Thursday, February 18, 2016

Getting back into a routine

Miss D. and I have been in our new home for two weeks today.  The living-room, dining area, kitchen and bathrooms are pretty much set up, with a few minor bits and pieces left to sort out.  Our respective offices are sufficiently set up that we can work in them, and I'm hard at work on Maxwell Volume 5 and a short story contribution to an anthology.  The boxes left in the garage will be tackled at the rate of one or two a day until they're all dealt with.  It may take two to three months, but that's OK - there's no rush.

Our new HVAC system has been installed.  We ended up replacing the compressor, control panel and a pump in our geothermal system;  the only original component remaining is the fan motor.  We decided it would be better to spend a little bit more up front so as to have all the major components of the same age and on the same maintenance cycle.  It's performing much better than it did before, which tends to confirm it had problems even before we moved in.  (I wonder whether that had anything to do with the previous owners being desperate to sell the place?)  Fortunately, the move-in insurance policy we took out as part of the purchase paid about three-quarters of our costs, which made the process affordable.  I wasn't sure whether the policy was a waste of money, but in this case it's paid for itself several times over.

We're thoroughly enjoying the weather here in northern Texas.  It got up into the low eighties today (degrees Fahrenheit, of course, for the benefit of overseas readers).  The next two days are supposed to be more of the same.

I know that's not typical for this region and this time of year.  In other years they've had blizzards in February, with ice, snow and everything else that makes life miserable.  I daresay we'll experience them in due course . . . but right now, we're thankful for a lovely temperate period.

Tonight the five of us (Miss D. and I, plus Lawdog, Phlegmmy and Old NFO) met at the latter's house for supper, continuing our practice of each family/person cooking one meal a week for us all.  We're rapidly getting used to each other's company, coupled with good food and great conversation.  I think all of us are happy to have formed our own little writing and blogging support network here.  Judging by the envious remarks of several of those attending Phlegmfest last weekend, we may not be the last to make the pilgrimage to northern Texas.  The prospect does not dismay.



C. G. R. said...

Ok, I'll take advantage on you mentioning Maxwell 5 and ask about the plans and timeline for Maxwell, Laredo and also about that "fantasy" idea you posted some months ago, which a lot of us thought exciting...

Peter said...

@CGR: Maxwell will continue for a total of at least 10-12 novels (I've already plotted out the series in my mind). Laredo 3 will conclude that trilogy later this year, but leave the door open to a later trilogy set in the same 'characterverse' (although that won't follow for quite a while). The fantasy novel is on the back burner until I finish Maxwell 5 and Laredo 3.

I'm planning a series of books intersecting with the Maxwell universe and its characters, in much the same way that Laredo has. Each will move in and out of the Maxwell timeline and broaden the main series, while offering something new to interest readers. I'm still trying to work out the logistics, but it should be interesting and fun. It had better be, or you won't buy the books!

C. G. R. said...

Thanks for the prompt answer! It will be interesting to see what the rest of the 5-7 Maxwell novels will cover as well as the Laredo follow-up trilogy and all the other "Maxwellverse" stories will be like.
Please don't get me wrong, but I'd like to warn you not to fall in David Weber's "Honorverse" trap, by "diluting" the story line to the point where the latest novels in the series are incoherent, inconsequential and lacking in almost everything making a story interesting! I'd rather read three good novels than 13 mediocre.
As for the fantasy story, it's a pity we won't get it until 2017, but I can understand your point.
I wish you success with your writing and promise I'll keep buying your books as long as you keep them "interesting and fun" :-)

C. G. R. said...

BTW - what's with the ostrich photo?

Peter said...

@CGR: Don't worry - I intend to avoid the 'Weber trap' at all costs! I'm doing that in three ways.

The first is to have a focused story line for each novel, not allowing it to wander across several independent plots or main characters. That helps to prevent 'bloat'.

The second is that I plotted the entire series in broad outline before I wrote a single book, so that I had a clear timeline and career progression for Steve Maxwell. That, again, helps to keep each book focused. If I know where the series is going, I can make each book in it a logical progression. I suspect David Weber found the Honor Harrington series growing beyond anything he'd thought about in the beginning, which complicated the later books enormously.

The third is that, by incorporating 'spin-off' trilogies and individual books, I can develop additional themes and plot points without having to compromise the central storyline. Laredo is a case in point. The Lancastrian Commonwealth is peripheral in the first book, but important in the second, and Steve Maxwell makes a personal appearance. The Commonwealth will be less visible in the third book; but its involvement in the whole Laredo trilogy will affect Steve Maxwell again in the sixth book in his series, in ways I won't discuss yet. In turn, the consequences of the whole Laredo War will affect Steve Maxwell and another planet a few books further down the line; and a follow-up book or trilogy in the 'Laredoverse' may impact Steve even further ahead. I'm still working out that one.

It makes life a lot more interesting if one can see one's way ahead for a series like this. I think it's enriching for both writer and reader.

As for the ostrich: I was born and raised in South Africa, and lived for several years in ostrich country. It just seemed appropriate, somehow. (Besides, they're good eating, both their eggs and their meat.)

C. G. R. said...

Great, now that you've "alleviated my fears" on the Maxellverse I can only say "why the hell are you wasting time answering my post instead of writing?!!" (I am of course joking).
As for the ostrich, yeah, they are good eating, but from your blog I can tell you don't seem to be the kind adopting their policy of "burying their heads in sand" so I don't now about "being appropriate, somehow":-)
Anyway, thanks again for the prompt answers and good luck with your writing!

Gail said...

Sounds like nothing but good news to me.

Have a great weekend.

Old NFO said...

I'm going to need a bigger dining room table... Sigh... :-)

Rev. Paul said...

I, too, am pleased to learn that you have many books still planned. I've enjoyed them immensely, and look forward to future installments. :)

Quartermaster said...

Those 80 degree temps will look nice in about 5 months. Nice as in nostalgic.

Bibliotheca Servare said...

I figured the Ostrich was a nod to South Africa, but either way, I thought the pic was adorable. Perhaps I'd find them less cute if I'd ever encountered one, but I have a strange tendency to find odd-looking animals adorable, so perhaps not. (No, insects, spiders etc do NOT count as "odd looking animals" tyvm! *shudder*)