Progress and Regression, with a side of Goofing Off

So, Steve and I got up at a Very Early Hour and drove to Blue Hill, where we spent a delightful hour with Ellie O’Leary, talking about science fiction and fantasy, and reading — Steve, from Fledgling, and me, from Carousel Tides. Those who could not hear the show, by reason of living in another hemisphere or something of that nature, may, tomorrow, we’re told, listen to an archive here.

We should of course after our interview gone directly home and gotten to work, but who thinks we did that? No, we continued down the bright blue and breezy day through the town of Blue Hill, across the Deer Isle Bridge, that spans Eggemoggin Reach (don’t you just love Eggemoggin Reach?), and drove down into Stonington, where explorations and research were had, and where we made the acquaintance of equine artist Penelope Plumb, a delightful lady who presides over a marvelous art barn on Sand Beach Road. The next time you’re in Stonington, stop by and introduce yourself.

Having explored and researched and socialized, we headed in a home-ish direction, stopping at Belfast to take on lunch at Delvino’s (cream of carrot soup to die for! I’m not kidding. It’s worth the trip for lunch, I don’t care where you live), and a visit with Belfast Bay, then headed back to the metropolis of Waterville for groceries. Sadly, we passed the scene of a. . .rather horrifying accident at the intersection of the Ridge Road and the China Road, which combined swathes of police, firefighters and EMTs were still working to clean up.

Rather shaken, we continued with our plans, took on groceries, came home by a different route and arrived home to find that two things had occurred!

One, Mr. Feldberg at Audible had written with the names and email addresses of the four narrators for the Liaden sequences. Lists were immediately sent to all four — so you see, we put your work to good use immediately! I’ll be talking to narrators over the next while, pronouncing Weird Words.

The second thing that happened was that, when I opened the Blog Without a Name, I got a note that an update to WordPress was available, which I accepted — and which seems to have stripped me of my ability to post there. I have a blank blue box where the New Post page ought to be, and a “move” tool, but nothing else. So! No updates to Sharon Lee, Writer until there’s a new patch for WordPress, I guess. Maybe tomorrow I’ll figure out a way to actually tell people that on the site.

The WordPress tragedy aside, it was an enjoyable and invigorating day, and yes — tomorrow we’ll work.


Liaden Universe® InfoDump Number 87

Order your signed GHOST SHIP before April 30
Uncle Hugo’s is now accepting pre-orders for signed copies of GHOST SHIP by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller. You must pre-order here

Your credit card will not be charged until your book has actually shipped.

If you want to receive a signed copy of GHOST SHIP, you must pre-order, even if you entered a pledge for a book.

And you must act NOW: Pre-orders are open through April 30, 2011. That’s just 12 days.

GHOST SHIP will be published in early August 2011. Cover price is $25.

Uncle Hugo’s offers a flat $6 shipping fee in the U.S.; two GHOST SHIPs travel for the same six bucks as one GHOST SHIP. Overseas orders will have to have their postage figured on a case-by-case basis at the ordering site.

Yes, you may add other books to your GHOST SHIP pre-order.

Questions about this part of the process must be addressed to: unclehugoATaolDOTcom (where AT and DOT are replaced by the usual)

Thank you all.

Sharon Lee and Steve Miller

Liaden Universe® Chapbooks Becoming Available Electronically
Pinbeam Books (aka Steve and Sharon) is slowly releasing the original SRM Publisher chapbooks in electronic format.  We are first concentrating on the  Kindle and Nook, and we are making our chapbooks available without DRM.  Uploaded and available as of this writing are:  Two Tales of Korval:  Adventures in the Liaden Universe® Number One; Allies:  AitLU Number Twelve; Halfling Moon: AitLU Number Sixteen; and Skyblaze:  AitLU Number Seventeen.

The reason for the odd order is — TTOK to practice on, then the chapbooks which contain stories that may add to the GHOST SHIP reading experience, because. . .

GHOST SHIP eArc on the Way
…the rumor, from a usually reliable source is that the eArc of Lee and Miller’s much-anticipated GHOST SHIP will be available from Webscriptions before April 30. Watch the skies, and Webscriptions

Where in the World are Lee and Miller? Near Future Edition
June 23-26, 2011
Wyndham Hotel
South Portland, Maine
PortCon Maine is a fan-run anime convention growing into being a general geek-interest convention. Sharon and Steve have previously been panelists at PortCon; this year, they’re listed on the Guests of Honor page for this June’s event.

Support Your Local Bookstore
Uncle Hugo’s

University Bookstore

Pandemonium Books

Missing Volume


Dream Haven

Flights of Fantasy

Mysterious Galaxy

Constellation Books

Children’s Book Cellar

All of the above folks do mail order and take want lists.

Blogs and Other Webly Things of Note

Theo_Waitley is the discussion group for readers of Fledgling and Saltation:

Where Dragons Rest:

Steve Miller’s blog, Journeyman:

Sharon Lee’s blog, Eagles over the Kennebec:

SRM Publisher blog:

Sharon Lee’s “Professional” blog:

Facebook Connections — please feel free to add us! — Steve Miller — Sharon Lee

Liaden Interest Groups on Facebook

Clan Korval:

Friends of Liad:

Flaran chamenthi:


Sharon’s Author Page:

*Steve’s on Twitter*:

*Sharon’s on Twitter, too*:

Disclaimer Stuff
This InfoDump is a product of the Liaden Universe®, accept no imitations. You have received this message because you asked for it. If you wish to subscribe to the Liaden Universe® email list, go:

First Edition, Second Edition

A “first edition” is the first (hard) format bound run of a book.  In this day and age, we pretend that this doesn’t mean Advance Reading Copies by saying that ARCs are “unedited,” which is to say, not the finished work.

A “second edition” is the next altered printing — for instance a mass market paperback edition, or a printing that incorporates Significant Alterations in the text.

A “first edition” may go back to press many, many times, at the publisher’s whim.

Now, pay close attention, because I’m only going over this once more:

1.  Lee and Miller had an arrangement with Baen, said arrangement being that L&M would receive, as part of their advance, Saltations sufficient to cover the subscriber books — some 1200 novels.

1a.  Baen printed what its many years of experience had taught it was entirely enough books to cover its contractual obligation to Lee and Miller, and probable bookstore sales, as supported by the evidence of bookstore pre-orders.

1b. For some reason outside of Lee and Miller’s and Baen’s control, a large number of books were ordered at the last minute by bookstores.  The books were early in the warehouse; the warehouse filled the orders, with the result that. . .

1c.  When Baen Management issued the order to transfer inventory from the warehouse to Lee and Miller in Maine, the day before Saltation‘s street date, essentially all of the books were in the distribution channel, covering orders.

1d.  Baen Management immediately sent Saltation back to print, in order that it might honorably discharge its contractual obligation to Lee and Miller, and through them, the subscribers, and (one devotely hopes) to cover the bookstore re-orders even now clogging the ordering system.

2.  The above series 1 is a Good Thing because…

3.  The early, unexpected movement of Saltation from warehouse to bookstores resulted in the early and highly gratifying movement of Saltation into the hands of readers, which resulted in Lee and Miller’s appearance on the Wall Street Journal’s bestselling SF list, which is one of those resume building things that are important to authors if they want to keep writing.

4.  Writing me a nasty note about how you’re disappointed that you’re going to be “stuck with” a “second edition” when you were “promised” a “first edition” (which you were never promised; you were promised a “thank you book” signed by the authors) only irritates me and reveals you as someone of inferior understanding.  Also?  Don’t expect a reply; I am hereby serving notice that any more such mail goes straight into Trash.

Thank you for your attention to and understanding of this situation.

Coon cat humor

Mozart and I have this thing that we do every morning.

We read the comics together.

Yeah, that’s right, the comics.  I’ll go into my office and start the serial download of the strips we follow, skim the New York Times, help Mozart to the top of the table (he’s reached the point in his career where the elevator is appreciated, especially since I insist on keeping stuff on the rolling file cabinet that he can, and sometimes still does, use as an intermediary jumping-on place), and together, like I said, we read the comics, and look Weather Underground, and sometimes the day-job email, though that’s a habit I’m trying to break.

It will surprise no one, I hope, to learn that Mozart has his favorites among the daily comic run. Girl Genius, of course, and Narbonic.  He’s a big fan of Didi’s, from Menage a 3 — yes, he does appear to have a thing for women with holdings.  This is fortunate.

…and please note that some of these comics are not always work-safe.

He likes to keep up with Ludwig in Arlo and Janis.   9 Chickweed Lane and Stone Soup pretty much leave him cold, but he has an avuncular interest in the characters residing within Questionable Content.  He likes Hannelore, despite her deficiency of holdings, and worries that she’ll never find a cat of her own.  Looking at pictures of pretty kittens on the internet just isn’t the same.

So, this morning, we’re looking at the comics, Mozart and me — it’s Tuesday, so “Menage a 3” has updated, and Mozart’s pretty interested in how the whole play thing is, um, going to play out and whether Gary will be able to make his case with Yuki, or be doomed to go home with the guy from the comics store.  I’m kinda interested in that outcome, myself, though I’m thinking more along the lines of a fight over Zii, Didi and the redhaired girl making a pair, and Gary going home with Dinah and Making Dillon Sorry. . .


Where was I?

Right.  Reading the comics.  Finished up; Mozart is lounging with his head on the edge of my keyboard.  I obliged him with some whisker-twizzling and ear-rubbing, then zipped over to Weather Underground to see exactly how wet I could expect to get today.  Mozart takes this opportunity to pitch a nap and a day at home.  I manage, just, to resist this.

It turns out that I can expect to get pretty comprehensively damp, and remain that way throughout the day.  Also?  There’s news!

“Look, Mozart!” I say, running the screen up so he can see the red letters.  “There’s a flood watch!”

Immediately, he sits up, and directs his attention at the screen.  A flood watch!  How exciting.  On the spot, he revises his plans for the day to include the viewing of floods.

Having taken this decision, Mozart is energized.  He makes a wide turn, making sure to brush his tail across the screen, and sits down with his back to me, and glances down to where there is a small stack of invoices awaiting disposition.

“Don’t you dare,” I say to him.

He glances over his shoulder at me.  Smiles.

And deliberately turns back, bending his head so that he can delicately nudge the entire pile off the table and onto the floor.  Some of the pages flutter before they hit.  Of course, the whole is now a disordered mess requiring somebody with thumbs to order.

That, would be me.

His work done, Mozart leaps from the table and strolls out, down the hall and to the kitchen, for a well-earned bite of breakfast.

Here’s a picture of Mozart at work, taken on March 1, his twelfth birthday:

picture of Mozart the Maine Coon cat
Coon cat at work

Your metaphor or your life

As noted in passing, I’ve been mooching along with building a Sharon Lee homestead on the web, which meant learning WordPress.  It’s been going slow, not only because I’ve been having at it in-between other tasks, most of them with deadlines slightly more pressing than “whenever,” but because I missed the Whole Middle of the Evolution of the Web, so some matters which are perfectly coherent to those who have been paying attention all along, to me — aren’t.

It’s sorta like taking remedial algebra and calculus at the same time.

And the above? Is a metaphor.

I’m a writer; metaphors are part of my professional bag of tricks.

But I’m also a metaphorical thinker — new things are like other, older, familiar things, in my world; filed by similar behavior.

Thus, building a web page is like doing layout.

This, oh, my children, is how one does layout:

1.  Acquire content — either text or graphic — on a piece of paper

2.  Wax the paper bearing content

3.  Apply waxed content-bearing paper to blue-line paper, being sure it’s straight, according to the grid

4.  Trim as necessary

5.  Turn completed page over to pressman to be shot

Notice, in the above example, how the words are on the paper, and the paper is adhered to another paper.

When I first came to HTML (HyperText Markup Language, to continue the theme from the previous blog posting), I followed more-or-less the same steps.  I created a page, I placed content on the page, formatted and trimmed as necessary, then published to the web.

The process was close enough for rock ‘n roll, not to mention my metaphor-bound brain, and I continued to think of web design as a more streamlined layout process, encompassing the same basic steps, but without having to heat up the wax.

Comes WordPress.

What I wanted out of my new home on the web was a bunch of static pages, including a welcome front page for random visitors off the web, some pages listing publications and sample chapters, some pages, yet to come, about the cats, and some media stuff, for those who like to listen and/or watch.

I also, of course, wanted a blog.

The static pages went up fine, for values of “fine” that included a fairly steep learning curve — the math metaphor above still holds water — and then it came time to add in the blog — the dynamic page.

So, layout!  I made a page called Blog, and pasted content onto it.  I published it to the website.  All was well.

…until I tried to make another entry.

Hey, this thing isn’t acting like a blog at all!

I scrutinized my toolbar and found “Post” — that was what I wanted!

I made a post, published it — and couldn’t find it on the website.  Well, of course not, I thought, you haven’t associated it with a page; the poor content is just hanging out there in the ether, a ghost post.

Long story short — a lost afternoon as I ran around in circles, trying to make WordPress square with my metaphor.

Happily for me, someone who knows what she’s doing made a comment that provided an epiphany and wiped away the mists of metaphor, allowing me to (finally!) get the blog part of the site up and doing, more or less, as it ought.

I’m still trying to figure out a way to explain it to myself, though.

The Blog With No Name

I have, since March 2004, maintained a weblog (that’s the formal for “blog,” lest we forget.  Also, “url,” which so many of us either pronounce as a single word, or as “you-ar-el”?  is an acronym for Uniform Resource Locator.  No, really, look it up.)

In any case, since 2004, I’ve been blogging at a nice little corner of Live Journal called “Eagles Over the Kennebec.”  I called it that because I live near the Kennebec River in Maine and one of the things that got me through a particularly bad summer was going down to the town park, lying on my back and staring up into the Maine-blue sky, watching the eagles gyre and play.  Remarkably soothing, not to say restorative — if you ever get the chance, try it.  You’ll never be the same.

In any case, having taken the decision to move out into the Wider Web and get a whole website all to myself, I also decided to migrate my blog.  I’m sorry about that for a bunch of reasons — and because “Eagles over the Kennebec,” doesn’t exactly fit with the theme of news from a wider universe than Maine.

For the moment, then, this place is just going to be called “Blog.”  It seems impersonal, but I mean no unkindness.  Maybe, after I’ve gotten to know it, a name will suggest itself.  It’s happened before.

Eventually, I hope, I’ll figure out how to link this blog — this Blog? — to Eagles, so that when I update here, things will automagically update there.

For now, I’ve done enough learning-by-doing  for one day; it’s time to get off of this infernal machine and relax.