Eating Authors & Booknest's Fundraiser

If you're like me and navigating the post-holiday gluttony, there isn't much you want to do but sit and surf the Internet for some good things. Here are a couple of posts that won't bring you down:

This morning, I am at Lawrence M. Schoen's blog for his weekly Eating Authors post, where I talk about one of my most memorable meals. While you're there, Lawrence is also hosting a giveaway for a copy of his novel Barsk, which will be released in paperback tomorrow. You have until December 29th to enter Lawrence's giveaway. Pop over and say hi ... we'd love to see you there.

In other news, I have joined 99 other authors for Booknest's Fabulous Fantasy Fundraiser for Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières). Donate as little as a pound for a chance to be entered in a raffle for to win books--lots and lots of books--and to give money to this very worthy cause.

The winners will be drawn on New Year's Day. You can check out the list of authors and more details about the fundraiser here.

I'll be around later this week with another cyborg report for you. 

2016 award eligibility post

The following publications of mine are eligible in the novella and collections categories:

THE SECOND DEATH

Novella

The Second Death was published March 29, 2016 and is eligible for the NOVELLA category in all awards.

Save the world, or save his family…

For Diago Alvarez, that’s the choice before him. For unless he wants to see his son Rafael die, he must do the unthinkable: Help the Nazis receive the plans to the ultimate weapon.

And while Diago grows more comfortable not only with his heritage, but also with his place among Guillermo’s Los Nefilim, he is still unsure if he truly belongs amongst them.

In a frantic race to save the future of humanity, Diago is forced to rely on his daimonic nature to deceive an angel. In doing so, he discovers the birth of a modern god—one that will bring about a new world order from which no one can escape.

The Second Death is the final chapter in T. Frohock’s haunting and lyrical Los Nefilim trilogy, which bestselling author Mark Lawrence has called “a joy to read.”

LOS NEFILIM

Omnibus

Los Nefilim (April 2016), which contains all three novellas--In Midnight's Silence (May 2015), Without Light or Guide (November 2015), and The Second Death (March 2016)--will only be eligible for any awards that allow for a COLLECTIONS category. The Locus Award is one of the few that has a category specifically for collections. Likewise, the Lambda Literary award allows for collections to be entered in its various categories.

Collected together for the first time, T. Frohock’s three novellas—In Midnight’s Silence, Without Light or Guide, and The Second Death—brings to life the world of Los Nefilim, Spanish Nephilim that possess the power to harness music and light in the supernatural war between the angels and daimons. In 1931, Los Nefilim’s existence is shaken by the preternatural forces commanding them … and a half-breed caught in-between.

Diago Alvarez, a singular being of daimonic and angelic descent, is pulled into the ranks of Los Nefilim in order to protect his newly-found son. As an angelic war brews in the numinous realms, and Spain marches closer to civil war, the destiny of two worlds hangs on Diago’s actions. Yet it is the combined fates of his lover, Miquel, and his young son, Rafael, that weighs most heavily on his soul.

Lyrical and magical, Los Nefilim explores whether moving towards the light is necessarily the right move, and what it means to live amongst the shadows.

To the best of my knowledge there is no category within the Hugos or the Nebulas that allow for collections, so if you see the Los Nefilim omnibus popping up there, you might want to double-check the category and the award rules prior to voting.

A brief cochlear implant health update

Because I've had several people ask over different social platforms, I'm going to give the health update here on my blog this time. If anyone has any questions they might like to ask, I'll leave the comments open on this post.

I had the surgery for the cochlear implant on December 5, and as of today, everything looks great. The swelling is going down and the stitches look good--as a matter of fact, most of the stitches have dissolved by now.

The biggest question people have is regarding the pain. I have had very little pain, which has greatly surprised me. There was some tenderness around the implant site post-surgery, and I would occasionally experience a sharp pain shooting into my ear for a few days, but none of it was debilitating. I stopped using the prescribed painkiller several days ago and now rely on Advil to take care of any discomfort. I've had a few minor headaches, but nothing I would consider abnormal.

Side-effects of this type of surgery can cause facial numbness, a loss of smell or taste, or vertigo. I have experienced none of those things.

I am now completely deaf in my right ear. This is not as horrifying as some people might imagine. I've actually been enjoying the quiet.

In order to communicate with people who don't sign, I use a program called Ava on my cellphone. It has been a godsend for car conversations and also with people in restaurants. For the most part, I've had a hearing person with me every time I've gone out, so I don't rely one hundred percent on Ava. Still it is a very useful app.

My family is taking excellent care of me, and I have been trying very hard to remain still and let my body heal. Next week, I'm going to resume trail walking.

My biggest issue right now is whether to go with a Kanso or a Nucleus 6 processor, and I'm talking with my audiologist about that.

I know the truly burning question in many of your minds right now is: how is Macavity dealing with all of this?

The morning of the surgery was terribly traumatic for him, because he knew we were going someplace without him. My daughter said that when she came into the house later that day to prepare dinner for us, he gave her a magnificent stink-eye and slinked into another room. He seemed to think that my hubs and I had gone on another long trip and left him behind.

When I came home, he plugged himself into my lap and stayed very close for the next four days. Now he has resumed his daily upstairs naps and comes down in the mornings and the evenings to spend a little time in my lap, so he seems to be adjusting to the surgery quite well.

And that is about all of an update that I have for you right now. My activation date is December 29, so it's been great fun to begin all of my sentences with: when my implant is activated ...

As to how much speech will I understand and how will I hear? I don't know yet, but I'll keep you all apprised. Thank you so much for all of your well-wishes and questions and good thoughts. 

On becoming: being a cyborg ... week 2

From this point of my life forward, I will be judging science fiction hard. Especially any science fiction that has humans being surgically implanted with electronic devices. Most especially if those devices are implanted in the head, not just because of recovery time, but also for adjustments.

One of the major points my doctor and audiologists keep discussing with me is the need for continual adjustments as my brain learns to translate the noise that I hear through my implant into recognizable sound. These adjustments will not transpire in a day, or a week, but over the course of a couple of years. Even once I have made the major adjustments during the first six months, minor modifications will be happening ... well, forever.

My life is less one of being and more of one becoming.

Being is indicative of a form of stasis, where maximum growth has been achieved, while on the other hand, becoming requires change, which at times can be either major or miniscule. Becoming is more difficult than being, because becoming requires one to be self-observant at all times. Adjustments are constantly being made when one is becoming.

Becoming has an end-goal but also an awareness that the goal may never be attained, much in the same way that writing a story is about the story, and not publication. Although publication is the eventual objective, it may or may not actually happen; therefore, it cannot be the sole ambition for the author. Likewise, I may never achieve much more than twenty to forty percent speech discrimination; however, my goal is to reach the highest level possible, and also to be published, because let's not kid ourselves here: that is, in fact, a target.

So what does becoming have to do with writing science fiction and cyborgs and how I'll read those stories from this point forward? I'll think about scientific enhancements more deeply. To survive a complex surgery such as the one I've just undergone leaves me with a very deep sense of wonder, and I will look for that wonder in characterization--or at the very least, an explanation as to why someone would feel such a procedure to be mundane. I will expect a longer adjustment period for medical enhancements, along with the SNAFUs that go along with them. Living adjustments, which must be made in order to accommodate the enhancements, should be made to the characters' lives.

In short, I will be watching for those characters in the process of becoming, because that is where one's true story lies.

It's official, I'm a cyborg: cochlear implant ... week 1

And now for a brief update, because I know there are at least three of you who are wondering:

On Monday, December 5th, I had surgery for my cochlear implant as scheduled. The staff at Wake Forest Baptist Hospital were all superior. Alas, my surgeon, Dr. Eric Oliver, said he couldn't guarantee superpowers, but he did give me an excellent idea of what to expect post-surgery.

I was home by 5:00 p.m. on Monday and to date, I have experienced very little discomfort. I've been giving myself time to heal, and because I can't wear my glasses, I haven't been online too much except through my phone.

Some people have asked me if I can hear yet, and the answer is no. We have to wait for the swelling to go down before we can activate the processor. My activation date is December 29, and I'm excited to see what I will hear when we turn everything on.

My family is taking excellent care of me, and Macavity takes his job of keeping me still very, very seriously. Why, he has hardly strayed from my lap at all these last few days. I'm catching up on my reading and enjoying some time off. I hope you are too.