January 19, 2017 § Leave a comment
I did a post back on the 4th covering my family situation. It’s actually gotten slightly worse, but people have done what they could and I appreciate every bit of help we got. This is only tangentially related to that post. In that post I mentioned that I was eligible for a Hugo award this year for both Nameless and Heartless, the two novels I published in 2016. I then asked folks to nominate me.
Being that I was a trifle stressed (still am) I failed to notice that it costs $165 US to become a member of Worldcon75, and thus be eligible to nominate someone for a Hugo award. That’s money I don’t even have myself, so asking people to spend that money just to nominate my books for an award is hubris writ large. That kind of kicked me in the stomach when I saw it.
So I apologize to anyone who felt like I expected them to spend that kind of money just to nominate me. That’s absurd. I don’t expect that. I should have realized what I was asking, and I apologize.
However, if you’re going to Worldcon75, or you already went to MidAmeriCon 2 (which was the 2016 Worldcon) or you’re going to Worldcon76 (the 2018 Worldcon) that means you’re already eligible to nominate. If that is the case, I’m still willing to ask you to consider nominating me. Why?
Well, first off, both novels are good. That’s not just me saying so. You can look at the reviews for Heartless on both Amazon and Goodreads and do likewise for Nameless as well. I’m not really very good at self promotion, as this post clearly attests, but I believe I’ve done good work and will be able to do better work in the future if I’m allowed to.
Frankly, one of the things that might stop me is Diabetic Retinopathy. This isn’t a “Please vote for the blind man” appeal, but rather a bare statement of fact. I only have a few years left at the current rate of degeneration, and as a result I’m focused on the now instead of a few years down the road. I get that many authors in my position would wait and hope to build buzz by putting out more works, but I don’t know that I have that kind of time. In a field where we saw last year outright racist, sexist, bigoted trolls unleash armies of sockpuppets to get books nominated, I’m just asking for consideration from decent people who want SFF to be a more inclusive place.
My work deals with identity, family, love, loss, and dealing with who you are and who you turn into. It includes LGBTQ characters because that’s what my life has included and it’s who I am as well. I want to tell the stories of people like the people I’ve known, sometimes I’ve loved, sometimes I’ve hated. Do I believe that either of my novels were the best that came out last year?
No. I’m not that good yet. I have serious stylistic hobbyhorses that I’m working on, I spent 12 of my prime writing years crippled by depression and self loathing and I’m not on top of my game yet. I’m good, and I’m working to get better, but I’m not the best yet and I know it. But frankly, I really am good. And my books are unique, distinctive, I don’t think you can honestly point to that much else out in the Weird SFF world that is like what I do.
I at least deserve your consideration.
I neither believe I will win nor even believe I will actually be on the short list. No one’s heard of me. I’ve only sold a few thousand copies of my books. I’m extremely obscure, even my one Publisher published book came out over a decade ago and that publisher has since moved into comic books. I’m not under any delusions about how widespread my name is or my chances. And I’m certainly not willing to ask anyone to spend $165 US just to nominate me for an award.
But like I said, my time is running out. I have to do the few things I can do to spread the word about my work while I’m still capable of producing it. Thus this post. This isn’t even a Hail Mary at this point. It’s more like trying to make a basket from the stands of the stadium next to the one the game is being played in. This is me just whipping that thing up into the air and praying it hits a comet. When the nominations period closes and I’m not nominated, I’ll shrug and get back to writing and hoping something breaks for me and my family.
If you feel moved to read my work and consider it, then thank you. That’s really all I can ask.
January 4, 2017 § Leave a comment
I’ll try to get right to the point, since people have asked why yesterday was a disaster.
Last year, I was diagnosed with Diabetic Retinopathy, which is a fancy way of saying that the sugar crystals in my blood are destroying the blood vessels in my retina and causing bleeding inside my eyes. That bleeding and those destroyed vessels are blinding me. My right eye is something like 20/200 if not worse, and my left eye (my ‘good’ eye) is about 20/40 due to the constant injections I receive. This is in large part due to the generosity of strangers, who aided us when we set up a gofundme page last year. Since I am not a Canadian Resident yet (the paperwork is in, we’re just waiting to hear back) I am not covered, and your help has made a huge difference. Without you I would likely be completely blind right now.
Still, better isn’t good, and by itself that disaster might have been manageable. But it wasn’t the only one we suffered. My wife, who was working a 9 to 5 job, came down with a heart condition that resulted in her being barely able to walk around the house. It damaged her heart and caused it to go into fibrillation and it has not responded to treatment. She has to be on a cocktail of medications and yesterday we found out that the province of Alberta will not cover those medications. So we’re basically in damage control and we don’t know what to do.
The medication my wife is on is expensive, and worse, my eye condition isn’t curable, so I have a limited amount of time before I will be too blind to even work the job I have now. Hopefully a few years, but it could change.
You’ve all already been very generous – if not for the gofundme last year, I wouldn’t have been able to get my eyes treated or my immigration process started. But until that process completes we’re in a bind. At this point the only out we can think of it to push my writing to the point where it generates enough income to offset the thousands of dollars we’ll likely need this year just to cover the medication that keeps her heart intact. So that’s why I’ve been flogging my writing so hard the past few months and that’s why yesterday’s news hit us so hard.
If you want to help, we’re asking for any bit of promotion you can do. If you’re a voting member of Wondercon or plan to be, you can nominate me for a Hugo Award this year. Such a nomination would boost my profile considerably and could well help us financially to the point where we could absorb this expense. If you’d rather just throw money our way, I have a Patreon and it does have perks like free copies of my books and the upcoming audiobooks for both Nameless and Heartless as well as the novel I’m working on now, Faceless.
If you have not read my books, they’re available on Amazon. Nameless is available as both an ebook and a paperback. You can also get Heartless in either format as well. And I have two other ebooks as well if you like, essay collections that truck in weirdness, oddities and ahistorical musings.
I realize this isn’t a very dignified thing to do, and if it were just me, I wouldn’t do it. But I love my wife far, far more than I do my pride, and the slightest risk that she might die because I can’t afford her medication compels me to act. My writing is good. You can read the reviews on Amazon or Goodreads if you prefer. In a time when publishers are giving ardent racists $250,000 dollars I’m just asking you to support a writer who needs help and does the best work he can.
Thanks for reading this far and for anything you can do to help, whether it’s a nomination, a book purchase, a patreon donation, a book review on Amazon or Goodreads, or telling a friend about a book she or he might like. No matter how small it might seem to you, right now, every tiny piece of progress is worth something.