To send a wagon for thy minstrel

So, it’s been a while since we’ve chatted.  My excuse is — page proofs arrived for the mass market edition of Accepting the Lance (to be published on October 27), and needed to be proofread.  No sooner than had we sent them back, then the copy edits for Trader’s Leap (to be published on December 1) landed, and that’s what I’m occupying myself with at the moment.

In-between All That, Steve and I have had several, err, creative meetings — to dignify a process that involves a lot of hand-waving, staring out of windows, pitching random scenes and sentences, and refilling the wine glasses — regarding the next book under contract.

Those of you who have been following along will perhaps recall that The Original Plan had Steve as lead on the next book, while I had needed surgery on my left foot, and held myself ready to consult, taking up the duties of Staff once I was fit, and also working on a side book.  I may not have said that outloud, about the side book, but that was part of The Original Plan.

It is here that we insert:  The best laid schemes o’mice an’ men gang aft agley.

We started well enough.  Then, in January, there was a funky mammogram, which meant biopsies of both breasts, only one of which had been invaded by cancer; followed by a mastectomy in mid-March, and a course of radiation therapy, which ended in mid-June, when I started taking a prescribed aromatase inhibitor, which produced crippling side effects. We’re now in the phase of letting that med leave my system before we try another one.

Otherwise, I’m pretty much recovered, absent the fact that I’m having some memory and cognitive issues, which I’m told will improve, in good time.

And then of course, there are the on-going shared threats to health, liberty, and life that we are all dealing with.

During all of this, Steve was Front, whose expanded duties included driving me to radiation therapy — a 266 mile round trip — every weekday, making sure we were fed, laundered, and up-to-date.

The book languished.  We missed one deadline, and were on track to missing the second, extended, deadline.

Thus, the creative meeting.  Which led to the realization that we needed to start again.

We spoke to Madame the Agent, who spoke to Madame the Publisher.  Between us all, we worked out a new delivery date, in 2021.  So, this is your Distant Early Warning: There will likely not be a new Liaden book published in 2021.  A Miracle may occur — it would not be the first time that Madame the Publisher has pulled a rabbit out of her hat, but that’s not the way the smart money ought to bet.

Today’s blog title is brought to you by Hildegard von Blingen, covering Gotye’s “Somebody that I Used to Know.”  Here’s your link.

Trader’s Leap signed copies

Asyouknowbob, Trader’s Leap, the twenty-third novel of the Liaden Universe® written by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, will be published by Baen Books in early December 2020.

Several people have written to us, to let us know that Barnes and Noble is sending to Known Liaden Readers with the news that they are taking pre-orders of Leap — which is pro-active, and I applaud them.

We have also been asked, in light of the fact that Uncle Hugo’s was burned in the recent riots, if there would be any chance of signed editions.

We have an answer to that question, to wit!

Yes, there is a chance of signed editions.

We have spoken to Don Blyly, the man behind the Uncle, and he wants to handle the signed copies of Trader’s Leap, as he has done for manymany of our previous novels.  He needs to get some ducks in a row, and to our knowledge, he is proceeding in that endeavor.

Now, here’s where you need to not let BN, or the Internet Timewarp, raise your expectations.  Leap is due out on December 1, 2020.  Today is June 30, 2020.  Even in a normal year, the preorders through Uncle Hugo’s wouldn’t open until September.  There is time enough in the interval to wrassle ducks into at least a semblance of propriety, and if the worst happens, and the Uncle cannot find a way to handle preorders for signed copies, there will be time enough and world to pre-order from another source.

So, yeah, the key is, as it so often is :  Patience.  Waiting is.

Deep breaths.

Here, have a picture of Sprite and Belle, being calm and patient.

Progress on paper edition of GATE

I have pushed the button in Amazon’s back room to publish the paper edition of THE GATE THAT LOCKS THE TREE: ADVENTURES IN THE LIADEN UNIVERSE® NUMBER 30, by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller.
 
Amazon will now review the book to make sure that it meets their stringent quality standards, and if it does, it will arrive on a catalog page, and be available for purchase.
 

Housekeeping Note: In Which This Site Will Be Twilit

Because I know some of y’all worry when the blog doesn’t update regularly. . .

I will not be updating this blog — or any blog, actually — for. . .a while.

The reasons for this are several.  One is that, of course, we’re deep in the end game for Accepting the Lance, which is due, no excuses, by the end of January.  By itself, as you and I both know from experience, this would be enough to limit updates.  I’m lead on Lance, and being the end of several story arcs, as it is, it’s being, ahem, a little difficult to bring in.

In addition to this, a small mountain of family crises has landed in my lap.  As it turns out certain obligations fall to the last surviving child of a parent — and that would be me.  You will remember that my sister died earlier this month, very suddenly, leaving things with regard to our father’s care. . .a little awry, but recoverable, or so I imagine her thoughts went, had she recovered.  She did not, and in the aftermath of her departure, documents which really ought to have been kept. . .weren’t.

I have therefore inherited said small mountain, which includes people demanding payments, and other people denying me access to accounts, until I can prove X,Y,Z.  Needless to say, the folks who want their money are a lot less particular about what I can prove than the folks who are holding the checks.

To sum up: I am simultaneously embarked on two life-devouring projects, which means “extras,” like updating this blog, will have to go on hold.

Steve will be updating Welcome to Liad with writing, professional, and appearance news (yes, we do still plan — very much — on attending Boskone in February).  He also plans to resume the story hours on Patreon.  He has begun writing the next Liaden book, which he tells me will be a Jethri book, the sequel to Trade Secret.

. . .and here ends my tale.

Everybody stay safe, right?  And may the incoming year bring joy and success to us all.

 

Short stories and the author

So, I’m in receipt of several emails, and one crazily placed blog entry (read about it here, go over to a Whole ‘Nother Website, to a page that has nothing to do with the topic, and post the question.  Why would you do that?). . .asking when the short stories Steve and I have recently placed with anthologies (not magazines), will be “available,” by which they mean, as a chapbook from Pinbeam Books.  These folks don’t want to buy anthologies filled with stories by strange authors, just to get our new story, but they want the new stories Pretty Dern Quick.

Now, here’s the Thing.  Actually, a couple of Things.

Writers, including Steve and me, write to earn money.

Anthology gigs pay money up front.

One of the things that anthologies purchase with their up-front money is publication exclusivity, anything from 6 months to 2 years (to forever, but we turn those down; there isn’t enough up-front money in the world).

The purpose of anthologies, besides making money for the publishing house, the editor, and, maybe, some more money for their contributing authors, is to (1) draw in readers of Author A with the promise of a new story, and (2) introduce the readers of Author A to other cool writers those readers may have missed.  Anthologies are not inherently evil, honest.

Now, this is how the whole anthology publication works from the author side:

Invitation comes in –> Author rejects or accepts

If Author rejects, Author does not have to write a story to theme and deadline.  Author also does not get paid.

If Author accepts, Author receives contract from publisher.  Author writes story to theme and deadline, whereupon, sometime before publication of the anthology, a check will arrive in Author’s mailbox.

The contract issued by the publisher spells out things like rights purchased, desired word count, payment per word, how royalties will be computed, deadline for submission, deadline for publication, and!  exclusivity periods.

Once more, in short form, here is that process:
Invitation–>Author Acceptance–>Contract Arrives–>Author writes and submits story to Anthology Editor –>Revision letter arrives–>Author revises, resubmits–>Story accepted–>Payment received–>Anthology published

Some of these bits can be switched around, but these are the steps to publication.

When the anthology is published — that is when the exclusivity period starts.  Exclusivity is exactly what it sounds like — the anthology holds the exclusive right to publish Story A anywhere for:  6 months, 9 months, 1 year, 2 years (forever, but see above…)

After the exclusivity period is over, Author may sell the story to a reprint market, reprint the story Author’s self, or stick the story in a drawer and forget about it.

What we here at the Confusion Factory do is — After the exclusivity period is completed, we will cause Pinbeam Books to reprint Story A as an echapbook/paper chapbook.  Sometimes, there’s a little extra time built in before we get around to that, due to other pressing business, and whether we have at least two stories available for reprint (or have spontaneously generated another, free-range, story in the interim) so that we give value to our readers.

We also collect those stories into a big pile, and lately Baen Books has been kind enough to print those collections in the Liaden Universe® Constellation series.  So far, that is three volumes, with Constellation Four coming in Summer 2019*.

What all this means for the “availability” of the following stories: “Dark Secrets,” “Command Decision,” and “Vestals of Midnight,” is!

“Dark Secrets” will be published in Infinite Stars: Dark Frontiers, which is now scheduled to be published in September 2019.  The exclusivity period for that story is 18 months.  So, it will be “available,” sometime in mid-2021.

We have not yet been informed of the exclusivity period for “Decision,” and “Vestal,” but assume a year from publication (November 2018), since that’s an average period.

Advertent readers will see that “Revolutionists” and “Excerpts from Two Lives,” will be collected in Constellation Four.  Sometime after, Pinbeam Books will collect them into a chapbook. The reason for that timing is also exclusivity, the period for “Revolutionists” doesn’t go over until next July, scant weeks before we can expect to see the next Liaden collection.

I trust this answers everyone’s questions — and really!  Try an anthology, why not?  You might find some new favorite authors.

____________________
*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.”

 

Attention! Book People!

Attention convention organizers, fan charity organizers, traveling fans, librarians and friends of library folks …

From time to time we have to load balance the book shelves holding our “extra” author copies. We end up with a a few more of some, a few less of another, but too many to keep — and that’s where we are now.

If you are a con runner, charity organizer, or library-type who could use signed Lee & Miller books as prizes or giveaways for upcoming events, drop me a line at rolanniATkorvalDOTcom. Librarians — if you will use them in your collection or in science fiction oriented events, tell me that, and we’ll see how we can help there, too.

We will ask to be reimbursed for shipping.

We have some hardbacks, some trade papers, some mass markets, of many, but not all Lee-and-Miller, and Lee titles.  We cannot guarantee specific titles. Think of it as a grab-bag of goodies.

 

Preorder Links and? We have Weather

So, after an email exchange a couple nights ago, the Nook Team magically invested me with the ability to publish books for pre-order, with the result that you — yes, you! — can now preorder the electronic edition of Degrees of Separation: Adventures in the Liaden Universe® Number 27 from BN/Nook Books ,  from Amazon/Kindle, from Kobo, and (this is according to rumor, only) at Apple.

I made an attempt to get Amazon to help me put the paper book on pre-order, but! It turns out that it never occurred to them that someone might want to do Such An Outrageous Thing, so!  The idea is being remanded to the Team, and no paper pre-orders for this title.  I’ll do my best to make sure that it is available for sale on January 15.  Baen ebooks will have the book for sale in electronic edition on January 15, as well.

Speaking of links and Amazon. . .Several people have written, and posted here and there on-line that there Is! No! Kindle! Edition of Neogenesis available — they are variously made sad, bewildered, and angry by this, which is kind of a shame, because!

There is a Kindle edition of  Neogenesis Here’s your link. You will note that, while this page lists both the ebook and the Audible editions of the book there is no hardcover listed — but fear not!  This does not mean that there was no hardcover published, it only means that the hardcover sits in lonely splendor on its own catalog page. I hope this makes everybody happy — and, no, I don’t know why Amazon has not been able to merge both catalog pages.  ‘WAY above my pay scale.

Here at the Cat Farm and Confusion Factory, we are experiencing Weather,  In particular, a blizzard (or, if you prefer a bombogenesis, aka a “snow hurricane”), which is expected to dump 11 to 14 inches of snow before it decamps, early tomorrow morning.

Related to this, yesterday, I acquired back spasms as one does, especially if one had the experience of going head-first through the windshield of an automobile at the tender age of 23.  Yesterday was fairly well a waste; while I waited for it to be time to see the doctor at 4:45 pm.  Received blessed muscle relaxants and have been Taking Them As Directed since last evening.  Back still hurts, but has eased back to a 5 on the 1-10 pain scale.  For comparison, yesterday was a 12.

The plowguy — all hail the plowguy! — will be clearing our steps and porch and the so-called “front” steps, too, in addition to plowing the driveway, so that, at least, is taken care of.

I think this more or less catches us up, and it occurs to me that it might be prudent to go seek my heating pad again, though standing at my desk is a remarkably pain-free posture.

Everybody, stay happy.

Waiting for the Snowstorm

Before we get started today, Management has asked me to make four announcements. Here they are:

One!  If you have been planning on ordering a personalized copy of Liaden Universe® novel Neogenesis, by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, you have until tomorrow, Sunday, December 10 to make your order.  Here’s your link.

Two! “Block Party,” by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller will go live on Baen.com on Friday, December 15.  Mark your calendars.

Three!  You may now pre-order the ebook edition of Neogenesis from the Nook Store and the Kindle Store

Four!  You may now acquire from Baen ebooks the eARC of Star Destroyers, edited by Tony Daniel and Christopher Ruocchio, including all! new! stories by: David Drake, Michael Z. Williamson, Mark L. Van Name, Steve White, Jody Lynn Nye, Brendan DuBois, Sharon Lee & Steve Miller, Susan R. Matthews, Mike Kupari, J.R. Dunn, Robert Buettner, Christopher Ruocchio, Dave Bara, Joelle Presby, Gray Rinehart.  Here’s your link.

Adventures in Chemistry
We ran out of bread here at the Cat Farm and Confusion Factory, so this morning’s first priority was baking.  Sadly, it seems this batch ain’t gonna rise.  Not enough moisture, I think; I added more than called for in order to get the ingredients to the “sticky ball” stage of the thing, but it might not have been enough.

We shall see.

Snow Party
In other news, the roofers have finished doing their thing.  The house now has an awesome metal roof, and, in celebration, Central Maine is throwing a snowstorm this afternoon through tomorrow morning.

Do we know how to party or what?

Work Going Forward
Steve and I have three projects underway at the moment.

One is, of course, Fifth of Five aka Monkey Business.

The second is a short story destined for Insurgency, an anthology coming from ZNB in 2018.

The third project is editing Degrees of Separation: Adventures in the Liaden Universe® Number 27, an all-new, all-original novella (unless it hits the lower eaves of novel by the time the edits are done).  Degrees, it says here, is a story about Paris, about love, and about bread.  Our intention is to have it available as a widely-distributed echapbook,  and as a paper chapbook (though Amazon only) in mid to late January.

Now that the roofers are gone. . .
I can hang up my framed Letter of Nobility, certifying that Baroness Sharon Lee is a noble citizen of the sovereign micro-nation of Ladonia.  I had achieved my noble citizenship a few months back, to honor the memory of the late Dave Romm, himself a Baron of Ladonia, but had been behind in acquiring a proper frame.  Steve did this for me (you see how things work around here) and now the Letter may be put on display.

I think that catches us all up.

Speaking of catching up, here’s Scrabble, catching up on her comfy.

 

So, about those chapbooks

Cultivar: Adventures in the Liaden Universe® Number 25 and Heirs to Trouble, Adventures in the Liaden Universe® Number 26 —  more information here — have been published to Apple, BN, Baen ebooks, Kobo.

They have not been published to Amazon, and, as this is the last day of Amazon’s demand period, Steve and I are not at all confident that they will ever be published to Amazon.  We will, of course, continue to monitor the situation, and will make an announcement if Amazon should at some later point discover in its heart that, indeed, it can publish these two titles.

We are not, however, optimistic.

The short form is that Amazon, having realized that the four stories contained in the two chapbooks listed above already exist in a collection published by Baen Books (A Liaden Universe® Constellation, Volume 3) — which we do not dispute; in fact, we state so in the sell copy — demanded that Steve and I “prove” we have the right to republish those stories.

They initially demanded a reversion letter, which does not exist, as the rights to the stories have not reverted; in fact, they were never sold.  We attempted to explain that we, the authors and copyright holders, had sold what is called “anthology rights” to Baen — they can only publish those stories in the form of A Liaden Universe® Constellation, Volume 3; they cannot repackage and republish particular stories out of the collection.  This is all handled in the contract between us and Baen.

This means that we, the authors and copyright holders, retained the rights to place individual stories with other publishers, for other collections, or to publish the stories ourselves.

We chose to publish the stories ourselves.  Which is our right, breaks no laws, and damages no one’s copyright, least of all ours, and  certainly does no damage to Amazon.

The last received demand — understand that we have been corresponding with someone who may only answer via scripted emails; this lends a certain surreal air to a situation already dripping in black comedy — however, the last email could be read — and we so read it — as a demand that we send a copy of our contract with Baen to Amazon.

Now, in the Normal World of Publishing (yes, yes, I know; but let it pass), if we were placing those four stories with another publisher for another anthology or collection, we would receive a contract from the new publisher, and one of the things that we would certify, by signing this new contract, is that we have the legal right to so place the stories.  If, after we sign the contract, it is found that we lied, or in some other way do not have the right to place the stories, the lawyers are loosed and everyone makes popcorn.

In no case does Publisher 2 demand that the authors provide them with a copy of their contract with Publisher 1.

Now, Amazon is in a strange situation; it cannot itself decide if it’s a publisher or a distributor, but in either case the demand for a copy of our contract with our publisher is out of line, and Steve and I will not comply.

What does this mean for you?

Well, if you have all of your Adventures in the Liaden Universe® echapbooks in Kindle format, and you don’t wish to break the shelf, so to speak, you can go to Baen Ebooks and download Numbers 25 and 26 from them in Kindle format (there are instructions on how to do this on the site).

Baen also offers these titles in other formats, for those who diversify.

Or, you can, of course, purchase the titles from one of the distributors who do carry them — BN, Kobo, Apple. . .

For the paper-book folks. . . Given the on-going circumstances here at the Cat Farm and Confusion Factory, we can no longer do the production and mailing of paper chapbooks from the house.  It seems as if the best (or only) way to produce paper chapbooks is through Amazon’s paperback program.  There will simply not be paper copies of 25 and 26, unless we can locate another source for taking care of all the administrative work involved in producing paper chapbooks.  Steve and I are very sorry about this, but — see above.

Right now, the paper chapbooks available from Amazon are:

Liaden Universe®:  Due Diligence #24, Change Management #23, Sleeping with the Enemy #22, Technical Details #21, Moon’s Honor #20

Lee and Miller:  The Tomorrow Log

Sharon Lee:  Barnburner, Gunshy, The Gift of Magic, Spell Bound

We will, eventually, convert all of the electronic backlist to paper, but as this is being done between Life and Pay Copy, it will take some time.