What I’m Working On, 2014 edition


Nina tagged me, and now I have to talk about what I’m working on! Which I’d meant to do anyway. I can’t believe I haven’t posted since February. Except… it’s been a crappy year so far. I’ve been sick for weeks at a time, multiple times. The spouse and the kid have been sick. I’ve switched doctors and am on new medication. All of this has been disruptive, to say the least.

I am working on a new WordPress book based on my WordCamp talks from last year. I hope to have it out later this summer.

I haven’t talked about my fiction here in a while, but I’ve been working hard on it for several months. I attended the Paradise Lost workshop in May, so I had to turn in something short (either a story or a novel chapter). In a daring move, I decided to finish revising one of my rare short stories instead of submitting a chapter as I usually do. The style and setting are  departures from my usual work, so I was delighted when I got some really complimentary comments on it. Of course, the group also pointed out some problems, so now I’m revising again. I’m also working on a couple of new stories. And, since I seem to be back in the short fiction game after many years, I got off my butt and joined Codex.

I’m also close to finishing another novel, and I’m making notes on how to revise the other two. After the new WordPress book is out, that’ll be my to-do list for the rest of the year: Finish novel. Revise novel. Repeat.


How to become a WordPress wizard


My short, facetious answer: read my book!

More seriously, these are the steps I would recommend:

  1. Learn how themes work. The Themeshaper tutorial is an excellent place to start. Then learn how child themes work.
  2. Get really comfortable with conditional tags and the template hierarchy. I still refer to these Codex pages about once a week; they’re that essential (and complicated).
  3. Learn how WP_Query works, why query_posts() is bad, and how to properly modify a loop or add a secondary loop.
  4. Learn how hooks (actions and filters) work.
  5. Learn to build custom taxonomies and custom post types. You’ll pick up the basics of plugin development along the way.
  6. Learn the options and settings APIs and data validation (that is, writing secure plugins and themes).
  7. Tackle the rest of this list as needed.

Only seven steps! Not so bad.

Year, begone


2013, I have nothing to say to you. When we reminisce about the good years, your name will not be called. Begone.

Your pictures will lurk under the others’, your corners forever warring for territory on the sticky page. When you begin to damage your opponents, we will call a halt to the hostilities. We will resettle you elsewhere, in an undisputed box.

You tried to kill us. You burned us, drowned us, sickened us, shot us — what is it with years and guns lately? — and you sent your winds to sweep us away. Keep sweeping as you go; your mess awaits our care.

Pieces of you are missing. We buried them with our families and friends. You leave without your full complement of passengers; I deem you a poor conveyance.

Your governance, you stole from your predecessors’ store of jokes. Here, take it back. It is what we asked for; it was not what we wanted.

Return to your father’s house, little year, imprecise assassin, careless keeper. Sit at the feet of your elders. Ask them, Could I have done better, given what came before?

Perhaps they can find some comfort for you. I cannot; what I might have shared with you, you have taken.

Begone, year. Welcome, year.