Celebrating Steve Miller

Here’s a place to share your memories of Steve Miller.

Below is one of my favorite photos of Steve, with his playfulness front and center.

Picture of a man in a green denim shirt, with rainbow suspenders, camera around his neck wearing a hat, and leaning on a large route sign that says "15 END"

Steve Miller at the end of Maine State Route 15, in Stonington, Maine, October 10, 2021. Photo by Sharon Lee


34 comments to Celebrating Steve Miller

  • Gregory Sparks  says:

    I enjoyed his stories. He is missed.

  • Carol Briscoe  says:

    First encountered Steve on LIVE JOURNAL. Think my 1st comment was: are you the author of CARPE DIEM? And why no more books about Miri and ValCon?
    And then chapters of FLEDGLING would appear, we fans would read, critique, and thru Patreon, contribute to the next month’s chapter. Those days were such fun. We saw FLEDGLING & SALUTATION published this way.
    Thanks Steve, Sharon, for never giving up on your dreams

    • Marti Panikkar  says:

      I remember those days – sending a donation and salivating for the next chapter!! The memories and wonders Steve and Sharon created together will never die, but I do miss him.

  • Kristen B.  says:

    I always enjoyed seeing him “like” or comment on a FB post about the Orioles. It was great fun to know that one of my favorite authors also was a fan of my favorite team. This season should be one to remember and I’m sad that this fellow fan won’t be around to cheer on our Birds. I will, of course, also greatly miss his posts and sly wit.

  • Tom Easton  says:

    IN MEMORIAM Steve Miller, 1950-2024

    Steve Miller and Sharon Lee have long been known for their popular Liaden Universe stories. Both have written other things as well. Even before that, Steve was the founding president of the Infinity Circle, UMBC’s (University of Maryland, Baltimore County) first science fiction club and founding Curator of UMBC’s Albin O. Kuhn Library & Gallery’s science fiction research collection.
    Steve also deserves to be remembered as a pioneer of digital publishing. In 1990, he came up with “disk-top publishing” as the perfect moniker for publishing books (SF and other) on computer disks. Floppies, even! He even founded his own disk-top operation, BPLAN Virtuals, using Ted Husted’s IRIS software as a reader interface. By the next year, he had a number of titles available, including the Disk-Top Science Fantasy Reader, Disk-Top Horror Reader, and Disk-Top Writer’s Guide anthologies, his and Sharon Lee’s own Gnothi-Kairon novella (set in the Space Rogues universe), and their Kinzel collection (as well as a novella of my own, Alien Resonance).
    The disk-top publishing term soon became enshrined in the name of the Disktop Publishing Association. By 1993, disk-top action was showing up on Genie. But in that same year, even as the Internet was staggering to its feet, the Disktop Publishing Association became the Digital Publishing Association.
    E-books have come a long way since then. But the pioneers should not be forgotten. Honor Steve Miller’s memory!

  • AlmaAlexander  says:

    He was probably instrumental (and inspirational) in helping me to begin to share my life with a Maine Coon cat. Aside from all that though he was a thoughtful and kind person – I remember con breakfasts with Steve-and-sharon that live in my memory long after many other such shared meals with other people have left the building…

  • Rose Danek  says:

    I did not personally know Steve, but his stories (especially the Liaden series written with Sharon) meant so much to me and I feel his loss as do so many other fans. The universe is a smaller place. My heart goes out to Sharon.

  • Paula Lieberman  says:

    I remember Steve demonstrating how to move around in a house with multiple large affectionate cats, by keeping one’s feet as close together as possible. He did that at a talk and book signing at the Burlington, MA, Bornes& Noble.

  • Walt Boyes  says:

    I didn’t meet Steve and Sharon physically very often—a couple of Friends of Liad breakfasts, Balticon a couple of times, but for years on Facebook. I was one of the small legion of people who called Toni Weisskopf at Baen to tell her that Meisha Merlin Publishing had failed and Steve and Sharon were greatly in need of a new publisher. I remember when Steve made a mad dash in a U-Haul truck to Atlanta to retrieve as many Liaden Universe books as he could fit before Meisha Merlin’s receiver in bankruptcy torched, dumped, or sold them. I sent him money for gas, because I knew it was needed, and I wanted the Liaden Universe to survive—after all, I’ve been a fan since the day Agent of Change was released.
    Steve and Sharon are part of that small group of writers (and publishers) that have influenced me and taught me how to be a good writer and editor, and publisher. Sharon and Steve, Eric Flint, Mercedes Lackey, Rosemary Edghill, Jim Baen. I hope I’ve been a good pupil and done well with what they’ve taught me.
    Steve and Sharon taught me how to manage a fan base. It isn’t easy, and it involves being open publicly to a great extent. I always admired Steve’s ability to maintain an even strain while being pursued stage left by screaming fans.
    Having been married for the past 11 years to another writer and editor, Joy Ward, I have long admired Sharon and Steve’s vastly longer marriage for its stability.
    Ave atque Vale, Steve. And may the Goddess bless Sharon who has to stay behind for a time. After my first wife passed, I had to do all the things she is doing to pack up, clean up, and wind up the loose threads Steve left. It is hard, hard. Blessed be.

  • Vicki Fletcher  says:

    I have been reading Lee and Miller since Meisha Merlin days and with every novel become more entranced with their world building, sense of wonder and magic, and creative idea exploration! Steve’s legacy will live on long, as will the amazing people and places that were born in his mind. Sharon had an equal measure in them, but surely this is a case of the end result being greater than the sum of the parts! An amazing partnership and synergy! May his influence continue to create amazing tales. Part of Steve remains forever in those who remember him.

  • Jan Schroeder  says:

    I very much wish I’d known Steve better. We first encountered each other via Facebook and I enjoyed his posts about trains, cats, day lilies, and more. I was fortunate to meet him (and Sharon) and hear a reading at a con in NJ in April 2023 and it was a really nice weekend. I’ll treasure the “I met Steve Miller” badge ribbon (and ditto Sharon) from that con.

    Rest, well, Steve. You lived a good life and you and your work will long be remembered.

  • Joan Marie Verba  says:

    Steve was always supportive of my publishing efforts, for which I am grateful. Both of us participated in operating independent publishing companies and publishing our own works through them. We found that we had common experiences and challenges. We connected in that way and had instructive conversations. I will miss him, and extend all my best to Sharon.

  • Sharon  says:

    Steve had the skill and generosity to co create a universe filled with honor, loyalty, love that is willing to work hard and walk difficult roads, humor, and truly evil folk that make me want to hiss aloud. He wrote about the effects of war so clearly that I have shared quotes with my soldier clients. And he wrote hope. That’s a rare gift that I will treasure.

    From Catherine Taylor

  • David Mattingly  says:

    Steve and Sharon are master storytellers, and I was lucky enough to be assigned 16 of Sharon and Steve’s covers at Baen Books. From an illustrator’s perspective their books were a dream assignment—filled with great, scenes and fun, juicy narrative twists. In fact, the hardest thing about doing covers for their books was figuring out which scene to do. Also, since they had developed a full, detailed universe in the Liaden book series, I was also very concerned about getting the details right. That was where Steve and Sharon came in. They were always happy to answer questions about their books without interfering with the publishers needs, or my creative process. Every time I got assigned one of their books, I looked forward to reading it, and once again falling under their spell.
    I only met Steve and Sharon in person once last year at Heliosphere in New Jersey after years of being their illustrator. They were just as sweet and charming as I had expected, generous to fans, and always happy to talk about their work. They were very kind to me, and my wife Cathleen. It is especially hard to see the passing of someone who made such a contribution to the science fiction world, but his work will live on.

  • Melanie Stensrud  says:

    I had just gone through a big breakup in 1988 when the first books were published. With significant free time on my hands, reading focused me on something other than myself. Along came Miri, a tough, capable warrior. She reminded me I coould handle the current situation. Later that year, I bid on a new job, got hired, moved to Virginia, and met my husband of almost 33 years. Liad and all it’s wonderful stories have been a part of my life ever since. I am grateful to Steve and Sharon for the many years of fun.

  • Kathryn Whittington  says:

    I really don’t remember when I read my first Liaden book. It seems like they have been a part of my life forever. Nor do I remember when I started following both Steve and Sharon on Facebook. I do remember treasuring their day to day humor and wisdom. A couple of times I messaged Steve for information mentioned on one of their boards that was personal enough so I didn’t care to post it. To my delight he always answered and was always kind. I never met him. But to me he was a friend.

  • Barbara K.  says:

    Plan B? SinceSteve died that’s what I’ve decided I need – a plan – to deal with a world without Steve Miller. He was my friend I could tell anything and everything to. We went way back to when we were teens in Reisterstown, Md., and he was dating my sister. He was kind and supportive to her younger sister and her burgeoning interest in SF. He introduced me to Zelazny – for which I will always be grateful- his books and literally in person, when he was a guest at Steve’s SF class at UMBC. (Zelazny was working at SSA in Md., and it was the one time I ditched high school.)

    Through Steve, Sharon also became my friend, I came to appreciate how hard authors work, I attended cons in Boston, Buffalo, Chattanooga, North Carolina, and Florida, where they were guests, and became acquainted with other great authors, or their books at least. (Actually, nothing least about that.) He also let me name one of my cats after one of their characters … my sweet boy Cory.

    Every day I think about Steve and things I’d like to tell him – like how much I miss him and am grateful for his kind, generous, supportive friendship. My love to Sharon and their kitties. Barbara K.

  • Zuba  says:

    My favorite quote from the Liaden Universe;

    “Let us return to ‘No’ . It has the charm of brevity”
    Petrella Yos Galan
    Local Custom
    (book 5 Liaden Universe)

    By Sharon Lee & Steve Miller

    I first met Steve in the late 1980s, while he was a Librarian at Oakland Public Library. I was a Literacy Volunteer for adults there. We became fast friends over conversations about various works of Science Fiction.
    Later, I took my Children to Story Hour there. It was great camouflage for me; I was in the process of teaching myself to read again, after a severe brain injury. The irony! LOL! Steve was one of a very small circle of Friends who knew. I wanted so badly to read Their books!
    But the words just swam around on the page. They just Would NOT sit down in any kind of order. I was almost ready to give up on ever reading for pleasure again.
    It was Steve who suggested Large Print books and a Bookmarker with a cutout, the size of a single line of text. He made one for me, Right Then. And right then, he saved my life.
    Steve was a quietly kind man. He listened attentively, gave good counsel when asked, and was generously patient with the children of the library. He never made them feel stupid or small.
    The world is a better place because Steve was in it.
    My world is just a little bit dimmer for the loss of Him
    Until Soon, dear Friend. Until Soon.

  • Bridget Gehrling  says:

    I was washing up after dinner. I asked my smart speaker to play some John Prine.
    I had forgotten that
    Steve was responsible for introducing me to him & JJ Cale
    What odd timing our back brains have, eh
    I miss him already.
    Until Soon, dear Friend

  • Karen Bird  says:

    I had not met Steve or Sharon, but I am endlessly reading their books. I have been rereading the Liaden Universe again the last week (seventh time through), and I find myself feeling so much loss, even though it isn’t my loss. If that makes any sense.

  • Gareth Griffiths  says:

    Only met briefly at a con a few years ago but been facebook friends for many years with and shared comments with Sharon and Steve. Regularly re-read the Liaden books but also some of the earlier chapbooks and Kinzel stories. Always enjoyed reading his comments and love that Maine adopted Sharon and Steve. Loved the road trips and trips to the Ocean – hope Sharon will be able to keep doing that. Steve – you will be missed but your words will live a long time.

  • Rosemary Edghill  says:

    I don’t actually remember where I first met Steve (or SteveandSharon, as it usually was). I know it was at an East Coast SF Con, but beyond that, I cannot say. I suppose it’s odd to say that the two qualities I admired most about Steve were his humility and his arrogance, but allow me to explain from the point of view of a fellow toiler in the vineyard.

    The first two Liaden books were published by Del Rey, which then did not want any more, either because the imprint went under, or because (having published something quite unlike anyone had ever seen before) the sales numbers weren’t there.

    And that should have been that. Because new publishers just don’t pick up a series from another publisher. Liad was over. And Steve and Sharon loved that world like one of their cats.

    And yet. They didn’t stop. They didn’t slow down. Most of all, neither of them whined about the unfairness of life. They reached out to their fanbase (that’s you, folks) and they kept on Liadening. (Is that a word? Should it be?) In short, they did the work. And they kept on doing it no matter what curveballs were thrown their way with a grace few writers could equal. There’s the arrogance of it all. Or maybe you like “stubbornness” better. Or that fine Down East word “Grit”. Whichever it was, Steve had plenty of it.

    Then, eventually, after pitfalls and craziness, Baen picked up the series. And it flourished in all directions. And it was as solid and established as the Tree Itself. And the one thing you never heard was any crowing that they’d known Liad was going to be a success all along and they’d just had to outwit the yammerheads. And that there is the humility.

    And most of all, through every keystroke of the Liaden Universe, Steve and Sharon wrote as equals, sharing everything.

    We’ve lost a gentleman and a universe-builder. He will be missed.

  • K Watkins  says:

    Well, Sharon did say that solemnity needn’t be the order of the day. I met Steve and Sharon once at a con, and they were all that is gracious and friendly. Yet my strongest sense of connection (aside from the books themselves!!) comes of a snafu around the publication of Fledgling. So, a quick, light tale:
    I didn’t quite have whatever it took to join the on-line community that accompanied Sharon and Steve through the creation of Fledgling, but I early and eagerly paid to ensure that I’d get my copy as soon as it became available. The book came out, and I watched the mail; but … no copy for me. Eventually I nervously wrote to ask after it.
    Steve immediately replied, unmistakably laughing at himself even in email. My name is nearly the same as that of a certain minor celebrity and, distinctly pleased that this person was interested, he had sent the book there. The upshot is that I now have not only an autographed copy of Fledgling, but also the glee of Steve’s merriment upon imagining the recipient getting the book and wondering why on earth it had come. I win!

  • Douglas Campbell  says:

    Well Pilot, it has come to a parting of the ways.
    Fear not, the ship is on course, and there it stays.
    The crew thanks you for your wisdom and guidance
    As we continue on this Spiral Dance.

    I remember watching a Red Sox/Ravens game and seeing Steve’s posts on FB about it. We had a fun back and forth about him rooting for the Ravens since he was in Maine and I was in VA rooting for the Red Sox. I believe it made us both laugh and for that I am glad. He will be missed.

  • Thuy Le  says:

    The Liaden books were published when I was in highschool. I remember picking up that first book and losing myself in their world. After the first 3, I was so sad I couldn’t find more. Back then, it was a lot harder to find information about books and authors. Imagine my surprise and delight when I stumbled upon Plan B. I had followed them faithfully since. Hunting down copies of short stories in print and eventually meeting them at conventions.
    By nature, I am a bit of an introvert. Going to that first WorldCon was a leap of faith. I’m so glad I took that chance. I have made so many lifelong friends through the people that Steve and Sharon inspired with their writing. And I was fortunate enough to meet them. They have been kind and gracious and my life has been enriched by knowing them. I’m sad that I have not been able to attend a convention in these post Covid times. I hope to one day see Sharon again and meet up with other FOL friends. Best wishes Steve and Sharon, your memory will never be forgotten.

  • Patricia Bray  says:

    I “met” Sharon and Steve in February 1988 when I bought a copy of Agent of Change. I devoured the original Liaden trilogy and then for years each time I went into a bookstore I looked to see if there was a a new title.

    I met them in person at BucConner in 1998 and shared the excitement of fellow fans at the news that Plan B would be released by Meisha Merlin. Over the years we continued to meet up at East Coast cons. I remember Steve was ahead of his time, always alert to the newest trends in publishing and experimenting with new ways engage with their fans. Back when most of us were happy to simply have a website Steve was already advising us that smartphones were the next big thing and we needed to make our websites were mobile friendly.

    We stayed connected on social media, particularly in recent years when travel became more challenging. We shared common interest in trains, the sea coast, and the ups and downs of the baseball season. I had the opportunity to work with Steve and Sharon professionally, as they contributed stories for several of ZNB’s anthologies.

    I’m sorry that we won’t have a chance to connect in person, but will raise a glass to him next time I’m at a con. And I’m grateful that he left such a rich legacy of stories behind.

  • Craig Thomas  says:

    My condolences to his loved ones. I’ve enjoyed Steve and Sharon’s books for years. A much needed and loved escape from the stress of real life. The books are so good I can enjoy them every few years.

  • Amy Goldsmith  says:

    Steve’s and Sharon’s writing has been a joy for me during difficult times. Thank you. May his memory be a blessing.

  • Kathryn Sullivan  says:

    I’ve been a fan of the Liaden books for a long time. Steve and Sharon were a great inspiration to me, especially when I was later published by a small e-publisher and joined an organization of e-published authors. At a time when some were fearful or dismissive of ebooks, Steve understood the world of small press and e-publishing and was supportive. And kind. And helpful.

    Steve was also funny. His comments had that dry, understated humor that, after the initial laugh, you would go back and reread and smile at.

    All honor to him. He will be greatly missed.

  • Sarah F Bradley  says:

    I’m not a writer or published or editor or artist. I am, simply a reader. My late husband would say voracious reader. He’d be correct. I don’t remember how I first met Miri and Val Con, and through them Steve and Sharon. I am willing to bet though, that because writing tends towards “write what you know” that inside Miri and Val Con live Sharon and Steve. Or, maybe it’s the inverse?
    Regardless, the 4 of them have provided hours of solace, escape and friendship.
    As one widow to another, keep breathing. Cry when you need to. Know that you are lived by he who has gone before, and know that Steve is missed and remembered ebmvwn by those who have never met him.

  • Philip F Copenhaver  says:

    Oh Sharon, I’m so very sorry to hear the news; sending you my very best wishes and support in this challenging time. As a long-time fan of the Liadan universe, I have treasure the many wonderful stories that the two of you have created. I hope that you will be able to continue, in whatever way fits your life best.
    Many years ago, when the publishers were ‘in transition’, I accidentally happened to call (and talk with) Steve in phone person, who filled my in on the complexities you were facing– and very kindly sent out books that I was hoping for! I also greatly appreciated his taking the time to chat about various story lines, past and future. What an amazing world the two of you have created, it will continue to stay current in my heart and mind.
    I wish I was closer to your east coast domain to get to meet you in person, but I will continue to send my warm wishes and best thoughts for the future.

  • James Coe  says:

    Al’bresh venat’i, Sharon. I still have the Del Rey printing of Carpe Diem that first introduced me to the Liaden Universe. Thank you, Steve and Sharon, for the books full of love, honor, loyalty, and kindness. I reread them, and they bring me joy every time. Because of you, Val Con and his kin found me in difficult times, lent me hope, and ever after affect who I aspire to be.

  • Sam  says:

    I found the Liaden books late; I’m not sure how I missed them for years – but I was hooked from the start and finding out I had 20 or so to catch up on was the best kind of readership surprise. And I enjoyed them all! Know that his work has brought particular enjoyment in the world.

  • Christopher Weuve  says:

    A quick story. Not too long ago, I was going through a rough patch medically. Nothing too serious, but it was exhausting and I did not look or feel my best. (I looked worse than I was.) I helped do the technical side of an online book launch (Christie Meierz’s latest), and Steve and Sharon were guests.

    Afterward, Steve reached out out. He noticed that I “looked a little rough,” and he was concerned. I was very touched by this simple gesture.

    I miss him.

Leave a reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>