Worries I Can’t Mention

I didn’t get around to writing a post last weekend, because something happened the Thursday before that really had my wife and I worried, and kept us worried right through the weekend and into the early part of last week. And while I know you’re dying to know what that was, I can’t say. Not yet. Expect a post dedicated to that story sometime in the future. All will be revealed.

For now, though, I am able to report that things on the day-job front have settled down significantly in the last week. The Inherited Project From Hell is up and running in a production environment, and should soon be completely live (if you’re into river boating in the north-western states, you might even brush up against it indirectly). The other projects seem to be well under control.

What of writing work? Well, GB2 has had little progress made (last week’s worries meant I wasn’t able to focus on writing work at all—I spent much of the time playing computer games to take my mind off things). The plan is to get a couple of hours in on that over this weekend. The Voyage of Valerie McGrath has cleared line editing and gone to final approval. And the Top Secret Writing Project has had nothing done to it at all.

And so the plans for today: get some tea, and spend a little while on the GB2 timeline. Time to get to it. Until next time . . .

Feeling Better, Thanks

I’m just about over the worst cold I can remember having in quite a while. Normally I don’t get sick—or to be more accurate, I don’t get knocked flat by the symptoms as badly as most people do—but this one has been a doozy. It hit me Thursday, got worse Friday (which was also my and Kate’s wedding anniversary, so my plans to go out for a nice dinner went sideways), then pretty much laid me out Saturday—I spent most of the day in bed. Does a cold cause fever? I didn’t think so, but my temperature hit 102°F at one point; maybe it wasn’t just a cold.

This morning I’m feeling a lot better. A little shivery, and occasional dizzy spells if I stand up too quick, and I feel tired despite sleeping well—but no more sneezy, drippy stuff. A few people on Twitter sent me some get-well wishes, and I appreciate it; thank you to all.

One more rest day and I should be fine. And that’s good, because tomorrow I’m going to need my strength. The inherited project from hell, even though it now appears to be working adequately, still needs more work. But enough of that for now; I don’t want to even think about it today.

What I do want to think about, and actually make some progress on, is project codename GB2, the sequel to Mr. Gunn & Dr. Bohemia. My content editor sent through some more comment markups on the timeline, but thanks to the day-job overload and then the bout of illness I haven’t had a chance to take more than a little look. In a little bit I’m going to get busy reviewing those. And so without further ado, it’s time to grab a coffee and get geared up. Until next time . . .


. . . and about time, too. The last few weeks have been far too busy, and to be honest I can use a break. We lost another developer last week—one who’d taken on one of the projects I’d worked on for a while—which means I got that project back on my plate. Lucky for me, it only has about four problems that need fixing, and three of those should be pretty easy to deal with. The bigger, more messy project (the one I mentioned in the previous post) seems to be coming together at last, in that it looks like the worst of the mess is cleaned up, and the thing seems to be working a lot more reliably.

Which means I’ve had a bit more time to work on writing projects, and I haven’t been quite so whacked by the time I get home that I haven’t had the energy to do something useful. And that’s meant that, at last, I was able to finish a major editing pass on The Voyage of Valerie McGrath this week (even though it took far longer than it should have). No bad thing, considering the deadline for content editing is less than a week away. (Stop press: email from editor telling me it’s gone off to line editing. Phew!)

The plan for this coming week, then: top priority, deal with any more editing on McGrath that comes back from my line editor as and when. Next priority, back to working on the sequel to Mr. Gunn & Dr. Bohemia. My editor on that one came back with a herd of comments on the timeline, so I’ll be addressing those first, and I expect that to take all of this week at the very least.

And from experience, I’ll refrain from making any plans beyond that. Plans have a habit of getting changed or thrown out completely, in many cases before they’ve even been set in motion properly. Sometimes it’s better to just take it one day at a time.

Half Day? Not So’s You’d Notice…

The day job has been driving me pretty batty the last few weeks. Among other things I’ve been putting in some long hours to fix problems left behind by people who’ve left. To be more precise, most of the problems were left by just one guy, who left a project in such a messed up state that the only real way to fix it would be to throw it in the trash and start over. Unfortunately that isn’t an option. I’m stuck with patching the thing up with the software equivalent of duct tape. Right now it’s clunking along like a wagon with square wheels, and every day another problem shows up needing fixing.

Three or four weeks ago I put in about twelve extra hours, so I’d planned on taking the following Thursday afternoon and all day Friday off. It never happened; the problems just kept coming, and I had no choice but to continue working on them. This week was much the same—I’ve worked an extra four hours, so I’d planned on working this morning then having an easy afternoon (or rather, spending a few hours editing The Voyage of Valerie McGrath). I should have known better. It ended up being an eleven hour day (thanks to which I’ve missed another release party for one of the other Xchyler authors, damn it), and somehow I also got myself signed up to put in some more hours over the weekend. I must be nuts.

What’s really crazy about the whole situation is that I’ve been working on a design for this whole thing that would solve all the problems. It’s modular, it’s clean, it’s efficient and would be easy to maintain—and I could probably develop the entire thing, end-to-end, in no more than three or four weeks. So far, keeping this steaming pile clunking along has taken more than that, and there’s no end in sight. Please, dear employer, if you’re reading this, consider letting me build the thing so we can dump the current train-wreck in the garbage where it belongs.

I should get into some editing now, but it’s 8:30pm and I’ve had enough. My brain is fried. I need tea, and to watch a movie (Sherlock Holmes, with Downey and Law, methinks) then get some well-deserved sleep. Tomorrow, on with short-story editing.

I’m looking forward to a day when I can write a blog post about writing, and editing, and story lines, instead of day job concerns that are dogging my every waking moment. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, though. This can’t go on much longer . . .