Within a few months of my first major book, Crossings: McCullough’s Coastal Bridges, publication, I started a weekly blog about my adventures with my book. After I added more books, it became adventures with my books. Then when I became ill with late-stage cancer, it became adventures with my health. After I recovered, it became adventures with life in general. So, it has evolved lockstep with my life.
The Cancer Posts
In the years since my recovery from cancer, I’ve shared my posts about that period of my life with numerous people who had been recently diagnosed. Being able to read about someone else’s experiences in a similar situation provides hope and they know they are not alone. And first-person accounts have credibility. Folks often said that I should put the cancer posts into a book, but I pooh-poohed the idea.
That is, until this past Christmas. That’s when one of my roommates from college told me about her long-time friend, who had just been diagnosed with the same type of cancer that I had. So, I suggested my cancer blog posts, and she said to send.
I didn’t have any run-off copies handy, so I ran off some. I sent 16 posts, covering first symptoms to recuperation after chemo. As I ran off each one, I read it. Re-reading them, six years after writing them, gave me a totally different perspective. I decided that they would, indeed, make a decent book. Once it was MY idea, I jumped right on it.
From Blog Posts to Book
I ran the idea by my publisher of four of my other books, Bob Serra of Maple Creek Press, and he liked it.
I edited each post and beefed it up a bit and decided to keep them from the perspective of the day each blog post was written. The first was September 30, 2014, and the last was April 1, 2015. If I wanted to add anything that the author at that time did not know about, I put it in parentheses.
So, I worked on the 16 blog posts in February and March and started sending to my publisher, Bob, mid-March. I added a dedication, table of contents, and introduction in the front of the book and an epilogue, about the author, and cancer help information at the back of the book.
The “Epilogue: The Importance of Hair” chronicles the year following the end of chemo through the growth and changes in my hair as it grew back. It took a year to the day when I was diagnosed that I wore my new hair out in public for the first time. I became very attached to the wig I wore in public for 11 months and to the variety of head gear that I wore at home.
After Bob had designed the book with photographs and the cover, it went back and forth between us until we were convinced there were no more changes to be made. Then The Cancer Blog: For those who have had cancer and for those who haven’t went to the printer.
On the Brink of Printing
Two days ago, I went over everything in the digital proof sent by the printer. And, I found four minute typos that need to be changed. Dang! Change a period to a comma, change a comma to a period, and delete a comma. And one two-line section that looks darker and larger than the print surrounding it. Like I said––minute, nothing major!
I sent these off to Bob and he changed them. You can do that with a digital proof. I checked his changes and now the edit is good to go.
When I printed everything out, the photos within the book looked dark but looked great on the computer screen. And I love the cover on the computer screen, but I would like to see how it will actually look—color saturation, thickness of cover, how much gloss. This is a new printer for us and they sent us samples of books they’ve printed, and they were beautiful. But I want to see how my book will look before giving the go-ahead.
I expressed my concerns to Bob, and he has requested a hard copy proof. Then we’ll both be able to see what our book will actually look like. So, we’re almost to the point of printing. It’s a little scary giving the go-ahead when 1,500 books are on the line! But it will happen, and soon.
I expect to have copies of my new book available sometime in June.
I’m including two of the five endorsements I have, the other three are on the back cover of the book:
No one knows if or when cancer or something equally bad will occur. The descriptions and perceptions of Judy’s experiences, that she reflects in such candid, insightful, and sometimes humorous ways, are appreciated. Maybe it will be for our own purposes or to extend to a loved one who is facing a similar foe. Nonetheless, information is power, and this book can serve as an inspirational path to acceptance and recovery.” –Laurel Gerkman, writer friend of the author
Judy and I are long-time friends. I used her descriptive blogs written throughout her cancer treatment to help me later when I was diagnosed with cancer. I then passed them on to another friend who was going through her own cancer treatments. Judy’s blogs, filled with optimism and humor, helped us all. I wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone affected by cancer. –Phyllis Bright, friend of the author since college days.