by Seleste deLaney
For most people, beyond the trappings—religious or secular—the holidays mean one very important thing: family. Today I want to talk about one family member in particular. You see, a lot of my family is supportive of my writing career…in concept. When it comes to mentioning my books to their friends or sometimes even buying themselves, they just don’t. And that’s okay. I mean, I don’t go around pimping what they do either, so it’s fair enough. But my sister Kim has been with me from the beginning.
She read the first novel I ever wrote (and subsequently shelved), and has read everything I’ve put out since then. She’s pimped me out to friends and coworkers. And she’s been a supporter of a few other members of my Decadent family as well. Like I said in the dedication of The Ghost of Vampire Present, she’s my number one cheerleader.
But it might not have been that way.
Before I ever wrote that first novel (back in November 1998), Kim was diagnosed with stage II breast cancer. For those of you who don’t know, cancer is divided into four stages, with I being the least invasive, IV the most. Hers hadn’t spread to other areas of her body yet, but over half her lymph nodes were also involved. She was 35 and “too young” to have cancer according to her first doctor. Radiation, two cycles of chemotherapy, a mastectomy, and a whole lot of pain meant she got to stay with us.
But without those treatments, her daughter wouldn’t have a mom, my mom wouldn’t have a daughter, I wouldn’t have a sister, and she never would have been able to see me realize my dream of being a published author. She would never have been able to be that cheerleader.
Needless to say, when Decadent asked for volunteers for the Read for a Cure program (instead of assigning it as they had been), I jumped at the opportunity. When they told me they’d chosen my novella, The Ghost ofVampire Present, as December’s Read for a Cure book, I almost cried. No one at Decadent knew the story behind the dedication or that my sister had cancer (at least not as far as I know), but given that I volunteered under whichever name they preferred, it seemed destiny for them to choose this book.
This holiday season, whatever your faith and no matter how much or how little you can afford to do, hold your family close and tell them you love them. I was blessed with a large family who drives me absolutely bonkers most of the time, but I don’t ever want to have to imagine life without one of my siblings again.
And if you can find it within your means to purchase a copy of The Ghost of Vampire Present in December (not yet…still a couple days), know that all publisher proceeds will go to the American Cancer Society to help fund research to keep one more parent, sibling, or child alive. As for me, for every copy sold in December, I’ll be donating fifty cents to Kim’s Relay for Life team as well because the cause matters, and so does she.
I’m supposed to do a giveaway with this post, so I’m offering a digital copy of Of Course I Try, the short story that comes before The Ghost of Vampire Present.
**In addition, I’m putting together a little vampire care package to send to the winner. To enter, I’d like you to tell me what charity you are most dedicated to and (if you want) why. And I urge you to give to that charity this holiday season as well**
Happy holidays and blessed be.