Matters of the Heart

A couple of days from now would be my Mom’s 90th birthday. It’s been long enough that I don’t get particularly upset at her loss. She died in 2002, so I’ve had a couple of decades to process. Still, I’ve had some recent reminders of her, so I’ll definitely be thinking of her for the next few days.

She died of complications related to her heart. It was shortly after her doctor took her off of blood pressure medicine, which I believe she’d been on most of my life. Bold move by her doctor, I would say. Did it contribute to her death? Who can say?

She didn’t live a particularly healthy lifestyle. She smoked, ate lots of greasy food, didn’t exercise, and her hobbies included reading and watching television. Towards the end, she was in and out of hospitals quite a bit.

Last week, I was prescribed medicine for dealing with hypertension. Several weeks ago, I wasn’t able to give blood because my blood pressure too high. The diastolic was over 100. I went several weeks with symptoms similar to a heart attack, and finally saw my doctor about it and started to address it.

I don’t smoke, but I don’t live a particularly healthy lifestyle. I’ve been known to eat some greasy food, I rarely exercise, and my hobbies include spending long hours in front of a computer screen. There’s nothing seriously wrong with me right now, so I can still course correct and try to live a healthier lifestyle, but it’s going to take some effort.

Last week, while we were picking up the hypertension medicine, we bought a blood pressure machine. I’ve been checking once or twice a day, and my blood pressure is actually looking great now. When I first started recording it, the diastolic was still over 100, once close to 110, which is when the danger of a stroke becomes really high. Today, my blood pressure was 127 over 87. The medicine is working, as is the diet.

I’ve switched to low sodium, which has been interesting. I’m an absolute fiend for potato chips, and those are completely off limits. I can’t really have bread like I want. Lots and lots of convenient food is loaded with salt, and I can’t have any of it.

Fortunately, I’ve discovered that a bit of vinegar on a plain salad satisfies my itch for potato chips. I’ve also found a recipe for potatoes in the air fryer that is 0mg of sodium, and while it’s not amazing, it is pretty good. The start of last week on the low sodium diet, I was suffering. The last couple of days, I’ve been eating well.

I’m changing my diet and my blood pressure is looking better after a short while, and yet I’m feeling excessively tired and unfocused. I basically lost Saturday, just feeling yucky all day. Sunday was pretty good, but today wasn’t great. Maybe it’s a reaction to the hypertension medicine, or maybe my body is reacting to the change in diet. I’m not sure. I hope I start feeling better soon. I need to somehow work exercise into my routine, and that’s not going to happen if I continue to have such low energy.

All of this is distracting me from another matter of my heart, which is The Repossessed Ghost coming out in a little over a month. Now is the time that I need to breathe it in and enjoy the ride. It’s hard, though, because with everything going on, figuratively and literally, I’m having a hard time catching my breath at all.

By the way, I have a pre-order link for The Repossessed Ghost which I can share. It goes straight to the publisher, and everyone that uses that link will get a signed copy of the book shipped to them just after the 4th of July. I’m not posting the link yet. I’ll post in later in June, once I do the cover reveal and start ramping up promotion of the book. But if you’re interested in purchasing the book early, let me know and I will hook you up.


Publishing Milestone: Proofing The Repossessed Ghost

At the moment, I’m sitting at a table in a very large B&B in Utah. I’m participating in the Writing Excuses Bear Lake retreat, also called Riding Excuses because there are horses. In fact, I rode a horse today for the first time in my memory.

Before I could come out here, I had to prepare the way. I needed to get my work stuff finished enough that my teams would be fine while I was off for a week. They were going to be fine with or without me, but there was a bunch of work that really needed finishing in order for them to be comfortable and for me to be able to let go work and relax for a bit.

I wound up working a ton of hours, right on through the end of Saturday before getting on the plane Sunday.

While my Day Job was ramping up, I received the digital proofs of The Repossessed Ghost. I received a PDF which includes the fact sheet, copies of what the hard cover sleeve will look like, and an image for the cover of the trade paperback. They’re absolutely beautiful! They’re so beautiful, in fact, that I’m going to make a whole separate post with cover reveals later on, when we get a little bit closer to the publication date.

One of my tasks, though, was to go through the PDF for my book, and make sure everything is good. One last pass to catch any errors that might have slipped through the editing process.

I worked on it some last week, but the reality was that I just didn’t have enough hours in the day. The Day Job takes priority, as does my family and my sanity. I proofed about a third of it before the week was over. Then I proofed a bunch more while we were enroute to the retreat.

Since getting to the retreat, I’ve spent all of my free writing time finishing the proofing, and it is good. I caught some things, so the book will be that much better once it is out, in just a little over a month.

This is a milestone. This is another step in the process that I’ve never done before. My excitement is growing as the reality of this book being out in the world gets closer.

To process of proofing basically involved me reading the book again, which has me appreciating it again.

This book will be new to people, but I started it over 10 years ago, so you might be able to imagine that some of my excitement has dwindled over the years. Until this recent reread, I thought it was okay, with good characterization and humor, but I didn’t think it was all that special.

Now I appreciate it again. It is actually good. The plot unfolds in the best way that it can, and it makes sense. It holds together. The character growth is there. The stakes are there. I feel like I can be proud to have my name on this one.

I should probably stop gushing about my own story, lest I run the risk of sounding immodest. I’ll just say that, knowing that I have grown as a writer since I originally started writing The Repossessed Ghost, I’m happy to see that the product of my imagination and effort is something valuable, and worth putting out in the world.