I've been quiet for the past week or so because I've been busy. Just so you know why I'm not blogging like, well, a blogger, here's what's on my plate:
* I am writing a novel. It's the fourth Laundry novel, and it's been difficult going. I was originally aiming to finish the first draft by Hogmanay, but that ain't gonna happen. Assuming nothing goes wrong, the contract (which I'm hoping will emerge any day now) will specify that it's due on my editor's desk by the end of July 2011, for publication in July 2012. Why, you ask, am I trying to finish a novel seven months ahead of schedule? Well ...
* Next week I am holing up in an office with Cory Doctorow so we can hammer out the outline of the other novel we're due to hand in to a different publisher in June 2011, for publication in 2012. Titled The Rapture of the Nerds, it's an extension, continuation, and culmination of our collaborative novellas, Jury Service and Appeals Court. (The link to Jury Service goes to Cory's podcast of it — it was originally published online via SciFi.com, but they took the story down a couple of years later when they shitcanned the written fiction side of their website.)
Can you spot the deadline clash between these two projects? Back in August Charlie thought, "if I write one of these books six months ahead of schedule the problem goes away!" (Alas, if only it were so easy ...)
* Just in case I was feeling neglected, the kind-hearted folks at my US publisher have decided to help me feel needed by sending me the copy-edited manuscript to my next novel, "Rule 34", for checking. So that the novel can speed through their production pipeline without delay, they're emailing me the CEM around December 22nd, and it would really help them if I could send the checked copy-edits back to them by January 3rd (otherwise the book will be late, the sky will fall, and I won't get paid on time). NB: before complaining about the timing, I'd like to thank them for at least giving me some advance warning this time. Checking a CEM means that I have to read the copy editor's marked up copy of the manuscript in detail, correcting, vetoing or approving every change they've made, and correcting any errors I spot. (Of which there will be approximately ten per page.)
* Finally, the current $SEKRIT_MEDIA_PROJECT has come back to haunt me and wants to eat my brain. The first rule of $SEKRIT_MEDIA_PROJECT is, we do not identify $SEKRIT_MEDIA_PROJECT by name unless and until it actually gets the green light for production. About half a dozen $SEKRIT_MEDIA_PROJECTs have invaded my professional life over the past few years, springing up and wilting like mushrooms after a light summer rain; the reason I don't talk about them much is because they mostly don't go anywhere, and it would be kind of embarrassing to announce I'm taking on scripting for a major superhero owned by Marvel Comics when, uh, actually it turns out I'm not. Best not to boast until the credits roll. However, this current one actually paid me for some development work earlier this year, which means they're a damn sight more serious than most. Which in turn means I need to set aside some contingency time next year, just in case things catch fire.
This is on top of all the usual stuff about having a life, blog, and etcetera. I have other plans — I'd like to write and sell a couple of novellas or short stories, I'd like to catch up on my backlog of reading, I'd like to go swimming and I'd like to find time to play Dragon Age: The Awakening — but right now my work/life balance is a bit out of kilter, which is why I'm spending more time debugging my schedule than updating my blog.