This and that

Just a few things I’d like to ask my readers, please.

1.  Please don’t spam comments on this blog by putting in links to fundraisers, Patreon pages, and other monetized Web sites.  Links to a news article, or another blog, are generally OK;  but if it involves money, or monetary support, I simply have no way of knowing whether it’s kosher or not.  Therefore, as a general policy, I’ll delete and/or mark as SPAM any comments containing such links.  I’m sorry if you don’t think that’s fair, but it’s the best way I can think of to stop my readers becoming victims of scams.

2.  Again, a bleg to readers of my books:  when you’ve read one, please be so kind as to leave a review on  It makes a huge difference if future potential readers can access as many viewpoints as possible, helping them to decide whether or not to risk their hard-earned dollars on my work.

There seems to be a fluctuation in the problem.  “Taghri’s Prize” attracted quite a lot of reviews, quite quickly (at the time of writing, just over two months after publication, it has 55).  On the other hand, “Gold on the Hoof“, published just over a month ago, is still languishing at 20 reviews.  They’ve both sold fairly well, so I’m not sure why the discrepancy between their review counts.  (Perhaps cowboys not only don’t cry, they don’t leave reviews, either!)

At any rate, I’ll be very grateful for your honest reviews.  Thanks!

3.  I’d like to ask my non-American readers in particular whether they’ve had any exposure to the use of liquid, injectable artificial disks in spines.  I’m talking about Hydrogel or similar treatments.  14 years after my spinal fusion surgery, other discs in my lumbar spine are showing signs of deterioration;  but I’d rather look at more modern, less invasive therapies than additional spinal fusions, because I’ve learned the hard way how painful and incapacitating they can be.  I’m also interested in hearing from anyone who’s had artificial discs inserted in their spine through surgery, rather than by injection.  Please share your experiences in Comments, or e-mail me (my address is in my blog profile).  Thanks!



  1. As you know, I'm also interested in the injectable discs… Re reviews, I don't have a good answer either… sigh

  2. My apologies for being slow in posting. Put up a review for "Gold on the Hoof". I think I enjoyed the story too much to remember to post the review.

  3. My wife had 2 artificial disc in her neck(PEEK plastic) 6 years ago. Great result, instant relief. Incapacitating nerve pain was gone.

  4. Can't help with the disks, I just hope I'm not following you down that path, I have some spurs on cervical vertebra from a crash 25 years ago but so far stretching, exercise and massage therapy are working to keep the flexibility up and the pain down.

    I did add three reviews for you. Now get back to writing, sir. I'm just about ready to re-read the Maxwell Saga, a new volume would be wonderful.

  5. My son and I both had back surgery here in alaska. He had S1 replaced with an artificial. It took a long time for him to heal but he has been able to continue his plumbing career. I had a 2 level fusion in 2011 and was told that at my age (62) I was too old for disk replacement and I'm not sure I would want my guts laid out on the table so they could do the job. Mine was done from the back and it took long enough to heal and left me at a level only allowing light duty employment that I took my retirement. I'm in the same boat as you. I have an appointment with my neuro surgeon later this month. Hopefully we can find a plan B because I don't think I could heal from the level of surgery I had last time. Good luck.

  6. Call Dr. Tony Mork, He's located in Newport Beach, CA. He was one of the doctors that pioneered minimally invasive spinal surgery in the US. And he's honest enough to admit when he can't do something to help.

    I did not have a disc replacement. MRI report said 50% reduction in the spinal canal at L3-L4. 40 minute operation on a Tuesday, got out of a wheel chair into a car, drove around the corner and pulled into an Applebees parking lot, and walked inside to have lunch 30 minutes after the operation. Flew home on Friday and was standing on the line running the falling plates event at the Bianchi Cup Action Pistol National Championship 2 weeks later. That was 2015 and I am still fine today.

  7. American reader here.

    Several years ago, my wife had a compressed fracture of one of her vertebrae. The doctor recommended, and she received, a procedure called kyphoplasty.

    I think of it as "the jacked her up and inserted a shim".

    Actually, the procedure was that they imaged the spine with a flouroscope as they inserted a balloon at the point of damage. They filled the balloon with saline water until the spinal column was properly aligned, then replaced the water with bone cement.

    She had to use a wheel chair when she entered the hospital. She was able to walk out without any pain shortly after the completion of the procedure.

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