But what was unusual about this e-mail, was Facebook was telling me I wasn't being active enough. Apparently my followers wanted to hear from me.
So, I checked when my last update was, and sure enough, it has been almost a month. That's basically forever in Facebook time.
That's long enough to slip through the cracks in social media and get lost forever.
Naturally, my first reaction was to grab my camera and take a picture of my dinner. But before I could upload the picture, I realised my cheese sandwich probably wasn't the most dramatic way to mark my return from the void.
Now I'm writing this.
It probably isn't much more exciting than a cheese sandwich. To be honest, as I get older I increasingly find few things are as exciting as a cheese sandwich. But at least this blog entry will serve as an explanation of where I have been, and where the hell my new book is.
The answer to where I have been is simple: I've been ill.
I've not been seriously ill, but I've been as ill as it is possible to be without being seriously ill. I was at that point where you aren't actually going to die, but you feel like you are, and you sort of wish you would.
I am tentatively calling my illness flu. But it was flu that was really trying its hardest.
For the first two days of my illness, I drifted in and out of lucid thought, and spent quite a lot of time believing I was a giant hunter thanks to having watched an entire season of Attack on Titan prior to the illness.
For two days, I shivered and I sweated, and I panicked about the impending giant invasion, and every time I closed my eyes I imagined new techniques for fighting the entirely fictitious giants.
That was nice.
For the next two days, I wept quietly into my pillow as I was simply too uncomfortable to sleep, and I only have to lose a few hour's sleep before I start to go a little bit deranged.
After that, there was the vomiting.
Sorry if you are reading this while eating your lunch. My mum always said I shared too much.
But at least the vomiting didn't last long, and it lead into this numb, ethereal space where I just had no energy. When I stood up, I felt like I was floating away. When I sat down, I fell asleep. If I walked for more than six or seven paces, sitting down was about all I could manage.
Eventually I regained my strength. Hurrah!
But here's the thing... I may be an author, but living the bohemian lifestyle of a tortured artist doesn't pay the bills, so I also freelance as an SEO content provider and editor. Being ill for the best part of two weeks leads to something of a backlog of work.
Catching up with "real" work became the priority.
And that brings us roughly to... now.
I am back up to speed, and ready to continue work on the new book.
Ah yes. The new book.
It's written. That's the good news.
It's not edited. That's the bad news.
It's not going to be edited for quite a while. That's the really bad news.
Honestly, my intention was to get the book out for Christmas 2015; but there comes a point where you have to look at what you still have to do, and the time you have allocated to do it, and hold your hands up in defeat.
There is just too much left to do on the book, and I refuse to put it out into the world until I am happy with it.
So, is there anything I can tell you now?
Not too much, really. I want to keep this one close to my chest. But here's a teaser... My way of saying sorry for being gone so long. I'll try not to leave it so long between updates next time.
What he had first thought was just a piece of engraved wood was actually an oil painting with an elaborate picture frame. ‘I know this,’ he said, pulling the frame out and wiping the dust off. ‘This used to hang over the mantelpiece. But the fire... This should never have survived.’
The frame was in almost perfect condition, and the painting, while badly stained, was still clear enough for him to make out the details. There was a kestrel in the centre, with a hummingbird on one side, and an owl on the other. All three birds were poised as if they were flying right out of the picture.
Simon’s bottom lip started to tremble, and he gripped the edges of the frame to stop his hands from shaking.
‘What’s wrong?’ his mum said. She was standing just behind him. He could smell her perfume. She smelled like a long bath on a cold morning.
‘Your picture,’ he said, and his voice nearly cracked with the effort. ‘It was on the floor.’
‘It must have fallen down. There’s no harm done. I’ll hang it back up.’
‘But you can’t.’
‘Of course I can. Maybe not here. But somewhere else.’
‘But it belonged here.’
‘Nothing belongs here anymore. It was a silly picture anyway.’
‘I like it.’
‘Well, you have to say that, or you don’t get any pocket money.’
She ruffled his hair.
‘Nothing’s real anymore,’ he said. ‘This picture. You. Me.’
‘It’s all as real as you make it. And it only hurts as much as you want it to.’Simon turned around, but there was nobody there.