We’d been at the beach for 2 weeks with poor Net connection, and it was too frustrating to try to post anything from there.

The first warning of trouble came while we were there: my father had had a fall and was in the hospital, but he was okay.

My father and I were close: I usually called him every day, but it had been difficult to call from the beach because the Net connection was so poor. I’d begun to use my international cell phone (when I could get a signal), which sends a call from the southern coast of Mexico, to London, England, to Oakland, California. The miracle of modern-day communication!

“I’m in the hospital!” he said, dismayed, and then he was overtaken by pain and there was nothing more I could say except “I love you!” I didn’t know then that these were my last words to him … at least words he could hear and understand. 

 And then, no sooner back home and unpacked than we got the call: he was dying. I flew to California to camp at Motel 6 and sit by his bedside with my family in the Kaiser hospital in Hayward. “Comfort Care” were the instructions on the white board: and that’s exactly what he got. Excellent comfort. (Such great nurses there.) 

My dear 95-year-old dad passed away peacefully in his sleep in the early hours of January 31. I wept in Motel 6 and on the airplane back to San Miguel. 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA DAD (smaller for mailing)
Getting back to work is its own form of comfort, that and working on the memorial and mailings and all the busyness of death. 

I knew that at 68 myself, I was lucky have a surviving parent, especially a dad who was so perpetually cheerful. He lived in the beautiful home I’d grown up in the Berkeley hills.

He was a ham radio operator all his life, and his ham radio buddies made a last call to W6UMP (my dad) and wished him well in his new life. 

And so, if I’m a bit slow posting here now, it has a lot to do with catching up on my work and helping to prepare for my dad’s memorial (which is going to be wonderful, I know). 

What I have done:  

• Continued to update the facts regarding Hortense’s life into Aeon Timeline (in preparation for the outline: alarmingly overdue!)

• Made a final draft of my NET PROMOTION FOR WRITERS AND OTHER LUDDITES in connection with the workshop I will be giving on Sunday the 17th. I plan to publish this as an INK e-book soon. For the time being, if you email me with Luddites or some such in the subject line, I will send it to you free. Basically, it’s Everything I Know and then some.  

• Sent in the “final” draft of IN THE SERVICE OF THE SHADOW QUEEN. Bar a few tweaks, it will likely go into copy editing now. I’d always been a little perplexed about the dedication. I had thought of dedicating it to my dad, but I’d dedicated a book to him before. But even so, two of the characters in this novel are so very much like him. And so: without a doubt, the dedication now reads:

In memory of my father, Robert Zentner

(1917 — 2013)

whose lovable eccentricities are reflected

in several of the characters in this novel.



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