As previously advertised, Steve and I will be at Boskone. In addition to our Duties to the Con, listed below, we are pleased to be Guests of Honor at NarniaCon, the convention-within-the-convention, run out of the coat check closet, naturally enough, in the Westin. This year, NarniaCon will be hosting a scavenger hunt based on the game of Clue.
FRIDAY, February 14
Fandom 2.0: Being a Good Fan
Panel: 4:00 – 4:50, Marina 3 (Westin)
Modern fandom has developed a wonderfully interconnected network, with instant access to authors, fellow fans, and fan communities around the world. This instant connectivity is neither good nor bad, but it can be used in ways that harm as well as help. As fans, what responsibility do we have to each other, to our communities, and to the creators who make the work we love? Join us for a constructive conversation to help figure out how to build a stronger, more thoughtful community.
Steve Miller (M), Gerald L. Coleman, Charlaine Harris, Ginjer Buchanan, Erin Underwood
Journalism in Speculative Fiction
Panel: 5:00 – 5:50, Marina 2 (Westin)
From Wells and Orwell to Neil Gaiman, Cory Doctorow, and Annalee Newitz, there’s a long tradition of reporters becoming writers of SF/F/H. Our veteran newshounds report on what a background in journalism can bring to genre work. Are you already accustomed to research, deadlines, and low wages? Does the drive to get the facts mean it’s harder to make stuff up? Can reporters be written as good genre characters? While pounding out a hot story, must you wear a fedora?
Darlene Marshall (M), Clea Simon, Dan Moren, Daniel P. Dern, Sharon Lee
SATURDAY, February 15
The Future of Libraries
Panel: 10:00 – 10:50, Marina 4 (Westin)
The card catalog is already kaput. How long can stacks, carrels, and tome-laden tables last? How soon till the world’s One Big Library is seamlessly interconnected with everybody’s local, a collaborative sharing space with digital pipes to every seat and a helpful robotic assistant “manning” the “desk”? Any room left for the most systematically refined information storage technology of all: the book?
Fred Lerner, Suzanne Reynolds-Alpert (M), April Grant, Steve Miller, Debra Doyle
Pacing the Novel
Panel: 11:00 – 11:50, Marina 4 (Westin)
It’s crucial to the feel of the novel, but one of the least discussed aspects of fiction. How do you intensify a scene, bringing the reader deep into the narrative — yet still keep the novel moving along? Panelists share techniques for balancing intensity and movement within their work.
Tabitha Lord (M), Melissa Caruso, Steve Miller, Paul Tremblay, Sarah Smith
If you Like This, You’ll Like That
Panel: 12:00 – 12:50, Marina 2 (Westin)
Just like it says! Our panel of experts will suggest new (and classic) reads for you, if you’re looking for a new read and don’t know what to pick next. Audience participation encouraged!
Joseph Siclari (M), Sharon Lee , John Chu, Teresa Nielsen Hayden, Tui Sutherland
Shaping the Genre
Panel: 1:00 – 1:50, Marina 2 (Westin)
With the evolution of print, ebooks, and audiobooks — not to mention other digital media — the speculative genre keeps changing. How has SF shaped and been shaped by society? Past transformational writers included Asimov, Bradbury, Butler, and Le Guin, to name a few. What authors are reshaping the genre today? How much do current technology and delivery media affect the power to mold SF? What role do publishers, large and small, play in the genre’s evolution?
Julia Rios (M), Steve Miller, Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Shahid Mahmud
Developing Future Histories
Panel: 1:00 – 1:50, Marina 3 (Westin)
Is it still possible to write a future history? Is it still worthwhile? How do you build a future history, anyway? How about alternate futures based on alternate pasts? Let’s dive into the great what-ifs and maybes of tomorrow!
Mark Olson (M), Dr Jonathan McDowell, David B. Coe/ D.B. Jackson, Sharon Lee, Michael Swanwick
Troubleshooting Troublesome Manuscripts
Panel: 3:00 – 3:50, Marina 2 (Westin)
Our intrepid authors come together to share tips and tricks for tackling the most notorious issues that arise when writing and editing their work. Find out how to fix hidden plot holes, dangling loose ends, and the endings that just won’t end!
Joshua Bilmes (M), Matthew Warner, Steve Miller, Sharon Lee, Tabitha Lord
Autographing: Sharon Lee, Steve Miller, Tui Sutherland, Cadwell Turnbull
4:00 – 4:50, Galleria – Autographing (Westin)
SUNDAY, February 16
Friends of Liad Breakfast TBA
Sauciety, off the Westin Lobby, left
This is the traditional winter gathering of the Friends of Liad; think family catch-up time. This is not a convention event. All must be prepared to pay for their own meal (Sharon and Steve expect to pay for their meals; nobody needs to stand us a meal.). All are welcome!
Reading: Sharon Lee and Steve Miller
12:00 – 12:25, Griffin (Westin)
Kaffeeklatsch: Sharon Lee & Steve Miller
1:00 – 1:50, Galleria – Kaffeeklatsch 1 (Westin)
It’s official: Sharon Lee and Steve Miller will be guests of honor at Albacon 2020.
Sept. 11-13, 2020.
So, we went to Boskone, and it was fun.
I had my doubts, as we drove out last Thursday morning, to catch the Downeaster to Boston. It had snowed on the overnight, and the Amtrak lot at Brunswick is uncovered, as are most of the parking lots in Maine. Honestly, you’d think it never snowed here.
Still, it had snowed, and I had visions of us having to shovel out a parking space, if, in fact, the lot was open at all.
Now, this? Is the upside of being a pessimist. We get so many more nice surprises than optimists. For instance — yes the lot was both full of snow and full of cars, but! there were two spaces available, and a front-loader on the case clearing the snow. The nice operator dug out one of the two available spots for us, leaving us fresh for a small tussle with the “automatic parking meter,” which, given the snow and the temperature, and all, was a little less automatic than one might wish. Eventually, however, Victory Was Ours, and we rolled our suitcases down to the actual train station, and boarded in good order.
We arrived in Boston to find that — surprise! — North Station was undergoing construction and the Taxi Feeding Grounds from which we have for many years claimed our ride across town was — unavailable. In fact, there were no taxis to be seen.
Finally, we walked up Portland Street, to the Kimpton Onyx Hotel, which had done us a good turn once before, and asked the nice person on the front desk to call us a cab, which she very kindly did, and we were on our way.
Boskone was lovely. We saw a lot of people we hadn’t seen in years, what with one thing and another; had a delightful Friends of Liad breakfast, and several stimulating panels. We signed books; I lost my voice, and on Monday morning, in the teeth of a very pretty little snow that did very little violence to the Traffic of Boston, given that it was a holiday, we were returned to North Station, where a nice Transit Authority Person was able to give us succinct and accurate directions to Amtrak, and so to Brunswick, and thence to Waterville, where we were very glad to see the cats, and vice versa.
We had a celebratory Home Again pizza, as is our habit, and a good night’s sleep. This morning, we slept in, and, now that my hair is dry, I will be going out to the grocery store. After lunch, I will delve into The Taxes, and Steve will be hitting the galleys for Liaden Universe® Constellation Volume Four.
So, yanno: Back to normal, until next Thursday, when Steve will be reporting to the Cardiac Unit at Eastern Maine Medical Center to have his generator replaced.
I would be remiss if I failed to mention that today is Belle’s ninth birthday, which she is celebrating by sleeping in the sun, stretched full length on the cedar chest.
. . .and that? Catches us all up.
Here, have a picture from the con.
Today brings an infrequent professional post.
Here we go.
BOOK SIGNING: Sharon Lee and Steve Miller will be signing the anniversary edition of Agent of Change, and whatever else comes to hand, at Children’s Book Cellar, 52 Main Street, Waterville, Maine 04901, on! Friday, November 2, from 7:30-9 pm. Alert readers will note that this is also Fountain Pen Day. Coincidence? I think not!
POST CARDS: If anyone is going to a convention, or is local to a bookstore that is amenable to taking promotional items (ask first, of course), or a reading group, or. . .and would like to distribute postcards and/or bookmarks for the new edition of Agent of Change, and for the Carousel books, please drop me a note at sharonleeATkorvalDOTcom, including your name and address, and how many postcards you would like. I will be delighted to mail them to you.
Agent of Change, 30th Anniversary Edition mass market paperback, cover art by Sam Kennedy, published by Baen Books, available October 30, 2018.
“Command Decision,” a brand-new Liaden Universe® story, by Steve Miller and “The Vestals of Midnight,” a brand-new Archers Beach story, by Sharon Lee will be published in Release the Virgins, edited by Michael Ventrella, available in November.
“Dark Secrets,” a brand-new Liaden Universe® story by Lee and Miller will be published in Infinite Stars: Dark Frontiers, edited by Bryan Thomas Schmidt, available in January 2019.
A Liaden Universe® Constellation Volume Four, coming from Baen in Summer 2019. This reprints eight shorter works: 2 novellas, 4 novelettes, 2 short stories from 2016-2018. Titles included are: “Street Cred,” “Due Diligence,” “Friend of a Friend,” “Cutting Corners,” “Block Party,” “Degrees of Separation,” “Excerpts from Two Lives,” “Revolutionists.”
Accepting the Lance, by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, the last book in the Five Book Dash, the twenty-second Liaden Universe® novel, is scheduled to be turned in to Baen in January 2019. Please note that this is a turn-in date.
CONVENTIONS: As of this moment in time, Steve and I are planning to attend Boskone 56, February 17-19, 2019.
A NIGHT IN THE LONESOME OCTOBER: Do you know where your copy of the classic Halloween countdown novel by Roger Zelazny is? Steve and I have ours, and we’re ready to start reading on September 30.
Here ends the blog post.
. . .they were fleeing Maine with a nor’easter nipping at their heels.
Since the Lakeshore Limited, aka Amtrak Train Number 49, leaves the Albany-Rensselaer train station at 7 pm, Steve and I decided to leave reasonably early (by which I mean, the sun was up by the time we were likewise), and take the Scenic Route.
This, we did, stopping in Keene, New Hampshire, for lunch, and wending our way gently through the warm and sunny day. Shoppers in downtown Keene were wearing shorts and t-shirts, ignoring the predictions of Snowpocalypse for the morrow.
We arrived at the train station in time to wait two hours before boarding, and having dinner onboard (Steve had the chicken; I tried to have the butternut squash ravioli, but they were out. Instead, they gave me (after due warning) mashed sweet potatoes formed with a melon ball and served under alfredo/spinach sauce. It was. . .interesting.), returning to our room, and so to sleep.
Breakfast next morning was a “scrambled egg bowl,” and then we arrived at Chicago Union Station with a nine-hour layover before us, which we shall pass over lightly.
We boarded The City of New Orleans, aka Amtrak Train Number 59, at 8:30 pm, were served from the lunch menu (we each had a. . .muffaletta?), and so to our room, and sleep. . .
. . .until 6:30 am, when the car attendant woke us so that we could de-train at Memphis, where we were picked up by Sylvia Cox in her hat as Guest Liaison for MidSouthCon.
Sylvia was everything that was accommodating and good-natured, got us to an IHOP so we could grab breakfast, drove us up and down River Street, so we could observe the above-flood-stage Mississippi River at first hand, and so to the hotel, where there was no waiting to get into our room, despite it being Very Early in the Day.
We repaired to our room and unpacked, then it was time to meet Jane and Pat in the lobby. Pat filled us in on the history of the Memphis neighborhoods Jane was driving us through, until we arrived at the Children’s Museum and!
The restored 1909 Dentzel Carousel which was for many years the centerpiece of Libertyland Amusement Park.
Here, have some carousel pictures:
After we finished with the carousel, we invaded the Children’s Museum, which was just. . .awesome. So much interactive stuff — including an installation that taught you how to break into a safe; a real police car, and a FedEx jet. Things to climb on, things to climb through, an air current raceway for balls and scarves, the ever-popular Legos, a grocery store, a discussion of the US Mint and how money is made. . .
Yeah, we spent some time there. They ought to make these things adult-sized.
We departed the Children’s Museum, reluctantly, and — because there were flowers blooming in Memphis and Maine was by that point buried under a foot of new snow — Jane and Pat took us to a Botanical Garden to admire the pansies, the tulips and the early daffodils, as well as some flowering trees.
Eventually, we came back to rest at the Hilton, had lunch, a nap, and woke in time to get ready to share the pre-convention dinner of chicken spaghetti with con volunteers and those other Guests of Honor who had arrived. We had a lovely chat with Ellen Datlow, Editor Guest of Honor, and a changing roster of volunteers, as people broke for supper and then went back to the important business of putting the con together.
Friday was the first day of the con. We toured the Dealers Room, and the Art Show, talked with folks we met around and about, including Glennis of the Missing Volume, and the lady who was selling kaleidoscopes, and…and…and…
Then, it was time for our first professional obligation: Signing on Pro Row.
At 7 pm, it was time for Opening Ceremonies. Each of the Guests of Honor were escorted to their seats by Batman or Superman. I was escorted by Superman, while Batman did the pretty for Steve.
Each of the Guests were introduced and given a gift box full of whimsical and useful goodies. Mike Resnick, the Toastmaster, told us a couple stories, we heard a little history of the convention, and it was official! MidSouthCon was On!
Next morning, first thing, was the Teddy Bear Tea. Despite the early hour, it was well-attended by a variety of plushies, who socialized with each other while their human companions told the story of each one, and did some socializing of their own. Steve and I enjoyed ourselves, as did Lemmy, Jingles, and Hassan the Assassin.
We then had the opportunity to talk to a ballroom full of attentive people about the history and times of the Liaden Universe®, attended the Baen Traveling Roadshow, and did a panel on characterization and social world building before it was time for the banquet and the presentation of the Darrell Awards. All the guests were brought to the front to be re-introduced to the convention, and asked to say a few words.
After the banquet, it was the Epic Women in Epic Stories panel, ably moderated by Toni Weisskopf.
Sunday morning, we hosted a breakfast in the restaurant for eight folks who had signed up to observe us before we were caffeinated. Topics ranged from cats, to writing, to the weather, to cats, and also — cats.
After, we read Select Portions of Agent of Change — in celebration of the Thirtieth Anniversary — to a small but appreciative audience and!
All too soon, it was Closing Ceremonies, and MidSouthCon was over for another year. Except for the Dead Dog Party, where barbecue was had by all.
Because of how the trains run, we had most of Monday in Memphis. We used our time wisely, playing tourist, visiting the Peabody Hotel in time to do a thorough tour before taking up a position on the mezzanine to see the ducks march out of their lobby fountain, down the red carpet and into the elevator that whisked them away to their rooftop penthouse.
After the ducks, it was a stroll down Beale Street, and a dinner, before moving on to the Memphis train station to wait for our ride.
MidSouthCon was a terrific con — everyone we met was friendly and helpful, and sincerely glad that we had come to celebrate with them.
I didn’t take any pictures at the convention, but here — have some more carousel pics:
Those of you who stayed with us this far will recall that, at the beginning of the story, we were fleeing a nor’easter. We returned home in the aftermath of a second nor’easter, which dumped eighteen-plus inches of snow on the head of most of New England. Happily, New England knows what to do about snow, and the roads had been plowed and cleared ahead of us. Our own plowguy had been in to shove snow out of the driveway, and clear the steps.
Today, the snow is rolling off our new metal roof, and the plowguy came by with his front-loader to push the pile of plowed snow back, so he’ll have room to put the snow from the third March snowstorm, which is predicted for early next week.
And that? Is all I’ve got at the moment. Glad to have gone; glad to be home.
Sharon Lee and Steve Miller are Writer Guests of Honor at MidSouthCon, March 9-11
Here’s our schedule:
Friday 6:00 PM Pro Row
Meet your favorite MidSouthCon professional, maybe get their autograph or buy their works. Pro Row is located in the hallway outside of the Tennessee Ballrooms.
Friday 7:00 PM Grand Ballroom
MidSouthCon 36 officially kicks off as we greet our Guests of Honor, and say hello to our members.
Sharon Lee, Steve Miller, Peri Charlifu, Alan Alexander, Mike Carlin, Keri Bean, Ellen Datlow, Bonnie Gordon, Xander Jeanneret, Mike Resnick
Friday 9:00 PM Grand Ballroom
Meet the Guests II
Come meet and greet MidSouthCon 36’s Guests of Honor while enjoying some light refreshments.
Sharon Lee, Steve Miller, Alan Alexander, Bonnie Gordon, Xander Jeanneret, Mike Resnick
Saturday 9:00 AM 26th Floor
Teddy Bear Tea Party
Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, authors of the Liaden Universe®, are hosting a Tea Party for fans and their traveling-companion stuffies. While your stuffies socialize on the couch, their people can point them out and discuss their history. Tea Party guests may also enjoy hot tea and breakfast cookies.
Sharon Lee, Steve Miller
Saturday 11:00 AM Grand Ballroom
Thirty Years Of The Liaden Universe®
Our Literary GoH discuss the history of their Liaden Universe®.
Sharon Lee, Steve Miller
Saturday 1:00 PM Grand Ballroom
The Baen Traveling RoadShow
Come join Toni Weisskopf and other Baen authors and editors as they tell us what’s new at Baen Books. There will be fun and prizes!
Sharon Lee, Steve Miller, Mike Resnick, Toni Weisskopf
Saturday 2:00 PM Ridgelake
Characterization And The Art Of Social World Building
Our panelists discuss creating riches believable societies in fantasy and science fiction setting.
Kimberly Richardson, Sharon Lee, Steve Miller, Alan Alexander
Saturday 5:00 PM Grand Ballroom
Banquet & Darrell Awards
Good food and the Darrell Award presentations. Tickets are $25.00 and available at registration.
Sharon Lee, Steve Miller, Peri Charlifu, Alan Alexander, Mike Carlin, Keri Bean, Ellen Datlow, Bonnie Gordon, Xander Jeanneret, Mike Resnick
Saturday 8:00 PM Grand Ballroom
Epic Women In Epic Literature
Epic Science Fiction and Fantasy have seen some dynamic powerhouses of women-kind, such as: Kahlan, in Goodkind’s Sword of Truth Series; Cordelia, from the Vorkosigan sage; and Miri Robertson, from the Liaden Universe®. Come discuss the epic women of SF&F with our panelists.
Herika R Raymer, Susan Murrie Macdonald, J L Mulvihill, Sharon Lee, Steve Miller
Sunday 9:00 AM Rook’s Corner
Enjoy breakfast at a table with one of our Guests of honor. The signup sheets for the Sunday morning Kaffeeklatsches are located at the bottom of the escalators. Space is extremely limited so sign up early.
Sharon Lee, Steve Miller, Peri Charlifu, Alan Alexander
Sunday 12:00 PM Ridgelake
A Reading With The Creators of Liad
Join authors Sharon Lee and Steve Miller as they read some of their favorite passages from The Liaden Universe®. Within such an expansive world, they could take us anywhere in the galaxy.
Sharon Lee, Steve Miller
Sunday 4:00 PM Grand Ballroom
Steve and I are very sorry, indeed, to announce that we will NOT be attending the 74th World Science Fiction Convention, MidAmeriCon II, to be held in Kansas City, August 17-21.
A direct casualty of this is the signing we were to do at the Bradley Fair Barnes and Noble, in Wichita, Kansas, on August 14.
We apologize to everyone who thought they’d have a chance to meet us, or to renew our acquaintance. And we especially apologize for the lateness of the hour. Up until this past Saturday, we were certain that we’d be attending.
So, here’s what we’d like you to do — go to the con, and have a terrific time. Raise a glass of whatever it is you’re having, and share the toast with friends: “To Plan B!” which is our own most-used salute. Drop us a note, if you can, and tell us about the con. We’d like that.
So that’s the bad news.
Again, we apologize, but — necessity is.
. . .too many parts, in fact, running in all directions at once.
Those who do not partake of the joys of Facebook may have missed the announcement that Sleeping with the Enemy, Adventures in the Liaden Universe® Number 22, is now on sale (as an ebook only) at Amazon, Kobo, ibooks, Page Foundry, and Tolino. We are told that it will be published RealSoonNow at BN/Noon, Scribd, and 24Symbols.
As I write this, Alliance of Equals has garnered 86! reader reviews on Amazon. Only 114 short of 200! You guys are going gang-busters!
. . .as we used to say.
Steve and I have declared tomorrow an electron-free day, so we will be scarce-to-invisible. If you have an urgent matter to resolve, you can try emailing the cats, but, well — good luck with that.
# # #
Progress on Book the Next
40,459/100,000 OR 40.46% complete
“Ah, but any system is subject to manipulation. For instance, one who stands in a position of strength may decide that one whose position is. . .less strong has not paid fully enough, and demand additional consideration.” She paused, head to one side. “It is rarely said, I think, that one has paid too fully, but we must be alert to the possibility.”