October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Last year, the Shades of Pink event raised over $10,000 through more than 1300 donations! This year, 22 authors have allied for one cause: fundraising for research. Their gift to everyone who donates? A romance anthology titled Shades of Pink (vol 2).
The suggested donation is $5. All proceeds go directly to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Whichever amount you decide to donate, you have our gratitude, and our words. The fundraiser is now started and will run until mid-November.
For more information go to Kallysten's Blog
As part of the Shades of Pink promo I was lucky enough to steal Amanda, the main character of my book, Gabriel's Rose - which is included in the anthology - away for a quick chat!
Hello beautiful, and thank you for joining us today. I am so pleased that you agreed to come in and share your story, I really appreciate it. In your own time, please.
It’s good to be here, and I’d like to help with breast cancer awareness in any way I can, even if that means something as simple as sharing my story. I was twenty eight years old when I was first diagnosed with breast cancer. In the time leading up to this I was never once ill, nor was I sore. There was never any reason for me to worry about the big C. I mean, I was too young to be diagnosed, or so I thought. One day while in the shower I noticed a discharge coming from my right nipple. My stomach sank. At first I thought it was breast-milk and worried I had gotten pregnant without knowing, then I realised that the color and substance was all wrong. I contacted my doctor immediately and she brought me in for some tests which lead to a mammogram, and finally an ultrasound.
I can't even begin to imagine how hard that was for you. How did you cope with it all?
At first I didn't! Waiting for the results had been torture, and when they finally came in I was sitting at home alone. I wanted to run and hide. Fear assailed me as I listened to the doctor speak, and the second I heard the words breast cancer, my world tilted. I was devastated. I remember feeling cold and numb, denial bombarded me, and I was at a loss as to what to do. I was quickly scheduled in for emergency surgery, they removed a tumour of about four millimetres in size. In addition, there were blockages in several ducts, so I decided to have a full mastectomy of my right breast. At the time I was too shocked to think straight and refused the breast reconstruction. I always regret doing that.
Do you mind me asking why you refused it?
To be honest, I wasn't thinking straight. My head was all over the place, and the only thing I could think was; I don't want any of those huge fake boobs. I was picturing playgirls with hard weird chests, not my own smaller soft breasts. It sounds weird, but it was all I could think. And as i said i regretted my decision. For months I found it difficult to expose my breast to anyone, even my best friend, and nurse, Aisha. I hated looking at myself, seeing that scar and knowing that I would never be whole again. And to top it all off my boyfriend of five years left me, he said he couldn’t cope. The asshat! At first I hated him, but then I couldn’t seem to blame him for getting rid of me. I was no longer the woman he loved.
I was offered counselling to help me deal with my newfound body image issues, yet I never left my sessions feeling any better about my appearance. My mood changed, I had long periods of feeling low, my personality and image changed drastically. So much so that I never really celebrated the day I was told I was in remission. The months past in a blur of self-hate and loathing. My friends done everything in their power to help me deal with it all. It was difficult, but gradually I began to feel a little better about myself. It was around this time that Aisha discovered the bucket list I had wrote in a moment of madness. I needed to do something to help myself heal emotionally, so following her constant harassment I decided to go ahead with the list and try to live life to the fullest.
I don't really know what to say to any of that, all I can say is you are amazing. It's great that you were able to lift yourself up again, and that you have such supportive friends. I'd love to know what was on that list of yours too.
Ah, now that's a secret. There are things on there that you'll just have to wait and see if I am brave enough to do them. Yet, as you know, this is how I met Master Gabriel so you might find out sooner rather than later.
Speaking of Master Gabriel...
Gods that man, I have no words for how he made me feel. How he makes me feel still. He was a force to be reckoned with, so dominating and demanding. So goddamn sexy! He took complete control of me, and using nothing more than that erotic pink rope, the mirror, and his deep sensual voice, he made me bloom. Gabriel made me break through the barriers I had erected, and admit that I am beautiful. I. Am. Beautiful.
That you are gorgeous, that you are, and thank you again for being so open with us all. I can't even being to imagine what you've been through. I appreciate this, and think you are an amazingly strong person.
Thank you. It took me a while to realise that, but I’m glad I’ve finally got to a good place within myself where I can. I cannot believe I almost gave up. Foolish!
Naw, its not foolish, its understandable. You rock! Thanks again! So, is there anything else you would like to say to those listening before you go?
Thank you for listening to my story, and please, please, ensure you always look after your health. Never forget that you are beautiful, and never ever give up! Live life to the fullest, always. Now, if you’ll excuse me I have a very important date with a gorgeous man, and his pink rope.
Rawwr! Have fun Mandy! I must say, I would love to try out some pink rope for myself. I wonder if I can bribe my hubby dearest into it?!
Following a close call with a life threatening illness, Amanda Jarvis realized it was time to revaluate her life, and live it to the fullest. Not everything is as easy as she would have hoped, however, and she finds herself warring with her inner demons. Luckily for Amanda, the gorgeous Gabriel is there to take control and make her submit.
Amanda had never felt so goddamn nervous in all her thirty years, not even during the time leading up to her first course of chemo or surgery. She had thought herself ready for this, but now that she was actually here, naked and kneeling on some strange man's floor, she was shitting herself.
The room was dark. The black walls matched the black floor, the only hint of color being the blood red curtains shielding her from the slowly setting sun outside. There were hardly any furnishings. A lone mirror stood floor-to-ceiling on the opposite end of the room, and a large, strange looking frame towered over her. It freaked her out a little, shaped like a cross with huge silver cuffs on each end, and what looked like whips hanging from one side of it. What in the hell was that used for? Did Gabriel restrain people and flay them bloody from it?
Amanda paled at the thought, her heart rate increasing as she wiped her sweat slick palms on her bare knees. This whole situation was beginning to look more like a horror movie set than a dark-erotic romance. "What in the sweet lord have you gotten yourself into, Mandy?" Taking a deep breath she glanced at the door from her position on the floor. There was no sign of Gabriel yet, so what was stopping her from running? Nobody would think poorly of her for leaving. They all knew that this wasn't really her scene, and it had been in fact a moment of madness when writing her bucket-list all those months ago. Yeah, no one would belittle her for backing down.
Releasing a pent up breath, Amanda quickly jumped to her feet, her legs unsteady. Damn, her nerves were totally controlling her movements right now. She felt drunk; weak and nauseous, as she stumbled across the dimly lit room toward the door and freedom. Forget this, she could just get Aisha or Maria to spank her ass and claim another tick for her "ridiculous list" as her mother had called it.
Just as she was about to reach for the door handle, the large mahogany door opened and Amanda found herself face-to-chest with Gabriel. The aura he gave off made the hair on her arms stand on end, yet whether from fear or arousal she didn't know. Chancing a look at him she bit her lip, her eyes roaming over his body. He must have been at least six foot four with wide shoulders and big gorgeous biceps. His muscles rippled deliciously beneath all that sun-kissed flesh as he folded his arms over an equally large muscled chest, smooth and laid bare to her hungry eyes.
"Going somewhere, female?"