Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Cancer Update – Genetic Testing



As part of my cancer treatment plan I underwent genetic testing for 80 known cancer genes. At first it seemed a bit pointless to me, I mean, I already have fracking cancer, who cares if I have the gene?
 

Well, it came back that I do have one cancer gene. It’s the BRCA1 gene, and it’s a doozy. It increases the chances that you’ll get breast cancer to 70%. Also if you get breast cancer, you have a 40% chance of getting it again. It also increases your chances of ovarian cancer from 1% to 40%.
 

So way back whenever, when I skimmed the article about Angelina Jolie getting genetic testing done, then deciding to get a double mastectomy and having her ovaries removed, I thought, crazy person. Who would do that? Now my judgy-ass-self totally understands. Being aggressive and preemptive is totally understandable when it come to not having to deal with cancer.
 

I also think it’s nice to have something to point at and blame. Before I was wondering what I did wrong? Why did I get breast cancer so young? I mean, I did drink a lot of diet soda in my twenties. Or maybe it was all that hormone filled dairy products I ate. And there was that one time I stood in front of the microwave for a really long time. But no. It’s this one crappy crappy gene.
 

Other then, you know, the cancer, I’m doing really well. Working on my next book and reading a ton. I’ll post more soon! And thanks again everyone for all your support.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Books I Love - My Faves of 2016!

I read 100 books in 2016 and here are a few of my favorites. Most are from 2016 but a few are ones I discovered this year. Well, here they are in no particular order!
 
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And these two I got for Christmas and am super excited to read!
 
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What are your faves of 2016?
 
 
 

Friday, December 2, 2016

Cancer Update – Chemo Edition

First off, I want to say thank you to everyone who donated to my youcaring fund. When Mindy and Kate suggested starting one to help with treatment costs I was a bit doubtful that it would be successful. Boy, was I wrong. I am not a crier, but when I saw how many people donated/offered words of support, well, let’s just say there were water works.

 

Since my last post I’ve started chemo and let me tell you, it’s not like in the movies/TV. First of all, they don’t line you up in one big depressing cancer room. Where I’m at there are nice little private cubicles with TVs and big comfy chairs that heat up and have a massage function. No joke.

 

I was shocked at how nice it all was. They also don’t inject the medicine into the veins in your arms. I had a chemo port installed, which is a device placed under the skin in the chest with a tube that flows directly into a major artery. So while I may not end up with a bionic boob, I am on my way to becoming a cyborg. After they hook you up (they call it accessing your port) they pump you full of chemicals (one of mine is candy apple red) and that’s that!

 

Honestly, for the first few days after my first treatment I felt normal. Then the next few days I felt super gross…like I was hung over from the worst bender ever. Then I felt normal again.

 

Today is my second session. I’m not sure when I’ll post another cancer update, but I’ll definitely still be posting book stuff, and of course my 2016 favorites list in January.

 

I hope everyone has a great holiday, and thank you again for all your support and encouragement!!!

Monday, November 7, 2016

My Cancer Diagnosis – How My Left Breast is Trying to Kill Me

[Warning: In this post I talk about my boob. A lot. I also curse and talk about medical things, so if you’re squeamish, probably skip this.]

 

About six weeks ago, after experiencing a sharp random pain in my left breast, I found a lump. My first thoughts: HOLY SHIT, I HAVE CANCER. After an hour of online research I calmed down. I’m young and cancer doesn’t usually hurt. It doesn’t make your breast swell to twice the normal size. It doesn’t come on suddenly. Self diagnosis, I convinced myself I had a cyst. They’re common in my family.

 

I went to my doctor who also agreed it was probably a cyst but ordered a mammogram and ultrasound just to be sure. I was still convinced it was a cyst. Up until the moment when the big boss radiologist came into the room and she told me that I had three solid masses in my breast and one in my armpit. My thoughts at that moment? FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK.

 

Back to HOLY SHIT, I HAVE CANCER. Because although I’m not a pessimist, I am a realist. They don’t order a biopsy for no reason. A single mass in my breast may be benign, but three? And one already in my lymh node? Yeah, that has got to be fucking cancer. I called my sister to warn her. She cried. I told her not to cry. She cried some more. My husband and I talked about what to do if it was cancer and decided not to fuck around. To do whatever it took to get better.

 

The next day I had to go back for a biopsy. I needed four total and for each one they covered the spot in iodine, gave me a numbing shot, and shoved a super long needle with nifty vacuum suction action to take samples. Then they put a titanium marker in the spot to show where the sample was taken. (Yeah, was hoping it would make my boob bionic, but sadly, no.)

 

Rinse, repeat. The whole thing took four hours. Then they did another mammogram to make sure the markers were in place. If you don’t know about mammograms, they are not gentle. They took my already punctured, aching breast and placed it in a big machine where it was squished between two glass plates. Then they needed the side view. My poor boob was not happy.

 

Fast forward to Saturday, ten days ago. My doctor calls. I know it must be awesome news because, what doctor doesn’t love to call patients on a Saturday? Well, the cells were malignant and at 35 years of age, HOLY SHIT, I HAVE CANVER.

 

I’m starting chemo next week. I don’t know how I’ll react, so though I’ll probably be around on social media, I might not always respond right away if at all. I’m going to conserve my energy to work on my latest contracted novel.
 
 
So how am I feeling? Angry but hopeful. I have a great cancer team and am otherwise healthy. I have a good chance of coming out of this less one boob, but very much alive. Please share your stories of cancer survival for yourself/friends/and family. I would love to hear them!
 
 
 

Saturday, October 29, 2016

BAD BLOOD Signed ARC Giveaway and book bundle!

For October I'm giving away a signed ARC of BAD BLOOD!

 
 
 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 
Also included are two arcs from Delacorte authors. And GOING GEEK is signed!


Going Geek                    My Unscripted Life
 
 

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Pitchwars Query Critique – BRISKWOOD BLOOD RAIN


 
Here is another query critique for our pitchwars hopefuls. I’ve pasted the entire query and first page, then again with my comments. Thank you so much to Christopher Joubert for sharing with us!
 
 

Dear Mentor,

When Miles Parker walks into one of his final classes of high school, the only thing on his mind is how poorly he is about to do on a quiz he didn’t study for. Then, his teacher dies – and vanishes – in front of him. After this unexplainable event happens, he thinks his day can’t get any stranger.

 

He’s wrong.

 

When severe weather roars into the small city of Briskwood and cancels school for the rest of the day, Miles thinks nothing of it. Then, the rain suddenly turns red and mutates people into gray, spike-covered creatures hell-bent on terrorizing everything that moves.


Miles soon finds himself trapped inside of his job, the Royal Cinema Theater, along with his best friend Trevor Johnson. There, he also meets a group of teenagers who can’t seem to get along, even in a time of crisis.

 

After one of the freakishly mutated people ends up inside of the building, Miles and the others find themselves up against an enemy that is much stronger than they are. The race for survival against this new, deadly species is on.

 

With the blood rain falling all around him and the yellow-eyed creatures, the threaders, out to murder anything that breathes, Miles may not live to see his graduation day.

 

This novel connects with me on a personal level because I have worked in a movie theater for more than three years now and I am familiar with how a dangerous situation would affect the fragile system of the business.

 

BRISKWOOD BLOOD RAIN, a stand-alone novel with strong series potential, is a thrilling apocalyptic page-turner with commercial appeal that is currently complete at 61,000 words. Readers of Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne and Dark Inside by Jeyn Roberts will enjoy this adventure.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration,

Christopher Joubert

 

 

Chapter 1

 

It looks like my first accomplishment of the day is booking myself a one-way-ticket to detention. Senior year has kicked my ass. Lately, I just haven’t been able to get enough sleep because of the never-ending pointless stuff that comes along with the last year of school. Just yesterday, I was forced to take what felt like a million pictures for my graduation invitations. The smell of bacon wafts up the stairs into my room and gives me just the push I need to begin another long day.

 

“Miles, you’re going to be late.” My mom screams from downstairs.

 

“Mom, you should be used to this by now.” I yell back, my voice echoing down the halls of our large house. I drag myself from the sanctuary of my bed to the bathroom, turn on the sink, and brush my teeth. The morning light breaks through the dark storm clouds outside and shines through the window. As I throw on a wrinkled Breaking Bad T-shirt and a pair of jeans splattered with spots of pizza sauce, it thunders loudly. I slam the door to the bathroom and bound down the winding spiral staircase.

 

When I enter the kitchen, I find my mom dancing to music from whatever decade used an excessive amount of horns. Not stopping to figure it out, I say hello to her over the noise of the blasting portable speaker, grab a handful of bacon, and head towards the front door. She clears her throat behind me, loud enough to be heard over the blasting saxophones and trumpets.

 

“What?” I whip around and peek my head back inside the kitchen.

 

“Are you forgetting what I asked you to do last night?” Damn. I honestly have no idea what she’s talking about and I don’t exactly have the time to hear her lecture me if I admit that. She glares at me, giving me the thorny and disapproving look that blooms inside of every mom when her child starts to mature. Small wrinkles line the sides of her sad, blue eyes. Her auburn hair is twisted into two braids and peppered with streaks of gray.

 

And now with my comments!

 

Dear Mentor,

When Miles Parker walks into one of his final classes of high school, the only thing on his mind is how poorly he is about to do on a add subject quiz he didn’t study for. Then, his teacher dies – and vanishes – in front of him. After this unexplainable event happens, he thinks his day can’t get any stranger.

 

He’s wrong. Nice!

 

When severe weather roars into the small city of Briskwood and cancels school is cancelled for the rest of the day, Miles thinks nothing of it. the weather caused the cancelation but didn’t cancel school. Then, the rain suddenly turns red and mutates people into gray, spike-covered creatures hell-bent on terrorizing everything that moves. This could be fleshed out…this is a huge part of the story and it’s told kind of in a hum drum way. Spice this up.


Miles soon finds himself trapped at work inside of his job, the Royal Cinema Theater, along with his best friend Trevor Johnson. There, he also meets and a group of teenagers who can’t seem to get along, again, kind of bland language, especially for an apocalyptic event even in a time of crisis. *

 

After one of the freakishly mutated people ends up inside of the building, Miles and the others find themselves up against use stronger words…like fighting an enemy that is much stronger than they are. The race for survival against this new, deadly species is on. This is a great end summary sentence.

 

With the blood rain falling all around him and the yellow-eyed creatures, the threaders, out to murder anything that breathes, Miles may not live to see his graduation day.  Delete this but move “murder anything that breathes” and “yellow-eyed creatures” up and weave in, since those are good images. “May not live to see his graduation day” is funny, but maybe move to * and tweak. Or see if it fits elsewhere since it relays the humor you touch on throughout.

 

This novel connects with me on a personal level because I have worked in a movie theater for more than three years now and I am familiar with how a dangerous situation would affect the fragile system of the business.  Funny but a lot of words for something that an agent probably won’t be interested in.

 

BRISKWOOD BLOOD RAIN, a stand-alone novel with strong series potential, Great! is a thrilling apocalyptic page-turner with commercial appeal that is currently complete at 61,000 words. Readers of Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne and Dark Inside by Jeyn Roberts will enjoy this adventure. Great comp titles, capitalize them.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration,

Christopher Joubert

 

Good start to a query, but make it more hooky!

 

Chapter 1

 

It looks like my first accomplishment of the day is booking myself a one-way-ticket to detention. Great first line! Mention here that he slept through his alarm or is running late, or hasn’t managed to get out of bed yet to set the scene. Senior year has kicked my ass. Lately, I just haven’t been able to get enough sleep because of the never-ending pointless stuff that comes along with the last year of school. Just yesterday, I was forced to take what felt like a million pictures for my graduation invitations. The smell of bacon wafts up the stairs into my room and gives me just the push I need to begin another long day.

 

“Miles, you’re going to be late.,Mmy mom screams from downstairs.

 

Mom, yYou should be used to this by now.” I yell back, my voice echoing down the halls of our large house. I drag myself from the sanctuary of my bed to the bathroom, turn on the sink, and brush my teeth. He would probably pee first. J But this info doesn’t have to be in there. The morning light breaks through the dark storm clouds outside and shines through the window. As I throw on a wrinkled Breaking Bad T-shirt and a pair of jeans splattered with spots of pizza sauce, it thunders loudly. Tweak this sentence…you make it sound like his jeans thunder loudly. I slam the door to the bathroom and bound down the winding spiral staircase.

 

When I enter the kitchen, I find my mom dancing to music from whatever decade used an excessive amount of horns. Not stopping to figure it out, I say hello to her over the noise of the blasting portable speaker, grab a handful of bacon, Wouldn’t that be gross and greasy? and head towards the front door. She clears her throat behind me, loud enough to be heard over the blasting saxophones and trumpets.

 

“What?” I whip around and peek my head back inside the kitchen.

 

“Are you forgetting what I asked you to do last night?” Damn. I honestly have no idea what she’s talking about and I don’t exactly have the time to hear her lecture me if I admit that. She glares at me, giving me the thorny and disapproving look that blooms inside of every mom when her child starts to mature. Way too self-aware here. Small wrinkles line the sides of her sad, blue eyes. Her auburn hair is twisted into two braids and peppered with streaks of gray.

 

This is a good first page, you’ve got a great voice for Miles. It just needs tightening up…too much unnecessary info.

Thanks again to Christopher Joubert for sharing his work with us!

For the next query visit Kate on her blog on 10/27 at katekaryusquinn.blogspot.com and I’ll have another critique right here next Tuesday!