The Big C Hop


Hey, gang! Today I'm taking part in the 'Big C Bloghop' being instigated by our blog friend Michael Di Gesu in honor of another blog friend, Melissa Bradley. 

Melissa is currently undergoing cancer treatment, and the bloghop posts will be collected for an anthology that will be sold to help with healthcare costs for M. As well as provide donations for an organization (Gilda's Club Chicago) dedicated to helping women fight endometrial, cervical, and ovarian cancers.

Melissa has been a great talent and feisty spirit in our blogging and writing community for a long time and she needs our help. There has been a GoFundMe page established by her friends, and I know she greatly appreciates your donations and sharing.

Get well, M! We are in your corner.

~EJ

Please visit the others in the hop and show your support for, Melissa.

1.Michael @ In Time ...2.Denise Covey
3.Elizabeth Seckman, Author4.Julie Kemp Pick
5.Julie @ Empty Nest Insider6.tammy theriault
7.Tyrean's Writing Spot8.Nicki Elson
9.Jemi Fraser10.Melissa's Imaginarium
11.The Girdle of Melian12.Livia Peterson | Leave it to Livia
13.Scattergun Scribblings14.Life by Chocolate
15.Write with Fey16.Ella's Edge
17.WRITING IN THE CROSSHAIRS18.Positive Letters and Stories
19.Far Away Eyes20.Confessions of a Watery Tart
21.E.J. Wesley, Author22.The Cancer Assassin: Ken Wins!!!
23.Donna Hole24.Aloha! Mark Koopmans says hi from HI
25.Michelle @Writer-In-Transit26.Stephen Tremp
27.PK HREZO28.Elizabeth Hein-Scribbling In The Storage Room
29.The Murphey Saga30.Robyn Campbell
31.Theresa Milstein @ Theresa's Tales32.Elizabeth Hein-Scribbling In The Storage Room
33.Sweet as Honey...Hotter than Hell

(Note about my entry: Melissa is one of the funniest people I've met, so I've added a touch of humor and sarcasm to my essay just for her. :) I give full rights to this work to Melissa and allow her to use it however she sees fit.)

5 Things I learned About Cancer Living With An Oncologist

I’ve never had cancer, but I have a pretty intimate relationship with it. My wife is an oncologist, so I hear about the struggles and triumphs every day. I see how determined she is, even after logging seventy to eighty hours away from home on an average week, to stay persistent and encouraging in the face of such brutal diseases and treatments. And she tells me that most of her dedication comes directly from the courage she sees in her patients.


Ultimately, she gets to go home. Lots of people aren’t so fortunate. So, other than being grateful for whatever health I’m given every second of every day, what other things have I picked up living with an oncologist?

1. Cancer hates weekends and holidays … and pretty much every other special moment in life. It’s like a demonic Santa Claus. It knows when you’re sleeping. It knows when you’re awake. It knows when you haven’t eaten or seen your family in three days, and it doesn’t give a damn. People have it 24/7, and those people need to be taken care of 24/7. It’s a vicious cycle for everyone involved.

2. Cancer sucks. Cancer treatment can suck more—at least in the short term. What do you do to a disease that’s trying to kill you? Why poison it—and you—naturally! Seriously, it’s like Agatha Christie invented modern oncology. There are also surgeries, needle sticks, ports, and pretty much everything else evil in the world. When you hear about people ‘fighting cancer’, that’s exactly what it is in most instances. A knock-down-drag-out brawl to reclaim their health. When a doctor tells you a procedure or treatment ‘isn’t fun’ that’s code for “this will probably be worse than being mauled by a lion".

3. The psychological toll of cancer is often harsher than the physical toll. “You have a life-threatening disease. Have a great weekend!” That’s not how a typical visit with an oncologist goes down. A huge portion of cancer treatment is counseling the patient and their families. It’s preparing them and getting them the help they need for the inevitable depression. It’s educating them on treatment options (remember, some of which really suck, see #2) and side effects. It’s helping folks stare down their mortality—even for the good kinds of cancer. (See - #4) You can’t be diagnosed with the Big C and not have your insides turned out.

4. There are good kinds of cancer. Okay, poor phrasing. No cancer is good. But there are WAY worse kinds to have. Doctors get really excited when a patient has one of the good ones. It truly makes their month (sometimes year) when they get to tell a patient the goal of treatment is cure, because that’s definitely not always the case. Way too often they’re dealing in weeks and months, not years or forever, when it comes to prognosis. So they live for those appointments when they get to talk about curing a disease, not just treating it. 

5. Speaking of forever, when you live with an oncologist you quickly realize almost nothing is. Absolutes make all doctors crazy, but especially cancer doctors. They see lives yanked out from under folks like shabby rugs on a daily basis and it’s their jobs to help them get back on their feet if they can. They understand that diseases are random and unilaterally unbiased. Good people, bad people, old people, young people, smart people, funny people, silly people, loved people—anyone can get cancer. This might seem like a depressing or alarming amount of knowledge to have (and it can be a really poor party topic at times), but it’s mostly empowering. You want a VIP pass to enjoy life? Get real about how precious and beautiful it is, and how so many people are stripped of the ability to live it to its fullest.

E.J. Wesley

#LifeIsGood

Remembering Tina



A college fund has been established for Tina's children. Donations to can be made here--

IWSG - Time Marches On

Hey, gang! Today marks the 3rd(!) anniversary of the Insecure Writer's Support Group. To say that this group has become a light of encouragement in our community is a gross understatement of its importance.

Like so many artists, writers are often ruled by our insecurities. Our desire to share our creativity with the world is often the very thing that terrifies us the most. Having this group of likeminded individuals--many of whom I look up to a great deal--sharing their trials and successes each month has sometimes been the only thing putting my butt back in the chair to keep writing.

So often I've felt that I was doing this writing thing wrong. That there was some piece to this cosmic puzzle that wasn't included with my set. Then, IWSG rolled around and I'd invariably find that ONE other writer who expressed exactly what I was feeling at any given time. And in our business, a small bit of affirmation can go a long way.

IWSG doesn't just give you spoonfuls of confidence and encouragement, it dishes it out in heaps. (There are over 300 members as of this post.) So if you've ever needed a boost, please click the pic below and give the group a look.

Time Marches On


My insecurity this month really isn't an insecurity, just more of a bitter fact of life. I can't control time for others, only what I do with my own. And I REALLY wish I could stop it altogether sometimes.

I live far enough from my 'growing up' home that I'm only able to visit most of my family once every 6 months (sometimes not even that). I'm the youngest of 4 children, my parents are elderly and not in great health. Every time I visit I wonder how much more time I'll have with them. My nieces and nephews grow an inch (or three) between every visit now. My siblings get a few more gray hairs and wrinkles. When you memorize everything about someone because you think about them all the time, it's jarring when your mental images no longer match up to the real thing.

I have a 15 year old chihuahua named Eddy. He has been by my side for many moves and adventures. I'm losing him, and I'd give just about anything to be able to hit a pause button and keep him with me for another 15 years. A dog that is able to grow old and die in a loving home is a lucky dog, because so many have hard, hard lives. But I'm still greedy enough to always want one more day with him.

We've lost some people in our writing-blogging community of late. People you see flash by in your feeds every day. People you've had conversations with. People who've lifted us up. We grow so accustomed to feeling their presence it's absolutely glaring when it's suddenly gone. My heart aches for their families, because I know they are feeling (x 1,000) what I am about time right now. We just need more of it with those we love. Always.

But that's not how life works. It keeps moving even if we stop.

Sometimes I listen to the wonderful Passenger song "Life's For The Living" when I get overwhelmed with these kinds of thoughts. The chorus really brings me back to the proper perspective.

Don't you cry for the lost
Smile for the living
Get what you need and give what you'r given
Life's for the living so live it
Or you're better of dead



Tears for what we've lost or missed are okay and good. But they won't give us any more time. It marches on and we have to try to keep up as best we can. We only have the moments we are given, and it's up to us to cherish them.

~EJW~

*sings* Happy Book Birthday To Me!


Hey, gang! Sorry for the blog silence the last couple of weeks. I've been busy trying to get everything ready for today's release and traveling around the country for various things. But I'm back and definitely ready to party. :)

Today, I'm officially releasing my novel Perfectly Ernest into the world. This was one of those projects that started as an interesting/fun story idea and morphed into something near and dear to my heart.

I never intended for this to be a touching story necessarily, and especially not a "feel good" story. But it somehow became those things via all these fun characters who suffer from one form of mental illness or another learning to rely on each other.

My educational background is in counseling so it's something I've always wanted to explore in my fiction. But alas, this is fiction and my character's journey is over in just a few hundred pages. So many "real" people are shackled in life by anxiety, depression, and more, and it's not something that just goes away.

That's why I wanted to donate 10% of the annual proceeds from this story to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. (www.nami.org). It's a way for me (and readers) to hopefully contribute something meaningful to the cause.

Though there is the common thread of mental illness, this story is equally (if not more so) about friendship and love. There's even some baseball and humor thrown in for good measure! My hope is that I've crafted a story that will appeal to a lot of different kinds of readers.

But enough about my thoughts! Here are the details for the story. As always, I greatly appreciate any shares, and more so all of the encouragement and support you've given me over the years. My fellow writers and this blogging community have kept me afloat through some tough times of doubt and setbacks. I'm forever grateful for that.

~EJ


A gripping story of striking out and winning big.
 
From a distance, Ernie’s life seems perfect—he’s a star college baseball player adored by the student body and coveted by professional teams. Up close, he is a disaster. Since the death of his mother, he’s been trapped by a promise he made and forced to live her dream instead of his own. He reaches his breaking point in the biggest game of his young career and sets off a chain of events that will either define or destroy the rest of his life. 

 Ernie grudgingly joins a quirky campus counseling group that empowers him to heal himself and right his wrongs. By testing old friendships, forging unlikely new ones, and exploring an exciting romance, he begins to unravel the jumbled knot his tangled inner-psyche has become. But old rivals, mental illness, and the risk of a forbidden relationship soon threaten his progress. Will Ernie's new direction and friends be his salvation, or confirmation that he is forever doomed by his imperfections?

Perfectly Ernest is a New Adult contemporary novel with romantic elements by author E.J. Wesley. Ernest offers a smart, funny, sweet, sexy, uplifting, and oftentimes poignant perspective of one person's difficult transition into adulthood. It is a story about overcoming the demons of mental illness and struggling with the profound burden of expectations—both real and imagined. But it’s mostly a tale of friendship, hope, and love. 

**Special Labor Day Release Sale - eBook only .99c for a limited time!**

“EJ Wesley has written a modern day Breakfast Club.”

"E.J. tells a college love story with a real life feel. He has created a flawed and pitiful character who quickly becomes a rallying point for all the other characters of the story. Ernie is the sort of boy I could easily imagine myself being friends with in college and cheered on through life in general, but certainly the story." 

 "EJ's tale of a college baseball star and the demons he fights is powerful and captivating. Once you're involved in Ernest's world, you are invested for the ride. Fans of this genre will say EJ hit it out of the park!" Alex J. Cavanaugh, Amazon bestselling author of the Cassa series 

 "Great cast of characters. Lots of fun humor. Romance. Win! Definitely recommend!" 

 "This is not so much a "coming of age" story, as it is a "coming of self." I loved reading it" 

 "It is an inspirational, heartwarming story in which any reader is likely to get lost."

 "This story made me laugh and cry and it was so great to read something sweet and awesome from a guy."
 
“Perfectly Ernest offers an emotionally genuine tour through depression, friendship, and love.”
 
“It's wonderful when a story's voice is so strong as to drag you into someone's head so it feels natural. I devoured Perfectly Ernest.”
 
“…captured my heart from page one.”


Book Trailer
 
 
**Perfectly Ernest Social Media Shareables**
Twitter

'A gripping story of striking out & winning big.' Perfect Ernest, only .99c #LaborDaySale http://www.amazon.com/Perfectly-Ernest-E-J-Wesley-ebook/dp/B00MQIJZR8 #KindleBooks #newrelease

"A modern day Breakfast Club" http://www.amazon.com/Perfectly-Ernest-E-J-Wesley-ebook/dp/B00MQIJZR8 Perfectly Ernest, a #NewAdult contemporary novel by @EJWesley .99c for a limited time

'heart & soul woven throughout the pages' Perfectly Ernest, a contemporary #novel about life, love, & friendship http://www.amazon.com/Perfectly-Ernest-E-J-Wesley-ebook/dp/B00MQIJZR8

"an emotionally genuine tour through depression, friendship, and love." Perfectly Ernest on sale now .99c
#NewRelease http://www.ejwesley.com/perfectly-ernest.html

Facebook

"E.J. Wesley has created a modern day Breakfast Club."
 
Perfectly Ernest is a New Adult contemporary novel with romantic elements by author E.J. Wesley. Ernest offers a smart, funny, sweet, sexy, uplifting, and oftentimes poignant perspective of one person's difficult transition into adulthood. It is a story about overcoming the demons of mental illness and struggling with the profound burden of expectations—both real and imagined. But it’s mostly a tale of friendship, hope, and love.
 
 
**Labor Day Release Sale - eBook only.99c for a limited time!**
 
*The author will donate 10% of the annual proceeds of this book to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), a nonprofit organization dedicated to spreading awareness and support for those who suffer from mental illness.
-------------------
"Captured my heart from page one."
 
Perfectly Ernest is a New Adult contemporary novel with romantic elements by author E.J. Wesley. Ernest offers a smart, funny, sweet, sexy, uplifting, and oftentimes poignant perspective of one person's difficult transition into adulthood. It is a story about overcoming the demons of mental illness and struggling with the profound burden of expectations—both real and imagined. But it’s mostly a tale of friendship, hope, and love.
 
 
**Labor Day Release Sale - eBook only.99c for a limited time!**
 
*The author will donate 10% of the annual proceeds of this book to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), a nonprofit organization dedicated to spreading awareness and support for those who suffer from mental illness.



IWSG - Fiction's Dirty Little Secret: Size Matters

Hey, gang! Welcome to your monthly dose of hot mess we affectionately call the Insecure Writer's Support Group around these parts. Not familiar with IWSG? Click the IWSG button below for all the details!

On the E.J. news front, my New Adult contemporary novel, Perfectly Ernest, is releasing Labor Day weekend. (Less than a month away! *dry heaves from nerves*) 

I'd love to have your help spreading the word! Here's a sign up for a book blast/cover reveal. It is scheduled for the last week of August/first week of September. 



Even if you don't have openings on your blog during that two week period, I'll also send some canned tweets and Facebook messages. Any little thing you can do to help me get the word out is greatly appreciated. 

Here's what this story is all about:


From a distance, Ernie’s life seems perfect—he’s a star college baseball player adored by the student body and coveted by professional teams. Up close, he is a disaster. Since the death of his mother, he’s been trapped by a promise he made and forced to live her dream instead of his own. He reaches his breaking point in the biggest game of his young career and sets off a chain of events that will either define or destroy the rest of his life.

Ernie grudgingly joins a quirky campus counseling group that empowers him to heal himself and right his wrongs. By testing old friendships, forging unlikely new ones, and exploring an exciting romance, he begins to unravel the jumbled knot his tangled inner-psyche has become. But old rivals, mental illness, and the risk of a forbidden relationship soon threaten his progress. Will Ernie's new direction and friends be his salvation, or confirmation that he is forever doomed by his imperfections?

Perfectly Ernest is a New Adult contemporary novel with romantic elements by author E.J. Wesley. Ernest offers a smart, funny, sweet, sexy, uplifting, and oftentimes poignant perspective of one person's difficult transition into adulthood. It is a story about overcoming the demons of mental illness and struggling with the profound burden of expectations—both real and imagined. But it’s mostly a tale of friendship, hope, and love.

Add Perfectly Ernest to your TBR!

Fiction's Dirty Little Secret: Size Matters


http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com
Click for more info on IWSG!
I have a confession: I have a little bit of a size inferiority complex. No, I'm not talking about naughty things. (Hey, eyes up here!) Nor am I talking about the fact that I'm only 5'6" tall. (Someone has to stay small enough to sit in the middle on road trips. I proudly wear that badge of shame.) 

I'm talking about the fiction I write. You see, I have a series of novelettes out. Each individual story ranges from 12-17 thousand words. They're short by design, meant to be enjoyed like your favorite TV shows or a fun-sized candy bar. A couple of delicious bites that simultaneously curb your craving and leave you wanting more.

I get the occasional complaint that the stories are too short, but those have mostly come from folks who didn't read the product description. (Or don't realize it's an ongoing series for whatever reasons.) By and large, the feedback I've gotten is that they are enjoyable stories by themselves. So no big worries there.

But then I wrote (and completed) my first novel, Perfectly Ernest. I outlined a story and wrote that story to the best of my ability. While I'd originally planned for it to be around 75k, it ended up being 60. Why? Because that was the story. Anything else I would've added would've been filler or fluff in my mind.

So what's the big deal, E.J.? Sounds like you're happy with the results. 

I'm truly thrilled with how the book turned out. It packs the emotional punch I dreamed it would when I first came up with the idea, and also has this weird ability to leave readers feeling warm and fuzzy. (I say weird, because I never planned on this being a feel good story--but I think it somehow is now.) Also, early reviewers are telling me it's a page turner, which is something I always put high on my to-do list.

The big deal is that some readers balk at anything less than 80k being worthy of the title of novel. I've known about the reader size bias for a while. Because of my experience with the Moonsongs series, I know there are readers who won't touch shorter fiction. It's just their preference.

But when an author friend did an informal poll on Facebook the other day, I had my eyes opened to a new kind of size bias: The price Vs size bias.

This friend asked her followers what the single most important factor in making a book purchase was. Many people listed positive reviews, recommendations from friends, and other common factors. But there were many who said they first look at price and word count on the product description.

Most were reluctant to pay more than .99 cents for anything under 80k--no mater what the reviews said. I guess it took me by surprise, because my first concern as a reader is if I'm going to enjoy the story. I've also loved a number of short stories and I realize size isn't going to necessarily indicative of how much I'm going to enjoy a read.

Here's a list of the word lengths for several great novels. I find myself wondering just how many great reads these people are missing out on. Is Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five worth less than a buck because it doesn't hit 50k? A chunk of Ray Bradbury's stuff doesn't hit 70k, neither does John Green's A Fault in Our Stars. The Great Gatsby is around 47k. 

Now, I realize these are certified classics, and that Unknown Indie Author X (ME) is in a different class. But lots of someones have to read these stories before they become classics. Seems like a shame to miss out on something possibly great because of arbitrary things like word count and/or price point. 

Ultimately, this all leaves me feeling a touch vulnerable when it comes to Perfectly Ernest. How many people are going to walk right by it because it's not going to take them a month to read, or because the author had the nerve to charge $3 for it? 

If they saw how much time, grief, and money we spend writing these things, it would probably make more sense. I'm thinking about putting that info in the product description from now on. 

"This book took me 8 months, 3 lost friendships, 17 marital fights, 1 disgruntled dog, 2 neglected children, and $2,500 to produce, advertise, and distribute. Thanks for parting with $2.99 and being entertained for hours. Sorry if my blood, sweat, and tear stains slow you down!" LOL (Actually, not a bad idea...)

What do you think? Does size matter when you're browsing for new reads? What about price? 

~EJW~