May 30 2014

Two Questions. And a contest. Which also consists of two questions.


The questions:

1.  Do you love Welcome to Night Vale?

2. Can you be in New York City on Wednesday, June 4th, at 7 PM?

Remember how my surgery had to be rescheduled?  Now it’s taking place next week.

Yeah.  I had plans for that week.

My new plans for that week are: Get sliced up by a surgeon Monday, and then spend the rest of the week recovering from it.

My old plans were : Go to New York City with my sister Sabine and attend a live performance Welcome to Night Vale at Town Hall on Wednesday, and then spend the rest of the week gloating about it.

I think you can see that these two plans are mutually exclusive.

What to do? I’m going to have to go with the get-sliced-up scenario.

Meaning… I now have one, exactly one ticket to Night Vale that I can’t use.

Do you want it?

Let’s have a contest!

Here are the rules:   I’ll ask you two trivia questions: one from my books (proving you’re a fan of my work), and one from Night Vale (proving you’re a fan of theirs).   You’ll post your answers in the comment section of this blog (NOT on Facebook! Answers posted on Facebook are ineligible, to simplify counting).

The winner will be selected randomly from all the correct entries.  (Maybe there will only be one correct answer!  Maybe there will be a bunch.  If so, we’ll put the names of those who answered correctly into an appropriate receptacle and draw blindly.)

If you only know the answer to one of the questions, and still want to play, go ahead and post an entry anyway.  Just guess at the answer you don’t know — because it’s possible that no one will get both right, in which case we’ll draw from the people who got only one right.

Deadline for this is 9PM Eastern time on Sunday.    (Why not midnight?  Because I have surgery the next day!  I plan to turn in at a reasonable time.)


  • You have to get yourself to New York that evening.  If you can’t do that, please don’t enter.
  • Because this is last-minute, it’s too late to mail you the ticket.  You’ll have to meet Sabine in New York so she can give it to you. (We’ll work out the details by email later.)
  • You won a ticket! Not a date with my sister.  You and she have no further obligations to each other.
  • It’s only one ticket!  Do NOT try to talk Sabine into selling you her ticket for your pal or significant other.  She’s been looking forward to this.

Ready for the questions?  Here they are:

1.  What is the relationship between Ona and Sherrie?

2. What is the relationship between Cecil and Steve Carlsberg?


That’s it.   Ready, set… go.


UPDATE:  No winners!  In fact, no contestants at all…

May 21 2014

About that biopsy…


When we last saw Our Intrepid Heroine, her surgery was cancelled when MRI images taken just before the needle localization procedure showed up some new, ambiguous areas in the same breast.  An attempt to biopsy the new areas then and there was foiled when OIH “vagalled out” (as the nurses later referred to the vasovagal reaction).   This due to the bizzare, uncomfortable, physically squeezed and painful nature of the set-up.

The biopsy was set for another day, when they would drug Our Intrepid Etc. into blissful indifference, in the hopes that she just wouldn’t mind or notice or be bothered by all of that.  But — oops.  Nope, vasovagal comes to visit again.  No biopsy that day either.

So now…

They decided to do a biopsy NOT in that horrible squashed position in the MRI, but just using ultrasound.  Lying on my back, instead of my stomach.  And able to move any part of my body I liked except, you know, the thing they were going to jab.

They planned on doping me up again (having apparently put me into the category of people who react badly to medical procedures), but figured I’d be fine, since I had a biopsy before under exactly those circumstances, when I was first diagnosed back in December.  I had NO problem then.  So at my request, we skipped the intravenous meds.   (The med nurse did put an IV line with saline, just to have a line in place, just in case I turned out to be wrong.)  And that’s how we proceeded.

And the ultrasound tech plied her ultrasound wand, and…

Slight problem: They couldn’t locate the new areas in question.

There was nothing there.   Nothing showed up at that location, on the ultrasound.

This was always a possibility, as MRI’s are much more sensitive than ultrasound.  Sometimes too sensitive.  Sometimes causing the radiologist to flag as odd something that’s hardly there at all.

But now the biopsy doc had a quandry: what do we biopsy?

She put in a call to my surgeon, while I chatted with the ultrasound tech and the meds nurse.

The biopsy doc came back after a bit, saying that my surgeon suggested that we biopsy what remained of the original tumor — and also put in new clip at that location.   (The clip is a little metal marker that shows up nicely on x-rays, which helps identify a tumor’s location clearly; I had already had one put in during the first biopsy back in December.)  The difference in the location of the first clip and the new clip would supply some information on the size of what would be removed.

And that’s what we did.  And I handled it fine.  Piece of cake.  No problems.

Of course, with that done,  I now had no idea what the game plan would be…  I had an appointment with the surgeon for Wednesday (today), by which time my surgeon would have the results of the biopsy.

And until that time, Sabine and I were just in limbo.  What was happening?  We didn’t know.  What were we going to be doing?  No idea.  Whole constellations of possibilities arranged themselves for our perusal, and many scenarios were played out in our heads.

And today, when the surgeon walked into the exam room, he had this in his hand:


Yes, that's what it says.

Yes, that’s what it says.


The critical phrase here, in case you missed it is:

“No evidence of malignancy.”

This is the original tumor being biopsied.

Or, what they believe is the original tumor.   Since the chemo first shrunk it down to a third of its initial size, and then went on shrinking it down until they could no longer refer to it as a “mass” and then called just it an “area of enhancement” with a “small focus of nodular enhancement”.  Which was about 3×3 millimeters.  Which was all that was left of the tumor.  And that bit is what we biopsied.   Which now has no evidence of malignancy.


Well, yeah… we did it.  We carpet-bombed that sucker to Kingdom Come.

I can’t actually say I have no cancer, because there might be  — I don’t know, say, three cancer cells just to the left of what that biopsy needle grabbed.   But you know, really, effectively, in essence — we won.

I’m pretty stunned.  So is Sabine.

We got some champagne.  Drank the whole bottle.


The good stuff.

The good stuff.

What next?

Well, we still need to do the surgery; a lumpectomy to get rid of the debris, so to speak.  That will happen the first week in June.  And we’ll test what gets excised, to see if there was any cancer at all left in there.

And then radiation therapy, because that should knock out any bits that might be floating around in my system.

Of course, surgery’s no fun, and radiation’s no fun.   But I’m perfectly happy to go through it all.

Because, this is all clean-up.  Basically, we won.

I want some more champagne!








May 14 2014

A glowing endorsement from Chad Orzel


So, there I was, perusing my morning blog feed, when was greeted with:

“One of the very best treatments of the scientific method in fiction that I’ve read– I suspect it may be the best, but years on the Internet make me want to hedge everything– is the Steerswoman series by Rosemary Kirstein...”

Chad Orzel is a physicist, an associate professor at Union College in Schenectady NY, an author of popular books on physics (How to Teach Physics to Your Dog and How to Teach Relativity to Your Dog), and a blogger over at Science Blogs.

You should read the rest of his post; I couldn’t ask for a better recommendation!

I follow Chad’s blog — it’s a nice mix of crunchy science, academic life, observations on the world in general, books, and family plus Emmy the dog.  I run into him fairly often at conventions.  I love it when I can get a chance to chat with him and wife, Kate Nepveu.

(Yes, that Kate Nepveu.  You know:  lawyer, active in the SF community, writes for, runs the whole Con or Bust phenomenon, has her own blog — that Kate Nepveu.)

This is a great signal boost from someone I admire –  and I am (as the Brits say) chuffed!


May 13 2014

Foiled again.


Short version: no biopsy after all.

They had me in exactly the same position in the MRI as I was for the attempt at needle localization on Friday.   And I was fine for a while, exactly as before.  And then, exactly the same thing happened: pain, then dizziness, faintness, sweats, blood pressure drop — otherwise known as a vasovagal response. They had to call a halt to everything and pull me out — AGAIN.

All this despite having intravenous drugs this time: one to calm me down, and another to block pain, and another to stop nausea (that’s Versed, Fentanyl, and Zofran).   I was awake, but just sort of happily drifting along in my thoughts, except for when the nurse in charge of the meds spoke to me to check on my state.  Then, rather suddenly, I wasn’t feeling so hot, I had a bad cramp in one arm, and the whole thing went south fast.

I am SO frustrated!

So I’ll be talking to my surgeon and oncologist tomorrow, and we’ll decide what to do next.   I figure they’ll just have to knock me completely out to get this done.   Or at least do the sort of “twilight sleep” they did when I had carpal tunnel release surgery, and when they installed my chemo port.

So very, VERY frustrated.

I want this over and done, so I can get the right surgery, and put it all behind me!


More later.

May 13 2014

And Mr. Nicoll’s review of The Language of Power…


It’s here, on his LiveJournal site, with some comments already.

Also on his Dreamwidth site.

I’m really quite grateful for the signal boost!

By the way, if any of you know of other current reviews of my books, please do let me know, so  I can share the info here.  Thanks.

May 13 2014

The Language of Power now up on Smashwords


The Language of Power is now onsale at Smashwords!


Go ahead and click.  You know you want to.

Go ahead and click. You know you want to.


As ever, it will take a while to promulgate out to the other sellers (iBooks, Kobo, etc) — Smashwords has to get it to them, and they each have their own schedule as to when they go live with newly-arrived ebooks.    I wanted to get this done today, so I’m glad all the factors came together nicely.

So, for your Kindle, Amazon is the place to go; and for everything else, it’s all at Smashwords now, and other ebook-sellers soon.

Well, must go; busy day tomorrow.




May 9 2014

Surgery postponed


Just before the scheduled surgery, I was set to undergo a needle localization, in which they insert little bits of wire in front of and behind the tumor, so that the surgeon can find it easily.  The procedure takes place right in the MRI, starting with a long period where they take images, evaluate them, maybe do it over again… a lot of time in a very uncomfortable position (ladies, think: mammogram where the compression part lasts 20-plus minutes!).

Unfortunately, they had to call a halt when the images showed up a couple of new suspicious areas, near the original tumor.   We need to find out what those are all about.  Might be nothing; or it might mean I’ll need a mastectomy instead of the lumpectomy we’d planned.

Thus, no surgery today.  We’re doing the biopsy Tuesday, and we’ll decide what to do for surgery when we get the results back.

We could have done the biopsy right then, instead of the needle localization, as the setup is exactly the same  — but after all that time motionless and aggressively SQUEEZED, my body used its unilateral over-riding veto:  dizziness, faintness, sweats, and great big drop in blood pressure.  So they got me out of there fast when that happened.

So, we’ll do another MRI under compression, this time with biopsy,  on Tuesday.   Except: drugs!   Because no matter how tough you think you are, sometimes your body has a mind of its own.

I’m massively annoyed that this could not be over and done with TODAY.    And naturally concerned about what the biopsy will show.

But I wanted to let everyone know, because you’ve all been so kind with your good wishes and hopes and encouragement!  I couldn’t leave you hanging.

I’m going to take another nap now.  Because: really tired.

More later.





May 8 2014

The Lost Steersman now up on Smashwords


Thought I’d try to get this done before being knocked flat by surgery tomorrow…


TLS cover small



Smashwords has it in all formats, and as usual, will promulgate them out to iBooks, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, etc.  It will appear on those sellers’ sites according to the sellers’ own schedules.   They’re not immediate, as you know.

The Language of Power should follow in a couple of weeks…

Must go now, other stuff that has to get done before tomorrow…

May 7 2014

Review for The Lost Steersman is up


The estimable James Davis Nicoll continues reviewing the Steerswoman series with book 3, The Lost Steersman, with interesting discussion in the comments in his LiveJournal blog.  It’s also up on his Dreamwidth site; nobody seems to comment, over there.   I guess the LiveJournal people are just livelier!

As ever, MANY SPOILERS — so, be warned!

By the way, if you know of other current reviews of the series (or are reviewing it yourself), if you let me know, and I’ll post about here.   I do a google search every now and then, but you might know before I do…

Meanwhile, The Lost Steersman is currently being set up for Smashwords, so depending on whether or not it needs further tweaks, and how I feel post-surgery, it could be on sale for non-Kindle sometime next week.

Other meanwhile: still in the countdown to surgery.  I thought I wasn’t all that nervous, but surprise!  I am.   I can tell because I can’t focus on anything for very long, I dither over simple things, and I want to watch more television than is good for me.

But I’m sure it will all be fine.  They know what they’re doing.

May 5 2014

The Outskirter’s Secret now up on Smashwords (in all platforms!)


Which means that it will soon  be promulgated across to other ebook sellers (iBooks,  Barnes & Noble, Kobo, etc.).   But that hasn’t happened yet.



Only Smashwords so far.

 The Lost Steersman and The Language of Power should follow in the next couple of weeks.

Meanwhile, I have three days before surgery, and lots to do to set things up at home…