Susan’s Book, The Forgotten Gift, Is Now Available

03.7.2013 | 7:00 am

ForgottenGift Front 388x600I’m incredibly pleased and proud to announce that Susan Nelson’s novel, The Forgotten Gift, is now available for purchase on I’ll get to the details in a second, but first, here are the links to where you will hopefully go and buy this book right this very second:

UPDATE: It’s now also available at Barnes and Noble, both in paperback and Nook formats. 

The publication of this book represents a number of things. It’s the fulfillment of a promise I made to Susan. It’s a way for Susan’s efforts before she passed away to help her children.

And — most importantly — it’s a really good story that is very well told. 

(Oh, and by the way, I just dropped the price of the Kindle version of Comedian Mastermind to $2.99, just in case you want to pick up a cheap bathroom read and are looking to buy more than one thing today.)

Behind The Book

If you want to know the full backstory behind how and when Susan wrote The Forgotten Gift, I suggest reading the Foreword I wrote a little while ago. It goes into the details.


The short version is that metastatic breast cancer attacked Susan’s body, making it hard to breathe and incredibly dangerous and painful to move (I once broke her collarbone simply by trying to lift her into a sitting position). Instead of despairing at her fate, though, Susan began a race against her cancer: she set out to write a novel before the cancer could take her.

And she got to the last chapter. Literally. In fact, Susan wrote the first three words of that last chapter: “I quietly went” — leaving the sentence, and the final chapter, incomplete. 

Which is why this is called “an interrupted novel.” 

But don’t go thinking this is some half-finished book. It’s 368 pages of terrific storytelling, with a satisfying big confrontation. What you’ll miss by not having a final chapter is some resolution between some important characters, as well as the setup for the sequel Susan had already begun thinking about.

ForgottenGift Back 1292x2000
Back cover

Help Make This Book a Success

I want this book to reach as many people as possible, and I’m hoping you’ll be a part of that. First — and most obviously — I hope you’ll go buy a copy, whether it be the paperback version or the Kindle version. Either way is great; pick whichever format you prefer. (For what it’s worth, though, I actually earn about a dollar more per copy from the Kindle version, even though it costs considerably less.)

Next, spread the word. You can do this in a number of ways:

  • Tell others: If you like the book, tell other people about it.
  • Review it: Post a review over at
  • Buy additional copies: A number of you have mentioned that you wanted to contribute extra when this book comes out. Honestly, I’d rather you buy additional copies and then give them to others. If this book starts rising up the bestseller’s list, it will start getting attention beyond the people who’d be buying this book anyway (i.e., my readers).

Where the Money’s Going

Last July, I was kind of at the end of my rope. My 17-year-old son — already prone to depression — had been really struggling since his mom’s illness and death.

Finally, I had found a program that was really helping, but my insurance company  was actively fighting me on whether they should have to cover his treatment. Eventually, they did cover his treatment, up to a point.

Then they stopped. And now that’s thousands and thousands of dollars we need to come up with, both for the treatment he’s had and the treatment he continues to receive.

By the way, my son is now doing great. He’s back at school full-time, and is headed off tomorrow to participate in an academic decathlon. Also, he and I are training together to run in a five-mile race next weekend. 

I have to say, I think Susan would be really pleased at the idea of her novel covering the treatment that has done her son so much good.

Big Thanks

The Forgotten Gift is a self-published book, but it doesn’t look (or read) like it is. For the proofreading, I have my very good friends — and top-notch editors — Wendy Fritzke and Bob Bringhurst to thank.

For the cover design, Jenn of Tiger Bright Studios worked absolute magic. And for the internal design and both print and e-book production, Keith — the genius behind Ride and Ride 2 books — at Typeflow made this book look excellent.

Gone for a While

I’m going to be barricaded in various conference rooms for the next two weeks, which means this is going to be the lead post on my blog until at least March 18, at which point I hope to be able to post something (i.e., I’ll be in airports and planes on the 17th and so might be able to write something that day). 

In the meantime, thank you very much for your support of this book. I’m excited to have you read it.


  1. Comment by Deb Mc | 03.7.2013 | 7:30 am

    Kindle version purchased. Will post amazon review ASAP. Bless you, Fatty.

  2. Comment by Barton | 03.7.2013 | 8:22 am

    Congratulations on this accomplishment! I imagine the process was incredibly emotional and probably cathartic.

    Kindle version purchased!

  3. Comment by JesseH | 03.7.2013 | 8:43 am

    Print version purchased. My aunt was in the midst of a book of poetry when cancer interrupted.

  4. Comment by Tom in Albany | 03.7.2013 | 8:49 am

    Safe travels, Fatty! Stay away from the food table at these conferences lest Adam Schwartz win a new set of Rapha bibs.

    Finally, now matter how busy you are, if Dr. Lammler responds to your Assos post, it will be of a most critical importance that you follow up!!

    I’m sending your blog link to several people I know that are in book clubs, including my wife!

  5. Comment by Marsupial Matt (formerly known as MattC) | 03.7.2013 | 9:30 am

    Paperback on order! Good luck in the next 2 weeks Fatty…it sounds horrible! I’d have to drink a gallon of Mt Dew or / and coffee EACH DAY to have ANY chance of staying awake…I’ll be sending you any extra energy I have available.

  6. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 03.7.2013 | 9:54 am

    Safe travels Elden. I feel for those who will be “locked in a conference room” with you over the next couple of weeks. Snacks, limited access to egg whites, and no opportunity to ride(?) you’re going to be the honey badger of the conference.

    Wife#1 was already on the ‘order train’ Wednesday after the twitter announcement. I’ll talk to her about more Kindle orders, though at $2.99, is it really possible to “make a dollar more”? I still like the idea of a 20% MORE, coupon, but that’s me.

  7. Comment by cyclingjimbo | 03.7.2013 | 10:36 am

    A couple of paperbacks ordered for daughter and daughter-in-law to have, as well as a Kindle version.

    Good luck with the sales.

  8. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 03.7.2013 | 10:44 am

    Wife#1 points out to me that it is Comedian Mastermind that is $2.99.

    I would highly recommend people buy that book as well to read the first, Open Letter to Assos!

  9. Comment by Penina Scullion | 03.7.2013 | 10:54 am

    All downloaded, snug on my smartphone. Thank you, Fatty.

  10. Comment by Susan's Sister Christine | 03.7.2013 | 10:56 am

    I’m so excited to buy this. I can’t tell you how happy I am that Susan’s book is now published. Thank you so much, Elden.

  11. Comment by Paige | 03.7.2013 | 11:32 am

    Just bought the kindle edition. I look forward to start reading this tonight. :)

  12. Comment by McDeb | 03.7.2013 | 11:39 am

    Kindle version purchased! This is a wonderful thing you’ve done.

  13. Comment by Eric Finn | 03.7.2013 | 12:27 pm

    One Kindle version purchased as a gift.

  14. Comment by CRSonic | 03.7.2013 | 2:18 pm

    The Kindle version isn’t available in Canada and Amazon won’t let me buy on…

    Is it possible to buy the e-book version from Canada?

    I thought it was available worldwide? Weird. maybe try getting the Nook version? – FC

  15. Comment by Wife#1 | 03.7.2013 | 2:19 pm

    2 weeks in a conference room! Holy mary mother of overreating….

    I was thrilled to buy the book yesterday, with 3 extra copies for some preteen gals in our life. Will read it, review on Amazon and spread the word.

    2 weeks in a conference room! My own dieting efforts are cringing in sympathy.

    Side note: My new cross is built and almost ready for me to ride. Heading out shortly for the final fitting. Can’t wait until our LBS (Latter Bike Saints) see the seat I want to put on it aka the Spongy Wonder. LOL. Anyhoo, can’t wait for the WBR bike and parts to arrive for David too.

    Here’s my new baby:

  16. Comment by Clydesteve | 03.7.2013 | 3:39 pm

    I’m going to be barricaded in various conference rooms for the next two weeks..

    Fatty – Is this some kind of social activism? Frankly, I am worried about you, Fatty – No one is going to notice if you barricade yourself into a conference Room, because nobody wants to go in those things.

    Let me know if you need some help planning your protest – I love to make trouble, and I am good at it.


    I am glad that you said you make more $$ off the Kindle version. As an old man, and not a dirty one, mind you, I am litle bit embarrassed to admit that I really want to read this young women’s book. Just the fact that Susan like Joss W. stuff convinces me I will like this. The Kindle version should be really secret, other than the fact that I just announced it to the world that i am going to buy & read it.

  17. Comment by Mark | 03.7.2013 | 5:13 pm

    I had no problem purchasing on yesterday afternoon. Only 5 chapters in so far, but enjoying it. Will purchase for my daughter soon…

    Excellent. I’m really glad you’re enjoying it! – FC

  18. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 03.7.2013 | 8:04 pm

    @CRSonic Canadian version will probably require a re-edit. Need to put a bushel of eh’s) into the text. eh!

  19. Comment by Liz M. | 03.7.2013 | 8:15 pm

    Ordered two copies, one for me and one for my pre-teen son, who will read anything he can get his hands on, and also likes Fantasy. He dogeared my copy of Comedian Mastermind so he gets his own this time. Alas, I do not have a Kindle so I can’t help you there.

    I am so happy to hear the good news about your son! Best wishes to both of you with the race!

  20. Comment by Nurse Betsy | 03.7.2013 | 8:59 pm

    Got my kindle edition! I also posted this on my FB page. So glad to support you and your family.

  21. Comment by Bethany | 03.7.2013 | 9:30 pm

    Any hope for a nook version coming out?

    It’s out now. Click here. – FC

  22. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 03.8.2013 | 10:06 am

    New Team Fatty Shoe Covers available at (sorry Twin Six)


  23. Comment by Wife#1 | 03.8.2013 | 10:08 am

    David try this image link:

  24. Comment by TimD | 03.8.2013 | 1:17 pm

    any chance of getting it on the UK Amazon site for Kindle?

    When I published it, it was with the understanding it would be available worldwide. Let me know if it doesn’t show up on Amazon UK soon. – FC

  25. Comment by AKChick55 | 03.8.2013 | 6:29 pm

    Yay! Kindle copy bought. Now to figure out who to buy hard copies for…. :)

  26. Comment by Jodi | 03.8.2013 | 6:45 pm

    I had the huge gift of being able to read this while sitting next to Susan. It is an amazing read, and though I think it will be bittersweet, I so look forward to revisiting it. So amazing you’ve done this, Elden. Love the idea of the money helping my nephew as well. She loves him so.

  27. Comment by Heidi | 03.8.2013 | 8:01 pm

    Kindle version purchased! So looking forward to reading it. Wishing you and your family the very best, Fatty.

  28. Comment by BrewCityChris | 03.9.2013 | 7:56 am

    Just purchased the Kindle version, and looking forward to reading it. Awesome to hear that you and your son are training together and that he is doing well.

  29. Comment by Wife#1 | 03.9.2013 | 10:10 am

    MarsupialMatt – this one’s for you!

  30. Comment by Lynda | 03.9.2013 | 8:08 pm

    Oh goodie, a good read for the weekend! I will savor it while wearing the bracelet that Susan made and feel that I know her a little bit more.

  31. Comment by Mayhemnsuz | 03.9.2013 | 8:48 pm

    Nook copy purchased! Looking forward to reading it tomorrow. Don’t dare start tonight as I’m sure I’d stay up too late reading…

  32. Comment by Mellabella | 03.10.2013 | 11:06 am

    Halfway through and only stopping long enough to tell you how much I am enjoying it, I can’t put it down!

  33. Comment by TimD | 03.10.2013 | 1:35 pm

    Fatty, its up on Amazon UK kindle Store now. Copy duly purchased.

  34. Comment by TimD | 03.10.2013 | 3:40 pm

    Well I’m half way through chapter four. its really good so far. If anyone has read some of Charles de Lint’s young adult novels, its definitely in that ball park.

    Bit of an up and down day today. Its Mother’s Day here in the UK, but its also one year to the day that my Dad died due to complications following major bowel cancer surgery. Not a great day for my Mum. I caught a glimpse of myself in the bathroom mirror just now, and unshaven and with slightly longer hair, showing the grey :(, I looked just like I remember my Dad.

    I’ll probably get through much more of the book tonight.

  35. Comment by Sara | 03.10.2013 | 4:35 pm

    Yay! I’ve been wishing I brought a book along on Spring Break. Now I know what I’m going to read. Thanks! ;)

  36. Comment by Rob G | 03.11.2013 | 5:31 am

    Bought on Kindle (amazon uk). Made the mistake of starting when I went to bed, then had to put down when I realised it was midnight – time flew! Yawning today, but was worth it. Looking forward to the rest of the book, but might start a little earlier tonight :o)

  37. Pingback by The Forgotten Gift by Susan Nelson | Pistols+ Popcorn | 03.11.2013 | 6:30 am

    [...] the rest of his entry here. And by all means please pass this story on. My sister-in-law has an amazing legacy left for her [...]

  38. Comment by Marsupial Matt (formerly known as MattC) | 03.11.2013 | 8:23 am

    Holy cats…ordered the paperback on the 7th (last Thurs) from the Amazon site, and it was in the mailbox on Saturday! I won’t get to read it until after my wife tho…

    And hey…Happy LIGHT AFTER WORK again after the GOOD time change (as opposed to the STOOPID time change back in the fall taking away the evening light). I think we should shift time in the fall as many hours as needed to keep it light until at LEAST 8pm…that’s what we would do if I were in charge anyway…(tho up in Alaska during the winter that might be kind’a hard to pull off).

  39. Comment by Bethany | 03.11.2013 | 11:51 am

    I purchased and started reading the book last night at about 8pm and found myself frantically flipping pages at 1am, trying to stay awake as long as possible even though I had to get up this morning at 5am for work. I read the whole way to work on the bus and I’m sure I will read during lunch, on the bus home, while making (and probably burning dinner) and hopfully finish tonight before 1am.

  40. Comment by Marsupial Matt (formerly known as MattC) | 03.11.2013 | 12:38 pm

    @Wife#1…how’d I get sucked into that twitter conversation? I don’t even DO Twitter…not quite sure how I’m supposed to take that…

  41. Comment by Davidh-Marin,ca | 03.11.2013 | 5:05 pm

    @MattC. It was ‘gutter talk’. She thought you’d understand.

    As for ‘time changes’ for you my friend I think we should have perpetual dark, then we wouldn’t see those crazy a$& stunts you and your brother tackle……hey, Gregg, that was fun. Let’s go up the mountain again.. I’m confident with more daylight you might have tried it a third time.

  42. Comment by Wife#1 | 03.11.2013 | 7:12 pm

    MarsupialMatt… what husband #1 said. I just thought you’d appreciate that no matter where I go, I end up in the gutter.

    Deja Buckaroo Bonzai: “Wherever you go, there you are.”


  43. Comment by gogogo | 03.11.2013 | 8:57 pm

    bought the kindle version and started reading last night! kept me awake waay past my bedtime.

    thank you for publishing susan’s book!

  44. Comment by Marsupial Matt (formerly known as MattC) | 03.12.2013 | 11:23 am

    @davidh…uhm, that ride my brother and I did last Sat…we aim for that (a double Figueroa) every year on Solvang Century day…years back we used to do the century..then we realized that riding w/ 6000 or so of our closest friends (and paying to do it) was crazy…so we now meet and do a HARD ride on our own.

    Greg was STRONG as an ox…I was WEAK like a used tea-bag…the first 5 miles of the 9.5 mile climb is nothing but intervals of 15% grade. I did the first one fine, but on the 2nd climb I was literally crawling on my bike…Greg did his 2nd climb first-5 miles only 17 seconds slower than his first time up. Me, I was riding a paper-route (going side to side to lessen the grade)…my legs were on the verge of cramping so I couldn’t stand up and grind the steep parts. And I can’t typically push 15+% grade from the saddle for very long. That climb is a beast…it’s the only HC listed climb in my area. Brutal…but great. However the top was like Siberia…uber-windy and cold (there was snow and ice on the road the final half mile). There would be no 3rd time for me I can assure you…however I’m quite certain Greg could (and he claims to be out of shape).

  45. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 03.12.2013 | 1:50 pm

    @Matt I hope you know I’m teasing. I am in utter AWE of that ride, and ’stunts’ like that is probably why I have not yet requested to follow you on Strava. Watching what the Noodle does, and considers fun, is humbling enough, but I have checked enough of your rides to know you two take it to a whole new level! Good job guys!

    and it’s folly to call yourself WEAK. How many others went up that hill Saturday….twice?

  46. Comment by Wife#1 | 03.13.2013 | 9:00 pm

    Fatty… your target demographic may be a tad more diverse than expected. 9 year old boys too?

  47. Comment by Wife#1 | 03.13.2013 | 9:02 pm

    Eeeek… I pulled a David. Let’s try that image link again.487703_10151506161853586_801685519_n.jpg

  48. Comment by Wife#1 | 03.13.2013 | 9:03 pm

    argh! I would pay good money to be able to edit my own comments on here!

  49. Comment by Heidi | 03.14.2013 | 8:50 am

    I’m halfway through Susan’s book and I’m really enjoying it!

  50. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 03.14.2013 | 10:07 am

    While Fatty(sic) is wasting away(see lbs chart at top) Team Fatty:Fighting Like Susan has moved into second place amongst teams at Livestrong Davis:

    I’d invite y’all to get on the bus. There will be great food on Friday night at the Cycling Hall of Fame, and PIE on Sunday. OH!, and we’ll go for a ride too. Angie, MattC, Gregg, …oh, and Mr NYCCarlos…you owe us your presence.

  51. Comment by SteveB | 03.14.2013 | 10:27 am

    And our illustrious leader hasn’t even started to fund raise yet…

    Also, I think the dinner is Saturday and the ride is Sunday (or else I’m really confused).

  52. Comment by Karen | 03.14.2013 | 6:43 pm

    I have been reading forever and seldom comment but almost always support. Bought the kindle version for just that. Started reading and holy moly, it’s a great read. I almost said great first novel but it’s more than that. What a vision Susan had. Her writing is excellent and makes the characters come alive. This book has all the potential to hit it big in the market. I am headed to Amazon to write a review. Nicely done, Fatty. She would be so proud and I am so impressed. Thank you!

  53. Comment by Suzanne | 03.14.2013 | 6:46 pm

    I just finished Susan’s book! What an amazing development of story and characters and voice! I hope you can channel her and find the inspiration to finish what she started!

  54. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 03.15.2013 | 1:00 am

    @SteveB Friday night is usually our Cycling Hall of Fame get together. I’m not sure if this is the year they are installing Fatty or next, but I’m confident it’s on their agenda. ….or is that inducting?

  55. Comment by neca | 03.15.2013 | 6:19 am

    Book ordered and plugged to facebook friends.

  56. Comment by Marsupial Matt (formerly known as MattC) | 03.15.2013 | 8:42 am

    @SteveB…we have pie AFTER our ride on Sunday thanks to davidh…(that’s turned into our Team Fatty haka…”WE WANT PIE”!) Basicly Davis is an entire weekend of awesomeness. Thanks to Angie we OWN the cycling hall of fame on Fri evening…last year davidh brought ‘brats’ and Angie brings a ton of other stuff…and it’s a feast/party. And THEN we get the private tour of the HoF! Sat is schmooze around LiveStrong village expo/booths, and there is also a farmers market RIGHT THERE at the village! NOBODY can come away empty from that I tell you! And you are correct…the Awards Banquet is Sat evening, typically most of the team goes). And Sun is the ride, and then we hang out after yakking and eatin’ pie. I look forward to this weekend all year!

  57. Comment by SteveB | 03.15.2013 | 9:25 am

    Thanks for explaining things for the newb… (well,
    I know about the farmers market, my Mom shopped there
    for years)… Guess I’ll have to make reservations for an extra night…

  58. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 03.15.2013 | 10:10 am

    I believe the ‘yakking’ is centered around a Mr Chapek (which one we won’t say>, but SteveB, we look forward to seeing you this year, it is FUN.

    It’s never too early to talk FOOD! My thoughts are a CalMex theme (not Texmex) so we can have a master’s class in guacamole. Lighter, fresher, and lots of grilled vegetables for Mr. Zeeter, and my daughter, on the vegetarian side. And of course guac. Margaritas anyone? I also have a cake or two in mind.

    Get those reservations in, Hyatt Place is fast filling from what I found this week. See you all there!

  59. Comment by Marsupial Matt (formerly known as MattC) | 03.15.2013 | 12:42 pm

    davidh, thanks for the notice that Hyatt Place is filling up…just made our room reservation…only 8 rooms left w/ a King bed, and 1 w/ 2 Queens…for those wanting a Hyatt Place room (it’s THE place to stay!), here’s a link to quickly get you there (and you’ll get the LIVESTRONG rate too):

  60. Comment by Matt | 03.16.2013 | 4:06 am

    First comment after a long time of lurking, and couldn’t think of a better post to respond to!

    kindle copy ordered for 11 yr old daughter, and she’s already read the foreword and asking intelligent questions about it.

    Trying to explain the backstory to her is difficult, but well worthwhile as your commitment to Susan and to your son shines through.

    well done!

  61. Comment by Jeremy | 03.16.2013 | 4:10 pm

    I thoroughly enjoyed and agree that it did leave the story with enough of a resolution. Knowing some of the backstory, I could see some characters reflected in the book. I can also see the progression of her writing as her fight progressed. I found the book so enjoyable I actually had to finish it while I was on the trainer. I couldn’t put it down. You can definitely mark that one down as promise fulfilled.

  62. Comment by Karen | 04.5.2013 | 12:09 am

    Just saw that another blog I read InJenniesKitchen just referenced that she was reading an amazing book – The Forgotten Gift and with a link included to Amazon!! This is big news. She has a huge audience. I’m hoping this really boosts your book sales. Was so excited to see esp. as I just loved Susan’s book. Keep up the good fight.


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