Ten years (almost)

In a few months, it'll have been ten years since I started writing this blog, in December of 2002. I started it primarily as a way of goading myself into working harder at writing and, hopefully, getting a book deal. A couple of months after starting it, I did in fact get a book deal, a touch more quickly than I had anticipated.

Looking back over older entries, it's clear my memory of events is slightly distorted. Reconstructing from those entries, I had a hint of interest from Tor regarding sample chapters of my first novel, Angel Stations, which had been forwarded to them by my agent, Dorothy Lumley. But they weren't prepared to make any definite offers until they saw the whole manuscript.

I had thought I only began my second book, Against Gravity, after being offered a two-book deal in March 2003, but it's clear looking back that this wasn't so; in fact, after completing Angel Stations, I got straight on to working on Against Gravity. It was about half-written before the deal came through - which should be a lesson to any prospective writers out there sitting on their hands while posting manuscripts off to agents and publishers. There are other books to be written, you know.

That means in March 2013 I'll be celebrating ten years as a published novelist. Not only that, there's some other stuff happening later in the year, but I'm holding back on telling you about that until then. So: here's to nearly ten years.


Death to Vodafone

The Macbook became exceptionally slow today. I've actually got used to constant hangs, but today I got seriously irritated enough to start googling for a solution, and after following a couple of leads opened up Console to see if there were any rogue processes. I kept Activity Monitor open at the same time.

Google Chrome seemed to be sucking up most of the processing power, but Console told a different story: some process with 'Vodafone' in the string was recurring every few seconds, with a log stretching back, or so it seemed, to infinity.

My mind flashed back to when I returned from Taiwan and, while waiting for Virgin to install my internet at a delay of some weeks and at a cost that makes my teeth grind, used a Vodafone dongle to get online. The dongle is long gone; the software, clearly, was not.

I dug through Library until I found the folder and tried to delete the folder. I watched as the rainbow ball span. And span.

And span.

I gave up after ten minutes and ran a cold boot. When it restored the finder windows, it was still hanging. But I managed to delete the little bastard and send it on its way into eternity.

And now? It's like a brand-new computer. Seriously. The difference is astonishing. The problem, if there ever is one with a Macbook, is rarely the machine itself; most often it seems to be something badly programmed and sometimes downright malicious, from outside the Apple ecosphere. 


So, Anyway

So, anyway, since I've been getting emails asking if the blog is dead, dead, DEAD, the answer is no, I prodded it with a stick and it twitched, so there's some signs of life in the old beast yet. I've got a couple of long posts I still haven't finished, and the fact they aren't finished does rather suggest maybe I shouldn't spend so much time on really long and convoluted posts.

I've also been screwing around with the layout of the blog, as you'll see. I was thinking of taking it over to Wordpress, but so far as understanding it goes, it's a case of head meet desk. So I'm sticking with this blog design, in one form of another, but I'm going to be tweaking it to buggery so far as where everything goes for a while yet. Expect it to look a bit deranged until I get what I want sorted out.

I just came back from the York Festival of Writing, where I was a guest lecturer/whatever on behalf of Writer's Workshop, the people I do book doctoring for. It was fun, and there are worse places to be than York in September during a heat wave. I am surprisingly exhausted. I did a number of one-to-ones - meaning reading and assessing an opening chapter, then discussing it face-to-face with the author - as well as taking part in a panel on SF and even doing a couple of workshops, first on SF, and then on plotting. What I learned from this: sometimes it's better to wing it. Apart from the SF writing class I taught last year, I haven't done a great deal of this kind of thing, but you have to start somewhere and judging by the Twitter feedback the reaction is pretty positive. If you were in the audience of those workshops: thanks guys, it was a pleasure to be there, and a pleasure to answer your questions, at least as well as I could. I'm tempted to post my prepared notes from the workshops up here some time.

Also, if you were at the 'what is SF' workshop, there's one other book I meant to recommend to you that I forgot to mention: Science Fiction 101 by Robert Silverberg, also known in previous editions as Worlds of Wonder.