State of the author in early April


It’s been several weeks since I updated readers on the progress (or lack thereof) in my writing.  Briefly, there hasn’t been much, because as I mentioned some time ago, Miss D. and I received payment for a large and long-outstanding debt.  It’s cleared our backlog of bills, which is very welcome indeed.  Rather than try to save the balance (in a high-inflation environment such as we’ve now entered, it would lose double-digit percentages of its value every year, if not triple-digit if things go badly), we decided to use the remainder to carry out home maintenance and improvements that we’ve been postponing for some time.

So far, we’ve replaced our ailing HVAC unit with a new and more powerful one, and contracted for an insulated garage door (which is on a ship, somewhere, and should come in within three to six months, God and the supply chain willing).  We had our electrical main board inspected, and found to our great displeasure that it’s been wrongly wired since we bought the place;  so, this coming Friday, we’ll have an electrician hard at work taking out the old board and installing a new one, complete with updated wiring and setting it up to current code requirements.  We hadn’t planned on that expense, but since it has to be done, we don’t have much choice in the matter.  Besides, it’s a safety issue.

Yesterday (Monday) workers cast the concrete slab for a small patio in our back yard.  It’ll get a roof later this week, I trust.  It’ll be nice to sit out there in the shade.  It’ll still be hot as Hades during high summer (this is north Texas, after all), but some days will be cool enough to enjoy it;  and during spring and fall, it’ll be great.  Early next month more concrete will be poured for a slab on which to build our new garden shed/utility building.  It’ll replace an old, rather dilapidated wooden structure hand-built by the previous owner, which I’ve been expecting to blow away in every strong wind since we moved in.  The new (metal) shed will be more spacious and a lot stronger.  It should be erected by the end of May, if all goes well.

So, with all these things going on, I’ve been juggling contractors and inspectors and bureaucrats like mad.  The bureaucracy here is genuinely helpful;  they bend over backwards to help you get things done, which is a new and altogether pleasing experience – but one still has to jump through regulatory hoops to make sure everything’s legal.  Getting all my ducks in a row has been rather like being nibbled to death by those same ducks, but things are working out OK as we go along.  Sadly, it’s all rather time-consuming, too.  I can’t sit down and write undisturbed when workers or inspectors keep interrupting me to attend to this, or that, or the other.  Life gets in the way of art.

Even so, I’m working on Maxwell 6 as and when I can.  My friend and fellow author Cedar Sanderson has designed the cover for it.  Here’s how it looks at present (subject to change and improvement, of course).

I’d hoped to be ready to publish it this month, but I fear that’ll have to wait until end May or early June, and that’s provided nothing else goes wrong!  Still, I’ll keep my nose to the grindstone whenever I can.  My future income depends on it, after all.  I’ll keep you posted.



  1. I thought I gave you the final version of that cover already! Will shoot it over here shortly via email.

  2. Trust the cats are also doing well. It's been a while since we last had an update on how big they've grown.

  3. @Andrew Smith: The cats are doing well. Kili is getting on in years, and is a bit more cranky and arthritic, and insists we have to run the house according to her standards; but she's still loving and lovable. Ashbutt is his usual goofy, playful self, a big black ball of fur who insists on making a game out of everything. He's currently "helping" me sort out boxes in the garage. *Sigh*

  4. At least you're getting things done! THAT is the important part. And more things fixed, the more time to write in the future!

  5. "we decided to use the remainder to carry out home maintenance and improvements that we've been postponing for some time"

    Good choice! Congratulations! Then, as NFO said, Time to write in the future with peace of mind. 🙂

    You all be safe and God bless!

  6. Get a decent outdoor fan and that covered patio will be the mutts nuts. Morning and evenings are nice here in Dallas on the hottest days.

    When I moved to this house from plano it was a revelation and I wondered how stupid I was to not cover the patio at the old house.

  7. For the patio in hot weather, a misting system might be nice. On inflation, the classic counter is to turn currency into hard goods. I favor pallets of copper bars in the back yard, but at this time I have neither.

  8. That All Metal Shed could be a sauna in the Summer. Is it insulated?
    I live in Bakersfield Ca, and metal sheds (and buildings) are miserable by June.
    However, depending on how Humid it gets, you may be able to cool your shed with a Swamp Cooler (Evaporative) , instead of an A/C.
    Congrats on the upgrades.

  9. @Skwab: It'll be insulated as soon as the electrics have been installed. I'm going to put an inch of closed-cell foam on walls and ceiling. That should help to keep it cooler in summer, and warmer in winter.

  10. @??? – The assessment is still in progress, pending enough time to complete it.

    @ClovisPolar – In 100+ degree north Texas summers, evaporative cooling is a pipe dream, I'm afraid! It simply isn't effective enough.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *