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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Coming soon – Shadows of Faerie

I got the edits through this week for my upcoming contemporary novel which is set in Southampton and the New Forest where I grew up. The publisher is Crossroad Publishing, an American publisher, so obviously my editor was American. She caught a disturbingly high number of typos and missing words considering the manuscript had been gone through so many times, and more vexing, she also changed all my …ise ending words to …ize, recognise to recognize etc. So I had to go through and change them back. This gave me the opportunity to reread the story, having not done so for about 3 yrs, and I have to say I’m impressed with myself. It is a good book. I hope you’ll agree when it comes out later this year. No exact date yet, but I’ll post the cover art when I get it. Now I need to get a decent author’s picture taken.

Welcome to 2019

Goodbye 2018. You were a tough year but I’m finishing in much better state than I started. The biggest difference is having started on Venetoclax in February which has worked really well. Most of my blood parameters are now in the normal range, I’ve put back the weight I had lost, and my knees and ankles are much improved after the damage Ibrutinib did to them.

My writing has picked up; I now have 80k of the first draft of my new fantasy novel – more epic than the Nandor Tales books – and hope to have a complete first draft soon. Since I resumed work on it I’ve written about 50k words which is pretty good going for me.

2018 was a tough year for a Southampton supporter too. Mark Hughes looked like a saviour at the end of last season but it quickly became clear that, despite the new players brought in, the team was still weak. I’ve been well enough to go to a lot of home games this season and the number of errors that cost us points was disturbing. The new man Ralph Hassenhuttl seems to have a strong vision for the side and I think we’ve made a good appointment. I look forward to seeing us win a lot more games in 2019.

Review of Blackest Knights

I have a story in Blackest Knights, an anthology edited by Charles Phipps and published by Crossroad Press, who will be publishing my contemporary fantasy novel next year.

So is it any good? Here’s what I thought of it:

19 fantasy adventure short stories from 15 different authors, many set in the worlds of the their novels, all action-packed and never less than entertaining; there is simply not a bad one amongst them. My standouts were “Gift of the Gaze” by James Alderdice, “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s my Brother” by Allan Batchelder and “Honor is Just a Word” by CT Phipps (who edited and has 3 stories in the anthology). This serves as an excellent sampler of the writing of these talented independent authors

June update

Saw the consultant yesterday for my monthly progress check. I’ve been feeling good all this month so was expecting things to look decent – and they do! Welcome back to my neutrophils. Now coming in at 2.4 (2 and above is normal). The only red ink on the report is the lymphocyte level (0.5 when it should be 1.0), and part of that is due to the medication. So yeah! Venetoclax works and for me has no side effects.

In other news I placed in the top 10 of the Farnham Flash Festival Flash Fiction Competition – the winning story was from a fellow Rushmoor Writer and way better than mine. Also my current work in progress is now at 65k.