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A heartfelt and often comic memoir about death, birth, and rebirth that will give hope to people all over the world.
A heartfelt and often comic memoir about death, birth, and rebirth that will give hope to people all over the world.
249 backers pledged $24,420 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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$24,420

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Please help me fund the completion and publication of my memoir, Drop Dead Life, a raw, transformative story about being broken open to life. 

When my 17-month-old daughter and I witnessed the sudden death of my 29-year-old husband, I refused to accept the verdict life handed me as the end of my tale. I knew I had to make meaning of my tragedy. 

Drop Dead Life takes you on my journey through the everyday experiences of raising two young daughters while plunging into traditional and alternative forms of therapy, confronting hereditary depression and medications, questioning after-life connection, and trying to rebuild my own love life through the roller coaster of online dating.  

This memoir will serve as a beacon of hope for anyone who has suffered--be it through infidelity, divorce, surviving the death of a loved one, mental illness, addiction, online dating, parenting through grief, poor self-esteem, or searching for purpose. 

Read an Excerpt Here:


Reviews:

“Such a powerful story about surviving, thriving, and embracing the moment."  – Ingrid Ricks, Author of New York Times Best-Selling Memoir Hippie Boy

"Life is neither all heartbreaking nor all funny. Hyla finds the perfect balance of both in Drop Dead Life as a young pregnant widow, delivering both her baby and her grief with raw emotion and honest humor. Every day, I marvel at Hyla's strength and outlook. She's a true inspiration both in spirit and prose." - Jeanne Bowerman, Film Producer, Screenwriter & Editor at Script Chat Magazine

Publishing Details:

I began writing chapters of Drop Dead Life only five months after the death of my late husband, Erik Grieve, in 2003. Three years ago, Writer's Digest featured an article about how many reads the first chapter of my memoir had accumulated on Scribd.com. Within 24 hours, I received emails directly from interested editors at both Simon and Schuster and Penguin, but I completely stopped writing. Why? Because I began travelling down the long path of various hospitals and tests to confirm that my two daughters had, indeed, inherited Brugada Syndrome--the same sudden death cardiac condition which took their daddy's life. The news was devastating.

Since this news, I have been working without pay to advocate for the widowed community, women's empowerment, mental health, defibrillators in schools, and a treatment for Brugada Syndrome. 

Now, though, I am ready to write, revise, and morph the hundreds of Drop Dead Life pages into final form so that this book can be in your hands on April 20th, 2014. This is a story that MUST be shared with the world. And, quite honestly, I just turned 40 and this is something I HAVE to do. 

Your backing will help make this happen. Your backing will enable me to focus entirely on completing and independently publishing Drop Dead Life

Your generous contributions will go toward:

  • Copy Editing 
  • Content Editing
  • Cover Design
  • Internal design
  • Printing
  • Marketing and Publicity
  • Book Tour

As you will see when reading through the rewards offered, I am also a photographer and a professional speaker, so I intend on making your decision to back my project worthwhile. 

Special Thanks

A HUGE shout-out of appreciation to Mikhail Shapiro for the countless hours spent creating my Drop Dead Life Kickstarter video. Seriously ... if you are looking to have any type of stellar video made, he has my highest recommendation. You can contact him and/or check out more of his awesome work at www.mikhailshapiro.com Thank you, Mikhail!!!

Risks and challenges

I have over 400 pages of Drop Dead Life written. Presently, I'm working with an editor to rewrite and revise these pages into their proper memoir structure, which will be 29 chapters (for Erik's 29 years) and no more than a total of 290 pages. Unless one of my daughters--both of whom inherited the same "sudden death" heart condition, Brugada Syndrome, from their late father--has some major unforeseen complication, I will have no problem delivering your book and rewards in April of 2014. Your support is what will enable me to focus entirely on finishing and publishing Drop Dead Life in this timely manner.

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FAQ

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $9 or more About $9

    You will receive my love and gratitude on Facebook and Twitter.

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    Pledge $19 or more About $19

    DROP DEAD LIFE eBOOK: You will receive a digital copy of DROP DEAD LIFE to be read at your leisure, along with my love and gratitude on Facebook and Twitter.

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    Pledge $29 or more About $29

    DROP DEAD LIFE HARDCOPY: You will receive a first edition signed paperback of DROP DEAD LIFE, along with my love and gratitude on Facebook and Twitter.

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    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    DROP DEAD LIFE HARDCOPY PACKAGE: You will receive a first edition signed paperback of DROP DEAD LIFE as well as a digital copy, along with my love and gratitude on Facebook and Twitter.

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    Pledge $55 or more About $55

    DROP DEAD LIFE TIMES TWO: You will receive two first edition signed paperbacks of DROP DEAD LIFE as well as a digital copy, along with my love and gratitude on Facebook and Twitter.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    ACKNOWLEDGMENTS: Your name will be included in the acknowledgements at the beginning of the book. You will also receive two first edition signed paperbacks of DROP DEAD LIFE, a digital copy, along with my love and gratitude on Facebook and Twitter.

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    THE VIEW: You will receive one first edition signed paperback of DROP DEAD LIFE, a digital copy, a signed 8 x 10 of my "The View" fine art photograph -- which you can view on the left side of this page -- as well as my love and gratitude on Facebook and Twitter.

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    STEPS OF LIFE: You will receive one first edition signed paperback of DROP DEAD LIFE, a digital copy, a signed 8 x 10 of my "Steps of Life" fine art photograph -- which you can view on the left side of this page -- as well as my love and gratitude on Facebook and Twitter.

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    30 MINUTES ON SKYPE: You will receive one first edition signed paperback of DROP DEAD LIFE, a digital copy, and a 30 minute Skype Session with me, in which we can discuss a myriad of topics including relationships, online dating, writing, grief, therapy, social media, publishing, branding, blending families, public speaking, Brugada Syndrome, or making meaning of your life. This, of course, also comes with the expression of my love and gratitude on Facebook and Twitter.

    * As you will read in my bio, my speaking engagements have included an inspirational keynote at Walmart Corporate Headquarters, The AllFacebook Expo (Building Online Community), Healthy Place Mental Health Radio (Finding Hope), and The National Widowhood Conference "Camp Widow" (Rebuilding Your Life).

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    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    TUNNEL OF LIGHT: You will receive one first edition signed paperback of DROP DEAD LIFE, a digital copy, a signed 11 x 14 of my "Tunnel of Light" fine art photograph -- which you can view on the left side of this page -- as well as my love and gratitude on Facebook and Twitter.

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    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    RAINBOW OF HOPE: You will receive one first edition signed paperback of DROP DEAD LIFE, a digital copy, a signed 11 x 14 of my "Rainbow of Hope" fine art photograph -- which you can view on the left side of this page -- as well as my love and gratitude on Facebook and Twitter.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    IN MEMORY: You will receive five first edition signed paperback copies of DROP DEAD LIFE, a digital copy, and inclusion of a photograph and 200 words about your beloved (which I will help you write) in the "Love Never Dies" section at the end of DROP DEAD LIFE. Your name will also be included in the acknowledgements at the beginning of the book. This, of course, comes with my immense love and gratitude on Facebook and Twitter.

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    PATRON OF THE ARTS: Your name or your company's name will be included in a special acknowledgements section at the beginning of the book, as well as at the end of the book in a 200-word highlight about why you supported DROP DEAD LIFE. Your name or brand logo will be featured in promotional material at the book launch party and you will receive five signed paperback copies, the ebook, and my immense love and gratitude on Facebook and Twitter.

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    Pledge $2,500 or more About $2,500

    Patron of the Arts with Heart: This includes ten signed paperbacks of Drop Dead Life, a digital copy, all four of the fine art photographs above, featuring of you or your brand in my "Patron of the Arts" or "In Memory" section at the end of the book and at my book launch party, and my immense love and gratitude on Facebook and Twitter.

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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    PHOTO SHOOT: I will photograph you or your family in a 2-hour photo session and give you the rights to use my 50 favorite photos from your photo session (touched-up and ready to print) however you wish. This reward is limited to the San Francisco Bay Area, but I am open to discussing travel within the United States as long as you are willing to cover my travel expenses. Please see samples of my portraits to the left. This also includes ten signed paperbacks of Drop Dead Life, a digital copy, all four of the fine art photographs above, featuring of you or your brand in my "Patron of the Arts" or "In Memory" section at the end of the book and at my book launch party, and my immense love and gratitude on Facebook and Twitter.

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    Pledge $10,000 About $10,000

    KEYNOTE SPEECH: I will travel to your organization and deliver an inspiring keynote speech or workshop to an audience of 10-10k. While I always weave in my personal story, topics may include relationships, online dating, writing, grief, therapy, social media, publishing, branding, blending families, depression, public speaking, Brugada Syndrome, SADS, crowdfunding, or finding purpose in your life. This reward is limited to the United States, though I am willing to travel to other countries if my expenses are covered. This also includes ten signed paperbacks of Drop Dead Life, ten digital copies, and my immense love and gratitude on Facebook and Twitter.

    * Previous speaking engagements include Inspirational Keynote at Walmart Corporate Headquarters (see image to the left) and the AllFacebook Expo, as well as many others you can read about in my bio.

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Funding period

- (29 days)