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Friday, August 1, 2014

Spotlight on Shannon’s Gift: A Story of Love, Loss, and Recovery by Nate Bennett


~ Book Synopsis ~

In this raw, emotional memoir, Nate Bennett shares the blog he maintained to work through his grief over the sudden loss of his wife Shannon. He is surprised and comforted to discover a vast virtual community of support. His blog posts—alternately poignant and of dry wit—eventually attracted tens of thousands of hits and a following from readers who hadn’t known the couple. This unique book gives the reader a window into the starkness of a widower’s grieving experience in real time. What comes through in virtually every post is his love for Shannon as he weaves in vignettes from their life together, chronicling their love story and his efforts to recover. And in the end, with the support of his virtual community and the strength he was able to draw from remembering Shannon’s wishes for him, he finds love again.

Title: Shannon’s Gift: A Story of Love, Loss, and Recovery

Author: Nate Bennett

Genre: Grieving, loss, love story

Publish Date: June 1, 2014

Publisher: Booklogix

Event organized by: Literati Author Services, Inc.

Book Trailer

Purchase Links: Amazon * B&N * Booklogix * iTunes




Excerpt:

November 10

Today I am thinking about the best age to become a widower. The question came to mind because I found myself thinking that from where I stood, the grass was greener in every direction. I hate the self-pity—I really do. So I was trying to work my way through it to get past it.

If I was younger, I might not have Spencer and Reid. Or I might be in a severe struggle to try to raise them right. Or I would have lots of mobility restrictions. But if I was younger I would feel like there was still enough runway ahead to use to launch something great. If I was older, I might not feel as frightened about spending the time I have left alone. I might be able to just work myself to death. I like my work—so that isn’t as bad as it sounds. But 30 years of working myself to death is too long.

I think I am a widower at the worst age. I am a ‘tweener widower. Too old for round two, too young to throw in the towel. So much for working through the self-pity!

Changing the sheets today. The thought passed that I could wash the sheets half as often if I slept for a week on my side and then a week on Shannon’s side. Think of all the water I would save the planet. I could be an eco-hero. I quickly realized that I am careful when I go to bed, when I wake up, when I walk around the bedroom, to NOT look at Shannon’s side of the bed. I have her side of the bed covered with pillows. I think part of me is trying to “hide” her side of the bed from the rest of me. So I don’t think I’ll be sleeping over there any time soon.

The final deep thought for the day was that my bad moments come in two different flavors. I am not sure I understood them this way before. One is when I am overcome by loneliness from missing Shannon. I get very, very sad. That is a curl up in a ball and wait for it to pass thing. The other is when I am overcome with fright about being alone. That is a get up and do stuff to be distracted thing.

So today was a frightened about being alone day. Boy, was I busy. Bank, carwash, tailor (she said “it’s good to see you,” not “how are you?”), Reid’s bank, FedEx shop, lunch, grocery store, liquor store (for party Sunday).

Came out to the car, turned on the car. Song playing on the radio is “Miss You” by the Rolling

Stones. Really? Not fair.



About the Author

In the fall of 2011, Nate lost his wife of 26 years in a shocking turn of events. She’d just had an outpatient procedure on her shoulder and the doctor sent Nate to get the car to bring her home. In the next few minutes, things went terribly wrong. Shannon collapsed, never to recover. After more than a week in a critical care unit in pursuit of a cure, Nate honored Shannon’s wishes and had her life support discontinued and she died shortly later. Nate’s book, Shannon’s Gift, is the result of the blog Nate kept during Shannon’s hospitalization and after her death. Initially, the purpose of the blog was to keep friends and family informed of Shannon’s condition. Quickly, though, the blog became Nate’s catharsis and a way to stay connected to a web of supporters.

After the sudden loss of his wife, Nate was surprised and comforted to discover a vast virtual community of support. His blog posts – alternately expressing poignancy and dry wit – eventually attracted tens of thousands of readers and a following from people around the world that didn’t even know Nate or his wife. The unique book gives the reader a window into the starkness of a widower’s grief in real time and a look at how social media has changed grieving in today’s world. In the end, with the support of his virtual community and the strength he was able to draw from remembering Shannon’s wishes for him, he finds love again.

While Nate is new to the personal memoir genre, he is co-author of two management books, "Riding Shotgun: The Role of the COO" and “Your Career Game: How Game Theory Can Help You Achieve Your Professional Goals.” Both are books published by Stanford University Press. Additionally, his research has been published in respected scholarly journals such as the Academy of Management Review, the Academy of Management Journal, Psychological Bulletin, and the Journal of Applied Psychology. He has also published in many widely read resources for managers including the Harvard Business Review, Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek.com and Forbes.com.

Nate Bennett is a professor of the J. Mack Robinson College of Business at Georgia State University in the summer of 2012. From 1999 to 2012, he was on the faculty of the business school at Georgia Tech, where he most recently held the position of the Catherine W. and Edwin A. Wahlen Professor of Management. From 1999 until 2010, he served as associate dean and then as senior associate dean. Prior to Georgia Tech, he served on the faculty at Louisiana State University. While at LSU, he served at times as the management department’s Ph.D. program coordinator, department chair, MBA program director, and associate dean.

Nate holds a BA in sociology, as well as a MA in Social Research from Tulane University. He earned his Ph.D. in Management from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He resides in Atlanta, GA.

Website * Facebook * Twitter

What is Mitochondrial disease?


Nate was kind enough to tell us about Shannon’s illness.

Shannon suffered from mitochondrial disease – or mito as it is known to the victims, friends, and family of those afflicted. A mito patient’s mitochondria are not effective at “producing the power” that cells need to function and that organs need to thrive. It is relatively rare; something like 1 in 3,000 are affected by it. Its cause is not well understood, there is no truly effective treatment, and there is no cure. On the other hand, mito is critical to understand because the cellular function that mito patients lose is though to play a role is an entire constellation of conditions, including ALS, autism, and Parkinson’s.

Shannon was diagnosed in her early twenties, around the time that we were married. Her primary concern was whether or not she would pass it on to any children. At the time, she was advised that the greater risk was to her health in carrying a child to term. She was undeterred; we married and had two very healthy boys.

During her 20s and 30s, mito was really on our radar. That approach made sense because there wasn’t a treatment that was anything beyond a hope and a prayer – and because the best doctors could tell her was that she either would either (a) experience a slow descent caused by the unavoidable and untreatable cumulative effects of mito or (b) die of some other natural cause before mito had a chance to hurt her. She did try things that were thought to help, such as co-enzyme Q10 and L-carnatine, but all she could tell they were doing was creating unpleasant side-effects. Mito was out of sight and out of mind.

In her 40s, the signs of mito’s impact began to appear. Her vision – never great – got worse. Ocular myopathy, droopy eyelids, etc. She had problems with digestion. She started to have problems chewing and swallowing. She hardly ever complained. What she was was afraid of what she saw coming – an active mind trapped in a body that couldn’t function.

She was spared that future by her death. After she and I dropped our youngest at College, she finally underwent arthroscopic shoulder surgery as an outpatient. The doctor came to tell me about the success of the procedure and sent me to get the car. Unfortunately, all the years that all of her systems were not being properly “fed” with energy caught up to her. Though she had awoken fine from the procedure, recovery was too much for her and she collapsed while I was driving around to pick her up. She died 11 days later and the blog started.




Do you have a question or thoughtful comment for Nate or about his book?




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Giveaway & Spotlight on Pieces of Autumn by Mara Black


~ Book Synopsis ~
I wish I could tell you that I was stolen.
Kidnapped off the street in some third-world country, sold against my will, while a desperate family back home waited and prayed and talked about me on the news.
I wish I could tell you that, because then you might understand.
What really happened? I walked to my fate with my eyes wide open. But before you say I deserved whatever happened to me, you should know. I was desperate. I was alone. I was afraid for my life. You would have done the same thing.
I thought things couldn’t possibly get any worse.
But then, I woke up in darkness, unable to move. There was only one thing I was sure of: I wasn’t alone anymore.
And then I heard HIS voice…

Title: Pieces of Autumn

Author: Mara Black

Genre: Dark Romance 18 +

Publish Date: July 31, 2014
Publisher: Indie Published

Event organized by: Literati Author Services, Inc 

Get it from Amazon

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21801937-pieces-of-%20autumn


Excerpt:

“Never say that word to me.”

I had never heard his voice like that. Not once. My blood chilled in my veins. If I thought I’d ever been afraid of Tate before, it was nothing. Absolutely nothing compared to this.

I’d wanted to unnerve him, but instead, I seemed to have unhinged him. Unleashed something I didn’t understand, and didn’t want to.

“I’m sorry,” I whispered.

“Too late,” he replied, his chest rising and falling rapidly with each breath. His tone was pure venom, pure sin, pure fucking evil. “Too late for apologies.”

In that moment, I had three choices.

I could fight him.

I could run.

Or, I could tie myself to the mast and meet him, measure for measure.

I chose the storm. With the hurricane himself standing there, his pulse pounding so loud I could almost hear it, I chose to stand tall.

What was happening? What was he about to do? I had no way of knowing, no way of guessing what he’d do. How he’d ruin me.

But I knew I could survive.

His hand lashed out and grabbed mine, lifting it to his face. Eyes half-lidded, he brought my fingers to his lips, my thumb pressing past them and up against his teeth. Finding resistance, for a moment, until he parted them and suckled it into the soft, wet heat of his mouth.

About the Author

Mara Black is a connoisseur of love that lurks in the shadows .


Mara has written a guest post to share. :-)

Titanium: How I Wrote Autumn in "Pieces of Autumn"

Autumn Laramie is stronger than you think.

Dark romance heroines are difficult to write. Although Autumn spoke to me loud and clear when I started writing her story, I knew it would be a challenge to convey her the right away. She goes through a lot. She’s frequently in peril, and frequently afraid. But she never buckles. She bends, but she doesn’t break.

I often think of a scene in the second season of American Horror Story, when someone dubs the heroine as “one tough cookie.” She responds:

“I’m tough, but I’m no cookie.”

I’ve thought about getting that as a tattoo. It stuck in the back of my mind as I wrote Autumn, especially because of the unique nature of her strength. She is not necessarily brutal and violent, although she has her moments. Mostly, her strength is in perception. Compassion. Determination.

The hero, Tate, is deeply damaged. He is walled off, and lashes out violently from his pain. He needs someone who can see through all of that, and understand him - something that he doesn’t feel he deserves.

He needs forgiveness.

Who can forgive a man who’s done the unthinkable?

A dark romance heroine, far from being a damsel in distress, must be stronger than the hero. She must be capable of radical forgiveness. Radical acceptance. While the hero usually holds grudges, and cannot let go of his past, she must.

Although she is the “victim,” Autumn still has a moment when she understands that Tate has been a victim too:

And what was the point in ever letting someone else matter to me again? It could only end in tears.

I came close, with [my friend] Nikki. But when she left with Stoker, I felt that iron door deep inside me slam shut again. Tighter. More impenetrable than ever.

And that was why I stayed. Not just because I needed protection. Not just because of the dark flames that licked in my belly whenever he touched me.

It was because of this.

When I looked in the mirror, I saw my own reflection. But it was Tate who stared back at me.

Without making excuses, Autumn merely understands and accepts that Tate is not a monster. Just a man who’s been hurt. And while she would have the right to hate him, she chooses not to.

Like many people I’ve known, Tate is resistant to forgiveness. It’s easier to shield himself with his guilt, pretending to accept what he’s done, even as he hides from it. But when he sees that Autumn is strong enough to accept it, everything changes.

Do you have a favorite strong heroine that other people might see as weak? Do you find yourself defending her frequently, and with strong words? :) Tell me about it in the comments!

Autumn’s song: “Titanium” by David Guetta, ft. Sia https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cst7K_7jxYo

I love this song and this post just makes me want to read the book even more than I already did!




I have this on my TBR list. Do you?



Don't forget to enter the Comment Incentive Giveaway. It is a great chance to win a book you'd like to have! The link can be found at the top of the page.