Posted by: Karen Ingalls

Once I arrived home from the doctor’s office I knew that I wanted to journal my fears and questions, and what had been happening to my body for the past few months. Writing was a tool I had used most of my life to rise above, or outshine, sexual abuse, family alcoholism, untimely deaths, and divorce. After I heard the fateful words, “You have cancer,” recovered from surgery, gone through chemotherapy, and had begun a new life as a cancer survivor, a friend asked if she could read my journal. Days later she called to encourage me to publish my journal saying, “Women need to read this.”

Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir is a story of my survival, and that cancer, other diseases, or life-changing events are challenges from which there are opportunities for self-growth, ministry, and living more fully. God’s gift to me was my ability to write; the publication of this book is my gift to God. (

  • Step one was to journal and write stories about my life, goals, and fears as an adolescent, imagining that someday my words would help others.
  • I explored the magical, informative, and historical world of literature; thereby, unconsciously determining the style of writing and subjects I enjoyed.
  • My journal about a life threatening illness was put into a publishing format after encouragement from others.
  • An important step was to trust a friend, who is an English professor, to read my novel and non-fiction manuscripts for objective feedback.
  • Seeking publication for both manuscripts by contacting publishers and agents required courage and willingness to receive rejection letters.
  • I followed the advice of my publisher, accepted challenges and critiques, and worked hard through the publishing and selling processes.

 If you dream to be a published author, then I say, “Don’t let anything or anyone stop you from traveling the sometimes bumpy, difficult, and rewarding road to make your dream come true.”



Karen Ingalls is an author of three published books, two blogs, and many articles. She is an advocate for health/wellness, social issues, and ovarian cancer awareness.

2012-02-15 11.24.27

Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir 


Davida: Model & Mistress of Augustus Saint-Gaudens 


Novy’s Son  


  1. I understand. I have had cancer and cancer scares. It’s great that you wrote a book about it. Welcome to the Writing Wranglers and Warriors group. Cher’ley


  2. Hi, Karen. Turning your cancer journal into a book is a wonderful way to reach out and help others facing the “you have cancer’ words spoken by a doctor. I’ve not had to face that yet, but have loved and friends who have — including two cousins battling breast cancer at the moment. Welcome to our blog, Karen.


  3. Sounds like you have very hard won courage as well as empathy and compassion to show others. Thank you for sharing your story, as well as the process and encouragement for all of us. Welcome to our blogging family!


  4. I read Outshine. It’s a powerful memoir. I was diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago. I knew I should journal but decided to do some denial instead (the navigator at the Breast Cancer Center said a little denial could be a good thing). I have done some blog posts; one of them is listed under your as a Related Post. Last week learned that eighteen months after radiation, my tests are all clear. I knew at the outset that I had to smile, for my immune system if nothing else, and told my doctor I needed him to believe I could get through it so I could. He said that’s what he wanted to hear, but for a long time, he had trouble being upbeat. Now he’s smiling. I live from scan to scan, but I’m living, and I’m grateful.


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