It's been kind of quiet around these parts recently, and there's a reason for that. April has been one of the busiest stretches of my life, I think.
On the first Saturday of April, Marsheila (Marcy) Rockwell and I had a signing at Bisbee Books & Music for 7 SYKOS, our first collaborative novel. The signing was lots of fun, a bunch of friends came around, as well as people we didn't know, and we signed books for about 3 hours. The store is really nice, so if you're in Bisbee, AZ at any point, be sure you drop in.
My main focus after that was finishing NCIS; Los Angeles: Bolthole, which I turned in on April 18 (it comes out September 27, a week after Deadlands: Thunder Moon Rising). Various factors, including the Xena novel Marcy and I were writing, Tucson Festival of Books, and getting sick and watching lots of episodes to try to get the voices right (an important factor with tie-in fiction, I think) combined to put me behind my usual pace, so I had to write most of the book in the month of April, before the deadline.
On top of that, the day job was incredibly busy, too, so I'd come home exhausted from working at the computer all day, then sit at the computer to write until bedtime.
After that--right after that--I had a day and a half to pack everything I owned (except for the 50 book boxes that Marcy had already packed--so I could move to Gilbert, AZ, because the real focus of the month (and the year, and then some) comes on April 23, when Marcy and I become partners in every way--by which I mean we're getting married.
Moving was an adventure in itself. It's mostly my fault--having worked in the book/publishing/writing business since 1980, and having a collector's mentality anyway, I have a lot of books. When most people tell moving companies that they have a lot of books, they mean maybe 20-30 boxes, not the 170-some that I had. Up there where I mentioned the packing schedule? That started around mid-day on Monday, after I turned in the book. I got about 5 hours of sleep that night, then woke up and started packing again. Around mid-day on Tuesday, the books were packed, which meant it was time to start on everything else. I knocked off at 2 am, then got up at 6 to finish up before the movers showed up (between 8 and 9, I was told).
They made it there at 9:45, and got right to work. It was a complicated move, not just because of the sheer volume, but because I had stuff in my place and more stuff in a separate garage. Most of what was in the garage was intended to go to a storage unit here in Gilbert, but there was also some in the condo that was supposed to go to storage. We knew up front that there would be stuff coming to the house that will ultimately end up in storage, but didn't know how much, because until we try to fit stuff into the house, we can't tell what all will fit.
The moving company rep had estimated 2 hours for loading and 2 hours for unloading. I thought that was hopelessly optimistic, and when it took more than an hour just to get the stuff out of the garage, my belief was confirmed. The two movers (from Tucson's All My Sons Moving & Storage), John and Daniel, were great, and worked nonstop, but there was only so fast they could load all my boxes. We got on the road at 2:35, so almost 5 hours, not 2.
The truck, right before I passed it
Gilbert's about 3 hours from Sierra Vista. I passed them en route, and got here in time to unload my car before they arrived. Then they showed up, and got right to work. They unloaded the house first, then we headed over to the storage unit around 8:30. I hadn't been "helping" load or unload, because movers have a rhythm and a process, and "helpful" customers often just get in the way, but at the storage unit, I did help (despite my exhaustion and the pain in every part of my body, from the 2 days before), because it closed at 10. We weren't sure what would happen at 10, but were trying to finish before that.
At 10, nothing happened. At the unit, you have to enter a digital code before you can push the elevator button to go up (our space is on the 2nd floor)--well, you can push the button, but nothing happens unless you enter the code. But it was after 10, and we were still hauling stuff up, unloading it into the unit, and going back down.
But at 10:15, different story. ACCESS DENIED. No more elevator, and although there are staircases, those doors were locked, too. Out of luck. On what would have been our last trip upstairs.
Which meant that the unit was wide open and unlocked, because we'd expected to go up one more time.
So we loaded the last few items (including a dining room table, which will never fit in my chair unless I take a chainsaw to it) back into the truck, and headed back over to the house to drop it in the garage (already almost overflowing with boxes.
But you have to enter your digital code to open the gate to get out. ACCESS DENIED.
Of course, the storage place's office had closed at 6, so nobody answers that phone. John from AMS had been stuck once before, and he said a police car's light bar will trigger the gate. I called the Gilbert police department and told the dispatcher we were trapped. She asked for the intersection where the storage place is, and when I told her, she said, "Which corner?" I told her that, and she said, "Oh, that's county, not city." So if we'd been on the northwest corner instead of the southeast, presumably it would have been city. She transferred the call to the sheriff's office, where I got to tell the story again. The dispatcher said she'd send a deputy over.
After a few minutes, a different dispatcher called me back, and told me that there's a resident manager who lives upstairs over the office. "Go to the office and honk your horn, and see if someone comes out," she said. I did (the dispatcher stayed on the line with me, just in case), and eventually someone stuck her head out the window, looked at me trapped behind the gate, and said, "Can I help you?"
Anyway, we eventually got out, and never had to be laughed at by a sheriff's deputy. But it was well after 11 by the time we got back to the house and unloaded. And instead of sleeping in, I had to get up at 6 so I could get over to the storage place first thing and lock our door.
So, that happened.
But I'm here now. Saturday we marry. Over the course of the coming weeks, I'll get unpacked, probably. In the meantime, I'll be doing the day job and working on the original novel I was working on before NCIS: LA (and soon, the second Xena novel).
Want to give us a wedding present? Buy a copy of 7 SYKOS. Already own it? Give one as a gift to somebody else. Or just buy another one for yourself. You can never have too many books.