Cyborg Sunday, update 4.22.2018: Writer’s life, giving up coffee, and applying for my dream job

Somehow, I thought that

Giving up coffee would suck.

It’s not all that bad.

“Doing Without” by Yours Truly

Bruce Lee once said, ““It’s not the daily increase but daily decrease. Hack away at the unessential.”

I’ve decided to put this to the test by giving up coffee. I know what you’re thinking: “Uh, Kevin, you’re a writer! How are you going to do this? Without coffee, you won’t be able to stay up into the late hours of the night, hammering away at the keys as though they owe you money, demanding your sleep-deprived consciousness provides a few words that you can trick people into believing are compelling.”

Then I’m like, “I also don’t drink or smoke,” and you’re probably thinking, “Good Lorde, man, how dare you? There is such a long, glorious tradition of writers, American or otherwise, sinking into the mire of their own self-destruction in pursuit of what it really means to be human! You betray all those who came before you by rejecting such glorious decay!”

Okay, maybe I’m being a little dramatic. Plus, I don’t know you. Maybe you didn’t think any of that, but here’s a word of advice: you don’t ever have to be miserable or sleep-deprived to write. While certainly a little less tortured, being happy and healthy will bolster your sensibilities and give you more resilience. It’ll be way easier to keep writing, especially in the face of rejection, if your body and mind are well.

As far as my writing goes, I have nothing to report this week. I subbed a poetry manuscript, but no rejections or acceptances.

BUT… I just applied for my dream job. I’d be writing with a video game company I really respect. That’s all I’ll say. Don’t like sharing too much when things are still in the works. I have a good feeling about it, though. A real good feeling. Let’s hope giving up coffee has a butterfly effect!

Along those lines, I hear coffee increases insulin resistance in Type 1 Diabetics. There’s conflicting evidence here, and paradoxically, some suggest it decreases the risk of Type 2 in non-diabetic subjects. However, other data shows it exhausts the body’s endocrine system, contributing to the development of T2D and Addison’s Disease.

This bears significantly more investigation, both in my life and otherwise, because the prevalence of autoimmune disorders in modern America is unbelievably high compared to previous decades. If mass coffee consumption is linked to the development of such issues, we could potentially treat or prevent a number of conditions by eliminating it from our diet–or insurance companies could use a coffee habit as a ‘pre-existing condition’ and deny you coverage. Wouldn’t be surprised if they did this already for heart problems and blood pressure issues.

So far, it’s only been 2 days since my last cup, but I seem to have some increased insulin sensitivity, so that’s cool. I’ve been weening off via green tea though, so I’m not sure if the caffeine in that has an effect too, or if the insulin resistance comes from coffee itself. Either way, I’m saving money, so that’s cool.

And, doubleplusgood, lower caffeine means lower stress reactions. I’m super excited waiting to hear back about this job, so kicking caffeine to the curb was great timing.

I’m off to hurry up and wait, by which I mean write. Hope you have a great week!

 

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Cyborg Sunday, Update 3.25.2018: Delays, Reboots, and Upgrades

Sometimes, showing up

Is all you’re needed to do.

Be present. Be there.

–“Showing You Care” by Yours Truly

This entry is backdated on account of me failing to follow the usual routine. I attended my sister’s volleyball tournament and left early in the morning. The introduction of these variables through off my normal operations, and I got near-nothing done through the day, my weekly post included. She did well, though, and I was glad to go.

Plus I got to hide a piece of bread up my sleeve, pretending to pull it from behind her ear as part of a very stupid series of ‘rye’ pranks and jokes I’ve been pulling on her for nearly a y-ear (all puns intended, obviously).

Diabetes-wise, I’m back on my muscle-training routines and yoga, leaning away from cardio. It’s kept my blood sugars under significantly better control, to the point where I’m orbiting 90 mg/dl, rather than 140 or so. This has led to some mild lows, but they’re worth the reduced highs and better overall feeling.

Point is, I wholly advocate diabetics pursuing weight lifting and other muscle engaging activities, as it’ll keep insulin sensitivity in a far better place. Just be sure to get enough protein to stave off those persistent drops!

In terms of writing, no new acceptances, but plenty more added to The Reflection and The Echo, which is cruising along nicely. A few short story calls I’d like to write for, but I’ve been tied up with other stuff lately, and can only do so much. But there’s something new coming soon–something you might not have been meant to see.

Visions from the Veil, a collection of short stories, is on the horizon.

Admittedly, part of my time recently was spent playing Warframe, which I got back into for a bit, but I’ve already lost interest again. That’s the trouble with ‘free’ to play games. As The Binding of Isaac satirically pointed out, they’re really Pay2Play, and once I realized I couldn’t progress through Saturn without extensive, purchased upgrades, teammates, and other crap, I uninstalled.

Time to reset my brain back into ‘full throttle.’

Besides, for me, games are like reading: a chance to get away from the outside world with a relaxing, solitary activity. I know I’m far from the only one who feels that way. If you build a game so that solo players get crushed, you alienate a massive chunk of your audience. Keep that in mind, developers.

Of course, Warframe has like 38 million players or something, and really cool lore if you struggle through everything, so it’s not going anywhere. Plus I bet I’ll be right back playing again if they ever do Warframe virtual reality, especially if it’s Matrix-style full immersion. …But I’ll lose interest again just as quickly in favor of plugging into yet another Resident Evil RE-make.

Anyway, that’s all a long way away, so for now, I’m signing off. Have a good one!

 

 

Cyborg Sunday, Update 3.11.2018: Free Fiction, a Book Launch, new BGM, and Sweet, Wonderful Rejection

Measure a man only

By how he withstands defeat.

Truth lies in hardship.

“Behind the Mask” by Yours Truly

First off, no cyborg news. I might’ve torn my meniscus, but we’ll come back to that in a fortnight. I see a doctor on the 20th. All good vibes are appreciated!

Also, if you’re interested in a FREE STORY, check out “Throw Away the Key” in this week’s Trembling with Fear!

Also also, Fatal Fetish launched today from J. Ellington Ashton press! I’ve got a story in here titled “Glutton for Punishment.” The anthology title should tip you off, but it’s hella kinky. I’m slightly miscredited on the Amazon author section, but I assure you, I am Kevin Holtow. And I’m fixing that.

Any writers out there looking for some cool BGM would also do well to check out ChilledCow’s Lofi Hip-hop station. It’s pretty great.

Lastly, I subbed “Against the Odds” to Things in the Well’s Beneath the Waves anthology. I got shortlisted, but it didn’t make the cut. Frankly, I love that. I went up against huge competition and just missed it, meaning it’s a pretty good story, but others were slightly better. I’ll tweak it and find a new home somewhere else real soon.

What’s to come? Here’s a snapshot:

–I’m wrapping a zombie story today, but you know me. They aren’t just zombies. There’s something else in the horde, vicious, cunning, not alive, yet not quite dead…

–I’ll be wrapping edits on Before My Eyes (title may change) this week and sending that out for indie consideration.

–I’m 6k into The Reflection and The Echo, which I’ll be subbing to agents.

–More promo for ATHOM, of course!

And, I have a funny feeling I’ll have even more news coming up this week… So be sure to stop back this time next Sunday for another update!

As always, thank you for reading. If you’d like to support me and get monthly fiction, MP3 readings, and even signed copies, check out my Patreon. You’ll be helping me afford insulin and stuff, which is super great of you.

New Patreon story up!

Hey everyone!

My Patreon’s story for March is now live. Those of you that have already pledged can go here to read it.

For those of you that haven’t, pledging to my Patreon not only comes with a monthly story, but those stories get compiled into an annual collection, which you’ll get for free upon publication!

Higher pledges earn MP3 recordings, ebooks, and signed print editions–not to mention promotional opportunities for other writers, including tweets, IG posts, and a page right here on my website.

Here’s a teaser for this month’s story while you think:

***

The newspapers kept saying a killer roamed these roads, and there she sat, car quiet, just a hunk of metal on the side of the road. Hazard lights flashing their steady warning, she sat on the trunk, facing the open road, hoping somebody halfway decent would drive up and decide to stop for her. The sun set hours ago, leaving her alone with the coo of nocturnal birds and the cool wind kicking dust from the poorly maintained pavement into her eyes.

***

If you liked it, consider pledging at my Patreon! All pledges go to affording insulin and other diabetes-related stuff, with some for book advertising if the page does well. See you soon!

Cyborg Sunday, update 2.25.18: Chrysalis

There is more virtue

To sitting calm and patient

Than never stopping.

“Interlude” by yours truly

 

Diabetes news is all about the same–I’m not eligible for any of those studies mentioned last week, and otherwise, all’s been tight on that end.

I sold my video games though. That was pretty weird. I’ve been a gamer all my life, but without a job in the industry, I just don’t have the time to play. It’d be one thing if I were playing as research, or playing to celebrate my friends, but… I think it’s just time to move on. With all the writing I do, I don’t have much time to waste.

Writing-wise, I had a few drabbles picked up by The Horror Tree, so that’s fun. No other news yet, but I have a bunch out there.

My novella Crimson Inc. got rejected, but that’s alright. I’ll keep looking around. I’m still waiting on Absolute Zero, NOVA EXE, Amphibia Maxima, The Gospel of Decay, and Call of the Void, so I’m almost relieved to take something off my wait list! …Besides, I already have leads on another publisher. Fingers crossed!

At the Hands of Madness is doing well, having just scored its second 5-star review, and it now has a book trailer, too. Be sure to leave a review if you liked it!

I’ve got a book to send out, another to edit, and a third to write. I oughta go. Talk to you soon!

 

Cyborg Sunday, Update 2.18.2018: Five Stars for At the Hands of Madness!

It is four A. M.

Why am I awake right now?

Writers never sleep.

–“Hustle” by Yours Truly

 

WHAT. 5 star review for At the Hands of Madness!

It’s only one review so far, but it’s so awesome to see this book get such praise. Some snippets:

“An emotional rollercoaster.”

“You can perfectly imagine what Holton is narrating and that makes you grin more than once.”

“The tension is constant all through the book, and the author’s imagination tricks you and challenges your mind, even when you don’t expect it.”

“His writing is spotless and his effort in perfecting every detail is obvious.”

Now where is the ‘big grin’ emoji on WordPress…

I’m also polishing the script for These Walls Don’t Talk, They Scream, a novel coming soon from HellBound Books. It’s a big lower budget than the At the Hands of Madness film would be, but as my coffee mug says, Good things come to those who go out and fucking hustle.

No, it actually says that.

In cyborg/diabetes news, Methyldopa, a blood pressure medication, could have the potential to block the DQ8 molecule, which appears in 60 percent of people at risk for Type 1 diabetes! Obviously, this doesn’t help me, but it might help the people you love.

Allegedly, scientists can predict the illness with near 100% certainty, and Type 1 is only 5-10% of all diabetes anyway, but considering that Type 2 is preventable (or treatable) through healthy diet and exercise, we’re well on our way to stamping this bastard of a disease out!

Byte me, big pharma.

An article from last August states that we’re “one step closer” to a T1D cure through islet cell implants thanks to ViaCyte. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen researchers exploring this option, though, so I can only hope these clinical trials pan out.

ONE OF THE TRIALS IS RECRUITING.

I’m ending the post here so I can investigate further.

See you on the other side, kids.

Cyborg Sunday, update 2.11.17: Freestyle Libre, Amazon Metrics, and Becoming The Riddler

Holy fucking shit,

What the hell are you doing?

Why are you like this?

“An insulting haiku you can yell at people in almost any situation,” by Kevin Holton

 

Forgive my language, friends, but I swear the most when I’m in a good mood, and I’m chillin’ pretty nice right now with a coffee and the promise of a fancy brunch on the horizon, so this calls for a profane haiku. Haikus are supposed to be peaceful, contemplative reflections upon life and the natural world, but I’ve never been one to follow the rules.

First off, I’ve got promo for At the Hands of Madness up! Here’s an essay on building monsters over at The Horror Tree. The Bold Mom and Promote Horror have press releases up, and will feature interviews in the near future, plus I’m working at getting reviews out there. All big things, building toward the next big thing!

As far as sales go, I don’t know how many copies I’ve actually sold, and I’m working on that, but according to recent metrics, I’m among the top 10% of ebook sellers, and the top 5% in horror! I probably won’t top King anytime soon, but hey, a guy can dream.

I also have a few short stories appearing in various anthologies from JEA, among other places, and “My Soul, One Shadow Shy of Black” got picked up on Longshot Island. That one’s free to read, so go have a look!

The Freestyle Libre: accurate to within 10 mg/dl so far! The adhesive’s not as secure as I’d like, but I wholly recommend the system, and that’s coming from someone who vehemently opposed getting a CGM!

Oh, and I’m now a Game Master at Long Branch’s Escape the Puzzle room. I’m probably biased, but it’s a great team, and you’ll have a great time, so come on by! I promise not to make things too cryptic… unless that’s what you want.

As always, thanks for stopping by. Talk to you soon!