May 2023

Although this would typically be a busy time for us, as we scrambled to finish reading the January submissions before the end of May so we would have enough time to edit the July and August stories, this year we finished responding to submissions by the end of March.

But if you're concerned that we might not have enough to keep us busy, never fear! Gardening season has arrived for Kristin and Donald has a lot going on with his day job; plus we had a cat health crisis.

First strawberry blossoms

For May and June, we're publishing two stories:
  • "No Stranger to Desert Places" by Karen Eisenbrey. Desperate survivors from a lost outpost seek refuge on Mars. An excerpt from Karen's novel Ego & Endurance, out this week from Not a Pipe Publishing.
  • "Stained Glass" by Mob. A stained glass window maker recreates a destroyed window that's more dangerous than he can know.
And if you missed it, check out our current featured story, "Wicket 2.0," about the lost things that sometimes come back. One of our Patreon subscribers told us this was a favorite of theirs, and we recommend it especially to all you dog lovers out there!

Speaking of Patreon, did you know that if you sign up to contribute at least $3 a month to our Patreon, you get all our stories emailed to you at the start of the month in which they're published? Sure, you could just wait a few weeks and read them here on our website for free. But when you become a Patreon subscriber, you know you're also helping us pay our authors and artists for their work.

We currently have 21 active Patrons contributing a total of $200/month. Our next funding goal is $275/month, and when we reach that target, we plan to start publishing two additional stories every year.

As we were reminded while trying to make our final selections from the January story submissions, there are always more stories that we would like to publish than that we reasonably can, so we doubt it will be any trouble trying to fill those extra slots!

Feline Update

Belle, the sixteen year old cat we inherited from our friend, spent several hours at the veterinary ER a couple weeks ago, after she started bleeding profusely from her mouth. She was eventually sent home with a course of antibiotics and instructions to moisten her dry kibble with warm water before feeding it to her. (Unfortunately, she won't eat wet cat food.)

We already knew she needed to have several decayed teeth extracted, but had been holding off on scheduling the procedure until we were able to get her more settled in her new home with us (we adopted her three and a half months ago after her last owner passed away). The ER vet also noticed a new issue: she has some sort of lump or growth in her mouth that could be an abscess from one of her bad teeth, or oral cancer.

Her dental work is now scheduled for later this week, at which point they'll also remove the lump and possibly do histopathology on it to determine whether it is cancer. If it is, there probably isn't much more we should do for her. We decided to go ahead with the dental work, in the hope that it can get her to the point where she can have some relatively pain-free time with us and enjoy being petted and watching birds out her window. But we don't think it would be kind to her to attempt cancer treatment, or any further surgical interventions.

The good news is that, after her latest infection was treated with the antibiotics, she had a very good week. We started leaving the door to her room open more and more often, and one day Kristin was surprised to see her downstairs in the kitchen eating Maxwell's and Marie's food (Maxwell was also surprised, and not in a good way). She must have been tired of eating soggy food.

Belle is a messy eater.

Belle was more adventurous than we'd ever seen her, coming downstairs multiple times a day to eat the exciting new kibble (which she now apparently likes better than the prescription diet she's supposed to be having), and to explore. Unfortunately, we had to shut her in her room again for a few days after her mouth started bleeding again, imposing a strict soggy food regimen, but it gave us hope that if we are able to resolve her tooth issues, she might be able to enjoy her time eating, exploring her new home, and snarling at the young'uns.

Maxwell and Marie got new furniture for their porch/catio. (Belle hasn't figured out the cat door yet.) When it got cold last fall, Donald decided we should move their cat tree from the porch into the bay window behind the living room couch. But even though it's warm enough again for the cats to spend more time out on the porch, they like the bay window spot so much that we didn't want to take their perch out of it.

The top level of the new cat tree is wide enough that they can both snuggle up in it at once:

We hope we'll have positive cat news for our next update. Until then, stay well, be sure to come back on May 22nd to read Karen Eisenbrey's novel excerpt, and please consider supporting us on Patreon!

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