Category Archives: From Blog to Book

Book #2

I have been talking about it quietly with a few friends for nearly a year now.  I’ve kept it quiet, because I haven’t been sure if I’ve wanted to do it – and mostly out of fear.

I don’t know if it will be good enough, I don’t know if it will be interesting, or as well received as the first book. I don’t know if it will ever get read by anyone, or if it will ever be printed for anyone to open it’s cover and leave on their bookshelf.  But – I won’t know until I try.  And I’d rather that unknown than any of my other uncertain questions.

So here it goes….It’s started and I’m going for it.

Book#2 - Announcement

 

 

Self Published —> Literary Agent!

Some of life’s coolest things happen when you’re working without anyone watching, not wondering if what you’re doing looks “photo worthy” – and THIS was one of those moments….

I am SO excited to finally share, after a year and a half of navigating my way through a self-publishing world very foreign to me, I have signed with a very fancy literary agent!!

Megan Williams, Author

Yaaayyyyyy!!!

And now we plan which = (more) work. 

Megan Williams, Author

 Let another chapter begin!

Coming soon…

It’s been a summer of decision making as I try and figure out what is best for the book. What parts do I cut out? What parts do I elaborate on? Is going with a traditional publisher something I want? Or do I feel more comfortable with the control of self-publishing? What do I want from all of this  and how am I going to get it? 
There has been plenty of stuff to sort out, and many more decisions are yet to be made, but there are a few details I know for certain that I’m excited to share… 
Thanks to the original edits done by my editor friend, Megan, (I’m not speaking in third person, her name is also Megan), the book is now “worthy” of a very experienced, well respected, professional editor…
…Which is really awesome, because it means that Lori, a very experienced, well respected, professional editor has agreed to take the story and turn it into a book…
…Which is really, really awesome, because having made the decision to self-publish, I can now announce the book will be PUBLISHED AND READY TO READ IN EARLY 2014! 
Now, if I could just get a little help on the title.

121,201 words and 423 pages

As of Tuesday afternoon, my entire manuscript left my inbox and landed in the inbox of a publisher.

For now, it’s out of my hands. I now wait to hear which of three options they will decide on:

1) It’s not for them. There isn’t a market for it; therefore they can’t sell it.
2) There is something there, but there is too much work to be done on it and I could resubmit another time.
3) There is a little bit of editing to be done, but we’ll sign a contract.

It’s been a little over 48 hours since I’ve sent it off, and I’m not quite sure what to do with myself. For the 16 months, if I haven’t been running, eating or sleeping (and maaaybbbe having the odd inspirational adult beverage or three), I’ve been writing. Then writing turned to editing. Then editing came to revising. Revising came to fixing. And back to writing.

Here is (some) of what that 16 months looked like:

(This is Megan. And if it weren’t for her late nights and early mornings going over my work, the next picture would not have happened when it did. Editing is a thankless job, and she deserves heaps of it.) 

Anyways, the point is, I’ve had a few hours to reflect, and think about what I’ve done. And I’ve realized, regardless of how many times I wanted to punt my MacBook off the balcony or play Paper Toss in the living room with my edited pages, because I couldn’t imagine why anyone would want to read my nonsense…I am pretty proud.

I am proud to have 121,201 words and 423 pages (Times New Roman, 12 pt, double spaced) sharing our story.

I’ve got a lot of hope for this book, but my biggest of all is that it does him justice.

The Start Of The Last Draft

The drafting is finally coming to an end.

Im now on my third draft and hope by the end of it, I will feel comfortable handing it over to an editor. 

The motivation comes and goes as does my anxiousness about the whole endeavour. So to keep me accountable, I thought I’d share a little piece of what I have in the first chapter.

(I’m hesitant and uncharacteristically self conscious to even say it but… let me know what you think?)

********

WHAT?! What kind of Cancer?” I asked knowing I probably wouldn’t understand the answer. 


“Something to do with his blood” my friend Alyssa explained with as much understanding as I asked. 


He’s old, but not old enough to get CANCER! I was sitting on my parents back deck where it was sunny and warm. I clicked ‘end’ on my grey Nokia cell phone, and repeated the news to Dad who had started eavesdropping while reading the paper. 


“Ah…Shit.” Was all he said. Dad hardly ever swore.


__ 


Eurphoria


…Once my mother gathered herself from hearing the news- did I mention she started passing out and had to lay down in the doctors office while I paced around. It was really funny actually and we’ve shared a laugh about that a few times but I’ll get to my mother later. Looking back I should have known something was up as our appointment time was noon and there was no one in the doctor’s office not even staff. Guess they thought we might cause a scene and shoot the place up! 

I remember the first thing that filled my mind once being diagnosed was how will I tell Katharine, who is mourning the loss of her brother, that I now have cancer. You can imagine how that went but she was tough and we embarked on this new adventure. I’m not sure I can put into words the feelings that came over me in the following few days and weeks but maybe the closest thing would be…euphoria !?

Within a few hours of being diagnosed with a disease that usually hits people over sixty I began treatment. Blood cancers are very complicated and to this day I don’t understand half the terminology but multiple myeloma effects cells in the bone marrow weakening the bones, immune system and so on. 

In the next few days I would be sent to the specialists at the VGH Bone Marrow Transplant Unit where I’ve spent much of my time since being diagnosed. Due to my weakened condition they immediately started me on high dose steroids and a bone strengthener and it was also decided my best chance at extended life was a bone marrow transplant….hunh! How they do that cut into every bone and shoot marrow into you?!-which is what i thought. I was put on a worldwide list and the search began as did my euphoric summer.

I wasn’t unable to continue work which had been getting tougher for me the months leading up. I had bone pain throughout my rib cage to the point where I was breaking ribs while playing tennis and unable to sleep from being in too much pain. I had bouts of pneumonia and was coming apart at the seams but I still went to the gym the morning of my diagnosis. I was lucky all my debts were insured and I didn’t have to pay them while I was sick. I collected unemployment and had family close who helped out when needed. My life became about one thing enjoying every moment and that’s what i began to do. Those steroids made me feel better fast but it’s not real they actually weaken you, make you crazy and really really hungry. Each day i’d wake up early, take my steroids, take Katharine to work then start my day.

The summer of 2001 was particularly hot and I enjoyed every moment of it. I’d usually wake one of my friends up to have breakfast then either have a light workout or play par 3 golf. The afternoons would always be saved for long motorcycle rides and waiting for Katharine to get off work so we could begin the evening festivities. 

It seemed every night we’d have our friends over to bbq salmon, eat cherries and laugh the night away. We smoked plenty of pot which really helped me wind down from the steroids and keep my mind off things. The support of all our friends, family and coworkers played and continues to play a crucial role in getting through this.

__ 


I was surprised at how bothered I was when I heard of Chads diagnosis. But like other upsetting news, the more distance between you and the issue, the easier it is to not think of it. 

I’d be lying if I said that wasn’t exactly how I continued on after Alyssa’s phone call. I thought about him every few weeks and would ask Alyssa if she knew how he was doing. But when she would answer, “No, haven’t heard anything” we’d innocently carry on our 16 year old lives. 


I eventually came to the conclusion that Chad was just someone I met on a tennis court when I was 16 and it was unlikely I would ever see him again. 

******

…the book of us.

I can’t believe I almost missed it.

It was in a reusable bag of old receipts and household manuals squashed beneath the vacuum cleaner at the bottom of the hall closet.
Months had gone by since Chad last wandered around the apartment, and week by week (and only when I felt up for it) I’d try to clean our things up. I’d toss out gadgets, old manuals and any other junk-drawer worthy items I didn’t understand why my slight hoarder of a boyfriend decided to keep. Though I didn’t change where we (he) had stored anything, if I didn’t know what it was I’d toss it.
I couldn’t take another week fighting the tangled bag handles to get the vacuum out of the already too small closet. So I reached down and yanked the bag from under the vacuum. Letting the vacuum drop to the floor, I started pulling out loose pieces of paper confirming there weren’t any manuals, bills or perhaps an old birthday card I needed to keep.
I was one of my combination moments when I had such conflicting emotions I didn’t know what to feel. I was pissed off that Chad had left me to clean our house by myself, left me to decide whether or not this paper was useful or I’d need it in the future and just pissed that I was in our home without him.
I was also drenched with curiosity, flipping the paper from front to back hoping to catch reminders of what Chad’s handwriting looked like, wishing there would be something worth preserving.
Then my hand and eyes reached it at the same time. It was the blue cover, spiral bound journal I had seen Chad tuck into his bed side drawer in his old studio apartment.
Chad kept all his journals and close-to-his-heart photos, cards and letters in his bed side table – and though I had gone through them recently, I always put them back in their designated storage place when I was done.
What the hell is this doing in this bag? I answered my own question. Obviously he didn’t know it was there and would be a nugget of gold for his survived girlfriend. It must have been tossed in there with the intention of recovery at some point…whenever that would be.
I can’t believe I almost missed this. I repeated to myself as I thumbed through its pages.
Hand written completed and uncompleted journal entries, spanning over a three year period from 2006 – 2009. My mind flashed with scenes over the years we had lived together of Chad writing in the journal – never knowing the details of what he was writing but always hoping he’d one day share them with me.
After a dozen or so entries, the pages turned blank again. Learning from my lesson minutes earlier – I continued through the journals pages double checking there wasn’t anything else I had missed.
I perked up again when the last few pages had more writing. I interpreted his use of those pages as a re-start; re-collecting his thoughts as other entries had similarly indicated.
The last entries made my hands go clammy.
July 19, 2009
I have a story to share. I’m not sure how it ends, but maybe thats not y part to tell. Im a 34 year old man who has an amazing family and loving girlfriend. I own my apartment with a small mortgage, by today’s standards. I drive a fancy sports car and have money in the bank. I’m a lucky guy in many ways and appreciate everything I have when able to enjoy it.
The truth is though ^I cant take another day living being sick. I have nothing without good health.
I was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer when I was 26 years old. I was given 15 months to live unless I underwent aggressive treatment. I’ve spent so much of the past 8 years being sick I have trouble focusing on the good moments. When I have been well I live hard and am focusing on living life to the fullest.
I dont know what my destination is in sharing my thoughts
Publish this book when the time is right

Jesus.
Chad had talked about writing a book one day but we both agreed that when his battle has calmed and control of his fight had been reclaimed – that was when the time would be right.
Since he’d left, Jen and I had talked recording all of Chads writing someplace that in the event of a fire or a cyber-blog crash, we’d have duplicates of his voice on paper – but nothing about a book.
I had also thought about doing some writing of my own – perhaps something more than “just blogging” – but it was only a thought.
This all happened in the early months of 2010.
“Publish this book when the time is right” has been a sentence swirling my mind, literally, every day since I first read it.
Two years later, I’ve decided to stop talking, stop wondering and guessing and actually do it.
I’m writing our book.

I am writing the story that Chad started to share. The story of his battle, the story of his success and the story of us.
Our blogs have been an incredible, unexpected source of solace and support these past two and a half years (even saying two and a half seems totally crazy – I can’t believe it’s been that long). They have helped release my thoughts and been wonderful reminders of the love and life I have experienced.

….I can not count the times I’ve gone back and re-read the comments left on our blogs – each time feeling indescribable amounts of gratitude for the support so many people (friends, family and strangers alike) have extended.

Therefore, as Chad and I have shared struggles and stories on our blogs (with friends, family and strangers alike), I will begin to share the process of writing….the book of us.