Why We’re Screaming: Landra Graf

Raven Pirate Assassin Spy-300x450Last year I blogged about losing my grandmother. Today, I blogging about a friend and a co-worker who lost her battle over a year ago.
My friend, Donna, worked hard and long. She was divorced and a mother of two. In the years that she fought cancer she took care of her mother and dealt with many other trials. I learned in that time that even the strongest of wills can’t always beat cancer, neither can the drive to survive.
Donna beat a double mastectomy, but by then the cancer had spread into her lymph nodes and her stomach. She continued with chemo treatment, three different rounds of three different kinds before she decided to stop trying to fight. No suggested doctors treatments, pills or injections could get the cancer to release it’s hold on her. She chose to spend her last days enjoying time with her children and grandchild, before an infection spread in her arm, where fluid had pooled.
When she passed I was not in town. No, I was states away at the RT Writers Convention in New Orleans. I missed a chance to say goodbye, but my friends who passed on my goodbyes told me she understood. Because she knew how important writing was to me, how I was off pursuing my dreams. “She’d smiled and chuckled”, they told me. Then she left this world, bound for something greater.
I can’t, won’t, and refuse to remember the lessons her death taught me. That life is too short to hold grudges, to not smile or laugh, and to lose yourself in working without following dreams. That doing the right thing means more than the bottom line, then your free time, or spending a little extra gas to get someone to a doctor’s appointment. Finally, I will always remember that friendship should lift you up, not put you down, and being a friend means giving of yourself and never asking anything in return.
Author Bio:

Landra Graf consumes at least one book a day, and has always been a sucker for stories where true love conquers all. She believes in the power of the written word, and the joy such words can bring. In between spending time with her family and having book adventures, she writes romance with the goal of giving everyone, fictional or not, their own happily ever after.

Find Landra: Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Pinterest ~ Goodreads ~ Amazon

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It’s Auction Time!!

Are you ready for this? Final auction and everything. It’s been a few days so here’s a refresher on what’s available:

DaneGranger Dont Look Back Nocturnal Embers Carnage Resolutions300x450TheEyesOfVengeance-V1

Plus, two dvd horror movies of our host’s choice, and a Resolutions prize pack including a Starbucks GC, a mug, and awesome swag.

Bid in the comments. Auction lasts 24 hours. 😀

Oh, and Happy Scream-o-ween

Auction Basket Preview: Horror and Suspense

It’s the final auction week. We’re sad this has to wrap up, but there’s only so many weeks in October. 😉

The final auction is all about horror and suspense. *Note* All books are print editions. No ebooks in this auction, just lovely trees printed and bound.

First up for grabs, a Dystopian/Horror Anthology that includes the lovely Laura Diamond.

Carnage

Next, we have a another anthology book donated by the Scream for the Cure Host, Catherine Peace. It includes her story as well.

Nocturnal Embers

Followed with (super special) printed, and signed YA Suspense novel, Don’t Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout.

Dont Look Back

Also, there’s a print copy of suspense/thriller Dane Granger Reborn by Stephanie Hensley.DaneGranger

And a Resolutions prize pack from Teri Riggs, which includes a print copy of Resolutions, a $25 Starbucks gift card, swag, and a mug.

Resolutions300x450

Finally horror lovers, the host is going to throw in 2 of her favorite horror movies. I don’t know what those are, but they are in there. 😀

This basket is worth or $60 and bidding opens on Friday October 31st, bright and early. Not sure if you’ll like the books or you’ve never read them, click on the covers below to learn more.

Why We’re Screaming: Landra Graf

I already posted earlier this month about my grandmother. Today I’m going to post about my friend, Donna.

When I met Donna, a little over two years ago, she’d just finished a double mastectomy and a round of chemo to fight cancer still affecting lymph nodes and her skin. She suffered from lymphedema, a condition that causes swelling in arms or legs. In her case it was her right arm.

Did you know that lymph nodes are an essential part of your body? I didn’t. Sure, I took basic Biology and heard about the crazy bone and muscle memorizing tests friends took in Anatomy, but I never learned that lymph nodes regulate the fluid in your body. Until I started seeing my friend’s arm swell a little more every day.

“Why?” I asked.

“Because the cancer required the doctor to remove more lymph nodes in that area then others and now my cells can’t disperse fluid evenly,” she said.

Then came the news the cancer wasn’t really gone, she wasn’t in remission. More rounds of chemo treatment came. More stress, continuous doctor appointments, and my friend in pain. Finally, a leave of absence from work was required. Something she’d avoided, but needed to take, since her surgery.

That’s right, Donna, a divorced, mother of two, couldn’t even take the requisite time from work to recover from her illness because she had to take care of her children and her mother. She didn’t have a good support structure because we as humans tend to be less empathetic unless we can visibly see your suffering. We’re assholes. Donna was tough so she put on a strong face for everyone and tried to pretend it was always alright, when it wasn’t.

The months during which she disappeared from life allowed me to see her one time. She’d looked fine then, arm still swollen, but upbeat and positive. Two months later I got a disturbing text from her saying something about wanting to die. I never could get her on the phone, but turns out the cancer was winning. No chemo treatment option worked, so she stopped taking them. No amount of rest staved off the problem, and then she got sick. Immune system compromised and with an infection in her swollen arm, Donna succumbed to the devil of cancer on 5/14/2014.

Before I met Donna I’ll admit to being ignorant of a lot of potential problems or situations cancer survivors face. Sure you can have the breasts removed, but there is more to it then a simple surgery.

We need to get educated on cancer, know the complications, the challenges, and the pains that are faced so we can stop being assholes, stop being disconnected from the truth. Stop pretending the simple solution is to buy a pink, rubber band to wear or simply wear a pink t-shirt. No, we need to find ways to help. Have a friend recovering cancer, offer to cook a well-balanced healthy meal. Spend time with them, not to offer comfort, but to be a person who they can talk to. Be a friend by always being there and not expecting them to return the favor.

I’m not only screaming for a cure. I’m screaming for people to embrace those attempting to recover and find a way to help.

Losing Donna hurts. She was a friend and I miss her. This battle isn’t over, we’ll still lose ones we love, but the way to win the war is to do everything within our power to educate, empathize, and embrace.

 

 

Auction Basket Preview: Urban Fantasy

It’s time for another week, another basket. This week we bring you the Urban Fantasy Basket.

Note: This basket retails over $50 dollars, not including swag.

First we have a copy of the YA Urban Fantasy by Connie L. Smith: Enscrolled

Enscrolled

 

Next up 3 books from Karina Cooper’s St. Croix Chronicles: Corroded, Tempered, and Engraved

CorrodedTemperedEngraved

 

Followed with swag and a physical book by Jeff Somers. Now you could get his latest, We Are Not Good People, or something from his Avery Cates/The Electric Church books. It’s a secret for now, but this man master web spins Urban Fantasy and spins traditional storytelling on it’s rear while pouring bourbon down it’s throat. Whatever you get, it’s worth it. Cover examples provided 😉

We Are Not Good PeopleThe Electric Church

 

Kendall Grey has graciously offered up the chance to pick one of her Urban Fantasy novels. From the series Just Breathe or her latest Urban Fantasy/Underworld/TooHotTooHandle book Hot-Blooded. Cover examples provided.

InhaleExhaleJust BreatheHot Blooded

With a urban fantasy involving witches, there’s also Ella Grey’s A Touch of Death

A Touch of Death

Finally, Landra Graf is adding to the pot 4 of her favorite Urban Fantasies. 2 from the illustrusious, creatively foul-mouthed Chuck Wendig. One from Allison Pang, and a novella from Jeff Somers.

BlackbirdsBlue BlazesA Brush of DarknessFixer

Not sure if you’ll like the books? Want to read blurbs, reviews, and about authors? Click the covers. They’ll will take you to the information you seek. Then pull out your balance registers, your online banking logins and budget your funds. Bidding starts Friday 10/24 – Midnight EST.