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Wednesday, March 2, 2022

The Light in the Darkness: Musings on Living With Cancer by Jo St Leon - Book Tour - Book Donation Info - Guest Post - Giveaway - Enter Daily!

Hi, lovelies!!  It gives me great pleasure today to host Jo St Leon and her new book, “The Light in the Darkness: Musings on Living With Cancer,” here on FAB!!  For other stops on her Goddess Fish Promotions Book Tour, please click on the banner above or any of the images in this post.

Be sure to make it to the end of this post to enter to win a $15 Amazon or Barnes and Noble Gift Card!!  Also, come back daily to interact with Jo and to increase your chances of winning!!

Thanks for stopping by!!  Wishing you all lots of luck in this fabulous giveaway!!

Also, I would like to point out that Jo is generously donating $1.00 from each copy of the featured book sold to Cancer Research!!!  As if there wasn’t already a fabulous reason to buy this book – now $1.00 of your purchase will be going directly to help prevent and cure cancer through research!!!  Together we can work toward defeating cancer!!!  See below for more details.

The Light in the Darkness:

Musings on Living With Cancer

by Jo St Leon


GENRE:  Body, Mind, Spirit / Inspiration & Personal Growth



The Light in the Darkness is a must-have companion for anyone living with a serious illness, or caring for a loved one with such an illness.

With this collection of reflections and personal essays, Jo St Leon shares her experiences, her darkest moments and her greatest joys. She tells of the journey from fear and denial to acceptance and a determination to live her best life. She shares her deepest thoughts and feelings, always with her characteristic blend of wry humour and wisdom.

The Light in the Darkness is the book Jo wishes she could have found when she first received her cancer diagnosis.



I was diagnosed with Sézary syndrome (a rare blood cancer) in 2016. It is notoriously difficult to diagnose, and at that point I estimated that I had had it for about 11 years. At least, that was when the itch began.

I was living in London and had a touring job: as principal viola with English National Ballet I spent four or five months each year on the road. I imagined little piles of skin and blood on bedlinen all over the country as I manically scratched night after night with no idea what ailed me. Once, the itch gave me two days respite, and I spent hours wondering what could have changed and how I could repeat that blissful itchless experience. I experimented with everything, but, of course, nothing worked. You cannot cure cancer by changing your washing powder.

I left London late in 2006 and returned to Australia to live in Hobart. Eventually, I took my itch to the doctor. She told me to take antihistamines. When I went back to tell her they didn’t work, she advised me to take more. I finally begged her for a referral to a dermatologist. Reluctantly, she agreed. I think her private opinion was that I was making a fuss about nothing, but she couldn’t say so. The dermatologist was not much more helpful, so I just carried on scratching.

Eventually, my feet and ankles became twice their rightful size and were covered in unsightly sores. Unable to wear shoes and desperate for answers, I changed my GP. He ordered blood tests for everything, and eventually Sézary was diagnosed. I didn’t much like the diagnosis, but it was good to know what it was.

It was also good to finally be taken seriously and not treated as an irritating hypochondriac who was taking valuable treatment time away from people who were actually sick. I now had a whole team of doctors who treated my comfort as a priority. They even respected me for managing to carry on working with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra (TSO) despite a constant itch that seemed to go right through to the bone. Respect—imagine!



The Story Behind My Book Cover

I provided Tellwell with the calligraphy, the title, and a very vague idea of what I wanted the cover to look like, and their designer created something miraculous. From memory, I said ‘mostly dark, with a few pops of light.’ Imagine my joy when the first draft was sent to me: it was better than I could possibly have imagined. No revisions necessary. Perfection.

First, the calligraphy. Gemma Black, the calligrapher, is a very dear friend. She teaches all over the world and is renowned in her field. I expected her to be very expensive, but it didn’t matter. I wanted my book to be a thing of absolute beauty—people living with cancer, and those that care for them, deserve no less. My wish was that the poetry of Maya Angelou, Garth’s wonderful photographs, and Gemma’s calligraphy would transform my humble words into a gift. I think they do, right from the front cover, which heralds what is to come. In the event, neither Gemma nor Garth was expensive—they both chose to donate their services to a book that they thought would provide solace for many. In an attempt to match their generosity, I have chosen to donate $1 from each book sale to Cancer Research.

When I was first diagnosed, my mind became dark for a while. I didn’t identify this as fear, anxiety or depression; it was just a place that needed to be explored. The front cover of the book captures this more beautifully than I had could have articulated. The mountains, valleys, and waves of various dark tones are a great representation of my inner world. Being there was a choice—there was much to discover. A bit like sitting at home in the dark, knowing that at any time I could switch on some lights: I didn’t feel imprisoned in this darkness, or unhappy in it. Somehow I knew that, as with the light switch, I would be able to find illumination when I wanted it.

Subtly graded towards a heart of brilliance, the cover depicts a light with a never-ending depth, and a person (me?) poised to begin the process of being drawn in. This has been cancer’s gift to me—an ongoing discovery of the light in my inner landscape. It’s not a journey that has an end; rather, the further I go the more wisdom and truth I find within myself. I’m sure this is not everyone’s experience of cancer. Some people are too ill, too drained of energy, too close to death, to be aware of anything except their suffering, and what they have lost. Others seem to be fueled by a superhuman energy, and decide to tick off as many items on their bucket list as they can manage. I have chosen a more contemplative route, and I have been so lucky that my introduction to my own mortality has been relatively gentle.

It is notable, I think, that the darkest of the dark landscape lies behind the figure. Once the darkest reaches of the mind have been explored they will, perhaps, never again be quite so impenetrable.

I’m quite sure that someone idly picking up the book in a bookshop will never read all this into the cover, but I hope there is enough suggestion of it to inspire them to keep reading.



Jo St Leon is a musician and writer living in Hobart, Tasmania. Receiving a cancer diagnosis in 2016 prompted her to transition from being a full-time musician who loved to write to being a full-time writer who loves to sometimes play the viola. She shares her house with two very pampered felines. She loves reading, cooking, swimming and yoga.









Goodreads Author Page:


Goodreads Book Page:




**Jo is generously donating $1.00 from each copy of the featured book sold to Cancer Research!!!  Your purchase at any online or in-store location, including the listings below, will directly benefit Cancer Research.  There are no extra fees or steps for you to complete.  This donation is directly handled by the author and her team**

Amazon US Kindle eBook:


Amazon US Paperback:


Amazon US Hardcover:


Amazon AU Kindle eBook:


Amazon AU Paperback:


Amazon AU Hardcover:


Amazon CA Kindle eBook:


Amazon CA Paperback:


Amazon CA Hardcover:


Barnes and Noble NOOK eBook:


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Barnes and Noble Hardcover:


Book Depository Paperback:


Book Depository Hardcover:


Books-A-Million Paperback:


Books-A-Million Hardcover:


Indigo Chapters CA eBook:


Indigo Chapters CA Paperback:


Kobo US eBook:


Kobo CA eBook:


Smashwords eBook:




Jo will be awarding a $15 Amazon or Barnes and Noble Gift Card (Winner’s Choice!!!) to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

**This post contains affiliate links and if clicked and a purchase is made, I may receive a small commission to help support this blog.  This does not cost you anything, it just helps pay for all those fabulous community outreach projects and awesome giveaways on here**

This contest is sponsored by a third party. Fabulous and Brunette is a registered host of Goddess Fish Promotions.  Prizes are given away by the sponsors and not Fabulous and Brunette. The featured author and Goddess Fish Promotions are solely responsible for the giveaway prize.


  1. Jo ~ Good morning!! Welcome to FAB!! It is so great to have you here!! Congrats on your new book and good luck on the book tour!! :)

  2. The book sounds very intriguing. I love the cover.