I was raised in the canebreak by an ol’ momma lion

So, suddenly and with only a little bit of warning — we’re busy.

Well.  I’m busy.

Steve was already busy.  Being lead on a novel comes with an “I’m busy” card.  Plus, he’s already recorded a short story for Patreon.  Here’s the link.

Me, though, I had a couple things on my plate — getting the taxes ready for the accountant, a short story that may come under contract a little further down the line, that Archers Beach universe story I’ve been thinking about, the next novel after Steve’s got done with his two.  Also, I’d been thinking about another Liaden story or two, for inclusion in a new chapbook.  So — work, but not a lot of work.

And then?  I started going through the “cope with this after you’ve healed” folder on my desk, and I discovered that I had some splinters for eventual posting on Splinter Universe (there’s one up now, with author commentary, at this link).

The rest of the splinters in hand are Liaden in nature, and the plan is to get them up in a more-or-less leisurely manner.  First, I have to do something about the color scheme at Splinter Universe.

Then, Steve had finished drafting a story that Would Not Be Quiet just before my foot got rebuilt, and I put it aside to read until I was back on both feet.  That story — “The Gate that Locks the Tree In: A Minor Melant’i Play for Snow Season” — is destined to become a chapbook, Adventures in the Liaden Universe® Number 30.

So, this is what’s lined up, so far:

1  Do the taxes
2  Edit, format, put on sale “The Gate That Locks the Tree In”
3  Write short story
4  Fix Splinter Universe template
5  Plot  and write Archers Beach story
6  Type in Liaden snippets/write author commentary for each
7 Plot and write story(ies) for Adventures in the Liaden Universe® Number 31
8  Post Liaden snippets
9  Plot and write Liaden novel
10 Confer with Steve over producing possible “outtake” chapbook

So, that’ll keep me busy for a while, I guess.

And now you’re up to date.

Today’s blog title brought to you by Tennessee Ernie Ford, “Sixteen Tons.”

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.

In which the trolls go a bridge too far

This message is for those of you who primarily connect with me through Goodreads.  I am, in the face of the ongoing carnage and lack of oversight demonstrated on Goodreads*, removing my account — in fact, I would have already removed it, save that the instructions provided on-site for deleting an account are, um — inaccurate.  It will take Goodreads 5 days to get back to me on this.

Apparently, authors can not leave the system entirely — Goodreads will still record new books and publish reviews — like Amazon.  But I will not be directly involved even in the small way that I did participate.

Those who wish, can bookmark and follow this blog.

Thank you for your understanding and patience.


*For those who have not been following the story of carnage and lack of oversight, I offer this synopsis of events, compiled by Jason Sanford.

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.

In which the authors know the words to far too many classic rock songs

So, the melancholy truth found yesterday was that — though I was cleared for shoes, my beloved Dansko oxfords did not fit me.  Well.  The right foot fit just as always, but the reconstructed left foot — did not.  This was lowering, to say the least, and I was cast into Deep Despair until Steve came home from running errands with a pair of oversized fleece-lined men’s slippers that the surgeon’s preferred insoles fit, so I was able to lose the surgical shoe which was Just. So. Wonderful.

This morning, deciding that solving the shoe problem was Priority One, we took ourselves to Laney Wellehan in Augusta, where the manager and podiatry specialist took me in hand, and speedily found me a pair of Clark women’s pull ons, in wide, with a nice broad toe box. The manager also gave me tongue pads and heel pads for the right shoe, which is, as you’d imagine, a little large.

Shoes achieved, we went up the hill to Pier One, where I wandered about and stared at All The Stuff.  I have loved Pier One since a young girl, and Pier One in All its Potlatch Finery is not to be missed; it’s better than the Macy’s parade.  After about 45 minutes of wandering the store in amaze, my foot started to ache, so back we went to the car, and Steve took us for a drive out through Monmouth, up Mount Pisgah Road, through Wayne, Jay, Wilton, Farmington, Norridgewock, and so to home, and lunch, and catching up on work and correspondence.  During our ride, the predictive mileage meter went from predicting that we would need gas in 310 miles to needing gas in 380 miles.  The predictive mileage meter probably amuses me more than it should.

While we drove, we sang along with whatever was on Sirius Vinyl and/or Cassette.  Very probably we heard songs to which we did not know all the words, but there were far more to which we knew every word.  Yes, yes, I hear you, there in the back — if only we would use our power for good.

One thing became apparent as we traveled up and down the world, and that is — I’m going to have to have a refresher course in driving. Sitting in a stable chair for eight weeks has given me a Whole New, and not entirely useful, reading on how close other vehicles are, and our relative speeds.  Well.  Something to do.

…and that’s what we’ve been up to.  Hope your day was as pleasant.



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.

Update the Fifth

Since our last episode, the proofs for the new Baen mass market edition of Carpe Diem landed here at the Cat Farm and Confusion Factory.  We turned in the correx for that yesterday, and then commenced in to reading Trader’s Leap, which we turned in on October 1, because our input is needed for sell copy.

Today, UPS tells us that they will be delivering nine cases of Accepting the Lance.  Steve and I will be signing and/or personalizing them as quick as we can, and putting them on the bus to Minneapolis, where Mr. Blyly at Uncle Hugo’s SF Bookstore will do the hard part — that being invoicing and mailing.

The local Festival of Trees will open at the end of the week, and the Plan at this moment is that Steve and me and the knee scooter will View the Trees on Friday.  This depends somewhat on the weather, which has been rainy/icy/snowy by turns.  Friday is supposed to be warm and sunny, so fingers crossed.

In between correcting proofs and reading Trader’s Leap for the first time, I have been working at making friends with my foot.

Yesterday was one month since I had surgery, so recuperation is at more or less the halfway point, and my foot — poor thing.  It is well and truly a Frankenstein Foot, and will not, as I understand it, ever be a Thing of Beauty, except insofar as a Fully Functioning Foot can be said to be Beautiful.  It doesn’t hurt — though it still looks as if it should hurt.  It’s been through a lot, really, and I’ve been taking time to talk to it, and massage it, and reassure it that it will be back at work realsoonnow, better than before!   The swelling’s going down — I can see the shadow of an ankle bone! — so I’m hinting at maybe buying it, and it’s partner, a new pair of shoes for Christmas.  Or even — let’s get crazy!  — boots.

. . .and that’s about all I have to report.

Everybody stay well.

What to expect hereabouts for the next while

Asyouknowbob, I will be having my left foot surgically repaired on Friday, October 18.  This has been in the works for some time.  Per the surgeon, I will be off my feet for eight to ten weeks following this event.

I have a Command Chair and a laptop, so theoretically, I should just be able to continue on with Facebook, and Twitter, and updating this blog.

Notice the use of the word “theoretically.”

I believe that, instead of leaping right! back! in! to the online action, I will be taking those eight to ten weeks off.

But, why? you say.

But don’t you love us? you say.

Well. . .

Frequent auditors of this blog will perhaps recall that my younger sister died last December, whereupon I was tapped to take up the affairs of our father, in hospice and dying of cancer, said affairs being in a great state of muddlement due to the unexpected death of my sister and its immediate aftermath.  My father died in March, whereupon two surprise! stepsisters arose, brandishing paperwork, and throwing my, ah…legitimacy…under a bus of their own connivance.  This — all of this — was disturbing.  Yes.  Disturbing.

Also in March, Steve had his I(mplantable) C(ardioverter) D(efribrillator), the machine that keeps his heart beating, replaced.  This, though sworn by the doctors to be routine, was also disturbing.

In, among, and during all of this, I was lead on a book — Accepting the Lance — which we submitted in February.  Because of how …Lance had gone together, another book — its mirror-twin, Trader’s Leap — was due on the publisher’s desk in September, and I was also the lead on it.  So, I have basically had my head in a novel constantly for the last 18 months, except when I was dealing with deaths, and major medical events, in my family.  Not to mention the stepsisters.

Now, though it’s fun, for definitions of fun, to write a novel, it doesn’t necessarily follow that it’s twice as much fun to write two novels back-to-back.  IMHO.  It’s helpful to rest your brain and your nervous system, occasionally, and while Steve and I did manage a couple days at the ocean, and a couple more at Lubec, those were stop-gaps.  I know that some people run on adrenaline; I had used to run on adrenaline.  Those days are not these days, and I am, frankly, exhausted.

Steve is lead on the next two books — the first of those is the direct sequel to Trade Secret.  It’s due sometime next year — I’m not sure we’ve worked out a date with the publisher, yet.

So, this seems like the best chance I’m going to have to rest, as rest is being enforced.

I may poke my head in occasionally; certainly, I’ll be updating my books-read list, but don’t expect to see me largely around hereabouts for the next while.  Rest and recuperation comes first, now, after having being last too long.

Thank you all for your support over the years that we’ve been together — and for your understanding.

See you on the flipside.