Monday. . .

Monday, July 31st, 2017 11:20 am
rolanni: (Phoenix from Little Shinies)

Today is Steve's birthday, the celebrating of which we are deferring to the trip to Niagara/Binghamton.  The trip is also my birthday celebration, and! last year's anniversary-of-the-legal-marriage and this year's anniversary-of-the-legal-marriage.

Today, there is vacuuming and vacation packing.  This is a Trip in Three Parts, so packing is. . .interesting in its way.  Usually, we throw the things we'll need at the convention in suitcases, pack a train case, hand over the suitcases to the nice baggage experts at Amtrak and worry no more.

Since we'll be driving to Pittsburgh and overnighting on the road, I have packed an overnight bag, and will today be packing the purple duffle with the items that will be required on the vacation and homecoming leg of the trip.

Tomorrow, I will pack con clothes, since they are more susceptible to wrinkles than cargo pants, polo and denim shirts.

And so it goes.

I need to check my tablet to make sure that I'll have enough to read.  Fifty books on the to-be-read shelf.  Is that enough?  Maybe I should take a couple paper books to be sure I don't run out?  No, wait!  We'll be at a convention.  If I need books, I'll be able to stock up there.  Phew.

I'm really looking forward to this trip:  the convention, of course, and then the meandering road home.  I'm especially pleased to be approaching this whole segment in a state of not being depressed.

On that front, I have backed out of the last application of antidepressants, and am continuing with meditation, which has been helping decrease the noise in my head, even though I'm probably the world's worst meditator.  I'm using the guided meditation at Headspace, which I like very much, even though the occasional assertion that "thoughts are just thoughts" baffles me.  I mean, yes, thoughts are just thoughts, but I'm in the business of turning thoughts into stories, so I'm accustomed to giving thought some weight, so to speak, in my life.

I'm continuing to cut down my exposure to toxic persons, which is, sadly, an on-going task. I've cut back my presence on Facebook and on Twitter, which also helps decrease the noise in my head. . .which is not nearly as frightening as I thought it would be, having lived my whole life with a noisy head.  Maybe that's what's meant by "thoughts are just thoughts."

So, that.

For those who missed the initial announcement -- there is a new patron-only podcast up on the Lee-and-Miller Patreon page -- here's your link.

Also!  Steve and I have unlocked three earlier podcasts so that they can now be enjoyed by everyone.  Go to this link, and scroll down.

And that, I think, catches us all up.  Time to get out the vacuum cleaner and wake up all the cats.

Patreon news

Sunday, July 30th, 2017 05:43 pm
rolanni: (Default)

There is a new podcast up on Patreon.  Here's your link.

Note that the new podcast is locked to Lee and Miller patrons only.   We have, however, unlocked several previous podcasts, so that anyone may listen.  Those podcasts are:

Sharon reads "The Gift of Music," by Sharon Lee.  Here's the link.

Steve reads "Charioteer," by Steve Miller.  Here's the link.

Sharon reads "The Beggar King," by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller.  Here's the link.


Beginning the week

Monday, June 26th, 2017 07:16 pm
rolanni: (Default)

So, the folks across the road from our back woods are building a house.  This is nothing new, they cleared the lot, oh, four years ago, and from time to time a truck and a couple guys would show up, perform Mystery Tasks and go away again.

Well, apparently they decided that This Summer is the Summer of the House, and they've been going at it, hammer, tongs, bulldozer, dump trucks, and electric drills from early to late.  Last night, the last dump truck delivery happened at 9:30, as I was reading a chapter from The Cat Who Saw Red (we alternate chapters), and the cats were in their places in the kitchen, listening avidly (big Koko fans in this house; though Trooper thinks Yum-Yum is just shy) -- and we all jumped at least a foot when the gate slammed open.

It's gotten to the point that I can't really figure out what they can be building down there.  Based on the amount of activity, it may well be an apartment complex.  Or possibly a space elevator.

In other news, work goes forth.  For the record, writing the last book in a five-book arc, which is simultaneously the last book in a 21-book arc -- is hard.

Who knew?

Today included baking another couple loaves of bread, which turned out well, and have been tucked into the freezer next to a half-loaf of last Friday's Pullman bread.  I think we're good for bread for the next week or so.  Which is a mixed blessing.  May have to switch to making cookies for displacement activity -- which is a much more perilous undertaking.

I have, in between this and that, finished the first draft of "Due Diligence," and have put it aside to rest while I pursue other work.  Such as choosing and reading the next story for our Patreon supporters*.

Speaking of which, I have one more bit of business to finish this evening, and then I'm done for the day.

Everybody stay cool.

*Not a Patreon supporter?  Check it out.

rolanni: (Default)

The fourth in an on-going series of goodies for Patreon supporters is!

Sharon Lee, and Scrabble, reading "The Beggar King."

Here's your link.

rolanni: (Default)

So, I haven't done a catch-up post in a few days. That would be because -- there's nothing really to catch up on.

We took a drive down to Old Orchard Beach last weekend and had a nice, relaxing time walking the beach and the town, sitting in the sun on the mall, eating ice cream and people-watching.  Hard to get enough people-watching.  Or, yanno, ice cream.

Steve and I have been alternating reading stories aloud for bi-weekly posting on Patreon, where they're available to patrons only for a month, before being moved to Splinter Universe, for the perusal of all.  Tomorrow, around noon, Eastern, "The Beggar King" will reveal itself, read by me, with a little help from Scrabble.  Previous readings have been, Steve reading "A Night at the Opera;" me reading "The Gift of Music;" and Steve reading "Charioteer."  It's about time for "Opera" to disappear from Patreon and re-appear on Splinter Universe.

For those coming in late, the Lee and Miller Patreon page is here.  Back in April, we introduced a new goal of $2,500/month.  As of this writing, we are a scant $96 from realizing that goal.

We've also been participating in #1stChapterFriday on Twitter, along with many of our colleagues.  Follow the hashtag for some provocative reading.  Or, here's a link that may or may not work (the ways of Twitter remain a Mystery, I fear).

As some of you may know, the twentieth novel set in the Liaden Universe®, and the fifth detailing the on-going adventures of Theo Waitley, aka The Gathering Edge, was published earlier this month.  This is where I ask those who have read it to please take the time to leave a review on Amazon, BN, Goodreads, or other sites.  As last year, with Alliance of Equals, we're hoping to hit the Magic Number of 100 Reader Reviews on Amazon.  Alliance wound up with 263 reviews, and TGE is well on her way, with 87 reviews already posted.

I find, in fact, that I am remiss in announcing here that The Gathering Edge hit Number Four on the Bookscan Bestseller list for the week of May 11.

And that?  Is all I've got, except a sincere Thank you! for everything you do, from reading our books, to recommending them to friends, to donating to our various causes, to writing encouraging letters.  We'd couldn't have gotten so far on this long, strange, sometimes scary, artistic journey we set ourselves on, without you.  Every one of you.

So, give yourselves a pat on the back, and bask for a moment in the gratitude of authors (I naturally can't promise you the gratitude of cats, though I'm sure they'd appreciate y'all too, if it happened to occur to them) -- and enjoy the weekend.

rolanni: (Default)

The second patron-only goody has been posted on Patreon.  That would be Sharon Lee reading "The Gift of Music," by Sharon Lee.  The story is set in Archers Beach, the setting of the three Carousel books by Sharon Lee: Carousel Tides, Carousel Sun, Carousel Seas.

I'll take this opportunity to mention that we are a mere $164 shy of our goal of $2,500 per month.  If you would like to become a patron, here's your link.

I would also like to thank everyone who has given us support, in all its various guises, over the many, many years we've been writing.  We couldn't have done it without you.

Now, here's your link to the new goody.

And here's a preview of what Belle and Sprite are going to be doing today:

We have a winner!

Sunday, April 23rd, 2017 06:49 pm
rolanni: (Default)

For Patreon folks -- the poll is now closed and we have a winner.  I will be reading "The Gift of Music," as the second patron goody, scheduled for release on April 29. Thank you all for helping me decide what to read.

Remember that patrons will have exclusive access to the story for one month, after which it will be moved to Splinter Universe and made public.


rolanni: (Saving world)

Things have been happening here at the Confusion Factory.  Also, things are about to happen.  Here's your handy guide to our Official Goin's-ons.

  1.  "Cutting Corners," a Liaden Universe® short story including but not limited to: norbears, pirates, and piloting re-certs is now live and ready for you -- yes, you! -- to read it.  Here's the link.
  2. The first Patreon goody has been posted -- Steve reading "A Night at the Opera," by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller.  This may be accessed by Patreon folks only.  After May 15, it will migrate to Splinter Universe for everyone's listening pleasure.  Here's your link.
  3. The second Patreon goody will be posted on or about Saturday April 29, and it will be my turn.  There's a poll open right now, to help me figure out which story I ought to read.  Here's a link to the poll.
  4. On May 1 at 12 noon Eastern Daylight Time, Steve and I will be hosting a pre-release A(sk) M(e) A(nything) at Reddit.  We hope you'll be able to join us.  You do need to register with Reddit in order to take part in the AMA.  You can register here.
  5. On Tuesday, May 2, The Gathering Edge, by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, the twentieth novel-length adventure in the Liaden Universe®, will be published, in hardcover, ebook, and audiobook.
  6. On Saturday, May 13, from 1-3, Steve and I will be at the Barnes and Noble in the Augusta Marketplace in Augusta, Maine, hosting a meet and greet and a book signing, and we hope to see you there!

And now? You're all caught up.

rolanni: (Default)

The first goody supporting the new Patreon goal went up last night.  Here's the link.

I note that, as of this morning, we are a mere Usian $253 short of the new goal.

Thank you all so very much for your support.

Trooper and I were collaborating last night, which is why this notice is a little late:

rolanni: (Default)

Those of you who have been with us for a while will recall that we maintain a Patreon account.  It was originally established when it became clear that, because medical bills had eaten our downpayment, the Cat Farm and Confusion Factory would not be relocating, and thus would need to Take Steps to upgrade the current arrangement.

The most important single thing that we felt needed to be done to make our house in the country safer as we got older was a whole-house generator.  We set a monthly goal of $2,000, and with the help of many, we were able to install the generator.

At that time, after taking advice, we did not offer goodies or other incentives, aside from our very sincere thanks (and the sincere thanks of the cats, naturally).

This time, we're returning to the theme of medical bills.  Not only did Steve have a "heart event" in November, but he has had, since elementary school, an ongoing dental. . .issue (which very likely exacerbated his heart problems), which entered a new phase of expense.  In Maine -- at least in our part of Maine -- dental insurance is Very Thin On The Ground, so we've been doing the Insured by Visa thing.  We thought we could whack down the backlog reasonably, but the fine dental professionals keep front loading more stuff, and there's only so much room on that Visa card.

In addition, my health insurance payments have been going onto that same Visa card, as well as some. . .unanticipated medical bills of my own (not wanting to be left out, or anything).

Anyway, long story short, we've "announced" a new Patreon goal of $2,500 per month, and! we're offering an incentive for folks to sign up or increase their pledges.

So, here's what we're going to be doing:  Patrons will have special early access to one (or both) of us reading a chapter, a short story, a poem several times a month (right now, given doctor's appointments, Random Is, but we'll shoot for every other week). Ambient cat noises supplied at no extra charge. The reading will be posted first on Patreon, for the enjoyment of patrons only, and eventually – after a month or two – migrate to Splinter Universe, for the Edification of All.

We expect to post our first reading installment on April 15, 2017, to give USian patrons something to look forward to on Income Tax Day.

Fuller details are available at our Patreon page.  Here's the link.

As before, and as always, donating is utterly and entirely voluntary.  Please do not stint yourself or your household, or deny yourself books!  (Especially do not deny yourself books!  This is about getting y'all new books on schedule, among other things.)  If you can help us out, and you want to help us out -- thank you, very much.  We're cool, whatever you decide to do.

And I'll just take this little space that's left down here at the bottom of the page to thank everyone who has given us support, including buying our books, sending cards, and random surprise gifts, PayPal donations, Patreon pledges, and kind letters.  It all helps.  Really.  You guys are awesome.

So, that's what's going on.  First reading goes live on Monday.  Steve's picking out a story right now.

Patreon Accounting Post

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015 09:58 am
rolanni: (tortoro)

Here is the promised accountability post for the first completed Patreon month in support of Sharon Lee and Steve Miller.

By April 30 end-of-day, 203 kind people had pledged a total of $1,493

Six people pledged in May, and were not billed for April by Patreon, nor should they have been.  The system works!

Two pledges were denied -- which is to say that the credit card company denied the charge, or the patron declined the opportunity to continue.

One pledge for $0.50 produced a $0 payout to the artists -- the entirety of that pledge went to fees

Of the $1,493 pledged, Patreon collected a total of $1,467.50, deducted $80.86 in credit card fees, and deducted its own fee of $73.39

The artists will receive (on May 5, it says here):  $1,313.25

Once the artists receive their payout, they will deduct 33% or $434 and place it into the account from which they pay their taxes

$879.25 will then be available to buy cat food, people food, coffee!, to keep the lights on while we finish Alliance of Equals (due May 31!) and get ready for the Grand Northeast Book Tour, starting on June 2.

Thank you all so very much for your support, your good humor, and your continued presence in our lives.

Sharon and Steve
Scrabble, Trooper, and Sprite

September 2017

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