The cover for the book looks better every time I see it. I'm finding some mistakes I think need fixed in the bound proof copy of the book (that's what it's for, after all), but it could be worse. One or two - and there are only one or two - make wince.

But it could be worse. I recall reading an article about Philip Pullman, where he was asked why the animal form of someone's daemon changed completely about halfway through the first of the Lyra books (whatever it's called). And the reason is .... it was a cock-up. So, goes to show you. Happens to us all.

I'm trying to remember if it was Robert Holdstock who once said on a panel at a convention the publishers once forgot to include the last page of a book where the entire story is explained, and no-one noticed.

I did finally, by the way, find a way to put pictures into this blog without paying for it. When you have a paid account with Blogger, that gives you access to their servers, to which you canupload. The trick is simple enough - you just put a comment inside the html that points to an exterior link where the picture is stored separately. I knew there was a way to do it, I just never gotaround to it until now. But the nice thing about it is, once the cover is official I can have it up there in the blog.

While I was at it, I got round to tinkering with the personal site I'm intending to have up in the next couple of months. There won't be that much to it, simply because there isn't yet enough to put into it. But it's getting there. I'll also be screwing around with the Blogger code until I can customise it with some images, and so forth.

I've been thinking hard about getting a new computer - a laptop, this time. They're coming down in price fast, and since I bought an Xbox, I don't need one to play computer games on. So I figure I can get something pretty good for about six hundred pounds. It'll probably only have a Celeron chip (which are slower than higher-grade chips, but only noticeably so if you're intending to play the Half-Life sequel on it), but that'll be more than good enough for my needs - internet, mail, and writing most of all.

My old (very old) 133mhz IBM Thinkpad has been retired for the moment since I borrowed long-termish someone's Compaq 150mhz. You may laugh at the specs, but I can mail, internet, blog and write books, so what's the big deal? In fact, if it weren't for the excessively stick keypad, I might have second thoughts about a new laptop.

Writing ... I finally managed to finish the fifth draft last night, and so far I've successfully procrastinated over the sixth edit for most of today. Now I want to add in some 'flavour' - nothing necessarily intrinsic to the plot, but the kind of background detail that will (I hope) generate more of a sense of the future. Plus, there's a twist at the end that needs sorted out - someone turns out to be other than who we think, but their motivation disappeared during the current edit. I want to try very hard to keep this twist in, but I'm going to have to figure out another way for it to come about. If I haven't thought of anything by the time I've finished this next draft - in no more than the next two weeks, I hope - I'll have to think about excising that particular conflict altogether. It won't be hard, but I'll miss it if it comes to that.

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