And as my last blog post, today I'm alerting you to yet another admirable cause that has been running for some time. I do hope you can find the time to read these extracts and maybe check out the literature on Amazon - it is for a fantastic cause. Although I myself have yet to contribute to these splendid works I sincerely hope to in the next round. Thank you and I send you my own 'With Love'...
The With Love Project was born from a great need to help those who suffer globally. It started because of the events in Japan early this year. March 11th 2011, was a day of great devastation for a country half a world away from many involved, but that didn’t deter the desire to help. Some of us had family swept into the situation, others lost loved ones in the devastation, none of us could stand sitting still and doing nothing. Finally, a voice in the crowd spoke up and With Love was born.
In a whirl wind two week period, the incredible dedication and open hearts of all involved, created a charity anthology. Seventeen stories were collected, formatted and pulled together for a single book. A picture was donated by a generous photographer and the cover was designed by The Writing Network. With everything in hand, Ethics Trading took all of the parts and pulled together a fantastic collaboration, then released With Love, by Indie Authors United.
Even as this book was created and released in two weeks, it wasn’t enough. Many wanted to do more, and so, after careful conversation, a new approach was taken. A new set of concise guidelines were created along with the themes for each subsequent volume. Since then, two more charity anthologies have been created: The Dawn of Indie Romance and now After Dark. Both books continue to benefit the same charity as the original, Doctors Without Borders. This charity was selected with the creation of the first anthology because of their far reaching services. The organization provides aide where it’s needed most, not just in times of crisis but daily and globally. This is how we’re able to help, someone, somewhere, every day.
To date the incredible series has given life saving vaccines to those in need. It is the endeavor of this ongoing project to continue to provide for those who require services around the world.
In the spirit of giving, below is an excerpt from Visible Signs by Lisa Vooght
Sweet weepin' Jaysus. The phrase slunk into his mind from the dark crevices of memory, his grandmother's voice as she salved the cigarette burns on his arm with bacon fat and the willow switch welts on his back with cool plasters. She cried, she prayed, she tried to heal him but she could not, or would not, protect him from the vicious rages of her only son, his father. They never spoke about it, never drew the poison to the surface, and so their lives swelled and festered until they ruptured. His grandmother had statues like this, silently standing about in her room, arms outstretched bidding humanity to take shelter. But they had never, even in his fevered imagination, brought forth blood.
He turned it over and over in his hands, looking for a catch, a button, an indentation that would allow him to find the secret of the thing. This has got to be worth a helluva lot to someone. His heart fluttered. Tabloids would pay a mint for something like this. If people would pay for a piece of toast burnt with the silhouette of Elvis, or a piece of gum chewed and spat out by Britney Spears, what would they pay for a so-called genuine miracle? He would no longer be Little Sal, son of Big Sal the boozer, but Paul Peregrino, bazillionaire. A parade of desires marched before his eyes; a brand-new sports car, unending fountains of liquor, vapid women with scanty clothing, all fueled by tracks of meth and coke that stretched to the horizon. Yes, life would be good. He realized that his hands were clenched in fists of desire, sending needles of pain through him, as though they were wrapped with barbed wire.
Barbed wire. His father, twining it between Paul's fingers, binding it about his palms, withering him with red-eyed silence. I'll teach you to steal from me, you little scumbag. He hadn't taken it, would never have dared to touch a dime of his father's, but the money was gone and whether it had been lost, spent, or never even existed made no difference. You paid for others' mistakes, and then you passed it on; that's what Paul had learned at his father's knee.
As he watched, jagged red lines arose on his palms, beaded with fine red droplets. Nausea gripped him. He hadn't smashed any glass, nor handled anything that would have broken his skin. I am losing my friggin' mind. It isn't really there. I just need a fix. Taking a last look around, he awkwardly climbed back out the window, dropped to the porch roof, and from there to the litter-strewn alley. The darkness punctuated by streetlights and neon signs comforted him. It was good to be back among the shadows, with a future fortune riding comfortably in his pocket.
He heard Reggie, his wife, moving about in the kitchen as he let himself in to their tiny apartment. He'd only called her by her full name Regina once, on the day they were married; “Reggie” made her beauty less intimidating to him. But she had always called him Paul, believing that “Little Sal” was beneath him, perhaps in hope that the name would carry some intrinsic protective quality. Make him a better man. It hadn't. Boiling rage would overwhelm him, lashing out through his fists and his feet, driving her into the far corners of the room. And always, always, she would forgive him, making him feel even worse.
“Reggie!” he called, hearing the excitement in his own voice. “C'mere, got something to show ya.”
“Half a sec, I'm making some cocoa.” The sound of a spoon on china, then her light footsteps. “I thought it would help you sleep tonight; last night you tossed and kicked like a mule.” He looked up from fingering the statuette in his pocket.
Staggering backward, his mouth dropped open in mute horror. Regina stood in the doorway, one eye swollen shut, the socket like an artist's palette of primary colors. Her arms, proffering a steaming mug, were covered with livid bruises, cuts as myriad and as tightly woven as a textile, and thick scars like caterpillars under the skin. Her face turned from cheerful to bewildered.
“Paul, what is it? What's wrong with you?”
His mouth was so thick with pasty saliva and bile that his tongue wouldn't move. I didn't do it, I didn't do it, I haven't laid a hand on her in days, someone's broken in and done this to her, they must have been looking for me, and I'll hunt them down one by one and set them on fire for this. The smell of his own fear and anger was choking him.
“Who did this to you? You need a hospital, I'll call someone, and then I'll go after them...”, He was blubbering now, and Reggie only stared at him, her initial puzzlement turning to fear with a dash of her own horror.
“Paul, what are you talking about? There's nothing wrong with me! No one's been here, I'm fine, it's OK, you're having some sort of vision problems, you don't feel well, I can see that, here let me...” and she reached for him.
For an instant her face was smooth, beautiful, familiar, but then it reverted to its former state and he felt his mind struggling to keep its balance. One thing he knew; he had to get out, away from this thing, and regain control somehow. He slipped past her, noiselessly, warily, and yanked open the linen closet door. Keeping his drug stash and bankroll in an empty tampon box had been a stroke of genius; Ultra Protection! indeed. No guy would think to look there. He pocketed it, and crept past her again, watching her carefully. Empty-handed now, she stretched out her arms for him. He fled.
Although it was still hours before dawn, the street was rustling with the feral noises of its inhabitants. Paul slipped half of a pill from his supple between his dry mouth, wincing at the bitter taste that flooded his mouth. No way in hell could he swallow it; he'd just have to wait for it to dissolve. But the very act of placing the tiny miracle on his tongue calmed him. He slowed his footsteps, willing the drug to work its magic and sweep the nightmares away. Craving a cigarette, he searched around, feeling instead the forgotten figure buried in his clothing. His first impulse was to throw it away, but somehow he just couldn't do it. Superstition. Just superstition. It's a hunk of plastic. Wouldn't be worth nuthin' if it didn't do a magic trick. He pulled it out and looked it over. The blood had worn off, probably on his clothes, and now it looked just like any other piece of crap sitting on countless shelves all over the world. Still, it would bear some looking into. His eyes fell on a pimply youth sitting on a stoop, smoking and frantically tapping on some electronic gadget.
You can find the With Love Charity Anthology Series at all major ebook retailers.
Paranormal Anthology - After Dark, With Love
Not your typical Romance Anthology - Dawn of Indie Romance, With Love
Chocolate Box Variety Anthology - With Love, by Indie Writers United
Paranormal Anthology – After Dark, With Love
Not your typical Romance Anthology – Dawn of Indie Romance, With Love
Chocolate Box Variety Anthology – With Love, by Indie Writers United