A short break

In keeping with tradition, my family and I just spent a long weekend at Ocean City, NJ. Yeah, it’s a bit early in the season to be at the beach, but the crowds are small and the off-season rates help keep the costs down. The annual clouds and rain gave way in time for Mother’s Day, so at least we had some sun on Sunday and a bit of Monday.

As usual, I didn’t want to come home.

Just curious, does this:

make it a tax-deductible business trip?

Like pictures? There’s more over on instagram.

Two and a half months in

I’m now just a bit over two and a half months into my new life as a full-time editor. Aside from a couple of knock-down colds, things have been moving along rather nicely. One of the big worries I had in going full-time was healthcare. Nearly five years ago, I suffered a major heart attack and the fallout from that continues to require a bunch of prescriptions and regular visits. In short, I require a better-than-average healthcare plan.

I had been on the upgraded plan my former employer offered as an option, but when I resigned, COBRA, financially, was not an option. (Seriously, who can afford those insane rates?) I did a lot of research and ended up with a decent silver plan via the ACA, but the costs are still significant and all on me. (My wife’s employer does offer a plan, but it’s the worst one I’ve ever seen.)

To cover these new expenses, I’ve been taking on short-term projects–ebook design, consulting–but that’s not stable income and it makes me nervous. Having a reliable source of income for this has been on my to-do list, but now it’s moved to the top.

Over the last ten years, I’ve directed money from new Clarkesworld or Forever subscriptions or Patreon pledges towards different projects that have ranged from adding more stories to creating an equipment budget for the podcast. Now I’m targeting healthcare.

As a funding goal, healthcare is anything but sexy. It’s not something I expect to see people rally around or get excited about. Adding new content? Sure, that gives a pretty tangible and easy-to-sell consequence. Insurance, well, you know… Still, it has to be done if I want to continue down this path.

At present, I’m sending a target of reaching this goal of July 12, 2017–the fifth anniversary of my heart attack. It’s an ambitious deadline, but one worth going for.

If you aren’t already a subscriber or Patreon supporter, here are the links I hope you’ll be interested in:

If you’re already a subscriber or supporter, thank you! You’ve made it possible to get this far. If you want to help further, share the above links or leave a review on our Amazon subscription page–good reviews there help encourage new subscribers. You’d be surprised by how much of an impact it has.

Take care,

-Neil

Still Recovering (again)

I thought I’d be better by now, but it’s looking like my prior health issues are impacting my recovery from this cold. It’s become fairly easy to draw lines from my heart issues and a prior case of pneumonia to the lingering cough and fatigue, so I’ve been taking it easy. At least I can look at a screen again without the letters beginning to move. I did get out for a bit this weekend, but even just standing around talking wiped me out.

Today I managed to get some work on my pending mountain of email and slush. I know I owe more than a few people responses, but it’s going to take a bit of time with my current energy levels. I’ll get to the rest as I can, but I know not to push myself or I’ll just make things worse.

Radio Silence

It’s been a rough couple of weeks in our house. A mean little bug has been taking us out one-by-one. Fortunately, it waits until the previous host is better before striking the next. It came home with my oldest and by the time it moved onto his brother, I knew the right medications to bring it to its knees. Unfortunately, it jumped to me next and none of those medications are on my “allowed” list. I’ve had to take the scenic route through death slime valley.

The worst appears to be over, but with pieces still sitting in my chest, it could be a few days before I’m back to 100%. This was probably the worst cold I’ve had since my heart attack and the only one that has really triggered any real concern on my part. It’s serving as a reminder that my life isn’t as it was before. Just trying to do some simple tasks yesterday quickly tossed me back on the couch, exhausted. Reminds me a lot of those first days out of the hospital. Just need to take it easy. Nothing needs to be done today.

Ten days in

Hard to believe that I’m ten days into this self-employed editor thing. Still doesn’t quite feel real, but I at least I’m making progress on many fronts: backlogged projects, current projects, housework, and even a little coding to make my life easier.

I’ll probably find myself sleeping a bit better when I know I have the income gap and health insurance covered. To that end, next week’s agenda includes some time spent on anthology pitches, finding more ebook design clients, marketing, and perhaps some consulting work for my former employer.

Over at Patreon, I’ve been asking our existing supporters what types of things make attractive rewards to them. That will be feeding a blog post sometime in the next week… Yes, this connects to a survey I did last year and yes, I will be sharing some of what I learned from that soon.

Participating in a NASA Social event

I’ve been selected to be part of a NASA Social event at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. I’ll be attending the launch of the SpaceX CRS-10 cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station later this month.

During the event, I’ll be provided with the opportunity to:

  • Tour NASA facilities at Kennedy
  • Meet and interact with engineers, technicians and other team members from Kennedy
  • View and take photographs of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at Launch Complex 39A
  • Meet fellow space enthusiasts who are active on social media
  • Meet members of NASA’s social media team
  • View the launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft

TRIP CANCELED

Unfortunately, the event date was moved to 17-18th, which is the one weekend this month Lisa and I both have plans. Much as I would like to go, we’d both have to cancel our trips and that’s not fair to her. Hopefully I can get on the invite list for a future launch. I’ve wanted to see one since I was a kid.