A Not-So-Gentle Reminder: Why We’re Lucky

Today I’m joining in with the IndiesForward Blog-A-Thon to write about Julie Forward DeMayo. She was an independent author—known as an indie—who lost her battle with cancer in 2009 at age 37.
Julie was a creative writing major at Colorado State who dreamed of someday being a published author.
Her mom decided to take Julie’s blog, which she kept during the last seven months of her life, and turn it into an incredibly touching, sometimes funny, but always inspirational book called the Cell War Notebooks.
The other day, a creative and inspiring blogger, Tracy Campbell, asked me about the difference between having a traditional publishing company publish your book and self-publishing. Well, even if do land a traditional publisher, you will still have to do a lot of the marketing yourself. These days, every publisher looks for someone who has a platform in social media. So if you’ve already started blogging and tweeting, then you’re already on the right path. All authors have to do their own marketing.
But Julie can’t do this anymore.
A few weeks ago, Julie’s mother reached out to Duolit, a team of two women, Shannon and Toni, who have great services for independent authors. (You can find them here.) They are a fabulous team who help indies get publicity. The paperback has garnered some attention in Julie’s native Wisconsin, but has not reached a national audience.
I’m joining in on the project to help fulfill another writer’s dream–and because the book’s proceeds go to benefit Julie’s nine year-old daughter, Luka Jane.
Cancer strikes all of us. There isn’t anyone who doesn’t know someone who’d died from the disease.

Angie Forward Cargill, Julie’s sister, wrote on Julie’s blog:

“Julie died on August 10, 2009. Although this was not what she wanted, she passed away peacefully at home in her garden room. It was a beautiful Monday morning in Portland and the french doors were wide open so that Julie could feel the breeze. She was holding the hand of her husband, Scott. Her mom and dad, her sister and two brothers, and her dear friend, Kathy, surrounded her, sitting just outside on the back porch underneath the prayer flags which were waving strong. Luka Jane had spent the night at a friend’s house.”

Reading Julie’s book, we are reminded: We have the choice. We write our best chapter–even if it’s our last chapter.

We can–and must–be the hero of our own lives.

julie demayo

My spiel is finished for today. Go to:

The self-publishing team here



About dianabletter

Diana Bletter is the author of several books, including The Invisible Thread: A Portrait of Jewish American Women (with photographs by Lori Grinker), shortlisted for a National Jewish Book Award. Her novel, A Remarkable Kindness, (HarperCollins) was published in 2015. She is the First Prize Winner of Moment Magazine's 2019 Fiction Contest. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, tabletmag, Glamour, The Forward, The North American Review, Times of Israel, and is a reporter for Israel21C, and many other publications. She is author of Big Up Yourself: It's About Time You Like Being You and The Mom Who Took off On Her Motorcycle, a memoir of her 10,000-mile motorcycle trip to Alaska and back to New York. She lives in a small beach village in Western Galilee, Israel, with her husband and family. She is a member of the local hevra kadisha, the burial circle, and a Muslim-Jewish-Christian-Druze women's group in the nearby town of Akko. And, she likes snowboarding and climbing trees.
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5 Responses to A Not-So-Gentle Reminder: Why We’re Lucky

  1. Beautifully shared, Diana. I’m sharing this with my writing groups.

  2. Hi Diana,
    My email box was swamped and I just noticed your blog post.
    I checked out the blog that Julie’s mom kept up. What an inspiration she was.
    Makes me realize I need to stop complaining about things that are not important.
    What a legacy she left.
    Thank you so much for linking my website. What encouragement! 🙂

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