Greg Bardsley



Greg’s Friends Doing Amazing Things — J.P. Gallagher

imgBio_JPBack in October of 2008, I blogged about J.P. Gallagher, a friend of mine who’d just learned he had stomach cancer.

It was a scary time. So many questions no one could answer. Was the cancer spreading? Would it respond to radiation and chemo? How would he and his wife  accommodate the birth of their third child just weeks after the docs would take out J.P.’s stomach? Life would change, for sure, but what would it look like, and how would they live it?

Well, I have good news. J.P. kicked the shit out of that cancer.

The past 20 months threw just about everything they could at J.P. and his family. Those 20 months gave, and they took away. A daughter was born. New friendships were made. Just weeks after J.P.’s surgery, his father died — later, his sister passed away, too. But the world kept spinning, and J.P. and his family kept fighting, and living.

Now, there’s nothing serendipitous about cancer. I know that. But there is something remarkable how a variety of circumstances came together to create something truly amazing out of something that had been downright awful.

Part of it was the fact J.P. always had a passion for the non-profit sector — he’d been elected chairman of the board for at the Jesuit Volunteer Corps (JVC): Southwest, and he’d earned an MBA with concentrations in marketing and public/non-profit management. Another part of it was the fact that, through his treatment, J.P. had gotten to know some of the world’s leaders in gastric cancer research, and that he just happened to work for a company that made the computers needed to assist with that research.

Toss in the fact that, back in October ’08, his wife Cindy insisted he see a doctor about a swallowing problem and that, had he not gone, he’d likely be dead today, and you start to wonder if this is where J.P. is supposed to be — back in the saddle of life, full of energy, surviving cancer and starting The Gastric Cander Fund, which aims to do nothing short of finding a cure for the disease. With J.P.’s vision as well as the help of his employer, NetApp, the foundation aims to provide one lucky research group everything it would need — the money, the computers, the medical collaboration — to find the root cause of gastric cancer.

Pretty fricking cool.

And if you’re wondering how in the hell J.P. ever found the time and energy (let alone the vision) to start something like this while fighting for his life and mourning the loss of loved ones, on top of everything else, I don’t have an answer.

In October 2008, I asked you to pray for J.P. and his people. Today, I ‘m asking you to learn more about his new foundation, and to consider helping.

I’m thinking about a friend, and I couldn’t be more proud of him.

NOTE: This marks the beginning of what I hope will be an occasional series in which I tell you about friends doing some pretty cool things.

Feeling good … for a friend

I’m feeling good.

I’m feeling good for a friend.

Today, a truly talented and thoughtful writer experienced one of those rare moments of pure joy and satisfaction. And I couldn’t be happier for him.

Enough said. The full story is here.

When one man “reaches land”

I like to watch when people achieve their literary dreams.

Knowing so many writers who, like me, aspire to achieve greater things with their fiction, it’s always great to see someone actually “hit land,” to reach the distant, seemingly impregnable Island of Getting Published. Attempting to get there is a long, taxing and difficult journey that, in most cases, ultimately ends with one’s aspirations getting slammed onto the deadly reef surrounding this remote, tantalizing island. Sure, it’s a great adventure full of valuable growth opportunities for anyone who attempts this journey, and yes I do believe it’s good for aspiring writers to diversify their emotional investments, but it’s still nice to “be there” when someone gets through that reef in one piece and hits the sandy beach.

51ievdndcpl_aa240_.jpgWhich is why I have been following David White, a New Jersey teacher who is about to realize his dream. His well-reviewed, debut crime novel, “When One Man Dies,” hits bookstores Sept. 25. And even though I don’t know the guy beyond what he shares on his blog, I can tell he is truly amped about the whole thing. Recently, he added a feature on his blog that counts down the hours, minutes and seconds to when the doors open on Sept. 25.

Remaining seconds in Dave’s countdown, as of this writing: 685,4788. But who’s counting?

He “popped the hood”

My agent sent me an email Monday. And I have to say, this probably was the most satisfying email I’ve gotten in my fiction-writing pursuits.

In his email, Jeff outlines and explains his strategy for pitching my novel to editors. After working with Jeff on the editorial aspects of the book, I now got to see the other side of his literary-agent skills — architecting the submission process and discussing the sensibilities and buying habits of various editors.

Not only was I impressed with Jeff’s deep knowledge of the publishing community, but I was simply thrilled to see the names of editors with whom he wants to share my novel. They’re editors who’ve put out some truly great crime novels, and seeing their names and respective publishing-house imprints in Jeff’s email added a new layer of tangible authenticity to my adventure. It was as if he had “popped the front hood” of the publishing-world’s TransAm and let me have a nice long look at its engine — it’s fascinating, cherried-out, all-chrome machinery.

Pretty sweet.

A personal milestone

Last Friday, the call finally came. It was the call I’d been anticipating for months. It was the call I’d been working toward for years. It was the call I sometimes thought would never come.

It was a call from my literary agent. He’d finished reading the latest revision of my novel, and he is ready to start sharing it with some handpicked editors the week after Labor Day.

Thus, I begin a new phase in my fiction-writing career — actually having my book submitted to publishers. On the surface, that might sound like it should have been a simple goal, something easy to attain. But to actually get to this point was anything but easy. I have spent many years writing and revising this book — countless late nights, countless pre-dawn mornings, so many stolen moments.

And believe me, I know. I know how low the odds are. In today’s book market, I know how rare it is for any book editor to actually like a book so thoroughly that she would be willing to part with hard-earned cash to have it. But right now, on this week, that’s okay. I’ll bemoan those sober realities some other day.

In other words, wooooooooooooooooooooo-hoooooo.

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