Pain is an interesting thing.  It has magical properties.

Back in July, I had pains in my chest, on the left hand side.  They weren’t severe, but they alarmed me enough that I headed to the ER.  A battery of tests and x-rays later, I was told I had indigestion.

I changed my diet (radically), lost 30 lbs, began an exercise program.

The pain kept coming back.

Ten days I got a very sharp pain in the top left side of my back.  If you’ve ever used a computer mouse for extended periods, I’m sure you’re familiar with your “mouse muscle” — if you’re right handed, it’s by the top center corner of your right shoulder blade, and digging your thumb in will help relieve the pain.

This pain was where my left mouse muscle is…sort of.  It was really hard to pin down the exact origin of the pain.  But it was severe and sharp.

And the chest pains I had been getting roared back to life, so severe they were stabbing sharp pains in the center and the side of my chest.

I figured the two had to be related, as they had (re)appeared together, so instead of heading to the doctor for painkillers (which I wouldn’t have taken, anyway), I headed to a trusted chiropractor.

It turns out, my upper spine has been degenerating for a number of reasons (including, alas, age) and now I have a pinched nerve.  That nerve (or nerves, for there are several diminished disks) are responsible for the stabbing pain in my ribs.  It actually flares all the way around to your front.

Good to know I’m not having a heart attack after all.

But holy sheep dip! The pain!!

I’ll be getting adjustments for weeks to come, and doing exercises, and also re-examining everything I do.  Just reaching up to the top cupboard for a plate makes me hiss and snatch my hand back.

The twelve days since the first treatment have been…interesting.  The pain doesn’t magically disappear, alas.  It takes time for the adjustments to ease the pressure on the nerve and for the nerve to recover.

I’ve spent the last near-two-weeks floating between chronic low-grade discomfort, to acute, flaring agony, where only stretching out on a recliner provides any relief.  Breathing hurt.  Bending hurt.  Sitting in a chair and trying to type hurt.  And lets not get started on what sneezing or coughing does to me….  I haven’t written a word in all that time.

The good news is that just this morning, I felt strong enough workout on the treadmill, and four hours after sitting down at my desk, I’m still here, still working and not in too great a degree of discomfort.   Although, I just sneezed, which reminded me — just in case I’d forgotten — that this is only a temporary reprieve.  But compared to the last ten or so days, this is bliss.

This is where the magic comes in.  If I was a SF writer, I’d call it Time Dilation.  Looking backward in my mind, it feels like that acute period of pain started only yesterday.

At the same time, the pain-free period before then feels like a year ago.

And my shift in personal priorities has been nothing short of miraculous.

I pulled up this blog post, which was next on my schedule, and looked at the subject.  The Badge of Our Tribe comes out today…and to me, that seems like something that should have happened weeks ago.

I suspect it’s going to take a bit of time for me to get back my bearings.

But in the meantime, it is the release day for the fifth book in the Harley Firebird series, so…

Is a day with no crimes in it possible?

Harley has nothing to do. So when her lieutenant, Mojag Bear, heads for the town’s high school with a thunderous expression, she tags along.

Her curiosity tips Harley into a day of discovery about Mojag and his family, the skewed passions of the Old Ones and humans who live in Falconer, and a tragedy in the making.

Maybe a quiet day in Falconer just isn’t possible, after all…

The Badge of Our Tribe is part of the Harley Firebird urban fantasy series of novelettes, which is set in the same world as Taylen Carver’s Magorian & Jones series.

The Harley Firebird series:
1.0: The Dragon of Falconer
2.0: The Orc Who Cried
3.0: The Shepherd of Fire
4.0: The Mad Folk of Falconer
5.0: The Badge of Our Tribe
…and more to come.

Urban Fantasy Novelette

Yours, in only mild discomfort (yay!),


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