So...I was sick for a while...

This is a photo of the author Morgan von Cross showing off a temporary tattoo on her arm of black roses.

Now because that title has probably invoked all sorts of unpleasant imaginings, I'm just gonna go ahead and say it's NOT CANCER and I have completely recovered.

"So what was it then Morgan? Why did you ghost us like a poltergeist with no sense of timing?"

Uh, do poltergeists ever have a good sense of timing? I suppose there are ones out there that are rhythmically gifted. You know what, never mind. Doesn't matter. Here's what happened.

Right before Thanksgiving, I noticed that some nerve pain I was having in my right shoulder was moving from the back of my body to the front of my body. Then around the first week of December, I started having explosive, holy-shit-pray-to-your-maker levels of pain in my abdomen. My nurse practitioner actually called the diagnosis on my first visit with her: "It's your gallbladder."

Of course, December is the absolute worst time to have an emergent health problem in the United States. People are trying to squeeze healthcare appointments in before their deductibles turn over, and everyone is getting ready for the holidays. The earliest appointments I was able to find for a gastro specialist were in February.

But then I got REALLY lucky. An appointment was canceled while I was on the phone with a scheduler. She asked me if I could get to Knightdale in an hour and it turned out Knightdale was exactly one hour away.

Now healthcare being what it is in our country, there was a lot of waiting, a lot of testing, some scary levels of weight loss, and some fat discrimination thrown in just BECAUSE. Ultimately, after more than a month of me living and trying to work in incredible pain, the doctors came to the same conclusion my nurse practitioner did: my gallbladder had to go.

I wound up breaking up with my gallbladder the day after Valentine's Day. I couldn't eat any Whitman's chocolates this year because of it, so I honestly wasn't all that heartbroken. I was pretty nervous though because this was first major surgery. I was invoking all sorts of good luck charms, including this temporary tattoo a friend of mine gave me to wear for the procedure.

Everything went well. The only surprise was that I'm allergic to surgical glue. That was annoying, but ultimately not the worst thing that could have happened. A couple weeks later, my surgeon told me I had a benign polyp in a duct that was big enough to cause trouble but small enough that it couldn't be seen in my ultrasound. While I'm incredibly grateful it wasn't cancer, this was a very miserable polyp to have. Definitely do not recommend.

So what happened to my fiction writing during all of this? As sad as it made me, I had to set it aside and focus on all my energy on the work that was paying my bills. I could only really sit or stand at my desk in 15-20 minute blocks. Working a full-time schedule like that was tremendously difficult.

I did cook up a lot of great plot ideas though while I was laid up. I also started learning shibari-style rope ties (which, yes, you can do lying down) and read a lot about kink and Chinese poetry. I ultimately came up with a central theme for Road of Red that I'm sure y'all will love and I can't wait to share it with you!

Before I start sending new chapters out though, I want to get y'all oriented to my sparkling new website. My hosting company ditched their free database plan while I was sick, so my website was vaporized and I didn't realize it because I kind of let my personal email inbox grow wild like a bunch of weeds overdosing on magic beans.

Anyhoo, here are the key things you need to know. There's still a Beta Reading Portal. You will need to be logged in to access the chapters. Here's how you can get your login working:

  1. Go to the Beta Reading Portal
  2. Next to "already have an account", click "Sign in"
  3. Enter your email address to confirm your account
  4. Click the link in the confirmation email and your account will be activated, giving you access to "Members-Only" content like the Beta Reading Portal

If you need help, you can always reply to this email or hit me up through this contact form.

I'm sooooooo excited I'm going to be spending time with Ember, Keane, Luke, and Jorge again. Not to mention all of you! Thank you so much for sticking with me during some unexpected chaos. I appreciate y'all so much and I'm looking forward to walking the Road with you.