Why is Christmas so early this year?

Blood will Follow artI have just realised that Christmas is now just nine days away – nine* – and I, of course, have at least a month’s work of worth to finish by then. How very thoughtless, to put Christmas on December 25th!

And the trouble with this time of year is that @LitAgentDrury and I have to actually behave like Real People for a change: we have to entertain (and be entertaining), and go to events and generally Make Merry when what we should be doing is Painting Toy Soldiers (him) and Editing Books (me). Some years ago there was a Lifestyle Quiz that told you what sort of party person you were, and both Mr Drury and I came out as Gregarious Anti-Social, which was, we thought, the perfect description. So as we can’t roll up the drawbridge and drop down the portcullis and cut Fletcher-Drury Towers off from the world, we will instead gird our loins and venture out to sing carols and drink mulled wine and worry about the editing next week.

I’m not even going to mention the builders who are at this very minute making sure every door is left wide-open, so there’s a hefty through-draft; that’ll ensure the house achieves Arctic temperatures as quickly as possible so they don’t have to divest themselves of any of their layers before they tear my kitchen apart. Again. (I’ve decided the whole ostrich-head-in-the-sand thing is the best way to deal with builders. If I can’t see what they’re doing – or not doing – I can’t possibly be as bad as I think it might be. That’s obviously the adult way to handle such things.)

Murder artIt’s impossible to work when builders are around at the best of times, so instead I’m going to get on with some JFB housekeeping in the form of scheduling for 2014/5. I’ve had to move a couple of books because they’re running late, and the knock-on effect is always a nightmare, even in a small but perfectly formed list like mine.

It’s a bit like musical chairs, and it goes like this: I have to move A Putative Bestseller from April to August because the copy-edit’s three months late. That means I’ve got to (a) see if there’s anything that is close enough to done to move into April in its place, then, (b) move Critically Acclaimed Tearjerker out of August (which is lucky, because the author’s late delivering, so that can go to October). So that makes space for A Putative Bestseller – but look: I’ve got two books in July and the other is A Possible Hit, which is a bit too much like A Putative Bestseller, so perhaps we’d better shift the latter to September and replace it with Phew What a Scorcher!, but I really wanted to move that to July, because it’s more of a summer read, but that would mean I would have to shift Hot Tales to May so they don’t clash . . . but I’ve now got three books in May and I don’t want to bring out more than two books a month, so Wonderful Worldbuilding: An Essay Book 2 will have to go to September August…

I can have hours of fun with scheduling…

Of course, I wouldn’t want you to think my job is all hard. Here’s what I’m looking forward to over the next few weeks: Tom Pollock delivering Our Lady of the Streets – Huzzah! Finishing editing Peter Liney’s Into The Fire – poor old Clancy; he really does go through the mill for those he loves! Following Snorri’s hapless Vikings as they start on their Scandinavian odyssey in Blood Will Follow. And returning to the mean streets of Victorian London, where a certain Eastern European monster has plans for Britain’s very first profiler in the appropriately titled Murder . . . How festive is that?

Next week: Oh My God it’s Christmas already…

*And now it’s eight days away because Life got in the way of finishing this. Again.

Merry Yule!

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