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Friday, May 20, 2016

Writerly Update

For those that follow me, thought I'd take a moment to update you. Doesn't seem like much has happened in my writerly world since the release of Bricks and Halfskin Boxed.

So here's the deal-o.

Humbug: The Unwinding of Ebenezer Scrooge

I missed my annual addition to the Claus series last holiday because, well, no reason. Just got behind and it didn't happen. Not this year. Humbug will be released November 2016. The rough draft is currently finished and still fairly rough. It's marinating in silence right now so I can come back for round two with fresh eyes. I will be courting advanced readers in October. We still have the whole summer to waste so I'll be putting the word out at a much later time.

In the meantime, this is the cover-in-progress:

Claus, Foreverland and Halfskin come to audio

All the Claus audiobooks were narrated by James Killavey. It occurred to me much too late that all we needed to do was upload the files to offer the CLAUS BOXED SET. What's that mean to the listener? You get all three books for one measly coupon.

HALFSKIN BOXED SET got way behind schedule. But it's out, yes! David Dietz, the narrator on Halfskin and Clay, put his pipes on Bricks (the third book in the trilogy) and wrapped all those up in one tidy boxed set download.

In the meantime, I put my voice on FOREVERLAND BOXED SET. I enjoyed reading SOCKET GREENY SAGA last year. I didn't plan on doing Foreverland, but a different narrator did each book in the trilogy so I couldn't package that. Six weeks in my studio (aka closet) and I wrapped the project. The timing of release was almost the exact day of Halfskin Boxed.

The Maze

I'll be submitting a short story to another Chronicles anthology. These anthologies have had some of the best of the best indie authors, so it's been an honor to contribute. My first run was in the Alt History 101 Chronicles with the short story 108 Stitches.

The next will be the Gamer Chronicles. I finished a short story called The Maze. After sending it through a beta read gauntlet, I blew up half the story and turned out something more exciting. The Gamer Chronicles will release in September.

More importantly, this short story gave rise to the next trilogy.

Maze, the trilogy

I hadn't thought about the tie-in until a few beta readers made suggestions that turned on the light. I've been toying with how to merge the Halfskin and Foreverland story arcs. Once the light went on, I sat down with a pad of paper. I know I've hit the target when I get this excited. I've churned 5000+ words in two days and already have the next several chapters outlined. The characters just stepped front and center. Don't know where they're taking the story, but we're off to a strong start.

Drayton is still asleep.

I promised fans of Drayton I would add another installment. Alas, he just won't come alive. I've made some attempts but his story is just dormant. Pressing too much never goes in a good direction. He's not dead, but he's still asleep. I will prod his bones after the first Maze novel.

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Sunday, May 8, 2016

This is Kooper

Kooper is a boxer.

He's 9 years old. About a year ago, he suffered his first seizure. You never forget witnessing a beloved pet go rigid and piss the floor. Neither does he.

We tried a number of things to keep them from coming back. Nothing was perfect. Phenobarbital seemed to settle him down but eventually they came back, and this time in clusters -- several of them in a row. Our previous dog, a collie named Samu, suffered from seizures and went into a cluster and never came out of it. We thought it was happening to Kooper. In fact, the vet gave us an emergency dose of phenobarb to inject up his bottom should another cluster hit. Hitting a puckered butthole during a seizure is like throwing darts in a hurricane.

Did I mention this is the best dog ever?

Eventually the right balance of phenobarbital and gabapentin worked. It's been several months since he last went through the ringer.

Problems remained.

Kooper began dragging his back legs after the first seizure. It wasn't anything alarming, just occasionally noticed his nails dragging the concrete on long walks. As the seizures continued, the lethargy increased, his paws occasionally knuckling over. He began scuffing the fur off the top of his back paws and his nails were wearing down to bloody nubs.

We bought him booties, but the dragging got so bad that he wore holes through them. We duct taped the holes before every walk. This only worked for so long. The progression of symptoms seemed to hit a fast track and soon he was crumpling to the ground. His walks rapidly shortened from around the block to the end of the driveway. By the time we stopped, he could barely hold himself up to pee. Instead, he assumed an odd kickstand sort of stance to relieve himself.

All in a matter of months.

It seemed to be a condition called degenerative myelopathy, a genetic disorder in the boxer breed.

The question becomes... well, you know what it becomes. But he wasn't in pain. He had an appetite, wagged his tail when he saw us, barked at the front door and whined when we took our other dog for a walk. He spent all day in bed, venturing outside a couple times with assistance to drop a number one or two before returning to bed. What old dog doesn't do this?

We can't put him down.

It's not time for that, not yet. He still has some years in him, just needs a little helps living them. So we found some.

Excellent music performed by Madeline Walsh 

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