Now Begins Operation Jay

At this time, I am declaring Operation Steve and Emma to be a resounding success; thanks to your astounding generosity (and to the fact that those two have spent decades engendering warm feelings across the planet), I think they’re now as taken care of as they can be. Both are recovering from their surgeries, and have useful bulwarks against lost time, unforeseen disasters, and un-fun complications. I’m also stuck coughing up the complete list of incentives I offered. :)

And so, I’m turning the beam of Whatever This Not-A-Kickstarter Thing I’m Doing is on someone else. For the future, unless any sudden new emergencies erupt and need to be dealt with, (come on, writers, just quit having mortal frailties already) the 2/3 of QUEEN OF THE IRON SANDS donation income I give away will be going to lend a hand to Jay Lake.

As Jay has recently discussed quite nakedly on his own blogs, he’s currently in his third go-round with his virulent, recurring, simply-will-not-take-the-hint liver cancer. Jay has recorded, in excruciating detail, all the long physical and emotional struggles of his previous surgery and chemotherapy regimens, which have stolen his life for months at a time but not yet shut him up for good. If there’s anybody on earth who’s a Goddamn Cancer Professional, it’s Jay. Chuck Norris desperately wishes that his facts could be anywhere near as bad-ass as Jay Lake Facts:

Jay is trying to be level-headed and pragmatic in his pronouncements, but he says the math is clear… his mortality horizon is likely creeping into a single-digit number of years, and it’s not a big number. And that’s with a significant amount of remaining time being stolen, as before, by the hardships of treatment.

Jay has always worked hard to keep his financial house in good order, but the next few years are going to kick the shit out of much of what he’s worked for. Jay’s got to deal with providing for his teenage daughter, his treatment, his legal and estate expenses… and all of us want to see him claw enough time from this goddamn illness to write at least a few more things, and drop by at least a few more cons.

So know, if you leave a tip in Violet’s tip jar, that that’s where most of it is going for the foreseeable future. Jay’s new round of chemotherapy starts on September 21, one week from this writing. And if you’ve ever appreciated his work or enjoyed his company, let me gently stress that the time to send him notes and good wishes is sooner rather than later.

Memory, Sorrow, and Mars

What a week or two it’s been. Technology has made me its chew toy several times over, and I’ve been smacked in the face by piping-hot anxiety attacks fresh from the neurological oven. On the bright side, I survived my first Worldcon and my girlfriend walked away with her third Hugo award. She’s now here in Wisconsin for a few weeks, and is essentially the reason I’m still coherent and functional.

I’ve been organizing the house and packing things, since I expect to leave this place before November (total distance of my intended move is about one mile, nothing dramatic), and I keep stumbling over the detritus and evidence of my ex-marriage in the goddamnedest places. The mementos of a 12-year relationship simply get everywhere, like fine volcanic ash. My reaction has been variable. Sometimes it feels like those things happened to another person entirely and sometimes it feels as though they happened five minutes ago. The scribbles on one envelope recognizably belong to the woman who left me in 2010; the writing on the very next piece of paper just as clearly belongs to the girl I fell in love with in 1998. Throwing them in the same box feels disrespectful to one or the other; I can never figure out which, and I never want to think about how long I’ve held these crumpled old things poised above the box while trying to decide… fuck it, sigh, mumble, sigh some more, into the box they both go. Into the hermetic memory vault I’m sealing up for Eventually Whenever. A little present tucked away in a corner of the TARDIS for some future regeneration to stumble over and curse me for. That’s the way it works. I had to clean up the mess the last guy made of this place. Future Me can figure out what to do with the papers.

In happier news, there is more Violet. QUEEN OF THE IRON SANDS continues with the second part (of three) of Chapter 8: Across Savage Mars. I hope to get the last third, the longest bit by far, up some time this weekend. E-Book making is frustrating at the moment, but good old HTML and RTF are so simple even a clusterdunce like me can reliably tame them.





I Have Made eBooks!

QUEEN OF THE IRON SANDS rolls on, with the beginning of Chapter 8: Across Savage Mars now available! I’ll post the next two installments this week.

Also, for the first time ever, I have made eBooks! Using the exacting instructions provided by the excellent Guido Henkel in his formatting tutorials, I’ve put the first two chapters of QUEEN OF THE IRON SANDS into EPUB and MOBI formats. They’re available (completely for free) here. Just click on the links next to “Versions” and download ’em straight away.

Please, please feel free to send me any notes on foul-ups, bad form, misformatting, etc. Any feedback is very valuable, as I’m using these to practice (the QotIS test eBook is the result of 18 progressively improving iterations of the core file) for future releases of more work in e-formats.