A Blessing In Disguise? An Update on the Hazel Marketing Issue

A Blessing In Disguise? An Update on the Hazel Marketing Issue
Here’s the alternate cover we used.

Greetings,

Last week I spoke about how Amazon informed me that they were stopping my marketing campaign because of my cover.

I updated the cover for the ebook. But something pretty interesting is happening. Before this issue, I would spend $1 a day on Hazel. She made some money, but not a ton. However, over this past week, I’ve spent $4.72, which is less than it was, and I’ve made $11.66 in royalties. I’m not sure how much more that is, or even if it is more, but it feels like things are actually moving in a better direction.

I’ll keep tracking, but this is a surprisingly pleasant situation. My ACOS is up. My cost per day is down, and I think my sales picked up after that first (albeit horrifying) fall.

So it’s currently good news. I though I’d update you on things since I announced what was going on last week.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

Book Review: Peace Talks by Jim Butcher

Book Review: Peace Talks by Jim Butcher
This cover image was taken from the book’s Amazon buy page for review purposes under Fair Use doctrine.

Spoiler free summary: Peace Talks is the sixteenth book in the Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher. All the magical powers in the world are holding negotiations to end hostilities, and that’s when Harry’s brother, Thomas, decides to do something stupid. Already caught between four very different and conflicting lives, Harry must navigate these tightropes that can’t coexist. But most people aren’t even remotely interested in peace. One group plans to use this for its own ends.

Character: On one hand, it was just so good to see Harry and Murph and the others, that a part of me just sort of relished having them back. I remember feeling like this book was good to see old friends, but that the story itself didn’t really move for me. However, just having the gang back after I don’t know how long, made me happy. I must also note (and I feel this is the right section to do this) that I sort of consider these two books to be one larger story kindly split in two reasonable chunks. They are absolutely part of one narrative arc. However since both were individual titles, I kept them as separate reviews. I think readers should read both one right after the other to get the right effect.

Exposition: I was a little surprised here because while there is exposition, I actually expected there to be more. It’s be a looooong time since we’ve seen Harry, and I for one didn’t re-read the other books to re-familiarize myself with the plot. There’s really not so much going on that one can’t catch up, but maybe this isn’t the book to start. Honestly, this book (if I understand what I think I understand) is sort of leading up to the very end of the Dresden Files, which I disagree with. There’s so many more directions for this story to go. Hopefully I’m wrong. Regardless, it’s still leading to the end of a conflict that has been building for a few books now. So new readers will, I think, be a bit lost.

This image of Jim Butcher was taken from his website (quite some time ago) for review purposes under Fair Use doctrine.

Worldbuilding: Given that this is the sixteenth book, Butcher doesn’t really expand on the world he’s been writing in. Instead, he just uses it as a launching point. This is another reason why it’s not a recommended path for new readers. It’s a solid edition to the series, though not great in and of itself.

Dialogue: Most of my favorite authors have witty dialogue. This is no different. It’s good to hear the banter between characters. It’s every bit as enjoyable as any other. I don’t really know what one would have to do to have “great” dialogue. But good dialogue is that in which the conversations express character at least (if not more than) advance the plot or provide exposition.

Description: If I’m being fair, it’s hard to evaluate something I don’t typically want to think about. I know Harry is tall. I know Murph is short. I know Thomas is handsome. I know Harry’s grandfather is old. So I have what I need to a certain degree. I think Butcher is great with fight description and scene description. But I don’t know that I can see the characters so much. I don’t personally care. I tend to want stories where I can sort of book my own cast. But then I think about Wheel of Time, which got annoying with description, but I can picture those characters in my head. I think writers should consider this and what they want readers to do when they write stories.

Overall: This book is more of a ramp up to the next, and that’s OK. It’s not a great stand alone story. I even remember feeling a bit let down when it came down to it. However, the next book (see my review next week), delivers on the promise this book makes.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

Visits From A Man Named Nobody 85

Visits From A Man Named Nobody 85

PT1 // PT 2 // PT 3 // PT 4 // PT 5 // PT 6 // PT 7 // PT 8 // PT 9 // PT 10 // PT 11 // PT 12 // PT 13 // PT 14 // PT 15 // PT 16 // PT 17 // PT 18 // PT 19 // PT 20 // PT 21 // PT 22 // PT 23 // PT 24 // PT 25 // PT 26 // PT 27 // PT 28 // PT 29 // PT 30 // PT 31 // PT 32 // PT 33 // PT 34 // PT 35 // PT 36 // PT 37 // PT 38 // PT 39 // PT 40 // PT 41 // PT 42 // PT 43 // PT 44 // PT 45 // PT 46 // PT 47 // PT 48 // PT 49 // PT 50 // PT 51 // PT 52 // PT 53 // PT 54 // PT 55 // PT 56 // PT 57 // PT 58 // PT 59 // PT 60 // PT 61 // PT 62 // PT 63 // PT 64 // PT 65 // PT 66 // PT 67 // PT 68 // PT 69 // PT 70 // PT 71 // PT 72 // PT 73 // PT 74 // PT 75 // PT 76 // PT 77 // PT 78 // PT 79 // PT 80 // PT 81 // PT 82 // PT 83 // PT 84 //

Twenty-Five

June 1, 2038, 2:00 p.m. 

13 Years, 186 Days Ago

Paul fidgeted in his seat teetering between rage and fear. Yet again people brought his mother into the lab. Yet again his mother was carted around like a delivery of groceries some new employee couldn’t quite get to the right shelves. They even sent them back to the original hospital. 

This time, they shoved his mother in at least three machines that he knew of. Each time they would walk in, mutter a few words about how something just had to be wrong, and then they’d cover her in another machine. 

They’d been working since 5 a.m., and not a single person cared to do much more than mutter about how they’d get everything set, and then start over again. Paul passed the time reading the Bible. He was careful to hide that fact from his mother. A part of him kept having questions he wanted to ask, but simply revealing that he’d turned to scripture would lead to anything from some sort of elation that he’d turned a corner to pointed questions he didn’t have a single answer for. So he kept the Bible in the bag they brought his mother’s change of clothes and snacks in, and he was careful only to pull it out when he was sure they were moving her to and from one of the machines that apparently refused to work. 

However, with his mother suddenly sitting and waiting right there with him, Paul found himself out of things to do aside from sit and/or stew. He bit his lip, trying to avoid asking his mother if they’d said anything to her. He’d already asked the question a number of times, so there wasn’t any point in asking again. 

She was reading her own copy of the Bible, which was projected from her PID. That created a new stress. Every now and then, she’d mutter a verse out loud that Paul had questions about.

It wasn’t the same as it used to be, though. Instead of wanting to disprove every passage he heard or reveal it as nonsense, Paul wanted to see how one verse connected to another. Given he hadn’t so much as looked at the Bible in years, he may as well have been reading it for the first time. 

Paul stood up to pace, if only for some reason to be moving, but Doctor Feniker burst through the door, giving both Paul and his mother a shocking jolt. 

“Good afternoon.” Feniker stepped over to a backlight and flipped it on. He opened an off white folder and started hanging MRI negatives up. “Frankly, I don’t know how to explain this other than trying to show you.”

Paul listened as each image slid out of the folder and flopped on the back-lit portion of the wall. 

Feniker hung the last one and stepped back, pointing at the first image he hung. “Do you see that dark spot?” A bony finger pointed at a spot on the right side of the image. 

“Yeah,” Paul said. 

Feniker nodded. “Huh, so I’m not seeing stuff.” He actually sounded relieved. “So here’s the question. Point out the same spot, or anything at all, in the other images.”

Paul stepped up to the remaining five images. He looked intently in the same area. “I can’t make anything out.”

“Neither can we,” Feniker said. “When our techs here failed to find anything, they assumed our machines were broken. That’s why we gave you a referral for another lab. We genuinely thought we needed to order repairs for our machines until earlier today, when the technicians over there called to ask me why I thought I had time to prank them.”

“Prank?” Paul repeated the word as if he didn’t know what it meant.

“I’d have thought the same thing if I took these images of someone who’s supposed to have a tumor.” Feniker smiled. 

Paul scrunched up his face in confusion. “I don’t understand. My mom’s been in treatment for months. Everyone here knows she has brain cancer.”

Feniker shrugged. “Which is why we were trying to figure out what was wrong with our machines. But you’re a scientist. You know that if five tests show the same result, it has to be true.”

Paul practically fell onto his chair. “You’re not saying … Doctor, are you really saying.”

Feniker gave another shrug. “We had had some small hope for these treatments. Tests showed they had a great impact on reducing the size of a tumor. Which is why we tested your mother’s blood as soon as you got here. Apparently, this treatment worked better than we could’ve hoped.”

Paul heard the doctor mutter under his breath. “Or I would have thought possible.”

“You’re saying,” Paul sucked in a deep breath. He didn’t know what to think or feel. “Doctor, I need you to say it plainly.”

Feniker gave a huge grin. “If you wish.” He looked over at Paul’s mom. “Mary, I’m happy to tell you that you’re in full remission.”

She brightened, and her eyes shone with unshed tears. “You mean, I’m cured?”

Feniker looked from her to the images and back again. “Honestly, if I hadn’t have seen it myself, I would have thought the same thing that other lab did. I had to send the original scans with all your information just to prove to them I wasn’t playing a trick on them.”

“What are you saying?” Paul wished he’d remembered any other word in the English language than those four.

“If I’d looked at any of those five images, I’d say whoever that patient was had a clean bill of health. There’s just no evidence anything was there to begin with,” Feniker said. 

… to be continued …

Another Marketing Blow From Amazon

Another Marketing Blow From Amazon
This is the cover in question. It might be the skin suit (and that is all it is), but most of the description indicates that it’s the fact that her legs are spread.

Greetings all,

I got a pretty good gut punch this week. Hazel has been so wonderful since she came out. I don’t know that she ever fell below 300 in her category, and she was usually in the top 100. The marketing was going well. I’d spend about $1 a day and earn just a few buck a month, but she was profiting even if only a little.

Then I got an email.

Apparently, Hazel’s cover is “overly sexualized.” I have to be honest. Given that I removed my name from the original release because of actual sexualized content, this comes as a mind-boggling development, and Hazel has fallen like a rock because of it. It’s still very early in the process. By the time you read this, I will have spoken with Collin about it. We have a backup cover because something similar happened when we were releasing her.

So I’ll probably switch out the cover (depending on what Collin says) and hope that the campaign that was bringing Hazel so much attention gets going again. I activated a few more that are at least garnering attention, but it’s too soon to tell if they’ll be able to make up the gap, and it’s probably only a matter of time before Amazon steps in with those campaigns.

This was a real blow. Caught was my number one selling book before Amazon stepped in, and I wasn’t profiting on anything. Since she came out, I could say, “At least Hazel is profiting.” I took it as progress in the right direction, and now that momentum come to a screeching halt.

I probably took a good day to sit there and mope about it. There really is nothing for it but to try and change the cover and hope it works and then hope things go back to normal.

I’m making slow going on The 1,200. The revisions are necessary and good, but they are time consuming. I will get started on the Alpha Draft of Discovered when I finish this current (First) draft of 1,200. It’s just a labor of love.

In many cases one just has to keep rolling with the punches and move forward, and that’s something I understand, but there are good days and there are days like this. I spoke with some students, who have to interview instructors at certain points in the course I teach, about this today (as I’m typing this). Writing has to be enough.

I’ll never stop writing and publishing. Those are things I love to do. There may come a day when marketing and social media (the efforts to sell the books I write and publish)are things I just don’t have the endurance to continue, but I’m not there yet. I’ll update you on how things progress.

I appreciate those of you who read my blog and send me occasional emails. Those little things mean so much to me, and they help me recover from weeks like this.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

Book Review: Angels and Demons by R.C. Sproul

Book Review: Angels and Demons by R.C. Sproul
This image was taken from the book’s Amazon buy page for review purposes under Fair Use doctrine.

Angels and Demons by R.C. Sproul is actually a series of lectures taught by Sproul himself. In it he dives in to all scripture regarding angels or demons. It’s not necessarily an expansive series of lectures. For example, he doesn’t give expository teaching on each aspect of scripture regarding the subject. Instead, he covers talking points, using Scripture to support each point.

01bout what I know, and I was interested to note just how little is said or how rarely these beings are seen.

The book is a nice summary. I do wish there was access to Sproul giving earnest expository preaching on any passages dealing with angels or demons, but this book was interesting if short.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

Visits From A Man Named Nobody 84

Visits From A Man Named Nobody 84

PT1 // PT 2 // PT 3 // PT 4 // PT 5 // PT 6 // PT 7 // PT 8 // PT 9 // PT 10 // PT 11 // PT 12 // PT 13 // PT 14 // PT 15 // PT 16 // PT 17 // PT 18 // PT 19 // PT 20 // PT 21 // PT 22 // PT 23 // PT 24 // PT 25 // PT 26 // PT 27 // PT 28 // PT 29 // PT 30 // PT 31 // PT 32 // PT 33 // PT 34 // PT 35 // PT 36 // PT 37 // PT 38 // PT 39 // PT 40 // PT 41 // PT 42 // PT 43 // PT 44 // PT 45 // PT 46 // PT 47 // PT 48 // PT 49 // PT 50 // PT 51 // PT 52 // PT 53 // PT 54 // PT 55 // PT 56 // PT 57 // PT 58 // PT 59 // PT 60 // PT 61 // PT 62 // PT 63 // PT 64 // PT 65 // PT 66 // PT 67 // PT 68 // PT 69 // PT 70 // PT 71 // PT 72 // PT 73 // PT 74 // PT 75 // PT 76 // PT 77 // PT 78 // PT 79 // PT 80 // PT 81 // PT 82 // PT 83 //

They followed the technician’s directions, and while they waited for their paperwork, Paul used his PID to set up a ride home. 

Paul thought he was just checking on his mother now and then, but once they were in a car on the way home, his mother smiled at him.

“Assuming my health could turn for the worst in another thirty seconds, I promise I’ll let you know if that happens, but this has to be the fiftieth time you’ve asked if I feel OK, and I have to admit it’s starting to make me nervous,” she said. 

Paul stared at her. 

“I know you’re worried.” She put a hand on his shoulder, probably in an effort to spare some of his feelings. “I really do feel better. I’m tired, and honestly hungry. If I feel any pain at all, I’ll tell you.”

He shrugged, supposing he’d get self conscious if someone kept asking him if he were OK. “Do you at least want to shut your eyes a bit on the way home?”   

Her eyebrows furrowed in though. “That would actually be nice.”  She leaned over to rest her head on her window.  After a few moments, her breathing slowed. 

Of course she’s exhausted. Even setting aside how long they were at the hospital, the sheer punishment her body went through would be enough to make anyone want to sleep for a week. 

Paul felt guilty having to gently shake her awake when they got to the house, but it was only a few minutes until he had her in her own bed and resting comfortably. She muttered a few times that she was still hungry, which was odd given how her body recently treated any kind of food, but she never really came awake enough to do much more than that. 

Once she was back asleep, Paul went to the kitchen to set up some food for her so it was ready when she woke. The motion of it gave him a chance to think. She’d said time and again that she really did feel OK. She hadn’t needed to vomit. Maybe she really was feeling better. 

Paul immediately set the package of saltine crackers he was arranging for his mother to eat down. “Um … thank you.” He shut his eyes. “I feel like an idiot. But I asked that she not be in pain, and she says she feels alright, and I’m grateful for that. I know what I said back at the hospital, and all of that is still true.”

He fought back a surge of emotion that was some odd combination of relief, fear, and sadness. “Whatever else happens. She’s not feeling that incredible pain anymore. She’s not asking for death. I just wanted to thank you for that. I hope she doesn’t go through that again. Whatever happens, just don’t let her feel that sort of agony again. Um … Amen?”

He felt foolish, but he codlin’t deny what just happened. Of course the doctors gave her medicine. Of course they did whatever tests they thought to do, but it was more than that. They were a part of something that was so much bigger. He had to admit what he’d felt all along. There was a God. Maybe that God hated him. But even then, he’d asked God for something, and God answered.

Paul finished setting up his mother’s snack while his mind raced to try to understand it. He hadn’t felt this curious and energized since he’d first met Nobody. Only instead of trying to figure out teleportation, he was trying to understand a being who, if he really, truly existed, would be so far beyond human understand as to be laughable to try. Except just like back when he first met Nobody, the place to go for answers remained the same. 

Paul walked as if in a trance to his room. His mother had made a few changes over the years. But the old wooden nightstand remained. Paul hadn’t so much as looked inside since Bill died. The room had new carpet. The mattress and bed frame were new. While the nightstand was still there, surely its contents would have been emptied. 

Paul’s hand shook as he reached for the drawer. He pulled it open, and there sat the Bible that Nobody had given him so many years ago. 

“Why not replace this nightstand?” Paul wondered aloud. “Why is everything else here new?”  

His mother hated things looking out of place. If she started working on something, she almost always finished. But in more than 10 years, she’d just never gotten around to replacing a simple night stand, and Paul had never even thought to look in it since Bill had died. 

He lifted the Bible up and opened it. A slip of paper fell to the floor. Even as it floated to the ground, Paul let out a wry chuckle. He stared at the note as it lie on the carpet. He sat on his bed and reached down to pick the paper up. 

Don’t just read it. Read it with an open heart. Ask Him to open your mind as you read. He is listening. Now it’s your turn.

P.S. I’m glad she’s feeling better, too.

Paul looked up from the paper. He didn’t see the tell-tale spot of water condensation anywhere, but the last part of the letter confirmed it was delivered that day. Paul felt the urge to call out to him, but Nobody wouldn’t be there. Nobody had never wanted Paul to listen to him; he wanted Paul to listen to God. Bill had wanted that, too.

Paul sat back on his bed and opened up the book. The first time he’d done it, he read it just to see what the big deal was about. But it was more an exercise in reading. This time, he’d read it again, and he’d read it hoping to understand a being he feared hated him. 

… to be continued …

The Moment Perrin Became My Favorite Character

The Moment Perrin Became My Favorite Character
The cover image for this book was taken from its Amazon buy page for character study purposes under Fair Use doctrine.

Greeting,

As I’ve mentioned, I felt the need to re-read the Wheel of Time. I’ve also mentioned that Perrin is my favorite character.

Today, I thought I’d share with you the moment that happened. It’s not a big moment. It’s not anything that happens in Book 4, where Perrin truly shines. Instead, it’s this silly little quote tucked in the middle of Chapter 31 of The Great Hunt.

This was before people knew the big secret Rand had (I try to avoid spoilers when I can). Perrin and Mat knew, as did Verin. Verin was making a pointed comment at Rand.

“Perrin realized he was staring too, ‘Well, he did not fly,’ he said. ‘I don’t see any wings. Maybe he has more important things to tell us.'”

You see, this was a great divide for me. I actually hated Mat all the way through perhaps Book 5 or even a bit later. Mat was a fool, and he was hurtful to Rand when he needed a friend most. Perrin was clearly stricken, but there he was in this moment when everyone was making someone who was keeping the biggest, worst secret anyone could ever keep, and Perrin chose to be a faithful friend.

That was it. There were other cool things, and he has much bigger and more wonderful moments, but that little part right there was the part that made me look at him and see what a true friend is like.

I know it’s a bit silly, but I have my reasons.

I got picked on a lot as a kid. I probably deserved it if I’m being honest (well, no child deserves to be picked on, but if any child did, it would have been me). I can remember just wanting someone to stand up for me. I just wanted to be seen and feel valued. That moment even after all these years, resonates with me strongly in how much it means to stand up for someone.

What about you? What was the moment your favorite Wheel of Time character became your favorite.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

Book Review: Why Believe the Bible? By John MacArthur

Book Review: Why Believe the Bible? By John MacArthur
The cover image for this book was taken from its Amazon buy page for review purposes under Fair Use doctrine.

Why Believe the Bible by John MacArthur, MacArthur uses a debate format, asking questions and then providing answers.

I liked the format. One can skip straight to a question they have or want a better answer (apologetic) for. A lot of the content is information you could find in other parts of MacArthur’s work. That’s mostly because there are really only two necessary arguments in apologetics.

There is a God.

The Bible is the authoritative word of God.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t more questions to ask or moments of satisfaction when archeological studies continuously prove the Biblical record. What I’ve come to see as a trend in any apologetic writings is that those two main points are the lynchpins of any apologetics. If one comes to believe those two assertions, he may wonder how things align or how things worked, but he can’t do less than fall to his knees in worship.

This writing does build off the above premise. Some of the questions I hear a lot are covered in this book. Who “decided” which books were part of the Bible? The answer isn’t just some group of people. There was a process that relied on specific criteria, and that started with the authority of God and Jesus, who then granted authority to His apostles. Naturally the next question that comes is how can we trust the words of men (those very same apostles)? For me, it was enough that Jesus granted them authority, but the more important answer is the distinction between mortal author and inspired word, which this book also covers.

While I continue to look for more archeological books to sate my curiosity, this book is absolutely valuable for those who are new to the faith or those who just have questions about Christianity.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

Visits From A Man Named Nobody 83

Visits From A Man Named Nobody 83

PT1 // PT 2 // PT 3 // PT 4 // PT 5 // PT 6 // PT 7 // PT 8 // PT 9 // PT 10 // PT 11 // PT 12 // PT 13 // PT 14 // PT 15 // PT 16 // PT 17 // PT 18 // PT 19 // PT 20 // PT 21 // PT 22 // PT 23 // PT 24 // PT 25 // PT 26 // PT 27 // PT 28 // PT 29 // PT 30 // PT 31 // PT 32 // PT 33 // PT 34 // PT 35 // PT 36 // PT 37 // PT 38 // PT 39 // PT 40 // PT 41 // PT 42 // PT 43 // PT 44 // PT 45 // PT 46 // PT 47 // PT 48 // PT 49 // PT 50 // PT 51 // PT 52 // PT 53 // PT 54 // PT 55 // PT 56 // PT 57 // PT 58 // PT 59 // PT 60 // PT 61 // PT 62 // PT 63 // PT 64 // PT 65 // PT 66 // PT 67 // PT 68 // PT 69 // PT 70 // PT 71 // PT 72 // PT 73 // PT 74 // PT 75 // PT 76 // PT 77 // PT 78 // PT 79 // PT 80 // PT 81 // PT 82 //

A tear fell down her cheek.  “It hurt so much.”

Paul moved to her and wrapped her in his arms. “I’m sorry. I hate that this is happening to you. But don’t feel guilty. You don’t have to put yourself through pain.”

His voice cracked, but he managed to get it all out. They held each other there, unsure of how much time passed, until Dr. Feniker walked in. 

He smiled down at them. “It’s obvious the treatments are having an extreme effect. With only one treatment to go, I think the best thing to do is at least take a look at your scans to see if there’s been any impact.”

“What if there hasn’t been?” Paul asked. “She couldn’t possibly go through all of this again.”

Feniker grimaced. “I wish there was something I could say. For now, there are too many questions, and the answers won’t come until we see what’s going on. We’ve prepared the examination room for her MRI, and someone will be in soon. Once we get a look, we’ll at least know what we’re up against.”

“Does she have to do it now?” Paul asked. “Can’t she get some sleep?”

“I slept for hours. Once they gave me all that medicine, I fell asleep, and they went looking for you.” She pointed at his forehead, where the red mark from sleeping on it was probably still present. “Looks like you were getting some sleep, too, wherever you were.”

“I thought I’d only dozed off for a minute.”

Feniker coughed. He’d probably wondered if they had forgotten he was there.

“Looks like we’re as ready as we’re going to be,” his mother said. 

Feniker nodded. “A tech will be here shortly.” He left.

True to his word, for once, a tech arrived after another few moments. The slender woman brought a wheel chair with her. “Let’s get you into the examination room.”

She helped Paul get his mother situated on the wheel chair. Paul pushed the chair, following the tech to the lab. They hadn’t done any additional scans since his mother was diagnosed, but he felt comfortable helping to place her in the machine. The tech pointed to a waiting area, and Paul went and sat there, waiting for them to finish their work. 

Paul rested his head in a hand, rubbing at his temples with his thumb and middle finger. Please, let it be that the tumor is small enough. Please don’t put her through any more.  

Without anything else to do, Paul felt strangely comfortable each time he prayed. However, to his mind the prayer was over. As he waited, he was more or less thinking in God’s direction, and he wasn’t sure that counted. It would be pointless to try and work or rest. His thoughts kept jumping to his mother. 

After a while, Paul realized that it had been a long time. He figured he was just worried, so he checked his PID. Then he waited another hour. It wasn’t as if he could go to anyone to ask what was going on, but he started tracking the time. Another hour passed. By that point, Paul was willing to talk to the first person he could find. He stood up to do just that when the technician came through the door with his mother. 

“I’m so sorry for the wait,” she said. 

“What happened?” Paul asked. 

Her face scrunched up. “I don’t actually know. We tried to do the scan, but something must be wrong with our machines.”

“Machines?” 

“We have two, so we brought her to the second one, but whatever is going on is happening to both,” she explained. “We tried each machine at least three times, but we can’t get  … “ she paused as if thinking about how to explain her point. “We can’t get a clear reading.”

“So whatever is happening is affecting the reading?” Paul asked.

The technician shrugged.

“They must have put me in there a half-dozen times,” his mother said. “But after each time, they just asked me to do it again.”

Paul must have glared at the technician because she put up her hands defensively. “We were only trying to get a clear reading. But there’s nothing else we can do.  Maybe the scan was affected by what we gave her for her pain. Maybe it’s the machine. Either way, we know the fastest way to get results is to send her to another hospital. We’ve set up an appointment for you at another laboratory.”

“Are we heading there now?” Paul asked. It had already been 16 hours at this hospital. Nap or no nap, Paul knew his mother had to be exhausted.

“The appointment is in three days,” the technician said. “That way, the pain medication will have had time to leave her system. So if that’s what was affecting the scan, we’ll know it won’t this time.”

“How could her medication affect her treatment?” Paul asked.

“Sometimes different medications had an impact on the brain. It can cause MRI results to be hard to make out,” the technician answered, turning to look at Paul’s mother. “As long as you’re pain free, we can wait.”

“What if the pain comes back?” Paul asked. 

“You’re mother says the pain and other side effects are most severe the night of a treatment, so there’s a good chance to worst of it is over. We just want to get that scan done before the next treatment is supposed to happen.”

Paul looked at his mother, who shrugged. “You still feel better.”

She gave him a weak smile. “I’m just tired, and there really isn’t anything these people can do.”

Paul nodded. “So we can go home?”

“We just need to finish off the paperwork, and you’ll be on your way,” the technician said. “When you check out, you can pick up the referral for the new scan.”

A 3-Star Review For Hazel

A 3-Star Review For Hazel

Greetings all,

Today I get to share this three-star review for Hazel on Amazon. I’m always happy to get reviews. There are some who maybe get super invested in the number of stars, and there is some merit in that for some, but the content of the review (if someone is kind enough to leave one) is where I find the most pleasure.

Ultimately, I want to write stories people enjoy. Don’t get me wrong. I’d love it if one of my stories was one of your favorites. I’d love it if a lot of things happened. However, if people read my book and find it enjoyable, that’s all I could ever hope for and more.

Please consider taking a few moments and leaving a rating and/or review for any of my books that you’ve read. It’s always nice to see, and it really does help.

Thanks for reading,

Matt