kinzel: (Default)
Book signings are always a gamble -- you take time out of your life hoping that you'll sell enough books or make enough connections to make the time and effort worthwhile. The same can be said of going to conventions. These are public moments, and public moments take energy, risking one of the writer's important internal power sources -- ego. On the other hand, there's always the chance that you can turn commercial opportunity into community.

Young writers -- which is to say young at the business and not necessarily young in age -- may have a harder time than people who've been at it awhile, since they're often pushing to sell! sell! sell! and aren't sure what works. That means they sometimes over promise, over sell, smile too brightly ... .sigh.

And that means writers like that can't relax into the moment, where real personality gets a chance to come to the fore and where long term connections can be made.

When we were first offered a chance to be professional Guests Of Honor at an SF convention we asked more experienced hands for advice. Several congratulated us on being offered the chance, one complained that they were being ignored by fans and thus would return the favor and avoid fans, others said simply "do it!"

One well-known author boiled it down to this for us: Have a good time, eat well, and sell the book. Travel light, talk to people, sell the book. Enjoy your moment in the sun, sell yourself, sell the book."

Saturday was not a convention day for us, but it was a book signing day at Barnes & Noble in Augusta, Maine. Unlike panels at conventions, where there's often leeway in how much selling you do, book signings do tend to aim at that "sell the book" goal. But, but, but ... this was probably our dozenth signing at that particular store, and we were both relatively mellow about the goal since it was beautiful Saturday and we both knew that most of the people coming into B&N already had a goal in mind -- and we were not it.

We arrived early, found the set up in place, and had fun. I wrote a note, aimed in our direction, to sit on the table. It was a reminder for us. It said "Goshwow!"

Some of the folks coming in the door cold were great about talking to us, some ignored us, forging straight ahead, eyes averted, as if we held unwanted religious tract in their direction. One young lady told us she was "all about sci-fi" but amended that to say, "No, I mean real sci-fi, like dystopia. Not into space at all." I guess we should have told her Carousel Tides was dystopic, to make a sale, but we didn't, and they all sold anyway.

Sigh.

On the other hand we had several previously only electron-connected FB friends motor on by -- and the first person in the door at 1:00:01 was a gentleman from Augusta who'd been reading our work for years and never knew we were local. His wife had pointed to our photo in the window several weeks before -- and they came, we signed his book (an already purchased The Gathering Edge) and sold him another one or two, and they grabbed a photo of the gentleman standing between us, as if we were celebrities or something.

Goshwow?

Yeah, we had a number of goshwow moments, or at least shared them. Two were women who heard us when we were doing variations of our "Get your fresh hot Sci-fi and fantasy!" chants. One, looked at the Carousel Tides cover and just about gave Sharon 10 seconds to talk about it before grabbing the book up, holding it to her chest like a treasure, and then demanding a signature. Another heard Sharon say "haunted carousel" while she was talking to someone else, and stood staring at the three Carousel books before demanding, "Which one's first?" and then enthusing to the world -- "You had me at 'haunted carousel'! She also stood between us for a photo.

Then there was the young man who stood over the Liaden side of the table patiently as I told someone else about my time as a university library Curator of SF -- needing a book for a friend -- and after we signed that for him he grabbed another one and said -- "I probably need one too, if you'll sign it."

So we had fun, we sold the book multiple times. We shared goshwow. We shared community with inline friends and we started into community with some new readers.

Me? I think it a shame that new writers think that the number they need to take away from their first signing or two is "How many did you sell?" rather than "How many did you meet?" Over the years meeting people has worked better for us than simply pushing books. We like it that way. Goshwow!




Lee & Miller relaxing before the crowds converged
kinzel: (Default)
A few years ago I was living in Baltimore and working at a dream job -- I was Curator of a growing science fiction collection and, and, and,I got an hour for lunch. The thing was that I didn't really fit the society of academics I worked among -- I was too young, too "other" to learn as much as I should have, I lacked social graces, and I was too young and too other to attract or discover a mentor among the somewhat dysfunctional staff I was immersed in. My major supporters (since i would have needed supporters to survive long in that environment) were in departments outside the library and were not at all on my schedule.

That meant that rather than rushing off to have lunch with my peers (for there were none)my lunch times sometimes got worked through, until a union rep warned me Not To Do That!

So,I brown bagged it, and ate at my desk, sometimes reading from the collection I was putting together, and sometimes using the University's Selectric to write short fiction or book reviews.

OK. Let me say this about that: when we're talking a few years ago we're talking 1974 and 1975, with me not all that long before (summer of '73) having survived 7 weeks away from Baltimore, six of them at Clarion West Writing Workshop in Seattle.

Understand that I was something of a loner, something of a reader, a bit of a writer, and had a plan. I was going to, eventually, be a fulltime writer. I wrote for community newspapers -- music reviews, book reviews, whatever I could while working -- and I wrote short-fiction, selling some of it to markets so small that penny a word was top grade.

Now, for most of my life the US had at least one and sometimes multiple manned space programs. I thought about those programs and after seeing and reading deeply into moon-launches I found myself (fear of heights, yes) imagining what would happen if a Saturn (or the unbuilt Nova!) exploded on the launch pad.

You did know, didn't you, that one of the escape paths for an on-pad emergency of Saturn moon rockets was a zip line?

So over several weeks, whole avoiding my co-workers, I wrote a story about the aftermath of an on-pad explosion at the Cape. Roger Zelazny read and liked it; eventually I sent the story on to Ted White at Amazing, and waited.

Waiting was endemic to writing magazine fiction at that point, and so I waited some more. Then, there was a fire at Ted White's place, and Amazing's deadlines were royally screwed for awhile. Eventually I ran into Ted at a BaltiCon and he looked me in the eye and said -- "You're Steve Miller. Now I remember, I think I really liked that story you sent. Can't find it. Send it to me again, will you? Or bring it tomorrow, I'll be here."

Forty years ago, this year, that story -- Charioteer -- was my first pro rate SF sale to be published.

This all comes to mind because I just read that, which is to say recorded it, and sometime RSN will have to up on Splinter Universe, but before that on Patreon. I got some future things right, I got some future things wrong. We never have had an astronaut for a President, for example. My sort-of laptop computer was called a clipboard (hey, it was written 10 years before Toshiba claimed something they called a laptop computer, but it wasn't one, really) and I predicted a lively funeral-at-space business, and I was really lousy with figuring inflation and the costs of things ...

On the other hand, Charioteer was my first SFWA qualifying story, and I got several more of them from Amazing before the zine went on hiatus and then through a series of changes. Also in that issue were Charles Sheffield, Lisa Tuttle, Gordon Eklund, and Mack Reynolds.



The amazing Amazing in question

If the audio editing goes well we'll have the story, read by me, up on Patreon come Saturday.
kinzel: (Default)
Welcome to Friday!

We went to Augusta Wednesday and bought a new Toaster oven to replace the one that was failing and while there we also picked up a new (Lasker brand) living room tower fan to replace one that died in the last heat wave of October last year.

It took a screwdriver and a few minutes of swearing at convenient unopenable packs of screws to put the base on and almost immediately the cats returned, having been put off by the sound of the box being ripped open.

Belle liked the old fan, and within moments of the new one going online yesterday she was smugly in her place at the base of it, with squinty eyes.

Today, then, is unboxing day on the new oven. First trick will be to get Sprite off the box, since she's a real fan of boxes large enough for her to stretch out on. No, wait, maybe I'll clear the counter first, and see if Sprite is still in place, and *then* open the box of she is not.

kinzel: (Default)
We're told to remind you all that today ... we'll be on Reddit, doing an AMA.

That's https://www.reddit.com/r/books/

We're Lee & Miller, and we're answering questions about our career, about our books and stories, about the freelance life, about our cats ... In any case, today at Noon Eastern.
kinzel: (Default)
A reminder: we'll be doing an AMA on Reddit at Noon (Eastern) on Monday.

Which is to say: We're Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, known around the world as authors of the millions of words in the Liaden Universe®. We hope you'll join us with your questions and comments on Monday.

And we're testing my ability to selfie!

kinzel: (Default)
Yes, it does happen. Shameless Self promotion time!

Maine folks, and nearby New England folks, especially those connected with various genre fandoms ... AK Cyrway, Patrick Shawn Bagley, Friends of Liad, NESFA, PortConMaine, Gibran Vogue Graham, Cirque du Geek, not to mention folks associated with the media .... ( Katy England hint hint, do you still have connections?, Dave Isaac got anyone you know in the literary community or a connection to the BDN or other papers for interviews? hey, Maine Writers and Publishers), heads up!

Your friendly local authors of the Liaden Universe(R) are set for a Meet and Greet-style signing at Barnes & Noble in Augusta come May 13, from 1 PM to 3 PM. Sounds good, right?

But hey, a perusal of the calendar reveals that Sunday, May 14 happens to be Mother's Day. We'd love to have a great turnout of SF fans in general and Liaden fans in particular for our event in the state capital's biggest bookstore and there's some concern that Mother's Day shopping may make it hard for folks to find out (or remember) our event.

If you can help get the word out about this, we appreciate it; if you can come on by, that'd be good, too. Could be some photo ops for you digital camera whiz-types.... If you know someone who'd be interested, please do share.

Here's the B&N link for you to share with friends, https://stores.barnesandnoble.com/event/9780061861478-0 [https://stores.barnesandnoble.com/event/9780061861478-0&h=ator7ckeyk2xamt7edafxrt8g0-guzohb70kieoz7jecxy16hv3cngfgf_8g_6-jugv_plzepujae_rwhhxn9y-gmaweukrh8ydq3g-p6km78eproolnhxuvx7ulj8-3ujx1lz70azj0&enc=azorboxrcdvvgmhtoznt49rowexsiu06v0ecmlq-eaweuhzgmv7tk9t3z5bgxza7tkf28gzfy_epi8bq49vq-al5nb195_c9punhx5swa3zqllziq4rmnth2jmv4ptqme-wbjoetyqhapyhxfhcn9ljwbcbglc4qv1-nb302kbdtqxzayrjdftofs0f-wkyrz0k&s=1_green]

If you happen to tell someone and they want to connect for a podcast, an interview, or for additional meet-the-author opportunities, you've got plenty of time to reach us.

Thanks In Advance, from both of us.
kinzel: (Default)
Went to the cardio gym, where our particular group of seekers has been nick-named The After Lunch Bunch, since we meet after noon. All of us are there by cardiologist's prescription after experiencing dangerous heart symptoms of one kind or another.

Part of our regular business is to work out on two machines while connected with the radio monitor to watch heart rate and have periodic blood pressure measurements, 20 to 25 minutes or so on each machine. Some days, while we workout, we watch educational DVDs on a large projection screen.

I usually start with one of the several treadmills and move to the bike, others reverse this or work on other machines -- there are six or eight types. After that we (who can) work out for about ten minutes with hand weights.

The process can get stale, but today was great. I've ummm... earned .. .a reputation as a music curmudgeon because of my lack of appreciation for silly country pablum served up by one of the local radio stations -- and today one of the staff was switching stations around and I pointed out that at least I recognized Credence and could listen to it since there were no bouncy chicks being seduced in a pick-up in the song. That station, however, was hard to pull in, so the staffer shut the radio down and started for the big screen projection doohickey they won't let me play with.

Lo and behold, today NOT being on the schedule for a playing of "Cholesterol, Threat Or Menace From Beyond?" DVD, the staffer went to the projection device and flipped a switch, whereupon a google search screen was projected, and in about 30 second we had Credence Clearwater Revival on the screen, courtesy of YouTube. Not only that, but the staffer turned up the volume ....

Credence being done the question came "Requests?" I don't think I'd even heard there was a Justin Timberlake video of silly people dancing, but there is, and one of our number requested it. They tried to find me some JJ Cale, but most of his work was too subtle with the exercise machines going, but then one of my age-mates (some of us are much younger than others) suggested Prince, which choice I seconded .... and boy did today's exercise session go fast. Not only that, but we all got through the day's exercise in upbeat and smiling mood.

So, music. That's the trick, music can make the savage heart beat better.
kinzel: (Default)
Most of this post is also over on my Facebook wall, most, but not all. Eventually I hope to get back to a double stream of Steve-stuff, with this having more blog-like entries, We'll see how that goes, yes we will.

So,today the BP *is* up somewhat, and that's a good thing.

Mixed clouds this morning, but we're promised thunderstorms at 3:30. Fingers crossed for enough to enjoy and not enough to bug the cat-kids.

I've already got dinner in the crockpot after a traditional Lee & Miller Easter breakfast of egg rolls and fresh fruit, with coffee.

Sharon's already got the contracts we signed yesterday in a packet; so yeah, that's yes for that 3-book offer Locus wrote about.

I kept busy yesterday -- the 89th birthday of my father. He died almost a dozen years ago and I still miss his Easter (and other holiday) calls -- when he'd tell me about the state of the surf and bikinis a block or two away from his year-round first floor rooms in a modest neighborhood of escapee-style retirees.

After dinner today, we've scheduled Scrabble. I do not expect to be all that active on the webz today but will point out that we *did* last night post a never before heard (I finished it yesterday!) reading by me of our first Nick-and-Nora story, A Night at the Opera, on our Patreon page. In due time that story will migrate to Splinter Universe as portion of a Splinter Universe Live offering.

That's some of the news from East Winslow. Have a good one!
kinzel: (Default)
True fact: some of what I post here is not cutting edge news. If you've been a regular reader of my bloggerly writing you've probably noticed that I mix and switch from the author's necessities to just-some-guy talking about his day ...

Today, the just-some-guy is an author, so here:

Free read, a short story, at Baen.

http://www.baen.com/cuttingcorners

Also, I'll be going over some of the posts salvaged from Live Journal and brought here to see if I can distill enough from them to form a basis for a chapbook from Pinbeam books.

Meanwhile, the weekend will include some reading (and recording), and, I hope, some posting, of one of our stories, over at Patreon. I'll have to push, but I still have more than 12 hours, right? Now cross fingers that our neighbors don't start mowing their lawn and cutting down trees again.

Patreon? https://www.patreon.com/leeandmiller
kinzel: (Default)
And yes, I'm reorganizing my mornings.

So far this week I've managed to be at coffee by 8:00 AM two days out of three.
kinzel: (Default)
In the last week I've discovered that not everyone knows about our Splinter Universe website. Here's a link to a February page over there. You'll find a few voice files, pdfs, stories, splinters, and more over there ...

http://splinteruniverse.com/?p=1300
kinzel: (catwhisker)
I've been playing behind the scenes in a bunch of internet things today; eventually I'll be back up to speed on the Word Press stuff and on Dreamwidth as well. In the meanwhile, feel free to remind me if too many days go between posts here.

Thanks,

Me
kinzel: (Lord Black Cat)
Sharon followed up on a small tweetstorm I unleashed yesterday by breaking upcoming Lee & Miller things into categories....and we're both sure that we've missed something, so if something else happens, well, don't be too surprised.

I'll borrow that:

Upcoming Appearances
May 1: Ask Me Anything, Reddit, starting 12 noon
May 13: Meet ‘n Greet and book signing, Barnes and Noble, at 9 Market Place Drive, Augusta, Maine, from 1 – 3pm
August 4-6: Confluence, in Pittsburgh, Lee and Miller will be writer Guests of Honor
March 9-11, 2018: MidSouthCon, in Memphis, Lee and Miller, writer Guests of Honor

Upcoming Interviews
April edition of The Intergalactic Medicine Show: Lee and Miller interview, reprint story, and! sample chapter

Upcoming Publications
April 15 +/-: “Cutting Corners,” Baen.com
May 2: The Gathering Edge, hardcover, ebook, audiobook, Baen & Audible
June 6: “Wise Child,” in Year’s Best Military and Adventure SF, Volume 3, Baen
August: “Dawn’s Early Light,” in All Hail Our Robot Conquerors, Zombies Need Brains
December 15 +/-: Short Story, Baen.com
January 2, 2018: Neogenesis
TBA: “Excerpts from Two Lives,” in Ships of the Line, Baen
kinzel: (coffee)
Have to change some things ... and might as well start with the one that pulls money out of me.

The old credit card is non-functional anyway, and we haven't decided what blogging account should bear the burden of long-range planning, if any, given how often I use FB ( www.facebook.com/kinzel ) and twitter ( https://twitter.com/bechimo ) to stay in touch with folks. .  . and much of what's really going on professionally is also reflected in rhe FB groups Friends of Liad, Clan Korval, and flaran cha'menthi ...
kinzel: (coffee)
And a quick note....

still trying to figure out why my LJ has a no-comment as the default. I did get spam-bombed once on the distanrt past...

Meanwhile, the weather for tomorrow is looking possibly very ugly -- up to 10 incehs of heavy snow turning to freezing ran and rain. Yikes ...

Will look at the new features here, RSN.
kinzel: (coffee)
Gale force winds here in East Winslow.

Meanwhile, yes, I'm working on it.

If it is late, I'm working on it.

If it was abandoned, yes, I'm working on it.

If it was lost, I'm trying to find it.

Meanwhile -- anyone out there? I'm going to be going over the archives here and i want to see if I should move some of my efforts back here and let the rush-rush/rush, rushrush rush on Facebook get detuned.
kinzel: (coffee)
I know a number of you are following my new project ....

Chapter 5 of Quicksliver is posted on http://www.splinteruniverse.com and we're awaiting funding before getting Chapter 6 in gear.

I'd appreciate getting the word out to other fans -- share if you can!
kinzel: (coffee)
Liaden Universe(R) InfoDump No. 104

Awards, travel, website story projects, books, audiobooks, Guests of Honor – a busy InfoDump indeed is Number 104


AWARDS

About the Maine Literary Awards:  Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance (MWPA) held the 2014 Maine Literary Award ceremony at the University of Southern Maine's Glickman Familiy Library Thursday, May 29, for books published by Maine authors in 2013. Among the finalists in the Speculative Fiction category was Necessity's Child, by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, who attended the ceremony.

A list of all award winners and finalists can be found here:  http://hosted.verticalresponse.com/770769/31cfea4a2b/1470818165/7a6251134b/

UPCOMING TRAVEL

DETCON 1

In July of this year Lee and Miller are set to attend DetCon 1, the upcoming NASFIC in Detroit, Michigan. Both a Friends of Liad breakfast and a Friends of Liad party are among the festivities the authors hope to take part in at the con North American fans throw in years the WorldCon is overseas. The con runs from July 17 through July 20…. come on out!  http://detcon1.org/

PHILCON

Come November, Lee & Miller will be Principal Speakers at PhilCon, the oldest SF convention in the world. Principal Speakers are the PhilCon equivalent of Guests of Honor, and past PhilCon GoHs include  Allen Steele, Catherynne M. Valente, Tim Powers, Eric Flint, Connie Willis, and Fritz Leiber.  The con runs November 21-23, 2014 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Cherry Hill, NJ.  A party and an FoL breakfast are on the long range schedule. Come on out!  http://2014.philcon.org/

For those who travel to other conventions, and who would like to help publicize PhilCon, there is a printable flyer here:  http://sharonleewriter.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Philcon-2014-flyer-March.pdf


BOOK NEWS

The audiobook edition of Sharon Lee's Carousel Sun, which came out from Baen books on January 14 of this year, is scheduled for release in September 2014. The Carousel Seas audiobook will come out concurrently with the Baen edition … http://www.amazon.com/Carousel-Seas-Archers-Beach-Sharon/dp/1476736960/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1401291034&sr=8-1&keywords=carousel+seas

Liaden Universe Constellation Number Three – Yes, there will be a third collection of Liaden stories, coming in your direction from Baen, RSN. Lee & Miller are (among other projects) prepping the book to turn it in, with story commentary and an intro, by July 15. An exact publication date is not yet set.


Quicksliver – a new Steve Miller book to be written live for the net, chapter by chapter, week by week, just like Fledgling and Saltation – on Lee & Miller's Splinter Universe. The rough draft will be presented weekly (with time out for travel and medical considerations) with the resulting edited ebook being available (a few weeks after the approximately 100,000 word book is completed in draft) to those who donate at least $10. For the moment the known details are here: http://splinteruniverse.com/?page_id=899 … watch the skies!

Also at Splinter Universe – we're also posting Guest Stories by other professional authors – look at the guest story list at http://splinteruniverse.com/ . Each story has a donate button on the story that goes directly to the author of that story.

Liaden Universe® novels

Here is the *delivery schedule* for the next five Liaden Universe® novels (aka the date that each novel is due in Madame the Editor’s hands):

*September, 2014*: First of Five
*February  2015*: Second of Five
*November  2015*: Third of Five
*August 2016*: Fourth of Five
*May 2017*: Fifth of Five

Blogs and Other Webly Things of Note
Theo_Waitley is the discussion group for readers of Fledgling and Saltation: http://community.livejournal.com/theo_waitley/
Where Dragons Rest: http://community.livejournal.com/liaden_readers/
Steve Miller’s blog, Journeyman: http://kinzel.livejournal.com/
Sharon Lee’s blog, Eagles over the Kennebec: http://rolanni.livejournal.com/
Sharon Lee’s “Professional” blog: http://sharonleewriter.com
Splinter Universe Discussion List: http://splinterverse.livejournal.com

*Facebook Connections — please feel free to add us!*
http://facebook.com/kinzel — Steve Miller
http://facebook.com/rolanni — Sharon Lee

Pinbeam Books: http://www.pinbeambooks.com an online catalog, with vendor links, to all Lee-and-Miller eChapbooks
Splinter Universe: http://www.splinteruniverse.com features outtakes, splinters, and oddities from the Lee&Miller writing career, currently changes irregularly.
Welcome to Liad — The official homepage for Liaden Universe® news — http://www.korval.com
The Hyperspatial Boardwalk Shop: T-shirts, mugs, more! -- http://www.cafepress.com/hyperspatial

Liaden Interest Groups on Facebook
Clan Korval: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=38719490864&ref=ts
Friends of Liad: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/group.php?gid=16280839259&ref=ts
Flaran chamenthi: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/group.php?gid=2213414696&ref=ts

Twitter
Steve’s on Twitter: http://twitter.com/bechimo
Sharon’s on Twitter, too: http://twitter.com/ClanKorval
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/rolanni/

Disclaimer Stuff
This InfoDump is a product of the Liaden Universe®, accept no imitations. You have received this message because you asked for it. If you wish to subscribe to the Liaden Universe® email list, to unsubscribe from the Liaden Universe® email list, or to *change* your delivery email address, go here: http://www.fireopal.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/liadenuniversenews

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