Sorry for the long radio-silence. Fall is one of our busy seasons and so between processing books to go to print and attending conventions, we've been a bit overloaded.
On the SPC side, we have begun work on the charity anthology for CJ, but don't look for anything before next year...sadly, these things take time. However, in the meantime, I am 95% complete processing CJ's newest collection, Everything's Better With Monkeys (Dark Quest Books) for publication. With luck that will be out in print and ebook by the end of the year and making CJ money.
Now, with Thanksgiving fast approaching and us having so much to be thankful for, here is an update direct from our boy, CJ, himself:
First off, let me say thank you once more to everyone out there that has shown their concern for me and my situation. To the well-wishers sending their prayers and love and crossed-fingers, to those contributing their dollars to the Preserve CJH fund, all I can say is God bless you all. I appreciate every bit of it. Obviously money pays bills, and in these tight times it says volumes that folks have anything spare to send. But, I am touched beyond measure by all of you that have continued to send simple encouragement. We also live in times where the internet and other pressures have driven us to become more and more a self-centered society.
Whenever anyone takes the time to send me a note of "get well," "don't give up," "hang in there," et cetera, every one of them is a smile-bring shot in the arm that I can not express how much I appreciate. There are days I wake up and the chemo poisons are doing a number on me like nobody's business. Yet, just a sincere message from one person reminding me that people care can do wonders for my spirit. So, trust me when I say, thank you everyone for everything you have done. I probably would have survived this far on just medicine, but it would have been infinitely harder. Thank you all.
And now, some news on how I'm doing.
First off, for anyone who hasn't heard, the cancer seems to be pretty much under control. It looks like I'll live and be back harassing the world soon enough. The chemo, as I said above, is miserable. Dry mouth to the point of choking, insomnia, constipation, sweats, numb mind, constant bladder pressure, more. Some days are better than others. Some are a monstrous grind of simply trying to keep moving forward. I've had four of the six treatments, and none of them have been easy. I'll get the last one just days before my birthday (24th chemo, 25th Christmas, 26th my birthday), which means Christmas, my birthday and New Years will be a drooling mess. Well, at least I'll have Chinese New Years.
I lost 40 pounds in the hospital during the first stay, gained 10 back when I went home and could finally eat again, but have lost that 10 once more, and about 5 more. My appetite, admittedly a thing out of control before, has been destroyed. While I seem to have conquered some of my mental problems, like wanting a large meal every night just before bed, I rarely find myself enjoying a meal these days. Many of my favorite things taste like rancid cardboard. Doctors and my wife are yelling at me to eat more, but ... well ... I just can't. I know the sound of the weight loss sounds good, but I understand their concerns. The gut remains in these situations, but my arms and legs and shoulders have all shrunk, leaving me looking like some Tim Burton animation character. Throw in my hair loss, and the look is grotesque. But still, I'm just not hungry, and 9 meals out of 10, I'm forcing stuff down.
The scary news, however, centers on what started everything ... the blood clots. Those remain. I get a shot of blood thinners every morning and every night, but so far the two large clots rooted in my groin, poised to shoot upward into my lungs, or the one lodged in my neck and inch from the brain, they don't seem to be shrinking. Granted, the blood thinners are scheduled to continue for months, but the medical types aren't as happy when I ask about the clots as they are the cancer. But hey, at least if one of them breaks loose and gets me, I'll go out like a light. That's something.
And, honest, I'm not trying to be morbid, but when you get a possible death sentence pronounced on you, and you know it could be agonizing pain for months on end, or a simple, painless flip of the switch ... hey, if ya gotta go, might as well go quick and easy.
I know how that sounds, but trust me, I'm not thrilled about the idea. I'm just coward enough to admit that if it must be, I'll take quick and easy. If I can stick around, I'll take that, too.
And, it might be worth it. Yes, the writing is tough these days. To give you an idea how hard it is for me to focus, I started writing this about an hour and a half ago. That's way too long. On the other hand, two months ago it would have taken a day and a half, so I'm getting better.
The "worth it" part is that folks still want my work. Next year is going to see another flood of titles from me. A new series (yes, another one), and several more all-me collections, another slew of anthologies and comics, at least one novel besides the new series, possibly two ... I am getting work done, but it's a lot tougher. I can get about 1,000 words done in a day, if it's a day I can write at all. So, on the one hand writing is harder than ever, by far, but on the other, I'm getting it done, turning stuff in, and it's still getting approved. So again ... step by step ...
Also, I know I had to cancel a lot of appearances, first simply because of the pain, then the hospitalization, then the recovery, and finally, after being able to make one small personal appearance, I took a fall which put me back in the hospital and I missed another slew of shows. I am so sorry for letting anyone down that expected to see me here or there. I really tried to get back on my feet. And well, I did, a little. The last two weekends I actually made it to two conventions ... Carnage, in VT, and Geek Kink in NJ. The first I ended up in a wheelchair for the weekend, but by the second I was only on a cane. I had to cancel the upcoming Boston Super-Mega Show, which hurt because if nothing else, it's in Boston which means when I do that show I get to spend the weekend with my daughter. But, common sense let me know it would be too much.
However, the splendid time I had in VT and NJ both were a tonic for the soul. The readings I did and the panels, everyone had a good time, and their cheers and laughter and applauds were such a boost to my soul ... hey, let's face it, I'm an attention-starved diva, and I needed every second of it. I got to premier some new books (can't believe how "Clockwork Chaos" flew off the table. Sure glad I did a story for that one), but it was the signing autographs and the several endless gab sessions with fans that did me such a world of good. Yeah, in VT in the wheelchair, I was in screaming pain in my hip, but man of man, it was worth it.
Which kind of brings me back to how I opened all this. These past two weekends, connecting with my fans, being reminded that people actually like my work ... that they like me ... it was the best medicine I've had these past months. Yeah, sure, science will argue that their goo is what's keeping me alive, and they're probably right ... but ... when you're lying awake in the dark, staring at the ceiling, wondering if the pain and the tears and the sometimes downright embarrassing disabilities are worth it, there's nothing like remembering the face of a fan who has spotted me and yelled out "CJ!"
That joy ... it's flavor is the sweetest thing in the world. So again, please believe me, I thank everyone out there that has shown me even the slightest concern. Every single email, every card and contribution, every book bought, every tiny well-wish, every phone call and visit ... you can not how much they have helped. I have been made humble by the attention, and my soul has been lightened.
God bless you all.
Thanks for keeping up to date here, and if you have a chance, please share word of this site with others who love and care about CJ as much as we do.