Coming Back Slow…

I dearly wish to write something worth reading, but anything of substance escapes me. The one thing that seems most helpful is this:

IF YOU AIN’T DEPRESSED, YOU’RE NOT PAYING ATTENTION.

If you feel bad, it only means you’re still feeling. Drink plenty of fluids, wash your hands, watch cartoons when you can.

A list of what all has gone wrong this year could be provided, but then we would all be profoundly depressed. There is always more bottom to be seen.

On the plus side, I’ve returned to my day job, working from home on my kitchen table, though that is going to be temporary. The costume shop has reopened. Everyone there has had to get a pedicure because we’re hanging on by our toenails. No-one knows if there is even going to be a Halloween this year to put us in the black.

I’ve pecked away at my steampunk WIP, but only enough to keep it from scabbing over and healing. My Evil Empire in Stronghold Kingdoms, however, is flourishing from the attention it has received.

And, oh yes, almost forgot: my cancer has returned after only three months.

The approach is surgical at this point. In two weeks. I’ll go into the hospital to have the tumor and a section of my colon removed. We could go into details, but let us just say that the doctor’s lectures and take home materials have provided rich new fields for body horror.

I’ve been consistently posting on my anti-social media. That is mostly blipverts for my books and writerlifts, but it proves to the greater world that I’m Not Dead Yet. I even have a giveaway for my first book, Camp Arcanum, going on over the Independence Day weekend. For those who really want to cheer me up, and they don’t have my online location to send Squirrel GIFs, reading and reviewing the new editions of my books would do me wonders. All it will cost is some time and attention for book number one.

Rising above my crass writer’s instincts, I would like to sincerely thank everyone for all the love and concern you have shown for me and mine. My image of myself is as a black-clad observer on this planet, fading into the background until all you see is the mustache and the hat. The outpouring of feelings left me touched and confused.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

And, considering my disease, the heart of my bottom…

Leave a comment

Filed under True Life Misadventure, Writer stuff

Happy Beltane

It has been suggested, for social distancing and safety reasons, that this year all the happy pagans should instead dance around a votive candle in their living rooms in solitary fashion.

I present you a soundtrack for such activities, hurdy-gurdy and all.

Leave a comment

Filed under Silly stuff

My Butt is Clean!

This will be just a short note to share some very good news. I had a follow-up CT scan on Friday to check for any signs of my rectal cancer. Today’s meeting with my oncologist confirmed that there is no sign of the original tumor or metastasis. My white blood cell counts are back up to normal and I am ready to go back to work any time.

Thank you to everyone that has been praying, sending healing vibes, and sending virtual hugs. I am sure they contributed to knocking out my nemesis, Tommy the Tumor.

Leave a comment

Filed under True Life Misadventure

The Tawdry Tale of Baphomet the Turkey

I have worked for over twenty years in the Call Center of a Fortune 100 company. The staff is made up of a lot of god-fearing middle-aged women, college students and a smattering of misfits able to bite their tongue on the telephone at least four hours a day. Not a great fit with my innermost heart, but it has allowed me to provide cash and benefits to my family.

Sometime during the “W” administration, I found myself in a peculiar situation. I had available cash for one of the corporate charity fund-raisers and I was of a temperament to participate. Also, the flu was about to kick my ass.

It was a Thanksgiving fundraiser where we could contribute money towards dinners for the poor. Employees pooled their funds to earn stuffed plush turkey toys. Anyone who ponied up the whole amount earned naming rights. I chipped in all of $12 and decided to name my turkey Baphomet.

I had to spell it for the co-worker that was going to put both our names on the rally board. My fatal error was to explain it then:

“Baphomet was the name of the demon that the Knights Templar were accused of worshipping. It was all an excuse to kill them and steal their gold, sort of the Weapons of Mass Destruction of their era.”

I then went home and became horribly ill.

The next morning, pretty much from under my covers, I called my supervisor to report and absence and to advise him that I had made a horrible mistake in turkey-naming. I asked him to re-name it “Mr. Giblets” or something. Even in my feverish state, I knew I had stepped on my pee-pee.

I had, upon my return a few days later, a mandatory meeting with my supervisor and his supervisor, who happened to be a lay minister. His disapproval felt as heavy and oppressive as he was.

“Don’t you realize there are a lot of god-fearing Christians that work here?” they asked. “Didn’t you think that they might be offended? Don’t you care about other people’s feelings?”

I tried to tell them that it was all a stupid failed attempt at humor, but they weren’t satisfied. They ran me through pretty much the same questions and brow beating two or three times. The managers relented only when I had signed an apology and acceptance of fault which went into my permanent record.

As a final gesture, the call center manager asked:

“Is there anything we can do for you?”

My first thought was an ice pack for the moon-sized hole the two of them had just chewed in my ass. Then a more appropriate response came to mind.

“Now that you mention it,” I said, “I do have a problem. There’s a co-worker about two rows over from me. She spends most of her days talking about Jesus and what he does for her in her life.”

“I need her to stop.”

I have never been what you might call God Fearing, but some Christians scare the Hell out of me. People like them have always done their best to burn people like me. I didn’t want a constant reminder of the imminent danger.

“If people have the right to be offended by my little demon turkey,” I continued, “it is definitely in my rights to be offended about her conducting Sunday School while I’m trying to work.”

The two of them blinked at me, like bullfrogs about to be gigged.

“Don’t you think that might look a little spiteful?” my supervisor finally asked.

I thought for several moments about how to respond, but chose my most diplomatic response:

“I don’t really care. If they have the right to be offended by a mistake I made and corrected, I have the right to request this.”

The meeting ended there, in sort of a amorphous state. But the offending co-worker was pulled into her own meeting and the volume and frequency of her Sermons from the Cubicle reduced immediately.

And that is how a plush turkey named after a Lord of Hell secularized the call center.

Leave a comment

Filed under True Life Misadventure

Yet Another Gift from the Equinox Bunny

We have a final gift for all the Self-Isolated coming up tomorrow. “The Ren Faire at the End of the World”, book three of “Arcanum Faire, will be available for 99 cents tomorrow.  See the spectacle of the ultimate battle between Good & Evil as fought by ren faire performers & reanimated roadkill. It will go up to $1.99 on the 5th, and full price on the 9th.

Weirdmaste

2 Comments

Filed under Writer stuff

Multiple Happy Endings Do Not Make an HEA

That is what I discovered the difference between an Urban Fantasy with romance/sex and a true Paranormal Romance. The PR has to have a Happily Ever After. In Arcanum Faire, I just make sure that multiple characters get their Happy Endings. Not in enough graphic detail for some, too much for others. The same hit and miss with power tool content, horrific images, and Eleazar’s humor.

I’d like to think I give all my readers a little bit of something besides a frisson of disgust.

As of March 26th, I am giving you “Power Tools in the Sacred Grove” on the cheap. Following the example of the first book of the series, ebook two will be available for 99 cents until March 29th. At that point, it will go up to $1.99 and then go up to full price on April 2.

If you enjoyed the first book, this will give you a chance to continue the series. If you didn’t like the book, I don’t know what to say.

Be safe and sequestered out there.

Weirdmaste.

Leave a comment

Filed under Silly stuff, Writer stuff

Chemo Brain

After nearly three months of chemotherapy, my mind has snapped. A series of annoying side effects, not nearly as devastating as the ones I’d heard of in my youth, nevertheless stacked upon each other to be a monumental Pain in the Ass. Because of the Malignant Pain in my Ass.

So I wrote a song:

 

 

1 Comment

Filed under Silly stuff

Happy Ostara

Happy Ostara

The nights are getting shorter.

The days are getting warmer.

When everything changes, some of those changes will be for the good.

Image result for ostara 2020

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

A Gift from the Equinox Bunny

Before we get down to business, a little dark comedy:

In July, I was diagnosed with rectal cancer. I have never approved of surprise butt stuff.

by early December, the initial course of chemo and radiation apparently did in Tommy the Tumor. In spite of the complete absence of cancer cells, my surgeon still wanted to gut me like a fish and give me a permanent colostomy. We found an option of surveillance and bonus chemotherapy as a follow-up.

Two months into chemo, say the end of February, the world is struck by a pandemic at a level not seen for a century. I’m told I shouldn’t worry because it is only lethal if your are elderly (I am 61), if you have severe allergies and asthma (present) or you have a compromised immune system (remember the bonus chemo?). A man who still sounds like a fifth-grader is steering us through these anxious times.

Near future: I have finished my chemo and white blood cell shots with only moderate side effects. Coronavirus hasn’t killed me. My lovely wife and I hold hands as we look up at the stars. “That bright star up there, does that look like an incoming asteroid?”

#

Since I cannot pass out virtual Easter candy to all the folk sequestered for the duration, I set up a Kindle Discount Countdown for all three of my wonderfully Wiccan Arcanum Faire ebooks. Consider it a gift from the Equinox Bunny.

Camp Arcanum will be available for 99 cents on March 19. On the 22nd, the price creeps up to $1.99. It returns to the normal price of $2.99 on March 26th. The second book, Power Tools in the Sacred Grove, starts its discount cycle that day.  The Ren Faire at the End of the World, the final book, is discounted to 99 cents on April 2. Keep an eye out for future reminders on these.

Why am I doing this? My books need good homes, and lots of people need reading material for the next few weeks. I’m just sorry that ebook can’t double for toilet paper if you don’t like them.

Leave a comment

Filed under True Life Misadventure, Writer stuff

Fear Itself

We are all in a pretty fearful position on this planet. Plague strides across the face of the Earth like it’s in a footrace with War, Pollution, and Ignorance to cover the most territory. Stock markets falter and Dollar Tree can’t keep toilet paper on the shelves.

There is no magick formula for defeating fear. It is something that must be faced in every heart. Realize that almost all of us, Warriors of Every Stripe, are bred to fear from the moment we can walk. Mommy or Daddy won’t love us if we make noise in the restaurant or a mess in the living room. Our friends won’t love us if we have the cheap sneakers or facial breakouts. Someone might kill us for who we truly love or our gender beneath our skin.

My greatest gift on that front was my cancer diagnosis. I had had a skin biopsy a few years before of a precancerous mass that had my brain swirling for months afterwards at the lethal possibilities. The next one might slip by and and get me, metastasize to all my vital organs, kill me like my mother and her father before her.  Then, I got my colonoscopy out of a sudden rush of self-care and responsibility. My wife and I got the bad news while I was still loguey from the anesthetic.

From that moment on, I was gifted with momentum and focus. Doctors were lined up and consulted. Arrangements with my job were made so I could take chemo and have my radiation treatments on my extended lunch break. Support was lined up for every eventuality.

My last evaluation at work before I went on leave, my supervisor told me” “Don’t take this the wrong way, but you seem happier with cancer.” She was right.

My petty concerns had fallen away. I no longer cared who liked me at work, or what drama might be stirring with my siblings. It didn’t matter if my books weren’t selling, and if that meant I would be forgotten after death. All that would sort it self out with only minor interventions from myself.

A cancerous tumor in my rectum was chewing its way through my colon wall to get to my lymph nodes. That sort of behavior is not allowed in allowed in polite gastrointestinal tracts. More pages could be written about the epic battle in my butt, but the important point was that I focused on killing Tommy the Tumor, not what I feared he and the treatment could do to me. That’s how I’ve been getting through this prolonged annoyance without a meltdown or a drinking problem.

My only advice for our situation now is put some time into filtering fear from need. Know the facts of this situation. COVID-19 is a new, aggressive respiratory virus that has spread far further than SARS, MERS, or Ebola. It is less lethal than the flu, but it seems to have reached true pandemic proportions, so the number of infections and deaths will be higher. In the initial epicenter of Wuhan, word is that new infections are dropping and patients are recovering. There is hope that this will end without becoming the Apocalypse.

The immediate government and business responses have an effect on the outbreak, but produce economic side effects just as fearful. In trying to game all the effects without having all the facts, governments and media have created a world-choking cloud of fear.

Fan through this cloud and find what you truly need. You may be expecting to stay home for a while to help slow the spread of infection. Extra toilet paper and supplies are good, but leave some for the next guy. I have plenty of old manuscripts, just in case. If you get sick, call your doctor or closest ER to consult first. Simply rushing down to ER for a test will recreate scenes from Soylent Green, and nobody wants to watch that one again.

WASH YOUR HANDS LIKE SOMEONE’S LIFE DEPENDED ON IT.

You, or someone you love, will be affected by the chaos.  Schools are closing, daycare will be overwhelmed, megalithic businesses will attempt to turn on a dime. The gig economy will temporarily collapse as large events are postponed and caterers, clubs, drivers, and various scutpuppies are no longer needed. This is when you will need your own focus and momentum. Reach out and network with friends hit hardest. Sell, gift, and barter your way through the tight spots. Form support circles, but call them Stitch & Bitches, potlucks, or Magick Circles for Prosperity. Prepare for more casseroles than the aftermath of a Southern funeral. Whatever light you can cast on the shadow of fear that hangs over us all.

There are a lot of awful things out there right now, but the fear will paralyze you and leave you to be eaten alive. Just like some giant mutant wasp for a Syfy original movie.

Weirdmaste, Warriors of Every Stripe.

Leave a comment

Filed under True Life Misadventure, Writer stuff