This summer, I finished I book.
Just kidding! This summer I’m about four chapters from finishing the current draft of my novel-in-progress, I’m totally starting to believe in it again, and so it was imperative that I procrastinate. I did it thus: updating the old book!
I love the new cover. The book is a cancer story, yes, but it’s written as a thank you note to the people in our lives who help, and I think the new cover reflects that.
I’ve spruced up the inside, too. I exposed it to the harshest copyeditor I could find. When he was 4, he confused the words, “I’m having a minor surgery,” with “I’m going to get adopted,” (I know ‘cuz I was there, and the latter is definitely not what was happening to him), but whatever. Now he’s an 18-year-old English major, and he had thoughts. Don’t worry. If you liked the book before, it’s not that different. He fixed things like, “Saying 1995 is not that meaningful to the reader; you should say, “the summer after my first year of college” so they know where it fits in your story.” Pretty brilliant, actually.
This edition updates the epilogue with the subtitle “Five Years Cancer Free (Again)” and includes the events that happened since that first, scary year. I also wrote an “Intro to the Second Edition” so the 2019 me could have a say about the intensely centered emotions of the 2005 me who found a cancer diagnosis almost too overwhelming to bear. The 2019 me sums up three recurrences, three lung surgeries, nine weeks of chemo, and one month of cyber knife radiation in a couple paragraphs because fourteen years of surviving a terrifying disease will give you some perspective. There’s more to life than dying; this I know.
The new edition is available now in paperback and on Kindle.
Visit my Facebook page to see scenes from the book like this little gem when the first surgery was over, my lungs showed no sign of metastasis, my children were melting into a puddle of misery at the very top of the bleachers at an animal show at the Missouri State Fair, and I took a picture and laughed at them because I WAS SO CRAZY HAPPY TO BE ALIVE. (Like, Guys, one hundred degrees and ninety percent humidity cannot stop us; we have overcome.) The photo album also shows “the happy dress”, the famous Dr. R., the pig shirt, and a happy, healthy baby on Cocoa Beach nine months after his mama was diagnosed with a cancer that should have been the end for both of them.
I’m proud of this story, I love the new cover, and now I can get back to the novel. It has an aspiring actress from 1967, her present-day biographer, a romantic, a rebel, a tribute to sisters, a treatise on the fairytale of Gilbert Blythe, and an ending…I hope. If I can ever get there.