Give Books for the Holidays

I am grateful for the wonderful feedback that has been arriving in person and by email from readers in this country and overseas.  Both Red Sky Anthology and Out of the Inferno, the first two of four books in my Red Sky Series, continue to be category best sellers on Amazon, and are selling on Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Nobles and at local bookstores in northern Michigan. One of my readers purchased eight copies of Red Sky for Christmas gifts, another purchased a gift copy for her brother who wanted to know what it was like to live in northern Michigan.  Please consider purchasing one or both books at your favorite online or neighborhood book store!  And stay tuned.  Crooked River and The Lawnmower Club, my first two novels, will be published in 2017.  Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from Up North!

 

How to Paint a Marriage

How to A Paint Marriage (for Dana and Chad, Married October 22, 2016, Temecula, CA)

He paints the curve of her mouth when she smiles, and the squint in her eyes when she laughs.

She paints how he looks when he hums a tune to the wind’s music.

He pictures the flowers he placed in her hair, the day rain kissed them.

She pictures the sunny stories he whispers to her in the warm night.

He watercolors the tones of her skin and hair with the beauty of her world.

She watercolors his glowing face when he sees the blushing clouds of evening put the bare sun to bed,

and the tiny sigh, the sigh she barely sees,

when he looks up to fathom the moon and infinite stars.

He brushstrokes the complexion of her hopes and dreams,

the shapes of her ambitions, and the palette of her desires.

She brushstrokes the hues of his interior mind, the contours of his body, and the angles of his repose, awake and asleep.

They draw and shade the lost spaces of what they separately were, and charcoal landscapes of new territories to be traveled together.

Their art never covers the expanding white canvas.  Unfinished space opens every day, no matter how filled in with something very like love, faith, sorrow, and joy.

They create a marriage in a boundless sea of color harmonies, spilling outside the lines—never forgotten, never finished, never framed, never hung on a wall—never a still life.

They find new friends, explore sand beaches, forests, fields, mountains, lakes, waterfalls, rivers, and keep close who and what they treasure.

They fashion the artwork of marriage—dabs of love, splashes of passion, etches of friendship, sketches of caring, squiggles of fun—loud, free, and overrun with dogs and cats.

They paint a life as theirs, the gift they give each other, like a temple built to last, even when grass grows up between the stones.

—Randy Evans

Kirkus Review Selects Memoir

Kirkus Review selects Out of the Inferno: A Husband’s Passage Through Cancerland for publication in their September 15 edition


5200 librarians, literary agents, and publishers subscribe to Kirkus.  Kirlus selects the top 10% of new releases for publication.  Please consider buying my memoir on Amazon or from your favorite independent bookseller, and let me know what you think!  Here’s a link to the review:  https://www.dropbox.com/s/0s7rozgaqduft5f/Kirkus_online_091516.pdf?dl=0

 

Evans_428_Book2_Layout 1

Kirkus Review publishes Out of the Inferno book review

randyevansauthor.com

OUT OF THE INFERNO
A Husband’s Passage Through Cancerland
From the “Red Sky” series, volume 2
by Randy Evans
BUY NOW FROM
AMAZON
BARNES & NOBLE
LOCAL BOOKSELLER

Kirkus Review, August 19, 2016

A memoir examines life, love, and cancer.

Laurene Evans was a fighter who spent 10 years battling breast cancer. Her husband was at her side, standing with her through the tests and chemotherapy, experiencing feelings of hope and despair. In this memoir, Randy Evans…documents the years he and his wife spent living with cancer, touching on everything from treatments to travel. The couple tried to keep their family life as normal as possible; they raised their four daughters, took trips to Europe, pursued job interests, and lived life to the fullest. Yet the specter of cancer was a continual presence, hovering like the proverbial other shoe just waiting to drop. Despite a skilled team of medical professionals…

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Blurb for Out of the Inferno from Dr. Theo Ross, a leading cancer warrior

Out of the Inferno is an eye-opening, honest memoir written by an author whose wife lived and died with cancer. Rarely have authors whose partners died of cancer taken the time and effort to put their experiences on paper for the rest of us. The powerful writing forces the reader to feel the good, the bad and the horrific while uplifting the reader with lessons learned. This unique book fills a gap in the cancer literature. I love this book.

Dr. Theodora Ross, M.D., Ph.D., Cancer Geneticist, Director, Cancer Genetics Program, UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX, author A Cancer in the Family

Kirkus Review publishes Out of the Inferno book review

OUT OF THE INFERNO
A Husband’s Passage Through Cancerland
From the “Red Sky” series, volume 2
by Randy Evans
BUY NOW FROM
AMAZON
BARNES & NOBLE
LOCAL BOOKSELLER

Kirkus Review, August 19, 2016

A memoir examines life, love, and cancer.

Laurene Evans was a fighter who spent 10 years battling breast cancer. Her husband was at her side, standing with her through the tests and chemotherapy, experiencing feelings of hope and despair. In this memoir, Randy Evans…documents the years he and his wife spent living with cancer, touching on everything from treatments to travel. The couple tried to keep their family life as normal as possible; they raised their four daughters, took trips to Europe, pursued job interests, and lived life to the fullest. Yet the specter of cancer was a continual presence, hovering like the proverbial other shoe just waiting to drop. Despite a skilled team of medical professionals, aggressive treatment, and a deep desire to live, Laurene died in 2002. The period following her death became a time of anguish and healing for Evans as he mourned Laurene yet began to move on. This book is Evans’ effort to preserve his wife’s story and share “how we seek to discover strength and joy during difficult times.” In writing this account, the author also finds a way to use his hard-won wisdom to help others on their own journeys through Cancerland. As his wife’s caregiver, Evans remained in a position to fully understand the physical and emotional costs of cancer. His narrative refuses to shy away from the technical and often brutal side effects. He writes about his wife’s fragile bones snapping without cause and details a conversation concerning Laurene’s wishes for him to remarry after her death. His descriptive prose and powerful imagery (Evans needed a wheelchair to move the enormous stack of Laurene’s medical files from room to room) drive the story home. Throughout his wife’s illness, Evans found solace in penning poetry and stories that provided an outlet for his often overwhelming emotions. And he discovered a new passion: venturing into the world of psychology to study the quality of life of breast cancer survivors.

A profoundly honest work from a man who survived Cancerland and discovered new gifts, a different path, and, ultimately, peace.

Pub Date: June 10th, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-63491-435-2
Page count: 428pp
Publisher: Booklocker
Program: Kirkus IndieEvans_428_Book2_Layout 1

Grief and Recovery Motivate Classically-Inspired Memoir (Petoskey News and Review, July 20, 2016)

Glen Young Special to the News-Review 

Grief takes a variety of forms and requires a range of responses.

In “Out of the Inferno” Petoskey area writer Randy Evans provides a look at one such response. Evans wrote the new memoir in the wake of wife Laurene’s death to breast cancer, and as a key component of his grieving.

Part Two of his “Red Sky Series,” Evans says, “It’s something I’d been working on for over 10 years. I’d been working through my grief in hard science and the fantasy of novels, but neither was working.”

Subtitled “A Husband’s Passage Through Cancerland,” Evans eventually fixed on the metaphor Dante’s “Inferno,” the classic 14th century tale of the poet’s odyssey through hell guided by Virgil.

Evans says after lengthy reflection on his own sadness, he “realized I no longer needed to get over it.”

In his introduction he writes, “My daily grief still lingered, but began to soften like the lovely light filtering down through the leaves and branches of the tall magnolia tree that had stood in the front yard of my Houston home.”

Remembered from a favorite college class, Evans recognized, “Dante’s pilgrimage seemed to parallel my own.”

After this, “the book started organizing around the epigrams,” he says. Chapter 1 starts where Dante starts, “Stopped mid-motion in the middle/ Of what we call our life.”

There are also lessons highlighted in each of Evans’ chapters, such as “Lesson Nine” that explains how, “Help comes in many forms and in unexpected ways,” or “Lesson Nineteen” that asserts, “Grief involves thoughts and feelings about loss. Mourning is the process of picking up the pieces.”

Evans illustrates the idea of picking up the pieces from the beginning, as he recounts the memory of his father-in-law Neil Schmitt.

“It’s not a story just about the two of us,” he says referring to himself and Laurene, “but about family and friends and medical professionals. There are huge numbers of people involved” in the aftermath of a cancer diagnosis.

Because Neil’s mother also died of breast cancer, Evans understands how Neil’s experience supports his own.

“I also wanted other universal themes readers might be interested in,” he explains. “Readers want to recreate their own experiences while reading.”

From diagnosis through treatment and decline, Evans chronicles his and Laurene’s odyssey, all the while returning to Dante’s journey as well as those universal lessons attached to any story of grief and loss.

Evans says while recounting the arc of his sorrow, “Some of the funny things came out, as well as the serious things.”

He recalls with a laugh the time the family cat landed in the clothes dryer during a hasty dinner, the family pet fluffed but unharmed.

He says the decision to use Dante also comes down to how the poet “had to rely on his guide and blindly follow and trust things would work out,” much the way Evans and Laurene had to do the same. Where Dante organized around 34 cantos in the first book of his “Divine Comedy,” Evans’ book traverses 34 chapters.

His book came only after many other earlier steps, however. After Laurene’s death in 2002, Evans told himself, “I have to rebuild my life,” which meant going back to school. He earned his PhD and developed his writing career before falling in love again, with new wife Denise.

In the end, Evans realizes, “The grief is part of who I am now.”

Evans says readers are affirming his work.

“The best part is feedback from readers,” he said. “Hearing from people who enjoy the book and are getting something useful is the biggest payback for me.”

At more than 400 pages, the book charts a lengthy course. Readers are undeterred, however, as the book currently sits at or near the top of several memoir categories on Amazon.com.

While “Out of the Inferno” chronicles Evans’ journey through the hell of breast cancer, he has much more to write about, with other books on the horizon. Next up is “Crooked River: Love, Adventure, and a Search for Belonging in Northern Michigan,” the story of “people who end up in Northern Michigan and fall in love,” Evans explains. “It’s a big sprawling adventure novel.”

Behind that is “The Lawnmower Club: How Leo Zitzelberger Lost and Found Paradise on Earth.” The new books are also part of his “Red Sky Series,” and all are available locally at McLean and Eakin or Horizon Books in Petoskey, or Between the Covers in Harbor Springs.

Randy Evans will sign copies of “Out of the Inferno” at Between The Covers, 106 Main St., Harbor Springs at 7 p.m. on Thursday, July 21. For more information, call (231) 526-6658.