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$177 pledged of $9,000 goal
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By Crystal Kelley
$177 pledged of $9,000 goal
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About this project

See our video here: YouTube

The Ultimate Story of a Mother's Love 

Three years ago I was thrust into an amazing journey that changed my perspective on many different aspects of life and transformed me into an advocate for women's rights and special needs babies. 

Baby S, June 2012
Baby S, June 2012

A baby was born, but no ordinary baby. This child was so desperately wanted and so loved that neither the bounds of legal contract or genetics could coax her soul back to the land of the spirits. She was a miracle in every sense; an IVF baby thawed after 5 years, the lone surviving fetus of a dual-embryo transfer to me, a surrogate mother who shared no DNA with her. The parents were in love with her from the first ultrasound picture sent to them on my phone. 

Everything changed at 21 weeks when I went for a routine ultrasound. Doctors suspected a heart defect and a possible esophageal/stomach defect. The parents insisted on termination and offered to pay the remainder of my contracted fee, but I couldn't bring myself to do it. The ensuing chaos and legal battle were intense, and I feared for my own future as well as that of a child living with a heart defect and unknown additional defects. But through it all her fiery spirit showed and I believed that she had a place in this world; a reason for life. Ultimately she was born June 25, 2012 and lives with a very special family that I chose personally for their love and attention to special needs children. They are amazing <3

Now she is 2 and exceeds her doctors wildest expectations. Her heart was mended by an amazing surgeon that I wish I could name.. but I am sworn to privacy. She is a happy, excited, enthusiastic, social toddler and she lights up the world of everybody who meets her.

In 2013 I was approached by a publisher who wanted to publish my story. I was thrilled to share Baby S with the world, as I had earlier that year on CNN and in a few other publications and radio appearances. Discussion was beginning to take place surrounding surrogacy, and I was very happy to know that while my situation was unfortunate and disheartening, change is coming and I have opened up discussion where it would not have happened before. And so along with my beautiful co-writer Sarah Dicello ( Elisabeth Collins for her 'non-fiction' work) we set out to document my journey. We named the child Stormie, for the symbolism and the letter S. 

Fire Within: A Surrogate's Journey
Fire Within: A Surrogate's Journey

Fire Within: A Surrogate's Journey was on the shelves for a few months. Shortly after our publication date, however, the company we contracted with for publication went out of business. We were left without any of our earned royalties and with no books to show for our efforts.

Ever since the book was taken off the shelves Sarah and I have been incredibly busy trying to re-create our lives without the anticipated support of published work. I returned to work as a nanny, and Sarah has her own job. But a couple months ago.. something happened. 

A reporter called me from Japan and wanted to do a video interview. 

And then a BBC reporter wanted an audio clip. 

Suddenly I had emails from the UK, Denmark and Germany.

 A few days later a New York Times writer contacts me.

Fast forward to a month ago and I was mentioned in a prominent article in that newspaper about surrogacy and women's choices and rights in the United States. 

The world is talking about surrogacy, as well as rights of children, and women. Baby S is and should be a part of that conversation. 

So with the prompting of one of these emails from a reporter which was directed at Sarah.. we have decided to press forward and keep up the momentum. We will be revising and editing Fire Within: A Surrogate's Journey. The new book, Saving Stormie: The Baby S Story will be a complete revision of the current work. 

In addition to the book that we have already written, I have been writing for some time; my reflections and thoughts about the world in which we live in. If anyone follows my Facebook page, I am truly an advocate for healthy moms and healthy babies and I have been from before S was even a thought. I am passionate about family wellness and natural, sustainable living. My kids are my life and they have taught me some amazing lessons. These are the real pieces of me that I want to share with the world. These are the things that I write about in Surrogate Musings. 

The cover for Saving Stormie is being designed now!
The cover for Saving Stormie is being designed now!

But books are hard to self-publish. Books are complicated and have lots of little expenses that add up in marketing and editing. Without the first book on the market, the second book has little context. Sarah and I have been contemplating for months the best way to get our book published again, and with the recent interest from media, I think we may have our best opportunity now. 

So Sarah and I are reaching out to loyal fans, readers, friends and family, and those who believe as we do that surrogacy is an issue that needs much more conversation and regulation, and that life is meant to be valued and nourished not diminished or disposed of. We will have a lot of work to do to get this all going and ready in time for an article in the UK written with Kate Graham, but we are confident and motivated to make this seemingly failed dream a true success. 

Our funding is calculated in order to self-publish Saving Stormie on Amazon and to utilize a self-publishing service to publish, market, edit, and design Surrogate Musings. In order to more completely edit the current version, I will need to travel to Michigan to obtain my postpartum hospital records from the University of Michigan hospitals where Baby S and I were treated. I need to compile and write/edit the content for Surrogate Musings and get it ready for publication.

Balboa House publishing services: $2500

Travel expenses: $1000

Marketing tools: (look for presentations coming soon on Prezi, YouTube, our own website www.crystal-kelley.com which we must purchase rights to use, as well as on the pages for many popular bloggers) $500

Reward fulfillment prizes: $2400
t-shirts, paperback books, ornaments, stationary

Website creation and design: $200

Author's insurance and lawyer fees $1500

Computer repairs and software licensing fees $900

Risks and challenges

What if we run out of time?

Our biggest challenge is going to be timing. I am admittedly a procrastinator, but I work very well under pressure. Luckily for me, Sarah is very well organized and able to keep me moving on our goals. If the books are not ready for publication on the specific date posted, then they will be available as soon as possible otherwise! We are working hard to coordinate the publication of the book with the publication of the UK article. As such, we are highly motivated to get it edited and finished as soon as possible. If there are delays, we will not let them deter us from finishing our project!

What if we have computer problems?
My computers are bought used, and they often break. We have money and a specific computer repair person dedicated to helping us stay connected and working hard!

What if we run into publishing problems?
While we fully intend to utilize publishing services for the writing of Surrogate Musings, we do recognize that there are many potential complications that come with a publishing service. If at any point we decide to go a different route for publishing this second book, the fees that we would have spent on with Balboa Press will be allocated elsewhere to pay for cover design, editing, formatting, and related services in the community

What if Kate is unable to place the article?
Kate Graham is a well known and respected journalist in the UK. She has written a number of empowering women's articles that have been placed in large magazines with great readership. However, as I have been featured in a UK magazine previously, there is a chance she will not find a magazine or newspaper to publish her piece in. This is a sad possibility, but Sarah and I both believe that the Baby S Story is very important to many different genre's of readers and therefore should be published anyways. In the even that Kate is unable to place the article, we will still be releasing Saving Stormie and Surrogate Musings. while using the momentum gained by this launch to work on getting copies of Saving Stormie into special needs advocacy groups, colleges, libraries, and more! Please help us do this by spreading the word!

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    Your name will be included in the 'thank you' section of the website where Saving Stormie: The Baby S Story is available

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    Already have Fire Within: A Surrogate's Journey? For those who are not interested in the revised copy, you can receive a copy of Surrogate Musings on PDF.

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    Personalized handwritten Valentine's note to your choice of recipient. You choose what to write or let me :) Delivery before Valentine's Day!

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    Already have Fire Within: A Surrogate's Journey? For those who are not interested in the revised copy, you can receive a copy of Surrogate Musings in paperback form.

    **Also receive a clay heart pendant painted in your choice of color sent in time for Valentine's Day plus card. **

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    Receive a copies of both Saving Stormie: The Baby S Story and the followup manuscript Surrogate Musings before it is available for sale. This is for books in the PDF format and requires a valid email address.

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    Receive a copy of Saving Stormie: The Baby S Story in paperback from Amazon. Ships only where Amazon ships

    **Also receive a clay heart pendant painted in your choice of color sent in time for Valentine's Day plus card. **

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    Receive the PDF version of Saving Stormie: The Baby S Story and Surrogate Musings PLUS a logo t-shirt and personalized thank you note!

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    Receive the paperback version of both Saving Stormie: The Baby S Story and Surrogate Musings. In addition with this reward you will receive an ornament commemorating your contribution and thanking you for allowing us to continue to spread this important message about the value of life. This offer will only be available until December 25th, 2014. Ornament. Ships anywhere Amazon delivers.

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    Receive the paperback version of both Saving Stormie: The Baby S Story and Surrogate Musings. In addition with this reward you will receive an ornament commemorating your contribution and a t-shirt to thank you for allowing us to continue to spread this important message about the value of life. This offer will only be available until December 25th, 2014. Ornament. Ships anywhere Amazon delivers.

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    Ask me a question!
    Surrogate Musings is all about reactions, growth and finding peace with life in the wake of a traumatic situation. This reward gives you, the reader, a chance to ask one question of me. The question will be answered in the book, along with a personalized note that will be sent to you! Also receive a copy of Saving Stormie: The Baby S Story and Surrogate Musings on PDF.

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    Name a character!
    As we are revising Saving Stormie, there are several places where scenes will need to be added. The characters in these 2 planned scenes are, currently un-named! Two special individuals will have their choice in naming these characters, and will receive copies of Saving Stormie: The Baby S Story and Surrogate Musings in paperback

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    Ask me a question and choose a character's name! I will rename a character of your choosing (aside from the main characters) and allow you to ask up to 2 questions about my journey. Please note I cannot answer specific questions about Baby S. In addition this reward includes paperback copies of both books and a logo t-shirt as well as a personalized thank you from me!

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Funding period

- (40 days)