Two years after being diagnosed with breast cancer, I just found out I’m still cancer free!! I’ve had many people ask me how I stayed so positive after my diagnosis. I think part of it was my strong work ethic and the other part was my life long battle with depression and the understanding that I couldn’t let it take over. When I was diagnosed, I told my doctor and family that “I am a cancer survivor!” I committed right then and there that I was going to beat this thing. And one thing I knew from battling depression, is that I couldn’t curl up into a ball and stop taking care of myself or it would be a death sentence for me. Instead, I did research to find out what life changes I needed to make to survive this. Breast cancer does not run in my family. So why did I get it? I found so many toxins that I was exposed to from food, water, the environment, synthetic medicine, and my own mental and physical health. That’s what I’m going to share in my Detox Your Life posts that many of you have asked me to share.

While I worked hard during the day to eat healthy, exercise, and remove the toxins from my environment, it was deep into the night that the anxiety and depression threatened to take over. When I’d wake up terrified and in a cold sweat thinking about dying, about not seeing my daughter graduate college or my son get married, I knew I needed to turn off these depressing thoughts or it would take over. Netflix was a godsend and I found the longest running show that interested me. Supernatural was in its 11th season, so I binge watched it every night until I could sleep without my own demons haunting me. And I re-watched every funny episode because laughter lightens the heart and pushes away depression.

A month after I was diagnosed, I had a lumpectomy and several lymph nodes removed in my left armpit which confirmed the cancer hadn’t spread. I was blessed that we caught it early on a 3D mammogram. Within two months, I had undergone six weeks of radiation Monday through Friday. Every day, I parked at the top of the hospital garage, and every day I walked up and down those five flights of stairs. The radiation kicked my butt in weeks six (the final week) through week eight, but everyday I’d get up, eat right, and go for a walk. I worked thirty-five hours a week as a telecommuter from home through all of it. It was amazing how much support I got from my employer, co-workers, family, and friends. I shared what I was going through with anyone who would listen, even my co-workers. And everyone was thankful. No one pulled away or got weird when I’d talk about it. Instead they opened up to me and told me about what they or their loved ones were going through. I consider that such a blessing.

I no longer consider my cancer diagnose a death sentence. I consider my cancer diagnosis a life sentence. Because without it, I would not have made the changes in my life that have led me to lead a much richer and deeper life.

Stay positive, strive to be healthy, fight against depression, and live life like there is no tomorrow.

Note: My blog at http://www.jodiashland.com auto feeds my author blogs on various web-sites. If you see funny characters, it is a result of their import routine. My apologies. I wish I had time to update them all by hand.

Secrets at Synergy is now available on Amazon in print and e-book formats. Although it is book 1 of the U-District series, it can be read as a standalone novel.

This romantic mystery series takes place in the University District of Seattle following Detective Neal Hawkins (aka Hawk) as he gets involved with each crime, sometimes outside of his jurisdiction. Yeah, he’s that kind of cop. Don’t discount the strong heroine and hero who will not only have a sizzling romance, but may help solve the mystery.  See my earlier post titled “Secrets at Synergy – Debut Novel” to see what it is all about.

I hope you share my excitement and enjoy Jade and Bryce’s adventure.

My fabulous editor just uploaded Secrets at Synergy to Amazon for me to buy a proof. It’s difficult to put into words just how excited I am to see my book in print for the very first time. I’ve set a release date for August 2nd and will post when it’s available for sale.

See my earlier post to see what Secrets at Synergy, book 1 of the U-District series, is all about.

Super Excited!! This summer I’ll be publishing my debut romantic suspense mystery novel, Secrets at Synergy, book 1 of the U-District series. Here’s what it’s about:

Desperate to save her late grandmother’s financially ailing company, a young woman must unearth a murderous embezzler—even if the evidence points to the man she loves.

Twenty-two-year-old Jade Buchanan suffers one blow after another. First, her grandmother dies, then she’s forced to quit college to take over Gran’s mysteriously ailing company. While handling a rebellion among the senior managers, who resent taking orders from an inexperienced CEO, Jade desperately tries to uncover the reason for the company’s financial difficulties before it goes under. The only bright spot is working side by side with her long-time crush, Bryce, but he runs so hot and cold, she doesn’t know where she stands. Can Jade uncover the murderous embezzler in the company’s midst before she becomes a target—or is it already too late?

Even though Jade seems under-qualified, Bryce Radisson accepts his new position as COO, but working with an impulsive—and incredibly attractive—woman like Jade could be more than he can handle. His feelings for her are irrational and unprofessional. Even worse, she stokes in him a deep, uncontrollable passion that he fears will ruin him. As Jade digs deeper into the truth, Bryce has to choose between protecting himself or protecting the woman he loves.

The lyrics, “I’m so excited” by the Pointer Sisters, keep randomly popping into my head when I remember seeing my name in the September 2014 issue of Romance Writers Report. Listed as a finalist in the Touch of Magic contest for single title, I’m now an award-winning author. Woo-Hoo! Synergy (now titled Secrets at Synergy) was submitted before my editor convinced me to turn it into book one of a series. Okay, I have to say it one more time. Woo-Hoo!!!

 

 

Blink. Another year has gone by. Seriously, when did that happen? I know I’ve been busy but… oh wait, that’s right, I’m writing like crazy.

I know, I know, I said I was close to publishing, over a year ago. What happened? Well, nothing bad if that’s what you’re thinking. My fabulous editor pulled me aside and asked if I planned to turn Synergy into a series. Well, no not really… but I know better now. When I’m not writing in my spare time, I’m researching the self-publishing industry. Most successful indie authors suggest writing a series and not publishing until you have three books ready.

So, I went home and did some serious thinking about how to turn this into a series. And once I came up with the idea of the U-District series, my brain wouldn’t turn off, and I mean literally. I’ve written over 70k words of the second novel, Obscurity, and over 30k words of the third novel, Supremacy. The secondary characters in book one, flow in to book two, and in to book three. Each novel is a romantic mystery that stands on its own; however, the series has an underlying theme of family.

I’m editing Synergy now. Once that’s in the hands of my editor, I’ll be putting my cover together with a fabulous graphics artist. I am beyond excited at this point.

#1  Synergy (now titled Secrets at Synergy)

  • Who knew a college dropout forced to become CEO, could lead to murder?

#2  Obscurity (now titled Ripped from Obscurity)

  • Who knew writing a poem about a famous country singer, could be so dangerous?

#3  Supremacy (now titled Seeking Sanctuary)

  • Who knew fighting off a serial killer, could heal the heart?

Getting close to publishing

Wow, it’s been a while since my last blog post, yet it seems like yesterday. This past year has gone by so fast. I’ve enjoyed time with my family, working full-time with wonderful co-workers, preparing for publication in my spare time, and recently elected President of my local RWA Chapter.

This past October, I attended my third conference at Emerald City Writers Conference. My critique partner and I took advantage of every workshop and networking with fellow authors, agents, and editors. From seven a.m. to midnight every day, was jammed packed full of learning and fun. When you do something you are passionate about, the best word choice to describe it is F. U. N.

Three years ago, I didn’t know a single author… today I’ve met hundreds of them. Just let me say, they are the best group of women and men I have ever met. Authors are eager to share their knowledge and provide support where no one else can. After all, only an author can understand, hearing voices doesn’t mean schizophrenia.

I’ve been diligently learning the craft of writing and attending other workshops like Mary Buckham’s Active Settings and Margie Lawson’s Deep Editing online series. Mystery versus suspense is an area I’ve had to learn the difference between. I’ve found I want to write stories that are somewhere in-between. Mysteries are slower paced, paying attention to detail as clues are unveiled. Suspense is fast paced constant in-the-seat-of-your-pants action. On top of that, I throw in a romance between the hero and heroine. Since I’m not one to follow the rules—so much as understanding why there are rules to begin with—I’ve created novels that I call romantic suspense with an air of mystery.  I like the surprises and whodunit aspect of mysteries yet, I crave a bit of fast-paced action. You’ll get both in my novels.

Since my first manuscript was complete, I decided to edit my third stand alone novel, Synergy, for publication first. With the heart of an entrepreneur, Indie publication (independent self-publishing) was my first choice. Not because I don’t want traditionally publishing someday, but because I want control over my work and want to see where I can take it. This past month, I had my first photo shoot to get a head shot (see About the Author page) for my blog, book covers, and social media. My daughter accompanied me and we had an absolute blast. The pictures turned out wonderful, depicting an air of romance and suspense. Believe me when I say, I wish I could look that good on a daily basis.