Monday, September 10, 2012

Laurie Bellesheim "Surviving Emily"

About the book:

Abigail Hooper and Stephen Sparks had never heard of Sudden Unexplained Death in Epilepsy until one fatal morning in November when it crushed their hopes and dreams. Twelve years after the devastating loss of their dearest friend Emily, they find themselves still affected by the trauma. Abigail, married and newly pregnant, helps others through her work for the Department of Children and Families. When a new client with epilepsy unexpectedly forces her to re-examine the past, Abigail realizes she's the one who needs saving. Stephen has struggled emotionally, physically and spiritually after losing the love of his life, and the long-term effects of his grief have kept him from truly living and finding love again. As the two search for redemption and the power to heal, their paths cross once again. Emily's presence so long ago still has meaning in their own lives, teaching them the meaning of true friendship and what's really important. Drawing on her own experience with a close friend with epilepsy who died, author Laurie Bellesheim raises awareness about the disease in this compelling tale told partially through flashbacks.
"Full of heartbreak and loss but ultimately hope, Surviving Emily is a compelling story that explores the meaning of everlasting friendship and the healing power of love." - Written by Dog Ear Publishing in a 2011 Press Release for Surviving Emily.
"Surviving Emily by Laurie Bellesheim, is more than a heartwarming story--it is an event. I cried with the characters, feared along with them, applauded their milestones, identified with their setbacks, and learned from the book. " - Susan Anderson, reviewer on Amazon
About the author:

Laurie Bellesheim, a published poet, belongs to several writers' organizations including Writer's Digest, Authors Den and Bellesheim was inspired to write Surviving Emily because she lost a close friend to Sudden Unexplained Death in Epilepsy when she was 18. Bellesheim also hopes to help raise awareness about this deadly condition. Before writing Surviving Emily, her first novel, Bellesheim was a social worker for six years, including working with the Department of Children and Families. She graduated from Southern Connecticut State University with a bachelor's degree in social work. She lives in Connecticut with her husband and three children.
In Laurie's own words:
I started writing in my elementary years. From as young as I can remember, I dreamt of being a great writer someday and 'making it" as an author. When other kids were asked what they wanted to be when they grew up, my answer was usually quite different. I wanted to be a 'mommy' and an 'author'. Back then, my awful grammar and childish stories about my pets did not give my family much faith in my future of writing, but that did not stop me from trying. I perfected those short stories year after year and in high school I covered every napkin and book cover I could find with my poems. I wrote on and off through-out most of my youth, but it took many more years to realize what writing really meant to me.

After the tragic loss of a close friend during my first year in college, I began to use writing as a tool for healing and expression. I used my words as a way to express my grief and what I couldn't communicate vocally, I spilled out onto paper. Writing became my outlet, a way to channel all my thoughts, dreams, and creativity. It was during that desperate time that I discovered what writing truly meant to me and it's been a bigger part of my life ever since. But it wasn't just my passion for writing that bloomed; it was something much more. I found that I had an important story to tell, one that would not only honor my friend who passed, but also help others, and help raise awareness about epilepsy and the condition of SUDEP (Sudden Unexplained Death in Epilepsy).

I achieved what I had always dreamt of doing, when my first novel, Surviving Emily, was published in September, 2011. I also learned that I am someone who writes from the heart, and that I enjoy writing stories that have great meaning and purpose. For me, Surviving Emily is just the beginning, and I have have much more left inside me to write!

Visit the author's website.


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Saturday, September 8, 2012

When will cryonics be cool? Author Marsha Cornelius Speaks Out.

Author Marsha Cornelius originally appeared on Book Talk on June 3, 2012, discussing her latest book The Ups And Downs of Being Dead. Read that post by clicking here.

Today she chats about Cryonics!

So, Larry King, the talk show host, has signed up to have his body frozen when he dies. He thinks he’s going to come back in the future. What a weirdo. Right?
But why? Why are people so quick to discount revolutionary ideas like cryonics?

Oliver Wendell Holmes was vilified by fellow physicians when he dared to suggest they wash their hands as they went from patient to patient. Henry Ford was mocked when he introduced his horseless carriage. Steve Wozniak worked for Hewlett Packard, but when he showed them the prototype for a desktop computer, they turned him down—five times!

Is it any wonder, then, that the few brave souls who are gambling with immortality are considered nutjobs?

The premise is simple enough. The data stored in the brain – all knowledge, memories, and opinions – could possibly be retrieved in the future, if the brain is properly preserved. When a ‘believer in cryonics’ - a cryonicist - dies, his or her brain will be preserved with a special anti-freeze that will prevent damage to the cells of the brain. Then theoretically, when technology figures out how to bring them back, they will live again.

Poppycock, you say?

Let’s face it, the ‘Doubting Thomas’ has been around since Jesus. There were an estimated 7 million people living in Spain in 1492. But only 90 men were willing to sail with Columbus. Most people thought the world was flat!
When John Glenn climbed on board Friendship 7, I imagine a lot of people watching the broadcast on TV were thinking, “He’s crazy. You’d never catch me in that thing.”

Why aren’t cryonicists considered visionaries? No less pioneers than the brave souls who rode west in covered wagons?

Maybe it’s just too soon. Technology hasn’t caught up with the dream yet. So what will it take to convince people that cryonics will work?

Scientists are experimenting with methods of regenerating damaged cells and tissue, and even stimulating the body to regenerate and replace tissue and organs itself.

Now I’m really on board with this idea. Imagine sending a message to the cells in my skin. ‘Tighten up!’ And maybe someday, instead of implanting bags of gel, a technician could merely send a message that would encourage more growth in the breasts, and less in the hips. Dare I dream that someday, tiny nano-robots could be sent to my belly to snatch up fat cells and carry them to my kidneys for disposal?

A company in California is cryo-preserving organs like hearts. Someday we will have organ banks with a full line of lungs and livers. There won’t be any more racing a cooler with a viable kidney into surgery before the organ deteriorates. And if a patient needs a new pancreas, a surgeon will be able to locate a good match at the organ bank, and then prep the patient for a couple weeks ahead of time to lessen the chance of rejection.

We’ve been freezing embryos and eggs since the 1970s. Cadaver skin that has been cryopreserved is now used for burn victims. Adult stem cells in bone marrow are treating patients with leukemia.

So instead of thinking that people who have themselves frozen are freaks, maybe we should be thinking: I believed in cryonics before cryonics was cool.

M. R. Cornelius is the author of The Ups and Downs of Being Dead, the story of a 57 year-old man who chooses cryonics over death. A more detailed synopsis, and the book, are available on Amazon. 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Anne Allen "Dangerous Waters"

Buy on Amazon
Dangerous Waters - Mystery, loss and love on the island of Guernsey
About the book:
"In her debut novel `Dangerous Waters' Anne Allen has knocked it out of the ballpark. Part mystery, part romance, this cozy novel has the reader drawn in from the first paragraph until the last page, and they will be wanting more."

'Oh my God, what's happening to me? After all this time, please, not again!' Jeanne Le Page, gripped by fear and panic, struggles to breathe as the ferry arrives in Guernsey, the island she had fled 15 years before, traumatised by a family tragedy. Now she has to return after her grandmother's death. Jeanne has inherited her cottage and she plans to sell it before returning to the UK. Deeply unhappy after the recent end of a long-term relationship, she has no desire to pick up her old life on the island. Suffering traumatic amnesia after being involved in the accident that killed her family, Jeanne has experienced nightmares for years. The return to Guernsey triggers frightening flashbacks and Jeanne undergoes hypnosis to recover her memory, reliving the tragedy as the ghosts continue to haunt her. But someone on the island does not want her to remember, and she faces danger from an unexpected source... A contemporary story of love and loss that will capture the reader's imagination, Dangerous Waters will appeal to fans of female fiction. Anne is inspired by a number of authors, including Robert Goddard, Katie Fforde and Mary Higgins Clark. A comparison can be drawn to The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows.

About the Author:

I live in Devon, by my beloved sea. I have three children and my daughter and two grandchildren live nearby. I was born in Rugby, to an English mother and Welsh father. As a result I spent many summers with my Welsh grandparents in Anglesey and learnt to love the sea. My restless spirit has meant a number of moves which included living in Spain for a couple of years. The longest stay was
in Guernsey for nearly fourteen years after I fell in love with the island and the people. I contrived to leave one son behind to ensure a valid reason for requent returns!

By profession I’m a psychotherapist but have long had creative ‘itches’, learning to mosaic, paint furniture, interior design and sculpt. At the back of my mind the itch to write was always present but seemed too time-consuming for a single mum with a need to earn a living. Now the nest is empty there’s more time to write and a second novel is gestating, but novels take a lot longer than children to be born!

Visit the author's website