Saturday, June 14, 2008

Spiritual Adventure Author Jon Gregory

Today my good friends and wonderful author, Jon Gregory, has been cool enough to come play with us. Jon’s written mystery and adventure novels (I’m half in love with his recurring P.I. character) and has recently switched gears a little to write a spiritual adventure story. I’ve read it. It’s really fun. And he’s currently giving away the ebook version of it for free. (Yep, totally free. Told you he was cool.) So, please welcome Jon, then go download his book and tell all your friends how awesome it is.


Hi there. Jon Gregory here, author of the self-published The Return of Arthur: A Spiritual Quest.

Yes, the subtitle says it all. My book is indeed a spiritual adventure. And, no, I didn't always write spiritual adventures. I used to write mystery novels, in fact. Which is how I met Gemma Halliday.

Anyway, let's get right to it. Why did I self-publish my book? And why the drastic change in my writing, from mystery novels to spiritual adventures?

Okay, first question: The Return of Arthur: A Spiritual Quest was written for a very sick friend of mine (more about her below), and time really is of the essence to get her story out there. Remember, traditional publishers take up to two years to publish a book. By self-publishing, I got the book out instantly.

Second question: Why the switch in writing gears? Well, I discovered something curious about myself when writing my last mystery novel: I was getting tired of writing mystery novels. In particular, I was getting tired of describing various creative ways of killing people.

So one day I sat back and considered my alternatives. I certainly didn’t have to write murder mysteries. No one was forcing me to do this. Yes, I enjoyed writing mysteries, but I did not enjoy depicting man at his worst.

So why not show man at his best?

I thought back to various books that had inspired me. In particular, The Alchemist. Now here was a book that inspired me to be a better person, that helped me make better choices in life. That showed me the beauty in the world and the good in all of us. I liked that. I wanted to write something like that.

But what? I wasn’t sure. So I let the thought percolate, and a few weeks later something interesting happened.

First of all, do you believe in signs? I do. It’s okay if you don’t. We all have our own set of beliefs that gets us through the day. At the core of my beliefs are signs or omens. I feel God, the Creator, the Universe (or whatever you want to call the force that drives this world), can use signs to help guide us through life.

Sure, why not, right?

Anyway, signs or not, something interesting started happening. Everywhere I went I saw something King Arthur. From books to movies to street names to tee shirts to commercials to advertising…anywhere and everywhere.

Okay, I thought. I get the message. King Arthur it is.


And so I started doing a little research on the man and discovered there’s a small city in England called Glastonbury that's heavily associated with King Arthur. Although no records of Arthur exist (he lived way back even before the Dark Ages, fifteen hundred years ago), Glastonbury had long been considered home to everything King Arthur…from Camelot to Avalon to the Holy Grail.

But one legend stood out above the rest, and it goes like this:

King Arthur would return one day to usher in a new age of enlightenment to all mankind, where he would rule once again.

Oh, really?

Well, guess what, folks? I had my story.

And at about this time, my friend June came into the scene.

I first met June through Myspace a few years ago, back when I was peddling my mystery novels. She was always the first to help promote my novels, always the first to reply to a bulletin, always the first with a kind email. Never once did she ask for a single favor in return. I remember once when she described coercing all her family members to order copies of my novels. I liked that. A writer’s best friend, right? Again, she never once asked for anything in return. June was a good friend, a nice friend.

But I had no idea she was a sick friend.

One day I read a bulletin she posted. Her bulletin asked a single question: Why hadn’t anyone responded to any of her recent blogs?

(Yes, I know, lot of this is Myspace speak, but bear with me.)

Curious, I headed over to her page and read one of her blogs. And discovered she had been diagnosed with something called LAM, a rare disease that attacks, among other things, the lungs. June even posted an x-ray of her lungs, an x-ray that was covered in white dots. These “dots” were in fact cysts that were filling her lungs. Cysts that could eventually suffocate her to death unless she was either cured or received a lung transplant. Folks, there's no known cure and lung transplants have only a 60% survival rate.

So, here’s this amazingly sweet girl who was always the first to help me peddle my books, the first to send me a kind note of encouragement, and she was dying. And no one was willing to help her.

Well, not on my watch.

So I did the only thing I could think of. I wrote to her and asked her if she would be interested in starring in one of my books that would feature a character with LAM. Well, I can safely tell you that she was fairly excited with the idea. I next told her I was thinking of writing a modern-day parable about the return of King Arthur. Again, I can safely tell you that she was thrilled with the idea, as she loved anything and everything King Arthur.

Now a year and six major moves later (I moved from Oregon to California and now to Nevada), The Return of Arthur: A Spiritual Quest is done. What happens next is up to God.

But if you want to help, please head over to Lulu.com and order yourself a copy or two of the trade paperback. I’m donating half of all proceeds to June’s LAM foundation. (And, yes, I’m currently giving away the e-Book for free. Yes, free. Enjoy.) Either way, thank you for reading and thank you for inviting me to your party.


God bless and keep smiling,
Jon Gregory

http://www.myspace.com/jongregory1
To order the book: http://www.lulu.com/content/2690407

12 comments:

Faye Hughes said...

Great blog, Jon, and a very inspiring story. I just ordered my copy of your book. Best of luck to you and your friend!

Faye

Tori Lennox said...

I'm all sniffly now. What a wonderful thing to do. And I'm zipping over to download the book. I love things related to King Arthur, too! :)

jonhargrove said...

Thank you so much for the kind words, Faye! And THANK YOU for the book order. Wow.

God bless and much love,
Jon

P.S. My mother writes inspirational romance novels (Verna Hargrove). I think she would love your how-to book!

jonhargrove said...

Hi Tori. Yes, this is a bit of a sniffly story, huh? Every now and then I will get a call from June, usually late at night because she can't sleep. In particular, she can't breathe. It's very very sad, but there is an answer out there. Somewhere. Maybe we can help.

God bless,
Jon

Gemma Halliday said...

Thanks for coming to hang with us, Jon. You know how much I love your books, and I think you're twice as rad for doing this for June.

~Gemma

jonhargrove said...

I think you're pretty rad, too, Ms. Halliday....

Christie Craig said...

Jon,

Thank you so much for blogging with us today.

What a great thing to do. Tell your mom good luck with her writing.

Crime Scene Christie

jonhargrove said...

Thank you, Christie!! I appreciate the kind words. Hope all is well!

Grace Walker said...

Loved reading your blog post Jon. I'm blown away by the compassion you show! You inspire me.

BreathinSteven said...

Hi Jon!

I think what you're doing for June is simply wonderful... Thank you so much -- and thank you for taking a moment to create a little awareness for both LAM and lung transplant awareness...

I'm not sure where you're getting your lung transplant survival statistics -- they may be outdated... Currently, most centers have a better than 80% one-year survival...

I'll admit it gets a little rocky after that -- there is about a 50% five-year and 15% ten-year... But sometimes that has to be compared with survival rates for end-stage LAM or cystic fibrosis -- which, when we get to a point, there is no possibility of survival...

I hope June is as lucky as I have been -- I hope her journey is as amazing as mine has been... A little over eight years ago, a precious 17-year-old girl told how strongly she felt about organ donation while having dinner with her family -- a little over eight years ago, I was struggling and dying with end-stage cystic fibrosis... Sadly, that 17-year-old girl passed away -- but she and her family came into my life that day when they chose to donate her lungs. I have both of them...

After living for so long with bad lungs -- this breathin' stuff blows my mind every single day -- and I think of that beautiful girl every single day -- I can see her smile when I close my eyes...

I wish the same for June -- I've known a few LAM patients who have been successfully transplanted -- I wish that for June too...

I have a little of my story at www.ClimbingForKari.org and I blog about organ donation, transplant, and organ donation awareness at www.ReviveHope.com so that people better understand organ donation and decide to choose organ donation when their time on this beautiful planet is over -- so that they choose to save lives like June's...

Thank you again for doing what you've done -- it means so much to people like June, and to people like me too...

Love,
Steve

Steve Ferkau
Chicago, IL

Gemma Halliday said...

What a great story, Steve! As much as that 17 year old girl's parents must miss her everyday, what a great thing to know that she's living on through helping someone else.
And I love your "breathinsteven" name. ;)

~Gemma

BreathinSteven said...

Thanks, Gemma...

The most special thing in the entire world to me is keeping her smile and her spirit alive... I do think about her constantly... I ALWAYS have a green ribbon (organ donation) pinned in my collar... And if I'm not in my work clothes, I'm usually wearing Iowa Hawkeye apparel -- and when someone asks me about my pin, hollers "Go Hawks!!!" -- I pull out my wallet and show them a picture, and tell them about a beautiful girl who means everything to me...

Please tell Jon I'm proud of him for what he's doing -- and thanks for reading my note and loving my "BreathinSteven" name!!!

Love,

Steve