I will be back eventually!
More's the pity, I expect; such are the height of my hopes about this improbably long holiday. But one way or another, I'll be gone a good wee while, and it must say sort of a lot about me that one of the first things I thought, when this Stateside sabbatical suddenly solidified in the middle of February, was: what in the world will I do about the blog?
For a fair while there, I wondered. I seriously considered spending a few serious weeks at the keyboard coming up with a full month's worth of content in advance of my departure, but in the end, with the teaching I do to make ends meet and everything else, it simply wasn't realistic. Then I thought: why not repost a few old articles... make a kind of greatest hits thing of it?
That was a poor plan. I put it with my other poor plans: in a document marked TO NOT DO.
At some point during this period, it occurred to me that I was overlooking what must be far and away the most fun and informative of all my options. Guest bloggers!
Now I've certainly hosted a couple of guest posts here on The Speculative Scotsman in the past, but only very occasionally, and mostly only from authors whose writing I admire. It had simply never crossed my mind that I might be in a position to ask the bloggers I've become friends with in the process of keeping this site for a helping hand.
When it did - just a few weeks ago, really - I didn't hang about. But nor did I reply all to the many and various folks featured in my inbox. I may only have met a few of 'em, but I know more people now, through doing this lovely thing that I love - did I mention that? - than I ever have in my life. And for all that I'm away for an entire month, I couldn't feasibly co-ordinate guest posts from everyone I found myself in a position to ask.
So I made a list of some of my very favourite bloggers. Then I crossed out the folks who predominantly write about other things than speculative fiction... then everyone who had (in my arbitrary estimation) large readerships in their own right... then everyone whose circumstances would have ruled them out from contributing in any case.
I was left with a list of twenty-odd perfect potential guest bloggers. And to my sheer surprise and delight, almost everyone I touched base with - with a few understandable exceptions - seemed happy that I'd asked, and happier still to help out.
Thus, the coming month. From tomorrow, as a matter of fact, you'll be treated to an assortment of voices that may or may not be new to you. I certainly hope they aren't, but if they are, I hereby wholeheartedly recommend you follow them over to their own blogs. I regularly read the work of every one. Their sites are all on my blogroll - or they surely should be - and coming from a Scotsman, that's a stamp of absolute approval.
On the day, I will of course introduce each of the coming contributors in turn, and even burble a bit about why you should be reading their blogs. Because you really, really should be, first and foremost, but also because it's the least I can do, given all the bother they've gone to on my - and your - behalf.
So please, everybody, be nice! :)
In short, I may be AFK for almost the entirety of April, but expect The Speculative Scotsman as a site to be better than ever for the duration.
And one last thing before I finally give the floor over. I'll be keeping as close an eye on the site as I can while I'm away, and the plan - as it stands - is to stop in each and every week to keep you all up to speed on a miscellany of my misadventures in America. Time permitting, I should have the first of those posts ready for Friday.
But between now and then? Some truly terrific stuff, beginning tomorrow with a review of The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson from the marvelous Mieneke of A Fantastical Librarian. If you enjoy it and everything else that's in the pipeline a fraction as much as I've loved arranging it all, you'll have a hell of a time in my absence, make no mistake.
With which, as they say in the States - or at least the one I'm in at moment - I'll see y'all! :)