The Price for Finishing a Book

The first two purchasers of The Dangerous Type:  Claud and Jim

The first two purchasers of The Dangerous Type: Claud and Jim

The night I did the first media for Morbid Curiosity Cures the Blues — Stoo Odom’s radio show at the old Pirate Cat studio — I started to come down with bone-rattling chills. Swine flu was going around then and I was sure I had it. The nausea waited to kick in until I managed to get myself home. It was a long, horrific night. In the morning, I got up, caught a plane to LA, and did my first-ever solo reading at Stories in Echo Park.

After I cranked through the copyedits on As Above, So Below — intrusive, copious, and mostly unnecessary — I came down with a bad cold.

I knew that I had been working so long and hard on the Templars books that I was facing some kind of illness at the end. In November when I started the death march, I was good about walking every afternoon, not drinking coffee, watching what I ate. I optimized for sleep, sunshine, and fresh air. But as the final revision of The Dangerous Type ran into finishing Kill By Numbers, and the final revision of Kill By Numbers slammed up against writing No More Heroes, everything fell apart. I didn’t walk. I propped myself up with expresso and sugar. I didn’t get up from my desk while my daughter was at school.

I thought at worst I’d get a sinus infection, maybe the flu.

Last Saturday night, at the Borderlands Bookstore Sponsors party, I discovered The Dangerous Type on the shelves. It was wonderful and completely unexpected. I babbled to everyone I met that my book was on the New Books shelf.

I came home giddy. Because of that, it took me a while to wind down to sleep. Even then, I couldn’t really get warm, but I was never awake and aware long enough to get up and put on some socks. Throughout the night, I was tormented by dreams of page proofs and imaginary errors that needed to be corrected. I even dreamed of Raena for the first time.

After I made breakfast for my family, I went back to bed. By the time I realized that lying in bed in my pajamas and robe on a sunny Sunday was not normal, my temperature was 102. By Monday afternoon, it was 103. Tylenol brought it down until the middle of the night, when it spiked up again. It was back to 102 yet again on Tuesday at noon.

Long story short, I have pneumonia. I’m on Levofloxacin, which has the unhappy side effect of dissolving your achilles tendon’s connection to your foot. Luckily, the drug is also prescribed against the plague and anthrax, so I’m covered for the diseases I’m owed for the other two books in the series.

For the most part, having pneumonia hasn’t been as dire as I expected.  Only today, six days in, did I cough so hard I pulled a muscle.  The fever dreams have been more irritating than terrifying.  I got myself to the doctor before the congestion in my lungs got very noticeable.

This morning, though, may win the prize for the most horrific body sensation I have ever experienced.  I woke up at 4:30 and read for a while, but couldn’t stay awake to take my pill at 6, so I took it early and went back to sleep.

Fresh out of the box!

Fresh out of the box!

When I woke up, I felt as if something slithered loose inside my lungs.  I felt it tearing away from the upper side like a piece of packing tape.  Its weight settled again as my eyes came open.  I couldn’t think of anything but Alien.

After that, the day could only get better. My husband got to the PO box and came back with my author’s copies of The Dangerous Type.  He took the traditional “opening the box” photo for me.

I have a ton of writing to do this coming week. In the meantime, I’m gonna take it easy, get fit, and be ready to get back to work.  No rest for the morbid, baby.

About Loren Rhoads

I'm the author of The Dangerous Type, Kill By Numbers, and No More Heroes. I am also the co-author (with Brian Thomas) of the novel Lost Angels and the author of the essay collection Wish You Were Here: Adventures in Cemetery Travel. In addition to blogging at CemeteryTravel.com, I blog about my morbid life at lorenrhoads.com.
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