Doing My Dangedest!

There are these things you’re supposed to do in life, you know? And when you’re out in the public eye—large or small—there are extra things you’re supposed to be doing.

Authors are supposed to be writing…and promoting. Well, I’m trying…and I know I’ve been remiss. As I’d previously mentioned, I’d had shoulder surgery, and I’m still rehabing there…doing my at-home as well as in-office exercises. Things are going extremely well. But the point is, I have to do about 30 minutes of rehab exercises every morning. Which takes up, you know, 30 minutes. From my writing time.

Add to this, is we’re having some work done on our home. It started with hail damage from this past Summer’s Hailopocalypse, but has been delayed because of an early cold snap. But still, research and such had to be done up to now.

Add to that, home remodeling we put off last year.

Add to that, a new day job.

Add to that, family life. Illnesses, events, and living (but everything is fine!).

Add to this preparing for the 50th anniversary participation in MileHiCon50, which is this weekend. Granted not too much preparation on my part, but, you know, a little. I’m moderating one panel and needed notes for another panel I’m participating on.

But Life is good! I love having so much to do! It’s part of being alive and engaged!

None of the above are anything I’m complaining about (I have no complaints!), see, but it’s just that I have a lot hitting me at once, and the actual writing part…working on my newest manuscript (which is coming along pretty well, by the way)…and posting blog posts (I’ll try to squeeze in a few like this one)…has been significantly impacted…and I just wanted to let all of you know that I haven’t disappeared, haven’t forgotten you, haven’t stopped writing, and I’m certainly NOT complaining. I am just keeping you all informed and

Doing my dangedest.

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My MileHiCon50 Itinerary

MileHiCon50 (© MileHiCon, Used With Permission, Rose Beetem, Co-Director, Programming)

MileHiCon50 (© MileHiCon, Used With Permission, Rose Beetem, Co-Director, Programming)

October 19 – 21 I will be attending the 50th anniversary of Denver’s MileHiCon. This marks my fifth consecutive year of attendance, and I’m excited to again be included. This is a fun get-together of SF/F/H fans enjoying the genres and arts surrounding the world of fantastical stories, and it’s a real kick! I also get to meet with my writer friends, which, for this year, has been far and few between. So—I’m really looking forward to this!

Here is my schedule. I am only moderating one panel this year, “Horror of Technology,” but for the rest I am participating in the readings and panels below. To link to the con’s programs, go to this link, where you can download the weekend’s events through a QR code, or get a PDF of the events, if you don’t have a smartphone.

October 19, 2018, (Friday)

  • Group Reading and Discussion: Fantastical Prose – Mesa Verde C, 6 p.m.
  • Horror of Technology (moderating) – Mesa Verde C, 8 p.m.

October 20, 2018 (Saturday)

  • The Reading Game – Grand Mesa, 12:30 p.m.

October 21, 2018 (Sunday)

  • Versions of the Afterlife – Mesa Verde A, 2 p.m.

The Reading Game is a blast! I did the very first version of it, and it’s just like The Dating Game, but for readers. A couple of authors are selected from the pool (of which I will be one this year—my second time), and are situated behind a barrier, while a selected audience member (let’s call him/her a “participant”) asks questions of the authors. Whomever the participant likes best gets to meet their author, talk with them for a little bit, and together they decide on a free book for that participant—which the author then personalizes with an autograph! It really is a blast! I’m glad I was selected again this year! I will have my books on hand to select from.

BTW, if any of you have any questions you’d for me to ask or discuss with the panel on the “Horror of Technology,” send them to me in the comments, below! I will try to at least get one of them in, if I don’t already have it (I already have a bunch).

Hope to see you all there!

Posted in Art, Books, Fantasy, Fun, Metaphysical, Paranormal, Science Fiction, Short Story, Space, Spooky, Technology, To Be Human, UFOs, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Harsh Critic

I am an extremely critical reader. There is very little that I find I like anymore…or perhaps (from my point of view) there is so much to not like out there. And to have to read them…even first pages…would be an epic failure on my part.

Simply put, I could never be an editor (or reviewer). I’d reject everything. Everything but that one piece.


And maybe that’s where most editors come from! I’ve heard from many essentially the same thing: that they’re just looking for reasons to reject us. They have so many manuscripts to pore over that they’re looking for any reason to reject…even if you spelled their name incorrectly (I wouldn’t do that—this happens too frequently to me from the rank-and-file—and I’m not that nasty). But I think I’m beginning to see their point, even if they are paid to read our stuff. At first I was quite put off by that statement…but, yeah, I think I finally get it.

It’s not that I only find my own work “good” or interesting…it’s just that most of what I find I just don’t like, and it’s not always about the writing itself. It’s what the writing’s about. There are some writers I know who are damned good writers…I just don’t like their work (stories). That is nothing against them! They’re doing well and I love that! I just seem to have a limited scope of interest, you could say.

And, yes, I can usually tell if a story is “good” on its own, even if I don’t like it. The writing’s there…the world building…the characters…and finally, the story. It’s all about the story for me.


If I don’t like your work…that doesn’t mean it isn’t good!

I just could never be an editor.

Posted in Book Reviews, Books, Reviews, Writing | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

I’m Heading to MileHiCon50!

I was just notified that I will be participating in the 50th anniversary of MileHiCon, October 19 – 21! I don’t yet know what my participation will be, but will post that as soon as I find out. I did, however, put in to do a two-hour reading of selected stories around midnight from my new short story collection, Do The Dead Dream? Would also be questions and answers. I thought that would be fun, so we’ll see if that got accepted…and/or if I’m going to be on some fun and exciting panels!

See you there!

Posted in Books, Fantasy, Metaphysical, Paranormal, Reincarnation, Science Fiction, Short Story, Space, Spooky, Technology, To Be Human, UFOs, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Post Shoulder Surgery – It’s ALIVE!

Yes, I made it through my first major operation…and it turns out to not be nearly as bad as others have had it.

My surgery was the second to be performed August 29th, at 0830 MT (as I was wheeled into surgery prep, another was being wheeled into surgery). I dressed down. An ID bracelet was attached to my other arm’s wrist, my left shoulder and chest were shaved, tubes stuck into me, lots of stuff told to me, lots of stuff verified (and, yes, they actually do mark which body part is to be operated on with a marker, verifying it multiple times with “the patient”!). Met with the anesthesiologist, an ultra-serious fast talker who barely looked up at me as he reviewed the paperwork before him. A bunch of nurses, and, finally, my surgeon—one who Fellowshipped at the world-famous Steadman Clinic, in Vail, Colorado, where the also world-renown Dr. Marc J. Philippon is the managing partner. All ready to roll, I was wheeled into surgery. My wife, Laura, was taking pictures all along this little journey of mine.

The most curious thing I noticed when wheeled into the actual surgery room was a huge picture window! I could actually see the Front Range, which I found curiously humorous in this ultra-sterile environment! I commented on this, chuckling. I said one or three more words…and the next thing I knew…I was awake, upright, and très groggy…back to where I’d started.

Things went on around me.

I tried to be more awake.

I was fitted into, what I call, my RoboSling, which is actually a brand new and innovative new version of the arm sling (it came out in March of this year). It is quite comfortable, but not everyone can wear it, because of body types. As all this was done, I said to all “I feel like I’ve been abducted…,” to which the tech who was in charge of fitting me into the sling added “—by aliens!

Even groggy I still think weird. Ly.

For the next three to four days I was on heavy everything, including pain medications…but I felt absolutely ZERO (zilch, nada) pain. So, I simply stopped taking the main pain drugs without telling Laura, because, well, she was really worried about me “getting behind” the pain medication (I don’t like the term “meds” for some reason). That means not taking the medication until you feel the pain, which can be far worse than imagined: it takes more medication to kill the pain than to keep up the initial nerve block and pain dosages as you go and not interrupt the medication(s). Anyway, I stopped and tried Tylenol. Nothing…still felt no pain. So, I stopped the Tylenol. Still nothing! And yet, over two weeks out from my surgery, I continue to feel no pain. I ask the docs and physical therapists (PTs)and they all say that most (I think 75% was the used statistic) who have this surgery experience excruciating pain even two weeks later. They say that means I have a high pain tolerance…but I can tell you that in other areas of life I do feel pain! Perhaps the interior of my body may have a high-pain tolerance, but the rest of me don’t! Anyway, I do feel tightness in the area, but, hey, what do you expect? I had a lot of work done in there!

My second PT in-office visit said I was “definitely above” what is expected at this stage of the game. I like hearing things like that—who wouldn’t? But it is good to see that things are going well, as I continue following their instructions…and add my own good intentions and visualizations to the mix. I had been doing prehabilitation exercise since December for my rotator cuff muscles, strengthening them in preparation for this surgery, and I’m sure it has everything to do with my progress. I’ve also been taking my bodybuilding protein supplement twice a day, and actively visualizing—since last year—a positive outcome and rehab.

I went to my second surgeon follow-up visit, and had the Steri-Strips removed from my incisions.

I can now take normal showers!

All healing looks great, the doctor said. On my left bicep the incision there was bunched up slightly (one of my left biceps tendons was so chewed up that there was no saving it; they snipped off the damaged portion and reattached it a little lower on the bone…there are no negative side effects to this…no loss of strength, and no weird-lookingness to the arm). Wonderful, I thought, now I’m gonna have this weird lump on my arm forever…but the doctor told me that was a plastic surgery technique in which when such incisions on the biceps are made, if they are immediately flattened out like most other cuts to our flesh, the healed scar would spread out and grow really large…so in this way, as the wound heals, it will flatted out and look more normal and better fade like other scars—which my others scars are doing even now. They look just like any other cut in your skin that heals…but belie “what lies beneath”….

The doc also said to massage each entry scar to break up the scar tissues just beneath the skin. Helps the healing.

As I continue my many PT rehab visits, I was cleared to return to the gym for lower-body workouts at (of course) high reps, low weight. I am looking forward to returning! I have returned twice already to ride the stationary bike, and boy, did it feel good to get back in to the gym! Yeah, I’m a Gym Rat. I admit it (it’s the first step…). I am to continue wearing the sling for two more weeks (end of September). Though I am ahead of healing schedule with range of motion and no pain, tendons still need to heal. My strength training may be accelerated, I’m told, but not my range of motion, which is already almost at 100%. Again, way ahead of schedule.

So…onward I go! I’ll continue to talk my (carefully stepped) walk/hikes into Garden of the Gods, avoiding the more trickier aspects of my usual forays, and return to my other home, the gym. I can keyboard and am also doing at-home exercises, so I can remove the sling now and then, but I still need to remain in the sling all other times.

And one more thing: through all of this, it all felt—and still does!—utterly surreal! I can’t believe I did this to myself, but I also cannot believe I’ve actually had the surgery! Even with the sling on, I forget I’ve had the surgery! When I have it off and wear a shirt that covers my scars, I look totally normal (in so far as that goes). I just cannot believe I’ve gone through all this.

It’s very weird.

Post Surgery Walk/Hike Into Garden of the Gods, Colorado, September 2018 (© Frank and Laura Dorchak, 2018)

Post Surgery Walk/Hike Into Garden of the Gods, Colorado, September 2018 (© Frank and Laura Dorchak, 2018)

Posted in Health, To Be Human | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Shoulder Surgery

Today I am undergoing shoulder surgery, so I will most likely be out for a few weeks. It appears a lifetime of weightlifting had finally caught up with me! Late last year I’d discovered a tear in a shoulder muscle. It wasn’t a big tear, but enough to feel like a knife digging into me every time I did chest presses. Long story short, I’ve been doing physical therapy since, I no longer feel that stabbing pain, but am also not lifting the weights I used to lift, since I had to significantly modify my workout routine.


There is still something “wrong” in there, and today I am finally going to correct that! Well, the surgeon is. Anyway, that’s where I am today. I will be in a sling the next four to six weeks, I’m told. For the next two, glued to a recliner. So all this kinda prevents any keyboarding…and really, I should not be doing anything but resting and recuperating and tons of physical therapy so I heal properly.

And I’m really looking forward to all this!

This has been a “thing” for almost a year, and I’m tired of thinking about it and working around it every danged day, because there are many daily reminders that something “just ain’t right” in there. It’s always best to correct these kinds of things as early as possible and not allow them to get worse.

So…have a good one, y’all, and I’ll see ya when I’m able to again hit the keyboard!

Posted in Health, To Be Human | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments

The New Me

This new book…and therefore the new me…is taking shape.

I am alternating between writing and rereading Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles (TMC). And the more I reread, the more I’m beginning to see where all my inspiration for this new story of mine came from!

It looks directly from TMC.

Well parts of it, anyway. And by that, I mean the story structure.

I like how TMC is woven together from a series of short stories. I like how they progress into the Human-populated Mars’ future. And that’s kinda how I’m attacking my new book. Though I am intentionally writing these stories for the book, and not as short stories in-and-of-themselves…that is what I’m doing. They could be used on their own…again, something I’m also considering doing—but may not, at least until-and-unless I get a book deal and that’s deemed a promotional avenue to go.

My book is in no way set on Mars. And the rest of the story is not at all like TMC, so that is where the similarities end—with the story structure. Of course, when Humans are involved in any storytelling, you can pretty much figure out where it’ll end up…there really aren’t that many untold variations anymore…but it’s in the story itself, the plot, the characters, and the writing that you hope will draw in readers. In my case…agents, editors, and publishers, because I am, once again, going to try traditional publishing.

Hey, I’ve given this a lot of thought, published six of my own books as an Indie—all of which no one is buying—so what the hell, I’ll give it another shot with a genre that seems to be doing well. This book will also be a smaller book, not my usually 100K-plus manuscripts. I’m shooting for 80K, but I tend to go long. I’m at 30K now.

I’m about 70 pages from finishing up TMC, so my put off the writing until I finish the book…and one other thing, I’ll post about soon. But I’m really enjoying where this new book is going! Perhaps my writing is more like Bradbury’s. I’ve written in the horror, supernatural, fantasy, and mystery genres. While I call my stuff “paranormal fiction,” I’m recently coming to see that maybe I should call it “speculative fiction“—and in fact, yes, I have been describing it as that to those I’ve lately talked to about my work. “Paranormal fiction” still seems to imply supernatural romance fiction, and while I have included a subplot or two involving love, that is not what I write. And if you look at my short fiction, I have written in many genres. All with elements of the weird.

So, this book, the title of which shall remain under wraps for some time, is science fiction that is not science fiction…involving and will involve all of the above genres.

Also very much like The Martian Chronicles.




Posted in Books, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Short Story, Technology, To Be Human, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments