Coming Up For Air, Shore Leave Schedule, and What’s Next?

One ruptured cervical disc, a sudden house purchase, a bit of travel and then, bam! It’s three months later… I’m back online.  For those interested in the gory details, you can find out more below about my fun little (sic) experience with a damaged neck.  Suffice it to say, someone needs to create a humanoid robot for me to inhabit. I’m done with the crappy human model. It just doesn’t hold up.  

slSHORE LEAVE – August 1st to 3rd

I’m on the mend and just in time to appear at a convention I’ve long wanted to attend. Shore Leave is one of the oldest fan-run conventions on the East Coast. While its name is inspired by all things Star Trek, the event has grown since then. In fact, this year you’ll see quite the Stargate presence.  A slew of Fandemonium‘s Stargate media tie-in authors will be there, self included, as well our fearless and fantastic leaders,  the very amazing Sally Malcom (editor, co-publisher, and a great author in her own right) and Tom Reeve (co-publisher).  Richard Dean Anderson (Jack O’Neill) is the key guest and he’ll be joined by Teryl Rothery (Janet Fraiser), Robert Picardo (Richard Woolsey — as well as the Holographic Doctor on Star Trek Voyager), and Michael Welch (The Jack O’Neill clone in the SG-1 episode, “Fragile Balance.”). There’ll be a wide variety of authors, a healthy dose of science panels, and from everything I’ve heard, the weekend is one giant reunion for several thousand fellow fans who’ve participated in the con since its inception.  I’m the newbie in all this although I happily get to meet many a fellow writer, visit with a slew of Gateworlders, and steal a few moments with friends I’ve made through other conventions.

Friday evening will be the big MEET THE PROS event where all the authors will be available to meet with readers. This is always one of my favorite events especially since the Stargate franchise attracts an extrordinarily diverse readership.  I always look forward to meet new (and fellow!) fans of the franchise.

There’s a terrific diversity of writers panels being offered of which I’ll sit on three including:

Stargate Novels:  Fandemonium’s 10-Year Journey
Ten years ago, Sally Malcolm took the plunge and created the publishing company behind the Stargate novels.  This panel will talk about how the company (and its authors) have evolved along with its readership. Moderator: Tom Reeve Panelists: Diana Botsford, Melissa Scott, Patricia Lee Macomber, David Niall Willson, Jo Graham, Sally Malcolm

Writing for Stargate Seventeen years of episodes have made for a wild tapestry of story threads. I’ll join fellow Fandemonium authors Jo Graham, Sally Malcolm, David Niall Wilson, Melissa  Scott, Amy Griswold, Trish Macomber in discussing how we search for the new within those threads while staying true to the franchise overall.

The Stargate Reboot Speaking of the franchise, the recent MGM announcement that Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin will direct/produce a new trilogy based off the original 1994 Kurt Russell/James Spader film has television fans nervous, elated, worried, and pretty much every other adjective you can think of.  You might have listened in to the recent Gateworld podcast where I joined David Read and Darren Summer for initial reactions.  In this panel, Sally Malcolm (Fandemonium) and Lorraine Anderson will join me to discuss our reactions as authors and fans of the franchise as well as  review what we know so far about the new film(s) to date.

But, wait! There’s more! FANDEMONIUM WILL HOST A LAUNCH PARTY to celebrate the new book Stargate Atlantis: Unascended by Jo Graham and Amy Griswold at the CON HOTEL from 6:30 to 8:30pm, and…

I’ll present a multimedia discussion on MY JOURNEY TO ANTARCTICA, how the real frozen south correlates with the Stargate franchise’s fiction, and why — even if you never plan to visit the bottom of the world — you should pay attention to this most alien part of the world.

So… that’s it for now (except for details below on ruptured cervical discs for those interested).  I have grading to do (yep, still teaching online), a short story to finish for an upcoming Stargate anthology (more on this later), and hopefully, more treatments for my hand so I can type faster than 10 words per minute. Oh for a robotic hand!


I’m a sucker for trying new types of exercise. Anything to break up the monotony of the recumbent bike which frankly gets dull.  Writers need to get physical. We need to get out of heads and make room for the characters mushrooming between the grey matter in our brains.

The Dermatome Chart

I took a whack at DAHN yoga. It combined some of the more foundational aspects of martial arts with the stretching of pretty much any yoga routine.  Had a great introductory session bopping around, turning this way and that.  The next morning, I woke up with intense pins & needles radiating from the left side of my neck down my arm all the way to my fingertips.  In fact, I couldn’t feel my fingers at all except that my thumb and middle finger felt like they’d had the nails ripped out, beaten to a pulp, and were being squeezed by vises.  A week later, it didn’t go away. Even my miraculous chiropractor/acupuncturist couldn’t help.  Thankfully, she sent me for an MRI and we discovered I had a ruptured disc (between C6/7) and nerve root damage. Oh joy! After a mad search for an orthopedist who wasn’t scalpel-happy, we found one.  It took another 10 days to get into see him, but in matter of minutes, I learned how a neck injury can specifically target particular sections of our bodies.

Enter Dermatomes.   According to Wikipedia, a dermatome is an area of skin supplied by sensory neurons that arise from a spinal nerve ganglion. Symptoms that follow a dermatome can indicate a pathology that involves the related nerve root. In other words… See that chart to the right? Look at the C6 and C7 regions.  Since I damaged the left side of my neck, my left arm/hand paid the price. So far, I’ve had one cortisone procedure.  This isn’t a simple shot in the arm. It’s an outpatient procedure where they knock you out, xray your neck, and then inject a combination of xylocaine and cortisone directly into the damaged root nerve.  In my case, the first shot got me back use of my pinky and ring finger.  I’m now waiting to go in for a second procedure so I can get back control and sensation of the rest of my hand. Suffice it to say, I miss being able to write fast. (And no, Dragon Speaking and I don’t get along).  I miss feeling the shampoo in my hair. I miss touching everything.

That’s enough of me and my idiocy.  I am sadly tuned to the global news like everyone else, equal parts horrified and disturbed. Complexities abound across the world and while there are no easy answers, I — like the rest of the world — believe that compromise is possible.  Peace IS possible.  It just takes rational thought, not bullets and bombs. We are human beings, not feral cats or mosquitos.  As a race, we have the capacity for rational thought. I have more to say on this subject, too, and I’l most likely get into it in my next post tomorrow on THE WRITING PROCESS.

In the meantime, smile at a stranger. Help someone across the street. Thank the clerk at the register when you buy something. Take a second to be nice to your fellow human beings.

Be human. Don’t be a mosquito.