It's been a great experience to be part of the HAZARD YET FORWARD project, a charity anthology put together by alumni from Seton Hill in support of one of their members, Donna Munro. Although we only talked to Donna a few times over the weekend we spent at the SHU conference she made quite an impression. (Read John Edward Lawson's blog for more info about that). It hit us pretty hard when we learned, just a week or so later, that she'd been diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer. It was one of those unfair moments in life where things take a turn that just don't seem right, don't seem fair, seem downright stupid! How could someone as vibrant and giving as the woman we'd just met be facing this, someone who had worked tirelessly to make the SHU conference an awesome experience for everyone? We shook our heads and wished there was something we could do.
So when I heard that alums Natalie Duvall, Matt Duvall and Deanna Lepsch had decided to put together an anthology to raise money to help support Donna's family during her treatment, I knew I wanted to be a part of it. RDSP authors John Edward Lawson, Michael Arnzen and Jason Jack Miller all donated stories but I figured I'd concentrate my efforts on spreading the word. When the book launched this Tuesday I started bright and early, buying the book and posting links. Many others involved in the antho did this as well and, by Tuesday evening, we'd pushed the antho to #1 in at least 3 different Amazon Hot New Release categories and nearly gotten it into the top 1000 Kindle books. As of today the unofficial total raised for Donna is nearly $2000.
Again, SHU and Donna had given me the opportunity to be part of a community of writers who really care about fiction, and each other. It was exciting to watch the book climb and conquer, even beating out The Norton Anthology and Edgar Allan Poe. But the camaraderie has been the best. That helpless feeling when something bad happens to someone who doesn't deserve it—gone, replaced by a magnificent volume of stories that has unlimited potential to effect change. I want to believe that fiction can make a difference, that stories can grow beyond this temporary existence, make things possible that weren't possible before. Well, they proved it to me, and I want to thank them for that.
The book itself was a massive undertaking, put together in a month. Although I haven't read the whole thing yet, I've been impressed with each piece so far. This book is packed with fresh fiction from all genres and there are some particularly excellent horror tales to be found here. In every story I've found pain but also hope and inspiration. My hope is that you will also decide not to let life kick us around without a fight. Put your reading to good use, buy a copy of HAZARD YET FORWARD, and spread the word. You won't regret it! I know I don't.