I haven’t posted here for over a month. I had to cancel our trip to World Fantasy in New Orleans. I’ve been missing on social media. I have not read the books I promised and not written the blurbs I offered. I haven’t been commenting on politics or history or all things viral.1 I’ve been ignoring friends’ invitations and enquiries. Why? Late summer was horrible; I’ve been overwhelmed.

I’ve already mentioned events of July, when Kelley was laid off2, I broke the cuboid bone in my foot, and then had a bruising wheelchair crash. What I haven’t talked about before here is that Kelley’s mother has Alzheimer’s which has been rapidly increasing upon her. And two months ago she fell, broke her hip and arm, and got concussion.

It’s been difficult. Kelley and I are both exhausted and stressed and working hard on taking care of an old and fragile woman with dementia (and forgets she’s just had her hip replaced and is wearing a cast and tries to walk) and her old and confused husband. We have no time, we have no bandwidth, we don’t know how long this will last or what the future holds. Those of you who have had to manage this kind of thing don’t need telling; those of you who haven’t, well, I hope you never do.

One of the things that adds to the stress is having to renege on promises and cancel things. So let me be clear here: if you ask me a favour3 in the next three months you will not even get the courtesy of a no. Until late winter/early spring, my focus will be very close to home.

Not everything that I’ve been busy with the last couple of months has been bad. The good thing, the best thing—the thing that’s kept me sane—is MENEWOOD. I have a lot to say, and I’ll do that in a separate post, but for now here’s the headline: It’s done, it’s entering the publisher’s production cycle, and oh it will be worth the wait!

Also coming soon here news of a couple of events this month and next, plus the usual holiday books-as-gifts notice.

Meanwhile, it’s truly autumn here in Seattle, and amazingly we still have vivid yellow begonias in bloom, fuchsias brightening both decks and the front bed, and even a few salvia of various colours and shapes giving hummingbirds nectar. The cats are in fine fettle, I love my sweetie and she loves me, and I’m already chortling over the writing ideas I have for what comes next.

Here at Chez Nickel there will be a lot to be thankful for over turkey this year. I wish the same for you.

1 There is so very much to say about this. I could write ten fucking posts and still not get it off my chest.

2 Oh, I could write such a screed about this, and perhaps one day I will.

3 A favour, as opposed to paid opportunity, invitation to something seriously fun, or normal professional activities