Thursday, May 14, 2009

Bridget Zinn

I was going to blog about Bruce Springsteen today, but something else came up, something more important than my feeble thoughts regarding The Boss and his impact on my writing.

The woman pictured to the left is Amy Alessio, the Young Adult (YA) librarian at the Schaumburg Public Library here in Illinois. Amy is one of the nicest people you'll ever want to meet. She's also a talented writer with several short stories to her credit.

I've known Amy for some time now, but it was only recently that I got to work with her as a writer. Amy was asked by Echelon Press publisher Karen Syed to edit a collection of short stories dealing with missing people. My story, "The Case of the Fugitive Farmer", was one of 17 tales selected for inclusion in the anthology. MISSING was released in February and has been selling like hotcakes ever since.

When I saw an email from Amy in my mailbox this week, I presumed it concerned our May 23rd book signing for MISSING at the Borders in Deerfield, IL. I was wrong. Amy's message concerned Bridget Zinn, the young woman pictured to the right. Bridget is also a YA librarian, but she lives in Portland, Oregon.

Three things happened to Bridget in February. First, she got an agent for her young adult novel. Second, she got married. Third, she found out she had Stage Four colon cancer.

Bridget wrote this in her blog:
"I would like to add in here that I am a super super healthy non-smoking, non-drinking, carcinogen avoiding young vegetarian who wears sunscreen every day. I looked at the list of risk factors for colon cancer and it turn out that I don’t even have one. Not one risk factor. So that was a surprise. Then Barrett and I decided to get married. He proposed on my hospital bed, it was terribly romantic and we were married by the hospital chaplain the first possible moment we could be."

Bridget has the emotional support of her new husband to help her through the medical procedures needed to treat her cancer. But Bridget is facing the same ugly reality so many patients face today: her insurance barely covers the cost of her treatments. And that's where Amy fits into this story.

Amy answered the call of April Henry, a Portland author and friend of Bridget who wanted to do something to help her. April (pictured on the left) is well-known for her Claire Montrose series. Her first book, Circles of Confusion, was short-listed for the Agatha Award and the Anthony Award, and was nominated for the Pacific Northwest Bookseller's Award. Her fourth book, a stand-alone thriller called Learning to Fly, was named one of Library Journal's Best of 2002, and Shock Point, her first young-adult thriller, was a finalist for Philadelphia’s Young Readers Choice Award.

Along with other friends of Bridget, April organized an on-line auction to benefit the young librarian. Donations poured in from writers across the country and included everything from books to manuscript critiques. Amy's donation was unique. An avid baker and a collector of vintage cookbooks, Amy offered to compose a cookbook customized for the person bidding the highest amount on it. Along with the cookbook she's donating a copy of MISSING signed by most of the authors included in the anthology.

In her email to me, Amy asked that I publicize the on-line auction on my blog. Donations to the auction are now closed, so I can't offer a selection of my books to people bidding there. But I can help by asking you to go to and look at the items up for auction. You might find something you'd like to bid on and thereby help Bridget and her new husband cope with their mounting bills. If you'd like to know more Amy's donation, visit for a complete explanation of the cookbook.


  1. Sounds like a worthwhile cause. I hope Bridget comes out a winner.

    Morgan Mandel

  2. So sorry for Bridget. I will certainly pray for her.

  3. Thank you for promoting the auction!

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