Thursday, October 22, 2015

Escaping with Kimberly Belle

Kimberly is visiting Writers Corner to share why you should escape with The Ones We Trust.  This is her most recent novel.  You can see my review of her novel here.  We might also discuss some other ways to escape.

Thank you for having me!

Why is The Ones We Trust a good novel to escape with?

One reviewer described The Ones We Trust as an episode of Scandal mixed with A Few Good Men. I love that! What’s better than a good story to suck you in? Any good book is an escape, a place to lose yourself in for a few hours. A place to forget your problems and the world, and to experience someone else’s drama for a bit, and escape from your own.

What would make these concepts of trust and love important to us and your characters?

Trust is, as the title implies, an important issue in The Ones we Trust. Love, too. My characters struggle with both, and they find that sometimes the lines between them get blurred. You can’t always help who you love – family or romantic – but trust is a more rational choice. It’s such a hard thing to give sometimes, and we don’t give it unconditionally. There comes a time when we draw a line in the sand, where we can no longer justify what we are experiencing with the belief that the other person is behaving with good intentions. Abigail, my main character, finds this to be true with her father, and how she works things out with him is a big part of the story, and their journey is something I think a lot of readers can relate to.

How have you found this to be true in your own life?

Hmm, thankfully, I’ve not had to face these types of big-issue problems with my closest loved ones, but I do have a couple of teenage kids, and every day is a lesson in letting go, in trusting that their own choices will be good ones. So far they haven’t disappointed me (the opposite, actually; I’m a ridiculously proud mama), but their choices are not always the ones I would have made for them, and that’s okay. But it’s a constant lesson for me to hold my tongue and trust their judgment enough to let them shape their own lives.

What would be your message to the Breast Cancer survivors?

I have a couple of survivor girlfriends, and their journey has made them so, so wise. I know how easy it is to get caught up in things that don’t really matter, to put work and other commitments before friends and family, to slog through the days until the next weekend, the next vacation, the next whatever. Why do we do this? Why do we waste a moment of our precious time with petty emotions and unimportant crap? All that goes to say, my message is one I’m stealing from my survivor friends :: live and laugh and love every moment of every day, treat it like the gift it is.

How does Kimberly escape the real world?

I am a yoga fan, some might even say a fanatic. For me it’s more than getting up and out of my writing chair; it’s about getting grounded, about letting the story go long enough to let my subconscious take over. Especially when I’m stuck, I’ve found that as soon as I let go of the story and do something physical, my plot knots unwind and I figure out how to move forward. The longer, leaner, stronger yoga bod is an added bonus.

What writers would you also recommend for escape?

Oh, gosh, how much time do you have? I adore so many of my colleague authors – Cathy Lamb and Mary Kubica and Pam Jenoff to name just a few – but there are so many other good ones out there. In women’s fiction, Heather Gudenkauf, Steena Holmes, Laura Dave, and Allison Winn Scotch are automatic buys for me. Jonathan Tropper can always make me laugh out loud, and whenever a new Black Dagger Brotherhood book from J.R. Ward comes out, I will literally block off a day or two on my calendar to read it. I will read pretty much anything, and I love pretty much every genre. Books are my favorite way to escape.

You can purchase Kimberly's novels here:  
The Ones We Trust ~ One of Star Magazine’s Summer Beach Reads
The Last Breath

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

I Am Not Joan Lunden

I am good at following directions.  My biggest desire was to make sure that I didn’t create any issues at work with the change of my appearance.  Although I had found Bernadette’s Wig shop; We also did a fitting for wigs.  We found out that I have slightly larger head than average so they would have to order a wig for me.  So then the question became how do I keep my hair while I wait for this wig?   I found that I couldn’t wash it like normal because more of it would come out.  I couldn’t brush it, pick it, or comb because gobs of it would come out.  Finally the day of the wig coming in had arrived.  I had the stylist cut it  in the style that I would wear the wig.  I learned how to care for the wig with washing it and then taking care of my own hair or skull area.  Losing my hair was one of the hardest circumstances that I went through.  Now only a few people in my family have seen what my head truly looks like.  I know that many cancer survivors choose to do what Joan Lunden did go bald in pictures all over the internet.  It was something that I just couldn’t bring myself to do.

During this time I had switched my care to Emory a local hospital here.  I had chemo treatments every Friday that I was off. The first drugs that they gave me was A and C.  I am sorry that I don’t remember the names of these drugs.  So I would go for treatment see the doctor and then get my chemo treatment.  The bright spot of my day was when April my friend would come and sit with me and take me out to eat later on.  At the infusion center where I received treatment they have this ritual when you have finished your chemo you dance out and ring the bell.  The hardest part of this treatment was that I felt reasonably okay and would take my anti-nausea medication.  I was tired but not overly so.  I had Saturday and Sunday to rest and then go back to work on Monday. 

I also continued to have tests during this time.  One  circumstance  that has always been true in my case is tests don’t usually come back with definitive results.  If the Oncologist sees an area that they believe you need to have checked out then they will tell you to get it looked at.  One area was gynecology which I saw outside of Emory, and proceeded to have trouble with my insurance.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Sonya Yoerg Share’s Her Theory on Escape in Setting

 Sonya is visiting to Writer’s Corner today How does setting create escape? How do you entice readers with a setting that sucks them into the story in her new novel  The Middle of Somewhere?

Setting is crucial to my stories because until my characters have a real space in which to interact, they aren't alive to me. That said, I never set out to entice readers; I simply tell the story as best I can, and creating a realistic and intriguing setting is part of that. As much as I love my readers, I never think of them while I am writing. That road leads to madness! Instead, I concentrate on telling the truth about the situations and people I've invented. I'm a very visual person, so the particulars of the environment in which the story takes place are a necessary to me as knowing the emotional environment of the characters. If I do my job right, the setting enriches the actions and feelings of the characters, but, like so many aspects of writing, it's not something I consciously set out to do.

Sonya’s latest release is Middle of Somewhere: 

“A young woman, widowed and troubled, hikes from Yosemite Valley deep into the wilderness to elude her shameful past in this emotional page-turner from the author of House Broken.

With her thirtieth birthday looming, Liz Kroft is a heading for the hills—literally. Her emotional baggage weighs her down more than her backpack, but a three-week trek promises the solitude she craves—at least until her boyfriend, Dante, decides to tag along. His broad moral streak makes the prospect of confessing her sins more difficult, but as much as she fears his judgment, she fears losing him more. Maybe.

 They set off together under blue skies, but it’s not long before storms threaten and two strange brothers appear along the trail. Amid the jagged, towering peaks, Liz must decide whether to admit her mistakes and confront her fears, or face the trail, the brothers and her future alone.”

Penguin is giving away one copy of Somewhere in the Middle.  You must be 18 years old to enter and be a US resident.

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Monday, October 19, 2015

The Hurry Up and Wait!

I was not going to seek treatment right away because of the cost.  I had to give up the apartment that I was going to rent because I could definitely afford both rent and medical.  My mother came to me and said we are in this together.  Your sister and I will take care of the financial side of your treatment.  You just get better.  I had been stressing over finances for the past five months at this point in time.  I decided to take a break and trust God.

My original oncologist had ordered a bunch of tests.  There is nothing more unnerving to a cancer patient than to have no treatment and all of these tests.  I was assigned MRI of the brain and right breast, CT scan, PET scan, Echo, and Ultrasound.  Then we also got the second opinion from Emory. I decided to switch my care under my current Oncologist Dr. Pakkala.  

What really made me switch was when went for chemo training and the nursing staff ignored us at the original oncologist. I wanted something different for my care.  The nurse forewarned me that I would be tired.  I was able to schedule the chemo on my weekends off and go back to work the following Monday.  When you go through this type of treatment choosing the hour on hour off process works best.  I would be on my feet for an hour and then off streaming a program or reading a book.  I couldn’t incorporate breaks like this at work but I was able to do something similar.   The first drug they gave me for chemo was A and C.  This is the hardest chemo.   The first couple of rounds weren’t too bad but when you get to rounds three and four they require more rest.   

Oh yeah and there is that losing the hair thing.  I am very good at following directions.  So when the doctor gave me a prescription for a wig with no explanations.  I had truly hoped with cutting my hair short enough that I would not lose it.  I wouldn’t then need a wig because I wasn’t going to lose my hair.  I made it almost to the second chemo before my hair started falling out.  So I asked the nurse who was drawing my labs from my port what to do. She told me to go to a wig shop.  I found one in Dunwoody Bernadette’s Salon and Wig shop.  We didn’t make it there until the week of Fourth of July and by then my hair was truly starting to fall out.  I bought some hats to hide my bald spots. 

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Surprise Giveaway with Susan McBride

Thank you to Susan McBride for a copy of her newest novel Say Yes to Death. She has given me one copy to celebrate Pink Escape and giveaway.  She is also a breast cancer survivor.  It means everything to me to have her with us this month.  

Here is a little about her new novel Say Yes to Death:  

Someone old, someone cruel Debutante dropout Andrea Kendricks is beyond done with big hair, big gowns, and big egos—so being dragged to a high-society Texas wedding by her socialite mama, Cissy, gives her a bad case of déjà vu. As does running into her old prep-school bully, Olivia La Belle, the wedding planner, who's graduated to berating people for a living on her reality TV show. But for all the times Andy wished her dead, nobody deserves Olivia's fate: lying in a pool of blood, a cake knife in her throat—but did the angry baker do it?
Millicent Draper, the grandmotherly owner of Millie's Cakes, swears she's innocent, and Andy believes her. Unfortunately, the cops don't. Though Andy's fiancé, lawyer Brian Malone, is handling Millie's case, she's determined to spring Millie herself. But where to start? "La Belle from Hell" had enemies galore. Good thing Andy has a BFF who's a reporter— and a blue-blood mother who likes to pull strings. (amazon) 

Please follow the rafflecopter below.  This give away is open to US residents only.

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