Sep 01 2020

What a Long, Strange Summer it’s Been

Published by at 11:21 pm under T-Space,Uncategorized,Writing

One would think that, what with so much being closed, I’d have finished at least one of the books I was working on in the spring. Alas, things rarely go according to plan (see below), but I have made progress.

My son Robert (the paleontologist) came home for spring break, and, because of covid closures, ended up staying until mid-June. He was able to teach his classes (he’s a TA while studying for his master’s at Oklahoma) online, and some of the rest of the time he helped me with more brainstorming and world building T-Space. We pinned down many of the planetary system details, drew maps, and discussed back-story. Some of that information has made it to the T-Space wiki, and more will be showing up as the story lines develop.

Late June and early July found me increasingly tired, wanting to take long mid-day naps, and making it difficult for me to concentrate on writing. I put it down partly to summer blahs, until a casual pulse-ox test started alerting because my pulse was too slow. How slow? Thirty beats per minute. After a few days of trying to figure out what the problem was, (well, I knew it was bradycardia, but that’s a label, not a cause), I called the doctor. (Okay, yes, I should have done that sooner.) She told me to get myself to an emergency room, stat.

Less than two hours after showing up in the ER, I was being wheeled into surgery to have a pacemaker installed. Turns out that, loosely speaking, the top half of my heart was not communicating with the bottom half, and thirty BPM was essentially the emergency fall-back setting my heart beats at when not being told otherwise. The pacemaker (mine, anyway; there are different kinds) detects the signal that’s trying to make my heart beat faster, and directs it to the rest of my heart muscle. So I’m now part cyborg. (It’s programmable, with the right setup, and it will, via a bedside relay, periodically report back to the mother ship to let them know I’m still alive, so I guess I’ve been assimilated. Resistance was futile.)

Anyway, I felt much better after that. Just in time to work on taxes before the extended deadline. (Not just mine, but also those of my two sons to see if they still qualified as dependents. Spoiler: they don’t.) So then I could get back to work on the novels, right?

Not so fast. There was an anthology deadline coming up, and though I knew what story I was planning to submit, I hadn’t actually written it. I wasn’t too worried. Eight thousand words should have been easy, I started out writing short stories. (Several of my Analog sales were under a thousand words each.) However, for the past several years, I’ve been writing novels, not shorts, and this would be potentially reaching folks who had never heard of T-Space or of Carson and Roberts (yes, they’re in the story). It was running long, too long. I threw out the first two thousand words and started over again. Then trimmed it and polished it. I’m rather pleased with the result. More about that when I can say more.

Meanwhile, it didn’t help that while in the hospital, they’d changed my meds, and a side effect of two of the new prescriptions was fatigue and somnolence. I was still struggling to stay awake. That’s since been sorted out, changing my meds yet again, and I’m getting back into my old writing routine. Over 2,500 words yesterday, split between two novels, and on track for the same today. It’s also looking like I can split out another short story from a scene I’m writing for Downhill Slide. I’d like to do more of this in future, creating short stories I can give away to my newsletter subscribers, separately from the novels. We’ll see.

Barring unforseen events, I should still have two new books out this year, as well as some bonus goodies that I’ll talk more about later.

Meanwhile, how did you spend your summer vacation?

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