A Note From Elicia Hyder

This story is included at the front of every copy of Lights Out Lucy, but it’s too special to risk you not seeing it.

On this launch day, I share with you the most personal story I’ve ever told. The story behind the story of Lights Out Lucy: Roller Derby 101.


In 2008, my first husband was one of the first recorded deaths resulting from texting and driving in the state of Tennessee. He was 25 years old. At the time we had two children. Canaan was four. Will was two.

In the aftermath of that awful year, my good friend, Chuck, introduced me to the wild and wonderful sport of women’s flat track roller derby. On a dare, I joined Fresh Meat (Roller Derby 101) with the Nashville Rollergirls, and “eL’s Bells” (my derby name) was born.

Truth be told: I SUCKED AT ROLLER DERBY. I hung up my skates after my 2nd serious knee injury before I ever even skated in my first official bout…BUT new lifelong friendships were forged, my body became a formidable machine, and through the bruises, torn ligaments, and pulled muscles—my heart finally healed.

Fast forward to 2015 when I was diagnosed with cancer. My daughter—who was counting the days until she could play junior roller derby—was faced with the possibility of losing another parent. Unlike her brother, who only remembered their dad in pictures, Canaan knew the pain that seemed to lurk in our future.

As I planned my funeral (yes, that’s dramatic, but I think every cancer patient considers it), I wondered if Canaan, too, would find her healing on a pair of quad skates.

And thus, the idea for this novel, Lights Out Lucy, was sparked.

I published my first book with chemotherapy burning through my veins. And while the doctors and nurses (hi, Rena) saved my life, I can honestly say that writing saved my sanity.

Three years later, I’m cancer free and Lights Out Lucy is my 9th published novel. It’s also my favorite. In these pages, I hope you’ll experience the power of friendship and determination. I hope you’ll laugh, fall in love, and see the very best in yourself through our unwitting heroine.

As for Canaan? She finally got her own skates. That’s her front and center in the photo below. #ProudDerbyMom

There are thousands of roller derby teams worldwide. Just go to your favorite search engine and type: *roller derby insert your city here* to find a team near you. A lot of them are non-profits that support local charities, so bring the whole family to a bout and have fun for a good cause!

And if you ever toy with the idea of joining Fresh Meat to FIND OUT WHAT YOU’RE MADE OF…

I dare you.

AMAZON

AUDIBLE

iBOOKS

KOBO

NOOK

SIGNED PAPERBACK

One Year Ago Today – Why I Chose Self-Publishing

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times… 2015 sucked. And it was awesome.

On this day one year ago, I was an unknown and unpublished author (im)patiently waiting to hear back from the three literary agents I had queried for The Soul Summoner. If you’re unfamiliar with the publishing process here’s a super-condensed 101:

  1. You write a book.
  2. You send letters to agents trying to interest them in your book.
  3. You get rejection after rejection after rejection.
  4. If an agent is interested, they might read your book.
  5. If they read your book and like it, they might offer to represent you to publishers.
  6. Then agents try to interest publishers in your book.
  7. And occasionally a publisher is interested enough to publish it.

Last January, I was at step two in the above process. I never heard anything back from two of those agents. But on February 5th I got a message from the third one. They loved my book.

Whoa.

Two hours after that conversation, I got a phone call from my doctor (at dinnertime, which is never good) that went something like this, “We think that lump on your neck is cancer. I’m sending you for more tests first thing in the morning.”

I made a LOT of very emotional phone calls that day. And, unfortunately, I received my cancer diagnosis a couple of weeks later: Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Stage 2.

So much for publishing. Ugh. I had to try and not die and stuff.

In the middle of chemo, I decided to bypass the above process altogether and self-publish another book of mine. Maybe you read it. It’s called The Bed She Made. I self-published for two reasons:

1. I needed to start finding some fans who might eventually buy The Soul Summoner when it was published.
2. Honestly, I was afraid I might die and never see my books in print.

Well…something quite unexpected happened. The Bed She Made hit #1 in New Adult Women’s Fiction on Amazon and held the #1 slot in ChickLit on Wattpad for months. Wattpad gave it an award in November, and this month it will break a million reads. Oh, and between free and paid sales on all the major online retailers, it’s been downloaded around 50,000 times. I still can’t believe that nonsense.

I finished chemo in June, then went through three weeks of daily radiation treatments. In September, I started receiving offers from publishers who were interested in FINALLY publishing The Soul Summoner. BUT…I turned them all down and self-published it as well.

WHY? Am I now suddenly opposed to traditional publishing? Absolutely not. At the time, however, none of the offers were better than what I could do on my own.

And I was right. Two weeks after The Soul Summoner’s release in November, this happened:

tss_bestsellers_king

The Soul Summoner hit #1 in Psychic Suspense and Paranormal Suspense. And check out who was in the #2 slot!

Now, I had to tell you that story to tell you the next story…you know, the one where Stephen King took a picture  with me holding that screenshot up there:

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The whole story is coming this week with pictures and video from my night with Stephen King and John Grisham. Stay tuned because you might even win your own autographed copy of Rogue Lawyer by John Grisham!

And as for my health, I KICKED CANCER’S ASS.

2016 has certainly started off with a bang! I can’t wait to see where this journey goes.