Cover Reveal and Belle’s Birthday

All righty, then!

As previously reported, work is going forth on Change State:  Adventures in the Liaden Universe® Number 32.  As of Right Now, the compiled book is out to volunteer proofreaders.  We hope to have the book up for preorder by the end of next week, with a release date of March 15.

In the meantime, we have a cover!

Also of note:  Today is the natal day of Kelimcoons Belle of the Ball, aka “Belle,” aka “Mom.”  She is eleven years old.  The cats celebrated on the overnight in the Traditional Style, with competitive door-banging, hall races, and a yodeling contest.

Here’s a picture of Belle, napping the nap of the Thoroughly Feted.

. . .and hoping you’re the same.

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:



I can see a new horizon, underneath a blazing sky

So, that was 2020.

Moving on. . .

Here at the Cat Farm and Confusion Factory on this snowy second day of January 2021, we’re settling down to work.  The cats have taken up their work stations — Trooper in the ustabe manuscript box on my desk, Sprite in the copilot’s chair next to me; Steve’s back in his office, Belle on lap.

Winter has officially arrived.  We expect to see about 7 inches of (thankfully fluffy) new snow on the ground today, then more snow Monday and Tuesday.  This will catch us up to the Proper Seasonal Look — after a modest start, the weather had turned warm, a nor’easter dropped a couple inches of rain, instead of snow, and there was grass and mud and downed sticks for as far as the eye could see.  Snow is prettier, especially if you don’t have to shovel it.

In and around Everything, I lost 20 pounds last year (per doctors’ orders; the theory is that less thick people have a reduced chance of cancer recurrence).  I guess I ought to lose another 10, just to show the doctors that I’m in the game, but I really don’t think I want to go any lower than 160 lbs/11 stone, and maybe not that low.

As previously mentioned, I’m working on an Archers Beach story.  I hope that today will reveal if it’s a novel or something shorter.  If it’s a novel, I’m about to be in hot water, but — we’ll see.

I did have a Bad Moment yesterday, when I discovered that I had thrown away my maps and other notes for the first three Carousel books, in a Fit of Despond.  I do try not to throw stuff away when I’m in the grips of a Fit, but it doesn’t always work.  Happily, I did NOT throw out the year 2000 edition of the Arrow Street Atlas of 133 Maine Cities and Towns, including!  Old Orchard Beach.  Also the OOB Chamber of Commerce has one of those silly little promotional maps on the web, pinpointing the location of various “attractions.”  Work!  can go forward with many less FIND THIS’s in the text.  Also, in Balance for the Bad Moment, an Exhilarating One, when I found via the map that the street name I had pulled out of my head (at random) — Burdette Street — was actually the correct street, and yes, there was a small wood at the bottom of the street, where it intersects with Foote Street.

I have not forgotten about the Authors’ Spoiler Discussion of Trader’s Leap.  This will not be a daily thing, but I’m shooting for once a week.  In the meantime, if you have questions, you can ask them here.

Hope every one of you is having a reasonably pleasant day.

Stay safe.

Today’s blog title brought to you by John Parr, “St. Elmo’s Fire.”

What’s doing at the Cat Farm and Confusion Factory

Let me say upfront that the cats are well.  Sprite in particular has been very much enjoying our serial viewing of “Lucifer.”  I think she has a crush on Maize.  In order to put back the weight she lost in the autumn, Belle has been getting a serving of gooshy food every day.  First, we tried giving this to her in Isolation, but she refused to eat it.  This made us realize the error of our way, and we now feed all three cats gooshy food at once (Trooper and Sprite getting a lesser amount), and now Belle eats with good appetite.  Maine coon cats are social eaters; they even come in and have a bite with us when we sit down to a meal (the cat bowls being in the dining room.  Yeah, it’s a strange house.).

In author news — we’re also well.  I’m still coming to terms with some of the results of having had cancer, and cancer therapy, and toothy new meds — but that’s going to be the story of my life for the next five or ten years, and therefore comes under the Umbrella of Well.

Because of the situation with my health, we did miss the deadline for the next book.  We have an extension from Madame the Publisher, and Steve is on the case, but, there will probably not be a new Liaden book for you in 2021.  We’re sorry about that, honest:  I would have much rather stayed on the planned timeline, where we handed the book in on time, had two weeks in Lubec, fulfilled our duties as Guests of Honor at AlbaCon, and seen Janis Ian in concert at Rockport, Mass.

I’m returning to writing somewhat more slowly.  Right now, I’m working on a story, or perhaps it’s a novel, set in Archers Beach.  I’m also making notes for a Liaden novel, because contracts exist, after all.

I do have a side project going at the moment — I’m talking about Trader’s Leap from my point of view.  Spoilers abound, but for those interested, the discussion starts here and continues here.  Also!  There is a spoiler discussion here, where people can ask me about Trader’s Leap.

And that’s the news that’s fit to print.

Everybody stay safe.


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.

Interspecies relationships

So, I had a bad beginning to the week and retired to the Command Chair, where I was ably assisted by all three cats — Belle taking her turn at duty even though she’s been under the weather recently herself.  I spent Monday and Monday night in the Command Chair, well-supervised by the world’s furriest nurses.

Tuesday night, I was sufficiently recovered to be able to sleep in the bed with Steve, and, at the beginning of the evening, with Trooper.  Everything normal, and off to sleep we all went.

At some point in the early morning, I woke up because Sprite was making the Alas! Lost kitten! Oh! Woe! lament.  The configuration of cats at my waking was:  Trooper on top of the bookcase next to the bed, snoring.  Belle somewhere in the house.  Sprite in the doorway of the bedroom, lamenting, as above.

Now, there’s a signal that we use with these cats — I’m not sure, anymore, if it came with them — they having been brought up in a Maine Coon Cattery, and two of them on the show circuit before they retired — or if we adapted a signal I used with Mozart.

Mozart’s signal was one tap-one tap.  The signal for the current bunch is two taps followed by one tap, repeat.  Both signals mean come here.  Snapping my fingers twice means come right here!  And, yes, mostly they honor the signals.  Not always, of course; they are cats.  But mostly.

So, anyway, Sprite was crying, I wanted her to stop and figured if she came to bed, she could be comforted with a cuddle, and I could go back to sleep — so I signaled that she should come here.

Immediately, Trooper jumped down from the high bookcase to the bed, and Belle came rushing in from wherever she had been, and leapt to the bed.  They both converged on me, bumping my chin, kneading and purring.  Poor Sprite, in the meantime, had advanced to the side of the bed and was looking up at me with wide pitiful eyes, but at least she’d stopped crying.

Finally, she went around to the foot of the bed, jumped up and threw herself across my ankles.  Trooper settled on my left shoulder, purring hard, and Belle tucked against my right side, also purring.

Me, I felt embarrassed to have woken them — and Steve, too, by this time — but apparently they had still been on Alert.

Today, I am considerably better, and have been able to work from the Canadian glider and the silent laptop.  I’ve had two cats in the room with me at all times, but my sense is that they’re just keeping me company.  As they do.

And that’s my cat story for tonight.

And so it goes…

It’s been a while since we last talked, and rightly may you ask “What on earth has the woman been doing?”

Well, I’ll tell you.

I finished with the Trader’s Leap copy edits, and returned them to M’sieur the Editor, who has passed them on to the typesetter.  Which, yes, means that there is possibly an eArc in your Nearish Future.

The serialization of The Wrong Lance has finished.  It will remain on Splinter Universe and Patreon through September 11 — coincidentally, my birthday.  On September 12 all chapters and authors notes will be removed and compiled into a chapbook, Splinter Universe Presents:  The Wrong Lance, for those folks who have requested a souvenir.  Here’s the cover art:

We expect to release this concurrently with the mass market edition of Accepting the Lance, on October 22.

Oh, what else?  Ah!  I moderated a panel at reCONvene on August 15, marking my first time as a moderator and a panelist at a virtual convention.  I had fun!  My panelists — Steven Barnes, Jenn Brissett, Br Guy Consolmagno, and Adrian Tchaikovsky — were brilliant and I’d do it again in a heartbeat, which!

Happens to be a good thing, because Steve and I will be participating in AlbaCon in the Afternoon on Sunday, August 30 — which is coming right up!  Other attendees are the writing team of Debra Doyle and James D. Macdonald.  Steve and I will be reading — a bit from Trader’s Leap and another bit from a recent chapbook to be named later.  More information will be forthcoming as we have it.

Other than those two events, we’re staying pretty quiet, and healing from the Compleat Disruption of Everything which has been the last 19 months of our lives.  We’ve been reading a lot, as you can see from the lists I’ve been posting; taking advantage of the local Farm Pick Up for fresh fruits, veggies, meats, and cheeses, taking long country rides and visiting some of the little parks with which Maine is liberally sprinkled.  We depend on InstaCart for our grocery shopping, and I’m kind of pleased at the fall-off in necessary doctor visits.

On that front, I have do still have one more medical appointment — this Wednesday — before taking up the new aromatase inhibitor (the first having, um, invoked Unwanted Side Effects), and Seeing What Happens.  In the meanwhile, I have two pounds more to lose to hit the first 10 pounds my oncologist wants me to lose.  This is a two-part process:  first hit and maintain at 178 pounds, then move on to maintaining 170.

Yes, I have changed my diet, and it wasn’t really a hardship, since the “plant based” diet isn’t so very much different from what we’d been doing, anyway.  Basically, it’s less bacon, more fish, and lots more veggies, but — I like veggies.

I’m also slowly getting back to something resembling exercise, though — I never thought I’d say this — I miss the gym.  There you have it, though, I do miss the gym — almost as much as I miss going to the ocean.

Fans of the cats will wish to know that Belle has been feeling a little poorly.  The cause appears to be her calcium levels, and she is now on a weekly, very low dose of Fosamax, of all things.  She’ll have another blood draw in three to four weeks to see if this therapy is succeeding.

. . .I think that catches us up.  I will try to do better about updates, now that life has settled somewhat, if not exactly returned to normal.  Mostly, we’ll be writing, reading and cat herding here in Central Maine — which, come to think of it, is our normal.

Here’s a picture of Steve and me at Swan Lake State Park, in Swanville Maine.

Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto

So, let’s do a little catch-up.

1  Amazon is currently having a $.99 sale on the Kindle edition of Shout of Honor: Adventures in the Liaden Universe® Number 29, published in May 2019.  If you have an interest, or think someone you know might have an interest, here’s the link.

Barnburner, a cozy Maine mystery by Sharon Lee, the first of two books featuring Jen Pierce, is now available as an ebook, paper book, and audiobook.  Here’s your link.

2a  Gunshy, the second Jen Pierce novel, will be along bye-n-bye, so watch the skies.

The Wrong Lance, that being the start of the novel which is NOT Accepting the Lance, is being posted, a chapter a week on Mondays.  There are 11 chapters, and Chapter Six posted this morning.  If you’d like to join the fun, you can start here.

4  I will be moderating a panel at reCONvene on August 15, time to be determined.  Panelists are: Steven Barnes, Jenn Brissett, Br Guy Consolmagno SJ, Adrian Tchaikovsky. We will be taking up the topic of Earth’s place in the future; what it may mean to be “from” Earth; and what Earth itself may look like, socially, and environmentally.  More information on reCONvene may be found here.

5  Today is Princess Jasmine Sprite’s eighth birthday.  Here’s a picture of her being patient when I interrupted her morning squirrel watch:

Today’s blog brought to you by Styx:  “Mr. Roboto.”  Here’s the link.

Catching up on Stuff

Stream of Consciousness Warning

1  For those playing along at home, I have had sixteen ray gun therapy sessions, with only nine more to go.  My skin in the treatment area has begun to burn, which I know by looking at it.  Surgery left me mostly numb in that region, which is a blessing.  There are one or two small areas that are not numb, though they don’t hurt nearly as much as a visual inspection suggests that they should.  Yes, I am using the prescribed emollient; and Steve has taken over chauffeuring duties to and from the Cancer Center.

For fans of the Hummer Bar:  we are open, and have seen custom, which is gratifying, and amuses me, at least.  The cats don’t seem so interested in hummingbirds.  Squirrels, now. . .

3  For those who may not have seen the news — Uncle Hugo’s and its sister store, Uncle Edgars, in Minneapolis, have burned to the ground, victims of Friday night’s civil unrest.  All hands are safe and accounted for, but the stores and all contents are gone.  This is a horrifying loss to the community.  Don Blyly, the owner, is in the process of — well, processing the situation, consulting his lawyer, and doing those things that one must in the aftermath of catastrophe.  He has not set up any Go-Fund-Me accounts, he has not put out a call for books to help him restock.  He’s still thinking, taking advice, and weighing options.  If you see any calls for contributions of cash or stock, please do not respond; several drives have been started by concerned persons, but they are not in any way official.  When Don needs our help, he will tell us.

4  On Monday June 1 — that’s tomorrow — morning at 9 am Eastern, the first chapter of The Wrong Lance will — or at least, should — appear at Patreon, for Patrons Only, and also at Splinter Universe, for all who care to look for it.

4a  For those who missed the announcement and the ground-rules in re The Wrong Lance, you may find those here.  The Introduction, posted last Monday, is here.

5  Trooper just stole a face mask off my desk. He was very clever about it, sneaking in under the lip of the standing desk, and lifting his snout centimeter by centimeter, until he was in a position to snatch! the ear-loop, fling himself to the floor, and take up position on his favorite sun rug, looking oh-so-very pleased with himself.  I have recovered the mask, and will wash it later.  In the meantime, I am, need I say, in Trooper’s Black Book.

Here endeth my stream of consciousness.

Everybody stay safe.

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.