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Guest blogger Laura Jensen Walker

Captain’s Log, Stardate 07.04.2006

Lovely Laura: Hilarious and bubbly Laura Jensen Walker is guest blogging for me today! Her newest book is Women of Faith Novel of the Year RECONSTRUCTING NATALIE!

"You think you're self-conscious about YOUR lack of cleavage?!"

You wouldn't think the words "breast cancer" and "hilarity" belonged in the same book, much less the same sentence, but chick lit author and breast cancer survivor Laura Jensen Walker knows how to address painful topics with a wink and a smile.

Reconstructing Natalie is the story of a woman whose breast cancer is the catalyst for some serious changes—not the least of which is her cup size! Holding tight to her old friends while reaching out to new ones, Natalie must redefine herself and her faith on new terms.

And now, here’s Laura!

No Place Like Home

Don’t hate me, but my husband Michael and I just returned from three weeks in Europe (England, Scotland, Wales, and Paris) on a desperately needed vacation. (The cool thing is my part was a tax write-off since I was doing research for an upcoming chick lit :) so you may see some of the things below in a future book…) Some memory-making moments (please forgive any mistakes, these are the writings of a jet-lagged chick :)).

Lying in bed and having a perfect view of the Eiffel Tower out our hotel window as it put on a dazzling light show just for us.

Riding in a bateau mouche (open air boat) down the Seine at night as we listened to Edith Piaf’s “La Vie en Rose” on Michael’s iPOD (sooo romantic) and then as we approached Notre Dame, listening to the rousing chorus of “Do You Hear the People Sing?” from Les Miz. MAJOR goose bumps.

The best crème brulee EVER at a sidewalk café in Paris

Weeping at the sight of one of my favorite paintings (Monet’s Woman with Green Umbrella) up close and personal in the Musee d’Orsay

All the Renoirs, Van Goghs, Monets and Degas’ in the Orsay and the Orangerie…

Deciding (like Kellie Pickler in the American Idol finale) against escargot

Visiting Wordsworth’s Dove Cottage in England’s Lake District. Weeping again. (Love his ‘Daffodils’ poem, plus he’s all tied into my writing dreams—it was in the same English class where we studied him that I shyly told my college professor I dreamed someday of becoming a writer and he said the words that thrilled me to my soul… “You already are.”)

Wandering through the ruins of Dunkeld Cathedral in Scotland

Cadbury’s melt-in-your-mouth milk chocolate buttons

Seeing one of my favorite actresses, Oscar-winning Judi Dench—I mean, Dame Judi Dench—onstage in the West End in Noel Coward’s comedy Hayfever from THE SECOND ROW! (A rough job, but somebody’s got to do it.)

Attending Evensong services at Winchester Cathedral—gorgeous. (Both the music from a visiting choir and the cathedral.)

Scottish shortbread (Walkers, of course)

An unexpected side trip to Conwy, Wales which led us to the best B&B of our entire trip at a lovely inn in the woods… Tir y Coed (means woodland) Had an amazing meal—including the best pate of my life.

A Parisian pigeon pooping on me in a park (Okay, not on a par with the other stuff, but definitely memorable.)

There’s a ton of other cool things, but I don’t want you to start throwing food at me (although if it’s an éclair or Napoleon from a Parisian patisserie, I’ll take it).

Definitely an amazing trip of a lifetime and one we’ll never forget, but near the end I was clicking my ruby slippers and longing to be home. Nothing like your own bed and not having to wear a bra around the house. In fact, we’d barely gotten in the door when I whipped that bad boy off and dropped it on the dining room table—much to the bemusement of our dog sitter. (Whine: That Dolly Parton prosthesis really gets heavy.)

Speaking of bras and prosthesis…two boxes of ‘Reconstructing Natalie’ welcomed us upon our return. Yippie! Natalie is near and dear to my heart—and my boobs, lopsided as they are. She’s my thirteenth book (third novel) and while I was in the midst of writing her last year, I celebrated thirteen years cancer-free. This summer, I’m happy to say I’ll be fourteen years cancer-free. Thank you, God. I may not have a breast, but I have LIFE!

I was blessed to have a loving, supportive husband help me through my cancer experience (I was diagnosed the day after our first wedding anniversary) but what would it be like to be single and battle breast cancer? And Natalie was born. Hope you like her!

Laura Jensen Walker

Camy here: Thanks, Laura! And I absolutely LOVED Natalie!

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