So I've been busy lately.
After lying on my back panting for a few days (the usual follow-up to finishing a new novel in first draft) I'm now making plans for the rewrite, because no novel is ever publishable in its initial form, and there are things I need to sort out before it goes anywhere near an editor. (Notably: I started out with over-ambitious plans for a funky structure that proved unworkable, so now I need to go back and un-kink everything so that the story flows smoothly on its own terms—which it will, because I think I got the rest of it right.) So I'm about to dive back down the rabbit hole of Ghost Engine to try and produce a final draft by the end of the month.
And while this was going on, other stuff happened that's going to distract me from blogging for a while.
You may or may not know that this isn't my only blog. For about the past 15 years I've maintained a presence on Livejournal, a rather fascinating parallel-universe alternative social network that I vastly prefer to Facebook (because unlike FB, you can pay for an ad-free experience). Don't go looking for me by name; my LJ is locked down so that only selected invitees can read it, because for the past decade I've used it mainly for beta-testing work in progress—it's really useful to have a couple of dozen trusted readers kick the tires. Unlike Facebook, LJ offers a bunch of features that make it extremely useful for that purpose: the focus is on a user's journal, which is optimized for textual content and supports threaded discussions, user-run communities, and (importantly) tools for keeping such discussions private.
I started out on Livejournal because, back in the day, it inherited a bunch of folks from SFFNet when SFFNet curled up and sort-of died; SFFNet in turn inherited the users of the Delphi SF forum from bulletin board days. It's all about the people, as usual, and Livejournal for many years was a social network hub for SF/F fans and authors. But Livejournal gradually lost out to Facebook in the anglophone world, just like MySpace. Unlike MySpace, LJ survived by becoming the social network of choice in Russia: a few years ago LJ was sold to a Russian company, and has gradually become a 90% Russophone social site with a weird bag of western SF fans still lurking in the moldering wreckage of what was once a thriving social networking system. There were periodic upsets because any major Russian political event would seemingly draw distributed denial of service attacks; a lot of people left, either decamping to Facebook, or to smaller specialized social hubs—the founders of Livejournal released their software under an open source license, and some folks are successfully running small-scale LJ servers with their own distinct communities.
I probably stuck with LJ for too long, because back in the day I paid for a perpetual premium account—unlimited access and no ads: the urge to get one's money's worth out of something you've paid for is hard to resist. But the rot has finally gone too far. This Tuesday Livejournal pushed out a revision to their terms of service that emphasize the service runs under Russian law, and specifically requires compliance with Russian law on minors—which makes any discussion of "sexual deviancy" (aka LGBT issues) illegal or at least a violation of the ToS.
So I'm currently migrating my entire Livejournal presence to Dreamwidth, a service set up by some of LJ's original founders that focuses on providing a Livejournal-like set of services for creative types (and, significantly, is not subject to Russian law because it's not based in Russia).
Meanwhile, while all this was happening, this blog crawled past its 190,000th comment. There are upwards of 3000 blog entries/essays here; a backup of the blog content runs to over 240Mb, most of it text fles. As you'll have noticed if you've been here for a while, I haven't done a major update to the blogging software for a few years. This is now overdue, and some time in the next few weeks I'll be updating the server here—extremely carefully, though!