Friday, December 05, 2008

Deb Baker on the Positive Power of Gratitude

Deb Baker
Ding Dong Dead
Publisher: Berkley
Pub date: December 2008
Agent: Jacky Sach

(Click to Buy)

I’m an eighteen-year cancer survivor, beating (a stroke of luck really) the same nasty killer that took down Robert Urich of Spenser for Hire and Vegas fame. I was a young mother when I was diagnosed, with a three-month-old daughter and an eighteen-month-old son, and a frighteningly poor prognosis.

I don’t remember much of the next five years—surgeries, radiation, and doctors’ visits, while trying to enjoy every moment with my babies. The five-year mark is what we were shooting for, but it wouldn’t necessarily mean triumph. Robert Urich made it seven years before it took him.

Once you have it, I think, you never forget what you went through, or that a killer might still lurk inside of you.

Cancer shaped me. It forced me to choose. Either I could live with fear, or I could become fearless.

Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now) tells stories of those who had to experience extreme lose before learning to really live. Stay in the present, he says, it’s where everything is happening.

The Secret
tells us to believe in ourselves, to simply ask and prepare to receive, to stay positive and confident, and life will reward us.

I love both philosophies. They require us to enjoy the journey no matter where it takes us.

My seventh mystery is out this month. How appropriate that it arrives during the holiday season. And how grateful I am. While the path to publication wasn’t short, just as that lonely walk I took eighteen years ago wasn’t, I am grateful for every new page that has turned for me—sitting down to write that first all-important paragraph, the last page where I typed “the end” and popped open the champagne, the submissions and their promises, finally the “good” rejections, then interested agents and editors before holding a bound book with my name on the cover . . . the list of small joys is endless.

Gretchen Birch is the protagonist in Ding Dong Dead. She runs a doll restoration business with her mother, who is a breast cancer survivor. Her mom made the same choice I did. She became fearless.

Cancer taught me to soar. And to be thankful for small joys, because the really big ones don’t come by that often.

So wherever you are in your journey at this moment, take time to reflect, not on what you wish you had but on how much you already have.

I’m running a contest for a $50 gift certificate to the bookstore of your choice! Here’s how to win. Get a copy of Ding Dong Dead, read it, go to my website ( before January 15th and correctly answer three easy questions pertaining to the book. You will be entered into a drawing, which will take place at noon on January 15th. The winner will be notified through email and announced on my homepage. Good luck!


Anonymous said...

Deb, thanks so much for sharing your courageous story of triumph over cancer! Anyone's outlook on life would be shaped by such an experience, but you chose the high road and decided to make it positive. We could all learn something from you.

Congratulations on eighteen years of health since the diagnosis, and may you live long and continue to prosper in the writing world. :-)

Now I'm headed over to try to win your contest. $50 of free books? Can't beat that for a stocking stuffer!

Anita said...

I am thankful for this small joy: Starting the day with your inspirational words!

Deb Baker said...

Thanks, Anita. No matter how tough we think we have it, there is always someone else suffering more.

Kate Douglas said...

Deb, congratulations on your very successful and courageous fight. I agree with the philosophy that it's important to enjoy the journey. I lived with multiple sclerosis for many years, using a cane to walk with the threat of a wheelchair always in my future. Then I went into full remission a few years ago, and while the disease is still there, I intend to enjoy the journey even more, now that I can make it on two fully functional legs. There's a lot to be said for having something almost taken away--as well as having the risk still hanging out there--it ramps up your ability to appreciate the small things even more. It definitely shapes a person, but knowing what you almost lost makes the things you've got all that more powerful.

Anonymous said...

Peace and joy to you... and um, book sales too!

Anonymous said...

Deb, you are fearless indeed! Wishing you all the best with your latest release and thank you for sharing your story....especially at a time when everyone really needs to know what is important and to look for the little and big things that we are grateful for!

Unknown said...

This is such an inspiring post. Thanks for sharing!

Jessica Nelson said...

Wow, that is so powerful. Thank you for sharing. I think you're right on.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for such a powerful and moving post. I've always struggled to live in the moment, and I often forget all the blessings I have.

I can't begin to imagine what you must have gone through, battling such a scary disease as a young mother. Your courage is inspiring.

As a fellow Sisters in Crime member, I've followed your publication journey with awe. Now I'm more impressed than ever by your strength and determination.

Bella Andre said...

What an absolutely lovely blog, Deb! Congratulations both on 18 cancer free years AND your new mystery.
;-) Bella

Anonymous said...

Of all the inspirational words I've read,in all the world of magazines and books and any other forms of communications I've encountered, the words written by you today are perhaps the most touching and inspirational of all.
Wow. Thank you.

Loralee said...

For many reasons, your inspiring words were just what I needed to read today.

Thanks so much for sharing your courageous journey and for reminding us to count our blessings.

Wishing you many more years of good health and success in your career.

jbstanley said...


Congratulations on your strength, courage, and talent. What a wonderful post - especially during this time of year! Wishing you all the success in the world! Fondly, JB

Jane Doe said...
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Terri Thayer said...

Great post, Deb. I'm so glad you were able to beat it. Your joie de vivre comes through in every thing you do.

I miss Robert Urich. He seemed like one of the good guys.