Sunday, June 19, 2016

Life is a Series of Last Chance Canyons~

A wise cowboy once told me his personal philosophy ~ life is a series of last chance canyons. He said he realized it once while he was riding the range in Last Chance Canyon and wondered about the name. Dry Creek Canyon was named for the creek that went dry in the summer. Rock Creek Canyon had a lot of rocks. It occurred to him that someone must have had a last chance in this canyon once.

He said you have a lot of chances in life, firsts and lasts. Everyone remembers their firsts: your first bike ride, your first date, your first day of school are things everyone recognizes as significant. You remember some of your lasts too, like graduation is an end to you childhood, but some you don't notice until they're passed. Like your last chance to hold your child on your lap or jump on the bed with them. Pretty soon they grow up and you've lost that chance. Or you last chance to see an old friend or loved one. Most of us have experienced a sudden loss where we didn't know the last time we saw or spoke to someone was our last chance to be with them, to share a special moment with them, and let them know how we feel. If we'd only known.

Life is a series of last chance canyons. Don't be afraid to take a chance~

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Hair in all the Wrong Places Blog Tour

Welcome to my stop on the Hair in all the Wrong Places Blog Tour!  Read about the book and be sure to enter the giveaway!

~About the Book~

Hair in All the Wrong Places by Andrew Buckley
Publication Date: June 7, 2016
Publisher: Month9Books

What has he done?

What’s happening to him?

And what on Earth is that smell?

For Colin Strauss, puberty stinks. Blackouts, hallucinations, and lapses in memory are the perils of growing up werewolf.

Worse than that, Colin worries he might have had something to do with the recent attacks on the townspeople. He may have eaten a person. It doesn’t matter that it’s someone he doesn’t particularly like. What kind of boy goes around eating people?

Foolishly, all Colin can think about is how Becca Emerson finally kissed him for the first time. Yep, hormones are afoot. Yikes!

But girls will have to wait. Collin better get himself under control before someone else ends up hurt or worse . . . dead.

~Find the Book~

~About the Author~

Andrew Buckley attended the Vancouver Film School’s Writing for Film and Television program. After pitching and developing several screenplay projects for film and television, he worked in marketing and public relations, before becoming a professional copy and content writer. During this time Andrew began writing his first adult novel, DEATH, THE DEVIL AND THE GOLDFISH, followed closely by his second novel, STILTSKIN. He works as an editor for Curiosity Quills Press.

Andrew also co-hosts a geek movie podcast, is working on his next novel, and has a stunning amount of other ideas. He now lives happily in the Okanagan Valley, BC with three kids, one cat, one needy dog, one beautiful wife, and a multitude of characters that live comfortably inside of his mind.

Andrew is represented by Mark Gottlieb at the Trident Media Group.

~Enter the Giveaway~

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway Information: Contest ends June 24, 2016

· One (1) winner will receive a scrabble tile book cover charm (US ONLY)
· Five (5) winners will receive a digital copy of Hair in the Wrong Places by Andrew Buckley (INT)

~Author Interview~

When did you start writing and why?

I enjoyed writing throughout elementary and secondary school in the UK and, if I’m being honest, it’s the only subject I really excelled at throughout my entire academic career. I always found satire to be a natural thing to write and was considerably chastised in 5th year English class with Mrs Mallinson when I wrote an essay satirising Macbeth and his terrible decision-making skills. Not long after that I started writing screenplays (funnily enough my first screenplay was a terrible action movie about werewolves) and in my early twenties I transitioned to writing novels.

What's your favorite scene in Hair in the all the Wrong Places and why?

There are several but I’m partial to two in particular. There’s a scene when Colin’s crush breaks into his house to enlist him into investigating a crime scene (that Colin may or may not have been involved in) and it places Colin at the very height of his awkwardness. I may love awkward Colin more than any other version of himself. There’s also a scene with Colin’s Grandmother that I can’t talk about because it gives away too much story but you can find it in the chapter called ‘Granny Storm’.

What's your writing routine?

It’s very simple: ‘Write Whenever I Can.’ Unfortunately, I don’t have as much time as I’d like but I try to complete one book a year. I spend a lot of wonderful time with my wife and kids, I work two different jobs, and I write whenever I’m able which is usually late at night when everyone is asleep. I used to write with no clear direction when I was younger but these days I plan out the overall story arc and then plan chapter by chapter as I write.

What do you have in store for readers in the future?

I’m working on a ‘couple’ of different things at the moment. One is a secret project that I can tell no one about, the other is a TV concept pitch that I can also say nothing about. I have a new novel series started that covers the hilarious life and times of Jack the Ripper, and I have sequels for my first two novels, plus a sequel to HAVELOCK (writing as Jane D Everly) and then there’s the sequel to HAIR IN ALL THE WRONG PLACES . . . if anyone has a TARDIS, Time Turner, or an almost flawless cloning machine, please let me know.

Friday, June 3, 2016

My newest title: Cancer Patient

After having been diagnosed this March with breast cancer, I've been through a whirlwind of medical tests and treatments. Surgery appears to have removed it all. Does that mean I'm cured? In remission? I don't know, but I do know that I'm still a "cancer patient" and probably will be for the rest of my life.

I feel pretty good. I'm lucky enough to only go through radiation therapy. I actually feel guilty that I seem to have gotten off so easy. I still have my breast and my hair. It seems weird to say "I have cancer" because technically, it's gone for all intents and purposes. But many years of cancer research say my odds of reoccurrence are higher now and it's best to be vigilant.

Radiation has been an interesting process. I'm finding most people don't know much about it or confuse it with chemotherapy, which involves taking medications that treat the entire body. The two work very differently. Here's what I've learned, but keep in mind: I'm not a medical professional. This is just my understanding, which may or may not be right.

Radiation is basically a high powered x-ray beam that targets a specific area of the body, in my case, the tissue around my surgery site. That's the place most likely to have microscopic cancer cells still floating around that were missed by the surgery. The radiation kills cells at a certain stage in their life cycle, including cancer cells, and encourages new healthy cells to grow back in their place. This happens naturally all the time, but radiation speeds up the process, which is kind of amazing if you think about it.

The machine that delivers the radiation beam is a huge thing that takes up a big room. It rotates around you while you lay on a table. The process is painless, like an x-ray. There's no light or heat, but there is a green laser line they use to position you exactly the same way each time. The machine clicks a little and whirs when it rotates. It buzzes when the beam is delivered, but it's nowhere near as loud as an MRI machine. It's much faster too. Each treatment lasts maybe 5-10 minutes on the table.

They play an oldies radio station in the room so there's music to distract you, which I think is a nice touch in what could be a really sterile, dark room. The day of my first treatment, Elvis came on the radio. He was singing a song about feeling his temperature rise and I had to laugh. It all seemed so absurd at that moment, lying on my back, half naked with my arms over my head while two technicians I've just barely met push me around on the table until I'm lined up properly. (The position reminds me vaguely of being strung on a torture rack, although it really doesn't hurt, I promise.)

The worst part I've found is the hard "head rest" that isn't that comfortable and essentially being topless in the company of strangers. Thank goodness they're all professional. I guess it's like giving birth - you lose your modesty out of necessity.

The best part is the awesome rose garden the hospital has adjacent to the parking lot that I get to visit every day if I want. The roses are all in bloom this time of year.

Most days I feel pretty good about where I am in this cancer patient stuff. So many people are struggling so much more than I am. Sometimes the terror hits me. What if I'm fooling myself that I'm OK? Lots of women go through breast cancer twice, even three times. I know it could come back anytime. Could be five or ten years down the road. How much longer do I get?

The truth is, none of us know how much time we have. Could be two years or two days. I have to focus on the right-now or I'll drive myself bonkers. Right now, I feel good. I'll take it and be grateful for it. Smell the roses. Every single day of it. You should too.