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Where have I been?

That’s a good question. I’ve been silent since I released The Prodigals in late April, 2023, but for a good reason…my right knee is now made of titanium.

Yep, I had knee replacement surgery at the end of July, 2023. If you’ve heard stories about how painful and difficult post-surgery and the following physical therapy can be, it was all of that and more. I’m getting around well enough now, but reaching this point, four and a half months later was rough. Physical therapy is (it’s ongoing,) a full-time job.

I’m over the worse of it. However, full recovery can take up to a year.

I’m back now and I’ve returned to my current WIP, Purgatory, Kansas. I’ve finished around 20,000 words with a target of 80,000 when it’s finished.

I just wanted to keep y’all in the loop so here’s a teaser.

Just a quick update…

Y’all may have wondered where I’ve been. Well…my wife and I caught the little ‘c’ at Thanksgiving. She was mostly asymptomatic, just fatigue. I wasn’t.

Covid is nasty stuff. My primary symptom was near continuous coughing. We had no fever nor other real symptoms. For me, it was coughing followed by a lack of appetite. I lost fifteen pounds in about ten days. I just couldn’t eat and forcing myself was worse. My wife finally won the argument and we went to the ER a week after we started having symptoms. Tested. Yep, both of us positive.

Because of my coughing, I got a chest x-ray. The ER doc said, “Covid pneumonia.” On the good side, my blood O2 was in the low 90s, 92-94%.

One of the best purchases we made on the way home from the ER, when we stopped at our pharmacy to fill some ‘scripts, was to buy a blood O2 meter. It’s a little thing, pricey at around $50. You clip it to a finger, press the button and wait a few seconds for the reading to appear. The covid nurses, when I was hospitalized, carried an almost identical device. My wife and I used it to monitor our oxygen level several times a day. Best $50 we spent this month. The ER doc said if my O2 level dropped below 90%, to get to the ER immediately.

On the subject of testing. It’s a joke. Kansas is running ads that imply testing will prevent the spread of covid. The test is after-the-fact. If you’re positive, you’ve got it. Will you get sick? Maybe. Maybe not. The test just confirms you have the virus. If it’s negative, so what? That could change next week. What really irks me is the ad implies testing is a preventative. Bull! Get tested if you want. But, don’t expect the test to prevent you from getting the virus if you’re exposed.

Our county, here south of Kansas City, has ‘free’ public testing on Wednesday at a drive-through at a hospital. On Thursday, the same setup at another hospital at the other end of the county. Just drive up and be tested—if you have an appointment. Several friends made appointments (online, the only way,) and on arrival—no appointment. Fortunately for them, the work load was low, almost non-existent.

So, we were positive. A lady from the county health called to tell us (if you’re negative, you aren’t called.) She asked about symptoms, where we thought we got it, chatted and rang off. No invasive personal questions.

The ER visit was on Monday. The call from the county was on Wednesday…ten days after symptoms first appeared. We were out of quarantine by the time we were notified we tested positive!

Come the weekend, Saturday. I was feeling pretty good. That is until late in the afternoon when it all crashed. I felt like my bloodsugar bottomed out. I was very shaky. I’m border-line diabetic. Off to the ER again. My wife drove. I didn’t think I could.

The boss ER doc was on duty when we got there. He took one look at me and sent me off for a catscan of my chest. Ten minutes later he said I had a blood clot in my right lung. He was transferring me to a larger hospital with a empty covid bed.

Just when I was beginning to feel better.

Summary of the weekend. Hauled off by ambulance to one of KC’s larger hospitals for the weekend. Was given a ‘script for a blood thinner. Fortunately, the type of clot I had wasn’t the kind to move.

I was released a week ago today and am feeling much better. My coughing is much less but fatigue remains. I’ve told some friends my energy level is 0.3 on a 10-point scale.

I haven’t written anything since before Thanksgiving. My motivation is zero. I’ve about 32K words completed for The Prodigals. Most of my time in the hospital was spent mentally writing scenes and dialog. Now to save those thoughts before I forget them.

Slowly, day by day, I’m getting better and coughing less. I haven’t put a target date on The Prodigals, yet, just sometime in 2021.

The cover will be different from my previous books of the Tri-Cluster Confederation. It will be of people, the three main characters, instead of space scenes like my published books. That is, if I can find a graphic artist who can create realistic people in a SF motif.

Hope you all have a great holiday season. I’ll be working, making up time lost.

Mike Watson


Look what I got!

Yes, my author copies arrived—and two weeks earlier than originally scheduled. I guess Amazon’s backlog jam is breaking up.

Here’s the back-cover blurb. Nice!

Dundee Orbital update

Dundee Orbital

I’ve been working on a collection of short stories and a novella for my second book in The Tri-Cluster Confederation series. This is a possible backcover blurb.


Dundee Orbital is the mercantile hub of the Tri-Cluster Confederation. Millions pass through the station and each has a story.

  • The Face on the Barroom Floor. Donal Harris has a mystery on his hands. He has a murder victim with no fingerprints, no hair, eyebrows, ears and only a smooth oval head with no identifiable features. Who killed his, why, and who is he?

  • Homegoing to Hollowell. Dee-Ell Davies wants just one thing—to go home to Hollowell and he’ll do anything, even defy death, to make that happen.

  • The Fenian. Fen is a naval intelligence agent who has chased his quarry, a spy, across human space to Dundee Orbital. Is this the end of the chase? What does the spy want here? Fen, Donal Harris and Elspeth Harris are determined to discover why and thwart the spy’s plans.

  • Li’l Annie. Annie Griffin is a bounty hunter who arrives at Dundee Orbital with four fugitive warrants. Senior Patroller Henry Hillman is assigned to observe her pursuit and insure the proper protocols and procedures are followed. However, propinquity leads to a growing relationship. When Henry and Annie are wounded capturing their last fugitive, that relationship deepens.

    If Annie wants to stay on the station, she needs a new job. Her tenure as a bounty hunter is over and it’s time for her life to take a new direction.


Dundee Orbital

As you can see, this is not Crucis’ Court. It’s time for a change. The ‘Court was an education. It taught me the basics of writing when, in my last working years, I was searching how to remain busy after retirement. I found that activity—writing.

Blogging came first. Writing fiction came later. As with any new skill, writing requires practice. I wrote a lot and, on an average, was able to sell one or two stories a year to a traditional publisher.

The Grantville Gazette, was an avenue to learn and, eventually, to a publisher who bought some stories. My first story, written in Eric Flint’s 1632 universe, Greetings!, was published in 2016. In the following years, they bought The Marshal Comes to Suhl, (it will reappear in an anthology later this year,) and a three-part novella, SMC (Suhl Metallic Cartridges). My latest 1632 story, The Searchers, appeared in issue #87, January, 2020, and, like Greetings!, was an issue cover story.

After SMC, I wrote for the Universe side of the Grantville Gazette. They bought The Enigma of Charlie Peabody, a modern fantasy, and two science fiction stories that have been merged into a novella. The Phantom of Barrington Light was published in May, 2019, and the second part, The Keeper of Barrington Light, in July of 2019. These two stories have been merged into a single novella, The Beacon at Barrington Light. The Beacon was released on February 7, 2020, on Amazon and will soon be followed with a novel, Émigré…as soon as the proofreaders finish with it.

Another work in progress is Dundee Orbital, a collection of short stories, novelettes, and a novella that have a common theme, Dundee Orbital, a thirty kilometer long station above the planet Inverness.

Dundee Orbital is the mercantile hub of the Tri-Cluster Confederation. Millions pass through the station and each has a story.

As I said, changes are coming. If you’d like to keep informed, please subscribe via the sidebar, to this blog.

Coming soon! Émigré

I’ve been writing fiction for some time and have made over a dozen sales. Initially, I wrote Alternative History, writing in Eric Flint’s 1632 universe. I’ve had two novelettes purblished in Eric Flint’s Grantville Gazette plus a 33K word novella in . My fourth story will appear in an upcoming issue of the Gazette.

My big announcement is the publishing of my first full-sized novel early in 2020. The cover and back cover blurb is shown below. I’ll add an Amazon link when it’s published.

Emigre front cover
Dundee Orbital over Inverness.

When Fabien Loche arrives in the Confederation as SolSytem’s newest Liaison, his government believes he’s a broken man sent into exile. But the new job, and the new culture, are far more strange and welcoming than either had anticipated. With the help of the local Chief Inspector, and his headstrong niece Molly, Loche plunges headlong into exploring and learning everything on the station above and world below.

More is riding on his assimilation than his future. He’s also the vanguard of the spaceborne Houses of SolSystem, who are preparing to flee the reach of an increasingly unstable and aggressive Earth. But the Confederation is far more fragmented and factioned than he expected. The scramble to control the highly advanced technology that the Houses will bring, and the fear of losing it, may be the wedge that drives Confederation and Sol System alike into war…

Émigré will be available in paperback and as an ebook.

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