Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A Double Shot of Patry and a Hit of Bliss

Patry Francis woke me up last November with her blog post called Two Ounces of Bliss. In her quiet and gracious way, Patry revealed that she has an aggressive form of cancer and is undergoing treatment. I admit, the last thing I thought of was bliss.

Cancer stole my sister at the age of 29 and defeated a team of doctors treating my mother four years ago. I've lost several other family members and friends to this ancient enemy and the news that Patry was suffering put another shadow on the horizon. Cancer is a biological terrorist that plays no favorites, makes no promises, and can't be trusted.

I met Patry through Backspace, an online writer's community and followed her journey from waitress to published novelist. I met Patry in person at last year’s Backspace convention in New York, then later in the summer I wrote a short review of her novel THE LIAR’S DIARY in my post, “Books I Read On Vacation.” It was a small review, but the book and its author left a deep impression. Let me tell you why Patry is so special to me.

We are both former waitresses. I moved away from my parent’s home and to the beach one month before my 19th birthday and supported myself waitressing at a coffee shop called Jojo’s. I dropped in and out of college during my waitressing years, always searching for some way to party and study, work and play, live and exist. I met the most wonderful people working at restaurants, including Candy, my former roommate and lifelong friend. Candy met her husband, Howie in a restaurant, and like Patry and her husband Ted, has been married for more than 25 years.

There were times, though, when I thought I’d never get free of waitressing. I struggled to stay in college while supporting myself. I knew I wanted to be a writer and always felt I had stories inside me. People confided in me while I waited on them. A man and a woman who were married to other people always asked for my station because they knew I was discreet. I was the messenger of a marriage proposal on the patio of Orange Hill Restaurant, the most romantic overlook in all of Orange County. A Hindu Indian family always asked for me because I gave them cheerful service although they always ordered cheese enchiladas, the cheapest thing on the menu and the only vegetarian entrĂ©e.

I took a job as an intern for a magazine called CCM and left waitressing behind forever. But like they say about the Marines, I found it to be “Once a waitress, always a waitress.” I connected with Patry about waitressing and found amusement and inspiration in her blog Simply Wait.

The paperback release of THE LIAR’S DIARY, comes out today. Books don't sell themselves. Most authors do a tremendous amount of travel, book readings and signings, and just about any kind of promotion to help readers find their books. While Patry is recouperating and healing, a group of more than 300 writers and bloggers are joining together to promote on her behalf.
We want Patry’s book to fly off the brick and mortar shelves, we want Amazon, Powells, and the online sites to run through their stock. We want a second and third print run. We want today to be Patry Francis day. But most of all, we want Patry to be well.

If you'd like to see a complete list of blogs posting for Patry today, visit LitPark. You can hear an audio clip of THE LIAR'S DIARY courtesy of Brilliance audio, and a smart video trailer of the book.

I began this post with a diatribe against cancer. Now I’ll end it with a challenge: I will donate $10 to the American Cancer Society in Patry’s honor for every one of my regular readers who buys THE LIAR’S DIARY. To participate, leave a comment here with your intention, then email me a copy of your sales receipt. The challenge will continue through Valentine’s Day, when I will post the amount we’ve collected in the Ovations fight against cancer.
Update: Penguin Group, publisher of THE LIAR'S DIARY is offering a 15% discount if you order direct from them. To receive the discount, type PATRY in the code field. Here's the link.

Now for those two ounces of bliss.


spacedlaw said...

Very nice challenge you are setting here!

RobinSlick said...

What a lovely post, Carolyn. I think this is going to be a two box day for me (meaning, Kleenex).


Aimeepalooza said...

Another waitress here, stopping by to say hello and enjoy the day!

Carolyn Burns Bass said...

Nathalie--I know most of the LitPark gang have already bought TLD, but I'm hoping some of my non-writing friends will pick up the challenge.

Robin--I'm just beginning my day here in SoCal, so I haven't yet clicked into the blog list. You can be sure I'll check yours out first.

Aimee--Yay! Another waitress. Thanks for stopping by with that refill of encouragement.

Terri said...

Beautiful post, Carolyn. I've done my share of restaurant work...only a short stint as a waitress because I did better in the management positions. ;-)

pattinase (abbott) said...

Here I am already. And as soon as I saw Bel Canto on your list of favorite books, I knew we were of a similar mind. I was a waitress too, weren't we all once. It put me through high school and college. Hoping this is the day of all days for The Liar's Diary.

Lori Weinrott said...

Lovely post, Carolyn. It's so wonderful that people are blogging for Patry. I would-- except that my blog isn't really functional-- so I'm taking the liberty of posting here via Carolyn to say that Patry is such a warm and spirited and 'simple in the best way' kind of person, immediately loveable. I too met her via the Backspace conference and can't wait to go out to buy her book. I am sending all sorts of blessings to her on this big day. Thanks, Carolyn, for letting me borrow your blog for this important message!

Christiana said...

What a lovely post and what a kind, warm-hearted gesture. You are the epitome of class, Carolyn.

Laura said...

A stunning essay, Carolyn. Lovely. And what a terrific challenge!

Laura (formerly of York "Quick! Throw a ramekin over that cockroach!" Steakhouse)

Carolyn Burns Bass said...

Terri--Most of the managers I worked with were tops. Some not so much. I bet you would have been one of my favorites.

Patti--Yes, Bel Canto. I recently had the joy of introducing the book to my 20-year-old daughter who also loved it. Talk about bliss--the sharing of a beloved book from one generation to another.

Lori--You can guest blog for me anyday. Be sure to send me a copy of your sales receipt from purchase of the book so I can add it to my American Cancer Society donation.

Christiana--I've been thinking a lot about you. I'll email you separately--I may have a lead on a job for you.

Laura--Don't we all have great tales about uninvited dinner guests? I remember once lifting the cover from a dinner plate to find a slug munching the corner of the kale garnish. Eww.

Sandy Amorde said...

I ordered it from AMazon ALL BY MYSELF!! I am getting more computer literate every day....

paris parfait said...

What a lovely tribute to Patry and a terrific challenge. I already have two copies of the book, or I'd take you up on it! It's great to be part of this effort to promote The Liar's Diary.

Lynda said...

Just bought it on Amazon...can't wait to read it. L. Baum

Carolyn Burns Bass said...

Sandy~ Thanks, my beautiful friend. You make two books sold in my little corner of the blogosphere.

Paris~ Thank you for stopping by. I so enjoyed your blog and will drop back in when I'm not bopping around reading everyone's fantastic posts about Patry.

Lynda~ Glad to know you're a reader, as well as a wonderful person who really understands what this kind of effort can do.

Kim Stagliano said...

Hi fellow Backspacer. And BEA walker!

A.S. King said...

Carolyn! What a lovely message on my blog from you! xoxoxo

A great post for Patry.
I just bought a load of copies of the book for gifts, so I won't make you donate that much, but how about seeing it's Mr. Stella's two-years-off-the-smokes anniversary, I donate $100 to join in your fun?

stella/amy (stellamy)

Rebecca del Rio said...

Darlin'Carolyn, you've hit another one out of the park. Beautiful writing about the ugly thing that is cancer.
Hope you don't mind my passing the link to your blog on to others, with hopes that everyone will buy Patry's book.
Can't wait to sink my teeth into it.
Abrazos, R.

Carolyn Burns Bass said...

Kim~ I gotta say, BEA won't be the same out here in LA without you and Jenny. How about it?

stellAmy~ Two years for Mr. Stella? You are coming up on two also, if my memory serves me right. Here's to curing cancer in our lifetime.

Rebecca~ If you buy the book before February 14th, be sure to let me know so that I can add it my donation.

JT said...

I echo what everyone else says here. Lovely post.

I was a sucky waitress. Really bad. People asked not to sit in my station. Something about the darkness that surrounds me. :)

Jen Talty

btdennis29 said...

How great to see compassion in action. I have ordered Patry's book and look forward to reading it.

Patti said...

Carolyn, what beautiful support you are lending - and the awareness you increase through your endorsement is so important. I look forward to buying Patry's book, and to making a donation to the Cancer Center at Loma Linda University Medical Center in honor of her and two other friends of mine who battle this.

Carolyn Burns Bass said...

Jen~ Thanks for stopping by. Right now I'm sitting in near darkness with a few candles and a fire in the hearth. There's something about fire and darkness that go together, no?

Barbara~ You make the sixth person to buy Patry's book today through my blog. I am so thrilled for Patry, and to up that donation to the ACS.

Patti~ I love Loma Linda and the work they do. Let me know when you buy the book and I'll add your name to the ACS/Patry donation.

billie said...

Carolyn, what a lovely way to post for Patry - I love the title and the essay!

And thanks for stopping by so many blogs yesterday - you were a welcome face at my two spots on the 'net.

Sustenance Scout said...

Also stopping by to thank you for your kind visit, Carolyn. Your writing and your generous offer reveal so much about you. All the best from Denver, K.

Patry Francis said...

Smiling and crying here, Carolyn. You are awesome!
Many thanks and even more "blisses."

Patry Francis said...

p.s. Loved your waitress stories...

Carolyn Burns Bass said...

Karen (sustenance scout)~ Thanks for stopping by. My current WIP, set in SoCal in 1968 has a bi-racial element. I'll be interested in learning more about yours.

Billie~ You know I alway love looking at your photos of your farm. I'll have to stop by mysticlit and check out the conversation more often.

Patry~ What a blessing to have you drop by. I bet you have a goal to visit and comment on every one of the Patry blogs. It took me most of the day and I only got to the cs in the LitPark list.

Rosie said...

Wow, thanks for stopping by! I never realised how learning Patry's story would connect me with such interesting people.

By "carnival," I was actually thinking about the "carnival of bloggers" who have assembled to support Patry's book - a large group of people from across the blogosphere, all posting about the same topic on the same day.

However, I did make a giant pig for a totem pole at the Adelaide Fringe Festival, and I've worn a mask at the Venice Carnival ... one of my dreams is to go to Mardi Gras in New Orleans some day. How exciting to have a sword swallower in your family: I'm keen to read your finished story!

I've filled in some blanks over at your other blog. It's a great quick writing exercise: I'll be back!

Barrie said...

This is an amazing thing you're doing. :)