Candy's Blog

Want to know what's going on this week? Check Candy's blog. You never know who she may be interviewing, or where's she's headed. This girl gets around.

Here are her latest entries from her Wordpress Blog...

I Love You

I used to do a lot of motivational speaking at big conventions. I talked about the road to success and what it took. One of the points I made was surrounding yourself with good people. If you want to be successful, this is the single most important thing you can do for yourself. The last few weeks, I realized what an incredible gift it is to have those amazing people in your life.

I’ll give you an update on Parker in just a bit, but his illness caused a chain of events that made me stop and think about what was important. I’ve been working myself into the ground to pay off bills and a multitude of school loans. I’d sort of closed myself off and hadn’t seen my friends much because I work ALL the time. Seven days a week 12-18 hours a day. ALL THE TIME. My friends, while they worry about my health, get it. We chat when we can, and there’s a lot texting and tweets.

But when I needed them, my friends were there. Britta and Kern Coleman came up the first full day Parker was in the hospital. They brought me and Liz (who I will write an ode to in just a bit) Diet Mountain Dew. I’d driven 14 hours to get to my kid and I needed to be there for him. I needed that Dew more than anything else. My brain had left the building. And Britta didn’t ask, she said, “Kern and I are coming up. What can I bring you?” Britta is someone who knows just how fiercely protective I am of my kiddos, she gets it. And I needed her smiley face and her jokes. That girl always makes me smile. And Kern, you make the best seafood gumbo I’ve ever eaten. Hands down. You to need to write a cookbook. For real. Curtis came up later that night and made Parker laugh so hard he couldn’t breathe. :)

The next day my friends Jenny Martin and Rosemary Clement Moore surprised us with a visit. They came at a moment where things were looking very, very bad. I’d just finished a crying stint in the public bathrooms down the hall so my kid wouldn’t see. I was exhausted, beat up and worried I was going to lose him. (Geez I’m crying now remember how scared I was.) They brought protein bars, which Parker had just said he wanted and bottles of water with money for the vending machines wrapped around them. Another lovely gift since I’d arrived with NO cash in my wallet. And the ATM downstairs didn’t work. But it wasn’t the gifts, it was that they joked around and made Parker smile. And he knew that they were there just as much for him as they were for me, and that made him happy. Rosemary has experienced more loss than anyone person should have to, and she knew exactly what to say and what I was going through. I’m so blessed to have she and Jenny in my circle.

The day we found out his counts had dropped again, my friend Gina Maxwell sent a box with a funny gorilla and an angel in it. “What? Do your friends think I’m 12?” Parker joked, but he hugged that gorilla hard. And then there was a very funny conversation that the gorilla was probably his spirit animal because they both had hairy asses. I know TMI. :)

Every day people on Twitter and Facebook, people I don’t know that well, were asking about Parker and praying for him. I love those people. I really do. Every tweet or Facebook message made me feel like someone out there cared. That they got it. I had a couple of emails where people shared their personal stories. Stories that helped us make wiser decisions about Parker’s care. You guys sent us funny pictures and some scary videos that made us laugh. I love you guys. I truly, truly do.

There was one person who was fighting for Parker as hard as I was. My friend Liz Pelletier. I was at her house working on a book project when the call came in. She wanted to fly me home, but my car was in Colorado at her house. I ran downstairs to pack and she followed me down. “I’m going with you.” Me: “No. I’ll be fine.” Liz: “Uh huh, sure. But I’m still going with you.” About two hours into the 14 hour trip home I turned to her and said, “I’m not sure I could have done this without you.” :) She was kind and didn’t say, “I told you so.” At the hospital she demanded the lab results. She called everyone she knew, even a higher up at the CDC to get more info on what was going on with Parker. We joked that she was getting her hematology degree on Google. But she knew before the doctors what was going on with Parker. It was still scary as hell, but it helped that I knew she was in my corner. Even after she had to go home (and she didn’t want to) I had to send her the daily lab results.

That same week, Liz had made major announcements about her company, Entangled Publishing. All good, but it was a mad house. She was taking call after call, and dealing with the madness. She works harder than I do, and that’s saying something. But she shut it all down to help me. I will never forget what she’s done for me. Ever. She is quite frankly one of the most amazing human beings I’ve ever met. She’s tough on the outside, but a big ‘ol teddy bear on the inside. And anyone who gives her trouble, I’m putting you on notice. I’m her friend, and I will do anything for her, including, hiding the bodies. ;) Just sayin’. And Parker loves her just as much as I do and will be there to help with said bodies. :)

I’m lucky to be surrounded by such wonderful people. And anyone who says social media friends aren’t real, well, they’re full of crap. Never have I experienced, and actually felt, such love from so many. I thank you all. Truly, from the bottom of my heart.

I love you all. Or as I, the native Texan likes to say, I love y’all. :)

This is my valentine to you. You are awesome. You are loved. Each and every one of you.

P.S.

Parker received some good news today. His counts went up enough that they are postponing surgery for now. He’s taking MASSIVE amounts of steroids and we’re going to see how he’s doing next Tuesday. If the counts continue to go up… Well, we can only hope. His counts have gone up before and back down. So we are cautiously optimistic at this time. :)


It’s The Waiting That Kills You

You guys know me. I have a super cruddy immune system. If it’s anywhere in my vicinity, I catch it. My kids, thank goodness, did not get my immune system. In fact, I think I’ve created a superhuman with a powerful immune system that kills everything in it’s path. That’s what has happened with my youngest son Parker.

A little over a week ago, my perfectly healthy 22-year-old woke up with a bunch of bruises all over his body. And his gums bled really bad when he brushed his teeth. The first day, he didn’t think much about it, except that there seemed to be big knots under the bruises. 

After L.A., I’d gone to Colorado to work on a couple of special projects. Parker texted me pics of the bruising, and I sent his butt to the doctor. The next morning we found out he had ZERO platelets in his blood. As in if he bumped into something hard or cut himself, he’d bleed out quickly. They rushed him to a hematologist/oncologist, who did a bone marrow biopsy and quickly admitted him to the hospital. That was last Thursday. 

They tried giving him platelets and steroids, but it only made his condition ITP (Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Pupura) worse. Basically, something (probably a virus) triggered his immune system and his spleen started eating all of the platelets, not just the broken ones. After four days of that treatment they switched to IVIG (Intravenous Immunoglobulin). It basically takes the antibodies from a thousand different people, puts them in a bottle and is given to my kid through an IV. 

Crazy, but it seems to be working. His counts in a just a few days have jumped from 5000 to 64,000. A healthy person has about 350,000 – 450,000 platelets. Still they talked about removing his spleen, but they aren’t sure. It depends on if the IVIG continues to work. 

Yesterday, there were rumors that he was doing so well he might get to go home today. Then that dreaded kick in the head happened. Another test came back showing spots on the lungs. Our hope is that those are just swollen nodes, much like the rest of the ones on his body. They can’t be sure until they do another one. That particular scan had been of his stomach, which has the swollen nodes as well. They just happened to see the spots on his lungs. 

So now we wait for that, and the results of the bone marrow which still haven’t come in. The waiting sucks. It’s helped by visits from friends, and the wonderful Tweets, Facebook comments and personal emails. You guys have no idea how comforting it is to have so many people care about Parker and our family. We appreciate your kind words, prayers and thoughts. We’ve needed them. 

He’s a strong, incredibly fit kid. And the doctors think he’s going to be just fine. But it’s scary as hell and I hope it never happens to you. Really. My heart goes out to every parent with a sick kid. Whether is the cold and flu, or something more serious, I feel your pain. I get it. It’s scary as hell. 

They don’t know what set all this in motion, I wish I could tell you how to protect your kids from it. But now you know some of the symptoms and I hope this helps someone else. 

Hugs. 

-C


DFW Film Critics’ Awards

DALLAS-FORT WORTH FILM CRITICS NAME “12 YEARS A SLAVE” BEST PICTURE OF 2013

The Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association voted the historical drama 12 YEARS A SLAVE as the best film of 2013, according to the results of its 20th annual critics’ poll released today.

            Rounding out the composite list of the top 10 films of the year were GRAVITY (2), NEBRASKA (3), AMERICAN HUSTLE (4), DALLAS BUYERS CLUB (5), HER (6), THE WOLF OF WALL STREET (7), INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS (8), CAPTAIN PHILLIPS (9) and MUD (10).

                  For Best Actor, the association named Matthew McConaughey for DALLAS BUYERS CLUB. Runners-up included Chiwetel Ejiofor for 12 YEARS A SLAVE (2), Bruce Dern for NEBRASKA (3), Tom Hanks for CAPTAIN PHILLIPS (4) and Leonardo DiCaprio for THE WOLF OF WALL STREET (5).

                  Cate Blanchett was voted Best Actress for BLUE JASMINE. Next in the voting were Sandra Bullock for GRAVITY (2), Judi Dench for PHILOMENA (3), Meryl Streep for AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY (4) and Emma Thompson for SAVING MR. BANKS (5).

                  In the Best Supporting Actor category, the winner was Jared Leto for DALLAS BUYERS CLUB. He was followed by Michael Fassbender for 12 YEARS A SLAVE (2), Barkhad Abdi for CAPTAIN PHILLIPS (3), Daniel Bruhl for RUSH (4) and Jonah Hill for THE WOLF OF WALL STREET (5).

                  For Best Supporting Actress, the association named Lupita Nyong’o for 12 YEARS A SLAVE. Runners-up were June Squibb for NEBRASKA (2), Jennifer Lawrence for AMERICAN HUSTLE (3), Julia Roberts for AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY (4) and Sally Hawkins for BLUE JASMINE (5).

                  Alfonso Cuaron was voted Best Director for GRAVITY. Next in the voting were Steve McQueen for 12 YEARS A SLAVE (2), Alexander Payne for NEBRASKA (3), David O. Russell for AMERICAN HUSTLE (4) and Martin Scorsese for THE WOLF OF WALL STREET (5).

                  The association voted BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR as the best foreign-language film of the year. Runners-up included THE HUNT (2), THE GREAT BEAUTY (3), THE WIND RISES (4) and THE GRANDMASTER (5).

                  TWENTY FEET FROM STARDOM won for Best Documentary over THE ACT OF KILLING (2), STORIES WE TELL (3), BLACKFISH (4) and THE GATEKEEPERS (5).

FROZEN was named the best animated film of 2013, with DESPICABLE ME 2 as runner-up. John Ridley won the Best Screenplay award for 12 YEARS A SLAVE over a tie between Bob Nelson for NEBRASKA and Spike Jonze for HER.

The award for Best Cinematography went to Emmanuel Lubezki for GRAVITY, followed by Sean Bobbitt for 12 YEARS A SLAVE. The association gave its award for Best Musical Score to Steven Price for GRAVITY.

                  The association voted FRUITVALE STATION as the winner of the Russell Smith Award, named for the late Dallas Morning News film critic. The honor is given annually to the best low-budget or cutting-edge independent film.

                  The Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association consists of 29 broadcast, print and online journalists from throughout North Texas. For more information, visit http://www.dfwcritics.com.


On the Hunt for Interns

Have you ever wondered what an editor’s slush pile looks like? Or maybe you want to break into the world of publishing, but don’t know how? Do you love books? (That’s the most important part.) If you don’t mind hard work or working for free, I may have the job for you. I’m hiring four new interns. Your job will be reading the books in our slush pile and filing reports on them. You’re key to finding those writers with real talent, who have written amazing books. 

There is a chance for advance. Two of my interns are now my editorial assistants, and one of my former interns is a copy editor. I suggest reading books from our Covet, Select and Edge imprints so you know what kind of books we want. And of course, we’ll have guidelines for you when you join the team. It’s okay if you don’t have any experience, we will help you target what is most important when reporting on the books. 

If interested, please email your resume to: 

stephaniejs@me.com

Happy Thanksgiving! 

-Candy


I love pens

I’m addicted to office supplies. It’s so bad that I don’t trust myself to go to Office Depot or Staples alone. Even at the bookstore I’ve been known to buy a journal or 10, or smancy file folders I don’t really need. Sigh. But I love pens and paper. I always have. My parents didn’t have a lot of money when I was growing up, but I always begged for the coolest binder we could find for school. And pens. I covet them. Even in college, those folders and binders were my splurges. 

I’m getting ready to start three new projects and I like have new journals and pens when I begin. At some point this weekend I’m going to drag my husband to Office Depot to pick up some new pens. So I’m asking you, my awesome research team, what is your favorite pen and why? I’m fond of anything gel. But I’m willing to try anything. Nothing too expensive, I break and lose things often.

Tell me, I really want to know. 

Happy Halloween! 

-C


View Candy's older blog entries on her Wordpress Blog