News you Need

Tuesday, August 29th, 2017 06:31 pm
rolanni: (Default)

So, I've been trying to get to a detailed post about the Bingham Carousel Circuit, but in truth, it may not happen.  We're having a sudden and very intense bout of Life here, which I guess means we timed our vacation correctly, because now have the resources necessary to get through this bit.

In and around Life, however, there are things that you -- yes, you! -- need to know, which are (read carefully):

ONE:  Today! August 29 2017 is Alliance of Equals' mass market paperback book day!  Go, Alliance of Equals!

TWO:  The number of Pinbeam Books (that would be Steve and me, cleverly disguised as our own publisher) chapbooks which have been converted to paper now numbers six (and six shall be the number).  To wit:
Liaden Universe® titlesChange Management, Due Diligence, Sleeping with the Enemy
Sharon Lee titles:  Barnburner, Gunshy, Spell Bound

THREE:  Our mole deep inside Baen Books has informed us that the eARC for Neogenesis, scheduled to be published in hardcover January 2, 2018, will be released in September (good ghod, that's, like, Friday!).  We do not have a release date, but you might do very well to Watch the Skies, and while you're doing that, spreading the word to your friends, your co-workers, your best enemies, your mom, and, well -- everybody.

So!  That's what I've got.  I will, I suspect, Be Scarce for the next while.  I'm fine; just coping.

Be excellent to each other.

rolanni: (Alliance of Equals art by David Mattingl)

Today is October 1, which means Locus has pubbed its ish, and it is available electronically this morning to those of us who subscribe.

In it, we find that!

  1. Alliance of Equals, the 19th novel-length adventure in the Liaden Universe®, Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, owner-operators, appears in the Number Two position on the Locus Bestseller List, snuggled between The Nightmare Stacks, by Charles Stross, and Children of Earth and Sky, by Guy Gavriel Kay.

  2. Sharon Lee, Steve Miller, and the self-same Liaden Universe® are the first spotlighted in a new Locus feature about long-running series.  The Spotlight appears on pages 80-81 of my epub edition.

Steve and I thank you all for your support of our work -- and of our cats! -- during this long, strange trip we're on.  And we most especially thank you for your enthusiasm for Alliance of Equals.

Aaaah. Fame.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to grab another cup of coffee so I can vacuum the house before going to work for the day.

Author copies arrive June 1 2016

Here -- Steve's wandering around the house humming this, so y'all might as well share the earworm with him.  "The Cover of the Rolling Stone," Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show.  Here's your link.

rolanni: (Calvin & Hobbes happy dance)

. . .and a marvelous thing has happened already.

As I sit here, drinking my first cup of coffee, and updating this blog. . .

Alliance of Equals has achieved. . .

201 reader reviews on Amazon (US)!

Thank you all so very, very much.

And, oh, hey -- you over in the corner, who hadn't gotten a chance to write a review yet?  Yeah, you.

Your review will be most welcome, too.  We don't have to stop at 201; though we can certainly take a well-deserved breather.

*everybody breathe*


So, OK.  Today is a hospital day, which means I need to move on to my second cup of coffee realsoonnow.  There's bidness to be done when I return, seeing as I finished writing a scene yesterday, instead of doing bidness.

Tomorrow is, so I say now, as full a writing day as I can manage  (note to Self:  put cell phones in freezer), and a screening of Kubo and the Two Strings (which, for a wonder, will be appearing at the Waterville Flagship Cinema) penciled in for Friday.

And that?  Is all I got.

No, wait; it's not.

I've got a snippet.  Here y'are:

Best to accomplish the task at once, while biology was ascendant.

There was no need for the mentor to suffer, after all.

rolanni: (Tea and dragon)

As I write this, Alliance of Equals has 195 reader reviews on Amazon; a slim five reviews from 200.  Can we make the goal?  Heck, can we crack the goal?  Only you can make a difference.

So, yesterday, I removed the (pieces of the) wicker manuscript cat basket from the desk to the trash can.  A couple hours later, Trooper Discovered that it was missing.  He did not, however, call in another coon cat to act as witness.  I assumed that he was giving the basket an opportunity to return on its own.

His patience was rewarded later in the day, when Steve arrived home from errand-running with a Very Classy shallow wooden box and/or serving tray.  I placed it on my desk in the place where the wicker basket had been, and placed a towel in it.

Here's the Box, awaiting a tenant:

Fancy New Box Aug 15 2016

The Box sat, bereft, for a couple of hours, while Trooper helped me write from his Usual Position:

Trooper on the case Aug 15 2016

After I had finished work for the day, he walked across the desk, as is his habit, and discovered the New Box.

There commenced about six minutes of Intense Study, before a Theory was formed:

Trooper finds the box Aug 15 2016

I anticipate more Inspection and Theorizing today before a Final Verdict is returned.  Color me Cautiously Optimistic.


Progress on Book the Next is going to be difficult to quantify by word count for the next while.  Word count is a blunt instrument at best, but it does give people who are not down here among the commas and the semicolons some feeling of Progress.

Right now, as a result of the Structure Wars, there is more novel written than appears in the master file.  Those words will eventually come home to momma, but for now, they're rusticating over there in a waiting file.  For my own peace of mind, I don't want to count them until they're woven in.

All of which boils down to: No word counts for you, for the foreseeable future.

I will be posting snippets, however, just to let you know that Work Is Going Forward.

Here's a snippet now:

"One usually pursues the weather in such moments," he commented.  "However, it has been so much the same lately, there is scarcely anything to be said."

rolanni: (Saving world)

So, Book the Next is moving once more.  I had to recuse myself from writing while I got the structure sorted out.  I very rarely have to wrestle a book's structure three falls out of five, so, hey -- new experience.  Yay?

Spell Bound, including two Archers Beach stories by Sharon Lee, is now for sale on Amazon, BN, iBooks, Kobo, as well as Scribd, Tolino, 24Symbols, and Page Foundry.

Pinbeam Books does have a new distributor, and the first batch of five books will be going up in September.  Watch the skies.

Also!  All Pinbeam chapbooks have been taken off-sale at Smashwords and brought over to Draft2Digital.  I'm really glad I didn't know exactly how much work that was going to be when I decided to make the move.

The cats, by which I of course mean the coon cats, have, in a surfeit of love, broken the wicker basket that was for some years the manuscript-in-progress basket.  I suppose it was inevitable.  Wicker can only bear so much.  I'm now of two minds -- should I replace the basket with a sturdier basket?  Or! Should I just remove the remains of the wicker basket and not replace it at all?   It's not like I can use it for manuscripts anymore, after all.  And I Have Faith that cats will use that corner of the desk, whether there's a basket there or not.

Experimentation may be in order.

As I write this, there are 193 reader reviews of Alliance of Equals on Amazon!  We only need seven! more! to hit our goal of 200 reviews.  Thanks to everyone who took the time -- and, if you haven't reviewed, and do have a couple minutes -- that would be so very awesome.

In Cat Garden news, I have arrived at and installed two solar light-sticks -- one green; one blue.  The green one appears to return more sunlight to the garden at night than the blue one -- but it's early days.  The blue may need some extra time to stoke up.  One needs be patient with items bought on clearance.

I think that's all I've got this morning.  It's to the gym, then home and work for me.

How's your Monday shaping up?

Scrabble in her rocker August 11 2016
rolanni: (Marvin's not happy)

So, the phone, she is ded.  A new phone is promised, though what kind and exactly when it will arrive have sorta been left up in the air.  I have made a note on the Calendar that Rules All to Call the Verizon store on Tuesday (sigh), if they don't call me on Monday to provide Solid Information, and, ideally, a pick-up time.

On the Silver Lining front -- had things fallen otherwise, this would have happened just as we were getting ready to leap onto a train to Kansas City.

So, that.

I dropped my broken necklace off at the jewelry store, and talked briefly with the jeweler, who says that, instead of soldering the break, and since there's such a tiny segment of chain involved, she would remove the broken bit and feed the new end into the clamp end of the clasp.  It will either be ready on Monday, or in two weeks, because she was going on vacation, and couldn't be sure she'd get to it before she left.

Dollar Store only had short spike solar lights in stock.  On the plus side, they cost just $1 apiece.

Kmart stocked solar lights which were more like what I'd had in mind -- but they want $25 for one, single light, so that's a non-starter.  Research continues.

We lost power last night, in solidarity with downtown (so to speak) Winslow, Benton, and a couple other towns I don't recall right now -- at about 9:00 pm.  The generator performed its function, and we here at the Cat Farm continued about our business, basically unimpeded.  Thanks to everyone who helped us make the generator a reality!

As of this morning, Alliance of Equals has received 169 reader reviews at Amazon!  Only 31 more until we reach our 200-reviews goal!  You guys rock!

Also, by way of a Watch the Skies:  Yesterday, we signed a contract with an ebook distributor, in order to widen the reach of Pinbeam Books.  We'll let you know when the books are available from the new distributor.

And that? Is all I've got.  Today has got to be a work day, given the hours lost to the Dying of the Phone, so I'll be shutting the internet down, directly I publish this blog entry.

Everybody stay cool.

rolanni: (Flying Monkey!)

So!  Today was a Wasted Day.

Oh, it fired a warning shot over the bows first, but there was really nothing I could've done to alter course.

The warning shot:  I opened Firebird this morning, to find letters in-queue, but! they were all empty.  Further investigation revealed an Urgent! message from Eset Security, counseling me to upgrade (for free) Right Now.  So I did that.

Or, at least, I tried to do that.

Eset reported that the install had failed. Panicked, I rebooted the machine.  The installation completed on reboot, and my mail automagically appeared in fullness.


Went out to the kitchen to get my coffee and to unplug my cellphone, which had been charging on the overnight.  Turned it on and -- No Sim Card -- read the message running along the top of the screen.  Turned the phone off.  Turned it back on.  Same result.  Took it back to my office, jacked it into the computer, turned it on. . .

No Sim Card.

Now, before anybody tells that All I Have To Have Done was open up the phone and reseat the SIM card -- I have a Droid Turbo.  If there's any way to open the case, it requires a specialized tool unavailable to the residents of the confusion factory.

Which is why I want into town, seeking the Verizon store and that specialized tool.

I had to wait about fifteen minutes for a tech, so I went to the back of the store and opened the book I had grabbed off the table on my way out the door -- Carousel Tides, by Sharon Lee.  Never heard of her, but it's a pretty good book. Which turned out to be a blessing.  While I was reading, a woman wandered by, looking at phones, as one does. She had a small, intelligent dog on a leash.  Dog saw me and thrust forward, tail wagging.  I said, "Hi, Dog," extended a hand. . .

"Don't touch him!" the woman snapped.  "He's a service dog!"

I blinked.  "He's not wearing his vest," I said, mildly.

"It's too hot for his vest," she said.  "He's all business when he has it on, and he just wants to talk to everybody when he doesn't -- but don't touch him.  He's working."

So, then.  Dog, who looked, as I say, like a fine, intelligent fellow, knows the Rules. Too bad his Boss doesn't.

Back to the book, ignoring Dog and owner.  Eventually, my name is called.  The tech -- Josh -- allows as how the phone is still under warranty, and it ought to be an easy fix, if I'd just sit back down, he'd be back in five minutes.

He was back sooner than that, saying that whatever had done the SIM card had wiped the phone's serial number on the way out, and he couldn't do the fix.  He was therefore going to have to get me a replacement phone.

Except -- you see where this is going, right?  Right.  My phone is Too Old to be stocked in the store.  Josh goes online to the Verizon Warehouse, finds one, orders it, comes back to tell me that it'll be seven days before it arrives.  I allow as how that's not exactly convenient, but a phone on the way is better than no phone at all.  He goes back to confirm the order --

And finds a message from the warehouse inventory system that -- the phone is out of stock.

He then calls Motorola.  I overheard the part of the conversation that went, "No, I am not going to tell my customer that I'll give her fifty bucks on her phone toward a new one.  Her phone is under warranty.  If you can't send her a replacement phone, I'll just give her one of the new Droids we have in stock -- I'm sorry?  OK, let's try that."

Apparently, Motorola did a remote reset, which reawakened the SIM card and re-established the serial number.  No, I don't know how that worked.  All I know is that my phone was back on-line, and All We Had To Do -- cough -- was for me to sign into Google and re-acquire my Stuff.

Except. . .Google wouldn't let me in -- I was stuck in an endless loop of "enter email/enter password" -- my email and password worked on Josh's phone, but not on mine.

Long story short, Josh called Google, which isn't as easy as you might think, and finally got through to a tech named Cora, who explained that because the phone had been reset, there was a 24-hour lockdown period before I could sign into my Google account.  Josh asked if there was any way around that, and she gave him Motorola's number.

He called Motorola, and talked to. . .somebody.  Again cutting corners -- Motorola assumes that any device that has been wiped and re-animated has been stolen -- yes, even if they have just done that Their Very Own Selves -- and no -- there is no way around the 24-hour lockdown.

So, what I have sitting on the kitchen table is currently a brick, and I won't know until tomorrow at about 1:30 in the afternoon, if it really does function now.


This whole operation consumed FIVE HOURS of my day.  I'm glad I had a good book with me, as I said.  As it was, I blew off the rest of my errands, save a quick stop at the grocery store in the same shopping center as the phone store, to pick up a quiche for lunch, and came home, where Steve said, "I wondered where you were all this time, so I sent you a text. . ."

Here's hoping that your day was considerably better than mine.

Also!  As of this writing, one month after its release date, Alliance of Equals has 163! reader reviews on, only 37 shy of our goal of 200 reviews!  That's. . .awesome.  Thank you.

Today's blog title is brought to you by the Waybacks, "Mind Your Own Business."  Here's your link.

Which wolf wins?

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016 08:42 am
rolanni: (Patience)

Well, it looks like we need a little bit of catch-up hereabouts.

Before I forget, there are, as of this writing 155 reader reviews for Alliance of Equals on Amazon US*.  That's just 45 reviews short of our goal of 200!  You guys are incredible; thank you so much for making the time!

Life at the Confusion Factory remains, er. . .more confused than we would like.  While some confusion necessarily accompanies what we'll dignify as The Creative Lifestyle, chaos is. . .not so good.  Sadly, this particular round of chaos is not of our making, and the only thing we can do right now is ride the storm, answer the phone, and be prepared to leap off in All Directions at Once at the sounding of the whistle.  The cats are sitting on us whenever we come to rest, which is more help than it sounds like, however. . .

We have asked, and received, an extension for handing in the next book (still without a title, argh), originally scheduled for an August 15 turn-in (which is, like, 12 days from now).  We're now looking at turning the book in by the end of 2016.  See "chaos" above.

Despite the on-going uncertainties, this past weekend was a working weekend; we took a short break on Sunday to celebrate Steve's birthday with a meal that neither of us had to cook, at Governor's, followed by ice cream and cake at home.  We also made time to view "Tomorrowland," which we've had for ages, thanks to the kind offices of a friend.  Since someone had asked me to tell them what I thought of the movie, eventually:  we very much enjoyed it.  Bear in mind that we also enjoyed "Jupiter Ascending," "Ondine," "Guardians of the Galaxy," and "The Legend of Roan Inish."

I do want to take this time, in between waves of chaos, to thank everyone for their interest in, and support of, our work.  Whether you review our books, push them on unsuspecting friends, donate to Patreon, or PayPal, or simply buy and enjoy the stories -- you mean a great deal to us.  Thank you.

Today's blog title is brought to you by "Tomorrowland," and is the punchline of a riddle:  There are two wolves and they are always fighting.  One is Darkness and Despair; the other is Light and Hope.  Which wolf wins?**

So, that.

Everybody stay calm.  Hug the people you love.  Pet the cat.  Call your mom.

I'll see you on the flip side.

*Someone had asked if Amazon UK reviews "counted."  Well, of course they count -- thank you.  They do not, however, contribute to the Big Pile of Reviews we're attempting to amass at Amazon US, because, for reasons best known to itself, Amazon does not cross-pollinate the reviews from its various country-sites.

**The one you feed

Quick check-in

Sunday, July 31st, 2016 12:06 pm
rolanni: (Alliance of Equals art by David Mattingl)

I realize I haven't done this in a couple of days, so here's a quick numbers check:

As of right now, there are 137 reader reviews on Amazon.  That's only 63 short of the 200-review goal!

D'you think we can hit 200 by August 5, which would be one month from the July 5 publication date?

Thanks to everyone who has taken the time and thought to post a review!

rolanni: (storm at sea by rainbow graphics)

So, yesterday, Steve and I drove down to Old Orchard Beach, and took a walk through the shallows before the ozone levels (seen as a pink haze prowling in from beyond Wood Island Light, eating the shoreline as it came) got too high.  The beach was super crowded with people having a good time, which was nice to see. Also, I got sunburned, so it was all good.

In the way of such things, once we were out of the house, we had very little inclination to speed back to the house, so we turned left instead of right, taking Routes 9 and 1 down to Wells, which was likewise crowded, and eventually turned right on a road wending northward.  We did stop at Borealis Breads in Wells to take on, well -- bread; and at the Bull and Claw to partake of really excellent fish 'n chips, before getting serious about the trip back home.

While we were at the ocean, a Severe Thunderstorm Watch came across the phones (we live in Maine; we have Weather here, not climate, so you've gotta kind of keep an eye on it).  We debated staying down ocean-side a few hours longer to watch the storm in, but eventually decided against, and continued the northward journey.

One of the things that struck me forcibly downcoast was the number of businesses advertising for help.  Not just seasonal businesses -- though there were plenty of them needing help -- but grocery stores, and pharmacies, hardware stores, year-round bakeries, and such.  It's tempting to move south, just for the work.  Mind you, none of those jobs would cover the rent in-or-near a resort town, and you'd spend more in gas than the job's worth, if you came in from any distance.

Ah, well.  Guess I'll stay right here.

We arrived home, alert to the need to leap up at any moment to Batten the Hatches -- the Waterville-Winslow megapolis also being on the watch for Severe Thunderstorms, and possible tornadoes (!)  We heard thunder; we saw (a lot) of lightning; the wind came up in a satisfactory manner, but --

The storm passed us by.  A glance at the interactive weather map showed that it had dumped rain half-a-mile away, but our house had, like, a little weather-repellent dome over it, and we were dry.

Half-an-hour later another cell passed over, announcing its presence by striking and exploding a tree somewhere in the Very Near Vicinity of the Cat Farm.  The wind screamed, rain came down in sheets. . .

Five minutes later, it was all done, gone, and on its way to Skowhegan, where it apparently did wreak some mischief.  And, yes, there was at least one tornado briefly on the ground, in Caribou, 'way up in The County.

Today, it is much cooler, and the air is clean.  We're enjoying it while we can.  Tomorrow, they same, Summer's Back.

# # #

To the Very Best of My Knowledge, Sleeping with the Enemy, Adventures in the Liaden Universe Number 22, has now been published to all of the usual subjects, including BN, Kobo, the iStore, and Amazon.

No, I am afraid we will not be producing a paper chapbook, like in the "old days."  These days are demonstrably, and perhaps sadly, not the "old days;" postage rates have gone crazy, our very reliable printer of many years has retired, and his son has merged the business with another out of Portland, and closed the shop up here.  Also, Steve is not able anymore to do the physical lifting and schlepping and whatnot, and I never could.  So -- no paper edition.  Possibly, the stories in Sleeping will be collected in a Liaden Constellation sometime in the next couple years.

Thank you for your understanding.

# # #

As I type, Alliance of Equals rejoices in 90! reader reviews on Amazon.  That's. . .terrific.  Only 110 more to reach our 200-review milestone.  You guys rock.

# # #

I don't know if I reported here that, earlier in the season, the Cat Garden was the victim of an error produced by one of our lawn guy's guys.  The error took out one whole corner of flowers, with the exception of some coneflowers, which have valiantly bloomed over the killing field in memory of better days.  I was out inspecting just a little while ago and, honestly?  It looks like next year -- or the year after, at most -- the whole garden will be taken over by the dragon flowers (snapdragons to you folks down south).

Which is good.  Hummingbirds and butterflies both like the dragon flowers, though they bloom late in the season, rather than early.  So, if the garden is not now According to Plan, at least it is staying true to its raison de'etre.

Though I do kinda miss the yarrow and (most of) the coneflowers.

Well.  I think that catches us all up.

Everybody stay cool.

Today's blog title is courtesy of John Masefield, "Sea Fever," known to children everywhere as, "I must go down to the sea again."  Here's your link.

rolanni: (Alliance of Equals art by David Mattingl)

. . .too many parts, in fact, running in all directions at once.

Those who do not partake of the joys of Facebook may have missed the announcement that Sleeping with the Enemy, Adventures in the Liaden Universe® Number 22, is now on sale (as an ebook only) at Amazon, Kobo, ibooks, Page Foundry, and Tolino.  We are told that it will be published RealSoonNow at BN/Noon, Scribd, and 24Symbols.

As I write this, Alliance of Equals has garnered 86! reader reviews on Amazon.  Only 114 short of 200!  You guys are going gang-busters!

. . .as we used to say.

Steve and I have declared tomorrow an electron-free day, so we will be scarce-to-invisible.  If you have an urgent matter to resolve, you can try emailing the cats, but, well -- good luck with that.

# # #

Progress on Book the Next
40,459/100,000 OR 40.46% complete

"Ah, but any system is subject to manipulation. For instance, one who stands in a position of strength may decide that one whose position is. . .less strong has not paid fully enough, and demand additional consideration." She paused, head to one side. "It is rarely said, I think, that one has paid too fully, but we must be alert to the possibility."

Childrens Book Cellar Steve and Sharon photo by Ellen Richmond
rolanni: (Alliance of Equals art by David Mattingl)

Let's do the bragging first, and get that out of the way.

Last week, Alliance of Equals by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller hit Number 3 in the list of bestselling science fiction hardcovers, and! it was also Number 8 on the All Science Fiction list.

Thank you all very much.  This would not have happened without you!

Steve and I have been working on putting together a new Echapbook.  It is currently title-less, but will contain two novelettes, one old and one new.  The "old" story is "Chimera," which was published to in March 2015.  The "new" story is "Friend of a Friend."  Both stories take place on Surebleak.  An author's introduction will also be included.

Speaking of Echapbooks!  Over the next couple weeks, in my Abundant Spare Time(tm), I will be removing our Pinbeam Books chapbooks from the Smashwords store.  There may be a Small Period of Readjustment as I set up distribution through Draft2Digital, but eventually the books will be back in the iStore, Kobo, and everywhere else.  Amazon and BN listings will not be impacted.

Amazon reader reviews for Alliance of Equals as of this writing number 48!  Only 152 more needed to reach our goal of 200 reader reviews!  Go, Team Liad!

Also!  For those who pre-order 'waaaaaaaaaay out from Amazon -- The Gathering Edge, to be published in May 2017, is now available for pre-order.  We hope, but do not yet know (because, c'mon -- eleven months out?) that the Uncle will once again conspire with us to offer signed and/or signed and personalized copies for pre-order sometime much closer to the publication date.

And, remember!  Steve and I will be talking books and signing them, too, at the Children's Book Cellar, 52 Main Street, Waterville, this Saturday, July 16, at 2 pm. Hope to see you all there!

I was editing today, and I want to assure you that I had Expert assistance.

Cat editors hard at work July 14 2016###

An' if he wasn't the sharpest knife in the drawer, he'd do 'til something lethal came along.

Today's blog title brought to you by Pete Seeger by way of Bruce Springsteen, "Erie Canal."  Here's your link.

rolanni: (Alliance of Equals art by David Mattingl)

So, Steve and I left the Cat Farm at slightly later than Omighod in the morning, and wended our way in the direction of Albany.  We discovered things.

For instance, we discovered that it was 91 degrees F/33C at Queechee Gorge, which was...quite a shock to the Maine-acclimated system.

We also discovered that, while you can take Route 4 all the way into Albany, you may not want to.

Also, World Famous Ruggles Mine is for sale -- which was. . .a shock.  The world is changing, and not in a good way.

We pulled into our hotel a little later than projected, ate a late and hasty lunch, changed, and boogied down to Sand Creek Road and Flights of Fantasy, where we were greeted by Joe Berlant, Harmony the cat, and all the rest of the enthusiastic and efficient FoF staff.  We had a goodly crowd of Liaden enthusiasts gathered, and were about two pages into reading Chapter 8 of Alliance of Equals when!

The power went out.

May I just say that it was as hot -- and perhaps even hotter -- in Albany than it had been at Quechee Gorge.

Audience and staff leapt into action, producing enough light-giving instruments that we were able to finish reading the chapter.  After, we sat in the hot twilight and answered questions about our writing , our process, and All That Stuff, until Joe suggested that we sign books while the battery-powered assists still had a little sunshine to help light the room.

We did that, and the meeting adjourned, as it really was too hot to continue.

Today we drove home, over hill, over dale, and over the Green Mountains, choosing Route 9 this time, until we picked up 4 again, somewhere in the middle of New Hampshire.  I pulled the short straw, and drove the first morning shift, which meant I got the Green Mountains.  I can therefore report with confidence that gravity still works, and also that I am a fan of twisty mountain roads, climbing or falling.

It was every bit as hot today as it was yesterday; we fled promised temps in excess of 93F/34C in New York, arriving early afternoon at the Cat Farm, to find the temps a slightly more reasonable 88F/31C.  We may get a thunderstorm tonight, they (They) say; or possibly tomorrow. That would be nice.

If you missed us at Flights of Fantasy last night, you have three more chances to catch us on the Alliance of Equals tour.

Friday, July 8, we'll be at Annie's Book Stop in Worcester MA, from 7-9 pm

Saturday, July 9, Toadstool Books in Milford NH will be hosting us, from 2-4 pm

Saturday, July 16, from 2-4 pm, we'll be signing and talking at our local indie, Children's Book Cellar, 52 Main Street, Waterville ME

Hope to see you -- and you, too! -- soon.

And, now, having returned, and crashed, and caught y'all up; it's time to unpack, get something to eat -- and crash again?  Yeah, that sounds good.

Everybody stay cool.

Happy Release Day!

Tuesday, July 5th, 2016 12:06 pm
rolanni: (Alliance of Equals art by David Mattingl)

Today! is the publication date of Alliance of Equals, the 19th novel in the Liaden Universe®.  This novel was written by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, as all the rest of the Liaden novels and stories have been written by Lee and Miller.

Alliance is now available in the following formats:  hardcover (available from your favorite bookstore), ebook (available directly from Baen, and from your favorite bookstore), and audiobook.

Steve and I will be at Flights of Fantasy, 381 Sand Creek Rd, Albany, NY, from 7-9pm for a Release Party!  We hope to see you there!

Alliance of Equals cover
rolanni: (Alliance of Equals art by David Mattingl)

Yesterday, the weather was. . .amazingly beautiful, and, as my right hand was more or less useless (I had a migraine in my wrist; my fingers were stiff -- but not to worry, it's all good now), and otherwise my day would have consisted of Sulking Around the House, I asked Steve to take me for a ride.  Which he willingly did.

Realizing that it was, after all, the Saturday of a three-day weekend, and a particularly raucous three-day-weekend at that, we drove in the direction opposite the ocean, toward Fairfield, Skowhegan by way of the Eaton Mountain Road, which I, personally, haven't been on since we moved away from Skowhegan, and boy, couldn't you see just forever.  Athens, Canaan, the Ridge Road to Madison to look at the mountains (stop laughing; we call them mountains) Anson, Starks (where Steve stopped to take a picture of Chicken Street for some friends), Industry, Farmington, Farmington Falls, New Sharon, Mercer, Norridgewock, back to Skowhegan, and thence home.  Pretty day, pretty ride with windows down and the wind in our hair.   Aaaaah.

Access was sort-of yesterday's theme.  Early in the day, my Plan had been to re-read Swordspoint, by Ellen Kushner (which, if you haven't read it, go now and do so.  Yes, now.  I'll be here when you get back), and while you're at it, get The Privilege of the Sword, same author.  There's a third to make the set -- The Fall of Kings, which I haven't read, myself -- but I'm getting ahead of my story.

So, the Plan -- to re-read Swordspoint, followed by Privilege, as I realized that I'd never read them back-to-back, though I've read each many times -- and I really needed to read something that was well-written, well-plotted, and characterized to an inch.

I therefore dug out my 1989 Tor paperback of Swordspoint, opened it up. . .

. . .and couldn't read the type.  No, not even with my glasses off, my preferred mode of reading, since I've been nearsighted all my life.

That was a shock, to say the least.  Never mind that my copy is over-inked 8-pt type on yellowing paperback paper.  I'd read this damn' book -- this exact damn' book. . .often.

But apparently, I wasn't going to read it again.

Well, long story short, I had credit at BN, and was very soon in possession of electronic copies of Swordspoint, Privilege, and Fall, which simultaneously killed the credit, and made me very happy.

My search for a device to help me turn pages has so far not been as successful as locating readable copies of favorite books.  (I have lots of paper logs to flip through at the volunteer gig, and my fingers aren't so fine-tuned anymore, so it sometimes takes me A While, and people are in a hurry, and well...)  I was thinking on the order of a stick (as in, Give A Monkey A...) with a slightly grabby tip, but I'm not finding anything like, so I may have hallucinated this particular  device.  However!  Rubber fingers still exist and will do the job just fine.  (Note to self:  buy rubber fingers next time at Staples.)

The search for the hallucinated device, however, did turn up this lovely article about the difference between paper knives and letter openers.

Because -- hands, headache, see above -- I did very little writing last night, though I did sit with the manuscript for an hour, and layered in some details in the scene I wrote on Friday.

Today, We Do Plotting (yes,  yes, it is About Time; do I tell you how to write?), around the laundry (Steve has already seen to cleaning the rugs).  It's another gorgeous day, so I will conspire with Trooper to sit in a open window, and we will take in the sun and the breeze while Work goes forth.

We hear, by the way, Through the Grapevine, that Amazon is shipping Alliance of Equals, as of yesterday. Also, several BNs across the country have the book available for in-store pickup.

Today's breakfast was leftover risotto-and-carrots; lunch will be quiche and salad.  Dinner -- prolly a late-night sammich.  Yes, it's Wild and Crazy; but it's July 4th, all weekend long!  If you can't cut loose and boogie now, when can you?

I hope everyone's having a delightful weekend, with or without a holiday.

Progress on Book the Next
38,671/100,000 OR 38.7% complete

"That," he said austerely, "is between brothers."

Midday at the Oasis Trooper May 23 2016

Today's blog title is brought to you by Lewis Carroll, "The Walrus and the Carpenter."  Here's your link.

rolanni: (Marvin's not happy)

How to say this?

I'm very sorry, but the odds are good that, if you pre-ordered a copy of Alliance of Equals from Uncle Hugo's, you will not have them in hand before-or-on the official publication date of July 5.

This is not Uncle Hugo's fault

Simon and Schuster, which is Baen's distributor, has, for the entire month of June been assuring Baen, us, and Uncle Hugo that the books are on the truck, and should be arriving here at the Confusion Factory at any moment.

In fact. . .the books went onto the truck today, and (according to the tracking information from UPS) will arrive here in Maine tomorrow, Wednesday, June 29.  Even if Steve and I sign books like Mad, Signing Things (which I promise we will do), we're talking in excess of 200 books, many of them requiring personalization -- so, best case, we can get them on a truck to Minneapolis on Friday, July 1.  July 4 is, of course, Monday, so -- you see where I'm going with this.

To forestall -- No, I don't know why S&S behaved in this really frustrating manner, since I don't work at the S&S warehouse.

Again, apologies for the delay.  I promise it'll still be a good book, even it's mailed a couple days late.

rolanni: (Alliance of Equals art by David Mattingl)

Well, let's see. . .

Several questions from the depths of the Roll Call, so! Answers.

*Book tours happen at the whim and/or planning of the publisher.  If we have helpers on the ground, Steve and I will occasionally do a book tour, or visit a bookstore local to the vicinity of an SF convention or WorldCon.  We were in Colorado some years back -- 2006, I think -- as GoHs at CoSine; and in Denver Itself for the WorldCon in 2008.  We did not do a bookstore tour at either of those cons; the local bookstores being largely uninterested in having second-string scifi writers come to their stores.  We are Further Constrained by the fact that we don't fly, which limits the venues to which the publisher can economically send us.  Which is to say:  Unless we're in Denver for Another Reason, and one or two or three of the local stores are willing to host a signing, our book tours, at least, will probably not reach Denver.

*I'm not certain I understand either the need or the desirability for a Collected Liaden Works for Kindle.  That being the best of my knowledge, Baen is selling two bundles of novels -- Korval's Legacy and Phase Change, but I think that only gets you ten or twelve.  Surely, if one has a Kindle, there's a way to make a category, say, LIADEN, and stick all your Liaden books under that category?  Just a thought.

*The reason we have not Mentioned the Rest of the Geography, Fauna, and Population (if any) of Planet Surebleak is because!  all the stories thus far have happened in the Port and the City, and neither Steve nor I feel like writing a Forbes Guide to the Surebleak Outback.


As reported elsewhere, you may now pre-order the Audible version of Alliance of EqualsHere's the link.

Yes, we are aware that Audible has the book listed as AN Alliance of Equals; we have written to them on the topic.


It's a warm and pleasant day  here at the Confusion Factory.  I have vacuumed, and done a blankie run, the latter no doubt being the reason why I have three Large Cats asleep on my desk, all within the reach of my hand.  The coffeepot is hissing through its cleaning cycle; and I need to sort laundry.  After lunch, I will make a Sincere Effort to actually add words to the working manuscript.

I hope everyone is having a fine and relaxing day.


Today's blog title is brought to you by Julie Brown, "Brand New Girl."  Here's your link.

Sprite and Steve June 14 2016

The hurrier I go...

Friday, June 17th, 2016 10:26 am
rolanni: (what it's like)

. . .the behinder I get.


So!  Book the Next has shrunk again, as last night I Officially Removed that questionable 5,652 words, and placed it in a file named "Five of 5."

This brings the word count for Book the Next right down to 32,777.  As a colleague said, "It would be so much easier, if writing a novel were only about stringing words together until you have enough."

So, that.


One more question from the Roll Call:  Will there be a Jethri and Tan Sim story? assumes that this is not a request for slash, but for a novel, and the answer is -- Don't know.  It's not on the current list, but we're pretty sure to have another list, sometime in future.  What we chose to write about is predicated on a number of factors, the most important of which is -- What do we feel like writing?  As people frequently mention, it takes us a long time to write a book -- far too long, in fact, to live with characters we dislike or a story we didn't really want to write.


Several people in a number of venues have asked where they can find more of Tolly Jones.  This is pursuant to yesterday's posting of "Wise Child" (which is here, if you missed it).  Tolly, of course, makes an appearance in Dragon in Exile, and is also present in Alliance of Equals and! Book the Next.

There is some curiosity about Where Disian Came From.  First I heard of her was in Book the Next, when Tolly casually said something, and I was like, "Wait, what?"

Folks also want to know the "rest" of Disian's story -- which, she having arrived fully formed, so to speak, I happen to know!   Sorta.  What I don't know yet is where that story belongs.  And, no (to forestall a frequent variation on a theme) I won't just tell youJust telling you is not a story, but it very well may ruin the story, in that, having just told you, I'll be bored, and won't write it.

Writers are twisty wights, no getting around it.


Steve and I have had a go at putting together a blog tour for Alliance, and our first stop was at YA Authors You Never Heard Of.


He'd asked Disian, once, how moving through Jump looked to her. And she'd waxed rhapsodic enough that he'd decided right then and there that a man might have no better use of his time than to seek out the Uncle and offer to do whatever it took, so long as he ended up downloaded as the main brain of a spaceship.

YOU I said no pictures June 11 2016

(no subject)

Tuesday, May 10th, 2016 09:45 am
rolanni: (Alliance of Equals art by David Mattingl)

Hey, look!  Publishers Weekly has reviewed Alliance of Equals, to wit:

". . .this space opera continues to delight with genteel interactions between mild-spoken characters who are capable of great passions and swift actions, and its immense scope encompasses a well-realized and comfortable universe."

So, yay! good review!

Which leads nicely into this reminder to them as wish to have signed copies of the hard cover edition of Alliance (coming to a bookstore near you, in July).

Uncle Hugo's SF Bookstore is handling the pre-orders of personalized and/or signed books.  Here's what you need to know:

A. There is a deadline for pre-ordering personalized books (where “personalized” means the authors, in addition to their signatures, write something specifically requested by the person buying the book.  Fair warning:  If the authors feel, in their sole judgment, that the requested personalization is too long, or offendeth them in some other way, they will not -- that's not -- personalize the book, though they will sign it.  This is in the authors' sole judgment, and there is no appeal.  Thank you.).  Deadline for pre-ordering personalized books is June 1.

B.  If you do not want your book personalized, but you do want a signed copy, there is no deadline.  Typically, Uncle has us sign an extra few books to have in the store.  However!  It's best to pre-order to ensure that you will receive a signed book, as our signed editions have been known to sell out.

C. Here’s your link.

Here at the Confusion Factory, today encompasses vampires and an annual medical check-up, as well as a trip to the grocery store.  Also, having now written the story (still untitled, alas, and I don't think a Marx Bros. title if going to work for this one; may have to resort to Shakespeare.  Or Tiny Tim.), and taken Steve's input, I need to edit it, and bring it into shape to go to the editor.

A typical day, really.

Hope your day is relaxing and productive, wherever you may be.

Cats are my copilot May 4 2016

rolanni: (Tea and dragon)

A.  Order your signed and/or personalized copy of Alliance of Equals:  Uncle Hugo’s Science Fiction Bookstore in Minneapolis is now accepting pre-orders for signed and/or personalized copies of Lee and Miller’s 19th Liaden Universe® novel, Alliance of Equals, which will be published in July.  There is a deadline for pre-ordering personalized books (where “personalized” means the authors, in addition to their signatures, write something specifically requested by the person buying the book).  That deadline is June 1Here’s your link.

B. Liaden Universe® Store at OffWorld Design: Coffee mugs, denim shirts, t-shirts, polos!  New colors and items have been added, just in time for spring!  Here’s your link.

C. The eARC of Alliance of Equals is now on sale at  Here’s your link.

D. For those who have read Alliance and want to talk about it, there’s a spoiler discussion here.

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