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Kate update 7/18 7pm

Sorry, it’s been a while since my last public post about Kate. When last I posted she was just being transferred to St. Vincent for more tests and possible brain surgery.

Well, as it turned out surgery was required. She had the procedure on Tuesday, and it was successful, removing “in the high nineties percent” of the mass, which was some kind of glioma. We won’t know more, including the treatment plan, until we see the pathology report.

Kate spent a few days at St. Vincent recovering from the surgery, then was transferred to the inpatient rehabilitation unit at Providence in NE Portland. She is working with physical, occupational, and speech therapists for several hours a day and will be here for a week or two until she is well enough to go home — with the support of home health care, if necessary. We’ll know more when we get closer to discharge.

I had good readings in San Diego and LA last weekend, and will be heading to New York tomorrow for my reading at the KGB Bar on Wednesday, returning late Thursday. Sue is holding down the fort in my absence. If you are in town and willing/able to help her out July 19-21, please contact her (or me, if you don’t have her contact info). I do hope to be able to do the remaining stops on my book tour, but we are taking it one day at a time.

Two Southern California events for ARABELLA OF MARS

On Friday July 15 (that’s TOMORROW), I will be reading from my debut novel ARABELLA OF MARS at Mysterious Galaxy Books in San Diego. But I’m not just going to be reading and signing books — I will also be rapping, and leading a singalong, and giving away freebies… in costume. I hope that you will attend if you can, and if you have a Regency or other steampunky outfit I hope you will wear it. It should be a lot of fun.

Date and Time: Friday July 15 at 7:30pm
Location: Mysterious Galaxy, 5943 Balboa Ave Suite 100, San Diego, CA 92111
Website: http://www.mystgalaxy.com/event/david-levine-signs-san-diego
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/248924955489042/

The next day, Saturday July 16, I will be participating in Shades & Shadows 17, a group reading including Paul Tremblay, Stephen Graham Jones, Vesta Vaingloria, Glen Hirshberg, and Sara Gran.

Date and Time: Saturday July 16 at 8:00pm. Doors open at 7:30, please plan to arrive by 7:00.
Location: The Bearded Lady’s Mystic Museum, 3204 W Magnolia Blvd, Burbank, CA 91505
Tickets: http://shadesshadows17.brownpapertickets.com
Website: http://www.shadesandshadows.org/2016/06/july-16th-2016-show/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/788284317975875/

I hope that you can attend one (or even both!) of these, and that you will share the news with your friends in the area. Hope to see you there!

(P.S. As you may know, my wife Kate Yule is in the hospital recovering from major surgery. But her sister is with us, and she has encouraged me to go on with my book tour, so I will do so if humanly possible.)

ARABELLA OF MARS debuts TONIGHT at Powell’s Cedar Hills

IMG 5046Wednesday, July 13 at 7:00pm (that’s TONIGHT!) I will be presenting the first public reading of my debut novel Arabella of Mars at Powell’s Books at Cedar Hills Crossing. But I’m not just going to be reading and signing books — I will also be rapping, and leading a singalong, and giving away freebies… in costume. The PDX Broadsides musical group will also be performing. I hope that you will attend if you can, and if you have a Regency or other steampunky outfit I hope you will wear it. It should be a lot of fun. Tell your friends!

(P.S. As you may know, my wife Kate Yule just had brain surgery yesterday. But she has encouraged me to go on with the reading, and I will do so if humanly possible. Even if I can’t make it, the PDX Broadsides will perform, and besides, it’s Powell’s! Hope to see you there.)

Happy book birthday to Arabella of Mars!

IMG 5055Today is the long-awaited release day of my first novel, Arabella of Mars, from Tor! Here’s an FAQ about the release (and these really are frequently-asked questions, not just questions I wish people would ask):

What’s the book about?

Arabella Ashby is a Patrick O’Brian girl in a Jane Austen world — born and raised on Mars, she was hauled back home by her mother, where she’s stifled by England’s gravity, climate, and attitudes toward women. When she learns that her evil cousin plans to kill her brother and inherit the family fortune, she joins the crew of an interplanetary clipper ship in order to beat him to Mars. But privateers, mutiny, and insurrection stand in her way. Will she arrive in time?

Arabella of Mars will appeal to fans of Naomi Novik’s Temeraire books, Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan trilogy, and Mary Robinette Kowal’s Glamourist Histories.

Is it SF or Fantasy?

I consider it SF, but it’s not hard SF… well, it’s actually pretty squishy… okay, to be frank, I’ve bent the rules of physics to the breaking point and beyond. Maybe it is Fantasy.

Is it adult or YA?

I wrote it as YA, but Tor is bringing it out as adult. The protagonist is seventeen years old and I have had great reviews from young adult as well as adult readers. There’s no swearing or sex.

Is it steampunk?

There’s no steam power in it per se, but there are coal-burning airships and clockwork automata. If you like steampunk, you should like this. If you’re still not sure, just look at the cover. I love the cover and think it does an excellent job of portraying the “feel” of the book.

What can I do to help?

Yoiu should buy the book, of course. Buying it today is helpful but not necessary. If you can’t buy it, borrow it from the library. If you can’t find it at your local library or bookseller, ask them to carry the book. Also, it’s extremely helpful if you post a review on Goodreads, Amazon, your own blog, or anywhere else people might see it. It’s okay if you don’t like the book! Even a negative review can be helpful if you say why you didn’t like it. (Reviewer: “I hated this book! It has Martians and airships and girls dressing as boys! Yuck!” Reader: “Cool, that’s just what I love!”)

It’s also helpful if you mention the book to your friends online and off. And, if you are on Twitter, I’m running a giveaway: tweet a picture of the book in the wild, with the hashtag #ArabellaOfMars, and you could win an Arabella Prize Package of paper dolls, recruiting poster, and stickers! I’ll select five winners at random on 7/19/16, one week from today.

Where should I buy the book? Is paper better than ebook?

Wherever and in whatever format you like to buy books. I get the same money wherever you buy it, and I don’t care whether you read it on paper or on screen. There are benefits to me if you buy it on Amazon, but personally I’d prefer it if you would support your local independent book store. Or you could get it from Powell’s, which is my local independent book store. You can even order a signed edition from Powell’s, which I will sign for you at my reading tomorrow (July 13).

Are you planning a book tour?

Yes! Here are the planned stops:

If any of these events is local to you, please come if you can. Come in costume! Tell your friends! However, see the next point for an important caveat.

I heard your wife is in the hospital! How is she doing?

Yes, my wife Kate Yule is currently in the hospital (I’m in the room with her as I type this) and she is scheduled for brain surgery this afternoon. :-( :-( :-( However, she wants me to do my book tour and I will do as much of it as I can. Her sister Sue is here and we have lots of friends in town to help out. However, all plans are provisional at this point, and I might have to cancel some or all of my planned events on short notice. Keep an eye on http://www.daviddlevine.com/about/upcoming-appearances/ for the latest word.

How are you doing?

Worried. Anxious. Underslept. The book release stuff is a useful distraction.

Do you really rap?

Yes, I really do.

Living my life and doing my job, despite tragedy

This has been a tough week for the country as well as for me. Kate’s been in the hospital all week and is scheduled for another round of brain surgery on Wednesday; the murders of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and five police officers in Dallas are all over the news and social media.

At the same time, Arabella of Mars is marching toward release next Tuesday. I still hope to do my reading at Powell’s Cedar Hills on Wednesday (yes, even if Kate has her surgery that day), and to travel to San Diego, Los Angeles, and New York for my readings there in the following week. I plan to be active on social media promoting it.

This feels wrong. This feels very, very wrong. How can I gallivant across the country and post excitedly about my book when there’s so much tragedy at home and abroad?

The answer is that it’s my job. I am a fiction writer, which is a species of entertainer. Tor pays me to entertain people, and as part of this arrangement I have made certain commitments to publicize the book in an entertaining fashion. I am a conscientious person and I will keep those commitments if at all possible.

If I were still working at Intel or McAfee I would probably not be sitting in the hospital with Kate all day the way I have been. I would probably be working at the day job, however distractedly, during the weekday. My “day job” with Tor is even more important to me than that was (though not so lucrative), so I’m going to keep doing it in the same way I would with any other day job. This may mean leaving town even though Kate’s in the hospital, as long as she’s stable and our friends and relatives are available to look after her, and it may mean tweeting and facebooking about the book, as long as it’s done with some sensitivity (for example, I postponed the scheduled release of a humorous video in the most grievous hours after the Sterling and Castile murders).

There may be people who are offended by book promotion tweets on a day when the whole Twitterverse is in mourning over the latest senseless deaths. There may be people who find it heartless of me to sing and tell jokes while my wife is in the hospital. But this is something I have to do, and not just for Tor or for Kate but for myself.

I have been working toward this day, the release of my first novel, for over ten years. If I had to pass it up, even for as important a reason as this, I would be devastated. Kate wants me to do it, and do it up right. And Kate’s psychologist told me just a few minutes ago that it’s important for both of us… that anything I can do to bring me joy and boost my energy will help me help her in the long run. This is a marathon, not a sprint, and if I have to take some time and energy for myself now I will have more to give her later.

So. I will be doing my very best to appear at Powell’s Cedar Hills in Beaverton on July 13, and Mysterious Galaxy in San Diego on July 15, and Shades & Shadows in Los Angeles on July 16, and KGB in New York on July 20. (There are more events planned after that, but this is as far ahead as I can see right now.) There will be singing and costumes and giveaways. I will strive to entertain, to bring some smiles and laughter into this time which is so very difficult for all of us.

I hope that you will join me.

Update on Kate, 7/7 1pm

Kate is still in the hospital. Her sister Sue is with us. We expect her to be transferred to St. Vincent (in Beaverton) for more tests today or tomorrow. There will likely be another round of brain surgery next week, but she should be up for visitors until then. If you’d like to come and visit, please txt me before coming over.

I still hope to do my reading at Powell’s Cedar Hills on Wednesday, but the rest of the book tour is an open question. Not canceling anything just yet.

Not the Westercon I had hoped for

Kate’s aphasia has been getting gradually worse for the past several weeks. We consulted with the doctor earlier this week and raised her steroid dose a bit, but it was still getting worse and we were looking forward to next Tuesday’s MRI with some trepidation.

On Friday, the first day of Westercon, Kate was having even more difficulty talking and was weak and wobbly. She attended my reading, but after the reading she fell over in the hallway — didn’t hurt herself, but had great difficulty getting up. After that she went to bed and dozed away the afternoon. I had friends watch over her while I went to my programming.

Kate had a pretty bad night and I called the doctor at 2am; he recommended doubling the steroid dose, so I ran home for more pills. At 4am I was awakened by a thud — Kate had fallen while getting out of bed to go to the bathroom. She couldn’t get herself up even with my help, couldn’t talk, and seemed panicky and confused; I called 911. The paramedics got her up onto the bed, but she was still very confused — they recommended taking her to the hospital, and I agreed. Kate’s sister Sue had arrived at the convention by now and she came along.

At the ER they took a CAT scan to check for brain bleeding from the two falls. There was no bleeding, but substantial brain swelling, for as-yet-unknown reasons (the CAT scan would not show tumor growth). They gave her IV steroids, admitted her to the hospital, and scheduled an MRI for a more detailed look at her brain. Sue sent me back to the hotel for food and sleep. That was Saturday.

At this point (noon Sunday) Kate is resting. Her steroid dose has been raised to 12mg/day to get the swelling down, and the aphasia has improved from “can’t talk at all” to “can often form partial sentences.” This is extremely frustrating for all of us. We have met with the on-call oncologist and the on-call neurosurgeon’s PA — our regular doctors are all on vacation. The oncologist is not a brain specialist and found the MRI ambiguous; we are now awaiting the neurosurgeon’s assessment of it.

If you are at Westercon and would like to visit Kate, please coordinate with Ruth Sachter. We don’t want to overwhelm her with too many visitors. Sue will stay with Kate so I can attend my autograph session at 2pm today. I am disappointed to be missing most of my Guest of Honor stint, and worried about my upcoming book tour, but Kate comes first.

Two recent publications

I have recently received author copies of two books containing works of mine. The Best Science Fiction of the Year, edited by Neil Clarke, has my story “Damage,” and The Usual Path to Publication, edited by Shannon Page, has my essay “How to Sell a Novel in Only Fifteen Years.” Both are full of good stuff, and are available wherever books are sold. Enjoy!

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My Westercon schedule

Westercon 69 will be held this coming weekend in Portland, Oregon. I am the Fan Guest of Honor and will be appearing on a ton of programming. Please note that my reading will be very early in the con — on Friday at 3pm — so if you can attend I would really appreciate it!

  • Fri Jul 1 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm in Ross Island: GOH Fan Guest David D Levine Reading.
  • Fri Jul 1 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm in Mult/Holl: Opening Ceremony. With Bobak Ferdowsi, Charlie Stross, David D. Levine, Lea Rush
  • Fri Jul 1 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm in Hawthorne: Going to Mars: What’s the Point?. With the release of the hit movie “The Martian” and the release of the latest NASA plan for the journey to Mars, a fundamental question needs to be asked, and answered concerning the “Why.” The panel will discuss the pros and cons of a Mars mission and how it can be presented in the non-science world in order to justify the endeavor. With Bobak Ferdowsi, David D. Levine, Gerald D. Nordley, Kristin Landon
  • Fri Jul 1 9:00 pm – 12:00 am in Jeff/Adams: Match Game SF. Get ready to match the fannish stars! In this re-creation of the classic 1970s game show, contestants are selected randomly from the audience to attempt to match the panelists’ answers to fill-in-the-blank questions like “Captain Kirk has the biggest ___ in Starfleet!” All contestants will receive prizes. With Andrew Fuller, David D. Levine, Debra Stansbury, Jim Doty, Kevin Standlee (m), Lisa Hayes, Lynn Gold, Manny Frishberg
  • Sat Jul 2 10:00 am – 11:00 am in Multnomah: Saturday 10am Kaffeeklatsch. Small group discussions with authors, artists, and other interesting personalities (referred to as “hosts”). Sessions are limited to the host and a small group of attendees.
  • Sat Jul 2 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm in Lincoln: Contract Pitfalls to Avoid. Join the Chair of SFWA’s Contracts Committee and other panelists in discussing contract clauses writers need to avoid or modify. With David D. Levine, James Fiscus (m), John Lovett
  • Sat Jul 2 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm in Mult/Holl: The Scientist vs The Authors: Intellectual Brawl of the Century. 3 of our GoH’s having a free form discussion. With Bobak Ferdowsi, Charlie Stross, David D. Levine (m), John Scalzi
  • Sat Jul 2 7:00 pm – 11:00 pm in Mult/Holl: Masquerade. The Masquerade is an event where members of the convention have the opportunity to present their costumes on stage for the entertainment of the other members. With David D. Levine (MC)
  • Sun Jul 3 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm in Autographs: Guest of Honor Autograph: David Levine.
  • Sun Jul 3 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm in Ross Island: Toxic Masculinity as Villain. Fighting demons is clearly easier than fighting the cultural narrative of men as arrogant, emotionally repressed aggressors who refuse to accept advice or reconsider poor decisions. What would it look like if a male character became aware of that narrative and decided to take a stand against it? Instead of toxic masculinity traits being used to generate repetitive conflict, how can authors build the tension between what the culture wants a man to be and who he wants himself to be? With David D. Levine, Sara Stamey, Sienna Saint-Cyr
  • Sun Jul 3 9:00 pm – 12:00 am in Jeff/Adams: Match Game SF. Get ready to match the fannish stars! In this re-creation of the classic 1970s game show, contestants are selected randomly from the audience to attempt to match the panelists’ answers to fill-in-the-blank questions like “Captain Kirk has the biggest ___ in Starfleet!” All contestants will receive prizes. With Andy Trembley, David D. Levine, Jonnalyhn Wolfcat Prill, Kevin Roche, Kevin Standlee (m), Lee Moyer, Lisa Hayes, Lynn Gold
  • Mon Jul 4 11:00 am – 12:00 pm in Jeff/Adams: GoH presentation: Science Tourism Experiences. A slide show presentation by GoH David Levine showing a zeppelin ride, a NASA satellite launch, a short trip on a sailing ship, and a stay at a simulated Mars base.
  • Mon Jul 4 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm in Broadway: How the Hugo Awards Work. There have been millions of words tossed around for the past few years about the Hugo Awards, much of it uninformed, inaccurate, or simply wrong. Come listen to people who have actually administered the Awards and know the rules to hear some facts about the process. With Ben Yalow, David D. Levine, Kevin Standlee (m)