We Bought A House . . .

. . . which is why I’ve been so lax on the writing, blogging, tweeting, facebooking, and google-plussing (are these even words?) front over the last few days. Since we closed the deal and got the keys last Friday, it’s been all hands to the pumps—mowing grass, cleaning, painting, and doing some small fix-ups like fixing a broken door handle and getting the sprinklers working. So this is just a brief note while I sip the last of my coffee before I head back to the new place and carry on painting the porch. But I’m planning on being a bit more active on the Twitter front at least, while I do some more odd-jobbing. There might even be photos! Follow @PeteFordWriter as I take on the second coat, and maybe even scrub the garage floor. Go on, you know you want to.

I have ten minutes . . .

. . . while I wait for dinner at the fast food joint. I’m posting from my phone, so this will be short.

The time line for the Mr. Gunn & Dr. Bohemia sequel is coming along. I expect to have the first pass done tomorrow.

Now, I know I said I’d quit playing World of Warcraft a long time back. Well, I couldn’t resist—I bought the latest expansion pack the other day, and started playing last night. Not playing when I should be writing takes self-discipline but so far hasn’t been an issue.

Right, food should be ready in a minute or two. Posting.

[Update: that entry was something of an experiment, to test publishing a post from my phone. Not too successful; the formatting was off and even the title got screwed up somehow. I probably won’t do that again.]

Storytime

It’s been a while since I posted, and since that last one—despite what I said about getting properly back to work on the Mr. Gunn & Dr. Bohemia sequel—I haven’t been able to find as much time as I’d hoped. Until today, that is. Today I was able to spend several hours tweaking the timeline and putting in some changes that I’d made notes about. I’m very pleased that I’ve been able to make some real progress at last.

(Now, a small confession: I’ve been watching Breaking Bad some of the time when I could, and should, have been working on the story. I can’t help it that the show is addictive. But we watched the last episode of the final season yesterday, so that won’t be happening again.)

There’s good news, though. The timeline is in fact mostly complete, in that all of the major story elements are in place. (And for some of this I give thanks to my editor, who scanned an early snapshot of the timeline when I got stalled, and asked some questions that highlighted places that needed work, and so helped me get moving again.)

Most of what I was doing today involved working out when each scene takes place and making sure that things fit, and making corrections when they didn’t (for example, I found one scene with two secondary characters going to the theatre when everyone else would have been eating breakfast). I’m a little bit short of halfway through that process, and I expect to get finished tomorrow. After that comes another pass of the story to make sure everything makes sense and that questions raised in early scenes get answered by the end. And I know that the ending scenes need some work—what’s there now seems rushed, with too much happening in just a couple of scenes. Those need to be broken up and spread out a little so that it doesn’t all come across as too abrupt.

So although progress is slow, the pace is picking up and I really think I’ll have a good draft of the timeline fairly soon. At that point I’ll share it with my editor, and then I can polish it until we agree it’s time to begin the actual writing.

Meanwhile, some small news about Mr. Gunn & Dr. Bohemia. I already mentioned that Old Firehouse Books in Fort Collins, CO was stocking print copies of the book on their shelves. To that I can now add that Tattered Cover Book Store in Denver has copies at all three of their locations. I’m planning on running by Old Firehouse, and Tattered Cover’s Colfax Avenue store, some time next week. With a camera. Pictures of the book on the shelf will be posted online. There will be rejoicing.

And talking of pictures, I’m giving serious thought to adding a Readers’ Gallery to this blog, rather like the one Craig Hallam set up on his blog. Have you read Mr. Gunn & Dr. Bohemia? If so, and you’re up for sending me a selfie, use the Contact form (the link’s at the top of this page) to let me know. If there’s enough interest, I’ll set that up and get back to you.

Now, a parting note on the subject of the title of this post. Storytime is an apt title for an author’s blog post—but in this case it also has a special meaning, in that it’s the name of a song by Finnish symphonic rock band Nightwish. The song is on YouTube, and it’s really rock-yer-socks-off stuff. I’ve been listening to more of their songs while working, and I’m most impressed.

And on that musical note, I’m off to do a little more work on the timeline. Until next time, gentle reader . . .

Happy New Year!

Hello all! And a Happy New Year to all my followers.

Yes, I know I’m a few days late with that. The holiday ended up being a break from pretty much everything that didn’t have a direct connection to Christmas-related family things, right through from the day I wrote the previous post here, until New Year’s Day. So I was cooking, and helping with tidying and cleaning the house, on the days leading up to Christmas Day itself, then doing other things such as entertaining visiting family for the following week. That included driving number-one-son down to Denver to buy computer parts, and taking a long walk along the Devil’s Backbone (if you follow me on Twitter you might have seen the pictures I posted).

When the holiday was officially over, Thursday, I was back in the office and of course that meant I was immediately swamped with the backlog of work that had built up while I was out. And on top of that, I’ve been helping a new guy get started, since he’ll be taking over from me on one of the projects I’ve been involved with for the last few months. Thursday and Friday ended up being pretty hectic because of all that. Then yesterday it was time to take down the tree and do some other cleaning up that took my wife and I until around 1am—so we don’t have to worry about any of that today, but it did mean that my plan to get some book work done went out the window.

So I’ve had little time for Twitter, Facebook or Google+, and no time for blogging, and I’ve made no progress at all—not so much as a scratch—on the Gunn & Bohemia sequel, beyond a few scribbled notes about a few changes I want to make to the timeline, for the last two weeks.

Today I begin getting wound back into all that. I have those notes about the timeline changes, and I’ll be getting busy with that shortly. Also, beginning this week, I’ll be doing more to promote Mr. Gunn & Dr. Bohemia—although I’m not quite sure yet how I might do that. One thing that’s for sure is to try to get readers to post reviews on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, and so on.

Before I sign off to get started on the timeline, though, I do have one piece of excellent news to report: The short story I wrote for Xchyler Publishing’s Around the World in 80 Days anthology competition was accepted! Yay! I received the contract papers just the other day. I expect to be able to begin editing work on that shortly, and it should see the light of day in early Spring, I think.

On that note, then, it’s time to refresh my tea mug and get busy. Until next time, gentle reader . . .

Aftermath

Thanksgiving took precedence over just about everything else the last few days—since last Saturday, I think, when Kate and I started getting things rolling for the holiday. I haven’t had time for anything else—in fact, today is the first time I’ve fired up my laptop since Tuesday. So I haven’t had time to give Gunn & Bohemia II more than a passing glance, and as a result I’ve made almost no progress at all on it.

That changes now that Thanksgiving is past. Today the plan is: (1) clear up yesterday’s mess—specifically, doing dishes, dumping food waste, and wiping things down (aftermath of five adults and two children); (2) get back to the work I was doing on the timeline; (3) try to get back to some of the promotional stuff I need to do on Gunn & Bohemia.

It’s not going to be easy . . . here is today’s morning face:

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. . . all I can say is, thank goodness for coffee.

Unfortunately I’m one of those people who has a problem with doing writing work when I have other things hanging over me—so I’m not going to be able to focus on G&B II until the kitchen looks less like a bomb hit it. So I’d better get back to it. Until next time . . .

Floods and Book Progress

First of all . . .

To those who asked about how the floods affected us, thank you! We’re lucky, in that our place is on ground that’s a little higher. As such, although there were some problems on the roads, and it looks like the wet got into the electrics in the garage and took the fridge down (fixed by running an extension from another room), we got off lightly. Please spare a thought, though, for those not so fortunate, and make a donation if you can. Right now we have blue sky, but the forecast is saying there’s more rain on the way, and we’re still getting flood warnings on the telly. It’s not over yet.

Book Progress

The last couple of weeks has seen a big burst of stuff going on with Mr. Gunn & Dr. Bohemia, in that a whole herd of different jobs all came to a close at roughly the same time. As I mentioned in an earlier post, we now have cover artwork, back-cover blurb, bio, acknowledgements, and dedication all done. Yesterday we finished the proofreading of the individual chapters—another milestone! The next step, I think, is for those chapters to be compiled into a single mock-up, which will go off to various people for a semi-final reading to spot remaining problems. That should be happening just about now, in fact, if I understand things correctly. I should be getting my copy pretty soon. On the publicity front, I’m expecting the official release date and the cover artwork to be revealed sometime in the next week or two, and there’ll almost certainly be a Facebook release party announced for the big day.

Loose Ends

Which means, by the way, that right at this moment I’m at a bit of a loose end. It’s a bit after 2pm Saturday, and just for once I’m not writing, or editing, or proofreading. After months of spending weekends and evenings on G & B, it seems weird and alien. So, I’m doing what any writer with time on their hands would do: I’m thinking about the next writing project. To be a little more accurate, I’m thinking about five writing projects, and deciding which of them is going to be next. Two of them are definitely not in the running for now. At this moment it’s a three-way toss-up between:

  • a steampunk short story for Xchyler Publishing‘s next anthology;
  • Mr. Gunn & Dr. Bohemia II: The British Empire Strikes Back*;
  • getting back to work on Smoke & Mirrors, the full-length story I put to one side six or seven months ago.

There’s plenty of time to decide; whatever I do, I won’t be starting in earnest until G & B is wrapped up and ready for release.

On that note, I think I’ll whiz out to the store and grab a chicken for dinner. Until next time . . .

* Chance that there will be a sequel to Mr. Gunn & Dr. Bohemia: 99.99%. Chance that it will have that title: 0.00%, even though I’m a big Star Wars fan.

Expect Big Things

The last couple of weeks have been completely, absolutely insane. At work, the seeds of this were planted a few weeks ago, when one more senior developer decided to move on (for unusual reasons, too: he passed his bar exam, and he’s gone off to be a lawyer). With him gone, that left just one SD in the place: me. And as problems came up on one system or another, I’ve been drafted in to fix said problems. A few weeks ago I worked exclusively on one system; today I’m consulting on two systems, fixing problems on a third, developing a fourth from the ground up, single-handed, and I’m expected to spend half my time on a fifth project starting next Monday.

At the same time, on the Mr. Gunn & Dr. Bohemia editing front, I’ve been spending every evening and weekend working on that. Hence the lack of posts here, since if I had time to blog then I had time to edit, and the editing had to come first.

And it’s all been worth the effort. Sunday I finished a major edit of one scene that my editor-in-chief had pointed out as having serious issues, and then yesterday I finished the last two chapters. So, all I’m waiting on now is (1) feedback from those changes, and (2) proofreading. On top of all this, the editor-in-chief had her own problems—car, phone, and Internet all pfft! gone at much the same time, just when things were getting heavy. Frankly, I’m amazed that everything is still pretty much under control, and—at least from where I’m sitting—apparently on track to meet our deadlines and get the book out the door on the scheduled release date.

Other essential bits are all done, too: the back cover blurb is finalised, as is my Bio page and the acknowledgements. And . . . we have a cover! Yes, the artwork is done. Things are happening; all is finally coming together, and I’ll be reporting developments here.

In other words, Watch This Space and Expect Big Things. Over the next couple of weeks I should be announcing the cover reveal and the official publication date, and I hope to be posting a bit more often in the run-up to the release. Exciting times indeed.

Until next time, gentle reader . . .