Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Meet me in the middle, meet me in the end...

This is what it's come down to: me quoting lyrics from America.


What's next? Seals and Crofts?

Yes, ladies and germs, once more the road to regular publication of THE THRILLING DETECTIVE has hit a speed bump. Most of it's my fault, of course -- I'm the world's worst time manager, and I simply have too much on my plate. One day I'll learn to say "No," and mean it.

The new issue, what I'd optimistically thought would be a late summer/early fall/back-to-school issue, is now a month and a half late.

Procrastination and a few long promised articles and commitments, kept getting in the way, as well as a change in my work schedule (man does not live by web sites alone), a slew of social engagemnts I couldn't duck out of, my own fiction, and a major new non-fiction writing project (more about that later) have all conspired to keep me from working on the site.

And now my iBook has died. I'm writing this from my old (now almost ancient) iMac, which is still running Classic, a trusty old warrior that, alas, can't keep up with all the bells and whistles that have spread over the web like a cancer over the last few years. Half the pages I visit on the web are incomplete or unable to load, a sad commentary on modern web design. And web-based mail? Yuck!

(And it's not a Mac thing -- even state-of-the-art Windows machines like my sweetie has have trouble displaying some pages. But another problems with using ol' Big Blue is the fact that, well, I got used to the speed and ease of OS X.updating web pages is, of course, still possible, but it's so sloooooooow. On Saturday, I had to revise some pages for some clients, and it took most of the day. Partly it was the re-learning curve, but a big part of it was simply an older operating system struggling at the brink of its abilities. Isn't it amazing how quickly we take for granted improvements in technology? The new MacBook I'm considering will be faster, stronger, bigger... and cheaper than the last one.)

But I digress. Part of what was so disheartening about the breakdown was its timing -- not that there's ever a good time. I was just about to wrap up an article for MYSTERY SCENE (my annual gift guide); the last in a long string of to-dos before buckling down to the site and finally getting it up.

And that's when the God of Computers said "Hah!"

It sounds like a pathetic excuse for a missed deadline. I'm not even sure if Kate Stine, Mystery Scene's two-fisted editor believes me -- I'd sure have my doubts, if I were her. Especially since -- I kid you not -- D.L.'s laptop also died a few weeks ago. Also just as she was about to wrap up a final draft. I mean, what are the odds of thatr happening not once but twice? within weeks? In the same house?

If there is a God of Computers, he's really starting to piss me off.

Anyway. The prognosis, according to the computer doctor? A cracked logic board, probably sustained from a hard fall a few years ago. Repairing a three-and-a-half year old laptop will cost almost half the what a newer, faster, better machine will, so it looks like I'm shopping for a new computer. And this time, a better protected case.

One of the things I've also realized, going through the slow-pokery of web-based e-mail in the last few days, is how out of touch I've become from the mystery community. Once I'm back in the groove, I hope to rectify that. DetecToday, Rara-Avis, Wicked Company, SMFS and several others are all doing very well without me, but I miss them. and it's occurred to me that the more I play with others, the more they'll play with me.

Also, I'm really going to have to come to terms with fiction on the site. What started as a labor of love has become a true burden. Gerald does a great job, but it's often a long ardorous task, on both our parts, whipping them bad boys into shape. We'll muddle through to our tenth anniversary with the fiction, and then I'll come to some sort of a decision.

Don't get me wrong -- I'm not dropping the site. I love doing it. A cup of coffee or a few beers, some music blasting and a stack of notes, clippings, e-mails, books and magazines to wade through and enter onto the site, and I can easily and happily blow a whole day off. But once again, I'm feeling the strain (and ain't it a shame?) of finding that time. A hiatus isn't an option at this point (although maybe a brief nap after the holidays may be in order).

So bear with me. Let me get a new computer (should take a few days), let me set it up, and I'll unleash a new "issue" as soon as I can. It'll probably only sport a few new stories. But then, hopefully sometime in December, I'll unleash another "issue," with a few more stories and all the year-end crap I usually do.

And as usual, my apologies to those who've been waiting for about forever for their stories to show up.

They deserve better than this.


Blogger Graham Powell said...

Have you considered using some sort of content management system just for the fiction area? No, not a wiki (I know you hated that idea) but Wordpress seems like it could handle that. It's a lot easier than editing all that HTML by hand.

10:40 AM, October 16, 2007  
Blogger Kevin Burton Smith said...

It's not the technology that's the problem -- just me finding the time to put my ass in the chair and doing it. I think I need content management for my life!

And of course I don't do all that html by hand. As much as I love the web and doing the site, I hate actually working with code. I use an html editor.

7:56 AM, October 17, 2007  

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