aside to read until I was back on both feet.  That story — “The Gate that Locks the Tree In: A Minor Melant’i Play for Snow Season” — is destined to become a chapbook, Adventures in the Liaden Universe® Number 30.

So, this is what’s lined up, so far:

1  Do the taxes
2  Edit, format, put on sale “The Gate That Locks the Tree In”
3  Write short story
4  Fix Splinter Universe template
5  Plot  and write Archers Beach story
6  Type in Liaden snippets/write author commentary for each
7 Plot and write story(ies) for Adventures in the Liaden Universe® Number 31
8  Post Liaden snippets
9  Plot and write Liaden novel
10 Confer with Steve over producing possible “outtake” chapbook

So, that’ll keep me busy for a while, I guess.

And now you’re up to date.

Today’s blog title brought to you by Tennessee Ernie Ford, “Sixteen Tons.”

Notes on Accepting the Lance

OK, everybody, deep breaths — good. . .good. . .

Focus, now — Can you hear me?  Good. . .


As I write this, Lee and Miller have FOUR MORE Liaden books under contract.

The first is Trader’s Leap, which is scheduled for publication in November/December 2020.

Then, there will be two Jethri books — Steve is lead of both of these; the first of which is due with Madame the Editor in May 2020.  The second is due in January 2021.

After those are two nameless and as yet formless Liaden novels.  I’ll probably start with them while Steve’s coping with Jethri, but first?  I’ll finish the revisions of Trader’s Leap.

Accepting the Lance is the 22nd novel set in the Liaden Universe®.  It will be followed by!
Number 23Trader’s Leap
Number 24 — Jethri book, sequel to Trade Secret
Number 25 — Jethri book, sequel to the above, as yet titleless
Number 26 — Liaden book
Number 27 — Liaden book

Everybody up to speed?  Good.


Today is the day!  The day that Accepting the Lance, the 22nd novel in the Liaden Universe® created by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller is officially released*!

We here at the Confusion Factory are of course very excited, and grateful that Baen was able to get the book — submitted in January — out this year.

We do know that there are a number of you who purchased the eARC, and therefore are finding the Book Day festivities a little flat.  If you wish, you may celebrate by leaving a review for LANCE on the venue of your choice.

The authors are celebrating each in our own way.  First, by announcing Book Day as far and as wide as we may.  Secondly, Steve is celebrating by working on the next book detailing the adventures of Jethri Gobelyn, which is due on Madame’s desk in May 2020.  And, thirdly, I am celebrating by editing Trader’s Leap, scheduled for publication in November/December 2020.

The chickadees, titmice, nuthatchen, goldfinches, sparrows, and cardinals are celebrating by mobbing the bird feeders, because it’s snowing up a Real Storm here in Central Maine.

In other news, I am due at the surgeon’s office tomorrow at 2 pm, by which time the snow will have stopped and the driveway cleared.  This visit will determine if my time in the Command Chair is about to end or if it will be another four weeks until I see my shadow.

Fingers crossed.

*Yes, there is supposed to be an Audible edition.  No, I don’t know why it’s not available.  No, I don’t know when it will be available.  Authors are always the last to know these things.  Naturally, I deplore my ignorance, and the distress of those who had hoped to listen to the book today, but, really, the non-appearance of the Audible edition is not my fault.

Update the Sixth

So, yesterday, Steve and I took our planned excursion to the Festival of Trees, me on my shiny blue scooter and Steve doing the driving and the heavy lifting.  The entrance to ELM (formerly the VFW Hall), site of the Festival, has a lovely, lovely ramp, and I scooted right on up to the doors, which!

. . .open out, and no push-button in sight.  Oops.

Steve had gone to park the car, and I was considering turning the scooter around to meet him at the end of the ramp (thereby clearing the entrance door for the able-bodied) when a very nice lady, who was exiting the facility by the other door, saw and instantly understood my problem, said, “Let me open that for you!” and did, so that got worked out.

I scooted into the lobby and the ticket seller called out, “Hey, nice rig!” and we talked scooters vs wheelchairs, and one hand brake vs two until Steve arrived, paid our way in, and we went into the big room.

There were two ticket-takers at station.  One said, “I know you didn’t do this to get attention, but that’s a really nice scooter.”  The other asked me to ring the scooter’s bell for him, which I did, explaining about the cats, who no longer really regard the scooter, or the bell, as having anything to do with them — and then we were in!

I bought my tickets and scooted off to consider decorated trees and the gifts under each.  I try not to bid on tree-packages that were clearly put together with children in mind, though I was very, very tempted by the unicorn/mermaid package, which included a wooden rocking unicorn, a fairy tent, and unicorn/mermaid ornaments on the tree.  Sprite would’ve loved it.

Anyhow, most of my tickets went to packages offering three days at this or that lodge, or cooking utensils, electric “wood stoves,” season tickets to the Opera House, and like that.

When I was done, I sat myself down in one of the chairs up front, people-watched, and talked with the neighbors as they came by.  One lady let me know that she had used to play “Beano” (the Maine equivalent of Bingo, and they let people who aren’t Catholic play), when the building was the VFW Hall, and years ago.  “People still smoked inside then,” she said, “and there was this blue haze, and the caller’s voice coming out of it.  There was a guy who sold ham sandwiches — they were very plain; just butter on bread, and a piece of ham, and they tasted so good!”

I love talking to the neighbors.

Anyway, Steve having finished his communing with the trees, we got back in the car and headed out for a ride.  I had in mind a long, looooooonnnnnnggggg ride, because I’ve been stuck in the house since the rocks cooled.  Unfortunately, that turned out to be a case of the brain being willing, but the body saying, You Have GOT To Be Kidding Me, and we wandered home after a shortish ride, having taken on-board a Subway flatbread sammich for lunch.

Back home, we each ate our half-sammich, and then finished reading Welcome to Temptation (Jennifer Crusie) to each other, and then, what the heck, we said, and watched “Kinky Boots” (again).

Truly, it was a Very Fine Writers’ Day Off.

Today, I have work to do — no really.  I finished reading Trader’s Leap.  I am therefore on-deck to take my swing at a blurb (Steve has taken his swing and a very fine effort it is. Usually, these things wind up being part of this one, part of that one, and part of what the House has to say, so once again we see that writing is a Science.  Ahem.)

After the blurb, since I did just finish reading Trader’s Leap, Steve and I need to talk about the difficulties with the script mentioned by Madame the Publisher, so — revisions in future!  What fun.

In the meantime, I’m a little wrung out from all of yesterday’s excitement, and a nap has been penciled into the afternoon schedule.

For those who come here for publication news:  Accepting the Lance, the 22nd novel of the Liaden Universe®, Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, owner-operators, will be published on December 3.  That’s, like, ten days from now.

There is a short story, “A Visit to the Galaxy Ballroom,” posted on to tide you over.  The story is free for everyone to read, but!  It will be taken down in mid-December when another story, by another Baen author will be posted.  The story is on the front page, but you need to scroll down to find it*.

Also, the new mass market edition of Carpe Diem — the third Liaden book ever written — will be released  on February 25, 2020.

Trader’s Leap is, I believe, scheduled for publication around this time, next year.

One more thing, and I’ll let y’all go:  I had been going to title this blog post “My Ramblin’ Boy,” for obvious reasons.  I had always thought this song was old, old, really old, because I can’t remember a time when I didn’t know the words.  But!  Peter Seeger lets us know that it was written by Tom Paxton (who subsequently recorded in on the album “Ramblin’ Boy,” in 1964). So!  This song was written in my lifetime; simple math tells us that I was twelve the first time I heard it.

Here’s your link.

*For those who are tired of hearing me say this:  there are many people who miss this point, about scrolling down, and for some reason they write to us to complain that the story isn’t there, after all.  My patience is a Very Limited Commodity, therefore the oft-repeated instruction.

News You Can Use

So, this is a test of Auctorial Acuteness.  Can I can get all the Stuff in one blog post?  Let’s see. . .

  1.  You may preorder a signed and/or personalized copy of Accepting the Lance by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, from Uncle Hugo’s SF Bookstore.  Here’s your link.
  2. You may preorder the ebook edition of Accepting the Lance from:  BN and Amazon  (yes, you may also preorder the hardcover edition; don’t let’s make this any more difficult than it already is, ‘K?)
  3. Amazon is running a sale on the ebook edition Fortune’s Favors: Adventures in the Liaden Universe® Number 28.  During the month of November the price will be $1.49.
  4. Brand-new Liaden story “Dark Secrets” will be published in Infinite Stars: Dark Frontiers on November 5.  Other authors include:  CJ Cherryh, Tanya Huff, Seanan McGuire, Becky Chambers, Jack Campbell, Mike Shepherd, and more!  Here’s your link.
  5. The new mass market edition of Conflict of Honors, the second Liaden Universe® novel ever published is now on sale from all the Usual Suspects (yes, there’s also an ebook edition).  Cover art by Sam Kennedy.  This is your reminder that (1) books make great gifts, and that this book is an Entry Point to the Liaden Universe®, thereby  perfect place to start your non-Liaden-savvy friends. AND (2) to please review Conflict, if you have already read it.
  6. Brand-new Liaden story “A Visit to the Galaxy Ballroom” will be published to sometime more or less around November 15.  It will be available on the front page, below the fold (that means “scroll down” to you folks who don’t speak Old Newspaper), and will be free for all to read.
  7. Accepting the Lance, the 22nd novel of the Liaden Universe® created by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, will be published in hardcover, ebook, and audio editions, on December 3, 2019.
  8. Trader’s Leap, the 23rd novel of the Liaden Universe®, will be published sometime around November or December 2020.  NOTE:  This book takes place on the Dutiful Passage; it is not, repeat, IT IS NOT a Jethri book.  Thank you for your attention to this small but important detail.
  9. Steve is working on the next Jethri book as I type.  That book has a mid-2020 deadline, so look for it in 2021.
  10. Steve is also lead on the book after #9 above, also a Jethri book, as I understand.  It has a deadline of 2021, so look for it in 2022.
  11. After the two Jethri books referenced above are turned in, we will still have two Liaden books under contract.  No, we don’t know what they’ll be about yet.  No, we don’t want suggestions, thank you.
  12. Lee and Miller will be attending two conventions in 2020:  Boskone 57, where we will be panelists; and AlbaCon 2020, September 11-13, where we will be Writer Guests of Honor.

. . .I think that’s everything.



Sufficient unto the day are the submissions thereof

So, these things happened today:

  1.  Trader’s Leap, the twenty-third novel of the Liaden Universe® co-created by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, has been turned in to Madame the Publisher at Baen.  . . .Leap weighs in at about 122,000 words and concerns itself with the doings aboard Dutiful Passage. The action in . . .Leap happens concurrently with the action in Accepting the Lance (due out in December)The action happens so concurrently, in fact, that for most of last year, . . .Lance and . . .Leap were thought by their fond authors to be one novel.  No publication date as yet.  If I were guessing, which you’d think I’d know better than by this point in my life, I’d say look for it in bookstores late in 2020.
  2. “A Visit to the Galaxy Ballroom,” a short story commission by in support of the publication of Accepting the Lance, has also been turned in.  Look for it on the front page of in mid-November.  The story will be free for everyone to read.

I still have one more professional commitment to fulfill, which it would soothe me to have it turned in before I hit Foot Surgery Day on October 18.  It’s not technically due ’til the end of November, but, since the future is an Uncharted Country, I’d like to get it off the decks.

I also need clear the detritus of Having Written A Novel from my desk and its immediate surrounds, clear away the stack of administrivia that’s been waiting for attention, and make some more arrangements for my convalescence.  My greatest fear for the recuperation period is that I will succumb to depression brought on by boredom and inactivity.  I mean, you wouldn’t think I’d be bored, given that mountain of books over there that I call my TBR pile, but I’m pretty much used to getting up, getting around, and getting out.  Also, I’m Particularly Unskilled at Just Sit There and Rest™.

Well.  Practice makes perfect.

We have made some efforts to make the Command Chair interesting.  Steve has very kindly put a birdfeeder outside of the Command Window, which looks over the busy street at the front of the house.  The chair also faces the Big Screen, so I’ll be able to have waterfalls and fireplaces on view, not to mention — hey, let’s get crazy! — actual movies.  And, yanno, I do have a laptop, so I won’t be cut off from civilization entirely.

So, anyway, that’s what’s going on at the Cat Farm and Confusion Factory on the first of October.

What’s going forward at your house?



And I’m known by the name of Old Johnny Dhu

Yesterday arrived cool and cloudy.  We turned off the heat pumps and opened all the windows that will open and it was just…glorious.

Today is more of the same, with a tad more sun, and the windows in my office, by far the most window-rich room in the house, are open and the curtains are belling in the soft breeze.  If I hadn’t seen Maine do this before, I’d be declaring to y’all that Fall Has Arrived.  As it is, I’ll just mention that this is a welcome break, and that I’ll be working in the comfy chair in the window today.

For those following the saga of the Blue Scooter, the new wheel arrived yesterday.  Happen it will be changed in for the leaky wheel today, depending on Steve’s schedule, and I’ll be able to start with some practice, RSN.  I’ll also need to call the War Engineer, Builder of the Goblin Room, to stop by and noodle me up a ramp, or a pulley system or something so I can get in the front door when I come home from surgery.

This week coming, I have an appointment with the surgeon, and also with the nice ladies who will be doing the housecleaning while I’m off my feet, so they can see exactly what they’ll be getting into.

Also — I know you’ve all marked your calendars and have been planning for this event all year — next Sunday is Scrabble’s 17th birthday (observed).

As above, work continues on the WIP, which very nearly had a title last week, but…no.  Sigh.

And, that?  Is what’s going on here at the Cat Farm and Confusion Factory — business as usual: calm on the surface and frantically busy beneath.

Hope all of you living in the northern hemisphere are enjoying the drawing down of summer, such as it may or may not be, and also a peaceful weekend.

Today’s blog title comes to you from Gaelic Storm.  Here’s your link.

Twixt and Tween

As reported elsewhere. . .

This morning, we await the arrival of the Command Chair, which will be delivered, so they say, between 8 am and noon.  I note that it was not delivered at 8 am.

This after, we have errands, and possibly a nap.

I have this morning filed for half an hour.  I figure half-an-hour a day for a couple weeks will see everything put away by the time I need to withdraw from the lists for 8 weeks.  Sprite came into the tech room to help; me (Sprite likes to file) — and I am just returned from another visit to the tech room, because she was shouting at me to come back here and file some more!  I had to tell her that I’m not going to file for eight hours straight; that I appreciate her help and hope to have her help again, tomorrow.

This is what you get when you have cats who want to be Involved in the Process.

So, anyway. . .somewhere in all this I need to print out the Nameless WIP and go through it line by line, as one does.  That’ll be fun.  Or not.  I’m past the point where I want to read this book ever again, but, yanno.  Part of the job.