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 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!

 

 

Cyborg Sunday, update 1.28.2018: Freestyle Libre, poetry, and Life is a Beautiful Thing

Monitor the blood:

When flesh tries to end your life,

Turn to computers.

–“Autoimmune,” by Kevin Holton

This week’s haiku is obviously about diabetes, but I’m starting with cyborg news, because I finally decided to try a continuous glucose monitor–for real. I’d used a silhouette model in the past, but hated it. The thing was bulky, uncomfortable, and snagged on everything.

The Freestyle Libre gets my full endorsement! This nifty little device lives up it its name, providing a detailed scan Final Fantasy-style. Aside from how small it is (about two stacked quarters, as the website claims), this gives me a readout of my current blood sugar, an arrow indicating if I’m going high or low, and a graph so I can see trends. Each lasts for ten days, though it takes twelve hours to start reading, and so far, it seems pretty accurate.

I already know for a fact that my glucose control is better than before, so any diabetics looking to improve their monitoring or just reduce finger tests ought to check this out. The best part? I didn’t even feel myself insert it!

I’ll update you next week on how the Libre works toward the end of a sensor’s life cycle, but I can’t imagine it’ll be a problem.

On to writing news…

I had three poems picked up for an Anti-Valentine’s Day anthology with Azoth Khem publishing. Another poem of mine went up on The Bold Mom, and another four are up with The Horror Zine. No fiction this week, but hey, eight poems? That’s a nice haul! I might have a collection ready soon… Maybe two, actually. Theme is important!

The REALLY big news this week is that the first audiobook of Harmon Cooper’s Life is a Beautiful Thing is up! Why’s this big news? It’s performed by yours truly. That’s right! I began acting in middle school, and fell out of it due to some personal stuff in high school, but have begun dabbling in the area again as of late.

Life is a Beautiful Thing follows Meme as he trips–metaphorically and literally, thanks to his addiction to designer drugs–through a satiric capitalist cyberpunk hellscape where corporations decide America’s fate. This book is chock full of psychotropic imagery, sex, drug use, and body switching, so buckle up! It’s a wild ride.

I’ll be narrating the next three, in addition to some works of my own soon. Stay tuned. Updates to come.

You know, I wrote that haiku up above about diabetes, but it actually applies to Cooper’s book, too…

Anyway, thank you for stopping by. Drop a line below if you’d like to say hi, or see me talk about something specific next week. Have a good one!

 

 

Cyborg Sunday, update 01.07.2018: #Horror, #Blogging, #AmWriting, #Plotting

Time: an illusion

Waging war against humans.

The hour marches on.

–“Soldier,” A Haiku, by Kevin Holton

 

Hello everyone!

Welcome back to Cyborg Sunday.

To begin, I’ll let you know I’m making plans. I never make plans, so expect something big.

That said, I’ve got a bunch of other things in the works. I recently subbed to a closed call with my old friends at Siren’s Call Publications, where The Nightmare King will be published later this year. I also subbed to the Escape Pod podcast, confirmed a few book reviews for Pleiades, signed a contract for a fictional advertisement with The Mad Scientist Journal, sent my novella Amphibia Maxima to Grinning Skull Press, and sent my novel Absolute Zero off to Apex Book Company.

Grass does not grow under my feet, friends.

I’m also being considered for a job (not gonna jinx it by saying more), and finished the recordings for Harmon Cooper’s Life is a Beautiful Thing Book One.

More fun news, I’ve joined up with The Bold Mom as one of their new Dark Fantasy bloggers! They’re a very dynamic, socially-engaged group of horror writers and reviewers, so I’m looking forward to contributing.

As far as all things cyborg go, I’m officially CONSIDERING the Freestyle Libre. I’ve held out on Continuous Glucose Monitors due to their bulkiness and lack of accuracy, but this is apparently a great model, and my endocrinologist highly recommended it. I’ll be switching to humalog, for insurance reasons, and am going back on the 200 mcg levothyroxine, but hey, chronic illnesses aren’t a sprint. They’re a marathon.

I’m a little more excited for the Eversense system, because contrary to most people, I actually think it sounds really god damn cool to get something implanted in my body to monitor my blood sugar. Moreover, it lasts for 90 or 180 days, which is amazing, because no hassle! Even if I have to get it changed out, I imagine this tech will improve quickly.

ViaCyte is also doing interesting work with stem cells and islet cell transplants, and there’s the TRAFFIC system, and some are still following the Edmonton Protocol, though it’s still a bit short lived. Who knows where we’ll be next year?

All I know is that, for now, I’m going to keep on keepin’ on, as I like to say. Drop me a line below if you found any of this interesting. Talk to you soon!

Cyborg Sunday, Update 12.31.17: A review of 2017

Another year gone

But how can I measure change,

or quantify me?

–“Calendar Shift” A Haiku, by yours truly

 

2017 is pretty much over, and most people won’t read this. That’s okay–I’d actually prefer you didn’t, if you’re busy celebrating, meeting up with family, and all that fun stuff. If you skip my blog just to skip it, well, that’s okay too. Go live life as you see fit.

All things considered, it was a wild ride for me. I graduated Monmouth University with my Master’s, worked for the real NCIS (which, by the way, is not like the NCIS show, but was a lot like The Office), and had three novels accepted for publication in six months.

I am BEYOND excited. This January, I didn’t have resolutions, I just thought to myself, “This is going to be my year.” I thought maybe I’d get ONE novel published, but not three.

To recap:

My first was The Nightmare King, coming from Siren’s Call Publications. I got my start with this crew, and it’s an absolute pleasure to be publishing with my debut novel with them (ignoring the woeful self-pubbed novel I put out several years ago). This is a supernatural-psychological horror novel set in an overarching macroverse I like to work with, not unlike King’s repeated use of Castle Rock.

A month later, I followed up with At the Hands of Madness. This Lovecraftian-Kaiju Military horror-comedy romp (I can’t think of a shorter genre classification) is hopefully the first in a trilogy, assuming it sells well. We’ll see!

And, less than a week ago, I signed for my NaNoWriMo 2017 novel, These Walls Don’t Talk, They Scream to be published with HellBound Books, who I worked with for The Shopping Listan anthology where each story begins, literally, with the writer’s typical shopping list. My story, “The Cadenza,” featured a gay man who lost his arm due to a hate crime. Needless to say, by the end, he found a way to release his pent-up rage.

I also had work accepted to The Horror Zine, The Mad Scientist Journal, Worth a Thousand Words (An Ekphrastic anthology being independently edited/published by Delphine Quinn and company), Pleiades, The Digital Fiction Publishing Company, Rain Taxi, and a variety of anthologies.

Of things that came out this year, we have Sci-Phi Journal (237), Solstice Literary Magazine (Skin Music Review), Deadman’s Tome (Where the Missing Go), Transmundane Press (On Fire), Radiant Crown Publishing (Gaslandia), Mighty Quill Books (Dead of Winter), Siren’s Call Publications (Wicked Deeds, Monster Brawl), Fossil Lake (Fossil Lake IV: Sharkasaurus!), and Thunderdome Press (Dread State).  I got published alongside Ray Bradbury in that one, which is super cool. A number of shorter pieces also got picked up by The Horror Tree’s Trembling with Fear and SCP’s The Siren’s Call.

I even got to work on a screenplay! Co-writing Human Report 85616 alongside Kevin North Ruiz was really fun. It’s currently wrapping production, and I’ll update more when it’s viewable.

So, what’s coming in 2018, you ask?

  1. I aim to get to 100 short story publications (reprints count).
  2. I’d like to have a book of short stories accepted for publication (doesn’t have to come out next year, just slated for release) (I have two leads on this).
  3. Ditto to a book of poetry (I have a lead on one, Painting the White City Red, already…)
  4. I’d like to revise and send out Before My Eyes, a slightly older novel set in the The Nightmare King macroverse (I have a publisher in mind).
  5. Same goes for Amphibia Maxima, a novella about ancient, car-sized, man-eating frogs (not in the macroverse) (got a publisher in mind here, too).
  6. Have a solo-written screenplay accepted for production.
  7. Appear on a podcast.
  8. Get my Twitter verified
  9. Branch out into noir and, maybe, extreme horror. We’ll see.

I have some fitness/cyborg goals, too, of course. I want to get back into routine yoga to fix my overly-tight legs/shoulders, then run a 5K at some point before June (deadlines, as we all know, are important). I’ll be considering the Freestyle Libre, as it comes highly recommended by a bunch of my cyborg friends on Instagram, but no promises. Insurance has to cover it. If it works out, I’ll update.

Naturally, I need a job. Gotta keep the lights on.

I’ll be crossing these off as I accomplish them, updating the list throughout the year. I’d love to hear yours, too! Drop a comment on your goals below, if you have them. Either way, thanks for stopping by. Have a great NYD and 2018!