Trousered Ape
An exercise in presumption.
Sunday, March 31, 2024
State of the Ape XXIII


Thank you all for your prayers.

No visits to the dentist this month. It’s amazing what you can get used to (when there’s no alternative).

More blood work this month. Everything was perfectly normal (except glucose, which was a little high; but it’s always been a little high, and it’s actually dropped two times in a row). My PSA went up again from 0.12 to 0.16, but my oncologist still says not to worry.

The dizzies have kept off.

I finished Zoe 13 (hooray!) and am now in the process of revising all 13 stories, which mostly involves removing inconsistencies and doing rewrites to earlier stories to tie them forward. So, we’re getting close.

I got stuck during the Zoe revisions on Monday 3/25, so put them on hold while I reworked an old short story for an anthology call I stumbled upon, just making the deadline by 5 hours and 18 minutes.

The Murder at Minstrel Manor launch has been a little rocky. Amazon wouldn’t display the paperback at the list price of $13.99; only 3rd-party sellers trying to gouge the public with prices of $23 and up. I finally resolved it by uploading a paperback edition directly to Amazon.

Saturday, March 02, 2024
Big Literary Announcement!

Murder at Minstrel Manor is now available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Note: At the moment, only the Kindle is on Amazon; the paperback should be along later.

Update (9:02 PM): The paperback is now on Amazon as well.

Thursday, February 29, 2024
State of the Ape XXII

Thank you all for your prayers.

Up and down, up and down… My dentist was supposed to start working on the crown today, but since my last visit I lost a filling from another tooth, so he had to begin fixing that instead.

On the other hand, however, I’ve had no more attacks of vertigo. Also, the day before yesterday I went for my longest walk since the cancer diagnosis: about 2/3 of a mile. Tired afterwards, but not exhausted.

I got a plot for Zoe 12; after struggling with it for most of February, the Muse came back and I finished it on the 25th. I’ve started work on Zoe 13, the last story of the set.

And big news: Murder at Minstrel Manor is on the way! I got the cover and the book has been uploaded to IngramSpark. There’s been a glitch with the digital proof, so it won’t be out for a little while yet; hopefully some time in the next two weeks.

Wednesday, January 31, 2024
State of the Ape XXI

Thank you all for your prayers.

The root canal is finally done. They still have to put in a crown, which means at least 3 more visits, but meanwhile I have my entire mouth back.

To balance this, however, my vertigo seems to have returned: two episodes last week. I guess the universe has sharp ears.

Murder at Minstrel Manor is not yet ready. The cover designer has been dealing with the curveballs of life, which have gotten in the way of work. Please pray for her.

I’ve been slowly groping towards a plot for Zoe 12.

The Bride and the girls are well. So far, the Bride’s new job is working out.

All in all, a very quiet month. (A month? 2024 just started and already it’s 1/12th gone?)

Sunday, December 31, 2023
State of the Ape XX: The Year in Review

Thank you all for your prayers.

My cancer is still in remission. My PSA went up from 0.08 to 0.12, but my oncologist says not to worry (note that anything under 2.0 is normal). I’m still exercising, going for walks, and getting a little stronger; and eagerly anticipating the completion of my root canal next month.

We celebrated our second Christmas since the diagnosis; for which we are most thankful, seeing as at the time we weren’t sure I’d make it to the first. Laudate Deo!

(sotto voce, in case the universe is listening) I have not been dizzy since May.

I finished Zoe 10 in November and Zoe 11 this month; after which the Muse decided to take a Christmas vacation. I’m waiting for her to come back and give me a plot for Zoe 12.

So: In 2023: 1. I survived. 2. I finished rewriting and revising Edwina 1, Murder at Minstrel Manor, and arranged for the cover, maps, and plans, which are almost done. 3. I finished rewriting Edwina 2, There Will Be Murder Done, and got it through beta reading. 4. I wrote seven Zoe stories. 5. Apart from the incidents in October my health has been good. 6. My prayer life has, I think, improved. 7. I got a lot of old sins off my conscience.

Also, 8: The Bride landed a job at our local community college. She’ll be teaching two courses, one on how to self-publish, and one on how to try to get traditionally published. She had taken both courses herself a couple of years ago; the teacher is retiring and enthusiastically recommended the Bride as her replacement.

All in all, 2023 was a pretty good year for us. Here’s hoping 2024 is also good.


Wednesday, November 22, 2023
State of the Ape XIX

Thank you for your prayers.

I’ve been improving this past month: exercising, going for walks, and getting a little stronger. The biggest problem I have right now is dental: I was two-thirds of the way through a root canal when I went into the hospital. When I came out I was on the blood thinner; the dentist won’t work on the tooth while I’m on it; and the pulmonary specialist says I can’t go off it, even for a day, until January. So for several months I have to eat with just one side of my mouth so as not to disturb the packing in the tooth on the other side. (Of course, as crosses to bear go, this is somewhere between a toothpick and a Q-tip.)

It's been a year and a half now since I was diagnosed with cancer. So far (thanks be to God and, again, your prayers), things have gone remarkably well. May they continue. I get my PSA checked again towards the end of December; we’ll see what happens.

I’m writing regularly again. I’m concentrating on the Zoe stories right now. I finished Zoe 9 on the tenth and am now a little more than halfway through Zoe 10. The cover for Murder at Minstrel Manor is making good progress and the book may come out early next year.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, October 18, 2023
State of the Ape XVIII

It occurs to me (belatedly; everything occurs to me belatedly) that I have been remiss in not thanking all of you for your prayers. I should be doing that in every update, for it is because of you that I’m still around to post another one. So thank you all very much.

It was no doubt your prayers that got me through the latest episode of “Hey, Bob, Let’s See What Else Can Go Haywire!” The Friday before last (this would have been the 6th) I started feeling weak and feverish, and developed pains in my left side. They got worse and late Saturday, coming out of the bathroom, I collapsed. The Bride called 911 and I got whisked off to the ER, where a CAT scan revealed blood clots in my left lung, causing a pulmonary embolism, and a touch of pneumonia as well. Further scans revealed clots in my legs as well. Thanks be to God, none of it was really serious and I was allowed to go home on the Monday. Long-term I should be OK, but I’ll be on a blood thinner the rest of my life.

Not surprisingly, this has put a bit of a crimp in my writing. I’d finished a first draft of Zoe 8 and had just started Zoe 9 before I went in. I haven’t been up to much since then until yesterday, when I began some final tinkering on the former.

I would be especially grateful for prayers that I can keep on writing. There's so much still to do.

Sunday, September 24, 2023
State of the Ape XVII

The cancer still seems to be in remission; I got my 3-month blood work done and my PSA dropped again from 0.13 to 0.08. Everything else seems to be OK, except for glucose, which is a little high, but holding steady.

I’ve been hearing back from beta readers about There Will Be Murder Done. Nobody seems to have found any major flaws so far. Still waiting on the cover for Murder at Minstrel Manor. Meanwhile, I’m rebooting Edwina 3, The Last Earl of Fenshire.

The reading from Unexpected Tales from A to Z at Barnes & Noble last Sunday went off without a hitch. They weren’t exactly storming the place, but I did get to read a couple of the stories (in each case to an audience of one, plus parents), and I did sell two books (grossing $19.14 – woo-hoo!). At any rate, my name is slowly getting out there (one of the Bride’s friends just bought a couple for her grandchildren). They said I could come back any time; hopefully next time I’ll have Zoe the Flying Rhinoceros as well. Speaking of Zoe, I finished #7 and am in the middle of #8. #9 (finally!) will be the Pig and Turnip War. I have an idea for #10, and also for #13, which will conclude the series (unless I have a brilliant idea before then), so that just leaves 11 and 12.

Thursday, August 24, 2023
State of the Ape XVI

Regarding my health: The betahistine seems finally to be kicking in; I haven't had a vertigo attack since May 3, and I haven't had a serious symptom (apart from the hearing loss, which is permanent) since June 26. I’m going for walks more often, and pushing myself a bit to go for longer ones. Everything else is pretty much the same (thanks be to God).

Regarding my writing: There Will Be Murder Done is ready to go to beta readers! Still waiting on the cover for Murder at Minstrel Manor; I've taken the opportunity to do a few last tweaks.

AND I'm scheduled to do a reading from Unexpected Tales from A to Z at our local Barnes & Noble on September 17.

Monday, July 24, 2023
State of the Ape XV

Regarding my health: no news is good news.

Regarding my writing: I’m almost done with the third pass of revisions to There Will Be Murder Done. It should be ready to go to beta readers sometime next month (DV).

I started the seventh Zoe story, tentatively titled Zoe vs. Mecha-Zoe (a little shout-out to Godzilla there).

Sunday, June 25, 2023
State of the Ape XIV

Healthwise, the news is still good. I had blood work done on Friday and my PSA managed to go down again: it was 0.13. I’m going for walks again. More importantly, I’m able to get to Mass again. Speaking of which, the Bride’s godson was ordained a priest last month and assigned to our parish; we attended his very first Mass yesterday (he did very well).

The cover for Murder at Minstrel Manor is progressing more slowly than I had anticipated, but we’re getting there. I’ve gotten well into revising There Will Be Murder Done. And we hope to meet with someone at the Barnes & Noble where the Bride has been doing book signings, to see about me doing a reading of Unexpected Tales.

The Storm Queen, amid a cloud of angst, applied for a job and had her interview this past week. Alas, when the details came out, it proved to be a poor fit and she withdrew her name from consideration.

The Bride is trying to finish her current novel but is hampered by a balky Muse and a load of responsibilities.

And, finally, the blogroll has been given a loooooong overdue update.
Tuesday, June 06, 2023
There's a Shoggoth on the Roof

It's been a long time since I did anything just for giggles. The following was inspired by this little item on YouTube.

IT WAS A beautiful summer morning in legend-haunted Arkham. Little Howard Pickman woke up early and decided to go outside and play.

For a while he pretended to be a Deep One and ran back and forth making swimming motions and saying “glub-glub, glub-glub.” Then he pretended to be a ghoul and crouched, glibbering and meeping and gnawing on an imaginary thigh bone.

Suddenly an eldritch feeling ran down his spine and he smelled a nameless fetor. He looked about but saw nothing. Then he looked up, and there was a shoggoth on the roof!

Little Howard looked at the shoggoth with his two eyes and the shoggoth looked back with its twelve eyes — and then its seven eyes — and then its three eyes — and then its twenty-six eyes — until Howard grew quite dizzy counting them.

He ran back inside, rushed up the stairs, knocked on the bedroom door of his sister Keziah and went in. She was still asleep. He poked her and poked her until she woke up.

“There’s a shoggoth on the roof!” cried Howard.

“Pull the other one,” replied Keziah, who had no manners early in the morning. She rolled over and went back to sleep.

So Howard went to the bedroom door of his parents and knocked and went in. First he went to the side of the bed where his mother Asenath was sleeping and poked her and poked her until she woke up.

“Mommy, there’s a shoggoth on the roof!” cried Howard.

His mother looked at the clock. “It’s only six-thirty, Howie. Be a good little boy and let your mother sleep and I’ll scramble you a nice Shantak egg for your breakfast.” And she rolled over and went back to sleep.

So Howard went to the side of the bed where his father Edward was sleeping and poked him and poked him until he woke up.

“Daddy, there’s a shoggoth on the roof!” cried Howard.

“Really?” said his father. “Let me see.” And he got up and put on a bathrobe and slippers and went downstairs and outside with Howard and looked up. The shoggoth was still there.

“Hmmm,” said Howard’s father (whom we shall call Mr. Pickman, because that’s his name). “This is a problem.”

“Can we keep it?” asked Howard.

“I’m afraid not,” replied Mr. Pickman. “The neighbors will complain about the nameless fetor.”

“What shall we do then?”

“I suppose we should call 9-1-1.”

So they went back inside and Mr. Pickman found his cell phone and called 9-1-1. “Hello?” he said. “This is Edmund Pickman calling from 13 Parsonage Street in legend-haunted Arkham. There’s a shoggoth on our roof. Can someone please come and take it away?” After a minute he put down the phone.

“What did they say?”

“They just uttered a maniacal cachinnation and hung up.”


“I know. I’ll call my friend Professor Armitage at Miskatonic University.” And he took up his phone again and called Professor Armitage.

“Hello, Hank. This is Eddie Pickman.”

“Do you realize it’s not even seven?” Professor Armitage hadn’t had his coffee yet and was grouchy in consequence.

“There’s a shoggoth on our roof.”

“Suuure, there is.”

“No, really,” said Mr. Pickman. “I’ll show you.” He went back outside and took a picture of the shoggoth and emailed it to Professor Armitage.

“Well I’ll be jiggered,” said Professor Armitage after looking at the picture. “But why are you calling me? Why not call 9-1-1?”

“I did,” said Mr. Pickman. “They cachinnated maniacally and hung up.”

“Tsk, tsk,” said Professor Armitage. “Meet me at the library in half an hour.”

So Mr. Pickman and Howard got dressed and left their house. They walked north up Parsonage Street, turned left at the Witch House and walked along College Street for few blocks, then turned right and crossed the coed-haunted campus of Miskatonic University to the Ephraim Waite Library. There they found Professor Armitage.

“What do you want me to do, Eddie?” asked the professor.

“Get the shoggoth OFF our roof.”

“I don’t know how.”

“Well, who does?”

“Shoggoths come from Antarctica, don’t they? I’ll call Professor Dyer. He’s been there.” Professor Armitage took out his phone. Then he hesitated.

“The problem is, the professor is a little touchy about shoggoths. Mention them to him and he flies into a passion and then starts to cachinnate like a maniac. Still, maybe this is one of his good days…” And he called Professor Dyer.

“Hello, Bill? This is Hank Armitage. A friend of mine has a problem: he has a shoggoth on his roof and I was wondering —”

“A shoggoth on his roof?” replied Professor Dyer, flying into a passion. “Well, that’s just peachy! I warned the Starkweather-Moore expedition, but did they listen? Oh, nooooo! They just had to go to Antarctica and poke around! So of course they found a shoggoth and they brought it back with them and it’s escaped! I hope they’re happy now! Ha ha ha ha ha ha HA HA HA —”

Professor Armitage quickly ended the call. “It’s not one of his good days. We’ll have to do this on our own.”

“Why can’t we call the Starkweather-Moore people?” asked Mr. Pickman.

“They went deep-sea diving in the Pacific last year and never came back,” replied Professor Armitage. “Let’s go to the Forbidden Books Room.”

So they went to the Forbidden Books Room. Professor Armitage turned off the alarms, locked the trapdoor over the deadfall, and disconnected the trigger to the nets hanging overhead.

“We’ve had to be careful,” he said. “You wouldn’t believe how many cultists try to sneak in… Oh my goodness! I almost forgot the tear gas.”

He unlocked the iron bars that protected the bookshelves and took out a huge, musty, worm-eaten tome. “Let’s see what the Necronomicon has to say.”

Time passed.

“No good,” said the professor, returning the Necronomicon to its place. “Let’s try the Liber Ivonis.”

But that was no good either; nor were the Unaussprechlichen Kulten of von Junzt, Ludvig Prinn’s De Vermis Mysteriis, and the Pnakotic Manuscript.

“If all else fails, we can try Wikipedia,” said Professor Armitage, poking about the shelves.

Mr. Pickman and Howard both groaned.

“Wait!” cried the professor. “What’s this?” And he took down a huge, musty, yellow-and-black tome. “Of course! Why didn’t I think of it before?” He showed it to them. On the cover were the words De Loquendi Linguam Shoggothum pro Stultis.

“What does it mean?” asked Howard.

“Roughly translated, Speaking Shoggoth for Dummies,” replied Professor Armitage. “Let’s go.”

They returned to 13 Parsonage Street, Professor Armitage reading as they went along. The shoggoth was still on the roof.

“Fweet!” whistled the professor. “That’s ‘Hello,’” he said aside to Howard and Mr. Pickman.

“Fweet! Fweet!” whistled the shoggoth in reply. (“Hello yourself.”)

“Tweet-twee.” (“Will you get off the roof?”)

“Twee-twee-fweet.” (“Why the hell should I?”)

“Fweet-TWEE-tweet.” (“Get off or else!”)

“FWEET-fweet-FWEET-fweet.” (“Oh, yeah? Go ahead and try. I’ll suck your head off!”)

The shoggoth grew a couple of tentacles and extended them downward.

The professor ostentatiously patted one of his pockets.

“TWEEEEEEET!” he whistled (“I’ve got an Elder Sign and I’m not afraid to use it!”)

The shoggoth withdrew the tentacles, grew a mouth, and smiled ruefully.

“Fwee-fweet-fweet-tweet,” it replied. (“All right, let’s not get hasty and do something we’ll both regret.”)

“Fweet-fweet-tweet-tweet-TWEE-fwee-burble.” The shoggoth came down from the roof and grew a hand and proffered it to Professor Armitage. He took it and the two walked and slithered hand-in-hand out to Parsonage Street. They turned right and went along until they came to the Miskatonic River. The shoggoth oozed down the bank, waved goodbye, and plunged into the ebon waters.

“What did you say?” asked Howard.

“I suggested it would be much happier in the fish-haunted Miskatonic… Let’s go find someplace to eat. I haven’t had any breakfast.”

“Come back to our place,” said Mr. Pickman. So they went back to the Pickman house, where Asenath scrambled the highly-flavored eggs of the rumored Shantak-bird for all of them and Keziah complained that they’d let her sleep through all the excitement and Howard gave her a kick under the table.


Monday, May 22, 2023
State of the Ape XIII - One Year Later

It was one year ago today I was taken to the hospital and diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer.

Thanks to your prayers (and modern medicine), I’m still here. Praise the Lord!

I’d been going for longer walks and gaining a little strength; then I had a nasty attack of vertigo on the third, which set me back. I was finally able to start going for walks again yesterday.

I’m taking a break from writing for a few days; I’ve been trying to force the Muse and she won’t be forced.

The Bride and the girls are well.

Wednesday, April 26, 2023
State of the Ape XII

First: The radiation treatments for my brother’s early-stage prostate cancer worked and he should be OK from now on. Also, the family situation is improving. Thank you all for your prayers!

No change for me, healthwise. Just hanging in there, taking it one day at a time.

Waiting on my cover designer for Murder at Minstrel Manor, and slowly getting into revising There Will Be Murder Done.

Finally, today is my 67th birthday, and the 19th anniversary of the start of the Trousered Ape blog.

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Mom passed away peacefully last night at the age of 93. Rest eternal grant her, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine on her.
Sunday, March 26, 2023
State of the Ape XI

Ten months; where does the time go? I’m getting a little stronger (I think). The new drug I’m on for the dizziness appears to be taking hold. I’m still having episodes, but the last serious one was 2/28. I had a bone scan on 3/9 and my bones, or at least the ones they looked at, are in excellent shape. Blood work on 3/24: my PSA is down to 0.2.

Mom’s life is drawing peacefully to a close. She received Anointing of the Sick on Friday.

We’re in the process of (slowly) transferring management of our family finances from me to the Bride. Slowly, because over the years I’ve developed a complicated system that involves several different spreadsheets; also because I’m comfortable with numbers and she isn’t. (And also because my system color-codes some of the transactions and the Bride is partially color-blind.)

I’ve finished revising Murder at Minstrel Manor. The cover designer I hoped to get isn’t available, but I think I’ve found another one; we’re in preliminary discussions right now. I just finished re-reading There Will Be Murder Done. It needs filling out, and a certain amount of rewriting, but the plot does hang together pretty well. I’ve finished Zoe 5 and have started Zoe 6.
Wednesday, March 15, 2023
Urgent Prayer Request

Mom had to back to the hospital with pneumonia. Her condition worsened while she was there and she is being moved to hospice. Please pray for her.
Wednesday, March 01, 2023
One More Prayer Request

Our long-term house guest Shelby learned today that her father died suddenly and unexpectedly. She is flying home to California for a while. Please pray for her and her family, and for the repose of the soul of her father.
Wednesday, February 22, 2023
State of the Ape X

Nine months. Not sure if the new drug is helping with the dizziness; I’ve had a couple of episodes since going on it. The fatigue continues; it may be due to the hormone treatments for my cancer, in which case I’ll have to live with it (which beats the alternative).

Mom’s home and, from what we hear, doing well. We’ll be going up to visit her soon.

Please keep on praying for my brother. He starts radiation treatments next month. Also, I would be grateful for prayers for him and his family (wife, son, daughter-in-law, and grandchildren); I can’t go into details but they could all use help.

I’m getting back comments from my beta readers about Murder at Minstrel Manor. So far, everyone has liked the story and not found too much that needs correction. Maybe I can write after all. I’ve contacted the illustrator for Unexpected Tales to get started on the cover and a couple of maps. Spring is looking more likely now.

So I have to start work on the rewrite of the second mystery novel, There Will Be Murder Done, and also get back to Zoe. I realized that the Pig and Turnip War will have to moved to later in the series, so I’ve come up with a new plot for Zoe 5 (no title yet). I also have to figure out whether the series needs a wrap-up in the last story and, if so, how to do it.

Meanwhile, the Bride, our children, and our guest are all well.
Sunday, February 12, 2023
Literary Announcement

Murder at Minstrel Manor has gone to beta readers today. Unless they they slag it hopelessly, I may be able to publish it sometime in the spring.
Monday, January 23, 2023
State of the Ape IX

Eight months now. Not much change since December. I had a bad episode of dizziness on 12/27, then a milder one 12/31. Since then I’ve been OK. We went to an ENT specialist on 01/05, who put me a new medication said to be good for Ménière’s, and last week to an audiologist to talk about hearing aids.

Mom is supposed to be coming home from the nursing home on February 1. We went up to her house in Benton, PA, to help clean out the downstairs and make room for a hospital bed. I was able to do half the driving, but not much beyond that; I still get tired very easily after a little physical effort.

Please continue to pray for my brother. His biopsy came back positive, but the cancer has been caught early. He’ll be seeing a radiation oncologist in a few days.

Finished the chapter-by-chapter rewrite of Murder at Minstrel Manor and then a pass-through for copyediting, tweaks, and correcting overlooked inconsistencies. It still needs work, but I was able to send it to a contact in England who will review it for “Englishness” (spelling, vocabulary, and general tone). It may be coming out sometime in the spring. Deo volente.
Thursday, December 22, 2022
State of the Ape VIII

We’re over The Plague, thank God. (For the most part — I haven’t quite gotten over the lingering fatigue.)

The vertigo came back on 12/10 and I’ve had a couple of attacks since (a bad one on 12/15), so I’m back on another course of prednisone.

I had some blood work done today and the results are in. Everything is pretty normal and my PSA actually dropped: from 0.5 to 0.3!

I’ve managed to resume writing, although with difficulty. The rewrite of the mystery novel is almost done; still to do are the detective’s explanation and a coda; then I go back for minor (I hope) revisions and cleanup. I’ve also started work on the fifth Zoe story: Zoe and the Pig and Turnip War.

To conclude, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and God bless you all!
Tuesday, November 22, 2022
Six Months Later

Six months since I was diagnosed with cancer. In a sense we've gotten used to it: we've established new routines that take it into account, and the remaining symptoms are minor.

I'm on the parish list for First Friday visits by one of our priests or deacons, bringing the Sacrament. Last time it was our pastor, who heard my confession as well. The current sins were, I believe, venial; but I had to bring up one from the past (in ordinary confessions one includes in the list “any sins which I have forgotten,” so the sin in question had been forgiven; but upon remembering it, one is supposed to mention it the next time). This has happened several times in the past few years, twice this year; I’m developing a superstitious fear that when I run out of them God will say “Okay, Bob’s done, it’s a wrap.” Silly, of course, but the sort of idea that would come naturally to a writer.

My attack of The Plague (which, we think, was picked up at the book signing — the sacrifices one makes for one’s Art) has stopped my writing dead for the time being; hopefully it will restart soon. The Bride, God bless her, has been keeping up with NaNoWriMo through hers, even if falling behind.

We would be grateful for continued prayers, especially since both of our daughters and our long-term house guest (a friend of our elder daughter who moved here from California to finish her education) have come down with it as well. Deus vult.
Saturday, November 19, 2022
ANOTHER Prayer Request

Once again we need your prayers. The Bride and I have both come down with THE PLAGUE. God willing, the girls will escape. Thank you.
Monday, November 14, 2022
State of the Ape VII

Not much new to report.

I underwent a couple of MRIs to see how the radiation treatments I received in late May / early June worked out. They did very well: the growth on my spine is no longer threatening the spinal cord.

I can take longer walks now. Last Friday (11/11) I accompanied the Bride on our biweekly grocery shop for the first time since May. I had to lie down and rest when we got home, but I did get through it.

Still trying to write every day. My routine before all this started, and which I had eventually gotten back to, was to work from 9 to 12 each day (more or less). My working hours have expanded into the afternoon; not so much because my health has improved as because I feel guilty when I’m not writing (since I don’t know how much time I have left).

The Bride and I had a joint book sale and signing at a local craft fair yesterday (11/13) and it went very well. She sold 5 copies of her latest novel, and I sold 8 (!) copies of Unexpected Tales: mostly to the Bride’s friends and contact who stopped by, but 2 to total strangers who fell for my sales pitch. I also picked up a couple of ideas about publicity that should be useful for the next event.

Mom is doing well. Thanks once more for all your prayers.
Saturday, October 22, 2022
State of the Ape VI
Before I talk about myself: I would be very grateful for more prayers for my mother. We visited her last weekend in the nursing home where she was staying for rehab and she was doing very well. Two days later she fell and broke her other hip. She went through surgery fine and is back in the nursing home, but it is a bit of a setback.

Also prayers for my brother Michael, who was found to have an elevated PSA of 47.

Five months and for now I’m doing pretty well. I don’t get tired nearly as easily; the aches and pains are minimal; the hot flashes appear to be diminishing. I can go for walks and do dishes and laundry.

I was put on a course of prednisone for the vertigo and haven’t had any since 9/20. Hoping it stays away.

With the cancer in remission I asked my PCP if I could try going off the muscle relaxant. She agreed and I started tapering off from three a day. I got down to one and the hiccups came back. Pooh.

Writing is going well; I’m trying to write every day. I’m well into revising the mystery novel and I think it’s much improved. Also trying to work on Zoe: I have an idea for the fifth story and am trying to make it work.

Thanks once more for your prayers.
Tuesday, September 27, 2022
State of the Ape V
We went to my oncologist this morning.

To quote the Bride, "remission" is a beautiful word.

I also went for a CAT scan. From the results:
The previously seen innumerable small bilateral pulmonary nodules are no longer identified with improved pleural nodularity on the right. These findings are most consistent with a favorable response to treatment.
Widespread sclerotic lesions throughout the visualized bones, increased in density since prior study, which may reflect treated osseous metastases.

Thanks yet again for your prayers.
Saturday, September 24, 2022
State of the Ape IV
Four months and a lifetime have gone by. No change, really, in my condition. The aches, etc., are still there, and the dizzy spells arrive at random.

However, I must thank everyone who’s been praying for me. I’ll know more after seeing my oncologist on the 27th, but I had more blood work done on the 23rd, and my PSA is down to (drumroll)


I got a nice review on Amazon for Odyssey to Earth. I finished the fourth Zoe story (the first four titles are Zoe Gets Her Wings, Zoe on the Rocks, The Great Bobo-Zoe Race, and Zoe and the Aardvark Hunt). Since the I’ve switched over to working on getting a mystery novel, Murder at Minstrel Manor (written several years ago, revised in early 2021) into publishable shape; after which I’ll have to do the same for the sequel There Will Be Murder Done; then finish the third and write as many more as I can.
Tuesday, August 23, 2022
State of the Ape III
Three months (yesterday) since I went into the hospital.

I had my hormone shot June 28; the next one is scheduled for the end of September. We’ll find out then how they’re working. If the hot flashes are any indication (they come several times a day, too frequently to track; and very annoying they are, since they make me sweat like crazy), the shots should be quite effective.

The aches / pains / soreness / stiffness have come back a bit (together with ongoing sensations, which I can’t describe, that tell me something funny is going on inside), but not enough that I need painkillers. I find I’m getting tired even more easily: getting ready for Mass on Sundays I shave; have to rest; shower; have to rest; get partly dressed; have to rest; finish dressing; have to rest.

And it appears that my body, having begun to fall apart, has decided to do a thorough job. I had a spell of Ménière’s Syndrome (intermittent dizziness / loss of balance / lightheadedness / nausea) back in 1996/7; it came back last year from May to December, and now it’s back again (although not as bad, and so far I’ve escaped the nausea). On top of that, I went to an eye doctor last week (hadn’t had a new pair of glasses since 2016) and learned that I’m just starting cataracts.

So what can I do? Take it one day at a time; pray a lot (thank again, everyone for your prayers); and try to find the words to thank God for my afflictions.

The news isn’t all bad. On the writing front, I’m putting the finishing touches to the third story about Zoe the Flying Rhinoceros and beginning to plot the fourth. And my mother is still in physical rehab and doing fine.

Friday, August 12, 2022
A Comment and a Letter to Santa
Life these days isn't thrills, chills, and spills; it's ills, pills, and bills.

Not a library full of old quartos
Or a harem of Welches and Bardots;
No, for joy I would sing
If, dear Santa, you'd bring
Me a flying stone head like in Zardoz.
Wednesday, August 10, 2022
Literary Announcement
My science fiction novelette for children, Odyssey to Earth, is now up on Amazon.


Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Please pray for the souls in Purgatory

May the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God rest in peace.

New address bobtheape88...at...gmail...dot...com

  The Ape's Human Bride
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Occasioned by the Acquittal of Michael Jackson
If Edgar Allan Poe had written “Dick and Jane”

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