Hi Everyone,

It occurred to me yesterday when one of Terry’s fans wrote into the website asking after my welfare that five months have passed since I updated you all on my battle with cancer. It’s time to do that, I suppose.

First, I’m doing well. Better than well. I completed my chemotherapy treatments to their absolute end. I took in that venom, held it closely for a while, and then purged it along with the cancer. It has been almost seven weeks since my last treatment and I feel stronger every day. I even had my first follow-up PET scan this last Friday and I’m still in remission. My oncologist is very confident we killed the cancer; I went into remission early and then spent another 3 1/2 months in treatment. Those 3 1/2 months should have been enough chemotherapy to kill an elephant—and every last cancer cell in my body.

Second, my financial situation is of course dire. Cancer can ruin a future but so can the financial burden of treating the disease if one doesn’t have health insurance. And I don’t. I owe my hospital over $150,000 now. Yes, that was me eye-rolling from the keyboard! The good news is Terry has given all he can to help. Imaginary Friends, Terry’s Word/Void short story, has sold extremely well and although it only covers about 2% of what I owe, it was a start. Thank you to everyone who purchased it! Terry hopes you enjoyed it too!

Terry’s not the only one helping though. On February 1st, I will announce as editor a fantasy anthology that is currently being created, the proceeds from which will go to paying off my medical bills. Who is contributing short stories to this anthology, you ask? Only the best in the business. Some names? Brooks. Rothfuss. Novik. Sanderson. Butcher. Salvatore. Williams. Carey. Abraham. Brett. Redick. Orullian. Lockwood. Vaughn. Hearne. Lawrence. Durham. Bosworth. Grossman. Erikson. Every one of these people are helping to protect my future by offering you all an anthology that is looking like one of the best of all time. A great book being created for a good cause. Can’t ask for more than that as fantasy readers! More on February 1st.

Terry and I are also talking about producing Imaginary Friends as a small limited-edition hardcover similar in scope to Indomitable by Sub Press. And my dark contemporary fantasy The Dark Thorn will be published in April in hardcover. More about both of those on February 1st as well.

All in all, I have no complaints. Life is about balance. I have to take the good with the bad.

Thanks for your encouragement over the last seven months! You the fans have stood by me every step of the way. Terry thanks you too. Both he and Judine have done what they could, watching out for me as second parents. I’m a lucky man to have such love sent my way. We all are lucky though to have Terry in our lives.

More on February 1st!

Best Wishes,
Shawn Speakman

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Written by Shawn Speakman
I am the long-time friend and webmaster for Terry Brooks as well as the author of The Dark Thorn, an urban/epic fantasy hybrid novel Terry calls "a fine tale by a talented writer." Join me on Facebook and Twitter (@shawnspeakman)!