Cancer Awareness Month

In a tribute to those we’ve lost to cancer and those who continue their brave battle, and to promote cancer research and awareness, I want to share how cancer has affected me personally.

No inspirational quotes today to prime the pump.  There is nothing which makes up for the loss of a parent, much less two.

My father died in 1969 as I was just beginning my journey into adulthood.  He died three weeks before his first grandchild was born.  So two people were deprived of the opportunity to know a man of character, honesty and integrity.  I believe my son would have benefited greatly from knowing his maternal grandfather who had a terrific sense of humor, a wonderful gift for storytelling, and an unshakable belief that family comes first and if you take care of the people you love, your family both of blood and friends who are chosen “family”, all other things will fall into their rightful place.

My parents were married after knowing each other only six weeks during World War II.  He abandoned his high school sweetheart, who’d promised to wait for him, and ignored the wishes of his family.  She outright defied the dictates of her strict parents and upbringing, for the man she fell in love with “the first time she laid eyes on him”.

They were married just shy of twenty-five years, when my Father became ill with cancer, and died six weeks after his diagnosis.

My mother survived the loss of her husband, known to be the love of her life, but barely.  The first year was the worst, and she suffered such a devastation of spirit, I thought we might lose her too.

They were madly in love with each other every day of their marriage and everyone around them knew just how it was for both of them.  The had a date every Saturday night and spent time with each other paying attention to their relationship as well as their family.

I learned different things from each parent, just the way it should be, and all the things they taught me were valuable lessons.  From my father I got three unbreakable life rules:  1) try to never lose your sense of humor, 2) value your education, 3) believe in the impossible, it makes things possible.

For several years after my Father’s death I still wanted to pick up the phone to share things he might agree with me were odd, or funny, and so I miss him still today, some forty odd years later.

During times of real stress, I know my Father is still with me, since I’ve seen his spirit in the house where I grew up.  I haven’t lost my mind, and I’m not the only one, my little sister still lives in that house and she’s seen him several times.  My Father, gone but not forgotten, still looking out for his loved ones.

So take a moment, share a thought, reminisce and use the link to donate to the cause.  Support cancer research and let’s working on keeping those loved ones close, as long as we can.

God Bless to all the Dads both here and in the hereafter.

Advice for aspiring authors

Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.

― Thomas A. Edison

Have you ever considered giving up?  Good news, you are not alone.

I’m going to give you a few example of others who almost pitched in the towel and left the writing to others. .  . almost. Thank goodness they didn’t give up.

Most recent, during an interview with Writers Digest, author Joe Hill (The Heart Shaped Box, Horns, NOS4A2, and the short story collection 20th Century Ghosts) talked about his journey toward publication.  He didn’t tell his agent who he was because he wanted his writing to stand on its own merit. In other words, he didn’t want anyone to publish his novel because he was Stephen King’s son.

The list is long and varied.  Mystery author Agatha Christie collected 500 rejections in four short years.

The quality of the message associated with rejection is also often disheartening and horrific.  Her’s a paraphrase of a rejection received by author Zane Grey, “you have no business being a writer and should give up”.

Sometimes the ability to choose the correct or enthusiastic publisher or agent eludes us, but the person who believes in our work as much as we do is out there.

The authors of “Chicken Soup for the Soul” were informed that anthologies don’t sell.  Can you believe that?  Thank goodness they didn’t.

C.S.Lewis collected 800 rejections for “The Chronicles of Narnia”, and  Margaret Mitchell received 38 rejections for “Gone with the Wind”.

Author Paul Coelho sees a limited 800 copies of “The Alchemist” sell, but with a new publisher, the number climbs to 75 million in print.

Fourteen agencies reject Stephanie Meyers “Twilight” which went on to spend 91 weeks on the NYT.

L. Frank Baum, told his works was “too radical a departure from juvenile literature”, finally sells “The Wonderful Wizard of  OZ”.

Louisa May Alcott was told by a publisher, “you should stick to teaching” which, thankfully she did not, and is still in print 140 years later.

Even the esteemed Beatrix Potter, the beloved author of “Tales of Peter Rabbit” was rejected so often she chose to self publish.  From its original 250 copies to 45 million.

The Christopher Little Literary Agency collects twelve rejections for author J.K.Rowlings’  “Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone”, until the eight year old daughter of a Bloomsbury editor insists on being allowed to finish reading the manuscript.  This led the way for this series of books which now has 450 million books in print.

The message here is clear.  Rejection is a part of the writing life.  We all experience it in different ways, at different levels, and with or without rancor.  But persistence is the key to success.  The willingness and the ability to come back and try just one more time can be the difference between life an author, and life wishing you’d finished the last book.

Exciting Happenings at HerStoryCalls

Hello everyone,

In the next few weeks you are going to see some exciting changes and events here at HerStoryCalls.

Starting Sunday is our first annual cancer fundraising event.   Join us and other authors as we share our stories and raise money for cancer.  We are also welcoming cancer survivors and caretakers to share their stories. All funds will go to the American Cancer Society and Relay for Life.   We will also have a page on the website dedicated to survivors and In Loving Memory of – Feel free to comment and add a note or memory to the board.

If you are an author, a survivor, a caretaker, or anyone who would like to blog with us during this cancer month.  Please email me directly at michelle@michelle-fryer.com and we can set up a day to spot light you.   Authors – if you’d like to blog I’ll post your name and links to your book under our HerStoryCalls supporter pages.

Coming very soon, we are going to have a completely new web design.  You should see some changes this weekend and over the next few months.

Toodles,

Michelle