Sufficient unto the day are the submissions thereof

So, these things happened today:

  1.  Trader’s Leap, the twenty-third novel of the Liaden Universe® co-created by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, has been turned in to Madame the Publisher at Baen.  . . .Leap weighs in at about 122,000 words and concerns itself with the doings aboard Dutiful Passage. The action in . . .Leap happens concurrently with the action in Accepting the Lance (due out in December)The action happens so concurrently, in fact, that for most of last year, . . .Lance and . . .Leap were thought by their fond authors to be one novel.  No publication date as yet.  If I were guessing, which you’d think I’d know better than by this point in my life, I’d say look for it in bookstores late in 2020.
  2. “A Visit to the Galaxy Ballroom,” a short story commission by in support of the publication of Accepting the Lance, has also been turned in.  Look for it on the front page of in mid-November.  The story will be free for everyone to read.

I still have one more professional commitment to fulfill, which it would soothe me to have it turned in before I hit Foot Surgery Day on October 18.  It’s not technically due ’til the end of November, but, since the future is an Uncharted Country, I’d like to get it off the decks.

I also need clear the detritus of Having Written A Novel from my desk and its immediate surrounds, clear away the stack of administrivia that’s been waiting for attention, and make some more arrangements for my convalescence.  My greatest fear for the recuperation period is that I will succumb to depression brought on by boredom and inactivity.  I mean, you wouldn’t think I’d be bored, given that mountain of books over there that I call my TBR pile, but I’m pretty much used to getting up, getting around, and getting out.  Also, I’m Particularly Unskilled at Just Sit There and Rest™.

Well.  Practice makes perfect.

We have made some efforts to make the Command Chair interesting.  Steve has very kindly put a birdfeeder outside of the Command Window, which looks over the busy street at the front of the house.  The chair also faces the Big Screen, so I’ll be able to have waterfalls and fireplaces on view, not to mention — hey, let’s get crazy! — actual movies.  And, yanno, I do have a laptop, so I won’t be cut off from civilization entirely.

So, anyway, that’s what’s going on at the Cat Farm and Confusion Factory on the first of October.

What’s going forward at your house?



And I’m known by the name of Old Johnny Dhu

Yesterday arrived cool and cloudy.  We turned off the heat pumps and opened all the windows that will open and it was just…glorious.

Today is more of the same, with a tad more sun, and the windows in my office, by far the most window-rich room in the house, are open and the curtains are belling in the soft breeze.  If I hadn’t seen Maine do this before, I’d be declaring to y’all that Fall Has Arrived.  As it is, I’ll just mention that this is a welcome break, and that I’ll be working in the comfy chair in the window today.

For those following the saga of the Blue Scooter, the new wheel arrived yesterday.  Happen it will be changed in for the leaky wheel today, depending on Steve’s schedule, and I’ll be able to start with some practice, RSN.  I’ll also need to call the War Engineer, Builder of the Goblin Room, to stop by and noodle me up a ramp, or a pulley system or something so I can get in the front door when I come home from surgery.

This week coming, I have an appointment with the surgeon, and also with the nice ladies who will be doing the housecleaning while I’m off my feet, so they can see exactly what they’ll be getting into.

Also — I know you’ve all marked your calendars and have been planning for this event all year — next Sunday is Scrabble’s 17th birthday (observed).

As above, work continues on the WIP, which very nearly had a title last week, but…no.  Sigh.

And, that?  Is what’s going on here at the Cat Farm and Confusion Factory — business as usual: calm on the surface and frantically busy beneath.

Hope all of you living in the northern hemisphere are enjoying the drawing down of summer, such as it may or may not be, and also a peaceful weekend.

Today’s blog title comes to you from Gaelic Storm.  Here’s your link.

Twixt and Tween

As reported elsewhere. . .

This morning, we await the arrival of the Command Chair, which will be delivered, so they say, between 8 am and noon.  I note that it was not delivered at 8 am.

This after, we have errands, and possibly a nap.

I have this morning filed for half an hour.  I figure half-an-hour a day for a couple weeks will see everything put away by the time I need to withdraw from the lists for 8 weeks.  Sprite came into the tech room to help; me (Sprite likes to file) — and I am just returned from another visit to the tech room, because she was shouting at me to come back here and file some more!  I had to tell her that I’m not going to file for eight hours straight; that I appreciate her help and hope to have her help again, tomorrow.

This is what you get when you have cats who want to be Involved in the Process.

So, anyway. . .somewhere in all this I need to print out the Nameless WIP and go through it line by line, as one does.  That’ll be fun.  Or not.  I’m past the point where I want to read this book ever again, but, yanno.  Part of the job.

Ocean and Ice

So!  Steve and I took a vacation.

I place all blame for this on the Cirque du Soleil, which, back in the waning winter, sent me notice that Crystal would be at the Cross Insurance Arena in our very own Portland, Maine, in August.  I, of course, immediately told asked Steve we were going if he and I could make a date for the show, and he agreed.

There remained the small difficulty of Portland being between 90 and 120 minutes from the New Cat Farm and Confusion Factory, and we kicked around the notion of taking a hotel room in Portland, which was not an. . .unattractive notion, Portland having more restaurants per square foot than any other city I’ve been in, plus, yanno, shopping.

However, it also, slowly, became obvious to us that Old Orchard Beach — which has the Atlantic Ocean, classic rock, an amusement park, ice cream, silly beach shops, the Atlantic Ocean — is only a fifteen minute drive from the Cross Arena in Portland, and so we cannily took a room at OOB, not for one night, but for four.

We drove down Tuesday for an afternoon check-in at a sorta newish place for us — The Waves (“sorta newish” because The Waves is the big sister property to the Sea View, where, back when my first Carousel* book released, I had rented a room block for the release party, so we knew management, but not the property).  Our room was second floor, ocean-side.  It was, in fact, 55 paces to the beach (according to Steve, who Measures Things). The porch overlooked everything — dunes, sea roses, surf, the Thursday night fireworks display.  I spent hours on the porch, breathing sea air, reading, playing with binoculars — just, yanno, doing nothing.  So very fine not to have to do anything.  For a few days, anyway.  By the time we were getting packed up, I was getting a little antsy with the whole “rest” thing.

I took my laptop, because — writer.  But I did not open my laptop.  I did not Facebook.  I did not Twitter.  I did not email.  I took no pictures.  I took no prisoners.  I think I told one guy, in response to a direct question, what it was I did for a living.  It was glorious.  I did, as above, sit on the porch and read; take naps; walk up and down the town and the beach; visited Googin Rock; ate every meal for four days out; also ‘way too much ice cream; played arcade games; talked to Steve about things that were not business or writing (well, OK, we did start to plot a short story, and — full disclosure — I started to play around with the idea for a new Carousel story, if I should manage to get time to write a new Carousel story).

Life at the ocean over our four-day stay was interesting.  We had a number of thunderstorms, including one that produced a horizontal rainbow about a foot off of the surface of the waves, which was really interesting.  Friday night’s storm caught us in the amusement park.  We retreated to the arcade before the heavy lightning and thunder hit, and had just taken up a position beside a row of games when — FLASH! BOOM! — and all the lights in the arcade went out.

There was time for a group intake of breath, and for one child to say, on a rising note “Mah-OHM?” — before the lights came back on and the young lady playing the Terminator machine across from us cussed because she’d lost her best score.

The park was closed for a little while until it was clear that the storm had moved on.  We walked among the rides, saying hello and good-bye, and retired to our room and the so-very-excellent porch.

Yesterday, we regretfully packed out, and drove home the long way, through Oxford, Paris, Milford, Mexico. . .stopping on the way through Waterville to pick up Chinese for lunch at home with the cats.

The cats, for those who are curious about how our cats “punish” us for abandoning them — the cats were all four waiting for us in the hall at the top of the stairs to the basement.  Trooper was a little forward of the ladies, and he greeted me first, to be sure I was who I said I was.  Then Belle stepped forward, then Scrabble, then Sprite.

The formalities attended to, they proceeded to beg for Chinese.

After lunch, we unpacked in a leisurely manner, and met for a glass of wine and to read out loud, in the living room, in the early evening.

We’re working our way through the Cat Who/Qwilleran cozies, the book we’re reading now is The Cat Who Went Into the Closet.

I sat down in my corner of the couch, and put the leg-rest out (the right and left seats of the couch recline).  We each had a glass of red wine to hand.  Belle came to sit on my lap; Sprite jumped up onto the Mencken table, where I had carelessly left the Scrabble set (in the box).

Everybody settled, Steve began to read.

Belle fell into a doze on my lap.  Steve leaned forward to pick up his wine, settled back, rustled the pages of the book, Sprite startled, kicked, knocked the Scrabble box off of the table to a crash landing on the floor, Sprite fled, Belle rocketed out of my lap, through Steve, knocking his arm up, so that he was showered in red wine.

There was a twenty-minute recess while clean-up happened, and Steve changed his clothes.

The book — a book club edition, with those thin, gritty pages, dried quickly enough for us to continue reading, Steve’s wine glass refilled.

We were lucky in the arc of wine:  Most of it went on Steve (granted, he doesn’t particularly think this was lucky); some landed on the stain-proofed, dark-brown-tweed sofa; a fair amount splashed one of the pillows, which I count a win, because I never liked those pillows and now I have an excuse to replace them.  A small amount of wine hit the floor, and was handily mopped up.  None touched what I like to call my Good Wool Rug.  The Scrabble set was in the box, the box was sealed with ribbon, thus no escaping tiles.

So, as catsasters go, it could have been much worse.  I have a bruise on my thigh where Belle took off, and Steve’s clothes may not be completely recoverable.  On the other hand, they were beach clothes, so a minor loss at worst.

Today, I’m clearly on the computer.  I’ve already ordered Earth Logic, Water Logic, and Air Logic (the follows to Fire Logic, which I finished reading at the ocean), and I’m shopping on Redbubble for some laptop stickers.  I also need to pull out information about a minor character appearing in . . .Lance, who will be the star of the story we need to write for, and frowning at the notes I left for myself in re the WIP

Yes, and I’ve also opened my email; if I owe you an email — waiting is.

Lunch, I believe, will be leftover Chinese, and that will be the official end of the vacation.  It was terrific, and I’d do it again tomorrow, but — deadline.

And so it goes.

Speaking of deadlines, we still do have book deadlines in our future.  This is what our professional life looks like, as of right now:

Accepting the Lance finishes the contract we called here in-house The Five Book Dash.  It will be published in December.  Believe it or not, that’s Realsoonnow.

While we were working on The Five Book Dash, Baen offered us a contract for two additional Liaden books, the so-called Mask Books (because we had not made proposals, and knew nothing, other than we could write two more Liaden books, and thus Baen would be purchasing a couple of pigs in the poke, or — more elegantly — Liadens in masks.)

A little while after that, Baen offered another contract, for three Liaden books, the so-called Triple Threat.

We are, therefore, still under contract for five Liaden books.

The novel I am working on right now will fulfill the first half of the Mask contract.

Steve is working on a Jethri novel, which will fulfill the second half of the Mask contract.

That will leave the entire Triple Threat to be written.

So — yes there are Liaden books in your future.

No, there are no Carousel/Archers Beach books in your immediate future.

There are no Gem ser’Edreth books in your future.

There are no Jen Pierce mysteries in your future.

Everybody confused now?


Imma answering my email now.

*Carousel novels by Sharon Lee:  Carousel Tides, Carousel Sun, Carousel Seas
Carousel short stories by Sharon Lee:  Surfside, The Gift of Magic, Spell Bound

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.

Went to a garden party

So, the Authors have been extroverting.  We bought Full Festival Passes for the Twenty-Second Maine International Film Festival, which included a t-shirt, naturally, the sponsorship of one movie, and access to all the rest of the films (10 days! 100 films! eek!), as well as a slew of special events, receptions, and parties.

The film we chose to sponsor is The Fate of Lee Khan, one of the five opening night films.  I do not repent our choice.  We had a great time with this film, picking out similarities to Star Wars, tracing the lines to Crouching Tiger…, and trying to keep track of the double-crosses.  I think we ended up with a quadruple-cross, but somebody might want to view the film and check me on that.

Here’s a link to the trailer.

We also attended a couple of the special events, including a Garden Party, with Brief Remarks, and are planning on attending the reception, concert, and World Movie Premier of The Gathering celebrating the work of Horace Tapscott.

In between all this, Life, and writing, has been going on.  The Nameless WIP  stands at about 81,000 words.  If I get a Turn of Speed, I should be out of this scene today, in draft.  Which will leave The Thrilling Conclusion to be written, and the subplots to be filled in.

Easy-peasy, amirite?

Yeah, right.

Here have a couple of pictures of us at the Garden Party.






Today’s blog post title is brought to you by Ricky Nelson, “Garden Party.”  Here’s your link.

Low rider is the one to meet, yeah

Steve made us power pancakes for breakfast, with strawberries, mmm, and I’m allowing myself a second cup of coffee while I balance the checkbook.
In respect of the called-for 92F/33C temperatures on the day, I have preemptively closed the curtains, to the dismay of the resident felines. Well, except for Scrabble. Scrabble knows how to get inside the curtains and sit on the sill. The Silly Fluffs also know how to do this, and if their gruntle grows sufficiently, they will use this knowledge. For the moment, however, I am being Tasked with the complaint that the Comfy Sun Places. . .have no sun.
The heat pumps do a really good job of keeping the house cool, and I am increasingly glad that we decided to damn the torpedoes last year and get them installed, rather than waiting until this year, when we could have theoretically “afforded” them.
Our bow to the holiday is to have the Food of Our People for lunch — hot dogs and various salads — but mostly this is a working day, there being work to be done.
Everybody have a good Thursday, and we’ll see you on the flip-side.
Today’s blog post title brought to you by War, “Low Rider.”  Here’s your link.

Book Day and Other Stories

Y’all know what today is, right?


Today is the Official Book Day for Liaden Universe® Constellation Volume Four, published by Baen Books.  For those who are new in the neighborhood, this is be the fourth volume of Sharon Lee and Steve Miller’s collected Liaden Universe® short works.  All stories in this volume has been previously published. The stories included are: Street Cred, Due Diligence, Friend of a Friend, Cutting Corners, Block Party, Degrees of Separation, Excerpts from Two Lives, Revolutionists.  The book also includes an Authors’ Foreward.

You may purchase Liaden Universe® Constellation Volume Four from your favorite bookseller.  It is available in trade paper and as an ebook.  There is no audiobook edition.

For those who are familiar with the game, and who may be waiting for news of the books you preordered for signature — I have news.

The news is:  Four (out of a possible five) cases of Liaden Universe® Constellation Volume Four are on a UPS truck and out for delivery.  They should arrive here at the Cat Farm and Confusion Factory today.  The fifth case has been detained in Chelmsford, Mass., for an address check.  The Theory is that it, too, will be delivered today, but I. . .am not sanguine.

In any case, as soon as we have books in-house, Steve and I will grab our signing pens and get busy.  Hopefully, we can have the majority of the books back on the road to Uncle Hugo’s in Minneapolis no later than Friday morning.

So, that.

I have been somewhat remiss in updating this blog.  To catch us up, quickly, we have been working — still with the proofing of Conflict of Honors — a little better than half-way done, now — words are being written on the still-titleless Next Novel, some of which are replacing words that had already been there, so the whole thing right now feels very much like I’m running the Red Queen’s Race (I say “I” because I am lead on this book).  In addition to Standing By on the current WIP, Steve is writing a short story, and also the third Jethri Gobelyn book (no title there, yet, either).

We’ve also been coping with Real Life, as everyone must — health stuff, family stuff, political stuff — y’all know what I’m talking about.

Steve and I did take part in a little hometown activism last weekend, which was Pride Weekend in our town.  Part of the festivities included a Drag Queen Story Hour hosted by local bookstore.  Some folks became offended by this, and organized a protest — which was fine* — and some other folks organized a counter-protest — a demonstration of love for our local bookstore, support of the story hour and for Pride Weekend.  Steve and I were there in support of the bookstore, and mostly, it was good.  Tiring, but good.  For those interested, here’s a link to the local newspaper’s coverage of the event.

And here’s a picture me getting ready to demonstrate.

. . .and I think that catches us up.

Everybody play nice.

*Forgot my footnote, to wit! WHAT WAS NOT FINE was that some of the outraged citizens took it upon themselves, pre-event, to harass and threaten the Drag Queen who was scheduled to do the reading to the point where she feared for her safety, and withdrew from the event.  Happily, Miss Ophelia was pleased to step in and read to a room that was shoulder-to-shoulder, and that’s with some of the smaller folk sitting on shoulders.

Your mama don’t dance and your daddy don’t rock ‘n roll

This morning!  I get to hang around in my bathrobe for a bit, as a reward for having (finally, finally) finished the first draft of the untitled story, henceforth to be known to the world as “Fortune’s Favors.”  The story introduces some new characters, and looks in on some folks we’ve seen before.  I think you’ll like it.

This brand-new story, with an outtake from Neogenesis and …Lance (that’s the same outtake that didn’t ultimately fit in either book, and the story has flowed past it), and an Author’s Foreword (or, yanno, Backword) will appear in the chapbook:  Fortune’s Favors:  Adventures in the Liaden Universe® Number 28.

What Happens Now, since Steve read the story hot off the printer last night, and noted a couple of things to be tweaked, is:

*Go over the story, line by line, tweaking tweaks, and adding in That Thing that got dropped in the heat of the moment

*Go over the outtake, line by line

*Write the Authors’ Note, pass it to Steve for edits, go over it line by line

*Build a cover

*Compile the entire book and get it up for sale with the Usual Suspects

So, depending on Real Life, you — yes, you! — may be able to purchase the first new Adventures in the Liaden Universe® chapbook in over a year, by mid-April.  Rest assured, we’ll tell you when it’s available.

Moving on to the rest of the to-do list, I have a couple of phone calls to make, including one to the dentist, which I’ve been putting off for mumble, and really shouldn’t put off anymore.  Also today, I need to hit the gym, because today is not the day to skip the gym.  When I get back, and after phone calls, I’ll draft the Authors’ Note, and maybe start shopping for a cover.

See you on the flipside.

Today’s blog post title brought to you by Messers Loggins and Messina.  Here’s your link.

Wednesday Updatery

I do like Mr. Higgs’ dress blues.

In other news, the Dead River guy arrived two hours early for his 10 am appointment to do the annual cleaning and testing of the boiler. Happily, the office called ahead and woke us up, so we put pants on. I threw the cats into the back hallway, so that they didn’t go downstairs to help the boiler guy, whose work is located in the Goblin Room. Boiler guy has departed, leaving us with the happy news of work not covered under the annual contract which will need doing in warmer weather. This will apparently be a zoo, because of the Numerous Zones we have in this house, and the fact that all of the lines will have to be drained before the work is done. They will then need to be refilled, and air in the lines is apparently A Thing.

Today, I have some Administrative Stuff to do, along with prep for Steve’s visit to the Cardiac Center tomorrow. We’re wanted there at 6:30 am so…wow, yeah. Prep. I already have two paperbacks in my backpack, a portable battery in case the phone needs recharging on the fly, a notebook, pens, and a couple of oatmeal bars — so the essentials are covered, at least.

I have explained the upcoming schedule to each of the cats. Possibly, Scrabble believes me; the coon cats unanimously think I need a nap.

The story, as yet titleless, stands at just under 5,000 words; it should be right around 20,000 by the time everything plays out.  I will not be taking it with me to work on at the Cardiac Center, because that would be pointless.

Also, no, I have not looked yet at the half-a-book (which also need a title) which is due in September, nor yet have I read Accepting the Lance.  Next week things will become more regularized.  She said sternly.

I believe this brings everybody current.

Stay well, and happy.