New Year – new sh#t

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This post will come as no surprise to those who caught my Facebook updates over Christmas and New Year. For those who did not let me summarise: things went very badly wrong!

My white blood cell levels crashed and I was twice admitted to Frimley Park Hospital with infections my immune system could not cope with. I have now been prescribed a new regime of chemotherapy with a single agent, Ibrutinib which I will start on Monday. This is a new treatment but everything I have read about it sounds very positive.

This inevitably meant that my cochlear implant surgery, which should have been yesterday, has been postponed until my white blood cell count improves. This may be several months, so I’m not going to be getting out to Cons, writing group meetings etc until the summer.

In other news: physical copies of Nandor, book 2 of the Nandor Tales, are now available. The e-book version has been out for a month or so, but there are as yet no reviews (hint!). The audiobook of Exile has been delayed due to the illness of the narrator, but I’m told it should be available in Feb.

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Fantasycon

I survived Fantasycon, didn’t win the award I was shortlisted for but hey, it is still a huge honour to have been nominated.  My hotel (the Park Inn) comfortable enough but the bar prices were high (£5.10 for a 330ml bottle of beer!). It was also about 10 mins walk to the con so not ideal for the evenings when my knees and ankles were reminding me of their distress.

I managed OK in the panels if I sat at the front but conversations around the bar were definitely difficult. If you spoke to me at the bar and got an odd answer (or none at all) it is probably because I didn’t hear you clearly.

I met in the flesh a bunch of new Facebook friends, 2 people came to my reading (but did seem to enjoy it)  and I had useful conversations with several editors about my unpublished contemporary fantasy novel – so job done.

If my health holds up, I should be able to do more cons so maybe see you in Chester and Harrogate next year.

 

September update

We were in southern Spain last week for a bit of late summer sun and had a very lazy time. Sat around the pool, drank cold beer and read Mark Lawrence’s ‘Red Sister’ and pretty good it was; Mark Lawrence does Harry Potter – well almost. A young girl with prodigous gifts is trained as a warrior nun, and being a Lawrence novel the story is several shades darker than HP.

Saw the haematology consultant today and she is happy with my condition. The joint pain associated with my medication is slowly improving and I feel well. So I’m off to Fantasycon this weekend. I just had to be there on the off-chance that I win the ‘Best Newcomer’ award for which I’m shortlisted. Looking forward to catching up with a lot of people I haven’t seen for a couple of years. Just bear with me if we’re in a noisy environment – it might overload my implant and I’ll struggle to hear you.

The T-Party evolves

Now that I have functional hearing and my joints are less painful I’m trying to get my old life back a bit more. The latest step was to go to a meeting of my London-based writing group, the T-Party. I haven’t been able to go to a meeting for nearly 2 years, though I’ve kept up critiquing work that was circulated. There was a social event yesterday so I went along. We met in a quiet pub near Kings Cross and I’m happy to report that my implant coped very well, and I was able to hear pretty much everything that was said.

I’ve been a member for a long time and owe the T-Party a lot for making me a better writer. It was great to catch up with the members who attended. The group is evolving; the name T-Party has become too tainted by American politics so it is changing to Gravity’s Angels – which was the name of the first anthology we published. We are looking to add new members so if anyone is interested in a SF/F/H writing group that meets every couple of months in London and is focused on professional publication take a look at the website  https://tpartywriters.wordpress.com/

Total Surprise

I’m on the shortist for Best Newcomer at the British Fantasy Awards.  I don’t know how this happened, other than I published a book I desperately hoped people would like. It seems enough people cared to vote for Exile, so thank you very much if you voted for me.

I now have to organise going to Fantasy Con.

One week on

Went back to St Thomas’s Audiology dept yesterday for tests. I went through all their tests with very little difficulty. They were astonished! This is almost unheard of. I already have greater capacity than some people ever achieve! I was able to use the phone and can watch the News without subtitles. Lots of background noise still defeats the system though so I will need to use the Bluetooth mic for conversations is such situations.

Day two

Yesterday I heard the phone ringing, answered it and was able to speak to the person on the other end. Doesn’t sound like much but I couldn’t do that before. Currently trying to follow the TV without subtitles. Everyone still sounds like Donald Duck.