Thanksgiving week meant all my time went to family things: cooking and cleaning mostly, but a lot else besides.

I took the week (actually more like ten days) off from pretty much everything else. I was already behind with my self-imposed schedule of posting here at least once a week, so that took another hit, and I deliberately avoided social media – as a result, I have pretty much no idea of what’s been going on in the news. The only thing I’ve used any computer for in the last few days has been playing games (The Talos Principle and Sir, You Are Being Hunted) and watching Netflix (I watched Cloud Atlas and Rogue One yesterday – the first pause all week where I was able to sit down and relax properly for a few hours).

Starting today, I’m getting wound back into the world. I took a few minutes earlier to send an email to my editor-in-chief to ask if there’s any news about the status of copy-editing on The Artemis Device, and whether she’s accepting Phantasms & Magicks for publication, and also to update a couple of pages on this site. I caught up a little bit with Twitter (and learned that Rance Howard died yesterday) and Mastodon (which I just started using a couple of weeks ago).

On the actual writing front, I’m planning on splitting the rest of today between doing some timeline work on the Untitled SF Project, and also writing a few notes for another project idea that I had a few days ago (it started as a short story idea, but as I thought about it it became bigger to the point where I think it’s likely to end up being a full-length novel).

On that note, I need to wrap this up; I have a couple of errands to run (the first time I’ll have left the house in three days) and then I want to get on that writing work.

Until next time…

Farming Followers

TO the guy who followed and unfollowed me on Twitter four times in the space of an hour (no doubt so that I’d get the notifications), and then sent a whiny message via my contact page asking why I didn’t follow back: Here’s why.

  • You’re already following a huge number of Twitter accounts. More than 30,000, in fact. Anything I write is going to be lost in the noise. You didn’t follow me because you want to read what I have to say; in fact, following that many people, I doubt that you give a shit about what any of them have to say because you can’t possibly have time to read them all. Or maybe you muted 99% of them, which again means you don’t care what most of them have to say. That tells me that you follow because you want follow-backs to swell your follower count, and nothing more.
  • I might have followed you regardless of that huge following count, if you had something worthwhile to say (I follow quite a few who follow thousands, because despite that they are often entertaining). But when I glanced at your timeline I found that nine out of ten tweets are promoting your book (which I checked out and doesn’t interest me), and the remainder are mostly right-wing conspiracy-theory bullshit about Obama wanting to take your guns away. It’s boring and repetitive, and more than a little mental. I have no reason to follow nutjobs.

Under normal circumstances I just would have ignored you. I get followed by a lot of people playing follower-farmer, and most of them unfollow me after a day or two when I don’t join in the game. But they don’t usually go at me over and over, and they don’t contact me complaining about not getting a follow-back. You did, and you pissed me off, so now you’re blocked.

Rant mode off. For my regular readers, normal service will resume shortly. Thank you for your patience.


Now Is The Time . . .

IT has been far too long since I posted here. Basically the house move—which I thought would be behind us by now—has taken every spare moment. Today I’m taking a rest break from the moving, because frankly I’ve had enough of it today, on top of day job work. And I need to write something, before I die of writing withdrawal, and a blog post is just the thing.

The House Move Thing

AS noted, we are STILL moving house, but the end is in sight. I could go ahead right here, right now, and say we’ll be in the new place by this time next week . . . but that would probably be the kiss of death, tempting providence, and things of that nature. So I’ll just say that I hope we’ll be in by this time next week. There’s still a chunk of work to take care of, but it’s really not so bad.

The floors were done some time ago, and a whole bunch of cleaning and fixing up has been done. Desks have been built. Clean, new appliances have been installed, and dirty old appliances have been removed. Bookcases are in place and books are on shelves. And three quarters of the basement in the old place has been cleared—some of the stuff having been moved to the new place, some stacked up as trash to be disposed of, and some items marked for donation to our local Habitat For Humanity place. (No, I don’t donate to Goodwill since I read that every penny they make from sales of items given to them for nothing is pure profit—they don’t actually give anything to charity.) One more room in the basement to take care of, then three rooms on the ground floor. Then the final step—call in professional movers to take care of the big stuff I can’t manage myself, such as sofas and beds and the fridge, etc.

Why has it taken so long? Simple: we’re doing most of it ourselves. In other moves we’ve done, we’ve had professionals to load our stuff onto trucks at one end and unload at the other, and everything’s been done in a matter of hours or maybe a couple of days. This time, the old place and the new one are but minutes apart, so I’ve been able to shift a lot of stuff just using my car. But that’s meant I’ve had to do it after work and at weekends, and time is limited—as are other things, such as the number of arms I have, the amount of space in my car, and the number of hours in a day.

The Writing Thing

ALL of this has meant that everything not related to house moving or the day job has been pushed to a back burner that’s so far to the back, it’s actually over the hills and far away. That includes blogging (until now, of course), writing, gaming, and even Twitter (which might seem insane—you’d think I’d be able to find time for the odd tweet, but honestly I’ve been so absorbed with everything else that most times it hasn’t even occurred to me to tweet anything at all).

So I’m behind schedule with writing work on the Mr. Gunn & Dr. Bohemia sequel. But once we’re in the new place, I have a brand new (and might I say, awesome) desk in a room that’s our dedicated office, and working in there is going to be a dream. I can’t wait.

The Day Job Thing

ACTUALLY, I was going to say a few words about what I’ve been up to at work. Frankly, I can’t be bothered. Admit it: you don’t really care anyway, and unless you’re a Java web application developer I might as well be writing in Swahili. So enough said about that.

The Smoking/Vaping Thing

THE last time I lit a real cigarette was June 10, so if my arithmetic is correct, today marks thirty-six days without burning tobacco. Hoorays and cheers are in order, I think.

The Gaming Thing

AGAIN, as noted above, I haven’t had time to play any games. And that, just like not having time to write, is getting me twitched-up. I long to spend a couple of hours playing Freelancer, or Sir, You Are Being Hunted, or Unreal, or Serious Sam, or Half-Life, or Portal, or any of a dozen other games. Maybe if I make some good progress with moving stuff to the new house over the next three or four days, I’ll reward myself with a game break. Got to get those priorities right . . . but then ALL WORK AND NO PLAY MAKES JACK A DULL BOY. (For some reason I have an urge to write that again a few times.)

The Competition Thing

A few posts back I announced a contest in which readers had a chance to name a character in the Gunn & Bohemia sequel (see that post for details). Well, one or two new reviews popped up, but nobody contacted me so there’s no official winner. However, since I’ve no time to work on the book at all, I’ve decided to extend the deadline. You’ve got until July 31. Get yourself a copy of Mr. Gunn & Dr. Bohemia, post a review on Amazon, and send me a note through the Contact page (link on the tabs at the top of this page), and you’ll get your chance. Go on, you know you want to.

Until next time . . .


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:


. . . 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 . . .

What A Week

It’s been a few days since I’ve posted. It’s been a busy week; I haven’t had the time.

On the writing front, I’ve been trying to work on line edits for Chapter 2 of Mr. Gunn & Dr. Bohemia. I had a few minutes here and there, but not enough time to really get into it until yesterday, when I was at last able to finish the first pass—that’s the one where I take care of the minor rewording and punctuation fixes; it helps built up some momentum for the second pass, where I deal with the bigger (but also, thankfully, far fewer) changes that require heavier rewriting.

So, right now, that’s where I am with Chapter 2: warming up with a blog post while I wait for tea to brew, then I’ll be getting into that second pass. I have every intention of getting that finished and back to my line editor today.

On the everyday stuff: Monday I took off sick (fever; no idea what brought that on), Tuesday we drove down to the INS in Denver to take care of some papers, then Wednesday it was back to day-job work—which is under a tight deadline, so I wasn’t able to get into the above-mentioned editing even during lunch breaks.

Today, we’d originally planned to go to the Colorado Renaissance Festival down in Larkspur—but we ended up watching Breaking Bad (for the first time) on Netflix until 2am. So now it’s coming up to 10:30am and I’m barely awake, and in any case the weather doesn’t look so good. So I think this is going to be an easy day at home. In a little while, once my eyes are properly open, I’ll get back into the editing.

Once that editing’s done and the chapter’s in shape, the next thing I have planned is an hour or so on the still-as-yet-untitled fantasy short story. On that one, I’d reached a scene in which the two central characters have just met, and there’s a certain amount of dialogue—but on reading it back, the conversation comes over as forced. That needs some work, then it’s on with the story. Submissions open in ten days, and it’s not likely that I’ll be finished in time to submit on day one, but I have all of August; it will be completed in time.

Another thing I want to try to take care of today is a little bit of Twitter maintenance, spurred by a post on the Xchyler Publishing blog. As I think I’ve mentioned before, I’m not a follower-farmer; I don’t do the thing where you follow a boatload at random, hope they follow back, dump the ones who don’t, rinse and repeat. I don’t see the point. I follow people who have something interesting to say—or at least, that’s the intention—and I try to read all their tweets, so that limits the number I can follow (currently that’s about a hundred and forty). But it turns out that I’m following some people who really don’t say anything beyond marketing their book (or another person’s book), and perhaps retweeting in bursts (I’m talking about individuals here; I also follow publishers, and I expect them to be marketing—that’s their business—so that’s ok with me). There are also a few who I’m following purely because I followed them back in the days before I realised what was going on with the boatload system, and I never got round to cleaning that up. It’s past time to prune that particular bush, methinks.

Next weekend, we’ll be at Salt City Steamfest! The plan is to be there all day Saturday, so come and find me—I’ll be the one not wearing much in the way of Steampunk gear (I really don’t have any just yet, and I won’t have time to get any before the show). I’ll likely be at or near the Xchyler Publishing booth most of the time, and I’ll probably be on a panel to answer a few questions at some point. It promises to be great fun, and we’re looking forward to it.

Until next time . . .