In its first incarnation as a paperback original, Howard Storm's My Descent into Death: And the Message of Love Which Brought Me Back, published by Clairview Books in 2000, barely registered on the publishing world's radar.

Enter Anne Rice: when the blockbuster author saw Storm on TV talking about the near-death experience that inspired his memoir, she initiated an e-mail correspondence with the Zion United Church of Christ pastor, who comforted Rice as her husband battled a brain tumor (Stan Rice died in 2002). Later, Rice helped Storm land a publishing contract with Doubleday (Rice is published by Knopf).

Now repackaged in hardcover and subtitled A Second Chance at Life, Storm's memoir hit stores on February 15, and has already returned to press following a 40,000-copy first printing. But its biggest modification comes in the form of a foreword by Rice: "This is a book you will quote in your daily conversation," she raves. On her Web site,, the memoir gets top billing under her list of personal recommendations.

Rice will also appear with Storm on a TodayShow segment on March 15, and will introduce him at a signing at Barnes & Noble in New York (the first of a five-city tour for Storm). This is just the first of Rice's promo appearances this year. According to her Web site, Knopf will release her "autobiography" of Jesus Christ in the fall.