Back to Basics

I haven’t posted to the blog in ages!

I blame Umbridge (see previous posts), the pandemic, and a general discomfort with the INTERNET IS FOREVER dilemma.

I’m still around. Still writing. Still editing. Still recruiting Virtual Assistant clients.

After taking several workshops to spark my writing again, I’ve decided to put more time into the blog. We’ll see how this particular endeavour works out.

Then the Bad Stuff Happens…

I’ve been debating whether or not to post this news to the internet. Because the internet is forever and far reaching, and I can’t un-ring the bell. But authors are honest and we share our journeys and this is a big one for me.

On Tuesday, September 24th, I met with my doctor and received a diagnosis:

Endometrial cancer

My doctor assured me that of all the reproductive cancers a woman can get, this was a “good one”.

I had gone through several tests over the weeks before the diagnosis: a pap, an ultrasound, and a biopsy, so I had a bad feeling this diagnosis was coming. But I still rode a huge shock wave when the reality of it set in.

I have cancer.

I spent a couple of days telling people. That exercise was tough. I cried, over and over, every time I said the c-word out loud or wrote it in another email.

Then I spent a day getting my worst case scenario ducks in a row. Yes, my Will and Powers of Attorney are up to date. Yes, I made a list of my bills for my adult children, so they can pay what needs to be paid. I created another list of people to call if the worst outcome happens.

On Thursday, October 10th I am going under the knife, to have all of my female reproductive bits removed – uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. The plan is a laparoscopic surgery, which means I would return home same-day.

Of course, bad stuff can happen during the operation. She might find other stuff. She might nick some important organ or vessel while in there. If those things happen it will turn into a full incision and my day surgery could morph into a multi-day hospital stay.

The removed tissues will be sent to pathology. Only then will the doctor “stage” my cancer. So maybe radiation is in my future? Maybe not. Maybe chemo? Those maybes haunt me every night. So yeah, I’m not getting much sleep.

A friend of mine suggested I nickname the disease so I don’t have to use the c-word all the time. I like this idea. I’m tempted to call it Dolores Umbridge, because that particular villain seems appropriate. Especially her pink wardrobe. But I don’t know if I want to taint Harry Potter lore/books/movies by association.

I’ve been working somewhat frantically to prepare. Almost every day I go to another store. I’ve bought a LOT of groceries, trying to anticipate as much as possible so I won’t have to pester friends to shop for me. I asked a friend over to help me do the fall prep stuff: stow patio furniture, move summer things from the garage to the basement, etc. I cleaned the house, and arranged for a housekeeping service going forward. I still have to mow the lawn, although at this point, that task might not get done. And then I arranged for a neighbour to do the last few mows/cuts of the season. So much to do, to prepare for not being able to do things for myself.

I really hate the idea of losing my independence. Especially when I have no idea how long it will be gone.

I hate the idea that the c-box is now ticked. That box will forever be ticked for me. That box might be my undoing. Even if I rise above this bout, well…but I won’t say that part out loud right now. Because I am trying to stay positive. If you know me, then you know how good I am at worrying. There has been a great deal of worry.

So now my news is out there. Now my box is ticked. My bell rung.

I believe that energy and positive thoughts make a difference. So, please if you are willing and able, send some good thoughts/energy into the ‘verse for me. Let’s kick Umbridge to the curb, where she belongs.

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Storming the ConFusion 2019

My schedule for this weekend’s Storming the ConFusion 2019

Saturday, January 19th
10:00AM – 11:00AM Improv Flash Fiction  Panelists: Jackie Morgan(M), Mur Lafferty, Vanessa Ricci-Thode, and Suzanne Church   [Southfield]

Sunday, January 20th
2:00PM – 3:00PM Women Over Fifty as Leaders, Mentors, and Heroes in SFF  Panelists: Diana Rowland (M), Suzanne Church, Jeannie Szarama, Sarah E. Gibbons, and Teresa Nielsen Hayden   [Dearborn]

Click here for the full ConFusion 2019 Schedule


It’s National Novel Writing Month Again

I’ve been super-busy this November, once again participating in NaNoWriMo.

I don’t have the stamina I used to, with respect to NaNoWriMo. I tried and didn’t make it to 50,000 words in 2014 and 2017. I didn’t even participate in 2016. I did jump back onto the ride this year.

Unfortunately, my hands get sore after a long day of writing, so I’m mostly doing updates on Twitter, because it’s so much faster than a blog post.

Find me on Twitter @canadiansuzanne, which is also my NaNoWriMo codename.

If you’ve signed up to participate in the gruelling glory, feel free to add me to your list of writing buddies.

Review of “Brendan’s Way” by Matthew Bin

“Brendan’s Way” is a true page-turner Science Fiction novel. From the moment that the main character, Brendan, boards the Imram to begin his three-month journey to a new world, his every moment is filled with confusion and novelty. As he explores the bustling market, the corridors of the Ring, and the confines of his curtained cubicle, he meets a legion of unusual characters, all travelling in the bowels of the ship, a modern-day vision of steerage on the epic ocean liners of the past.

To earn a ticket on the Imram, Brendan agrees to pose as the husband of Neala, a sharp and secretive woman with plans of her own. The more he gets to know her, the less he understands his fictitious wife.

Before leaving his Irish home, Brendan dabbled in activism by enlisting in the Farmers’ Collective. It wasn’t a union, more of an organized local group with ties to a distant national assembly, its members trying to find better ways to bargain for fairer grain and fertilizer prices. But on the voyage, many clandestine groups exist, all with their own agendas, all somewhat aware of one another’s presence, and all trying not to get caught since justice means a one-way trip through an airlock.

Bin paints a foreign, bleak, and dangerous vision of the journey, including the ugliness of once-a-week shower access, the bland putty-like cubes of rations, the flea-market-by-day and vice-den-by-night crush of the market, and the warm yellow lemony drink offered for free in the common room. The deeper I dove into the story, the further I was engulfed in Bin’s complex microcosm of society, feeling as desperate as the protagonist to unearth the truth.

Bin deftly keeps the reader engrossed by his interpretation of future-Earth, so similar to the one we all know and yet as foreign as a new-found land. Whether you’re a fan of mysteries, science fiction, or adventures, you’ll enjoy “Brendan’s Way” from the first page to the last.

It’s Time to Nominate for the Aurora Awards

Hello fans and friends!

I published 2 short stories this year which are also eligible to be nominated. Their category of eligibility is: “2016 – Best Short Fiction – English”

The stories are:

“Lost Flesh” which appeared in the anthology Lazarus Risen, Edited by Hayden Trenholm and Michael Rimar, Bundoran Press, Nov 2016.

And

“Dallas’s Booth” which appeared in the anthology Strangers Among Us: Tales of the Underdogs and Outcasts, Edited by Susan Forest and Lucas K. Law, Laksa Media Groups Inc., August 2016.

We authors find it difficult to choose a “favourite” story, but if cornered I would suggest “Lost Flesh”. Unfortunately, I am unable to place a free story on my website this year.

Anyone who is either a permanent resident of Canada or a Canadian citizen can submit a nomination form for the Aurora Awards. You may select up to 3 nominees in each category. All selections will be given equal weight.

The CSFFA charges a membership fee ($10) to nominate OR to vote. Everyone who becomes a member will be emailed a packet of the five finalists in each category, (once they’re chosen) so you’re essentially getting many books for $10!

The top five works in each category with the most nominations will be placed on the final ballot.

All nominations, on-line or mail-in, must be received by 11:59PM ET May 6th, 2017.

Thank you for your consideration…Suzanne