Dimensions Report

Battling Monsters Takes a lot of Resources #sciencefiction #scifi #cancersurvivor #breastcancer

Well, this is not the update I wanted to make. Not by a long shot…

The same day we let Sargie go because of colon cancer, I found a lump. It was 3 days before Christmas. Since I live in the desert and have sensitive skin, I put on lotion every day, and know it was not there the day before. Everyone said not to worry, it was probably just a cyst. But I called that day for a doctor’s appointment ASAP. The earliest I could get was after New Years. Since then, my life has been a flurry of medical appointments. It was not just a cyst. I was officially diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer on January 19th. I’m still stage 2A, so it was caught early, but it’s an extremely aggressive and fast-growing monster.

This beast has consumed my life and every resource since I found that damn lump. First of all, when they tell you, you have cancer, it’s terrifying. At first, I didn’t know what to think or feel other than to have a lot of panic attacks. Sometimes I still can’t talk about it out loud, but I’m getting better at that. Then they started peeling off the layers of the onion. It wasn’t a generic, run-of-the-mill cancer, it’s the kind that requires chemo to start the fight. A lot of chemo. Anyway, the blows kept coming. There were a barrage of tests: mammograms, ultrasounds, biopsies, MRIs (the worst of them all), surgery to have a port installed, cat scan, bone scan, EKG, blood tests, and I’m sure I’m missing a few. There were appointments with surgeons, the radiologist, the oncologist, my regular doctor, follow-ups, and all the diagnostic tests. Trying to keep up with all the appointments was a trial in itself.

Plus, it’s extremely emotionally taxing, and I was trying to keep up with my full-time job at the same time. Because they needed the tests done ASAP, because the chemo had to get started ASAP, I didn’t have any choices as to when the appointments were made. It was when they were first available. The loss of control was hard on me, really hard. And, of course, all this is extremely stressful.

I felt fine and had no pain until they started poking, prodding, and slicing me up. But I still mostly feel okay. I started chemo last Friday, finally. I slept most of the day after, had a headache, and felt a bit wonky stomach-wise. It’ll be a day-by-day thing, and I will lose my hair. This week, actually. Yay! (sarcasm) My first round of chemo drugs is 1x a week for 12 weeks. The second round is 1x every three weeks for 3 months. That’s 6 months. Then I have surgery and then radiation. That takes me nearly to the end of the year in cancer treatment.

So, that throws my life and plans into turmoil. It can’t be helped, and I have to be kind to myself and realistic. My garden plans will have to wait until next year. Playing in dirt is not safe on chemo because of bacteria and mold and stuff. If I get a splinter or cut, it’s a big deal. I can’t volunteer at the observatory this year. I have to isolate and stay away from germ-riddled people. So, I go back into a COVID lockdown type of life. More face masks. I’m trying to find all the ones I had for COVID. Guess I should get some new ones. Maybe in September when chemo is done, I can make it up to PMO for a night under the stars. I’ll dream of it, and I’ll miss it. I haven’t gotten any farther in editing The Afterworlds or making audiobooks. When I wasn’t at doctor’s appointments, I was making up time at work.

Work is important. First, I work in health insurance and have excellent health insurance now. So, I need to keep that. My company is nonprofit so I don’t work for the evil empire. That makes me feel good about what I do. Second, work helps calm me down. It’s nice to keep what bit of normalcy I can. I’ve been at this job for a little over a year and still have no complaints about my company. They fubared my FMLA a bit, but I think we finally straightened that out. Because I needed the time for medical appointments and surgery, I had to put ADA and FMLA in place. Chemo is an all-day thing pretty much. And as chemo goes on, some days are going to be really hard. So, keeping a 40-hour work week has been a challenge and will continue to be. I’m fortunate to be able to do my job fully remote. and that my hours can be extremely flexible. I can work more on days I feel good and move workdays to weekends or later in the evening if that works out better for me. I’m also fortunate to have a wonderful boss that will do whatever she can to get me through this. It’s rare to have a boss like her, and she’s a big part of why I like my job.

What does all this mean for my writing life? Well, I am beginning to divert funds from my business to my medical expenses. Soon I’ll run out of paid time off and will find it harder to meet living expenses and medical expenses, let alone my author business expenses. I’ll do my best to get The Afterworlds done. I’m in the second round of edits, but I have to put my health first. Often, I’m exhausted. If I don’t put my needs and health first, this cancer could kill me. It wants to very badly. Since I found the lump, it’s been growing and trying to spread. That’s why the doctors were moving so fast to get me started. They still wanted me on chemo much earlier, but scheduling all the needed diagnostics didn’t cooperate with what the oncologist wanted.

Most likely this cancer won’t kill me. Because I didn’t wait to go to the doctor. If you find wonky shit on your body, don’t wait. Waiting will kill you. Cancer is not the death sentence it once was, but you have to get treatment and get it as soon as possible.

The regimen I’m on is proven to be highly effective at killing the strange-hybrid monster cancer I have. But, the fear remains in my face. What if it isn’t effective? What if it comes back? What if? What if? What if? The beginning of a cancer battle is incredibly overwhelming, so I need grace and patience from all of you waiting on the next book.

One thing I did was change the Not of This Earth Bookshop back to Payhip. Woocommerce was just too temperamental and unreliable. It broke about every 6 weeks, and I don’t have the energy to deal with it at this time. Payhip never failed, so the store went back to Payhip. Same books, same prices, same guarantee.

If you want to stay updated on my battle, I’ll post once in a while here. But I’m more vocal about it on Instagram and FB. It’s harder on Twitter because you can’t say much in a post there.

In the end, I’ll be okay. Losing is not an option, and I have so many stories to write and series to finish. So, this is just a very hard bump in the road. It is not the end of the road. If you’d like to help me keep the office lights on here, think about buying some books or donate. That would really help a lot. If you want to spread the word, I wouldn’t mind that either. Thank you for listening and wishing you great health.

DONATE

 

#MPaxDimension Report: New Website and The Afterworlds

best selling science fiction report

Look! A new website!

Why’d I do that? So that I can offer you print and audiobooks in the Not of this Earth Bookshop.

If you haven’t signed up for the MPax Dimension newsletter yet, don’t miss out on the store specials and coupons next month. SIGN UP

So, yeah, I’ve been really busy making this new site. What else am I up to? I naively bought a laser for my cats, and now that’s all they want to do… play laser. Two squirrels have been ravaging my garden, so it’s been combat in the backyard. I think maybe straight-on cayenne pepper sprinkled liberally on everything made a difference. For now. I won’t hold my breath.

The audibooks of The Rifters and The Initiate are now done. I’m working on The Reader. The paperback and large print editions of The Backworlds are done. I’m working on the hardcover and Stopover.

Edits for The Afterworlds are going into the computer. There’s a lot of writing/rewriting to be done, so the edits won’t be quick. With the website done, my focus will go here.

Hope you’re doing well. Peace out!

 

 

#MPaxDimension Report: Dinos, Audio, and Print.

June was a busy month and a rainy one. Cool and rainy every weekend, it was a challenge to get my garden in. I finally did. Many things are growing very well. There are things I still need to learn to do better, though.

The first round of edits on The Afterworlds is still in progress. I’m past the halfway point. The bones are good so far. My notes are mostly about fleshing things out more. That’s a positive.

Besides working on the next release, I’ve been busy researching how to expand. I’ll be venturing back into print and will be offering it direct through my Not of this Earth Bookshop as well as other outlets. On this site, I’ll be offering options for regular print, large print, and special editions not available anywhere else.

I also decided to go ahead and offer my books in audio through digital narration.  I started with The Rifters and have the first one almost done.  I’ll be putting my full catalog into digital narration except for The Backworlds, Stopover at the Backworlds’ Edge, and The Renaissance of Hetty Locklear. Those three titles are still under contract with ACX. I hope to extricate them in the near future.

These expansions mean a renovation of the Not of this Earth Bookshop. I have so much to do, but I’m happy with these decisions and the large heaping of projects on my plate. They’re exciting projects, so stay tuned!

And once The Backworlds series is completed, I will be at work finishing up The Rifters series, then the Hetty Locklear series and Squad 51. After those, I’m already cooking up new stories… my favorite part of the writing process.

I did see Jurassic World: Dominion this month too. I know the critics really didn’t like it much, but I did. I always think more people could have been eaten by the dinosaurs, but that’s always my opinion.

The husband unit liked it too. To me, it had more of a plot than the previous movies, and the references back to movie one were awesome. The addition of the original cast was great too. The major disappointment was the theater had no Cheetos popcorn. I had to get the regular stuff. Yikes!

It was our first trip to the theater since COVID shut everything down, and it was really different. For one, not so many snacks. For two, not much staff.  And, the signs outside the theaters telling you which movie was in which theater weren’t working.

But the 3D dino action was fantastic. It was a fun movie, which is all I expect from a movie with dinos running amok. I would rank this as my second favorite movie of the franchise. In order: 1, 6, 4 and 5, 3… 2 is the movie I don’t like to talk about. That one was a sad, sad disappointment.

Hope you had a good June. I’ll check in again at the end of July!

 

 

#MPaxDimension Report: The Afterwolds First Draft is Close to Done! #SciFi

The final scenes of The Afterworlds are in the works. Perhaps at the next MPax Dimension Report, I’ll say I finished the first draft. If not, I’ll be pretty close. Once the Backworlds is finished, I’ll be getting to work on the Rifters series.

I updated the Not of this Earth Bookshop.  I’m looking into redoing print copies of my books in the near future and some special editions. So, you can look forward to that.

The anthology that The Psychic Astronomy Shoppe was canceled, so I’ll be publishing that on my own. I had planned three other stories for it. When those are written, I’ll be publishing the stories myself.

I was able to get part of the garden planted, but not all of it. The weather just wasn’t cooperating.

The cat pack is doing all right. Luna still shuns the boys. Sarge and Mork play together a lot.

Peace out!

 

 

#MPaxDimension Report: The Afterworlds, cats, gardening, and astronomy #scifi

 

Four months down in 2022. We had more snow in April than we did all winter.

Despite the schizophrenic weather, the garden is coming to life. I experimented with winter sowing and many of the seeds are sprouting. Some are not, but I’m trying to be patient. Patience is not my strong suit, however.

Our cat, Sarge, really wanted a playmate. So, Luna joined our family a week ago. I did not name her, despite the name being a good fit for me. She’s an older cat, but so is Sarge. She’s still hissing at him, though.

We started going into the office one day a week. This is a new job for me, so it was like the first day. I prefer working at home, but it was nice to meet some of my coworkers in person.

Pine Mountain Observatory will be opening for two weeks a month this summer. I plan on volunteering at least once. I need a stargazing fix. The orientation is in mid-May. It will be nice to see people I’ve volunteered with for years again.

The Afterworlds, Backworlds Book 9, is now 62,000 words. I’m happy with the progress and should be moving into the editing phase by end of August. Maybe sooner.

I’m also helping to organize an anthology. There are still open slots if you’d like a publishing credit. The theme is spring and fantasy. If you’re interested in some exposure with other published authors, let me know. You can email me at mpax at mpaxauthor dot com

My brain is percolating future stories. But first, I’m going to finish all the series I’ve started. Afterworlds is the last book in the Backworlds series (for now). Then in order, I will complete Rifters, Space Squad 51, and Hetty Locklear.

I have other plans for ramping up my author life and business, so be sure to stay tuned!

 

 

 

#MPaxDimension Report: Exploring New Worlds

Wow! March whizzes by… Hope the month treated you well. The weather has been going back and forth between summer and winter here. I’m planning fun new things for the future… more exciting book launches, new print versions, and I’ll be finishing up each of my series. I’m currently working on the last book in the Backworlds series, and then I will move on to completing the Rifters series.

The Psychic Astronomy Shoppe: My critique group had stuff to say about the ending two scenes, which resulted in an edit. At 22K, it’s complete. The submission date has been extended. I plan on writing 3 more stories in this world.

The Afterworlds, Backworlds Book 9: The word count rises to 42.5K. It would have been higher if I hadn’t erased 2 chapters and written them over. There wasn’t anything terribly wrong with them. I just thought I could do better and make them more exciting. So, I did. I’ll share the cover with you soon!

 

 

 

Scroll to Top