Spotlight ~ ‘Her Special Day Shoes’ by Michael A. Walker.

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‘Her Special Day Shoes’ by Michael A. Walker.

  Her Special Day Shoes by Michael A. Walker

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Special Dedication

Kristin-Beating Cancer

This eBook is especially dedicated to Kristin, the author’s life-long friend, who is battling Stage 3 HER2 Breast Cancer. 50% of the profits from the sale of this book originally went to Kristin and her family to assist them in their battles ahead. The other 50% went to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc. in Kristin’s name to assist other women like her in their own personal battles.

However, since Kristin’s recent diagnosis, 100% of the profits are going in a National Breast Cancer Foundation fund in her name, which help anyone who might be fighting this dreadful disease.

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SYNOPSIS

Written in the style of an old world fairy tale, “Her Special Day Shoes” is about a young girl from York, England, during the height of the Industrial Revolution, who finds herself orphaned and homeless after her parents are killed in a terrible accident. Refusing to allow herself and her little brother to be taken in by an orphanage, Rachael slaves away along side other children at a textile factory for pennies a day just to keep food in their bellies. Her only escape from her miserable lot in life comes from a pair of shoes displayed in a cobbler shop’s window that she dreams will one day take her far and away.

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Book Review ~ ‘Her Special Day Shoes’ by Michael A. Walker ~ 5 Stars!

I love fairy tales, or anything in the style of a fairy tale, so the blurb of this story describing it as ‘written in the style of an old world fairy tale’, combined with the beautiful dedication for which this book was written, I knew that this little story would pull at my heartstrings and find a special place in my heart.

The story was beautifully created, and the prose flowed so well. Whilst the story was short, I didn’t once think that the story was moving too fast, or seemed unrealistic, it was balanced perfectly with the everyday life of Rachael, a young  orphaned girl who works in a factory using all her wages to feed her younger brother, and the passing of the seasons. It was written to perfection, and never once faltered from the fairy tale style of writing, which gave it an almost magical feel. The way in which author Michael A. Walker portrayed Rachael and gave us insights into her life, had me so invested in her character in such a short space of time. I warmed to her immediately, and loved her pure heart, and devotion to her brother. The yearning for the beautiful pair of shoes displayed in the cobbler’s window just showed how innocent she was, and how such a little thing of seeing the shoes every day gave her strength. It echoes perfectly back to earlier times when happiness could be found in the smallest things, and never taken for granted.

I adored the characters who the author managed to make complex in such a short space of time. They were three-dimensional, and even the grumpy and at first cruel Cobbler had a good heart which did win him over in the end.

This story was a beautiful one that has a beautiful meaning behind it. Be happy with the small things, and always help those who may be less fortunate than yourself, not for the sake of doing something good, but because that good deed may make somebody smile and feel a little stronger.

If you do nothing else today, buy this book and donate towards a wonderful cause and help in the fight against a terrible disease. You won’t regret it!

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behind the story

KRISTIN

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By: Michael A. Walker

Cancer. No other word incites greater fear, evokes more terrifying nightmares, or is more responsible for the reckless and impartial deliverance of pain, misery and death. Cancer doesn’t care what color or ethnicity you are. It doesn’t care how smart you are, or how far you have climbed the social ranks. It cares not for what titles you hold, who your daddy is or how much money you have. It cares little about your age, your religion or how many miles you run each day. It doesn’t care anything about you or your family.

Cancer simply destroys lives.

Like many of you reading this, I have lost loved ones, too many, in fact, to this dreadful disease. I lost my sister to ovarian cancer, my father to leukemia, and my first cousin to a cancer that attacked her entire body. Cancer is a pervasive and effective killer. It constantly invades our everyday lives by its ever-present

occupation, so much so, that eventually it becomes white noise. It’s an infectious maelstrom of malcontent that leaches and saps your will, your defenses, to the point where you feel helpless and become complacent. That is until it becomes personal.

In August of this year it became personal to me, again.

One of my dearest and closest friends, a member of my extended family, someone who I’ve known for more than 20 years, was diagnosed with Stage 3 Invasive Ductal Carcinoma HER2neu-plus breast cancer, an aggressive form of cancer that has invaded her lymph nodes and now threatens her life. There are four stages, or categories, that breast cancer falls into. Stage 3 means that the cancer is no longer localized to the breast and has spread to connecting lymph nodes, the chest wall, or to the chest skin. Stage 3 breast cancer usually requires a combination of chemotherapy and radiation treatments, and surgery to defeat. Like the other 636 women who are diagnosed with breast cancer each day, Kristin and her family were devastated.

Kristin is a multitalented woman, wife, and full time mom. She has a Bachelors of Fine Arts degree from the Santa Fe University of Art and Design, where she learned to perform and sing on stage, and where she honed her seamstress skills. With these skills Kristin has spent countless hours volunteering for her local church, at school functions, and in her community by performing in plays, designing and constructing costumes, and singing in choir and yuletide caroling events. There are few people in this world I love and adore more than Kristin. Her smile lights up the sun, and her infectious laugh radiates joy wherever she goes.

Unfortunately, because of her battle with breast cancer, Kristin can no longer afford to do any of those things that bring so much joy to her life. Now her days are filled with doctor appointments, injections, and prayers. Chemotherapy treatments are designed to attack cells in your body, like cancer cells, that dived rapidly. One side effect to this is that it also attacks other rapid growing cells in your body, like hair, bone marrow, and blood cells. When this happens, white cell counts can drop to dangerous levels, which significantly decreases your body’s ability to defend itself from the constant barrage of germs and diseases that we are exposed to each day. The threat this imposes on Kristin’s body is measured by the near endless supply of hand sanitizers and disinfecting wipes that she keeps nearby. Visitors and her own loving family must don facemasks when they are near her.

Just last week, a day after a round of chemotherapy, Kristin was hospitalized for four days. Her white blood cell count plummeted to .4, with normal levels for the average person starting at 4.0. I saw pictures of her children snuggled up to her in her hospital bed wearing surgical masks, with eyes that held genuine love and concern for their mother. It was enough to make a grown man cry. This man did.

Kristin married my brother, Wesley, a brotherhood born out of irreplaceable memories, love and by choice. I’ve been a part of Wesley’s family, and he mine, since the seventh grade. In high school, he used to turn off my electric typewriter during typing tests, plug my ears with Vaseline in wrestling practice, and embarrass me at school dances by dedicating songs in my name to girls I had a crush on. In my textbooks he would write silly messages and draw pictures of hearts, professing his love for his girlfriends. Sometimes he would just destroy them completely by tearing off the covers, tossing them across the room, or scaring them in such a way that it prevented me from returning them at the end of the year.

He also saved my life.

When I was 19 I lost my mother to a ruptured brain aneurysm that left her in a coma and then lifeless. Weeks later, I lost my grandfather to medical complications that arose from his elderly age, and months after that my wife and children in a heart-crippling divorce. I was a walking dead man, a zombie that lacked the will or desire for life. Wesley saved me from despair. He forced me out of the house and out of my misery. He showed me how to live again, and reintroduced happiness and the want to see my children’s children before I leave this earth.

Together Wesley and Kristin have two children of their own. Logan (13) is a prodigy pianist and all around talented and gifted young man. He plays the piano with the ferocity and confidence of a young lion destined for greatness. Skye (7) embodies everything you would expect from a little girl that carries that name. When the mood strikes her, she can be kind and gentle, with a propensity to beguile the unwary into a sense of calm right before she unleashes her unbridled fury, but mostly she is beautiful.

Recently, I launched my very first self-published eBook, entitled “Her Special Day Shoes.” In it, Rachael, the protagonist, is a young woman who has suffered a great deal in her life. Unlike Kristin, she has her health but little else. Like Kristin, in spite of her terrible lot in life, she forges on, smiling and rising above every obstacle thrown her way, refusing to yield in the face of insurmountable odds. Rachael and Kristin have a lot in common. No better pairing of super heroes could possibly exist.

I was fortunate to have a friend like Wesley during my darkest hour, and now, with your help, I have the opportunity – the honor – of repaying him and his family. As a tribute to Kristin, I re-launched “Her Special Day Shoes” and dedicated it to her. All proceeds from the sale of “Her Special Day Shoes” will go to assist Kristin with her personal battle with breast cancer and to a National Breast Cancer Foundation account in her name – forever.

Cancer is wicked and vile, but not invincible. Cancer can be defeated with willpower, determination, and by the best doctors and chemotherapy money can buy.

For $2.86 you can help make the difference in Kristin’s life, and the lives of the hundreds of thousands of women like her afflicted with this terrible disease each year. That’s less than a grande latté at your favorite coffee house, a 3-pack of disposable razors and less than a gallon of gasoline. As an added bonus, you’ll have a heartwarming and uplifting story to read and share with your family.

I’ve lost too many loved ones to cancer. I don’t want to lose another. You can help by purchasing the book, sharing the video I made for Kristin, or by making a donation to the National Breast Cancer Foundation in her name and asking everyone you know to do the same. Aside from that, your warm thoughts and prayers are always welcomed and immensely appreciated. Thank you.

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Buy now for only $2.86.

All profits go to a National Breast Cancer Foundation fund in Kristin’s name.

~ Amazon UK ~ Amazon US ~

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 tribute

The Author’s Tribute Video for Kristin.

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Important Links

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The National Breast Cancer Foundation’s mission is to save lives by increasing awareness of breast cancer through education and by providing mammograms for those in need. NBCF accomplishes this mission through various initiatives. NBCF programs provide women help for today and hope for tomorrow. NBCF’s Mammography Program currently impacts over 40 states across the country by providing free mammograms to underserved women nationwide through medical facilities within our network. Any money donated to the National Breast Cancer Foundation will go to fund mammograms for women who cannot afford them. Because of the generous donations of both individuals and corporations, we have developed strong partnerships with medical facilities, associations and corporations across the country. We are grateful for their continued efforts in reaching out to save lives every day.

~ Kristin’s National Breast Cancer Foundation page ~

Follow Kristin’s story.

~ Kristin’s Story and her Caring Bridge Page ~

Do you know of anyone who has been affected by breast cancer? Share your story and spread the word.

 

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So Many Books . . . So Little Time!

I appear to be in a rather pensive state of mind at the moment, so thought I’d put my rambles out into a blog post.

My Goodreads to-read list is getting longer and longer with every passing day. My bookshelves are creaking and groaning a little more every time a new paperback is lovingly placed on top (there’s no space actually on the shelves). My Kindle is getting a little closer to the 3,500 book limit every day, despite half of the books having not been read yet. But despite all that, I still always find myself reading this book again (I lost count of the number of times I’ve read it after it got to about 20+).

Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone (Harry Potter #1) by J.K. Rowling

I think that is the magic of a good book, something that you can go back to so many times and still feel the thrill you felt the first read, even 20+ rereads later.

J.K. Rowling is my greatest inspiration as a writer. She gave me the best part of my childhood and gave me a world to escape to when the one we live in became too much. That she could round her characters so well, and make every one of their actions seem believable is awe inspiring. Maybe that is why I became a writer too. The desire to create my own world where I could escape to when reality lets you down, is a driving force of my writing, even if the story isn’t fantasy. We can give our characters the happy endings they deserve, and gives hope that there are people in the world like those characters we’ve created that give you hope for humanity.

So this is a rather rambly blog post that probably made very little sense, but was my way of expressing my thanks to J.K. Rowling, and all those other authors that gave me the best childhood, without which I wouldn’t be writing my own characters happy endings today.