Boskone, MarsCon, and a question from the mailbag

So Boskone was fun; it was good to see new and familiar faces.  I’m still not entirely comfortable with the interface, but I figure that’ll come, as I get out and about more.

Speaking of getting out and about, Steve and I will be participating in MarsCon (the one based in Minneapolis), which is being held online March 12-14.  Here’s your link.  Hope to see you there!

Work is going forth on Change State:  Adventures in the Liaden Universe® Number Thirty-Two, which will include original novella “Dead Men Dream,” and reprint “Command Decision.”

In other news, I am in receipt of an electric letter from a reader, stating a need for a Liaden dictionary and language books, in order to “show” Klingon speakers.  I can’t actually tell if this is in earnest, so I’ll do my correspondent the honor of assuming that it is.

As I understand the matter, Klingon is actually a language.  One can translate one (or several) of Shakespeare’s plays into Klingon, and read it, in Klingon.  Like, say, you might translate one of Shakespeare’s plays into Spanish, or German.

I would be personally surprised is there are 50 words in the Liaden “language.”  Well, here, count them yourself.  Certainly, it has no grammar, or use-rules.  That so many people — for my recent correspondent is not the first to suggest, nay, insist on this point — are convinced that Steve and I have developed an entire language which is the equal of Klingon is a tribute to our world-building, and the strength of the characters’ convictions, but really, truly, honestly:  There is no Liaden language, except in our shared imagination.

It snowed here at the Cat Farm and Confusion Factory today, which Trooper and Sprite celebrated thusly:



25th Anniversary of Two Tales of Korval

Well! File770 reports on a celebratory event that I’d missed — the 25th anniversary of the first, limited edition publication of TWO TALES OF KORVAL, later to be dignified as ADVENTURES IN THE LIADEN UNIVERSE® NUMBER ONE, shown in the report with the Jean Ann Pollard cover.
Included in TWO TALES were two stories (duh) — “To Cut an Edge,” and “A Day at the Races” — which had been accepted for publication several times by magazines that then died. For the sake of the field, we decided to publish the stories ourselves, as SRM PUBLISHER LTD.
Produced during the Long Silence between the 1989 publication of CARPE DIEM, the third Liaden novel, and the 1999 publication of PLAN B, the fourth Liaden novel, TWO TALES has gone on to sell thousands (and thousands) of copies, worldwide, and is available as an ebook from all of your favorite vendors.
Thank you, Mike Glyer, and your staff! A pleasant anniversary, indeed! And thank you, Kathryn Sullivan, for pointing the piece out to us!
Here’s a link to the pixel scroll at File 770.
In other news, Winter has arrived and in celebration of that, the power went out for a few hours last evening, coming back on just as the house was becoming uncomfortably chill.
For a brief few hours yesterday, Trader’s Leap was Amazon’s #1 Bestseller in Space Opera — thank you all for making that happen!
If you’ve read Trader’s Leap, do please consider leaving a review at the venue of your choice.  Reader reviews really do help.
Also!  If you’ve read Trader’s Leap and Want To Talk About It without spoiling it for those of us who read more slowly, or are saving the book as a reward, or a long day off — there is a spoiler discussion at this link.  This is a moderated area, so be aware that your comment will not appear immediately, though most do within 24 hours.
If you have suddenly! realized! that you must have a signed copy of Trader’s Leap, you may order from Uncle Hugo’s or Mysterious Galaxy.
I think this brings us up to date.  Everybody stay safe and warm.

The Busy Season

This morning is cool, but So Very Sunny.  My office, the repurposed sun room, is Awash, and there are three coon cats scattered among the various puddles of warm, soaking it all in.

I am at the desk, fighting sleep-rays with More! Tea! and wearing my Sun Goddess cap so that I can see the computer screen.  This is not to be understood as a complaint.  I would much rather the sunshine than not.

This morning’s check-in at Amazon reveals that pre-orders for The Wrong Lance now stands at 455, the most pre-orders for any Pinbeam Book since the mind-blowing 693 for Degrees of Separation, back in January 2018.

Which discovery led me to the realization that we are just entering a Lee-and-Miller Busy Season.  Let me just summarize what’s coming down the road for y’all from now ’til the end of the year.

Of course you all know this, but it bears repeating for the Guy in the Back:  You can pre-order signed (but not personalized) copies of Trader’s Leap from Uncle Hugo’s right nowHere’s your link.

If you can’t wait for the December publication of  the hardcover/ebook, you may purchase the Trader’s Leap eARC right now from Baen.  You may also read the first nineteen chapters here.

But wait, there’s more!  Let’s do this chronologically.

October 27:  Release Day for  Accepting the Lance mmp AND The Wrong Lance

November 15 +/-:  “Preferred Seating” published on

Date TBA:  Paul Semel interviews Lee and Miller.

December 1:  Release Day for Trader’s Leap hardcover and ebook*

December 2:  Lee and Miller will read and talk, virtually, from Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore. There will be giveaways! The event is scheduled for 7 pm PACIFIC Time, so check your watches.  ALSO, you will need to set up an account at Crowdcast ahead of time in order to attend.  More information here.

December 15:  Ambient Conditions:  Adventures in the Liaden Universe® Number 31 Release Day!  This chapbook contains short story reprint “A Visit to the Galaxy Ballroom,” original novelette “Ambient Conditions” and an Authors’ Foreword. This chapbook is still in process, so no link yet.  Watch the skies.

And that gets us through the end of the year.

*YES, there will be an ebook edition of Trader’s Leap.  No, you can’t pre-order it.  This is how it always is with Baen ebooks, because they offer eARCs.  No, there is nothing the authors can do about.  I DON’T KNOW if there will be an audiobook edition of Trader’s Leap.  I have inquired at Baen and have yet to receive a reply.  As soon as I have an answer, I’ll post.

The long view on Saturday Cove

So, yesterday. . .

Yesterday was Saturday.  In addition, it was sunny, and warm, and, yeah, a little  breezy, but with a welcome lack of winter tooth.  A pre-spring breeze, in fact.

Friday morning, I had gone out into the world — aka to two places which were not hospitals (the pharmacy and the post office, and yes, I was wearing a mask) — and had noticed that Skylark the Subaru was just a tad reluctant to start.  I mentioned this to Steve, who mentioned that Saturday was looking good for us to Do Our Duty by our Vehicle, and take it out for a battery-reviving ride.

Which is what we did.  We picked a target — Lincolnville Beach in Ducktrap (or, if you prefer, Lincolnville) — and a route — over Pleasant View Ridge in China, which afforded a tremendous view of Mount Washington, as well as Sugarloaf, and — it was just the White Mountains and the Appalachians, as far as the eye could see.

Anyhow, we were motoring along quite contentedly, enjoying ourselves and the sun, and remarking on how many branches the winter had shaken out of the trees, and everything was going well, until. . .

We made a Fatal Error.

We stopped for gas.

For those non-drivers among us — when you stop for gas, you turn the car off.

In an Ideal Universe, once you’ve finished filling the tank, you get back in the car, turn the key, the motor turns over, and Bob’s your uncle.

In a less-than-Ideal-Universe, which is where we all seem to be stuck, the car — doesn’t start.

So, there we were, at the Irving gas station on Route 3, right next to Lori’s Diner, blocking access to a gas delivery point, dead, so to speak, in the water.

We called Triple A which this time did not fail us, and very soon we had Sparky himself from Sparky’s Garage, who gave us a boost with a — wait for it — handheld battery about the size of an ipad, and three times as thick.

On the road again, we resumed our drive, arriving at Lincolnville Beach to find that the Entire Population of Central Maine had thought to themselves, “Yanno?  nobody will be at Ducktrap.”  We passed on by, waving at the ocean, and headed up-coast, diverting into Northport, which — no, I can’t describe Northport.  I love the place, but I have peculiar tastes in villages.  Say, that Northport is built vertically above the sea; all roads, save the ridge road to which we scrupulously adhered, go either up, briefly, to the top of the hill, or down, eventually, to the sea.

The ridge road allows many good view of the sea, close in and distant, and so we drove, looking out, across to Searsport, and down to where the odd little boathouses are tucked into crinkles of land right at the edge of the water, and down to more public places, Saturday Cove, and the center harbor.

Coming out of Northport, we continued up to Belfast, did a circuit of the crowded public pier, and so to home, stopping to sit in line at Burger King, to gather fish sandwiches to take home.

So, that was fun, and I’m glad we got out for a drive.  Less fun, I’m going to have get a new battery in the car — and soon.  I want the car to start, and no back-chat, when I get out of Ray Gun Therapy.  That means — new battery before Wednesday, which is complicated by the fact that the weatherbeans are calling for 3-5 inches of snow between 8pm this evening, and midnight, Monday.

Oh, April, you really are the cruelest month.

In which Rolanni picks up sticks

The last couple days have been sunny and warm, with high temperatures near 60F/16C, here at the Cat Farm and Confusion Factory.  Tomorrow, the weatherbeans predict rain, or possibly snow, with a high around 36F/2C.

Welcome to Maine.

The deck is not quite finished — still lacking a privacy panel and the stairway down to the yard.  But it’s plenty finished enough to put the deck chairs out, so that’s what we did.  It’s nice to sit in the sunshine.  I took advantage of that same warm sunshine to play the games of post-winter trash collection and pick-up-sticks in the yard.  The Lawn Guys promise to come by next week to do a serious clean up — for instance, the branch that fell out of the apple tree needs either an application of chain saw to get it into pieces short enough to schlepp down to the Big Pile of Twigs by the Forest Gate, or it needs a tractor to drag it there.

We have hyacinth and snowdrops in the backyard, and several pods of daffodils blooming by the front door.

So, yes, it is spring, Maine-style.

For those who may have missed it — Splinter Universe Presents! has published.  Here’s a link to Apple, BN, Kobo, and Angus & Robertson.  Here’s the Kindle linkHere’s the link to the paper edition.

Splinter Universe Presents! is a collection of character sketches, discovery drafts, portions of novels, and of stories, that quit before they became whole.  Each piece comes with an author commentary, which may make the volume of value to those who are interested in the writing process, and possibly to those who wish to become — or who are becoming — writers.  All of the material has been previously published to, and all are Liaden in nature.

In other news, I have what I sincerely hope is the definitive telehealth visit with Oncologist the First this afternoon, to discuss the results of the oncotyping.  Today, I should find out what my treatments will be, going forward, and have the beginning of a schedule for same.  Which is to say, Waiting will End, and Events will Move.  That by itself will be a relief.

At the moment, I have two coon cats — Trooper in the copilot’s chair, and Sprite on the desk by my keyboard — snoring in the sun, my mug is empty, and it’s time to make up a list for Instacart, and start the towels to washing.

See y’all on the flipside.  Stay safe.

The Thursday blog post, with footnotes

So, recovery is a strange country.  I’m not in the habit of thinking that I actually do very much of an ordinary day, so it’s a little — no, make that considerably — annoying when I can’t complete what I consider to be a normal day’s to-do list.

Yesterday being a case in point.  I went to the gym, did my strength training, pushing a little, because you’re supposed to challenge yourself, amirite? — walked 1.11 miles in 21 minutes (this includes the cool down), and tried to feel that this was a success*.  Then I went to the grocery store, came home, and — smashed right into a wall. I was exhausted.  Steve made lunch, and after I still couldn’t keep my head up, so I jettisoned the rest of the to-do list and spent the afternoon under a shifting blanket of cats, reading.

Man, I hate hitting walls.

Today, it’s snowing (the Weatherbeans are calling 4-9 inches), and is any way a non-gym day, and here we have the to-do list:

1  Keep front steps accessible

2  Make refrigerator soup for lunch

3  Get with the accountant’s tax packet: at least print it out and get the letter in the mail

4  Strip bed and wash sheets — already in process

5  Hit the Command Chair with the Mead 5-star notebook** and a pen and organize the short story I’ve been working up scenes for while I should be thinking about something else

. . .It seems a very slight list, but the idea is to Hit No Walls, and if that means vacuuming tomorrow, then — the cats get an extra day of peace and quiet.


*(This was after the first treadmill I was on spontaneously leapt from 3 mpg to 14 — I hit the STOP realfast, youbetcha, but wow, what a rush.  The scary part being that the Planet Fitness associate on the spot couldn’t figure out Why It Had Done That.  I hope it doesn’t catch somebody else.)

**Apropos of Nothing Much, I’ve been chewing through the Mead notebook, which is lovely to write on with the fountain pens. Anticipating its final page, I bought a six-pack of Smart Campus “subject notebooks” by Kokuyo, offered by JetPens, which are supposed to be the bee’s knees for fountain pen use. We’ll see, eventually, I guess. Maybe even soon, given the fact that there’s this OTHER short story I really want to write, too, and have been putting it off because its a Maine Coast story, in the Archers Beach universe, but not set in Archers Beach, which no one will want to read, but sometimes you gotta just get stuff out of the way.

And she is moving very slowly, rising up above the earth

So, here we are in 2020.  I’ve been warned not to date checks with just /20, because some Bad People could just add, oh “19” to that and steal my check.  I’m sure that’s good advice, but, really I hardly write checks anymore, and when I do, I always date them fully, to wit:  “January 4, 2020,” because old habits die hard, if they die at all.

In related news, many-to-all (depending on your news source) of the credit unions in Maine are off-line as the result of mysterious “connectivity problem.”  This is not as much fun as it may at first seem.

We here at the Cat Farm and Confusion Factory are clinging to our last few precious Not-Sundays.  There’s writing to do and writing being done, as well as chores, of a sort, but it’s all being done in a soft bubble, almost a “deadline free zone,” which we all know there’s no such thing, but — it’s been pleasant to pretend for a week or two.

Deadlines and doctors appointments return Monday morning, quite early, so we’ll be getting back into the Daily Push realsoonnow.

My first-in task today is to clean the so-called Boy’s Bathroom, and to steam clean the kitchen floor.  After that, there’s the final sweep at the WIP.  After much banging my head against various metaphorical, logical, and fictional walls, I have figured out how to straighten the last kink in the last scene.  Go me.  The entire corrected manuscript ought, I think, be on its way to Madame by the end of the week, and then?  I won’t have anything to do.  [Cue laugh track]

Looking ahead, Steve and I will be attending Boskone in mid-February, and!  We will be Guests of Honor at NarniaCon, aka the Coat Check Con.  NarniaCon hosts a scavenger hunt within Boskone entire; this year’s hunt will be based on the game of Clue.

. . .and that’s where we stand at the moment, still inside the bubble, with the cats napping inside, and the sky grey with snow clouds, outside.

Today’s blog title brought to you by one of my hometown bands, Talking Heads:  And She Was.


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.

When last we saw our intrepid heroine. . .

. . .she was waiting for the delivery of her Command Chair.

The chair arrived just past 10 am on Wednesday, which you can’t get much more “between 8 am and noon” than that.  It was promptly tested by human and cat — Trooper taking the lead, as he so often does.  There’s a little futzing to be done with the computer table, pretty much we’re set there.

After the chair delivery on Wednesday, Steve and I went to Kennebec Pharmacy and Home Care in Augusta to view knee scooters and other necessary items. There were no scooters on the floor, nor could we view one.  We were told by the breezy clerk that scooters are very popular, that no, there wasn’t one on the floor, that all the scooters were all the same, and that, when someone came in who wanted to rent a scooter (at $120/month, charged by the full month), the guy in the warehouse would put one together and bring it over.  We were also told that Medicare would not cover the scooter rental — which was Actually Good to learn.

Speaking as someone who has managed to arrive at this point in her life without having to interact much with the medical service establishment, I wish that the customer service people would not Just Breeze Through Things, like we’ve all done this before, and not meet newbie questions with impatience or non-answers.  From my perspective, it would make a difficult situation a little less fraught.  I realize that it’s no one’s job to make my life easier or less fraught, but, still…

Anyhow, I was — how to say this gently? — NOT IMPRESSED with the cavalier supposed customer service, so Steve and I left.  On the way home, we stopped at BagelMainea for — bagels!  Fifteen bagels. I feel wealthy.  And very glad to have a freezer.

We also stopped at Home Depot and bought one of the two remaining canopies to install on our deck.  When our neighbors decided to build an addition to their house, they chopped down their Big Tree, which coincidentally shaded our deck. Without the tree, it was too hot to sit on the deck many days, and the canopy is the solution to that problem.

After we got home, and, since Medicare won’t pay to rent a knee scooter, I decided to please myself, and purchased a KneeRover Quad All-Terrain, which will be here at the middle of next week, giving me lots of time to become proficient in its use.

Yesterday, Steve and I (with Scrabble’s supervision) erected the canopy, tested it and found it good.  Today, it is of course, raining, but that’s OK, too.  After a ‘way too wet spring, we’ve been having a too-dry summer, so, Rain Good.

As reported elsewhere, I have been going through the manuscript line-by-line and as soon as I post this blog entry, I’ll get back with that.

Y’all have a good weekend.



I got no chance of making it working downtown

So, today is Sunday.

It is as I write this 85F/29C feels-like-93F/34C, calling for a high of 87F/31C. The weatherbeans are teasing us with the bare possibility of thunderstorms, which I shall believe in when they arrive to thunder down the rains.

Today’s Mission, besides tending to chores, is to finish this section of the manuscript here, which needs one more scene to round it out. Then I need to write another brief scene, location TBD, add all of it to the Complete Manuscript (going by the call-name Jigsaw Puzzle), and! Read it. This will be hard, as there are portions of this book that I’ve read at least twenty times — and no, that is not an exaggeration.

I expect that I will also today crack the Elusive 90,000 word barrier, that milepost being a mere 700 words in the distance.

Back to weather, yesterday it hit 100F/38C here in beautiful Central Maine.  Today is as reported above.  Tomorrow?  The temperatures dip back in the high 70s/low 20s, slowly creeping back up into the mid-80s/high-20s by the end of the week.  Possibly, summer is over.

I also have here sitting on my desk an iteration of Accepting the Lance*, which I am assured is the typeset manuscript with the copy editor’s notes included.  Steve and I need to work out when and how to read it.  At the moment, it looks like getting up an hour earlier, brewing a pot of coffee, and Getting On With It may be the most workable plan.  This all in service of not having to read proofs during the week we have marked out as one of those things that people have — ah.  Vacation.

So, that’s the news hereabouts.  Everybody have fun.  If you’re in a hot zone, keep cool, stay hydrated, check up on vulnerable friends and family.

Today’s blog title brought to you by Jude Cole, “Start the Car.”  Here’s your link.

*Accepting the Lance, by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, the twenty-second novel set in their Liaden Universe®, will be published by Baen Books in December 2019.  Earc will happen when it does.  Don’t start with me.