In June, I signed up to participate in the 2018 Readers’ Favorite International Book Award Contest. Today, I was notified that my book has finished its review and received a 5 star rating (in all five criteria). The review is listed below.
Reviewed by Mamta Madhavan for Readers’ Favorite
That’s All I Got! Thrival: A Widow’s Journey After Suicide by Karen E. Voss is the author’s poignant and heartbreaking memoir as she shares her pain through the book and gives readers an intimate look into her life of grief, loss, and betrayal. The book sheds light on the daily struggles of those living with mental illness, and those who deal with the effects of loving and living with someone who has mental illness. The author speaks about reaching out for help during her days of struggles, and how it is possible to live an extraordinary life again. Her journey after her husband Russ’s suicide will touch the hearts of readers in many ways. Her story is one of pain, grief, betrayal, survival, thrival, hope, and recovery.
The author’s words are not only about her trauma and pain; she gives a good perception to readers about what it takes when it comes to living and dealing with people with mental illness. She speaks about her life extensively and intimately, and her moments of despair and difficult times are palpable. The book reaches out to readers through the author’s words and prayers and she calls herself a ‘thriver’, a warrior moving forward after tragedy, instead of a survivor. The book also sheds light on the alternate and holistic types of healing and well being that are helpful when it comes to treating mental illness. Stories like this will touch the hearts of readers – and many of them will be able to connect with the author’s pain and tragedy – but will also help them overcome their trauma and get on with their lives.
It’s been over a year since That’s All I Got! became reality. Since then 175 books have been in my personal inventory waiting for good homes to readers to inspire and educate. For a long time, 99 books have waited for 1 more to join them out into the world. That day arrived. On May 1, 2015, book #100 found a home!
It took a lot of time and effort to reach this milestone and I began to think it wouldn’t arrive. Here’s proof that patience does pay off. Thank you to everyone who helped make this possible and to those who help share the message the book holds.
There’s too many innocent lives lost to the completion of suicide every year due to mental illness. There’s too many stories that need telling to help prevent another life lost and to educate others about mental illness and suicide. I’m surprised how many people have had their lives touched in some way due to a suicide loss. Just today, I listened as someone shared the story of another life lost to suicide, and this person asked questions that most people don’t due to the stigma still surrounding suicide. Help break this stigma-speak the story/journey-help others-share the message.
On March 28, 2014, I obtained the first copies and the first order of That’s All I Got! from my publisher. With life bustling around me, I almost forgot the one year anniversary of becoming a published author. A definite milestone in the publishing world. I’m two copies away from personally selling 100 books (I have a home inventory that’s yearning to dwindle).
In the past year, I’ve traveled locally for many book events and one event out-of-state near my college alma mater, Ferris State University. It’s been quiet for a while now, but since spring has arrived, new life and energy grows branches leading me to new possibilities.
There’s a story on how it came about to sell this special number. On Tuesday, January 13, 2015, an announcement came through the media and mail that the South Shore Y(MCA), the one place that changed my life forever, is closing at the end of day on January 31, 2015. The news hit everyone hard especially those who have been members for a long time (it opened in 1974) or have a success story (like myself) or memories to share (OK everyone both young and old have been affected by this news).
On Wednesday, January 14, 2015, I headed to the South Shore Y for my workout and encountered many familiar faces of people who used to work at this Y. Some were there for CPR re-certification and other helping out this week during week one of chaos. One of the faces turned out to be a friend of mine. As we talked, I knew she hadn’t purchased a copy of That’s All I Got! because I haven’t seen her in a great while. I knew that I’d see her today while I spent time volunteering, so we arranged for her to buy a copy of the book, signed of course. Thank you Tabitha for purchasing the sale of number 95.
There’s a good chance that number 96 will get a home this weekend. Maybe the other four will get new homes too.
Since the year 2000, I have received the Ferris Magazine. It’s a magazine for alumni who graduated from Ferris State University in Big Rapids, MI. I received my Bachelor’s Degree in Printing Management from there. I have been working on getting a class note placed in the magazine with the announcement that I published or “authored” a book.
After waiting many months, I arrived home from work today with the printed copy of the Fall 2014 edition in my mailbox. I immediately jumped online to see if the electronic version got posted. Sure enough.
The magazine reaches 90,000+ alumni, which means my class note could reach 90,000+ people! That’s nuts and cool at the same time!
A week ago, I discovered that That’s All I Got made the list of availability at three separate libraries. On Wednesday, July 2nd, I had a hunch to check the Milwaukee Public Library website and look at the book listing. Boom! There you go! The first borrow checked out of the Cudahy Family Library on what seems like the day before, Tuesday, July 1st (you can borrow a book for three weeks which is how I figured out the date from July 22nd.
I wonder…did someone spot it in the New Books area? Did they read about the library availability on Facebook. LinkedIn, or Twitter? Did someone wait until it had a home in the library to borrow the book instead of purchasing a copy? It doesn’t matter. What matters is that someone borrowed it to read and that person can share with someone else. What matters is that for some reason that book found a hand to hold; a journey of discovery that may help someone or inspire or even lead someone on their own journey of inspiration, peace, hope, or guidance. That’s what matters.
It’s been a week since I stepped inside the Cudahy Family Library to donate a copy of That’s All I Got. I admit that I’m eager to see when it’s available for borrowing. I went online today to see the progress at either this library or the two purchased from the Milwaukee Public Library System for two separate libraries.
One step at a time the journey expands onwards and upwards. Healing, discovering, sharing, leading, helping, inspiring. Step by Step. -K.E.Voss
Some time ago, my uncle purchased a book to have me donate to the library of my choice. I selected the Bay View library, which is part of the Milwaukee Public Library (MPL) System. When I went in to donate the book, I spoke to the librarian who asked if I wrote it and if it’s my first book. I told him I am and it is. He informed me that chances were the book probably wouldn’t get into circulation by donating. He did give me the phone number to the Acquisitions Department at Central Library. Not only did I leave with a piece of useful information, but with two books by Maya Angelou who passed away two days prior. Inspiration for inspiration.
I left a message for the person in the Acquisition Department on Friday, May 31st and spoke to her on Monday, June 2nd. I supplied the necessary information that would make its way to the appropriate selectors. The time frame given to me spanned 4-6+ weeks. I had two bonuses with me: I’m a Milwaukee author and they’ve worked with my publisher before. She told me that I would only know if the MPL system purchased by book is to see it online or if my publisher told me.
The next day, Tuesday, June 3rd, I received an email response from my publisher on another matter and she kindly informed me that the Milwaukee Public Library System just ordered two books! A very quick response to a request. I’m looking forward to seeing the books in circulation!
In the last two months, my book has slowly found its way into the world. That’s All I Got can be sold online through Henschel Haus Books as a paperback and Amazon.com as a paperback and e-book in Kindle format. I’ve also sold them personally as paperbacks.
I’ve held book signings during a Higher Brain Living meetup, at my friends’ house, twice at my local YMCA, and twice during monthly church dinners. I’ve sold single copies to my neighbors and a few friends. In a way, I’ve partnered with Udana Yoga and Wellness to sell a few copies there (I’ll be having a book signing event here in the near future). I’ve gifted a copy to my cousin at a funeral home. More recently, I sold a copy at the cemetery on my husband’s 45th birthday (this is and isn’t the unlikeliest spot to reacquaint with an old friend & finding out she hadn’t found a way yet to buy the book.
These opportunities mark only the beginning. A couple of places (and soon more): Barnes & Noble Corporate Offices and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) have been sent review copies to review and approve. Once approved, opportunities follow. Barnes & Noble can then carry the paperback in stores (you can already order it online). I’m waiting on AFSP to approve so I can possibly have the book used a resource for various programs related to suicide and bereavement (relative to suicide or tragedy). This way the book can reach more people and help more lives…either to inspire or heal.
Wednesday night, April 30th, at a YMCA book signing, I sold my 50th copy and 9 more. On Thursday, May 1st, I sold the 60th copy to my godfather who lives in Minnesota plus one more that he purchased for me to donate to the library of my choice.
On Thursday, May 1st, the mail revealed an envelope from my publisher. It only took me a minute to realize what it contained; my first royalty check. Whoo Hoo! My first royalty check! I took a look and grinned ear to ear. I made a copy of the check before I took it to the bank today.
Last week, I gifted a book to my cousin after another cousin referenced in my book passed away in Heaven so technically that book made #50. While my cousin isn’t physically here, she’s here with me while I write and in the memories I hold in my heart.