Year-end Wrap-up at the Cat Farm and Confusion Factory

You ever notice that the problem with year-end wrap-ups is that years don’t actually wrap-up?  I mean, for bookkeeping purposes, it’s fine to pretend that the year has a beginning, a middle, and an end, all of which can be tidied away into that box over there, while from the box over here, the pristine first month folder is removed and opened.

In fact, our first month calendar already has things in it that were put in motion by events that took place in the year being “wrapped-up.”

On January 1, around noon, we’ll entertain the Catastrophe Team, who will look at the places where the downed trees had been. (Oh!  The broken trees have been removed.  The big spruce was something of a challenge, but the arborist was able to remove it without inciting the root ball into a frenzy that would have done all the damage to the house that it missed doing when it came down.  So, that’s all good news.)  We also have several doctor’s appointments, directly related to Steve’s medical adventure in late November, and another appointment with the arborist, to take down the other big spruce that’s too close to the house, and which was seen dancing on its roots during the windstorm.

On the writing side of life, Steve and I are wrapping up the year-long celebration of the publication of Salvage Right, the 25th Liaden novel, coincidentally our 100th collaboration.  Which isn’t too bad for a universe that was several times declared dead, and we thank everyone who participated.  The ripples continue into next year, with Ribbon Dance (the 104th Lee-and-Miller collaboration, 26th novel set in the Liaden Universe®) scheduled for a June release.  Steve is currently working on short story “Familiarity,” which was commissioned last year, and I’m working on the 27th Liaden novel (which has a name, but it’s a Sekrit), which was contracted for in 2022, and is due in September 2024.

This year was not a good one, cashflow-wise.  Publishing in general is in one of its Moods; the way books are dealt into bookstores has been readjusted to, as far as I can see, no one’s benefit, which personally meant diminished royalties in a year of increased expense (because that’s always the way it works), combined with other things both disappointing, but I suppose inevitable, with roots almost a decade deep.

Steve and I are planning to publish some new chapbooks next year, in order to increase cashflow.  In Olden Times, I would have been looking for a part-time job to fill in the gaps, but I think that ship has sailed.  (No, please — no one suggest that I hang out my shingle as an editor.  I’m a lousy editor.)

Regarding travel . . . we will not (NOT) be attending Boskone — that’s the ripples from Steve’s health adventure reaching out into February.  We had talked about going to World Fantasy, but that really depends on cashflow.  Watch this space for updates.

For the rest of it — Larger Real Life is too damn’ scary even to try to talk about — ref years not wrapping up, but ringing their changes far out into the future. . .  I’m trying to walk the fine line between being informed, and being able to function as a decent human being within my own very small sphere of influence.

. . . and that’s the year-end wrap-up from the Cat Farm and Confusion Factory.  Our wish to you in the new year is health, comfort, and peace.

See you next year.

Sharon, Steve, Trooper, Sprite, and Firefly


10 thoughts on “Year-end Wrap-up at the Cat Farm and Confusion Factory”

  1. Thank you so very much for all the joy, comfort and entertainment you and Steve and the cats have brought me. I hold you guys and the Universe in my heart and find that Shan especially speaks to me and for me in various situations. My you be be blessed in the “new Year’s.

  2. Trees will be sorely missed, but better that the house is safe! All the best wishes I can direct your way are sent off with this post: Happy New Year!

  3. Thank you for your sharing, both as professional writers and your personal connections. Sending prosperous blessings for health, wealth and other desires of your ? hearts.

  4. I hope that 2024 proves far better at the Cat Farm and Confusion Factory than 2023 has been for many reasons, including cash flow. I’m looking forward to reading the new chapbooks, whenever they’re ready, and will miss you at Boskone next month. There’s always 2025.

    Your mention of “Salvage Right” (sorry; can’t figure out how to do italics!) reminds me that its list of Liaden books up front includes “Trade Lanes (forthcoming)”, which I had assumed was the next Jethri novel. Was I way off-base, and “Trade Lanes” has become “Ribbon Dance”? Or is Jethri on the back burner for now?

  5. Trade Lanes is much later than we’d like. Steve’s recasting the book since an insidious plot miscue meant two of the core threads actually conflict with established Liaden Universe® canon. Much of the novel is being rebuilt word by word.

    Ribbon Dance — due out in June — is the sequel to Trader’s Leap, and I’m currently lead on the sequel to *it* (and the sequel to Salvage Right because . . . well. Reasons.)

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