Sharon Lee

is creating worlds with words




per month

About Sharon Lee

When last we visited our intrepid authors...

...they were embarking on an ambitious schedule of presenting a podcast for our patrons every month.  This schedule held for...two months.

*glyph of writers, being apologetic*

Our excuse is that 2019 did not read the script we sent it in the last quarter of 2018 -- the one in which we were going to spend a quietly productive year at home, re-energizing ourselves, and, um, regularizing our schedules.

Here's what happened, instead.

We've been having a fairly busy year here at the Cat Farm and Confusion Factory, including finishing two novels and multiple short stories, and dealing with the aftermath of the death of Sharon's sister in December of 2018 and her father's cancer and death soon after, in March. Along the way (as we write in October) we've also had 3 hospital visits ourselves for "procedures" -- Steve had his ICD (it keeps his heart beating properly!) replaced on short notice in February and Sharon had some tests in early October and then on October 18th had her left foot and several toes operated on.

The good news is that Steve's recovery was quick. By April his schedule was back to normal. In Sharon's case.... not so fast. The foot operation means that she needs to spend around 8 weeks off her foot -- yes, putting no weight on it whatsoever. It also means keeping her foot elevated for most hours of the day; her base of operations has been moved from her office to a "command chair" recliner purchased for this purpose and she's spending a fair amount of her time napping with the cats and recovering from the various family problems previously mentioned.

Though the basic medical parts of the year's busyness are covered by insurance, both the family things and the medical have arrived with unexpected and even unexpectable expenses; the surgeon recommended command chair, a laptop so she can work from the command chair (her ancient Chromebook having died in the lead-up to the surgery), a rack to keep bed sheets and covers from tangling in the pins temporarily protruding from Sharon's toes, a sporty "kneerover" which permits Sharon to move around one floor of the house between living room, bathroom, and bedroom... and related pads, covers, a nifty ramp in and out of the house, and other etceteras not in the year's starting budget.

The work of the house goes on; cats are being fed, people are being fed, the next contracted novel is underway, and travel plans for next year are being pursued -- as program participants at Boston's Boskone 57 in February and as Guests of Honor at AlbaCon 2020 in Albany, New York in September. Still, the budget has taken a beating and the credit cards are groaning somewhat under the load. Support here on Patreon has already assisted in making the command chair possible but with the freelance novelist's usual nearly random schedule of payments being at war with the monthly credit card and power bills (not to mention quarterly taxes and water bills!) additional support will make the coming holidays easier on all of us -- and permit the writing of novels to proceed under more comfortable conditions. Do watch -- we have some more Lee & Miller items to share here as we shake off this year's strains.

Thank you all for your support, your patience, and your continued interest in our work, our cats, and our goings-ons.

Steve, and for Sharon
February 4, 2019

New podcast for subscribers:  Steve Reads "Breath's Duty"


Steve and Sharon

January 10, 2019
New podcast for subscribers:  Steve reads "A Choice of Weapons".


Steve and Sharon

November 4, 2018

New post for subscribers:  What's been happening at the Cat Farm and Confusion Factory, anyway?

January 7, 2018

New podcast for subscribers only!  Steve reads "Cutting Corners," the teaser story for The Gathering Edge, which was published at in April 2017.


Steve and Sharon
October 21, 2017

New podcast for subscribers only!  Sharon reads from Neogenesis!

Thank you all for your patience -- and enjoy!

Sharon and Steve

July 30, 2017

There is a new podcast up for Patreon supporters -- - also! we've unlocked three past podcasts, so that anyone can hear them.

Thank you all -- and enjoy!

Sharon and Steve
July 27, 2017

Holy cats, you did it!

Thank you so very much to everyone who has pitched in to help us meet our goal this month!
Sharon and Steve

April 7, 2017
We have an Updated Goal!

Here it is:
Our new, expanded goal is $2500 a month in Patreon support. Yes, that's a boost, a necessary boost, in the goals.  We'd like to say that we're looking to go to the Bahamas with the money, but – nothing so romantic, nor so warm.

What we'd like to do is finish catching up various medical-and-dental expenses.

These include paying for the long term costs of replacing Steve's decade old "permanent" dental implants, which began failing last year*. These "dental issues" are not covered by standard health care, so that means we pay for them out of pocket. In case you were wondering, teeth aren't cheap.

Covering Sharon's monthly health insurance bill is also part of this grand plan. We thought we'd be able to finagle the budget by dropping down to a so-called Bronze Plan from Silver (the plan she had been on increased by nearly $300 per month in January), accepting a higher-out-of-pocket for a lower (but still higher than last year's Silver) monthly payment, and gambling that there would be no reason to go calling on doctors.

You know what they say about gambling…

So, this is our clever plan:

Patrons will have special early access to one (or both) of us reading a chapter, a short story, a poem several times a month (right now, given doctor's appointments, Random Is, but we'll shoot for every other week). Ambient cat noises supplied at no extra charge. The reading will be posted here, first, and eventually – after a month or two – migrate to Splinter Universe, for the Edification of All.
We expect to post our first reading installment on April 15, 2017, to give USian patrons something to look forward to on Income Tax Day.

*When that which is Permanent turns out Not To Be Permanent:

Many years ago elementary school age Steve was in a traumatic sledding accident, being the last sled in a whip of a half dozen or more sleds. He ended up striking a telephone pole, absorbing quite a bit of that energy head on, resulting in emergency surgery on his mouth and latent jaw issues which led eventually to major dental problems. About twelve years ago he – and we – embarked on a rather extensive (and expensive) remediation during the course of which portions of his mouth was reconstructed through surgery and the addition of permanent dental implants anchored in three places over the course of several years. That rebuild was finished about ten years ago, and was said to be a lifetime fix.

Several years ago the more minor of those three implants failed. The situation was deemed stable after his prosthetic was reconfigured but we were warned at the time that a certain number of implants do fail and not all the reasons are known. Last November, during a trip out of state, one of the remaining major implants failed in a fashion that endangered the remaining one and after several visits with experts it was determined that the implant specialist who'd performed the initial implants would arrange to replace both of the implants with the most up-to-date available implants, the cost to include a significant discount allowance for the inconvenience. Even with the discount the cost will be in the thousands for what should, again, be a lifetime investment. 

December 3, 2015

It's in!  It's up!  It's ready to rumble!

. . .and I do mean rumble.

We want to thank all of you so much for helping us go forward with this big step.  Not only did you give us encouragement, you gave us the confidence  we needed to commit to such a large, expensive project.  Knowing that we will be able to pay this off by the end of next year is almost as comforting as knowing that the heat and the lights will stay on here at the Cat Farm and Confusion Factory, even if the lines go down.

Here are pictures of our new, fully operational generator.  We're thinking of calling it "Patreon."  "Pat," for short.

The view from the side:

The view from the front:

* * *

Winter is coming.  You heard it here first.

Back in April, after urging from some of you, our readers, Steve and I started this Patreon account -- as an experiment, mostly.  We didn't know where it would go, and we were, yes, hesitant.  We had talked about the idea, walked around it, and put it aside a couple times until, during one of the cash-flow pauses that tend to hit freelancers, we went for it – and you responded, with verve. Many thanks! You -- all of you -- helped us tremendously in the intervening months, and we greatly appreciate the steady support.

In the interim we'd been looking to sell our house in the country, and buy another, closer to -- or even in! -- civilization, but a series of unexpected medical costs kind of scotched the cash-flow, and seriously depleted the money we'd saved to move.  Family necessities also arose this year, and -- long story short -- we've taken our house off the market, just in time for fall to be peering over our shoulders looking to become a hard, wet, and cold winter powered by a potential record-setting El Nino, with us living no closer to the city than we were last year when the house went on the market.

While we'll be able to stock up on cat food, water, wine, and people food for a long, strong winter, what we won't be able to stock up on is another necessity for our net-connected household: electricity. Back in the mid-90s, the last time a mega El Nino visited, we were in the epicenter of the ice-storm that blacked out large portions of New England and Canada for days – in fact, we here at the Cat Farm and Confusion Factory were without power for well over a week, the electric and cable lines down for more than 7 miles in all directions.  We were melting ice (harvested with hammers from the windshields of our cars!) on the woodstove for hot water, and eating such things as could be heated out of cans on the top of the (propane) stove, having lost all the food in the fridge.

It was, yes, a Grand Adventure, and gave us a real sense of how simple life can be, when all you have to worry about along the day is staying warm.

So, considering that Winter is on the way, we're hoping to add a generator here, one able to automatically power the house if (when) the lines go down. Our well and baseboard heat depend on electricity as well as the refrigerator, and our computers.  It's been almost 20 years since that really long outage, and we're no longer the young folk we were then – tramping a quarter mile in a blizzard to get extra firewood from a kind neighbor is no longer as. . .adventuresome as it was.

We are, therefore, announcing A Goal!

We'd like to see the monthly support level rise to $2000*, so that we can install a moderate-sized permanent home generator, and pay it off within 24 months.

Thank you all for your support and your company down the long, strange road we've decided to walk.

Sharon and Steve

*Multiply by .12 for fees, subtract from total, multiply the result by 0.6 for taxes,  to get an idea of what we get to use after taxes and fees.  For instance:  $1869 x 0.12 = $224; $1869--$224 = $1645; $1645 x 0.6 = $987 comes into the authors' checkbook.

$3,000 - reached! per month
Cat food. 

By which we mean to say, "stability."  We are fortunate that we have been able to support ourselves for years now as freelance writers.  We could not have done this without our readers, and we are grateful for each and every one of you.

Still, as pleased as we are to have the opportunity to tell the stories we want to tell -- and be paid for doing so! -- the hard truth remains that freelancers in traditional publishing get a paycheck roughly twice a year.  Not only that, but the amount of our payment remains a mystery until the checks arrive.  Sometimes, the amount is. . .gratifying.  Sometimes, not so much.  We're not telling you anything new, here; all creative folk have these problems.

But while we're getting paid every six months, the mortgage wants a monthly sacrifice, the waterworks wants its payment quarterly, the cats want to be fed daily -- and don't even get us started on the rising costs of cat litter.

So, contributions help keep the lights on, the water flowing, the cats happy -- and also helps us cope with  bouts of instability, like a sudden acute bathroom upgrade, the installation of a new furnace, and the unlooked-for extra costs attendant upon surgery.

We thank you for your contribution, for your support, your patience, and your time.

For those keeping track at home, we've just handed in Trader's Leap, the 23rd novel of the Liaden Universe®, and have begun work on the next book, the as-yet title-free sequel to Trade Secret. We have four more books under contract.  Assuming a book published once a year, the last of those novels will be published in 2024.
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Audio release
By becoming a patron, you'll instantly unlock access to 69 exclusive posts
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