Over the past few months, my life changed dramatically. I sold my home, downsized my life by half, moved across the city, lost my book publisher, and battled cancer. It’s been enlightening, emotional, depressing, and disarming. No amount of creativity can diminish the challenges in life, but it does provide a wonderful distraction.
In June, my husband and I sold our home of fifteen years. With the market “hot” and the move inevitable, the timing made perfect sense – the house sold in three days. We rented an apartment, and in August, moved to the other side of town. The downsizing brought me face to face with many hard but necessary decisions, as creativity and sentimentality clashed with reality.
Now we’re settled, I enjoy the new apartment, and the freedom that comes with it. My everyday tasks are simplified, and I don’t miss the worries that go with owning a house.
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At the end of August, I discovered a small lump in my breast. The cancer diagnosis came after endless tests. Two major surgeries, a lumpectomy and a mastectomy, removed the tumors. Unfortunately, the odds of the cancer recurring are not in my favor. In January, I start chemo-therapy to improve those odds.
I try very hard to be healthy—good food, exercise, no smoking or excessive drinking, no prescription drugs. Cancer develops randomly, and no one … absolutely no one … is immune. I’m not someone who feels sorry for herself, and I certainly didn’t in this case. I discovered the raging anger I felt, was a very normal first reaction to a cancer diagnosis. I fought hard to control it, and the emotional quicksand that followed. I slowly adapted to my new life style as a cancer patient/survivor.
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The beginning of August, my publisher, Samhain Publishing LTD announced they were dropping their horror line effective December 31. With the line gone, all the horror writers and their books, including me and my novella, “Scarecrows”, would be set adrift. The entire story is in my last blog here.
Things often change at Samhain without warning.Because of a very recent and mutual agreement, Samhain will continue to publish my e-book, “Scarecrows”. It will remain available through the usual sites (Amazon, B&N, etc. and Samhain) well into the new year.
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The internet has given me some wonderful digital friends all over the globe, and a better connection with family, especially those I don’t see often. I wouldn’t trade those friends and relations for anything. I’ve learned so much from other writers and gained extremely useful information and brand new ways to look at the craft.
Last April I explained in a blog how I planned to step back from social media to concentrate on writing here, and have been away for several months now. The results are interesting. Despite my temporary disappearance, my site continued to build visitors, my book continued to sell, viewers read my existing blogs and short stories, and I received numerous messages and comments. New views showed up on my Author page, and I’ve even acquired new friends and contacts. Surprisingly, the reduced time didn’t detract from my platform. It’s very satisfying to know my followers and friends didn’t forget about me, and I still have a voice you can hear (even when I’m not talking).
This fall, I missed many of the local writer functions because of my health. I do miss my interaction with other writers, both on social media and in person. I plan to be more active in 2017, and find ways to better stay in touch.
Through all the changes and challenges in my life, I never stopped writing. After three years, my initial 5 year writing/business plan remains intact, and despite setbacks, I still have a solid direction to follow. I’m editing my two books, a paranormal thriller, and a Canadian fiction. A third book is in progress. I’m also polishing several short stories.
I love writing. I have all kinds of stories in my head, and putting them down on paper is important to me. After all that’s happened, my drive to continue writing is even stronger. My family and my health come first, but my creativity is still up there on the priority list, and often forms the balance point that keeps me happy and sane. Over the next few months, following my own directives and planning, I’ll move toward those elusive goals.
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IMPORTANT NOTE: I strongly recommend every woman, regardless of age, perform regular self-examinations of their breasts. I’ve done them for years, and found the breast cancer about ten months before my scheduled mammogram. Those ten months probably saved my life. If you’re not sure how to do it, ask your doctor, or go online here. There are numerous sites showing you exactly how. It’s simple, and can make a huge difference for you, and those you love.
My life changed when I found that lump, and it won’t be going back to normal anytime soon. This disease changed the way I live, the way I make decisions, my independence, and my priorities. It changed the way people look at me, and how I look at myself. It often dominates my thoughts, ruins my sleep, and leaves me on the verge of tears. Along with the physical damage, the mental toll is exhausting and unending. Please do the exams regularly – no woman needs to die from Breast Cancer.
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Wishing Everyone a Peaceful, Healthy,and very Happy New Year!
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Christine Hayton is a Canadian author, living in Southern Ontario. She writes novels, short stories, and novellas in horror, romance, contemporary, and literary fiction.
“Scarecrows” a horror novella by Christine, published by Samhain Publishing Ltd, is available in e-book at their site and at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other on-line book sellers, and will continue to be available from all sellers for 2017.
The Anthology “Childhood Fears” is available only until December 31, 2016. E-book and paperback can be obtained at the Samhain site, and at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other on-line book sellers. Please contact the author if you require paperback copies after Dec 31, 2016.
Follow Christine on Social Media or contact her by email:
- Website – christinehaytonwrites.wordpress.com
- Facebook – facebook.com/christinehaytonwrites
- Twitter – @christinehayto1
- Pinterest – chayton1661
- Linkedin, Google+, and Goodreads – Christine Hayton
Contact her by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org