Ohhhhkay

October 23rd, 2020

First, thanks to a reader looking for a copy of Touching Fire: Paul’s Dream, I have learned that Liquid Silver Books/Publishing is no longer in business and Paul’s Dream is apparently out of print. sigh

But! Silver lining: I get to revise the book, which is something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time. So… yay?

Second, Yahoo!Groups is shutting down, which means my newsletter/mailing list will be gone come December. I…don’t really see a silver lining here. People can subscribe to my blog, but sometimes I put life stuff in there. I have a Tumblr, but that account is pure chaos. I have Twitter, but it’s, well, uh, Twitter. The Yahoo!Groups newsletter was strictly for book and contest news. All business so that your inbox wouldn’t be filled with personal/political/reblogged art of hot guys and Marvel memes.

I’m thinking of switching to MailChimp. What do you xudes think of MailChimp? Do you have a preference for another service? If so, let me know, yeah?

And now, finally, something cool.

As promised (months and months ago) here is the cover reveal for the third edition of Want Me—

What do you think? Since this will be the third edition, but with very few changes to the text inside, I decided to blend elements of the covers from the first and second editions. Check it out:

The base image:

Then, the color scheme:

Cool, yeah? I also added some shooting stars because you can never have too many shooting stars. Unless you’re one of those poor bastards in “Day of the Triffids.” If so, Walker’s brand of magic is the least of your problems. O.O

I am currently working on the final draft of Last Heartbeat: Flow. The book now has a cover. Which I designed. All by myself. But that reveal will be later. 😉


Edit: Just found out I can’t even send a message to my newsletter subscribers that there will soon be no newsletter. wtf?


Wear a mask.

Vote.

All this Death…

September 28th, 2020

This post is going to be a mess so please forgive me. It’s also going to be highly personal, so apologies for that as well. As with my previous complete post, feel free to skip if you don’t have the spoons to spare. Your health is just as important as anyone else’s.

All right? All right.

First, thank you for everyone’s kind words when I posted about the passing of my mother.
I didn’t respond to many messages, but each and every one helped me so, so much. Some of you asked if there was anything you could do to help. I wasn’t in any kind of headspace to answer that question in the moment. But I have an answer now:

Wear a mask. Vote.

This is not a political statement. Like I said earlier, this is personal.

My mom did not die of Covid. So you would be forgiven for thinking that Covid-19 has nothing to do with me and the fact that I just asked you to put on a mask came out of nowhere. But even though my mom didn’t die OF Covid, it’s very, very possible that she died BECAUSE of Covid. Even her doctors said so.

In an earlier post I said that Mom is the heart of this house. She was then and she is now. She was loving, and brave, and strong. The strongest person I ever knew and ever will know. But she drew her strength from her family, and we weren’t allowed to see her for two months.

The hospital was on lockdown because of Covid-19. It happened so fast that they didn’t have the infrastructure for video conferencing. The nurses, doctors, and other staff were stretched thin because half were permanently assigned to the Covid wing in order to help protect the non-Covid ICU patients. Once, I pushed hard enough to convince a nurse to hold a phone to my mom’s ear so she could hear our voices. She was still on a ventilator, but every time we checked in we were told her eyes would open but she was otherwise unresponsive. So I pushed.

As soon as she heard our voices, her eyes opened wide and she tried to sit up. I didn’t have to push after that.

They gave her a tracheostomy. We had to approve it over the phone. I still wonder… well, I still wonder a lot of things.

Then, after the fifth or sixth week, we met Jen. Jen was a nurse with an iPhone. She offered to let us FaceTime with my mom. We’re an Android family, so we didn’t have FaceTime. She didn’t know how to Duo.

But we both had WhatsApp, and she was willing to use her PERSONAL PHONE to let us see my mother.

Nurses really are heroes.

Mom started to improve. Slowly. Slightly. When she got her trach valve and we heard her loud, strong voice say “Hi!” for the first time, Dad and I laughed we were so happy. We were sure she’d get better. We picked out a pair of sneakers so she’d be able to walk out of the hospital in new shoes.

The hospital got an iPad, so we got one too. Yes, I know iPad supports Duo, but the nurses were baffled by it, so we got the iPad. I mostly use it to write letters to her now. I like to believe that a metaphysical postal service delivers them for me.

Lockdown ended. We had to wear full PPE to see her, but we could see her and she could see us. Kind of. She told me she’d been sad because she was starting to forget our faces. She hated our masks because she couldn’t see us smile. She hated our latex gloves because we held hands all the time and she missed simple, human contact. Despite all that, she was joyed to see us.
She was relieved and grateful to know for sure—FOR SURE—that we hadn’t forgotten her. That we missed her as much as she missed us. That we still loved her. Her vitals began to improve that day. Her doctors were impressed and a little confused.

But… we’d been separated for two months.

Her body just didn’t have anything left in reserve. Her spirit was back, and she fought hard, but there was nothing to fight with. And everything the doctors did for one system made another collapse. They couldn’t do anything that wouldn’t make something else worse. One doctor cried when he explained to me that he’d brought in every medical team in the hospital, but there was nothing anyone could do. My mother said ”I’m sorry” and I told her that none of this was her fault, that she did everything right. I said it truthfully. I said it fiercely. I heard a thump and turned toward the doctor. His back had hit the wall and he’d slid to the floor, his face cradled in his hands.

2020 has been a fucking rough year.

We brought her home. Hospice. She got to hug us and tease us and see us smile. She was so very happy for one, wonderful week, and then she was gone.

I’m glad and thankful we could do that for her. So many families this year had to say goodbye via FaceTime.

This has been a very long post, I know, and I’m sorry. But I’ve been wrapped up in my grief and shutting out the world.

Then a teenager who lived next door to me died.

Then Chadwick Boseman died.

Then Ruth Bader Ginsburg died.

Then Then Then.

Everyone is grieving. And for some reason we’ve forgotten that we’re all in this together. I need… I need us to remember. I don’t want one more person to be hurt by this fucking virus. Because Covid-19 has killed over 200,000 people in America alone. 200,000 people have families, extended families, found families, and friends grieving right now. In addition to all that tragedy, how many families have lost a loved one the way I lost my mother? How many families didn’t have to get wrecked? How many people are crying like I’m crying as I struggle to write this?

If we had all behaved as one tribe, if we all had worn our masks–not just for ourselves, but for our neighbors–how many families would not be mourning, feeling that months, days, seconds had been stolen during that final spark of life? If we had all looked out for each other, would my mother be alive today? I don’t know. I just know that Covid touches everyone, not just the people who contract it.

So what can you do for me in my time of grief?

Wear a mask. Vote.


“Real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time.”

— Ruth Bader Ginsburg




“Now, more than ever, the illusions of division threaten our very existence. We all know the truth: more connects us than separates us. But in times of crisis the wise build bridges, while the foolish build barriers. We must find a way to look after one another, as if we were one single tribe.”

— T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman)




June 12th, 2020

my mom died

Fuck. This. Virus.

March 23rd, 2020

I know I was supposed to post a cover reveal, and I totally understand if you don’t want to read about my personal problems. If that is the case, go ahead and skip this post since there will be nothing writing related in it. It’s perfectly okay — literally everyone in the world is stressed out right now, and you need to take care of your emotional health. The cover reveal will be the post after this one, and will go up some time this week. I think.

***

I’m supposed to be sleeping. My dad just came out of his bedroom to tell me I need to try and get some rest so I won’t get sick. The fact that he even knew I was awake means he’s not sleeping either.

My mom has been in the ICU since March 2nd. Ironically, what happened to her had nothing to do with the coronavirus/COVID-19. She got a blood clot in her stomach and one in her arm. Because of those clots, and subsequent complications, she’s had 4 surgeries since she was admitted.

Her birthday was on the 16th.

It took her a long time, but Saturday seemed to be a great day for her. All the tubing and lines were removed. Her stomach was working well enough that the doc was going to let her eat real food for the first time in 3 weeks. She was happy and alert (after every surgery she had to fight her way back from ICU Delirium). She was even walking a little.

I didn’t get to see any of that because the hospital went on lockdown with new coronavirus protocols. Even family members weren’t allowed to visit their sick loved ones. I hadn’t seen her since Thursday. I was only allowed to talk to her on the phone. But she was getting better. We were going to bring her home soon.

Then, Saturday night, her oxygen levels plummeted and they didn’t know why. She became unresponsive and they had to put her back on the ventilator. The doctor gave us special permission to visit her, because, well, I still refuse to say it out loud.

We got 20 minutes. Then they said we had to leave.

They’ve been able to stabilize her, but she’s still on the ventilator. All the tubing is back in place. She’s not responding to the nurses. The doctors are still running tests. We weren’t allowed to see her today. Coronavirus protocols, you understand.

I can’t sleep. Neither can my dad.

My mom is the heart of this house. When she’s not here, we’re not here. Not really. I need her to get better. I want to go to the hospital and hold her hand because she might not respond to the nurses, but last night she opened her eyes for a split second and squeezed my hand the way she always does.

I wonder if she’s thinking about us. I’m scared she won’t understand why we’re not with her.

I can’t sleep.

I call every couple of hours. I know which nurses are sympathetic and those are the ones I ask to tell my mom that her family loves her. I have no idea if they actually tell her or not.

I’m a wreck. My dad, who is usually so unshakable and stoic, is fraying at the edges. He can’t sleep either.

I’ve never felt so scared or helpless. I can’t think of anything to do for her so I’m writing this. I’m asking for prayers, positive energy, gentle thoughts — whatever your belief system can spare.

Maybe then she’ll wake up. Maybe then my dad and I will sleep.

All Right. Let’s Do This.

February 22nd, 2020

I’ve been absent for over a year. Part of that was due to the health issues mentioned in previous posts, and part of it was because I retreated into a metaphorical hole and cut myself off from the world. Even IRL friends and family. I still don’t know how that happened, but I shouldn’t have let it, because you guys are great and if it wasn’t for you I wouldn’t have a website. Or a writing career.

Buuuut, I have been getting stuff done. 🙂

I’m going to break the details into a few different posts so that the blog won’t be a million screens long and give you eyestrain while reading it (I had to live 8 months with eyestrain headaches before I could get an exam and new glasses — they are no joke!). This post (you’ve probably guessed) is an update on my health. 

It’s… okay. Most of the issues that took me down the year before last are still there. Docs still don’t know the causes or how to fix it, which is a bummer since getting a cancer scare every 3-4 months has now become my new normal. Although in a weird way the new normal is a good normal because having those cancer scares means I don’t currently have cancer.

On the debilitating pain side of things, I was able to see an excellent physical therapist. Can walk short distances without the cane now. 👍🏼

Mentally/emotionally: Trying to reconnect with the world. I missed you guys. 💯

Um. Stubbed my toe a week ago…

Well shit. Pretty sure that’s all I can say about my health without veering sharply into TMI territory. This was much less painful than I thought it would be. Rock on.

Next post will be a cover reveal for a re-release! Woo-hoo!

Thank you

January 18th, 2019

Writing again to say how much I appreciate your generosity. I was blown away when you funded my website in under 24hrs. Absolutely did not see that coming. I’ve taken the goal status bar down, because you funded the campaign to 132% and that’s…amazing. I was able to pay for my hosting fees as well as my domain name for the next year. I’ve updated my site, so hopefully there won’t be any more confusion over what’s available, what’s not, and what’s coming soon.

With the extra money, I bought some image editing software, since it looks like I’m going to be doing some of my own book covers while I save up to commission an artist for others. All in all, a crazy good start to the new year. 🙂

I downloaded new (and free! yes!) word processing software, so I’m gearing up to buckling down. I feel better and more motivated than I have for a long time, and it is in no small part due to you.

As for the Ko-fi page. It seems a bit weird to have it and not utilize it in any way, so I’m going to try putting the link in my email signature and newsletter updates, as well as a non-clickable version of it here (since this blog is attached to a site with adult content, and Ko-fi rules say not to link to or from those sort of sites). This is NOT me asking for more money, so please don’t take it that way. 🙂 I just like the idea of, well, all things coffee. lol.

I’m off to re-read Jascian so I don’t drill any plot holes into the new chapter. And also to see if I can create a new cover for True: Ethan so I can make it available for download. Thank you again. You have no idea how much seeing that progress bar fill up meant to me. I get to keep my site. So cool.

Take care,
— Rowan

Want to buy me a coffee? Go to ko-fi dot com /rowanmcbride.  🙂

You guys…

January 1st, 2019

It hasn’t even been 24hrs and you’ve funded 98% of my website. I… I don’t know what to say. I’m grateful to have you all in my life, and tomorrow I’m going to make sure to thank each individual donor on the Ko-fi site.

“Thank you” doesn’t begin to express my feels right now, but right now it’s all I’ve got, so thank you.

Sincerely,
— Rowan

New year, new…year.

January 1st, 2019

Okay, I meant to have a more upbeat title, but I honestly couldn’t think of one. O.O

2018 was a wicked rough year for me, and I wanted to share some of what I’ve been going through. Some of you know that I have Schizoaffective Disorder, which is this oh so joyful combination Schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. I was diagnosed in 2001, but by 2006 (year I published my first novel!) it was pretty well controlled. Last year, though, my brain was like “nah.”

Medication was no longer effective. Went through a whole lot of other meds trying to find one that worked, but I’m medication resistant so that’s been a challenge.

Back in June I had a full-on psychotic break. Shortly thereafter I attempted to kill myself 1 and a half times. I say “half” because the second time I called my local crisis center and was talked down by a very nice lady whose name I cannot remember. It was my first time ever calling a crisis hotline, and if you’re depressed or suicidal or in the middle of a psychotic break or whatever, call yours. If you don’t know yours, call the national hotline at 1-800-273-8255. They are open 24 hours a day. Please please call if you’re in trouble. There’s a good chance I wouldn’t be here if not for the nice lady whose name I can’t remember, and honestly we all deserve a chance to be here.

Also in June, I woke up and found out I couldn’t walk. Two days after that, my mom almost died after a routine colonoscopy (perforated colon). Now I’m walking with a cane, which is good, and my mother is fine, which is better.

But you can see how June was a royal suckfest for me. I’m still recovering.

This month I have to see a neurologist and start tests to see if I have multiple sclerosis. I also have to get screened for 2 separate forms of cancer. I’m choosing not to worry until there’s something to worry about.

Now I seem to be on some psych meds that are helping me want to do things again. Like {gasp} write! Currently the plan is to upload a few of my orphaned stories, update “The Jascian’s Toy,” and work on “True: William.”

Here’s where I need your help. Since all but one of my publishers closed, I am now an actual starving artist. I’m scraping by okay, but I can’t renew my website hosting fees. And I love that website. I learned html over the course of a weekend and created every single page myself. I don’t want to let it go.

So if you could help by donating through my Ko-fi page, I would sorely appreciate it. I’ve posted chapter 1 of a rough draft of “True: William” as a thank you if you do happen to stop by. Ko-fi has rules about linking to and from pages containing adult content, and I’m not sure if this blog would count, but it is connected to the main website, so maybe? But the link is easy enough. www dot Ko-fi dot com/rowanmcbride.

2019 has just started. As of now I’ve updated this blog for the first time in FAR too long, and I’ve posted something new to read. That alone pretty much makes it an improvement over the whole of 2018, and I genuinely feel like I’m just getting started.

How’s that for upbeat? 😉

Great news!

December 15th, 2017

I don’t have cancer!

Not the greatest day

December 1st, 2017

This morning I had to go to the hospital to have a “suspicious tumor” surgically removed. I find out on the 15th if it’s cancer.

I found out tonight that my main publisher Loose Id is closing. That happens in May. You can read more about it here.

I’m…tired. So I haven’t decided yet what I’m going to do. All but one of my currently in-print books are with LI. I could resubmit elsewhere, but LI was rock solid and now they’re shutting their doors. I could self-publish, but I’ve done that twice and hated it both times. I could, well, stop.

I don’t know.

And come to think of it, how screwed up am I to be more upset that my publisher is closing than at the idea I might have cancer?

Maybe I need to step back and get my priorities in line.