Calling All Cancer Survivors – I want to hear about your friends

As if I didn’t have enough going on with a new book coming out in October, I am also launching a new project. Please help me spread the word.

In talking to readers about the characters in How To Climb The Eiffel Tower, quite a few people have told me that they had a friend like Lara or Jane that helped them get through their cancer experience. Their stories have inspired me to compile a collection of stories and memories about the people you meet in hospital waiting rooms. They are a disparate group of people thrust together because they have one thing in common – cancer. The juxtaposition of moments of high anxiety with hours of mind numbing boredom makes the waiting room the perfect place for spontaneous, candid conversations. I want to hear about those conversations.

Are you a cancer survivor? Did you strike up a friendship with someone you met in the hospital? Did your friends help you get through the experience? Tell me about it. Write a short post (somewhere between 50 and 2000 words) about how friendship influenced your cancer journey. Really, I want to hear about it.

Do you know a cancer survivor? Share this project with them. It will give them a chance to reflect on the more positive moments from their cancer treatment.


I have put together a dedicated page for the project on this blog –  Waiting Room Friends Project where people can link blog posts to the project.

Waiting Room Friends Project web badge

How do I participate?

  • Post your story on your blog, then sign-up on the Inkylist on the project’s page  so everyone can visit your blog to read it.
  • Email me your story to waitingroomfriends@gmail.com. Please note if you give me your permission to share your story and I can use your real name. Anonymous reflections are welcome.
  • Post your story to the Waiting Room Friends Project’s Facebook page.
  • Join the Waiting Room Project’s Google+ community and post your story there.
  • Tweet, post, talk, shout about the project wherever you hang out online.
  • Talk to the cancer survivors in your life and encourage them to share their stories.

Depending on the volume of responses I receive to this project, I plan to compile the stories in an ebook. Any proceeds would be donated toward cancer research. Watch this space for updates as the project gets underway.

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Coming October 2014

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Blurb: Lara Blaine believes that she can hide from her past by clinging to a rigid routine of work and exercise. She endures her self-imposed isolation until a cancer diagnosis cracks her hard exterior. Lara’s journey through cancer treatment should be the worst year of her life. Instead, it is the year that she learns how to live. She befriends Jane, another cancer patient who teaches her how to be powerful even in the face of death. Accepting help from the people around her allows Lara to confront the past and discover that she is not alone in the world. With the support of her new friends, Lara gains the courage to love and embrace life. Like climbing the Eiffel Tower, the year Lara meets Jane is tough, painful, and totally worth it.

Coming October 2014

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Women Behaving Badly

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In writing Overlook, I did hours of research on group dynamics and the issues that influence adult female friendships. I found many fascinating academic articles and several excellent books (most notably Queen Bee Moms & King Pin Dads by Rosalind Wiseman) that discussed the underpinnings of friendship. None of them were as candid and truthful as Alana Munro is in Women Behaving Badly – Exposing the Truth about Female Friendship. Her book is both gritty and accessible. I wish I had read it before writing Overlook. It would have been a big help in getting those scenes between Stacia and The Lookers right.

Here is the review I wrote on Goodreads: In Women Behaving Badly, Alana Munro exposes the ugly underbelly of female friendships. In this brave discussion of how women mistreat each other; Munro discusses how jealousy, gossip, and competitiveness erode relationships. She shares her own deeply personal experiences as well as the stories of pain and betrayal she has collected. I found it cathartic to read about how super intense female friendship is not “closeness” but a form of manipulation. The discussion of cliques and exclusive dyads was spot on.

Ms. Munro does not merely debunk the notion of a sisterhood of women. The last section of the book lays out some good tips on what to look for in a healthy friendship and offers support to every woman hurting from the betrayal and pain found in many female friendships.