Snoopy

Next Storytime: April 3 at 8 p.m.

For those who enjoyed last week’s Storytime with Jim, I’m happy to say it’s happening again next Friday, April 3, at 8 p.m. Eastern Time. I’ll be reading “Over the Hill,” another light fantasy story, originally published almost sixteen years ago! in Turn the Other Chick.

Just like before, the live reading will be over on my Facebook Author Page, and I’ll get the video uploaded to my YouTube channel a day or two later.

And yes, I’ll wear a hat. Not sure it will be the Smudge hat again, but I’ll have something fun.

If this works out as well as the last one, I’ve got a surprise lined up that could keep Storytime going through the summer 🙂

Snoopy

Storytime Video

After a few technical difficulties getting started, I think last night’s storytime went well. We had between 30 and 40 people watching online, and I filmed before a live studio audience of my son and the dogs. Toward the end, you can hear the dogs whining to go out, but I prefer to pretend they were caught up in the story and whining out of eagerness to learn how Golaka would escape.

If you missed it, the video is posted on YouTube and Facebook.

Thanks to everyone who participated. It was good to connect with other people, and to distract myself from all the 2020 crap going on these days.

I definitely plan to do this again. It may not be a weekly thing — this took a bit more time to prepare, do, and upload than I’d expected — but I’ll announce the next one as soon as I figure out the details. (I also have a longer-term idea for something I could do…but that’s still in the Secret Projects file for now 😉 )

And yes, I intend to keep wearing the hat!

Snoopy

Storytime with Jim! Tomorrow at 8 p.m.

On Sunday, I asked folks on Facebook and Twitter what they thought about doing an online storytime where I’d pick something of mine to read to whoever felt like tuning in. The response was enthusiastic (thank you!), and of the three possible stories I suggested, the winner was “A Game of Goblins,” a story about Golaka the chef getting caught up in Game of Thrones-style chaos.

Storytime starts tomorow, March 20, at 8 p.m. Eastern Time on my Facebook Author Page.

I scheduled it to begin at 7:45, but that’s to make sure I have time to get any technical problems or glitches straightened out. I’ve never done this before, so anything could happen! But it probably won’t. Though there may be interruptions for attention-hungry cats or dogs who urgently need to check the back yard for squirrel incursions.

Afterward, I plan on posting the video to YouTube for anyone who wasn’t able to tune in and hear it live.

Is the story kid-friendly?

A friend asked this, and the answer is … sort of? It’s light/satirical fantasy, similar to my goblin books. There are some off-screen deaths that are rather unpleasant, but that scene isn’t very long. So depending on your kid, it’s probably fine?

Can I read it for myself?

Sure! The story was first published in Unidentified Funny Objects 6, edited by Alex Shvartsman. The book also includes stories from Esther Friesner, Laura Resnick, Jody Lynn Nye, Gini Koch, Alan Dean Foster, and many more.

Do you have a Patreon?

This came up during the discussion on Facebook. It’s not the first time I’ve been asked about doing a Patreon. I finally decided what the heck, and set one up. I’m not asking for or expecting anything, but for anyone who thought the world needed a Jim C. Hines Patreon, you can rest easy tonight.

Will you do more of these?

Maybe? Probably? I think it will mostly depend on how this first one goes.

Snoopy

Website Issues

The site seems to have borked itself. I’m working on getting things straightened back out. Most of the content should still be here, but it may not be pretty. Sorry about that.

ETA: Got the banner back, menu and social media icons mostly where they’re supposed to be. Need to fix some header styles and figure out why my books portfolio still isn’t showing on the main page…
Snoopy

COVID-19 Roundup

Getting a little frustrated with contradictory and flat-out misinformation popping up in social media and elsewhere, so I’m pulling together the reliable and verified info I can find. This is as much for myself as anyone else, but hopefully it will be useful to others.

I’ll try to update things as needed. Let me know if I’ve missed anything big.

How it Spreads

According to the Centers for Disease Control, as of March 3:

“The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.”

How Dangerous is it?

My son was getting mixed messages at school about how COVID-19 compares to the flu, and which one is more dangerous. Which…well, it depends.

Numerically, the flu is far more widespread and dangerous so far. According to Johns Hopkins’ Medicine, as of March 2, we’re looking at approximately 90,279 cases of COVID-19 worldwide, and 100 cases in the U.S. There have been approximately 3,085 COVID-19 deaths worldwide, and 6 in the U.S.

But we’re in the early stages of COVID-19, and those numbers are increasing.

For comparison, there are about a billion cases of the flu worldwide and between 9 million and 45 million in the U.S. each year. The flu causes between 291,000 and 646,000 deaths worldwide, and 12,000 to 61,000 deaths in the U.S. per year.

The Clinical Fatality Rate for COVID-19, according to the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, is 2.3% overall, per a study of roughly 72,000 cases, updated February 11. For comparison, the mortality rate for the flu is about 0.1% annually.

The Chinese CDC found that the CFR is higher for elderly and critical ill patients:

  • 14.8% in patients 80 and older
  • 8% in patients ages 70 to 79
  • 49% for critically ill patients

In addition, “CFR was elevated among those with preexisting comorbid conditions—10.5% for cardiovascular disease, 7.3% for diabetes, 6.3% for chronic respiratory disease, 6.0% for hypertension, and 5.6% for cancer.”

There are a lot of factors to consider here. We’re still developing tests and treatment for the disease. Milder cases may be going undetected. Treatment will vary depending on health care in a given country, and how overwhelmed the medical system is.

Vaccine/Treatment

From the CDC, ” There is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for COVID-19. People with COVID-19 should receive supportive care to help relieve symptoms. For severe cases, treatment should include care to support vital organ functions.”

There’s currently no vaccine for COVID-19. According to Time Magazine, Moderna Therapeutics is hoping to have a vaccine ready to begin human testing as early as April of this year.

Per the National Institutes of Health, as of February, “a randomized, controlled clinical trial to evaluate the safety and efficacy of the investigational antiviral remdesivir in hospitalized adults diagnosed with COVID-19 has begun at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha.”

Protecting Yourself from COVID-19

Unless otherwise indicated, these tips come from the CDC.

  1. Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Especially:
    • after going to the bathroom
    • before eating
    • after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  2. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  3. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  4. If at all possible, stay home if you’re sick.
  5. Hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol is effective against COVID-19.

A note about facemasks: “The CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.” (emphasis added)

Additional Steps

  • Get your damn flu shot. COVID-19 symptoms can be similar to the flu, so protecting yourself can save you the fear and panic of a false COVID-19 alarm. Plus, you know, it can save you from getting and spreading the flu.
  • Take care of your health in general. Get enough sleep, eat well, exercise … all those basic steps that can strengthen your immune system.

Don’t be a Dick

For example, don’t avoid Chinese restaurants because you think “those people” might have the virus.

Also, when talking about the dangers of the disease…

Snoopy

Six Months…

Saturday will be six months from the day my wife died. Roughly fifteen months since she began getting noticeably sick.

It’s been a strange journey so far. I still think about Amy every day. I’m still seeing a therapist and going to a support group. I feel like, for the most part, I’ve got the day-to-day under control. Thinking about the future, about the longer term … that remains rather nebulous and overwhelming.

One of the effects I’ve noticed is that, while I’m able to get through most days well, I don’t have as much of a buffer for extra or unexpected stress. My shield is more of a buckler these days.

It’s why I haven’t been blogging as much, particularly about potentially divisive topics. I’ve got plenty of Opinions — that hasn’t changed — but I know the backlash has the potential to knock me down harder and longer than before. I’ll get there eventually, I think. I’m just not there yet.

Little things continue to trip me up, which I know is normal. I was shopping for new glasses and having a really hard time making a decision. Partly because the local eye place doesn’t have a great selection. But partly because the last time I did this, Amy was with me, and helped me pick out my current frames.

Last week, for the first time, I cooked one of Amy’s meals. Nothing fancy — chicken breasts and rice — but it was something she always made, and I never did. My son says it wasn’t quite as good as when mama made it, but he went back for seconds, so I’m counting it as a win.

Then there’s the silly stuff. I’ve been using Amy’s razors to shave my head, and I’m a bit annoyed I didn’t start sooner. Hers work much better than mine. They’ve got safety features and more built-in lotion/lubrication … I may throw mine away and keep buying razors from the women’s section from now on!

Socially, I’m still getting out with friends and family, which is good. I haven’t gone full extrovert or anything, but I’m making more of a conscious effort to communicate with people. Though I still drop the ball there sometimes.

So that’s the current State of the Jim. Things are going relatively well, considering. I’m getting through each day, and starting to try to figure out what the future might look like. And I’m grateful as always for all of the love and understanding and support people have shown.