Apr. 21st, 2014


So, we let the cats sleep in bed with us, if they want to.  Scrabble, as a rule, does not want to, though sometimes she'll sleep on the chest at the bottom of the bed.  Back in her youth, she used to overnight pretty often on top of the bookcase by the bed, but the bookcase has gotten much higher since we first planted it there, and now Sprite spends part of the night aloft.

For the last decade or so, Mozart has been our steady date.  His preferred position is tucked between me and Steve, or on my shoulder with his nose under my chin (and his whiskers in my face, but I try to bear it with the fortitude appropriate to my station).  The addition of two new, and active, younger cats has changed the nighttime geography somewhat.  Mozart is usually in on the action from the time we turn out the light.  Trooper comes in sometime during the night, and will sleep on Steve's ankle or knee, or shoulder, whatever's available, after expressing his undying devotion to myself.  Sprite will be in the cat nest, overlooking all, though later in the night, she'll descend to sleep on Trooper's rump, or his head, or across his belly.

Now, according to Household Mythology, the cats who sleep with us provide the night's dreams.  Dreaming is the profession of cats, and this is also why so many writers have cats; proximity helps us in the waking dream of writing.

So, last night, I had two dreams.  I'm not sure who to blame them on, but I don't remember my dreams often, and these were vivid.

The first dream -- or the first half of a very long dream, I'm not sure which -- involved Kat Kimbriel, who had, as writers do ask other writers in Real Life, asked me to look over a letter her publisher wanted her to send out with advance copies of her new book, and also to critique the Tandoori Rice that she would be serving at her book launch (so, OK, we don't usually do the Tandoori Rice). She mailed both to me, in Maine, from Texas.

I went over the letter, made some suggestions, tasted the Tandoori Rice with the help of a friend, noted down my comments, packed the whole package up again and mailed it to Texas.

Then, I went to Boskone.

Only to discover that Kat had come to Boskone, too.

"Oh, no!" I said.  "I mailed the letter and the rice back to Texas!"

"Oh," she said, frowning.  "Did you wrap the rice in tin foil and put a freezer block in the package?  It should be OK, if you did."

"Well, I didn't," I confessed.  "I'll buy you some more, fresh.  You don't want to poison your guests."

And I left the con to go order Tandoori Rice so that I could mail it to Texas properly.

Now, somewhere between the con and the closest Indian restaurant, I lost my shirt.  It didn't seem to bother me, and I explained to the guy at the restaurant what I needed and why.  He listened intently, gave me a shirt, and took me back to the kitchen, where he tore off a piece of brown paper, asked me questions about how many guests, drew a bunch of squares on the paper, and filled in each with a kind of food.

"OK," he said.  "You need this much.  Seventy-five dollars."

"That's great," I said, "but you need to pack it so that I can mail it to Texas."

He sighed. "I'll mail to Texas.  You give me address."

Ends here Part One.

Part Two begins with the realization that Daav and Er Thom are also at Boskone, which is perhaps terrifying only to myself.  I met them in the lobby on my return, and the three of us left the con to walk out.  It seems that, since Daav was stuck in Boston, he was working on his Master Gardener's certifications.  We walked down to a long, narrow slope of land that ended at a stream.  The thing was covered in gravel, and Daav talked about the native plants he was going to reintroduce, and about holding the soil and purifying the stream.  And he talked a little about his other projects, including a recovered vineyard (in Boston, so I assumed in the dream, and out), which had just produced its first wines.

He then pulled a bottle of red wine and a glass out of ...his hat, I guess, poured and offered me a taste.

It was terrible, and I said so.

Whereupon, he threw away the red wine, leaving a coating of red on the inside of the glass; produced a bottle of white wine and poured it into the same glass.  And I thought, this is a test, right?

Nonetheless, I sipped, expecting it to be doubly awful.

"This is good!" I exclaimed.  "It tastes like oranges."

"Does it?"  He took the glass and had a sip.  Eyebrows went up.  "This is quite pleasant.  Here, brother," he says to Er Thom, offering the glass.  "Try."

Er Thom gives him a look that says, I cannot BELIEVE you're asking me to do this, but he takes the glass and has a sip, and his eyebrows go up.

"It is good," he said.

And here the dream ended, because the cats, who giveth the dreams and taketh them away -- specifically Mozart and Trooper -- were having a discussion about who got to sleep with me now, and woke me up in the process.

Trooper was sitting by my knee, apparently thinking he was going to settle down against my stomach, but he hesitated too long, and Mozart marched in front of him, plopped down on my shoulder, stuck his nose under my chin and commenced into purring.  Loudly.  Trooper sat there, then he began to purr, too, and curled up next to my knees.

The combined purring put me to sleep, but if I dreamed any more during the remainder of the night, I don't remember.

. . .and how did you sleep last night?

The view from my keyboard

view from space by rainbow graphics

Trooper, hard at work Photo by Sharon Lee

Trooper, hard at work,
with his toes like a catcher's mitt.
Photo by Sharon Lee

You know that day?

Caution: Writing Ahead

You know the day when you started out to do A Particular Thing, but there was a deadlined project in email and you thought it wouldn't take more than an hour, but it took until past lunch, and then you thought that the solution to the WordPress problem -- which is STILL borked, btw -- was to change the theme, but it wasn't, but now you have a new theme, which you don't particularly like, and all of your menus were scrod, and you *had* to fix that and it would only take a couple minutes, except it wound up taking two hours, and then you had to vacuum the house, which you've been putting off for, um...and it would only take five minutes, except then the roller was fouled with cat hair and you had to take it apart, and clear the hair, and then put it back together, and for ghu's sake, who takes an hour and a half to vacuum the house? And then the dishes had to be done, because you'd put them off, too? And suddenly it was time to knock off for the evening, because Things tomorrow, and you never did get that One Particular Thing you absolutely needed to do today done?

I've just had that day.

WordPress borked

view from space by rainbow graphics

Well…I was going to write about the day, which was a day that should have produced answers, but didn’t. And a day in which Steve and I took the long way round to Augusta, through Rome and North Belgrade, eventually arriving at the Barnes and Noble, where we Browsed Extensively. I really miss the chairs in BN; remember when BN had chairs so you didn’t have to sit on the floor to go through the books you accumulated to decided which one, if not all, you wanted to buy?

Well, anyway.

After we’d browsed to our hearts’ content and our pocketbooks’ dismay, we lunched at Rooster’s (grilled cheddar cheese, bacon, and avocado sandwich for me; Steve had haddock and cheddar on a bulky roll), then proceeded home in a leisurely manner. Because of this perambulating journey, I am able to report that Snow Pond is still mostly frozen, as is Belgrade Lake.

I hope everyone had a pleasant Friday and will have a pleasant weekend and I hope to be able to do updates in a regular manner here soon.

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


I'm back from the dentist, where Minou the fur-coat-bear* was a Big Hit.  I did not take the Valium before the appointment, though I had it with me, In Case.  As it turned out, I didn't need it; the appointment was Very Brief -- a matter of grinding down about four teeth and polishing everything to a high shine.  The recommended braces being out of the question, this ends the current Dental Adventure.  I do need to see the hygienist again in another three months, but I expect to have positive news, then.

So that.


1.  There's a new Liaden story up at Splinter Universe, the title is "Roving Gambler," and it's set on Surebleak.  Here's your link.

2.  An oldie-but-goodie.  The following is a reprint of a post made in this blog in November of 2013.  We have not changed our minds.

Don’t write and post fan fiction of our work.

The following is Lee and Miller specific, and it has been our stance for more than a decade.  It’s not new, and it’s not a secret.  Other writers have other stances and opinions.  When in doubt — ask.

I know it’s a popular belief among many of the fan-fiction community that fan fiction does not hurt the parent work, that it provides much-needed publicity to the parent work, that it does not infringe the copyright or trademark of the parent work, and that the authors of the parent work can’t stop it, anyway.

Three of these four beliefs are just that — beliefs.  They can no more be proven than can our belief that fan fiction materially harms the parent work — especially a parent work which is still evolving — provides no useful publicity, and does, indeed, infringe on the copyright and the trademark of the parent work.  Note that we are talking about our own works here — see disclaimer, above.

To the fourth point, that authors are powerless to prevent fan fiction authors from ficcing whatever they want to — that’s perfectly true.  Common courtesy would seem to dictate that the wishes of the author of the parent work be respected, however.  So, we would ask for common courtesy.

3.  For those who have friends that they need to addict to the Liaden Universe®, the ebook editions of Agent of Change and Fledgling are available as free! downloads from All of the Usual Suspects.  I think you know what to do.

. . .and that's it.  I would like to point out that I have three coon cats in my office as I type this, all of them projecting Professional Level Sleep Rays.  And that my writing goal on the day is at least 2,000 words.

Right, then.  More coffee.

See y'all later.

*Minou is actually constructed from an old fur coat.  There was a woman in Winslow who was making fur-coat-bears and selling them through Back Door to the Moon, the local Pagan shop.  BDttM is long gone, and I don't know what outlet, if any, there now is for fur-coat-bears.  Minou was a Yule gift to me from Steve.

In which we go adventuring

Snow goddess

Check me on this:  Today is April 16, yes?


Well, on the overnight -- that would be the night of April 15 -- it snowed, and when I awoke this morning at Ohghod o'clock, necessary because of those appointments and errands we had discussed in this space yesterday, there was three inches of fresh snow between me and my car -- and also, of course on the car.

But, wait, there's more!

It had rained like a sonofagun all day yesterday, which meant that there was a nice coating of ice beneath the snow.

So, I made it to my early medical appointments on time, by leaving very early, even by my standards.  By the time I was in town proper, the roads were in pretty good shape -- slushy, but doable -- but out in our neck of the woods, things were still a little dicey when I left, even though the town plow had been through.

The medical stuff went along pretty quickly.  I did have a little bit of downtime in the waiting room, where I wrote 68 words in longhand, which points up an existing scene and makes it more poignant (yes, you WILL cry).  This was, may I just add, My Entire Writing Output for the Day.

That taken care of, I motored over to Selah Tea for a long-delayed breakfast and coffee!  Veggie frittata FTW!  After that, I walked down to gym, then 'round the corner to Universal Bread Bakers, to take on a loaf of whole wheat bread, still hot.  ("If it survives the day," says Adrian the baker, "just put it in a plastic bag.  It will stay fresh."  Yes, well.  It may survive the day. . .)

Next stop was the Framemakers, where I arrived amid scaffoldings and glaziers.  It would seem that last night after the bars had closed, someone decided to karate-kick the plate glass windows at the front of the store (where artworks and pottery are often on display), connected, and shattered the whole -- including the rounded corner of antique glass that, as it was discovered later, cannot be replaced, because no one in Maine does that kind of work anymore.  The slightly good news is that the gentleman was caught by the police, and conducted to jail, where he's reportedly charged with a felony, because -- antique, irreplaceable glass.

I left the cover art for Carousel Seas in Amy's capable hands for framing, and hope soon to have it on my wall with the cover art for its sister books.

After that, it was just cleaning up the minor errands, and I was home in time to have a late-ish lunch of soup and salad and -- still warm! -- bread with Steve.

Tomorrow, Minou the fur coat bear and I assay the dentist for what one devoutly hopes is the last in a series.  Then, I really need to get some writing done.

So!  What've you been doing on this beautiful spring day?


"Roving Gambler," a Liaden Universe® story set on Surebleak, is now up at Splinter Universe, for your reading pleasure.  Here's your link.

Today was supposed to be a sit-on-the-couch-and-push-words-through-the-laptop sort of day, since tomorrow is so crammed with medical appointments and Other Stuff that I'm not going to have time read, much less write.

I must remember not to say these things when the gods might hear.  No sooner had I opened the laptop then I was beset by a Plague of Technology, mostly brought on by the bevy of passwords I changed the other day, some of which did not migrate to the laptop, while some...did.  No, I don't even care why that was so at this point in the game.  Then there was the tiny fact that ESET was going to expire tomorrow, so I had a little bit of fun dealing with that.  And then the cover art for Carousel Seas arrived from the artist, Eric Williams, which -- yay!  And now I can add, "Go to Framemakers" to my still-growing list of Things To Do Tomorrow.  At this rate, by the time I finish Wednesday's business, it'll be Thursday.

Or possibly Friday.

So, the plan now is to go back to the couch and work on the chapter regarding Chesselport and What Befell The Apprentice Trader There, and remember not to work too late, because I have to get up at omyghod o'clock tomorrow morning in order to make the first medical appointment.

But!  Before I go, have a picture of some cats, sleeping.

Group Nap Sprite and Trooper Photo by Sharon LeeGroup Nap, Sprite and Trooper
Photo by Sharon Lee

The title of today's blog post AND the title of the short story are from "Roving Gambler."  For those who don't know it, here's a link to the song.

Books read in 2014

readbooks from furriboots

15.  Nine Princes in Amber, Roger Zelazny (re-read aloud w/Steve)
14. Code Name Verity, Elizabeth Wein
13.  Ghost Point, James A. Hetley, manuscript (read aloud w/Steve)
12.  Peacemaker, C.J. Cherryh (read aloud w/Steve)
11. The Red Hot Empress, Meredith Blevins
10. Hogfather, Terry Pratchett
9.  Black Widow: The Name of the Rose, Marjorie Liu, Daniel Acuna
8.  Agent of Change, Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (e)
7.  The Emperor's Agent, Jo Graham (e)
6.  Eternity and a Day, Aline Hunter (e)
5.  Kindred Rites, Katharine Eliska Kimbriel (e)
4.  Billy the Kid, the Endless Ride, Michael Wallis
3.  The Steerswoman, Rosemary Kirstein (e)
2.  Uncovered, Jordan Matter
1.  Dancers Among Us, Jordan Matter

Books read in 2014

readbooks from furriboots

14. Code Name Verity, Elizabeth Wein
13.  Ghost Point, James A. Hetley, manuscript (read aloud w/Steve)
12.  Peacemaker, C.J. Cherryh (read aloud w/Steve)
11. The Red Hot Empress, Meredith Blevins
10. Hogfather, Terry Pratchett
9.  Black Widow: The Name of the Rose, Marjorie Liu, Daniel Acuna
8.  Agent of Change, Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (e)
7.  The Emperor's Agent, Jo Graham (e)
6.  Eternity and a Day, Aline Hunter (e)
5.  Kindred Rites, Katharine Eliska Kimbriel (e)
4.  Billy the Kid, the Endless Ride, Michael Wallis
3.  The Steerswoman, Rosemary Kirstein (e)
2.  Uncovered, Jordan Matter
1.  Dancers Among Us, Jordan Matter

In which the Princess is comfy

view from space by rainbow graphics

I'm really glad I had the foresight to buy those slippers for Sprite.

The shoes fit, apparently. Princess Jasmine Sprite,  April 12 2014 Photo by Sharon Lee

The shoes fit, apparently.
Princess Jasmine Sprite,
April 12 2014
Photo by Sharon Lee

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