Why an Author Screams … Nancy Fraser
“Cancer is a word, not a sentence.” – John Diamon
Like a number of the other contributors before me, I too have been touched by this dreaded disease. And on numerous occasions. My father and his four brothers all died of some form of cancer. The beloved cousin I grew up with battled it four separate times, the very last recurrence claiming her life.
In June 2012, endometrial cancer came knocking at my door. I was lucky…if there is such a thing where cancer is concerned. We caught it early and, fortunately, even my recovery was uneventful and did not require chemo. You can bet I book my yearly follow up like clockwork.
Not long after I was diagnosed, my good friend and occasional writing partner, Patti Shenberger, discovered the colon cancer she’d defeated years earlier was back. With a vengeance. Patti was a mentor to dozens upon dozens of aspiring authors. She presided over the Greater Detroit Chapter of Romance Writers of America for a number of years and, in that time, worked tirelessly for the benefit of its members. She was an inspiration to many because of her knowledge of the romance industry, as well as her kind and generous spirit.
Despite her own setback, Patti was my cheerleader through my diagnosis, surgery and recovery. We continued to work on our joint project and were well into the third book of our post-Civil war series while Patti’s illness continued to progress. In addition to our writing, we also shared the title of grandmothers to two beautiful baby boys. Aiden was her first grandchild, William my fifth. When writing and editing became too much for her, Patti’s emails to me became all about her family.
In early April of 2014, Patti made the hardest decision of her life … to stop the chemo that was making her weak and unresponsive … so that she could live out the remainder of her time in the comfort of her home surrounded by friends and family. And, even though we lived over a fifteen-hundred miles apart, I made one last trip to visit her. We shared some take-out, a lot of wonderful memories, and a final hug.
Less than a month later, she was gone. She left behind a loving family, hundreds of friends, over 500 Facebook followers, and scores of writers who benefited from Patti’s expertise. It’s only fitting that I write this column today, October 7th, because it would have been Patti’s 55th birthday.
As much as I miss my family members taken by this horrible disease, as much as I feared for my own life, losing Patti has left both a personal and professional hole in my heart.
For those of you who have been touched by cancer, please know you are not alone. We are all there with you in spirit. For those who have not felt cancer’s icy grip, count yourselves lucky beyond belief.
Like most authors, Nancy Fraser began writing at an early age, usually on the walls and with crayons or, heaven forbid, permanent markers. Her love of writing often made her the English teacher’s pet, which, of course, resulted in a whole lot of teasing. Still, it was worth it.
Published in multiple genres, Nancy currently writes for four publishers. She has published twenty-two books in both full-length and novella format. Nancy will release her 25th book in 2016. She is currently working on a Valentine’s Day novella, her next Rock and Roll novella, and a story about a racy Scot titled “Kilty Pleasures”.
When not writing (which is almost never), Nancy dotes on her five wonderful grandchildren and looks forward to traveling and reading when time permits. Nancy lives in Atlantic Canada where she enjoys the relaxed pace and colorful people.
Twitter: https://twitter.com/nfraserauthor @nfraserauthor