rolanni: (great horned owl)

As previously discussed in these pages, Thursday was a Day of Travel for the Cat Farm Thumbs.

Since we didn't know how long the Maine Literary Award Ceremony might go, we used Star Points to book a room at the Westin Portland Harborview Hotel (formerly the Eastland Hotel).  Since we had used Points to get the room, the hotel warned us that we would not have a room with a view.

Here's a picture of the no-view:

Room with no view, including water, seagulls in wading pond, and (not visible in this picture, but discernible to Steve Eyes) Mount Washington, the Weather Mountain, in nearby New Hampshire. May 29 2014. Photo by Sharon Lee

Room with no view, including water, seagulls in wading pond, and (not visible in this picture, but discernible to Steve Eyes) Mount Washington, the Weather Mountain, in nearby New Hampshire.
May 29 2014. Photo by Sharon Lee

We arrived in mid-afternoon, checked in and went for a walk around the Old Port, visiting a purveyor of Asian artifacts (including old kimonos, antique marriage rooms, and mother-of-pearl inlaid cabinets), an art store (one of about ten zillion, since the Maine College of Art is in the neighborhood), where Steve had a hard time separating me  from all the Beautiful! handmade! paper!; a rock-and-tarot store; a pipe store; a deli; and a couple of antique stores.

When we were done exploring, we returned to the room to dress for the Event.

Here's a picture of Steve, dressed up and practicing Tai Chi:

The writer as tai chi master. May 29, 2014.  Photo by Sharon Lee

The writer as tai chi master.
May 29, 2014. Photo by Sharon Lee

"Do something with your hands!" Steve said, so I did.  It's not my fault I turned the television into a chupacabra, and no, I really don't care what the hotel does with it. May 29, 2014.  Photo by Steve Miller

"Do something with your hands!" Steve said, so I did. It's not my fault I turned the television into a chupacabra, and no, I really don't care what the hotel does with it.
May 29, 2014. Photo by Steve Miller

After all that excitement, it was time to go to the Awards Ceremony, so we did.  Here's a picture of the pre-ceremony reception:

Pre-Award Crush. The man in the doorway, pointing, is Joshua Bodwell, Director of the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance, which hosts the Maine Literary Awards. May 29, 2014. Photo by Sharon Lee

Pre-Award Crush. The man in the doorway, pointing, is Joshua Bodwell, Director of the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance, which hosts the Maine Literary Awards.
May 29, 2014. Photo by Sharon Lee

The ceremony was good-natured, and at times light-hearted.  I tried for a while to tweet out the winners as they were announced, but my Twitter skills are nowhere near that good, and I had to stop after only a half-dozen categories were announced.  The award recipients were uniformly pleased, and generous in their thanks.  Here's a list of the winners. For those keeping score at home, Necessity's Child did not receive the Speculative Fiction award.

The ceremony was over earlier than we had expected; we could have driven home, but we had the nice room with no view waiting for us, so we went back up the hill, fed the chupacabra, had a glass of wine, and went to bed.

Friday morning, since we were so close and all, we motored down Route One to Old Orchard Beach, breaking our journey in Scarborough, to enjoy breakfast at The Egg and I.  We had a half-hour walk on the beach, Elevensies at Pine Point, and so to home, where the cats were embarrassingly pleased to see us.

A word about Kineo, the new car.  It turns out that Kineo is equipped with a six-speed continuously variable transmission.  I had been. . .somewhat concerned that there was something dicey with the transmission, because I am used to driving three-speed automatics.  Old three-speed automatics, at that.  This trip let me get a feel for how Kineo approaches the challenges of the road.  Overall, I remain pleased.

And, now?  I have stories to edit, edits to input, and new words to write.

Hope you are having a fine weekend, wherever you are.

Not only that!

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014 11:13 am
rolanni: (Necessity's Child)

Steve reminds me that today! is Book Day for the mass market edition of Necessity's Child!

So, those who've read/listened to previous editions, you want to tell people who may have been hanging back, not sure that they want to read a book that's not in the "main line" why they should give Necessity's Child a chance?  No spoilers, please.


rolanni: (i've often seen a cat without a smile)

Am I a bad person because, when I realized that we were out of clean table knives, my first thought wasn't, "Gee, I'd better wash the dishes," but "My god! We need to buy more knives!"

As advertised elsewhere, I had plenty of help in my office today.  Not only did Socks edit my notes and make some very valuable suggestions, albeit for some other novel in progress in another part of the globe, he encouraged exercise! by jumping up onto the printer, where he could reach the red origami crane that (used to) hang from the neck of my desk lamp.

The crane was moved, amid hilarity.  Socks jumped down from the printer and re-occupied the yellow pad, well-pleased with himself.

A note of caution to those who may go looking on Amazon for the free electronic copy of Agent of Change.  The free copy is still free.  However, another copy with the same cover is also now available for the price of $5.10.  To the best of my knowledge, this is not (that's NOT) a legitimate copy of the novel (yes, the publisher has been informed) -- do not be fooled, and do not give whoever has perpetuated this...unsavory event any of your money; do not buy this book -- you don't know where it's been.

If you'd like to make sure you're getting a correct copy of Agent of Change, you may still download it directly from the Baen Free Library, in all ebook formats known to man or Turtle.  Here's the link.

Also?  Necessity's Child still isn't the sequel to Dragon Ship.  Thank you.

Progress on Carousel Seas

13,903/100,000 OR 13.9% complete

"The Gulf o'Maine, now," Borgan said, still talking as low as if we were hunting tigers. The Gulf o'Maine's one of the richest and peacefullest pieces of water in all this world. There's a lot of angry ocean out there. A lot of angry ocean."

rolanni: (Necessity's Child)

Today! is the Official Release Day* for Necessity's Child by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller

This is the book that nobly bore the working title of George, and which was pitched to Ms. Weisskopf at Baen, when was only a gleam in its authors' eye as "a steampunk Liaden story, with space gypsies."

Yeah, we almost hit that.

If you're new to the Liaden Universe® -- or if you're an old-timer who's on the fence about buying a "side book" -- you may, if you like, read  the first nine chapters, free, right here at the Baen webiste.

Necessity's Child hardcover is available from your favorite bookstore, and also from these fine vendors:

Uncle Hugo's Science Fiction Bookstore
And! in audiobook format from


*Yes, yes; I know some of you read it months ago.  You may dance, too!  No, really; I insist.

rolanni: (great horned owl)

Submitted last evening, "Eleutherios," a short story by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller commissioned for the Baen front page, January 2013 publication date.

While I was finishing the story up, the authors' proofs for Necessity's Child arrived, with a deadline for return of next Tuesday.

I'll be on the couch with a pot of coffee, two Maine Coon cats, three red pens, and a clutch of colored stick-it tabs.

Y'all be good.

rolanni: (Clan Korval's Tree and Dragon)
For those who want to discuss Necessity's Child.  Please, out of courtesy for those who are waiting for the dead tree edition, limit your conversation to this topic.  Thank you.

WARNING:  If you don't want the story spoiled, don't read the comments of this post! 
rolanni: (Clan Korval's Tree and Dragon)
. . .is now available, right here.


Thursday, October 18th, 2012 11:13 am
rolanni: (Clan Korval's Tree and Dragon)

The first chapter (and only the first chapter!) of Necessity's Child may be read by those interested at this link.

You're welcome.

Eye Candy Alert!

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012 04:08 pm
rolanni: (Calvin & Hobbes happy dance)
Not only the final art, but the cover, for Necessity's Child now available for viewing, right here.
rolanni: (tortoro)

First, the esteemed Mr. Stephen Gould is giving away five ARCs of his next Jumper novel, Impulse.  You already know you wanna read this book when it comes in January, but how cool would it be to able to read it in. . .October?  Go here to find out how you can enter to win one of those five ARCs.

Jennifer Jackson (aka Madame the Agent) is giving away the complete set of Liaden omnibi published by Baen in celebration of the fact that she helped facilitate the sale of FIVE Liaden novels to Baen!  That contest ends tomorrow, so go here now!

Uncle Hugo's is now taking pre-orders for signed copies of Necessity's Child.  Here's your link.

Today, I took off and viewed lighthouses.  A short account of the day is here.

Also?  New pictures at the Archers Beach Photo-Diary!

rolanni: (from LAG)

1.  "Landed Alien," a short story about Kara ven'Arith is this month's Free Story on the Baen website (you need to scroll down).  It will be available there until September 15, and then be retired to the Free Library.

2.  Dragon Ship, the fourth book of Theo Waitley, is now available from Baen in the ebook format of your choice.

3.  Geek Girl Project continues their Books for Writers series with a review of Carpe Diem, by Lee and Miller.

4.  Necessity's Child is not (that is NOT​) the sequel to Dragon Ship.  Since it is already written, turned in, and scheduled for publication -- three conditions that the sequel(s) to Dragon Ship do not at this time meet -- it is Extremely Doubtful that we will "tell our publisher" to release the sequel next.  Sorry 'bout that.

4a.  Necessity's Child is actually a darn good book; I like it, and a handful of other folks who read SF, including James Burton, Jaine Fenn, Dave Freer, Todd McCaffrey, Steve Miller, Elizabeth Moon, and Toni Weisskopf like it, too.  I don't think you'll be disappointed. 

4b.  The proposals for the books following Dragon Ship are on Madame the Agent's desk.  We'll tell you if/when they've been accepted by Baen.  Until then, you now know as much about this as we do.  Feel better?

5.  AsyouknowBob, the Cat Farm and Confusion Factory experienced an Epic Flood a couple weeks ago.  We, by which I mean Steve and I, have been Coping With The Mess Left Behind (the cats providing encouragement, in between naps), which means that, yes, I'm behind on my email.  And just about everything else.  Thank you for your understanding.

Eye Candy: In Process

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012 10:15 am
rolanni: (Mouse and Dragon)

So, there's a rough of the cover art for Necessity's Child on display at Amazon.  It looks like this:

Necessity's Child, rough. Art by David Mattingly

I'm pleased and really eager to see the finished art.

rolanni: (Tea and dragon)

A very pretty day today, and so clear I could see the mountains in the next state over when I drove along Quimby Ridge.

Tomorrow is physical therapy, and I guess, since I'll be in the neighborhood, I'll try to renew my driver's license, since the state was kind enough to send me a reminder.

In order to renew my driver's license, it says here, I have to bring two forms of ID.  My driver's license does not count as ID.  One of the forms of ID must be either a certified copy of my birth certificate, or a passport.  Well, OK; I have a passport.

The second form of ID must have my address on it.  Acceptable pieces of ID include:  a utility bill; the registration for my car; a lease; or a deed.  WTF? I'm renewing an existing license, which I have used numerous times as identification over the last six years.  I'm not trying to do anything subversive, like, oh, register to vote.  <fe>There I could understand the need for extreme caution.</fe>

Also in today's mail comes the joyous news from the Social Security Administration that I have accumulated enough "points" to retire at 62/66/70, and! to be eligible for Medicare, and! for my family to receive survivor benefits in case the increasingly insane political discussion does me in.  Huzzah.

I also learn from Social Security that they are figuring my annual income going forward based on 2011's earnings.

Falls over laughing

The other interesting thing -- I tell you what, these forms are fascinating -- is that Social Security started counting my wages in 1968, even though I started working in 1965.  I had to have a Worker's Permit, which held me to a certain number of hours during the school year, and I think kids were paid at a different rate.  Also, I guess, kids had no Social Security withheld from their pay.  All that future earning power -- thrown away.

What else?

Ah!  For those who had asked -- we hear from Madame the Editor that, yes, Necessity's Child will make an appearance as an eArc, but!  It hasn't been scheduled yet, so, yanno -- stay calm.

Everybody stay cool.

Progress on Carousel Sun
5,177/100,000 OR 5.18% complete

My grandmother lives on Heath Hill, among an old stand of mixed wood.

rolanni: (Clan Korval's Tree and Dragon)

Breaking News!

​Necessity's Child, a Liaden Universe® novel by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, will be published on February 5, 2013.  The novel had previously been scheduled for May, 2013.

What's the book about you ask?

​Here, have a blurb:

The kompani sees none as an enemy, and few as friend. The kompani exists in many places, living quietly in the shadows, thriving off the bounty that others have no wit to secure, nor skill to defend. Their private history is unwritten; their recall rooted in dance and dream.

Clan Korval is wealthy in enemies; fortunate in friends. They protect themselves with vigor, and have taught even their youngest children the arts of war. They arrive on the planet Surebleak, where the kompani has lived secret and aloof, borne, it seems, by the very winds of change.

Change is often a boon to the kompani, for in change lies opportunity. But the arrival of Clan Korval, arriving upon Surebleak with its friends, its enemies, and, most of all, its plans may bring catastrophe, changing the culture and the kompani, forever.

In this time of change, the lives of three people intersect -- Kezzi, apprentice to the kompani's grandmother; Syl Vor, Clan Korval's youngest warrior; and Rys, a man without a world, or a past.

Necessity's Child is a standalone adventure in the popular and exciting Liaden Universe®


Friday, March 30th, 2012 09:24 pm
rolanni: (Clan Korval's Tree and Dragon)

Necessity’s Child
A Liaden Universe® Adventure
Sharon Lee and Steve Miller
Approximately 110,00 words

Submitted: March 30, 2012

Cabana boy!  Bring me my wine!

Originally published at Sharon Lee, Writer. You can comment here or there.

rolanni: (So There)

So, that’s done.

No, don’t get all excited; what I mean to say is — “All righty, then!  I am now in a position to seriously take a red pen to the last hunnert-twenty-six pages of the manuscript.”  These pages still include two spots that read

* * *


* * *

. . .but we’re in overall good shape, by which I mean, on schedule to turn in the final manuscript on March 31.

Oh, I also need to write the Epilogue, but I can’t actually do that until I’ve really, seriously got everything in these last few pages nailed down flat.

In the office next door, Steve is chomping away at the revisions for Dragon Ship; behind me, Mozart is snoring in the corner by the file cabinet, and Scrabble is on bird-watch in the kitchen.

Bidness as usual here at the Cat Farm and Confusion Factory.

For those keeping score at home, here is the present state of the To-Do List.

1.  Turn in Necessity’s Child — March 31
2.  Go to Meriden for Socks — April 1
3.  Talk at Rockland, Maine Public Library — April 5 (6:30 p.m.)
4Dragon Ship revisions due at Baen — April 15
5.  Turn in novel proposals (3) to Madame the Editor — April 23
6.  ConQuesT — May 25-27
7.  Interview at WERU Writers Forum with Joan Clemens & Ellie O’Leary, June 14, 10 a.m.
8.  Turn in short story to Baen — July 1
9.  Turn in Trade Secret — July 15
10.  Figure out the Liaden audible lexicon
11.  Convert Barnburner and Gunshy into ebooks
12.  Feasibility study:  remodel bathroom
13. Pie in the Sky: Vacation — Septemberish

Progress on Necessity’s Child (tbfkaG)
109,369/100,000 words OR 109% complete

“Your sister asserts that your tutor was not kind.  I wonder why she said so.”

. . .and as I finish this entry up and glance out the window. . .Yes, it is snowing. . .

Originally published at Sharon Lee, Writer. You can comment here or there.

rolanni: (view from space by rainbow graphics)

. . .and the dust, and the leaves, and the trash cans, and the twigs, and the blue jays trying to come in for a landing at the bird feeder.  So far, the bird feeder’s hanging on.

Yeah, been a windy couple days here.

Also a cold couple days.  Currently 21F (feels-like-5F)/-6C (feels-like-minus-15C).  Nice to see winter finally arrived.

So, no, the draft didn’t get finished yesterday; I’ve got three more scenes, I figure, and then! The Red Pen.  Fortunately, though I didn’t actually happen to think so at the precise moment the phone call came in, I’ve gained some time on the week because the hospital yesterday rescheduled my appointment for the yearly mammogram, which had been on the books (for six months!) for Thursday.  (Have you made your appointment?  C’mon, let’s see a show of hands).

Yesterday, while I was banging my head against the keyboard peacefully typing away in my cloistered tower, Steve put up the next Klamath Splinter.  This one brings a change of character, place and POV.  It starts here.  Read, enjoy, tell your friends.

I’ve been teasing you for a couple months now with a Watch the Skies, and you deserve a little something for your patience, so here you go — Word from Madame the Agent is that. . .contracts are on the bus to her office in New York and will in the fullness of time arrive at the Confusion Factory.  That’s right — plural contracts, and granted some will arrive sooner than others.  What do you suppose those contracts might be for?  Go on — guess.

And, now?  Time for me to go back to work.

See you on the flip side.

Progress on Necessity’s Child (tbfkaG)
105,284/100,000 words OR 105% complete

“I fear that the woman has stolen my brother’s soul,” he said.


Originally published at Sharon Lee, Writer. You can comment here or there.

Auction news

Sunday, March 25th, 2012 10:08 pm
rolanni: (Caution: Writing Ahead)

Steve has been busy while I’ve been vacationing on sunny Surebleak. He’s put up four new auctions at eBay. SRM Publisher is closing at the end of this month and this is the last of the specialty stock in hand. Once these are gone, they’re gone forever.

Advance Reading Copy (ARC) of Liaden Universe® Companion Number One. Very Rare. Ends March 27.  Auction here

Hardcover edition of Liaden Universe Companion® Number One.  Ends March 27.   Auction here

Mass Market edition of Liaden Universe Companion® Number One.  Ends March 27.  Auction here

The very last hardcover of Partners in Necessity, absent our personal copies and the copy on the Brag Shelf.  Ends March 29.  Auction here

Regarding that vacation in Surebleak, with luck and a tailwind, I’ll have a finished book by the end of the day tomorrow.  By which I mean I still have to go over the last …hundred pages with a red pen, but!  We’re getting really, really close.  So!  Wish me luck and a tailwind, why not — and I’ll wish the same for you.

Progress on Necessity’s Child (tbfkaG)
102,623/100,000 words OR 102.6% complete

“They are cards,” she said; “they know nothing. Just like gadje know nothing.”

Originally published at Sharon Lee, Writer. You can comment here or there.

The Thursday Report

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012 01:05 pm
rolanni: (bleedingheart from furriboots)

State of the health is improving, slowly.

State of the book is proceeding, slowly.

State of the weather is…summery. 81F/27C on March 22?  The daffodils are pushing their way to the surface already and that’s just…not natural.

In shopping news, Fanboy Glass tells us that they have received such positive response to their Tree-and-Dragon glassware that they’ve added Mugs and Wine Glasses to the ever-popular Pint Glass so go on over and take a look.  (Fanboy does not ship to Australia, or Switzerland, or Spain, or anyplace, really, outside of the US and Canada.  We apologize, but, having once tried shipping highly breakable objects ’round the world ourselves, I can see their point.)

The second splinter dealing with Miri Robertson and Klamath is now up at Splinter Universe, joining the first splinter.  Read one, read ‘em all.

The edit letter for Dragon Ship has landed, and Steve is on point.  This is not your cue to ask when the eArc will be published, thanks.

I can’t get into it now, what with needing to finish up Necessity’s Child and all, but I suppose it’s time to do a blog post about Voice, and how Science Fiction isn’t only Stories of the Far Future, and why extrapolating from our own world into the future is a mug’s game, anyway.  Somebody remind me if I haven’t gotten around to that by mid-April, ‘k?

The Exciting Projects happening in the background are taking the long way ’round the barn.  Watch the skies, but take a break now and then so you don’t get a crick in your neck.

Mozart is napping in my his rocking chair.  I have, I hope, done the research necessary to satisfy our accountant regarding last year’s income (we don’t get 1099s for all the money we earn; this is apparently occasionally confusing), so now!

I can get to work.

How’s the weather where you are?  Seasonal?  Or has it gotten ahead of itself?

Progress on Necessity’s Child (tbfkaG)
94,116/100,000 words OR 94%

The gentlest flick of the wrist brought the blade out, locked and ready for business; the barest pressure on a certain spot in the leather-wrapped handle put it safely away again.

In fact, Udari thought, eying the thing with unease, it was a just a bit too apt, this knife, so smooth and so sweet that a man might forget that he held a weapon.

Originally published at Sharon Lee, Writer. You can comment here or there.

rolanni: (Mozart)

Boring health/illness stuff follows.  You have been warned.

Well, I was supposed to get a haircut today, but I’ll be going to see the doctor, instead.  Six of one, half-dozen of the other, I guess.

The cold has gotten worse, unfortunately.  I’ve been coughing so much and so hard my stomach hurts, I have no voice, and nothing in the Big Box o’Home Remedies seems to be touching any of it.  I’d be a little less aggravated if I’d at least had the grace to cast out a fever…

On second thought, no, I wouldn’t.

Woke up coughing last night, as the night before, and retired to the couch, so that Steve at least could get some sleep.  Read about two-thirds of Bertie MacAvoy’s Death and Resurrection before Mozart managed to conjure enough sleep rays to fell me.  So, in all, I guess I got about four hours sleep, and am thereby even crankier and less focused than usual.

This is annoying not only for all the reasons you’d suppose, but also because I have hit a point in the story where I need one of the characters to be Clever, and another to be Plucky — and it would just help a lot if their author was currently either, or, ideally, both.

Speaking of Necessity’s Child, I have, alas, missed my mark.  This is not a YA novel, though it does still stand as a Liaden portal novel, so that’s all good.

Some of you may know that Amazon has this handy feature where authors can check sales of their books through Bookscan, and sync their blog posts with their AmazonAuthor page, and other such things.  They just added a “feature” that shows authors the newest reader reviews received.

So yesterday, for the first time in a long time, I was over there in the backroom of my AmazonAuthor page, and here pops up a new review — it’s for The Crystal Variation, which includes Crystal Soldier, Crystal Dragon and Balance of Trade.  And the reader explains that this is the first Liaden book they have ever read; they’re only partway through the first book; already they can tell the publisher why these books won’t sell; and if they could give the book minus stars, they would.

Turns out the proofreading and the editing sucks large rocks.  Yes!  The reviewer has identified many grammatical and word-choice errors that ought to have been fixed!   Also?  The world-building is completely whacked.  Who could possibly believe in a world where  cellphones, smart body armor, and slavery co-exist?

I laughed so hard I had tears running my face, and then of course I started coughing again, and Mozart had to Get Stern with me.

Anyhow, that’s the news from the Cat Farm and Confusion Factory.  Everybody take care, stay healthy, and happy.

Progress on Necessity’s Child (tbfkaG)
94,011/100,000 words OR 94%

“Bespeak tea, and a plate of mixed sweets, for two,” the luthia said to him in their own tongue. “Ask to have it brought to this table when I am joined by my guest, and no sooner than that. Pay fairly, in local coin. When you have done this, please return and stand behind my chair. Listen, watch, but do not speak. Should danger come, I know that you will act in the best interest of the kompani.”

Originally published at Sharon Lee, Writer. You can comment here or there.

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