It was April. While scrolling through my mailbox on my cell phone, I came across a message that was shining like a beacon. I don’t know why Author Julia E Antoine’s message grabbed my eyeballs. Overlooking, all those newsletters and glitzy promotional emails, I stop by.
The subject line read – Reaching Out
I clicked the message, eager to read what she has written to me. This wasn’t the first time she wrote to me. We had met on Goodreads and had a few email exchanges on book reviews and other author stuff. And then we almost lost touch for 2 years.
Getting an e-mail from her after a long gap of 2 years was kind of surprising. My head buzzed with curiosity. I opened the message and began reading it.
This is what she wrote to me:
I read a couple of your book and I’m in the process of putting together an anthology with a group and am wondering if this is something you would like to participate in. The book is due out for Mother’s Day this year. Let me know, with a yea or a nay. 🙂
I thought for a while because it was the month of April. Here in India, schools are out during the month of April and May.
My recently done manuscript was with my editor for the last and final round of proofreading. I had a few projects in pipeline but nothing that could keep me immensely occupied during April and May.
I had a few plans of my own like taking time out from writing and spending some quality time with my nine-year-old son.
Deciding to take a break from vigorous writing (I would perhaps do some blog posts and write a few outlines), I had made some fun plans for the summers.
But isn’t it said – “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”
It wasn’t like I couldn’t have said NO to Julia. I could have said NO, and she would have taken it in stride. In fact, a few authors did say NO whom she contacted. But then, I thought let’s do it. Not only because I feel excited to work with a group of talented authors, but also because I was quite impressed by Julia.
She used to be an epitome of perfection. She used to be a warrior. A leader. A real go-getter. I want to learn from her. She never failed to impress with her keenness on making things happen. She was an immensely talented author. She was an inspiration. A perfectionist. A brave and courageous woman.
I don’t know why I’m writing in past tense. She is very much with us, in our hearts. Bear with me as I’m going to jump from past to present tense. Because right now Julia is with me, sitting next to me and scolding me for using past tense for her.
I’m sorry, Ju. I just forget souls like you always remain on earth in the hearts of people who love them, respect them and cherish their presence around them. You’re very much with me, with all the authors of the anthology, and with all your loved one.
Okay, I’m getting emotional.
Tears please don’t bother me for a while,
Don’t cloud my vision for a while.
Don’t make me go weak for I’m going to write about a warrior lady. I’m going to write about a woman who despite being in the hospital, in the ICU. Despite being crowded by all those beeping medical appliances. Despite being covered with a mesh of wires and indicators, never loses hope. She promotes the book even when she’s bed-ridden, in the ICU.
Hard to believe. Right? I’m with you, guys. But it happens. Julia makes it happen.
Okay, going back — I accept her invitation and join the closed FB group that is managed by Julia and a fellow author.
It’s exciting and encouraging. Authors from different cultural background and ethnicities get together. We all work together and bring this book to life. We have authors from US, UK, Canada, Spain, and India. We know it’s gonna be one unique collection of diverse multicultural stories. The excitement keeps thing going and before we realize May rings its arrival. The book is slated to be released on May 14, 2019.
“I have promoted my heart out.”
That’s what her last words are. And then she goes quiet. Quiet like a silent wind which mixes with the calmness of the night.
She never responds. I keep on checking her timeline, keep on checking her twitter. I keep on sending her messages and e-mails. Hoping, wishing, praying that she will respond, that she will scold me, scold us for not putting enough effort in taking the book where it belongs to.
But she never does.
The Flame Still Glows!
Hi Ju, How are you.... Just a small thing - Will you be interested in doing an author takeover on Romancebook.blogfanroom (May 17 to May 19), let me know.
It would be an hour or so.
MAY 15, 2019, 4:32 PM
Hi Ju, This is the link of Connie's NL that went out today early morning - https://preview.mailerlite.com/o3u4o7
Now's the time to stock up on freebies, new releases and The May Book Fair. We all know the kids will be out of school soon enough, demanding all of our attention. So, now's the time to kick back, pour your beverage of choice and read a great book! Go ahead and load up your e-reader with tons of exc...
JUN 9, 2019, 7:55 PM
Hi Ju, How are you. Hope everything is all right and you've recovered well from your surgery. I was just a little concerned about your health. Take care. Hugs!
TUE 6:24 PM
Julia, hope you're doing fine. I have something important to tell you. Get back to me when you can. Take care!
You can find her last post on her Facebook timeline. The one that she wrote on May 10, 2019. That’s her last post. Her last attempt. The one last push to make it happen, to realize her dream, before saying goodbye to all of us. I can’t say the book hasn’t done well. Because it has done well. But it doesn’t reach the place where Julia wants it to be. She wants it to be a big success, a major one. That’s her dream and now ours.
This is my sincere request to all readers and book lovers if they want to pay their tribute to this superwoman, please go ahead and purchase the book. In return, you’ll get a marvelous collection of heart-warming romantic short stories. Also, this is author’s last work. It does deserve recognition and appreciation.
The Heart of the Matter Anthology is only 99 cents and a part of the proceed will go help a non-profit organization – Professional Wardrobe.INC