She never let the cancer bring her down. From personal experience of battling pneumonia I know how hard this can be. I let the fluid in my lungs drown me and lost a year of my life to severe depression and sickness. It wasn't cancer but dealing with any severe, debilitating illness, is excruciatingly difficult. When I think of Zellie and how sick she was, how positive and bright she stayed until the very end I'm amazed. Inspired. Shocked. Awed. I can't understand how she did it. Knowing her, both as a person and how well she coped, has shed new illumination on my nine year struggle with reoccurring pneumonia, made me appreciate my life and every single day (no matter how bad it may seem) in an entirely new way. She was such a strong, encouraging person.
Callie, her best friend, came up with the brilliant idea to make 1,000 paper cranes for Zellie, to use the power of positive thought to heal her. She ended up with 1,500 but that's the kind of support a person like Zellie inspires. I'm so happy that the cranes I folded were with Zellie before the end, because all my wishes and thoughts and, in turn, (I like to think that) I was with her in some way.
Zellie, her dedication unwavering, got her book - that she worked on for ten years - self published. My copy is in the mail and should arrive this week. Now, I get to keep a bit of Zellie with me forever. I know she was talented, I've seen a few snippets of another novel she was working on and she always had insightful advice for me when I shared some of my own work with her, Erica and Callie. I'm so excited to read it. To hold it. To know that, in some way, Zellie will never truly leave us.
I feel incredibly blessed that I got a chance to get to know her, to experience her wit and charm and vivacity.
You can get to know her as well by purchasing her book Lightning Spliced because as writers we know that a piece of us, of our soul always finds its way into our writing. Here's the cover flap description:
When sickly Analee welcomes a cure for her gene disorder, a side effect makes her the most powerful weapon in a war between patients like her and the genetics corporation that betrayed them. Awesome, except her touch is lethal. Wielding lightning, she faces off against a control-freak CEO, her adopted father James Gandon. As if her disobedience didn’t piss him off enough, she falls for his first victim. Skilled with knives, Jared is vengeful, fiercely loyal and way hot.
But Gandon's got kamikaze soldiers on his side and his latest plot stinks worse than his egg salad breath. He doesn't just want to just kill Jared. He wants Analee to do it. Yeah, right. Not gonna happen. Until she discovers the reason everyone obeys him like a pack of brain dead pit bulls: mind control. She must derail this experiment or become his next slave
You can purchase the paperback for $20 or the Ebook for $7.99 from LULU and all proceeds are being donated to the American Cancer Society. In 6-8 weeks the book will be available on Amazon and Barnes&Noble.com if you feel more comfortable with these forms of online shopping.
So far, the first royalty check has been sent to the American Cancer Society which is super exciting.
You can learn more about the book by going to Zellie's website
Also, feel free to spread the word about Zellie and Lightning Spliced. If enough people get involved, maybe we can get her book into bookstores. Eragon did it. So can Lightning Spliced. With your help, of course.
I also urge you to check out these great posts about Zellie (because they are touching and articulated much better than this attempt.):
J.C. Hutchins, her favorite author.
Callie, her best friend, critique partner and fellow Chimera.
Erica, friend, critique partner and fellow Chimera has one, two, three(writing advice by Zellie).
Callie also made a gorgeous memorial slideshow that captures the kind of girl Zellie was.
Thank you for taking the time to read this, checking the links, and (if you decide to do either of these) for buying her book and spreading the word.