My Dear Friends, Family, Colleagues, Strong Acquaintances, Weaker Acquaintances and Curious Passersby Along the Road -
The long wait is over (even if some of you didn't even know you were waiting)! With apologies to Mr. Holland, Mr. (Jonathan) Widran's latest opus is the one you've got to experience! Patience is a virtue, remember, and now our mutual reward has come. It is with great pleasure that I announce the publication of my new book, It's All Good: Emails From a Dying Best Friend, by Xlibris.
As those wonderful press release clichés go, you'll laugh, you'll cry, but mostly I hope you find wisdom and some level of spiritual substance and life affirming hope as you read of my friendship with my wonderfully witty, highly silly, infinitely compassionate and extremely wise musician friend Steve Veale, who died in January 2002. You enjoyed spending "Tuesdays with Morrie"? Think of this as "Two Dorks with Morrie," "Saturdays With Stevie" or a bit of "Wayne's World Chicken Soup" for the soul. Fun yet passionate and heartfelt, it captures the rhythm of life, confronting and embracing the deeper mysteries of life and death with passion, humor and the kind of energy that defined my rapport with Steve.
Many of you are hearing about it for the first time. I need to be a better correspondent. Others of you have read it in its more primitive forms, and I am indebted to your kind thoughts, ideas, editing skills and input. Still others of you have guest roles in it you may not even be aware of yet. But you're all special and I think all of you will truly enjoy it.
So what are you waiting for? Buy a copy, and tell a friend. Or two. Three, if you like it. Four if you don't! Your most cost efficient bet is to order it directly from www.xlibris.com - The link is Xlibris.Com Bookstore.
It will also soon be available via major outlets like Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble (bn.com) However, the major outlets will charge $20.99 while a direct order from the publisher is only $17.84 (gotta love those rounded numbers!). You can also order it in an e-book version from Xlibris for $8.00 if you've forgotten how to read a real book. But the cover photograph of Steve walking "towards eternity" in the misty mountains of Olympic National Park is precious, and I don't want you to miss it. If you like, you can read an excerpt on xlibris. You can also read my online tribute to Steve at www.smoothvibes.com/steveveale.html, whose text is also included in the book.
These are the blurbs I wrote for It's All Good: Emails from a Dying Best Friend, both about its content and about myself:
Posing unique challenges for its author, It's All Good: Emails From a Dying Best Friend is a chronicle of an extraordinary friendship, offering faith and courage to those who are losing or have ever lost a loved one. A powerful, emotionally compelling personal diary, the story raises all the universal spiritual questions about death, dying and finding peace and survival in the midst of personal terror. Yet this one of a kind, loving glimpse into the bond shared by music journalist Jonathan Widran and his musician friend Steve Veale is anything but maudlin. Built around several months of riveting email exchanges, It's All Good is all quirky, witty and life affirming. Jonathan would deeply fail his friend if he attempted to tell Steve's story without the sharp, silly humor that was so much a part of him. Join them on their crazy travelogue from the San Juan Islands, Washington to San Juan, Puerto Rico, from the Space Needle in Seattle to River Street in Savannah, where Steve was Jonathan's best man just months before the diagnosis which changed these two lives forever. At first glance, the title of the book seems like a strange, ironic, even cruel choice. What can be "all good" about losing your best friend to melanoma at 38 years old? Learning to embrace the crazy mysteries of life and death, Jonathan discovers the unimaginable answer.
Veteran music journalist Jonathan Widran thought his overnight trip to Orlando in May of 1998 would involve writing a simple review for one of his regular jazz publications. He could hardly have fathomed the incredible, life changing friendship he would come to share with the wisecracking, Simpsons and Seinfeld loving local jazz guitarist who picked him up at the airport. But as Jonathan says, "nuts attract nuts," and he has since come to see this meeting as a divine appointment. Over the next two years, Steve would be Jonathan's best man at his wedding to a Southern Belle and pick up the pieces when heartbreak struck. In turn, Jonathan would become Steve's closest confidant through the battle for his life that followed. Jonathan has written thousands of articles and reviews for a wide variety of entertainment publications, knows hundreds of cool musicians besides the one who became his best friend, and is the author of four previous books-including two autobiographical novels, a murder mystery thriller and a humorous account of trying to make it in Hollywood.
I, along with Bartles and Jaymes, thank you for your support.