List Post, mai 2015 (May)

It’s May! What? How did that happen?!?

  • Must Quote my latest 5 star review of  ALL THE ABOVE: My son’s battle with brain cancer“This book shows what Amazon should be all about – really well-written, personal story with depth and insight. This family is so likable. Very engaging prose, and thankfully, as it is a true account, a happy outcome. Thanks to the author for sharing her work. An absolute privilege to read it. Best of luck.” 
  • Writing WIP now has a TITLE*! and is almost DONE!
  • Counting the responses to join my STREET TEAM! THANKS, Y’ALL! ….Surprises coming….!
  • Hopeful that I will hear back from a local bookstore about a signing coming up on a Saturday afternoon. Will keep you posted.
  • Making plans to join some of my Atlanta Sisters in Crime fellow authors sisters at Fayette County Public Library on July 25!
  • Great to see ratings/reviews on Goodreads of ALL THE ABOVE, and the quote listed below…
  • Very, very happy to receive a handwritten note from AmazonCrossing in Munich, Germany about UNTER WASSER! Warm wishes! Scroll down…
  • Getting book ideas from a new member of my French conversation class, happy to know she had heard of me and my books at her Atlanta country club, and just as happy she wants signed copies of UNDERWATER & ALL THE ABOVE at next week’s class!

* Title to be revealed at a later date…

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Join my Street Team!

I’d like to invite you to be a member of my Street Team! 

Once you join, you’ll receive my undying gratitude PLUS some cool surprises!

Click HERE to go directly to my new STREET TEAM TAB, learn the details, and fill out the Contact Form to request to be a member!

Merci mille fois!

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List Post, avril 2015 (April)

It’s a short list, but it’s a list!

  • Going to BUFORD, GA today from 4 to 8 pm with other local authors to participate in “Drop Everything and Read Month” at Queen of Hearts Antiques & Interiors! Come pick up signed copies of UNDERWATER & ALL THE ABOVE!
  • Thrilled with the responses so far about ALL THE ABOVE: My son’s battle with brain cancer. A reader: “Reads like a mystery…I was riveted by it…” FIVE STARS
  • Writing WIP (work in progress) daily, the end is in sight!
  • Reaching readers with a message about ALL THE ABOVE with more info about it…
  • Can’t wait to attend UNC Relay for Life in Chapel Hill on April 17! Help win the fight against cancer! More Birthdays!

Dear Buford Final

THREE things about ALL THE ABOVE, released TODAY!

  1. ALL THE ABOVE is OUT TODAY!!!  Buy it now on Amazon and Kindle. If you enjoy it, please write a customer review on amazon! If you would like me to appear at your book club meeting, click on Book Clubs above and fill out the Contact Form.
  2. In the book, a work of creative nonfiction (a.k.a., a true story), people call me by many different names, none of which is my real name. They are Julie, Jule, Jules, Jul, and, of course, Mom. If you’re curious about why, see my post Julie or Julia?
  3. One of my all time favorite songs is Julia by the Beatles…Though that’s not in the book, many other songs are.

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List Post, mars 2015 (March)

  • Writing steadily…more on that later.
  • Enjoyed meeting authors and signing books at the 2015 Augusta Literary Festival! Thanks, y’all! Google the Augusta Chronicle for photos in its Sunday edition of March 8, 2015.
  • Looking forward to a research trip to Dallas this month.
  • Can’t wait to see the proof I ordered of ALL THE ABOVE, approve it, and release it on Amazon in paperback and Kindle!
  • Happy that UNDERWATER now has 60 customer reviews! If you enjoyed it, please add yours! Germany, you too!
  • In touch with the American Cancer Society to promote what they do and to publicize ALL THE ABOVE, the story of my son’s journey with brain cancer.
  • AND – grateful to UGA Relay for Life and UNC Relay for Life for posting info and photos about ALL THE ABOVE ahead of its release on March 31! Both events take place on April 17, 2015 – I will be at one, but wish I could be at both. More birthdays!!!
  • Waiting to hear from the German Cultural Center in Atlanta about a possible book signing – I have several copies of UNTER WASSER (UNDERWATER in German) that I’d love to sign. They have a book club, too!
  • Noticed it? My website TABS have changed. Check out ALL THE ABOVE – FAQ and BOOK CLUBS, with a “Contact me” form!

Living on hope

In a few weeks, my next book, a true story and a work of creative nonfiction, will be released. As I wrote ALL THE ABOVE, I drew on memories of the hardest period of my life to describe my feelings when the unthinkable happened to my son, Jack. 

On his 19th birthday and the day after his freshman year at the University of Georgia, Jack was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Sitting right behind his optic nerves, the tumor rapidly threatened to take his vision, and he was rushed into surgery.

For the next six months, he fought the battle of his life.

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ALL THE ABOVE chronicles my emotional struggle as my family and I did everything possible to help Jack survive brain cancer. His incredible strength, courage, and optimism inspired me to do the best I could as his caregiver.

Each day, I lived on hope.

 

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ALL THE ABOVE will soon be available on Amazon in paperback and on Kindle.  

Mission Mode, as mode de vie

At a recent Atlanta Sisters in Crime meeting, the invited speaker, a former FBI Special Agent, described how she kept emotion in check for over two decades when she worked on heartrending, tragic cases: She went into “mission mode.”

Being writers, we pushed her to elaborate. “How did you feel?” asked one member. “What was going on inside of you?” The agent responded that she drew on her professional training and experience to compartmentalize* her feelings.

“I just went into ‘mission mode,'” she said. “You’re on a mission, so you stay in mission mode until you get the job done.” As she described an example to us, tears came to her eyes.

Afterward, another ‘sister’ and I discussed the Agent’s talk, and the term “mission mode.”

“I can use that in my current work in progress,” said my sister, whose book has Secret Service Agent characters. “I’d been looking for the terminology they use for that, and now I can use it in dialogue and elsewhere.” **

I can’t use the term in the book I’m writing. But in a different way, it described my attitude–my mode de vie, or way of life–when my son Jack battled cancer almost five years ago. I went into mission mode trying to protect and support him. I lived on hope. And I refused to take No for an answer. Last year, I wrote the story of our journey together. Titled ALL THE ABOVE, it will be released this spring.

Jack, weeks after his diagnosis and his first surgery (and first scar):IMG_0022

 

 

 

 

 

 I can’t fathom what’s it like to work in law enforcement, where mission mode is normale, if not obligatoire. As an author, I imagine*** stories–make them up–and though I also have to “get the job done,” it seems a much easier job. But for 6 months in 2010, I had a lot going on inside of me that I shared with no one but my husband.

Until I wrote ALL THE ABOVE.

 * my word, not hers

**paraphrasing

*** fiction, that is; ALL THE ABOVE is a true story

 

 

 

 

 

A complicated life, hopefully

When I was in my twenties, a co-worker in her thirties once told me that life doesn’t get any easier. “It only gets more complicated as you go along,” she said.

Barbara was raising a son on her own, and she didn’t have the level of education that I had. But she did have more work experience and more life experience. Her pessimistic words of warning didn’t go over well with with my youthful optimism. But for some reason, I never forgot them.

A few years later, due to a variety of reasons and circumstances, my husband and I suffered a devastating financial crisis. Some people offered sympathy, many judged us, and no one helped. Life had gotten a whole lot more complicated. With two young children at home, somehow we dug our way out over a period of years, on our own.

Then, we thought we were done with (major) complications. But we were wrong. Twice more, we faced unexpected and unpredictable upheavals – “issues” isn’t a strong enough word to describe them. Life was more complicated than we ever imagined it could be. We stayed together and leaned on each other both times, sometimes joking nostalgically about our first crisis and wishing we could swap the current one for it. After all, that time it was “only money.”

Our last crisis was a health one, and was by far the most serious and most frightening. Our entire world changed in one day, and we did the best we could to help our 19-year-old son survive brain cancer. For a period of six months, we lived on hope itself. After that – once he was cancer-free – we relaxed slowly and steadily over time. That son, the third of our four children, is healthy and thriving today.

Life is still, and more, complicated today. Other issues have surfaced and we are trying to deal with them as a couple and as a family. But when things seem insurmountable and scary, I think back to five years ago, and I know that somehow, we will get through whatever we have to face.

Last year, I wrote the story of my emotional struggle as our son battled cancer. It’s a work of creative nonfiction, a true story based on my memories (and tons of records I kept). Titled ALL THE ABOVE, the tentative release date is March 31, 2015, and the pre-release cover reveal will be in an upcoming post.*  I wrote it because I couldn’t not write it – and because I hope that reading about my experience as a mom and caregiver will help others who are facing a crisis that is way beyond complicated.

Because when you think about it, a complicated life is still life. And life is a very hopeful and wonderful thing.

* A portion of that cover is below

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List Post, février 2015 (already?!)

  • Writing back on schedule, after I had la grippe in January (despite getting my 1st flu shot in October)
  • Enjoyed meeting authors and signing books, after my “Member Minute” talk at the Atlanta Writers Club meeting on January 17
  • Excited that the Atlanta Chapter of Sisters in Crime (SinC) has nominated UNDERWATER for the Georgia Author of the Year Award (GAYA) in the Detective/Mystery category (which includes psychological thrillers) – winners will be announced June 6
  • Looking forward to Augusta in March and Chapel Hill in April (but don’t have to go back to NC in May anymore)
  • Can’t wait for the Feb. 24 release of UNTER WASSER, the German translation of UNDERWATER by AmazonCrossing
  • Ecstatic that someone I recently interviewed for research on my current work in progress (WIP) is currently reading UNDERWATER, and said he thinks I’m “a really good writer.” And, his assistant read it in a day, and loved it
  • Thankful to him and to a mutual friend of ours who also met with me, to help me fine tune some story details and make sure specifics are accurate and plausible
  • Very, very happy to find a new critique partner in my genre for my WIP…We’ve already exchanged several chapters and sent each other our feedback
  • Resolved to write more (non-list) posts on my blog this month as the days lengthen and springtime beckons

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