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Help me #LightTheNight?

The messages pictured in that post were on the wall of the Family relaxation room of the stem-cell transplant unit at the University of Maryland Medical Center. And honestly, those cards throughout the unit helped me quite a bit during my hospital stay for my autologous stem cell transplant last year.

My admission date was supposed to be October 2nd, 2019, but I got admitted a day early, and started high-dose chemotherapy that same evening.

How can you help me #LightTheNightLong story short: I want to find ways to help patients and families dealing with blood cancers — if you haven’t checked out my #LightTheNight fundraising page for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, the link is: https://pages.lls.org/ltn/md/baltimor20/elodieslightthenight

We would love to have you on our team! Once you click on the link, there’s a button at the bottom called “join”. If it doesn’t take you directly to my team, you then look for the Baltimore event and then you can look by Team Captains. And you type in my last name: Nowodazkij. You can decide how much you want to raise and LLS gives you all the tools you need. Thank you to everyone who already donated! 

Did you know that LLS helped advance 55 of the 65 blood cancer treatment options approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration since 2017?

Long story long: Last year on October 2nd, I was at the hospital. My admission date for my autologous stem-cell transplant was supposed to be October 2nd, 2019, but I got admitted a day early, on October 1st and started high-dose chemotherapy that same evening.

This was part of the message The Chemical Engineer had posted on our CaringBridge on October 1st, “Today we got a call from the hospital and the admission date was moved up by 24 hours, so it’s happening! We are trying to stay cool and prepare to check in at 12:30 pm.” That part about staying cool? The operative word of that sentence is “trying”.

Staying cool wasn’t that easy, especially as I still had things I wanted to do before getting admitted. I wanted to take a stroll into our favorite park by the water for example. I was scared. I had done a lot of work to prepare myself mentally and that switch in schedule, which I knew could happen, still came as a surprise. I thought I had another day to get ready. But, there was no time and off to the hospital we went. The team at the hospital was amazing and made me feel at ease. Looking back, I think the stress would have been even higher if my parents and Alex would not have been able to visit me as often as they did. On October 2nd, 2019 I also got more high-dose chemo, and I was also signing books for a vendor event in our neighborhood that was taking place that weekend, and where The Chemical Engineer went for me.  

A couple of weeks ago, I posted about joining #LightTheNight …

Thank you to everyone who already donated, and thank you to Sam and Alex for joining my team. I could have come up with a cool name for our team, but right now we’re “Elodie’s Light The Night.”  And did you know you can join us and help us raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society?  They give you the tools you need. You get your own fundraising page and you set your own goals.

Check out the link here: https://pages.lls.org/ltn/md/baltimor20/elodieslightthenight

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#TeaserTuesday Exclusive Audio Excerpt: Meet Dimitri from FEAR ME, FEAR ME NOT (narrated by Megan Carter)…

It’s time for another TeaserTuesday and today you’re about to meet Dimitri. The excerpt is a few paragraphs into Chapter 3. Don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter or to fill out the Google Form if you want to receive an exclusive scene narrated by Megan.

That exclusive scene will be available to those who signed up as soon as the audiobook is available for sale!

Press play on the video below to hear an excerpt from Dimitri´s point-of-view or click this link to see it on YouTube!

There really is a before and after. When Nadia used to tell me about some stories she’d read, or a play she was auditioning for, she always said there was a before and an after. And with those comes one moment that changes everything

My accident was the turning point. And my after sucks.

Before, whenever I’d come into town, people would pat me on the shoulder, offer me an extra sandwich, an ice cream. Little kids would look at me with so much awe in their eyes. Guys would want to be me. I was celebrated. I mattered.

Football player.

It wasn’t only about the game. It was a way of life.

After?

Some look at me the way I expect them to: a bit of pity, a bit of you-deserve-this. But what hurts the most is realizing that most don’t even notice me anymore. I’ve officially become a ghost of football past. Unless I can convince one coach to take another look at me.

I think next week, I am going to share another excerpt…this time from the killer’s POV. Have you already listened to the first minute of the audiobook I’ve shared before? Here it is again. 🙂

Don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter or to fill out the Google Form if you want to receive an exclusive scene narrated by Megan.

Thank you so much for listening!

Elodie

(Are you on Instagram? 🙂 )

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Savory crêpes for brunch? Or the one where I share one of my own recipes…

I’m pretty sure it’s the first time I share one of my own recipes on my blog. I’ve been making this for breakfast every few weeks for the past four or five months and it’s really good. So I thought I’d share.

Plus, it’s inspiring my current rom-com since the hero really enjoys cooking…

Plato The Dog loves when I make this dish because of the smell of butter melting in the pan. I agree with him. 🙂

A portrait of Plato The Dog and breakfast. Our breakfast not his 🙂 

Crêpes filled with a mustard sauce, red onions and red peppers, roast beef and more.

This makes enough filling for 4 crêpes. And full disclaimer: when I say “sprinkle” it’s because I have no idea on how much I actually put in. I make a simple crêpe batter the night before (recipe from Marmiton (in French) – I change the ingredients for 10 crêpes instead of 20 and still have some batter to make sweet ones).

Ingredients for the filling:

  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 red onion
  • roast beef (about half a pack)
  • salt, pepper,
  • mustard (stone ground dijon)
  • red wine
  • sugar
  • heavy cream
  • shredded cheese (Colby or Swiss or Mexican blend)
  • green onions.

While you cook this, you can make the crêpes at the same time. Preheat your oven at 200 degrees (Fahrenheit).

1. First step: sauté chopped red onions in a bit of melted butter and sprinkle with salt, pepper and sugar.
😊🍴
2. Add a tablespoon of red wine. And let simmer for a few minutes.
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3. Add chopped red pepper and again sprinkle with salt, pepper, sugar and add a bit more red wine (I put maybe 3 tbsp).
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4. Let it simmer until the red pepper for about 5 minutes. Then add the chopped roast beef and let it simmer for about 3 more minutes
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5. Add at least 2 tablespoons of mustard. Mix. Then add about 1/4 of heavy cream. Let it simmer while you continue making the crêpes.
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6. Add 2 tablespoons of chopped green onions and 1/4 cup of shredded cheese in the sauce.
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7. Fill crêpes with mixture.
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8. Sprinkle with cheese and green onions and put in oven for about 5 minutes. Or until the cheese is melted.

Enjoy 🙂

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Did you know that I have a newsletter?

Real talk: I’m not the most consistent with my newsletter. This is an area I want to improve especially as I use Facebook less and am enjoying writing blog posts again.

Newsletters are great ways to share exlusive content and updates and random pictures of Bobbie Voltaire The Cat and Plato The Dog.

I mean clearly…Plato The Dog thinks you should subscribe. You can subscribe by clicking here:  eepurl.com/g_Qp4D

I have some audiobook news which I’m very very excited to share with all of you very soon (this week). And my newsletter subscribers willl find out first.

Clearly, that’s a reason to subscribe 🙂

You can subscribe here: eepurl.com/g_Qp4D
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My summer goals

First, Thank you to #ASummerInWriting over on Instagram and Dante Medema as well as Liz Lawson for all those prompts :-).

I got to meet and reconnect with some wonderful authors, and I’m feeling even more motivated to finish drafting my rom-com 🙂 I’m very excited about the progress I’ve made and for my upcoming Summer goals 🙂

1. Finish drafting my rom-com. This will be my main focus in the next two weeks so that I can send it to my CPs mid-August. I need about 15000 words. Totally do-able, right? ⁣⁣

2. Announce and promote something very exciting (related to an audiobook). My newsletter subscribers will find out first (you can subscribe here: http://eepurl.com/g_Qp4D – hint, hint). ⁣⁣

3. Prepare for the publication of the Italian translation of ALWAYS SECOND BEST.⁣⁣

4. Continue adding words to 2 small projects. ⁣⁣

5. Continue brainstorming MISS ME, MISS ME NOT. I’m not “officially” writing it yet, but this project is never too far from my mind.

⁣⁣6. Publish the German/English version of ASLNO via Ingram. ⁣⁣

7. Enjoy the process and all those little happy moments. ❤

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Good news! I’m still in remission!

Good news! I’m still in remission! Keeping it short 🙂 Because I could write pages about everything. I won’t go into the details of Scanxiety or what it’s like to wait alone for the PET scan results because visitors are still not allowed in due to COVID-19 (Alex was allowed in the PET scan waiting area though which was nice) or how much I laughed with the nurses who gave me my second round of vaccines.

We are breathing a sigh of relief (more than one) and doing a happy dance (as well as we can dance :-)). My scan yesterday showed no signs of recurrence! Based on the scan, I may have a nasopharyngeal cyst (need to see an ENT doctor). and a problem with my thyroid (we’re going to investigate with a blood test at my next doctor’s visit). And it seems the rash I thought was eczema could actually be shingles. But and I quote my report, “no metabolic evidence of nodal or extranodal lymphoma recurrence.”

We are very grateful to my oncologist and his team and everyone for the support.

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Did you know you can recommend a book to your library or pre-order a book and receive pretty cool things?

There are pretty amazing books coming out in August. Let’s face it: There’s always a lot of amazing books coming out 🙂

Some authors organize pre-order / library request campaigns. Basically, all you have to do is either pre-order a book (pre-orders are really helpful to authors) or recommend it to your library (you

And recommending the library purchases a book doesn’t cost you anything (and you can do it from home too) so if you’re on a tight book-buying budget, you still can support an author and read amazing books and get free stuff.

Here are two on-going campaigns for books coming out in August I’m very very excited about.

  • CRY OF METAL & BONE by L. Penelope (On Sale August 11th – pre-order/library request campaign runs unti 8/11)

I absolutely loved the first book in this series. It took me out of a reading slump I was in. And the CRY OF METAL & BONE (on sale August 11th) just got a starred review from Booklist!

All info on L. Penelope’s website: https://lpenelope.com/2020/07/cry-of-metal-bone-pre-order-campaign/

  • NOW THAT I’VE FOUND YOU by Kristina Forest Pre-order campaign (also includes library recommendations)

I just bought Kristina’s first book I WANNA SEE WHERE YOU ARE after seeing it recommended by Nic Stone. I mean: ballet, road trip and romance? Plus that cover? Gorgeous.

Kristina’s second book “NOW THAT I’VE FOUND YOU” is coming out on August 25th and it also sounds so so good: “A YA novel about searching for answers, love, and your eccentric grandma in all the wrong places.

All info on Kristina’s Forest’s website: https://www.kristinaforest.com/ntify-preorder-campaign

Did you pre-order those books? Recommended them to your libraries?

Let me know in the comments 🙂

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Motivation Wednesday…

Yes, those are my feet and my Bombas‘ socks 🙂 A little motivation Wednesday mainly as a reminder to myself. But also as a way to ask you: what made you smile today?

⁣And full disclaimer: a lot of those thought-processes are easier for me because of years of therapy and a lot of work 😉 And it doesn’t mean I don’t have moments where I focus on the fact that this used to be much easier. Just putting that out there. 

⁣A few days ago, I did a few relevés and elevés from first position. They were far from perfect. And I can’t stand on the balls of my feet for very long or all the way because I still experience neuropathy and cramping in my feet (and hands) in addition to needing to re-build (or build – ha) muscles.

⁣But as I did those exercises, I smiled. Because it felt like progress. 

⁣Kind of like when you’re writing a sentence that stays with you or when you finally understand your character’s motivation or simply when you write a few words in-between busy times or hard times.

⁣I enjoyed this moment when it happened. I smiled like I said. I think I even laughed I was so happy. And I smile as I post it even if my feet and hands are currently cramping. I know I’ll do this exercise again today. And I am revising my first chapters feeling grateful. A reminder to keep going, to keep swimming, to keep writing.

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Neues Hoerbuch (auf Deutsch :-)) – New audiobook (in German)

Audible.deAmazon.de – iTunes (coming soon)
Eine kleine Hoerprobe…

Sie hatte sich schon auf dem Weg zur Spitze gesehen…Innerhalb einer Woche aendert sich Natalyas Leben fuer immer.

Die 16-jährige Natalya Pushkaya hat nur einen einzigen Traum: die beste Ballerina zu werden, die es je gegeben hat. Das Tanzen hat schon immer bestimmt, wer sie ist und sie würde alles tun, um die Hauptrolle in der jährlichen Abschlussvorstellung der School of Performing Arts zu landen.

Aber…wird es ihr gelingen?

Audible.deAmazon.de – iTunes (coming soon)


ABOUT THE NARRATOR

I was very happy to work with Kathrin Kana on this audiobook. She brings Natalya to life and am crossing my fingers she will narrate the follow-up as well 🙂

Award-winning bilingual voice-over artist w/ 18+ yrs. experience: commercials & industrials, language & audiobooks, etc.

Check out her website here: https://www.kathrinkanavoice.com/

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Why do I write?

This question came from #ASummerInWriting on Instagram – and I thought I’d share the answer on my blog too 🙂 Expanding it a little too…Oh and if you want to read some very thoughtful, heartfelt answers from other authors, don’t hesitate to browse the hashtag on Instagram. I was very humbled and touched by so many authors sharing their reasons yesterday.

Why do I write?

This was an easy and yet so difficult question to answer.

Difficult because there are so many reasons I write (including wanting to make a living out of writing – I mean I’m still day-dreaming about getting that call from Reese Whiterspoon about adapting one of my books or maybe Netflix or Lifetime).

But mainly, it is difficult because answering it also means being vulnerable in a way. Putting those words out there. Not a story. But part of my story.

And then answering it is also easy because I know the answers. I know why I write. All the reasons. And one of the main reasons.

I feel like it’s always been because writing is an outlet for my imagination.

Already when I was a teenager…I had those stories I wanted to tell. It’s hard to describe the feeling I have when I finally fully understand my characters and how much I want to be able to tell their stories. And how much I can’t wait for them to have a happy ending. Even though for some of them, it might take a lot of heartache along the way, they will have a happy ending.

Writing enables me to express myself. And know that my words may help others in one way or another. It might distract them. Pull them in. It might make them feel…

And when I don’t write, my anxiety and OCD tend to get worse. It doesn’t mean that writing is easy or that writing is the all-in-one solution.

It’s all about balance, right?

I go to therapy. Well, right now, I do zoom therapies 🙂

And I’m lucky that I have two wonderful therapists. One who’s been helping me deal with the anxieties related to cancer and who’s been helping me with staying in the moment, being more present while also not ignoring the fears that come with *wave hands* everything. 

And more recently I also started seeing an OCD specialist. And I’ll be forever grateful to my “cancer” therapist who recognized that she couldn’t help me with what I was going through with OCD. So that I could learn how to deal with it. It’s also a process. I have homework 😛

Apparently, going through months of chemo, then radiation, then immunotherapy, then a stem cell transplant and menopause and vitamin D deficiency and everything means that the brain may not have its usual mechanisms in place to deal with stress. Mechanisms I had learned in therapy back in Germany 🙂 I also had to learn new mechanisms for OCD as I hadn’t done too much work on that before. I’m telling you… it’s a process.

The last book I wrote TRUST ME, TRUST ME NOT meant a lot to me because I wrote it during treatment and right after treatment. I published it before my stem cell transplant. I raised money with it for LLS. I loved and still love Lacey and Hunter. Writing that book was very cathartic. And finishing to write that book felt like such an accomplishment.And the one I’m currently writing? It manages to make me laugh out loud. And swoon. And it’s very different than my romantic suspense (no killers in this one), but it’s another way for me to be in the moment. To work. To be productive. To dream. To be creative. To tell stories.

That’s why I write.

If you’re a writer, why do you write? And if you’re a reader, why do you read?