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.