October 14, 2014

Changing Priorities @LloydAMeeker @MacCrowne Marjorie Belson #RLFblog #FightCancer

Romance Lives Forever 
From Kayelle:
For three days I'm sharing stories by various authors about how they or a family member faced cancer. Reading their posts is inspiring and touching. The importance of friends and family, and having a support system is vital. From what I've read, the key to success includes being able to ask for help -- and then being willing to accept it. It's a lesson I've had in my own life during various times. I don't accept help well. It's something I fight with all the time. I'd like to think "I've got this" -- but sometimes I don't have as good a grip as I thought I did. I have a friend who's dealing with cancer right now. My business partner's brother just died from cancer. It affects all of us. Reading these helps me understand better. I hope I'm even half as good a friend as those you'll read about in this series.
I'm presenting these as an opportunity for the authors to share their real life stories, as well as their fictional ones. Links to follow the authors and to purchase their books are provided.

Today's authors are Lloyd A Meeker, Mackenzie Crowne, and Marjorie Belson.

Lloyd A Meeker: A Change in Priorities

The Companion 
In June of 2003, I went on a four-day bike ride to raise money for AIDS services, and apparently the tumor in my stomach (which I already knew about) started to bleed under the strain of covering close to 100 miles a day. I soldiered on because, well, because it's manly to soldier on, until a month later a pulmonary embolism slowed me down and sped up the stomach surgery. At the age of 55 I spent my first night in a hospital. It was the beginning of my new life.
That night, hopped up on morphine, I got a very clear message from myself. I'd always Carpe diem! said I wanted to write novels. I'd even started one when I'd come out eight years earlier. The message I got was that if I was serious about writing novels I'd better get busy, because I was now on bonus time and there was no telling how long I'd have.
Since that night, writing has been my creative priority. That means I've not done a bunch of other fun things, but I'm set on getting down as many stories as I might have to write before I say good night. I had another cancer diagnosis and more surgery in 2004, but I'm now ten years clear and working on my fifth novel.
I am so grateful for the cancer that forced me to refocus my life and own my new mission. Since my diagnosis I've lost a niece and several friends to cancer, so I know not everyone is lucky enough to get as far as I have. In spite of everything, the last eleven years have been the sweetest and finest of my life, and I'm not done yet. If I can make it through, I know others can, too.
It hasn't been a joyride, exactly. If you're dealing with cancer now I hope you have someone you can lean on when you can't be strong all on your own. My husband Bob held me and encouraged me and let me cry when I was so afraid and full of despair that I couldn't think right. Let someone who loves you help hold you on course, help you focus on what matters. I wish you every success on your journey. Never forget, countless brave souls are cheering you on—you won't be the first to win, but you're in great company!

About the Book

Genre: Mystery/Suspense
The Companion
Shepherd Bucknam hasn't had a lover in more than a decade and doesn't need one. As a Daka, he coaches men in the sacred art and mystery of sexual ecstasy all the time, and he loves his work. It's his calling. In fact, he's perfectly content—except for the terrors of his recurring nightmare and the ominous blood-red birthmarks on his neck. He's convinced that together they foretell his early and violent death.
When Shepherd's young protégé is murdered, LAPD Detective Marco Fidanza gets the case. The two men are worlds apart: Marco has fought hard for everything he's accomplished, in sharp contrast to the apparent ease of Shepherd's inherited wealth—but their mutual attraction is too hot for either of them to ignore.
Shepherd swears he'll help find his protégé's killer, but Marco warns him to stay out of it. When an influential politician is implicated, the police investigation grinds to a halt. Shepherd hires his own investigator. Marco calls it dangerous meddling. As their volatile relationship deepens, Shepherd discovers his nightmares might not relate to the future, but to the deadly legacy of a past life—a life he may have to revisit before he can fully live and love in this one.

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Author Social Media

Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/MBe1gp

Dancing on the Other Side: Mackenzie Crowne 

Believe it or not, I experienced many encouraging moments in my battle against stage III breast cancer. Yes, I'm a survivor. I say that now, proudly and with conviction, but that wasn't always the case. When I was first diagnosed in October 2007, I looked upon the many survivors I met and didn't feel I deserved the title. They danced, victorious, on the
A Song for Sophie 
other side of the abyss, while I staggered under quiet disbelief.
It's said a person doesn't get cancer, a family does. I agree with that sentiment, but the statement is incomplete. The author forgot to include friends. Mine were with me every step of the way as I navigated the abyss to join those survivors on the other side. My friends helped in so many ways, but one in particular makes me smile to this day. My protocol included several radical treatments, including chemo. When I mentioned dealing with the certain loss of my hair by purchasing a few hats, my girlfriends promptly planned a Mad Hatter party and, in the midst of surgeries and debilitating treatments, sixteen awesome women lifted my tired spirits with an evening of silliness and love.
In the end, thanks to my friends and family across the country, seventy-four hats were presented to cover my soon-to-be-bald head. They ranged from a gorgeous creation one might see along the promenade at the Kentucky Derby to a ridiculous monstrosity in the shape of a turkey. I still have the few I wore proudly during my battle and donated the rest to a local breast cancer center.
Obviously, my girlfriends rock, but there is a deeper lesson I hope this post imparts to those of you fighting your own battle. That is, the importance of accepting help. With a cancer diagnosis, it's only natural to internalize your focus, but cancer affects more than just the patient. It touches the lives of everyone who loves them. Don't get me wrong, fighting this battle sucks, but friends and family have it worse in many ways. They stand on the sideline, watching helplessly while you do what's necessary to beat this senseless disease. They need to help where they can. Let them. You'll be glad you did.
In the meantime, stay strong, breathe deep and take each step as it comes. I'm dancing on the other side. I'll see you there.
Mackenzie Crowne

Buy This Author's Book

A Song For Sophie
Will one night of passion convince Sophie she's woman enough for Beau, or destroy their friendship and his budding belief in true love?

Author Social Media


Nothing is Promised: Marjorie Belson

Undefined and vulnerable, I often felt as if I were crashing backward through space, and found myself slipping into a post-operative depression after my bi-lateral mastectomy on August 2, 2001. In order to keep what remained of my sanity, I returned to work too soon, but misjudged the level of my stamina, as well as the fact that much of one's life is uncontrollable.
My first day back at work: September 10, 2001.
How could I, as well as thousands of others know that the next day, September 11, 2001, evil men with twisted minds had marked my city, New York, as a site for mass destruction, and would take perverse delight in their slaughter of innocents. In seconds, a still autumn sky would become animated with flames and smoke, choking the air with the sickening smell of lives dissolved.
My response to the news of the first tower being hit was one of disbelief. After the second plane crashed into the second tower, I knew my city was under attack. My first
Nothing is Promised 
thoughts were for the safety of my own family. Desperate to know if my son and daughter-in-law were safe, and only after seeing them both later that day, could I believe that they were indeed out of harm's way.
The relief in being alive was tempered by the overwhelming loss of so many in a matter of minutes. Like countless others, I watched television, transfixed by its unrelenting coverage of our nation's greatest catastrophe. So many had survived personal tragedy only to be brought down, the victims of time and place. Humbled by a world gone mad, I offered my prayers for the souls and families of those who'd perished. In an instant, I'd become an insignificant speck and found it difficult to justify space for my personal trials.
While struggling to make sense out that which made no sense at all, I made an effort to accept that each step of my own unpredictable journey was a sign for me to live my life responsibly. I believed that I'd been given a chance to redefine my soul and thereby grant myself a sanctuary from the world in which I had come to dwell.
For me, as for many of us, each step forward was painful to take, but the need to move forward was far greater than the pull to go backward. Unless I accepted that my life had been deeply altered, I could remain trapped, frozen in a world of memories.
In truth, I'd been granted the opportunity to redirect and renew my faith in myself and in my ability to move to a level of profound and urgent awareness of the potential richness of my life. Cancer had attacked my body and challenged me in my entirety to face my life as it was and to decide whether I would choose to self immolate or rise again like a Phoenix.

Author Social Media

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  1. I'm happy to have each of you here today. Thank you for sharing your stories.

  2. Wow, Kayelle.

    I always love hearing the stories of other survivors and Lloyd's and Marjorie's are no exception. Their stories are a testament to the strength of the human spirit and the inspiration that comes through strife. Thanks so much for sharing.


  3. Great to be in company with you, Mackenzie and Marjorie. And huge thank you to you, Kayelle, for putting this project together -- and all you do for our writing community. So generous of you!

  4. I've been touched by the many stories shared. I plan to make this a week-long event next year.


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